« AnteriorContinuar »
soul of the lowest of the human race is capable of rising, in the long and distant periods of eternity, vastly higher than the present elevation of angelic natures, and of enjoying more happiness than all created beings have yet enjoyed, since time began. But when I inquire the value of the human soul, tell me not of its capabilities—tell me not of the intellect of Newton, which could trace the march of planets and systems, and explore the handiwork of God-point me not to the extatic joys of Payson, who, "swimming in a sea of glory,” began to warble seraphic songs on earth. Nor tell me even of the songs and allaluiahs of heaven where the redeemed see as they are seen, and know as they are known. All this is interesting, intensely interesting. But I learn the value of the human soul from another Teacher. I have the mind of God on the subject. He shows me that it is worth the sacrifice of his well-beloved Son I look to the cross. There I learn what estimate God puts on the human soul. There I see the price paid for its redemption. This view supersedes immeasurably all other computations of its value.
%. God has done more for sinful men than he has done for angels. Without doubt the greatest gift of God to created beings is the gift of his 3on. This is “his unspeakable gift," and immeasurably exceeds all others in value. But this gist was made to man-to man as a sinner.. Not simply to man as a creature capable of happiness, but as a transgressor deserving only misery. This gist was not made to angels, The holy angels could not receive it. They did not need pardon by the blood of Christ. And though God has given them all that is necessary for their complete and eternal felicity, though he may have given them capacities for intelligence and enjoyment of a higher order than he ha3 bestowed on man; yet he has not imparted to them his greatest gift. This came down to sinful man.
O ungrateful men, look at this fact and wonder! Look at it and be filled with admiration of the exceeding riches of the divine gcodness. Why should God bestow his greatest gift on the least deserving? Why should he make the most valuable benefaction that ever Heaven granted, 80 such as deserved his wrath—to poor, degraded, sinful man? This will afford matter of astonishment and gratitude for ever. Eternity will. not be long enough to exhaust this theme of praise. Just look at it, my hearers, a little more in detail.
See that poor man, scarcely known among the busy multitudes of earth. Very few here notice him. His death would scarcely leave a blank, except at his own fireside, and in the place where, with others, he offers up prayer to God; and when he dies his fellow-men will hardly remember that he ever lived. Yet God notices that poor man. He gave his only begotten Son to die for him-a greater gift than ever he bestowed on the highest angel of glory.
Look again at that vile and loathsome profligate-a wicked wretch, who utterly casts off the fear of God, and sets his mouth against the heavens. He spurns the restraints, not only of religion, but of morality. He profanes the name of his Maker, tramples on every rule of virtue, and wallows in all the mire and filth of depravity. He is a disgusting nuisance among men.
Yet that miserable man has an immortal soul. He has a capacity for whatever is great and good, and high and holy. He might be saved if he would repent and turn to God, and have his polluted soul washed in redeeming blood. But if he perish in his iniquity, as in all probability he will, yet God gave his Son to die for such men. Yes, God has given to the chief of sinners a richer gift than ever he bestowed on Gabriel.
3. Redeemed saints in heaven have greater cause for gratitude than even the angels. The simple reason is, that they have received the richest gist. In their songs there will be certain enrapturing strains which angels can never adopt. All the inbabitants of that blessed world may sing—“Worthy is the Lamb." But angels cannot add, as redeemed sinners will, “ for he was slain for us." It was for sinners alone that Jesus died; and those of them who, through his redemption, shall be brought home to glory, will raise the most grateful notes heard in heaven, in praise to Him as their Deliverer.
One peculiar source of the happiness of the redeemed in heaven will be the contrast between their present and former condition. Once they were living on earth amidst all the temptations and dangers of a sinful world ;—now they are in heaven. Once they were sinners, covered with moral defilement, vile in the sight of heaven and vile in their own sight ;-now they are holy, no stain of pollution or guilt cleaves to them; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Once they were in a state of danger—they feared much that they should be lost for ever-they trembled and wept lest they should never be permitted to enter the gate of the New Jerusalem—they had, many times, awful apprehensions that they should be cast down, as they deserved, to hell. But now they are safe—their feet stand on Mount Zion-they have put on robes of perfect righteousness and crowns of unfading glory. Their fears and tremblings are all over. “They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more ; for the Lamb that is in the midst of the throne shall lead them by living fountains, and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." This contrast in their situationthis comparison of what it now is with what it once was, must, of course, contribute a large share to the overflowing fulness of their felicity. But angels, except by sympathy, cannot partake of this. They were never exposed to the snares of a sinful world. They were never sinnerswere never afraid that they might fail of obtaining a place in heaven.
Heaven was always their habitation, and they did not gain it by tears and prayers, through the blood of the Savior. I do not say that angels are less happy than redeemed saints in heaven. All in that world are doubtless as happy as their capacities admit of. But those who have been redeemed by the blood of Christ, and have escaped the pollution of the world, have on this account a distinct and peculiar source of happi
And they will feel it and rejoice in it for ever. They will feel that they have greater cause for gratitude than even angels have; and this will tune their voices and their harps, while they sing " the new song which none can learn, but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from among men—"Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, and hath redeemed us to God by his blood, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and honor, and glory, and blessing."
