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the pride of the eye, and whatever else, in contempt of duty, or in despite of mercy, ministers to the progress and pressure of this dreadful wo.
Fifth Wo.-The contempt of men.
Indolence, faithlessness, and folly, degrade the minister's character. Look at the priesthood of Spain, of Portugal, of France, or of South America. Is there not even in our own country occasion enough to inquire, and examples enough to answer the question, whether or not there is in society a man so meanly esteemed as the labor saving, time serving, money making minister of the Gospel ? How would you esteem the physician who would visit his patient in the height of disease, only once in the week, and even then neither feel his pulse, nor ask a question in regard to his symptoms ! No matter how learnedly he might discuss the origin, progress, and variety of disease, or the theory and efficacy of treatment,----you would hold him in contempt. What would you think of a lawyer who would attend to the cause of his client only on the court day, and then not examine a witness in the case ? Or what would you think of a general, who would never visit camp or garrison except on the day of battle, even though his men had broken out into mutiny? No doubt in the same utter contempt do men, both good and bad, hold the preacher of the Gospel, whose hands and head and heart are not every day sanctified by the discharge of some of his holy duties-whose hours are not often given to examine the cases, and enter into the spiritual affairs of the souls committed to his care. You cannot contemplate his case for a moment without feeling in some degree the insupportable pressure of this wo.
Sixth Wo.- The loss of spiritual comfort. It belongs to God's dispensation of grace generally to pay back, even in this world, good measure, pressed down, heaped up, and running over. God generally rewards with present grace and its precious consolations, and always crowns with future glory, the man who rises above the claims of earth and flesh in the holy toil of saving sinners. But, on the other hand, he takes from the indolent his talent, and from the commissioned miser those comforts of the Gospel and those consolations of the Spirit, which he so parsimoniously ministers to others. God takes back in righteousness the joys of his salvation, and leaves the wretched guide to grope his way, without friend to counsel or support him, and without a star to tell the hour of the night, or give him hopes of the approach of dawn. All that formerly ministered to his pleasure, now heralds his coming misery, or helps to excite fearful forebodings of inevitable wo.
SEVENTH Wo.-Danger of dying in such a state. How dreadful the prospect of approaching the judgment of the great day, to render an account of our stewardship, when the page of duties is almost a blank, while the page of derelictions is covered with the record of means possessed, but unemployed, opportunities afforded, but not em
braced, souls not disturbed, sinners not warned, saints not edified, ministerial talents not exercised, duties not discharged, standing degraded, and profession disgraced! How terrible the prospect of presently meeting the everlasting execrations of those who have sunk and suffered through our fault! How gloomy the thought of meeting our early opportunities, our first impressions of duty, our vows, our prayers, our tears, the gifts received, the laws acknowledged, the promises believed, and all those bright examples which were presented for our approval and imitation, in the lives and in the deaths of the Saviour, the Patriarchs the Prophets, the Apostles, the martyrs, and the confessors of Jesus. For all these will be as so many swift witnesses to call down upon us the vengeance of this wo.
Eighth Wo.-Eternal death, or eternally diminished happiness. If there be a wo which enters not into the ruin of the besotted pagans, which settles not on the soul of the ignorantly impenitent, it would seem just that it should be reserved for the eternal manifestation of God's immutable righteousness, in the deeper and more dreadful condemnation of the sordid, selfish, faithless minister of Christ. And, even though he should escape eternal death, through the sovereign grace of God, yet how must his happiness be forever diminished ! The soul that might have turned many to righteousness, and shone as the stars for ever, is now, by its foolish faithlessness, shorn of its beams. The soul that might have struck the highest chord and tuned the sweetest lyre among the spirits of the just made perfect, now scarcely reaches the lowest note without forbidden discord. The minister of Gospel grace and mercy, who might have stood sublime amid the full beamings of the Sun of Righteousness, now scarcely gains admission to the twilight in the horizon of blessed
The ambassadors who might have led back to the throne of God and of the Lamb, the submissive spirits of rebel provinces, and then taken their seats of honor next to the thrones of the Apostles, now are scarcely called home to heaven, even in the depths of God's condescension and long suffering. “Wo! wo! is into me if I preach not the Gospel."
Brethren, let us in the silence of our wakeful midnights, in the solemnities of our secret devotions, in the searchings of our own hearts, in our private studies, in our personal appeals to the consciences of our hearers, in our domestic visits, our sick-bed sympathies, and our sanctuary services-let us endeavor to ascertain, whether or not we are inheritors of this wo. Let us ever so preach, that we may “finish our course with joy, and the ministry which we have received of the Lord Jesus.” Then, instead of wo, we shall hear,“ well done, good and faithful servants, enter into the joy of your Lord.” Then, instead of a curse, we shall receive a crown.
Then, we shall not, as now, need to cheer each other on the field of labor ; but, without weariness and with fulness of
joy, we shall be employed as kings and priests unto God forever and ever.
Finally, let all remember, that the duties and dangers of pastor and people are reciprocal. If it be his duty to preach, it is your duty, beloved hearers, so to hear as to escape the curse. If you hear not as you should, you must expect—to remain in impenitence, and harden others-to remain in unbelief, and hinder others to continue in rebellion, and seduce others—to live unsanctified, and pollute others-to remain under condemnation, and involve others—to die accursed, and destroy others.
