תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

these states keep their eyes shut and their ears closed a little longer ; let these clerical funds grow but a little more enormous, and they may fancy themselves freemen, and go to the polls with the boast of freedom and independence, but the clergy will control their franchise as they please, and no man will be held up for office, but such as will go all lengths with them.

What shall we think of these men, who thus endeavour to enslave their fellow creatures ? It is hard to judge them, and say they are dishonest; that they are designing, crafty men ; and yet we must say this, or, what they would as little like, that they are not possessed of common sense. Can they possibiy believe that money is wanted to save the souls of men from the wrath of our Creator? This is what they pretend ; and they cry, money, money, as if they were in distress. Scarcely do we hear a word from their lips concerning the redeeming favour of ourjheavenly Father, which is so richly communicated in the gospel of his beloved Son, who gave himself a ransom for the whole world. Not to save us from the wrath of God; but from priestcrast, and its degrading oppressions. The clergy would cause us to fear falling into the hands of God; but, my friends, I think the danger is of falling into the hands of the clergy.

If the blessed Saviour of the world had been the author of such a scheme of amassing money, as appears to engage the skill and craft of the clergy of our times, his directions to his apostles would have read materially different from what we find them in the New Testament. When he sent them out to preach, he would have said, “ And as ye preach, say money, money, for the kingdom of priestcraft is at hand ; and go ye into all the world and beg money of every creature; he that giveth, and giveth all he hath, shall be saved; but he that giveth not shall be damned.” But he who had not where to lay his head, who forbade his apostles to take with them either purse or scrip, was never the author

of this craft, which is evidently reaching after the reins of government in our country.

Thanks be to heaven, there are hopes of redemption yet; and if the people will open their eyes they will in season see their danger and avert it. But a little longer continuance of that apathy, which has already put the ministers of religion in possession of their present means of influence, will involve our country in slavery, and render our present free government, with all its blessings, a something to be remembered, a something that has been, but gone for ever.,

Awake, then from this lethargy, and, if these beggars of money appear at your doors, dismiss thern with the deserved reproof. They now have the audacity to contend, that we ought to devote all our property to their cause; and it is true that not a cent less will ever satisfy their thirst.

“ A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land : the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so : and what will ye do in the end thereof ?"

GREAT GOD! if nature, weak and frail,
To strong temptations oft gives way;
If doubt or passion should prevail
O'er wand'ring reason's feeble ray;
On thy compassion I rely:
Let not thy frowns my faults reprove;
Regard me with a father's eye,
And guide me with a father's love.

SERMON XXII.

SALVATION OF ALL A DOCTRINE OF REPROACH.

DELIVERED IN PHILADELPHIA, ON MONDAY, JUNE 2, 1828.

1 TIM. IV. 10.

“For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in

the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe."

The gospel ministry, being a dispensation of divine benevolence, requires labours to be performed upon the most benevolent principles. It is founded on that love which our heavenly Father has manifested towards such as are enemies to Him by wicked works. It does not inquire after those who will applaud its exertions, but seeks to find those who need its favours. “God hath commended his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his son to be the propitiation for our sins." If man had not been unreconciled to God, there could have been no necessity for a dispensation of favour to reconcile him; but the gospel ministry is a dispensation of reconciliation. "All things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Chrisi, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation: to wit, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech

you by us; we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."

The gospel ministry, being of the character here set forth, recommends itself on the same principle on wbich all genuine benevolence proceeds. True benevolence will not be diverted from its path of kindness because the object of its favour is opposed to its measures, nor because it receives reproaches from those whose benefit it pursues. The wise and provident father of a family, having concerted plans and measures for the prosperity of his temporal interest, that he might thereby benefit his children, whom he loved, would not be dissuaded from his plans because his unwise and inexperienced children might be opposed to them. And should they so far indulge their folly, as to reproach their venerable father with grievous accusations, thongh he might find it necessary to chastise their ingratitude, he would not withhold from them that loving kindness which was the moving principle of all his measures.

In order to improve this subject, in a manner appropriate to the present important occasion, we propose to consider, 1st. The labours to which the gospel minister is appointed : 2d. The occasion and peculiar character of the reproach which his faithful labourers are sure to receive: And 3d. Set forth the speciality of salvation enjoyed by those who believe.

The work in which the minister of Christ is employed, is that of reformation. To teach and reform men is the great object at which he ainis. In doing this he follows the example set by the divine master. The Saviour of the world was a “teacher sent from God;" and the work in which he la. boured was the work of giving instruction, of correcting the errors of religious people, and of dissuading all from evil practices. To this work he applied himself in earnest, and prosecuted it with

a zeal corresponding with its importance. For the promotion of this vast work he employed his apostles; and to render them successful, he furnished them with a inonth and wisdon against which no opposition could prevail. When, in a miraculous manner, the Saviour called Saul, the persecutor, to be a minister of his word, he said to hirn, “Arise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness, both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear into thee; delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive the forgiveness of sins, and an inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.”

By the assistance of a few reflections on this ap. pointment of the Apostle Paul to the ministry, we shall see its agreement with the benevolent principles set forth in the introduction of this discourse. The great head of the church appointed this Apostle to labour among the Gentiles, for the purpose of opening their eyes, of turning them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God. But notwithstanding his labours were designed to be thus beneficial to the people; though it was designed to put them in possession of an invaluable inheritance, it was signified to him that they would oppose and persecute him, but that he should be delivered from them. How infinitely benevolent, how divinely merciful, is the ministry of Christ! : How preposterous and ungrateful is the opposition with which it conteuds!

When the Saviour called Simon Peter, and Andrew his brother, from their occupation of fishers, he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." And in one of his parables, he represents the gospel by a net with which fishes are caught. By such emblems id the divine mas

« הקודםהמשך »