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corporated with the people. Thus the church appeared in an organized national form. She does not now sustain that national form and character. Under the New Testament dispensation, the church comprehends all believers in Christ in all parts of the world. It is not necessary that they live in one country, and be the subjects of one earthly king. It follows that the operations of Providence on behalf of the church have not the same visible and external character that they had before but they are as real and important as ever they were. The work of God in the heart of every individual is the subject of a special providence, though not visible to the world, like the redemption of Israel from Egypt; and it is unknown except by the fruits of it to all but the individual himself. wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth; so is every one that is born of the Spirit." There may be nothing striking or even observable in the providential arrangements by which the gospel is brought to some men, or they brought within the sound of the gospel. There may be nothing striking or even visible in the sovereignty of that grace which makes the word effectual to the salvation of some, while others reject it and perish; yet all this is the result of a plan laid in the Divine mind before the world began, and is brought about by an infinite variety of concurring circumstances, or complicated machinery, which by the power and wisdom and grace of God are made to effect his purposes of mercy. In the experience of one, the word may originate in some apparently trivial family occurrence, from the appearance of a stranger preaching the gospel, or from a change of place in the course of business. With another the same work may have its origin in a commercial speculation that takes him abroad, or it may originate in the cabinets of princes in some diplomatic or military appointment. Thus there are many in our own time, some known to ourselves, who neglected the gospel at home, but have found salvation by going abroad to India, to the distant parts of the world. Nay, we may trace in the power of the elements the hand of God carrying on his work, by facilitating, and even interrupting voyages at sea, and carrying preachers to ports which they did not intend to visit, to make known the glad tidings to some vessels of mercy prepared unto glory, as
in the case of Paul being driven upon the island of Melita. Thus literally he makes the winds his ministers, and flaming fire his messengers; for fire, hail, snow, vapour, and stormy winds fulfil his word. And when the mystery of God shall be finished, and the secret history of every council and cabinet in the world laid open, it will appear that God had presided over them all, overruled their procedure so as to subserve his great work of mercy, made the wrath of man to praise him, and restrained it from going beyond his purpose.
Let us attend to some things implied in this prayer.
1. It implies that the work of God, great and glorious as it is, is liable to depression, and that it was at a low state at the time. As in the days of Elijah, there were comparatively few who did not fall away to the practice of idolatry, or to a state of indifference about the cause and work of God; or in the time of Amos, who said, "O Lord, by whom shall Jacob arise, for he is small?" This is indeed the complaint of all the prophets, from Isaiah to the end of the Old Testament. The church attained to a wonderful degree of glory and prosperity in the days of David and Solomon; but soon the gold became dim, and the fine gold was changed. The allurements of idol worship prevailed in every subsequent reign among the ten tribes, and often also in that of Judah, insomuch that they were frequently brought very low, not in a religious sense only, but also in a national sense. The kingdom of the ten tribes was quite subverted, and the people carried away into captivity, from which they never returned. Judah also for the same cause was carried away to Babylon, and then the cause and work of God seemed almost to have perished from the earth. After their return from Babylon, there was a considerable revival, particularly in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah; but the work soon declined again, as we find by the complaints of Malachi, not by idol worship as formerly, for that does not appear to have been openly practised after the return from Babylon; but by formality, self-righteousness, and worldlymindedness, and a want of spiritual discernment of the meaning of their ritual worship and thus they continued till the time of John the Baptist, who was the instrument of a great revival, by turning many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. There was a still greater revival on the day of Pentecost, by the
preaching of the apostles in Judea, and the surrounding countries: but as it was with Israel of old, who served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and of the elders who over-lived Joshua, but afterwards fell away to idolatry; so the New Testament churches flourished in the days of the apostles and of the elders who survived them; but soon afterwards began to decline, and in a few ages fell into a state of apostasy and idolatry, equal to that of Israel in the worst period of their history; and became subject to a new captivity under Babylon the great, the mother of harlots, and abominations of the earth. How deplorably low was the work of God, for more than a thousand years, when his true worshippers were confined to the mountains and caves of the earth, and were sought out only to be destroyed. There was a partial, or rather a pretty extensive revival at the Reformation; but soon again the work of God began to decline, and so continues to this day in many parts of Europe, and error and infidelity reign triumphant, in the place of many once flourishing churches. So there is as much as ever occasion for the prayer of Habakkuk, "O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy."
