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The world's great sermons, Volume 3 by Grenville Kleiser

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_They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly,
saying, Peace, peace, when there is no peace_.--Jeremiah vi., 14.

As God can send a nation or people no greater blessing than to give
them faithful, sincere, and upright ministers, so the greatest curse
that God can possibly send upon a people in this world is to give them
over to blind, unregenerate, carnal, lukewarm, and unskilful guides.
And yet, in all ages, we find that there have been many wolves in
sheep's clothing, many that daubed with untempered mortar, that
prophesied smoother things than God did allow. As it was formerly,
so it is now; there are many that corrupt the word of God and deal
deceitfully with it. It was so in a special manner in the prophet
Jeremiah's time; and he, faithful to his Lord, faithful to that God
who employed him, did not fail from time to time to open his mouth
against them, and to bear a noble testimony to the honor of that
God in whose name he from time to time spake. If you will read his
prophecy, you will find that none spake more against such ministers
than Jeremiah, and here especially in the chapter out of which the
text is taken he speaks very severely against them. He charges them
with several crimes; particularly he charges them with covetousness:
"For," says he, in the thirteenth verse, "from the least of them even
to the greatest of them, every one is given to covetousness; and from
the prophet even unto the priest, every one dealeth falsely."

And then, in the words of the text, in a more special manner he
exemplifies how they had dealt falsely, how they had behaved
treacherously to poor souls: says he, "They have healed also the hurt
of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace, when
there is no peace." The prophet, in the name of God, had been
denouncing war against the people; he had been telling them that their
house should be left desolate, and that the Lord would certainly visit
the land with war. "Therefore," says he, in the eleventh verse, "I am
full of the fury of the Lord; I am weary with holding in; I will pour
it out upon the children abroad, and upon the assembly of young men
together; for even the husband with the wife shall be taken, the aged
with him that is full of days. And their houses shall be turned unto
others, with their fields and wives together; for I will stretch out
my hand upon the inhabitants of the land, saith the Lord."

The prophet gives a thundering message, that they might be terrified
and have some convictions and inclinations to repent; but it seems
that the false prophets, the false priests, went about stifling
people's convictions, and when they were hurt or a little terrified,
they were for daubing over the wound, telling them that Jeremiah was
but an enthusiastic preacher, that there could be no such thing as war
among them, and saying to people, Peace, peace, be still, when the
prophet told them there was no peace.

The words, then, refer primarily unto outward things, but I verily
believe have also a further reference to the soul, and are to
be referred to those false teachers who, when people were under
conviction of sin, when people were beginning to look toward heaven,
were for stifling their convictions and telling them they were good
enough before. And, indeed, people generally love to have it so; our
hearts are exceedingly deceitful and desperately wicked; none but the
eternal God knows how treacherous they are.

How many of us cry, Peace, peace, to our souls, when there is no
peace! How many are there who are now settled upon their lees, that
now think they are Christians, that now flatter themselves that they
have an interest in Jesus Christ; whereas if we come to examine their
experiences we shall find that their peace is but a peace of the
devil's making--it is not a peace of God's giving--it is not a peace
that passeth human understanding.

It is a matter, therefore, of great importance, my dear hearers, to
know whether we may speak peace to our hearts. We are all desirous
of peace; peace is an unspeakable blessing; how can we live without
peace? And, therefore, people from time to time must be taught how far
they must go and what must be wrought in them before they can speak
peace to their hearts. This is what I design at present, that I may
deliver my soul, that I may be free from the blood of all those to
whom I preach--that I may not fail to declare the whole counsel of
God. I shall, from the words of the text, endeavor to show you what
you must undergo and what must be wrought in you before you can speak
peace to your hearts.

But before I come directly to this give me leave to premise a caution
or two.

And the first is, that I take it for granted you believe religion to
be an inward thing; you believe it to be a work of the heart, a work
wrought in the soul by the power of the Spirit of God. If you do not
believe this, you do not believe your Bibles. If you do not believe
this, tho you have got your Bibles in your hand, you hate the Lord
Jesus Christ in your heart; for religion is everywhere represented
in Scripture as the work of God in the heart. "The kingdom of God is
within us," says our Lord; and, "he is not a Christian who is one
outwardly; but he is a Christian who is one inwardly." If any of you
place religion in outward things, I shall not perhaps please you this
morning; you will understand me no more when I speak of the work of
God upon a poor sinner's heart than if I were talking in an unknown

I would further premise a caution, that I would by no means confine
God to one way of acting. I would by no means say that all persons,
before they come to have a settled peace in their hearts, are obliged
to undergo the same degrees of conviction. No; God has various ways of
bringing His children home; His sacred Spirit bloweth when, and where,
and how it listeth. But, however, I will venture to affirm this: that
before ever you can speak peace to your heart, whether by shorter or
longer continuance of your convictions, whether in a more pungent or
in a more; gentle way, you must undergo what I shall hereafter lay
down in the following discourse.

First, then, before you can speak peace to your hearts, you must be
made to see, made to feel, made to weep over, made to bewail, your
actual transgressions against the law of God. According to the
covenant of works, "the soul that sinneth it shall die"; curst is that
man, be he what he may, be he who he may, that continueth not in all
things that are written in the book of the law to do them.

We are not only to do some things, but we are to do all things, and we
are to continue to do so, so that the least deviation from the moral
law, according to the covenant of works, whether in thought, word,
or deed, deserves eternal death at the hand of God. And if one evil
thought, if one evil word, if one evil action deserves eternal
damnation, how many hells, my friends, do every one of us deserve
whose whole lives have been one continued rebellion against God!
Before ever, therefore, you can speak peace to your hearts, you must
be brought to see, brought to believe, what a dreadful thing it is to
depart from the living God.

And now, my dear friends, examine your hearts, for I hope you came
hither with a design to have your souls made better. Give me leave to
ask you, in the presence of God, whether you know the time, and if you
do not know exactly the time, do you know there was a time when God
wrote bitter things against you, when the arrows of the Almighty were
within you? Was ever the remembrance of your sins grievous to you? Was
the burden of your sins intolerable to your thoughts? Did you ever see
that God's wrath might justly fall upon you, on account of your actual
transgressions against God? Were you ever in all your life sorry for
your sins? Could you ever say, My sins are gone over my head as a
burden too heavy for me to bear? Did you ever experience any such
thing as this? Did ever any such thing as this pass between God and
your soul? If not, for Jesus Christ's sake, do not call yourselves
Christians; you may speak peace to your hearts, but there is no peace.
May the Lord awaken you, may the Lord convert you, may the Lord give
you peace, if it be His will, before you go home!

But, further, you may be convinced of your actual sins, so as to be
made to tremble, and yet you may be strangers to Jesus Christ, you may
have no true work of grace upon your hearts. Before ever, therefore,
you can speak peace to your hearts, conviction must go deeper; you
must not only be convinced of your actual transgressions against the
law of God, but likewise of the foundation of all your transgressions.
And what is that? I mean original sin, that original corruption each
of us brings into the world with us, which renders us liable to God's
wrath and damnation. There are many poor souls that think themselves
fine reasoners, yet they pretend to say there is no such thing as
original sin; they will charge God with injustice in imputing Adam's
sin to us; altho we have got the mark of the beast and of the devil
upon us, yet they tell us we are not born in sin. Let them look abroad
and see the disorders in it, and think, if they can, if this is the
paradise in which God did put man. No! everything in the world is out
of order.

I have often thought, when I was abroad, that if there were no other
arguments to prove original sin, the rising of wolves and tigers
against man, nay, the barking of a dog against us, is a proof of
original sin. Tigers and lions durst not rise against us unless it
were as much as to say, "You have sinned against God, and we take up
our master's quarrel." If we look inwardly, we shall see enough of
lusts and man's temper contrary to the temper of God. There is pride,
malice, and revenge in all our hearts; and this temper can not come
from God; it comes from our first parent, Adam, who, after he fell
from God, fell out of God into the devil.

However, therefore, some people may deny this, yet when conviction
comes, all carnal reasonings are battered down immediately, and the
poor soul begins to feel and see the fountain from which all the
polluted streams do flow. When the sinner is first awakened, he begins
to wonder, How came I to be so wicked? The Spirit of God then strikes
in, and shows that he has no good thing in him by nature; then he
sees that he is altogether gone out of the way, that he is altogether
become abominable, and the poor creature is made to lie down at the
foot of the throne of God and to acknowledge that God would be just to
damn him, just to cut him off, tho he never had committed one actual
sin in his life.

Did you ever feel and experience this, any of you--to justify God in
your damnation--to own that you are by nature children of wrath, and
that God may justly cut you off, tho you never actually had offended
Him in all your life? If you were ever truly convicted, if your hearts
were ever truly cut, if self were truly taken out of you, you would be
made to see and feel this. And if you have never felt the weight of
original sin, do not call yourselves Christians. I am verily persuaded
original sin is the greatest burden of a true convert; this ever
grieves the regenerate soul, the sanctified soul. The indwelling of
sin in the heart is the burden of a converted person; it is the burden
of a true Christian. He continually cries out: "Oh! who will deliver
me from this body of death, this indwelling corruption in my heart?"
This is that which disturbs a poor soul most. And, therefore, if you
never felt this inward corruption, if you never saw that God might
justly curse you for it, indeed, my dear friends, you may speak peace
to your hearts, but I fear, nay, I know, there is no true peace.

Further, before you can speak peace to your hearts you must not only
be troubled for the sins of your life, the sins of your nature, but
likewise for the sins of your best duties and performances.

When a poor soul is somewhat awakened by the terrors of the Lord,
then the poor creature, being born under the covenant of works,
flies directly to a covenant of works again. And as Adam and Eve hid
themselves among the trees of the garden and sewed fig-leaves together
to cover their nakedness, so the poor sinner when awakened flies to
his duties and to his performances, to hide himself from God, and goes
to patch up a righteousness of his own. Says he, I will be mighty good
now--I will reform--I will do all I can; and then certainly Jesus
Christ will have mercy on me. But before you can speak peace to your
heart you must be brought to see that God may damn you for the best
prayer you ever put up; you must be brought to see that all your
duties--all your righteousness--as the prophet elegantly expresses
it--put them all together, are so far from recommending you to God,
are so far from being any motive and inducement to God to have
mercy on your poor soul, that He will see them to be filthy rags, a
menstruous cloth--that God hates them, and can not away with them, if
you bring them to Him in order to recommend you to His favor.

My dear friends, what is there in our performance to recommend us unto
God? Our persons are in an unjustified state by nature; we deserve to
be damned ten thousand times over; and what must our performance be?
We can do no good thing by nature: "They that are in the flesh can not
please God."

You may do things materially good, but you can not do a thing formally
and rightly good; because nature can not act above itself. It is
impossible that a man who is unconverted can act for the glory of God;
he can not do anything in faith, and "whatsoever is not of faith is

After we are renewed, yet we are renewed but in part, indwelling sin
continues in us, there is a mixture of corruption in every one of our
duties, so that after we are converted, were Jesus Christ only to
accept us according to our works, our works would damn us, for we can
not put up a prayer but it is far from that perfection which the moral
law requireth. I do not know what you may think, but I can say that I
can not pray but I sin--I can not preach to you or any others but
I sin--I can do nothing without sin; and, as one expresseth it, my
repentance wants to be repented of, and my tears to be washed in the
precious blood of my dear Redeemer.

