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Entered according to Act of Congress, In 1806, by Rev. Stuart Robinson, in the 
Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United Sfates in and for the District 
of Kentucky. 


That the noble conception of British and American Chris- 
tians, half a century since, of the Bible, " the religion of 
Protestants," in every household has produced its fruits, is 
evinced in the general Bible Renaissance of our age — as 
seen in the elaborate Biblical disquisitions of infidelity itself ; 
in the multiplication of learned critical helps for the exposi- 
tions of scripture ; and, more than all, in the almost innu- 
merable issues of expositions and illustrations of scripture 
to meet the general demand for such knowledge among the 

However we may account for the fact, this Renaissance 
has not yet manifested itself in an equal degree in the pulpit 
— that divinely appointed agency for the special and autho- 
ritative teaching of the Word of God to the people. With 
the exception of perhaps a slight increase of the expository 
lecture, the prevailing method of preaching is still that of 
theological disquisition, ethical essay, rhetorical, persuasive 
or emotional appeal — founded upon a shred of the Sacred 
Text chosen as a motto, or, at best, as suggesting simply the 
theological topic of the occasion. Whereas the true theory 
of preaching as gathered from the scriptures, manifestly 
assumes its purpose to be the showing of the people how to 
read the Word of God ; and leading them to feel that '^ this 
day is the scripture fulfilled m their ears," and that these 


are the words of a Jesu3 who not only spahe by holy men of 
old, but who is now speaking with living utterance to the 
men of this generation. 

Having, through a ministry of twenty years, to congrega- 
tions variously composed, in four different cities, been accus- 
tomed, in pursuance of the latter theory of preaching, to 
appropriate one of the public services of the Sabbath to 
showing the people how to read the scriptures, and to follow 
the development of the one great central thought of the Book 
throuf'-h the successive eras of revelation — the author can 
testify from practical experience that the people need no 
other attraction to draw them to the house of God than a 
simple, rational and practical exposition and illustration of the 
Bible. And he who may once attract them by such teaching 
will find no occasion for devising sermons on special subjects, 
or any other theatrical devices to draw men to the sanctuary. 
The author's first experiment was in a congregation composed 
largely of the professional and public men that gather in the 
capital of a state ; his last experiment in a city of colleges and 
in a congregation composed in large measure of professional 
men and students in every stage of professional education ; 
in two intervening experiments in commercial cities among 
business men. And his experience is, that with all classes 
alike the preaching which aims most directly at making the 
scriptures a living message from God to men, translating 
them into the current forms of thought -and speech, is more 
permanently attractive than any other. Perhaps the most 
encouraging assurance he ever received that his labours were 
profitable to hearers, was in a recent testimony from the 


Students of Arts, Law, Medicine and Theology in the various 
institutions of learning in Toronto, which specially and very 
intelligently pointed out the bcnoSts which they considered 
themselves to have received from the exposition of the gospel 
in the order of the successive revelations, under the several 
covenants in the history of redemption. 

The present volume is the result of an attempt to give per- 
manent form, so far as oral instruction can be transferred to 
the printed page, to such outline specimens of the author's 
Biblical Expositions in the several sections of the inspired 
Word as might be most suggestive to younger preachers in 
their attempts to develop the various parts of Scripture to the 
comprehension of the people, and at the same time be instruc- 
tive to Christians, and inquirers, and other earnest persons 
troubled with doubts touching the inspiration or the doctrines 
of the Bible. From the titles of the several sections, it 
will be seen that this is not a collection of miscellaneous 
discourses, but a logical development of the gospel in the 
order of its communication. And from the titles of the several 
discourses under each section it will be seen that the general 
aim is to discuss some of the more germinal points of each 
revelation. Want of space for the full execution of his plan 
has compelled the author to omit several subjects embraced 
in the programme originally, and has suggested the purpose, 
if the present effort is acceptable to the public, to prepare a 
second series of " Discourses of Redemption," filling up more 
completely this outline, while yet constituting a volume com- 
plete in itself, devoted more especially to the great cardinal 
truths developed in the symbols of the Protestant Reformation. 


Of course students and others accustomed to more exact 
forms of presenting religious truth will not expect to find in 
this volume the precise and scientific style of discussion of 
the systems of divinity ; nor must literary critics look for the 
carefulness and finish of the religious essay where the author 
is aiming to transfer spoken language, in its popular forms, 
to the printed page. It is hoped, however, that students will 
find many valuable suggestive hints ; and that earnest-minded 
persons — whether Christian believers, or inquirers after the 
way of salvation, or those harassed and tempted by sceptical 
doubts — may find these discourses of some advantage to them. 

In the Appendix, the author has discussed two or three 
points having a direct relation to the subjects of the discourses 
— especially the place of the Church in the scheme of Re- 
demption, its ordinances of public worship, and its relation to 
the Civil Government — in a more elaborate manner than 
suited the style and limits of a sermon. The conviction grows 
upon him daily, that the questions there discussed have a far 
higher importance in the Gospel system than that hitherto 
attached to them by the Protestant ministry ; and that these 
are destined to be the great questions of the next ten years 
both in the British and American Churches. 

New Yoek, March 26 th, 1866. 




Hebrews i. 1, 2, and ii. 1-4. 


The passages stand in the relation of premise and conclusion. The 
Apostle reasons to directly an opposite conclusion from this pre- 
mise from that of the Rationalist and the Romanist. Significance 
of the Apostle's premise. Fallacies of the Rationalistic reasoning 
from the diversities of scripture —of the reasonings of the Romanist. 
False views of Church diversities 17 

Significance of the Apostle's reasoning. The compound syllogism. 
"With whom he does not reason here? What is assumed of those 
with whom he reasons. The force and solemnity of the Apostle's 
conclusions 31 



II. Timothy iii. 1, IG. 

Features of the perilous times. Why the scriptures are antidotes to 
such perils. The logical and exhaustive character of the classifi- 
eation of their uses — for doctrine — reproof — correction — instruc- 
tion in righteousness. Inspired, in what sense, and to what extent. 
Difficulties of the theory of inspiration far less than the difficulties 
of unbelief. Divine adaptation of scripture to doctrine, reproof, 
correction, instruction in righteousness 37 



Genesis ii. 8-17; iii. 15, 21, and iv. 4. 

Principles of the interpretation of these ancient records. The estate 
of man anterior to Eden. The Eden covenant of works. The 



rationale thereof. Its reasonableness and adaptation to the case 
of man as a new order of being, from whom a race of beings is to 
be propagated. The third estate of sin without hope. The fourth 
estate ; the sinner with a gospel preached. Analysis of the Eden 
gospel ; its eight points of doctrine. Evidences of the exercise of 
true faith under the Eden gospel. How Christ crucified was 
preached. The manner, place and time of the worship of the first 
sinners. The germinal Church instituted at Eden — substantially 
the same with the Church still existing 57 



Genesis xvii. 4, 7, 10, 11, 13.~Romans iv. 11.— Mark x. 14. 

Importance of the study of the Old, as the key to the New Testament. 
Remarkable prominence of Abraham in scripture. Why, at this 
era, an organization of the Chureh as distinct from the family. 
Era of Abraham in the history of redemption, analagous to the 
fourth day in the history of creation. How shown that this is the 
origin of the visible Church as a separate organization — The 
charter — its seal. Constituent elements not individuals merely 
but as representing families. Relation of children to the visible 
Church — to the invisible. Argument for the safety of all the 
dead children 75 





Exodus xii. 3, 7, 11-14.— Luke xxii. 15, 20.— I Corinthians v. 7, 8. 

Significance of the Passover Covenant. Its relations to preceding 
and succeeding covenants. Two great classes of truths exhibited 
in the institution and observance of the first Passover. Objective 
truths — Retributive justice of God — An elect covenant people 
— Vicarious atonement for sin. Subjective truths — Tendencies 
to unbelief— to cavil — obscure faith — feeble faith — strong faith. 
Free offer of mercy 101 




Exodus xix. 3-6, xx. 1-17, xxiv. 7-9.— Deuteronomy v. 2, 3, 22, vi. 1-5, x. 1-5. 

Circumstances of this covenanting. Facts touching the Sinai revela- 
tions. Their nature and purpose. This a covenant with tlie C hurch 
— as representative of the Church in all ages — spiritual in its 
significancy — fuller development of previous covenants. In this 
view of it lies the key to the interpretation of the last four books 
of the Pentateuch. Israel stood at Sinai in three aspects, and with 
reference to each the revelations were made. Its chief purpose 
to give the Church a law to convince of sin ; and ritual to teach the 
taking away of sin and purification of the nature. Rationale of 
teaching by symbols. Popular view of the Mosaic laws as repealed 
erroneoiis 119 





II. Samuel vii. 1-24.— Psalm Ixxii. 1, 8, 17.— xxxix 3, 4.— Luko i. 32,— Acts ii. 30. 

The origin of the covenant with David historically considered. Its 
importance appreciated by David as placing hira in the sphere of 
Adam, Noah and Abraham. This covenant the key to all the 
subsequent parts of the Old Testament; explains the prominence 
of David and Solomon in the history of redemption ; develops the 
kingly office of the mediator. Hence at the opening of the New 
Testament dispensation the theme of the gospel is, " The kingdom 
of heaven is at hand." Practical lessons from these views — the 
importance of the churchly element in the gospel — the kingship 
of Christ obscured by confounding the secular and spiritual 
powers — the conversion of a sinner brings him into a new citizen- 
ship — the evil tendencies of ignoring the Church 141 




I Kings xviii. 17-20, and xix. 1-14. 


History of the apostasy of Israel. The crisis on Mount Oarmel. Its 
representative character. Whom the prophet represents. The 
fire test — why chosen. Ridicule a just method with imposture. 
Victory of faith on Oarmel 159 


Fury of the Baal representative. Failure of faith. Effort at se.f- 
restoration by will worship. Readiness to die as an evidence of 
piety. The lessons of Horeb. Faith restored 179 



Isaiah i. 10-18. 

Of whom the prophet speaks, and to whom he makes the offer of mercy. 
The gospel ever an appeal to reason. Why sin must be the first 
question reasoned with God. What elements of aggravation? 
enter into the sins of " scarlet and red like crimson." The 
grounds of this assurance of pardon 193 





Luke iv. 16-21. 

The condition of the typical kingdom at the opening of Christ's min- 
istry. This may he considered the inauguration discourse of the 
New Testament ministry, to take the i^lace of priests and prophets. 
The qualification for th3 office. The commission to speak authori- 



tatirely. The security a^^ainst abuse of the authority lies in con- \ 

fining the minister strictly to the functions of his office, viz., — | 

" To preach the gospel " — nothing else. Manner of preaching — to | 

aim to meet the capacities of the poor. The purposes of preach- ] 

ing — to comfort the heart-broken, in a world full of sin, and there- 1 

fore of sorrow — to deliver the captives — to restore spiritual j 

vision — to hold forth a power to overcome sin — to proclaim an i 

ever-present, ever-ready Saviour 207 \ 





Luke XV. 

This chapter contains a discourse of Jesus, in three parts, in reference 
to ethical religionists. Method of the argument. Designed in the 
three parables, to represent severally the mediator, the Spirit 
working in the Church, and the Father receiving sinners. ! 

Sympathy of heavenly orders in the work. The true analogies 
for interpreting the gospel are the heart impulses rather than \ 

ethical reasonings. Picture of the straying soul — and of the love \ 

of the Father. Portraiture of ethical religionism in the elder 
brothe" 22T 




Matthew xxv. 31-46. 

Connection of this judgment scene as the peroration of the discourse 
begun in Matthew, chapter xxiv, concerning the close of the two 

dispensations. Sublime views of the close of the present dis- i 

pensation. The assize— the award. On what principle made? i 

Mistakes concerning the principles of the award. Tlie six acts j 

cited a logical and exhaustive summary of human acts. What ! 

think you of Christ ? the pivot upon which all turns. This tost \ 

universally applicable. Its application to this age of the Church.. 251 j 




Luke xvi. 19-31. ' 

Occasion of this utterance. The heroes of the tragedy in contrast on J 

earth, preparatory to an infinite contrast after death. Meaning 



of " carried to Abraham's bosom." The life and immortality 
taught by Jesus, is a transfer of the sinless, pleasures of 
life over death. Christ's estimate of the value of services. 
Rich and poor on a level at death. Fallacies of the argument 
against a hell. The dialogue between hell and heaven. Prayer 
too late— the real monument of every man's life. Hell the just 
award of retribution. Hell the natural and necessary sequence 
of a sinful life. The insincerity of unbelief. Scepticism comes 
from want of heart, not want of proof 269 



John xix. 15 37; iii. 14, andxii. 32, 33. 

'Final act of aposta?y of the typical kingdom. Why the inspired word- 
pictures of his death exhibit him surrounded with relative objects. 
The hand-washing magistrate. Relative pictures — humanity 
receiving the gospel from the cross. Central figure — circumstan- 
ces attending his last hours on the cross. His death expiatory 
or the facts inexplicable. Note — Blasphemous criticism of Dr. 
Bushnell. The prophetic chorus around the cross. The cross- 
preached gospel full of comfort , 295 





Acts. xvi. 29 31. 

This an actual case arising, and just such precedent as we need. The 
miracle does not affect the case. Place of miracles in the 
gospel. Two things only to be understood — the object of faith 
"the Lord Jesus Christ" — and the subjective act — "believe." 
Why we hold forth Jesus Christ as the answer to inquiring sin- 
ners. What it is to believe. Proof that this believing, without 
respect to degree of strength, is all that the gospel demands to 
secure acceptance 32 1 




1 Timothy i. 15. 

The seven points involved in this comprehensive creed. The true key 
to the meaning is in the spirit of the utterance. The gospel rests 
on the assumptior of man a sinner condemned and helpless. How 
consciousness attests the gospel teaching of sinfulness. Eeason 
attests the gospel offer as faithful, worthy of all confidence— 
the heart and moral nature, as worthy of acceptation. The 
Apostles proof that Jesus will accept any who accept this saying. 343 



Romans viii. 28-31. 

That God brings mercies out of apparent ills— specially atftested In 
Christian experience. Tour classes of scoffers at the gospel view 
of Providence. The natural Saduceeism. Transcendental Atheism 
Theological Scepticism— Sentimental Scepticism. The last, bad 
taste, worse theology and still worse logic. Who mny apply the 
comfort — How determine whether we love God ? '• The called. •" 
The key to the interpretation of this love — and also to all 
that follows. Uelation of the gospel truths to the emotions. 
Hence the error of making the 29th and 30th verses the battle- 
ground of controversy. "The called" are further assured by the 
purpose of election. The true end of predestination. Why all 
real Christians must here practically agree. How this doctrine 
meets all the necessities of the human soul 363- 



II Timothy i. 10— I Cor. xv. 22, 53, 54, 

Prevalent mistakes concerning what the schools have taught. An 
immortality of bliss has not, neither can be proved from reason 
and natural religion. What in f\ict true philosophy does teach. 
The gospel doctrine of the resurrection alone solves the puzzle of 
the schools. The gospel teaching concerning "'Life and immor- 
tality." The doctrine of the resurrection essential to any gospel 
faith. Practical lessons 383. 




Ephesians v. 11. 


Seeming abruptness of the Apostle — reason of it. The sieep and 
death stupor the natural condition of men. It is a dreamy sleep. 
The -waking from it at death — may be conceived of from partial 
awakening before death. The drunken sleeper at Niagara. The 
somnambulist girl. The awakening from Christ; who not only 
awakes but gives aid. Ethical gospsls, mere guide-boards, useless 
to a cripple. Different methods in which Christ gives light. The * 
bast-eful urgency of the gospel calls ..,.,... 415 





Revelations xxii. 16-18. 

Whence, when, and what, this message. The reference to the last of tho. 
old covenants. Import of the term " water of life " — tendency of • 
scriptures to generalizations — what the import of the '^ thirst." Tol 
be understood in a general sense as well as of longing for salva* 
tion by the special call of the Spirit. True inference from th© 
unconscious prophecies of heathenism. The vision of the ship in. 
the air by the pilgrims. The causes which develop a consciousness 
of this thirst. They are natural and supernatural. The terms ara? 
'' Freely." The agencies to bring thirsty soyls to the 'A'atwr of 
life— natural and supernatural , 431 





The argument founded upon the views presented in Discourse VI., the 
most efifective method. The reasoning against the Sabbath 
founded wholly upon insufficient and erroneous views of the 
Sinai covenant. Errors of the friends of truth in stating the 
grounds for legislation to protect the Sabbath 451 



The science of Ecclesiology yet remains to be developed. Prejudice 
against theoretical reasoning on the subject not accordant with 
the spirit and method of scripture. Relation of the idea of the 
Church to other points of Theology. The relation of the four 
phases of Theology. — Papal, Zuinglian, Lutheran, and Calvinis- 
tic. The latter theory naturally points to the central truth of 
Ecclesiology in the mode of the divine purpose to save not merely 
sinners individually but a body of sinners. This peculiarity of 
the divine purpose must enter as an clement into the true defini- 
tion of the Church. The Church visible the development of this 
idea of the purpose of God. This view not exclusive of other 
views of the Church. To the Church directly as an agency for 
calling and training the elect have been given all the revelations, 
ordinances, and promises, and not to the race at large as such. 
General results from this view. The Church essentially one in 
all ages. Proper definition of the Church. This view in accord- 
ance with the Westminster Confession. And necessary to any 
right understanding of what the scriptures teach of the Church. 
The source of all Church power is Jesus Christ the Mediator. 
The power delegated by him is vested neither in the people nor in 
the officers, but in the body contemplated as such. The power 
of rule is a joint power to be exercised by tribunals, 453 

The distinction between the Civil power ordained of God, the Author 
of Nature and llie Spiritual power ordained of Christ the 
Mediator. The distinction, not arbitrary or incidental, but intrin- 
sic and exclusive of the idea of a concurrent jurisdiction. The 



three functions to be discharged — and the three offices. The 
government of the Church is held forth in scripture as bj 
tribunals 466 



"What arc the divinely appointed ordinances of worship — Rationale 
thereof. The distinction between the acts of public worship and 
any merely human teachings lies in the relation of the ordinances 
of worship to the idea of the Church. Still more direct is the 
relation of the sacraments to the idea of the Church. Significance 
and nature of the sacraments as a means of grace 471 



Singularly vague views prevalent on this subject. Conflicts in Papal 
countries between Cis-Montaniam and Ultramontaniam. Conflicts 
among the Continental Protestants— between the theories of 
Hegel, Stahl — Schleirmacher, &c. In England between the 
theories of the Civil Courts — Broad Church — Palmer and others. 
In Scotland between various theories of support from, and sub- 
mission to, the State by the Church. In the American Churches 
between the Virginia theory — the New England theory — and the 
Gallio theory. Absurd ideas and representations of politicians. 474 

The theory of a connection between the powers secular and spiritual 
wholly Pagan in its origin. History of its first introduction into 
Christianity. How the Pagan view Avas maintained by the jurists 
and civilians. Why not cast aside at the Reformation. The 
Scottish Reformers had clear views of the scripture doctrine. 
Causes of failure. The Paganism of Vattel. The first develop- 
ment of the American theory. Logical fallacies of the New Eng- 
land theory. Its consequences as seen in originating heretical 
bodies; as seen in Justice Story and Mr. Webster. The doctrine 
of the memorialists in Virginia — Wad dell, Graham, Smith — a 
revival and advance upon the doctrine of the Scottish Reformers. 
The JefiFerson-Madison " Act establishing religious freedom" — 
the first recognition, from the civib side, in all history of the 
complete independence of the " kingdom not of this world.". . . . 476 




Hebrews i. 1, 2. — God, "who at simdiy times and in divers manners spake 
in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken 
unto us by his Son. 

Hebrews ii. 1, 3. — Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to 
the things -which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. 
For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression 
and disobedience received a just recompense of reward ; how shall we 
escape if we neglect so great salvation ? 

It will be perceived that these two passages, though the 
opening sentences of different chapters, stand in the close 
logical relation to each other of premise and conclusion ; the 
intervening portion of the first chapter being of the nature of 
a parenthesis. The first, by way of premise, declares the fact 
that, instead of speaking once for all in making his revelation, 
God spake at " sundry times " through his prophets, and at 
last through his Son, " God manifest in the flesh." Nor that 
cither in any uniform mode of utterance, but " in divers 
manners " through the successive ages : He spake now 
through the Theophanics of the Patriarchal era, now through 
the oraclos of the Theocratic era, now through the inspiration 
of the Spirit of Christ in the prophets of later ages, and lastly 
through Jesus the Incarnate Word. 



From these facts as a premise, Rationalism argues to the 
conclusion of the uncertainties and contradictions of Scrip- 
ture ; and Romanism to the conclusion of the need of 
excluding the people from the free perusal thereof, and the 
need of an infallible interpreter, through whose harmonizing 
voice only the speech of God shall be spoken to the people. 
But, you will ol^eerve, the Apostle, from the same premise, 
reasons to a precisely opposite conclusion from both, viz., the 
increased responsibility of those who have the benefit of all 
these varieties of the revelations of God, and the inevitable 
doom of those who now neglect such advantage. 

The purpose of the present discourse will be to fix your 
attention upon : 

FivHt. — The significance of the facts of the Apostle's 
premise — the "sundry times and divers manners " of reve- 

Second. — The significance of the Apostle's reasoning and 
conclusion from this premise. 

I. The fact here set forth, of God's revelation to men 
through successive and diversified developments of his 
scheme of Redemption, furnishes a most important key to 
the interpretation of the Scriptures. For their peculiar form 
and structure arises chiefly from this, that, instead of a single 
utterance, in systematic and scientific form, God chose to 
speak " at sundry times and in divers manners," gradually 
developing more and more clearly a scheme of salvation, 
ivliieh IV as perfect from the first. 

It is the fundamental blunder, alike of the sceptics and of 
the philosophic theologians, to assume that, if God speak to 
man, his perfections require the utterance to be exclusively 
in the terms of a scientific theology. Had he gathered the 
more intelligent of the race around some Horeb summit, and 
thence communicated his attributes and purposes, in the 
style of a " Code Napoleon," or of scientific papers before 


the Paris Academy, or the Royal Society of London, then 
Avould the communication, they think, have had an exactness 
and a certitude more Avorthy a Divine Author ; and then 
Avould no room have been left for disputes and diversities of 
opinion in religion. 

Now it might be a sufficient answer to all such suggestions 
— What if God hath chosen to reveal himself in his Word as 
in his Works? What if in Revelation, as in Nature, he hath 
chosen to scatter his truths broadcast, leaving men to gather 
them Avith laborious care, and arrange them in their scientific 
systems? But a little reflection must make it plain that it 
Avas for reasons in the essential nature of the case, that he 
spake thus at " sundry times," connecting his revelation Avith 
the progressive history of humanity through all its varying 

What man needed Avas not merely a revelation concerning 
the mysteries of God, but concerning the mysteries of his 
own nature as Avell ; and the paradoxes of AA^hich his soul is 
full. Man needed a revelation AAdiich should become the 
articulate voice of these mysterious instincts of his spiritual 
nature. How could such a revelation be made in any other 
conceivable method so Avell as by this of connecting it Avith, 
and developing it through, the ever varying history of 
humanity, under the leadings of his Providence, through all 
its phases and civiHzations ? 

Accordingly, you find this revelation a record, not merely 
of the utterances of God speaking from heaven to men, but 
of the utterances, also, of the human soul ansAvering back 
from earth to the voice of God. That answer is noAV in cries 
of mysterious terror, noAV in shouts of defiant impenitency, 
now in penitential Availings, noAv in the joyous cries of child- 
like faith and trust. The Bible is not a Divine monologue ; 
it is an amazing dialogue of the ages, betAveen earth and 
heaven. The gospel which it reveals is not a mere melody 


of " Peace on earth " sung by angel voices ; it is the strain 
of a mighty orchestra rather. Notes from the stricken chords 
of the heart of God lead the strain, and notes from all the 
stricken chords of the human soul answer back in responsive 

As already suggested, the Bible method consists in the 
development more and more fully, through the successive 
^' sundry times " of humanity, of a scheme of salvation which 
was perfect from the first, though revealed only in germ. 
Men build their systems of knowledge as they build their 
houses ; beam is laid upon beam ; nor does the structure 
really exist, as a structure, until the last fragment has been 
adjusted to its place. Hence their proneness to regard a 
theology as imperfect, which is not thus artificially si/8temized. 
But when God constructs a theology, he builds, just as he 
builds the oak of the forest, or the cedar of Lebanon, by the 
continual development of a germ, perfect from the first, 
through the successive "sundry times" of the humanity 
with whose origin the development began. 

As the oak, perfect and entire, is in the acorn that buries 
itself in the soil, and expands and extends an ever perfect 
life till it becomes the gigantic monarch of the forest ; so the 
entire gospel of redemption was in that germinal promise 
concerning "the seed of the woman" which, buried in the 
clods of a wasted Eden, shot forth its life parallel with the 
growth of humanity. Now it appears as the tender twig of 
promise to Enoch and Noah ; now the vigorous sapling to the 
faith of Abraham ; now the refreshing shade tree leafing 
out in the gorgeous ritual of Moses ; now the well-known 
pilot's signal tree that guides the course of David and Isaiah ; 
now putting forth its blossom of plenteous promise in the 
Gospel of John the Baptist ; and now bearing the rich har- 
vest of ripe fruit in the preaching of the Apostles under " the 
ministration of the Spirit." Thus through all the ages, and 


in all tlic divers manners of its communication, it is one and 
the same Gospel, embodying the same great truths in its 
various stages of development. 

To the cant of Rationalism concerning the narrower, less 
enlightened and legendary system of religion which 2>^eceded 
the Christian gospel, our response is, therefore, Christianity 
had no predecessor. In a sense that the English deist Tindal 
never conceived of, " Chrutianity is old as Creation^ 
The Bible is the history and development of Christianity, and 
nothing else. It is " the Gospel according to " Moses and 
David, Isaiah and Daniel, just as truly as it is the Gospel 
according to Matthew and Mark and Luke and John. And 
this is manifest from the unity of idea that underlies all " the 
divers manners" of the revelation. For of all the books in 
the world, the Bible is emphatically the " book of one idea." 
That idea is the grand enterprise of " the seed of the 
woman" in conflict with the Serpent and his seed, gathering 
his elect body, the Bride of the Lamb, out of all the succes- 
sive ages. It is this Redeemer, Jehovah Jesus, who, assuming 
transiently the shadowy form of humanity, speaks Avith Adam 
and Abraham, and Jacob and Joshua. It is Jehovah Jesus 
who sits between the Cherubim as the Theocratic king of Israel. 
It is '^ the spirit of Christ in them " that utters through the 
prophets " the sulferings of Christ and the glory which should 
follow." In these cases, just as truly is it the record of Jesus 
Christ, as when it is the story of his walking on earth as 
" the Son of man" or of his communicating; his will throu^^h 
the Holy Spirit to his Apostles after his ascension. 

Not only is this Great Personage the subject of all the 
revelation alike, but the fundamental articles of its theology, 
even to the detailed forms of their expression, are one and the 
same from first to last. The wrath of God appeased, and sin 
pardoned by vicarious blood, is the theology of Adam, Abel, 
and Noah. Vicarious blood shed for sin, is the central thought 


of the theology of Abraham and Moses, of David and Isaiah, 
just as truly as in that of Peter and John and Paul, who 
declare " In him we have redemption through his blood ; " 
and " His blood cleansethfrom all sin." So the central idea 
of the worship which embodies this theology in ritual form. In 
the worship of Abel the sacrificial lamh was the peculiar 
feature. In the worship of Abraham, two thousand years later, 
it is still the lamb substituted for the lamb of his own bosom. 
In the worship of Moses four hundred years later, it is still 
the lamb Y>'hose blood is sprinkled, and which figures in the 
gorgeous ritual of the tabernacle. Seven hundred years 
later, in the visions of Isaiah, it is still the " Lamb led to the 
slaughter." Again, seven hundred years, and John the Bap- 
tist, pointing to Jesus the ante-type of all the preceding types, 
cries " Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins 
of the world," and, at the close of the revelation, as John the 
Evangelist is permitted through " the door opened in heaven" 
to catch a glimpse of the glorious Church of the future, the 
worship has still the same central attraction — " the Lamb in 
the midst of the throne ;" around whom are gathered the 
shouting myriads who have " washed their robes and made 
white in the blood of the Lamb." 

And, as tlie objective theology of the " sundry times," 
even to its forms of expression, is still the same, so also is 
the expression of the subjective faith which apprehends it. 
The only reliance of the saints is upon the vicarious blood ; 
and upon the promise " When I see the blood I will pass 
over." And with this rehance for the soul's refreshment, 
and for " peace and joy in believing," the very forms of the 
experimental utterances of the soul are the same in all ages. 
With David the cry is " my soul tJdrsteth for God, as the 
hart pauteth after the water brooks." And Isaiah proclaims to 
such — " IIo everyone that tJdrsteth come ye to the waters." 
Just so the Son of God incarnate, standing in the temple on 


the great day of the feast, proclaims, " If any man tlurHt let 
him comemito me and drink." And so again, as the Son of 
God ascended, Jesus sends back from his throne his last 
message to the sinners, for whom he had " endured the 
cross, despising the shame," " Let him that is athirst come, 
and whosoever will let him take the water of life freely." 

But what leaves the charge of contradiction between the 
Old and the New Testament scriptures without apology, even 
on the part of those who cannot enter into the spirit of the ob- 
jective theology of the Bible, or into the subjective experience 
of the saints, is the fact of the substantial identity, amid all 
the diversity, of even the externals of this scheme of redemp- 
tion revealed at the " sundry times." 

It cannot fail to attract the attention of the reader of this 
book, that the mode of its revelation is through a series of 
covenants, each one a larger development of that which ])rc- 
cedes it. These covenants imply the idea of a distinct body 
of people with whom the covenant or contract is made. The 
entire revelation may be analyzed, as consisting of three 
classes of truths : — First, the record of historic events which 
prepared the way for certain covenants: next, the covenant 
and revelation connected with it ; and next the history and 
revelations connected with the development of that cove- 
nant. The story of creation and of Eden prepares the way 
for the covenant of grace with Adam ; the history developing 
this, prepares again the way for the covenant of protection 
to the race made with Noah. Then, under this covenant, 
begins the history preparatory to the Church covenant with 
Abraham, the history of Avhose development prepares the way 
for the Passover covenant to redeem the Church, and that again 
for the Sinai covenant ; then the history of the development 
of this Church, as Jehovah's spiritual common wealtli, prepares 
the way for the covenant with David, establishing the typical 
throne and kin^iidom of Messiah in the Church. From this 


time forward all the history and revelations through the pro- 
phets are to the end of preparing the way of the Lord's 
coming, as the king of a universal kingdom ; and for the new 
covenant in his blood, under which his commissioned agents 
shall " go into all the world and preach the gospel to every 

And what is specially noteworthy, as indicating the unity 
existing under the ^' divers manners " of this covenant body, 
is the sameness of its administrations under all the changes. 
The patriarchs, or natural elders of the church, while it was 
still embosomed in the family constitution, are succeeded by 
the official " elders " when the shortening of human life 
makes it necessary to choose among many patriarchs. And 
such continued to be the form of administration of the visible 
church in all succeeding ages. Before the national organi- 
zation under Moses, the elders were in charge of the cove- 
nant people, to receive and decide upon the genuineness of 
Moses' call from God (Ex. iii. 15, and iv. 29) ; through 
the elders was received the covenant seal of the passover 
(Ex. xii. 3, 21) ; and through them was preparation made 
for receiving the law ; and through them again was nego- 
tiated the Sinai Covenant (Ex. xix. 7, 8, and xxiv. 7, 8). 
Before the elders was the typical rock smitten (Ex. xvii. 
3, Q) ; and the elders partook of the sacrificial feast pre- 
paratory to receiving the ecclesiastical constitution and 
ritual (Ex. xxiv. 9, 11). The elders with the priests con- 
stituted the supreme ecclesiastical court to decide appeals 
under the instruction of the oracle (Deut. xvii. 9, 12). 
The elders are found, even during the apostasy, sitting in 
council with Elisha (II Kings, vi. 32) ; in the exile with 
Ezekiel (Ezek. viii. 1) ; and, in apostate Jerusalem, sat 
with the priests upon the case of Jeremiah (Jer. xxvi. 8, 
17). So when Messiah " came unto his own, and his own 
received him not," his rejection was by the priests and ciders 


in council, of an apostate church (Math. xxiv. 1). Under 
the dispensation of the Spirit, the ciders still sit in council 
with x\postlcs (Acts XV. 23). And in that glorious vision 
of the church of the future, through the door opened in 
heaven, John saw the great congregation, represented by the 
" four and twenty elders," twelve for the Old, and twelve for 
the New Testament Church, acting together, casting their 
crowns — the symbols of their official authority — at the feet 
of the great king (Rev. iv. 4). 

This, then, is our short method with the treacherous Ration- 
alism which would persuade us to cast aside what " God at 
sundry times and in divers manners spake to the fathers," 
anterior to the teaching of Jesus, the Son of man, as no 
gospel for us. We answer, it is all gospel ; one gospel ; and 
the same gospel ; not only in its creed, but in the details and 
results of that creed when accepted. It must therefore stand 
in its complete integrity or not stand at all. If one part is 
not divine, no part is divine. If Moses and the prophets are 
not divine utterances, then neither can Jesus and the apostles 
be, who claim to be simply the full development of Moses 
and the prophets, and fully endorse them. And, therefore, 
this pretence of receiving Jesus as history, while rejecting 
Moses as legend, is founded either upon an ignorance that 
has never grasped the idea of him whom it so dogmatically 
pronounces upon, or upon a hypocritical hifidelity, — that by 
gradual and insidious approaches, would undermine the foun- 
dations of our faith. 

()n the other hand, the view here taken furnishes an equally 
short method with the Romanism that harps upon the diver- 
sities of revelation as creating a necessity for an infallible 
interpreter, and the exclusion of the people from the free use 
of the scriptures. What the people need is not an infallible 
interpreter of scripture, but simply to be shown how to read 
the scriptures, thus given at the " sundry times," and the 


divers manners of several successive forms of civilization and 
thought and speech. Properly instructed as to these inci- 
dental questions, and having the scriptures translated into 
their fashion of thought, the people can far more readily 
interpret the scriptures for themselves than interpret the 
infallible interpreter. 

It is indeed true, that the rule of faith being of '' divers 
manners" of expression will lead to corresponding diverse 
opinions in incidentals and non-essentials, according as more 
or less stress is laid upon this or that manner of utter- 
ance of the same truth. In this sense it may produce 
sectarianism. But, in this sense, sectarianism is obviously 
pre-supposed by the gospel, and implied in the very nature 
of Christianity. Yet this diversity by no means mars the 
essential unity of the Church of God. It is rather a neces- 
sity to the completeness of the Holy Catholic Church, as the 
visible embodiment of such a gospel. Just as we have four 
biographies of Jesus in the Evangelists, and yet all of them 
one life so thoroughly, that neither of the four is the life of 
Jesus without the other three. Just as we find the harmo- 
nists of the gospels labouring to make the four one, and yet 
each successive harmonist begins his work by shewing that 
all his predecessors have failed in some important particular. 
So with the Church of God, founded upon these Evangelists ; it 
is manifold, yet one. And so with these perpetual endeavours 
to fashion the Church into one invariable form in all the 
details of its liturgy and expression of faith. 

Hence, long before the controversy with Piotestantism 
concerning sects, and the need of an infallible interpreter, 
the children of the Church of Rome herself loved to find the 
symbols of a church manifold, yet one, in the four rivers, 
flowing from one fount in Paradise ; and, in the four-fold, yet 
one, living creature seen in the visions of Ezekiel and Daniel 
and John in the Apocalypse. Long before the apostasy of 


Rome, Jerome had said : "As the one river of Paradise 
divided into four streams, so the gospel doctrine of Christ 
Jesus distributes itself through the channel of four different 
ministers, to water and fructify the garden of God." Even 
in the " dark ages," as long ago as A.D. 1172, Adam, of 
St. Victor, the great hjmnologist, taught the Latin Church to 

"Circa throniim majestatis, 
Cum spiritibus beatis, 
Quatuor divcrsitatis 
Adstant aoimalia. 

Pormae fonnant fignrarum 
Formas cvangelistarum, 
Quorum imber doctrinarom 
Stillat in ccclesia." 

Of which — ^though rudely and feebly rendered — the sense 
and spirit is, — 

" Before the throne of majesty, 
With spirits blessed beyond the sky, 
The four-fold creature^ stood. 

Strange mystic figure ! four in one ! 
Of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and John, 
Who jointly shed their dews upon 
The blessed Church of God." 

If the unity of the rule of faith is not marred by reason of 
the " divers manners " of its utterances, why may not the 
Church, founded upon such a rule of faith^ be one in reahty,, 
notwithstanding it may exhibit diversity in the manner of 
uttering its faith and worship ? 

I may add, moreover, that even though there were no such 
diversity in the rule of faith, yet from the '' divers manners" 


of the humanity upon which its truths operate, to be reflected 
back in a subjective theology, the reflection must naturally 
exhibit these diversities of religious views. It is one of the 
fine analogies of Edmund Burke, that " the metaphysical 
rights of man, coming into contact with the actual life of 
society, are, as the rays of light passing from a rarer into a 
denser medium, refracted out of a straight line." Shghtly 
modifying the great orator's figure, I may say that the beams 
of light from the divine oracles, falling as they do upon 
humanity, as upon a prism, are not only refracted in the 
subjective theology of Christian experience, but their colours 
separated to the view of the beholder, as in the spectrum ; 
shewing here the Presbyterian Hue — here the Episcopal 
orange — here the Methodist red — and so through all the 
seven colours of which the pure white light is composed. 
And so, reversing the process, when the separating causes 
are counteracted by some common devotional movement 
that brings them to pray and praise together, all the 
colours are combined again, as they commune with God, and 
they reflect the one pure white light, as it fell upon the 

This unity of spirit, in devotion and communion w^th God, 
is that unity to wliich the Apostles exhort ; this is the unity 
which fulfils the Master's intercessory prayer " that they 
all may be one." And this spiritual unity is far more real 
and true than the boasted unity of Rome, depending not on 
spiritual attraction, but a mere external power of government 
under one head, making the several fragments' artificially 
cohere together. So, on the other hand, this unity of spirit 
is the true unity as against the latitudinarian sentimentalism 
which, in our day, affects to long for the abolition of sects 
4ind creeds, and would merge all into one, by utterly ignoring 
the doctrine of a church as one of the essential elements of 
the gospel; and by making light of Christ's appointed order 


and ordinances for his spiritual commonwealth. The marvel- 
lous unity of doctrine evinced by the various confessions of the 
Protestant Reformation is the true secret of the unity of spirit 
in devotion among Christians of these various churches ; it is 
not merely sentimental. Discerning the image of Christ in. 
each other, they learn to recognize each other as brethren ; 
and the very zeal for maintaining Christ's order and ordi- 
nances as each understands them, is only a guarantee, 
each to the other, of a common zeal for the faith once 
delivered to the saints. 

II. Having considered the Apostle's premise, it now 
remains that -we consider, very briefly, the significancy of 
the Apostle's reasoning and conclusion from the premise of 
a revelation " at sundry times and in divers manners." He 
argues, " Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed, 
etc., for if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, how 
shall w^e escape if we neglect so great salvation ?" 

You will observe that this argument is a compound syllo- 
gism, which may be resolved into these two : 

1st. Impenitency under the fuller light of a completed 
revelation involves greater guilt than under a revelation 

But, since Christ's advent under the ministration of the 
Spirit, we have the revelation, begun in earlier ages, fully 
and completely developed. 

Therefore, the guilt of impenitency is greater now than, 
ever before. 

2nd. The certainty of judgment without mercy is greater, 
in proportion to the greater guilt of neglecting clearer light. 

But, as a matter of fact, even under the inferior light 
of a partially developed gospel, ''Every transgression and 
disobedience received a just recompense of reward." 

Tlierefore, more certain and inevitable must be the 
doom of such as now reject the great and fully developed 


Thus the power of the two arguments is made to converge 
upon the one tremendous conclusion of the inevitable doom 
of transgressors, under the last dispensation of the gospel. 

To comprehend fullj the force of the argument, Ave need 
only inquire, — with whom precisely is the Apostle here rea- 
soning ? and what does he assume concerning them ? 

Observe then, that he is not reasoning with sceptics who 
either deny any inspiration, or w^ho conceive of faith as 
merely a submission to the overwhelming power of proofs 
addi^essed to the understanding, or under the crushing power 
of difficulties which the mind cannot master. So, indeed, 
many conceive of the gospel salvation ; they regard it as 
something bestowed in the way of reward to the logical and 
the learned minds, in consideration of their toil in working 
out demonstrations of the gospel ; or, in the case of the 
unlearned, something bestowed as a reward for the credulity 
which can accept without question impossible truths. They 
imagine that the only reason why they are not Christians is 
simply from want of ability to force their minds into the belief 
of the gospel, or Avant of time to examine its evidences. 
They have the misfortune to be gifted A\ith such an astute- 
ness of logical perception, or such a capacity of intellect, 
that the loose reasoning Avhich satisfied a Bacon, or a NcAvton, 
or a Locke, cannot satisfy them. But they Intend, at a 
leisure time, to gather up all the books on the evidences, and 
demonstrate themseves into the kingdom of heaven. Mean- 
while, they appear to themselves to be sincerely longing after 
that simple, uninquiring faith, Avhich they think is the pecu- 
liar privilege of the unlearned masses. 

