PRACTICAL AND DOCTRINAL
BY THE LATE
Elijah Parish, D.D.
PUBLISHED BY CROCKER & BREWSTER,
No. 50, CORNHILL.
Electronically prepared by Dr. Ted Hildebrandt,
In honor of the Byfield Parish Tercentenary
DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS, to wit:
District Clerk's Office,
BE IT REMEMBERED, that on the twenty-eighth day of A. D. 1826, in
year of the
P. Parish, of the said District, bas deposited in this office the title of a book,
the right whereof he claims as Proprietor, in the words following, to wit:
"Sermons, Practical and Doctrinal. By
the late Elijah Parish,
Biographical, Sketch of the Author."
In Conformity to the act of the Congress of
act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies, of maps, charts
and books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies. during the times therein men-
tioned;" and also to an act, intitled, "An act supplementary, to an act, intitled, An
act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts and
books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies during the times therein men-
tioned; and extending the benefits thereof to the arts of designing, engraving and,
etching historical, and other prints."
JNO. W, DAVIS,
Clerk of the District of Massachusetts.
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .
the Spectator, has so playfully made, that a reader
never peruses a. book with satisfaction until he knows
the personal qualities of the author, seems to be
peculiarly true when applied to orations and sermons.
In reading a spoken composition, our recollections of
fancy naturally recur to the speaker. We either re-
member his manner and read every sentence in con-
nexion with it, or, if we have had no knowledge of
the author, we supply the deficiency by a picture of
the imagination. We hear, in the ear of the mind, the
fervour and eloquence with which he poured forth his
thought. His cadence, his mien, his gestures accom-
pany every period, and mingle with every sentiment.
In cases, therefore, in which the imagination must be
busy, it is important that it should be guided by truth;
and since these Discourses will not suffer from the
iv BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.
reader's possessing the most vivid conception of' the
author's utterance and character, we shall prefix to
them a short account of his life. We write not a
biography, but a sketch.
ELIJAH PARISH was born in
of 7, 1762. His parentage was respectable; but like
most other scholars in New-England, he was obliged
to struggle with difficulties in obtaining a classical
education. In political history, it has long been ob-
served, that the founder of a dynasty may be distin-
guished, by his superiour vigour of mind, from one
born in the purple and inheriting a throne. The same
is true of two classes of scholars. The superiority is
always found among those who have acquired energy,
by conquering difficulties. Man must be goaded to
exertion by the scourge of necessity. He was grad-
study of divinity for his pursuit. It is probable at
this time, that religion had made an impression, salu-
tary and lasting, on his mind and heart. On this
subject he was remarkably unostentatious. He laid
claim to no vivid hopes or powerful excitements. The
story therefore of his progress in personal religion is
now unknown. But we need not lament the loss.
The only piety which he taught, or professed to prize,
was such as could be attested by the fruits.
In his youth there were no Theological Seminaries
in this country. He pursued his studies under the
Rev. Ephraim Judson, of
*Since writing the above, testimonies have been received from Mr. Pemberton,
instructer, and Rev. Mr. Kellogg, of
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH. v
If Dr. Parish rose to eminence in his profession,
his merit can never be appreciated, unless we con-
sider the obstacles of the times, in which he came
forward. Young theologians can have no conception
of those difficulties, as they are now taught in richly
endowed seminaries, partaking of the prosperity of
the country. In his youth, war, confusion, national
distraction and poverty disturbed the seats of science,
and opposed the young candidate's progress both in
the paths of learning and religion. In the year 1787,
Dr. Parish was sett1ed in Byfield, a parish in the
probable evidence of his youthful popularity.
The life of a humble preacher of truth, placed in a
peaceful village and engaged in a circle of duties,
which, though arduous, are still similar, cannot be
supposed to be crowded with events which sparkle in
narrative. The calling of Dr. Parish was honourable;
he made it laborious; and he appears to have experi-
enced in his ministry that blessing, which is prayed
for in the formula of the English church; that God
would pour upon his people the continual dew of his
blessing. It was not his aim in preaching to make an
impression on his people, which should adorn a nar-
rative in a newspaper. He was a gradual builder, but
his materials were solid stone. The continual dew
of a divine blessing is an expression, which best de-
scribes the effect of his instruction. Yet twice in his
ministry a peculiar solemnity pervaded his parish. In
the earlier part of his life, he encountered difficulties
among his people, -- when he died, there was not a
more united parish in the state. He was indeed a
vi BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.
man peculiarly fitted to act in those scenes which try
men's souls. Decided in his views and firm in his
spirit, he walked in the path of danger with an un-
daunted heart. It is a rare event in modern times that
a clergyman is called to give such specimens of Chris-
tian courage. -- He boldly took his stand on the pedes-
tal of duty, nor was it the threats, or sneers of an
opposing world, that would induce him to leave it.
This was courage of the noblest kind; it is the very
resolution which a minister's profession requires. --
Thousands, who have faced the dangers of battle, have
been timid here. The teachers of religion, if they
mean to fill their station, must copy our departed
father, and to a holy heart add an independent
He was a diligent and successful student. Judging
from effects, we should conclude that Dr. Parish was
a man that seldom found an idle hour. He had a
mind which was uncommonly vigorous, and he was
uncommonly diligent to cultivate it. He was not one
of those ministers who close their books when they
leave the college, and who, if they can satisfy their I
I people, are satisfied themselves. His learning, as was
to be expected, was of the last age rather than this;
yet as a student, few were ever more industrious.
Many of his works are before the public, and of these
it is not necessary to speak. His most striking quality
was his eloquence. In his happiest efforts, few
equalled, and none could surpass him. Without those
thrilling tones, which sometimes make sound supply
the deficiencies of thought, and the most flimsy per-
formances pass for excellence, he led the intelligent
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH. vii
ear from sentence to sentence, in which religion was
recommended by beauty, and instruction increased by
delight. He riveted attention to his theme; the friends
of truth were; confirmed in their views, and those who
rejected his arguments, acknowledged his power. His
style was vivid; abounding in expressions which
sunk on the memory, and illustrations, which reached
the heart. Every object of usefulness, or sublimity,
which he presented, was more than recognized, it was
seen and felt. Nothing was cold-nothing languid.
He was an orator in the highest, sense of the word.
The impression which he made on the hearers in pub-
lic, was repeated on the reader in his closet. He
came nearer to Massilon than to Whitefield. He
have melted the colliers of
attention of the commonalty of
but in a refined auditory, few could speak to more
acceptance, or leave a deeper impression on the heart.
But he is gone--that eloquent tongue shall speak
to us no more--or rather he speaks to us in another
language. He tells us in the dialect of the dead, that
gifts are nothing without graces--that in the world,
to which he has departed, they ask not what talents a
mortal has possessed, but how he has used them.
This venerable and departed man was a faithful
minister -- the best evidence, in his profession, of his
being a true Christian; and let me add, that he
formed an extensive conception of what faithful
preaching is. He left no part of duty untouched, no
sin uncensured. He endeavoured to occupy the whole
ground, displayed in the bible: and to make his in-
viii BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.
structions as extensive as the wants of man. Though
belonging in his youth, and perhaps in his age, to a
theological school, which has been charged with
dwelling too exclusively on a few favourite points, he
was not a narrow preacher. He could reason and feel;
comfort the Christian or alarm the sinner; inculcate
faith, or insist on good works. His mind was replen-
ished with the fulness of the gospel. In this re-
spect I hardly know his equal. If the narrowness of
controversial divinity makes this mode of preaching
almost an experiment in religion, we may say the
experiment was peculiarly happy. Dr. Parish was
the instrument of turning many to righteousness.
In his person, he was below the middle stature.
His eye was keen and piercing; and left on the
observer, at the first interview, an impression of sar-
casm and severity. It is true, no man could give a
quicker reply, or had a repartee more at command,
than Dr. Parish. He could be severe, when severity
was necessary; yet in friendly intercourse he always
softened into an intelligent and agreeable companion.
In his conversation, there was opposition enough to
call forth conflicting opinions; and urbanity enough
to make the conflict not unpleasant.
When he mounted the pulpit to speak, he so
far resembled Ulysses, as to awaken no high ex-
pectation in the mind of the stranger. His com-
mencing utterance appeared rather monotonous; and,
in the first verse of the hymn, or the first sentence
of the discourse, there was a tone which savoured of
senility. But as he proceeded, warmed by his sub-
ject, every vestige of this fault vanished-he became
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH. ix
animated, emphatic, glowing. He was fired himself,
and never failed to fire his audience. Yet there was
nothing of that overstepping the modesty of nature by
which some popular speakers acquire their eminence.
There was nothing disproportionate in his speaking;
of the truth of which, this is a proof; that young
preachers, who studied under him, never gave the
distorted features of his eloquence in disgusting imi-
As he was a decided man, he was obliged, like all
other decided men, in some parts of his life, to wade
through the waters of opposition. His activity in
politics acquired for him many enemies. Whether
he was right in taking such a prominent stand on a
subject not immediately connected with religion, we
shall not say. He shewed, at least, his decision.
It is proper, however, to reveal the whole truth; in
the latter part of his life, he wholly renounced all
concern with political affairs. To a friend, who once
spoke to him on the subject, he replied, "Politics is
like the variolous contagion, no man catches it a
With respect to the religious suspicion and obloquy,
to which he was, for a time subjected, we may speak
with more confidence. It arose from his independ-
ence of character; from his refusing to bow down to
the popular idols of the day. He was a friend to
religious liberty; he would have the human mind
assailed by no arms but those of persuasion and truth.
This makes his loss almost inestimable. In this age,
when some good men seem to have forgotten the
purpose for which our fathers crossed the ocean, and
x BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.
erected, with infinite hazard, these western churches,
on principles as free as the spirit of benevolence
itself, -- his influence and example seem peculiarly
necessary. He found the happy medium of mixing
decision of sentiment, with candour to those who
differed from him. In his mind, as in that of the
combined. The truths embraced by our fathers, he
believed to be infinitely important to the happiness of
man; yet he was cautious of judging of intentions.
In declaring opinions, he spoke with confidence; but
persons he left to the tribunal of God.*
He considered both the great parties which now
divide our country as, in many respects, wrong; yet
he always boldly said that the genius of christianity
resided with the orthodox. Unitarianism, in his
mind, was a system, not without its plausible preten-
sions to a speculative mind. If man had no sins,
*To illustrate our manners, if ever this book should fall into the hands of a
foreigner, let me mention in a note, a circumstance which is certainly unworthy
of a place
in the text. In
measures have been prepared in a certain conclave, nobody knows who they are,
or where they are, -- invisible beings, --congregational cardinals, to whose decrees
every orthodox clergyman and church is expected to pay unlimited deference and
submission. But as they are wholly destitute of power, they have found out a
singular way of executing their laws. The clergyman, who hesitates, or dares to
think, or act for himself, suddenly finds himself surrounded by the whisper that he
is becoming an Unitarian. It is not easy to conceive the horrour and dismay, that
this suggestion occasions. It is caught from mouth to mouth, and whispered from
ear to ear, and every ghastly relater increases the terrours of the tale. The poor,
affrighted victim must either return to the bosom of the church, -- the popular
measure of the day, -- or be denounced a heretic, worthy of all the flames that
detraction can kindle: for, in this country, we burn heretics in no other. I will
only add, that this state of society is rather amusing; to say nothing of the mag-
nanimity of the great men, who condescend to use such weapons, it is singular
enough to see to what useful purpose the Unitarians may be put; they not only
serve as whetstones, on which staunch polemics may sharpen their weapons, but
they make excellent bugbears to keep naughty boys in order, the follies of the
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH. xi
no sorrows, neither sickness, nor death, he might sit
down and admire the schemes of modern innovators,
as the traveller admires the morning rays refracted
around the ice and snow of some mountain's top;
but these beams, though bright, awaken no vegeta-
tion; he considered this system as wholly inadequate
to the wants and agonies of a mind really a wake to
eternal things. Faith wishes to repose on something
more substantial. He always said, however, that the
mode of opposing this system was not the best.
Whilst it is a novelty, and whilst therefore its advo-
cates can avail themselves of the ambiguous ground
that lies between innovation and improvement, he
said it might prevail. But it would soon become the
old religion; and have to drop its accidental preten-
sions, and encounter all the obstacles with which the
old religion has now to contend, without any of its
advantages. It could then no longer be said, "See
what improvement we are making; see what old
prejudices we are overthrowing." Falsa satiabunt.
The cloud is temporary, the sunshine eternal. Refrain
from these men, and let them alone. Acts v. 38.
Dr. Parish was married to Miss Mary Hale, in
1796, by whom he has children; three of whom
survive him. In the year 1819, he was called to
bury a very amiable daughter, a heavy affliction.
This event was never spoken of afterward but with
the deepest sympathy.
He was frequently called to preach on public occa-
sions. Before the legislature in 1810, the Election
sermon; before the convention 1821. This last ser-
mon will be found in this collection.
xii BIOGRPHICAL SKETCH.
In his last sickness, he was seen by the writer of
this biographical notice. His intellect was partially,
clouded, but not entirely lost. He was a sufferer,
but patient, tranquil, serene. He had always, in
his healthy days, expressed an opinion that death
was an event not to be trifled with; and he
doubted whether the indifference with which some
good men professed to regard it, is not the result
of ignorance rather than grace. He pronounced
himself never to be above fear. Yet when he was
asked, on the day before his expiration, what were
his views, he replied, "For reasons which appear to
me to be just, I rather wish to live; yet I leave the
event with God. Not my will, but his be done."
He died October 15th, 1825; and was followed to
the grave by the esteem of his friends, and the tears
of his people.
Besides occasional sermons, the works by which
he has already appeared before the public, are: The
Gazetteer of the Eastern continent, the History of New
of the Bible.
These discourses are now presented to the public,
to pass that wider test of criticism, which results
from a general perusal. In the vicinity of the author's
ministrations, they have been heard with great appro-
bation and delight. It was always an exhilaration
to an audience of taste, to see the author of these
discourses enter the pulpit. Expectation was highly
raised, and seldom disappointed. It was remarked,
in several places, where some of these longest ser-
mons were preached, that the hour was almost anni-
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH. xiii
hilated in the interest it excited. It is true, in
different spheres, an author meets with different
competitors, and is therefore estimated in a different
manner. How this volume will be received by the
world, we cannot say; but we should feel little solic-
itude, if its reception should be according to its merits.
before the Convention of congregational ministers, in
Luke 11, 14. On earth Peace; good will among men. . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Jude 6. Unto the judgment of the great day; and 2 Peter iii, 7.
But the heavens and the earth are kept in store, reserved
unto fire, against the day of judgment. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
Delivered before the Society for propagating the gospel among the Indians and
2 Cor. iv, 4. The glorious gospel of Christ. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
Psalm xlv, 6. Thy throne, 0 God, is for ever and ever; the
sceptre of thy kingdom is a light sceptre . . . . . . . . . 77
Isaiah ix, 6. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given . . . . 97
Hebrews xi, 33. Who through faith subdued kingdoms. . . . . . . . . . 111
Isaiah xlv, 11. Command ye me. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129
Genesis xviii, 19. For I know him, that he will command his
children, and his household after him. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 167
1 Cor. xiii, 12. Now I know in part. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 187
Jeremiah xvii, 9. The heart is deceitful above all things, and
desperately wicked. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 207
Zechariah iv, 6. Not by might, nor by power, but my Spirit,
saith the Lord of hosts. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 223
Proverbs xxii, 29. Seest thou a man diligent in his business?
he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean
men. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 243
John iii, 14, 15. But as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wil-
derness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever
believeth on him may not perish, but have everlasting life. . 263
1 Cor. i, 24. Chlist the power of God, and the wisdom of God. . . . 279
Job xviii, 14. And it shall bring him to the king if terrours. . . . . . . 293
Psalm cxix, 18. Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous
things out of thy law. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 309
James v, 17, 18. Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are;
and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain; and
it rained not on the earth by the space of three years, and
six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave
rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 325
Ecclesiastes vi, 12. For who knoweth what is good for man in
this life, all the days of this vain life, which he spendeth
as a shadow. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 345
John xvi, 8. And when he is come, he will reprove the world
of sin. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 367
Psalm xviii, 30. As for God, his WAY is perfect. And
Psalm xix, 7. The LAW of the Lord is perfect. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 390
Psalm cxxxviii, 2. For thou hast magnified thy word above all
thy name. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 403
LUKE ii. 14.
On earth, peace; good will towards men.
JESUS CHRIST is the Prince of peace, the light of the
world, the Saviour of man. Other benefactors have
been useful. They have civilized savage tribes; they'"
have extended science and commerce, and established
empires. They have founded churches, banished
idols from their temples, and extinguished the fire on
the altars of human sacrifice. But these benevolent
efforts are limited, partial, and transient in their
effects. While one side of the globe 'enjoys the sun-
shine of science and civilization, the other may be
wrapped in darkness and barbarism. Where are the
empires, which once promised to be as lasting as their
The pacific reign of Jesus Christ will be as exten-
sive, as the world, and continue as long, as the sun
and moon shall endure. Long ages before the adven1t
of the Messiah, patriarchs rejoiced in his day. Proph-
ets and poets foretold, that the iron age of crimes and
tears was passing away, that the golden era Was ad-
vancing, when peace would descend from heaven, the
lion sport with the lamb, and the child play with the
Sages admonished their disciples, to wait the com-
ing of a superiour teacher. Historians announced his
expected approach. Angels came down from the
throne of God, with the news of his birth. The
shepherds heard the music of their song, "Peace on
earth, and good will towards men."
Doctrine; It is the design of God, by the gospel of
Christ, to establish lasting peace through the world.
I. I presume, that God determines to establish
universal peace, because he has promised, that the
holiness of the gospel shall be universal.
"All flesh shall come and worship before me, saith
the Lord." "The Lord shall be king over all the
earth." "Upon the bells of the horses shall be holi-
ness to the Lord." Such extensive piety has not
been known. This improvement of mankind will be
effected by the gospel. "Grace and truth come by
Jesus Christ," and "in him shall all the families he
blest." The gospel is a system of morals and relig-
ion, designed to render men, moral and religious. But
war annuls the precepts of religion, repeals the statutes
of morality, confounds right and wrong. While war
prevails, the gospel cannot have its full effect.
The gospel requires men to do good. The very
business of war is mischief and damage. The gospel
requires men to forgive their enemies. Revenge is
often the chief design of War. The gospel commands
men to feed the poor and comfort the afflicted. The
sword drinks the blood of the afflicted, robs and plun-
ders the poor, covers him with wounds, and leaves
him half dead. Truth and sincerity are precepts of
the gospel, and are reputable in the dwellings of peace;
but the warriour glories in executing the work of de-
struction by artifice, by delusion, and stratagem.
While the devout Christian sits pondering how he
may comfort the sorrowful, enlighten the ignorant, and
reform the wicked, the man of blood is contriving
and plotting, to vanquish yonder army, to ravage the
country, covering the fields with the wounded and
The gospel forbids murder. Yes, it does. But is
not this the grand purpose of war? Why else all the
swords, and balls, and engines of death? The combi-
nation of ten thousand men, to slay ten thousand, is
not less murderous, than the resolution of one man to
slay one man. Had Cain been a king, and marched
an army to destroy his brother, would this have les-
sened his guilt?
Did God not include kings, when he said, "Thou
shalt not kill?" Did he not include their victorious
legions? If one man may not commit murder, how
many must unite to make it innocent and glorious?