Our best duties are so many splendid sins. Before you can speak peace
to your heart you must not only be sick of your original and actual
sin, but you must be made sick of your righteousness, of all your
duties and performances. There must be a deep conviction before you
can be brought out of your self-righteousness; it is the last idol
taken out of our heart. The pride of our heart will not let us submit
to the righteousness of Jesus Christ. But if you never felt that you
had no righteousness of your own, if you never felt the deficiency of
your own righteousness, you can not come to Jesus Christ.

There are a great many now who may say, Well, we believe all this; but
there is a great difference betwixt talking and feeling. Did you ever
feel the want of a dear Redeemer? Did you ever feel the want of Jesus
Christ, upon the account of the deficiency of your own righteousness?
And can you now say from your heart Lord, thou mayest justly damn
me for the best duties that ever I did perform? If you are not thus
brought out of self, you may speak peace to yourselves, but yet there
is no peace.

But then, before you can speak peace to your souls, there is one
particular sin you must be greatly troubled for, and yet I fear there
are few of you think what it is; it is the reigning, the damning sin
of the Christian world, and yet the Christian world seldom or never
think of it. And pray what is that?

It is what most of you think you are not guilty of--and that is, the
sin of unbelief. Before you can speak peace to your heart, you must be
troubled for the unbelief of your heart But can it be supposed that
any of you are unbelievers here in this churchyard, that are born in
Scotland, in a reformed country, that go to church every Sabbath? Can
any of you that receive the sacrament once a year--oh, that it were
administered oftener!--can it be supposed that you who had tokens for
the sacrament, that you who keep up family prayer, that any of you do
not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ?

I appeal to your own hearts, if you would not think me uncharitable,
if I doubted whether any of you believed in Christ: and yet, I fear
upon examination, we should find that most of you have not so much
faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as the devil himself. I am persuaded
that the devil believes more of the Bible than most of us do. He
believes the divinity of Jesus Christ; that is more than many who call
themselves Christians do; nay, he believes and trembles, and that is
more than thousands amongst us do.

My friends, we mistake a historical faith for a true faith, wrought
in the heart by the Spirit of God. You fancy you believe because you
believe there is such a book as we call the Bible--because you go to
church; all this you may do and have no true faith in Christ. Merely
to believe there was such a person as Christ, merely to believe there
is a book called the Bible, will do you no good, more than to believe
there was such a man as Caesar or Alexander the Great. The Bible is a
sacred depository. What thanks have we to give to God for these lively
oracles! But yet we may have these and not believe in the Lord Jesus

My dear friends, there must be a principle wrought in the heart by
the Spirit of the living God. Did I ask you how long it is since you
believed in Jesus Christ, I suppose most of you would tell me you
believed in Jesus Christ as long as ever you remember--you never did
misbelieve. Then, you could not give me a better proof that you never
yet believed in Jesus Christ, unless you were sanctified early, as
from the womb; for they that otherwise believe in Christ know there
was a time when they did not believe in Jesus Christ.

You say you love God with all your heart, soul, and strength. If I
were to ask you how long it is since you loved God, you would say, As
long as you can remember; you never hated God, you know no time when
there was enmity in your heart against God. Then, unless you were
sanctified very early, you never loved God in your life.

My dear friends, I am more particular in this, because it is a most
deceitful delusion, whereby so many people are carried away, that they
believe already. Therefore it is remarked of Mr. Marshall, giving
account of his experiences, that he had been working for life, and he
had ranged all his sins under the ten commandments, and then, coming
to a minister, asked him the reason why he could not get peace. The
minister looked to his catalog. "Away," says he, "I do not find one
word of the sin of unbelief in all your catalog." It is the peculiar
work of the Spirit of God to convince us of our unbelief--that we have
got no faith. Says Jesus Christ, "I will send the comforter; and when
he is come, he will reprove the world" of the sin of unbelief; "of
sin," says Christ, "because they believe not on me."

Now, my dear friends, did God ever show you that you had no faith?
Were you ever made to bewail a hard heart of unbelief? Was it ever the
language of your heart, Lord, give me faith; Lord, enable me to lay
hold on Thee; Lord, enable me to call Thee my Lord and my God? Did
Jesus Christ ever convince you in this manner? Did he ever convince
you of your inability to close with Christ, and make you to cry out to
God to give you faith? If not, do not speak peace to your heart. May
the Lord awaken you and give you true, solid peace before you go hence
and be no more!

Once more, then: before you can speak peace to your heart, you must
not only be convinced of your actual and original sin, the sins of
your own righteousness, the sin of unbelief, but you must be enabled
to lay hold upon the perfect righteousness, the all-sufficient
righteousness, of the Lord Jesus Christ; you must lay hold by faith
on the righteousness of Jesus Christ, and then you shall have peace.
"Come," says Jesus, "unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden,
and I will give you rest."

This speaks encouragement to all that are weary and heavy laden;
but the promise of rest is made to them only upon their coming and
believing, and taking Him to be their God and their all. Before we can
ever have peace with God we must be justified by faith through our
Lord Jesus Christ, we must be enabled to apply Christ to our hearts,
we must have Christ brought home to our souls, so as His righteousness
may be made our righteousness, so as His merits may be imputed to our
souls. My dear friends, were you ever married to Jesus Christ? Did
Jesus Christ ever give Himself to you? Did you ever close with Christ
by a lively faith, so as to feel Christ in your hearts, so as to hear
Him speaking peace to your souls? Did peace ever flow in upon your
hearts like a river? Did you ever feel that peace that Christ spoke to
His disciples? I pray God he may come and speak peace to you. These
things you must experience.

I am now talking of the invisible realities of another world, of
inward religion, of the work of God upon a poor sinner's heart. I am
now talking of a matter of great importance, my dear hearers; you are
all concerned in it, your souls are concerned in it, your eternal
salvation is concerned in it. You may be all at peace, but perhaps the
devil has lulled you asleep into a carnal lethargy and security, and
will endeavor to keep you there till he gets you to hell, and there
you will be awakened; but it will be dreadful to be awakened and find
yourselves so fearfully mistaken when the great gulf is fixt, when
you will be calling to all eternity for a drop of water to cool your
tongue and shall not obtain it.




Hugh Blair, the preacher and divine, was born in Edinburgh, 1718. He
entered the university of his native town and graduated in 1739. Two
years later he was licensed to preach; he was ordained minister of
Colossie, Fife, in 1742, but returned to Edinburgh and in 1762
was made regius professor of rhetoric and belles-lettres to the
university. He became a member of the great literary club, the Poker,
where he associated with Hume, A. Carlyle, Adam Ferguson, Adam Smith
and others, and enjoyed a high reputation as a preacher and critic.
The lectures he published on style are elegantly written, but weak in
thought, and his sermons share the same fault. They are composed with
great care, and sometimes a single discourse cost him a week's labor,
but they are formal and destitute of feeling and sometimes even
affected in style. Blair was notable for fastidiousness in dress and
manners, and took very seriously the reputation he was given for
refinement and common-sense as one of the moderate divines. He died in




_Jesus lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said, Father! the hour is
come_.--John xvii., 1.

These were the words of our blest Lord on a memorable occasion. The
feast of the Passover drew nigh, at which He knew that He was to
suffer. The night was arrived wherein He was to be delivered into the
hands of His enemies. He had spent the evening in conference with His
disciples, like a dying father in the midst of his family, mingling
consolations with His last instructions. When He had ended His
discourse to them, "he lifted up his eyes to heaven," and with the
words which I have now read, began that solemn prayer of intercession
for the Church, which closed His ministry. Immediately after, He went
forth with His disciples into the garden of Gethsemane and surrendered
Himself to those who came to apprehend Him.

Such was the situation of our Lord at the time of His pronouncing
these words. He saw His mission on the point of being accomplished.
He had the prospect full before Him of all that He was about to
suffer--"Father! the hour is come." What hour? An hour the most
critical, the most pregnant with great events, since hours had begun
to be numbered, since time had begun to run. It was the hour at which
the Son of God was to terminate the labors of His important life by a
death still more important and illustrious; the hour of atoning, by
His sufferings, for the guilt of mankind; the hour of accomplishing
prophecies, types, and symbols, which had been carried on through a
series of ages; the hour of concluding the old and of introducing into
the world the new dispensation of religion; the hour of His triumphing
over the world, and death, and hell; the hour of His creating that
spiritual kingdom which is to last forever. Such is the hour. Such are
the events which you are to commemorate in the sacrament of our Lord's

I. This was the hour in which Christ was glorified by His sufferings.
The whole of His life had discovered much real greatness under a mean
appearance. Through the cloud of His humiliation, His native luster
often broke forth; but never did it shine so bright as in this last,
this trying hour. It was indeed the hour of distress and of blood. He
knew it to be such; and when He uttered the words of the text, He had
before His eyes the executioner and the cross, the scourge, the nails,
and the spear. But by prospects of this nature His soul was not to be
overcome. It is distress which ennobles every great character; and
distress was to glorify the Son of God. He was now to teach all
mankind by His example, how to suffer and to die. He was to stand
forth before His enemies as the faithful witness of the truth,
justifying by His behavior the character which He assumed, and sealing
by His blood the doctrines which He taught.

What magnanimity in all His words and actions on this great occasion!
The court of Herod, the judgment-hall of Pilate, the hill of Calvary,
were so many theaters prepared for His displaying all the virtues of a
constant and patient mind. When led forth to suffer, the first voice
which we hear from Him is a generous lamentation over the fate of His
unfortunate tho guilty country; and to the last moment of His life we
behold Him in possession of the same gentle and benevolent spirit. No
upbraiding, no complaining expression escaped from His lips during the
long and painful approaches of a cruel death. He betrayed no symptom
of a weak or a vulgar, of a discomposed or impatient mind. With the
utmost attention of filial tenderness He committed His aged mother to
the care of His beloved disciple. With all the dignity of a sovereign
He conferred pardon on a fellow-sufferer. With a greatness of mind
beyond example, He spent His last moments in apologies and prayers for
those who were shedding His blood.

By wonders in heaven and wonders on earth, was this hour
distinguished. All nature seemed to feel it; and the dead and the
living bore witness of its importance. The veil of the temple was rent
in twain. The earth shook. There was darkness over all the land. The
graves were opened, and "many who slept arose, and went into the holy
city." Nor were these the only prodigies of this awful hour. The most
hardened hearts were subdued and changed. The judge who, in order to
gratify the multitude, passed sentence against Him, publicly attested
His innocence. The Roman centurion who presided at the execution,
"glorified God," and acknowledged the Sufferer to be more than man.
"After he saw the things which had passed, he said, Certainly this
was a righteous person: truly this was the Son of God." The Jewish
malefactor who was crucified with Him addrest Him as a king, and
implored His favor. Even the crowd of insensible spectators, who had
come forth as to a common spectacle, and who began with clamors and
insults, "returned home smiting their breasts." Look back on the
heroes, the philosophers, the legislators of old. View them, in their
last moments. Recall every circumstance which distinguished their
departure from the world. Where can you find such an assemblage of
high virtues, and of great events, as concurred at the death of
Christ? Where so many testimonials given to the dignity of the dying
person by earth and by heaven?

II. This was the hour in which Christ atoned for the sins of mankind,
and accomplished our eternal redemption. It was the hour when that
great sacrifice was offered up, the efficacy of which reaches back
to the first transgression of man, and extends forward to the end of
time; the hour when, from the cross, as from a high altar, the blood
was flowing which washed away the guilt of the nations.