Not with such is the Apostle reasoning ; for then the 
argument Avould be, " God at sundry times hath piled argu- 
ment upon argument, and in divers manners hath pre- 
sented the argument, until nothing more could be added to 
its force; therefore, how shall Ave be converted if not by 


this ?" That would, indeed, be a true statement, and sound 
reasoning, but it is not the argument here. It is directed 
not to those who reject^ but to those who '''' neglecV salva- 

Nor, again, is the reasoning with that class who, though 
not unbelievers, as they think, yet find their chief reason for 
not being Christians in the difficulties of the gospel doctrines, 
which they cannot reconcile with their reason. There are 
many of our educated^ youth and professional men to Avhom 
the gospel presents the aspect of the Sphinx of the old 
tragedy, sitting by the wayside to propound the riddle, and 
demanding of each passer-by " Solve it or die !" Whereas, 
it is the peculiar feature of the gospel of Christ that it 
demands neither the solution of paradoxes, nor even the 
acceptance of opinions, as a condition precedent to salvation. 
Its call is not " solve or die," but " believe with thine heart 
or die." Not believe a creed, either, but " believe on the 
Lord Jesus Christ," a personal Saviour. Not with such is 
the reasoning here. For then the argument Avould be, 
God hath at " sundry times and in divers manners" added 
explanation to explanation, and solved difficulty after difficulty, 
till no longer is it conceivable how any sincere mind can 
cavil ; therefore, if still in the dark, — how shall we ever have 
the mystery solved ? That would be valid reasoning, but it 
is not the argument here. He reasons not with those who 
mystify^ but those who " neglecV salvation. 

Nor, again, is the reasoning here with the careless and pro- 
fane scoffers, who say, " let us eat and drink, for to-morrow 
we die ;" nor with the frivolous devotees of fashion and the 
world, whenever care to listen to the higlier calls of the soul; 
nor with the servile worshippers of Mammon, who recklessly 
take the dollar in exchange for the soul. For then the rea- 
soning would be — God hath so highly regarded this work of 
saving sinners, that, amid all the cares of the Universe, he 


hath "at sundry times and in divers manners" manifested 
special concern, and sent down the chariot of heaven to bear 
communication to earth respecting it. If then ye are careless, 
frivolous and reckless in a matter that has interested all heaven 
during ages past, what hope is there for j^ou? IIow can such 
as ye escape ? That would be valid reasoning, but it is not 
the argument here. He reasons not with those that insult 
and contemn^ but those that " neglect " salvation. 

But the parties addressed in the argument of the text are 
those of whom it is assumed. 

First, — That " they have heard these things " and recognize 
them as things spoken by God's angels (messengers). In so 
far, they are those found in all our Sabbath congregations, who 
treat the gospel with great outward respect, and even thank 
God that they are not as other men — even as these sceptics, 
scoffers, frivolous and thoughtless. 

Second, — That they have not only the objective knowledge 
of the gospel, but also a subjective consciousness of a danger 
to be " escaped," and a ruin from which the rescue must be 
a " great salvation." It is indeed a striking feature of the 
gospel that it assumes, as truths known to human conscious- 
ness, most of these things which men speculate about as 
religious opinions. It makes no argument to prove immor- 
tality to him who is ambitious to prove himself an ox or an 
ass, or as any of " the brutes that perish." It assumes not 
only the conviction of immortality in every soul, but, as con- 
nected with that, the conviction of a condition of present 
moral ruin, and of a wrath to come. These are instincts with 
which the spiritual nature of man is assumed in the gospel 
to have been originally endowed. 

As in the realms of animated nature, the creatures seem, 
by some mysterious law, to be endowed with instincts, whose 
blind impulses prove more watchful guardians of their safety 
than the proud intelligence of man ; so that the wild scream 


of the sea-bird is often tlie -first warning of the coming tem- 
pest, even when the most experienced mariner can discover 
no " cloud big as a man's hand" : so the soul of man seems 
to be endowed with certain spiritual instincts, — blind impulses, 
it may be, — ^but efficient to warn him of wTath to come. And 
even when the voyage of life is happiest, its sea calmest, and 
its sun brightest — amid your shouts of joy and songs of glad- 
ness, there would bo heard, if you listened for it, the low soul- 
wail of a coming storm of retribution, through which none but 
the Great Captain of our salvation can pilot us in safety. 

Third, — It is assumed that those here addressed have had, 
in addition to this objective knowledge and subjective convic- 
tion, some practical development and confirmation of both, 
in the great facts of God's providential history, showing that 
every transgression and disobedience has actually received a 
just recompense. It is, in fact, to this end that the record 
has been made by holy men of old. 

Fourth, — It is assumed, however, that, with all this, the 
men who enjoy such light may yet neglect it, and through 
neglect ^ms/i ; " seeing they may see and not perceive that 
God shall save them." Saddest of all truths concerning man 
the creature ever boasting of his powers of reason ! 

Now may we see the force of the Apostle's argument to 
the conclusion of the inevitable doom of all that neglect sal- 
vation. For the greatness of this salvation is of that very 
sort, that the neglect of it logically necessitates damnation. 
If God hath, as it were, exhausted all his infinite resources, 
and infinitely surpassed all your own conceptions ; if he 
hath carried on an argument through four thousand years, 
gradually cumulating to its full completion, and now, in His 
Providence, hath placed you upon the very apex of the infinite 
demonstration ; if, in the way of argument, he hath given 
every conceivable exposition ; if, in the w^ay of persuasion, he 
hath used every conceivable appeal of tenderness and love ; 


if, in the way of warning and alarm, he hath arrayed before 
YOU every conceivable terror among the recompenses of 
reward to transgressors — then what more is there to wait for ? 
what more to hope for ? how can he possibly escape who 
neglects so great salvation ? The very method of his reve- 
lation, "at sundry times and in divers manners," leaves you 
without one plea for neglecting it, or from putting off from 
you its calls, a moment longer. Bo you plead that you have 
yet doubts as to the certainty and reality of these things ? 
That plea might have had some plausibility in the case of those 
to whom Noah preached righteousness ; for then the salva- 
tion was but dimly revealed. But even their transgressions 
received a just recompense of rcAvard ! How then can you 
escape ? Bo you plead that you desire to believe, but this 
gospel is full of doctrines hard to be understood ? That plea 
had some plausibihty as urged by those to whom Ezekiel and 
Jeremiah preached, when these cavillers urged that their 
sufferings, intended to bring them to repentance, were not 
for their own sins, but because '' the fathers had eaten sour 
grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge." For still 
the revelation of redemption was comparatively dim and 
mysterious. But even they, for their transgressions received 
a just recompense of reward, under the law " the soul that 
sinneth it shall die." How then can you escape on such a 
plea ? Bo you still urge that, though you can accept all the 
doctrines of the gospel as a theology, still somehow it seems 
not to apply practically to your case ? That plea would have 
had great plausibility, if God had spoken, as the sceptical 
men of science would have him speak, by but one utterance 
of the abstract truths of his gospel in scientific form. For it is 
easily conceivable that, in such a case, many a poor sinner 
would have had trouble in applying the abstract truths to the 
multitudinous forms of the soul trouble. But God " spake at 
sundry times and in divers manners," connecting the revela- 


tion of His plan of mercy with all the practical diversities of 
human character and condition, for four thousand years : and 
among all the multitudes of sinners saved, and of cases put 
on record, some one must surely be parallel with yours : at 
least so nearly parallel as to furnish you with a precedent. 
Do you plead, " but I am so great a sinner, and have neglected 
the great salvation so long?" That plea might have had some 
plausibility when sinners under the law heard Isaiah preach 
''your hands are full of blood." But even Isaiah said to them 
— '' though your sins be as scarlet, never mind ; come on, — 
and they shall be made as snow ; though you are spiritually 
bankrupt — never mind ; Ho every one that thirsteth, come 
ye to the waters ; and he that hath no money, come ye, buy 
and eat — without money and without price." And surely you 
have no excuse for hesitating, who on the back of all this, 
know that " God in these last times hath spoken unto us 
by his Son," saying "Whosoever will let him take of the 
water of life freely." 






I. Timothy, iii. 1 16. — This know also, that in the last days perilous 
times shall come. * * * All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, 
and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in 

Viewed simplj in its aspect as Divine, nothing incidental 
can add solemnity and importance to any utterance of "holy 
men of old who spake as they were moved by the Holy 
Ghost." Viewed on its human side, however, this passage 
in the Epistle to Timothy, " his son in the gospel," has 
special solemnity and power, as the farewell counsel and 
warning of an aged martyr for Jesus, now in prison awaiting 
execution, and saying of himself, in this immediate con- 
nection, " I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my 
departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have 
finished my course, I have kept the faith ; henceforth there is 
laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the 
righteous judge, shall give me." 

Though from a prison, therefore, and though a picture of 
the world drawn by one whom it had maligned, scorned, 
scourged, imprisoned, and condemned to death, it is not in 
the snarling spirit of a cynic, but in the joyous spirit of a 


martyr, shaded, indeed, for a moment, as lie recurs from the 
glorious prospect before him to the sad prospects of the way- 
ward and erring church of his love that he leaves behind him. 
Nor is it in the spirit of an empirical enthusiast that he pre- 
scribes the scriptures as the only antidote for the anticipated 
perils of error, but in the profoundest convictions of his own 
heart's experience, and his large observation and experience 
in dealing with the errors and passions of men. 

We should note carefully, at least tile general outlines of 
the Apostle's picture of perilous times in the last days, as 
preparatory to any proper appreciation of the antidote for all 
those perils which he finds in the scriptures inspired of God. 

You will observe, in the first place, that unbounded as is 
the confidence of the Apostle in the power of the gospel to 
regenerate society, and large as are his anticipations of its 
success, neither he in this place, nor the inspired writers any 
where else, give ftny countenance to the dreams so popular in 
these last times, of a progress of society under the gospel 
with its Christian reforms and philanthropies, to a golden age 
of universal perfection. Nor do they give any ground for 
the infidel scofi" and cavil, so popular also in these last times, 
that Christianity is a failure ; because, in spite of all the 
efforts of the Church, the society, even of Christendom, is still 
so largely corrupt, insincere, selfish, God-despising, sham- 
worshipping, sensual, devilish. Nay, they give no ground, 
either for the disappointments and despondencies of that 
Arcadian piety which, assuming the saintly perfection of the 
Church, anticipated nothing but peace, purity, and love, 
within its sacred enclosures, and having failed to realize its 
ideal, falls back into censoriousness, uncharitableness, distrust 
and unbelief. For it is evidently within the limits of Chris- 
tianized communities, and even of the Church itself, that the 
Apostle prophetically sees these ." men that shall be lovers 
of their own selves^ covetous^ boasters, proud, blasphemers, 


disobedient to |?rtr6'?<^'«.', unilianhful^ unholij, ivii'huut natural 
affections, trucehreakers, false accusers^ incontinent, fierce, 
despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high minded, 
lovers of 2)lea^Hre more than lovers of God.'''' That lie antici- 
pates the realization of this appalling list of sins within the 
limits of Christianized communities, and among those making 
pretence to religion, is very manifest from the last item in the 
catalogue — " Having a form of godliness, hut denying the 
power thereof.'''' The predictions of i\iQ scriptures uniformly 
represent that humanity shall go on from generation to gene- 
ration, until the era of millennial glory, exhibiting the same 
depravity and the same passions, even under all the light of 
the gospel; and that the gospel, parallel with the progress of 
humanity, shall gather out of the corrupt generations Christ's 
elect, by the same exercise of Divine power and grace that 
converts the most fierce and savage of the species. Nay, 
that even the visible Church shall constantly be liable to cor- 
ruption from the world without, and from unsanctified nature 
within its enclosures. And, therefore, not oyAj shall the 
tares continue to grow^ with the wheat till the reapers come 
for the harvest, but not unfrequently the tares shall utterly 
choke out the wheat in large portions of the field. 

Having drawn this general outhne of the picture, the 
Apostle proceeds to point out the influences at work in the 
Church to produce such corruption of faith and morals. And 
here he presents certain portraits of character which may 
well lead us to study, with special intei^st, both the perils 
and the antidote in the infallible Word of God which he sets 
before us. 

The first of these special portraitures, in filling up the 
picture, is the religious pretence of the erroiism of the last 
days. For observe, the special peril here descril>ed is not 
from the " scofiers," whose coming in the last days the 
Apostle Peter predicted, but rather from the hypocrites whom 


both the Apostles Peter and Judc predict and describe as 
'' false teachers, who shall privily bring in damnable heresies, 
even denying the Lord that bought them," (II. Peter, 
ii. 1) ; and as " certain men crept in unawares, ungodly 
men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and 
denying the only Lord God, even our Lord Jesus Christ" 
(Jude i. 4). Yet all this is done under the guise of " a 
form of godliness." Nay, generally, as we see from the 
fulfilment, under the guise of a form of extra godliness. 
The Church of Jesus Christ, as he hath organized it, is repre- 
sented by them to be a laggard and a sluggard in the great 
movement of philanthropy for the regeneration of humanity. 
So far advanced is this new and improved form of godliness, 
that even Jesus and His Apostles, though patronizingly smiled 
upon as well-meaning men, are regarded as far in the rear 
of the modern philanthro[)y. But especially are the Apostles 
far in the rear of the improved form of godliness whose 
flexibiUty so readdy adapts itself to the tastes of men, and 
thereby beguiles them into the kingdom of God. It devises, 
now, a poetic religionism for ';he sentimental ; now a gorgeous 
ceremonial for the lovers of the oesthetic ; now penances for 
the self-righteous ; now indulgences for the lovers of pleasure ; 
now fires the zeal of bigots with '' genealogies and old wives' 
fables ;" and now assures the careless and sluggish Gallios 
that it is "no matter about belief if one is sincere." In 
short, while it quiets the craving of the human soul for 
a religion of some sort, it skilfully adapts itself to every phase 
of human self-love and human weakness. It preserves, for 
policy's sake, the semblance of gospel religion ; but under 
well-feigned zeal for its outward form, it assiduously subverts 
its power. 

A second feature in the picture is the very peculiar propa- 
(jandism of this sham religion—" which creeps into houses 
and leads captive silly women" — yvuaiKupia — in the neuter, 


and licnce the word may avcII he taken as descrl})tive of the 
brainless of either sex. This is the remarkable characteristic 
of 7nost mere formal religionism, that its propagandism ex- 
pends itself, not in going forth to '' the highways and hedges," 
nor to the people that sit in darkness and the shadow of 
death," but in creeping within the enclosures of the covenant, 
either to seduce off its victims or to infuse into the weak 
minds self-conceit, self-righteousness, dissatisfaction with the 
law and ordinances of Christ's house, and suspicion and dis- 
trust of those who administer them. 

A thii'd feature in the picture of this sham-religion of the 
last days is its purely vegatice character — " Ever learning 
and never able to come to the knowledge of the''^ How 
apt the description of that religionism which, while professing 
to accept the gospel as Christians, assures us at the same 
time that nothing is settled as the positive truth of God, but 
all things are open to dispute as mere opinions. It has no 
faith, but only an opinion. Its gospel is not " credo " — " I 
believe," but ever "iiego^' — "I deny." Its prayer and 
confession is not, " Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief," 
but '• Lord, I deny, reject, eschew all creeds, reward Thou 
mine unbelief." The creed, or rather the no-creed, on which 
it founds its hopes of salvation — no, not of salvation, for it 
neither needs, nor Avould accept salv^ation — but on which it 
founds its hope of heaven, is, "I believe not God as maker of 
heaven and earth, since I know not whether heaven and earth 
were made, or only developed ; I believe ?w^ Jesus Christ the 
Son of God, for all of us are in like manner sons of God. I 
believe not fhQ Holy Ghost, in any sense of a personal spirit 
and sanctifier, but only as a figure of speech. I believe not 
that we are justified by faith, but every one of us will for our 
works be rewarded with God's favour. And as to other 
points, I have not been able to come to the knowledge of the 
truth ; and even if I had, could not say I believe, since that 
would trammel free thought with a creed. 


Another feature of the picture is the jjI an sibiUti/ and inge- 
nuity of the teachers of this sham religion ; they shall be able 
so to counterfeit the truth as to deceive even the very elect. 
" As Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses," — counterfeiting 
the very miracles intended to demonstrate the presence and 
power of Jehovah with him, and thereby destroying the effect 
of the miracle on Pharaoh's mind — " so do these also resist the 
tnith.^^ They counterfeit the very seal of heaven, and so 
counterfeit the current coin of Christ's kingdom, that the real 
people of the kingdom are imposed upon by their high sound- 
ing phrases of faith and piety ! 

Brethren, those of you who are at all famihar with the 
current style of the insidious infidelity of these times — its 
pretended zeal for the honour of Christianity — its affected 
sigliings after a more spiritual faith than either Moses and 
the Prophets, or Jesus and his Apostles teach — its noisy 
pliilanthropism — and its pretentious claims to have met the 
demands of science and the progress of modern tliought — will 
readily perceive that the aged martyr here paints no ideal 
picture, nor a picture, either, of men and things only of the 
ages gone by ! 

Now^, for such perils as these to the Church of God, the 
Apostle points out the remedy which, if faithfully applied, 
shall prove infallible. "Thou hasfc known, from a child, the 
holy scriptures which are able to make thee wise unto salva- 
tion." And they are thus able to teach the infallible way of 
salvation : — 

First, because of their intrinsic dignity and infallible 
authority, as the inspiration of God : 

Secondly, because their inspiration gives their contents a 
Divine adaptation to every positive want of the mind and 
heart in reference to the question of religion, and to the 
exposure of every form of religious error. For they give 
Divine, and therefore infallible clirection, fo?' doctrine — :^:6ac. 


Kc/.c: — tlic didactic teaching of the truth concerning God ; 
"for reproof" — th-y^ov — the refutation, by proof, of error 
concerning God ; "/or correction^'' — t-av6p()uca — the setting 
right or rectifying the wrong principles of practical ethics ; 
''[for histr action in rigliteousness^ ' — -aiduav ri/v h ciKfuoarvy — the 
positive nurture of the soul in experimental knowledge of the 
wa}^ in which a sinner may be accounted righteous before God. 

And this, it will be perceived on a little reflection, is no 
mere random citation of certain uses to which the word of 
God may be applied, as specimens of that use simply. It is 
a marvellously logical classification of their uses ; and it is 
exhaustive, as covering all the possible wants that man can 
desire to have met by a revelation. As a being endowed with 
reason, and capable of believing only what he conceives to be 
truth, his religion must embrace a doctrine of God and his 
relation to God. As a creature liable to be deceived, by 
error and unbelief, concerning God and his relations to God, 
his religion must have a guide to warn him against and expose 
the treacherous wiles of error, that are ever tampering with 
his " evil heart of unbelief." As a being whose passions are 
ev^er blinding his conscience in reference to duty toward God 
and man, his religion must supply him with an ethical rule of 
right, by which to correct his crooked judgments and amend 
his crooked ways. As a being capable of a birth to a new 
and everlasting life, his religion must supply him with a 
nurture under the new law of righteousness which the faith 
that is unto salvation teaches him. So that it may be 
affirmed, with truth, that no want of the human soul can be 
conceived which is not provided for under one or other of 
these four heads. 

We proceed now to consider briefly the twofold aspect in 
which the scriptures are here presented : 

Firi<t, of the intrinsic dignity and authority of the scrip- 
tures as inspired by God. 


In what sense and to what extent are we to accept this 
proposition, "All Scripture is given b}^ inspiration of God ?" 
This inquiry is the more needful in an age like this when, on 
the one hand, science and philosophy are demanding, though 
in very courteous and reverential terms, that religion shall 
make some concessions to its advance of thought, and, on the 
•other, many who stand as representatives of religion are dis- 
posed, in various degrees, to make concessions, explanations, 
apologies, and limitations of the high claims of the scriptures, 
at which the men of science stagger and doubt. 

We answer, then : 

1. The "inspiration of God" in the fullest and plainest 
sense which the words convc}^ ; for such is evidently the 
meaning and drift of all the language which these scriptures 
use, in other places, concerning their own origin and author- 
ship. They are declared to be "the Word," "the Law," 
^'the Testimonies," "the Oracles of God." They claim to 
report, in many cases, the very words of Jehovah, appearing 
to them in shadowy form, or in the visions of the night ; in 
•other cases to utter the words which the " Spirit of Christ in 
the prophets " spake ; which they describe as the words " of 
the holy men of old, who spake as they Avere moved by the 
Holy Ghost." They purport to be, in part, the recorded 
words of the Son of God himself, who spake on earth as 
never man spake. They expressly declare, further, that not 
■only did God speak " in time past, to the fathers by the 
prophets, and in these last times by his Son ;" but, also, that 
the same general truths were repeated, enlarged upon, and 
enforced by Apostles whom God attested, as speaking for 
him, " by signs and wonders and divers miracles and gifts of 
the Holy Ghost." It is simply impossible to give such decla- 
rations their natural and proper sense, and at the same time, 
accept the limitations and interpretations suggested by the 
current liberal criticism, which, in truth, is liberal only in 


the sense of granting what is not its o^vll, Ijut Christ's, the 
Prophet of the Churcli, by ^vay of removing the difficulties 
that ''the progress of modern thought" and "the advance 
of philosophy " has found in tlie Bible 

For however this criticism may urge that its purpose is- 
merely to translate into more scientific forms of expression 
the thought of an ancient record, belonging to a more poetic 
and less scientific age ; very manifestly, the sacred writers 
themselves mean to convey the idea that the book is designed 
to be the utterance of the mind of God, not in scientific form, 
but in the forms of thought and speech current among the 
masses of humanity in the successive ages of its progress 
during the period of inspiration. Just as, in the person of 
Jesus Christ, the infinite nature of God assumed a finite 
human body and soul, conforming to our finite conceptions,, 
that we might commune with him, — so, in the scripture, the 
infinite mind of God, the Saviour, assuming a finite human, 
form of thought and expression, reveals himself to our finite 
comprehension, that he may communicate to us his way of 

To all those treacherous forms of unbelief, therefore, which 
affect to receive the scriptures as the inspiration of God, and 
yet reject their teachings of Christ as God in human form, 
because incomprehensible, there is this very simple answer : 
It is utterly incompetent to those who, in any real sense, 
accept the scriptures, as inspired of God, to reject any 
teaching, or even any interpretation of their teaching, be- 
cause it is thus incomprehensible ; since in the very act of 
receiving the Scriptures, as truly inspired of God, you have 
already accepted a truth equally incomprehensible. For not 
more so is the proposition that the infinite nature should have 
assumed the finite form of the human body animated by a 
human soul, than the proposition that the infinite mind should 
have assumed the finite form of the human mind to utter its- 
thought to man. 


The scriptures then arc, in the fullest sense, the inspira- 
tion of God. It is God, the Saviour, using the machiifcry of 
human nature — its inteilect, emotions, will, fashions of thought 
and organs of utterance — through which to express to man 
his infinite concern for him, and his method of saving him. 
As these utterances of God extended through different ages 
and civilizations, therefore the speech varies in its forms, 
according to the varieties of thought and speech which the 
humanity assumed to itself in its progress through the ages. 
For so thoroughly human in its form was God's speech de- 
signed to be, that it moulded itself in the successive forms 
into which humanity moulded its thought and speech in th^ 
different eras. Hence the scriptures became so thoroughly 
divine thoughts,^ moulded so thoroughly in human forms of 
expression. And the Bible, while a divine book, is, at the 
same time, the most thoroughly human book in the world. 
Flexible thus to mould itself, during the process of its utter- 
ance to the varying phases of human thought in successive 
ages, the divine thought, as soon as its utterance was 
completed, and the revelation closed, became in its turn a 
power that moulded the thought and speech of all the suc- 
cessive ages and civilizations since, to its own form of thought 
and fashion of utterance. So that now the Bible stands forth, 
before the modern ages, neither a curious petrifaction — a 
fossil of a divine human organism that once lived and breathed, 
ages ago, nor a statue — cold, rigid and lifeless, however beau- 
tiful — carved by science out of the primeval rock, but a 
living and breathing human expression of the thoughts of 
'' Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever." 

2. And as we take the expression " inspiration of God " 
in its fullest sense ; so also we take in its fullest sense the 
expression " All Scripture." For the description of inspir- 
ation just given excludes the idea of one portion of scripture 
as inspired, another not inspired, and still another de?ni- 


inspired. The too current popular notion that tlie New 
Testament is, somehow, inspired in a sense higher than the 
Old Testament ; or, that of the New Testament itself, some 
portions, as the words of Jesus in the Evangelists, arc in- 
spired in some higher sense than the teachings of John and 
Paul and Peter, is utterly incompatible Avith the conception 
of the Bible as a God-inspired book. With regard to the 
inspiration of the New Testament and the non-inspiration of 
the Old, it is sufficient to remind you, that Jesus and his 
Apostles, not only endorsed the Old Testament writers as 
inspired, but founded their own teachings wholly upon it. 
It is manifest, therefore, that the stream can rise no higher 
than its source. '* If they believe not Moses and the pro- 
phets," saith Jesus, '' neither will they believe though one 
rose from the dead." " Had ye believed Moses, ye would 
have beUeved me for he wrote of me," said Jesus on another 
occasion. And so we say now, to those who affect to accept 
the inspiration of the gospels while they reject the Old Tes- 
tament — " Had ye really believed Jesus, ye would believe 
Moses," for Jesus spake of Moses and endorsed him, — saying 
" I came not to destroy the law but to fulfil ;" and to his 
disciples, after his resurrection, " beginning at Moses and all 
the prophets he expounded unto them in all the Scriptures 
the things concerning himself," saying, " All things must be 
fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses, and in the 
prophets, and in the Psalms concerning me." 

If tVen the sayings of Moses and the prophets are not 
the inspiration of God, how can ye pretend to receive as 
inspiration the sayings of Jesus ? How could inspired 
teachers in the New Testament mistake so widely as to 
account for inspired that which is not inspired ? The truth 
is that this popular conception of the superior inspiration of 
what Jesus said above that which Moses, or David, or Paul, 
or John said, is the merest fallacy. For the book claims 


that it i3 all really what Jesus, the Saviour, said ; only this 
part he said through Moses, this part through David and 
the prophets, by his spirit in them, and this part through 
Evangelists and Apostles, ))y his spirit upon them. What 
boots it to us, if it only be Christ speaking, whether he gives 
utterance to his divine thou";hts throudi the mind of the 
legal man Moses, or the poetic men David and Isaiah, or the 
logical man Paul, or the transcendental man John ? The 
scripture therefore is the inspiration of God in the sense of 
being in all portions alike inspired. 

B. Still further, as we take the expression " inspiration of 
God," and " all scripture " in their fullest sense, so we 
understand them as signifying that the forms of sjjeech, in 
each portion, are selected under inspired guidance. We are 
not disposed, with too many of the critics, to make abate- 
ment on the score of the want of scientific accuracy of the 
scripture rhetoric, or of supposed accommodation to the un- 
scientific spirit of the eras of the writers. W^e decline the 
proffered aid of such apologists, not merely because we judge 
that the difficulties which they labor to remove arise from 
" an evil heart of unbelief" that '' would not believe though 
one rose from the dead;" but because, also, the apologies 
themselves are founded, for the most part, upon assumptions 
that are not true. 

As to the apology for the unscientific structure and style 
of the scripture, that it grew out of the want of scientific 
knowledge on the part of the agents employed by the spirit 
of God, or want of scientific capacity to comprehend the 
" higher modern thought," it is simply untrue in fact. For 
the written history of the ages of Apostles, Evangelists and 
Prophets, and the recently disentombed records of the early 
civilization on the Euphrates and the Nile, all go to show, 
that if there had been any desire to give scientific form to 
this revelation, there was philosophy enough in the world to 


have enabled men to comprehend then, just as well as now, 
a revelation made according to the fashion of the " higher 
form of thought. " In the mystic schools of Egypt, in the Pan- 
theistic schools of Chaldca and the East, all the jargon of the 
modern philosophic schools of Germany, France, Great Britain 
and America, Avas in full blast ; and, in fact, higher flights of 
transcendentalism and profounder thoughts were in the process 
of utterance, than the schools of modern Germany, France, 
Britain and America, may yet have had the capacity to com- 
prehend. However that may be, there was surely philosophy 
enough in the world in the age of Jesus, John and Paul, had 
they chosen scientific forms of utterance, to have made them 
as comprehensible to their age as Socrates, Plato and Cicero. 
Beyond all doubt a larger number of their generation could 
have comprehended them, than the number of our generation 
which comprehends the transcendental " higher thought " 
of Germany, France, Old England or New England ! But 
so far from desiring to satisfy the " higher thought " of his 
age, as he certainly had the capacity to do, Paul declared 
that of a set purpose, he preached a gospel which " was to 
the Greek foolishness." 

It is not consistent with the limits of a single discourse 
to go into the merits of the question concerning the diffi- 
culties of the theory of plenary inspiration. There are 
doubtless difficulties he»e, as there are in all our endeavours 
to comprehend the things of God. It is easy to suggest 
difficulties ; easier than to solve them. It is easy to descend 
to the lowest depths of unbelief ; not so easy to retrace one's 
steps and rise out of the depths. Biit does scepticism on this 
subject relieve us of difficulties ? Are they all on the side 
of belief? Come then, ye that find difficulties in our belief — 
take ye the laboring oar, and let us propound in turn our 
difficulties with your theory of unbelief. 

Come, expound to us the curious riddle — how it is that 



this Bible alone of all the books in the world, attempts the 
bold endeavour of a calm, historic statement of the first 
origin of the race. How is it, that as we attempt to trace 
up, through other channels, the present order of things in 
the world to its source, we can get no farther back than 
some three thousand years, either by aid of history or plau- 
sible legend ; and there find ourselves upon a vast historic 
desert ? But, when all other history stops, this book becomes, 
like its own pillar of fire that blazed across the Arabian 
desert, a beacon light to guide us onward and upward to the 
birth spot of the present generations ? Nay, having brought 
us there to Ararat slowly emerging from a vast desert of 
waters, then, like its own ark, floats us over the waste of 
waters and up to the very birthplace of time itself ? 

Or solve for us the still profounder difiSculty, on your scep- 
tical theory, how these mysterious writings have so deeply 
rooted themselves in the world's thought, in spite of the 
perpetual conflict they have had with the general thought of 
every successive generation. And how they still have not 
only survived but triumphed in this perpetual war with the 
opinions of mankind ? 

Or solve for us the curious fact that this book alone, of 
all books in the world, instead of uttering the opinions of the 
successive ages that produced it, has been the antagonist of 
these opinions ; — maintaining the unity of God amid all the 
darkness of the Western Polytheism; the vivid personality 
of God against the Eastern Pantheism ; the inefiable purity 
and holiness of God against the obscenities of Egyptian and 
Canaanitish idolatry ; the omnipresence of God against the 
theory of gods many and lords many ; teaching salvation 
by grace without works, just when and where the great 
schools of the world were glorying in the perfection of their 
ethical schemes for human regeneration ; teaching the resur- 
rection of the body and how the " mortal must put on 


immortality," just ^\•llcn and Avhcrc Socrates and Plato had 
theorized for man an immortality that excluded the mortal 
body, on the one hand, and Epicurus and his swinish herd 
were grunting their j^ractical atheism of the degradation of 
both soul and body, on the other ! 

Or expound for us this mystery, how, in the modern ages, 
this book at war with human ideas, has stood its ground, not 
only, but made constant aggressions on the domain both of 
ignorance and learned unbelief. How now it bursts forth 
into new splendor to chase away the darkness, just as Papal 
tyranny has exiled it from Europe. How now it spreads its 
ideas over the enlightened world of the nineteenth century in 
face of the combined powers of scoffing and maligning atheism ; 
of cavilling and witty deism ; of sneering and contemptuous 
pantheism ; of plausible and insinuating spiritualism ; of a 
treacherous and sanctimonious rationalism ! 

Or expound to us the mystery that this book, while all 
other books evince an adaptedness to the mind of some one 
country and age — as Persian Zoroaster, Greek Socrates, or 
Ptoman Cicero — is the book alike of all countries and ages ? 
Nay more, is the book that adapts itself alike to every phase 
of mind in every state and period of individual life, from the 
young dreams of the nursery, and the heart throbbings of 
the rudest peasant, up to the profoundest conviction of the 
philosopher and the sublimest inspiration of the poet ? 

Let those w^ho stagger under the difficulties of behef in 
scripture as the inspiration of God, make the experiment of 
solving some of the difficulties of unbelief. Then may they 
find that difficulties do not always imply error. 

Second. — Of the Divine adaptation of these inspired scrip- 
tures to the need of man as a religious creature. We have 
space for brief hints, merely, under the several heads of the 
Apostle's exhaustive fourfold classification. 

1. The Scripture, God-inspired — in the sense just ex- 


plained, of God the Saviour revealing to man, the sinner, a 
way of salvation — is ''• j^rofitablefor doctrine ^''^ and the only 
reliable source of doctrine on the subject of salvation. As 
God the Creator, he speaks in " the heavens that tell the 
glory of God ;" and the " invisible things of God are made 
manifest from the things that are made." From these man 
may learn something of his relation to God his Creator ; and 
this revelation in nature is that which forms his guide in 
establishing law and justice and government for himself and 
for society. Yet even when, in the highest exercise of his 
capacity, man thus haply feels. after and finds God, that 
knowledge, in connection with his own moral instincts, dis- 
covers to his conscience not only a law, but a law violated. 
And therefore the highest stretch of his knowledge of God, 
through nature, is only to demonstrate the probability of an 
existence of disorder and misery in store for him hereafter, 
as well as here. . 

If then, standing in the relation of a Saviour to man the 
sinner, God makes a revelation of a method whereby he may 
be saved, this must be not merely a source, but the onl^ 
source, of all such knowledge of God the Saviour. And just 
here lies the fallacy of all those deceptive forms of reli- 
gionism, on either extreme, which suppose the scriptures to 
be a source, but not the onlf/ source of all doctrine concern- 
ing salvation. It is such a mockery to the powers of reason 
with which God has endowed man to conceive him capable 
of believing truth, as a mere act of obedience to authority, 
on the one hand, and such a mockery of the scriptures as 
God-inspired, on the other, to suggest a concurrent jurisdic- 
tion of mere human reason with God's word in the authorita- 
tive statement of the doctrine of salvation to man, that none 
who are capable of intelligently conceiving of the nature of 
religion, or who arc not given over to blindness, can well be 
led far astray by such a theory. The chasm between a 


God inspired doctrine of religion, and a doctrine of mere 
authority, on the one hand, or of mere human reason, on the 
other, is infinite and bridgeless. 

2. These God-inspired scriptures are also " projitahle for 
reproof,^' — or as the original signifies, " for controverting and 
exposing errors," — contrary to the "doctrine" of salvation. 
So far as concerns errors of theology, to which this expres- 
sion has, no doubt, reference, if we cease to stand upon the 
ground of the scriptures, we have no standard by which to 
test and expose the subtile wiles of error. If we consent to 
follow the errorist into the region of speculative truth, it must 
be an endless chase, or a combat where there are no laws of 
battle to determine the victory. And beside, the reason of 
man, to which in such case we really appeal, is a partial and 
corrupt judge, with a bias against the moral laws of God. 
Hence the unprofitableness of so much that passes for theolo- 
gical controversy. It appeals, on both sides to the authority 
of reason merely, and leaves all as uncertain as before. 
Hence the uncertainty of all creeds in theology that inter- 
polate reason as a co-ordinate source of doctrine with revela- 
tion. Their source being variable and uncertain, these creeds 
seldom remain stationary long enough to be examined. Their 
theology floats loose, as some poetic isle of Delos that floated 
on the sea, so that no navigate^ could ever fix its place. Or 
sadly uncertain as our great American river, the Mississippi, 
whose channel so changes, year by year, that no pilot can fix 
it upon his chart. He who, this year, would run his craft by 
his knowledge of last year, finds himself high and dry upon 
a sand-bar, or a "sawyer," and is coolly informed " that ivas 
the channel last year," but " the progress " of the last " June 
rise," not satisfied therewith, has forced a new channel. 

The Divine method witli the gainsayers is chiefly through 
the ordinances of the sanctuary, — not witli endless " strifes 
of words" — to put before the mind and heart the clear 


statement of " doctrine," to meet the soul-wants ; that the 
Holy Ghost, using the doctrine, — may give eiFectual proof 
of sin, of righteousness and of judgment. 

3. The God-inspired scriptures are not only thus the 
source of doctrine, and the armory whence are drawn divine 
weapons against errors in theology, but also the test whereby 
to rectify all ethical errors. They are profitable also, for 
" correction " of the practical life. It would not be difficult 
to show, if space permitted, that, independent of the scrip- 
tures, there can be no ethical system of force enough to 
make its power practically felt in the conscience of man. 
For, with nothing more than the vague conceptions of God 
derived through reason, there can be no moral law, save in 
a loose metaphysical sense. Hence the tendency of a loose 
theology must ever be to generate a loose moral life ; how- 
ever much it may aim to exalt '*' works " and belittle 
" grace." Hence too the folly of the cant, that pretends to 
accept the beautiful morality of the gospel, but rejects the 
theology of the gospel. It is " the play of Hamlet with the 
part of Hamlet omitted." Only as it is founded upon the 
theology of the gospel, has the morality of the gospel any 
more force than the morality of Socrates. But upon this 
wide field we cannot here enter, otherwise it would be easy 
to show that the difference between the ethics of the scrip- 
tures and all other systems, is a difference not merely of 
degree, but also an infinite difference of kind. 

4. As to the fourth and last point in the Apostle's classifi- 
cation, that the God-inspired scriptures are the great means 
of Christian nurture — of " imtruction in righteousness ^^^ 
there is less need of argument, since here no rival instruction 
pretends even to set up a claim. Whatever wisdom other 
schemes may claim to teach, they do not claim " to make 
thee wise unto salvation." It is. not only a " doctrine," a 
"reproof" of error in theology, and a "correction" of 


wrong ethics, but is also a " power," — the " power of God 
ufito salvation." It hath a nurture which shall train even 
the most depraved for the purity of heaven. It comes not 
therefore to seek out exceptional cases of high moral virtue, 
but " to seek and to save that which is lost," — " not to call 
the righteous but sinners to repentance." And, so thoroughly 
does it confide in the power of this nurture, that it proclaims 
without any limits or exception, " able to save to the 
uttermost all that come to God by him." 





Genesis ii. 8, 9, 15,11 ; iii. 15, 24 ; and iv. 4. — And the Lord God planted 
a garden eastward in Eden ; and there he put the man whom he had 
formed * ♦ *. The tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree 
of knowledge of good and evil. 

And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden 
to dress it and to keep it. 

And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, of every tree of the 
garden thou mayest freely eat ; but of the tree of knowledge of good and 
evil, thou shall not eat of it : for in the day that thou eatcst thereof thou 
shalt surely die. 

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy 
seed and her seed ; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. 

So he drove out the man ; and he placed at the east of the garden of 
Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep 
the way of the tree of life. 

And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat 
thereof And the Lord had respect unto Abel and his offering. 

From overlooking a few very obvious facts and principles 
which must govern the interpretation of this record of the 
primeval estates of man : the origin of sin : and the gospel for 
sinners, many true believers are greatly puzzled in the reading 
thereof; and many unbelievers take occasion to scoflf. Chief 
among these facts and principles are these : 


1. That the design of this inspired record is not to present 
a history of the universe and of God's relation to the universe ; 
but a history of man, and the relation of God in Christ to 
man. It is not, therefore, to solve problems in the philoso- 
phy of human nature, as a science, nor even in the philosophy 
of God, as a science, but simply to enunciate the problem of 
the relation of man to God, as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,, 
and to answer the question, " What shall I do to be saved?" 

2. That th(5 metliod of the book is to record the successive 
developments of a scheme of mercy which God interposed? 
after the ruin of the race, for the purpose of gathering out of 
the wreck th« materials for the reconstruction of humanity 
through a Divine Mediator connecting himself with the race. 

3. That the style of the book accommodates itself to the 
modes of thought and speech common among men in their 
successive generations, rather than to the technicalities of 
science or the modes of thought and speech current among 
learned men. While a divine book, therefore, it is the most 
human of books. The infinite mind that suggests its truths 
presents their finite side towards finite men that they may 
apprehend and commune with them. 

4 . That the structure of the book is singularly brief and 
fragmentary, comprising the history of twenty centuries in 
half as many pages. But, at the same time, it is not the 
brevity of a compend, as one of our school histories ; nor is jt 
disconnected, fragmentary memoirs. For each of the frag- 
ments has a marvellous logical relation to the others, and to 
the whole, and aids in the development of the grand subject. 
Just as the joints of the animal frame have such a relation 
to each other and to the whole structure, that a Cuvier may 
from a single fossil bone construct the complete form of the 
Saurian or Mastodon of pre-historic ages, so the skilful 
student of God's word finds each fragment bearing such 
relation to the others and to the whole, that he may logically 


construct from it the outlines of the whole scheme of redem]> 

5. That the measure of the thought of this book is not 
according to the standard of other books. The mind that 
suggests them being an infinite mind before which the past 
and future lie ever open as the present, its utterances may 
not seem to us always to make that marked distinction which 
our habits of thinking make between the past, the future and 
the present ; between history and prophecy ; and between the 
immediate finite bearing of the truths and their remote infinite 
bearing. Nay more, its finite facts and truths merging con- 
tinually into the infinite, it must needs be that while we see 
them, yet we '• see through a glass darkly." 