May two,--two hundred, --two million? Two million
have no more right to murder and destroy, than two
When pure Christianity shall cover the earth,
avarice and revenge will be extinguished; ambition
will be dethroned, and war expire. The acknowledg-
ed design of the Christian religion is to induce men to
love their enemies, to be like Jesus Christ, who re-
sisted not evil. Is it possible for such a man, to seize
his sword, and rush to the hill of battle? Can he bid
the artillery blaze? Can he become the angel of death;
and, scatter plague and pestilence round the globe?
When all rulers possess this benevolence, who will
proclaim the war? When commanders have this spirit,
who will order the battle? When the mass of mankind
have the spirit of Christ, where will soldiers be found?
Where will you find a man to slay his neighbour?
The rendezvous is forsaken. The shrill piercing,
hoarse rattling instruments, the harsh clattering
sounds of martial bands, are silent, as the deserted
field of battle, where death riots in dismal solitude.
All are gone to the house of worship, to celebrate the
jubilee of peace, to join in the song of angels. Will
they ever again carry fire, famine, and destruction
into peaceful countries, the dwellings of helpless
the last fibre of benevolence from their hearts, quench
the last spark of humanity, kindle the flame of malice
and revenge. These are the passions, which push
men on in the trade of war; these are the furies,
which rule the man, in the rage of battle. Will not
Christianity, when it shall become universal, arrest
the ravages of war, and establish lasting peace?
II. From the benevolent efforts, now made in the
Christian world, I infer the entire suppression of
I do not mean, that any thing absolutely new is
taking place. Somewhat of this kind has been done
in almost every age of the Christian church. But
present exertions are probably more extensive and
better directed, than in any former time.
The exertions of Christian philanthropy are not
confined to a sect, or a country. To the Protestant
nations, and to the Greek church, a mighty impulse
has been given. Many members of the Latin church,
and some of them dignitaries, are coming forward to
reform the world. Children and matrons, who re-
ceive charity themselves, bring their offerings to the
treasury of the Lord. Ministers of religion and offi-
cers of government, rich men and nobles, suspend
their own pursuits; princes leave their palaces, and
kings come down from their thrones, to assist the
corporations of benevolence. These societies, though
by different paths, are all marching to the same point,
the peace of the world.
If the Bible Societies obtain their object, peace
will follow; for peace is commanded in their sacred
volume. If the Missionary Societies succeed, peace
will follow; for the gospel requires peace. If the
Education or Literary Societies accomplish their
hopes, peace will triumph; for the great object of ed-
ucation is to enlighten the mind and direct the life.
If religion or science gain the empire of the human
mind, the reign of peace is established; for all rational
religion and useful science breathe the spirit of peace.
If twelve fishermen changed the moral complexion
of the world, in spite of the laws, the religion, and
the vices of paganism, what may we not expect from
the present movement of the Christian world!
Christianity was a helpless babe, slumbering in a
to run her course. Her friends were a handful of
poor, illiterate Nazarenes; they are now an innumer-
able host, possessing a great portion of the power, the
science, and the wealth of the world.
A vast accession of influence is acquired by the
union of numbers, by voluntary associations.
Can all these engines move in vain? Would the
God of wisdom produce all these labours to no lasting
purpose? Would he create all these luminaries, to go
out in darkness? Pouring their beams in one direc-
tion, must they not scatter the clouds of war, dispel
the darkness, and melt the vapours into a day of light,
of peace, and glory?
III. God has promised his people a period of security
and felicity, not compatible with a state of war-
fare; hence I infer that wars must cease.
"They shall build houses, and inhabit them; they
shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall
not build, and another inhabit; they shall
not plant, and another eat;-- mine elect shall long
enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labour
in vain, nor bring forth for trouble. They shall sit
every man under his vine, and under his fig-tree, and
none shall make him afraid."
These and similar passages need no comment.
They describe a state of comfort and security, which
can never be known, while a banner waves, or a
sword glitters in the hands of a warriour. Does any
people enjoy such rest and felicity in the atmosphere
of armies? Do those, who are defeated, conquered,
vanquished, fleeing, falling, dying? Do the peaceful
inhabitants, alarmed and driven from their homes?
The field of
War is like the fabled
whose atmosphere no creature could live; along whose
dismal coast no fruit nor blossom was seen, no cheer-
ful voice was heard. So in the region of war, no
sound is heard but the riot of victory, the shout of
revenge, the sigh of misery, the shriek of horrour, or
the groan of death. The dwellings of war are like
when no man cou1d safely leave his home; when
death was in every house; terrour and dismay in every
Were these sufferings confined to men, to military
men, we might be patient; but another portion of the
human family, whose sex renders them more defence
less; whose gentle voice cheers the distressed; whose
kindness binds up the wounds of an enemy; whose
piety soothes the anguish of his last moment, woman,
is often overwhelmed in the miseries of war. How
often may it
be said, "From the daughter of
her beauty is departed. Her tears are on her cheeks.
Among all her lovers, she has none to comfort her.
She has fallen by the sword."
History confirms all this. Glance an eye at a sin-
series. What was the state of the
ites, assailed and subdued by Joshua? What was the
state of the Jews, vanquished and led captive by Ves-
pasian? What was the state of the Romans, overrun
and conquered by the barbarians of the north? What
has been the condition of these conquerors, during the
Read again the history of those revolutions, and
say -- I think, I hear you say, "War is a monster.
more enormous than the fabled giants of old, who
piled up the mountains to scale the heavens. While
he walks on earth, his head wrapt in clouds, his arms
encircle the world. From one hand he hurls all the
weapons of destruction; from the other he scatters the
seeds of famine, plague, and pestilence. He beholds
a country of prosperous husbandmen and merchants;
he robs and plunders, and leaves them wretched.
He devours an army, and cries, 'give, give.' The
sun shines; but no harvest rewards the labourer. The
rain falls; but no verdure clothes the ground; the
monster has trodden on the fields; his breath has
blasted the country."
Yes, my friends, the picture is not so shocking as
the hideous original. But, blessed be God, he has
promised, that those 'who plant, shall eat the fruit.'
Hence the fury of war is passing away; a brighter
day is dawning. "Comfort ye, comfort ye, my peo-
ple, saith your God; speak ye comfortably to Jeru-
IV. I infer that wars will cease, when Christian-
ity, purified, shall become universal; because the
Christians, in the first ages of the gospel, refused to
They suppose that their religion forbid war. Men,
who received their religious opinions from Christ him-
self, or from his apostles, or their immediate succes-
sors, refused to bear arms, or perform any military
duty. For about three hundred years, Christians
would suffer martyrdom, rather than be seen in a
camp with sword or spear.
Justin and Tatian in the second century, both de-
clare war unlawful, and Satan its author. In the
second and third centuries, Tertullian and Alexander
strongly condemn the custom of war. Tertullian
inquires, "Can a soldier's life be lawful, when Christ
has declared, that he 'who takes the sword shall
perish with the sword?' Shall he, who is not to
revenge his own wrongs, bring others into chains and
imprisonment, torment and death?"
Lactantius, the friend of
his son, says, "It can never be lawfu1, for a righteous
man to go to war, whose warfare is righteousness
itself." To these names of renown, in the Christian
church, we may add Cyprian, a martyr in A. D. 258,
with Ambrose, Archelaus, Chrysostom, Jerome, and
Cyril; all of whom were of opinion, that war was
unlawful to Christians.
The practice of those early Christians agreed with
their principles. In the rebellions against Verus and
Severus, which extended from A. D. 170 to 195, the
Christians were suspected. Tertullian appealed to
the pagan world, and repelled the slander. "You
defamed us," saith he; "not a Christian could be
found in any of the rebel armies." This fact is
worthy of all notice. Those armies constituted
the legions of the
tian soldier could be found in their ranks.
The writers of those times make a distinction be-
tween soldiers and Christians. Clemens calls Chris-
tians "the Peaceable," and says, "They never use
sword nor bow."
About A. D. 180, Ireneus says, "The famous pro-
phecy, 'Their swords shall be turned to ploughshares,
and their spears to pruning-hooks,' was then fulfilled."
"The Christians have," saith he, "changed their
swords and their lances into instruments of peace.
They know not how to fight."
Speaking of the same prophecy, Justin says, "This
is fulfilled, for we, who, in time past killed one anoth-
er, do not now fight with our enemies." Accordingly,
Celsus, an enemy to Christianity, in the third cen-
tury, brings this, as a reproach, that Christians would
not bear arms for their emperor. He tells them, that
if all were of their opinion, the empire wou1d be over
run with barbarians. So do friends and foes unitedly
testify that the first Christians would not bear arms.
When Constantine, a warlike prince, professed
Christianity, then probably a military life became rep-
utable with Christians. After this we find them in
his armies. A dreadful change was produced. From
that period war has prevailed among the professed
disciples of Christ. But though from every quarter
of the globe we now hear of standing armies, they
will be disbanded, and return to their peaceful homes.
Though the noise of battle is yet heard, and ramparts
of destruction rise in every country, those mounds
shall fall; those scenes of death and desolation will
be enlivened by the dwellings of domestic felicity,
covered with the blossoms of spring, and the harvests
of autumn. Though the ocean thunders, her billows
rising with blood, those hostile navies shall return
*See an Essay by Thomas Clarkson
their ports, to waft the heralds of peace to their
appointed stations. "The Lord will bless his people
with peace. He maketh wars to cease unto the ends
of the earth." "Nation shall not lift up sword against
nation; neither shall they learn war any more."
I. Hence we learn the importance of publishing
this final result of Christian influence.
This may kindle hope and zeal, to hasten the event.
If the gospel be destined to produce universal peace,
'it ought to, be known, that suitable measures may be
adopted, to accomplish the object. The interesting
fact ought to be proclaimed from the pulpit, from the
press, from the senate, and from the throne.
The mighty theme of universal peace may well
awaken the most powerful strains of human eloquence,
the tongue of the learned, the pen of the ready writer,
the songs of angels. When they were permitted to
announce the reign of peace, they seized the moment
with raptures of bliss. Shall not the angels of
the churches, in the same spirit, proclaim peace on
earth? Is not this the Gospel? Did not the angels
understand the gospel?
II. Does not the subject afford encouragement to
multiply Peace Societies.
Peace, and all its blissful effects, must be produced
by human exertions. No irresistible charm, no secret
incantation, no miraculous voice, will silence the fury
of war. No. The blessings of peace must be ob-
tained as other blessings are. As science, wealth, or
piety are, by persevering effort and self-denial. The
day of enthusiasm has gone by. We do not slumber
on the couch of the sluggard to procure the favours of
heaven; but we go forth to seek them. Vigorous and
extensive means will introduce universal peace.
These societies are powerful means. They embody
a mass of sound principles, facts, and arguments.
They may influence public opinion, and break the
sword of the conqueror.
III. We learn the importance of electing rulers,
who are men of peace.
Rulers are the makers of war and peace. They
carry the olive branch to every door; or cover the fields
with swords and spears. If the people elect men of
peace for rulers, wars must stop. The people do not
declare war; it is never their interest. They do not
consent, till they are deluded and infatuated by de-
Were all rulers such men as the first Christians, no
more blood nor treasure would be wasted; the banner
of blood would no more wave over the land; our
brethren would no more march to the field of battle.
Warlike rulers are the Achans of their country, the
Pandora's box, which fills the world with misery.
To revenge some imaginary wrong, to maintain some
childish point of honour, to enlarge their territory, to
advance their glory, they associate their names with
scenes of havoc and carnage. They blow the trum-
pet; they rouse the passions; they inflame their people
with the lust of plunder and revenge, and send them
to the field of slaughter and death, to feast the
hawks and vultures of heaven. Will not your regard
to your own interest, and your concern for your chil-
dren and posterity, persuade you to elect rulers, who
are lovers of peace? You are the real sovereigns of
the country. Unless you require peace from your
rulers, you will be accountable to God, for every drop
of blood, which may be shed. Every man, who is
slain in war, will be an accusing spirit before the
tribunal of divine justice.
IV. Is it fancy, or do you all seem to suggest
the wisdom and necessity of discouraging and sup-
pressing all excitements to war. These prolong the
mischief; these prevent the advance of peace.
Yes, my friends, I agree with you, that if any ex-
citements do exist, they ought to be suppressed, as war
itself in disguise. Destroy the means of mischief,
and you destroy the mischief itself.
It may, perhaps, be reasonably inquired, whether
all military honours, and titles, and rewards, have not
the baleful effect of promoting war. What could
more violently tempt men to the field of destruction,
than splendid rewards? Governments well understand
this art of making dupes and victims of their subjects.
Does not all martial music have the same effect, by
producing delightful associations with the trade of
The war song of the poet, the harmony of his num-
bers, the sublimity of his style, the splendour of his
descriptions, inflame the passions with the fury of
Might not some historians be more useful, if they
distinctly related the wickedness and miseries of war?
May I not inquire whether some of them do not,
though perhaps unintentionally, sin against benevo-
lence and humanity? With alluring eloquence, with
all the magic charms of style, they describe the march
of armies, the splendour of their arms, the valour of
their commanders. In all the pomp of gay descrip-
tion, the field of action rises in distant view. The
columns move; the plumes and banners wave. You
hear the thunder of the battle, and the shout of vic-
tory. The grandeur of the exploits, the sublimity of
the varied scenes, delight the imagination, and you
applaud the murderers of your brethren. But the
historian does not carry you to the spot. You do not
hear the cries and shrieks of the wounded. You do
not see, the shattered limbs, the mangled bodies, the
convulsive agonies of the dying; -- the blood stream-
ing,-- the field red, -- no physician, -- no friend to give
relief or consolation. You see not the ground covered
with limbs, and bodies, and heads, their ghastly vis-
ages, still marked with rage and despair.
I ask, are not all military establishments, particu-
larly, military academies, excitements to war? Must
they yet exist? Where then shall they be established?
In our cities, where better principles of peace and
commerce prevail? Or near our colleges, to pervert
the study of the liberal sciences, and, poison the waters
of the sanctuary? No. Do not I hear you all say,
"Rather let these seminaries of blood, these colleges
of misery and murder, be erected far from the region
of domestic felicity, and the pleasant walks of social
life, on some mountain's lofty top, in the region of
eternal winter, where the blossoms of spring were
never seen, where the tiger's yell was never heard,
amid the brew of storms, and the howlings of tem-
pests; or on the side of a smoking volcano, in the
suburbs of death and destruction, where lightnings
flash, and thunders burst; there Jet the gloomy walls
of the military academy rise.
Let tombs, and graves, and bones, mark the path to
this dismal Spot. Let the standing army of the coun-
try, from a thousand fields of battle, transport the
skulls and shattered bones of the slain, to build the
fortress of their defence, to raise their own fabric.
banks of the
Beresina and Rhine, of the
As these men of war proceed in their labours, in-
stead of supplication and praise, let the war whoop
and the song of death, the clang of arms and the roar
of artillery announce their morning toils, their even-
On their banqueting room, some artist, who delights
himself with human misery, may paint the carnage of
war, Nimrod, and Caesar, and Tamerlane, with their
veteran bands, covering the field with death. The
blood flows; the piles of the dead rise, and shrieks of
anguish torment the air.
In their apartments of rest, if such spirits ever rest,
the surgeons may be drawn, with their knives and
saws of amputation. The victims of battle ; --stream-
ing wounds, shattered limb's, pale visages, ghastly
bodies, surround the; slumbers/of the young warriours.
Their passions, their thoughts, their studies, and their
dreams, are stained with blood. Instead of reading
the word of life, they are studying the volumes of
death, the arts, the deceptions, and stratagems of
murder and destruction. Instead of making men
happy, by cultivating the arts, and extending the news
of salvation, they are ripening their plots, sharpening
their swords, and hardening their hearts, to make
themselves adepts in the trade of blood and misery.
While the hosannas of the Sabbath ascend from
the temples of peace, there the day is marked by no
morning prayer, no evening sacrifice, no memorials of
a Saviour's dying love. No pious traveller bids them
God speed. No minister of divine mercy preaches to
them peace and good will. The sacred oracles, the
the Holy Spirit, the songs of
sighs of devotion, the melting strains of redeeming
love, never echo from these walls, surrounded with
the images of revenge and murder, of pestilence and
Most devoutly do we all pray, that the time may be
when these mansions, like
left desolate, and without inhabitant; when thorns
shall come up in these palaces, nettles and brambles
in these fortresses, the habitation of dragons, and a
court for owls, where the vulture shall seek her mate,
and the satyrs dance; where no rain nor dew shall
fall, the streams be pitch, and the dust brimstone;
where the thistle shall shake his lonely head, the
moss whistle in the wind, the fox look out at the win-
dows, the grass of the wall waving round his head.
Why dost thou build these towers, thou man of
blood? Thou lookest from thy halls to-day; yet a
short time, and silence shall be in the house of war.
the blast of the desert comes, and howls in thy empty
Once, I saw a military parade, with a rapture of
delight. Now, wiser and better men approve them,
as useful and necessary. I venerate their virtues, and
am persuaded they will permit me to inquire, and
anxiously inquire, whether they are indispensable,
and whether they are not powerful excitements to
war? Do not the regular march, the waving standard,
the sparkling armour, the animating music, array the
hydra of war in the robes of pleasure? Alas! my
friends, your fathers have found a field of battle, very
different from a military review. Is not a review a
pleasant summer sea, just ready to be roused to a
furious storm, to shipwreck the mariner, to deluge the
country? Is not a review a slumbering volcano, cover-
ed with blossoms, ready to burst with rivers of fire?
Where, where, is the ruler, who will stop this moral
pestilence. His name shall be enrolled in the annals
of glory, his reign shall commence a new era of virtue
"'Swift fly the years, and rise the expected morn,
Oh spring to light, auspicious Babe, be born."
I say nothing of the vice and crimes of military
days; I say nothing of their expense, which, with the
peace establishment, would furnish instructors for
more than two million children.
Who would mourn the loss of these days? A few
warriours, wading to glory, through the blood of their
neighbours. The grave would mourn, comparatively
vacant and solitary. Death would lament the loss of
the war song and brigade review. His arm is weak,
his arrow is broken; he waits the slow operations of
disease and age; the monster seems expiring himself.
"Where," he cries, "where is the spirit of War?
Where is the noise and charm of military days?
Where is the parade of music and battles? Oh, that
it were with me, as in other times, when whole na-
tions made arms their sport and pleasure; then I de-
thousands and myriads in a day, as at
When will men be wise; when will they suppress
these occasions of war?
V. May I not say the subject calls on us to unite
in procuring permanent peace.