This awful dispensation of the Almighty contains mysteries which are
beyond the discovery of man. It is one of those things into which "the
angels desire to look." What has been revealed to us is, that the
death of Christ was the interposition of heaven for preventing the
ruin of human kind. We know that under the government of God misery
is the natural consequence of guilt. After rational creatures had, by
their criminal conduct, introduced disorder into the divine kingdom,
there was no ground to believe that by their penitence and prayers
alone they could prevent the destruction which threatened them. The
prevalence of propitiatory sacrifices throughout the earth proclaims
it to be the general sense of mankind that mere repentance was not of
sufficient avail to expiate sin or to stop its penal effects. By the
constant allusions which are carried on in the New Testament to the
sacrifices under the law, as pre-signifying a great atonement made by
Christ, and by the strong expressions which are used in describing the
effects of His death, the sacred writers show, as plainly as language
allows, that there was an efficacy in His sufferings far beyond
that of mere example and instruction. The nature and extent of that
efficacy we are unable as yet fully to trace. Part we are capable of
beholding; and the wisdom of what we behold we have reason to adore.
We discern, in this plan of redemption, the evil of sin strongly
exhibited and the justice of the divine government awfully
exemplified, in Christ suffering for sinners. But let us not imagine
that our present discoveries unfold the whole influence of the
death of Christ. It is connected with causes into which we can not
penetrate. It produces consequences too extensive for us to explore.
"God's thoughts are not as our thoughts." In all things we "see only
in part"; and here, if anywhere, we see also "as through a glass.

This, however, is fully manifest, that redemption is one of the most
glorious works of the Almighty. If the hour of the creation of the
world was great and illustrious, that hour when, from the dark and
formless mass, this fair system of nature arose at the divine command,
when "the morning-stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted
for joy," no less illustrious is the hour of the restoration of the
world; the hour when, from condemnation and misery, it emerged into
happiness and peace. With less external majesty it was attended; but
it is, on that account, the more wonderful that, under an appearance
so simple, such great events were covered.

III. In this hour the long series of prophecies, visions, types, and
figures were accomplished. This was the center in which they all met:
this the point toward which they had tended and verged, throughout the
course of so many generations. You behold the law and the prophets
standing, if we may speak so, at the foot of the cross, and doing
homage. You behold Moses and Aaron bearing the Ark of the Covenant;
David and Elijah presenting the oracle of testimony. You behold all
the priests and sacrifices, all the rites and ordinances, all the
types and symbols assembled together to receive their consummation.
Without the death of Christ, the worship and ceremonies of the law
would have remained a pompous, but unmeaning, institution. In the hour
when He was crucified, "the book with the seven seals" was opened.
Every rite assumed its significancy; every prediction met its event;
every symbol displayed its correspondence.

The dark and seemingly ambiguous method of conveying important
discoveries under figures and emblems was not peculiar to the sacred
books. The spirit of God in presignifying the death of Christ, adopted
that plan, according to which the whole knowledge of those early
ages was propagated through the world. Under the veil of mysterious
allusion, all wisdom was then concealed. From the sensible world
images were everywhere borrowed to describe things unseen. More was
understood to be meant than was openly exprest. By enigmatical rites
the priests communicated his doctrines; by parables and allegories
the philosopher instructed his disciples; even the legislator, by
figurative sayings, commanded the reverence of the people. Agreeably
to this prevailing mode of instruction, the whole dispensation of the
Old Testament was so conducted as to be the shadow and figure of
a spiritual system. Every remarkable event, every distinguished
personage, under the law, is interpreted in the New Testament, as
bearing reference to the hour of which we treat. If Isaac was laid
upon the altar as an innocent victim; if David was driven from his
throne by the wicked, and restored by the hand of God; if the brazen
serpent was lifted up to heal the people; if the rock was smitten by
Moses, to furnish drink in the wilderness; all were types of Christ
and alluded to His death.

In predicting the same event the language of ancient prophecy was
magnificent, but seemingly contradictory: for it foretold a Messiah,
who was to be at once a sufferer and a conquerer. The Star was to come
out of Jacob, and the Branch to spring from the stem of Jesse. The
Angel of the Covenant, the desire of all nations, was to come suddenly
to His temple; and to Him was to be "the gathering of the people."
Yet, at the same time, He was to be "despised and rejected of men"; He
was to be "taken from prison and from judgment," and to be "led as a
lamb to the slaughter." Tho He was "a man of sorrows, and acquainted
with grief," yet "the Gentiles were to come to his light, and kings
to the brightness of his rising." In the hour when Christ died, those
prophetical riddles were solved: those seeming contradictions were
reconciled. The obscurity of oracles, and the ambiguity of typos
vanished. The "sun of righteousness" rose; and, together with the dawn
of religion those shadows passed away.

IV. This was the hour of the abolition of the law, and the
introduction of the gospel; the hour of terminating the old and of
beginning the new dispensation of religious knowledge and worship
throughout the earth. Viewed in this light, it forms the most august
era which is to be found in the history of mankind. When Christ was
suffering on the cross, we are informed by one of the evangelists that
He said, "I thirst"; and that they filled a sponge with vinegar, and
put it to His mouth. "After he had tasted the vinegar, knowing that
all things were now accomplished, and the Scriptures fulfilled, he
said, It is finished"; that is, this offered draft of vinegar was the
last circumstance predicted by an ancient prophet that remained to
be fulfilled. The vision and the prophecy are now sealed: the Mosaic
dispensation is closed. "And he bowed his head and gave up the ghost."

"It is finished." When He uttered these words He changed the state of
the universe. At that moment the law ceased, and the gospel commenced.
This was the ever memorable point of time which separated the old and
the new worlds from each other. On one side of the point of separation
you behold the law, with its priests, its sacrifices, and its rites,
retiring from sight. On the other side you behold the gospel, with
its simple and venerable institutions, coming forward into view.
Significantly was the veil of the temple rent in this hour; for the
glory then departed from between the cherubim. The legal high priest
delivered up his urim and thummim, his breast-plate, his robes, and
his incense: and Christ stood forth as the great high priest of all
succeeding generations. By that one sacrifice which He now offered, He
abolished sacrifices forever. Altars on which the fire had blazed for
ages, were now to smoke no more. Victims were no more to bleed. "Not
with the blood of bulls and goats, but with his own blood he now
entered into the holy place, there to appear in the presence of God
for us."

This was the hour of association and union to all the worshipers of
God. When Christ said, "It is finished," He threw down the wall of
partition which had so long divided the Gentile from the Jew. He
gathered into one all the faithful out of every kindred and people.
He proclaimed the hour to be come when the knowledge of the true God
should be no longer confined to one nation, nor His worship to one
temple; but over all the earth, the worshipers of the Father should
serve Him "in spirit and in truth." From that hour they who dwelt
in the "uttermost ends of the earth, strangers to the covenant of
promise," began to be "brought nigh." In that hour the light of the
gospel dawned from afar on the British Islands.

During a long course of ages, Providence seemed to be occupied in
preparing the world for this revolution. The whole Jewish economy
was intended to usher it in. The knowledge of God was preserved
unextinguished in one corner of the world, that thence, in due time,
might issue forth the light which was to overspread the earth.
Successive revelations gradually enlarged the views of men beyond the
narrow bounds of Judea, to a more extensive kingdom of God. Signs and
miracles awakened their expectation and directed their eyes toward
this great event. Whether God descended on the flaming mountain, or
spoke by the prophet's voice; whether He scattered His chosen people
into captivity, or reassembled them in their own land, He was still
carrying on a progressive plan, which was accomplished at the death of

Not only in the territories of Israel, but over all the earth, the
great dispensations of Providence respected the approach of this
important hour. If empires rose or fell; if war divided, or peace
united, the nations; if learning civilized their manners, or
philosophy enlarged their views; all was, by the secret decree of
Heaven, made to ripen the world for that "fulness of time," when
Christ was to publish the whole counsel of God. The Persian, the
Macedonian, the Roman conqueror, entered upon the stage each at his
predicted period. The revolutions of power, and the succession of
monarchies, were so arranged by Providence, as to facilitate the
progress of the gospel through the habitable world, after the day had
arrived, "when the stone which was cut out of the mountain without
hands, should become a great mountain and fill the earth." This was
the day which Abraham saw afar off, and was glad. This was the day
which "many prophets, and kings, and righteous men desired to see,
but could not"; the day for which "the earnest expectation of
the creature," long opprest with ignorance, and bewildered in
superstition, might be justly said to wait.

V. This was the hour of Christ's triumph over all the powers of
darkness; the hour in which He overthrew dominions and thrones, "led
captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men." The contest which the
kingdom of darkness had long maintained against the kingdom of light
was now brought to its crisis. The period was come when "the seed of
the woman shall bruise the head of the serpent" For many ages the
most gross superstition had filled the earth. "The glory of the
incorruptible God" was everywhere, except in the land of Judea,
"changed into images made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and
beasts, and creeping-things." The world, which the Almighty created
for Himself, seemed to have become a temple of idols. Even to vices
and passions altars were raised; and what was entitled religion, was
in effect a discipline of impurity. In the midst of this universal
darkness, Satan had erected his throne, and the learned and the
polished, as well as the savage nations, bowed down before him. But at
the hour when Christ appeared on the cross, the signal of His defeat
was given. His kingdom suddenly departed from Him; the reign of
idolatry passed away: He was beheld to fall "like lightning from
heaven." In that hour the foundation of every pagan temple shook. The
statue of every false god tottered on its base. The priest fled from
his falling shrine; and the heathen oracles became dumb forever.

As on the cross Christ triumphed over Satan, so He overcame His
auxiliary, the world. Long had it assailed Him with its temptations
and discouragements; in this hour of severe trial He surmounted them
all. Formerly He had despised the pleasures of the world. He now
baffled its terrors. Hence He is justly said to have "crucified the
world." By His sufferings He ennobled distress; and He darkened
the luster of the pomp and vanities of life. He discovered to His
followers the path which leads, through affliction, to glory and to
victory; and He imparted to them the same spirit which enabled Him to
overcome. "My kingdom is not of this world. In this world ye shall
have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."

Death also, the last foe of man, was the victim of this hour. The
formidable appearance of the specter remained; but his dart was taken
away. For, in the hour when Christ expiated guilt, He disarmed death,
by securing the resurrection of the just. When He said to His penitent
fellow sufferer, "To-day thou shalt be with me in paradise," He
announced to all His followers the certainty of heavenly bliss. He
declared the cherubim to be dismissed and the flaming sword to be
sheathed, which had been appointed at the fall, to keep from man "the
way of the tree of life." Faint, before this period, had been the
hope, indistinct the prospect, which even good men enjoyed of the
heavenly kingdom. Life and immortality were now brought to light. From
the hill of Calvary the first clear and certain view was given to the
world of the everlasting mansions. Since that hour they have been the
perpetual consolation of believers in Christ. Under trouble, they
soothe their minds; amid temptation, they support their virtue; and in
their dying moments enable them to say, "O death! where is thy sting?
O grave! where is thy victory"?

VI. This was the hour when our Lord erected that spiritual kingdom
which is never to end. How vain are the counsels and designs of men!
How shallow is the policy of the wicked! How short their triumphing!
The enemies of Christ imagined that in this hour they had successfully
accomplished their plan for His destruction. They believed that they
had entirely scattered the small party of His followers, and had
extinguished His name and His honor forever. In derision they addrest
Him as a king. They clothed Him with purple robes; they crowned Him
with a crown of thorns; they put a reed into His hand; and, with
insulting mockery, bowed the knee before Him. Blind and impious men!
How little did they know that the Almighty was at that moment setting
Him as a king on the hill of Zion; giving Him "the heathen for his
inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession"!
How little did they know that their badges of mock royalty were at
that moment converted into the signals of absolute dominion, and the
instruments of irresistible power! The reed which they put into His
hands became "a rod of iron," with which He was to "break in pieces
his enemies," a scepter with which He was to rule the universe in
righteousness. The cross which they thought was to stigmatize Him with
infamy, became the ensign of His renown. Instead of being the reproach
of His followers, it was to be their boast and their glory. The cross
was to shine on palaces and churches throughout the earth. It was to
be assumed as the distinction of the most powerful monarchs, and to
wave in the banner of victorious armies when the memory of Herod and
Pilate should be accurst, when Jerusalem should be reduced to ashes,
and the Jews be vagabonds over all the world.