Under the limits and the guidance of these and their cor- 
relative facts and truths, I propose, by an interpretation of this 
record in the second and third chapter of Genesis, to bring 
out in brief outline, historically, the Origin of the Gospel 
OF Kedemptiox, and the germinal form of its develop- 

It is necessary to-any proper-understanding of the record, — 
and it demolishes at once most of the fictions of the scofiers 
at the doctrine of the fall, — to note, very particularly, the 
distinction between man's primal estate at his creation and 
his subsequent estate in Eden. This distinction is very 
plainly brought out in the record. For having given an 
account of man's creation and the peculiar endowments of his 
nature, it proceeds to declare that after that — we know not 
how long, it may have been a century — Jehovah having 
planted a garden, with its tree of life and tree of knowledge, 
TOOK the man and put him into the garden. And subse- 
quently, after the fall, it is particularly said, — he drove out 
the man to till the ground ivhence he tvas taken. That this 
is no overstraining of the language is made evident also, by 
the fact that the sacred writer, in beginning the history of the 


Eden transaction, begins with it to apply a new title to God. 
Before, the title is simply '- Mokim,-' God ; now it is the title 
which is ever afterwards used to express his covenant relation 
to man, " Jeliovah Mohim,^^ the Jehovah God. 

To comprehend fully, therefore, the Eden condition of man, 
we must needs conceive clearly and distinctly, first, of the rela- 
tion in which he stood to God during that estate which was, 
both in time and in idea, anterior to the Eden estate. 

First, — as to his nature. He stood forth at his creation 
an entirely new order of being, so far as we know, in the 
universe. There were, before this, angels, purely spiritual 
creatures : there were animals on earth, mere physical crea- 
tures ; but this is a compound nature, spiritual as the angel, 
physical as the animal. Into an organism fashioned out of 
dust, God hath breathed a living soul. The account of it 
seems to imply that the vital principle in man was not, as in 
the other animals, the result of the organism, but produced 
by a separate and distinct creative act. The process suggests 
that the vital principle in man is not necessarily dependent 
upon the physical organism, and, therefore, may exist apart 
from it. It is connected rather with the spiritual principle ; 
so that, while the separation of the soul from the body is the 
death of the body, yet the soul may continue to exist in con- 
nection with the vital principle after the dissolution of the 

But not only is man a new order of existence in the uni- 
veree, personally ; but, by virtue of his compound nature, he 
stands forth as representative head of a race of beings ; in 
this respect unlike the angels who, Jesus tells us, " neither 
marry nor are given in marriage ;" and therefore there are 
no races of angels, but each one must be dealt with as a 
separate order of being. 

Thus, then, man stands a subject toward his Creator, and 
a sovereign toward the creatures of his system. He is in the 


image of God. His vital i)rinciplc is inseparably united with 
his soul. lie is free from every sort of evil, i)h3^sical, mental, 
moral, or spiritual. He is capable of communing with God 
and with the angelic orders of being. He is capable of an 
endless life, just as he is : and more than that, of transmit- 
ting the power of a hke endless existence to an innumerable 
race of beings in his own image : — Now, out of such a state 
of facts arises, necessarily, certain relations to God his Creator 
and to other creatures ; — thus, — 

To God, as the author of his being, he owes perfect obe- 
dience and service ; 

To God, as the bestower of so much loving-kindnesa, he 
owes, in return, a grateful love and self-consecration. 

To the creatures of his dominion he owes a just and bene- 
volent administration of his authority and rule. 

To the beings who may spring from him he owes a loving 
care and parental guardianship, that they may keep steadfastly 
" their first estate " of bliss, and not fall irrecoverably by 
sinning against God. 

Thus upon man, considered simply as a creature, a law 
was laid in this his first estate. Whether a law was formally 
revealed to him, or he left with such a nature to be " a law 
unto himself," matters not to the argument. 

We infer, however, that a law was formally given to him, 
since, in accordance with such an idea, would be the obliga- 
tion to observe one-seventh part of his time, as specially 
consecrated to be a perpetual reminder of his Creator's good- 

So, had there been no Eden with its covenant, and no iall, 
there would have been a creed of three articles of theology, 
and, with it, a law imbedded in the very nature of man : — 
The blessedness of the Adam-race as specially constituted of 
God a compound creature, and his consecration to God : man's 
dominion over the creatures : and man's obligation to conse- 
crate one-seventh of his time specially to God. 


Out of such a state of the case grows, necessarily, the idea 
of oblio^ation to a dependent creature : and out of this the 
idea of good and evil, according to some rule in the will of 
the Creator ; and from obligation and duty springs also the 
idea of penalty for disobedience. 

But, in the very nature of the case, there can be no room 
for anything like pardon in such a system ; but, precisely as 
now when we violate physical laws, the penalty must inexor- 
ably work itself out. 

Anv transgression must, as far as it reaches, defeat the 
whole scheme. 

Conceive then of the new being, Adam, left without any 
further law, and, unlike the angel creatures, becoming the 
head of a whole race of beings in his own likeness ; and still 
under no special covenant. Then, to every individual of the 
race, the only condition of his continuance in blessedness, 
must have been that he continued to love and serve God per- 
fectly. And failure, in the least, must be irretrievable ruin, 
as it had been to " the angels who kept not their first estate." 
With the same inevitable certainty with which the penalty 
now follows violation of physical laws, such transgressor must 
become at once a devil, with an unchangeable doom. 

Obviously, therefore, but two conceivable forms of moral 
constitution are possible to such a creature, under which to 
perpetuate such a relation between God and man. Either, 
first,— thsii each individual of the race, through endless gene- 
rations, shall take the risk for himself, as fallible, and thus 
each individual of the race continue perpetually on trial, 
receiving his proper doom, in case of transgression : or, 
second, — the race as such may be put upon trial by concen- 
trating universal obedience in some special proof of it, and 
through one representative head of the whole ; and, in case 
the trial is sustained, the reward shall be the establishment 
of the whole by divine favour, in steadfastness and blessed- 


ness forever. So, from divers intimations in scripture, we 
may infer that the angels in heaven have been established in 
their steadfastness by some constitution dating far back in 
eternity. • 

Now, the record proceeds to inform us that, by special act 
of God's grace, this second order of constitution was appointed 
for man. Instead of leaving the Adam race under the original 
and natural law of his existence to stand or fall, irrecoverably, 
on the myriads of trials of each one of all the generations ; 
God entered into a covenant of life with him conditioned 
upon one special act of obedience. He placed him under a 
special dispensation ; that is, he changed the original moral 
constitution under which he, simply as a creature, stood 
towards his Creator. He surrounded him with every element 
of blessedness : taking away all temptation to disobedience : 
and, laying upon him the obligation of abstinence from a single 
tree of all the thousands that surrounded him, ho put him to 
the test whether he was indeed willing to perform all duty. 

Of all the trees he may eat, to nourish the physical life ; 
of the tree of life, even, whose fruit might impart the power 
of endless endurance to his physical life ; but of the tree of 
knowledge of good and evil, appointed as the sacramental seal 
of the covenant now made, he shall not eat, as a pledge of his 
readiness to serve and obey. 

The whole transaction is thus, manifestly, in the nature of 
a covenant entered into between Jehovah and man, embody- 
ing the general principles of man's relation to God in specified 
form. It is just as when men in their transactions with each 
other, not simply leaving the general principles of justice to 
operate their proper results, enter into contract specially, by 
solemn instrument with seals affixed. Hence, Hosea, allud- 
ing to this Eden covenant, says (Hos. vi. 7) : " They, like 
Adam, have transgressed the covenant ;" and elsewhere in 
9cri]4-ure this is treated as a covenant with Adam. It is a 


covenant, not simply personal with Adam, but with him as 
representative of his race. We know that, in it, he repre- 
sented Eve also, who though probably yet uncreated, was a 
party to its obligation and penalty. It was therefore not 
personally with Adam ; and on the same principle that he 
represented one he represented the whole race. That the 
race is involved in the consequences is manifest enough ; 
which would not have been the case under the original 
constitution. And, moreover, the scriptures everywhere 
represent this arrangement as analogous to the covenant 
of redemption with Christ, who stood, not personally, but as 
the representative of all the redeemed. 

And the condition of this covenant — namely, obedience 
in one specified act, to a positive command of the Creator, 
and that merely a command of abstinence where there was 
no overpowering, or even strong temptation — was certainly as 
favourable as could be asked by any fallible being. It would 
sorely puzzle those who scoff at this, to conceive of a better 
test or a fairer trial. 

The result of all was a failure, by an act of disobedience. 
This brings man now into a f/wVc? estate ; the estate of spiritual 
death under a broken covenant, with as yet no hope of 
recovery set before him. And the record proceeds to detail 
the workings of the human soul under this new phase. 

The first feature in the picture is that " their eyes were 
opened ;" that is, to the experimental knowledge of evil. 
The second is, that " they knew that they were naked" — that 
is, in the spiritual and typical sense, as when Moses saw that 
Aaron had made the people nak ed by the golden calf at Sina 
(Ex. xxxii. 25) ; or, as Ahaz's sin made Judah naked 
(II Chron. xxviii. 19). The third is, that hearing that 
sound once so gladdening to them, " The voice of the Lord 
God walking in the garden," they were afraid and hid them- 
selves. The fourth is, that being by compulsion brought face 
to face with Jehovah, they seek to evade and palliate the sin. 


Thus, then J tliis creature made in tlie image of God — so 
glorious, in his estate of creation at first, as the new com- 
])Ound order of existence, angel and animal ; so blessed in 
his second estate of covenant with God, lies fallen, and with- 
out hope, in this his tliird estate. 

But so ordering and arranging the judgment upon the 
transgressors that the tempter should not for a moment enjoy 
complete triumph, the sentence is pronounced first upon him : 
and in that sentence upon the tempter is embodied the ^\hole 
gospel in germ, as subsequently revealed. For, as I now 
proceed to show you, just as the oak, in germ, is in the acorn, 
so all the gospel system is in this sentence, " I Avill put 
enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed 
and her seed : it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise 
his heel." 

Thus it will be seen, on careful analysis of these words, 
and deducing the truths embodied by implication in them, 
that they set forth these eight points of the gospel creed. 

1. That the Redeemer and Restorer of the race is to be 
man^ since he is to be the seed of the woman. 

2. That he is, at the same time, to be a being greater than 
vian, and greater even than Satan ; since he is to be the 
conqueror of man's conqueror, and, against all his efforts, to 
recover a sinful world which man had lost ; being yet sinless, 
he must therefore be divine. 

3. That this redemption shall involve a new nature^ at 
'' enmity " Avith the Satan nature, to wliich man has now 
become subject. 

4. That tliis new nature is a regeneration by Divine power ; 
since the enmity to Satan is not a natural emotion, but, saith 
Jehovah, " I will put enmity," &c. 

5. This redemption shall be accomphshed by vicai-ious 
suffering; since the Redeemer shall suffer the bruising of his 
heel in the work of recovery. 



6. Tliat this work of redcraption shall involve the gather- 
ing out of an elect seed a " peculiar people " at enmity with 
the natural offspring of a race subject to Satan. 

7. That this redemption shall involve a jj^erpe^it^Z conflict 
of the peculiar people, under its representative head, in the 
effort to bruise the head of Satan, that is, '' to destroy the 
works of the Devil." 

8. This redemption shall involve the ultimate triumph, 
after suffering, of the woman's seed ; and therefore involves a 
triumph over death and a restoration of the humanity to its 
original estate, as a spiritual in conjunction with a physical 
Qature, in perfect blessedness as before its fall. 

Such, then, is the gospel theology here revealed, in germ, 
through the very terms of the curse pronounced upon the 
destroyer of the race. It will be seen that here are all the 
pecuhar doctrines of salvation, by grace, which every Christian 
accepts, who exercises the faith which is unto salvation. And 
in the broader and higher sense of the terms, Moses, as truly 
as Mark at the opening of his evangel, might have prefixed to 
this third chapter of Genesis the title, " The beginning of the 
gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God." 

Observe, then, that we have traced man through three 
estates up to this point. First ^ as simply a perfect creature, 
peculiarly constituted, under the natural law of obligation to 
his Creator. Second^ as, under a special covenant, placed 
under a special positive law, for the trial, once for all, of his 
obedience. Tliird^ as, under this special covenant and law, 
a sinner without any gospel of hope, and therefore wholly 
subject to the curse. Now we have next presented to us, in 
the record, man the creature, the covenanting subject, the 
sinner under the curse, in a Fourth estate. Henceforth he 
is man the sinner, under a gospel of hope and salvation held 
forth to his faith. Have we evidence that these first sinners 
comprehended this gospel of the lost Eden and accepted it by 
faith ? 


Boarlng In mind what lias already been suggested of tlie 
brief and fragmentary, yet logical, structure of this record, 
wc shall find evidence that they not only comprehended it, 
but that, also, their " sorrow of the world that worketh death " 
was changed to a " Godly sorrow that worketli repentance ;'* 
and chat, in the exercise of a living faith, they cast their 
souls upon this promised Redeemer for salvation. 

The first evidence of this faith is in the fact that vVdam 
now called his wife's name " Eve," the ^' life ;" and that, too, 
while yet were echoing in his ears the sentence, " Dust thou 
art and unto dust shaltthou return." Before, when brought 
to him, he had named her after himself; he being named 
*' Ish " — the '' man," she was called " Isha "—the '' maness," 
or woman. And why should he now, after the sentence of 
death, change her name to " Eve," the " living ?" Evidently 
because his faith has apprehended clearly the promise of life 
involved in the promise of the w^oman's seed to bruise the 
serpent's head, and thereby to restore the life which sin has 

Another evidence of faith comprehending the promise and 
referring directly to it, is the joyful cry of Eve over her first 
born — " I have gotten the man," as the Hebrew reads *' I 
have gotten the man, the Jehovah:" and the naming him 
'' Cain," the "Acquisition." Evidently with a clear and intel- 
ligent faith, she apprehended the promise that the Redeemer 
should be of the seed of the woman. True it was a sadly mis- 
taken application of the creed, led astray as she was by the fond 
hopes and wishes of a mother. But this is only what occurs 
to the strongest and most intelligent faith of thousands of 
Christian mothers still, who rejoice over the " acquisition ' of 
the highest blessing in the son of fondest hopes and highest 
expectations, and yet find him become an apostate and a 
murderer. Eve calls tlie first born Cain, " the acquisition," 
because she thinks him the promised Redeemer, and there- 


fore calls the second born "Abe'," the "vanishing" — sup- 
posing that he must come under the general law of the curse, 
" Dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return." But, 
widely mistaken as was her application of the truth, her faith 
in the truth itself is none the less striking and remarkable. 

A further evidence of the exercise of faith by these first 
sinners is found in the record immediately following that of 
the judgment upon them, implying that their faith found 
utterance in confession. " Unto Adam also, and to his wife, 
did the Lord God make coats of skins." This implied slaugh- 
ter of the animals could have taken place for no other pur- 
pose than sacrifice. They were not slain for food : for the 
grant of the animals as food for man was not made till after 
the flood in the revelation through Noah. They could hardly 
have been slain merely to obtain their skins for clothing : for 
that would involve an altogether anomalous exercise of 
Divine wisdom and skill, and one in contradiction of God's 
usual method of providing for the attainment of his ends by 
the simplest means. There were other materials in abund- 
ance around them to serve the purposes of clothing, without 
the infliction of death upon the living creatures. The only 
solution of the statement that is natural and probable is, that 
the animals ^vere slain in sacrifice ; and that solution is abun- 
dantly verified by the subsequent history, beginning with 
the sacrifice of Abel. To these penitent believers, therefore, 
Jehovah appointed a mode of confessing their faith, by a 
worship that set before them vividly the great fundamental 
truth, just revealed, of the bruising of the heel of the 
Deliverer for their sins, in order to the bruising of the head 
of their destroyer. Nor can we conceive of anything more 
profoundly impressive to them than the witnessing the death 
of a creature for the first time in the world, in immediate 
connection with the preaching of pardon for their sins. 
" Looking upon him whom they have pierced," through the 


dying of tlic victim, and standing at tbc altar clad in tho 
covering of the victim — thus was presented to them " Christ 
crucified," and justification hy faith in his atoning sacrifice. 
That such was the nature of the transaction is made the more 
evident hy the fact that they taught Abel, their child, also 
to brinn; " the firstlin<T;s of his flock and the fat thereof." 

It is still further in proof of such an understanding of the 
gospel of the lost Eden that not only was a worship appointed 
to them, but a special place of worship, also, with the visible 
symbols of Jehovah's presence to accept their worship and 
commune with them. 

In the very infliction of punishment upon them, there is a 
mingling of merciful consideration for the sinners, at their 
expulsion from Eden. As at the creation of man, so now, 
it is represented to have been a matter of consultation in 
heaven : "Behold the man is become as one of us, to know 
good and evil : and now, lest he put forth his hand and take 
of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever : therefore the 
Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the 
ground, whence he w^as taken." In addition to the reason of 
fitness and propriety, requiring that the use of the sacl'amental 
seals of the covenant should no longer be left to the sinner 
after the covenant is broken, a reason of expediency and 
mercy is suggested. As the fruit of the tree of life commu- 
nicated the power of endless existence to his physical nature, 
the use of it can no longer be allowed to a creature doomed 
to return to dust ; nor would its use be other than the inflic- 
tion of a curse, in dooming him to live forever in his present 
sinful and sorrowful condition. It adds greatly to the force 
of this record to bear in mind that the tree of life that figures 
here, in the opening of the revelation of God, figures just as 
conspicuously again at its close in the visions of the Apoca- 
lypse. And, in the latter case, it appears that the right " to 
eat of the tree of life" is the special symbol of the eternal 
restoration in heaven. 


Within full view of the garden, therefore, with its tree of 
life, Jehovah sets up his place of worship, to proclaim to 
Adam that a work of redemption is first to be accomplished 
bj the woman's seed before he can be restored to his original 
glory and the right to eat of the tree of life. 

Though banished from Eden, he is not banished either 
from the view of Eden or from the visible tokens of Jehovah's 
presence : into which presence he may come as an humble 
worshipper. Though the record informs us, " so he drove out 
the man," it informs us, also, that " he placed at the east of 
the garden of Eden Cherubims and a flaming sword, which 
turned every way to keep the way of the tree of life." 

Some commentators suggest that the reading of the 
original here may be " Cherubim and the gleaming as of a 
sword ;" and that the intention may be to describe the 
brightness between the Cherubim, as the intolerable bright- 
ness of a sword flashing in the sunlight. However it may be 
read, there is no doubt it means to set forth the fiict that 
here, at the east of Eden, was set up that special symbol of 
Jehovah's presence which afterward was exhibited to Abra- 
ham and to jNIosos ; which after the same manner ^' dwelt 
between the cherubim" on the ark of the covenant in the 
tabernacle and in the temple ; which shot forth the fire to 
consume the first sacrifice at the dedication of the tabernacle, 
and again at the dedication of the temple ; and which symbol 
was seen in the visions of Ezekiel, as the fourfold living crea- 
ture, and in the visions of John in the Apocalypse. 

It is, indeed, probable that the brightness between the 
cherubim at Eden may .have assumed some special form 
of appearance to express the prohibition of the tree of life ; 
but its significancy was of the merciful presence of Jehovah, 
not, according to the popular impression, of a fierce guards- 
man, sword in hand, but as Jehovah to be reverenced and 


It was before this symbol that Abel bronirlit his offering, 
and, by the coming fortli of the brightness to consume it, he 
saw that " Jeliorali had respect unto it." It was from this 
'' presence of the Lord," that Cain " went out" wlien lie 
became an apostate. 

Thus when man the sinner is driven out of Eden and no 
longer allowed to " eat of the tree of life," it is not to utter 
hopelessness and irretrievable doom. Jehovah not only 
gives him ordinances of worship, as a nurture to his faith 
and hope, but sets up for him the symbols of his own presence 
to commune with him in the worship on earth. And in this 
worship of penitence and faith, under the new covenant of 
mercy, man is taught to keep perpetually before him at once 
the tree of life of the Eden lost, and the sacrifice of his 
Great Deliverer's sufferings to work out for him a title to eat 
again of the tree of life in the Eden restored, and that in 
his original nature as the compound being, both spiritual 
and physical, when the mortal shall have put on immor- 

It remains noAV only to complete this view by adding, that 
as there was a worship appointed before Jehovah's presence, 
there was also a special sacred time appointed for it ; so that 
in his cares in tilling the ground and his weariness from hav- 
ing to eat his bread "in the sweat of his brow," the worship 
should not be neglected. "At the end of days," says the 
Hebrew, Cain and xlbel brought their offerings. When it is 
remembered that already the seventh day had been ordained 
of God, even before Eden : that we find the division of time 
into periods of seven days universal, though there is no mark 
in nature, as in the case of days and months and years, for 
such division ; and that subsequently the seventh day was 
thus specially reordained of God, there is no room left for 
doubt that tliis " end of days" was the end of the week — 


the Sabbath clay — on which Adam liad taught his sons to 
come for special worship before Jehovah.* 

From this brief and necessarily imperfect survey, in out- 
line, of the Eden story, it is manifest that to these first 
sinners a gospel of salvation was revealed, containing, in 
germ, all the great distinctive truths of the Gospel afterward 
developed in the successive covenants of the " sundry times 
and divers manners," till the coming of the Son of God, and 
the close of the revelation with his Apostles. And it is mani- 
fest also that these first sinners, by virtue of that gospel, 
exercised godly sorrow for sin and faith in the Redeemer. 

That Abel was a true gospel worshipper the Apostle 
expressly declares, saying, '* by faith /Vbel oifered unto God 
a more excellent sacrifice, and obtained witness that he was 
righteous, God testifying of his gifts." They worshipped in 
the immediate presence of Jehovah, according to his appointed 
ritual ; at his appointed times. In short, there and then 
began the visible Church on earth, composed of the same 
materials, antagonist to the same wickedness and apostasy 
from the presence of the Lord, with the same creed, in sub- 
stance, exercising the same living faith, and separated as 
the same body of peculiar people, which has existed in the 
world ever since. And to this peculiar people, thenceforth 
through all the ages, and not directly to mankind at large, 
did Jehovah communicate " the lively oracles of God." 

In order to apprehend clearly the truth of this general 
statement, we need only analyze and fix definitely in our 
minds the popular conception of the Church, as an existing 
fact, and compare it with this outline. 

Setting aside technicalities, and aiming at the general 
popular conception of the Church, rather than a scientific 
description, we shall find these to be the elements of it : 

See Appeurlix, Note A. 


First — As to the materials of the Church on earth ; they 
are sinners under conviction of sin and misery seeking to flee 
from the wrath to come. 

Secondly — These sinners with a gospel of salvation held 
forth to them and apprehended by faith, and thereby called 
to a new life. 

Thirdly — These penitent believers constituting an organ- 
ized community, under special covenant with God ; with 
ordinances for nurture in holiness, and with laws and govern- 
ment to direct them in spiritual things, and to separate them 
from opposing powers of evil in the earth. 

Fourthly — These organized penitent believers labouring to 
call in unbelievers, and having the manifestations of the 
special presence of Jehovah among them to accept their 
w^orship, bless them, and give them success. 

Now compare this popular conception with the elementary 
facts just developed from the record of the Eden covenant — 
the evidences of conviction of sin — of a clear apprehension of 
the doctrines embodied in the promise, — '* I will put enmity," 
&c., — of the exercise of faith in the promise — of the con- 
fession of that faith in worship — of the place and time of that 
worship before the holy symbols of Jehovah's presence, and of 
the conflict immediately begun between the faithful and true 
worshippers and the false and apostate men who " went out 
from the presence of the Lord " : — and then Avill you see 
that it is not by the mere flight of a creative imagination, 
but by the processes of a very rigorous logic, that we have 
thus constructed from tliese fragmentary joints, found in this 
old record, the organism of the gospel creed, the covenant, 
the worship, and the visible Church of tlie lost Eden. 

Nor think this a mere curious inquiry into the religious 
views of a fossil age. A large part of the confusion of ideas 
which unhappily prevails among us, concerning both tho 
Church of God and the revelation of God in his word, arises 


from a failure to perceive that the Church began with the 
very first sinners of our race, and that the gospel began to 
be revealed also at the beginning of our race. The Bible, 
therefore, is the record of onlj one religion ; the development 
of one and the same way of salvation ; and is the history of 
one and the same Church from first to last. Therefore it 
must be literally true that " all scripture — all alike, is the 
inspiration of God " — and all '' profitable for doctrine." 

As it is impossible rightly to comprehend any author so 
long as we have utterly misconceived of his plan, his method 
of utterance, his scope and aim, so it is equally impossible 
to comprehend the Bible, so long as we have these vague 
ideas of it, as a history of different religions and of different 
degrees of divine authority. It is one gospel, developed 
through the successive covenants which God made, and in 
exposition of which he spake in time past by the Prophets, 
then by his Son and his Apostles. 

And this view of it brings home very solemnly the Apostle's 
warning to us who enjoy its fullest and last development. If 
even under the inferior light Abel could exercise faith, what 
excuse can we plead ? If under even that light, '' every 
transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of 
reward, how shall we escape" ? 





Genesis xvii. 4, 7, 10, 11, 13. — Behold my covenant is with thee, and 
thou Shalt be a father of many nations. And I will establish my cove- 
nant between me and thee, and thy seed after thee in their generations for 
an everlasting covenant, to be a God nnto thee and to thy seed after thee. 
This is my covenant, which ye shall keep between me and you, and thy 
seed after thee ; every man child among you shall be circumcised ; and it 
shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. He that is born in 
thy house, and he that is bought with thy money must needs be circum- 
cised, and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. 

RoM. iv. 11. — And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the 
righteousness of the faith which he had. 

Mark x. 14. — Suffer the little children * * * of such is the Kingdom 
of Heaven. 

Some of you, my brethern, are perhaps ready to ask, oii 
the suggestion of such a topic of discourse as this ; — " Is not 
our religion more phiinly revealed to us in the New Testa- 
ment? Why then this reference back continually to the 
dimmer light of the Old ?" Plausible as seems the (piestion, 
the fallacy of it may easily be detected by asking another : — 
" How shall we be able to understand the teaching of Jesu.s 
and Paul and Peter, if we study not the Old Testament to 
which they continually refer as containing the germinal truths- 
of which their teachings are but the outflowering and the 


fruit?" And the (juestion is specially pertinent as relatinL^ 
to this covenant with Abraham. The obscurity which so 
commonly exists in the minds of the people concerning the 
whole question of the visible Church, with the long train of 
practical questions growing out of it, arises in large part 
from oversight of this passage of Old Testament history. 
Here, midway between Adam and Christ, stands this trans- 
action with Abraham, marking as distinct an era in the 
history of redemption as the covenant of grace with Adam, 
the first natural head of the race, and the covenant Avith 
Noah, its second natural head, guaranteeing the race from a 
second destruction by water. And has it ever occurred to 
you that, in all subsequent revelations, so much greater a 
prominence is given to this, than to the great covenants 
w^ith Adam and Noah ? The number of references to it are 
in the proportion of about one hundred to the covenant with 
Abraham, against some eight or ten to those with Adam or 
Noah. And still more remarkable than their number is the 
character of these references. For a thousand years, until 
the modification of the Abrahamic covenant by the setting 
up of the typical throne of David, the very title by which 
God is known is " The Grod of Abraham ;" and this covenant 
is made the ground of his dealing with the people of Israel. 
Nay, the very annunciation of the coming of Christ was 
liailed, in the song of Mary his mother, as verifying what 
^' God spake to our fathers, to Abraham and his seed for- 
ever." And Zacharias, filled with the Holy Ghost, also sang 
that God is coming " to remember his holy covenant, the oath 
which he sware to our father Abraham," The very title of 
the first gospel is " The book of the generations of Jesus 
Christ the Son of Abraham^ The appeal of Peter to the 
multitudes after the Pentecostal gifts was an appeal to them 
as " the children of the covenant which God made with our 


fathers saying unto Abraliam, in thy seed shall all the kin- 
dreds of the earth be blessed." Paul, in his most elaborate 
expositions of the gospel theology, sets out this covenant ^Yith 
Abraham as a great germinal part of the scheme. He sets 
forth Abraliam himself as the great representative man, like 
Adam and Noah, standing as head and father of the faith- 
ful of all nations, when he received the sign of circumcision 
a seal of the righteousness of the faitli which ho had. 

Now whence the prominence to the covenant with Abraham ? 
The answer will be fouiid in a summary statement of the record 
here taken in connection with the preceding and subsequent 
history. Anterior to this era the protracted period of human 
life — the life of one patriarch, or head, extending over many 
centuries — rendered it unnecessary, and, indeed, hardly pos- 
sible, that either of the two divine ordinances for society, the 
state or the Church, should exist as organizations apart from 
this third divine ordinance of the family which was first of 
all appointed. Now that the contraction of the days of man 
on earth leaves no longer one natural head by precedence 
of age and paternal right entitled to govern the tribes 
descended from him ; of necessity states, governments, under 
chosen rather than natural heads must be instituted ; and, by 
force of the same fact, the body of the redeemed " seed of 
the woman " must be organized as a government also, distinct 
from the family. Hence it is that here, midway betAvecn the 
first gospel promise of a Redeemer in Eden and the glorious 
fulfilment thereof in the incarnation of the Son of God, stands 
the covenant with Abraham. It involves all that was involved 
in the covenant of grace with Adam, and the covenant of 
security to the race, and the line of descent in Shem, made 
with Noah ; but proceeds to organize the people which shall 
be gathered under those covenants into a visible body, 
distinct both from the family and the state, and separated 


from the rest of mankind. As to its component elements, 
the church had indeed existed from the first by virtue of the 
enmity put between the chosen and the reprobate seeds. But 
henceforth the chosen are visibly and formally set apart to 
become the special visible body of Messiah, among whom, and 
through whom, the covenant of grace shall have its adminis- 

Just as, in the history of creation, the light is the result 
of the great creative fiat of the first day ; yet midway 
between the beginning and end of the creation stands the 
act of the fourth day, organizing the sun as the light bearer in 
the heavens for the illuminating of the earth ; so though the 
elements of the Church visible began Avith the case of the 
first sinner and the worship of Eden, yet midway in the pro- 
gress of the work of redemption stands this covenant with 
Abraham, organizing the elements into a visible Church of 
God ; henceforth, under the very law of its being constituted 
the agent for the diffusion of divine light in the world. All 
subsequent covenants are but the further confirmation and 
elucidation of this. 

That this account of the matter is correct will appear from 
a few general considerations — all that can be presented within 
the brief limits of such a discourse. 

1. If we undertake to inquire into the origin of the visible 
Church, as an existing phenomenon, in its pecuHar separate 
organization for spiritual purposes, with government, officers, 
ordinances and sacramental seals, we shall find that it has 
not originated at any period since the Apostles of Christ. If 
v/e ask them concerning its origin, they refer us back to Jesus 
Christ who commissioned them. Did it then originate with 
Jesus when on earth ? No ! for he claims that all his doctrines 
are but the developments of Moses and the prophets which 
he came to fulfil. Did it originate then with Moses ? No, he 
declares that he came to this singular people, in Egypt, with 


a message to fulfil and furtlicr develop a scheme previously 
revealed to Abraham, and found the covenant people already 
organized, to whose recognized heads, the elders, he presented 
his commission to be verified. But now, when we take a step 
further back in the inquiry, and come to Abraham, we find 
no longer any references pointing us still backward, — l)ut 
here stands the peculiar transaction constituting him the 
" father of many nations " under an " everlasting covenant '* 
with a special seal. Properly enough we conclude that we 
have now reached the source and origin of tlie phenomenon 
concerning which we inquire. And this the more especially 
that nowhere else, as we have traced the history backward, 
have we found anything like a divine charter, or covenant, 
creating this singular and evidently divine organization. 

For surely no Christian can conceive that such a govern- 
ment, whose uninterrupted existence can be historically traced 
back at least a thousand years beyond that of the oldest 
governments in the world, could have been self-originated, or 
a mere accident, or incident in tlie world's history ! 

2. An examination of the terms of the transaction shows 
clearly that it must have been intended to record some new 
and peculiar relation to Jehovah, of this Abraham the believer, 
and his descendants and their households. The promise here 
to be a God to him and his seed could not have meant simply 
a covenant for his personal salvation ;. for this had been 
assured to him before when "he believed God, and it was 
accounted to him for righteousness." Nor can it mean to be 
a covenant of natural blessings to his natural descendants, 
for in the covenant are included the household, embracing 
servants and all ; while, on the other hand, many of his des- 
cendants, as the families of Ishmael and Esau, had no birth- 
right in this covenant. The Apostle Paul expresses it fully 
by declaring that in this covenant Abraham was " the heir of 
the world,'' and the representative of all who in all ages after 


should exorcise the faith of Abraham. If so, then the cove- 
nant to be their God, and to make them a blessing indicates a 
purpose specially to dwell among, and manifest himself to, 
this peculiar body, and, through it, to manifest his grace to 
the nations. In short here are all the elements of a defini- 
tion of the visible Church ; and this is the beginning of that 
pecuhar society as a separate visible body on earth. 

3. Nor is this charter ever to be annulled. It is "an 
everlasting covenant." And though we grant that the term 
everlasting may, at times, be used in a limited sense, such 
cannot be the case here ; for its blessings are to reach to 
all generations of him who is the representative father of the 
faithful. Under this charter Moses may develop the theo- 
cratic commonwealth, and David the theocratic kingdom, and 
these may pass away again — but still the covenant charter is 
not annulled. Just as, under the covenant of grace, the great 
fact of justification by faith may be exhibited, now in the 
simple sacrifices of Adam or Abel or Noah, or now in the 
elaborate ritual of Moses, or now in the simple ordinances of 
the New Testament, without thereby annulling or even impair- 
ing that covenant ; so in the case of this great charter cove- 
nant of the Church. If the doctrine of a sinner's justification 
is not affected, as to its essential principles, by changes of the 
mode of presenting it, so neither is the doctrine of the Church 
by any modification of its forms under different dispensa- 

This covenant with Abraham is, therefore, the diviiae char- 
ter of the visible Church as heretofore and still existing. 
There is no other charter found in scripture. This is the 
chartered, visible society, " the Church," in which " God set 
some Apostles, some prophets, some pastors and teachers," 
under the New Testament dispensation — for there was no 
otlier church organized in which .to set them. On the con- 
trary, the Apostle (in Romans iii. 29, and in iv. 11=17, and 


in Gal. iii. 7-9) expressly declares, that the New Testament 
Church of believers is the true successor to the covenant with 
Abraham. Nay (in Rom. xi.) he expressly argues that the 
rejection of the Jewish body, and the reception, under the 
covenant, of" all that believe" with Abraham, is only as the 
cutting off one set of branches from the olive tree and ingraft- 
ing others. It is still the same tree, but the currents of its 
life are partially directed to a new channel. 

All this will appear still more plainly if we proceed now to 
consider the nature and significancy of the seal to this cove- 
nant. In some of the covenants made with men, Jehovah 
alone binds himself to perform, after the manner of a vaitten 
covenant among men, simply to pay or to do on the one part. 
But in this covenant with Abraham, as afterwards with the 
Passover covenant, the transaction is of that sort in which 
both parties must bind themselves by signature and seal to 
the engagement. Accommodating himself to that habit of 
thought among men which regards their interests as more 
secure when not left to contingencies, or future questions of 
doubt about the construction of the promise, and therefore, 
close the transaction by solemn covenant, signed and sealed, 
behind which they need not go for evidence ; so Jehovah, in 
these covenants, not only binds himself but calls upon the 
beneficiaries of the covenant to enter into engagements with 
him, signed and sealed by an external act. The seal is so 
devised, also, as to express by symbol the nature of the 
blessings covenanted. With a view to that native tendency 
of a heart conscious of sin to doubts and confusion of ideas 
about the terms of salvation, he ordains that all the blessings 
promised shall be expressed in form of a solemn covenant, 
with an external seal to be attached, symbolizing the nature 
of these blessings, behind which covenant the doubting soul 
need not go to look for evidence of title to his favour. And 
he calls upon them, moreover, to come, generation after 



generation, and affix this seal as a perpetual reminder of the 
terms of the covenant, and their engagement under it. 

This is the origin and ratmnale of the two sacraments of 
the Church. Thej are ordinances of worship in which the 
minister, standing forth, as Jehovah's attorney, presents the 
instrument, and behevers come forward and sign by affixing 
the appointed seal thereto. In the one covenant, made with 
Abraham as representing all the faithful, which organises the 
believers as Jehovah's peculiar body of people, they come for 
ward and covenant, on their part, to be his people, and to 
live as such by the aid of his Holy Spirit. In the other, 
made with this organized Church through Moses, he covenants 
to redeem them by vicarious atonement, and they covenant 
to rely upon that atonement for spiritual nurture here, and 
life hereafter. 

But w^as not this seal annulled in the New Testament ? 
Did not the Apostles resist strenuously those who insisted on 
continuing it ? No, it was changed as to its form, but not 
annulled ; just as the seal of the covenant to redeem the- 
Church by vicarious atonement — the passover seal — w^as 
changed in form but not annulled. And in both cases the 
change of form involved no change of the ideas symbolized by 
the seal. As the sense of the passover covenant, expressive 
of faith in the atoning blood of the Lamb from a prophetic 
stand-point, in eating the flesh and sprinkling the blood, was 
modified to express faith in the atoning blood from a historic 
stand-point, by eating the bread, symbolizing the broken body, 
and drinking the wine, symbolizing the shed blood of the 
Lamb of God ; — so circumcision, the seal of the covenant 
with Abraham organizing the Church, was changed — from the 
act symbolizing, from a prophetic stand-point, faith's longings 
and hopeful trust in divine power for the cutting off the sins 
of the flesh — to the act of washing with water, symbolizing, 
from a historic stand-point, faith contemplating the divine 


power to regenerate and puriiy, given in tlie outpouring of 
the Spirit. 

The opposition of the Apostles to the continuance of the old 
seal was, manifestly, not on the ground that there is no longer 
any seal, but that the seal has been changed in form, and 
therefore the old can signify nothing, or, if it is held to have 
any significance, must in that far derogate from the signifi- 
cancy of the new. 

That, just as the Lord's Supper is simply a New Testament 
modification of the passover seal of the covenant through 
Moses to redeem the Church by his blood, so the ordinance 
of baptism is but the New Testament modification of the seal 
of circumcision appended to the covenant with Abraham 
organizing the visible Church ; that this covenant is the divine 
charter under which the Apostles acted in modifying the form 
of the Church, when the Church of one nation is now to become 
the Church of all nations ; that baptism and circumcision, as 
seals, both have the same import, however unlike as to exter- 
nal forms, and both symbolize the same truth of the Holy 
Spirit as the regenerator and sanctifier of Jehovah's people — 
these are facts that no careful and intelligent reader of the 
New Testament will call in question. If baptism is not the 
seal, there is no seal ; and, consequently, no such covenant 
to express the relation of Christ to his visible Church, and of 
his Church to him, which is involved in the w^ords, " I will ])e 
a God unto thee and thy seed after thee." But the whole 
course of the apostolic argument went to the point that, so far 
from annulling the old charter, the new order of things under 
the dispensation of the Spirit fulfills the old covenant ; and 
its charter privileges are the more firmly established. The 
Apostle Paul expressly interprets the covenant promise " I 
will make thee a father of many nations," to mean that 
Abraham was hereby constituted the representative head of 
all who shall believe as he believed. The very silence of the 


New Testament or its merely incidental reference to the 
question of the organization of the visible Church, shows 
plainly that the Apostles regarded that matter as already 
provided for ; and that the Church needed no new charter of 
organization but simply a modification of form under the old 
charter, to meet its new position in the history of redemption. 

That baptism is understood to take the place of circum- 
cision as the sacramental seal of the covenant which organizes 
and perpetuates the Church, and is of the same spiritual sig- 
nificancy, is obvious from the fact that, both in the Old and 
New Testaments, circumcision becomes the figurative expres- 
sion for the work of the Holy Ghost in renewing the nature ; 
precisely as baptism becomes the figurative expression for the 
regeneration by the Holy Ghost under the New Testament 
dispensation. (Compare Deut. x. 16 and xxx. 6 ; Lev. xxvi. 41 ; 
Rom. ii. 29 and iv. 11 ; Phil. iii. 3 ; Col. ii. 11-13). Nay, 
more, the Apostle uses the two interchangeably as expressions 
for the same spiritual idea, and expressly declares baptism 
to be circumcision; so that, in every form of uttering thought, 
the identity of the two, both in purpose and significancy, is 
set forth. 

Thus it will be perceived, that the marked peculiarity of 
this Abrahamic covenant is in bringing into view the body of 
the elect, as provided for in the covenant of grace with Adam, 
not simply as the external manifestation of the ideal of that 
covenant, but, at the same time, as an actual institute for the 
calling and training of the people of God. From this time 
forward, through the entire revelation, the visible Church is 
set forth as an organized society, with a government estab- 
lished in it ; externally called to the privilege of receiving 
the oracles of God, and of being specially under the charge 
of Jehovah as his peculiar body of people ; the special benefi- 
ciary of his promises, and enjoyipg the special agency of 
his Holy Spirit. It is not limited to those who are actual 


believers. It is Jehovah's vineyard, -vv ell-hedged, indeed, 
but oftentimes having vines therein that produce only -wild 
grapes. It is Jehovah's garden, well cared for, and well 
tilled, but in which there may be barren fig trees. It is the 
wheat field which the husbandman has carefully sown with 
wheat, yet in which the enemy sow^s tares to grow up with 
the wheat. It is a great not, as an instrument in the hand 
of Jehovah for gathering his people out of the great depths 
of a world of sui ; but the very operation by which he gathers 
the good must, in the nature of the case, gather the bad also. 
It is a sheaf of choice wheat in his threshing-floor, from which 
the chaff is yet to be Avinnowed. It is, in short, a body 
called out of the world, yet in which many more are called 
than are chosen. 

