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that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.”
In our Saviour's prayer, he says to his Father, "sanctify them through thy truth, thy word is truth.” So the apostle in our text says; “that he might sanctify and cleanse it by the washing of water by the word.” The words blood, truth,
and word, are used to signify that pure doctrine of the gospel which cleanses men from all sin. This is that clean water of which we read, Ezekiel xxxv. 26, “ Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and
ye shall be clean ; from all your filthiness, and from all your idols will I cleanse you." This is that fountain of which we read, Zachariah xiii. 1, " In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness."
Of the use of this water we read, Isaiah i. 16,“ Wash you, make you clean, put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes." And that the deepest stain of sin may, by such means, be removed, the prophet signifies as follows ; “ Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord. Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."
A hope is entertained, that we shall give no offence by saying, what is so evidently true, that the natural effects of the use of clean water on that which is filthy, is to cleanse it, and make it clean like itself ; but if the water be filthy it will render every thing on which it is used, like itself. Leaving the figure, what shall we say of the various partial doctrines of the christian church since the corruptions of christianity were introduced ? They have maintained the doctrine of partial election and reprobation, of total depravity by imputation, of vindictive wrath and eternal vengeance in God, of endless sin and rebellion, of rendering saints happy in heaven by tormenting their fellow creatures in hell, and a thousand other absurd things ;
and what have these doctrines done towards cleansing, and sanctifying believers in them? My friends, it is too evident that these inclean waters have rendered those who have used them like themselves, to which the history of the church will bcar ample testimony. But the pure doctrine of divine love, grace, pardon, ard forgiveness, is of a cleansing quality. It extracte the poison of hatred, kills the monster jealousy, drowns envy, molifes the hard heart, creates a forgiving spirit, and draws out the affections in love to enemies. This doctrine so much despised, so much censured, is designed to take out every spot and every wrinkle from the church of Christ, and “present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” Then shall the church be glorious in the Lord her righteousness. To this end Christ is “ made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption.” When all men are rendered wise in the wisdom of Christ, righteous in the righteousness of Christ, sanctified in the sanctity of Christ, and are completely redeemed from sin, from death, and from mortality, when that which was sown in dishonour shall be raised in glory, and this mortal body is fashioned like unto the glorious body of Christ, then will the church appear in all the splendor of immortal beauty and glory. To this immensely glorious subject, we may accommodate the words of the sweet singer of Israel ; “ The king's daughter is all glorious within; her clothing is of wrought gold. She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needle-work.”
My respected hearers, be so good as not to forget our particular request, that you would endeavour to understand the tendency of our arguments to substantiate the doctrine of impartial goodness and salvation, and likewise the nature of this salvation, that you may be able to form a correct opinion concerning these weighty subjects, and to do the doctrine for which we have contended that justice which charity dictates.
To conclude; although we have only used the virtuous affections of conjugal love as a metaphor to represent the love of Christ to mankind, a hope is entertained that a due consideration of the nature of the figure may contribute to incite every husband to the discharge of obligations so sacred as those which are due to the wife. And we may add, in the language of the apostle, “ Let the wife see that she reverence her husband.”
DIVINE TRUTH AS REPRESENTED BY TITHES.
DELIVERED IN ROXBURY, JANUARY 4, 1821...
MALACHI III. 10.
“ Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in
mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”
Among the various rites of the legal covenant, all which were designed to signify the inward and moral virtues which God requires, and that spiritual worship, which the more glorious ministration of righteousness enables its enlightened votaries to offer to the invisible fountain of all good, that of tithes held no inconsiderable rank. Long before the giving of the law by Moses, this indication of piety and devotion was practised by the true worshippers of God, as may be seen in the account given in Gen. xiv. of Abram's paying tithes to Melchizedek, priest of the most high God; and we likewise have in this accounta clear intimation, that these tithes were an acknowledgment of blessings received : for we read that Melchizedek blessed Abram, in the name of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth. This indication of piety was imitated by Jacob, the grandson of Abram, as we read in Gen. xxvjji. 20, 21, 22, “ And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, if God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, so that I
come again to my father's house, in peace, then shall the Lord be my God; and this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house : and of all that thou shalt give me, I will surely give the tenth unto thee." It is necessary that we observe here, that Jacob expected to receive the whole from God, the tenth of which he solemnly vowed he would give to the giver. It was such, therefore, as God gave to Jacob, that Jacob promised to give to the Lord, his God.
In the law given by Moses, we find the following recorded in the 14th of Deuteronomy: “ Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year. And thou shalt eat before the Lord thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the
of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds, and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the Lord thy God always. And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from thee, which the Lord thy God shall choose to set his name there, when the Lord thy God hath blessed thee; then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the Lord thy God shall choose; and thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth ; and thou shalt eat there before the Lord thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou and thine household.”
In the doctrine of tithes, as seen in the passages quoted, it seems necessary to notice the following particulars : 1st. All tithes were of what God in hisgracious providence first bestowed on the people. 2d. They were an acknowledgment of the divine favour. 3d. They were eaten in the place which God chose, in which to establish his name and worship, by those who offered them, together with their households, with rejoicing.