These were the triumphs which commenced at this hour. Our Lord saw
them already in their birth; He saw of the travail of His soul, and
was satisfied. He beheld the Word of God going forth, conquering, and
to conquer; subduing, to the obedience of His laws, the subduers of
the world; carrying light into the regions of darkness, and mildness
into the habitations of cruelty. He beheld the Gentiles waiting below
the cross, to receive the gospel. He beheld Ethiopia and the Isles
stretching out their hands to God; the desert beginning to rejoice
and to blossom as the rose; and the knowledge of the Lord filling the
earth, as the waters cover the sea. Well pleased, He said, "It is
finished." As a conqueror He retired from the field, reviewing His
triumphs: "He bowed his head and gave up the ghost." From that hour,
Christ was no longer a mortal man, but "Head over all things to the
Church," the glorious King of men and angels, of whose dominion there
shall be no end. His triumphs shall perpetually increase. "His name
shall endure forever; it shall last as long as the sun; men shall be
blest in him, and all nations shall call him blest"

Such were the transactions, such the effects, of this ever-memorable
hour. With all those great events was the mind of our Lord filled,
when He lifted His eyes to heaven, and said, "Father! the hour is

From this view which we have taken of this subject, permit me to
suggest what ground it affords to confide in the mercy of God for the
pardon of sin; to trust to His faithfulness for the accomplishment of
all His promises; and to approach to Him, with gratitude and devotion,
in acts of worship.

In the first place, the death of Christ affords us ground to confide
in the divine mercy for the pardon of sin. All the steps of that high
dispensation of Providence, which we have considered, lead directly to
this conclusion, "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up
for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?"
This is the final result of the discoveries of the gospel. On this
rests the great system of consolation which it hath reared up for men.
We are not left to dubious and intricate reasonings concerning the
conduct which God may be expected to hold toward His offending
creatures: but we are led to the view of important and illustrious
facts which strike the mind with evidence irresistible. For it is
possible to believe that such great operations, as I have endeavored
to describe, were carried on by the Almighty in vain? Did He excite
in the hearts of His creatures such encouraging hopes, without any
intention to fulfil them? After so long a preparation of goodness,
could He mean to deny forgiveness to the penitent and the humble? When
overcome by the sense of guilt, man looks up with an astonished eye to
the justice of his Creator, let him recollect that hour of which the
text speaks, and be comforted. The signals of divine mercy, erected in
his view, are too conspicuous to be either distrusted or mistaken.

In the next place, the discoveries of this hour afford the highest
reason to trust in the divine faithfulness for the accomplishment of
every promise which remains yet unfulfilled. For this was the hour of
the completion of God's ancient covenant.

It was the "performance of the mercy promised to the fathers." We
behold the consummation of a great plan, which, throughout a course
of ages, had been uniformly pursued; and which, against every human
appearance, was, at the appointed moment, exactly fulfilled. No
length of time alters His purpose. No obstacles can retard it. Toward
the ends accomplished in this hour, the most repugnant instruments
were made to operate. We discern God bending to His purpose the
jarring passions, the opposite interests, and even the vices of men;
uniting seeming contrarieties in His scheme; making "the wrath of man
to praise him"; obliging the ambition of princes, the prejudices of
Jews, the malice of Satan, all to concur, either in bringing forward
this hour, or in completing its destined effects. With what entire
confidence ought we to wait for the fulfilment of all His other
promises in their due time, even when events are most embroiled and
the prospect is most discouraging: "Altho thou sayst thou canst not
see him, yet judgment is before him; therefore trust thou in him." Be
attentive only to perform thy duty; leave the event to God, and be
assured that, under the direction of His Providence, "all things shall
work together" for a happy issue.

Lastly, the consideration of this whole subject tends to excite
gratitude and devotion, when we approach to God in acts of worship.
The hour of which I have discust, presents Him to us in the amiable
light of the deliverer of mankind, the restorer of our forfeited
hopes. We behold the greatness of the Almighty, softened by the mild
radiance of condescension and mercy. We behold Him diminishing the
awful distance at which we stand from His presence, by appointing for
us a mediator and intercessor, through whom the humble may, without
dismay, approach to Him who made them. By such views of the divine
nature, Christian faith lays the foundation for a worship which shall
be at once rational and affectionate; a worship in which the light of
the understanding shall concur with the devotion of the heart, and
the most profound reverence be united with the most cordial love.
Christian faith is not a system of speculative truths. It is not a
lesson of moral instruction only. By a train of high discoveries which
it reveals, by a succession of interesting objects which it places
in our view, it is calculated to elevate the mind, to purify the
affections, and by the assistance of devotion, to confirm and
encourage virtue. Such, in particular, is the scope of that divine
institution, the sacrament of our Lord's Supper. To this happy purpose
let it conduce, by concentering in one striking point of light all
that the gospel has displayed of what is most important to man.
Touched with such contrition for past offenses, and filled with a
grateful sense of divine goodness, let us come to the altar of God,
and, with a humble faith in His infinite mercies, devote ourselves to
His service forever.




Timothy Dwight was born at Northampton, Massachusetts, in 1752. He
graduated from Yale in 1769, served as chaplain in the army during the
Revolutionary War and was chosen president of his university in 1795.
He died, after holding that office for twelve years, in 1817. Lyman
Beecher, who attributed his conversion to him, says: "He was of noble
form, with a noble head and body, and had one of the sweetest smiles
that ever you saw. When I heard him preach on 'the harvest is passed,
the summer is ended, and we are not saved,' a whole avalanche rolled
down on my mind. I went home weeping every step."




_O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in
man that walketh to direct his steps_.--Jeremiah x., 23.

Few of this audience will probably deny the truth of a direct
Scriptural declaration. With as little reason can it be denied that
most of them apparently live in the very manner in which they would
live if the doctrine were false: or that they rely, chiefly at least,
on their own sagacity, contrivance and efforts for success in this
life and that which is to come. As little can it be questioned that
such self-confidence is a guide eminently dangerous and deceitful.
Safe as we may feel under its direction, our safety is imaginary. The
folly of others in trusting to themselves we discern irresistibly. The
same folly they perceive, with equal evidence, in us. Our true
wisdom lies in willingly feeling, and cheerfully acknowledging, our
dependence on God; and in committing ourselves with humble reliance to
His care and direction.

With these observations I will now proceed to illustrate the truth of
the doctrine. The mode which I shall pursue will, probably, be thought
singular. I hope it will be useful. Metaphysical arguments, which are
customarily employed for the purpose of establishing this and several
other doctrines of theology, are, if I mistake not, less satisfactory
to the minds of men at large than the authors of them appear to
believe. Facts, wherever they can be fairly adduced for this end,
are attended with a superior power of conviction; and commonly leave
little doubt behind them. On these, therefore, I shall at the present
time rely for the accomplishment of my design. In the first place, the
doctrine of the text is evident from the great fact that the birth and
education of all men depend not on themselves.

The succeeding events of life are derived, in a great measure at
least, from our birth. By this event, it is in a prime degree
determined whether men shall be princes or peasants, opulent or poor,
learned or ignorant, honorable or despised; whether they shall be
civilized or savage, freemen or slaves, Christians or heathens,
Mohammedans or Jews.

A child is born of Indian parents in the western wilderness. By his
birth he is, of course, a savage. His friends, his mode of life, his
habits, his knowledge, his opinions, his conduct, all grow out of this
single event. His first thoughts, his first instructions, and all the
first objects with which he is conversant, the persons whom he loves,
the life to which he assumes are all savage. He is an Indian from the
cradle; he is an Indian to the grave. To say that he could not be
otherwise, we are not warranted; but that he is not is certain.

Another child is born of a Bedouin Arab. From this moment he begins to
be an Arabian. His hand is against every man; and every man's hand
is against him. Before he can walk, or speak, he is carried through
pathless wastes in search of food; and roams in the arms of his
mother, and on the back of a camel, from spring to spring, and from
pasture to pasture. Even then he begins his conflict with hunger and
thirst; is scorched by a vertical sun; shriveled by the burning sand
beneath; and poisoned by the breath of the simoom. Hardened thus
through his infancy and childhood, both in body and mind, he becomes,
under the exhortations and example of his father, a robber from
his youth; attacks every stranger whom he is able to overcome; and
plunders every valuable thing on which he can lay his hand.

A third receives his birth in the palace of a British nobleman; and is
welcomed to the world as the heir apparent of an ancient, honorable
and splendid family. As soon as he opens his eyes on the light, he is
surrounded by all the enjoyments which opulence can furnish, ingenuity
contrive, or fondness bestow. He is dandled on the knee of indulgence;
encircled by attendants, who watch and prevent alike his necessities
and wishes; cradled on down; and charmed to sleep by the voice of
tenderness and care. From the dangers and evils of life he is guarded
with anxious solicitude. To its pleasures he is conducted by the
ever-ready hand of maternal affection. His person is shaped and
improved by a succession of masters; his mind is opened, invigorated
and refined by the assiduous superintendence of learning and wisdom.
While a child he is served by a host of menials and flattered by
successive trains of visitors. When a youth he is regarded by a band
of tenants with reverence and awe. His equals in age bow to his rank;
and multitudes, of superior years acknowledge his distinction by
continual testimonies of marked respect. When a man, he engages the
regard of his sovereign; commands the esteem of the senate; and earns
the love and applause of his country.

A fourth child, in the same kingdom, is begotten by a beggar, and
born under a hedge. From his birth he is trained to suffering and
hardihood. He is nursed, if he can be said to be nursed at all, on a
coarse, scanty and precarious pittance; holds life only as a tenant
at will; combats from the first dawnings of intellect with insolence,
cold and nakedness; is originally taught to beg and to steal; is
driven from the doors of men by the porter or the house dog; and is
regarded as an alien from the family of Adam. Like his kindred worms,
he creeps through life in the dust; dies under the hedge, where he is
born; and is then, perhaps, cast into a ditch, and covered with earth
by some stranger, who remembers that, altho a beggar, he still was a

A child enters the world in China; and unites, as a thing of course,
with his sottish countrymen in the stupid worship of the idol Fo.
Another prostrates himself before the Lama, in consequence of having
received his being in Tibet, and of seeing the Lama worshiped by all
around him.

A third, who begins his existence in Turkey, is carried early to the
mosque; taught to lisp with profound reverence the name of Mohammed;
habituated to repeat the prayers and sentences of the Koran as the
means of eternal life; and induced, in a manner irresistible, to
complete his title to Paradise by a pilgrimage to Mecca.

The Hindu infant grows into a religious veneration for the cow; and
perhaps never doubts that, if he adds to this solemn devotion to
Juggernaut, the Gooroos, and the Dewtahs, and performs carefully his
ablutions in the Ganges, he shall wash away all his sins, and obtain,
by the favor of Brahma, a seat among the blest.