This brings us now to the fundamental question of the coii- 
stituent elements of the society organized by this covenant 
charter to Abraham. You will observe, that a principle 
common to all the covenants pertaining to the work of redemp- 
tion, namely, the principle of family representation, stands 
out here with peculiar prominence. While the scriptures, 
everywhere, especially guard us against the error of suppos- 
in;2; that the blcssino;s of salvation, accordiniz; to the covenant 
of grace, have respect to natural descent, or that men born 
again, are born " of blood, or of the w411 of the flesh, or of the 
will of man," or any other than " born of God ;" yet, on the 
othsr hand, special prominence is given to the fact, that in 
the out-working, in time, of the scheme of redemption, the 
children of those who are themselves parties to the covenants 
of God have a birthright to the privileges and the penalties 
of those covenants. Thus, by virtue of the penalty of tlie 
broken covenant of works with Adam, every child born of the 
race of Adam is born to die. By virtue of the covenant of 
redemption with Christ, as the second Adam, every mortal 
that dies must rise again from the dead. Under the co\'enant 


of grace -with Adam, Avhen there was to be a destruction of 
the race by water, God said unto Noah, " come thou and all 
till! house into the ark, for thee have I seen righteous ;" and 
for the righteousness of Noah, even the apostate, scoffing 
Ham, is sheltered from the impending doom. Under the 
covenant with Noah, not to destroy again with a flood, every 
child descended from Noah to the end of time has a birthright 
in that guarantee promise. Under the covenant with David, 
his male offspring, in every succeeding generation, had a 
birthright claim to the throne of Israel, to which even then' 
unfaithfulness could prove no bar ; the reason assigned for 
not rejecting the unworthy apostates, as Saul was rejected, 
is — " the oath which I swear to David." You will perceive 
how, in several careful repetitions, that principle is made to 
stand forth pre-eminently in this covenant Avith Abraham. 
His children, in successive generations, are recognized as 
having a birthright, not only in its general privileges, but as 
born members of the great visible community which this 
covenant, as a charter, founds and organizes : and it is com- 
manded that they be formally recognized as citizens by birthy 
by afiixing, through their parents for them, their signature, 
and the seal to this covenant. And so intimate a part of the 
structure is this principle, that no matter what extent of 
meaning be given to the covenant, this principle must go into 
that meaning ; and no matter what enlarged degree of develop- 
ment of the covenant, this principle must go into that develop- 
ment. Here, then, far back at the. very root of the visible 
Church, and fundamental in its charter, we find the rights of 
our children to a place with us in the Church, as Christ's 
spiritual commonwealth. Just as really and truly are they 
born citizens of the visible commonwealth of Christ, as they 
are born citizens of the commonwealth of the United States, 
or of Great Britain. In both cases the exercise of their 
rights is held in abeyance for a time : in the one case, until 

FAMILY Ki:rui:s;::>:TATu.)x ix TiIi: ciRaaii. o7 

God's grace brings them to majority spiritual, and prepares 
them to exercise their rights as full citizens ; in t!ie other case, 
until natiirr brings tiiem to majority and prepares them, by 
years and intelligence, for the exercise of their rights as 
citizens. Indeed, the differcnco between the theory of the 
visible Church that makes its constituent elements individual 
believers only, and the theory, derived from the Abraharaic 
covenant, that the Church consists of believers and their 
children — its believers representing famihes — is precisely 
analogous to the difference between the Continental Jacobin 
theories of the state as composed of individuals only, who have 
surrendered certain personal rights, and the Anglo-Saxon 
theory of Britain and America, that the State is constituted 
of men as representing families either in esse or in j^osse. 

To those, therefore, who demand of us, " where is the 
explicit command of the New Testament for the recognition 
of our children as members of the visible Church ?" it is suffi- 
cient response, if we choose to rest the question there — ''where 
is the charter in the New Testament organizing a visible 
Church ?" If we find the original charter, in this covenant 
with Abraham, still recognized in the New Testament as the 
charter of the Church, then the inevitable conclusion is that 
the provisions of the original charter as to what are the con- 
stituent elements of the visible Church are also recognized, 
unless something expressly to the contrary is declared. The 
true statement of the issue in controversy is — " where is the 
command in the New Testament changing the fundamental 
constitution of the Church and excluding the children from 

With this view of the case before us, we are prepared to 
comprehend the profound significance of the story how, 
among the few occasions on which Jesus manifested indig- 
nation and something like bitterness in the language of 
rebuke, one was that in which his disciples officiously inter- 


posed to thrust away from him parents coming with their chil- 
dren for his blessing. The disciples thought it an impertinence 
of parental fondness to be troubling the Master, in the midst 
of his labours of heahng and teaching, Avith the little ones who 
could not appreciate his blessing. But " he was indignant," 
says the Evangehst, and said " Suffer the little children to 
come unto me and forbid them not, for of such is the king- 
dom of God." And after blessing the children, he turned in 
rebuke to his disciples — just as on another occasion, he 
turned upon the Pharisees their contempt for pubilcans, in 
the remark '' the publicans and harlots shall go in before jou " 
— and severely remarked to them " think you that children 
have no interest in the matter ? I tell you, unless ye become 
like them ye shall not yourselves enter the kingdom." 

That " of such is the kingom of Heaven " in the sense of 
the Church on earth, which is his kingdom, may readily be 
understood in view of the foregoing argument ; and, there- 
fore, I pass by that view of the subject to offer a few sugges- 
tions, in conclusion, upon the significancy of the saying as 
relating to the real kingdom of God, the Church of the 
redeemed in heaven, of which the visible Church is a repre- 
sentative shadow. 

And I desire the more, in this connection, to point out the 
grounds upon which those of us who hold firmly by the doc- 
trines of the covenant, both of grace and of the Church's 
organization, rest our confidence of the salvation of our dead 
children, as part of the kingdom of God — because, from this 
point of view, we may more easily detect the fallacies of the 
three popular errors on this subject, arising, severally, from 
the three corruptions of the truth, viz. : that of Romanism, 
which makes their salvation depend upon their baptism, — of 
Rationalism, which makes it depend upon their freedom from 
the taint of sin, — and that of tha popular perversion of the 
doctrines of grace which, assuming their salvation as a mere 


opinion, makes it an argument against those doctrines — 
especially against the points of original sin, and the election 
of grace — that these imply the damnation even of little 

From >vhat we have shown of the nature of baptism, as the 
seal of the charter covenant of the visible Church, you may 
at once discern the error of the Papists, which perverts that 
which is simply a seal of the covenant into a channel, and 
the only channel of the grace of the Holy Spirit ; precisely 
as the Pharisees, whom John the Baptist and Jesus rebuked, 
made the old sense of circumcision, not a simple seal of the 
covenant of the external Church, but a channel, and the only 
channel of grace unto salvation. Assuming that baptism 
makes them Christians, instead of declaring their birthright 
in the privileges of the covenant mercy, both Papal and semi- 
Papal sacramentalists turn the children who die without tliis 
sacrament awa}^ from Heaven. Hence, also, the folly of the 
Papal and semi-Papal error of applying to the dying child the 
seal that has significance only for the child that, it is hoped, 
will live in the visible Church. 

Rationalism, in all its forms, rejecting the anterior covenant 
of grace, of which this is a development, and denying the 
fact of the native sinfulness of the race as a race, for which 
sinfulness this covenant of grace was a provision, rests the 
opinion — for it can amount to nothing more than an opinion, 
— that the dead children are all saved, on the ground that, 
dying before moral action, they are not sinners, and need no 

The orthodox creeds of the Reformed churches all assert 
that " in Adam all die " spiritually ; and that, represented in 
him, every creature born of Adam is guilty before God, and 
born with a depraved nature ; but that the electing love of God 
hath purposed a restoration of part of the guilty race, and 
that part are by the grace of God, renewed, justified, and 


received into the kingdom of God. Popular clamour, led on 
by noisy demagoguism in theology, insists that such a theory 
excludes from heaven even the children who cannot believe 
and be saved, except it be such as, without regeneration, and 
by virtue merely of the election of God, are accepted into the 
kingdom of heaven. Hence the silly slanders, to the effect 
that Calvinists have written and preached of " infants in hell 
a span long." A preaching which none of the reporters, 
however, have ever themselves read or heard ; but only have 
it in most cases from some one, who heard some one else say, 
that he remembered to have heard his father, or some old 
man say, that his grandfather had heard it reported of some 
iron-sided Calvinist that he so wrote or preached ! And yet 
all this in the face of the notorious fact that the men who 
have written most of the words of consolation for parents 
bereaved of their little children, are those whom the creeds 
of the Reformation have taught to expound the gospel. To 
whom do English-speaking mourners go in their sorrow over 
their dead children ? To the volumes of Smythe of Charles- 
ton, or of Rice and Prime of New York, or of Macfarlane or 
Gumming or Harris of London, or of Russel, or Cuthbert, or 
John Brown, or Grosart, of Scotland, — Calvinists all of them, 
of the sturdiest stamp. Or if we turn to the great expos- 
itors of scripture — with the exception of a few divines, who, 
laying great stress on the covenant of God in Baptism, hesi- 
tate to say that he makes no distinction in this regard between 
the covenant children and the children of the heathen and 
infidels — we find, from Calvin himself forward — Sibbs, Willet, 
Henry, Scott, and their successors — all Calvinists — expound- 
ing tho scriptures in this sense. 

Nor is this a curious incidental fact merely. For it can 
easily be shown, that, on no other theory of the gospel than 
this of the Reformed creeds can any argument be founded 
to demonstrate, logically, the salvation of the dead children. 


All other views of the matter can oflfor nothing hotter than 
the opinions of wise and good men. Such opinions may 
satisfy the curious, the speculative, or the tlioughtless ; hut, in 
the dark hour of sorrow, '' Rachel, weeping for her children, 
refuses to ho comforted " with mere ojnnioiis. Faith must 
point to a divine rock on which the feet may he planted, as 
the waves of the tempest heat over the soul ! 

The Calvinistic creed, or more pro}X)rly the creed of the 
Reformation, on this subject, reasons with the old epitaph on. 
the grave-stone over the three dead children : — 

" Say, arc they lost or saved ? 
If Dcath'r, by sin, they sinnSd for they lie here : 
If heaven's by Avorks, in heaven they can't appear: 

Ah Reason, how depraved ! 
Revere the sacred page, the knot's untied : 
They died, for Adam sinned — they live, for Jesus died." 

But we will be told that this argument apphes only to elect 
infants. For docs not the confession of the Church of Scot- 
land say " elect infants dying in infancy?" And is not that 
as good as saying, some of them arc not elect? True, but 
docs it not seem curious to argue that if one says he has a 
number of choice lambs in his fold he therefore means to say 
that he has some that are not choice ? But, again, where is 
this clause found in the confession ? In the third article that 
treats of the elect and the non-elect ? No ! but in the tenth 
article, '' of eflfectual calling." Having declared that the 
chosen of God are called by the Word and Spirit, and 
quickened by the Spirit, that they may answer the call— the 
question laaturally occurs — " But how then with those who 
die before they can apprehend and accept the call of the 
Word?" The confession proceeds to declare that suclr are 
regenerated in virtue of the atonement, without the call of 
the word, by " the Holy Spirit, who worketh when and where 
and how he pleaseth:" therefore the infants elect are saved,. 


just as adults are, by the blood of Jesus securing their gra- 
cious renewal. Strange that the very article that declares 
how infants are saved, should be cited as evidence of belief 
that infants are lost ! 

Biit why then use the qualifying term " elect ?" Why 
not say '• all infants dying in infancy are saved ?" For two 
reasons very sufficient. First, it would have been logically 
out of place here, as introducing another subject than that of 
hotv the elect are saved, which is the topic in hand, — not tvho 
are the elect ? which had been defined elsewhere. Secondly, 
the Confession makes no declarations, — being a confession of 
faith, — not directly, or by immediate inference, declared in 
scripture. And the scriptures being intended for those only 
who can understand them, and to declare to such the terms 
of their salvation, and the grounds of their hope and com- 
fort, without gratifying curiosity, — nowhere expressly declare, 
in direct terms, that all infants shall be saved : while they do 
declare that the elect of God, adults and infants alike, shall 
be saved through the effectual working of the Holy Spirit. 
AYhen the Bible stops speaking, the Confession always stops ; 
just as, when the Bible speaks, the Confession fearlessly speaks, 
whether men will hear or whether they will forbear — nay, 
even though they mock at and malign it. 

But does not this imply, contrary to what has been said, 
that the Bible does not teach the salvation of all the dead 
children ? Not at all. For, while, in virtue of its great prin- 
ciple of reserve on all points of curious inquiry, it makes no 
such direct statement, yet it furnishes abundant grounds of 
comfort and assurance to the soul in sorrow earnestly search- 
ing for it. 

What are the grounds of comfort ? I can noAv only present 
them in suggestive outline, to guide such as desire to search 
the scripture for them. 

The aro-ument is threefold. From the analogy of faith. 


From the nature of the future existence, as presented in 
scripture. And from statements of scripture directly in 
reference to this point. 

First, —There is nothing in the grounds or conditions of 
salvation, as stated in the gospel, to interpose a barrier to our 
belief in the salvation of all the dead children. It is not on 
account of " works" which they could not do ; and though 
salvation is by faith, yet it is not for the sake of the faith as 
a work of the sinner. They may be saved, therefore, simply 
" by grace " as adults are, and therefore can sing with them 
the same eternal song " Worthy is the Lamb, who washed us 
in his own blood." 

Second, — Neither is there anything in the method of salva- 
tion, by the work of the Holy Spirit in renewing, to contra- 
vene this belief. For though he w^orks through the word in 
the case of those who believe, he works without the word also,, 
saith the confession, "when and where, and how he pleaseth," 
and, therefore, may regenerate the infant without, as in the 
case of the adult, working through the word. 

Third, — Neither is there any ground of difficulty in the 
sovereign electing love of God. For just as the effectual call,, 
and the offer accepted by the sinner, proves him to be one of 
•Jie elect ; so the call of the infant by Jesus, away from the 
trouble and sin to come, fnay prove it to be one of the elect. 

Fourth, — Neither is there any ground for supposing the 
dead children excluded from heaven, by reason of the doctrine 
that they are of a guilty and depraved race ; since the guilt 
in any case is removed by the atoning blood of Jesus, justi- 
fying the sinner, and procuring the grace of the Holy Spirit ; 
and all for nothing in the saved moving him thereto, but only 
of his own free sovereign love ; thus putting the adult and the 
infant upon the same level as to claim for grace. 

Fifth, — As there is no ground in the analogy of faith to 
deny, so there is, on the contrary, much from which to affirm,. 


the salvation of infants dying in infllnc3^ Thus infants dying 
because Adam sinned, also rise from the dead because Christ 
has risen. "As they have borne the image of the earthly, so 
shall they bear the image of the heavenly." As certainly as, 
by some relation to Adam's sin they die, so certainly, by some 
relation to Christ in his work as Mediator, every one of them 
that dies shall burst forth from the grave, and " the mortal 
put on immortality." If, then, by virtue of the relation to 
Christ, that half of the curse is removed which relates to their 
physical nature, why not infer that, on the same ground of 
sovereign grace, the other half is removed, which relates to 
their spiritual nature ? 

Sixths — And this seems, again, to receive direct confirma- 
tion by the Apostle's declaration in reference to the first and 
second Adam, " where sin abounded, grace did much more 
abound." For, if we count the aboundings of grace only in 
the numbers of adult sinners saved, this statement seems not 
to be realized. The aboundings of sin in every age, so far, 
exceed vastly the aboundings of grace. But it puts another 
face on the statement, when we conceive of the dead children 
as all called by Jesus Christ to himself. More than one-third 
of the race die under two, and more than one-half of the race 
under five years of age. If these are counted for the king- 
dom of heaven, we set out, in our estimate of the abounding 
of grace, with over half the race redeemed in infancy, and to 
these add the millions that, since Adam, have accepted the 
call ! And when Ave have conceived of the vast majority thus 
gathered out of two thousand generations, — then we may 
begin to catch the spirit of the Apostle's saying, " where sin 
abounded, grace did much more abound !" 

Seventh, — This view is again confirmed by all those scrip- 
tures which describe the vast numbers of the redeemed in 
heaven. It is "a great multitude ^that no man could number." 
It is ^' out of every nation and kingdom, and tongue," — and 


of course, therefore, out of some tribes that have not ])een 
cvangehzed, and who can be represented, therefore, only by 
their infants gathered in infanc3^ It is to be understood also, 
relatively to the number not saved, and to the whole number 
of the race ; and must, therefore, include the dead children. 

Ei(jlitli^ — To these general views must be adckd the argu- 
ment from the scripture account of the retribution of the 
future for the lost. This retribution is generally described in 
a manner to exclude the dead children, since it is made to 
have reference to the moral actions of the doomed. The 
condemnation is on the ground that " they loved darkness 
i*athcr than light, because their deeds are evil." Their 
judgment is " according to their works." Their retribution 
is the reaping of a harvest of evil action in life. " lie that 
soweth to the flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption." 
'' What a man soiveth^ that shall he also reap." And so of 
multitudes of scriptures. A chief element of the retribution 
is to be the memory of sins done — none of which things can 
be predicated of the future existence of the dead children. 

Ninth, — With the argument cumulating thus at every suc- 
cessive step of the view of the analogy of faith, and the direct 
statements of scripture concerning the nature of the future 
state, we come now to the express declarations of scripture 
touching children, and their relations to the everlasting 
kingdom. Even in the Old Testament, with its very limited 
statements concermng the existence after death, wo find 
David saying of his dead child, " I shall go unto him, but he 
shall not return unto me." This must mean, I shall go unto 
him Avhither he is gone, into " His presence where is fulness 
of joy and blessings for evermore." Since there was no com- 
fort in the thouglit that he would go to him Ln his grave, any 
more than in the like fact that he should go to Absalom in the 
grave. Besides, David indulges in no such truisms as, "I 
shall also go to the grave." And it is worthy of remark that 

this hope of the salvation in this case, was of a child of sin, 
who could liave little ground of claim by reason of the faith 
of his backslidden and apostate father. It is also of a child 
that had not received the sacrament of circumcision, having 
died before the eighth day, the time appointed by the lav7 for 
the sacrament, and therefore his salvation was independent of 
the sacrament, contrary to the Papal notion. 

So the poor Shunamite mother could say by faith " it is 
well with the child," though she had deft his corpse in the 
prophet's chamber. 

Tenths — We find moreover, in the Old Testament, the same 
special claim to the children, as peculiarly his own, which 
Jesus sets up for them in the New Testament ; and the same 
special indignation at the heartlessness which repelled them, 
as incompetent to enjoy the spiritual blessings of immortality. 
Saith Jehovah by Ezekiel (xvi. 21,) in his terrible wrath at 
the horrible offerings of the children in idolatrous sacrifices — 
'' They have slain my children, causing them to pass through 
the fire." Thus laying claim to them as his peculiar posses- 
sion. So also in Jeremiah (xb:. 4, 5) in reference to this 
same cruel practice, — " They have filled this place with the 
blood of innocents ;" and therefore he gives utterance to his 
specially hot displeasure. 

In the New Testament I need only refer you to the very 
explicit declaration of Jesus, " SuSer the little children^-of 
such is the kingdom of heaven," which, you will find, the 
more it is studied in connection with his indignation at the 
disciples, and with the nature of the kingdom of heaven, in 
its two-fold aspect, as the Church on earth and the Church 
of the redeemed, the more you will be impressed with the 
utter folly of supposing him to mean simply that adults must 
be simple and artless like little children to enter heaven ; 
or, indeed, anything short of meaning that, in the plan of 
redemption, the children are specially provided for, both in 


the kingdom on earth, the Church visible, and in the king- 
dom above, the redeemed Church. * 

Eleventh^ — As putting the cope-stone upon this argument, 
thus cumuhiting at every step, I must refer, though it be in a 
word, to the express declaration, that in the vision of the great 
day, «Tohn " saw the dead small and great — in the sense of 
little ones and full grown, as well as of humble and high 
position — stand before God." And that he saw also, corres- 
ponding to this fact, " the hooks opened, out of whicli the 
dead were judged," " according to what was written in the 
books." " And another Book zvas opened, tJie hook of life ;"' 
which can be understood in no other way so clearly, as in the 
supposition of three classes at the judgment, — bcHevers and 
unbelievers, who were judged according to their works, out 
of the two books, and the little ones, who had done no works, 
were recorded in a third book specially appropriated to such 
— a book of life (see Revel, xx. 12). 

Such are the general grounds of our faith concerning the 
children who die. I have discussed this question — though not 
of immediate connection with the great covenant charter 
and its provisions for the children who live, rather than the 
children who die — because of the favourable stand-point for 
such discussion secured by the exposition of the covenant and 
the nature of its seal ; and because the perversion of this 
seal has led to the cruel doctrine of Rome concerninn; the 
children dying unbaptized. Nor is the evil confined to the 
Church of Rome : but OAving to the vague and uncertain views 
with which a Romanizing Protestantism permeates the popular 
mind, even many excellent Protestant Christians are led to 
misuse the sacrament of Christ by applying to a child, hecause 
it is dying, and going to the church above, the seal which 
recognizes its rights as living in the visible Church on earth, 
and as such has all its significance. I mean not to say that 
the seal of the covenant is not to be applied, irrespective of 



the question of life or death ; but only that the prospect of 
death should not be the special ground and reason for apply- 
ing an external seal which, primarily, contemplates the subject 
of it in the relation of a member, by birthright, of the visible 
Church on earth. And the use of the sacrament, in a manner 
to suggest the approach of death as a ground for its use, tends 
only to propagate and confirm the error among the Protestant 
masses, that the baptism makes the child a Christian ; whereas 
the baptism is but the solemn declaration officially that, under 
the terms of the charter covenant of the Church, the chikben 
of believers are born members of the visible Church. 

Such, then, is the origin of this remarkable body, organized 
a visible government on earth separate from all other social 
organizations. This is the kingdom not of this world. Here 
it has stood for near four thousand years ; while all other 
governments coeval with its origin have not only perished, 
but the very records and traditions of them have almost passed 
from men's knowledge. Well might Jehovah speak of this 
kingdom as an everlasting kingdom ; and call him now Abra- 
ham, " the high father of a multitude." You perceive, 
therefore, brethren, that not only the gospel existed and was 
preached long before the incarnation, but the gospel Church 
also existed. And this peculiar spiritual government, into 
which you and your children are called now, is one and the 
same with that four thousand years ago. '' The gates of hell 
shall not prevail against it." You may understand now, what 
has perhaps puzzled you before, why so little, comparatively, 
is said of the Church and its constitution in the New Testa- 
ment. It is not at all because the Cliurch was not divinely 
organized, or that the question of the Church is a matter of 
indlfterence, as some would have it, and no essential part of 
the gospel of redemption ; but simply because there was no 
call to organize and give a constitutional charter to a Church 
in tlie New Testament. That had been done two thousand 


years before. Jesus came as a minister of that Church ; 
became a member of it by his birth, and was formally recog- 
nized as a member of it, just as the children are how. His 
disciples were members of this same Church ; and after the 
work of redemption was completed, instead of setting up a 
Church for the first time or even a new Church, they simply 
modified its forms of worship and government to adapt them 
to the new order of the dispensation of the Spirit. For, in 
the nature of the case, the ancient forms of worship having 
been those of a prophetic faith must now change into forms 
suited to a historic faith. And just as the government had 
changed from the patriarchal to that by the chosen elders, 
under the covenant with Abraham ; so under the apostles 
such a modification occurred as suited the Church of all 
nations, now that it is no longer the Church of one nation. 
Therefore so little is said of the constitution of the Church 
in the New Testament. The nystakc which so confuses men's 
views of this question of the Church arises, very largely, from 
that miscalled '• Hifjh-Churcldsm,^' which is but just half A /y/« 
enoiujli ; since it refers the origin of the separate visible 
Church to a period just half way back in its history ; and 
looks for the Church's charter, as a visible organized govern- 
ment, where there is none, but simply a modification of its 
ordinances and government to adapt it to a now phase of the 
work of redemption. '' The Church of the living God, the 
pillar and the ground of the truth" is an essential element of 
the scheme of redemption, and has existed since men began 
first to be redeemed. And as a separated visible government, 
'^ though not reckoned among the nati'ons," the Church 
bc'2;an as soon as men be;2;an to or<i;anize states as distinct 
from family. * 

♦ See Appendix, Note B. 





Exodus xii. 3, 7, U, 14. — Speak unto all the congregation of Israel, say- 
ing, In the tenth day of this mouth, they shall take unto them every man 
a lamb according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house, &c. 

And they shall take of the blood and strike it on the two side posts, and 
on the upper door post of the houses. 

And thus shall ye eat it ; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet 
and your staff in your hand ; and ye shall eat it in haste ; it is the Lord's 
passover. For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will 
smite the first-born, &c. 

And the blood shall be to you for a token on the houses where ye are : 
and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be 
upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. 

Luke xxii. 15, 20. — With desire I have desired to eat this passover with 
you before I suffer. For I say unto you I will not any more eat thereof 
until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. 

This cup is the New Testament in my blood which is shed for you. 

I Cor. v. 7, 8, — For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us ; there- 
fore let us keep the feast not with old leaven, &c. 

AssUxMiNG, my brethren, that jou are all familiar with the 
details of the story of the boudage in F.gypt ; of Moses' call 
from the desert, his mission and message: of the wonders 
whereby he has at once visitCil judgment upon, and sought to 
bring Pharaoh and Egypt to submission and obedience, — I 


desire now to fix your attention upon the consummation of all, 
in the formal covenant of deliverance made here with this 
peculiar body of people, organized by the previous charter 
covenant with Abraham, as those of whom Jehovah is specially 
the God, and they specially his peoj)le. 

If I take occasion frequently to remind you that the 
method of God's revelation is by a successive series of 
covenants, each a fuller development of the germinal, first 
covenant, and of all that precede it ; this is, because I would 
have you hold fast the clue which should guide you to the 
right interpretation of the book, and guard you against most 
of the difficulties that have been raised with the record by 
many learned interpreters ; who, with very obscure ideas of 
the Gospel revealed in the first, or indeed, in any of the 
covenants, and with little experience of its power, find mere 
learning and natural genius unequal to the task of rightly 
interpreting the oracles of God. 

The summary of the historic facts here shows this to be a 
covenant transaction. On the part of Jehovah, a statement 
and exposition of a certain blessing of redemption from cruel 
bondage has been made^ which statement here is put into the 
form of a covenant. And, as before he called upon Abraham 
to enter into the instrument with him, by an external act, 
affixing his seal thereto, and saying, ^' This is my covenant, 
every male shall be circumcised, and it shall be a token 
betwixt me and you ;" so now, appointing the shedding and 
sprinkling of blood, he declares " The blood shall be to you 
for a token." This, therefore, is a covenant of a sacramental 
nature ; and, after the method of the former covenant, a seal 
is appointed to be affixed thereto, which seal itself is formed 
to be a symbol of all the great truths and blessings stipulated 
in the instrument. 

Looking backwapd, and compai-ing this with the previous 
covenants of Jehovah, we shall find this to embrace, and bring 


out more clciirly, the truths aii<l blossiii^.s of tliosc that pre- 
ceded it. Tlie enmity and struggle l)etweeu tlie two seeds, 
of his Eden covenant, here stand Icrth strongly, in the 
hostilit}' of Egypt to Jehovah and cruelty to his chosen. 
The hraising of the liccl, in the sufferings endured hy the 
chosen seed ; and the bruising of the head in the overwhelm- 
ing judgment upon Pharaoh. The theology of the sacrifice 
of blood, revealed in Eden, now i-eappears in the blood of 
the lamb slain and sprinlded. The promise of the covenant 
-with Noah, securing the descent of tlie blessing to the line 
of Shem, liere appears in the body of his descendants selected 
as special objects of divine favour. The provisions of the 
charter covenant with Abraham, organizing the descendants 
of Israel as a visible Church, here appear actually fulfilled, 
in not only a vast body of people, but that body organized, 
as the congregation to which Moses speaks, and that too with 
its elders already executing their office of rule ; to whom he 
came at first with his credentials from Jehovah, and to whom 
as i-epresenting the congregation he now repeats the com- 
mand of Jehovah. 

And as looking backward, we find this covenant a further 
development of all that precedes, so, looking forward, we 
perceive that this again is, in turn, a germ to be developed 
by those which follow it. In what we may call, by proper 
restriction of the sense, its political aspect, the body here 
covenanting with Jehovah is at once the numerous body of 
his seed, through Isaac, fulfilling the covenant with Abraham 
organizing them as a people ; and at the same time, is the 
germinal nation, which, in the covenant with David, shall be 
organized as the typical khigdom of ^Icssiah, representing 
the future kingdom to be gathered out of all nations, in which 
and over which, Jesus shall rule through all successive ages. 
In its spiritual aspect, as a theological and ritual revelation, 
we perceive at once that it is the germ of that great New 


Testament, or new covenant, transaction between Jesus and 
the representative disciples which developed this to its pro- 
phetic earthly fulfillment ; and in view of which, on " that dark 
and doleful night," in Jerusalem, Jesus said : " With desire I 
have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer ; 
for I will not any more eat thereof until it be fulfilled in the 
kingdom of God." And therefore, he modified the seal of 
this covenant, adapting the seal to the new aspect of it, as no 
longer projyJietic but Jiistorio, by commanding " Eat this bread 
which is my body, and drink this cup, which is the new 
covenant of my blood shed for many ;" " And do this, — no 
longer by faith, in prophetic anticipation, but by faith histori- 
cally, — in remembrance of me." So, accordingly, wo find the 
apostle, under the new dispensation of the Spirit, declaring 
that in the new seal of the old covenant we still have held 
forth the same truths and blessings of the old covenant, " For 
Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us, therefore let us keep 
the feast (the Lord's Supper) not with the old leaven," etc. 
The substance of the record here, is therefore, this : That 
as before Jehovah entered into a sacramental covenant with 
Abraham, by which his descendants, through Isaac, were 
organized into the visible Church of God, and this covenant 
has now, in the progress of four hundred years, had its fulfill- 
ment so far as that Israel has here become an organized body 
of two or three millions, but is suffering under cruel bondage : 
so he now enters into a special covenant to redeem it, as a 
peculiar people to himself, from this bondage ; constituting 
the whole as a typical representation of the great deliverance 
of his redeemed from the bondage of Satan. And as before, 
so now, he calls upon them to enter into the sacramental 
instrument with liim by afiixing, every one, the seal thereto. 
And he frames a seal, according to the method of all his 
sacramental covenants, Avhicli shall itself symbolize the great 
truths and blessings stipulated in the covenant, namely, their 
redemption, for the sake of vicarious atonement by blood. 


These ,2;eneral facts lie so plainly upon the surface of the 
record, from the call of Moses to the close of this passover 
transaction, as to need no detailed exposition. I therefore 
pass on, directly, to the consideration of the great truths of 
this covenant, as symbolized in the seal affixed of slaying and 
eating the paschal lamb, and sprinkling the blood ; and the 
significancy for us of the avIioIc lesson. 

It is scarcely needful to remind you, that the blood shed 
in this sacramental act, betokens the same thing as the blood 
of the sacrifices ordained in the gracious covenant of the lost 
Eden ; and offered by Adam and Abel and Noah and Abra- 
ham. That it holds forth the great idea of atonement for sin 
by the substitution of the life of the victim, — ^vhich " life is 
in the blood" — for the forfeited life of the sinner. But you 
may observe here the development of a ncv; truth in the way 
of faith's application of that doctrine. It is the exhibition of 
the mode in which, and the conditions on which, the penitent 
becomes clothed with the rights of the substitute. This 
consists simply in sprinkling the blood — nothing else. ^' For 
when I see (he Hood I will pass over." The h3^ssop branch, 
with which the blood was struck on the door, is the simple 
emblem of the appropriating faith which applies the blood to 
the sin-stained soul. Ilencc David, under a deep sense of 
his sinfulness, cries " purge me with hyssop and I shall be 
clean." The unleavened bread which is to be eaten betokens 
tlic sincerity and truth with which the act is to be done. 
The bitter herbs so specially commanded are a significant 
reminder, not only of the sorrowful eating of '' the fruit of 
their own doings," to which they were doomed, but also a 
warning that redemption by the sprinkled blood may be con- 
sistent with many a disagreeable cross and trial. Yea, and 
tho very mode of the eating, with the staff in hand, loins girt, 
and sandals on the feet—" eating in haste" — is a significant 
reminder that though they arc the redeemed of Jehovah, they 


are still pilgrims and strangers, as all their fathers were. 
That they have no abiding c'ltj here, but must be up and 
journeying from the land of Egypt and its bondage to a 
better country, even the land of which the Lord hath spoken 
to the fathers. 

Thus suddenly Ave come here upon a gospel of full detail, 
which is henceforth to take the place of that more general 
and indefinite gospel of salvation by atoning blood which 
has hitherto been revealed ; and which, doubtless, has left to 
the faith of God's children many a dark puzzle, especially in 
the detail of how this salvation is to be applied to the case of 
the sinner. 

Instead of a study, technically and in detail, of the 
significancy of the several truths symbolized in' this seal, we 
shall probably attain more practical results, if now we con- 
sider the general significancy of the whole of this revelation 
in its practical application to our day in the Church, and 
personally to ourselves. 

The great ideas here presented may be classified into two 
orders of truths : First ^ the objective truths, presented in 
the divine side of this picture, concerning God, Jehovah, and 
man's relation to him. Second, the subjective truths from 
the human side of the picture : viz., the cfiect of the divine 
truths coming in contact with the human soul. 

And, in regard to both these classes of truths, we should 
ever bear in mind that these inspired histories of God's deal- 
ings with man and of man's conduct toward God, are unlike 
all other histories. For it is not simply as curious records 
that Ave read them ; or that we may find ingenious and fanciful 
apphcations of them to our case. " All history is prophecy," 
said Lord Bacon. But in a far stricter sense than he under- 
stood his own maxim, and yet in even a fuller sense, is all the 
inspired history prophecy. This is the history of a Jehovah, 
" the same yesterday, to-day, and forever;" and of a human 


nature under the special administration of Jeliovah, which is 
also the same thing substantially, under all the phases of its 
diflferent ages and civilizations. Hence the subtle logic ever 
at -work in the mind of all true believers, which almost 
unconsciously constructs a syllogism upon every promise 
suggested by the facts of the inspired histor^^, and derives 
thence a conclusion concerning the method both of (lod's 
dealing and of the conduct of human nature toward God in 
the present, or any past, or any future age. It Avas the 
method of God's saints of old, and is of his saints still, to 
reason, that, God being unchangeable, he will therefore be 
likely to repeat in the present what he hath done in the past", 
and human nature being unchanged, it will therefore be 
likely lo act toward God in the present, under like circum- 
stances, just as in the past. It is this that makes the word 
of God the comfort and warrant of God's people, and a per- 
petual Avarning to those that love him not. 

Bearing in mind, then, this principle, let us study the views 
here presented, first of the objective truths on the divine 
side of this picture. 

The retributive justice of God is symbolized for us in all 
its terror, in this doom which impends, as a dark thunder 
cloud, over Egypt, and over all the houses unsprinkled with 
that blood. It is a true symbol of the condition in which the 
gospel presumes all to be to whom it comes with its provisions 
of atoning blood. 

Nor is it easy to conceive of a symbol of doom more fraught 
with dreadful terror. This loss of the first-born — with all its 
heart-rendering sorrows — is worse than death itself to the 
survivors. Think of it ! The hope — the pride — the joy of 
every family cut off at once, leaving none to sympathize with 
others, for each afike is absorbed in his own grief — when 
roused at midnight by the groans of the expiring first-born,, 
he hears the wail ascending all around him. 


And it adds aggravation to the woe, that all this could havo 
been avoided ! For Jehovah's messengers have been warning 
them and afflicting them for weeks past, and demonstrating 
the power, while they urged the siitiple and reasonable appeal 
of Jehovah. And a further aggravation is that it is so just 
a recompense of reward. For, the sorrow that breaks the 
heart ever tends to bring out, as the fire brings out the invis- 
ible writing, those records on the tablets of memory which 
.are unnoticed or forgotten in the day of brightness and joy. 
So was it with Joseph's brethren when sorrow came to bring 
out the remembrance and the confession, '^ we are verily 
guilty concerning our brother." And now, as each house- 
hold gazes upon its dead first-born, think you there arose not 
visions of the murdered babes /of the HebrcAvs, and the wails 
of the Hebrew mothers, that for long years gone have been 
crying, " How long, Lord, how long !" 

Is this a dreadful picture ? Yet it is but a type of what 
must be — a shadow merely of the wrath to come to all the 
unsprinkled soul's tenements in eternity. Ye that affect to 
think so lightly of death and eternity ! see here this shadow 
and gather the elementary ideas of what shall be, from what 
has been, already, under the government of God. Standing, 
in imagination, amid these complicated horrors in Egypt — the 
groans of the dying, mingling Avith the shrieks of the living, 
throughout a Avhole empire : — all earthly pomp and power 
levelled to mingle its unavailing cries with the lowest and 
meanest in a common Avoe — here see what it is for " God to 
whet his glittering SAVord and his hand to take hold on 


The grand failure of all the arguments, Avhich men found 
u|)on the benevolence of God, against a Avrath to come upon 
t!ie ungodly, occurs just here : in that it [troves too much, 
and therefore proves nothing. ^ If God's benevolence must 
exclude the idea that he Avill punish, it should equally ex- 


elude the idea that he Itai^ punished ; and therefore leaves 
unaccounted for the wrath that has come, in the attempt to 
prove merely imaginary XXia wrath tliat shall come. The 
whole history of the world's sorrow and anguish flies in the 
face of this theoretic argument. The hell at which men scoff, 
as never to come, has already hegun here on earth ; and hut 
for the restraining hand of infinite goodness, preventing its full 
development, would have been completed long ago in a world 
of pure evil, with its natural consequence of pure torment^ 
and anguish unmixed with any good or any alleviation. 

But turn not away from the picture in disgust, as thoun-h 
it represented God acting unjustly and therefore cruelly in 
tlie infliction of this doom. For remember it comes not until 
after the most amazing forbearance and extraordinary pains 
to avert it. From the first they have deserved wrath, for 
their cruel crimes. Yet mercy has foreborne with them, and 
urged them to repent. The right arm of omnipotence is not 
now first bared to strike in wrath. It has been bared in. 
mighty works of wonder to warn, before this. The gleaming- 
finger of omnipotence has beckoned to them many a signal. 
The voice of reason and entreaty has pleaded, and warned 
them in vain ! 

Tell us, ye that adjudge this doom unjust and cruel — what 
man of you — nay, what holiest man on earth — having his 
hand armed Avith irresistible power, would have borne so long 
with the evasions, the falsehoods, and the insolence of Egypt ? 
This is the thought that shall forever exclude the alleviation 
of the torment that might come from feeling that they suffered 
unjustly. This remembrance will recur of the forbearance of 
God — the warnings of God — the pleadings of God. There 
shall be none to play " Prometheus bound," and heroically 
struggle against a mere arbitrary al mightiness, in that hell of 
which the gospel warns us ! 

2. A second great objective truth, in contrast with this, is 


shadowed forcli in this idea of a covenanted peopl redeemed 
bj Jehovah, and their salvation secured bj this very destruc- 
tion upon their enemies. It is a truth which still further 
expresses to us the goodness of God even in his " strange 
-work" of veno;eance. Such is his love for them that, havin<2; 
by a former covenant organized them as a Church for himself, 
he now, to assure them, by another covenant binds himself to 
redeem them, and calls upon them to come and seal the 
engagement with him by sprinkling the blood, and eating the 
sacrificial feast. Nor, into that holy covenant was one of 
these doomed ones forbidden to enter, if he were but willing 
to avouch Jehovah. 

3. But the grand central truth of all the objective truths 
here, is shadowed forth in that blood of the spotless lamb 
shed and sprinkled on the door posts. It has a deep, mysteri- 
ous meaning and finds its interpretation in the history of Cal- 
vary and the cross, far onward yet, eveti fifteen hundred years, 
in the history. 

The blood-marked house is but representative of every 
soul tenement on earth, the dweller in which — made alive 
to the impending doom by the voice that cries from Sinai, 
" whosoever sinneth, him will I blot out from my book," and 
by the voice crying from the depths within — hath fled from 
under the dark thunder-cloud of wrath, to him who was 
lifted up on the cross. This blood is not only the central 
idea of this, but of all the revelations of God. The whole 
gospel is, in fact, summed up just here, " when I see the 
blood I will pass over." Blood ! blood ! this is the one cry 
of the gospel — the Alpha and the Omega of the gospel. All 
hope of the divine favour — all strength to resist and conquer 
sin — all power of a holy life comes from this blood. Is man 
redeemed ? It is because " we have redemption through his 
blood." Are any ransomed from sin ? " Not by corruptible 
ransom of silver and gold " are they purchased, " but by the 


precious blood of Christ as of a lamb Avitliout spot." Are 
these justified ? " Being justified bj liis blood.'' Arc these 
cleansed and made holy ? " His blood clcanseth from all sin." 
Are thej, as strangers and wanderers from God, restored ? 
^' Ye who sometime were afar off are now made nigh by the 
blood of Christ." Have they access to the Father's presence 
in prayer ? It is because the High Priest hath gone before 
" sprinkling the blood." Are they arrayed in spotless robes 
to appear at the court of the Great King ? " They have 
washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the 
Lamb." Ave sinners cast oflf at last to eternal death ? It 
is because " they have trampled under foot the blood of the 
Son of God." 