2. This prayer implies on the part of those who offer it a feeling of deep interest in the work of God, a feeling like that which prompted the psalmist to say,
If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning; if I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy." This work is indeed interesting to all in heaven, and to all on the earth. It is interesting to God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and to all the holy angels. With them it is the interest of benevolence, desiring the happiness of our fallen race. With us on earth it is the interest of necessity, of misery, and helplessness; and yet how few are there that really feel an interest in it? That which fills heaven with joy, the conversion of one sinner, excites no interest in this world, except in some small circle of fellow-sinners who have also obtained mercy. But I think there are greater symptoms of right feeling on this subject at present than there was a hundred years ago. I mean there is more interest taken in the propagation of the gospel, which is the work of God, than there was then, and greater efforts made for that purpose. The current of
public opinion runs at present in that channel, and there are always multitudes who go with the current, without much interest in the subject. But if we go fifty years farther back in the history of our own country, we shall find a more ardent feeling of interest in the cause and work of God than I fear exists even now. It was with our suffering fathers exactly as it was with the captives in Babylon. They wept when they remembered Sion. They adopted the sentiments and the very language of these captives, which were so suitable to their citcumstances, which language became incorporated with their public discourses, their prayers, and even their private conversatson; -a circumstance which excites the cruel mockery of wits of the present day, who are indebted to these very men for the civil liberty which they enjoy; for personal liberty was unknown in Scotland till these men, procured it at the expense of their blood. They found themselves in the condition described by the psalmist : "Yea, for thy sake we are killed all the day long, we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter;" and such was their love for the work of God as they understood it, -and upon the whole, their understanding was enlightened, though not perfectly correct in every particular,-that they cheerfully laid down their lives rather than do or consent to anything by which God might be dishonoured, or his work obstructed. All their thoughts and prayers were about the work of God, the purity, the glory, especially the liberty of the church, and by the liberty of the church they meant subjection to Christ alone as her Lord, and Judge, and Lawgiver, whose laws are holy, and just, and good;-subjection to which is nothing less than the glorious liberty of the children of God. It is true, their thoughts did not much extend beyond the boundary of our own country; their labours in behalf of which left them little time to think of the state of the heathen; yet in ardent zeal for the promotion of God's work they were examples to us, and it would be well if to our zeal for the propagation of the gospel in foreign parts we would add their zeal for the purity and integrity of Divine institutions in the church at home.
3. A firm persuasion that what is prayed for shall be obtained, that the Lord will revive his work, and make his cause to prosper in the earth. The prayer of faith always proceeds upon the footing of the Divine promises, and though the
cross, and follow me," and in the thousand doors of usefulness thrown open to us, Jehovah still calls aloud, "Who will go for us?" And this voice is distinctly heard by the devout soul, and is followed by the response, "Here am I; send
performance of a promise may tarry, or
SERVANTS WANTED. "WHO WILL GO FOR US ?"