In our own favored country, one child is born of parents devoted
solely to this world. From his earliest moments of understanding, he
hears and sees nothing commended but hunting, horse-racing, visiting,
dancing, dressing, riding, parties, gaming, acquiring money with
eagerness and skill, and spending it in gaiety, pleasure and luxury.
These things, he is taught by conversation and example, constitute all
the good of man. His taste is formed, his habits are riveted, and the
whole character of his soul is turned to them before he is fairly
sensible that there is any other good. The question whether virtue and
piety are either duties or blessings he probably never asks. In the
dawn of life he sees them neglected and despised by those whom he
most reverences; and learns only to neglect and despise them also. Of
Jehovah he thinks as little, and for the same reason as a Chinese or
a Hindu. They pay their devotions to Fo and to Juggernaut: he his to
money and pleasure. Thus he lives, and dies, a mere animal; a stranger
to intelligence and morality, to his duty and his God.

Another child comes into existence in the mansion of knowledge and
virtue. From his infancy, his mind is fashioned to wisdom and piety.
In his infancy he is taught and allured to remember his Creator;
and to unite, first in form and then in affection, in the household
devotions of the morning and evening. God he knows almost as soon as
he can know anything. The presence of that glorious being he is taught
to realize almost from the cradle; and from the dawn of intelligence
to understand the perfections and government of his Creator. His own
accountableness, as soon as he can comprehend it, he begins to feel
habitually, and always. The way of life through the Redeemer is early,
and regularly explained to him by the voice of parental love; and
enforced and endeared in the house of God. As soon as possible, he
is enabled to read, and persuaded to "search the Scriptures." Of the
approach, the danger and the mischiefs of temptations, he is tenderly
warned. At the commencement of sin, he is kindly checked in his
dangerous career. To God he was solemnly given in baptism. To God he
was daily commended in fervent prayer. Under this happy cultivation he
grows up "like an olive-tree in the courts of the Lord"; and, green,
beautiful and flourishing, he blossoms; bears fruit; and is prepared
to be transplanted by the divine hand to a kinder soil in the regions

How many, and how great, are the differences in these several
children! How plainly do they all, in ordinary circumstances, arise
out of their birth! From their birth is derived, of course, the
education which I have ascribed to them; and from this education
spring in a great measure both character and their destiny. The place,
the persons, the circumstances, are here evidently the great things
which, in the ordinary course of Providence, appear chiefly to
determine what the respective men shall be; and what shall be those
allotments which regularly follow their respective characters. As,
then, they are not at all concerned in contriving or accomplishing
either their birth or their education; it is certain that, in these
most important particulars, the way of man is not in himself. God only
can determine what child shall spring from parents, wise or foolish,
virtuous or sinful, rich or poor, honorable or infamous, civilized or
savage, Christian or heathen.

I wish it to be distinctly understood, and carefully remembered, that
"in the moral conduct of all these individuals no physical necessity
operates." Every one of them is absolutely a free agent; as free as
any created agent can be. Whatever he does is the result of choice,
absolutely unconstrained.

Let me add, that not one of them is placed in a situation in which, if
he learns and performs his duty to the utmost of his power, he will
fail of being finally accepted.

Secondly. The doctrine is strikingly evident from this great fact,
also, that the course of life, which men usually pursue, is very
different from that which they have intended.

Human life is ordinarily little else than a collection of
disappointments. Rarely is the life of man such as he designs it shall
be. Often do we fail of pursuing, at all, the business originally
in our view. The intentional farmer becomes a mechanic, a seaman,
a merchant, a lawyer, a physician, or a divine. The very place of
settlement, and of residence through life, is often different, and
distant, from that which was originally contemplated. Still more
different is the success which follows our efforts.

All men intend to be rich and honorable; to enjoy ease; and to pursue
pleasure. But how small is the number of those who compass these
objects! In this country, the great body of mankind are, indeed,
possest of competence; a safer and happier lot than that to which they
aspire; yet few, very few are rich. Here, also, the great body of
mankind possess a character, generally reputable; but very limited is
the number of those who arrive at the honor which they so ardently
desire, and of which they feel assured. Almost all stop at the
moderate level, where human efforts appear to have their boundary
established in the determination of God. Nay, far below this level
creep multitudes of such as began life with full confidence in the
attainment of distinction and splendor.

The lawyer, emulating the eloquence, business, and fame of Murray or
Dunning, and secretly resolved not to slacken his efforts, until all
his rivals in the race for glory are outstript is often astonished, as
well as broken-hearted, to find business and fame pass by his door,
and stop at the more favored mansion of some competitor, in his view
less able, and less discerning, than himself.

The physician, devoted to medical science, and possest of
distinguished powers of discerning and removing diseases, is obliged
to walk; while a more fortunate empiric, ignorant and worthless, rolls
through the streets in his coach.

The legislator beholds with anguish and amazement the suffrages of his
countrymen given eagerly to a rival candidate devoid of knowledge and
integrity; but skilled in flattering the base passions of men, and
deterred by no hesitations of conscience, and no fears of infamy, from
saying and doing anything which may secure his election.

The merchant often beholds with a despairing eye his own ships sunk in
the ocean; his debtors fail; his goods unsold, his business cramped;
and himself, his family and his hopes ruined; while a less skilful but
more successful neighbor sees wealth blown to him by every wind, and
floated on every wave.

The crops of the farmer are stinted; his cattle die; his markets are
bad; and the purchaser of his commodities proves to be a cheat, who
deceives his confidence and runs away with his property.

Thus the darling schemes and fondest hopes of man are daily frustrated
by time. While sagacity contrives, patience matures, and labor
industriously executes, disappointment laughs at the curious fabric,
formed by so many efforts and gay with so many brilliant colors,
and while the artists imagine the work arrived at the moment of
completion, brushes away the beautiful web, and leaves nothing behind.

The designs of men, however, are in many respects not infrequently
successful. The lawyer and physician acquire business and fame; the
statesman, votes; and the farmer, wealth. But their real success,
even in this case, is often substantially the same with that already
recited. In all plans, and all labors, the supreme object is to become
happy. Yet, when men have actually acquired riches and honor, or
secured to themselves popular favor, they still find the happiness,
which they expected, eluding their grasp. Neither wealth, fame,
office, nor sensual pleasure can yield such good as we need. As these
coveted objects are accumulated, the wishes of man always grow faster
than his gratifications. Hence, whatever he acquires, he is usually as
little satisfied as before, and often less.

A principal design of the mind in laboring for these things is to
become superior to others. But almost all rich men are obliged to see,
and usually with no small anguish, others richer than themselves;
honorable men, others more honorable; voluptuous men, others who enjoy
more pleasure. The great end of the strife is therefore unobtained;
and the happiness expected never found. Even the successful competitor
in the race utterly misses his aim. The real enjoyment existed, altho
it was unperceived by him, in the mere strife for superiority. When
he has outstript all his rivals the contest is at an end: and his
spirits, which were invigorated only by contending, languish for want
of a competitor.

Besides, the happiness in view was only the indulgence of pride,
or mere animal pleasure. Neither of these can satisfy or endure. A
rational mind may be, and often is, so narrow and groveling as not to
aim at any higher good, to understand its nature or to believe its
existence. Still, in its original constitution, it was formed with a
capacity for intellectual and moral good, and was destined to find in
this good its only satisfaction. Hence, no inferior good will fill
its capacity or its desires. Nor can this bent of its nature ever be
altered. Whatever other enjoyment, therefore, it may attain, it will,
without this, still crave and still be unhappy.

No view of the ever-varying character and success of mankind in
their expectations of happiness, and their efforts to obtain it, can
illustrate this doctrine more satisfactorily than that of the progress
and end of a class of students in this seminary. At their first
appearance here they are all exactly on the same level. Their
character, their hopes and their destination are the same. They are
enrolled on one list; and enter upon a collegiate life with the same
promise of success. At this moment they are plants, appearing just
above the ground; all equally fair and flourishing. Within a short
time, however, some begin to rise above others; indicating by a more
rapid growth a structure of superior vigor, and promising both more
early and more abundant fruit....

Were I to ask the youths who are before me what are their designs
and expectations concerning their future life, and write down their
several answers, what a vast difference would ultimately be found
between those answers and the events which would actually befall them!
To how great a part of that difference would facts, over which they
could have no control, give birth! How many of them will in all
probability be less prosperous, rich, and honorable than they now
intend: how many devoted to employments of which at present they do
not even dream; in circumstances, of which they never entertained even
a thought, behind those whom they expected to outrun, poor, sick, in
sorrow or in the grave.

First. You see here, my young friends, the most solid reasons for
gratitude to your Creator.

God, only, directed that you should be born in this land, and in the
midst of peace, plenty, civilization, freedom, learning and religion;
and that your existence should not commence in a Tartarian forest
or an African waste. God, alone, ordered that you should be born of
parents who knew and worshiped Him, the glorious and eternal Jehovah;
and not of parents who bowed before the Lama or the ox, an image of
brass or the stock of a tree. In the book of His counsels, your names,
so far as we are able to judge, were written in the fair lines of
mercy. It is of His overflowing goodness that you are now here;
surrounded with privileges, and beset with blessings, educated to
knowledge, usefulness and piety, and prepared to begin an endless
course of happiness and glory. All these delightful things have
been poured into your lap, and have come, unbidden, to solicit your
acceptance. If these blessings awaken not gratitude, it can not be
awakened by the blessings in the present world. If they are not
thankfully felt by you, it is because you know not how to be thankful.
Think what you are, and where you are; and what and where you just as
easily might have been. Remember that, instead of cherishing tender
affections, imbibing refined sentiments, exploring the field of
science, and assuming the name and character of the sons of God, you
might as easily have been dozing in the smoke of a wigwam, brandishing
a tomahawk, or dancing round an emboweled captive; or that you might
yourself have been emboweled by the hand of superstition, and burnt on
the altars of Moloch. If you remember these things, you can not but
call to mind, also, who made you to differ from the miserable beings
who have thus lived and died.

Secondly. This doctrine forcibly demands of you to moderate desires
and expectations.

There are two modes in which men seek happiness in the enjoyments of
the present world. "Most persons freely indulge their wishes, and
intend to find objects sufficient in number and value to satisfy
them." A few "aim at satisfaction by proportioning their desires to
the number and measure of their probable gratifications." By the
doctrine of the text, the latter method is stamped with the name of
wisdom, and on the former is inscribed the name of folly. Desires
indulged grow faster and farther than gratifications extend.
Ungratified desire is misery. Expectations eagerly indulged and
terminated by disappointment are often exquisite misery. But how
frequently are expectations raised only to be disappointed, and
desires let loose only to terminate in distress! The child pines for
a toy: the moment he possesses it, he throws it by and cries for
another. When they are piled up in heaps around him, he looks at them
without pleasure, and leaves them without regret. He knew not that
all the good which they could yield lay in expectation; nor that his
wishes for more would increase faster than toys could be multiplied,
and is unhappy at last for the same reason as at first: his wishes
are ungratified. Still indulging them, and still believing that the
gratification of them will furnish the enjoyment for which he pines,
he goes on, only to be unhappy.

Men are merely taller children. Honor, wealth and splendor are the
toys for which grown children pine; but which, however accumulated,
leave them still disappointed and unhappy. God never designed that
intelligent beings should be satisfied with these enjoyments. By his
wisdom and goodness they were formed to derive their happiness and

Moderated desires constitute a character fitted to acquire all the
good which this world can yield. He who is prepared, in whatever
situation he is, therewith to be content, has learned effectually the
science of being happy, and possesses the alchemic stone which will
change every metal into gold. Such a man will smile upon a stool,
while Alexander at his side sits weeping on the throne of the world.