Thus in the gospel revelations, all mercy, compassion, and 
grace of God, have their ground in that blood. All convic- 
tion of sin, all holy desire and emotion in the soul, all strength 
to overcome sin ; as all hope and trust and peace and joy in 
the Holy Ghost, come from that blood. As saith the scrip- 
tures concernino; the living; creatures — " The life is in the 
blood" — So of the scriptures themselves we may say, 
emphatically, "the life is in the blood." 

Let us turn now, in the second place, to the subjective 
truths of the application of the blood, shadowed forth here : 
and on the supposition that human nature then and now is 
the same, we shall probably find something very personal to 

This blood, now, each one must apply for himself, sprink- 
ling it on the door posts, or the covenant to redeem is of no 
avail as to him. 

Endeavour then to transfer yourselves, carrying with you 
the knowledge gained by observation of the reception of the 
gospel among us, to that land of Goshen, lying in the full 
flood of light from an Egyptian vernal sun that afternoon, in 
strange contrast with the murky cloud, in sight yonder, over- 


hanging Egypt : and study the workings of human nature 
under this gospel message which Closes hath sent, through 
the elders, to all the people. 

Deep earnestness is marked upon every countenance in 
Goshen, and haste iul energy upon every movement. At each 
door of the humble dwellings, in which preparation is making 
for a feast, the inmates are watching the father, or head, 
acting as a temporary priest. Solemnly he takes the hyssop 
branch, and, dipping into the vessel containing the blood of 
the lamb that has been slaughtered for the feast, he strikes 
it — this side the door, and that— and over the door. The 
solemn ceremony over, the preparation goes on. The lamb 
is roasted whole, not a bone broken : for the families of tho 
nearest friends, sufficient to consume the whole, have united 
in the purchase and the slaughter, and will commune together 
in the sacrificial feast. The family, instead of preparation to 
retire to rest, as the shades of evening fall, are all, strange 
enough, preparing as for a journey. There are, doubtless, many 
uneasy thoughts — some nervous trembling, under the mys- 
terious warning that every house unsprinkled with blood shall 
bewail that night, in bitterness, its first-born. For the Angel 
of death shall spread his wings on the night breeze, and touch 
with bhght and withering the pride of every unbelieving house- 
hold. And the terrible events that have been transpiring in 
Egypt have come to the ears of the people. Here are all 
the elements of the gospel warnings and of the threatened 
woe of which it warns. What think you, judging from 
what we see of the reception of the gospel message now, 
was the reception then, by the variety of characters that 
heard it in the land of Goshen ? Let us analyze a little the 
conf2;re2:ation of Israel. 

1. Here is one, representative of a numerous class, who, 
after all, looks on with stolid iudifference at the preparation 
scene durinor the afternoon. Toil and trouble hath soured 


him, or the enticements and temptations of liis position under 
the Egyptian taskmaster have made ]iim very sceptical upon 
the whole subject of the covenant with Abraham. It seems 
very strange to him that if Jehovah had contracted to be 
specially their God, he should leave them to such a lot. As 
to Moses and Aaron, and their assurance of Jehovah's 
remembrance of his covenant, and the wonders they have 
been doing ; all the good that has come of it has been to 
irritate the taskmasters and double their labour. He will 
buy no lamb : has other uses for his money ; or has no 
money ; and, as to this new zeal about religion that has 
seized the people and this new sort of w^orship, it seems very 
absurd. They seem all to be getting ready in haste for depar- 
ture, forgetting that the Egyptians may have something to 
say on that subject. He looks on in moody silence, or scoffs 
and jests at the blood sprinkling. He will sprinkle no blood. 
But, as Moses has proclaimed /ree^Zom for you, is it not worth 
trying ? 

2. This one again is no scoffer : he has great respect for 
Moses and Aaron : admires their patriotic spirit and their 
boldness in speaking to Pharoah ; hopes they will yet worry 
him into measures ; yet thinks this new zeal about religion a 
little excessive ; and indeed can see no particular connection 
between sprinkling the blood on the door, and the promised 
safety from the very curious pestilence which, it is said, is 
about to come upon the whole CDipire. He therefore sprinkles 
no blood. The reasoning is not very logical, though that of 
those who pretend they can accept only a logical religion. 
For if Moses and Aaron are not from Jehovah, they arc 
terrible impostors, merely making trouble ; and deserve none 
of that respect which you affect for them. If they, on tlie 
contrary, are from Jehovah, and recognized as such, why 
acknowledge Jehovah's authority in the general and yet void 
it in all the particulars ? 



But with the unbelievers and the critics, in their several 
varieties, who sprinkle no blood, we have less concern than 
with the various workings of laith in those who obey. 

3. This one, we may imagine, though he obeys the call, 
sees not very clearly why it should be done, nor comprehends 
very clearly the meaning of the act. Yet he is thoroughly 
alarmed at the impending danger. And under the impulse 
of fear, together with a disposition to obey the commands of 
Jehovah, he sprinkles the blood. Very likely he will display 
unusual zeal and earnestness in doing it ; and, to make assur- 
ance the greater, will be very punctilious in performing the 
sprinkling in the most imposing and solemn manner. Likely 
he will add to the act of sprinkling any very mysterious and 
impressive forms that he may have seen the Egyptian priests 
use, or some of the traditional practices of religion which have 
come down from his ancestors beyond the Euphrates — good 
old pious customs that Terah's family practiced, or which 
were favourites in Laban's household. In his mind the blood 
struck upon the door posts has the character of a magical 
charm to keep away spirits of evil and disease and death. 
Yet he has faith enough, with all his darkness of mind, to 
sprinkle the blood, and is safe. For the gospel nowhere tells 
us just what degree of error is compatible with salvation, if it 
be not error that keeps one from sprinkling the blood. 

4. Or this one, again, of less superstition but of more rest- 
less and speculative turn, cannot drive from his thoughts the 
query of the scoffer '' what good can that spot of blood on 
the door post do ?" It rings in his ears and puzzles his 
thoughts continually. It almost tempts him to reject the 
whole thing as a visionary dream or imposture. But then his 
consciousness of many a short-coming and many a transgres- 
sion makes him feel that if death should come lie surely 
deserves it, and cannot escape it by anything he can do. 
With a very weak faith — nay seemingly, a doubting and self- 
contradictory faith — he sprinkles the blood and is safe. 


5. Or here is a genuine child of faithful Abraham, who has 
sometimes obtained a ghmpsc of the great truth involved in 
the shed blood, and experienced, in view of it, inexpressible 
comfort and peace. But the weakness of the flesh, and the 
temptations of sin, and the harassing cares of life have over- 
shadowed his spiritual vision, and hidden the light from his 
view. The remembrance of many a sin returns and sits heavily 
upon his conscience, and thereby darkens his views of the great 
doctrine of the atonement for sin. But still, at the command 
of Jehovah, through Moses and the elders, he prepares the 
lamb, and sprinkles the blood. Yet as the shades of night 
thicken, and all are waiting in anxious suspense for the blow 
of vengeance and of deliverance, imagination is busy, and fears 
and terrors, as dark spirits, rise from the depths of his soul. 
And now unbelief suggests in view of the array of past sins 
which memory parades before him, " can a little blood, sprinkled 
on the door post, blot out siicli sins ?" Can the mere accept- 
ance of such a call and command from Jehovah purge the 
conscience of such guilt ? However this blood might avail for 
the sins of the poor wretch who under the burden of transgres- 
sion cries out, for the first time, to Jehovah in his distress, — 
yet can it avail for one who hath proved faithless to vows, 
and buried out of sight his very covenant, under *' a mnltitude 
of transgressions ?" 0, thou of little faith ! Hast thou not 
listened to the promise ? He said not — " when I find a tene- 
ment wherein there is no sin, I will pass over." Nor — " when 
I find one who has, on the whole, not gone far astray, I will 
pass over." Nor — '' when I find a strong and active faith 
like Abraham's, I will pass over" — but, " when I see the 


Sayest thou, doubting soul, — " But I have no faith, and 
therefore have no ground of hope in that blood," — Well, let 
us test that point. Go, then, wash off the blood from the door 
post, and risk the great crisis of the judgment night without 


it ! Wilt thou ? Not for all the kingdoms of the world and 
all the glory of them. And why not, if thou hast no faith in 
it that makes it availing for thee ? 

Sayest thou — " But I am unholy in affections, unfit for 
the society of the redeemed and the holy angels." Well, 
come, let us test that point also. Assume, then, thou art 
swept off with the corrupt, and vile, and godless ones of 
Egypt into hell ! What wilt thou do there ? How employ 
the time — or rather the eternity? In yearning after the 
Father's house ? In efforts to proclaim the mercies and the 
faithfulness of the God of Abraham ? In efforts to persuade 
tlie spirits doomed in the eternal prison still to love him and 
adore him ? Then hell itself shall have become heaven ! 
Shame upon thy doubts and fears, thou of little faith ! 

6. Here is another type of faith. The strong, heroic faith, 
of the true child of Abraham. It relies upon that blood and 
nothing else ; simply because, as memory recalls sins and 
conscience accuses terribly, faith still sprinkles the blood. 
The preparation being made with solemn cheerfulness and 
joy, as night draws on the holy supper is eaten with high 
discourse of the wonders of Jehovah's goodness in calling 
Abraham, at first, out from among the idolatries beyond the 
Euphrates, and binding himself in a covenant with him ; His 
long suffering mercies to Isaac and Jacob, and Joseph, are 
perhaps, dwelt upon. His mercies, amid all the afflictions of 
Israel are recalled to mind. As the hour of judgment 
approaches, with staff in hand, and "feet shod Avith the 
preparation of the gospel," he is ready to move at a moment's 
warning. Nay, should he see the very angel of death 
approaching his dwelling, it could excite no terror in him ; 
for such is the confidence in Jehovah's word, that he could 
calmly and exultingly point to the blood, and shout, " Pass- 
over ; Passover" — for so hath Jehovah commanded ! 

7. And, finally, we may well suppose also that, in that 


hour of the revival of Jehovah's true children, there may 
have been the case of some poor apostate sinner of Israel, 
TV'hom the fears, or the allurements of Egypt have turned 
aside from all faith in the covenant with Abraham to utter 
carelessness and thoughtlessness in reference to Jehovah, now 
awakened to great concern, through the general excitement 
and concern of the people. On this afternoon, we may well 
suppose tlie enquiry suggests itself, to many, under the warn- 
ing of the angel of death about to come, will that blood on 
the door post avail for any but Israelites who have stood fast 
to the covenant ? And the inquiry is heard from every 
quarter, men and brethren of Israel, what shall we do ? Is 
it worth while for such as we — apostates — the very chief of 
sinners — to prepare the lamb, and sprinkle the blood ? Shall 
those who have broken the solemn covenant of Jehovah with 
Abraham be allowed to become parties to the new covenant? 
If there were such, the answer from every true Israelite, 
doubtless was — " Yes ! Come on, and strike the blood upon 
the door post. Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall 
become as wool, by the sprinkling of this blood ! Jehovah 
goes not behind the covenant to search for proof against you. 
He will remember your sins no more. For he looks only to 
faith's seal to the instrument — saying, ' when I see the 



CONVICT OF sin; its ritual to teach the taking 


TYPE OF Christ's spiritual commonwealth. 

Exodus xix. 3-7; xx, 1-lT ; xxiv. 7-9 and xxix. 38-42. — Thus shalt 
thou say to the house of Jacob, and toll the children of Israel : Ye have 
seen Avhat I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, 
and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice 
indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto 
me ; and ye shall be a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. 

And Moses came and called the elders of the people, and laid before their 
faces all these words which the Lord commanded him. 

And God spake all these Avords, saying, I am the Lord thy God, which 
have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 
Thou shalt have no other gods before me. 

And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord. And he took the book of 
the covenant and read in the audience of the people ; and they said, All 
tliat the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient. And Moses took the 
blood and sprinkled it upon the people, and said, Behold the b!ood of the 
covenant, which the Lord hath made with you ccnceruing all these words. 

Then went up Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and xVbihu, and seventy of the 
elders of Israel ; and they saw the God of Israel. 

NoAV this is that which thou shalt offer upon the altar; two lambs of the 
first year day by day continually . . . a continual burnt offering through-* 
out your generations, etc. 

Deut. V. 2, 3, 22. — The Lord our God made a covenant with us in lloreb. 
The Lord made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us 
who are all alive this day. These words the Lord spake unto all your 
assembly in the mount . . . and he added no more. And he wrote them 
in two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me. 

Deut. vi. 1, 4, P. — Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and 
the judgments ; . . . Hear, Israel ; the Lord our God is one Lord ; and 
thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all tliy heart, and with all tliy soul 
and with all thy might. 

Deut. x. 1. — At that time the Lord said unto me : Hew the two tables 
of stone, like unto the fust, and come up unto me in the mount, and make 


thee an ark of wood. . . . And he wrote on the tables according to the 
first writing, the ten commaudments which the Lord spake unto you in the 
mount out of the rnidst of the fire in the day of the assembly, and the Lord 
gave them unto me. And I turned myself and came down from the mount 
and i)ut the tables into the ark which I had made, and behold there they 
be, as the Lord commanded me. 

Gal. iii. 17, 19, 24. — The covenant which was confirmed before of God 
in Christ, the law which was four hundred and thirty years after cannot 
disannul, that it should make the promise of none efi^ect. 

Wherefore then serveth the law ? It was added because of transgres- 
sion, until the seed should come. 

Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that 
we might be justified by faith. 

Forty-five clays after the covenant with its passover seal 
to redeem his chosen people, in connection with the last of 
the marvellous judgments upon the Egyptians, this body, 
consisting of two or three milHons of people, is found, not on 
the borders of Canaan as they might easily have been within, 
the time, but in an opposite direction. They have moved 
south-eastward to that waste desert around Mount Sinai, far 
southward in the peninsula between the northern arms of the 
Ked Sea. IIow thoroughly they are here segregated, apart 
from the habitable world, and alone with Jehovah, — as indi- 
cated in the saying of the text, '' I bare you on eagles' 
wings and brought you unto myself" — you may form some 
conception from the graphic picture of the scene of their 
present encampment by the American traveller Stephens : — 
" The mountains become here more and more striking, 
venerable and interesting. Not a shrub or a blade of grass 
grew on their naked sides, deformed with gaps and fissures 
Before us towered in awful grandeur, so high 
and dark that it seemed close to us and barring all further 
progress, the end of my pilgrimage — the holy mountain of 
Sinai. Among all the stupendous works of nature not a 
place can be selected more fitted for the exhibition of 
Almighty power. 


'" It is a perfect sea of desolation. The crumbling masses 
of granite all around, and the distant view of tlie Syrian 
desert, with its boundless waste of sands, form the wildest 
and most dreary, the most terrific and desolate picture that 
tlie imagination can conceive." 

Sucli then was the spot to which they were suddenly trans- 
ferred, as if on eagles' wings, from the exuberant fertility 
of Goshen to be alone with Jehovah. The scene and tlie 
circumstances of their isolation are important elements in 
the exposition of the great covenant transaction which now 
occurs between Jehovah and his newly redeemed Church. 
For so describing it as a Church, I but repeat the words of 
the martyr Stephen : " This is he that was in the Church m 
the wilderness J ^ 

Beyond doubt, the strange jumble of ideas in the popular 
mind, and, indeed, in the minds of not a few learned critics, 
concerning the law given at Sinai, and its relation to the 
gospel and the Christian Church, arises, in large part, from 
overlooking the fact that this whole transaction is another 
covenanting between Jehovah and his " Church in the wilder- 
ness." Not, indeed, such sacramental covenant as that of 
circumcision, organizing the visible Church, nor that of the 
passover, covenanting for the redemption of the chosen body, 
but still a formal covenant providing for the spiritual nurture 
and growth in grace of the redeemed Church. 

These loose notions — whether of the popular mind or of 
the Rationalistic interpreters — tliat the law given at Sinai is 
merely some vague moral precepts delivered to mankind at 
large, together with some semi-political laws organizing a 
Church, or, rather, something half Church and half state, and 
an elaborate ritual, with all of which the Christian Church has 
no particular concern — arc the more surprising, since both 
the record, in the 10th chapter of the preliminary prepara- 
tion for delivering and receiving the first revelation from 


Sinai, and the record, in the 24th chapter, of what was done 
with it when thus received, most expressly declare that it was 
delivered to the Church, as Church, already organized ; that 
the preparation for it was through a council or synod of the 
" elders " of the congregation ; and after the delivery it was 
solemnly executed, as a covenant, between Jehovah and the 
Church. And after thus solemnly adopting, by covenant act, 
the first revelation, consisting of the ten commandments, with 
an exposition of the application of their principles to the 
intercourse between God and man in worship, and man and 
man in ordinary aifairs, tlicn " went up Moses, and Aaron and 
seventy of the elders," representing the Church, to a sacri- 
ficial feast in the presence of Jehovah in the mount, prepar- 
atory to the extended revelation concerning establishing the 
tabernacle of Jehovah their king among them, and the duties 
of the priests, his courtiers. Then^ again, when the palace 
was prepared, " according to the pattern shown in the mount," 
Jehovah descended and took possession of it ; and thence- 
forth, from that tabernacle, Moses received all the details of 
the Levitical law of worship ; of eccl6siastical law to govern 
the Cluirch ; and of civil and constitutional laws for the gov- 
ernment of the peculiar theocratic state established- to be the 
type of Christ's spiritual and everlasting kingdom. 

This simple reference to the facts of the successive reve- 
lations at Sinai, recorded in Exodus and Leviticus ; together 
with the fact that in Numbers are recorded such ordinances 
as the incidents of administration, during the vvanderings, 
gave rise to ; and that Deuteronomy contains simply a sum- 
mary of the previous ordinances made thirty-nine years 
afterward, with a view to adapt them to the settled state 
of the nation, now soon to take place, will be found to relieve 
mucli of the confusion of ideas on this subject. And a care- 
ful reading of the whole, under the light of this statement, 
will make manifest that Moses did not organize a Jewish 


Clmrcli 1)y revelation from Sinai, as the popular concejjtion 
hath it, but found the Church fully organized with its govern- 
ment of elders, at the time of his call. For to these elders 
he came with his credentials (Ex. iv. 29) ; to these elders 
he revealed the sacrament of tlie passovcr (Ex. xii. 21) ; 
and before these elders, in council or synod, he laid the 
message of Jehovah, and through them made preparation 
for the meeting of the congregation before the Lord at Sinai 
(Ex. xix. 7). And not only was the Church organized with 
elders to govern it, before the law at Shiai, but there Avere 
also priests already recognized in the congregation assembled 
at the mount, before giving the law (Ex. xix. 22, 24). 
Neither is it true that, by this revelation, given at Sinai, 
Moses organized the Jewish civil commonwealth, with its 
magistracy for secular affairs ; for he found a civil govern- 
ment organized, before the giving of the law. And it was 
not by suggestion of revelation, but on the suggestion of 
Jetbro his father-in-law that the magistracy was appointed. 
This was done as a matter of common sense and natural 
reason, just as the magistracy of any other civil common- 
wealth is appointed. And, indeed, the careful student of 
Moses will discover, throughout his system of ordinances for 
Israel, that, though in both the Jewish state and Jewish Church 
Jehovah ruled as Head, being served by its citizens as their 
King, as well as worshipped by them in theircapacity of Church 
members as God, still the distinction between that which is 
political and that which is ecclesiastical is kept up far more 
carefully than in most modern Christian states, and in the 
conceptions of many modern Christian people. So that, even 
were there any apology for the modern blunder of citing, as 
precedents for a purely secular government, the ordinances 
of a Theocratic cammon wealth, established for the specific 
purpose of furnishing [i type of the great spiritual kingdom 
of Jesus Christ, still there could not be found, in the Mosaic 


'inauces, either precedent or apology for most of that con- 
ling of powers secular and powers spiritual which has so 
often in modern ages brought both the Church and the state 
to the verge of ruin. 

You are ready now to ask — What then is the nature and 
purpose of the Sinai revelations : and what place and relation 
-do they hold in the gospel system ? 

The answer to this question is not left to our conjecture 
■or to mere ingenious inference. In much fuller detail than 
in the case of any of the preceding revelations is the whole 
matter expounded for us by the scriptures themselves. 

This is a covenant transaction, and this law, so called,' 
constitutes simply the stipulations of that covenant. So it is 
expressly declared of it, " The Lord our God made a cov- 
enant with us at Horeb." It was ratified formally, as a 
covenant, when first received, the people being called upon' 
solemnly to swear it, after it had been written down in a book. 
To give it still more solemn and venerable form the fundamental 
truths of it were engrossed upon stone by the hand of Jehovah 
himself. When, after this, the people violated all its solemn 
stipulations, by the idolatry of the golden calf, Moses under- 
stood the covenant to be annulled, and therefoi-e destroyed 
the divine autograph of it. When they were pardoned 
and their relations to Jehovah were restored, it was again 
divinely written and deposited in the chest or ark, upon the 
•cover of which the throne of Jehovah's visible presence was 
placed, hence called the ark of the covenant ; and thus it was 
preserved to after generations as the perpetual reminder 
that they were in covenant with Jehovah. 

It was a covenant with this body of people, as a Church, 
the body organized by the covenant with Abraham, and its 
redemption guaranteed in the passover covenant. In speak- 
ing of the body as the Church we are but repeating, as I 
have said, the Avords of the martyr Stephen in Acts vii. 38, 


" This is he that was in the Churcli in the wilderness, v 
the an'^el that spake to him in Blount Sinai with our tb> 
who received tlic lively oracles to give unto us." And that 
this is no mere figure of speech is plain enough from tha 
reference of this covenant back to the covenants with Abra- 
ham and the passover covenant, as fulfilled and further 
carried out by this covenant. 

It Avas a covenant with this Church as a representative body^ 
standing for the Church of all succeeding ages. Moses, forty 
years after, when this generation that stood before Sinai had 
all perished, expressly says to the next generation, " The 
Lord made this covenant not with our fathers hut ivitli us, 
even us ivho are .all here alive this dai/.^^ By parity of 
reasoning the Church that stood at Sinai, thus representing 
one, represented all succeeding generations. And, accord- 
ingly thenceforth in the succeeding ages, including that of 
the Apostles, the inspired teachers regarded the Church as 
still under this covenant. And you will observe how, under 
the New Testament dispensation Stephen expressly says^ 
" Our fathers received the lively oracles to give unto usy 
That is, they stood there as representing us. 

It was a covenant ivholly spiritual in its significancy . Moses^ 
just as Jesus afterward, sums up its provisions in the generali- 
zation, " Love the L(yd thy God with all thy mind, soul and 
strength." And the Apostle expressly argues that, so far 
from disannulling the previous covenant of spiritual blessings 
with Abraham, as the representative father of all who believe, 
and who thus constitute the true circumcision, it is intended 
to include that covenant, and both confirm and develop more 
fully its provisions of spiritual blessing. 

As to the end and purpose of this Sinai law covenant, the 
Apostle Paul not only leaves no room for uncertainty or 
further need of exposition after his clear and elaborate expo- 
sition in the epistles to the Romans, the Galatians and the 


Hebrews, but expressly ans^Yers the r|uestIon, — '' Wherefore 
then serveth the law ?'' m these explicit terms — " It was 
added because of transgression until the seed (promised 
in the Eden and the Abrahamic covenants) should come. 
Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us to 
Christ — that ive might be justified by faith." 

The substance of the wdiole matter, therefore, is this: 
That as the covenant with Adam, for the blessing of a divine 
human Redeemer to restore a part of the race through 
vicarious atonement, was more distinctly developed in the 
covenant with Noah, establishing the blessing in the line of 
Shem ; and both these, again, more fully developed in the 
covenant with Abraham establishing the blessing in the line 
of Isaac, and organizing the redeemed body as a Church 
settled in a" promised inheritance ; and all three of these, 
again, more fully developed in the passover covenant, bring- 
ing out more distinctly the engagement to redeem this Church 
by faith in atoning blood ; so now this Sinai covenant is a 
still fuller development, in detail, of all the preceding cove- 
nants, intended to teach and to produce a conscious conviction 
of the need of a vicarious atonement ; the method of applying 
its benefits by faith for the pardon of sin, and purification of 
the nature ; and the relation of the believers to their Redeemer, 
as king and head of an organized comiiion wealth. 

With this general view of the nature and purpose of the 
Sinai gospel kept distinctly before you, these last four books 
of jNIoses — instead of presenting, as they may have done 
hitherto, a somewhat confused medley of precepts and promi- 
ses, ethical, ritual, ecclesiastical and civil ; and all of uncer- 
tain application to Christianity — will be found to assume a 
simple and natural logical order, each portion in its proper 
place, and perfectly adapted to its special end. First, a 
general code of ethics covering the whole ground of man's 
relation to God on the one hand, and to his fellows on the 


other (Ex. xx). This folloAvcd bj a divine annotation on 
this general abstract code, illustrative of its application to all 
the practical relations of man in life, as Avorshippers of Jeho- 
vah, as social beings in civil society, and as members of a 
peculiar spiritual society (Ex. xxi.-xxiii.). This being re- 
ceived and formally adopted by covenant (Ex. xxiv.), then 
an extended revelation, expounding the construction of a 
typical palace in which Jehovah proposes to have " the taber- 
nacle of God among men" (Ex. xxv. xl). This constructed 
and taken possession of by Jehovah, then an extended reve- 
lation, from his palace, of a ritual of worship which shall teach 
all the particulars of the application, by faith of the vicarious 
atone aent, and the purification of the life by faith which 
^' works by love and purifies the heart ;" together with certain 
modifications of the social and civil law already existing so as 
to mould the civil commonw^ealth itself hito a prophetic testi- 
mony to the coming of a Redeemer and a type of his spiritual 
kingdom (Lev. i. xxvii). To which is added a brief historical 
account of the administration under this system in the wilder- 
ness (Numbers i-xxxvi); and then a summary rehearsal, 
after forty years, with certain additions and modifications 
needful to adapt it to the settled state upon which the people 
w^ere then about to enter. (Deut. i-xxxiv). 

I thus repeat the outline and order of this Sinai revelation 
here that you may have it distinctly before you preparatory 
to a summary analytical statement of the purposes aimed at 
in making this revelation. 

These people standing at the base of Mount Sinai, are to 
be contemplated in three different relations, with reference to 
each of which these laws were given. 

First ^ they stood as men representative of all men of the 
Adam race, and, like Adam, creatures owing duties to God 
and to his other creatures. 

Second^ as the chosen, organized, spiritual body under the 


covenant with Abraham, constituting them Jehovah's peculiar 
people, and him their God. 

Third, as a social and civil organization which is to possess 
a country guaranteed to them as an inheritance for a special 

Contemplated in the tirst aspect, they needed a moral law, 
or ethical rule of life, definitely pointing out their duties to 
God and man, in order that the comparing of their life with 
it may directly fasten conviction upon the conscience. Such 
a law of two tables they received, first as the foundation of 
all other laws which are but the detailed application of its 
principles. Its provisions are arranged with marvellous 
logical method, so as to be exhaustive on the subject of moral 
duty. Those concerning God, the invisible, begin with the 
invisible acts of the heart, and proceed outwards to the 
words and deeds of the life ; those concerning man, visible, 
begin with the outward deeds and proceed inwardly to the 
desires of the heart. The substance of the ten commands 
is, thou shalt worship God only ; in his appointed way only ; 
using his name reverently in worship only ; specially worship 
him at his appointed times ; worship and honour father and 
mother, his representatives, and at the same time types of a;ll 
that earthly authority which he has delegated for social order ; 
nor shalt thou injure thy fellow man either in deed^ against 
his life, affections or property — in woixl, against his reputation 
— nor in desire, against anything that is his. 

So perfect and exhaustive is this ethical code, few as its 
words are, and simple, that the human mind can conceive of 
no moral act, or impulse that comes not under one or other 
of its categories. Yet, in order to aid men in making the 
application of it to the practical duties and relations of life, 
its divine author vouchsafed to append a scries of practical 
applications of it by way of general illustration, to questions 
of duty, social, civil, ritual, ecclesiastical — as contained in 
the twentieth to twenty-fourth chapters of Exodus. 


Contemplated in the second aspect, as the chosen and 
organized spiritual body under the covenant with Abraham, 
they needed — not an ecclesiastical constitution organizing 
tliem, for that they already had ; nor a theological creed and 
ritual of worship, for that they also had already — but a further 
development of their ecclesiastical constitution, adapting it to 
their new condition ; and a fuller detail of their theology and 
ritual, in order to set forth more clearly, by its symbols, both 
the objective theology of redemption by atonement, and the 
subjective theology of that atonement, applied by the faith of 
the individual, to the renewal and purification of his nature. 
Such an adaptation of their ecclesiastical constitution they 
received, in various incidental precepts and enactments ; and 
such an expansion of the ritual, in the elaborate detail of 
Leviticus, with incidental precepts and enactments elsewhere. 

Contemplated in the third aspect of a social organization 
to dwell together as a nation — they needed not organization 
and a political constitution, for that they already had. And 
had it been the purpose of Jehovah to leave them simply 
an ordinary civil community, Avith his church established 
among them, there would have been no revelation of civil law, 
save by way of illustrating and applying the moral law as before 
mentioned. They w^ould have modified and changed their 
civil polity as experience and the counsels of wise statesmen, 
such as Jethro might suggest ; just as any other people under 
the guidance of natural law and reason may modify their 
civil laws. But it being the purpose of Jehovah to dwell 
among them, by his visible presence, and to constitute this 
political commonwealth a type of the great spiritual common- 
wealth over Avhich he specially rules, as his people, and to 
Ijo a perpetual prophecy of the coming INIessiah, it was needful 
to introduce various modifications of their civil code with 
reference to that purpose. Hence those peculiar laws forbid- 
ding the alienation of their lands by any family, or the aliena- 



tion permanently, of his liberty by any Israelite ; hence the 
exceptional command to marry a brother's widow, contrary 
to the general law forbidding marriage within that degree ; 
with all the modiacations of rights of property and person 
which grew out of these. Hence the various ordinances 
making idolatry, consultation of evil spirits, false prophecies, 
etc., treasonable. Hence, in short, the whole of those pecu- 
liar principles of civil law in the Mosaic code, and in the 
administration under it, which have so often been perverted 
by being applied as precedents in ordinary civil governments; 
as though Jehovah had covenanted with these civil govern- 
ments to dwell among them as their theocratic king ; or, as 
though Jehovah purposed to make some one of these model 
governments of modern times a type and a perpetual prophecy 
of his coming to the earth. It is, manifestly, from this con- 
fusion of ideas concerning the spiritual import of the Mosaic 
civil institutions that men get the precedents whereby they 
confound together the spiritual and the secular powers ; — 
though, even in the Mosaic institutes, these powers are care- 
fully kept asunder, so far as they could be, under that pecu- 
liar theocracy — and by this confusion perpetually endanger 
both civil and religious liberty. 

That the Sinai revelations did not organize a civil and polit- 
ical system, but only make some modifications of a comm.on 
law system already existing, is manifest not only from the fact 
that no such civil and political system, as a system, is found 
in them ; but from the further fact that, finding such common 
law usages among the people, as the goel, or blood revenge, 
and polygamy, descended to them from the patriarchal con- 
stitution, the law of Moses simply modified, restrained, and 
ameliorated their application. Ho made of the one a great 
gospel type, by instituting cities of refuge, in which the man- 
slayer should be protected against the wild impulses of passion 
in the avenger of blood. In the other case he interposed 


lei^al forms to protect tlio wlib from tlio passioiiato iuipuLscs 
of the husband. Jesus expressly declares, '' Moses for the 
hardness of your hearts gave you this precept " of the civil 
law. He aimed to correct an abuse of a common laAV usai^e 
from the patriarchy ; he did not first ordain divorce or the 
usage of polygamy out of which that common law of divorce 

But while, for purposes of analysis and exposition, we may 
thus contemplate the Sinai covenant as aiming to meet the 
three-fold aspect of the body with whom it was made, viz : — 
men, as men, as church members, and as citizens of a pecu- 
liar civil commonwealth ; we must not forget that, in its great 
practical aspect, these divisions all merge together, and, prac- 
tically, it is to be considered in its two-fold character of a law 
to convict of sin, and a gospel to teach the pardon and justi- 
fication of the sinner by faith, and that a faith which purifies 
the heart. In this view it is, on the one hand, a law of com- 
mandments '• exceeding broad, reaching to the thoughts and 
intents of the heart," with divine annotations showing the 
apphcation of its precepts to every relation of man as a 
creature of God, and as a social being with relations to his 
fellow men. On the other hand, it sets before the convicted 
sinner, in fullest detail, the gospel salvation by symbols and 
types. The perpetual daily offering of the lamb upon the 
altar is its central symbol, and, around that ancient figure 
of the old covenants, is arranged, in eloquent symbols, the 
whole subjective process of salvation — faith, purification — 
consecration to Jehovah. It is law^ but not antithetical to 
the gospel, or as contrasted with the doctrines of Jesus and his 
Apostles. It is law and gospel both. Nay the very law 
itself is grounded upon an evangelical motive, " I am Jeho- 
vah thy God who brought thee out of the land of Egypt" — 
who have redeemed thee, and entitled myself to grateful ser- 
vice and obedience — therefore worship me only ; in the 


appointed way only ; naming me in reverent worship only ; 
worship at the appointed times ; and render due worship to 
my representatives and the type of that order I have appointed 
for society ; nor in deed, nor word, nor desire, do any injury to 
thy fellows. Hence, that which is most distinctively ethical 
in the Sinai revelations is yet distinctly evangelical in tho 
"•round and motive of obedience. And that which is ethico- 


litual is intensely evangelical in all its forms and ideas — ai5 
you may readily see in Bonar's or Seiss' or any other popular 
expositions of the Mosaic ritual. 

Our habit of conceiving of this ancient ritual as merely a 
dark and mysterious hinting at a salvation yet to be revealed, 
goes far beyond the Apostle's meaning in describing the law 
as " having a shadow of good things to come." He says this 
with special reference to the error of those who msisted on 
clinging to the ancient prophetic mode of presenting Christ 
crucified to a faith which had yet to look forward to Christ's 
first coming as we now look forward to Christ's second 
coming ; whereas, Christ having come, and faith having to 
look backward historically, the symbols designed as pro- 
phetic speech of him are not only needless, but the use of 
them, after their purpose is accomplished, can only tend to 
obscure the view of Christ ; and the desire to use them can 
arise only from the dangerous error of resting in the external 
symbol without penetrating to its internal spiritual sense. 
This is the clue to the interpretation of all that Jesus first, 
and Paul after him, had to say on the subject of the Sinai 
law ; viz, that they had need to contend, perpetually, with 
men who saAV not the real meaning of the law which they ex- 
tolled so ; and who would feed the people, not upon the 
internal kernel of truth, but upon the husks containing it, out 
of which they had suffered the kernel to drop and disappear 
from view. 

It was not that the Sinai gospel was intended to veil the 


wrutlis of salvation, as from men avIio might not be able to 
appreciate and feel their spiritual power, tliat Jehovah choose 
to write it in tlicse symbols projecting all their shadows toward 
the great central Cross. It arose from the nature of the case, 
and out of a reason in the very nature of the human mind. 
The gospel that instructs a faith which must look forward, 
prophetically, to a future not yet actualized, must speak 
through ?yml)ols rather than in Uteral language, in order to 
be comprehensible to the human understanding, which can 
neither conceive nor utter its thoughts of the future save in 
symbols, types and analogies. This you see even in the New 
Testament. All is literal enough so far as relates historically 
to Christ and salvation ; but when it comes, as in the last 
book of the New Testament, to develop the future of the 
gospel kingdom and the second coming of Christ, precisely 
as in the Old Testament, all become symbols and types. 
The believers of the Old Testament age had, of necessity, to 
be taught by symbols concerning the first coming of Christ, 
just as believers now can be taught only by symbols concern 
ing the second coming of Christ. In ordaining that gospel 
ritual of shadowy symbols, Jehovah, in accordance with his 
usual method of revelation, accommodated himself to the 
habits of thought common among men. The saints guided 
by Moses were taught, in the prophetic language which they 
could best understand, precisely the same gospel truths 
which Avere taught the saints guided by Paul in the historical ( 
language which they could best understand. Having in 
literal terms, therefore, furnished a law of life to convict of 
sin, far more clear and in detail than any previous revelation, 
the Sinai Covenant proceeds also, far more clearly and in 
detail than ever before, not only to hold up as heretofore 
tue gospel provision for sin in atoning blood ; but the gospel 
instructions for the application of that provision to the con- 
science of the sinner by faith — the cleansmg of the heart to 


which such faith leads, and the consecration of the life to 
the Redeemer. Thus the gospel according to Moses differs 
neither in creed nor practical rehgion from the gospel 
according to Jesus and Paul, but only in the language in 
which, from the necessity of the case, it had to find utterance. 
The argument against the papal and semi-papal ritualism 
of modern times, which proposes by the authority of the 
Church merely to set up symbols in w^orship for teaching 
religious truth and assisting devotion, it will be perceived, 
runs much deeper than any mere reason of inexpediency or- 
impolicy in matters of indifference. For the error of these 
modern symbols, as appendages to the ordinances of worship 
is, in principle, exactly the error of the Judaizers against 
whom Jesus first, and after him Paul contended so earnestly. 
It is the error of bringing back the cumbrous machinery 
absolutely necessary to meet the special difficulties of teach- 
ing a gospel whose great facts w^ere yet prophetic, and of 
substituting this in place of that simple, direct, literal teach- 
ing w^hich alone is necessary, and therefore alone is proper in 
exhibiting the great facts of the gospel now become historic. 
It is an attempt to force in symbols where there is no place 
for them, and therefore where the use of them can have no 
other effect than to encumber and hinder the communication 
of truth. Moreover the very attempt itself, and the zeal 
with which it is prosecuted, evinces clearly that those who 
make it perceive not the grand internal truths of the symbol 
and their significancy to the heart. That they are resting 
merely in the outward observance ; admiring the outward 
shelL without penetrating to the kernel within ; appealing to 
the imagination merely, and not to the conscience and 
spiritual nature of men. And besides this, the use concur- 
rently of two methods so unlike in their nature of conveying 
truths cannot possibly result in any other effect than to blur, 
confuse and obscure the view of' truth to the minds of the 

LAW" OR CfOSPEL OF siXAi NKVE^i ri:pi:ali:[j. \:]'j 

pco'plo ; and, as a necessary consc([ucncc, to make them lose 
sight at last of the real spiritual truth altogether, and perceive 
only the symbol itself as appealing to the imagination. The 
mind having the advantage of directly contemplating a his- 
torical " Christ crucified " is, manifesJy, not aided but hin- 
dered in its conceptions, by compelling it to use symbols, 
and thus look prophetically, and " through a glass darkly " 
at Christ crucified. 

But for more conclusive than an}^ considerations of philo- 
sophy and expediency, is the argument that there is no more 
authority in the Church for constituting a symbol, than for 
adding to the revealed truth of God. The true symbol 
must be divinel}'- framed and constituted. It is no more 
left to the vagaries of human fancy, or to rest upon mere 
human authority, than the truths it was intended to teach. 
" See," said Jehovah to Moses, " that thou make all things 
according to the pattern showed thee in the Mount." Even 
Moses was not left to his own taste and discretion, in fashion- 
ing a single cord, or loop, or tassel of the Tabernacle and its 
furniture — the symbolic palace of Jehovah, and typical at 
once of Christ the Prophet, Priest and King, present and 
ruling in his Spiritual Kingdom. The authority of God alone 
can constitute a gospel symbol. And the claim to set up a 
symbol in gospel worship, which Jehovah has not set up in 
his word, is really a claim to speak as the messenger of 
Jehovah, and to come with authority to actualize a divine 
pattern revealed to him who sets it up. It is a claim analo- 
gous to that of Mohammed, Swedenborg, or of Joe Smith. 

From this view of the gospel of the Sinai covenant, and 
of the symbols and types through which it was obliged, by 
the very nature of the human mind, to find its utterance, 
while " Christ crucified " was yet a prophetic instead of a 
historic fact — you may find your minds relieved of much of 
that obscurity which often exists, even among earnest Chris- 


tiau people, concorning the relation of this Sinai Covenaiib to 
the Church under the present dispensation. An obscurity 
which is specially unfortunate at a time when a treacherous 
infidelity labours to subvert the faith of Christians in the 
inspiration of this portion of the scriptures. The question is 
continually raised as we press the obhgations of God's law — 
" But has not this or that enactment of the Mosaic code 
been repealed by the coming in of the gospel dispensation ?" 
xind good men, labouring to run the line between the repealed 
and the unrepealed, have suggested the maxim — '• All that 
is moral stands — all that is ritual, ecclesiastical or political is 
repealed." No doubt, the principle intended to be uttered 
by this maxim is true. But it is a singularly unfortunate 
mode oi uttering the truth. If I have correctly analyzed and 
stated the nature and purposes of the Mosaic revelations, 
•then — nothing that Moses ever enacted has been rei^ealed^ 
any more than the things enacted hij Jesus or Paul. Many 
of the Mosaic enactments, practically applying principles, 
expired by limitation. As the leaves fall from the tree at 
the change of the season, having fulfilled their office, so the 
gorgeous foliage of the Sinai ritual of symbols fell away, so the 
prophetic types of the Sinai ecclesiastical and civil ordinances 
fell away when their functions were fulfilled. But the 
Divine tree itself continued a living tree, with all its func- 
tions of life in exercise, according to the times and seasons 
appointed for it, and leafed out again under the warm brec^th 
of spring — even the reviving power of the Holy Ghost at the 
opening of the dispensation of the Spirit. All the great 
gospel truths and principles of the Sinai covenant still 
stood, notwithstanding the fashion of uttering them changed, 
and the concrete ritual and typical organisms which they 
animated passed away. The eternal truths embodied in 
that typical palace of Jehovah : in that one altar of sacrifice ; 
in that altar of incense ; in the ofierings appointed for them, 


bloody and unbloody ; in that Theocratic kingdom and its 
laws of naturalization, purification and excommunication — 
all these, like tlie great Author of them, are "the same, 
yesterday, to-day, and forever." 

