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healthful stream, gladdening the earth through which it flows to the city of God.
Such is the theory of Christianity respecting the reformation of sinners, as expressed by the Scriptural terms, regeneration, conversion, sanctification—all of which imply a radical change of man's heart from evil to good by the power of the Holy Ghost through the doctrine of Christ; such was the theory which our incarnate Lord and all his inspired Apostles followed; and such, embodied in our great commission, is the only one which we, as Christians, have a right to believe and prac tice. Conceived by infinite wisdom, made the sole channel of sovereign grace in the recovery of the world to God, and prescribed to us by both the doctrines and commands of supreme Scripture as the method of our working together with God in Christ, it assures us of ultimate success, so far as we zealously exert the allowed instrumentalities; but we lose our time, waste our labor, delay our triumph, and, worse than all, desert the authority and example of our Lord, when we attempt the work he has set us by any other scheme or process, be it ever so plausible, or, in human judgment, politic. That there are various subordinate ways of benefiting mankind, no one will deny; and while, as philanthropists, or members of general society, we may engage in them, we should never forget that they are subordinate and effective only as they are conformable to the higher rule; nay, we should ever remember that we are more than patriots or philanthropists, even Christians, and that we belong to our Divine Master, who has commanded us
to seek the restoration of men to eternal happiness by restoring them to God through faith in Christ crucified, and has made it our peculiar and paramount duty to drive directly at the human heart, not carnal weapons or those of human forging, but the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. The great command is to preach the gospel, and nothing is gospel which does not bring prominently before men the doctrine of Christ crucified. That was the secret of success in the first ages of our religion, and neither human nature nor Christianity are different now from then; and that has been the secret of success ever since, as the annals of the Church generally, but especially of missionary effort, most clearly demonstrate.
It was when the Church, impatient of spiritual dependence, and seduced by cainal policy, turned to sensuous expedients and alliances with human authority, that a night, dark and polluted almost as heathenism itself, came over its mind and heart; and it was nothing, under God, but a revival of the doctrine of justification and sanctification only through Christ, by Luther and his brethren, that led Israel out of bondage. Again the Church, even under its most Protestant forms, has, in our later days, too much reverted to the radical heresy of substituting the will and wisdom of man for the will and wisdom of the Creator; therefore the ways of Zion mourn, abominations of the Gentiles are in the house of God, and we suffer ignominious defeats at home and abroad. Nor shall we ever recover from our corrupting worldliness, and march on with primitive strength toward the millennial
consummation of a regenerated world, until the Church, by all her pulpits, and the voices of all her people, shall return to the apostolical rule of knowing nothing among men but Jesus Christ and' him crucified. It is my firm belief that if every preacher in our land calling himself Christian, laying aside all other themes, and this sin of human expediency which so easily besets us, would devote himself, like Paul, to the preaching of the simple Gospel, and the Church, confident only in evangelical truth, would unite in calling down by prayer the fires of the Spirit, as they did at the Pentecost, we should see before a year, aye, before a month's time, a revival of religion which would consume before it, like flame on the prairies, all the prevalent vices and deep-rooted oppressions which now degrade our people and deform our country; nay, that the God-sent energy accompanying his word, would cross seas and oceans to the land of the Old World and of the heathen, casting down all that exalts itself against God, leaving in its track the fruitful seeds of all true morality and peace,
until the wilderness should become as Eden, and the desert as the garden of the Lord. The skeptical world may laugh outright at such a prediction, as they mocked Jesus when he hung on that cross which is yet to draw all men unto him ; and perhaps some doubting Christians may demand preparatory reformations, as if John the Baptist had not finished his work before Jesus entered upon his. I have no argument outside of the Bible against such objections; but tell me, ye who read the word daily, if every page of the blessed New
Testament does not warrant the hope; and tell me, again, if there be any where within these same leaves any other ground of Christian expectation ! Christ must reign, let the world or doubting Christians do as they will, until he hath put all his enemies under his feet; but we are his servants, and his kingdom is not of this world. God will make the wrath of man to praise him, by the selfdestructive operation of conflicting vices; but the wrath of God belongs to his vengeance, with which we have nothing to do. Our rule is, that “the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace;” and there is no peace in any human heart, there can be none on earth, until it receives the peace of God through our Lord Jesus Christ. So Paul thought.
Secondly—Paul's CONFESSION :
“Sinners, of whom I am chief.” The verse following shows that one of the ideas he meant to convey by this clause is, the willingness of Christ to save sinners as declared by the fact of so great a sinner as himself having been called to hope in God. The Apostle knew his own heart as he could not know the hearts of other men, and therefore, though he knew all to be sinners, his charitable judgment of them, and his consciousness of his own guilt, made him put himself lower than all others in sin; while his grateful desire for the glory of the Savior, who had raised him from such extreme depths, made him eager to proclaim to the whole world the sufficiency and readiness of Christ Jesus to save sinners.
But there is here another thought very instructive and apposite to our purpose. The necessary operation in his heart of that grace which brought him, through Christ, to son-ship with God, completely stripped him of that self-righteousness which, in the days of his Pharisaism, had led him to look down on his fellow-sinners, and even to persecute with rancor all who did not believe and act after hiş fashion. His spirit was emptied of pride in his own judgment and virtue before he could rely on his Savior's righteousness.
A sinner, worse, as he thought, than all others, he had no right to condemn and denounce and hate any sinner; a Christian, sent by the gentle Jesus with messages of mercy, he could not attack them with harshness and rigor. He who, when on earth, never spake a severe word except against such as “ trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others, and the temper of whose ministry was meekness and lowliness of heart; would never have tolerated an opposite spirit in a sinner, saved by grace, sent to tell other sinners of salvation by grace; nor could Paul, after his experience and inspiration, have been guilty of such a self-contradiction. Whatever fault the 'enemies of truth might have charged upon him, they could not accuse him of pragmaticalness or pretension. Kind to the lowliest, deferential to rank, compassionate to the sorrowful, and courteous to all, he gave place to every one; and even when, as an Apostle, it became his office to rebuke sin and threaten the terrors of the Lord against willful sinners, he trembles as he utters the awful words,