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several relations, tend to diffuse light and useful knowledge, and to promote the various duties of social life. The preaching of the gospel is pointed against the vices of mankind, and is a means of preventing innumerable acts of open vice. The
grosser acts of immorality do generally much more abound where a people are destitute of the various means of grace, than where these precious blessings are
, enjoyed. Moreover, every gospel sermon is calculated to promote the cause of virtue; and where the instruction is stated, simple, and forcible, there we maysee a people the most virtuous. The improvement and refinement of the understanding, serve to regulate the outward conduct, and render the conversation and manners of a person not only engaging and pleasing, but worthy of imitation. Even in this point of view, parents and children, the aged and young, the present and the rising generation, are deeply concerned, and should feel a lively interest that they enjoy a stated and faithfully preached gospel, and other means of improvement with which it is connected.
2d. A preached gospel serves to keep societies in harmony, and greatly to ameliorate the present condition of man. Where a people are not accustomed to meet on the Sabbath for social and religious worship, coldness of affection, distance of conversation, and disunion of social pursuits, are the general consequence. But, where societies generally assemble on that holy day, and hear divine truths illustrated, and their various moral obligations forcibly inculcated, we may there behold the dearest interests of civil society promoted. The preaching of the gospel is addressed to all the active principles in man, to his hopes and fears; and it teaches him to render custom to whom custom is due; honour, to whom honour is duc; hence it has a powerful influence to render subjects obedient. The duties of parents and children, of rulers and ruled, are described in their greatest beauty and harmony, and their mutual benefit made
known. Acts of charity and humanity, of forbearance and forgiveness, are drawn in lively colours, and allure to obedience. But how extensive and varied must be the beneficial tendencies of these duties and relations, which are taught in the gospel without a parallel! How do they prove a bond of union, and the great cement of society! How do they administer succour for the temporal wants of men, relieve the necessities of the distressed, and bear an extensive sway greatly to alleviate the burdens of life, and ameliorate the present condition of man!
3d. The preaching of the gospel is the great means of the conversion and salvation of those that believe. The truths of divine revelation serve to enlighten the understandings of men; and divine grace renders them effectual for the renewal of the heart; but these are the most forcibly illustrated by the preaching of the word. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation, to every one that believeth; and the great work of gospel ministers is to exhibit its truths in the clearest and most interesting manner, and not shun to declare the whole counsel of God. And, as they are instrumental in converting sinners and saving their souls from death, says the apostle Paul, It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. Moreover, in view of their office, ministration, and success, he adds, We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. And it is a matter of fact, that a preached gospel has proved successful to make the learned and unlearned, wise in Christ; to convert the moralist and profane unto God, and to reclaim the drunkard and profligate to a life of righteousness. It has exchanged heathenish darkness for the light of heaven, and turned gross idolators to the worship of the true God. The little child and the gray-headed sinner, the slave and his master, the beggar and the king, have been saved through its influence. They have obtained life and immortality through the light of a preached gospel.
Ath. The highest joys of holy beings are promoled in consequence of the blessed effects of the preaching of the word. As the gospel ministry is the great medium of opening the eyes of mankind, and of turning them from darkness to light; and from the power of satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and an inheritance among them which are sanctified, so there is joy in heaven among the angels of God, over one sinner that repenteth. But, if the conversion of one soul gives additional joy to the glorified spirits above, how will the salvation of the myriads of human beings increase their burning love, and raise still higher their heavenly anthems of praise, and render louder their glorious songs of joy! When all the redeemed, the ransomed of the Lord, shall be brought home to glory, then, with the most intense glows of divine love, and raptures of heavenly bliss, will be given glory to God in the highest, with thanksgivings of eternal hallelujahs. Yes, and unparalleled will be the joys of the redeemed; and they will even outvie the angels in praise :
Never did angels taste above,
As the glorious scheme of redemption through Jesus Christ unfolds peculiar displays of the perfections and glory of God, so it will be the beauty of perfection, and the darling theme of heaven. But, such peculiar glories, through the grace and mercy of God, must be ascribed to the glorious successes and blessed effects of his preached gospel.
We may readily see in the third place, why it is desirable that the gospel should be preached to every creature, or to the whole human race. The same arguments which
may be adduced to show the goodly effects and vast importance of a preached gospel among ourselves, are reasons which may be assigned with equal force, to prove its utility and necessity as it respects others. Is the gospel the greatest blessing of heaven to those who enjoy all its inestimable
privileges ? What a pathetick, and forcible plea, then, that the destitute in our own country, enjoy its enlightening and saving influence. It has been handed down to us from the apostles, by missionaries, and these gospel heralds are going forth into all the world, and flying as the messengers of heaven to every nation upon earth. Give a helping hand then, my brethren, and help some feeble church and scattered people support a gospel minister. Through increasing attention and property, they will shortly crect a house for God : Yea, and even another congregation spring up near them. How desirable that Pagan superstition, the midnight Egyptian darkness of heathenism, and their abominable idolatries, give place to the light and power of the gospel! What a blessed view for angels to see wretched pagans
and heathens, from the east and the west, through a preached gospel, become lively stones in the heavenly temple, now, erecting, on mount Zion, in the new
. O! that those miserable beings enjoyed those civil laws which are framed under the benign and salutary influence of the gospel. Then a a man would be permitted to have but one wife; and horribly deluded parents would not put to death their children as the only means of ending their misery. Listen to an anecdote: An aged mother was standing in a school of heathen children, weeping. She was asked by the catechuman, why she was grieved and distressed. O! if you had come here ten years ago, my son had lived, and been one of this school; I should not have put him to death. Ah! my friends, you have Christ and him crucified, preached unto you; and unto them that believe, he is precious. But how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard ? and how shall they bear without a preacher? and how shall they preach, except they be sent? Bless the Lord, O
Bless the Lord, O ye his saints, that he is sending forth labourers into the barren and forlorn parts of his vineyard. Yes, and the varied ineans and glorious effects for extending the Redeemer's reign, are but as yet the first beams of the morning sun, compared with the full blaze of noon-day. May we, by our prayers and substance, be awake to the calls and perishing necessities of the destitute at home and abroad. An Owyhccan youth, having in this country experienced the joys of believing, was lamenting the death of his aged mother. Being asked if she died happy; No, no, said he, it cannot be; they have no Bibles, no preaching, no heaven, in Owyhce.
Ist. We may see, that a faithful gospel minister is a greut blessing to a people, and should be accounted as such. Some of the heralds of the cross are more worthy of esteem ihan others, according to their talents, their wisdom, and faithfulness. Those of great abiLities, natural and acquired, and whose piety and zeal in the cause of Christ are eminent, should be considered among the number of the most worthy. But those who have less splendid attainments, and whose christian walk is worthy of imitation, should be received as precious gifts of heaven. The prospects of gospel ministers depend very much upon the reception which they receive among any people ; for their prayers, friendly remarks, and pecuniary aid, are the main-spring of their usefulness. And such supports, by a mutual reciprocity, serve to render their tabours a blessing to individuals and families, to parents and children, to schools and societies. Moreover, the establishment of churches and a stated ministration of the word, not only serve to promote the spiritual interest of mankind, but from observation and general facts, their natural tendency and consequence are, to promote their temporal interests, to increase the value of property, and greatly to inultiply the means of subsistence. Yes, what is
. contributed for the support of gospel privileges, is