Hence we need capply no cautious limitations to the saying 
of Jesus, " Heaven and earth may pass away, but one jot or 
tittle of this law shall not pass away till all be fulfilled." 
Even the very jots and tittles of its ritual pass away only be- 
cause they have fulfilled their end in adapting the truth to the 
" sundry times " of the revelation of redemption. No one 
who is familiar with the reasonings of that great Apostle, 
whose specialty it was to be the Jewish iconoclast, and dash 
in pieces the narrow perverted ritualism of his age, but must 
be filled with admiration at the heights and depths of his 
inspired logic, when, planting his premises upon these old 
covenants with Adam, and Abraham and Israel at Sinai, and 
David, as the great gospel bonds in which Jehovah hath 
bound himself to secure the sinner's salvation — he proceeds 
to reason out the title of all that believe, irrespective of blood 
or nation, or age, to the benefit of those covenants as being 
represented in them. And with what majestic transcen 
dental generalization does he, in the epistle to the Hebrews, 
take the dead symbolism to which a contracted, unspiritual 
rituahsm still clings, and re-animate it with the new, fully 
developed gospel truths, until it swells out again to infinite 
proportions. As in that vision of Isaiali, the year King 
Uzziah died, he saw the teniple and all its symbols expand 
infinitely, until the golden throne of, Jehovah, on the ark of 
the covenant, was lifted up to infinite heights and breadths ; 
and the temple expanded to the dimensions of the universe ; 
and the visible symbol of Jehovah's presence on the mercy 
seat became the Jehovah actually fiUing immensity with His 
presence ; and the mysterious emblematic creatures that 
with their wings overshadowed the mercy scat, rose and 



expanded, and floated apart, veiling their faces, as one j 

shouted " Holy !'• and the other answered " Holj !" and ! 

then both in chorus sing " Holj is Jehovah, God of Hosts ; ] 

the whole earth is full of His glorj !" So these symbols of \ 

the ancient Sinai covenant, under the glowing logic of the i 

inspired Apostle, again are re-animated for us, and rise and 

swell into proportions of infinite grandeur ; till tabernacle 

and smoking altar and flowing blood, and floating cloud of ; 

incense, become so many infinite transparencies blazing with ! 

excess of fight, exhibiting to us the actual scenes transpiring | 

in the inner temple of the spiritual universe. Ko ! No ! To j 

the soul that has ever caught the inspiration of Paul's I 

New Testament logic, this cold and cautious criticism that I 

so narrowly inspects, and so sweepingly lops off the repealed 

from the unrepealed, till but a sightless stump is left, seems | 

irreverent and almost blasphemous ! | 

Brethren, this is the true spirit in which to study the i 

gospel of this Sinai covenant. It is no curious and amazing ; 

history, merely, of how Jehovah once and covenanted • 

with certain Israelites at Sinai. " Not with your fathers 

merely," said Moses, foity years afterward, " did he make < 

this cov^enant at Horeb, but witli us ivho are all alive here \ 

this day. " And said Stephen, fifteen hundred years after- ; 

wards, under this our own dispensation, " He spake in Mount I 

Sinai with our fathers loho received the lively orades to give | 

unto us.^' It is no theory of mine, therefore, but the Holy | 

Ghost's, that this Sinai law is our law. And just as truly was ! 

it with you and me, brethren, " who are all ahve this day,'' ' 

that he made that covenant. It was to you and me that he ^ 

spake these "ten words" of command, to show us our 

sin, and make us feel it. For you and me he appointed j 

that ritual of atoning sacrifice to teach us, by its beautiful ! 

symbols, how the sin is to be taken away ; for you and i 

me those typical purifications for sin and uncleanness and 


those signs and the clcansings of the leprosy ; lor you and 
mc those cities of refuge, and that singular typical common- 
wealth -with its curious laws and constitution. All this is 
just as really and truly the word o^ Jehovah to us, and as 
really deserving of our reverence, as though we had heard 
the voice of the thunders, and had seen the lightnings and 
the smoke and the shaking of the huge mountains, and 
Nature herself, half dissolved in fear, prostrating herself 
in reverent awe to attest the words of her Maker and Lord, 
as the word of the Almighty to men ! 

Say not within yourselves, surely, if we had lived in the 
days of these fathers of the Church in the wilderness, and 
seen all these wonders, avo would have believed and have 
been saved. Alas, they who did sec it, and who trembled 
at it, could soon forget it and be as rebellious as any of you ; 
yea utterly neglected and despised it and miserably perished I 
And all that for precisely the same cause that leads you to ne- 
glect it now — " the same evil heart of unbelief!" With the 
Apostle, therefore, I quote, as a warning, the reasoning of the 
Holy Ghost, by David, from this very case ; " To-day if 
ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the 
provocation in the day of temptation in the wilderness. So he 
sware in his wrath they shall not enter into my rest." 





II Samuel vii. 1, 2, 4, 5, IG, 13, 20, 24. — And it came to pass, when 
the king sat in bis house, and the Lord had given him rest round about from 
all his enemies ; that the king said unto Nathan the prophet, see now, I 
dwell in an house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains. 
And it came to pass that night that the word of the Lord came to Nathan, 
saying, go and tell my servant David, thus saith the Lord, shalt thou build 
me an house for me to dwell in ? 

And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established forever before 
thee : thy throne shall be established forever. 

Then went king David in, and sat before the Lord, and he said, who 
am I, Lord God ? and what is my house, that thou hast brought me 

And this was yet a small thing in thy sight, Lord God : but thou 
has spoken also of thy servant's house for a great while to come. And i.^ 
this the manner of man, Lord God ? And what can David say more 
unto thee? (I Chron. xvii. 17. Thou hast regarded me according to the 
estate of a man of high degree, Lord God. What can David speak 
more to thee for the honour of thy servant). For thou hast confirmed to 
thyself thy people Israel to be a people unto thee forever : and thou, Lord, 
art become their God. 

Psalm Ixxii. 1, 8, 17 and Ixxxix. 3, 4.— Give the king thy judgments, 
God and thy righteousness unto the king's son. He shall have dominion 
also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth. His 
name shall be continued as long as the Sun : and men shall be blessed in 
jim : all nations shall call him blessed. I have made a covenant with my: 


chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant. Thy seed will I establish for- 
ever, and build up thy throne to all generations. 

Luke i. 32.— Thou shalt call his name Jesus, and the Lord God shall give 
nxito him the throne of his father David : and he shall reign over the house 
of Jacob forever. 

Acts ii. 30. — Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had 
sworn with an oath to him (David), that of the fruit of his loins, according 
to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit upon his throne ; he seeing this 
before spake of the resurrection of Christ. He said on this wise (in Isaiah 
Iv. 3) I will give you the sure mercies of David. 

Tnis brief historical record of the vision of Nathan, the 
covenant with David, announced through him, and David's 
reception of the message, might well be selected to illustrate 
what has already been said in a previous discourse of the brief 
and fragmentary, yet wonderfully germinal and logical char- 
acter of these Divine revelations. To the superficial reader 
this seventh chapter of II Samuel, or its parallel passage in 
I Chron. xvii. conveys little other impression, than that 
David, now settled comfortably in his capital, gratefully 
resolves to build a more befitting and attractive palace 
for Jehovah whose vicegerent he is in reality. For unlike 
Saul, his predecessor, who, as soon as the possession of a little 
power developed the ambition and pride of his nature, sought 
to rule in his own right, and to avoid Jehovah's prophet who 
anointed him, David, once in power, grg^tefully remembers 
the marvellous loving-kindness of Jehovah, and seeks more 
and more to exalt him, as the real sovereign, in the eyes of 
the people. Whereupon Jehovah, in return, vouchsafes to 
assure him that the throne of Israel shall be hereditary in his 
family forever. But while superficial readers, and indeed 
many learned critics, see nothing profounder than this in the 
story, no thoughtful Christian reader can fail to perceive 
that this falls infinitely short of reaching the vast depths of 
its significancy. For he cannot retrace a step backward in 
the history, or advance a step forward, to ascertain the con- 


nection and scope of the narrative of the vision, -without seeing 

that this shallow view of the passage gives rise to inexplicable 

puzzles. Why should David be so overwhelmed, and lying 

prostrate, cry " Lord God, what can David say more unto 

thee ?" Why this reiteration in various forms of the terms 

*' forever," as the only limit to the throne and kingdom 

promised ? What can he mean by the exclamation '- Is 

this the manner of a man ?" Or, as in the parallel place in 

Chronicles — " thou hast regarded me according to the estate 

of a man of high degree ?" And this the more especially if 

we take the Hebrew reading of the first — " Is this the law of 

the Adam,^^ and of the second — " regarded me according to 

the order of the Adam from ahove^'' as if its parallel is the 

saying of the Apostle (I Cor. xv. 47) " The second man 

(Adam) is the Lord from heaven ?" And then, too, the 

point which seems to make the honour so overwhelming, and 

one, compared with which all that Jehovah has done hitherto, 

in raising him from the sheep-cote to a throne, seems a small 

thing, is '' thou hast spoken of thy servant's house for a 

great tvhile to corned 

Once the attention is arrested by these puzzling suggestions, 
and the mind turned to the diligent search for the solution 
of them ; by a comparison of scripture with scripture, this 
remarkable place will be found to be another of tliose suc- 
cessive germinal centres from which a whole series of 
revelations is developed — of like character with the covenant 
of grace with Adam in the lost Eden ; with Noah fixing the 
blessings in the line of Shem : with Abraham organizing the 
visible Church : with Israel in Egypt and at Sirai, developing 
definitely, and in detail, all that before had been promised. 
And this conception of the nature of the revelation once 
obtained, then all details of the narrative swell into grander 
proportions ; the vision itself and David's view of it are 
perceived to be sublimely spiritual : and, still more, the 


remarkable prominence given to this revelation through the 
whole series of prophets, forward to the close of the Old Tes- 
tament, — its prominence in the angels' annunciation of Jesus 
— and its like prominence after the opening of the dispensation 
of the Spirit, in the arguments of the Apostles, all become 
intelhgible enough to us. 

Looking backward now, first to the occasion of this revela- 
tion, it will be perceived that the sayuig " The Lord had given 
him rest round about from all his enemies," involves something 
more than the mere restoration of peace after a long civil war, 
and after fierce struggles with foreign foes. The historj, 
immediately preceding, records how David had recently taken 
this Jebus or Jerusalem, as the last stronghold of the Canaan- 
itish nation, in the land of promise. And that taken, the 
original covenant with Abraham to give to the chosen people 
the land of Canaan as an inheritance, is at length completely 
fulfilled. Four hundred and thirty years, according to the 
Apostle's chronology, elapsed from the making of the covenant 
with Abraham to raise up, in the line of Isaac, that peculiar 
nation for whom Canaan should be the natural inheritance and 
the fulfillment of that part of the covenant, in the array of a 
nation of two or three millions at Mount Sinai, to enter into 
another solemn engagement with Jehovah. And so, again, 
another four hundred and thirty years have elapsed between 
the first coming of the nation from Mount Sinai to its inheri- 
tance and the full possession thereof by the united nation 
under David in the capture of this Jebus, — which becomes 
thenceforth so prominent, through all time, as the City of 
David, Jerusalem. 

These words, therefore, " The Lord had given him rest," 
mark a great epoch in the history of redemption — even the 
complete fulfilment, in its temporal sense, of the covenant 
with Abraham concerning the peculiar nation and the land of 
inheritance. So David evidently regarded it. For now, with 


every preparation of priests and Levites for the holy office, and 
of special inspired songs of praise, he had brought up the ark 
of the covenant, and pitched its permanent abiding place in 
Jerusalem, with national singings and shoutings and dancings. 
Nor was it any mere holiday parade. The ark, with its visible 
symbol of Jehovah's presence, thus brought to Jerusalem, was 
at once the re-acknowledgment, by the nation, of Jehovah as 
their covenant king ; their witness to the unity of the nation 
in the covenant with him ; and their recognition of all their 
rights as derived from those ancient covenants to be his people 
and he their God. 

The very terms of the inspired psalm sung by the mighty 
choir, as they bear the ark to the holy hill, show how the Spirit 
of God taught both David and the people to regard it. " Be 
ye mindful always of his covenant : the words which he com- 
manded to a thousand generations ; even of the covenant 
which he made with Abraham and of his oath with Isaac : 
and hath confirmed the same to Jacob for a law, and to Israel 
for an everlasting covenant : saying, unto thee will I give the 
Land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance ; when ye were 
but few even a few, and strangers in it." 

Thus instructed as to the nature of the service they were 
engaging in, w^e may appreciate the spirit of that prophetic 
song in which, as the national procession with the ark and 
Jehovah's brightness on its cover, approached the nev;ly won 
capital, they ''lifted up the voice with joy" as the "voice of 
many Avaters" under the lead of Chenaniah, singing, — " Lift 
up your heads, ye gates, and be ye lifted up ye everlast- 
ing doors, and the King of Glory shall come in." — x\nd when 
the choir stationed under Heman or Asaph at the gate to 
receive the procession, shout back the inquiry " Who is 
this King of Glory?" the mighty shout of the glad my- 
riads that follow answers back, in a voice of music that 
shakes Mount Zion, ' The Lord, strong and mighty — the 



Lord mighty in battle — the Lord of Hosts, he is the King of 

It is very manifest, therefore, that David, and, through tlie 
inspired writings of David, the people generally, fully appre- 
ciated the greatness of the epoch marked by the conquest of 
Jerusalem and the complete possession of Canaan. They 
expressly declare their recognition of the new era in the 
recital of the covenant with Abraham and its fulfilment at last, 
in the triumphal song as they carried up the ark. Another 
cycle of the history of redemption is completed. 

And now looking backward and forward from this point, we 
discover that, on the one hand, we have the interpretation of 
all the mysteries of Providence in his dealings with the people 
since Moses, by way of preparing for this kingdom under 
David : and all the mysteries of his dealings with David, by 
way of training him, in the school of sorrow and affliction, to 
the heroic faith of Abraham as a preparation for the position 
he is noAV to occupy — a position analogous to Abraham's as 
the head of a covenant. On the other hand, looking forward 
we find here, in this revelation to David, through Nathan, the 
clue to the interpretation of all the prophecies that follow, of 
the coming of Messiah : and here also the starting point of 
that new style of thought and speech, and the new develop- 
ments of the Eden promise of the seed of the woman, which 
characterize all subsequent revelations. 

It was under this wide view of the moral position of Israel, 
after four hundred years of straggles and delays and failures, 
now in full realization of the promise fulfilled at last : and 
under the influence of the high and holy excitement of loca- 
ting the ark in Jerusalem, and reorganizing its priests and 
Levites for perpetual service before it, that this idea of a per- 
manent palace for Jehovah occurred to David. 

It was, therefore, no mere qjiestion of aesthetics as applied 
to religion, nor any mere grateful impulse of desire to show 


\ personal love for Jcliovah. It is the profound reasoning 
0' )nc "vvho sees a grand cycle of providences completed and 
of promises fulfilled, and a new era opened. It comes of 
Db. id's reasoning with himself, that if the settled state, in full 
poS' vssion of the promised inheritance, is indicated at last by 
a gc geous permanent palace for David, the king, in a perma- 
nent ;apital, then should it not be indicated also by a gorgeous 
perm ment palace for Jehovah, the real king, instead of this 
mere tent which speaks still of travel and struggle and unrest ? 
Nay .vill not the people, in their admiration of David's palace 
of cedar, lose sight of the great fact that Jehovah is the real 
king, unless his palace excites similar attention ? 

It was in response to these humble and yet profound ques- 
tions of how the ancient gospel, preached to the fathers, 
should now be adapted in its forms to the new era of the 
Canaan promise fulfilled, that this revelation through Nathan 
was made. Interpreted in this light it at once becomes plain 
and at the same time swells to a grandeur of view, and an 
infinity of reach that at once exalts it as worthy to form the 
germ from which to develop all the succeedmg prophetic 
revelations of Messiah, as a King seated upon an eternal 
throne. Now we can understand why David was overcome 
with ecstasy of emotion. Why he thought that all which 
Jehovah had done for him in raising him to a throne was a 
small thing compared with this new covenant promise. Why 
he felt himself now exalted to the position of the Adam, in 
that, like Adam and Noah and Abraham, he had been 
selected to stand as the great representative and typical man, 
and the starting point of a new covenant, in the grand series 
through which the scheme of redemption was to be developed 
to men. 

The substance of the whole transaction here is this : That 
the seed of promise in all the old covenants having now be- 
come a fully organized nation, and put in full possession of the 


promised inheritance, Jehovah now enters into a covenant with 
David whereby the nation is organized as a typical kingdom, 
and the house of David appointed to reign through successive 
generations, as typical kings, until the great Antitype should 
come to reign over that universal spiritual commonwealth 
of which the kingdom of Israel is the type. This becomes, 
therefore, a new and additional development of the relation j 
and office of the promised Deliverer to the faith of the church. 
Before, he has been revealed, in every age, as her Prophet, 
to reveal the will of God. Thus was he revealed in all th3 
Theophanies of the Patriarchal era, in the Sinai revelations, 
and in the oracles of the Theocratic era. Before, he has been 
revealed, in every age, as her Priest. So he was reveale i 
in all the varieties of the ritual of atonement by sacrifice. 
Now he is revealed also as her King, to rule his chosen people 
and conquer all enemies. And henceforth, while faith con- 
templates him none the less as Prophet and Priest, it contem- 
plates him chiefly as coming in his Kingly office to gather out 
of all nations and all ages a great spiritual kingdom as the 
result of his prophetic and priestly work. 

With this view of the revelation by Nathan and the cov- 
enant with David kept distinctly in mind, as you read the 
subsequent portions of the Old Testament, and even the New, 
you will find much of the obscurity removed which may have 
heretofore invested them. 

Thus for instance, the numerous Psalms relating to the 
king and the eternal throne which otherwise are full of dark 
sayings, often made still darker by the theories of the critics 
for interpreting them in a " double sense," or for determining 
whether they are " Messianic Psalms," all now become simple 
and easy of comprehension, as the utterances of faith founded 
upon the covenant, organizhig Israel as a type of the spiritual 
kingdom, and setting up David and his royal line as the typo 
of the Great Kinir to arise out of his line. ' Indeed it will be 


found that this covenant seems to modify all the forms of 
speech concerning the Deliverer to come. And thereby the 
intelligent Christian may, without any special knowledge of 
Biblical literature, determine in many cases whether a psalm 
was composed anterior to this covenant with David or sub- 
sequent to it, by its very style of thought and expression 
concerning the coming of Christ. If before, the forms of 
expression correspond to the language of the ancient Saints, 
anterior to David : and if after this, a new style of language 
and thought is employed almost as distinct from the former 
as is the language and thought of the gospel of Matthew 
from that of Malachi or Isaiah. 

This explains, too, the purpose and application of all those 
Psalms %'elating to the King who is to rule in righteousness, 
and the reason of that apparent confusion of time in which 
the references to the period of his reign is at first sight 
involved — seeming to shade off insensibly from the temporal 
into the eternal, and from the finite into the infinite. Just as 
the Lamb of the sacrifice ever and anon assumes the spiritual 
significancy of the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of 
the world : just as the mercy seat and the Cherubim and the 
brightness become the throne of Jehovah, with the living 
creatures, and Jehovah high and lifted up ; so, continually, 
David and the kings of his line merge ever, in the songs of 
praise and in the visions of the Prophets, henceforth, into 
the King whose " name shall endure as long as the sun, and 
his dominion from sea to sea." 

Here is the explanation of what has, no doubt, often 
puzzled many of you : namely, how to separate in idea what 
seems to be said of David, in such Psalms as the twenty- 
second, and of Solomon in such Psalms as the twenty-first, 
fortvy-fifth, and seventy-second, from what is meant to be 
said concerning:; Messiah. 

The difficulty of conceiving how David or Solomon, in any 


given case, is a type of Christ is removed by calling to mind 
that^ by this great covenant with David, he and the kings of 
his line are constituted types of the spiritual king, as Israel, 
ruled by Jehovah visibly present, is a type of the eternal 
spiritual commonwealth. 

The right comprehension of this covenant with David ex- 
plains to us also the importance of Solomon and the prominent 
place given him in the Old Testament. The question occurs 
to one reading the story of Solomon — How comes it that he 
should stand typically to represent Christ ? True he was 
very wise and learned ; but he was also very foolish and 
licentious. True he was inspired to write a portion of the 
scriptures : but so were others far less eminent than he ; and 
even Balaam was inspired to utter one of the most glorious 
of all the Old Testament prophecies. True, he w^as the 
builder of the Temple which David proposed to build, and the 
splendor and magnificence of his public works mark his reign 
as the Augustan age of Israel : but David had gathered for 
him, by his toils and conquests, the wealth which ho lavished, 
and David had organized anew the magnificent Temple ser- 
vice, all ready to be set in motion with the now Temple. 
True, his reign was a reign of peace, and filled the earth 
with the fame of the great monarch. But it was David 
whose statesmanship had re-organized the kingdom and 
appointed the whole system of administration. So far from 
being the greatest constitutional king of Israel, considered 
simply as a statesman, and politically speaking, Solomon was 
probably the worst of all the bad kings of David's line. He 
subverted the liberties of the people, and left the government 
ready to drop to pieces in the hands of his imbecile son. 
And yet great prominence is given to Solomon and his works 
as a marked era in the history of Redemption. 

It was simply this covenant w^tli David that gave Solomon 
his prominence as the executor of Jehovah's purpose revealed 


to David, for the remoulding ot tli3 national system into a 
type of that spiritual kingdom over which David's son shall 
roigu. Only as ho stood first in the line of promise accord- 
ing to the covenant with David and as an inspired writer, did 
he diiTer from any of the kings who succeeded him. 

You will observe that from this time forward the chief 
purpose of the prophetic teachings and revelations is to 
develop the nature, the functions and the destiny of this 
peculiar typical kingdom, organized by the covenant with 
David, under the administration of the great Founder and 
Kiiig typified in David's royal line. The key note to which 
t!io harp of prophecy is attuned henceforth is " Thy throne^ 
Oil God, is forever and ever, a sceptre of righteousness is the 
tceptre of thy Idngdom.'^^ The fundamental form of the 
Ciiurch's theology is moulded in this promise of a coming King 
to administer a universal kingdom. The Church gospel 
becomes a proclamation, as in Isaiah, " I will make an ever- 
lasting covenant with you according to the sure mercies of 
David." As this conception of a spiritual kingdom to come 
is that v>-ith which the series of Old Testament revelations 
closes, so it is that with which the New Testament opens, 
oksus has come to sit upon the throne of his father David, is 
the grand annunciation at the incarnation of the Son of God. 

" The kingdom of heaven is at hand " is the first New Testa- 
ment preaching. This kingdom according to the covenant 
with David, as the kingdom of heaven and kingdom of God, 
was the grand subject of the preaching of Jesus during his 
personal ministry. It furnished the charge, upon which he 
was tried and condemned, that he made himself a king. He 
denied not the accusation, but said " my kingdom is not of 
this world.'' It was this truth of his Kingship that, so far 
as his death was a martyrdom, he died to attest. Nay, his 
enemies sarcastically poured contempt upon him by placard- 
ing it upon his cross " This is the king of the Jews." The 


grand fact first proclaimed by the Apostles after his ascension 
and the outpouring of the spirit was, " Him hath God exalt- 
ed to be a Prince and a Saviour." The last vision of him 
bj mortal eye is as the " Lamb in the midst of the throne." 
And the last gospel that closes up revelation, comes from 
Jesus as " the root and the offspring of David." 

In these days of very loose notions of the Church, and of 
its nature as a distinct spiritual government, the important 
fact seems to be too commonly overlooked that the doctrine 
of Jesus as a King, and the Founder of a government, consti- 
tutes the last and highest development of the mediatorship of 
Messiah, and the chief burden of all the prophets concerning 
him from the time of the covenant with David forward. 

And while the modern theology seems to give a secondary 
place to the doctrine of the kingship of Christ, and the co- 
relative doctrine of the Church as his separate and distinct 
spiritual kingdom on earth, the scriptures, on the contrary, 
give to the Kingship of Christ a prominence greater, even, 
than to his office as Prophet and Priest of the Church. In 
fact, in the scriptures, Jesus Christ is exhibited as the 
Prophet who reveals all and the Priest who redeems all, in 
order that he may be the King that rules all. So far from 
being a mere incident of the gospel plan, or a mere deduction 
from its theology that there should be such an institution as the 
Church for the benefit of believers, ic is an essential feature 
of the scheme, to the development of which a whole era of 
revelation from David to Christ was devot, d. So far from 
coming merely as a Socrates or Plato, to teach a doctrine 
which naturally leads its disciples to band themselves together 
for mutual benefit, Jesus Chriot came as a Divine Solon, also 
to be a lawgiver and the founder of a government on the 
earth. The governmental element in this gospel scheme is 
fundamental in it, and was as carefully developed as its 
theology of atonement. Xot more elaborately did Jehovah 


institute types and symbols in the successive covenants with 
Adam and Noah and Abraham and Israel, under Moses, to 
set forth to the view of faith the great trutlis of vicarious 
atimement for sin, of a peculiar people to be gathered for 
himself out of the fallen race, and of a regeneration of the 
nature ; than did he institute special types and symbols in his 
great covenant with David, to teach that this people should 
constitute a peculiar spiritual commonwealth, with constitu- 
tion, laws and ordinances, presided over directly by the 
Mediatorial King. 

This view of the matter not only explains to us the position 
of David, as a great representative man like Adam, Noah, 
Moses and Abraham, in the history of redemption, but 
explains to us also why this aspect of the gospel blessing as 
an organized government, should be the prominent aspect of 
it at the opening of the New Testament ; and why in the 
preaching of John Baptist, and Jesus, and in the current 
thought and speech of the people, the gospel blessings, in ful- 
filment of all the old covenants, should be sp.oken of as ^^ the 
kingdom of heaven." The reason is that this had been the 
last and highest development of the covenant of grace up to 
that time. Relatively to the ancient covenants with Adam, 
Noah and Israel under Moses, this covenant with David and 
the prophetic teachings, which developed it constituted, as we 
would say, the " New Testament" of the ancient Church down 
to the era of the Evangelists. And just as we, while accept- 
ing all the revelations concerning the Covenant of Grace, 
naturally conform our thought and speech concerning it to 
the style of the Apostles from whom we have the last and 
highest development of it ; so the Church of the era of John 
Baptist and Jesus naturally conformed their thought and 
speech to that which was their New Testament or last deve- 
lopment of it ; namely, the covenant with David and the 
teaching of the prophets under it. And all of these specially 


aimed to exhibit the governmental element of the covenant of 
grace and the kingly office of Christ. And in addition to 
this, the covenant with David was, in fact, a great step pre- 
paratory to the Incarnation, and the change of the Church of 
one nation into the Church of all nations. Nay, paradoxical as 
it may seem, the very overthrow of the typical nation and the 
typical line of David, by the power of heathen conquerors, 
was itself a grand essential preparation for this actual setting 
up of the purely spiritual commonwealth which should cast its 
lines across all nations and kindreds and tongues ; and the 
near approach of such a consummation necessarily gave promi- 
nence to that special phase of the gospel system. So that 
both the burden of the scriptures which stood to them as their 
New Testament, and the sayings of the times, continued to 
make "the kingdom of heaven" the uppermost thought when 
the gospel promises were the subject of consideration by the 
people. And, adapting his teaching to the wants of the time, 
Jesus, in all his discourses, his parables and private conversa- 
sations, dwelt continually upon the theme of " kingdom of 
heaven " and the " kingdom of God." 

Many and various practical lessons are suggested from this 
view of the prominence of David, and the special constitution 
of David and his kingdom as the type-of the gospel kingdom- 
two or three of which, only, I have space left to notice. 

In the first place, it is manifest that all those views of 
religion are very defective which ignore the churchly and 
governmental aspect of the gospel system ; and which seem 
to regard nothing else essential in the gospel than certain fun- 
damental truths of theology and ethical precepts. Whereas 
the entire purport and scope of the last and highest develop- 
ments of the covenant of grace, is to the effect that the man 
who truly exercises faith in Christ is thereby born into a 
community and made a citizen of the great spiritual common- 
wealth of Jesus Christ the King. And to ignore this feature 


of the gospel i3 practically to igaore not merely certain texts 
of scripture but whole sections of the scriptures. True, 
indeed, an unspiritual Formalism has perverted these teach- 
ing(3, and magnified the Church above all that is called gospel. 
But the same unspiritual Formalism has utterly perverted also 
the great doctrines of Atonement, justification by faith, and 
regeneration of the soul. And the perversions of the truth 
in the one case, no more than in the otlier, can constitute any 
apology for undervaluing or ignoring the truths which Christ 
has made fundamental. The No-churchism which recognizes 
no Divinely appointed Church government with iis laws and 
ordinances, is scarcely less fatal to the trutli of Christ, than 
the nigh-churchism which makes the authority of the Church, 
and obedience to the Church, the sum and substance of Chris- 
tian faith and practice. Wliile it is schismatical and sinful 
to stickle for the incidentals of the Church to the breach of 
Christian unity, it is none the less inconsistent with true and 
enlightened gospel faith to treat with latitudinarian contempt, 
as trifles, that which Christ hath ordained as part of the order 
of his spiritual kingdom. 

In the second place, it is equally manifest that this great 
spiritual commonwealth which is the last and highest develop- 
ment of the covenant of grace ; for the exposition of which, 
to the faith of the people, the kingdom of David Avas consti- 
tuted a type, and which Jesus came to consummate ; is a 
"kingdom not of this world;" .nor is it capable of being 
Mended with the kingdoms of this world ; nor can its agencies 
and ordiiiances be properly used for the ends and objects of 
the kingdoms of this world ; nor are its limits to be set in 
accordance with the limits of the kingdoms of this world ; 
nor should its unity be marred by the strifes of the kingdoms 
of this world. Its powers are altogether distinct from those 
powers Avith which God, the Creator, hath invested the rulers 
of the world-kingdoms and commonwealths, however, in some- 


incidents, they may have similar aims and ends. It is of the 
essential nature of this spiritual commonwealth, in which the 
Son of David reigns, that it recognizes no distinction of "Jew 
•or Greek, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free," that it have 
no respect to civil and political divisions of human society ; 
.and that it allow no political strifes to mar its essential unity. 

In the third place, it is manifest that every true believer 
in Jesus Christ is brought by his conversion, not only to new 
views of truth and a new practice of ethics, but; unto new 
spiritual relations as a fellow-citizen Avith the saints. 

And while he still owes the same duties of allegiance and 
obedience which he owed before as a citizen of this or that 
nation ; and all the same duties as a man, to his fellow- 
citizens ; he has assumed new relations, and become a citizen 
•of a "better kingdom, even a heavenly ;" he owes allegiance 
to Jesus Christ its head ; and duties to his fellow-citizens, the 
saints which, though they are not to be enforced wdth pains 
and penalties, are none the less sacred and binding on the 
conscience. Nor is it treason any the less base to conspire 
•with, "aid and abet" the king's enemies, when it is the 
spiritual, than when it is the secular ruler. Nor is it dis- 
honesty any the less to fail to discharge the duties one owes 
to his fellow-citizens of the heavenly, than of the earthly 

It is in this doctrine of a gospel kingdom — a fully organ- 
ized spiritual government, of which believers are citizens, — 
and not in the sense of any mere vague Platonic sentiment, 
that those constantly repeated injunctions of the gospel to 
^'love one another" are founded. And every thing that 
tends to obscure this doctrine of the spiritual government, or 
misapply the holy agencies and ordinances to secular ends, 
tends in so far, precisely, to mar or destroy the holy com- 
munion of saints. 

The Apostles Paul and Peter, and Jolm utter no mere 


common-places of sentiment, wlien they declare " Love that 
worketh no ill to his neighbour is the fulfilling- of the law;'* 
that we should " above all things have fervent charity among, 
ourselves, for charity shall cover a multitude of sins :" and 
that the sum of all the message from God is that '• he who 
loveth God shall love his neighbour also" — yea, '• that we 
ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." 

These exhortations are to a great fundamental Christian 
duty whose ground lies in the very nature of the gospel 
scheme of salvation, as organizing a community, a new social 
relation — a kingdom of which David's kingdom was set to be 
the type. 

In the fourth place, you will perceive that the view here 
presented of the kingdom and Church of Jesus Christ as 
fundamental, and so important as to form the grand point to. 
be developed in the last and most advanced of the series of 
Old Testament covenants, has a very important application 
to the peculiar tendency of our times in the direction of an 
organized and combined evangelical effort which ignores the 
churchly idea of the gospel, and proposes, by mere human 
wisdom, to contrive agencies for doing the gospel work of the 
Church. For manifestly this theory of Christian action involves- 
more than any mere inexpediency. However unconsciously 
the error may be entertained, the theory involves fundamental 
error in theology. It ignores, as of no consequence, a great 
principle of the scheme of redemption, to the development 
of which an entire series of its revelations was devoted through 
a thousand years of its history ; a principle which gave its 
peculiar phase to the teachings of Jesus. It implies an error,, 
in regard to the Kingly office of Christ, analagous to that of 
all the ethical gospels in regard to his Priestly office ; and to 
that of the Rationalists in regard to his Prophetic office. It 
is founded upon the seeming assumption that, in regnrd to 
that phase of the gospel which implies a Church divinely^ 


founded and entrusted with the gospel agencies, it is a failure. 
Independent of the arrogant claim to substitute humanly 
devised gospel agents and agencies for those which Christ 
appointed ; independent of the claim to do by the popular 
suffrage of Christians what Popes and councils may not do in 
the spiritual kingdom ; independent of the impolicy of giving 
colour to the popular infidel cry — " the Church is a failure;'^ 
independent of aiding Rationalism to subvert the gospel, by 
thus sundering what God hath joined together — the gospel 
truth, from the Church of the living God, the " pillar and 
ground of the truth ;" this tendency to human contrivings for 
carrying on the gospel work grows out of a fundamental and 
dangerous error of theology. 

The doctrine of Christ our Priest is indeed the directly 
vital truth of our subjective theology ; and the doctrine of 
Christ our Prophet the directly vital truth of our objective 
theology. But neither of these can be properly expounded, 
nor long maintained in their purity, if we ignore the doctrine 
of Christ our King, and the Church his " kingdom not of this 



I Kings xviii. 17-20, and xix 1-4, 8, 12-14. — And it came to pass, when 
Ahab saw Elijah, thatAhab said unto him. Art thou he that troubleth 
Israel ? And he answered, I have not troubled Israel ; but thou, and thj 
fathers' house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the Lord and 
thou hast followed Baalim. Now therefore send, and gather to me all 
Israel unto Mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and 
tifty, &c. 

And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between 
two opinions, if the Lord be God follow him: but if Baal, then follow him- 
And the people answered him not a word, &c. 

And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had 
slain all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto 
Elijah, saying, so let the Gods do to me, and more also if I make not thy 
life as the life of one of them ♦ * * 

And he arose and went for his life ♦ * * And came and sat down 
under a juniper tree : and he requested for himself that he might die. 

And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that 
meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb, the Mount of God. 

And behold the Lord passed by and a great and strong wind rcut the 
mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord ; but the Lord 
was not in the wind ; and after the wind an earthquake ; but the Lord was 
not in the earthquake ; and after the earthquake a fire ; but the Lord was 
not in the fire ; and after the fire a still small voice. And it was so, when 
Elijah heard it, that li^^ wrapped his face in his mantle and went out, and 
stood at the entering ..i of the cave, and behold there came a voice unto 
him, and said, what do- -t thou here, Elijah ? And he said I have been very 
jealous for the Lord God of hosts : because the children of Israel have for- 
saken thy covenant, thrown down thy altars and slain thy prophets with 
the sword ; and I, even T only, am left, and they seek my life to take it 




It is not yet qui^e a century since the modification of the 
commonwealth of Israel, under the covenant with David, Avas 
completed. Four hundred and thirty years from the cove- 
nant with Abraham, and four hundred and thirty more from 
the constitutions of Moses was that kin;]i;dom in buildino- ; 
and yet within thirty years, after the completion of the modi- 
fications under Solomon, which set it forth as the typical 
kingdom, it had fallen asunder in the unskillful hands of 
Solomon's imbecile son. 

The sad tale of the northern kingdom, from its separation, 
is soon told. Wily Jeroboam, a refugee in Egypt, raised up 
of God to be the scourge of the follies of Solomon, no sooner 
found himself monarch of Northern Israel than, like many a 
Royal " Defender of the faith^'' after him, he must t*ake in 
hand the religion of his subjects ; and, tampering with God's 
ordinances, modify them to suit his political interests. Fear- 
ful of the influence of the Temple at Jerusalem, if the people 
continued to go up thither three times a year, and forgetting 
to trust Jehovah, Avhohad given him the throne, he proceeded 
to set up a more convenient worship at Bethel and at Dan 
within his own limits. And to make it attractive he modified 
the form of worshipping Jehovah after the fashion of the 
*'^ advanced thought" and refined civilization of 'Egypt; 
representing him by the Egyptian symbols of Apis — the 
golden calves. But to conform sufficiently with the current 
worship to ease the pubhc conscience, he appointed holy 
times, as well as holy places, difiercnt from those at Jerusa- 
lem. He set up high places of worship, in Samaria and else- 
where, as rivals of the temple at Jerusalem. He organized 
a priesthood, also, for the new religion, selecting for the 
office " the lowest of the people : " for such would give him 


least trouble "svith their scruples, and would be bound to him 
by all the obligations of official creatures to their creator ; 
so that he might rely securely upon their sycophancy, sub- 
serviency and loyalty to himself. 

'• "What odds about the form of worship, if still we worship 
in substance the true God?" would Jeroboam argue against 
the scrupulous old Covenanters who stickled for the covenants 
of Abraham, Moses and David. " Why trouble ye the peace 
of the nation, when the government, reverencing religion as 
essential to virtue, and virtue to liberty, and, therefore, 
as in duty bound, aiming to promote religion — presents it in 
convenient reach of the people, and clothed in those decent 
and attractive forms which befit an advanced era of civiUza- 
tion ? As to going up to Jerusalem three times a year — 
everybody knows that the worship at Jerusalem is a novelty 
of the David family, and that our venerated fathers worship- 
ped, not at Jerusalem, but at Shiloh, and elsewhere, within 
the present limits of northern Israel. And as to these scru- 
ples about changing the time of the feast, what sane man can 
think it of importance enough to scruple about, whether a 
feast be in the seventh month, or the eighth month ? True a 
prophet of Jehovah denounced Jeroboam and his altar, rend- 
ing it with a word, and scattering the ashes : and palsied the 
arm of the king, fiercely thrust forth to seize him ; but did 
he not restore the arm again at the king's request ? and did 
not the impertinent prophet meet with bad luck on his way 
home — a lion seizing upon him and slaying him ?" 

And, reasoning after the manner of the modern no-church- 
ism, that takes the Bible only for substance of doctrine, and 
claims that Jehovah's appointment of ordinances and times of 
worship — the priesthood of worship and the ritual of worship 
— is no bar to any little modifications that may make our wor- 
ship more attractive and impressive — it is difficult to gainsay 
Jeroboam's argument. But, whether difficult or not, Jero- 



Iboam had the semi-mfidel mob as the tribunal of judgment, 
and the power of tlie sword at his back to enforce his logic ; 
no marvel, therefore, if the scrupulous old Covenanters were 
triumphantly silenced. 

In accordance with the uniform experience of all ages, the 
divine appointments once set aside, the Church, left without 
chart or compass, drifts further and still further from the 
truth toward utter apostasy. The modification of the forms 
of worshipping the true Jehovah by Jeroboam within less than 
a century, has led, under Ahab, to the worship of a false God, 
and the substitution of Baal for Jehovah. Ahab, seeking to 
advance himself by high political and commercial connections, 
has allied himself with the powerful house of Ethbaal, at once 
king of Sidon and high priest of Astarte, the supplanter and 
murderer of Phelles his predecessor. And now Jezebel, 
cousin german of the murderer Pygmalion, and of the Dido 
of Virgil's story, with all the stern, fierce fanaticism of her 
blood, rules over both Ahab and his kingdom of Israel. All 
the malignant energies of her nature have concentrated them- 
selves in the purpose to blot out the very memory of Jehovah 
from her new dominions. 

The splendid ritual of Baal , enforced by the example and 
patronage of her court — made fascinating to the mob by 
every trapping of magnificence — performed by a priesthood 
whose influence is unbounded — ^backed by all the despotic 
power of the fashion of Tyre and Sidon — the Paris of that 
civilization — ^has at last triumphed everywhere. 