Reasons for hope and confidence may well inspire
the heart with zeal and energy. The gospel will
become universal, and peace will finally prevail. But
means must be used. Lazarus will rise; but the great
stone must be rolled from the tomb. God will have
us use means, even when he intends to perform a
Kings and conquerors love fame and power too
well, to rest in peace, while their subjects are foolish
enough to be butchered for their pleasure. Who then
is willing to march and perish for the gratification of
his rulers? Him, alas, have I offended. Who is will-
ing to endure pain, and sickness, and death; that a
few genera1s may be heroes; that a few commissaries
may drive their chariots, the wheels red with their
Yes; that day when subjects resolve no longer to
be sacrificed, peace will gladden the world. When
will this day arrive? May I not call on all the disci-
ples of Jesus, to raise their voice, to enlist under no
captain; but the Captain of your salvation? I know
you cherish his spirit. Mild and gentle, holy and
harmless, his every act was benevolent. He came,
not to destroy, but to save life. He healed the sick;
he fed the poor, and relieved the widow and the fath-
erless. So, like him, to-day, have you come up to
his house, to comfort the widow and the fatherless, a
delightful service, for a divine Master. You hear his
voice; "Ye have done it unto me." I know your
benevolent wishes, and I know the limited means of
many. The country is burdened; your people are
burdened, with the enormous expenses of past wars,
of a standing army, and preparations for wars to
come. The merchant and the farmer are rifled of
their best profits, to gorge the dragon of war. When
this monster expires, our country will be rich; they
will feed the poor, and make the widow's heart sing
for joy; her barrel of meal, and her cruise of oil will
never fail. Then the treasuries of our hospitals, our
missionary and charitable societies, will overflow with
the contributions of peace. Silver and gold will
abound, as in the, days of Solomon. Say then, to the
weary sword, "It is enough."
But here I must not forget to urge the instructors
of our schools, to impress their children with the
odious nature of revenge, of ambition, and war. Im-
bue their hearts with the temper of the lamb. Whole
countries may be saved by your mild lessons. Your
children will soon be men, and form the mass of
society. What they are, the nation will soon be.
Immensely important is your responsibility.
I need not call on mothers or daughters, to join the
celestial throng, to proclaim peace on earth. You
can never patiently see your brothers, your husbands,
your sons, torn away, to perish on the frozen moun-
tains of the north, nor the burning plains of the south.
In history women are renowned, as the friends of
peace. In the civil wars of
thousand repaired to the House of Commons, to im-
plore the blessings of peace. In this glorious cause
will you not exert your influence in society, which is
greater than senates or armed legions possess. I be-
seech you, with the eloquence of truth, pronounce
your abhorrence of hands, which are red with the
blood of the slain.
Do we not all unite in petitions of peace to our
own legislators? No man can estimate the effects of
their influence in private, of their votes and eloquence
in public. To them we look as our guardian angels;
to them we fly, for permanent peace. As men, as
our representatives, as Christians, do they not give us
a pledge, that we shall not be disappointed?
The Presidents, and Professors, and Preceptors in
our colleges and seminaries, I congratulate, on the
distinguished eminence, which they enjoy. You are
forming those minds, which soon may control the
affairs of the country. The science, the
dom, the eloquence, which you teach, may carry
peace and safety from the palace to the cottage, and
delight the world with the song of angels. We will
not believe it possible for you to neglect one lesson,
which may animate your pupils with the love of
peace. If they make the attempt, is not their victory
certain; will they not be the saviours of their country;
must not their power of persuasion, in the court and
senate, deliver the world from the havoc and carnage
My brethren in the ministry have prevented my
urging, or recommending the work of peace to them.
Your repeated votes, your unanimous votes have pro-
claimed the benevolent sentiments of your hearts, and
given a solemn pledge of your attachment to your
Saviour, as the Prince of peace. Still may I not ask
myself and you, whether we have done all in our
power, to promote this precious cause? Have we
thoroughly instructed and convinced our own people?
Our nobles are from ourselves, and our governour pro-
ceeds from the midst of us. Our people direct the
affairs of the Commonwealth. This Commonwealth
has a powerful influence in the councils of the nation.
If our general government were to say to the troubled
sea of war, "Peace; be still," might not the effect
surpass all calculation?
Let us not rest, till our people have adopted the
heavenly doctrine of peace on earth. Let us not im-
agine our duty done, while any thing remains, which
can possibly be done. Though the fires of war be
again lighted up in Christendom, your faith is un-
shaken. The Prince of peace will not forget his own
name, nor blast the hopes, which rest on the promises
of his word.
Had I any mode of access to the kings of the earth,
forgetting my humble capacity, I would beseech them
to have mercy on the family of man, and stop them
effusion of human blood. I would say, Sires, though
you are as gods, you must die like men. The wanton
destruction of life is murder; the blood of armies may
be required at your hands; grasping at more, you
may lose what you have. Remember Bajazet, a cap-
tive, exhibited as a show, in an iron cage. Remember
Charles, a prisoner, and executed before his own
palace. Behold Napoleon, chained to a rock in the
ocean. These were the warriours, who made the world
Yes, my beloved hearers, the work is begun; the
work is advancing. Peace Societies are established
eyes. The sun of righteousness and peace is rising.
The black night of war is passing away. The foun-
tain of peace is breaking forth to refresh the world.
Does not the sublime, subject command all the affec-
tions of your hearts; all the efforts of your power? If
ye hold your peace, will not the stones cry out? Will
not the temples, profaned; the fields, red with blood;
the beasts and cattle, destroyed; the lost spirits of a
thousand battles, carry in their charge, before the
throne of the great Eternal.
Does ONE man of the human family resist the doc-
trine of peace? Is ONE man grieved, hurt, or displeas-
ed? I only ask, and I do affectionately ask such a man,
--are not the unavoidable sufferings of mankind,
numerous and terrible enough? Can you wish the life
of mortals, to be shorter; or death more certain, or
Do not consumption, and poverty, and pestilence,
and fevers, render the days of man sufficiently uncer-
tain and miserable? Why, then, will you wantonly
add all the undescribable horrours of war, to the long
catalogue of human Woes?
At home, on a bed of down, surrounded by dearest
friends, do you wish the agonies of death more ter-
Go near the bed of a dying parent, or a dying
child; behold the agonies of their last hours. Are not
their anguish and misery enough for them, to endure,
or for you to witness?
Would you, wish they were far off on the ocean, to
meet a violent death, without a friend to soothe the
last moment; without the consoling offices of religion?
Would you tear them from their pillows, and send
them to expire on the field of battle?
Do you, indeed, wish to multiply the sufferings
of life, and aggravate the horrours of dissolution?
Do you wish the tears of the widow to flow with
keener anguish? Do you wish the shriek of the
orphan more dismal? Do you wish the king of
terrours, a wider range, a more rapid march, a more
frightful appearance? Do you wish more domestic
sorrows, more public, calamities, more sighs and
groans to load the air, more tears to water the
If not; then implore and beseech the God of peace,
to stop the fury of war; enrol your name among the
friends of peace, and join in the song of angels; ,
"Glory to God in the highest; on earth, peace, and
good will towards men." Amen.
JUDE 6th verse.
Unto the judgment of the great day.
2 PETER iii, 7.
But the heavens and the earth are kept in store, re;-
served unto fire, against the day of judgment.
THE ruins of a garden, the fading of a flower, the fall-
ing of a leaf, are ungrateful to the sight. The wreck
of a ship, a house on fire, a sickly child, a dying
parent, the mouldering bones of a tomb, awaken our
pity, and diffuse a gloom over our minds. A tribunal
of justice, the venerable judges, the celebrated advo-
cates, the gazing multitude, the opening jail, the
trembling prisoners, the able pleadings and the solemn
verdict, is a scene to move and awe the heart of man.
How much more affecting is the day of judgment, or
the dissolution of all things; when the charms of
nature must be defaced, and nature herself expire.
Not only the flowers of spring, and the richer fruits
of autumn, but palaces and cities vanish; the sun and
stars dissolve; darkness and desolation follow.
The subject is forbidding to a gay world; but not
therefore to be neglected. The first Christians look-
ed forward to the last day with hope and transport,
as to a glorious jubilee. Times are changed; still we
should not divest ourselves of discretion and reason.
Wise men foresee and prepare for evils, which are
unavoidable, or only probable. They bring home to
their minds the sufferings of their fellow creatures,
and build hospitals. The conflagration of a city is a
dreadful event; yet the citizens, instead of pushing
of the danger from their thoughts, form themselves into
societies, and furnish, themselves with engines to ex-
tinguish the flames. Though the expectation of death
be terrible, men sometimes write their own wills,
appoint their successors, direct where their bodies
shall be buried, or build their own tombs.
A familiar contemplation of the great day may be
equally wise, and a preparation for it more useful,
than any of those deeds of wisdom and discretion.
The general expectation of such a day by all ages
and nations, is evidence of its reality. A day of
judgment is an article of almost every creed in the
world. In this all parties of Christians unite. In
this Pagans, and Jews agree. This doctrine is taught,
not only in the churches of Jesus Christ, but in the
mosques of Mahomet, and in the temples of the hea-
then gods. The Brahmins of India, the Magi of
Persia, the Druids of Europe, taught "the doctrine of
a future judgment. The colleges of Egypt and Chal-
dea gave their testimony to support the solemn fact.
In all the pomp of song, the bards of other times de-
scribed the terrours of Minos, and the other judges of
the invisible world. Though tradition and allegory
had obscured its splendours, the beams of truth burst
the mantling clouds of errour and displayed the day of
judgment as a tremendous scene.
What has commanded so general assent has high .,"
I claim to our belief.
The frequent judgments, which overwhelm the
wicked in this life, are presumptive arguments in
favour of a general judgment. The miseries of Cain,
of Achan, and Judas, were the day of judgment in
miniature. Belshazzar and Voltaire, Herod and
Robespierre, dying in torment, were witnesses of a
judgment to come. If God thus visibly punish some
sinners, it is highly probable that he will judge all
sinners. But all are not judged in this life. These
strongly argue for a day of general retribution.
Listen to that designing wretch, in the guise of
friendship, prating of fidelity, of honour and truth, yet
secretly practising every species of enmity against his
See yonder plausible hypocrite; a splendid Bible
graces his parlour; he pleads for the clergy and the
Sabbath, for public worship, and the Christian relig-
ion. He would be thought as temperate as Daniel,
as pure as Joseph, as penitent as David, and as ortho-
dox as Paul. He gains his point; his good name is
as precious ointment: yet in his heart he despises the
Christian religion; he detests the gospel ministry;
and among his companions he ridicules the church,
and scoffs at the doctrines of the cross. Is there not
a day of judgment?
God judges some persons in this world to teach
mankind that he will by no means clear the guilty.
He suffers many others to pass with impunity, to
prove that the great day of his wrath is coming. The
present punishment of sinners, and their prosperity,
both prove the same truth -- the judgment of God.
With this day of trial, Scripture connects the uni-
versal conflagration. Do any circumstances render
such a catastrophe probable?
The materials, in part, are already visibly prepared
for a general conflagration. Numerous facts now
show how possible and probable is such an event.
Vast magazines of coal, in different countries, are
found, buried in the bowels of the earth. Hills and
plains in our own country conceal their immense
stores of fuel, which may aid the fires of the great
day. Miry grounds, in large portions of the globe,
abound with a combustible substance, which being
once kindled, the world will burn as an oven. The
adamantine rocks are stored with latent sparks; may
not these consume the dry land? Marshes and ponds
often emit a fiery vapour; water absorbs an inflamma-
ble air; is capable of combustion, and may enrage
the burning of the last day.
So visible were the means or so authentic the tra-
dition of the event, that the ancient heathen believed
in a general conflagration. Pliny the elder, supposed
there was such a tendency in nature to this crisis,
that he wondered it had not taken place. The Stoic
philosophers, who had much important truth in their
system; the Platonists, distinguished for the sublimity
of their philosophy; the Epicureans and Pythagoreans,
all expected a general conflagration. They probably
learned the doctrine from the Chaldeans; the Chal-
deans received it from the Jews. Ancient heathen
oracles, and poets, and historians warn the world of
the same terrible event; as the Sybils, Sophocles,
Hystaspes, and Lucan; Strabo, Plutarch and others.
Seneca says, "The stars shall run upon each other,
and every thing being on flame, that which now
shines regularly, shall then burn in one fire." Lucan
"So when this frame of nature is dissolved,
And the last hours in future times approach,
All to its ancient chaos shall return.
The stars shall fall; the moon attack the sun,
Driving her chariot through the burning sky."
The Sybils declared, --
"For certainly the day will come, will come
When the bright sky shall from his treasure send
A liquid fire, whose all-devouring flames,
By laws unbounded, shall destroy the earth.
All shall vanish; the waters of the deep shall turn
To smoke; the earth shall cease to nourish trees;
The air shall burn."
Ovid says "It was by fate decreed, that sea, and
earth, and heaven should burn, and this vast frame of
The brahmins of Siam and the savages of the
Canary islands, expected the world would be destroy-
ed by fire. This is one of the most ancient traditions.
The Jewish historian relates that Adam foretold that
the world should be destroyed by fire. The philoso-
phers of Greece, expected the final dissolution of the
world by fire. "The world," say they, "is to be de-
stroyed by a general conflagration."
Though the operations of nature in the centre of
the earth must be very much more unknown to the
inhabitants of the surface; yet circumstances render it
probable, that matter is not cold and inactive in the
fathomless abyss of the world. Earthquakes and
volcanoes, vaguely reveal the secrets of the earth.
"The enormous mass, which constitutes the moun-
solid basis. An internal conflagration hath formed
immense caverns under their foundations, which,
under the Red Sea, communicate with
Hence Maha and Zeila, two towns on the opposite
quake precisely at the same moment; which proves
that they stand on one of those volcanic caverns,
which passes under the bed of the sea." The island
miles in circuit, and more than two in height, is sup-
posed by philosophers to have vomited forth more
than twenty times its own magnitude. The amaz-
ing furnace there burning below may be forty miles
in depth, and nearly two hundred in circumference.
An English philosopher,! in his account of Vesu-
vius, says "There is every reason to believe with
Seneca, that the seat of the fire, which causes the
eruptions of volcanoes, lies deep in the bowels of the
earth." The blazing hills are scattered among the
*Grandpre. !Sir W. Hamilton.
islands of the sea, and over both continents of the
world. Geographers have given us information of
about one hundred burning mountains.
Were it prophesied that a certain temple or palace
should be consumed by fire; should we afterwards see
flames, bursting from its hundred windows, could
we for a moment doubt the truth of the prophecy?
The fires then, probably designed to spread a uni-
versal conflagration, are already kindled. They give I
sublimity and grandeur to the day, and double hor-
rours to the night.
Several of these fires are burning in the southern
thrown her blazing artillery one hundred and eighty
miles. What a splendid arch of fire did this form!
The fiery explosion, like a storm of comets, filled the
country with amazement and terrour. In 1693, and
also in 1766, her fires spread devastation and ruin
over a country fifty miles in circuit. The burning
lava has since formed a tract of devastation for hun-
dreds of miles from the summit.
As our hardy seamen sail the great Pacific, and
direct their course to the frozen regions of the north,
along the western side of our continent, amid lofty
mountains, they see volcanoes disgorge their fires,
warning them of their approach to land.
More astonishing proofs than these, if more can be,
of a general conflagration, press on our attention.
Ancient and modern times have seen the internal fires
of the world, raising islands from the sea, loaded with
rocks and hills. How deep, how vast, how terrible
must be those fires!
Are not here visible witnesses that the world may
be burned in the day of the Lord? Every burning
hill may be considered a lamp to show the divinity of
revelation. But leaving presumptive arguments, we
proceed to demonstration, resting the doctrine on the
word of God.
The short epistle of the text furnishes much evi-
dence. "The Lord saved the people out of the land
not. And the angels who kept not their first estate,
he hath reserved in everlasting chains, under dark-
ness, unto the judgment of the great day. Even as
Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them,
giving themselves over to fornication, are set forth for
an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire."
By this we are taught, that as Sodom, and the old
world, and the fallen angels, are reserved for trial at
the great day; so are all sinners.
Enoch, the seventh from Adam, though his writ-
ings are now lost, excepting one fragment, prophesied
of the great day, saying, "Behold the Lord cometh,
with ten thousand of his saints to execute judgment
In the book of .Job, which is, probably, as ancient as
any extant, the doctrine of a judgment is revealed;
"Wrath bringth the punishment of the sword that
ye may know there is a judgment."
David foretels the day of judgment, "for he com-
eth, for he cometh to judge the earth; he shall judge
the world with righteousness."
From the pages of Solomon, clearer light shines,
"God shall bring every work into judgment, with;
every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it
The son of Joseph taught the same doctrine. "Be
ye also ready, for the Son of Man cometh in such an
hour as ye think not."
St. John says he saw the dead, small and great,
stand before God. St. Peter declares that the heav-
ens and the earth are reserved unto fire, against the
day of judgment.
Having proved the certainty of a future day of
judgment, we proceed to illustrate its greatness.
Any day may be called great in which great or im-
portant events take place. The day was great when
the foundations of the world were fastened; when
the morning stars sang together, and the sons of God
shouted for joy. The day was great when the foun-
tains of the mighty deep were broken up; when a
world sunk in the deluge, and the church of God
floated on a sea without a shore. The day was great
which destroyed Sodom and the surrounding cities.
The day was great which saw the Lord of glory
bleed on a cross, enter the grave, chain the king of
terrours, and overturn the empire of death. The
day of judgment will be greater than all these
1. The day of judgment will borrow greatness
from its coming unexpectedly.
God generally bears with sinners till they have, in
a great degree, worn off their convictions; till they
justify themselves; till they are unconcerned respect-
ing the judgments of his anger. When they seem to
think God has forgotten their sins; when they put far
off the evil day; when they dare to sin with a bolder
hand; then sudden destruction cometh.
The old world were deaf to the preaching of Noah.
They probably ridiculed his sermons, and his horrible-
doctrine of a universal deluge, till it suddenly came and
swept them away.
drank, and bought and sold, and planted and builded,
they were rioting and making themselves merry with his
serious threatenings, fire blazed from heaven and
detroyed them. So the Son of Man will come un-
expectedly. Of that day and hour knoweth no man;
no, not the angels in heaven.
This dread hour may burst on the world in the
midst of their business and pleasure. The children
are sporting in the parlour or street; the crowded
schools are cheerful; mothers are preparing for the
return of their little ones; the fathers are in the shop
or field; the grass is falling before the mower's
scythe, and the song of the reapers is heard. In the
dwelling of the prosperous is the voice of gladness
and song; mirth and riot echo from the board of lux-
ury, and the chamber of amusement. Suddenly the
trumpet sounds; the Judge appears; every face, is
pale, and every heart is terrour. Like Belshazzar
they instantly pass from jolity and frolic to anguish
and everlasting despair.
The great day is called the day of the Lord; hence
some have supposed, that on the Lord's day, while the
children of God are worshipping in his house of
prayer; while they are listening to the gospel with
holy affections; are ravished with the sweetness of
divine truth, and the prospect of future glory; in a
moment they shall be changed, and ascend to meet
the Lord in the air.
The natural day contains an artificial day and
night, or twenty-four hours. In scripture this period
is often called a day. We know not, but, to gain new
horrours, the dreadful day of judgment may at mid-
night burst upon mankind. When the world is, wrapt
in darkness, and creation is silent as the house of
death; when the children of men are retired to rest
and buried in sleep, dreaming over the criminal pleas-
ures of the evening past, or contriving new scenes of
guilt; then may an earthquake, lightnings and thun-
ders, rouse the guilty world from their last slumbers.
Amazed, they start; they wake to sleep no more.
They see the Judge descending; the dead rising;
they cry for shelter from the wrath of the Lamb. He
cometh as a thief at night. The uncertainty of the
time increases the terrour of his coming.
2. The resurrection of the dead, and the immense
assembly collected will give greatness and magnifi-
cence to the day of judgment.
