« הקודםהמשך »
through the nations, none I trust will dispute. And that it is to have its effect in Pagan lands, is evident from the last clause of the text; where the message is introduced, by unfolding the volume of nature. “Wor“ship him, that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, "and the fountains of water.” As if they should say, We have come to inform you who made the yonder visible heavens; this great earth; the sea; and the foun. tains of water; what he demands of you; and how you may worship and enjoy him. The prediction seems evidently to fix the event about the present time. The Protestant Religion has progressed through the nations. The hour of God's judgment has come. And the missionary Angel has begun his flight. And the two great classes of events are collaterally progressing:
Parallel predictions of this blessed event corroborate the preceding exposition: And they show that this remarkable propagation of the Gospel is immediately to precede the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
Now, shall we not aid this blessed work? Shall we not unite in it with the friends of Zion? Is it our interesting lot to have our season of probation at the important period, when the blessed event of those ancient prophecies is beginning to be fulfilled? Gracious Parent of the world! Shall we not leap for humble joy and pious gratitude, that we are thus indulged the opportunity of being workers together with thee in so merciful and glorious an object, and at such a period as this? Who can withstand the motives of this blessed cause? Who will not lay his talents, all his powers of body and mind, his time, and his money at the feet of Christ? This will be time and money laid out to infinite advantage; diffusing salvation to perishing millions! This will be making to ourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that when we fail, they may be the occasion of receiving us into everlasting habitations. How suitable an employment, and how blessed a source of consolation, when Antichrist is rising, and spreading terror and devastation through the nations! While the sea of revolution and tumult, and the waves thereof are roaring, and men's hearts will be found failing them
for fear, and looking after those things, that are coming upon the earth; vea, while the Jordan of Antichristian intrigue and violence may be found overflowing all its banks, in the time of this harvest; those, who shall be found thus following the Captain of salvation, may lift up their heads, and sing; for their redemption draweth nigh. But where shall we be safe, unless thus follow, ing the Lamb? Where, or how else can we, to such advantage, withstand the attacks of the Infidelity and licentiousness of this period? How else shall we escape the displeasure of Him, who is jealous for his cause and honor? “Curse ye Meroz, saith the angel of the Lord! “Curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; because they "came not up to the help of the Lord, to the help of “the Lord against the mighty.” Say not you have no property to spare for this object. Your property is all the Lord's. You are but his stewards; and must give an account to God for the improvement of every talent, And shall we dare to withhold, when the great Master calls for a little of his own property which he has deposited in our hands? and this too from so noble an object? “The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness "thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein." And "God is able to make all grace abound toward us, that "we having a sufficiency in all things, may abound to "every good work. As it is written, He, that gathered "much had nothing over; and he, that gathered little, “had no lack.” Withholding from God cannot be the way.to secure the Divine benignity. When the enemy are coming in like a flood, and the Spirit of the Lord is lifting up a standard against them, shall we not flock to that standard? Shall we pot thus be found under the banner of the King of Zion? Alas, the wicked will not understand! But the wise will understand. And the latter will adopt this among the means of withstanding the torrents of Antichristian influence: They will aid the missionary exertions of the people of God.
6. Due exertions to promote the sanctification of the Lord's day.
Religion ever rises or falls in exact proportion with the sanctification, or neglect of the Sabbath. The lat
ter opens a wide door to Infidelity and licentiousness. These can no more exist with the due sanctification of this holy day, than darkness can co-exist with light. Hence men of an Infidel cast hate the Sabbath, and are often found profaning it. One of the first deeds of French liberty and equality was, to abolish the Sabbath, by instituting their decade in its stead. And the same disposition is too prevalent among men, on every
side. It is the duty of every civil government to restrain its subjects from the open violation of the Lord's day. The law of God, and the general principle of civil legislation unite in demanding this. The law of God says; “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy: the "seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it “thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy “daughter, nor thy man servant, nor thy maid servant, “nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger, that is within thy "gates. This latter clause clearly implies the duty of having civil laws to restrain from the open violation of the Sabbath. For strangers within our gates, when disposed to violate the Sabbath, will not be restrained by any thing short of civil laws. Yet the law of God demands their restriction; a law which is moral, perpetual, and binding on all men. The consequence is unavoidable. Every civil community ought to have laws to prevent all open violation of the Sabbath.