But suddenly Ahab is startled, in his capital, by an appari- 
tion. It is a singular, rough, unknown man from far across 
the Jordan, who, denouncing his corruptions of religion, ab- 
ruptly swears, " there shall be neither rain nor dew for these 
three years, but according to my word." The prophet passes 
on before the incredulous kinglias seen the prophecy verified 
by time ; and, when the judgment begins to bear heavily, it 


is easy enough for Jczcbcrs court demagogues to persuade 
the poor people that their suffering all comes from the malig- 
nant old prophet ; and thereby to embitter them all the more 
against Elijah and the prophets of Jehovah, as troublers of 
Israel. Of course the apostasy to 'Baal rapidly progresses. 
The rainless three years and a half, which smote the hills and 
valleys as with fire : the sky all as brass over their heads 
— the atmosphere a suffocating winding sheet, within whose 
folds life must gradually die out, is but too expressive a symbol 
of the spiritual drought and famine that has fallen upon the 
Church of God in Northern Israel. 

But suddenly a strange rumour spreads among the suffer- 
ing people. Nothing less than that the old prophet has 
dared to return from his exile : nay more, has dared to meet 
Ahab face to face : nay more, has challenged the whole priest- 
hood of Baal to a contest before all the people on Mount 
Carmel ! And immediately the whole country is full of ex- 
citement. All sorts of people, for all sorts of reasons, resolve 
to be present ; and, in obedience to the summons of the king, 
immense multitudes throng the sides and summit of Carmel. 
The king and court, and the Baal priests, with all imaginable 
pomp and splendor, come to witness the final triumph of 
Jezebel's religion. And now JNIount Carmel seems one im- 
mense living pile. 

It is precisely the fit stage for such a drama. From its 
summit, as they look westward and northward, they see the 
Mediterranean dotted with the merchant ships of Tyre and 
Si don, outward or inward bound, with the riches of the world ; 
and Tyre and Si don in all their glory — the grand strongholds 
of Baal. As they look eastward and southward, yonder 
may be descried, far off, the Sea of Gallilee gleaming in the 
morning sun ; and as the eye sweeps round to the southward, 
the plain of Jezreol, and Mount Tabor shooting up out of it ; 
and, south vrard still, Ramoth-Gilead and Mount Ebal and 


Gerizim and Shecliem, and Shilob, and a hundred mountain 
tops and villages, around which hang a thousand hallowed 
associations and memories of the marvellous power and loving 
kindness of Jehovah to their fathers. Thus they stand as 
with two immense maps unrolled at their feet ; on the one 
side the map of the kingdom of Baal, on the other side, of 
the kingdom of Jehovah. 

Thus assembled — all curiosity and excitement — waiting 
impatiently the opening of the contest, and wondering what 
method the strange, bold prophet will adopt ; till at length 
the old man attracts all eyes as, with his servant aiding him, 
and exhausted with the long ascent, he is seen threading his j 
way up through the vast crowd. Curiosity is now at the | 
highest pitch. What will he say or do ? How vfill he bring | 
on the conflict ? Will he address himself to the king and ! 
court in the same bold style as before ? So some anticipate ; 
and they tremble for his safety ; for the popular feeling is : 
high, and at a word Ahab can turn upon him ten thousand . 
human wild beasts. Or will he attack the priests of Baal, 
and demand of them the proof of the existence of their God, , 
and, on the other hand, himself make a mighty argument for ! 
Jehovah ? So others anticipate, and they are resolving to j 
hear candidly, weigh the argument, and decide according to j 
its merits. So man reasons ; but the foolishness of God is | 
wiser than men. Of what use to appeal to Ahab with argu- ^ 
ment and eloquence ? Poor, cowardly, subservient tool of j 
Jezebel, who dare not have an opinion of his own, save as she | 
please ? Of what use to argue with these Baal priests, bought j 
up, by the dainties of Jezebel's kitchen, to work all manner j 
of infamous imposture ? Of what use to reason about and j 
demonstrate the doctrines of Jehovah to these crowds of i 
apostate Israel ? Reasoning never demonstrated them into ] 
the belief of the Baal doctrines, and how shall reasoning j 
demonstrate them out of it ? Their darkness is not from want i 


of light, want of proof, want of argument, but, simply, from 
want of conscience, and want of Itcart for Jehovah's service ; 
and from dalliance with the absurd idea that they may 
somehow, for expediency's and popularity's sake, conform to 
the court religion without renouncing and dishonouring 

Therefore, casting aside all these vain side issues and logical 
trifles, as he stands forth and the vast concourse is hushed 
into silence, the old prophet brings them squarely to the issue, 
with a sin2;le sentence whose tones thrill them as thou^rh 
Carmel shook under their feet, " How long halt ye between 
two opinions? If Jehovah he God folloiu him, hut if Baal, 
thenfollotv him.^^ 

" And the people answered him not a word." The single 
sentence is a shot point blank to the heart. Carried to its 
mark by the Spirit of God, the shaft quivers in ten thousand 
consciences — Baal is already defeated. All that follows of 
the proposed test and the altar, and the fire from heaven, are 
but the successive steps of the victor pursuing his vanquished 
and demoralized foe. 

My brethren, forget not, as wo pass along, that tnis scene 
on Mount Carmel is not merely historical of things that were. 
It is a grand representative picture of things that are, where- 
ever the gospel is preached. This congregation on Carmel 
is a representative congregation ; and seldom does a sabbath 
congregation gather in the land, that, if analyzed, will not be 
found to consist of the same four classes of men as this on 
Mount Carmel. First, a very small minority, more or less 
bold to confess it, decided for Jehovah. Second, a larger 
minority thoroughly decided for Baal. Third, a much larger 
minority than either that do not know whether Jehovah is God 
or not. Fourth, the majority of all who do not eare whether 
Jehovah be God or not. Allow me for a moment to imitate 
the man of God, and, casting aside all other issues, simply 


pr333 home upon you the absurdity of this hesitancy and 
compromising in the great question of rehgion. For, in a 
very brief exposition of the case, I can show you that, of all 
conceivable positions and theories in reference to the gospel 
religion, this halting, hesitating, trimming between two, is 
the most irrational and absurd. Select, if you please your 
own ground on which to stand ; I care not ; for on any ground 
this halting is absurd. 

Do you stand on the extreme verge of unbelief — not yet 
satisfied of the reality of Jehovah's existence ? — or of the 
immortal retributions of which his gospel warns ? — nay, rather 
disposed to think it all a delusion of priestcraft ? Then to 
you, of all men living, comes home this question, " How long 
halt ye ?'' For, of all men living, you have the least time to 
waste in hesitancy and debate and speculations of religion ! 
If there be no life of retribution after this —no heaven — no 
hell — if the life here is the all of your existence, and you a 
mere bubble, or fire-mist flitting for an hour under the morn- 
ing sun, and then vanishing — then why waste its brief moments 
in worrying speculations, in imaginary fears, and fretting 
under the restraints of an imaginary conscience ? Hurry, 
ye miserable wretches of a day, to eat and drink, for to-morrow 
you die ; you have no time to lose ! If Baal be God — if this 
world is the all of you, and its God the only God — then follow 
him fully while you may! Haste, to fill up your hours with 
all the pleasures you are capable of enjoying ! Give loose 
rein to your animal appetites — wreak your little brutish 
malignities ! Why, your fellow brutes around you are getting 
the start of you while you are halting, delaying and restrain- 
ing yourself ; and before you have your share of happiness 
you shall die and rot and be no more ! 

Do you stand, however, far within this outer circle of blank 
unbehef, and hold the existence, of Jehovah and immortality 
and retribution, yet hesitate about important details of the 


doctrines of rcll^^ion ? But if you boliovo in Jclioviili, and 
in immortal retribution, that finishes the question so far as 
concerns you personally. For, Avhatcver debatable grounds 
you may imagine to lie within the vast compass of that creed 
of two articles, tlierc is really none, so far as concerns the 
main question. If Jehovah exists with the moral attributes 
you ascribe to him, then not to follow him, mvolves all of 
disaster that an immortal creature can fear. And in a few 
days, death may come and settle the question for you forever. 
While you are amusing yourself with dancing the theological 
slack rope, the day of the Lord is drawing very near. Life 
is half spent or more, and you have not yet determined the 
preliminary points of salvation ! At that rate of [jrogress, 
when will you have reached the main questions ? And if 
you have even reached, how long must you be in deciding it? 
Yet you halt, and move at your ease, or rather move not at 
all, though while you linger judgment lingers not, and while 
you slumber damnation slumbers not ! 

Do you stand on ground far within this, and believe, not 
only that Jehovah is, and is the rewarder of those who follow, 
and those who follow him not — but, also, that Jehovah hath 
spoken to men his will ? Yet you halt to settle your doubts 
about certain points of doctrine in that teaching ? Then, 
how long halt ye ? Either these points are essential to your 
salvation or they are not. Take either horn of the dilemma. 
If they are fundamental, and must be solved before you can 
follow Jehovah, then how long halt ye ? After half a life 
time or more already spent with the fundamental preliminary 
questions all unsettled, can you afford to wait longer and be 
in doubt longer ? What if death come and surprise you before 
you have reached the great question to which these are pre- 
paratory ? Hasten, thou sluggard ! Arouse thee ! Say 
not, a little more sleep, a little more slumber ; when the sun 
of life is already in the meridian, or even already declining ; 


or, though neither, may suddenly go down before the noon ! 
And your day's work is not yet fairly begun ! Nay, the 
day's work of yesterday, and many days past, lying un- 
done ! 

Or will you take the other horn of the dilemma, and say 
these points about which you halt are not fundamental? 
Then, still greater the folly of halting upon these merely 
speculative points, while, meantime, the great question of 
life is yet untouched ! 

Thus it may be shown of every vSriety of religious senti- 
ment, short of actual faith and following Jehovah, that this 
halting on this subject is the most irrational of all positions. 
If there be a Jehovah, follow him! It is the only consistent 
course. If there be a heaven, then the fact is infinite in 
importance and not to be debated as against any other fact. 
Resolve to win its glories ! If there be a hell, then, in the 
nature of the case, there can be no other wise course than to 
resolve at once to shun its darkness and chains ; its " weep- 
ing and waihng and gnashing of teeth." The undecided, 
halting soul finds no countenance in heaven, earth, or hell ! 
From all comes the demand, decide ! If Jehovah be God, 
follow him ! If Baal, follow him. If reason be God, follow 
reason ! and be guided by its dictates ! If Bacchus, with 
his riot and revelry, be God, then follow Bacchus. If Venus, 
with her sensual charms, then follow her. If Mammon, 
with his clinking chest, then follow Mammon ! Let the 
soul of man follow, and fully enter into communion with its 
God ! 

I may be addressing some more earnest spirit who feels 
that the cause of his hesitancy has not yet been touched. 
For he not only believes that Jehovah exists and hath spoken, 
but receives as truth all that he has spoken ; and desires in 
his heart to follow him. Yet he is restrained by conscious- 
ness of unworthiness to be called one of Jehovah's people ; 


doubts whether he exercises the faith that is unto salvation ; 
fears his inabiUty to walk worthy of so high a vocation, and 
for these, or similar reasons, still halts, when the call is, 
•' Come, confess, and follow Jehovah." Yet to all such, the 
question of Mount Carmcl comes home in all its force — " How 
long halt ye ?" This question is not one of ethical worthi- 
ness or fitness, it is a question of salvation^ from a state of 
ruin supposed to be consciously felt. It is not a question of 
how much you can do, or have done to entitle you to accept 
Jehovah's offer to redeem you ! but simply, arc you willing 
to let Jehovah do it for you? It is not even a question of 
how much faith, or how strong faith, but simply whether you 
have a willing heart, and can say, '^ Lord, I believe, help 
thou mine unbelief." Therefore, there is no place for hesi- 
tancy or debate on a question whether your sinking soul shall 
seize hold of the arm reached forth, mighty to save, — whether 
your famishing soul will take the water of life freely. Halt 
not! Hesitate not! Venture on him, and, looking to him 
for light, for strength, for grace, for every thing, just "follow 

But we recur again to these proceedings on Mount Carmel. 
" I only remain a prophet of Jehovah," continues the old 
man, " but Baal's prophets are four hundred and fifty men." 
It is the language of courage, and yet the language somewhat 
of modesty and sadness, under the consciousness that a man 
must seem to be not only in the wrong, but also self-opinion- 
ated and wise in his own conceit, who stands tlius in antago- 
nism to the current sentiment of his age. There is no wider 
mistake, in judging of men, than the popular judgment that 
these Ehjahs, who brave the popular opinion, and defy the 
ridicule, the threats, the malignant speeches of a world ir. 
arms, must be men of great self-conceit. On the contrary, 
they are generally modest men, self-distrustful by nature. 
And, though as witnesses for the truth of Jehovah, they press 


forward, utterly heedless of the thick flying shafts of malice 
and defamation, and seem to be iron-clad men; yet their 
boldness grows out of their clear convictions of truth and their 
implicit reliance on the power of Jehovah to protect his truth. 
In all else these iron-clad Elijahs are men of like passions 
with other men ; and in hours of darkness and despondency 
are assailed many a time by the doubt — " May not I be 
wrong, seeing that I only think thus and all the world think 

In this respect Elijah stands as representative of the true 
children of God in the midst of every crooked and perverse 
generation. And every believing soul has this experience — 
For think not that it belittles and degrades this majestic 
scene to say that, in principle, it represents the struggle in 
the soul of this humble man or woman, this Christian boy or 
girl, when the question is made of duty to obey what Jehovah 
says, and what this Baal-god public opinion says. Then 
comes in this overpowering sense of being in a minority of 
one, or two, or three, against the multitudes that do evil. 
Can I be right ? Is it modest ? Is it humble as becomes a 
Christian ? for me to set up my convictions, against the judg- 
ment of so many, even of reputable Christian men and women 
who conform here to the court fashions of religion ? This 
boy, with impulses strongly set to follow Jehovah fully, as he 
comes first in contact with the Baal maxims of the streets, of 
the shop, of the counting-room; this young Christian girl, with 
heart all aglow with her first love of Jehovah, when called 
upon to come down from the strict law of Jehovah — " Be not 
conformed to the w^orld, but be ye transfovmed" to the 
indulgences of worldly pleasures and fashions ; have the same 
struggle to make. Nor smile, my brethren, at the little 
things to Avhich I bring down the apphcation of Elijah's case. 
Remember, Jesus made this boy's and girl's case of import- 
ance enough to denounce a special woe against " whosoever 


shall, offend one of these little ones." Neither is it any fanci- 
ful 01' defamatory analogy, which makes these Baal conformists 
in Carmel representative of the popular theology and ethics 
-which passes under the name of Christianity with large classes 
of our nominally Christian communities. It is simply because 
our modes of religious thought now, differ from theirs on 
Carmel, who gave visible form and local habitation to their 
gods or dominant ideas, that we do not see Baal gods in just 
as numerous array in New York and London and in a thous- 
and other cities, as in Tyre and Sidon of old. And the 
conflict is, in principle, just the same as Elijah's, when in a 
thousand forms of business or pleasure the earnest Christian 
conscience finds "I, even I only," regard this usage of trade 
contrary to the ethics of Jehovah, but here are four hundred 
and fifty of the most reputable men of trade who conform to 
it ! "I, even I only," regard this custom of society, or this 
maxim, or this indulgence as contrary to the letter and spirit 
of the gospel ; but here are Christian families of good report 
who conform ; yea, and four hundred and fifty prophets, that 
seem to stand high as rehgious teachers, who expressly justify 
it, or by their silence connive at it ! Is it modest in me to 
object ? Nay, may I not seem self-righteous ? Now, the 
only safeguard against temptation, here, is clear conviction 
of the truth and the ever present consciousness that, if right, 
then " they that be with us are more than they that be with 

Let each party " lay a sacrifice on ivood^ and 2^ut no fire 
under ^^^ continues the prophet of Jehovah. It is no random 
choice of a test ; but precisely, the test to recall to these 
apostate Israelites the glorious truths of the past. " The 
God that answereth by fire, let him be God." It was the 
ancient and venerable sign of Jehovah's presence to accept 
the true worship of his saints. So had he accepted Abel's 
sacrifice, so had he appeared to Abraham in his offering. So- 


'had he shot forth the fire, from his throne on the xVrk of the 
^covenant, to consume the first sacrifice at the dedication of 
the tabernacle ; and again at the dedication of the temple. 
While, therefore, the prophet seeks a sign, he will have a 
sign which shall hold forth the truth of God to the minds of 
the people as the instrument of converting them from their 

" It is well spoken, " is the first utterance of the people. 
'The prophet's astonishing question, " How long halt ye ?" 
has wrought effectually ; and the proposition for an answer 
by- fire, awakens truths long dormant in their memories. 
BaaFs priests have lost their control over the popular impulses, 
and, however unwilling, they can but accept the chal- 
lenge, or expose themselves to the popular contempt. All 
their skill in priestly jugglery, and theological pyrotechnics, 
shall avail them little now, under the gaze of ten thousand 
eyes. Yet, in their desperation they must make a show of 
•contest, hoping perhaps, that Elijah may at least make a fail- 
ure, and leave the question where it stood before. And now 
while they proceed with their frantic rites, with many a mys- 
terious ceremonial, and robes flaunting as they shout — " 
Baal ! Baal hear us," the old prophet's soul is moved with 
mingled shame and indignation, that the children of the cove- 
nant — divinely taught through Moses and Samuel and David 
— should have descended so low, that base jugglers could 
have the assurance gravely to perpetrate such foolery before 
them ! Till, no longer able to restrain his contempt, he be- 
gins, with terrible sarcasm and bitter irony, to affect sympa- 
thy with them and to advise them. '' Louder! Louder!" he 
-cries, " your God has too much to occupy him, since addino* 
Israel to his dominions ! He is probably absorbed in a council 
about the vast affairs of Tyre and Sidon ! Possibly he is off 
on a hunting expedition — or gone on a cruise with the fleet, 
or a tour of inspection ! May be, he has been taking a frohc ; 


and is drunk, and asleep — Louder ! therefore till you wake 
him and compel his attention !" 

This is but one of several instances, as you may see in the 
Psalms and Isaiah, and the other prophets, wherein the 
inspired men have used irony and ridicule a'^ainst false religi- 
onists. No doubt this speech of Elijah to the Baal prophets 
would grate harshly on the sensitive ear of many of our mod- 
ern will- worshipers, and even many of our liberalists in rcligioa 
who have no scruples in making Moses and David and Paul, 
and their adherents, the subject of their sarcasms, would 
affect to be shocked that a man of God should be found derid- 
ing these earnest Baal priests, who are so sincerely endeavour- 
ing to get the ear of their God ! 

Ridicule is not the test of truth, as claimed by the Deists 
of the last century : for a Sir Matthew Hale or a George 
Washington could be made ridiculous enough by means of a 
fool's-cap and harlequin's coat put upon them, as robes of office. 
But, while not the test of truth, ridicule is, in many cases, 
the only logical method which can be employed to check the 
progress and stay the influence of religious impostures. It is 
one of the adroitest of the wiles of Satan to array, in very* 
sanctimonious dress, pious lies, and impostures so preposter- 
ous as to set all reason at defiance ; and when they are 
assailed with derision — as such follies can only be assailed — 
to make a terrible outcry at the impiety of our treating 
sacred things, and holy convictions with levity. And especi- 
ally are the phases of religious imposture which favour stage 
effect, and gorgeous show, and theatrical cant in religious 
worship, terribly afraid of such argument as Elijah's. Now 
it is a folly, scarce less than equal to that of the Baal priests , 
to undertake to reason out of men's heads religious delusions 
which reason never put into them. When men put their 
religious theories out of the pale alike of reason and scripture ; 
or, in other words, ignore, in the high concern of religion, all 


that intelligence which distinguishes the working of the 
human mind from the mere instincts and impulses of the lower 
creatures ; are we to allow them to deceive the ignorant and 
the impulsive without restraint, merely because they assume 
the airs of sanctity and devotion ? Nature has provided no 
other means of managing a donkey than the lash. When 
Eaal priests have the assurance to practice their juggleries? 
no matter how earnestly they leap upon the altar, and cut 
themselves, and how earnestly they urge their vain repeti- 
tions, " Baal, Baal ! hear us," — there is no other method 
than Elijah's left us. When modern Baal priests would palm 
upon the ignorant and foolish their legends of winking 
Madonnas ; of houses of our Lady of Loretto, that fly through 
the air ; or of the liquefaction of St. Januarius' blood ; when 
Mormon prophets come with their legends of an appendix to 
inspiration dug out of a hill ; when self-styled spiritualists, 
with messages from the other world, uttered through such 
spiritual channel as bed-post, table-leg or bell-wire, by spirits 
whose natures, if their prophets are to be believed, have 
grown only the more senseless, earthly, sensual and devilish 
from ceasing to tabernacle in the flesh ; — and attempt to 
invest these fooleries with an air of extra sanctity and sentiment 
— what is left for the prophets of Jehovah but to lay on the 
lash of ridicule till the imposture is scouted by the people 
whom it attempted to deceive ? The current clamour of 
impostors, — " We are ridiculed not answered " — is simply 
another trick of imposture. For, it depends entirely on the 
nature of the case whether ridicule is not the only sensible 
answer. Such is the propensity of fallen humanity to 
religious delusion, that he who should found a religion on 
the denial that three times four is twelve, would, with plausi- 
bility and assurance enough, gain adherents. But who could 
answer the argument for such a, creed ? Not all the Arith- 
meticians in America. If men will imore their own under- 


standings, and put their religious imposture beyond the reach 
of argument and proof, then the prophet of the trutli must 
needs crack his whip to keep the imposture in its place ; or lay 
on the lash if it endangers the public safety. 

While thus disgusted and wearied, tlie hour of evening sac- 
rifice draws on. And, for the same reason that he selected 
the answer by fire as the test sign, the man of God now pro- 
ceeds upon the principle of so working wonders, as most 
effectually to impress the revealed truth of God. " Come 
away from the impostors and their disgusting jugglery," is 
his command to the now wearied and disgusted people. And 
taking the twelve stones of an old altar, which must recall to 
their memory the former days of the unity of the twelve 
tribes, when Jehovah gate them their ordinances, he prepares 
the sacrifice in a manner to exclude all possibility of suspicion 
that any earthly fire was hidden there. Then at the moment 
for the evening sacrifice, — as another in the series of spiritual 
mnemonics, w^hereby the old truths of the gospel of their 
fathers shall be recalled to them — the man of God bows and 
prays. No pomp — no theatrical pageant — ^_yet what holy awe 
thrills the heart of the mighty congregation, as Avord after 
word of the simple prayer conveys its volume of suggestive 
thought I — " Jehovah, God of Abraham ; Isaac and Israel : 
— Let it be known this day, that thou art God in Israel — 
and that I am thy servant !" lie ceases. The gleam, as of 
a lightning flash from heaven, darts upon the altar pile ; \t 
dazzles for a moment the myriad eyes that are fixed upon the 
altar ! There is a hissing and crackling for a moment ; — 
the smoke as of a powder flash — and lo, sacrifice, wood, altar, 
water vanish as an exhalation ! 

Awe struck, the astonished multitudes prostrate themselves 
and with one voice, shout, as though Carmel itself had found 
a voice of thunder in its depths, and a tongue to articulate 
" Jehovah is God ! Jehovah is God !'• Baal's priests are 


overwhelmed with confusion. Elijah, as directlj commissioned 
to execute the law which bothldng and people had contemned, 
gives the order for their execution. 

Remember, ye that now, fascinated by the seductions of 
the Baal god of this world, are striving to ease conscience, 
by professing reverence for Jehovah yet practically serving 
Baal ; this part of the Carmel scene is also representative ! 
Though the vast majority is with you now, yet the day of 
sorrow is fast approaching when you shall cry " Baal ! Baal I 
hear us," but there shall be no voice to answer, or power to 
save, from the doom of everlasting shame and contempt. 

I must pass over the wonderful scene, of the prayer of 
faith, wrestling for the blessing seven times till the usual sign 
in nature appeared, in " the cloud big as a man's hand,'' 
For it would require a whole discourse to develop properly 
that wonderful illustration of the nature and i 'Ower of prayer. 
I can only refer you to the key to the exposition of this 
whole matter of Elijah's sealing up the heavens, calling down 
the fire, and then the rain, given by the Apostle James ; for 
the remarkable point made by the Apostle is that, in all 
these proceedings, it was not first by Divine revelation direct 
that Elijah cither uttered the judgment of the drought in 
Samaria, or proposed the fire test in Carmel, or knew that 
the rain was at hand. He was, in all this, " a man of like 
passions with" the believers who pray for any special mercy. 
His spirit was moved to think he heard the sound of mucli 
rain, just as, sometimes, the hearts of God's children arc 
moved to feel that the Lord will come, after three days, and 
revive them. The whole case is a literal illustration of what 
the Apostle Paul teaches us concerning prayer : namely, 
that we know not what to pray for, but the Spirit moving 
upon the soul, first inspires the desire and the petition : 
hence we receive the answer because God's Spirit moved us 
to ask. Men like Elijah get so near, and so familiar with 


Jehovah, that, as affectionate children, they may sometimes 
presume, as it were, to say beforehand what the Father will 
do for his glory. And thus it appears that througli all of 
these transactions ELjah's heart, moved by the Spi 't, felt so 
sure of being sustained that he ventured to pronounce the 
judgment, propose the fire test and promise the speedy com- 
ing of the rain. And then he agonized in prayer that Jehovah 
would not suffer his own name or his prophet, to be dishon- 
oured.. Hence this teaching of the Apostle invests this story 
of Elijah with a new interest ; by revealing to us the fact 
that the proj^het was not simply working miracles, but, 
meanwhile, moving in a common sphere with all saints who 

The victory won, and all crowned with the blessing of the 
refi^shing torrents, Elijah partakes in the general joy. As 
the glad thousands rush down Carmel shouting, Rain ! Rain ! 
and the trees of the forest, the birds — all nature sing. Rain ! 
the prophet renews his youth. He desires to evince to the 
king, that the slaughter of his Baal prophets implies no 
liostile feeling to him : and if possible to win him over and 
strengthen him in the purpose of obedience, henceforth, to 
Jehovah, and the reform of religion. So, girding himself, 
when Ahab mounts his chariot to dash down to shelter him- 
self from the rain in his palace at Jezreel, the prophet conde- 
scends, after the oriental fashon, to run before the chariot as 
avant courier. And, equally to the king's gratification and 
astonishment, the old prophet outstrips his fleet horses, in the 
race for the palace. There the man of God leaves him and 
retires to muse on the wonderful deeds and the lovini;; kind- 
ness of Jehovah ; full of hope doubtless, that the great work 
of restoration and revival, commencing with the court and the 
multitudes from Carmel, would spread, until Israel shall b« 
redeemed from apostasy. 


Part 2nd. 




" And Aliah told Jezebel all that Elijah had done^'' S^c. 
This brief summary, doubtless, covers scenes of tragic gran- \ 

deur in the palace of Jezreel. We can readily imagine how, 
Elijah having left him, the king, rushes into the presence of 
his queen, who has, all day, eagerly awaited the issue of the 
singular gathering on Mount Carmel. Full of the excite- 
ment, he rapidly utters his report. " The old Tishbite has 
triumphed ! He called down fire from heaven to consume his 
sacrifice ! I saw it with my own eyes, and there was no room \ 

for deception. He has also called down this torrent of rain j 

from heaven. The people, overwhelmed with astonishment and \ 

awe, fell on their faces and cried ' Jehovah is God !' Indeed I 

the prophet left them no room for doubt. The multitude 
immediately became uncontrollable, save by Elijah. At his 
command, they seized upon the whole body of your prophets, 
and Kishon runs red with their blood. It Avill be, i)erhaps, 
safest to yield to the popular pressure. Elijah seems kindly 
enough disposed toward me. Strangely enough the old man 
has run, as the advance herald of my chariot, all the way 
from Carmel, keeping before my fleet horses at their best j 

speed!" I 

But, as he thus rapidly runs over the story, suddenly, as i 

if thunderstruck, his tongue palsies, his thoughts become ' 

confused, his mind wavers. At the mention of the slaughter .; 

of the priests, a death like pallor overspreads the queen's 


countenance for a moment — then a cloud of blackness gathers, 
and her eyes flash as the vivid lightning. At the suggestion 
of submission to the popular judgment, such a glance of inef- 
fable contempt darts upon Ahab, that it transforms his very 
thoughts ; and in a moment all appears to him in a new and 
opposite light. This is the Ahab, remember, whom the 
sacred history, in a single line, portrays, so expressively, as, 
^' Ahab whom Jezebel his wife stirred up." And now the 
tempest waxes fierce, and the curses fall thick upon Elijah and 
his God. The very fires of hell have been kindled in her 
fanatical heart ; and a famishing thirst for blood, in revenge 
for the blood of the priests of Baal. Rather would she the 
whole kingdom should have perished by the famine than have 
witnessed such a triumph for Jehovah. Nay the very 
thought of Elijah enjoying to-night, quietly, his proud triumph 
is to her insupportable ; and that he shall quietly sleep upon 
it is perfectly maddening. In the eager impatience of her 
womanly desire for vengeance, she determines to spoil his 
feast, and send him a thorn for his pillow. And with 
genuine, womanly uncalculating passion, she hurries off a 
minister with the terrible message and oath, " So let the 
gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the 
life of one of them by to-morrow about this time." Of course, 
reasoning after the manner of men, this notice was the 
surest way to defeat her purpose ! Yet how natural though 
paradoxical the picture ! 

As simply a specimen of human nature painting, there is 
nothing equal to the Jezebel of Scripture in all the circle of 
literature. The strokes of the pencil are indeed very few. 
It is an outline, with no filling up of the details, as in the 
tragic poets. Yet the student who will take the pains to 
gather from the record and study this outline, will find the 
Jezebel of Scripture stand out before him with more distinct- 
ness than the Medea of Euripides or the Lady Macbeth of 

Elijah's failure axd despondency. 181 

Shakespeare. The mere ouUine sets her forth with a power, 
and vividness, and a gigantic grandeur of wickedness, yet, 
witha^, a naturahiess that no human genius has ever equalled. 
Meantime Elijah, in a glow of entliusiasm, is awaiting the 
result of the news at the palace. Who shall say what hopes 
begin to animate him, that the set time for the restoration of 
apostate Israel is now fully come ? Ahab has evidently been 
deeply impressed and convinced if not converted. And why 
may not tJie indisputable proofs of the reality of Jehovah's 
power and presence which Ahab has carried to the palace 
affect the mind of Jezebel also, and break the spell of the 
Baal delusion ? Nay, ■'.vhy may not the Lord use Jezebel 
herself as his instrument for turning the whole of her royal 
family, and Tyre and Sidon, to the true God ? And, these 
turned, why may not all the surrounding nations be brought 
by so extraordinarj^ a conversion to acknowledge Jehovah ? 

In the midst of some such dreams the messenger enters, 
announcing the terrible oath and the threat I And if it is a 
strange contradiction to send the message and thereby give 
him opportunity to escape, how much more strange the con- 
tradiction that the Elijah who has boldly faced alone the king 
and court, and tiie fickle, obsequious mob of Israel on Carmel, 
should now at the cursing of an angry woman, arise and run 
for his life ? ye who know something by experience, of 
the eifect of high hopes suddenly blasted, and enthusiastic 
calculations suddenly upset by the stern logic of the realities 
of Hfe as it is — ye may understand something of this strange 
inconsistency. It is one of the peculiar laws of the spiritual 
l^fe, that when Jehovah has created in the soul some convic- 
tions of his purpose to bless, human nature at once begins to 
cover them all over with its self-created accretions, until tbe 
original divine creation can no longer be recognized. Then, 
when, in his aU-wiso providence, and i)i mercy to us, he 
comes to knock off these accrotioiii from his own beautiful 


creation in the soul, we at once conclude that Jehovah is 
against us and hath changed from his purposes of mercy. 
Jehovah has not told Elijah that Ahab and Israel, Jezebel 
and Tjre and Sidon are to bo converted to ths truth ; but 
only that he will, for the present, withdraw his judgments and 
send rain upon the famishing people. Reasoning from our 
own tendencies to his, we infer that Elijah may probably 
have become intoxicated with his success in the work of 
reform, and in laying out plans by which Jehovah will proceed 
with his work. And therefore, in the hour of disappointment 
and temptation, his faith gives way. As if he now feared 
that the malice of Jezebel could circumvent the very purposes 
of Jehovah himself, behold this triumphant champion of the 
faith on Carmel, now fleeing for his life ! Yea, after crossing 
the border into the southern kingdom — the dominions of pious 
Jehoshaphat, where any prophet of God would be received 
with honour — he dares not stop even there. Some spy of 
Jezebel may follow him, and by some trick cause Jehoshaphat 
to extradite him ; and this is the more likely from the friend- 
ship that is growing up between Ahab and Jehoshaphat. 
Onward, therefore, he rushes through the kingdom of Judah 
to its extreme southern border on the desert. Nay even 
there he fears he may not be secure ; and leaving his servant, 
proceeds still southward toward Sinai into the great desert 
itself. For one Avhole day he pushes onward over the burn- 
ing sands and under the burning sun, till nature is utterly 
exhausted ; and, says the record, " he came and sat down 
under a juniper tree, and he requested for himself that he 
might die ; and said 0, Lord God, it is enough ; take away 
my life, for I am no better than my fathers." 

Vfhat is the matter with Elijah ? What is the solution of 
this paradox, that a man is running for his hfe and yet pray- 
ing to die ? It is, indeed, inconsistent enough, yet never was 
painthig tiuer to the life of a saint of God in darkness and 


desertion. The clue to the whole mystery is tliat Jehovah 
has not said to EHjah '' Arise and flee" — as before he had 
said, '• Go show thyself to Ahab"- -or " Arise, get thee to 
Zarephath." The record simply states that, hearing Jezebel's 
fierce oath, Elijah " arose and went for his life." Once the 
communication between Elijah and Jehovah is broken he is 
just as inconsistent and weak as any of us. Well did the 
Apostle James say " Elijah was a man of like passions with 
us.'' Hero we see that he was. lie is running away to 
save his life and yet praying, "It is enough ; Lord, let 
me die 1" 

There is no more common delusion than the notion that it 
is great evidence of piety to bo willing to die. Often we hear 
that such a one, " was resigned to die," as proof conclusive 
of a converted heart. But from this place we may sec that 
such desire may consist with actual disobedience. And, beside, 
the heart is deceitful, and there may not be the willingness 
that we suppose, when it comes to the crisis. There is a 
deep insight into the workings of the human heart in that 
old fable of the school books, of the labourer who weary, 
exhausted and disgusted with life, threw down his burden and 
prayed for death to come and relieve his labours ; but when 
Death did come in answer to his petition, asking, " What is 
wanting?" the petitioner responded, " Nothing, save some 
one to help me raise my burden, that I may get under it 
again !" The readiness to die may not be as real as men 
suppose if put to the test. On the other hand, Christians 
often make the mistake of writing bitter things against them- 
selves because they cannot feel willing to die, should God 
call them to-day. Whereas, all that this could prove, if any- 
thing, is that, probably, God does not intend calling them 
to-day. When the day comes for actual dying, then will he 
give the grace for dying. What we need to-day is grace to 
live. " Give us ilds day" — day by day — " our daily bread" 


is the method of God's dispensation of grace. Hence, how 
many a pastor has been surprised as v/ell as comforted at 
finding the feeble, timid one of his flock, that at first shrunk 
back in terror from the thought of dying, able, when the day 
comes, to shout with triumph, " Death, where is thy sting?" 
and endowed with a strength of faith that surpasses that of 
the most fearless. 

Jehovah is compassionate to h'"- weak and suffering prophet. 
'' He knoweth our frame, he remembereth that we are dust.'' 
So, as the prophet lies there exhausted and unconscious, a 
heavenly messenger comes with the provision needful to 
sustain sinking nature, and, placing it within reach, arouses 
him saying, ^'' Arise and eat." Remembering how Jehovah 
had miraculously fed him during his previous exile, we would 
suppose Elijah must at once understand the case, and recog- 
nize Jehovah's special presence. But, such is his condition 
of bodily exhaustion and of spiritual stupor, that he seems, at 
the first call, to be aroused only to consciousness enough 
merely to reach forth, as by a sort of instinct, and take the 
food. "He did eat and drink and laid him down again." 
But after a time he is aroused again and restored fully to 
consciousness, and to some reflection on his case, alone there 
in the desert. He seems not yet to perceive that he is out 
of the way of duty, and therefore is wandering in darkness. 

Nothing could be more life-like than the views of this 
pictorial history of the spiritual darkness of a true child of 
God. Elijah is perplexed with regard to his vocation, and 
puzzled at the mysterious ways of Jehovah in seeming to 
stop the good work so gloriously begun on Mount Carmel. 
He feels badly, and begins now to study out some remedy 
for himself. Here he sits, an exile in the burning desert, 
feeling himself an outcast from God and the world. In spirit 
he is back upon Carmel, and sees the people reeling in the 
idolatrous orgies of Baal, as his priests announce that the 


Jehovah prophet, after coming to disturb Israel, has fled. 
He is in the streets of Jezreel, and hears them resoundinir 
with blasphemies, Jezebel drunk with the blood of Jehovah's 
people whom his mightj work on Carmel has caused publicly 
to commit themselves. Ahab is again raging at the prophet 
that troubled Israel, All seems lost. Elijah feels badly, 
very badly. Utterly disgusted with such a world he will 
hide himself in the impenetrable sohtudes of the desert. He 
will, by way of diverting his thoughts from the disgraceful 
degradation of the present Israel, go and hold communion 
with the glorious past of Israel's history. He will visit the 
very spots in the desert where his forefathers, led by the 
fiery, cloudy pillar, camped and worshipped. Nay, he will 
penetrate to the very Mount of God itself which smoked 
under the touch of Jehovah's foot, and shot forth the light- 
nings and reverberated the thunders, as he delivered to the 
awe-struck congregation his great law. There, amid such 
hallowed associations his drooping spirit shall certainly be 
revived and strengthened, and he will feel better. 

Brethren, here you have the original principle so plausible 
and pious seeming from which developes most of the will 
worship that corrupts religion. It is in this effort of the soul, 
in its uneasiness and unrest under a spiritual cloud, to relieve 
itself by substituting the culture of imagination in religious 
worship, instead of the direct culture of the heart. It will 
substitute devout sentimentalism for communion with God 
through his appointed means of the word and ordinances. It 
is the blind instinct within them that impels men to some sort 
of worship, while the hardness of heart and darkness of mind 
keeps them from the spiritual communion. Hence the com- 
mon mistake, when their religion fails to answer its end, of 
supposing that it is their circumstances in life which prevent 
their being Christians. It is, they think, the pressure of 
temptation from the world's fascinating pleasures ; or absorb- 


ing care from the world's rough business ; or irritability of 
spirit from the world's heartless and cruel usage. If they 
could once get to some retired cottage ; some community of 
pale sisters wholly devoted to God — or of self-sacrificing 
brethren — where they could renounce the world ; or if they 
could enjoy some impressive ritual whose beautiful prayers, 
and chants, with music resounding through " long drawn 
aisle and fretted vault," bathed in " dim rehgious light," 
which might raise their absorbed spirits on wings of devotion, 
then surely, they would at once grow in grace and make 
high attainments in sanctity. 

The religion that ministers to this feeling evinces its pro- 
found knowledge of human nature and human weakness, but 
not a very profound knowledge of God's word, and insight 
into its principles of worship. 

Well, Elijah strengthened in the physical man and refreshed, 
journeys on southward toward Sinai. And, doubtless, as he 
passes spot after spot in the desert, where once the camp of 
Israel and the tabernacle stood, he finds his mind deeply 
interested, his imagination active and his heart filled with 
emotion. But, alas, his spiritual man is as dark, discontented 
and restless as before. Still he is persuaded that it w^ill be 
different when he shall have reached that great theatre of 
Jehovah's glory. Mount Horeb. He will go to the very spot 
where Jehovah stood and uttered his law ; and beyond ques- 
tion the sacredness of that spot will exalt his spirit as he 
touches it, and fill him with holy peace ! Thus onward, 
onward, for forty days ; fresh images arising before him every 
day ; here the little oasis, there the palm-trees— there the 
rock where his forefathers had camped and the pillar rested 
over the tabernacle, and Moses held a council with the elders 
— but still his soul is restless and uncomfortable. 

At length, in the southern horizon, begin to loom up the 
peaks of the Sinai range, and then the lower Mount Horeb, 


the Mountain of God. As he approaches nearer they grow 
more bold, rough and rocky, and put on the appearance of a 
magnificent temple of worship reared by God for himself in 
the eternal solitude. And yet there is disappointment. The 
spiritual man is not refreshed as he expected. Still he moves 
on and begins to climb the dark, rocky heights ; but for all 
that he can see, it is simply an immense piling up of porphyry, 
granite and grunstein. It is just like any other porpliyry, 
or granite. Kight draws on apace as he climbs ; soon he can 
see no longer the mountain ridges and sand plains far below 
him ; his thoughts are shut up to himself and the spot where 
he stands. He is alone, forsaken, an outcast from human 
fellowship. The enthusiasm dies out, and the physical nature, 
sustained till now by the supernatural food, begins its cravings ; 
and, with the growing lassitude dies out the spirit of adven- 
ture and the desire to explore any farther. A gloomy cave 
in the rock opens before him, into which he casts himself for 
shelter and rest ; and wrapping his mantle about him he gives 
way to dismal forebodings. Shall he now be left here to die 
of exhaustion and hunger ? For he has not the strengtli left 
to retrace his long and weary way over the burning sands. 
In a troubled slumber, perhaps, the Avord of Jehovah comes 
to him as aforetime. But, to his surprise and grief it is in a 
tone of reproachful rebuke, " What chest thou here, Elijah?^'' 
Strange implication ! that, after all his toil and laborious 
devotion to come thus piously to the Mount of God, he should 
receive this which is any thing but an approving welcome ! 
With a spirit yet unbroken and chafing under the reproof, he 
answers back, reciting in a spirit of self-justification his devo-' 
tion and his troubles, ^' I have been very jealous for Jehovah, 
— Israel has cast contempt upon liis covenant and ordinances 
— murdered his servants — I am left alone, and hunted down 
as a panting hart on the mountains." Is it not time for thee^ 
to visit vengeance for such sins ? But instead of words of 


'Commendation of his zeal, or of sympathy with his sorrows, 
ho receives simply the command, '' Go forth, and stand before 

Elijah obeys the call, assured now that, like Moses of old, 
he shall witness the terrible majesty of Jehovah, as when he 
descended upon this mountain and it smoked at his touch. 
That would have suited his present frame of mind. He would 
enjoy beholding the terrors of the Almighty, after seeing the 
wickedness of Jezebel and of apostate Israel, and after think- 
ing of the murder of his fellow-prophets. It would comfort 
him to feel that vengeance and power belongeth unto Jehovah. 
But, as creeping out of his hiding place, he stands erect in 
the murky darkness, a strange event suddenly breaks the 
awful silence. In an instant a tornado bursts forth, as if 
jnaddened by long imprisonment under the everlasting hills. 
It hurls the rocks, plunging, thundering, bursting down the 
cliffs. The clouds dash over the sky as the squadrons of a 
mighty army of cavalry in fierce conflict ; the sand-deserts 
seem aroused into a fury of passion and toss their curling 
billows to the sky as though an ocean of waters ! 