Those who are alive at the coming of the Lord, in
a moment will be changed. They will experience an
inconceivable transformation; corruption will put on
incorruption; their mortal bodies will instantly be-
Then will the Judge send his angels and gather in
his elect from the four winds; from the uttermost
parts of the earth. Then shall the tombs and graves,
the store-houses of death, the repositories of human
dust, give up the precious remains of our parents
and children, our lovers and friends; not a bone, not a
particle of their dust shall be forgotten; bone shall
come to his bone; sinews and flesh shall clothe the
righteous in immortal beauty. Marve1 not at this, for
the hour is coming in which all that are in their
graves shall hear his voice and come forth. The
traveller who fell in the desert, shall now awake, and
be known by his friends. The prisoner, who died,
among his enemies, shall now rise and meet his kin-
dred. The mouldering bones, buried by the hand of
murder, shall come forward, and unfold a story of
Families shall then rise. Parents and children
come forth from their dark slumbers. Roused by
the voice of God, WE shall awake; we shall arise;
we of this assembly, shall burst from our graves and
ascend to judgment. Oh, may we then welcome
each other to light, to life and joy; unitedly may we
ascend to hear our sentence, and enter into our rest.
Grave-yards move with life; a hundred generations
come forth together; the lonely grave and the marble
tomb give up their inhabitants. In the field of battle,
where armies fought and bled, those armies rise again.
Maimed soldiers receive their scattered limbs from dis-
tant countries. Nelson, the Christian hero, rising
among kings and nobles, receives that vigorous arm,
torn away in
the fury of battle. From
head of Pompey again unites with the body, rising
On the plains of Abram, and the borders of Cham-
the hills of
and Monmouth, the fallen ranks again appear. The
legions of Caesar, and the millions of Xerxes; Abram
and his seed, as the stars of heaven for multitude, are
all present. The sea, boundless grave-yard, paved
with the skulls of neighbours and friends, gives up
her dead; the bones of those wrecked in storms, or
slain in battle, appear clothed with immortality. The
old world, drowned in the flood are here. Adam be-
holds his innumerable posterity; the whole earth has
resigned her scattered myriads; a vast throng, a great
All the inhabitants of heaven will be present. At
the dawning of the morning, the Lord God himself
shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the
voice of the archangel and the trump of God. Not
the trumpet of jubilee, nor the blast of war; but the
trump of the archangel, which instantly rouses the
dead. More terrible the sound than when it shook
the foundations of Sinai. In all the glory of the God-
head, Jesus appears in front of the procession. He
confines not his presence to the manger of Bethlehem,
the temple of Jerusalem, the plains of Jordan, or the
land of Judea. He publicly shows himself to the
universe. "Behold he comes with clouds, and every
eye shall see him."
With all the terrours of a Judge, with all the majes-
ty of God, he comes to judge the world. How unlike
the child flying into Egypt; how unlike the poor
wanderer, sleeping on the mountains of Israel; how
unlike the prisoner, insulted and scourged in the
courts of Jerusalem; how unlike the man covered
with blood in the garden, and dying on Calvary! Is
this the man we saw expire on the cross? Has he
been laid in a grave and covered with a rock?
Abram, Isaac and Jacob have left their seats of
glory. David and Solomon, Enoch and Elijah, and
all the holy prophets, join the heavenly train. All
the righteous of the twelve tribes of Israel, with the
apostles, martyrs, and Christians of every age, an in-
numerable company, which no man can number, de-
scend with the Son of man.
All the inhabitants leave the holy city, their splen-
did thrones, their songs of praise, to attend the solem-
nities of the last day. The Lord Jesus comes in
glory, and all the holy angels with him. Thousand
thousands minister unto him, and ten thousand times
ten thousand are round about him. As he passes,
the heavens are hung with sackcloth; the sun hides
his face; the moon is blood; earth trembles, and hell
is moved. In the region of the air they pause.
Thrones of judgment are prepared. Heaven and
earth are present.
What renders the scene more awful, all hell will
now appear. "The angels, who kept not their first
estate, but left their own habitation, God has reserved
in everlasting chains, under darkness, unto the judg-
ment of this great day. They are now prisoners con-
fined for trial on this great day. Satan; and all rebel-
lious angels, arid all sinners, will be dragged in chains
to the bar of judgment.
For once the everlasting gates of hell will be unbar-
red. The doleful mansions of infernal darkness and
despair will be left without one inhabitant. Judas and
the rich man, Ananias and Sapphira, and a1l impeni-
tent sinners, appear before their Almighty Judge.
From regions of solid darkness, from the cries and
wailings of infinite despair; from the gnawing worm,
and the fiery lake, they come forth, they see the light;
they see their own guilt; they see the justice of God;
they hear their sentence, and begin their hell. How
great the day! Heaven, earth, and hell, stand collected!
3. The display of characters increases the great-
ness of the last day.
All hearts will be revealed. Artificial appearances
are at an end; affected goodness vanishes apparent
and real are the same. He whose eyes are a flame of
fire, searches every heart, publishes every life.
The books are opened; the volumes of nature and
revelation. Every person will be judged by the law
he has enjoyed. Plato, and Socrates, and Pagans of
every age and country, will be judged by the law of
nature. They will be condemned only as they have
violated natural reason and conscience.
Abram and Moses, Jews and Christians, will be
judged by the law of Revelation. They will be con-
sidered guilty, as far as they have broken these laws.
The volumes of omniscience and conscience are
opened. The power of memory will, probably, be so
in vigorated, that every person will remember the ac-
tions of his whole life, as distinctly as you now recol-
lect the actions of this morning. God will bring to
view every work done in the body. Every person
shall give an account for himself to God. Better had
it been for you, Oh ye profane swearers, had ye been
born without the power of speech. Better had it been
for you, intemperate men, had you been confined to the
bed of sickness, loathing the honey-comb. Good had
it been for Sabbath breakers, had ye been born among
the savages of the forest. Ye are lost; in debt ten
thousand talents, and have nothing to pay.
That characters may appear just as they are, secret
sins will be revealed. As the hand, writing on the
wall, shook the sturdy frame of Belshazzar with hor-
rour; so will the wicked tremble at the opened books.
Their guilt is not written in a strange language or in
unknown characters. They need not the wise men
of Babylon to decypher the meaning of any charge.
They will be speechless with guilt, shame, and de-
spair, when fair appearances are torn away, and every
eye shall see their coldness and selfishness, their art
and hypocrisy in the most sacred duties of religion.
They will be speechless, as they see the page of their
secret hatred and enmity, their poisonous flatteries and
base compliances, practised against their generous
benefactors. They will be speechless, as they see
the page of their silent contempt, their proud disdain,
and their cruel neglect of those below them in society.
They will be speechless as they see the page of their
wanton thoughts, their impure desires, their lawless
passions, their seducing arts, by which they destroyed
the hopes of families, and plunged immortal souls into
everlasting misery. Whose heart and life will bear
the trial? Whose spirit does not die within him, in
view of the last tribunal? What heart will be glad?
Whose humility and faith will support him, when the
darkness of night shall vanish, the curtains be drawn,
and he stand forth to learn his guilt, and hear his sen-
tence? Designs and motives will be known. Naked
hearts appear in all the deformities of spiritual death.
It will be known why some do not support the cause
of God, nor do good to their fellow-men; it will be
known why some appear engaged for the glory of
God and the felicity of man.
Sins of omission experience the justice of the law.
It will be known, who neglected to mourn for sin, to
believe in Jesus Christ, or to call upon God. In dis-
playing the guilt of those condemned at this time,
Jesus Christ mentions only sins of omission. "I was
hungry, and ye gave me no meat; I was thirsty, and
ye gave me no drink; I was a stranger, and ye took
me not in naked, and ye clothed me not; sick, and
in prison, and ye visited me not." It does not appear
that these ruined mortals had done any positive
wrong. Like many people, who are considered de-
cent, moral Christians, they had enjoyed their own
comforts without injuring or offending others. They
reproached themselves with no crime, they probably
felt no remorse. They are damned for neglecting
the stranger, the sick, and the poor.
The long controversy Whether sinners are God's
enemies is now to be decided. On examination it ap-
pears that wicked works are the natural expressions of
enmity to God; that murmurs against Providence
arise from hatred of God; that opposing the doctrines
of the gospel, is actually fighting against God; that
contempt of the Christian ministry, is contempt of
Jesus Christ; that all selfishness is warfare against
the kingdom of heaven. So are human characters
revealed, before the universe.
In this solemn scene, God also unfolds his own
character. God appears in all his glory; his perfections
shine with infinite lustre. His power is manifested
in raising the dead, and calling all worlds before his
bar. His patience is displayed in his bearing so long
with sinners. His mercy and grace are evident in his
choosing and calling so many to eternal life. Justice
shines with overwhelmed splendour in his recording
all the wickedness of the wicked, and in punishing
them with everlasting destruction. The truth of God
commands the admiration of the universe. He had
said, he would raise the dead; he has raised the dead.
He had said, he wou1d gather all nations before his
presence; he has gathered all nations before him.
He had said, he would bring every work into judg-
ment; he has brought every work into judgment.
He had said, the wrath of man should praise him; the
wrath of man does praise him. God is known on the
tribunal of judgment.
4. The separation of the righteous from the wicked,
will render the day of judgment a great day. The
Judge will separate them as a shepherd doth his sheep
from the goats; the righteous on the right hand, the
wicked on the left. Serious and terrible is the mo-
ment. Cain and Balaam, Felix and Belshazzar,
where are they? Pilate is at the bar, and the Babe of'
hold the happy throng. There is Abe1, and Noah,
and Abram, with the patriarchs and prophets. There
is the beloved John, and the valiant apostle to the
Gentiles, with the whole family of Christ, the mar-
tyrs and saints of every age and country.
Have not some of you the assurance of hope, that
you will be found in this holy company? Do we not
there behold a part of this assembly? And are not
all of you on the right hand! Where, where! is the poor.
miserable, lost soul, to be found on the left hand? In
which seat is he? Is he our friend, our brother?
Have pity on him; have pity on him; but have you
not a serious concern for yourselves? On the right,
are the countless millions of the millennium. The
precious and the vile never will unite again. Families,
churches, and congregations are separated for the last
time. In some instances parents take a last view of
their children. David, no more, will see his Absalom.
Children for the last time will see their parents.
Good Josiah resigns his wicked father Amon, to the
dreadful justice of God. Lovers and friends, whom
death could not separate, are now forever and forever
separated. Fathers, can ye resign your darling boys
to the unchangeable sentence of their Judge? Mothers,
can ye leave your daughters on the left hand of your
Saviour? What is the anguish of closing the eyes of a
child or a parent compared with this; what the
anguish of leaning over the grave of an only son.
How great the day, which separates the righteous \
from the wicked; when we hear the final adieu of
neighbours and friends; the last farewell of parents
5. The probable length of the day of judgment,
will render it great and solemn.
How much time the process of this day will re-
quire, no created being can ascertain. If we examine
the business to be accomplished, we shall probably be
convinced that more than one natural day will be re-
quired. The great design of the solemnity is not to
inform Deity, but to convince and satisfy creatures.
These receive truth gradually, and often slowly.
Every one must give an account of his open sins, of
his secret sins, of his actions, his passions, his
thoughts, of his childhood, his youth, and his riper
years. We presume not to fix the duration of this
day; but sure we are, it will continue till all the un-
godly are convinced of all their ungodly deeds. The
term day is used in Scripture; but a thousand years
with the Lord are as one day. Possibly, therefore,
the day of judgment may continue a thousand years;
a thousand years solemnly examining the lives and
hearts of men. Great and awful period!
6. The joys of the righteous, and the terrours of
the wicked, led before their Judge, increases the
greatness of the day.
Here words fail, nor can imagination realize the
truth. Eloquence might not dare attempt a descrip-
tion. Who can describe what is inconceivably terri-
ble. Those who had passed through life without
terrour of conscience, without a sense of danger, the
hope of pleasure in their hearts, and the voice of glad-
ness in their lips, now awake to guilt, dismay, and
terrour. Friendly advice, serious reproofs, awakening
sermons, holy sabbaths, years of salvation, all disre-
garded; all lost, for ever lost, now rush on the mind.
The convictions they quenched; the resolutions they
violated; the calls of Providence they rejected; the
solemn vows they broke, wring their hearts, and over-
whelm their spirits. Their self-deception, their oppo-
sition to good men; their hatred of truth, their wilful
errours, fill them with consternation. The kindling
wrath of their Judge; the malignant spirits, devils and
fallen angels, who are to be their companions; the
lake of fire, already burning, distract and amaze their
souls. They cry, "Oh that we had known the things
of our peace; Oh that we had not hated instruction
and despised reproof. Had we been wise; had we
listened to parents and ministers, we had not come to
this place of torment." On the other hand are seen
the smiles of peace and cheerfulness, of hope and joy.
Were a number of prisoners, tried for their lives,
justified by an earthly court, would not the relief of
their anxiety, the gladness and the raptures of their
minds, surpass description? What is this compared
with pardon, with justification at the bar of God?
They recollect their wanderings, their sins, their
crimes; of their spiritual dangers, their temptations,
and their terrours of conscience, they have a lively
remembrance. Their sense of unworthiness and crim-
son guilt, sinks deep in their hearts. But they find
themselves surrounded with chosen vessels of honour.
Their Judge is reconciled; he is "their brother ;" he
has bled and died for them. Their past sufferings are
foils to set off their present prospects; their losses,
their trials, and tears, enhance their present felicity.
Raised above the darkness, the distress, and dangers
of this life, they are waiting for glory and immortality.
As Moses saw from Pisgah's top the land of promise,
and the goodly mountain of Lebanon, so they see in
heaven, vacant seats and golden thrones, waiting their
arrival. With the voice of love and grace, the Judge
addresses them, "Come, ye blessed, inherit the king-
dom, prepared for you, before the foundation of the
Then, assuming all the terrours of an angry Judge,
to those on the left, he says, "depart, accursed, into
everlasting fire, prepared for the Devil and his an-
gels." They sink; they fall; hatred, and envy, and
anger, raging in every breast. Almighty wrath hurls
them down, down to burning lakes; to the blackness;
of darkness; to the prisons of everlasting despair.
Damnation opens all its horrours. They lie down in
everlasting burnings; but not a heart of love, not a
hand of kindness or pity, is found in all the miserable
regions of lost souls.
What do we say? Does not one pray, who never
prayed before? "Have mercy on me, and send, Oh
send, one drop of water, to cool my parched tongue,
tormented in this flame. Send Lazarus, wrapt in a
blaze of glory, to warn my brethren, that they come
not to this place of torment." Prayers in hell,
will never be answered; prayers, not addressed to
God in the name of Christ, will never be answered.
The poor stubborn, unbending soul is denied a drop
of water, or a message to his five brethren.
The righteous, being invited by Jesus Christ, have
ascended to glory, to mansions prepared for them be-
fore the foundations of the world. Jesus and his re-
deemed ones, robed in spotless purity, are entering the
pearly gates of the heavenly city. There they rest
from their labours; there the wicked cease from
troubling; there God shall wipe tears from every eye;
there shall be no more death. The splendours of
glory kindle immortal raptures in every breast; they
join in the song of Moses and the Lamb, saying,
"Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord, God,
Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of,
saints." Gabriel, and the angelic hosts, ten thousand
times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, with
a loud voice, swell the chorus of praise, "Worthy is
the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches,
and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and
blessing. Blessing and honour, and glory and power,
be unto him that sitteth on the throne, and unto the
Lamb, for ever and ever. Amen." In his creatures
felicity, God himself is blest.
But, finally, our world like a falling temple, or a
sinking ship, having been forsaken during the long
day of judgment, is now to be burned! This closes
the great day. The world, which had for thousands
of years been polluted with sin; the hospital of the
human race; the province of death, being itself one
continued burying-ground, this world is now to
At this awful crisis as the judgment closes, the
lightnings blaze, the thunders roar, the air is flame.
The combustible substances on the surface of the
earth begin the conflagration. The fields are con-
sumed; the forests vanish; villages, and towns, and
cities, are lost in a flood of fire. One boundless blaze
enwraps the world. A hundred burning mountains
burn, and heaven's last thunders shake the world.
The meadows undermine the hills; they bow, and
fall, and vanish, as fuel in a furnace. The snowy top
which once saved the
its towering summit, is now enveloped in the common
as leaves of forest, and are seen no more. The
volcanoes of the South disgorge their seas of fire;
they advance; they combine with those in the North;
they raise a rampart of flame from the southern ocean
to the frozen pole. The branching hills extend their
fires in every direction. Nature's final hour is come.
columns to heaven. The heavens are departing as
a scroll; the elements are melting with fervent heat;
a comet's raging fires melt the rocks, and dissolve the
world. The heavens are on fire; they are passing
away with a great noise. The heavens and the
earth, which now are, by the same word of God, are
kept in store, reserved unto fire, against the day of
judgment and perdition of ungodly men. Amazing
idea of the sinner's punishment; the place a burning
world, a system on fire. The stars are fallen; the
earth, driven from her orbit, hurries to the sun; the
blazing planets rush to this common centre, and are
lost for ever. Boundless ruin spreads her terrours;
all is one immense globe of fire.
Where are the splendid cities of the world, and their
numerour inhabitants? Where are their veteran armies,
their daring commanders, their impregnable towers,
and their thundering artillery? Where are their sol-
emn temples, their holy ministers, and their adoring
churches? Where are their glittering palaces, and
their royal masters? All, all are vanished as flakes of
snow, in the blaze of summer; not a single atom be-
hind. Such is the close of time; such the close of
the great day.
Many reflections are suggested by the subject; but
our time is exhausted. We only ask in one word,
what improvement will you make of the subject;
what resolutions will you form; into what promises,
what covenant engagements, will you now enter be-
fore God? Should a heavenly spirit descend full of
tenderness and love; should he now address you, in a
mortal voice, what would be his advice? Would he
not say, dying mortals, pastor and people, are ye pre-
pared for the day of judgment? Are ye ready to see
the heavens open and the Judge appear? Behold his
glory. Descending in awful majesty, he sweeps suns
and stars aside, the Almighty Judge! If ye dread the
fury of his anger, if ye, value your immortal souls,
trample not in his atoning blood; grieve not his holy
spirit; despise not his precious gospel, lest this bleed-
ing lamb, become the lion of Judah; lest he who
knocks at your doors, his head wet with the dew,
and his locks with the drops of the night, soon swear
in his wrath, "you shall never enter into my rest."
Hath the last solemn scene awakened every heart, and
opened every eye? Where is the heart, which dares
cry peace; where is the eye, which dares sleep again,
till his peace is made with God? Dare you challenge
Almighty wrath; dare you brave the terrours of the
Are the pleasures of sense a balance for the miseries
of eternity? Are the raptures of a moment a balance
for everlasting burnings? Animated with sinful pleas-
ures dare you meet the king of terrours; dare you
welcome the day of judgment; dare you wish for
immortal existence? Would you live without peace of
mind; would you die without hope; would you in
the day of judgment cry to rocks and mountains for
relief; would you through a hopeless eternity, curse
your God and king, begging in vain for a drop of
water? If not, then like Zaccheus, welcome the Lord
of life, to your house and your heart; like the beloved
John, lean on the Saviour's breast; like Jacob, wres-
tle till you obtain the blessing; like Paul, be ready to
depart. Be ye also ready; for the Son of man com-
eth in such an hour as ye think not. If the righteous
scarcely are saved; where, where will the ungodly
and sinners appear? Soon a universal cry will rend
the caverns of death. "The great day of his wrath is
come, and who is able to stand?" The Judge pro-
claims "Behold I come quickly." Let every heart
reply, "Come Lord Jesus; come quickly." Amen.