And the general principle of civil legislation establishes this duty. This principle can suffer nothing to be openly practised, which is evidently detrimental to the community. But what can be more detrimental to the community, than that flood of immorality and licentiousness, which are the known and certain consequences of a general profanation of the Sabbath? The proper improvement of this holy day has the most beneficial ef. fects on the civil interests of men. The external observ. ance of the fourth command then, is as proper a subject of legislation, as that of the third, the fifth, the sixth, seventh, eighth, or any Divine command. No precept in the decalogue is more founded in the nature of things, than the fourth.
And good laws enacted upon this subject ought to be put in effectual execution. Shall the laws of God and man be forced to retreat before the brazen front of Infidelity and licentiousness? When this is the case, officers of the civil peace are criminally deficient in their dury. They ought, at whatever risk, to see good laws relative to the Sabbath, as well as to other things, put in effectual execution. This is an important mean of withstanding impious designs at this interesting period,
And it is the command of Heaven, that we should not forsake "the assembling of ourselves together, as “the manner of some is; but that we should exhort one “another; and so much the more, as we see the day “approaching.” It is no token for good, that public worshipping assemblies are deserted by such multi. tudes. It is a circumstance, that calls for humility, and exertion. Every one ought to exert all his influence, in his own family, in his neighborhood, and among his fellow men, to deter from this and every breach of the Sabbath; to bring people to the courts of the Lord, and to induce them to keep God's Sabbaths, and reverence his sanctuary.
7. Proper caution in the admission of members into the Church; and a faithful support of Christian discipline.
While the Spirit and the bride say, Come, and the arms of the Church are extended to receive every child of God; the wicked are not to be received. “Unto the “wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare “my statutes, or that thou shouldst take my covenant “into thy mouth? seeing thou hatest instruction, and "casteth my words behind thee. And of the rest durst "no man join himself unto them: But the people mag"nified them. And believers were the more added “unto the Lord. The Lord added to the church daily "such as should be saved.”
Unprincipled professors are in a situation effectually to wound the cause of Christ, and to become dangerous tools of the enemy. A spy within the walls, undetected, is more dangerous than ten open enemies without. Voltaire could boast, that his building a church, and partaking of the eucharist, was a master stroke of his
policy in crushing the wretch. Better is a small church of faithful members, than a large one of the opposite character. The former will be terrible to the wicked. While the latter may perhaps easily be induced to open the gates to an insidious enemy.
A faithful support of the laws of Christ's house, is an essential bulwark against the adversaries of religion. A neglect of discipline betrays the cause of Christianity into the hands of the enemy. While a holy, strict, judicious Church discipline renders a Church not only beautiful as Tirzah, and comely as Jerusalem; but terri. ble as an army with banners. Among the cavils of the wicked, nothing is more common, than unfriendly remarks upon the failings of professors. The real failings of professors then, their stumbling blocks not taken up, have a most pernicious effect toward bringing religion into contempt among the thoughtless and vain, and to fix them in Infidelity. In opposition to this, every church ought to be a faithful court of Christ, a city of his holiness; answering to the representation given in holy Writ; looking forth as the morning, fair as the moon, and clear as the sun; the pillar and ground of the truth.
This is of vast importance at the present period. Be blameless and harmless, the sons of God without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.
8. Family Religion; and a pious, discreet family government.
This is a remedy of the first importance against Antichristian influence. And the want of it is the mischiev. ous occasion of much of the evils, which now threaten to inundate the civilized world. It is the order and the promise of God; Train up a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old, he will not depart from it. It was repeatedly given in charge by the God of Israel, relative to the doctrines, duties, and motives of their religion; "Thou shalt diligently teach them to thy chil“dren, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine “house, and when thou walkest by the way; when thou "liest down, and when thou risest up." How rational as well as weighty is the following inspired passage,