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Christ. Christians should " look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others." They are to “seek, not their own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved." Intimately connected with this is that deep concern for the salvation of sinners which can be felt, but which it is difficult to describe. This it was which led David to say, “Rivers of waters ran down my eyes, because they kept not thy law”—which led Jeremiah to exclaim, “O! that my head were waters and mine eyes fountains of tears"- which led the Saviour to weep over Jerusalem, though surrounded by the immense multitude who greeted his public entry into the city, hailing him as the King who came in the name of the Lord. The sight affects the heart. The eye of faith looks at the things which are not seen, which are eternal. It sees the “lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life,” passing away with almost inconceivable rapidity-it sees the sinner perfectly insensible to his danger, while he carelessly sports upon the very brink of a tremendous precipice-it sees death at his door, and judgment following in his train; and it reads the declaration of the “true and faithful witness” inscribed as on a rock, and with words of fire, “Without HOLINESS NO MAN SHALL SEE THE LORD." Hence it is that Christians engage personally in this work. Feeling the " love of Christ” in their own souls, and deeply concerned for the salvation of others, they are willing to spend and be spent" for Christ; and they are anxious to devote their time, their talents, and their influence to his service, that others may be made partakers of like precious faith.
To "turn many to righteousness" by their labors and sacrifices, prompts to action, not only those who are more richly endowed with the gifts of nature, of providence, and of grace, but those also who have but a single talent. Without any reference to superior gifts, the whole body of Christ” has but one "heart and one soul.” Thus it is and has been, in all ages, in all countries, that the true body of Christ-the lively members of the true Church -have harmoniously endeavored to accomplish the great object for which Christ suffered and died. Thus it is, too, that the very diversity of gifts in the Church work one and the same end, being moved by one and the same Spirit, while all contribute to the symmetry, the strength, the efficiency, and the perfection of the whole.
In the history of the Church we see a spirit which is always inciting the true believer to action. And in proportion to the purity, the strength, and the universality of this spirit, has the Church been distinguished for its triumphs over the kingdom of sin and darkness.
Action is what the Church wants. It need not fear if it will but act. And as the Church is figured forth as a body,"
,” it enforces upon Christians individually their duty, to act to do all in their power, according to the "measure of the gift of Christ,” “to save some"—to add " lively stones to that spiritual house," the Church of God.” Every member of the body has its office.' So every member of the body of Christ” has something to do-some office to perform. But if any one is at "ease in Zion"-"neither hot nor cold,"indifferent to the welfare of souls, and the prosperity of Zion—if he does not abound in every good work”-if he acts as if he thought the original command of the Saviour, that the Gospel
should be “preached to every creature," was in no wise obligatory on him, he is like a palsied member of the human body. If he was ever “purged from his old sins," has he not forgotten it? If he ever labored and suffered for Christ, has he not lost his “ first love ?"
In the case of one who says he loves Christ, whom he has not seen, and withholds aid when he has the ability to assist a needy brother, the searching question is asked in a manner which shows the utter impossibility of reconciling such a spirit with love to Christ,-how dwelleth the love of God in him ? If in this case the circumstance of closing up the feelings of his heart against the cry of want and distress, is considered as rendering nugatory the profession of Christianity, what opinion are we to form of those who, having the “form of godliness," exhibit no love for the souls of their fellow men—can make no effort-for their salvation? Is the evidence of the want of Christianity stronger in the one case than in the other? Is it not equally the duty of every Christian to labor to save the soul of a fellow being, as to clothe him if he be naked, or feed him if he be hungry?