2 CORINTHIANS iv, 4.
The glorious Gospel of Christ.
THE Gospel is that scheme of mercy which is re-
vealed in the word of God. God having conde-
scended to become an Author, we discover a work
is like himself, sublime and glorious. The Gospel al-
leviates tile heaviest woes of man, and is a source
of consolation in his most deplorable necessities.
Though the heathen, in his most uncultured state,
perceives himself to be vastly superiour to the other
creatures around him; still in his most refined eleva-
tion, he is oppressed with weakness, terrified with
dangers, perplexed with doubts, tormented with suf-
ferings, for which he discovers neither cause nor rem-
edy. His neighbours die; his parents die; his chil-
dren die; he is dying himself. He exclaims,
"Where have my friends gone? What is their state?
Shall We ever meet again? Why all this misery?"
To his mind is not the scene a chaos of goodness
and wrath? He reflects: he argues; be is con-
founded; he despairs. That cheering light, which
shall partially dispel his darkness is like the opening
of the prison to them who are bound. That friendly
voice which shall answer some of his anxious inqui-
ries, is glorious like the first song of heaven to the
departed saint. Such a light shines, such a voice is
heard from the pages of the Gospel.
To mention a few instances in which the Gospel is
glorious, is the present design.
I. The Gospel is glorious in revealing truths,
most important, but which had been unknown, or not
clearly discovered, by the heathen world.
This fact proves the necessity of revelation; and
from this we may infer, that God would give a reve-
lation. While destitute of this divine instruction,
have mankind ever conceived just ideas of the Divine
Being? Which is the nation, learned or unlearned;
who is the profound sage, what is his name, who has
entertained consistent ideas of the holiness, the jus-
tice, or the providence of God? Their gods have
been gods of the hills and of the vallies, gods of the
sea and of the dry land. Their gods were unright-
eous; they were the dupes of intrigue; they were pol-
luted with crimes. I do not however say, that no
pagans have ever had any just or sublime conceptions
of the Deity. By the force of genius, or the bor-
rowed rays of distant revelation, most sublime
thoughts have been elicited; but these are as rare
and as useless, compared with the permanent light of
the Christian world, as the lucid flashes of the elec-
tric cloud, compared with the splendours of the shining
No pagan nation has adopted rational views of
immortality. Though they have generally yielded
a vague credence to the doctrine, their proofs have
been inconclusive and without authority, producing
little interest with the mass of the people, and afford-
ing the learned rather a theme of amusing specula-
tion, than a reason for serious practice. Yes: con-
cerning this most sublime doctrine, which is essential
to comfort, to hope, to morality, even the luminaries
of the pagan world, their Tully, their Socrates, and
their Plato, argued in a most unsatisfactory manner.
He that is least in the kingdom of Christ is greater
than they were. Speaking in the name of Socrates,
Plato asserts the immortality of the soul; but his
proof may be thought puerile. "That which is
always in motion," saith he, "is immortal." This
he applies to the soul. Tully reasons in the same
manner. "That which is always moved is eternal."
Plato believed, that human souls were emanations
from the Deity, or Soul of the universe, at death
restored to the fountain whence they came, and there-
fore immortal; but this would certainly destroy their
immortality. A short time before his death, Socrates
reasoned thus with his friends, "It is an ancient tra-
dition, that our souls go hence to another world,
whence they return to this; therefore they are immor-
tal." Another argument of his was, "All things take
their rise from contraries; watching produces sleep,
and sleep watching; death arises from life, so must
life from death. If living things did not rise from the
dead, all things would finally be swallowed up in
death; therefore, the immortality of the soul must be
granted." Could such reasoning satisfy any mind?
Is it strange, then, that Tully, while he often argues
in favour of the doctrine, "seriously doubted of the
soul's immortality? He says, "While I am reading,
I assent; but when I lay aside my book, and begin
to meditate by myself, concerning the immortality of
souls, all my conviction slides away." From Plu-
tarch we learn, that the opinion, just ascribed to Plato,
was common among the Stoicks, and other sects of
ancient philosophy, that human souls are portions of the
Deity. A doctrine similar to this has been holden
from time immemorial by the Brahmins of India, whose
sacred books teach, that intellect is a portion of the
great soul of the universe, breathed into all creatures,
to animate them for a certain time; that after death
it animates other bodies, or returns like a drop into
that unbounded ocean from which it first arose. A
sober fact it is, at the present moment, that the greater
part of the human race believe in the doctrine of trans-
migration, or the transition of souls from one body to
another. While we grant that the heathen have had
some vague notions of immortality, still was there not
a necessity of a revelation to rectify their errours on this
point, that the doctrine might become a powerful ar-
gument for piety and morality, a source of sublime
hope and consolation? It may, however, be remem-
bered, that Tully relates, that the preceptor of Pyth-
agoras was the first man, known to the learned
world, who taught the doctrine of immortality. Soc-
crates says, that most men believed that the soul was
at death reduced to nothing.
The views of the heathen concerning their own
moral characters were equally confused and wrong.
Not having just ideas of the divine holiness, it was
not possible they should have adequate conceptions
of human depravity. The malignity of wickedness
results from its opposition to infinite goodness. The
heathen are successful in the chase, victorious in war,
or happy in their domestic circle. They look abroad;
the blossoms of spring, the fruits of autumn, the
genial sun, the sparkling stars, proclaim the goodness
of the great Spirit. Remorse and self-reproach sting
the conscience for their ingratitude and malevolence.
But the scene changes; they are conquered; or
famine and pestilence lay waste their villages; or the
angry storm, the furious tornado, its peals of thunder
and fatal lightning amaze and distract their souls.
Where is now the goodness of the great Spirit? Will
they not justify their evil deeds? How great would
be the change in their views, should they hear that
their first father revolted from God, that his children
are born in his likeness, and are in a state of condem-
Of a Redeemer, in whom all the families of the
earth shall be finally blessed, the heathen have never
made any discovery. The word of God contains all
our light and knowledge respecting a Mediator be-
tween God and man. This glory of the Gospel, this
last hope of man, is entirely unknown to all the tribes
of the world who have not read the word of God.
Yet, as if pressed by the necessity of such a doctrine;
as if impelled by an overwhelming sense of their im-
becility, or directed by some perverted tradition of a
Mediator, most pagan nations have substituted medi-
ators between them and the eternal God. Heroes;
and sages, and ancestors, are addressed in their neces-
sities, as mediators.
The doctrine of an adequate atonement for sin, is
discovered nowhere but in the pages of revelation.
There alone we learn that "the seed of the woman
should bruise the serpent's head ;" there alone we
learn, that for those who have not done "well,"
"a sin offering lieth at the door." In the fulness of time,
this sacrifice was manifested to the world; because
without the shedding of blood there is no remission
of sin. This was the language of every victim from
the lamb of
Abel to the Lamb of God on
vary, Jesus Christ was "made to be sin," i.e. a
sin-offering for his people. "He gave himself for
us, an offering and a sacrifice to God." "He made
propitiation for the sins of the world." So congenial
is this with the convictions of mankind, or so splendid
was its first revelation, that in all nations, even where
the original tradition had been lost, or perhaps had
never peen heard, sacrifices have always been offered.
The most ancient nations in every quarter of the
world offered vicarious sacrifices. The Egyptians,
having cut off the head of their victim, and loaded it
with execrations, prayed that, if any evil were hang-
ing over the land, it might fall on that head. They
then sold it
to the Greeks, or threw it into the
Among the Hindoos, also, they offer a sacrifice, resem-
bling that of the scape-goat of the Jews. The blood
of sacrifices has been sprinkled from Canaan to Mex-
ico, from China to Europe. They' believed that the
more precious was the offering, the more acceptable
it was to the gods. Hence the universality of human
sacrifices; hence the altars of Moloch have been red
with the blood of innocence in every quarter of the
earth. 'That sincerity will meet the same reward as
actual services, where the power is wanting; ,that the
mite of the widow is as acceptable as the sacrifices of
opulence,' saith M. Neckar, 'is an idea in the Gospel
absolutely new. In no system of paganism has purity
of morals constituted any part of th~ design. The
heathen religions have been, merely, an exhibition of
rites and ceremonies.* The celebration of these was
the whole business of their priests; on these celebra-
tions were supposed to rest the glory of the nation.
A perfect rule of life has never beep discovered, but
or in the word of God. Here alone we are taught, that
love to God and benevolence to man comprises our
whole duty. Of course the heathen have been igno-
rant of several important duties. A reasonable mode
of worship they have never discovered. This most
pure, most elevated service, which brings the heart
into nearest communion with its God, is often with
them a scene of profligacy and crimes. From no
part of the world could the first writers of revelation
borrow any examples or instructions to establish a
rational or decorous mode of worship. In no other
country was one God alone the object of worship; in
no other country was one national altar erected; in
no other country was one precise ritual established
for the whole nation.
Whether prayer be a duty, whether it produce any
advantage, whether it be not an intrusion on rights
divine, has never been ascertained by the wisdom of
the world.* What relief, then, is it to the man of
sorrows, whose heart is torn by disappointment,
crushed by adversity, or overwhelmed with guilt, to
hear a voice from heaven, "Is any afflicted, let him
pray;" "Ask, and ye shall receive."
Whether repentance is a duty, which will appease
an offended God, can be learned only from his holy
word. A confused hope of this has produced those
acts of penance, those tortures and self-immolations,
so common among heathen. But repentance makes
no atonement; it redeems no claim, which had been
lost; and it is only for the sake of Jesus Christ, that
the penitent is pardoned. The pagan mourns; he
weeps; his wound incurable, except by "the balm
The enlightened Romans had no word in their
language to express humility.! This proves they did
not consider it a moral virtue. She was a stranger,
her name unknown. The word in that language
from which we derive humility, signifies lowness,
poorness, meanness, baseness, inability, want of
power, &c. The precision with which moral ideas,
are expressed among Christians, is a permanent mon-
ument of their refined and elevated morality. Of this
the English word murder is a notable instance; such
a word, expressing the killing of a man with malice,
is not found in the language of the polished Romans.
The means of obtaining strength to perform these
duties, are discovered only in the word of God.
Though a Roman moralist once said, "No one was
was ever a great man without a divine inspiration;"!! yet
*Dr. Priestley. !Buek. !!
no consistent ideas of divine influences, or of the
means of obtaining them, were ever conceived by the
pagan world. They have never known, that every
good emotion of the heart is from the Spirit of God;
they have never known that our heavenly Father is
more ready to give the Holy Spirit to those who ask
him, than earthly parents are to give good things to
Of future rewards and punishments, the notions
of the heathen have been too chimerical and childish
to be mentioned in a Christian assembly. In the
systems of pagan wisdom, the doctrine of the resur-
rection is no where found. For them the grave is
shrouded in perpetual night. By the light of the
Gospel alone, we see the tomb open, and the prisoner
come forth. So absolutely unknown and unheard of
was the doctrine, that the word was unintelligible,
even to the learned Athenians. When Paul preached
to them Jesus, and the resurrection, they thought
that resurrection was the name of a new god; but
the Author of the Gospel gave proof of the doctrine
in his own person. Robed in light, angels descend;
they roll the stone from the door of his tomb; he rises;
he goes to
receives him; in triumph he enters the New Jerusa-
lem, a sure pledge that all his disciples shall rise.
It may be said, the preacher is lost in the darkness
of antiquity; that men now are not so ignorant. But
was revelation necessary for the ancients? Where
is the evidence, that the moderns are more sagacious?
The moderns, who are destitute of revelation, are
just as stupid as the ancients. For the proof of this, I
appeal to the present state of the pagan world. The
aboriginals of this country, it is well known, entertain
the most fanciful ideas of a future state. Their bows
and arrows, their ornaments, are buried with them for
their use in the land of spirits. The Tartars bury
their richest dress and furniture with their dead.
Customs like these are common in every quarter of
the globe. Our savages fly from the spirits, which
reside in their solitary islands, or on the tops of their
mountains. They tremble at the god, who thunders
in the cloud, roars in the volcano, or shrieks in the
howlings of the storm. If you will pass to the islands
of the Pacific, you will find their sacred places groan-
ing with bones of their human sacrifices; you will
see them barter away their gods, or banish them,
or chastise them, when they do not seem to regard
puerile, more dismal.
Is it said these are savages? Then I appeal to
nations more enlightened, where the arts which hu-
manize, where the sciences, which elevate the mind,
ered with gross darkness, concerning the unity of God,
and other essential truths. As arduous is the task
to Christianize them, as the savages of the desert.
Their libraries are numerous; their colleges are rich-
ly endowed; their learned men are greatly respected;
but by an their wisdom, they do not know God. In
no part of the world do the missionaries find delu-
sions more absurd, prejudices more obstinate, or their
work more hopeless. The most reputable religion of
China has no name for God; while that of the vulgar
is burdened with festivals, ceremonies and idols.
In Japan idolatry has prevailed from time imme-
morial; nor will they now protect a stranger, unless
he will trample on the cross of Jesus, to prove his
detestation of Christianity.
If you sail to India, you may see sixty millions of
people bowing to thirty millions of gods. You may
see a system of morals which strike the mind with
horrour; you may see infants murdered by their pa-
rents; you may see their sick friends deserted to die
alone; you may see the widows burning in the same
fires with their husbands.
In Thibet, a man is worshipped as the eternal God.
Their sovereign Lama, the high priest of their relig-
ion, is believed to be immaculate, immortal, omni-
present, and omnipotent. Their temples are thronged
and the waters of the
over the mountains, to wash away their sins.
At the present moment, such is the religious state
of the world, where the word of God is not read;
where the glorious Gospel is not preached. Will the
advocates for natural religion plead that this is a de-
generate age, and appeal to antiquity? We have
just seen that all antiquity is against them. What
was the religion of the Romans? what was their
worship? who were their gods? Their religion
countenanced pride and revenge; their worship often
consisted in scenes of intemperance, lasciviousness,
and human sacrifices.
What was the boasted wisdom of the Greeks?
Thales, one of the seven wise men of Greece, says
that the sun, and moon, and stars, are animated and
divine. Pythagoras calls these luminaries immortal
gods. With them the Roman orator agrees, and calls
the sun the supreme god.
What was the learned religion of Egypt? At
one time they considered the heavenly luminaries, as
the only gods, the creators of all things; they ac-
knowledged eight primary gods;* but afterwards,
brutes, reptiles and vegetables were deified. The
poisonous serpent, the deadly asp, the stupid ox,
fishes and birds, were gods of Egypt! Lord, what
is man, while destitute of the Gospel! Neither civ-
ilization, nor the arts, improve his religious knowl-
II. The Gospel is glorious because of its power-
ful tendency to comfort, to sanctify, and to save the
souls of men.
The Gospel is addressed to the spiritual necessi-
ties of all classes of men. Were the Gospel addressed
only to the wants of the poor and afflicted, it would
unavoidably provoke the contempt of the rich and
happy. Were the Gospel accommodated only to the
rich and great, it would irresistibly kindle the fires of
envy and hatred. Happily the word of life is glad
tidings of great joy to all people. No situation is so
low, no circumstances are so terrible, as not to bor-
row some comfort from the Gospel of Jesus. No
man is so elevated, so blest and happy, as not to be
more blest and happy by the Gospel.
The man of business, wearied with his labours,
disappointed in his plans, sick of his pursuits, turns
*Faber on the Cabiri, Bryant, &c.
to the Gospel, and finds rest to his spirit. The youth
finds his desires moderated, the impetuosity of his
passions restrained, his pursuits directed to noble
objects, worthy his immortal destination. The aged,
seeing his last sand falling and hearing the chariot-
wheels of his Redeemer coming, exults in the conso-
lations of the Gospel. See the devout astronomer.
He directs his glass to the starry sky; he discovers
new planets, and measures their distance; but soon
his hand trembles; his instruments drop; the gran-
deur and sublimity of the prospect vanish; he leaves
his unfinished calculations. Think him not wretch-
ed; though his science forsake him, he looks to the
cross and the tomb of his Saviour; he sees him arise,
"Then," saith he, "I rose; then glory and immor-
tality were secured to me."
In sanctifying the heart, the gospel shines, with un-
rivalled lustre, over all the systems of men. These
propose only to direct the sacred rites, or at most the
opinions of their disciples; but the word of God
changes the moral character of the heart, and reforms
the actions of the life. The "truth" of' the word
"sanctifies" the devout reader. Devotedness to the
different gods of heathenism, only leads the devotees
to different altars, to different sacrifices, to different
rites, and forms, and ceremonies. The man remains
the same, the same child of nature, the same son of
vio1ence, his passions ungoverned, his conduct unre-
strained. But the word of God inspires the heart
with universal benevolence; its efficacy, is wonderful;
it wounds and it heals; it kills and it makes alive.
If the word of God be received in any country, the
happy effects are wonderful. Idol temples are grad-
ually deserted; gross vices become "less common;
wars are conducted with more humanity. In those
countries where prisoners had been offered in sacrifice
to their bloody gods, or eaten as a banquet of victory,
or tortured and murdered from mere revenge, if the
word of God be received among them, the ferocity of
their passions is softened and suppressed, captivity
becomes a less bitter cup; prisoners are only sold, or
made slaves, or they are exchanged. In a country
where the word of God is generally respected, pris-
oners of war are often released without a ransom, as
our own miserable soldiers learn by daily experience.
Without making the request, they are sent home to
their country and friends. Acts of retaliation against
the barbarism of infidel armies, seldom proceed further
than the destruction of public property.
The Goths, who formerly carried war and desola-
tion over Europe, were only partially acquainted with
the word of God; yet a learned writer declares, that
they exhibited more instances of genuine mercy, con-
tinence, and generosity, than can be furnished by the
whole history of pagan Rome.*
The Romans, instead of sending their prisoners
home, subjected their necks to be trampled on by
their soldiers; and afterwards sold them at public
auction. Frequently they burned them on the funeral
piles of their aged warriours, sacrifices to the infernal
gods. Well, therefore, might a late celebrated bishop
of London! say of Christianity, "It has insensibly
*Dr. Ireland. !Dr. Portcus.
worked itself into the inmost frame and constitution
of civil states. It has given a tinge to the complexion
of their governments, to the temper and administra-
tion of their laws. It has restrained the spirit of the
prince, and the madness of the people. It has soften-
ed the rigour of despotism, and tamed the insolence
of conquest. It has, in some degree, taken away the
edge of the sword, and thrown, even over the horrours
of war, a veil of mercy. As one proof of this, among
many others, consider only the shocking carnage made
in the human species by the exposure of infants, and
the gladiatorial shows, which ,sometimes costs Europe
twenty or thirty thousand lives in a month." "Here,"
continues the same author, "here the hard and im-
penitent heart has been softened, the impetuous pas-
sions restrained, the ferocious temper subdued, pow-
erful prejudices conquered, ignorance dispelled, and
the obstacles to real happiness removed. Here the
Christian, looking round on the glories and blandish-
ments of this world, has been enabled with a noble
contempt to despise all. Here death itself, the king
of terrours, has lost its sting, and the soul, with a holy
magnanimity, has borne up in the agonies of a dying
hour, and sweetly sung itself away to everlasting
bliss." Another learned writer says, "Kings and
peasants, conquerors and philosophers, the wise and
the ignorant, the rich and the poor, have been brought
to the foot of the cross; yea, millions have been en-
lightened, improved, reformed, and made happy by
Thus, my hearers, the word of God, when it comes
with power, has an irresistible energy. It tears up
the roots of human depravity; it breaks up the fallow
ground of the heart, and produces the flowers and
fruits of paradise. Old things have passed away, and
all things have become new. The man is no longer
"a rebel," "a viper," " a serpent." He is an heir of
glory. "The law of the Lord is pure, converting the
Behold Saul of Tarsus. Like a tyger of the forest;
he breathes slaughter and death. He has prepared
the prisons; the chains are forged; he is on the road
to Damascus, to drag men, women and children to
Jerusalem. At mid-day a light blazes around him;
he falls; he hears a voice, "Saul, Saul, why perse-
cutest thou me? What injury have I done thee ?"
"Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" he cries.
He is willing to do any thing, to be scourged or im-
prisoned, or to go about doing good, visiting the sick,
and preaching the gospel to the poor.
Like the star, which directed the wise men to
Bethlehem, the word of God directs men to heavenly
glory. It is "the power of God and the wisdom of
God to the salvation of those who believe." It is "a
savour of life unto life." With anguish of spirit, the
soul exclaims; "What shall I do to be saved?" Like
the wounded hart, with the spear of the hunter in its
side, the man flies to every means of hope. Sinking
into despair, he hears it voice from the word, "Come
unto me. Look unto me and be ye saved." "Thou
shalt be with me in paradise." He knows that his Re-
deemer lives. He shall sit down with Abraham, and
Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. So Abel,
and Enoch, and a great multitude, which no man can
number, have been saved by the word of God. It is
the word of life, eternal life.
III. The word of God is wonderful, on account of
the complete evidence of its divine authority. What-
ever may be the excellencies of Mahometanism, or of
Paganism, and if we believe some infidels, they are
great; still they are essentially wanting in efficacy to
guide or comfort their votaries; because they are, not
supported by any satisfactory evidence; they are not
patronized by any adequate authority; they want the
sanction of God. God is not pledged to fulfil their
promises, to execute their threatenings, to support
their laws. Though in many instances they make
high claims to inspiration; yet before the eye of in-
vestigation, they vanish like meteors of the night. By
what evidence, except his brooding melancholy, which
led him to fly to the desert and dwell in a cavern,
did Numa satisfy the Romans, that their laws and re
ligion were revealed to him by the goddess Egeria.
By what evidence did Capac and Ocollo convince the
of Peruvians, that they were the children of the Sun,
descended from heaven, to be their teachers and
guardians? By what evidence did Mahomet prove his
converse with Gabriel, his ascent to heaven, and his
numerous pretended revelations?
Were the word of God ever so pure in its precepts,
ever so noble in its promises, ever so alluring in its
virtues, it could have little glory, were it deficient in
evidence of its divine authority. Its transcendent doc-
trines, its celestial prospects, its immortal rewards;
might only tantalize men with delusive hopes. Here
it may be proper to acknowledge, that. some of the
heathen uttered some excellent things, excited some
consoling hopes; but they spoke without authority;
they could not ensure the hopes which they excited.
palace of ice on the bank of the
at a distance, sparkles like a hill of diamonds; but
within is a cold and dismal dwelling; such were the
splendid theories of pagan philosophy. Such would
be the word of God were not its high authority clear
But here I must stop. An entire discourse would
not be sufficient to exhibit the evidence in support of
divine revelation. Had I time, I might illustrate the
harmony of the various parts, written in different ages
and countries, by persons educated in different habits
and opinions; and subject to different prejudices. Not
only the princes and nobles, the poets and the proph-
ets of scripture; but the fishermen and herdsmen,
though they have a different style in writing, all give
the same just and sublime views of God, of the soul,
and the eternal world; they all present the same views
of fallen man, of salvation by a Redeemer, and of
divine providence. A living coal from the altar of
God has touched all their 1ips, and they all speak in
the same strains of heavenly love. Who taught these
obscure sons of Abraham to wing their flight, far be-
yond the confines of time? Who led them on, through
the gate of heaven, to draw the curtain, that we might
see the throne of God, and hear the harps of angels?
Was this the fruit of their superiour application and
genius? This would be a greater miracle than any
which is supposed. Did they learn these sublime
strains in the celebrated seminaries of Egypt, of
of their philosophers. They spake, therefore, as they
were moved by the Holy Ghost. I might, also, show
the simplicity and majesty of their style, far surpass-
ing the boldest flights of Grecian song, or Roman elo-
quence. I might summon from all antiquity a host of
historians to confirm many facts of the sacred volume.
Miracles demonstrate the authority of revelation. If
God arrest the luminaries of heaven, or raise the dead
to confirm any truth, God himself becomes pledged to
support that truth. No bad man would be the author
of such a holy religion. No good man would forge
such a work, and ascribe it to God.
Prophecy carries irresistible evidence to every age
and country, who hear its voice. I might mention the
present state of Nineveh. Zephaniah prophesied,
that Nineveh would be a desolation, dry like a wilder-
ness. Nineveh is a desolation, her ruins are ruined.
Of Tyre a prophet declared, that "Her songs should
cease, that she should be a place to spread nets upon."
A few fishermen are now her only inhabitants. I
might mention the Jews, as so many living witnesses,
for the truth of prophecy. It was prophesied that they
should be scattered over the world; the are scatter-
ed over the world. It was prophesied that they should
be a bye-word; they are a bye-word. I might men-
tion the present state of Babylon, of Jerusalem, of
PalestIne, of Noph, and Egypt, to confirm the proph-
ecies respecting them. The Arabians are a standing
miracle, a nation of witnesses in support of revelation.
It was prophesied of their ancestor, that in his poster-
ity his hand should be against every man, that yet he
should dwell in the presence of his brethren, that he
should be a wild man. This perfectly agrees with
the history of the Arabs in every age. No man can
devoutly study their character without increasing his
faith and religious wonder. Though generally hostile
to the human race, and of course frequently assailed
by the most formidable powers; yet neither the
Alexanders, nor Caesars, nor Buonapartes, those thun-
der-bolts of war, have been able to conquer the Ara-
bians. Even when separated into contemptible clans
of robbers and pirates, they remain invincible; they
brave the most powerful fleets and armies of Europe;
their most celebrated commanders retire from their
towns with vexation and dismay. Is not the evidence
in favour of the gospel clear and irresistible? Is not
the word of God wonderful?
I. How cruel and barbarous are those infidels, who
labour to destroy the influence of divine revelation.
Some men, not only disbelieve revelation themselves,
but are zealous to destroy the faith of others. Revela-
tion gives us all our knowledge of another world, and is
our only guide to future glory; yet infidels, more cun-
ning than the serpent, and often more secret than pesti-
lence or death, make every effort to extinguish this
light, to bury the world in darkness and despair. Con-
science is sacrificed, genius is prostituted, the world is
ransacked, to furnish the means of their fatal purposes.
Some write travels;* some, poems;! some, sarcastic
essays;!! to give the lie to Moses. The lava of the
* Brvdone. !Barlow. !!Tom Paine.
mountains is tortured and suborned to give a false
testimony against revelation.
They would bar up the only harbour, which leads
to the celestial city; they would tear away the only
bridge across the gulf of death. They would rend
the sun from the moral system, regardless of the dark-
ness and horrour, which would follow. They would
take away heaven, and leave no substitute.
Discard the gospel, and where are we? Then, what
consolations sustain the heart in the long night of
adversity? What hope cheers the mind, looking into
the world of Spirits? In that awful moment, when the
soul is leaving the world, when it needs the strongest
consolations, then would infidels tear away the last
hope of man, and shroud the prospect with endless
despair. Are they not rivals of that destroying angel,
who carried guilt and death into the bowers of Eden?
II. If the gospel be so glorious, then Missionary
Societies are pious and laudable institutions. The ob-
ject of the gospel is so great, so sublime, that no
means should be spared to insure success. To com-
bine the experience, the exertions, the contributions of
a Society, is to multiply the probabilities of success.
Such associations, therefore, address their reasonable
claims of support, to persons of most profound wis-
dom, of the most illustrious talents, of the most opu-
lent possessions. Nothing is too important to be con-
secrated to this sacred cause. While acting alone,
man is imbecile and defenceless; his sphere is limit-
ed; his efforts are inefficient. Like a solitary star,
struggling with darkness, his most powerful efforts
may not be perceived; but united with others, like a
celestial constellation, they produce a field of light and
glory. In all their important concerns, therefore,
men have been led to form associations. Mutually
conscious of their individual weakness, they have
spontaneously united together to accomplish their
great enterprizes. Hence societies of various names,
in almost every profession; hence the origin of civil
government. Blessed be God! many of our people
in this country; many of our great men, many of our
rich men, are patrons of Missionary Societies. Our
govern ours are presidents, our legislators are bene-
factors of such Societies. Very much has been done;
very much is now doing. The holy zeal burns through
the land. Nor are we the only people engaged in this
good work. All Christendom seems to be roused by
the same impulse. From Petersburg to Calcutta, we
hear the same strains of Christian benevolence. But
I am silent....I hear the angel of justice exclaim,
"To raise thy pious wonder, to kindle thy sacred
emulation, look up to the London Missionary Society
and the British Foreign Bible Society, those noblest
associations ever formed in our world, and the parents
of nearly all the similar societies which now exist.
Their bishops, their legislators, their nobles, their
royal princes, are the patrons or presidents of such
Societies. They with other Societies, are engaged
in translating the word of God into all the principal
lanuages of the world. Their missionaries, like
the angels in the fields of Bethlehem, are proclaim-
ing peace on earth and good will to man, from the
line to the poles; myriads hang on their lips, and
join in the praises of Immanuel. Their mission-
aries have planted the rose of Sharon among the snows
of Iceland and Labrador; they have conveyed the
balm of life to the coast of New-Holland, to China, to
India, and the isles of the Pacific Ocean. They have
opened channels for the river of life among the moun-
tains of Caucasus, and in the burning deserts of Africa.
The banner of the cross waves on the towers of Ma-
homet, and the Wolga and the Ganges listen to the
songs of Zion. On the other side of the flood, in the
land of your brothers, whose blood rolls in your
hearts, you witness every thing which is catholic or
liberal, every thing which is enterprising and generous,
every thing which is opulent and grand in the cause
of goodness and philanthropy. Such extensive and
magnificent benevolence is displayed in no other na-
tion of the globe. Never did a nation stand so high
in virtue and glory. No where else has the empire of
Christian charity risen so illustrious and sublime.
Such are the two Englands. Like a parent and child,
they have united together to promote the glorious
gospel. Shall they not, like the two luminaries of
heaven, continue to aid each other in giving light and
glory to the world? Must not our swords turn to
plough-shares and our spears to pruning-hooks?
III. If the gospel be so glorious, ought we not to
bless God for our Christian privileges, and do all in
our power to extend these favours to others. By the
gospel ministry the revelation of God is explained,
established, and enforced. The ministry of reconcili-
ation is the river of life. Can we listen to the instruc-
tions of our spiritual guides; can we look on the chart
of life which they spread before us, without emotions
of praise and thanksgiving? Do not the peals, which
summon us to the house of God, from Sabbath to
Sabbath, arid the strains of heavenly mercy, which
there proclaim pardon and glory to penitent sinners,
excite us all to exclaim, "How amiable are thy taber-
nacles, Lord God of hosts!" Shall we not convey this
divine light to others? This holy cause will infallibly
triumph. The idols of paganisin, the temples of infi-
del philosophy, will vanish before the light of the gos-
pel. The Christian missionary goes on a voyage of
benevolence. So angels fly through the heavens, sail
from world to world, to promote the same glorious
cause. Rulers and legislators are never so entirely
the ministers of God for good, as when they support
the banner of the cross. They wisely build hospitals,
and found seminares for the public good; why should
they not regard the higher interests of man, the inter-
ests of the Redeemer's kingdom? Why should they
not protect the church in "the wilderness," and "the
witnesses prophesying in sackcloth?" When nations
shall understand their best interests, then kings, or
rulers, instead of waging ungodly wars, shall be nurs-
ing fathers, and queens nursing mothers of the church.
Aaron and Moses shall lead the people to the heavenly
So familiar are we with the doctrines and duties of
revelation, that we can hardly conceive the immense
importance of conveying it to others. Were it not
for the light of this gospel, we, we, this day might
worshipping in the
shouting the praises of Bacchus, or offering our chil-
dren on the altar of Moloch. The poor will certainly
then contribute their mite, and the rich their silver
and gold, an offering to the glorious gospel. -- But
I recollect where I am. The metropolis of New-
England is more distinguished for its princely bene-
factions, than, any other place in the world; it is a
fountain whose streams gladden the city of God. No
persuasion would prevent your offering to the Lord
the present which you have brought to his house.
Angels, who hover over the assemblies of the saints,
witness your pious sacrifices. Already He, who sees
the end from the beginning, has prepared a reward
for those who cordially support his cause. That
Saviour, who was present at a contribution in the
temple of Jerusalem, is present now. He will accom-
pany those who receive your gifts from seat to seat.
The recording angel will notice the widow's mite.
The names of every donor will be written in the book
of divine remembrance. In the great day, when the
Son of man shall come in the clouds of heaven, with
all his holy angels; when the earth shall be on fire,
and the heavens pass away with a great noise, and
you shall be caught up to meet the Lord in the air,
then will he say to every one, who gave a cup of
water to a disciple in the name of a disciple, "Come
ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepar-
ed for you before the foundation of the world." Amen.
PSALM xlv, 6.
Thy throne, 0 God, is for ever and ever; the sceptre
of thy kingdom is a right sceptre.
GOD is the greatest and most sublime object in the
universe. Every thing respecting Him, demands the
teachable and serious attention of mankind. But God
as a Saviour. "God in Christ," reconciling the world
to himself, is the most interesting character of the
Divine Being. The most essential part of Scripture
relates to the Redeemer of the world. His name, his
offices, his attributes, give interest and life to the
sacred page. It is, therefore, a duty of the first im-
portance to study his character, as it is revealed, to
learn the relation, which he bears to man. In vain
do we apply to any other, than the inspired teachers;
in vain do we go back to the remotest antiquity, and
explore the records of Chaldean or Egyptian learning;
in vain do we ask the sages of Greece or Rome, to
describe Immanuel. The lectures of their philoso-
phers, and the songs of their bards declare, "We
know him not." In vain do we consult the schools
and seminaries of modern times, to learn whether he
ought to be human, angelic, or divine; their elevated
science, while it makes surprising displays of the
human intellect, is bewildered in the mysteries of re-
demption, and confounds their disciples with opposite
responses. Nor shall we be more safe in appealing to
ancient or modern creeds, councils, or spiritual tribu-
nals. Athanasius was deposed from the ministry, and
driven into banishment, because he advocated the
Saviour's divinity; and in the same age, Arius was
exiled and excommunicated, because he opposed the
doctrine. In the reign of Henry VIII, Papists and
Protestants were burning at the same time. Is it safe
to trust such baleful meteors, to show us the way to
heaven? To the law and the testimony let us resort,
that we may know Jesus Christ. The evidence of
many other facts and doctrines is derived from various
sources. The rivers and mountains, the sun and stars,
proclaim in every language, the existence and glory of
their Creator. Daily events around us, the changes
and revolutions of empires, announce the Providence
of God. Our own experience, own knowledge of
others, the history of man, confirm our belief of hu-
man depravity; yet no where but in his word, which
he has magnified above all his works, is made mani-
fest the desire of nations, the Saviour of the world.
Neither philosophy, nor metaphysics, nor any other
science, would have discovered the doctrine or char-
acter of the Redeemer. We are, therefore, confined
to the sacred oracles. What they declare of this
wonderful personage we ought implicitly to believe.
We shall not question the truth, the propriety, or the
necessity of what we read. It is entirely beyond the
limits of human reason to prescribe what should be the
powers, the attributes, or offices of the Saviour. To
the patriarchs and prophets, and writers of the New
Testament we appeal, as affording all the information
which can be obtained. To human deductions and
the reasoning of worldly wisdom we say, "Be ar
away, far away, ye profane."
I now proceed to mention a few texts, which have
satisfied my own mind, respecting the divine charac-
ter of Jesus Christ, without an attempt learnedly to
discuss the subject, or to answer objections, or define
No reasonable doubt can be admitted, but our text
refers to the true God, to Jehovah. "Thy throne, O
God, is fore ever and ever." In other parts of Scrip-
ture, the original word is applied to the ONE God.
"I am Jehovah, thy God." This is the same word,
and Jehovah is certainly the true God. So in Isaiah,
"O God of Israel, thy Saviour;" and is not He the
true God? And Again in Hosea, "I am Jehovah, thy
God." Where, therefore, it is said, "Thy throne, O
God, is for ever and ever," the address is made to the
true God, to the Almighty, to Jehovah. So far then
we are safe and sure. If this passage, therefore, can
with any certainty be applied to Jesus Christ, then
Jesus Christ, with equal certainty, is proved to be the
true God. Will you look at Heb. i, 8, and say whether
an inspired writer has not applied these very words to
Jesus Christ. If this be the fact, we shall discover
his creed on this point, and have the authority of his
opinion, to direct our own. To Heb. i, 8, then let us
turn. "But unto the Son, he saith, Thy throne, O
God, is for ever and ever, a sceptre of righteousness is
the sceptre of thy kingdom." The Psalmist in our
text had indubitably addressed the one God; the
aqostle here applies the same words to Jesus Christ,
to the Son. Is not the Son, therefore, the true God?
Is not this a fair and sound inference? If several
such app1ications of texts by inspired writers should
be adduced, though the method be very" simple, must
not the evidence of the doctrine be decisive, while we
escape the errours to which we are ever liable, while
reasoning a priori, or supporting our constructions of
texts, more indefinite, by long metaphysical deduc-
tions? Can we then find other passages applied to
Jesus Christ, which originally referred to God alone?
Look at Isaiah viii, 13, 14. "Sanctify Jehovah of hosts.
himself .... and he shall be for a sanctuary, but for a
stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence." If this
passage, by any adequate authority, can be applied to
the Saviour, will it not go far to dispel, the doubts
which, may oppress any candid minds? In this in-
quiry will not the opinion of St. Peter be decisive?
To him then we repair. 1 Peter ii, 7, 8. Speaking
of Jesus Christ, "who is precious to believers," he
says, "The stone which the builder's disallowed,
the same is made the head of the corner, and a stone
of stumbling, and rock of offence." The same kind
of irresistible evidence is seen in Rev. xxii, 6. "The
Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to show
unto his servants the things, which must shortly be
done." Observe the Lord God sent his angel; then
read the 16th verse. "I Jesus have sent my angel to
testify unto you these things in the churches." Here
I see not but "the Lord God," and "Jesus," are the
same. Jesus speaks in the same style, and assumes
the same prerogative as "the Lord God." Isaiah vi.
"I saw also the Lord, sitting, upon a throne, high and
lifted up, and his train filled the temple, and one
unto another, Holy, holy, holy, is Jehovah of hosts;--
then said I, Woe is me, for I am undone; for mine
eyes have seen the king, the Jehovah of hosts; and he
said go, make the heart of this people fat, and make
their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see
with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and under-
stand with their heart, and convert and be healed."
As the prophet, unquestionably, had a view of God, of
Jehovah, any just application of the passage to Jesus
Christ will, equally, prove that Jesus Christ is Jeho-
vah. But this has been done, not by party zeal, nor
inquisitorial power; but by Apostolic inspiration.