The doctrine of the text teaches you irresistibly that, since you can
not command gratifications, you should command your desires; and that,
as the events of life do not accord with your wishes, your wishes
should accord with them. Multiplied enjoyments fall to but few men,
and are no more rationally expected than the highest prize in a
lottery. But a well-regulated mind, a dignified independence of the
world, and a wise preparation to possess one's soul in patience,
whatever circumstances may exist, is in the power of every man, and is
greater wealth than that of both Indies, and greater honor than Caesar
ever required.

Thirdly. As your course and your success through life are not under
your control, you are strongly urged to commit yourselves to God, who
can control both.

That you can not direct your course through the world, that your best
concerted plans will often fail, that your sanguine expectations will
be disappointed, and that your fondest worldly wishes will terminate
in mortification can not admit of a momentary doubt. That God can
direct you, that He actually controls all your concerns, and that,
if you commit yourselves to His care, He will direct you kindly and
safely, can be doubted only of choice. Why, then, do you hesitate to
yield yourselves and your interests to the guidance of your Maker?
There are two reasons which appear especially to govern mankind in
this important concern; they do not and will not realize the agency of
God in their affairs; and they do not choose to have them directed
as they imagine He will direct them. The former is the result of
stupidity; the latter, of impiety. Both are foolish in the extreme,
and not less sinful than foolish.

The infinitely wise, great and glorious benefactor of the universe
has offered to take men by the hand, lead them through the journey of
life, and conduct them to His own house in the heavens. The proof of
His sincerity in making this offer has been already produced. He has
given His own Son to live, and die, and rise, and reign, and intercede
for our race. "Herein is love," if there ever was love; "not that we
have loved him, but that he has loved us." That He, who has done this,
should not be sincere is impossible. St. Paul, therefore, triumphantly
asks what none can answer: "He, that spared not his own Son, but
delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely
give us all things?" Trust, then, His word with undoubting confidence;
take His hand with humble gratitude, and with all thy heart obey His
voice, which you will everywhere hear, saying, "this is the way, walk
ye therein." In sickness and in health, by night and by day, at home
and in crowds, He will watch over you with tenderness inexpressible.
He will make you lie down in green pastures, lead you beside the still
waters and guide you in paths of righteousness, for His name's sake.
He will prepare a table before you in the presence of your enemies,
and cause your cup to run over with blessings. When you pass through
the waters of affliction He will be with you, and through the rivers
they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall
not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle on you. From their
native heavens He will commission those charming twin sisters,
goodness and mercy, to descend and "follow you all your days."

But if you wish God to be your guide and your friend, you must conform
to his pleasure. Certainly you can not wonder that the infinitely Wise
should prefer His own wisdom to yours, and that he should choose for
His children their allotments, rather than leave them to choose for
themselves. That part of His pleasure, which you are to obey, is all
summed up in the single word duty, and it is perfectly disclosed in
the Scriptures. The whole scheme is so formed as to be plain, easy,
profitable, and delightful; profitable in hand, delightful in the
possession. Every part and precept of the whole is calculated for this
end, and will make you only wise, good, and happy.

Life has been often styled an ocean, and our progress through it a
voyage. The ocean is tempestuous and billowy, overspread by a cloudy
sky, and fraught beneath with shelves and quicksands. The voyage
is eventful beyond comprehension, and at the same time full of
uncertainty, and replete with danger. Every adventurer needs to be
well prepared for whatever may befall him, and well secured against
the manifold hazards of losing his course, sinking in the abyss, or of
being wrecked against the shore.

These evils have all existed at all times. The present, and that
part of the past which is known to you by experience, has seen them
multiplied beyond example. It has seen the ancient and acknowledged
standards of thinking violently thrown down. Religion, morals,
government, and the estimate formed by man of crimes and virtues, and
of all the means of usefulness and enjoyment, have been questioned,
attacked, and in various places, and with respect to millions of
the human race, finally overthrown. A licentiousness of opinion and
conduct, daring, outrageous, and rending asunder every bond formed by
God or man, has taken place of former good sense and sound morals, and
has long threatened the destruction of human good. Industry, cunning,
and fraud have toiled with unrivaled exertions to convert man into
a savage and the world into a desert. A wretched and hypocritical
philanthropy, also, not less mischievous, has stalked forth as the
companion of these ravages: a philanthropy born in a dream, bred in a
hovel, and living only in professions. This guardian genius of human
interests, this friend of human rights, this redresser of human
wrongs, is yet without a heart to feel, and without a hand to bless.
But she is well furnished with lungs, with eyes, and a tongue. She can
talk, and sigh, and weep at pleasure, but can neither pity nor give.
The objects of her attachment are either knaves and villains at home,
or unknown sufferers beyond her reach abroad. To the former, she
ministers the sword and the dagger, that they may fight their way into
place, and power, and profit. At the latter she only looks through a
telescope of fancy, as an astronomer searches for stars invisible
to the eye. To every real object of charity within her reach she
complacently says, "Be thou warmed, and be thou filled; depart in

By the daring spirit, the vigorous efforts, and the ingenious cunning
so industriously exerted on the one hand, and the smooth and gentle
benevolence so softly profest on the other, multitudes have been,
and you easily may be, destroyed. The mischief has indeed been met,
resisted, and overcome; but it has the heads and the lives of the
hydra, and its wounds, which at times have seemed deadly, are much
more readily healed than any good man could wish, than any sober man
could expect. Hope not to escape the assaults of this enemy: To feel
that you are in danger will ever be a preparation for your safety. But
it will be only such a preparation; your deliverance must ultimately
and only flow from your Maker. Resolve, then, to commit yourselves
to Him with a cordial reliance on His wisdom, power, and protection.
Consider how much you have at stake, that you are bound to eternity,
that your existence will be immortal, and that you will either rise to
endless glory or be lost in absolute perdition. Heaven is your proper
home. The path, which I have recommended to you, will conduct you
safely and certainly to that happy world. Fill up life, therefore,
with obedience to God, with faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and
repentance unto life, the obedience to the two great commands of the
gospel, with supreme love to God and universal good-will to men, the
obedience to the two great commands of the law. On all your sincere
endeavors to honor Him, and befriend your fellow men, He will smile;
every virtuous attempt He will bless; every act of obedience He will
reward. Life in this manner will be pleasant amid all its sorrows; and
beams of hope will continually shine through the gloom, by which it
is so often overcast. Virtue, the seed that can not die, planted from
heaven, and cultivated by the divine hand, will grow up in your hearts
with increasing vigor, and blossom in your lives with supernal beauty.
Your path will be that of the just, and will gloriously resemble the
dawning light, "which shines brighter and brighter, to the perfect
day." Peace will take you by the hand, and offer herself as the
constant and delightful companion of your progress. Hope will walk
before you, and with an unerring finger point out your course; and
joy, at the end of the journey, will open her arms to receive you. You
will wait on the Lord, and renew your strength; will mount up with
wings as eagles; will run, and not be weary; will walk, and not faint.




Robert Hall, Baptist divine, was born at Arnesby, near Leicester,
England, in 1764. Destined for the ministry, he was educated at the
Baptist Academy at Bristol, and preached for the first time in
1779. In 1783 he began his ministry in Bristol and drew crowded
congregations of all classes. The tradition of Hall's pupit oratory
has secured his lasting fame. Many minds of a high order were
fascinated by his eloquence, and his conversation was brilliant.
His treatment of religious topics had the rare merit of commending
evangelical doctrine to people of taste. Dugald Stewart declares that
his writings and public utterances exhibited the English language in
its perfection. He died in 1831.




_But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you._--John v.,

The persons whom our Lord addrest in these words made a high
profession of religion, valued themselves upon their peculiar
opportunities of knowing the true God and His will, and proclaimed
themselves as the Israel and the temple of the Lord, while they
despised the surrounding pagans as those who were strangers to the
divine law. Yet the self-complacent Pharisees of our Savior's age were
as far from the love of God, he assures them in the text, as any of
those who had never heard of His name. In this respect, many of "the
first were last, and the last first." The rejection of the gospel
evinces a hardness of heart which is decisive against the character;
and, in the case of the Pharisees, it gave ample evidence that they
possest no love of God. Had they really known God, as our Lord argues,
they would have known Himself to be sent by God: whereas, in proving
the bitter enemies of Christ, they proved that they were in a state of
enmity against God. By parity of reason, we, my brethren, who know God
and His Word in the way of Christian profession, ought not to take it
for granted that we possess the love of God, and are in the way of
eternal life: the same self-delusion may overtake us also; and similar
admonitions may be no less necessary to many present, than to the
Pharisees of old. Suffer then, my brethren, the word of exhortation,
while I invite each individual seriously to consider this subject,
with a view to the discovery of his real character.

In proceeding to lay down certain marks of grace, let it be premised,
that either these marks partake of the nature of true religion, or
they do not. If they do, they must be identified with it, and here the
mark is the thing: if they do not partake of its nature, some of
them may exist as indications where genuine religion is not. It is
necessary, then, that we combine a variety of particular signs of
grace: any one taken by itself, may, or may not, exist, without true
religion; but where many are combined, no just doubt can remain.

Whether you have the love of God in your soul presents a most
critical subject of inquiry; since the love of God will be
acknowledged by all to be the great, the essential, principle of
true religion. The simple question, then, to which I would call your
attention, is this: "Am I, or am I not, a sincere lover of the Author
of my being?"

In endeavoring to assist you in the decision of this momentous
question, as it respects yourselves. I shall entreat your attention
while I suggest a variety of marks which indicate love to God; and
supposing the conviction produced by the statement to be, that you
have not the love of God, I shall point out the proper improvement of
such a conviction.

In suggesting various marks by which you may ascertain whether you
love God or not, I would mention the general bent and turn of your
thoughts, when not under the immediate control of circumstances; for
these, you are aware, give a new and peculiar bias to our thoughts,
and stamp them with an impress of their own. There is an infinite
variety of thoughts continually passing through the mind of every
individual: of these, some are thrown up by occasions; but others, and
often the greater part, follow the habitual train of our associations.
It is not to thoughts of the former kind that I refer; it is to those
of the latter class--those involuntary thoughts which spring up of
themselves in the mind of every person: it is these, not the former,
that afford clear indication of the general temper and disposition.
The question I would propose to you is, What is the bent of your
thoughts when, disengaged from the influence of any particular
occurrence, you are left to yourselves, in the intervals of retirement
and tranquillity, in the silence of the midnight watches, and, in
short, whenever your mind is left free to its own spontaneous musings?
Are the thoughts most familiar to your mind, at such times, thoughts
of God and the things of God--or are they thoughts that turn upon the
present world and its transient concerns? Are they confined, for the
most part, within the narrow circle of time and sense; or do they make
frequent and large excursions into the spiritual and eternal world?
The answer to this question will go far to decide whether you have, or
have not, the love of God. It is impossible that such an object as the
divine Being should be absent long from your thoughts; impossible
that His remembrance should long remain merged in the stream of other
imaginations; unless you are supposed chargeable with a decided
indifference to divine things! Unless you are destitute of love to God
you can never be so utterly uncongenial in sentiment and feeling with
the psalmist, when he says, "My mouth shall praise thee with joyful
lips, while I meditate upon thee in the night watches." "How precious
are thy thoughts unto me, O God!" When that man of God gazed upon the
starry heavens, his mind was not merely wrought into astonishment at
the physical energy there displayed; he was still more deeply lost in
grateful admiration of the mercy of Providence as manifested to man--a
sinful child of dust, and yet visited by God in the midst of so
magnificent a universe! But when day passes after day, and night after
night, without any serious thoughts of God, it is plain that He is not
the home of your mind, not your portion, center, and resting-place:
and if this is the case, it is equally plain that you are not in a
state of acceptance with Him; since nothing can be more certain than
that, as our thoughts are, such must be our character. I do not ask
what are your thoughts at particular times, or under the influence
of some particular event: there may be little difference, on some
occasions, between those who remember, and those who neglect, God
habitually. The charge against the ungodly is, that "God is not in all
their thoughts." If there are any here who feel this charge as bearing
against themselves, let them take that solemn warning given by God
himself at the close of the fiftieth psalm, "Oh, consider this, ye
that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to
deliver you!"

