SERMONS,

 

                                                 PRACTICAL  AND  DOCTRINAL

 

 

                                                                                   BY THE LATE

 

 

                                  Elijah Parish,  D.D.

 

 

                                                                                         WITH A

 

 

                                                               Biographical Sketch

 

                                                                                           of the

 

 

                                                                     AUTHOR.

 

                                                                     BOSTON:

                                                               PUBLISHED BY CROCKER & BREWSTER,

                                                                                No. 50, CORNHILL.

                                                                                            1826.

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

                                        Electronically prepared by Dr. Ted Hildebrandt,

                                               Gordon College, Wenham, MA 01984

                                                                February, 2002

                                           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

the fiftieth year of the Independence of the United States of  America, Moses

 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, D. D.   With a

Biographical, Sketch of the Author."

    In Conformity to the act of the Congress of the United States, 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 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 remark, which Addison, in the first number of

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 Lebanon, Con. Nov.

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-

uated at Dartmouth College, 1785.  He chose the

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

direction of Rev. Ephraim Judson, of Taunton, Mass.

 

*Since writing the above, testimonies have been received from Mr. Pemberton,

his early instructer, and Rev. Mr. Kellogg, of Portland, to his early piety, and

scholarship.


          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

town of Newbury, Mass.  His early settlement affords

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

mind.

     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

could not have melted the colliers of Bristol; nor

arrested the attention of the commonalty of Scotland;

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-

tation.

     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

second time."

      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

great Watts, orthodoxy and charity were beautifully

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 Massachusetts, for a few years past, all ecclesiastical

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

wise!


                     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

England, Modern Geography, and Gazetteer

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.


                 CONTENTS.

SERMON I.

Delivered before the Convention of congregational ministers, in Boston, 1821.

         Page.

Luke 11, 14. On earth Peace; good will among men.  . . . . . . . . . . .   1

 

SERMON II.

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

 

SERMON III.

Delivered before the Society for propagating the gospel among the Indians and

                                                others in North America.

2 Cor. iv, 4. The glorious gospel of Christ. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51

 

SERMON IV.

Psalm xlv, 6. Thy throne, 0 God, is for ever and ever; the

          sceptre of thy kingdom is a light sceptre . . . . . . . . .  77

 

SERMON V

Isaiah ix, 6. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given . . . .  97

 

SERMON VI.

Hebrews xi, 33. Who through faith subdued kingdoms. . . . . . . . . . 111

 

SERMON VII.

Isaiah xlv, 11. Command ye me. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129

 

SERMON VIII.

Genesis xviii, 19. For I know him, that he will command his

         children, and his household after him. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 167

 

SERMON IX.

1 Cor. xiii, 12. Now I know in part. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  187

 

SERMON X.

Jeremiah xvii, 9. The heart is deceitful above all things, and

desperately wicked.  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 207

 

SERMON XI.

Zechariah iv, 6. Not by might, nor by power, but my Spirit,

saith the Lord of hosts. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 223


xvi                        CONTENTS.

 

SERMON XII.

Proverbs xxii, 29.  Seest thou a man diligent in his business?

he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean

men. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  243

 

SERMON XIII.

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

 

SERMON XIV.

1 Cor. i, 24. Chlist the power of God, and the wisdom of God. . . . 279 

 

SERMON XV.

Job xviii, 14. And it shall bring him to the king if terrours. . . . . . . 293

 

SERMON XVI.

Psalm cxix, 18. Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous

things out of thy law. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  309

 

SERMON XVII.

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

 

SERMON XVIII.

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

 

SERMON XIX.

John xvi, 8. And when he is come, he will reprove the world

            of sin. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  367 

 

SERMON XX.

Psalm xviii, 30. As for God, his WAY is perfect. And

Psalm xix, 7.     The LAW of the Lord is perfect. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 390

 

SERMON XXI.

Preached before the Merrimack Bible Society in Newburyport, 1824.

Psalm cxxxviii, 2. For thou hast magnified thy word above all

thy name. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 403


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sermon  I.

 

 

 

 

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

mountains?

     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


2

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

serpent.

     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


3

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 dead.    

      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

individuals.

      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-

 


4

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

women, the mothers in Israel, the daughters of Jeru-

salem?  For such a barbarous invasion, they must tear

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

war.

      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


5

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

manger of Bethlehem; she is now a giant, rejoicing


6

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?


7

The field of War is like the fabled sea of Sodom, in

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

those of Egypt, when solid darkness covered the land;

when no man cou1d safely leave his home; when

death was in every house; terrour and dismay in every

heart.

    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 Zion, all

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-

gle short series.  What was the state of the Canaan-

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

wars of modern Europe?

      Read again the history of those revolutions, and

say -- I think, I hear you say, "War is a monster.


8

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-

salem, and cry unto her that her warfare is accom-

plished."

     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

bear arms. 

    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.


9

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 Constantine, and tutor 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

nearly half the legions of the Roman empire, stationed

in Egypt, Palestine, and Britain.  Yet, not a Chris-

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."


10

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


 

11

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."

 

IMPROVEMENT.

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-


12

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-

signing men.

     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


13

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

war?

      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

battle.

      Might not some historians be more useful, if they

distinctly related the wickedness and miseries of war?


14

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


15

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.

The region of Smolensk and Moscow, of Leipsic and

Waterloo, present their mournful offerings. The

banks of the Beresina and Rhine, of the Danube and

Nile, raise their voice to be relieved from the relics of

recent battles.

