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to despair. Where did you learn that? Not in the Book that tells what the Saviour is, but only from the suggestions of the Wicked One ; for the worse you are the more you have need of a Saviour; and if you be a sinner, the chiefest of sinners, then even for you there is salvation ; for thousands who were ten times worse are now among the white-robed group that wave their palms in their hands, and sing the praises of God in the presence of the great white throne; and it is quite certain, if you have the common sense of the lepers of Samaria, that if you stay where you are you will die ; if you flee to Christ for pardon you cannot be worse; the probability is that you will be better : the direct assertion of God himself in his holy Word is that you must be so.
A patient is never cured by feeling his pulse, but by obeying the prescription ; a sinner is not saved by reasoning metaphysically—and logically it may beabout his state, but by lifting up his heart to Him who came to seek and to save that which was lost. I have said you are probably worse than you think yourselves. The language of our blessed Saviour describing your state is "lost." You understand what is meant by a lost ship, an she goes down into the depths of the sea, and scarce a ripple behind her; you know what is
lost coin, or a lost sheep. All these are esentations of what man is—he is lost.
the human race were not hopelessly st, the Son of God threw away his life. 1 man's descent, no distance in man's coes beyond the reach of that great was nailed to the cross for us; and
e for one reason only—that you will not consent to be saved in the only way in wbich sinners can be saved-by that cross and passion, that death and sacrifice of that blessed Christ whom we preach. Such is Christ's mission.
Let us inquire next what is our commission. It is, “Go ye and preach the gospel”--that is, these good news, these good tidings—" to every creature.” Such is our commission. There must be an instrumentality or an agency, in order to preach this gospel. I enter into 110 mystic or transcendental views about the claims of the Christian ministry; I take the very lowest ground; there must be some instrumentality, some means. The gold lies useless in the mine till the gold-digger seeks it out and brings it to light, and carries it to the mints of the world, and has it struck into national currency. In the same manner diamonds, and amethysts, and rubies, are all useless till inquisitive eyes see them, and covetous hands extract and polish them, and kingly eyes prize them, and kingly diadems wear them. The harp-string is as worthless as a common wire till the fingers of the minstrel awake its sleeping sounds, and fling them forth floating on the air in musical and beautiful vibrations. So the blessed truths of the Bible sleep, are dumb, and dead in the sacred page till by God's great ordinance the living touch, or the living tongue, or the living speaker, wake the sounds into that music that comes home to many hearts, and gives them peace in the knowledge of a Saviour for the very chiefest of sinners. The winds do not preach it, the stars do not form themselves into clusters of letters, and write it on the firmament; the waves of the ocean do not chime it. “How shall they hear without a preacher ? and how shall they preach except they be sent ?”
Our great commission is, therefore, preach the gospel, not prove it. I am afraid preachers are too fond of proving the gospel ; they are so logical, and so bent upon gratifying the intellect, that they are always proving that this and that must be so. What is the use of proving that the sun shines ? The sun proves that it shines simply by shining. We are not to prove the gospel, but preach the gospel ; and like the sweet sunshine it will prove its existence simply by being preached or set forth. But we are to preach this gospel to whom ? Not to the rich, nor to the great, nor to the noble, nor to the royal; but to every creature. There is not a poor beggar who has not as great a right to hear this gospel, and is not as welcome to God's bosom, as the greatest peer that inherits the most ancient name in the annals of our country ; it is a gospel preached to every creature ; and if there be-oh glorious heraldry, the heraldry of heaven--if there be precedence, the poor have the precedence ; for “to the poor the gospel is preached.” Preach the gospel to every creature. Begin, said the Saviour, at Jerusalem. It is in the spirit of the words when I say, Begin at London; only do not stop there. It is said of some, that their charity begins at homeand stops there. Charity, while beginning at home, is too often so nursed and petted at home, that it is not allowed to go abroad, lest it should ruffle its plumage. The language of Scripture is, Let the good act begin at home, but do not let it stop there. On the other hand, there are people who have difficulties of another sort. I know some who will not give anything to foreign missions. They give liberally, most liberally, for everything at home; but they have an idea that our entire
liberality should be expended at home. There are others that give liberally to foreign missions, but give nothing for anything at home. Why? Because it is very sentimental to send the gospel across the ocean to Africa or to China ; it is terribly prosaic and commonplace to send a preacher across the street ; and yet there is at home paganism as dark and as thorough as ever Africa, or Asia, or China presented to our missionaries. We are to go and preach the gospel to every creature.
What is the object of all ? Is it that we may be enriched ? No. Is it that we may do a meritorious deed ? No. Is it that we may make men civilised, desirable as that is ? No ; it is “that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” Then I need not tell you that there is nothing but imperfection in every man out of Christ. The most splendid outward morality covers many a heart full of envy, hatred, malice, covetousness, and all uncharitableness; and the most gorgeous ceremonial—that composite of church and opera which we sometimes read of-often is the mere splendid trapping and shroud of the dead, not the accompaniment of a true and a living worship. Poor humanity out of Christ, like one of those statues that we see in the British Museum, dug from the ruins of the Parthenon, retains traces of its original beauty ; but it shows by its broken fragments and mutilated condition what a terrible catastrophe it has been the victim of. In fact, to describe our ruin and imperfection we should have to summon ruined cities from their graves, broken columns from the débris that covers them; roofless temples, shattered rocks ; volcanoes, earthquakes, deserts ; all as but
dim types of that great catastrophe in which we are plunged by nature ; for you may depend upon it neither we nor our world are now as at first made by God; both have been the subjects of a great convulsion, that convulsion the offspring of our sin.
“That we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” Do we not all desire, and is it not natural to desire, to be perfect ? If a man be a tradesman, and work with his hands, he wishes to be the best tradesman in his neighbourhood; if he be a physician, he wants to be a perfect one ; if a lawyer, a first-rate one; and it is quite right. Whenever you see a man neglect his business to distribute tracts—and the latter is a most excellent thing—that man, depend upon it, is not in a right and healthy state. It is our duty in that sphere, and at that post, where Providence has placed us, to seek to excel. If I were a soldier, I would resolve to be the most obedient, the most brave, the most devoted in the army, and expect to rise and get a commission. If I were a sailor, I would try to be the best and ablest that treads the deck; and if I were to sweep a crossing, I would try to sweep my crossing better than any other sweeper of a crossing in London. Whatever a man is, he ought to try to excel in. Why not try then to excel in that loftier level, in that better and yet more beneficent sphere, the sphere of Christianity ? Our commission is to seek to be perfect, to strive to be perfect; nay, the command is, “ Be ye perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect ;" and already, justified by Christ's righteousness, we are in that respect perfect; washed in his blood, we are in that respect without stain ; so that in one sense every true Christian is