May God avert such awful wo, and may he bless you all with spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Amen.
BY REV. JONATHAN B. CONDIT,
Professor of Rhetoric in Amherst College.
GRACE IRRECONOILABLE WITH SIN,
Rom. vi. 1, 2.— What shall we say then ? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein ?
It is the glory of the Divine plan for saving sinners, that it tends to make them holy. It brings redemption from sin, and presents the strongest possible motives to purity of life. It has ever been the favorite objection of the unbeliever, that it encourages sin. His language is this :-If we are saved by grace—if we are justified by faith, without the deeds of the law, why are we not freed from all moral obligation ? Is obedience necessary ? Is not all restraint from sin removed ? Does not God take occasion from our wickedness, to make a more luminous display of his own perfections, and especially, to show in brighter light the riches of his goodness? Why shall we not then continue in sin that grace may abound? The Apostle takes up this objection in the text, and pursues it in the two succeeding chapters. He deems it an unwarrantable attack upon the Gospel scheme of grace. He demonstrates the fact, that purity of heart and life is the legitimate VOL. XII. No. 2.
tendency of this plan of salvation, in the case of every pardoned sinner. The Divine Redeemer, instead of opening the door to transgression, has made the amplest provisions for holiness. The law is in no way made void, but established. While God's throne of mercy smiles on penitence, it frowns on iniquity with uncompromising severity. Where grace reigns, sin is subdued. Now, shall the charge of the proud unbeliever lie against this scheme of infinite grace, whereby men are raised from bondage and death ? Does the believer in Christ understand, that the freedom into which he is introduced, is a liberty to sin ? In the strong language of the text—“Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound ? God forbid. How shall we that are dead to sin live any longer therein ?" From these words we derive the following doctrine; some proof of which will now be adduced :
It is the tendency of the Divine system of grace for the salvation of men, to destroy sin and promote holiness. This is evident,
1. From the testimony of Scripture. The Bible, in almost every page, exhibits the humble spirit and holy character of the servants of Christ. It also contains numerous declarations of the fruits of
grace. “For the grace of God teacheth us, that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly, in this present world. God hath chosen you to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit. Every one that hath this hope in him, purifieth himself, as Christ is pure. The gospel bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you since the day ye heard it and knew the grace of God in truth. For sin shall not have dominion over you : for ye are not under the law but under grace.” This is the language of the Holy Ghost, testifying that personal holiness is the fruit of salvation by grace, Sin is condemned. The grace bestowed on the sinner is invariably connected with inward sanctification and external purity. God has joined them together; let not man put them asunder. This doctrine is manifest,
2. From the manner in which the Gospel provisions were made. In this respect God's plan of mercy is full of wisdom. When he planned for salvation, he also laid a scheme for the destruction of sin. His moral government received no shock. The relation of man to his Maker was left, with its motives to obedience unimpaired. Jehovah provided to pardon and save the sinner in such a way, as to secure as deep an impression in regard to the evil nature and effects of sin, as if every transgressor had received the penalty of the law. The moral influence produced by punishments, is wholly secured. Salvation comes through a channel, in which the justice of the Sovereign is most impressively displayed. He expresses his displeasure towards sin in the cross. Its enormous evil is commensurate with the divine dignity of the Son. Man is made to see an innocent Being submitting to untold agonies in his stead, as the suitable expression of his crime. All that he ought to endure, is illustrated amid the pains of the voluntary Sufferer. Here he sees at what expense a violated law must be sustained, while he is delivered from perdition. The "sinfulness of sin” is written in the blood, and expressed in the groans of an incarnate God.
Thus does God tell the world what sin is, and what is its desert, when he opens the way to heaven. Grace flows from the scenes of Gethsemane and Calvary. It comes attended with the strongest demonstration the throne of God could furnish, that he will never connive at sin. It does not spring from the ruins of a broken law, and the crumbling elements of Jehovah's empire, invaded and sundered by the destroyer. It does not come, because the Almighty has determined to let the deep and turbid tide of sin roll unrestrained over his vast dominions. No: salvation is no such thing. It is surrounded with the strongest barriers against transgression. It sheds the brightest light that ever beamed, on the dark deeps of sin. It declares in the strongest language God ever used, his eternal purpose to pursue and punish it, with his fiercest displeasure. The cross opens the way to heaven, but effectually shuts the door against sin.
3. It was the express design of the Gospel plan of salvation, to free us from sin. It is written, “ Christ gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sin, should live unto righteousness.” It is plainly declared in the following passage, that sanctification was the important end of salvation :-"Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it--that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing." It was the design of Christ to save from sin, and not in sin. In no other way had holiness been known in this world of pollution. The renovation of man's moral nature could not have taken place. Abana and Pharpar would have been of no avail. Christ, by his death, opened the way of access to the waters of Jordan. He came expressly to prepare the highway of holiness, and conduct man back to the purity of the skies.
We hold forth a salvation, whose grand design is deliverance from sin. All who flee to it embrace it as such. Before this, and besides this, there is no sufficient provision, human or divine, for such a purpose. Look at its high object. See the evidence it bears of the intent of its Author, to redeem us from the power of sin. Who will impiously say, that grace and sin must go together ? Who will charge God with letting down the obligations to obedience, when he saves us by Jesus Christ, who died for this very end, "that he might put away sin.”