“ If any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his." What more pre-eminently distinguished Christ as a perfect example of benevolence, than the efforts and sacrifices he made to " seek and to save that which was lost ?" In what one particular were the apostles above all others—in which they were always unitedon whatever minor matters they might differ ? Was it not in their efforts to save souls ? Neither sacrifices, nor toils, nor dangers, nor privations, nor difficulties, nor death itself, could deter or dishearten them in their ardent pursuit of “the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Search the records of history-call up to the mind the purest and bravest patriots that ever lived, and see if any can be found in the long catalogue, of so much disinterestedness, courage, patience, labor, and self-denial, as the apostles, and others of a similar spirit-any so entirely free from the ordinary motives which influence men to almost incredible efforts and sacrifices. What led to this? Can there be an effect so clearly marked without an adequate cause? The answer is easy. They had the “mind which was also in Christ Jesus.” They were animated by the spirit of Him who, laying aside the glory which he had with the Father, took upon himself the form of a servant, and being found in fashion as a man, humbled himself to lead a life of unmingled sorrow, ceasing not to labor for the object which brought him from heaven to earth, until it was terminated by his death upon the cross. Is this the spirit of Christ? Was this the spirit of the apostles ? What spirit then should distinguish every Christian? Is this a question which he can decide by a simple reference to his own inclinations ? Can he act or not as pleases him? Is there not danger of his incurring the condemnation of the slothful servant who buried his talent in the earth, if he do not occupy it-make the best use in his power of his time and talents, until the master come? Is not the Christian under a direct obligation to promote the cause for which Christ died? Is he permitted to study his own ease? If he may by personal labor and self-denial “save some,” is he not bound to “ do what he can ?" As to those who live as if they had nothing to do in this world-no part to take in endeavoring to snatch souls as brands from the burning-no interest in promotirg the Redeemer's kingdom--who in effect say, “ No man has hired us,':-happy should we esteem ourselves if we could induce them to compare their spirit with that of Christ, and arouse them to zeal and activity in a cause which requires the most powerful exertions of every Christian. This cause has slept too long in the hands of those who have been its advocates and supporters.
In view, then, of this great work, the conversion of the world, every Christian should feel that he has something to do--that his time, his talents, and his influence, should be devoted to the same “object for which Christ died.” Thus it was, as we have seen, with the Church at Jerusalem, shortly after the effusion of the Holy Ghost : “ the multitude of them that believed were of one heart, and one soul.” They were all animated by the same spirit. Such was the union which existed among them. One heart, one fountain head of life, sent its vital streams through the whole body, to give life and animation to all the members. Hence the mighty impetus which was given to Christianity in its commencement. The same union of personal efforts and sacrifices the Church now needs, in order that the “salvation of Israel may come out of Zion.” The best expounders of legal instruments are those who drew them up—who know the exact intent for which they are prepared. So the apostles and first Christians delineate for us in the truest colors the spirit which should animate the whole Church in all ages and under all circumstances. In an especial manner at this time do the remarkable indications that the Lord is about to come suddenly to his temple, call for the most strenuous efforts—the most cheerful self-denial on the part of all who wish well to Zion—who favor the dust thereof. However unsearchable the ways of the Almighty may be to us, there can be no doubt that there are “set times to favor Zion;" and the present is certainly one of those auspicious periods. When a great work is to be done, unusual exertion is required. The soul is then to nerve itself with more than ordinary vigor; and dangers, obstacles, and privations are scarcely to be regarded. What a work have Christians before them ?—and shall they “sleep as do others ?" Shall they not rather awake in the strength of Christ, astonished that they have slept so long? Did a false religious enthusiasm, a restlessness of spirit, a thirst for war, or lust for gain ; did a love of power and dominion, any, or all of these at once, incite all Christendom to wonderful exertions for the recovery of the Holy Land? And shall not the great and truly Christian enterprise of sending the Gospel to every creature-of establishing the kingdom of the Messiah in regions where idolatry, superstition, and error reign, excite in Christians a degree of zeal and devotedness to prosecute it on a scale the world never before witnessed? Let “ Zion arise and shine"-let every Christian do his duty, laboriously, patiently, perseveringly, and soon will the predictions of prophecy, as to the latter day glory, be changed into matter of history. The sixtieth chapter of Isaiah exhibits, in a manner which almost dazzles the strong vision of faith itself, this scene of spiritual glory and prosperity. What Christian can read it, and not say with a heart swelling with unutterable desire, with irrepressible ardor, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do ?"
In this age of religious enterprise it would not be difficult here to enter upon " various details of effort and self-denial,” in one or more of which all Christians should be engaged. The numerous societies which exist for promoting religious knowledge by spreading the Bible and tracts—the various ways by which, as Churches and as individuals, we may in the innumerable ramifications of society, exert our influence favorable to the cause of piety, all these have their respective claims upon the time and attention of Christians. But we will pursue our theme. And we are the less reluctant to do this, because we think, if we can but succeed in exciting a spirit of personal effort and self-denial among Christians, and prevail on them to cherish this spirit, instead of excusing themselves for being idle in the market place, they will go at once, in obedience to the call of their Master into his vineyard, even though it be with them the eleventh hour of the day. Wherever there is the disposition, opportunities of usefulness will quickly be found. Such opportunities, too, as will in this case afford full scope for those of the strongest capacities, and in the most exalted conditions, as well as those of the feeblest minds and the lowest walks of life. Every Christian may be employed, and every Christian should be employed. Do we go in the smallest degree beyond the limits of Divine revelation-are we not fully warranted by the precepts and example of Christ, when we say every Christian must be employed in fulfilling the original command of the Saviour, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature ?"
