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gine that many a sanguine specula tor might work up this rude material into an eloquent and consistent scheme; and soon found a branch society, to be connected, loosely or firmly, with the parent institution wherever there may be encouragement held out to adventurers in theological reveries!
humiliation, that whatever success or disappointment may have attended others, I have seen so little good manifested in my own department of the spiritual vineyard. I know not how to blame any one who has heard my pastoral addresses, public or private, for a long series of years, till I can ascertain, that I have been' really faithful in the ministry, and have "kept back nothing that was profitable." There is a kind of halfpreaching of the Gospel, and a slovenly and cowardly mode of private ministration; and there is a neglect of applying to our own hearts, what we professionally declare to our flocks; and in my lonely musings on these things, I sometimes, as I think, endure the terribilia Dei, in a way which seems to make me tremble that ever I ventured to approach the altar. Do you sympathize with me? Let us, however, take courage. I am, at least able to advise you to do this; and you may, possibly, be more ready to return the encouragement, than to receive it.-Accept my best wishes for your personal, domestic, and pastoral prosperity; and believe me to be, my dear friend, very truly your's,
I do not write the above, as though either you or myself would be justified in exposing unnecessarily, the infirmities of our fellowwanderers through the wilderness of this world; but it is sometimes expedient to illustrate human littleness, as a warning against others and ourselves. In the mean time, our own path, as professing to be ministers of the everlasting Gospel, is as evident as the light of heaven, which, let us hope, shines upon it. We are virtually missionaries at home; and, alas! need not look beyond the limits of our parishes, to witness the spiritual darkness and death of a world lying in wickedness. We want the self-same blessing which God so largely vouchsafed to the earliest church; when the Spirit was poured out, and when its first teachers were "all filled with the Holy Ghost." And if this Comforter can alone "shew us things to come," and particularly as they affect our religious progress and security, we want Him also to apply to our souls things already past-all that Jesus Christ has actually accomplished for the salvation of his people. There is such an unexhausted and inex- Tothe Editor ofthe Christian Observer. haustible fund of revealed truth already in our possession, or offered to our acceptance, that-so, at least, my own experience teaches me-I feel rather the guilt of having so scantily and indolently used it, than any wish to rebuild, as it were, the scheme of the immutable Gospel after a new model. It is, indeed, matter of deep complaint, and deep
ATTENDING THE PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL UNDER CIRCUMSTANCES OF OPPOSITION.
THE inclosed remarks were written for a young lady, under feelings of embarrassment, from the opposition of friends to her attendance upon the preaching of the Gospel, by a well-known minister of the Established Church in London. Thinking they might be interesting to many of your female readers, I send them for insertion in your miscellany.
Every human relationship has its appropriate duties, and each of those
duties its correlative. Thus, for example, each of the relationships of magistrate and subject, parent and child, husband and wife, brother and sister, minister and people, master and servant, has its corresponding obligations. If the subject's duty be obedience, the corresponding duty in the magistrate is the due regard to the welfare and happiness of the subject: honour and reverential obedience from the child, claim love and protection from the parent; the duty of the husband to love and protect his wife, is met with the corresponding obligation, on her part, to love and reverence the authority of her husband so also a mutual debt of love is due between the brother and sister but no authority can be rightly exercised, if love and wisdom be not its ruling principles. So again, while the minister's duty is to preach the pure unmixed Gospel to the people, there is a corresponding and equally imperative obligation upon them to hear it. This leads to a more detailed consideration of the subject above proposed.
Again, besides the sanction of express command, weighty reasons. may be advanced to enforce the obligation imposed upon every individual who lives within reach of the faithful ministration of the Gospel, to attend that ministration. We learn from numerous passages in the New Testament, corroborated by the experience of every age since the first promulgation of the Gospel, that God has employed, and peculiarly honoured, the preaching of the Gospel as the great means of converting the souls of men, and bringing them to a saving acquaintance with true religion. It is not intended by this last observation to underrate the importance of prayer, private, social, or public: prayer may be as efficacious to the individual in secret, and perhaps generally is more so, than in social or public worship; but preaching, from its nature, as a public means of grace, does not, as a general rule, admit of a substitute.
The command given by our blessed Lord to his Apostles, and those who were to succeed them in their ministerial office, is as unquestionably binding, as it is universal: "Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world" (Matt. xxviii. 19, 20). Again, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature" (Mark xvi. 15; Luke xxiv. 47). The Apostle Paul felt this obligation when he said, "Woe is me, if I preach not the Gospel" (1 Cor. ix. 16). The corresponding duty in the hearer is equally imperative; and each person professing to be a Christian, should say and feel, Woe is me, if I hear not the Gospel.