Let me request you to consider seriously how you stand disposed to the
exercises of religion. If God is the object of your love, you will
gladly avail yourselves of the most favorable opportunities of
cultivating a closer friendship with the Father of your spirits: on
the contrary, he who feels no regard for these opportunities, proves
that he has no love to God, and will never be able to establish the
conviction that God is his friend. Wherever there exists a sincere
friendship, opportunities of cultivating it are gladly embraced, and
the opposite privations are regretted. Where a habitual neglect of
sacred exercises prevails it must be interpreted as if it said, like
those whom the prophet describes, "Cause the Holy One of Israel to
cease from amongst us. Depart from us, for we desire not the knowledge
of thy way!" If your closets seldom witness your private devotions,
if your moments in retirement are languid and uninteresting--your
religion can have no hold on your heart; and the reason why your
religion has no hold on your heart is because you have no love of God.
There are some whose religion sits easy and delightful upon them; its
acts and functions are free and lively: there are others who seem to
bear their religion as a burden, to drag their duties as a chain--as
no vital part of themselves, but rather a cumbrous appendage: this is
a decisive and melancholy symptom of a heart alienated from God. There
is no genuine religion, no real contact of the heart with the best of
beings, unless it makes us continually resort to Him as our chief joy.
The psalmist is always expressing his fervent desires after God: after
the light of the divine countenance, and the sense of the divine
favor: but do you suppose such desires peculiar to the state of
believers under the Old Testament? No, my brethren; there exist more
abundant reasons than ever, since the gospel of Christ has been
displayed in all the glorious fulness of its blessings, why our souls
should be inflamed with such feelings as those which inspired
the psalmist, when he exclaimed, "As the hart panteth for the
water-brooks, so longeth my soul after thee, O God!"

If you would ascertain whether you love God, consider how you stand
affected toward the Word of God. We can entertain no just thoughts of
God, but such as we derive from His own Word: we can acquire no true
knowledge of God, nor cherish any suitable affections toward Him,
unless they are such as His own revelation authorizes. Otherwise we
must suppose that revelation insufficient for its specific purposes,
and set the means against the end. All, therefore, who sincerely love
God, are students of His Word; they here, also accord in soul with the
psalmist, and like him, can say, "O how I love thy word! in it is my
meditation all the day:" they eat it as food for their souls, and find
it sweeter than honey. They go to it as to an inexhaustible fountain,
and drink from it streams of sacred light and joy. A neglected Bible
is too unambiguous a sign of an unsanctified heart; since that blest
book can not fail to attract every one that loves its divine Author.
How is it possible to delight in God, and yet neglect that Word which
alone reveals Him in His true and glorious character--alone discovers
the way by which He comes into unison with us, and condescends to
pardon us, to love us, and to guide us through all this mysterious
state of being? It is observable that the only persons who are
inattentive to their own sacred books are to be found among
Christians. Mohammedans commit large portions of the Koran to memory;
the Jews regard the Old Testament with reverence; the Hindu Brahmans
are enthusiastically attached to their Shastra; while Christians alone
neglect their Bible. And the reason is, that the Scriptures are so
much more spiritual than the religious books received by others; they
afford so little scope for mere amusement or self-complacency; they
place the reader alone with God; they withdraw him from the things
that are seen and temporal, and fix him among the things that are
unseen and eternal; they disclose to his view at once the secret evils
of his own condition, and the awful purity of that Being with whom he
has to do. No wonder the ungodly man hates their light, neither comes
to their light, but retires from it farther and farther into the
shades of guilty ignorance. How melancholy the infatuation of such a

Estimate your character in respect to your love of God, by reflecting,
with what sentiments you regard the people of God. God has a people
peculiarly His own: they are not of that world to which they outwardly
belong--not conformed to it in the spirit of their mind; they stand
apart, many of them at least, in conspicuous conformity to Jesus
Christ, and in earnest expectation of the glory which He had promised.
How, then, do you regard these decided followers of God? Do you shun
their society with aversion and secret shame; or do you enjoy
their communion as one of the most delightful among your Christian
privileges? Are you content merely to be the companion of those who
"have a name to live, but are dead": or can you say with the psalmist,
"My delight is in the excellent of the earth"? or, with the beloved
disciple, "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because
we love the brethren"? for, as he adds, "He that loveth him that
begot, loveth him that is begotten"; if you do not love the image
which you have seen, how can you love the unseen original? If the
features of holiness and grace in the creature are not attractive to
your view, how can your affections rise to the perfect essence? How
can you ascend to the very sun itself, when you can not enjoy even the
faint reflection of its glory? He who knew the heart, could alone say
to those around Him, "I know you, that ye have not the love of God
in you": but tho none can address you now in the same tone of divine
authority, yet we may hear it uttered by a voice--the voice of your
own conscience: you may know, without any perturbations of hope or
fear, by the spiritual insensibility and inaction of your soul--by
this you may know, with equal certainty as by a voice from heaven,
that you have not the love of God in you.

Consider the disposition you entertain toward the person and office of
the Son of God. "If ye had loved the Father, ye would have loved me
also," was the constant argument of Jesus Christ to those Pharisees
whom He addresses in the text For Jesus Christ is the express image of
God: the effulgence of the divine character is attempered in Him, to
suit the views of sinful humanity. In the life of Jesus Christ we see
how the divine Being conducts Himself in human form and in our own
circumstances: we behold how He bears all the sorrows, and passes
through all the temptations, of flesh and blood. Such, indeed, is the
identity, so perfect the oneness of character, between the man Christ
Jesus and the divine Being--that our Savior expressly assures us, "He
that hath seen me, hath seen the Father; I and my Father are one." The
purpose for which God was manifested in the flesh was not to reveal
high speculations concerning the nature of the Deity: it was to bear
our sorrows, and to die for our sins. But can you contemplate Him,
thus stooping to your condition, thus mingling with every interest of
your own, and not be moved by such a spectacle?--not be attracted,
fixt, filled with grateful astonishment and devotion--crucified, as
it were, on the cross of Christ, to the flesh, and to the world? What
mark, then, of our possessing no love of God can equal this, that we
are without love to Jesus Christ?--that neither the visibility of His
divine excellence, nor His participation of all our human sufferings,
can reach our hearts and command our affections?

In examining whether you love God, examine how you are affected by His
benefits. These are so numerous and so distinguished that they
ought to excite our most ardent gratitude: night and day they are
experienced by us; they pervade every moment of our being. We know
that favors from an enemy derive a taint from the hands through which
they are received, and excite alienation rather than attachment: but
the kindness of a friend, by constantly reminding us of himself,
endears that friend more and more to our hearts; and thus, he that has
no love to God receives all His favors without the least attraction
toward their Author, whom he regards rather as an enemy than as a
friend. But the Christian feels his love of God excited by every fresh
goodness. The mercies of God have accompanied you through every
stage of your journey; and they are exhibited to you in His word as
stretching through a vast eternity. Are these the only benefits you
can receive without gratitude, and suffer to pass unregarded How,
then, can any love of God dwell in your bosom?

Consider, in the next place, in what manner you are imprest by
the sense of your sins. The question is not whether you have any
sins,--none can admit a doubt on this point; the only inquiry is, how
you are affected by those sins? Are they remembered by you with a
sentiment of tender regret, of deep confusion and humiliation, that
you should ever have so requited such infinite goodness? And is this
sentiment combined with a sacred resolution to go and sin no more,--to
devote yourself to the service of your divine Benefactor? If you
can live without an habitual sense of penitential tenderness and
reverential fear, be assured you can not love God; you have no
experience of those Scripture declarations: "They shall fear the Lord
and his goodness in the latter days;" "There is forgiveness with thee,
that thou mayst be feared;" you know not that "the goodness of God
leadeth to repentence." If the mind is softened by the love of God,
all His favors serve to inflame its gratitude, and confirm its
devotion to His will: but he who has no love of God in his soul,
thinks of nothing but how he may escape from God's hand, and selfishly
devours all His favors, without an emotion of gratitude to the Giver.

Finally, let me remind you to consider how you are affected to the
present world. If you could only be exempt from its afflictions, would
you wish it to be your lasting home? If you could surround yourself
with all its advantages and enjoyments, would you be content to dwell
in it forever? Yet you know that it is a place of separation and exile
from the divine majesty; that it is a scene of darkness, in comparison
with heaven, very faintly illuminated with the beams of His distant
glory; that its inhabitant is constrained to say, "I have heard
of thee by the hearing of the ear, but mine eye hath not yet seen
thee";--while heaven is the proper dwelling-place of God and His
people! Could you then consent to remain here always, without ever
seeing as you are seen--seeing light in His light--without ever
beholding His glory; without ever drinking at the fountain,
and basking in that presence which is fulness of joy, and
life forevermore? always to remain immersed in the shadows of
time--entombed in its corruptible possessions? never to ascend up on
high to God and Christ and the glories of the eternal world? If such
is the state of your spirit, you want the essential principle of a
Christian--you want the love of God. The genuine Christian, the lover
of God, is certain to feel himself a "stranger on the earth." No
splendor, no emolument of this world,--not all the fascinations of
sensual pleasure,--can detain his heart below the skies, or keep him
from sympathizing with the sentiment of the psalmist: "As for me, I
shall behold thy face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I
wake in thy likeness." I do not ask whether you have, at present, "a
desire to depart": perhaps you may not be as yet sufficiently prepared
and established to entertain so exalted a desire; but still, if you
have received a new heart, you will deprecate nothing so much as
having your portion in this life,--as having your eternal abode on
earth. It is the character of faith to dwell much in eternity: the
apostle says, in the name of all real believers, "We look not at the
things that are seen, but the things that are not seen; for the things
that are seen are temporal, but the things that are not seen are

And now, my brethren, supposing the preceding remarks to have produced
in any of you the conviction that you have not the love of God in you,
permit me very briefly to point out the proper improvement of such a

First, it should be accompanied with deep humiliation. If you labored
under the privation of some bodily organ, requisite to the discharge
of an animal function, you would feel it as in some degree a
humiliating circumstance; but what would be any defect of this kind,
however serious, in comparison with that great want under which you
labor--the want of piety, the calamity of a soul estranged from the
love of God! What are the other subjects of humiliation compared with
this--a moral fall, a spiritual death in sin: and this, unless it be
removed, the sure precursor of the second death--eternal ruin! "This
is a lamentation indeed, and it shall be for a lamentation."

Suppose the children of a family, reared and provided for by the most
affectionate of parents, to rise up in rebellion against their father,
and cast off all the feelings of filial tenderness and respect; would
any qualities those children might possess, any appearance of
virtue they might exhibit in other respects, compensate for such
an unnatural, such an awful deformity of character? Transfer this
representation to your conduct in relation to God: "If I," says He,
"am a father, where is my fear? if I am a master, where is my honor?"
"Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth! I have nourished and brought
up children, and they have rebelled against me: the ox knoweth his
owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel doth not know, my
people doth not consider."