4. They who sink to hell from Christian lands, will have a source of misery which even devils do not have. It is not said that they will be more miserable than the fallen angels; for concerning this we have no adequate means of knowing. But that they will have some occasion of misery, some stings of conscience, some sources of regret and self-condemnation which devils do not have, is perfectly evident. They will remember that a Savior died for men, and that they might have had redemption through his blood. They will remember that they once had a day of probation, and the invitations of mercy. They will remember that they were forewarned of their doom, and urged to repent and lay up their treasure in heaven. And they will remember too that they neg. lected the great salvation, and brought all this wretchedness on themselves. Their reflections will go back to the time when, seated in the Christian congregation, Jesus Christ was evidently set forth crucified among them, and they were affectionately invited to become his followers and be happy—to look to his cross, and live.
But such offers of salvation were never made to fallen angels, and they cannot, of course, reproach themselves for having rejected them. No Savior died for them; nor have they, since they became sinners, had any offers of mercy and pardon. And though they may be filled with remorse at the recollection of their rebellion and apostacy; though their very existence may be rendered a curse by their raging passions and their enmity against God; though, when they look towards the seats of glory, which they might still have occupied, if they had remained firm in their allegiance to Him that sitteth on the throne, they may groan in unutterable anguish and dreadful despair; yet they can never reproach themselves with having trampled on a Savior's blood— their eternity will not be filled up with the self-condemning reflection, that they had an opportunity to regain the happy seats they had lost, but neglected it. Though they will be miserable and justly miserable for their wickedness, yet it will not be a part of their misery that they turned away from the cross and rejected an atoning Savior.
This peculiar source of misery will be the portion of impenitent men. They alone will be tormented day and night with the remembrance, that once they had the offers of mercy through a Redeemer-once they might have obtained pardon and eternal life, if they would have complied with the gospel terms of salvation. And this reflection will be the keenest sting in the world of wo. Self-condemnation for having slighted the offers of pardon through a Redeemer will constitute the bitterest ingredient in the cup of misery.
Think of the reflections of the lost sinner as he casts his eye towards the heavenly mansions. He may say— I might have occupied a seat in that happy world, if I had not neglected the great salvation. I might have been among them there, in those mansions of light and blessedness--I might have had a harp of gold and a crown of glory--I might have
the song of Moses and the Lamb, and raised as high a note of joy as any of the redeemed, if I had not turned away from the cross of Christ and refused to deny myself and follow him. Oh, I might have been happy if I had not rejected offered mercy.—But now, alas! I am in the prison of despair. Now I have no offers of mercy ; no voice of salvation reaches my ear.
Here I must dwell for ever, and reproach myself with my own undoing, and gnaw my tongue for pain. And what adds intensely to my anguish is, that I am here, not simply because I am a sinner-for other sinners have obtained a place in heaven-but because I would not come to Jesus in an accepted time. I am liere --not because I could not have avoided it, not because there was any stern necessity—but because I refused to hear when the Savior called; because I would not regard him when he stretched out his hand and beckoned me to come up to his kingdom and partake of his glory. Wretch that I am; I am my own eternal destroyer !
And now, say, has not this wretched outcast a source of misery which devils do not have? May not they reproach him with a kind of guilt which does not belong to them? And will not the remembrance that a Savior has died for sinners, and that he refused to embrace him, be the keenest and most tormenting sting in the gnawings of the undying worm?
My dear hearers, will any of you be that miserable man? O do not, I beseech you. Go not into eternity to lament that you lived in a land enlightened by the gospel, and yet did not embrace a Savior. Put not into the cup of your misery the bitterest ingredient in the universe of God. Avoid, I pray you, such self-torture. Avail yourself, at once of the provisions of the gospel. Come to Jesus. Deny yourself, and take up your cross, and follow him. Do this, and be happy. Neglect to do it, and you perish for ever.
FROM THE PRESIDENT OF YALE COLLEGE.
“ Allow me to express my decided approbation of the object and plan of the National Preacher. It has opened a new channel for the religious influence of the press. It gives a durable form to a selection of able discourses ; and probably gains for them a more attentive perusal, by distributing them, not in volumes, but in smaller portions, at regular intervals of time. The execution, so far as I have observed, is such as to satisfy the public expectation."
FROM THE REV. ASAHEL NETTLETON.
“I have read, as I have had opportunity, the Numbers of the National Preacher with great satisfaction. I regard it as a work peculiarly desirable to clergymen, and at the same time, as worthy of a place in every intelligent family.”
FROM THE PRESIDENT AND PROFESSORS OF AMHERST COLLEGE.
“Mr. Dickinson has a clear and discriminating mind; and is himself at once an able writer and preacher. Having spent four years at the South and West, and become extensively acquainted with Ministers and Christians of different de- . nominations; and having at the same time, an intimate knowledge of the religious state and wants of New England; perhaps no man is better qualified to make a powerful and salutary impression on the public mind, by combining, (and in a sense directing) the talents of our most eminent divines in his Monthly Preacher.
“Most sincerely do we wish him the co-operation of those whose name and influence may make the work a blessing to many thousands."
FROM PROFESSORS OF PRINCETON THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY.
“The plan, proposed by the Rev. Austin Dickinson, of publishing a Monthly Series of Sermons, from the pens of respectable ministers of different denomina. tions of Christians in the United States, is one, which, in our opinion, may be ren. dered highly interesting, and extensively useful. We do therefore willingly re. commend the undertaking to the patronage of the Christian community,
“We do not hesitate to say, that Mr. Dickinson has adopted one of the happiest expedients hitherto devised, for eliciting that diversity of gifts,' in the Christian ministry, which infinite wisdom and benevolence have bestowed for the edification of the body of Christ, and for bringing sinners to the foot of the cross.”
NEW AGENTS.-Providence, R. I., Isaac Wilcox; Pawtucket, R. I.,