John xii, 37. "But though he (Jesus Christ) had done
so many miracles before them; yet they believed not
on him, that the saying of Esaias might be fulfIlled,
He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart,
that they should not see with their eyes, or understand
with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal
them. These things said Esaias when he saw his
glory," that is, the glory of Jesus Christ, "and spake
of him." Therefore, unless St. John did not under-
tand Isaiah, nor know whom he saw, Jesus Christ is
In the same manner St. Paul appropriates to the
Saviour an address which was certainly made to God.
"The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even
thousands of angels -- thou hast ascended on high;
thou hast led captivity captive; thou hast received
gifts for men." Should we learn that Calvin, or Au-
gustine, or Athanasius, had applied this passage to
Jesus Christ, we should perhaps view them as rash
interpreters, swayed by party zeal; but should we not
say, "Prove the applications to be just, and we yield
the contest." But the inspiration of Eph. iv. 7. de-
cides the question. "But unto every one of us is
given grace, according to the measure of the gift of
Christ -- wherefore, he saith when he ascended on
high; he fed captivity captive, and gave gifts unto
men; therefore Christ and God are the same.
Speaking of Israel, when they sinned in the wil-
derness and were destroyed by serpents, Moses tells
the people, "Ye shall not tempt the Lord your God,
as ye tempted him in Massah." Undoubtedly St.
Paul understood this text, and knew that God was
tempted, when he said, "Neither let us tempt Christ,
as some of them tempted, and were destroyed by ser-
pents." If one inspired writer make a direct refer-
ence or address to God, and a second apply the same
to Jesus Christ, if this does not establish his divinity,
I am utterly at a loss how this, or any other doctrine
can be established by Scripture authority. Permit
me then to adduce a few more passages, of this class.
Psalm cii. "I said, O my God .... of old hast thou
laid the foundation of the earth." Heb.. i, 10. "But
unto the Son .... Thou, Lord, in the beginning
hast laid the foundation of the earth." This requires
no comment. The same address is made to God,
and the Son. Here is the force of the evidence; and
in this view, what is gained by those, who plead that
heavens and earth mean the Christian and Jewish
dispensations? You all recollect 1 Kings viii, 39.
In his prayer to God, Solomon says, "Thou, even,
thou only knowest the hearts of the children of men;"
and God says, Jer. vii. "I Jehovah search the heart,
and try the reins." Now, permit me to repeat Rev.
ii, 23. Remember this was the revelation of Jesus
Christ. He saith, I am he who liveth and was
dead, and behold I am alive for evermore -- and
all the church shall know that I am, he, who search-
eth the reins and hearts." This knowledge Christ
possesses, and Jehovah declares this to be, exclu-
sively, his prerogative. Are they not one?
If any fact is familiar, if any thing recorded in
the book of God is certain, it is the appearance of
the Almighty on Mount Sinai, at the giving of the
Law. Exod. xix and xx. And Moses went up unto
God, and the Lord called unto him out of the moun-
tain. -- And the Lord said unto Moses, Lo I come
unto thee in a thick cloud. -- And Moses brought
forth the people out of the camp to meet with God.
-- And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke,
because the Lord descended upon it in fire. -- And
God spake all these words, saying, I am the Lord
thy God." Here was God, attended with undescrib-
able tokens of sublimity and grandeur. Now, if
any inspired writer has taught, that all this was effected
by the presence and power of Jesus Christ, it may
satisfy us respecting his divinity, and relieve our
anxiety, while we render him religious homage.
Heb. xii, 24, 25, 26. "And to Jesus the Mediator
-- See that ye refuse not him that speaketh," that
is, Jesus Christ; "for, if they escaped not, who re-
fused him that spake on earth," namely Moses, "much
more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him,
that speaketh from heaven," that is Christ, speaking
in the gospel, "whose voice then shook the earth."
that is, the voice of Jesus Christ, which shook mount
Sinai, when he descended in fire. Thus the writer
of Hebrews evidently teaches, that it was the voice
of Jesus Christ, that shook the earth at mount Sinai,
but Moses and Habakkuk have abundantly confirmed
the fact, that it was the glory of God, which cov-
ered the heavens; burning coals went forth under
his feet; the perpetual hills did bow; the remote land
of Midian trembled."
I win select only a single passage more of this
class. Rev. i, 17, 18. The Son of man says, "Fear
not, I am the first and the last, -- I am Alpha and
Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the
last." When you compare this with the language of
Jehovah, in Isaiah xliv, 6, is any room left to hang
a doubt on? "Thus saith Jehovah, the King of Is-
rael, and his Redeemer, Jehovah of hosts, I am the
first, and I am the last." Are not these the declara-
tions of the same person? While we believe the
same works justly ascribed to God and Christ, and
the same perfections claimed by both, and these sur-
pass all created attributes, we can perceive no rea-
son to question their equal divinity.
With religious caution, I proceed to a few other
passages of another class, selecting only those, which
are plain and easy; for humble are my limits, as
well as talents, leaving no room for argument or elab-
orate illustration. Happily it is not the greatest num-
ber of proofs, which leaves the strongest or clearest
convictions on the mind. This subject has, I think,
suffered much by being cumbered with proofs multi-
plied and ambiguous. This certainly ought to be
avoided; for the remark of St. Austin is very just,
"That no point is to be mistaken with more danger,
none to be studied with more diligence, none to be un-
derstood with more profit." Rom. ix, 5. "Of whom,
(the Israelites,) as concerning the flesh, the Christ
came, who is over all, God blessed for ever." May
not the four and twenty elders bow down to the man,
who can express the doctrine in plainer words? True,
a different rendering has been given to this passage, as
well as others; but after all which has been said and
written on the text, I think the candid will allow that
this is the most literal and direct translation. Though
much has been said, respecting different translations
and readings, I do not think the doctrine loses any
material evidence, by the most exact translations, or
the severest scrutiny of various, readings. Some few
passages may be rendered more, some less favorable
to the doctrine, than in our version. After saying this,
you may, perhaps, feel a right to require a specimen of
what may be effected by different translations.
The principal demands, if I mistake not, are on the
three following passages, 1 John v, 7. "There are
three that bear record in heaven," &c. It is asserted
that this is an interpolation, supported by only one sin-
gle manuscript more ancient than the art of printing.
Here I hold no controversy. -- Acts xx, 28. "Feed
the church of God, which he has purchased with his
own blood." This has been rendered, -- "the church
of the Lord," and to this we make no formal objection;
for it appears that "three readings of the text are
found in the Greek manuscripts and versions; "the
"church of God," -- "the church of the Lord," --and
"the church of the Lord and God;" and from Gries-
bach and Wetstein it appears that no very ancient
manuscripts read, "church of God," and many manu-
scripts, and several versions, as the Armenian, and
Ethiopic, read -- "'church of the Lord," -- church of
the Lord and of God is the reading of the great ma-
jority; but, the most ancient manuscripts read, --
"church of the Lord;" yet I might add, that a very
respectable Socinian writer* contends for the present
version, "the church of God."
The other passage is 1 Tim. iii. 16. "Great is
the mystery of godliness; God was manifest in the
flesh." Instead of God was manifest in the flesh, it
has been rendered, "he who was manifest." This
text I have not quoted; "for several manuscripts,
versions, and fathers read who or which," referring to
the word mystery; though I do not discover deep
sense in saying, that the mystery of godliness was ':
manifest in the flesh, and received up to glory.
But I am bound now to state, that some texts admit,
and in justice require a translation more favourable to
the doctrine, than our common version. I will tres-
pass on your patience with only two or three. 1 John
v, 20. "We are in him that is true, even in his Son
Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life."
* Rev. G. Wakefield,
This passage may, and I think ought to be read, "We
are in him, who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ, he is
the true God and eternal life." Is not this a trium-
phant declaration of the Saviour's divinity?
2 Pet. i, 1. "Simon Peter, to them who have ob-
tained like precious faith with us, through the right-
eousness of God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ." A
slight improvement in the translation renders the as-
sertion of our doctrine more forcible, viz. "Through
the righteousness of our God and Saviour, Jesus
Christ." A similar increase of evidence is discovered
in Titus ii, 13. "Looking for that blessed hope and
glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour,
Jesus Christ." These words, Dr. Doddridge remarks,
might be fairly rendered, "Our great God and Saviour
Jesus Christ." He quotes Mr. Fleming, who asserts,
that we never read the Father appears to men. Of
the same opinion was the learned Beza. This pas-
sage is thus translated by Dr. A. Clark. "And the
appearing of the glory of the great God, even our Sa-
viour, Jesus Christ." In all these passages, to name
no more, is an evident increase of proof in favour of
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given,
and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and
his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the
mighty God, the everlasting Father, or Sire of eter-
nity, the Prince of Peace." What child born, what
son given, is the mighty God, unless it be the son of
Mary, the seed of the woman?
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word
was with God, and the Word was God." The Word
was God, was made flesh, and dwelt among us.
This accords with other passages. "A body hast thou
prepared me." If these proofs do not establish, the
doctrine, I ask, and I anxiously ask, what proofs,
what form of words, would establish the doctrine?
Indeed this has been the general belief of the church,
with little interruption, to the present time. In the
next age after the apostles, Ignatius, who was made
bishop of Antioch by St. John, wrote thus to the
church of Smyrna, "I glorify Jesus Christ our God."
To his friend Polycarp he wrote, "Expect him, who
is above all time, the invisible One, who was made
visible for us."
Justin, who suffered as a martyr, A. D. 163, says to
the court, "I am too mean to say any thing (of Jesus
Christ) becoming his infinite deity." A writer in the
early, part of the third century inquires, "Who doth
not know, that the works of Irenraeus, Melito, and all
other Christians, do confess Christ to be both God
Irenraeus, who was a disciple of St. John, says of
Christ, "He united ,man to God." Clemens of Alex-
andria, about the close of the second century says,
"Believe, therefore, in one God, who is God and
man." In a letter of Ignatius to the Ephesians,
A. D. 116 or 17, he thus expresses himself, "There
is one Physician, God incarnate." In the narrative
of Polycarp's martyrdom, which he suffered March
26, A. D. 147, it is said, "Through his only begotten
son, to whom be glory, and honour, and power, and
majesty for ever and ever." Milo, bishop of Sardis,
about A. D. 170 says, "that Jesus Christ is the true.
and everlasting God." So overwhelming is the evi-
dence, that the divinity of the Saviour was acknowl-
edged in the early ages of the church. In further
confirmation of this; if further confirmation be possi-
ble, I may add, these primitive fathers of the church
applied all those texts in the Old Testament, to Jesus
Christ, which represent God, as making himself visi-
ble to men. In this, as I have shown, they followed
the example of those holy men, moved by the Holy
Spirit, who wrote the New Testament. "The Lord
appeared to Abram in the plain of Mamre." "And
Abram stood before the Lord." "I am the God of
unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my
name Jehovah was I not known to them." These
and several other similar passages, I might adduce,
all of which are applied by Justin Martyr, to Jesus
Irenraeus explains some of those texts with several
others, in the same manner, as "The Lord came to
Adam," -- "The Almighty God, even the Lord hath
spoken," -- "In Judah God is known." Though
these quotations do not prove the doctrine, yet they
certainly show what were the opinions of the pastors
of the primitive churches.
With a few of the many reflections which might be
made, I close the subject.
1. The doctrine teaches us that Jesus Christ might
make an atonement for the redemption of mankind.
I am not tenacious of the word; but the idea which
I receive from atonement, appears so familiar on the
sacred page, that I can hardly conceive a formal proof
necessary. Of what benefit were all the sacrifices of
the Old Testament, unless they exhibit the necessity
of a real sacrifice or atonement? What wisdom, what
meaning, what humanity, can be discovered in the
blootly rites of the Mosaic dispensation, unless they
are types and emblems of a sacrifice not then made?
Accordingly, as soon as, this sacrifice was made on the
Calvary, those sacrifices all ceased, as the tapers of
night, before the rising morn.
It is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats
should take away sin; but the Son of man came to
give his life a ransom for many, and to bear our sins
in his own body. He appears as the substitute of the
sinner. "For the transgression of my people was he
stricken." "He was delivered for our offences"
"He gave himself for our sins." "Christ hath once
suffered for our sins." "The good shepherd gives
his life for the sheep." "I lay down my life for the
sheep." Is not here the idea of substitution, or a
vicarious offering distinctly presented?
Is not the notion of a direct sacrifice equally certain?
Christ our passover is sacrificed for us." "He gave
himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God."
He "put away sins by the sacrifice of himself." So
reconciliation was effected between God and man.
"God hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ."
"It pleased the Father by him to reconcile all things
to himself." Were such passages rare and solitary,
we might consider them figurative; but when we find
them so numerous, so frequently used by the different
writers of the sacred volume, though they have received
a different construction from men of great learning and
powerful minds, I am compelled to believe the doctrine
of atonement. The language of patriarchs and legis-
lators, of prophets and apostles, whether proclaimed
in the wilderness of Arabia, or on the banks of the
Jordan; whether addressed to the churches of Asia, or
the city of the Caesars, announces Jesus Christ as the
propitiation for the sins of the world. But is not this
beyond the power of a man, or of any creature?
"None can by any means redeem his brother, or give
to god a ransom for him; for the redemption of
their soul is precious," too precious to be redeemed by
man. "Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of
rams, or ten thousand rivers of oil?" "Shall I give
my first born for my transgression, the fruit of my
body for the sin of my soul?" If a man should devote
and sacrifice himself, it could not redeem his soul. If
all the race of man were to sacrifice themselves, this
would not procure their redemption. He then, who is
the Redeemer of the world, must have more weight of
character, more worth, more dignity and excellence,
than all the human race. No finite being can give a
ransom for the sins of the world. But if Jesus Christ
be really God with us, then his merit is infinite; his
divinity is necessary to his atonement. So clearly evi-
dent is this, that generally those, who deny his divin-
ity, reject the doctrine of atonement. This is con-
sistent. The two doctrines stand, or fall together.
If Christ be divine, he has merit to redeem the world.
2. We learn from the subject that Jesus Christ can
govern the world.
It was foretold that "the government should be upon
his shoulder;" that "he should be king of Zion."
All power in heaven and earth is in his hand. All this
is credible if he be the "mighty God;" all this is
certain, if he be "Jehovah our righteousness;" but is
not this impossible, if he be a mere man, or a depend-
ant creature of any grade? If he be divine, then he is
present every where, and can direct all events, how-
ever numerous or widely extended. Nothing is too
great, too little, or too mysterious for him to accom-
plish. His steps are in deep waters; clouds and dark-
ness are round about; he does all his pleasure, nor
gives account of any of his matters. He can change
the tendency of actions, and render those salutary,
which apparently were big with mischief and ruin.
Nebuchadnezzar sets up an image, and commands all,
on penalty of death, to bow down and render religious
homage to his splendid idol. The tendency of this
measure was to suppress freedom of thought, and ex-
tinguish the last spark of true religion. The result
was directly opposite; to advance the cause of divine
truth, and religious liberty.
He can produce effects directly the reverse from the
design and intention of the persons acting. The breth-
ren of Joseph intended merely to indulge their envy,
his mistress to satiate her revenge, his master to pun-
ish his supposed crime; but God by these measures
prepared an eminent Statesman for a great nation, and
made provision for the house of Jacob, till the time ar-
ived for them to march and take possession of the land
flowing with milk and honey. The persecution of the
primitive Christians was intended to crush the good
cause, and extirpate the name from the annals of the
world; but while it scattered the disciples, it inflamed
their zeal, produced a powerful sympathy in their be-
half, and greatly promoted their design. So does
intolerance always defeat itself, and build up that in-
terest; which it intended to destroy. He that holdeth
the stars in his right hand, raised up Cyrus, a pagan,
to the empire of the world, to be his servant, to deliver
his people from captivity. All things; from the atom
floating in the air, to the globes of heaven; all events,
from the fall of a sparrow to the redemption of a
world, are under his control. He changes the hearts
of kings, demolishes thrones, and raises up empires.
He walks on the wings of the wind, thunders in the
heavens, wheels the planets in their orbs, produces all
the revolutions of times and seasons. According to
his promise, he is every where with his people to the
end of the world.
3. From the dignity of the Saviour, we learn how
suitable a being he is to judge the world at the great
To judge the deserts of men, it is not only neces-
sary that all their actions should he known; but their
talents, motives, and affections. What mere man can
take cognizance of all these in all ages? Who but
God knows all the secrets desires and designs of men
and angels? Who but God can weigh their worth or
But all judgment is committed to the Son; and if he
is Jehovah, who searches the heart and tries the reins,
he is a suitable Judge to come in the clouds of heaven,
to command the angels, to raise the dead, to gather
them before his bar. He has power to blot out the
stars, to quench the sun, to burn the world. He
knows where every child of Adam sleeps, on the land,
or in the sea. He knows the place of every grave
yard, of every battle, of every city, overwhelmed by
earthquakes, or volcanoes, by floods, or firs. Patri-
archs and prophets, kings with their subjects, gener-
als with their armies, Adam and all his children, are
caught up to meet the Lord in the air.
Consoling is the thought to the lamb of the Redeem-
er's flock, to the babe in Christ, trembling at the splen-
dours of the great day. This Judge is his friend, the
friend of sinners, his Saviour, who took little children
in his arms, who healed the sick and comforted the
weeping widow. He, who pardoned sinners, who
spent his life to reform and save sinners, who died for
their redemption, is their Judge. He knows our
weakness, sympathizes in our infirmities, and does not
need that we should make a splendid show of our piety,
by praying in the corner of the street, by multiplying
our sabbaths and our new moons, or other ordinances
of our invention, to prove our goodness or sincerity.
He, who sees our hearts, and will dully notice every
benevolent wish, every secret whisper of devotion,
and evey cup of water given to a disciple, is our
Judge. The doctrine is full of hope and encourage-
ment, to the humble, trembling spirit, oppressed with
a sense of unworthiness and guilt.
When every one has given an account of himself to
God; when the examination closes, the gracious
Judge will say; (oh may we all hear the joyful de-
claration,) "Come ye blessed of my Father; inherit
the kingdom prepared for you before the foundation
of the world."
To those on the left, "Depart ye cursed into ever-
lasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels."
Down they sink, while the heaven and earth have
been kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day
of judgment, and perdition of ungodly men. The
Saviour with all the righteous ascends to his Father
and their Father, to join in the hallelujahs of angels;
-- "Glory, and honour, and immortality to Him, who
sitteth on the throne, and to the Lamb, who was slain,
for ever and ever." AMEN.
ISAIAH ix, 6.
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given.
THAT mankind are in a lapsed state, that the proper
course of their passions is .disturbed, that they are
guilty and miserable, are truths, which have been
extensively acknowledged in every age of the world.
Another wonderful fact, equally attested is, that from
the most early records of time, the nations, or the
enlightened of them, from Europe to
have expected some mighty Teacher and Saviour, to
deliver the world from its ignorance, crimes, and mis-
eries. Their precise view of this august Personage
have been various; but all have agreed in the opinion
of his wonderful goodness, wisdom and power. This
desire of all nations is evidently the person of the text.
He is also the Wonderful, the Counsellor, the Prince
of Peace. He is also man. The terms child and son
are literally applicable only to man. The same may
remarked of the term born. Angels are not born,
human beings alone are, born. It is doubtless the
Same person spoken of by the Angel. "Unto you is
born a Saviour who is Christ the Lord." The object
of this discourse is to show that Jesus Christ is liter -
ally and truly MAN.