WHEN the evangelical prophet was favoured with a vision of the glory of the Redeemer, we are told that he "saw Jehovah sitting upon a throne high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple:" that he also saw the "Seraphim" with their "six wings," and heard them cry one to another, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory." In the light of so much effulgence and purity, Isaiah saw his own imperfection, guilt, and impurity, and also the pollution of his country. The conviction of sin was followed with confession, and the confession with purification; the purification with dedication, and the dedication with a commission. "Whom shall I send," said Jehovah, and "Who will go for us?" "Here am I," responded the prophet; "send me." Ministerial qualifications, and a call to minister, are among the important objects set before us in this sublime vision. The Divine glory and purity must be seen, that, in this heavenly light, our own uncleanness may be distinctly manifest, deeply felt, heartily deplored, and penitently confessed. Then guilt must be removed, and the heart and tongue purified; and purified in no ordinary way, but with fire from the sacred altar. And though the voice of God does not now speak audibly as in the vision of Isaiah, yet it is still heard in his providence and in his word. In the exhortation to "deny thyself, take up thy
There never was a period from the creation until now in which so many doors were open. From every point of the compass the cry addresses us, "Come over and help us;" and this voice is constantly accompanied with the celestial query, "Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?" Britain is now waiting to give up herself to the Lord. The children of our day stretch out their arms to the church to take them into her bosom; and to every one who can say, "Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee," the Redeemer says, "Feed my lambs." The youth who have left our Sunday schools and day schools are thirsting for knowledge and direction, and are caught by thousands in the snares of the wicked one, merely because "no one cares for their souls." The victims of unbelief and impiety ought rather to be called the victims of the church; for, had Christians done their duty, not one of these unhappy persons would have gone astray from truth and virtue. What a field for Christian enterprise England presents to our view. Here "the harvest is great, but the labourers are few." Servants are wanting. Missionary schoolmasters, missionary ministers, missionary deacons, and missionary private Christians are the great desideratum of the day, and were these forthcoming every church in the country would soon have to exclaim, "Who are these that fly as a cloud and as doves to their windows ?"
As we look abroad almost every country exhibits to us an open door. China, India, Africa, and the South Seas are now asking to be converted to Christ. The treasury of the church is also overflowing. Many professing Christians in England possess individually more wealth than fell to the lot of the whole church in the days of the apostles. Some of the members of our religious societies, and who contribute a few pounds annually to the cause of God, who pray ardently for the coming of the Lord's kingdom, and even shed tears over the emptiness of the treasury of Jehovah, are at the same time so rich, that, to get rid of their money, they are actually destroying themselves and their families by the luxury in which they live! Not a few, too, in the rust of their gold, are heaping up treasure against the last days; so that they will be awfully rich in both worlds: here in mammon, and hereafter in the wrath treasured up for the last day. He who can see a world perishing, and close his purse or lock his treasury, or even deal out from either with a sparing hand, wants not only the spirit of Christ, but the heart of a human being. We have money enough, or rather the Lord has an abundance of property; for "the silver and the gold are his," and he will have it eventually. Some shall be cheerfully given, and that which is withheld shall be lost or wasted by its possessors, and shall come indirectly, if not directly, into the treasury of the temple. During the half century we have lived, we have seen not a little property change hands, and evidently so, because its owners employed so small portion of it for the glory of God. We spend in luxury alone, wealth amply sufficient for the enlightenment and conversion of the whole world; and
when that word shall be fulfilled, "They shall come, and their silver and gold with them," there shall be no lack of funds to evangelise mankind.
What we now especially want is men, working men, men imbued with the spirit of the apostles, and therefore, in the best and noblest sense of the word, the successors of those devoted servants of God and man. We cannot convert England, we cannot convert the world, until we have a spiritual race of men and women who shall stand ready to sacrifice every thing for Christ and the good of souls; ready to brave every danger, to endure every hardship, in a word, to lay down their life for the brethren. The apostles never asked if the climate was healthy, if the salary was large, if the society was select; it was enough for them that souls were perishing, and that they had the word of salvation to dispense. Theirs was that Divine genius which invigorates itself by contending with danger, and glories in the cross. Did any coward whisper that there was "a lion in the way," or did any weep lest a favourite preacher should expose himself to danger; all were silenced with the reply: "What mean ye to weep and break my heart; I am willing not to be bound only, but to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus."
