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present scene, your knowledge of religion evaporates in mere profession—you avow the Gospel but in form, and make light of its realities. Now, to such of you, I repeat
Ι the question, Will you, otherwise than you have hitherto done, henceforward appreciate and receive the endless blessings which God, in the Gospel, is offering you? Be assured these blessings are offered you—sincerely and urgently offered you. Nevertheless, their reception is a matter (under God) within the province of your own choice—to which you may, or may not, as you please, concede ; and should you, therefore, do the latter, the fault must lie exclusively upon yourselves. Beware, then, of tampering with the proffers of salvation. Hail these proffers rather, I beseech you, with gratitude and joy. Oh! be persuaded cordially to embrace them. And be persuaded to do so without delay, by thie solemn consideration, that on your acting thus, or otherwise, depends both the measure of your happiness here, and the colour of your destiny hereafter.
In conclusion, I would only further observe, that if such be the gospel, such its perpetual efficiency as the means of mercy, and such the eternal glory to which it leads, how worthy must it be of universal diffusion !
Nothing, when its importance is thus viewed, can weigh with it for one moment in the balance of comparative excellence, of comparative value to society; and there is nothing, of course, the common possession of which is so supremely desirable. It were well that the blessings of civil freedom, of secular science, of enlarged commerce, and of general civilization were more commonly and fully enjoyed; it were, indeed, for they are fraught with many and high advantages to mankind. But what are the advantages of these, numerous and great as they may be, compared with those of genuine Christianity? They are merely as the interests of the body to those of the spirit, or as the affairs of the present to the interminable realities of the future. It is Christianity alone
which can impart to man the true peace of mind he needs ; which can renew his heart and ennoble bis character; which can give a zest of solid felicity to the enjoyments of time,
bim for the glories of eternity. And hence its superior—its unrivalled claim to universal dissemination,to be proclaimed in every land, and made known to every individual.
But will it ever be so ? Prophecy--whatever infidelity may affirm to the contrary-declares it will. Jesus, in unison with all previous prediction on the point, assured his disciples that “the gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world, for a witness unto all nations ;” and, to secure the fulfilment of what he thus prophetically announced, he
, commanded bis Apostles, and, through them, the church at large, to “ Go into all the world, and to preach the gospel to every creature.”
As yet, indeed, the gospel is far from being universally preached; its abettors form but a fraction of the inhabitants of the globe, and even among
its professed friends the spirit of devoted attachment to the important privileges it secures, is far from being what it ought to be. But still, all things considered, its advancement is by no means inconsiderable, while the prospects of its more extensive and rapid success are daily becoming brighter. In the midst of the darkness that now envelopes the nations, a bright point may be seen, which indicates the dawn of a more resplendent day. God is shaking the earth; he is overturning, overturning; and we have every reason to believe he is doing so to prepare a way for his coming whose right it is, and who shall reign for ever.
While you, my brethren, yourselves enjoy the blessings of the Gospel, be concerned for its extension to others; rejoice at every token which bespeaks its more general diffusion ; and pray and labour for the speedy approach of that era, when the knowledge of it shall cover the earth as the waters cover the channel of the sea. Events, as well as the injunc
tions of Scripture, are summoning you to action,-calling upon you to display a spirit of deep anxiety and ardent zeal in the Christian cause. Refuse not to hear the voice of God;
arise rather at His command from the spiritual stupor which unnerves your energies, and go forth with renewed vigour, “to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty." And in all your efforts to advance the cause of His name, be animated at once by the vast importance of the object at wbich you aim, and the absolute certainty of your endeavours being ultimately crowned with
“ Arise, shine ; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be
thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: the Lord will hasten it in his time.' Amen.
THE BLESSINGS WHICH FLOW TO BELIEVERS FROM CHRIST AS THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE.
BY THE Rev. ALEXANDER HARVEY.
John xi. 25, 26. " Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection and the life : he that
believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live : and whosoever liveth, and believeth in me, shall never die Believest thou this ? "
The tenderness and glory of Christ's character are beautifully displayed in harmonious combination, in the chapter from which our text is selected. Here we behold the melting sympathy of the man Christ Jesus, for the woes of humanity, and the power of God in soothing them. While his tears flow over the ravages of death, his omnipotent word robs the mighty spoiler of his prey, and brings back from the regions of the grave the corrupting remains of the “ friend whom he loved."
The family of Lazarus resided at Bethany, a small bamlet not far distant from Jerusalem, and consisted of himself and two sisters. They were bound to each other by strong affection and religious principle. To them Jesus boré an ardent attachment. In their quiet and pious abode he appears, on several occasions, to have sought refreshment and repose
after his public labours in the capital ; and he seems to have been always received with cordial love, and simple hospitality. When Jesus was on one of his benevolent excursions for the propagation of his religion, and the salvation of sinners, Lazarus sickens. The affectionate sisters cherished the sincerest wish for the recovery of their brother ; they watched over him with the greatest solicitude, and viewed with alarm the fatal symptoms which indicated the approach of dissolution. As human aid was useless in this hour of extremity, they dispatched a special messenger to inform Jesus of the dangerous situation of his friend.
With intense anxiety would they count the minutes as they passed, the flight of which, they hoped, would bring Jesus to their relief. With the utmost confidence did they anticipate his compliance with their request. Days, however, passed away, and still the Saviour came not. The disease continued gather strength; and, in his absence, Lazarus dies. Jesus was not, however, ignorant of the trying event which had bereaved the sisters of their beloved brother. But it was for the glory of God that they should suffer for a time, and feel the desolation which death had wrought in their hearts. Four days after the decease of Lazarus, and when his mortal remains had been consigned to the tomb, Jesus drew near to Bethany, and the tidings of his approach reached the disconsolate sisters. Martha arose in baste, and went out to meet him. Her tears and language seemed to upbraid him for bis delay in coming to their relief. 66 Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died;" but, at the same time, she expressed her firm conviction that he was able to raise bim from
“ I know that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.” Jesus announced to her the certainty of the resurrection of her beloved friend “ Thy brother shall rise again.” This assurance appears to have been regarded by her rather as the declaration of a general truth, than as an intimation of the immediate restoration of her brother to life, and therefore she replied—“I know that he shall rise again at the resurrection, at the last