I. All the information and prophecies concerning
him, previous to his being born, naturally led the world
to expect he would be a man. This would be inferred
from the manner in which he is first mentioned in
Scripture. "The seed of the woman, it shall bruise"
thy head." What could the seed of a woman be but
a man? But a remarkable peculiarity is here ob-
served. The father is not mentioned. As a man,
he was to be exclusively the son or seed of the
woman. The history of the event confirms this con-
struction of the prophecy. In the fullness of time,
God sent forth his Son, made of a woman. A son
had been born but he was the child of a woman.
The Lord appeared unto Abraham in the plain of
Mamre; but what was his form, his appearance? It
was the form of a man. "And he looked, and lo! three
men stood before him. And he said, My Lord!" As
far as he had any apprehension, any conception that
this was his Saviour, must he not have considered him
as a man. Does not this fact now indicate to us,
that he who is our Deliverer, our Saviour, must be a
man? He did appear as a man.
In the same manner did he appear to Jacob.
"There wrestled a man with him until the breaking.
of the day." Though Jacob said that he had seen
God, and though the angel implies the same, --"As a
prince hast thou power with God," yet he is also
called man. He appeared as a man, he was a man.
In the same form did he appear to Joshua at the
siege of Jericho. "There stood a man over against
him." By this event it was made known to Joshua,
and to the world, that their Redeemer should be a
man, that he should partake of flesh and blood, that
he should be made flesh, and dwell among us. How
dignified was this man! Though Joshua had fallen
prostrate before him, as if this were not enough, he
says to him, "Loose thy shoe from off thy foot, for
the place where thou standest is holy." As if he had
said," You are in the presence of adorable majesty,
therefore offer the highest kind of worship."
I might before have mentioned, the prophecy of
Balaam, which would lead Israel and the world to
expect a human deliverer." I shall see him, but, not
now; I shall behold him, but not nigh. A long
series of ages intervenes, of fifteen hundred years."
"A star shall come out of Jacob, and a sceptre shall
rise out of Israel." Star denotes a prince or illustri-
ous man. Christ himself is called a star. This
prophecy, indeed, is supposed to have an immediate
reference to king David, and was fulfilled when he
smote Moab, and "measured them with a line," so
that the Moabites became David's servants. 2 Sam. 8.
Yet the Saviour was doubtless the ultimate object.
Perhaps this prophecy of Baalam, who was of the
East, being preserved by tradition, in that country,
might induce the wise men, on seeing some uncom-
mon star over the land of Israel, to go and inquire for
the child, born king of the Jews. The whole sug-
gests the idea of an illustrious man. In Ezek. chap. 1
we read, that by the river Chebar, the prophet saw
the likeness of a glorious throne, upon which was
"the likeness, as the appearance of a man." After-
wards the prophet informs us that this was the appear-
ance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord; but "he
was in the, form of a man.
The same doctrine is taught by Zechariah. "I
saw by night, and beheld a man riding upon a red
horse." This man in verse 11. is called the angel of
Although, in the burning bush, no form of a man
was visible to Moses, yet he heard a voice which
he understood. Indeed, if we accede to the general
opinion of the church universal, in every age, that
the appearance of the Lord, and the angel of the
Lord, at various times, before the advent of Christ,
was the Messiah, the Saviour, it will greatly strengthen
the idea, that he was to appear in human form, and to
be a man.
Gen. i, 26. And God said, "Let us make man in
our image, after our likeness." In view of this pas-
sage, is it unnatural to suppose, and believe, that
when God had created man, he appeared to him in
the form of a man, in the same form, which he cer-
tainly did assume, in repeated instances, when he
rendered himself visible to Joshua, Ezekiel, Zecha-
riah, and others.
"And the Lord God brought every beast of the
field, and every fowl of the air, to Adam, to see what
he would call them." Does not this seem to be a
transaction conducted in such a manner, as to render
human language, and the appearance of a man highly
"And ,they heard the voice of the Lord God walk-
ing in the garden, and Adam and his wife hid them-
selves. And the Lord called unto Adam. And he
said, I heard thy voice, and hid myself." If this
scene be candidly examined, I think we shall find
that God manifested himself by a human voice, and
in a human form. How could Adam and Eve think
of hiding themselves from God, unless, they actually
saw his person, or had been used to see it, and now
expected its appearance again? Could they be so
stupid as to hide themselves from a mere voice, among
the trees? Could they be ashamed of their naked-
ness before a mere voice, a noise in the air? Could
they hear a voice walking in the garden? But if you
suppose they saw a form, a man, walking in the gar-
den, then all is probable and natural.
"And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou
wroth, where is thy brother? And Cain said, I
know not. And God said, What hast thou done? --
And Cain said, My punishment is greater than I can
bear, from thy face I shall be hid." When it is so
often said that the Lord, that Jehovah, that the Lord
God appeared, and sat, and stood, and walked, and
spake, and talked, is it not very hard to suppose that
nothing was manifest but a voice, a sound? Is it not
much more natural to suppose that the voice, the artic-
ulate human voice, was accompanied by the form of
a man? Is not this very much confirmed by the well
known fact, that he often did assume the form of a
man? From the whole we infer that the information
and prophecies concerning Jesus Christ in the Old
Testament, all go to prove that he was to be a real
man, that such must have been the expectation of
We have omitted to mention the appearance of this
mighty personage to Gideon, and to Manoah and his
wife, and some others in the form of a man. Scrip-
ture declares he was a man. Phil. ii, 8. "He was
found in fashion as a man." 1 Tim. ii, 5. "The
man Christ Jesus." 1 Cor. xv, 47. "The first man
is from the earth, the second man is the Lord from
II. We proceed to show from matter of fact, that
he was truly man. The history of his birth, and
life, and death, proves that Jesus Christ was a man.
He was born as other children are, and wrapped in
swaddling bands. In his infancy he was carried into
Egypt. He increased in knowledge and favour with
God and man. He had the appetites of a man; he
ate, he drank. He had the weakness of a man; he
slept, he was weary. He had the passions of a man;
he was grieved, he was angry, he rejoiced, he loved,
he was pitiful. He was mortal as a man; he was
wounded, he was bruised, his blood flowed, his bones
were out of joint, his strength was exhausted, he
bowed his head, he died -- for -- he was man!
Though we have not time to solve difficulties, or to
answer objections, yet the supernatural conception of
this wonderful man has met with so powerful oppo-
sition, that it may deserve a word of notice. This
mystery has induced some of our Unitarian friends
to erase from their Bibles those chapters in St. Mat-
thew and Luke which relate the surprising fact.
Our reply is very simple, and very short. Besides
the prophecies concerning his being the seed of the
woman exclusively, and born of a virgin, as preludes
to this event, several parents bore children contrary
to the ordinary course of nature. The birth of Isaac
was as remarkable, and as miraculous as the birth of
Jesus Christ. The mother of Isaac was constitution-
ally incapable, of bearing a child. This alone ren-
dered the thing impossible without the almighty inter-
position of the Creator. In addition to this, she was
advanced to that period of life, in which no woman
had ever become a mother. Sarah could no more
become a mother without a miracle, than Mary, the
mother of Jesus Christ. Therefore, when each of
them make their objection, they receive for substance
the same answer. The reply to Mary was, "With
God nothing shall be impossible." To Sarah it was
said, "Is any thing too hard for the Lord?" All
remarks apply with equal force to
Zechariah, who were the parents of John. His birth
was altogether as miraculous as that of Jesus Christ.
To these facts we add the birth of Sampson.
"And the angel of the Lord appeared unto the
woman, his mother, and said unto her? Behold thou
art barren, and bearest not, but thou shalt conceive,
I and bear a son."
Must all these histories be torn from the sacred
volume? Or shall we believe what was foretold in
prophecy, and what has been related by inspired his-
torians, concerning the miraculous conception of the
man Christ Jesus.
Our improvement will be only a few general reflec-
tions, connected with the subject.
I. We see the plausible reason for the success of
those who teach that Jesus Christ is a mere man.
It is a fact that he is a man. When they urge and
prove this, with great learning as they often do, they
urge and prove a great truth. This wins the confi-
dence of many, and from being persuaded that Jesus
Christ is man, they are led to believe that he is only a
man. So a great portion of truth is blended with the
greatest errour. A mixture of truth often sanctions,
and gives currency to errour. As the most daring
crimes are often attended with some palliating cir-
cumstance, so the most dangerous errours are gen-
erally softened by a mixture of salutary truth. Our
Socinian friends, or Unitarian as they choose to be
called, say that Jesus Christ was merely a man. We
say he was a man. Therefore, unless other things
are said of him, unless other attributes are ascribed to
him, which do not belong to human nature, all de-
nominations must say, that he is only a man. But
when he says "Before Abraham was, I am," this looks
as if he was superiour to Abraham. When he speaks
of the glory which he had with the Father before the
world was, we are compelled to think him somewhat
more than man. When this child born is called the
mighty God, and is said to be "God over all," and
"God with us," then we imagine we do him a mighty
wrong to say, that he is no more than man. The
Jews, some of them, have been so perplexed with
these two widely different characters of their
Messiah, as described by their prophets, that they
have adopted the notion of two Messiahs. They
have believed that one, Ben Ephraim, would appear
in a state of poverty and suffering, that he would
fight against Gog, and be slain by Annillus. They
have believed that the other Messiah, Ben David,
would appear in splendour and glory, that he would
conquer and slay Annillus, assemble all Israel, and
reign over the whole world.
Such devices have men adopted in every age. So
have they separated what God has joined, and be-
lieved only half the truth, in order to avoid difficulties
and mysteries. But difficulties and mysteries we
must believe, or we shall not believe that we have a
soul and body, or that we are dependant, yet moral
agents, or that Jesus Christ was before Abraham, yet
born in the days of Herod the king.
II. We see the errour of those who uniformly
elevate the character of Jesus. Christ above man,
above human virtues and human powers. They place
him above man, above angel. If Jesus Christ be
really man, then Arius is still further from the fact,
further from any true description of Jesus Christ, than
Arius taught that Jesus Christ had no human soul,
that he had nothing of man in him but his flesh, to
which the Logos, or word of God, or superangelic
spirit, was united. While he denied his divinity, he
rejected his humanity, but gave him a rank between
both. He denied that he was, a man, but the first
and noblest creature which God created, the agent by
whom he formed the universe. So far from being
man, he was next to God; and so far from being
God, he was a creature made by God. Still the
different learned men, and they are very learned,
have given somewhat different views of the Redeem-
er's dignity. The low Arians say that Jesus Christ
pre-existed not as the eternal word of the Father, not
as the being by whom he made worlds, and who had
intercourse with, the patriarchs, not as having any
rank or employment in the government of the uni-
The Semi-Arians hold that the Son is of a like sub-
stance with the Father, that he was from all eternity
begotten by the will of the Father.
They all agree that he existed before; his incarna-
tion, they all deny that he was the true God, or real
man. Therefore, while in some respects they render
superiour honours to the immaculate Saviour, none are
further from our views of his character, as man, and
III. The subject reminds us how far we differ from
those who believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of
God, as really as Isaac was the son of Abraham
We can discover no material difference between these
and the Semi-Arians just mentioned. Yet in defer-
ence to their feelings, as they choose to be considered
as a separate class, we mention them so, distinctly.
Our eyes see no difference, our ears catch no discor-
dant sounds, our reason discovers no different results.
They and the disciples of Arius agree in denying the real
humanity of Jesus Christ, they agree in denying
his absolute divinity; in saying that he is the eter-
nal Son of God. They disagree in nothing impor-
tant. In fact, in modern times the term Arian is by
the most respectable writers, indiscriminately applied
to all those who consider Jesus Christ more than
man, yet subordinate to the Father. The persons to
whom we refer do hold that Jesus Christ is more than
man, yet subordinate to the Father, therefore they
belong to the school of Anus.
The physical impossibility that the Father should
produce a Son, coequal with himself, and eternal as
himself, needs no proof. The notion of an eternal
generation is not merely a mystery, but an impossi-
bility. It is a violent solecism in language to call any
being the son of another, who is of the same and equal
origin. This, therefore, infallibly destroys the real
divinity, of the son. No being, who has a beginning,
is God. Eternity is a necessary attribute of God.
But, fortunately, this I need not prove. For the au-
thors of this theology do not teach that their Redeem-
er is God, the Eternal, but the Son of God.
For ages, the church has been agitated with the
question, in what sense and for what reason is Jesus
Christ called the Son of God. I do humbly confess,
that, to me the answer is so plain, so easy, so certain,
if the most remarkable mistakes had not been com-
mon, with the best and wisest men, I would hardly
have believed a mistake here to be possible. Take
another instance as remarkable. Mark ix; 31. "Jesus
Christ taught his disciples and said unto them, the
Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and
they shall kill him, and after that he is killed, he will
rise the third day." What can be more plain, more
easy, more certain, than the meaning of this passage?
"But they understood not the saying, and were afraid
to ask him." What then could they understand? Yet
they were good and great men. So are they good and
great men who mistake the sonship of Jesus Christ,
Afterwards, when Jesus Christ was killed, instead of
expecting his resurrection on the third day, as the
might, with every reason of hope and triumph, they
gave up his cause as lost, lost, for ever lost.
Now listen to Luke i, 35, and see if it be possible
to mistake his meaning. "And the angel answered
and said unto her, the Holy Ghost shall come upon
thee, and the power of the highest shall overshadow
thee, THEREFORE, also, that holy, thing, or holy per-
son, which sha11 be born of thee, shall be called the
Son of God." Now is it possible that the meaning
should be misunderstood, or that any mortal doubt
why Jesus Christ is called the Son of God? The
power of the highest shall, overshadow thee, therefore,
thy child shall be called the Son of God. In one
word, on account of his miraculous conception he is
the Son of God. Could man, could angel, could
Deity, express himself more intelligently? Why then
all this dispute respecting the SON of God? Why will
men run back to the beginning of eternity, and dis-
tract their minds with the notion of an everlasting
generation, which is an everlasting impossibility, when
the Bible has explained the subject in a different man-
ner, but never, in a single instance, mentioned an
eternal Son, nor an everlasting generation? They
take away the man Christ Jesus, our kinsman, our
brother, who is touched with the feeling of our infir-
mities, and I know not where they have laid him.
IV. Was Jesus Christ man, then we may all learn
what we may be, and what we ought to be. See
him, "as a son, subject to his patents; at twelve years
of age, hear his wonderful questions; see him ad-
vancing in knowledge, growing in favour with God
and man. As a learner, see him attending all the
rites and ordinances of his church, seeking baptism,
and fulfilling all righteousness. As a teacher, he
speaks as never man spake. The sturdy unbeliever
listens, his mind is en1ightened, his heart is softened,
his marble eye weeps, his limbs tremble, and he be-
comes" a new man. He blesses Jesus as his faithful
minister, comforter, and Saviour. His doctrine drops
as the rain, the people are awakened, sanctified, and
prepared for glory.
See him, going from one hospitable door to another.
He eats and drinks with those who receive him with
open arms. But while he receives the bounty of his
friends, his silent prayers ascend to heaven for their
prosperity, for their comfort, and for their salvation.
While he receives the tokens of their respect, he heals
their sick, he instructs their families, he saves their
souls. He goes about doing good. When the ear
heard him, then it blessed him; when the eye saw
him, then it gave witness to him. He delivered the
poor, who cried, and the fatherless, and him that had
none to help him. The blessing of him that was
ready to perish came upon him, and he caused the
widow's heart to sing for joy. He was eyes to the
blind, and feet to the lame. He pardoned the trem-
bling penitent, he comforted the weeping mourners,
he raised the dead. When he was reviled and abused,
he returned not railing for railing; he blessed, those
who cursed him, he prayed for his murderers. He
died for us, while we were yet enemies, to save us
from the wrath of God, to save us from hell. Ho-
sanna to this Son of David! O give thanks unto the
Lord for he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever.
Let every thing, which hath breath, praise the Lord.
Bless the Lord, oh my soul. Praise ye the Lord.
HEBREWS xi, 33.
Who through Faith subdued kingdoms.
THE mysterious power of God is manifest in pro-
ducing sublime effects by inadequate causes; stupen-
dous, events by trivial means. Moses lifts his rod,
and the Red sea is divided. Joshua says, "Sun,
stand thou still;" and the planets stop in their course.
A little clay opens the eyes of a blind man, and the
faith of a mother expels a demon from her daughter.
The faith of feeble mortals is an efficacious engine
of God, in governing the world. The faith of David
puts to flight the armies of Philistia. The faith of
Noah preserves the wreck of the human race, again to
cover the earth with the dwellings of joy. The faith
of Abraham produces a race of believers, to the end
of the world. Faith subdues kingdoms, stops the
mouths of lions, quenches the violence of fire. If
eminent advantages do result from faith, the fact
should be proclaimed for the encouragement of be
lievers, for the conviction of unbelievers. It is, there-
fore, the religious duty of Christians not only to
believe, or exercise faith, but to learn its benefits.
In gospel faith, God proposes a benefit as well as a
duty. Those, therefore; who stop at the duty, with-
out a distinct view of the blessings, rob themselves of
act immense privileges and consolations. Excepting
and some general convictions that faith will save the soul,
its blessings are, I think, little known or examined.
If there be other blessings besides salvation, it is
and important, according to the value of those blessings,
with that they be distinctly ascertained. A, person may
possess the richest gems and jewels; but not knowing
their value, they may be useless to him. The richest
cordials may produce no benefit when the physician
unacquainted with their effects. The quadrant,
and telescope, and compass, so essential in astronomy
and navigation, are, in the hands of ignorance, merely
so much wood and glass, brass and iron. So a person
may be a believer, but not knowing all the advantages
of faith, he may lose vast comforts and blessings.
I proceed to mention a few advantages of faith,
after explaining what faith is. "Faith is a cordial
belief of the divine oracles" or according to the per-
fect definition of the apostle, "Faith is the substance
of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not
seen." Faith brings near those things which are far
off, and gives the substance, gives the enjoyment of
the object, before it is possessed. Faith is itself evi-
dence of the fact. Faith that we shall enjoy a blessing,
is proof of its being on the way. The words trans-
lated "evidence of things not seen," according to
many learned men, is "a strict proof or demonstra-
tion." Faith is a strict proof, or demonstration,
a certainty, that the thing will take place. Faith in
God that an event will take place, is a demonstration
that it will take place, and emboldens the believer to
act accordingly. Jonathan believed in God, that he
and his armour bearer should take a whole garrison.
He proceeded to act according to that faith. The
result justified the faith. Because Antinomians
and enthusiasts have been fools, and fired their minds
with false raptures and visions of glory, we must not
rob ourselves of hopes and joys, which rest on the
promises of God.
The objects of faith are extensive and general.
A man may believe, not only to the saving of his soul;
but he may have equal faith that God will grant him
numerous other favours. Like the men going into the
furnace of Nebuchadnezzar, he may believe that God,
will deliver him from his fiery trials. Like Jacob he
may believe that God will prosper his journey through
life, and spread his table with plenty. But we hasten to
mention some of the privileges and blessings of
I. We hardly need mention that the man of faith
believes to the saving of his soul.
Notwithstanding his unworthiness and his crimson
guilt, since the Redeemer, has come, since atonement
has been made, the believer trusts in God for pardon
and eternal life. Looking back to his guilty life, he
believes that Jesus Christ has borne his sins in his
own body, and that by his stripes he is healed. He
looks forward to the dark valley, and the shadow of
death, and believes that God will support and save;
him. He believes that he shall be admitted to mount
Such is the efficacy of faith; it saves the soul.