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SERMON I.

EPHESIANS H. 12.

At that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from ffie covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.

OF all the times, in which during many years I have been called to exercise my ministry, the present appears to me by far the most arduous and important: as it not only has respect to the eternal condition of the individuals which compose this auditory, and their immediate connexions; but as it is also especially intended to recommend an institution, which, though small in its beginnings, may, if properly conducted, and adequately supported, and graciously prospered, extend its beneficial consequences to remote regions and future ages. So that multitudes of whom we know nothing, nay, who have not yet received an existence, may ultimately be concerned in the present service.

If the blessings, derived from christianity, be so deeply needed, and so inestimably valuable, as its zealous friends suppose the Scriptures to represent them; genuine Philanthropy alone might, one would suppose, induce us to communicate them, if possible, to such as still " sit in darkness and the shadow of *' death." But besides the benumbing power of selfishness in its varied forms, and disregard to God and religion, compared with what are judged the personal or political interests of mankind; infidelity has diffused its contagion even among Christians: and the antiscriptural sentiment-, that heathens, and Mahometans, and Jews, may be saved by their religions, if sincere in them, as well as Christians by their's, has cut the Very sinews of exertion, and led men to undervalue the Gospel itself. But if this sentiment be true why were apostles and evangelists sent forth to preach to all nations? To what purpose their labours, sufferings and martyrdom? For what were ihey so zealods and earnest? Did they, or did they not, consider all "tfien, of every nation, exposed to the wrath of God, under condemnation, and in danger of everlasting misery, from which they could not possibly be delivered, except by faith hi the Lord Jesus Christ? If this were their judgment, they acted consistently; and if this " judgment were according to truth," they acted with genuine wisdom and disinterested philanthropy, as well as ardent zeal for the glory of God. The language of their conduct 'may be expressed in the words of the apostle; " The same Lord Over all is rich unto ** all that call upon him: for whosoever shall call on "the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then "shalT they call on him, on whom they have not be<* lieved? And how shall they believe in him of whom

"they have not heard? And how shall they hear with"out a preacher? And how shall they preach except "they be sent? As it is written, How beautiful upon "the mountains are the fcet of them that preach the "gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good "things! So then {hith cometh by hearing, and hear"ing by the word of God." And " without faith it is "impossible to please God." But if this were not their view of the subject, their whole conduct is perfectly unaccountable: if they erred in judgment, they were left to act in a manner suited to mislead all men, through successive generations, who should look up to them as declaring the will of God to men, and illustrating it by their example. And who can help .peroeiving that this sentiment both represents the apostles as enthusiasts and bigots; and impeaches the wisdom of Christ him-6elf in sending them forth into the world?

That avowed infidels should admit these conclusions, is not at all wonderful: but that an opinion so derogatory to the honour of Christ, and even, if carried to its consequences, subversive of christianity, should obtain favour among the friends of our holy religion, and influence their practice, can lie ascribed to nothing but the extreme dcceitfulness of the human heart; and the deep subtlety of Satan, who thus endeavours to retain his destructive sway, without disturbance from the disciples of him, who came to destroy his works and subvert his kingdom.

Before we proceed to examine the judgment of the apostle, I would make a few remarks on the charge of uncliaritableness, and even malevolence, which is brought against those, who in this respect undoubted

ly "speak according to the oracles of God." Our "God." Our opinions, concerning the eternal condition of our fellow men, will not alter that condition, whether we groundlessly presume that they are safe, or needlessly tremble lest they should perish everlastingly: but our judgment in many cases, will influence our conduct; and groundless confidence may induce a ruinous inactivity, while needless fears can only prompt us to self-denying exertions, which in that case might have been spared. Nor do our opinions necessarily accord to our desires and wishes, nay they are very commonly at direct variance with them. Jeremiah was most deeply convinced that the terrible vengeance of God was about to be poured out on his country; and he was accused as an enemy to his nation, and a traitor to his prince, because he faithfully shew, ed them their danger: yet he could appeal to the Searcher of hearts, that he " had not desired the woeful day;" "he wept in secret places for their pride;" he continued to pray for them after repeated interdictions from God; he seemed to dread nothing more than to see his character as a true prophet completely proved; and after all his sufferings from his ungrateful people, he preferred a lot among the impoverished remains of them, to the proffered favour of Babylon's victorious monarch.

The time would fail to insist on the judgment and conduct of St. Paul respecting the unbelieving Jews, whose doom he constantly predicted, yet declared that "he could wish himself accursed from Christ," (or, "after the manner of Christ,) to prevent it!—But the example of our Lord himself, weeping over the very

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