Other arguments might be urged, but enough has been advanced, to shew the imperious duty of attendance upon the preaching of the Gospel. But it may be, and often is, objected, Why attend this or that particular church? Does not every minister of the Established Church preach the Gospel? Undoubtedly he ought to do so: but the fact is far otherwise. Yet while this is obvious to every person, who knows by personal experience, the value of the Gospel in its influ ential effects upon his heart and character and conduct, and who can distinguish the reality from its spurious substitute, it is not easy to answer such an objection, made by a worldly-minded person, who is satisfied with the outward form of public worship, and with that nominal Christianity which consists rather in external profession, and ceremonial observance, than in an experimental adoption of the in fluential doctrines of the Gospel. Though it may be difficult to answer such an observation, since it would
probably involve the discussion of many, if not all of the fundamental doctrines of Christianity, there are certain characteristics in the preaching of the Gospel, which really religious persons, however various in their denominations, for the most part agree in acknowledging, as essential and indispensable. Among these, is the exhibition of the original corruption, and consequent actual transgression of human nature: Its consequences in the awful curse, pronounced against all sin by the offended justice of a holy God; involving in it temporal and eternal ruin Christ the Messiah, God as well as man, the only but all-sufficient and suitable Saviour, who atoned for the transgressor, and, by the infinite value of that atonement, purchased pardon and all other needful blessings for time and for eternity, in behalf of those who repent and believe: The free mercy of God to sinners, through this wonderful atonement: The imputed righteousness of Christ the only ground for the sinner's justification or acquittal before God: The influences of the Holy Spirit to renew and sanctify the soul, by giving it a new character, an enlightened intellect, and spiritual affections, and by imparting faith in the great work of atonement; which faith proves its genuineness by the holy fruits which it produces. The above doctrines plainly, consistently, and habitually enforced, impart to the ministry which embraces them a character obviously differ ing from that which is chiefly occupied in the inculcation of moral and religious duties. Not that the inculcation of duties is to be omitted in preaching the Gospel; quite the contrary; but these duties should, and must flow, as results inseparable from the principle of love, which a true sense of God's mercy in Christ awakens in the soul; and which, with the blessing of the Holy Spirit, it is the aim of Gospel preaching to impart. The preaching of the Go
spel may be distinguished from that which is conceived not to be the Gospel, thus: The former, by the prominent exhibition of its doctrines, supplies motives or influential principles which invariably lead to obedience, as their necessary consequence; while the latter urges obedience as a duty, without supplying these actuating motives; as it does not present, at least sufficiently, to the hearers, the glorious doctrines whence those motives emanate.
The above hints may suffice to shew what is meant by preaching that Gospel, which it is conceived to be the indispensable duty of every one within its reach to hear, and also to suggest an answer to the objection before noticed.
But a difficulty remains. You have, it may be replied, proved the duty of preaching the Gospel, and the equally imperious obligation of hearing the Gospel; you have also explained what that Gospel is. But how is this duty practicable in my individual case; how can I discharge this duty, if friends, whose relationship or connexion with me justly entitles them to exercise controul over my general conduct, and whose influence and authority it is my duty in accordance with the well established rules of society to respect, oppose my wishes? The following observations may, it is hoped, suggest a solution of the difficulty.
A parent, or one whom the providence of God has substituted in the place of that revered relationship, has a right to exercise controul in all things where that controul does not militate against our duty to God. The rule for acquiescence in any such controul ceases at this definite point. We must first inquire, earnestly and honestly, what that duty is; and when ascertained, with prayer for God's blessing and guidance, we are bound, be the consequences what they may, to obey God rather than man, though man in all other respects be invested
with unquestionable authority. In this sense, the passage, Matt. x. 37, is plain and authoritative.
Thus much for the principle upon which the conduct of a child, dependent, or other person under the legitimate controul of another, is to be regulated.
The subject is illustrated, and the duty clearly proved by the answer and conduct of the Apostles, in the transaction recorded in the fourth chapter of the Acts. They boldly preached the Gospel, and great offence was thereby given to the rulers they were summoned before the chief council, who, notwithstanding the conviction that the miracle of healing had been wrought in attestation of the truth of the Gospel preached by the Apostles, commanded them (ver. 18) not to preach; the Apostles' answer was worthy their character and office: "Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than to God, judge ye; for we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard" (19, 20). They accordingly left the council, and, with undaunted courage and faith, continued their public ministry, relying upon the promised support of their Heavenly Master, who said, "Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world." A similar transaction occurs in the fifth chapter of Acts, verses 27, 28; and a similar reply is recorded, verses 29-32. It is conceived to be indisputable that the duty of the people to hear, precisely corresponded with that of the Apostles to preach and had they been commanded not to attend upon the Apostles' ministry, they would and ought to have made a corresponding reply (see Heb x. 25).