Such are the persons needed in our day, and such are the persons which the church must produce. Some have been of opinion, and not without much reason, that the living creatures of John, the cherubim of Ezekiel, and the seraphim of Isaiah, are typical representatives of a spiritual, zealous, devoted working church, and that it is in such a body you are to find the inspiring purifying fire which shall prepare a host of missionaries, deeply imbued with a sense of the divine glory, of their own pollution, of the pollution of the world, and the debt of love they owe to God and man. To every intimation of heaven, and to every inquiry, "Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?" these seraphic men and women will answer, "Here are we; send us."
One of the most awful characteristics of the time is the fact, that agents abound for every thing but the cause of God. Cadets, gentlemen's sons too, are ready for India; but who has heard of late years of a gentleman's son willing to be a schoolmaster or a missionary? Men of wealth stand ready to die in the service of the Queen or of the East India Company, but where is there one ready to brave death in the Divine work of saving souls from perdition ? Thousands are willing to be scorched in the tropics, or frozen in the north or south; to brave death in the form of the plague or the cholera, or at the mouth of the cannon, provided you will give them a commission to launch the real or supposed foes of the country into an eternity for which they are unprepared; but ask for men to save souls and glorify God, and you ask in this quarter in vain. How many wealthy families in England can boast of having sons and daughters missionaries either at home or abroad? Strange as it may appear, the service of the East India Company is still deemed more respectable than the service of Jesus Christ, and to destroy mankind far more honourable than to save!!
And not only the wealthy, but you will sometimes find the man, who a few years ago earned
his bread by the sweat of his brow, if you invite him to a missionary station, asking the important questions-Is the country beautiful? Is the climate healthy? Is the salary good? Is the society select? You can find men of originally fine minds and good talent, willing to go to India to shoot the Sikhs for fifteen pence a day, who, if employed to keep a British school, would run away from their post unless they could have eighty or a hundred a year. Men will work at polishing brass or iron, will spin cotton or silk, will toil in the field or the factory for sixteen hours a day, for an amount of remuneration which we blush to name; but how few comparatively of the youth of our day are willing to live hard, and work hard, to polish the immortal mind and save souls from death? Indeed, so deeply rooted is the love of pelf, that ministerial respectability is now calculated, not from worth or talent, but by the pence table. The man of £800 a year is a respectable man; the man of £80 a non-respectable; and yet the only real difference between these two ministers is, that the former is helped by his people, while the latter helps his people. That wag, the Rev. Sidney Smith, has somewhere said, that the "livings of the church ought all to be raised to £500 a year, and then gentlemen's sons would have a strong inducement to become clergymen.". Would not all our village stations become objects of attraction if they had this addition? What a differ! ence between 500 souls to be saved, and £500 to be given as a salary? How few compara. tively can wait for their crown and respectability until the Master appears, or have faith enough to believe that "Well done," from his Divine lips, will be an ample compensation for hard fare and hard labour. We are no advocates for small incomes. We have experienced all the inconvenience arising therefrom; but still as we look at England, and look at the world, and look also at the parsimony of wealthy Christians when the cause of God is concerned→→→ for it is only then that parsimony is exercised, Satan never complains of it in his service I say when we look at these things, we feel assured that before the millennium can come in Britain, or elsewhere, we must have not a few self-deny. ing men and women who shall be willing to do a great deal of work for a very small remuneration in this world; but who shall be amply rewarded at the resurrection of the just, and be willing to wait till He shall call them home and give them the crown promised, not to him who had the greatest income, but to him who has been the servant of all.
A COUNTRY PASTOR.
WHOSE LIVERY IS YOURS?
"Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ." EVERY body puts on a dress of some sort. Some persons servants wear liveries; so that when we see them we can tell at a sight whose servants they are. The Christian should wear his master's livery; wherever he goes it should be in his livery. The Lord Jesus Christ is his livery; in this he should appear before men: in this approach God; in this discharge all the duties of life.
The Christian must put on Jesus Christ by appearing in him before God; and like him before men.