And let your humiliation be accompanied with concern and alarm. To be
alienated from the great Origin of being; to be severed, or to sever
yourself from the essential Author and element of all felicity, must
be a calmity which none can understand, an infinite wo which none can
measure or conceive. If the stream is cut off from the fountain, it
soon ceases to flow, and its waters are dissipated in the air: and
if the soul is cut off from God, it dies! Its vital contact with
God,--its spiritual union with the Father of spirits through the blest
Mediator, is the only life and beauty of the immortal soul. All,
without this, are dead--"dead in trespasses and sins"! A living
death--a state of restless wanderings, and unsatisfied desires! What
a condition theirs! And, oh! what a prospect for such, when they look
beyond this world! who will give them a welcome when they enter an
eternal state? What reception will they meet with, and where? What
consolation amid their losses and their sufferings, but that of the
fellow-sufferers plunged in the same abyss of ruin? Impenitent sinners
are allied to evil spirits, they have an affinity with the kingdom
of darkness; and when they die, they are emphatically said to "go to
their own place"!

This is an awful state for any to be in at present; but, blest be God,
it is not yet a hopeless situation. Let no person say, "I find by what
I have heard, that I do not love God, and therefore I can entertain
no hope." There is a way of return and recovery open to all. Jesus
Christ, my dear brethren, proclaims to you all, "I am the way. No man
can come to the Father but by me":--but every one that will may come
by this new and living way; and, if you lose life eternal, you lose
it because--according to his words just before the text--because "you
will not come to Christ that you may have life." If you feel the
misery, deformity, and danger of your state, then listen to His
invitation, and embrace His promise. See the whole weight of your
guilt transferred to His cross! See how God can be at once the just
and the justifier! Take of the blood of sprinkling, and be at peace!
His blood cleanseth from all sin: He will send that Spirit into your
heart which will manifest Him to you; and where that Spirit is, there
is liberty and holy love. He is the mystical ladder, let down from
heaven to earth, on which angels are continually ascending and
descending, in token of an alliance established between God and man.
United by faith to Jesus Christ, you shall become a habitation of God
through the Spirit; the Father will make you a partaker of His love,
the Son of His grace, angels of their friendship; and you shall be
preserved, and progressively sanctified, until, by the last change,
all remains of the great epidemic source of evils shall be forever
removed from your soul; and the love of God shall constitute your
eternal felicity.




Christmas Evans, a Welsh Baptist preacher, was born at Isgaerwen,
Cardiganshire, South Wales, in 1766. Brought up as a Presbyterian,
he turned Baptist in 1788, and was ordained the following year and
ministered among the Baptists in Carmaerthenshire. In 1792 he became a
sort of bishop to those of his denomination in Anglesey, where he took
up his residence. After a somewhat stormy experience with those he
undertook to rule, he removed to Carmaerthen in 1832. He distinguished
himself by his debt-raising tours, in which his eloquence brought
him much success. It is said that once when he was preaching on the
subject of the prodigal son, he pointed to a distant mountain as he
described the father seeing him while yet a great way off, whereupon
thousands in his congregation turned their heads in evident
expectation of seeing the son actually coming down the hills. He died
in 1838.




_For if, through the offense of one, many be dead, much more the grace
of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath
abounded unto many._--Romans v., 15.

Man was created in the image of God. Knowledge and perfect holiness
were imprest upon the very nature and faculties of his soul. He had
constant access to his Maker, and enjoyed free communion with Him, on
the ground of his spotless moral rectitude. But, alas! the glorious
diadem is broken; the crown of righteousness is fallen. Man's purity
is gone, and his happiness is forfeited. "There is none righteous; no,
not one." "All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." But
the ruin is not hopeless. What was lost in Adam is restored in Christ.
His blood redeems us from the bondage, and His gospel gives us back
the forfeited inheritance. "For if, through the offense of one, many
be dead; much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is
by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many." Let us consider,
first, the corruption and condemnation of man; and secondly, his
gracious restoration to the favor of his offended God.

I. To find the cause of man's corruption and condemnation, we must go
back to Eden. The eating of the "forbidden tree" was "the offense of
one," in consequence of which "many are dead." This was the "sin," the
act of "disobedience," which "brought death into the world, and all
our wo." It was the greatest ingratitude to the divine bounty, and the
boldest rebellion against the divine sovereignty. The royalty of God
was contemned; the riches of His goodness slighted; and His most
desperate enemy preferred before Him, as if he were a wiser counsellor
than infinite wisdom. Thus man joined in league with hell against
heaven; with demons of the bottomless pit against the almighty maker
and benefactor; robbing God of the obedience due to His command and
the glory due to His name; worshiping the creature instead of the
creator; and opening the door to pride, unbelief, enmity, and all the
wicked and abominable passions. How is the "noble vine," which was
planted "wholly a right seed," "turned into the degenerate plant of a
strange vine"!

Who can look for pure water from such a fountain? "That which is born
of the flesh is flesh." All the faculties of the soul are corrupted by
sin; the understanding dark; the will perverse; the affections carnal;
the conscience full of shame, remorse, confusion, and mortal fear. Man
is a hard-hearted and stiff-necked sinner; loving darkness rather than
light, because his deeds are evil; eating sin like bread, and drinking
iniquity like water; holding fast deceit, and refusing to let it go.
His heart is desperately wicked; full of pride, vanity, hypocrisy,
covetousness, hatred of truth, and hostility to all that is good.

This depravity is universal. Among the natural children of Adam, there
is no exemption from the original taint. "The whole world lieth
in wickedness." "We are all as an unclean thing, and all our
righteousness is as filthy rags." The corruption may vary in the
degrees of development, in different persons; but the elements are in
all, and their nature is everywhere the same; the same in the blooming
youth, and the withered sire; in the haughty prince, and the humble
peasant; in the strongest giant, and the feeblest invalid. The enemy
has "come in like a flood." The deluge of sin has swept the world.
From the highest to the lowest, there is no health or moral soundness.
From the crown of the head to the soles of the feet, there is nothing
but wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores. The laws, and their
violation, and the punishments everywhere invented for the suppression
of vice, prove the universality of the evil. The bloody sacrifices,
and various purifications, of the pagans, show the handwriting of
remorse upon their consciences; proclaim their sense of guilt, and
their dread of punishment. None of them are free from the fear which
hath torment, whatever their efforts to overcome it, and however great
their boldness in the service of sin and Satan. "Menel Tekel!" is
written on every human heart. "Wanting! wanting!" is inscribed on
heathen fanes and altars; on the laws, customs, and institutions of
every nation; and on the universal consciousness of mankind.

This inward corruption manifests itself in outward actions. "The tree
is known by its fruit." As the smoke and sparks of the chimney show
that there is fire within; so all the "filthy conversation" of men,
and all "the unfruitful works of darkness" in which they delight,
evidently indicate the pollution of the source whence they proceed.
"Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." The sinner's
speech betrayeth him. "Evil speaking" proceeds from malice and envy.
"Foolish talking and jesting" are evidence of impure and trifling
thoughts. The mouth full of cursing and bitterness, the throat an open
sepulcher, the poison of asps under the tongue, the feet swift to shed
blood, destruction and misery in their paths, and the way of peace
unknown to them, are the clearest and amplest demonstration that men
"have gone out of the way," "have together become unprofitable." We
see the bitter fruit of the same corruption in robbery, adultery,
gluttony, drunkenness, extortion, intolerance, persecution, apostasy,
and every evil work--in all false religions; the Jew, obstinately
adhering to the carnal ceremonies of an abrogated law; the Mohammedan,
honoring an impostor, and receiving a lie for a revelation from God;
the papist, worshiping images and relics, praying to departed saints,
seeking absolution from sinful men, and trusting in the most absurd
mummeries for salvation; the pagan, attributing divinity to the works
of his own hands, adoring idols of wood and stone, sacrificing to
malignant demons, casting his children into the fire or the flood
as an offering to imaginary deities, and changing the glory of the
incorruptible God into the likeness of the beast and the worm.

"For these things' sake the wrath of God cometh upon the children of
disobedience." They are under the sentence of the broken law; the
malediction of eternal justice. "By the offense of one, judgment came
upon all men unto condemnation." "He that believeth not is condemned
already." "The wrath of God abideth on him." "Curst is every one that
continueth not in all things written in the book of the law, to do
them." "Wo unto the wicked; it shall be ill with him, for the reward
of his hands shall be given him." "They that plow iniquity, and sow
wickedness, shall reap the same." "Upon the wicked the Lord shall rain
fire, and snares, and a horrible tempest; this shall be the portion of
their cup." "God is angry with the wicked every day; if he turn not he
will whet his sword; he hath bent his bow, and made it ready."

Who shall describe the misery of fallen man! His days, tho few, are
full of evil. Trouble and sorrow press him forward to the tomb. All
the world, except Noah and his family, are drowning in the deluge.
A storm of fire and brimstone is fallen from heaven upon Sodom and
Gomorrah. The earth is opening her mouth to swallow up alive Korah,
Dathan, and Abiram. Wrath is coming upon "the beloved city," even
"wrath unto the uttermost." The tender and delicate mother is
devouring her darling infant. The sword of men is executing the
vengeance of God. The earth is emptying its inhabitants into the
bottomless pit. On every hand are "confused noises, and garments
rolled in blood." Fire and sword fill the land with consternation and
dismay. Amid the universal devastation wild shrieks and despairing
groans fill the air. God of mercy! is Thy ear heavy, that Thou canst
not hear? or Thy arm shortened, that Thou canst not save? The heavens
above are brass, and the earth beneath is iron; for Jehovah is pouring
His indignation upon His adversaries, and He will not pity or spare.

Verily, "the misery of man is great upon him"! Behold the wretched
fallen creature! The pestilence pursues him. The leprosy cleaves to
him. Consumption is wasting him. Inflammation is devouring his vitals.
Burning fever has seized upon the very springs of life. The destroying
angel has overtaken the sinner in his sins. The hand of God is upon
him. The fires of wrath are kindling about him, drying up every well
of comfort, and scorching all his hopes to ashes. Conscience is
chastizing him with scorpions. See how he writhes! Hear how he shrieks
for help! Mark what agony and terror are in his soul, and on his brow!
Death stares him in the face, and shakes at him his iron spear. He
trembles, he turns pale, as a culprit at the bar, as a convict on
the scaffold. He is condemned already. Conscience has pronounced the
sentence. Anguish has taken hold upon him. Terrors gather in battle
array about him. He looks back, and the storms of Sinai pursue him;
forward, and hell is moved to meet him; above, and the heavens are on
fire; beneath, and the world is burning. He listens, and the judgment
trump is calling; again, and the brazen chariots of vengeance are
thundering from afar; yet again, the sentence penetrates his soul
with anguish unspeakable--"Depart! ye accurst! into everlasting fire,
prepared for the devil and his angels!"

Thus, "by one man, sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and
so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." They are
"dead in trespasses and sins," spiritually dead, and legally dead;
dead by the mortal power of sin, and dead by the condemnatory sentence
of the law; and helpless as sheep to the slaughter, they are driven
fiercely on by the ministers of wrath to the all-devouring grave and
the lake of fire!

But is there no mercy? Is there no means of salvation? Hark! amid all
this prelude of wrath and ruin, comes a still small voice, saying:
"Much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one
man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many."

II. This brings us to our second topic, man's gracious recovery to the
favor of his offended God.

I know not how to present to you this glorious work, better than by
the following figure. Suppose a vast graveyard, surrounded by a lofty
wall, with only one entrance, which is by a massive iron gate, and
that is fast bolted. Within are thousands and millions of human
beings, of all ages and classes, by one epidemic disease bending to
the grave. The graves yawn to swallow them, and they must all perish.
There is no balm to relieve, no physician there. Such is the condition
of man as a sinner. All have sinned; and it is written, "The soul that
sinneth shall die." But while the unhappy race lay in that dismal

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