This duty is as urgent at the present day the same obligation subsists now, as then, between the minister and people; and the same answer and consistent conduct become the believer towards those who, in an unlawful exercise of au
thority, would endeavour to obstruct him in the discharge of an unquestionable duty towards God and his own soul. I would also remark, that if the duty of attending the ministry of the Gospel be thus imperative, the responsibility and danger of aggravated guilt in attending upon the Gospel (where opportunity is afforded) without profit and improvement are truly appalling.
From what has been advanced, it would seem necessarily to follow, that the Christian has not any option or discretion, whether he will hear the Gospel, if an available opportunity presents itself; for woe awaits him if he do not. The duty being established, something must be said in reply to the question, How can I carry this duty into practice, considering the peculiar circumstances in which I am placed? Men are not so likely to be placed in circumstances that will prevent their attending the preaching of the Gospel, if within their reach, when and where they please; but with respect to females, who, by the constitution of society, are generally under restraint, and subject to an authoritative exercise of domestic controul to which the other sex are not liable, the difficulties in discharge of the duty in question are considerable. Of course the utmost discretion and delicacy are requisite; every consistent concession must be made to legitimate authority; and when opposition becomes necessary, it should be conducted with every feeling of respectful love and Christian kindness, in the spirit of calm dispassionate and conciliating remionstrance, while the plea of paramount duty to God is urged as the only ground or excuse for opposition. It is not often that such a conciliatory course would be unavailing, and in almost every case it will be found that "a soft answer turneth away wrath." The opposition above supposed to take place between the parent and child, as that relation
ship involves the strongest compulsory obligation, next to that of husband and wife; but all other relationships are comparatively less restrictive, and the principle upon which the duty in question is to be discharged equally applies to all. It has before been intimated, that the relationship of husband and wife involves the strongest compulsory obligation in the latter to submit. The laws of God and man have subjected the wife to the authority of the husband; and, from the circumstances and nature of the relationship, and the constitution of civilized society, she is thereby placed under a controlling influence of the most imperative character: yet even in this case the command of God must, in every particular, constitute the paramount obligation. Correctly speaking, the duty to the husband never can be at variance with duty to God; but the conflict between the command of a worldlyminded husband and that of God, must ever terminate in a painful struggle of the heart.-In reference to this subject, it may be observed, that a Christian female, in the prospect of assuming the relationship of a wife, cannot be justified in the sight of God, nor expect his blessing, where she voluntarily subjects herself to the controul of one whose indifference or opposition to religion must necessarily involve her in the heartrending conflict between her duty to God and the authoritative commands of a husband.—In conclusion, it must never be forgotten, that earnest prayer for guidance and help, under the varied circumstances of opposition above mentioned, is indispensable, since without it we can scarcely hope for the removal of any trial, nor for support during its pressure.
FAMILY SERMONS.-No. CCLXIX.
Heb. vii. 25.- Wherefore he is able to save them to the uttermost that CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 343.
THE Mosaic priesthood is a type of that of Christ; and a knowledge of its nature is necessary to a correct acquaintance with the office of Jesus Christ, as "the Great High Priest of our profession." In this Epistle, St. Paul runs a parallel between the two; and shews that, in all respects, the priesthood of Christ has the preeminence, and that the priesthood of Aaron was only a shadow of it. The point of contrast in the context, is the benefit resulting from the intercessory part of their office; and we learn that, whilst the priests of the former dispensation could execute this im portant part of their duties only for a short time, by reason of death, Jesus Christ continues a Priest for ever, and is therefore "able to save to the uttermost them that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them." This passage sets before
First, The Christian's complete salvation; and
Secondly, The ground on which it rests.
First. The text sets before us the complete salvation of the Christian. This salvation is spoken of, both as respects the willingness and ability of God to save, and the actual reception of salvation by the believer. The whole is included in the following particulars: The Christian's coming to God; the medium of his access, through Christ; the salvation he receives; and the completeness of that salvation. Let us unfold these particulars.
1. The Christian comes to God. By nature and practice we are alienated from him; for "the carnal mind is enmity against him;" "the natural man receiveth not the things of God, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." And the mournful fruit of the alienation of the 3 F