Self-confidence, self-goodness, self-righteousness, these are the livery of the natural man. In these he is preparing to stand before God. In these he purposes to go before his judgmentseat. He trusts in himself; in what he is. He is so honest, sober, and charitable, he thinks himself good enough, he is not so bad as many of his neighbours; and is as good as any, if taken altogether. But let me tell you your good hearts are not good enough; nor is your livery of the right sort. This dress of yours must be put off and Jesus Christ put on. Paul was once of the opinion the natural man holds now: he thought his dress of legal righteousness good enough. But let the natural man know he must learn to think and feel as Paul did when he wrote," But what things were gain to me those I counted loss for Christ-and do count them but dung that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having my own righteousness which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith." Ye must put on Jesus Christ. God will town as his none but who appear before him in this livery. You must hide in Jesus Christ if you would escape the wrath to come. You may think you look finer in self-righteousness, because it is your own, and trimmed and cut to the fashion. But you know the servant who refuses to wear his master's livery would lose his place. Our self-conceit, our fancied goodness, our own righteousness though made up of penances, tears, prayers, and acts of charity will not do for us to approach into the presence of God.
In Christ we are complete; in him we may be accepted, in him safe.
463 CS 1 "Jesus, how glorious the grace When in thy name we trust. Our faith receives a righteousness That makes the sinner just."
Before men we must put on Christ, by appearing like him; this we can only do by striving to be like him a foto migratovan DCS
In the world, about our business, we must so act that men may see Jesus Christ when they look at us." In ourr this livery. The more it house, we should wear uses and in the Lord's
is worn the more it shines, the fresher it appears. It is in putting it off and on that it gets damHow anxious is the servant to keep his livery clean, so should the Christian act with the robe of his profession. How careful the servant, what caution and forecast to prevent a soil or a rent. Not less careful and cautious should the Christian be watching thereunto with prayer and thanksgiving, hating even the garment spotted by the flesh; that he may keep himself unspotted before the world.
Sometimes the servant soils his dress, but what does he then? He has a preparation at hand to remove spots and grease. He at once uses it. There is no delay. He anxiously watches the progress of the operation; soon as he sees the cloth of his coat assume its proper appearance, what satisfaction. If the Christian soils his dress, is there no preparation? Must he roll in the dirt and never more be clean? Ne have there is a preparation," For if any man
an advocate with the Father, even Jesus Christ the righteous." His blood that washed us first will make us clean again. Do any of you wear a soiled profession? wash it brother, wash it.
I WAS preaching one Sunday afternoon, in the door of a log cabin in the village of Pto a congregation which filled the house and front yard. When about half through the sermon, I observed an old negro riding alone towards the house. He dismounted, fastened his horse to a tree, and took his stand among the throng. The tears soon trickled down his furrowed cheeks, and it seemed impossible for him to repress some hearty exclamations. At the conclusion of the service, he presented himself with profound reverence as my guide to Colonel M.'s, nineteen miles distant. It was my next appointment, and having just arrived on the circuit, I needed some guidance. I had already preached three times, and rode twenty-three miles that day, and proposed to Jedediah, or Jeddy, as he was called, to tarry till the morning; but he replied that his master, the colonel, insisted upon seeing me that evening. "Do go, massa," said Jeddy; "for no massa preacher be there for four months." I mounted to start'; but Jeddy's horse was found too lame to return. The late rains had swept away a bridge on the only road, and rendered it necessary to take an indirect course through a boggy prairie, in order to cross the stream nearer its head. The horse had sprained one of his legs in a quicksand of this prairie, but Jeddy insisted on returning on foot.
We started into the prairie, but had not got far when I perceived that, owing to the wet state of the ground, we should not, at Jeddy's pace, reach our destination till the next morning. But, though slipping and tugging at every step, the good-hearted negro's eyes beamed with delight at the thought that he had induced the "massa preacher" to accompany him. I directed him to mount behind me; he seemed astonished at my kindness, and looked at me in silent amazement, but at last yielded to my request. By a little familiarity he became quite communicative. I led him into a recital of his whole history, particularly of his Christian experience. It was related with evident sincerity and deep emotion; the tears flowed from the old man's eyes, and I could not restrain my own; we wept