     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-

ing rest.

     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.


16

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

whispers of the Holy Spirit, the songs of Zion, the

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

death.

     Most devoutly do we all pray, that the time may be

hastened, when these mansions, like Babylon, may be

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.


17

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

courts.

     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

and felicity.

"'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


18

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-

stroyed thousands and myriads in a day, as at Arbela

and Pharsalia, at Jerusalem and Ashkelon, at Pavia and

Warsaw."

     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

miracle.

     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


19

may drive their chariots, the wheels red with their

blood?

     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-


20

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 England, two or three

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

public affairs of the country.  The science, the wis-

dom, the eloquence, which you teach, may carry


21

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

of war?

     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


22

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

tremble.

     Yes, my beloved hearers, the work is begun; the

work is advancing.  Peace Societies are established

in Europe and America.  Mankind are opening their

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,


23

--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

more dreadful?

     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-

rible?

     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

world?


24

      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.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

SERMON II.

 

 

 

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.

 


26

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


27

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

greatest benefactor.

     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?


28

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


29

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

says,

"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

nature fail."

      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


 

30

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-

tains of Arabia," says a late voyager,* "rests upon no

solid basis.  An internal conflagration hath formed

immense caverns under their foundations,  which,

passing under the Red Sea, communicate with Africa.

Hence Maha and Zeila, two towns on the opposite

shores of the Red Sea, feel the shock of an earth-

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

of Sicily is mostly covered with the eruptions of

AEtna.  This mountain, one hundred eighty three

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.


31

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

part of Europe.  In the north, Hecla, in Iceland, has

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!


32

     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

of Egypt, afterwards destroyed them who believed

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

upon all."

     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;


33

every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it

be evil."

     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

combined.

     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


34

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.

     Sodom and the cities of the plain gaily ate and

drank, and bought and sold, and planted and builded,

and insulted Lot, till the day he left the city.  While

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


35

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-

come immortal.

     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


36

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

blood.

     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 Europe, the

head of Pompey again unites with the body, rising

from the dust of Africa.

     On the plains of Abram, and the borders of Cham-

plain; on the hills of Saratoga and Charlestown, York

 


37

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

day.

      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


38

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-


39

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


40

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


41

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.


42

     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'

Bethlehem is on the throne.  On the right hand be-

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.


43

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

and children.

     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


44

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-


45

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


46

addresses them, "Come, ye blessed, inherit the king-

dom, prepared for you, before the foundation of the

world."

     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


47

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

perish.

    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


48

of Lebanon sinks in the devouring fire.  The venera-

ible Ararat, which once saved the church of God on

its towering summit, is now enveloped in the common

ruin.  Carmel and Sinai, Zion and Calvary, vanish

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.

The Andes, the Alps, and Appenines, send their blazing

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


49

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

burning lake?

      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-


50

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.


 

 

 

 

SERMON III.

 

 

 

 

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


52

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

sun.

      No pagan nation has adopted rational views of

immortality.  Though they have generally yielded


53

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


54

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


55

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-

nation!

      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;


56

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 Mount Cal-

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 Nile.

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


57

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

                         *Dr. Clark.


58

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

of Gilead, and the Physician there."

     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.            !!Cicero.


59

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

their children.

      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 Galilee, and for forty days converses with

his friends.  From mount Olivet he ascends, a cloud

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


60

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

their wishes.  In Africa, you will find idolatry more

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,

have long prevailed.  In China the people are cov-

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


61

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

with gods, and the waters of the Ganges, are carried

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


62

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-

edge.

     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.


63

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.


64

     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.


65

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

its influences."

     Thus, my hearers, the word of God, when it comes

with power, has an irresistible energy. It tears up


66

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

soul." 

     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


67

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


88

heathen uttered some excellent things, excited some

consoling hopes; but they spoke without authority;

they could not ensure the hopes which they excited.

Like a palace of ice on the bank of the Neva, which

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

and certain.

      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


69

Greece, or Rome?  You have just heard the babblings

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


70

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?

 

REFLECTIONS.

      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.


71

 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


72

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


73

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


74

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

Canaan.

     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

have been worshipping in the temple of Mars, or

shouting the praises of Bacchus, or offering our chil-


75

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.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SERMON IV.

 

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


78

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


79

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

mysteries.

     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


80

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


81

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

Jehovah.

     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


82

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


83

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


84

-- 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


85

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


86

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,


87

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

our doctrine.

     "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


88

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

and man?"

      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.


89

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

Bethel."  I appeared unto Abram unto Isaac, and

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

Christ.

     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


90

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


91

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.


92

     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


93

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

day.

      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

ill desert?

    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


94

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


95

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.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SERMON  V.

 

 

 

 

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

more enlightened of them, from Europe to China,

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


98

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.


99

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


100

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

the Lord.

     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

probable?


101

     "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


102

man, that such must have been the expectation of

the Jews.

     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

heaven."

      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


103

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

these remarks apply with equal force to Elizabeth and

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.


104

     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


105

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

Socinus.

      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,


106

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-

verse.

      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

Mediator.

      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


107

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


108

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


109

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


110

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.


 

 

 

 

SERMON VI.

 

 

 

 

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


112

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,


113

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

faith.

       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


114

Zion, the city of the living God.  He is admitted.

Such is the efficacy of faith; it saves the soul.

     II.  Faith