There is another dụty devolving upon Christians in promoting the great work of the conversion of the world, which, to perform it properly, requires no less effort and self-denial than those which have preceded it—we mean,
Thirdly, Praying for the "peace" and prosperity of spiritual 66 Jerusalem.”
In laboring for the conversion of the world, Christians should give their property, their talents, their influence; but they are not to forget that their prayers must accompany all these. The progress of Mohammedism was exceedingly slow, until the sword opened the way for its more rapid, but certainly not, under all the circumstances, very astonishing progress. But the weapons of the Christian's warfare are not "carnal.” Misguided but well intentioned zeal used a sword once-but the touch of the Saviour immediately healed the wound, and by his command the sword was laid aside from that time never again to be resumed in this holy warfare. But the weapons of Christians do not the less answer their holy purpose. They are indeed mightier than those employed by the hosts of the bloody prophet, though wielded by gigantic strength and consummate skill. More powerful than any of the destructive engines of war, prayer, the first and most important of the Christian soldier's weapons, is mighty through God to the pulling down of the strong holds of sin. The Church, aware of the efficiency of prayer, have systematically used it, and in the establishment of periodical concerts, in which the success of missionary and other benevolent enterprises is made the specific object of their supplications. This weapon they wield with the hand of faith, and in strong confidence that the uttermost ends of the earth will see the salvation of God.
It is exceedingly striking to observe the weight which St. Paul attaches to the prayers of Christians for the fartherance of the Gospel. He labors to enlist their prayers for himself and his fellow laborers, that God would open unto them a door of ulterance, that they might open their mouths boldly, that the word of the Lord might have free course and be glorified. Hence it appears how intimate is the connection between the prayers of the people of God for the peace of Jerusalem and the actual enlargement and prosperity of the Church. To an incredulous eye the connection between the prayers of Christians in Europe and America, for the extention of the Gospel in Asia, may appear imaginary. But if the prayers of the brethren in the days of the apostles could prevail to open a "door of utterance” for them, is not the prevalency of prayer the same now as then? May not the prayers of the Church at this period be available in causing the word of God to have free course in removing the obstructions which national jealousy for ages has thrown in its wayin subduing the inveterate prejudices, strengthened by eighteen hundred years of reproach, estrangement, and suffering—in softening and expanding the fierce and exclusive bigotry, and shedding a clearer and purer light wherever darkness, ignorance, and superstition reign?
That we do not place too much reliance upon the prayers of Christians in effectually aiding this glorious work, is evident from the light in which our Saviour himself regards this duty. Does he not mean to be understood as declaring it both a duty and privilege for Christians, in all ages, to pray for the prosperity and enlargement of the Church, when he directs them to pray that his “ kingdom may come, and his will be done on earth as it is heaven?" Unless it be in accordance with the Divine economy that the prayers of Christians be rendered effectual in opening the way, by removing obstacles, and conquering opposition, that the word of God may prevail and grow mightily, would the Saviour have ever dictated so remarkable a prayer-one whose very terms are calculated to excite an expectation in Christians that, if it be made in faith, it will be heard and answered in the establishment of the kingdom of Christ as an everlasting kingdom, and in such a universal diffusion and cordial reception of religion in the spirit of its requirements, that the will of Christ shall be “ done in earth as it is in heaven ?"
In the power of prayer to open a "door of utterance” and to give the word of God “free course,” we have another instance of the design of the Gospel to humble the natural pride and the arrogant sufficiency of man, and to show him in what his strength consists. But while prayer-fervent, effectual prayer-opening and smoothing the way for the propagation of the Gospel-leaves no room for glorying in an arm of flesh, it at the same time imparts a vigor and courage to Christian efforts which could be drawn from no other source. When Peter was immured in a dungeon, held by chains and guarded by soldiers to prevent his escape from the death to which he was appointed, “prayer was made without ceasing of the Church unto God for him." "The result we know. The last night previous to the day appointed for his execution his deliverance was effected. So Christians, in view of the conversion of the world, have an unfailing resource in prayer. That which may appear to