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" As on the fragrant sandal-tree,
This is CHRIST; and this is Christianity! Who will not rejoice in a religion of such unearthly benignity.
3. Another object of the Redeemer's mission, was to fix the proper boundaries of our benevolence. How much of our property are we bound to give for the cause of God? Surely that religion which requires the yielding up of houses and lands, fathers and mothers, wives and children, and even life itself; a religion that teaches that man cannot live by bread alone, but that the soul requires food for its Bustenance, as well as the body; a religion that is sanctioned by the blood of the Son of God, above all things else, has a just demand to a competent support. Jacob promised to give a tenth part to the Lord, even if he received only his necessary food and clothing; and to give a tenth of one's income, was a law binding upon every Israelite.
Christianity fixes upon no definite sum to be given, but entrusts it to the enlightened judgments, and the consecrated hearts of its votaries; not expecting, however, a tribute less than that required by Judaism, but even more; for, under the religion of Christ, “ let him that hath two coats, give to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise"-" love thy neighbor as thyself.”
4. But to save sinners was the grand object of the Redeemer's mission.
Man, in a state of nature, felt that he had incurred the dig. pleasure of heaven, and the future was wrapped in impenetrable darkness. Heathenism offorded no hope beyond the grave. Judaism did, indeed, point to a deliverer, and it admitted, even the gentile, to the outer court; but dim was its light, and few were the consolations it afforded to the dark and depraved mind. Its rigorous cdicts stoned the Sabbath-breaker and the adultress, and debarred the leper from human society; but the gospel says to the vilest penitent, go thy way and sin no more; divests the poor prodigal of his rags, and clothes him in the best attire; says to the woman who was a sinner, thy sins, which are many, are forgiven thee; and to the thief on the cross, this day shalt thou be with me in paradise. What welcome news for our fallen
race, is embraced in this single sentence :-" The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin !"
5. An eminent object of the gospel is to lay a foundation for the highest degree of improvement.
Infidelity boasts of its humanity, and tauntingly asks, what has Christianity done? Let all that distinguishes this from a heathen land answer the question. Let our
alms houses; our houses of industry; our asylums for the deaf and dumb, the blind, and the insane, testify. Our primary schools, our academies, and our colleges, let them lift up their voice. Let even our roads, our canals, our shipping, our steamboats, our railways, and our telegraphs, bear witness to the fact that Christianity ALONE, affords the power, which developes the noblest principles and feelings of humanity.
But, in our turn, let us ask, what has Infidelity done? The advocates of its newest and most improved systems, have not union and concentration of effort enough to construct the least thing for the benefit of humanity, and its adherents only claim to be experimenters; and while they are experimenting by forming communities, and by railing at all time-honored institutions, Christianity, being adapted to humanity as it is, is mixing its sacred leaven with the whole lump, and is making its mighty conquests. There are no other principles of improvement in the universe than those found in Christianity. When the burning seraph stands on the highest Pisga of heaven, and in the light of the eternal throne, a light that may even be felt, looks back to the time when he held the first childish toy in his hand, and remembers the first thought impressed upon his mind—when he traces, in the light of God's own face, all the way in which he has been led to the attainment of his present position, he will feel and acknowledge, that every step which has favored his upward course, has been taken under the direct guidence of him, who has said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.”
6. Do we need more to inspire us with a sense of the
gospel's value, and to cause us to rejoice and be glad in its salvation? Then let us go to the bed of the dying saint. Enter the chamber where “the good man meets his fate," or rather where his “virtuous steps take hold on heaven.” See him with emaciated form lying helpless on the bed of death. His countenance is pale, his eyes are sunken and dim, and his voice is feeble. The natural senses, those avenues that led to the soul, and let in the sweet delights of earth, are well nigh closed up; but with the last expiring energy, he lifts his eyes to heaven and exclaims, “ Lo this is my God, I have waited for him; this is the Lord. I will rejoice and be glad in his salvation.” And then like good old Jacob, who had waited for the Lord's salvation, he gathers up his feet, gives up the Ghost, and is gathered to his people in heaven.
1. If the gospel should be hailed with joy, ought not all who profess to have received its excellencies, to prize it most highly? O, let its sacred Book, its Sabbath, its Church, its ministry, and all its institutions, be prized above all price. Rather let us suffer for temporal clothing, than for the garment of salvation ; for common food, than for the bread and water of life. Alas! how many, who, profess to be friends to Christianity, live as though they placed a higher value upon their shops and stores, than up on this inestimable treasure.
2. If the gospel should be hailed with such joy—if we have found it to yield such consolation and delight to our souls in our realization of its promises, ought we not to give it to all others ? It is glad tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people; though, as yet, a majority of
our fellew men, are destitute of its heavenly influences. They are pining away in their iniquities and dying therein. Are we disciples of him who came on a mission from heaven to earth, and shall we not
“ Haste to spread the Saviour's name,
3. And, finally, let me address a word to those, who, living in the midst of gospel privileges, are treating them with entire neglect. Is it nothing to you that God has given the gospel ? Does it not concern you that he has prepared a way of salvation so well adapted to your nature ? Has a communication between heaven and your soul been opened in vain ? Does the love of God and of Christ, fail to move you? Behold, the infinite Father of the universe, as his sympathetic bosom swells, and his great heart beats for his suffering children.
See him, as he descends from heaven, spreading his mantle of love over a bleeding world, and pouring his balm of life into earth’s bleeding heart. Will you not say this is our God, we will rejoice and be glad in such salvation, wrought out by the hand of omnipotent kindness?
But, if still unmoved, look to the tragic scenes of Calvary, and there behold our God, clad in habiliments of flesh, extend his arms to embrace the dying sons of earth, while they cnraged, transfix those arms of innocence and love to the cross. Witness the dying agonies of the incarnate God, as he yields up his heart's blood for your sins. It is for you, as an individual, he bleeds and groans and dies; for