Elijah is filled with awe at the magnificence of God ; but 
alas, though he stands aw^e-struck, no voice of comfort and 
•sympathy speaks to his darkened spirit. The tornado ceases 
as suddenly as it began ; and in a moment all is calm ; but 
Elijah is comfortless— ^'JeJiovaJt was not in the tornado.''^ 

Suddenly, however, the solid mountain under his feet begins 
to vibrate, and now rocks as a skiff tossed upon waves of the 
sea. The rocks that just now Avere split by the tornado, seem 
ready to fall upon each other ; the sand-deserts undulate as 
the sea under a ground swell ; hills sink, valleys open, chasms 
jawn, nature seems in convuh.ions around him. Still more 
terrible is this view of the magnificence and majesty of God. 
But when, in a moment, all is stilL again, he stands in cold, 
-comfortless silence as before. For all this brings no peace 
to his agitated spirit — '-^Jehovah teas not in the earihqiiahe V 


Suddenly a mighty fire gleams forth, lighting up the dark 
cliffs, as though the heavens Avere on fire over his head. It 
crackles and roars, as it swoops past him, and fills his soul 
with still greater awe and dread. But still he is left stand- 
ing after it passes in the same cold gloominess of spirit, — 
^'' Jehovah IV m not in the fire P'^ All the terrific images of 
Jehovah's greatness and terribleness, while they affect deeply 
his imagination, have not touched his heart. So thousands 
have found it since, who in their weariness and disgust with 
the world, have taken to these Horeb pilgrimages, and 
attempted through the imagination to rise to spiritual com- 
munion with God. 

Tranquillity now reigns once more and the solemn stillness 
of the sanctuary, as though Horeb, Sinai, mountain cliffs and 
sand-deserts, aroused from their slumber are all lying in mute 
awe and adoration at the feet of Jehovah. A ''■ still small 
voice" at length breaks the silence, and, though repeating 
the question, " What doest thou here, Elijah ?" yet, somehow, 
now its accents seem to murmur softly in the very depths of 
his soul. It is a tender, gentle, complaining voice, as that 
which said in Gethsemane — " What, could ye not watch with 
me one hour?" It breaks Elijah's heart. Abashed, confused, 
humbled, he covers his face with his mantle ; and though he 
too utters the same words in response, yet how changed their 
tone and spirit ! It is in the accents of a subdued and hum- 
bled child— those wailing accents at once of penitence and 
confidence, which never yet father, that was not a monster, 
could resist. " I have been very jealous for Jehovah ;" thou 
knowest how sincerely I grieved at the dishonour of his name. 
Israel, — poor children of the covenant — led astray by servants 
of the Devil, has apostatised. Thy prophets, the witnesses 
for the truth, have all been slain. No other voice than mine 
remains to be lifted up in testimony for Jehovah. And mo 
they persecute to the death." 



Elijah is now prepared for instruction, light and restora- 
tion. Indeed the marvellous events of the night have shown 
him how Jehovah judgeth, not as man judgeth, of the means 
to affect the soul. That his expectations of crushing Israel 
into obedience by the mere vengeful power of Jehovah's 
judgments, in shutting up the heavens from watering the 
earth, in commissioning the sword of justice — were all his 
own weak devices, not Jehovah's purposes, bejond what he 
had already done. The rush of the tornado in its fury ; the 
rocking of the earthquake ; the roar and crackle of the fire 
storm — all these had failed to subdue his own spirit. How 
then shall the manifestations of Jehovah's power and ven- 
geance subdue the hard and rebellious heart of Israel ? The 
soft accents of kindness and reproach had triumphed where 
tornado, earthquake, fire-storm, all had failed. 

In accordance with all this is the lesson and instructions 
now given. First, " Go, anoint Ilazael, king over Syria^ 
and Jehu, king over Israel." Judgment must indeed come 
upon the apostates, according to my solemn oath and warn- 
ing. But it befits not my prophets, the preachers of my 
gospel, to be the executioners and the men of blood. I will 
use Satan against Satan. Ilazael and Jehu, men of blood, 
shall accompUsh my mission of vengeance better than thou. 
^' Go also, and anoint as thy successor the amiable Elisha, 
son of Shaphat ;" for there is also a mission of love to Israel 
to gather out, comfort and edify mine elect in the midst of 
the work of vengeance. He shall go forth a Barnabas, son 
of consolation, as thou hast gone forth Boanerges, son of 
thunder. Ho shall " go forth eating and drinking" with the 
people, affectionately winning them to the gospel ; as thou 
hast gone forth, "• neither eating nor drinking," warning them 
of sin and calling to repentance. 

And think not thou art alone^that there is no need of 
such a ministry to a nation of reprobates, that all are vessels 


of ^vrath fitted to destruction. Thou art not alone ; for I 
have sealed as mine these seven thousand, who, like thee, 
have refused to bow the knee to Baal ; though unlike thee, 
they have not felt called upon openly to resist Ahab and 

Now Elijah's eyes are, opened and his bands are loosed. 
The dark puzzle is solved ; all is clear enough. With light 
heart and elastic step he takes his way backward toward 
Israel. What though Jezebel is there, yet seven thousand of 
Jehovah's saints are there ; and the eternal shield of Jehovah 
is there to be a shelter over them and him ? 

I must leave to your own deductions and reflections the 
varied and striking practical lessons which this story of the 
ancient gospel of the kingdom in conflict with desponding 
faith affords to every desponding child of God ; to every soul 
in darkness, vainly striving to devise the means of its own 
recovery, rather than by simply returning to God in penitence 
and faith ; and to every soul tempted to bitterness and un- 
charitableness. " Elijah was a man subject to like passions 
as we are," saith the Apostle. Let us not forget, brethren, 
that '' we are men subject to like passions as Elijah ;*' with 
yet far lower attainments in grace ; and, therefore, far weaker 
in the hour of temptation and trial. We need, then, to '' come 
boldly to the throne of grace, that we may find mercy and 
grace to help us in the time of need." 



Isaiah i. 10, 18. — Elear the word of the Lord, ye rulers of Sodom ; Give 
ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah. To what purpose i? 
the multitude of your sacrifices unto me, saith the Lord. * ♦ ♦ Bring no 
more vain oblations, incense is an abomination unto me ; the new moons 
and Sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with ; it is ini- 
quity, even the solemn meeting. * ♦ And when ye spread forth your 
hands I will hide mine eyes from you ; yea, when ye make many prayers I 
will not hear, your hands are full of blood. Wash you and make you 
clean. * * 

Come now and let us reason together, saith the Lord ; though your sins 
be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow ; though they be red like 
crimson, they shall be as wool. 

"I PRAY thee of whom speaketh the prophet this ? Of 
himself (and his generation only), or of some other persons." 
To answer this important inquiry, we need but analyze care- 
fully the picture of the sins which the prophet sets before his 
people, as preliminary to his glorious, full and free offer of 

First, — A marked feature of the portraiture, here drawn, 
is that they are sinners under the light of Jehovah's special 
re'velations and appointed ordinances. It is now two hundred 
and fifty years since what may be called the New Testament 
of the ancient Church was given through David and Solomon ; 
the last form of the development of the old covenants. And, 
under this new form, setting forth the typical throne and 
typical kingdom of Messiah, prophet after prophet has been 



raised up to expound and develop still more clearly the great 
scheme of Redemption. Schools of the prophets have existed 
since Samuel, sending forth teachers, to expound the gospel 
of the kingdom. And the very division and secession of 
northern Israel has, incidentally, tended to keep alive a spirit 
of zeal for the ordinances as adapted by David and Solomon 
to the settled state of the natio'a. 

Second. — These sinners are such in face of every obliga- 
tion of love and gratitude to Jehovah, arising out of peculiar 
blessings and privileges. To say nothing of the privileges 
which caused David to sing, '' Blessed is the people whose 
God is Jehovah," and, '' What one nation in the earth is like 
thy people, even like Israel ;" Jehovah, since David, has 
blessed them far beyond their deserts ; and the strokes of his 
chastisements have been far fewer than their crimes. Gene- 
ration after generation, he hath continued to interpose his 
shield for their protection against all foes, and to cause their 
cup of joy to overflow. 

Thirdly, — Yet in the midst of all these mercies, sin every- 
where abounds. The public men and the people alike are 
corrupt. The moral perceptions of men seem blunted, until 
the gratitude of the very brutes is a reproach to these chil- 
dren whom Jehovah hath nourished and brought up. " The 
ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib, but Israel 
doth not know, his people do not consider." Corruption in 
the high places of justice abounds. The rulers are rulers 
of Sodom. Yea, violence and blood stalk abroad through 
the land ; and their popular vices are so debasing and degra- 
ding that not only their rulers are as rulers of Sodom, but 
their people are as the people of Gomorrah. 

Fourthly, — And yet all this wickedness clothes itself in the 
garb of religion. The outward forms of worship are puncti- 
liously observed. The wealth that has been coined out of the 
groans and tears, and blood of the oppressed, the weak, the 


fiitherless and the Avidow, is lavished on costly religious cere- 
monial. With great pomp the solemn feasts are observed ; 
with great show of sanctity prayers are multiiilied, and 
sacrifices and oblations. But the worship is all a mere 
phantom worship. No conscious presence of Jehovah gives 
it power over the spirit. It is a sanctimonious masquerade 
before Jehovah. Counterfeit, hollow voices, utter its heart- 
less petitions, and shout its empty hallelujahs. There is no 
eye of faith to look through these magnificent scenes of the 
temple worship and see them, as the prophet saw them, — 
when he saw " The Lord Jehovah high and lifted up, and his 
train filled the temple," as it expanded to the dimensions of 
the universe. No ear of faith discerns, in the sounds that fill 
the temple courts, what the prophet heard ; as the reality of 
which the outer temple worship is the symbol — the seraphim 
floating above the throne and one singing " Holy !" the 
other answering " Holy !" and then both in chorus shout- 
ing "Holy is Jehovah of hosts ! the whole earth is full of his 
glory." - 

Brethren, it is one of the saddest and most solemn of the 
warnings both of the word of God and of experience, that the 
vilest of sins, and the worst of sinners, may be found within 
the very enclosures of Jehovah's covenant. And that may be 
the case, too, at the very time when the Church and Christian- 
ized community are most consciously admiring their own extra 
piety, and with most imposing parade, attending very puncti- 
liously upon the outward worship of God. It has been so 
under every era of the revelation of God. Isaiah found in the 
divinely constituted Church of God these rulers of Sodom and 
people of Gomorrali ; and this even the prevailing typo of the 
religion of his day. It was in the divinely chosen Church, in 
which were observed the punctilious tithings of anise, mint 
and cummin, that Jesus found the men of whom he said, 
" Ye hypocrites I how can ye escape the damnation of hell !" 


It was holy priests and elders, too scrupulous to enter a 
heathen governor's house on a holy day, that could yet. In 
midnight caucus, during the holy passover, plot the murder 
of the Son of God. It is within the circle of Christianized 
communities that the prophetic eye of the Apostle Paul dis- 
cerns " in the last times," treacherous and corrupt seducers, 
" having the form of godliness, and denying the power 
thereof," that shall be guilty of every sin against God and 

Let us not think, therefore, that it cannot be of such times 
as ours, in Protestant Christendom, that the prophet speaks. 
Alas, is not every day adding to the proof that neither light 
and knowledge, nor infinite obligation for distinguishing mer- 
cies, nor multitudes of fasts and festivals and holy days, and 
formal acknowledgments of Jehovah ; nor yet immense wealth 
consecrated to the service of religion, are, any of them or all 
of them, any guarantee that there exists not high-handed 
wickedness, oppression, blood-thirst, utter decay of morals, 
and apostasy from the simplicity of the gospel ? But, aside 
from the question, as it affects generally our age, and its 
moral and spiritual condition, let us not forget that this may 
be a very iMrsonal thing to ws, and to our condition before 
God, whatever may be the condition of the age generally. 
Do you recognize any of the features of the prophet's picture 
as living realities ? then of you speaketh the prophet thus. 
Whether you be a cold formal worshipper who have lost your 
first love, or whether thus living in sin without ever having 
come to Jehovah and assumed the vows of his covenant — of 
you the prophet speaketh this ! 

Having considered to whom he speaks, let us carefully con- 
sider, in the next place, what it is the prophet says to all such. 
Observe, it embraces three points chiefly. First, — a propo- 
sition to stop and reason the matter with Jehovah. Secondly, 
— the subject matter of the parley sin and its aggravations. 


Thirdly, — the remedy for sin — its eflfectiveness, certainty and 

1. " Come now and let us reason." The proposition is very 
suggestive ; both of the cause why men continue to live in 
sin ; and of the means and process whereby Jehovah would 
bring them back to himself. 

The grand cause of the continuance in sin is that men will 
not reason of the matter. It is not that they do not know 
enough ; but they do not reason concerning what they do 
know. It is one of the mysteries of the human soul that, as 
Coleridge says, truth may become so true to us as to lose all 
the power of truth over our understanding, and lie stowed 
away as useless rubbish in the garners of memory. Just as 
sometimes a man of great wealth, from want of skill in apply- 
ing wealth to its practical uses, may live in far less comfort 
than many a man of half his means. Just as sometimes a 
man may have vast knowledge ; be a walking encyclopoedia ; 
and yet, for all the practical purposes of knowledge, live the 
life of a fool. So men may have all knowledge of the gospel, 
and yet live practically atheists. 

So too in morals, a man may not only apprehend fully, but 
feel strongly, the force of all ethical duties and obligations ; 
and yet live in self-indulgence and dissipation ; and in prac 
tical defiance of all laws of morality. Nor is it from want 
of certainty, as men sometimes persuade themselves, that they 
live on in sin, defying Jehovah's law and despising his gospel. 
Nothing can be more certain than that every man that lives 
must die ; and yet perhaps no one great truth produces less 
impression on men. They live just as if they are to live 
here forever. 

Hence the gospel call comes ever as a cry of alarm to 
arouse men and arrest their thoughts, "Come let us reason !" 
" A-wake, sleeper, and call upon thy God !" Reason, as an 
immortal creature should reason. And the first process in a 


sinner's conversion is this. Hence this is the meaning and 
purpose of all gospel ordinances, so far as relates to men yet 
unconverted. Christ arranges these ordinances and his 
providences so that, " Wisdom shall lift up her voice in the 
streets." Through his ordinances and providences he is ever 
calling to every one, as he passes along the dusty highways 
and crowded thoroughfares of life, and beckoning a halt? 
" Ho ! thou man of business, with the quick step and restless 
eye — a word with theo I" Is all this hurry of thine to get the 
^ork done before '' the Master come in such an hour as ye 
think not ?" Ho ! thou man of finance — a word with thee ! — 
what is the state of exchanges ? What art thou taking in 
exchange for thy soul ? The market is excited, perhaps, just 
now ; far the great soul broker is in the market, buyhig up 
largely ! But watch thou him closely. These are fancy stocks 
of his— nay bogus stocks ; and sham certificates, beautifully 
engraved indeed, but not a shilling of soul specie in all his deep 
heli-vaults to redeem their treacherous pledges. Ho ! thou 
old man garrulous with wise saws and modern instances, to 
show how much better Avero the former times, than these. Is 
it not rather a late watch in the night, with thieves prowling 
about thee, while thou art discussing the degenerate times ? 
Ilast thou ever thought how much better even these times are 
than the quickly coming eternities, to all who come to them 
without the requisite provision ? Ho ! thou gay youth of 
pleasure — and thou gay, fluttering creature of fashion, think- 
ing only of the gorgeous assemblies for revelry. Is not the 
entertainment growing rather dull ? And hast thou made 
preparation of suitable court dress for the still more gorgeous 
assembly at the marriage of the King's Son ? 

Yes, " stop and let us reason together," is the first call of 
all the gospels. Once men arc persuaded to get out of the 
•crowd, for a private Avord with Jehovah, and the headway i.i 
checked a little, then there is much hope. For the go^pol 0/ 


Jesus seldom foils to gain its purpose once men will earnestly 
attend to its argument. 

Are you then disposed to reason the matter with Jehovah ? 
Well, the subject of which he would speak to you is sin. 
Does it seem to you to need apology, that he should call you 
aside to speak of so disagreeable a subject ? Then the apo- 
logy is ample. It is not that he takes pleasure in dwelling on 
such a subject. But because, in the essential nature of the 
case, this must now bo the first point, in discussing the 
relation between God and man. For that relation has been 
disturbed. Sin has projected its dark, broad shadow between 
you and God. It is no dogma of theology, merely. Your 
own sad experience, every day, proclaims your soul in a 
state of disorder and disease. A curse has fallen upon it, 
which finds it's response in the aches, and ills, and pains, and 
sicknesses, and sorrows of life. Your existence here is a 
progressive death. " The moment we begin to live wo all 
begin to die." And all this because of sin. Hence this 
must be the first thing to be settled. Indeed the awakened 
sinner who has begun to reason, no sooner attempts to 
speak to Jehovah in prayer, than this consciousness of sin 
casts a cloud over his vision, and silences his voice. The 
backslider finds this in the way of his return to peace and 
joy. The earnest Christian finds sin the obstacle ever 
interposing between himself and Jehovah. There is there- 
fore no help for it ; Sin must be the first subject of the 

But blessed be the name of Jehovah ! Though he calls us 
to reason with him about sin, it is not to prove to us how 
justly he might damn us ; but how this sin question may be 
arranged ; if once we fully comprehend the greatness and 
guilt of it enough to desire it to be taken away. 

How shall this be done ? Not by palliating it ! not by 
mitigating the enormity of it ! No, but by fully, heartily, 


honestly admitting it, in all its aggravations ! '' Though your 
sins be as scarlet and red like crimson." The critics tell us 
that one of the terms here refers to the outward appearance, 
glaring, attracting and fixing the attention ; the other, from a 
root signifying double-dipped^ refers to the ineffaceable 
stain of sin upon the soul ; a stain that no rain, nor sunshine, 
nor dew can ever Avash out, or bleach. The meaning is, 
however aggravated your sins may be. 

What then, are some of the circumstances that aggravate 
sin ? For though every sin deserves God's wrath and curse, 
yet some sins, in their nature, and by reason of several 
aggravations, are more heinous in the sight of God than 
others. The prophet's picture of the sinners of his day fur- 
nishes us with the measure of these aggravations. 

First, then, sins are aggravated, sins of scarlet, — when 
committed against special light and knowledge. It is a 
principle of common sense that the servanu vTho knoweth the 
master's will, and yet disobeys, is worthy of more stripes than 
he who knows it less perfectly. The sinners to whom Isaiah 
preached, under the more complete revelation of the coven- 
ant of Grace, th«"Ough the last covenant with David, sinned 
against clearer light, than the sinners to whom Moses and 
Joshua preached. How much m.ore, even than these to 
whom the prophet is preaching, do sinners now sin against 
clearer light, who have in their hands the last and complete 
development of the New Testament covenant of grace — nay, 
and over and above this, the knowledge of the outworking of 
the completed scheme of grace, under his providence, through 
now near two tliousand years ! 

And not only so, but most of those whom I address have 
not only this knowledge in their possession, but the calls of 
the gospel have been urged upon them by every conceivable 
motive, and every most potent agency. The voice of the 
pastor of their childhood and youth has plead. The voice of 


the sabbath teacher has plead. The voice of a father's 
authority and of a mother's love has plead. The voice of a 
brother, sister, husband, or wife or bosom friend has plead. 
0, if there be scarlet sins, from light and knowledge and 
motive disregarded, of whom could the prophet speak here 
more pointedly and personally than you ? 

In the second place, sins are aggravated and become 
scarlet sins when committed against special obligations of 
gratitude. Among men, no character is esteemed more base 
than the ingrate. When you would overwhelm one with the 
charges of a terrible indictment that shall fasten upon him 
the indignant verdict of men, you rehearse how you served 
him in the day of his distress and adversity ; fed him in the 
days of his poverty ; or stood his friend when maUce assailed 
him, and all forsook him and fled ; and yet, how he has 
turned upon liis benefactor with malignity, or treated you 
with neglect and contempt. And why should it be held less 
an aggravation in him Avho plays the ingrate toward Jehovah, 
" from whom cometh down every good and perfect gift ?" If 
so, then I pray thee, '^ of whom speaketh the prophet this,'' 
if not of you, who cannot recall an hour of life unmarked by 
some blessing from Jehovah ? Mercies have showered upon 
you. Mercies to your country — mercies to your neighbour- 
hood — mercies to your friends — mercies to your family ; per- 
sonal mercies — and these of all classes — mercies temporal — 
mercies spiritual — ^mercies of providence — mercies of grace. 
Through the whole journey of life, from the cradle to the 
present hour, you have tread, at every step, upon mercies — 
strewn as flowers in your pathway, and their perfume fills the 
very air you breathe ! And yet, perhaps, you have seldom 
thouglit of him ; nay, worse, have treated his offers of par- 
doning grace with contempt, and set his holy will at defiance 
Verily, if there be sins of scarlet, such sins are these ! 

In the third place, sins may be aggravated, and become 


sins of scarlet and red like crimson, from the social position 
of those who sin, or their relative position towards others, 
or their peculiar gifts and endowments which give them influ- 
ence over others. This is on the score of the consequences of 
the sins, as well as of their intrinsic baseness. For such is the 
social constitution of our present state, that, in a high sense, 
every man is his brother's keeper ; and is justly held account- 
able for the influence of his sins on others as well as on him- 
self Wo are the creatures of influence. We speak each 
other's words, wo think each other's thoughts, we are moved 
by each other's emotions, we borrow each other's looks, we 
breathe each other's breath. The fashion of our moral exist- 
ence is that of an infinite web whose centre is the throne of 
God and its circuit the universe. Each intelligent being is a 
mesh of that great web ; and his every moral movement 
vbrates, as the stroke upon th* water, wave following wave, 
inward to the centre, and outward to the circumference ! 
The sins of men long dead thus live still, in their influ- 
ence on men still living : and the sins of men in distant 
parts of the earth come vibrating over us on their mission of 

Now, in such a world, what must be the character of the 
sins of pubhc men, and of magistrates in high civil positions ? 
Does not the prophet justly describe them as rulers of Sodom ? 
AVhile the sins of men in private station — their revelries — 
their profanity — their contempt of Jehovah — are indeed 
.great, yet their influence for evil is not so great as the same 
sins of men in exalted position. In the one case the sinful 
passions and lusts rage indeed, but rage, as the volcano of 
Moana Roa rages, in the depths of its deep gulph, sending 
up their exhalations. In the other case, the sins are as the 
overflow of some Etna or Vesuvius carrying devastation 
and death, as the fiery flood rolls downward over the plain. 
AVhat shall we &ay, therefore, of the sins of public official 


men ? Of the sins of unofficial men, who by tlieir gifts, 
their wealth, or their natural power of influence, are enabled 
to mould the thoughts and tastes of thousands ? Especi- 
ally what shall we say of the sins of masters of households, 
whoso influence often extends to hundreds of servants ? Of 
the sins of fathers and mothers, to whom God has given to 
stand a? his representatives to their children ? Shall such 
not feel that the prophet here speaketh of them — as guilty of 
the scarlet sins and red like crimson ? 

In the fourth place, sins may be aggravated as being com- 
mitted against special covenants and vows ; and thereby 
implying peculiar faithlessness and recklessness ; on the prin- 
ciple com:noii among men that, the breach of a solemn bond 
is more faithless than a failure to meet any other engagement. 
This was the special aggravation of the sin of those to whom 
the prophet preached. They were solemnly engaged hy 
covenants with Abraham, with Moses, and Avith David, to be 
peculiarly Jehovah's peo})le, as he to be peculiarly their God 
and Redeemer. In this re2;ard, their sins were more a^^vdi- 
vated than those of Sodom and Gomorrah, whose cry ascended 
up to heaven, and brought down the fires of vengeance. 
For beside the intrinsic wickedness of doing the deeds of 
Sodom and Gomorrah, these sinners, in so sinning, added 
the guilt of faithlessness to their solemn vows and the vows 
of their fathers. 

It is this that gives their peculiar aggravation to the sins 
of such as have formally and publicly entered into the coven- 
ant of Jehovah, in our day. They add to the intrinsic guilt 
of their transgressions, this violation of solemn faith pledged. 
And on this account it is, that their sins are also the most 
hurtful in their influence, by bringmg reproach on the religion 
of Jesus Christ, as a religion that hinders not its votaries 
from being faithless. Here again, as you contemplate the 
low standard of the Christian life — see you not the prophet 
speaketh thus of us ? 


Having reasoned thus of the matter, do jou find that as 
jou reason, jour sins rise up before you glaring as scarlet? 
Does the despairing conviction come over jou that the stain 
is ineffaceable ? that the soul is double-dipped in transgres- 
sions that are as crimson ? Are you ready to cry out, 
" Father, I have sinned against heaven and in thy sight, and 
am no more worthy to be called thy son !" Say you, " Behold 
I am vile, what shall I answer thee ;" " mine iniquities have 
gone over my head, they are a burden too heavy for me ?" 
Then Jehovah has somewhat more to say. If he hath 
l)roken he will bind up. He saith, " Stand not back for 
•the enormity of your sins. Though they be as scarlet and red 
I'ke crimson — never mind — they shall be as snow and as 
wool !" 

On what ground, and on what security may such sinners 
rest ? Simply this ; that " where sin abounds grace much 
more abounds." By virtue of that atonement held up to 
view in every sacrifice at the altar, symbolizing the blood of 
.an infinite Lamb of God, full provision is made for all sin — 
absolutely all — however great the aggravation. The law 
stands in all its force, " the soul that sinneth it shall die." 
But Jehovah hath, in the covenant of Redemption, provided 
for a substitution of life for life. The blood atones because 
" the life is in the blood." 

And not only is provision thus made, in general, but Jeho- 
vah — to assure the faith of poor sinners who, seeing their 
sins in all their aggravation, begin to doubt, whether this 
■provision may be efficacious in such desperate case as theirs 
— has vouchsafed to bind himself to pardon and justify all 
who rely on the blood. His word not only, but his bond is 
given, " When I see the blood I will pass over, and the curse 
shall not come nigh you !" 

And, in addition to the teachings of the ritual of blood, 
stand all his pledges, not only to take away the sin but to 


purify and renew the bad heart. For so he teaches, in all 
the ritual of the sprinklings and washings and purifications of 
the temple service. 

Such was the gospel of pardon as Isaiah would state it. 
It Avas all-sufficient then, for the assurance of those whose 
sins were as scarlet and crimson, that it was a remedy sure, 
effective and ever ready to all who will reason with Jehovah. 

You, my brethren, have still clearer assurance, though the 
remedy remains precisely the same. You have the additional 
assurance that " the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all 
sin." " He came to save sinners — even the chief." You 
have the bond of the New Covenant, pledging him '' who 
bore your sins in his own body on the tree " to " save all that 
come to God by him." If you will reason — then fear not to 
cast yourself upon his pledge to make thft scarlet as the snow 
and the cnmsou as the wool. 





Luke iv. 16-21. — And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought 
up ; and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, 
and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of 
the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place 
where it was written, 

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach 
the Gospel to the poor, he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to 
preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sigiit to the blind; 
to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the 

And ue closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat 
down. And the eyes of all them that were in the Synagogue were fastened 
on him. And he began to say unto them, this day is this Scripture 
fulfilled in your ears 

The visible Church of God still continued to have its centre 
in the land of promise, and in the city of David. Its creed 
was nominally still the covenant of grace as last developed in 
the covenant with David. Its ordinances were still the old 
ritual of Sinai, as David and Solomon had adapted that ritual, 
to the settled state ; and both creed and ritual had more fully 
been expounded by subsequent prophets. Prophecy had 
ceased, and there was no open vision for four hundred and 
fifty years. Synagogues, Ilabbis and Scribes had taken l)ie 


place of the schools of the prophets. Revolution had followed 
revolution in the state, and chastisement after chastisement to 
the Church ; till now only a few fragments of the typical 
kingdom, just sufficient to preserve the line of promise, and 
these ruled by a foreign tyrant, remained in Canaan. The 
rest were scattered among all nations, there to '' prepare the 
way of the Lord." The typical throne of David had been 
taken away, as a necessary preparation also for the construc- 
tion of the new spiritual kingdom, soon to be gathered from 
all nations. 

Among the people, Rabbis, Priests, Scribes and Elders, 
generally, prevailed a cold, narrow, unspiritual, heartless, 
formalism, which while outwardly magnifying the creed and 
the ritual, had utterly lost sight of the gospel contained 
therein; " teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." 
For a century, indeed, a general expectation prevailed, 
founded upon the prophets, of some great change about to 
come. The unspiritual conceived of it as a political revolution, 
and a literal restoration of the throne of David. The true chil- 
dren of God waited for it, as the consolation of Israel. Especi- 
ally during the last thirty years have these expectations been 
more certain and definite among the true believers, since 
divine communications have again come to his people through 
Mary, Elizabeth, Zacharias, Anna and Simeon, announcing 
the speedy fulfilment of the covenant with David. 

Such, in general terms, was the condition of the Church and 
the typical kingdom when first John the Baptist, and then 
Jesus, began to proclaim " the kingdom of heaven is at hand." 
And, at an early period of his ministry occurred at Nazareth 
the exposition of the divine authority, nature, limits and pur- 
poses of that gospel preaching, which is now to take the place, 
both of the visions of the prophets and of the ancient teaching 
by symbols and ritual, as the instrumentality in the Church 
for calling sinners and edifying saints. It was, indeed, in an 


obscure place, and under very humble circumstances, that an 
exposition of such intrinsic importance and dignity was given. 
But -what place or circumstances more befitting the first expo- 
iiition of the ordinances of a gospel -whose glory it was that 
•■' the poor have the gospel preached to them ? " 

It is in an obscure village, far north of Jerusalem, the bye- 
v/ord and scoff of its own province of Gallilee ; which province 
itself was the scorn and scoif of the refined metropohtans of 
Jerusalem. For the sake of its very obscurity it had been 
selected by the parents of Jesus, in his infancy, as a hiding 
place from the cruelties of the Herods. There had he grown 
up as the son of Joseph the carpenter, surrounded by poverty 
and ignorance ; and thence had he departed unnoticed al)out 
the opening of the ministry of John Baptist. 

But strange news has lately come to this little village. 
Humour hath it, that this son of Joseph the carpenter has 
suddenly become a great man — great enough to have attracted 
ilie notice of the great people in the capital city, Capernaum. 
Kay more, that, travelling from place to place as a Rabbi, he 
is eclipsing the fame of John Baptist himself. And now, that 
the much talked of Rabbi has at length actually come to 
Nazareth, crowds gather to the synagogue ; and with eager 
cxpoctation are they waiting till the presiding elder, rising 
from his high seat, shall hand the book to the son of Joseph, 
in\dting him to read and expound the word. " What place 
will he select ? WhaT curious things will he say ? We will 
see now what this thing is that has so fascinated the great 
Capernaum people." 

He bejiins to unroll the volume — It is the book of the 
prophet Isaiah. Nor does he unroll far from the end of the 
book till he finds the place ; it is the sixty-first chapter, 
among the last of his sublime predictions of the future glory 
and the new order of things in the Church when " the 
Redeemer shall come to Zion." He reads — " The Spirit of the 



Lord is upon mc, because he hath anointed me to preach the 
gospel to the poor : he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, 
to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight 
to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach 
the acceptable year of the Lord." All eyes are rivetted 
upon him as he sits down to begin his discourse on such a 
theme. And the curiosity becomes the more eager at his first 
sentence — '' This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears." 
But soon mere curiosity merges into wonder at the gracious 
words, as he proceeds to develop the infinite meaning of the 
glad message of the text, and to demonstrate how he himself 
is the actual of the prophet's great ideal. !How the typical 
Idngdom of David, for whose restoration they were longing, is 
now to be fulfilled in the great antitype — the kingdom of God 
on earth. And how^, now, the prophets of the Church shall 
go forth to preach this gospel. New views of truth begin to 
burst upon them as he expounds the covenant of grace ; new 
hopes of mercy as he dilates upon the love and compassion of 
God : new convictions of sin, as he dwells upon the sorrows, 
the blindness, the slavery of sin ; new courage, as be expounds 
the promise of the Spirit, to release from the captivity to the 
law of sin in the members ; new fountains of emotion open in 
their hearts, as he applies the Balm of Gilead ; new pur- 
poses and resolves, as he closes by proclaming, " This is the 
accepted time " — wait no longer — -just here, just now — 
'•-^ome take the waters of life freely." 

Brethren, " this day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears " 
also : and so it is every day that you hear the gospel preached. 
These are the words of " Jesus Christ, the same, yesterday, 
to-day and forever." And, in these words, he sets forth to 
us the significancy of these gospel ordinances, which he hath 
appointed under the new covenant, as our means of grace, in 
place of the ordinances of symbols and types and ritual which 
had been the means of grace to his people under the old 


covenants. AVc do well, tliorofore, to nnalvzc carefully this 
prophetic statement, thus expounded and applied bj Jesus 
himself, the minister of the sanctuary ; and whose personal 
ministry is the type of that gospel ministry which he estab 
lished for the New Testament Church. For this statement 
will be found exhaustive, covering all the fundamental points, 
of the Divine qualifications and appointment of the office ; 
its purpose and functions ; the manner of discharging them ; 
and the end to be had in view in preaching the gospel. 

I. The primary qualification for the office is, " the Spirit of 
the Lord is upon one.'''' So was it said, in the ancient Church, 
not only of the inspired men " who spake as they were moved 
by the Holy Ghost," but of any man stirred up to any work 
by Jehovah. The Spirit of the Lord was upon leaders such as 
Gideon and Jephthah, and Sampson and Saul, impelling them 
to execute a mission for Jehovah, even though in some cases 
they gave little evidence of the Spirit's w^ork of grace upon 
the heart. It is so still with the men who have this mission 
of Jehovah to preach and rule in the Church. This work is 
not therefore, one that every man, even with learning sufficient, 
should feel that he is called upon to assume, unless he has some 
other special call to the profession. If the Spirit of the Lord 
is upon him to this end he will find something positive in his 
experience. He will feel the pressure of the Apostle — '• Wo is 
me if I preach not the gospel." 

The error of our times and country, howv^ver, is not so 
much with reference to the original call and qualification for 
the ministry, as in regard to the continuance of the Spirit of 
the Lord, guiding and directing tiie true gospel preacher in 
his work. There seems to be prevalent a sort of Sadduceeism, 
whose conceptions fall far below the true extent of the Spirit's 
work. It is not all the truth, by any means, that the Spirit 
calls him to the work, and then leaves him to the best exercise 
of his reasoning powers, eloquence and learning in the dis- 


charge of it. The Spirit of the Lord continues upon him, 
guiding his choice of what to saj ; for every true speech in 
the name of Christ, officially, is prompted by the Spirit, 
and accompanied by him on its errand to fashion the vessels 
of glory, or the " vessels of Avrath fitted to destruction." The 
relation of the preacher of the New Testament is very close 
to the prophet of the Old Testament whom he succeeded. 
He has now, indeed, no further new communication to make 
from Jehovah, for the revelation is complete. Yet, though 
he look not to a vision of the night, nor listen for a voice 
from tlie unseen to syllable the words of Jehovah, he must 
reverently come to the oracle of Jehovah — his completed 
revelation — inquiring " What will Jehovah say unto this 
people?" And, getting his message he goes forth to pro- 
claim " thus saith Jehovah." Nothing is plainer in scripture 
than that the true gospel preacher has the presence of the 
spirit of Christ upon him, in every official utterance. For 
saith Jesus, " Go preach, Lo I am with you alway." The 
Holy Spirit comes '' to take the things of Christ and shew 
them unto him," that he may shew them unto the people. 

II. Qualified thus, by the Spirit upon him, he is also specially 
" anointed," that is, commissioned, as for an official work — 
'' to preach." Nor is there, perhaps, any truth of our holy 
religion which needs more to be impressed upon the minds of 
the people, and to be brought out in the consciousness of the 
Church, at this day. It is to be feared that, in the reaction 
from the general disgust of mankind with the arrogant claims 
of ghostly authority by a corrupt priesthood, Protestants are 
tending to the other extreme of ignoring the true divine 
authority of the gospel ministry. Because an unspiritual and 
formalistic priesthood — palpably without the divine qualifica- 
tion of the " Spirit of the Lord upon them," — have yet been 
punctilious to the highest degree sin claiming the divine official 
commission, and themselves as the only authorized ministry, 


men have learned to scoff at every form of claim to speak 
with the authority of a divine commission, and to conceive of 
the Protestant minister as simply one of the brethren chosen 
to teach, and to care for that which the masses have not time 
to care for. Even many pious and earnest people, in this day 
of Christian activity, seem to conceive of the gospel ministry 
as merely another form of those agencies for doing good, com- 
mon to all Christian men an-l women, such as the teaching 
in the Sabbath school, the conference and social meeting, 
the conversation of the colporteur, &c. 

True, in a very important sense, every Christian is a propa- 
gandist singing ever " that all would believe ;" for it is of 
the essential nature of the new life that it makes '• him that 
heareth say, come." True, every agency for gathering in 
sinners, and for Christian nurture is, in its place, all important. 
But it must not be forgotten that, over and above all these, 
"the Lord hath anointed" a ministry, commissioned, not only 
as chief of all these agencies, but officially to speak for God to 
men in the word ; to speak for men to God in prayer ; to 
stand as Christ's attorney in the sacraments presenting the 
covenant and receiving the signature and seal of his people 
to it. Not only is this public official utterance of the minister 
different in kind from the similar utterance in the family, and 
in the private gatherings of Christians '' speaking often one 
with another ;" but it differs also from his own private utter- 
ances, as the utterance of the judge on the street differs from 
that of the judge on the bench. This will appear further as 
we proceed to consider, 

III. — The function and purpose of his office. It is " to 
lireach the gospel.''^ And, by virtue of the special anointing, 
this preaching differs, in kind, from all merely human forms 
of thought and teaching, however it may resemble them. To 
preach maybe eloquent utterance, but that is not all, nor the 
essential part of it. To preach, may l)e profound reasoning • 


but that is not all, nor the essential part of it. To preach, is 
to teach, but that is not all of it, though the primary end of 
it. To preach, is to expound a book ; yet not, as in the 
schools, the book of a Plato who spoke, but of a Jesus who 
speaks. It is to enforce an ethics ; yet not, as in the school 
of a Socrates who moralized, but of a Jesus who is purifying 
the heart by faith. It is to develop a great system of thought 
concerning God and humanity ; yet not as received merely 
from "holy men of old who spake as they were moved by the 
Holy Ghost," but as revealed now by Jesus to the souls of 
his people. 

Preaching, then, is that peculiar official utterance, of one 
divinely commissioned to speak in Christ's name. Saith the 
Apostle, " We are ambassadors for Christ, as tliough God 
did beseech you by us, we pray you, in Christ's stead, be ye 
reconciled to God." It is authoritatively setting forth the 
divine terms of reconciliation. Just as his Master and the 
Great Type of his ministry, so the preacher " speaks as one 
having authority and not as the scribes." 

But some one is now ready to ask — '' Is "not this re-assert- 
ing the old priestly assumption, by divine right to dominate 
over the conscience ? And will not this carry us back to the 
priestcrafts and tyrannies of ghostly authority ?" I answer, 
candidly, so it will ; unless he who claims this authority is 
carefully restricted within the sphere of his commission. If 
he is allowed to claim and exercise such power as inherent 
in him personally, by virtue of some indelible grace of holy 
orders, and not because the Spirit of the Lord is upon him to 
this end ; if he is allowed to transcend the limits of his 
commission, and, deliver authoritative opinions on any other 
questions than of the reconciliation to God through Christ ; 
if the people make him their infallible judge in cases of 
dividing the inheritance, or their guide in determining to 
which Caesar they owe allegiance ; that is the peoples' affair, 

MEANS. 215 

not the gospel's. The guarantee against priestly domination 
lies not in denying the divine authority of the ministry, and 
thereby denying any true gospel preacher. It lies in the 
careful restriction of his authority within the limits set to it 
in his divine commission. For, you will observe, in the next 
place, that the commission here confines him to a very special 
and narrowly limited sphere. " The Lord hath anointed me 
to preach the GospeV In this office he is to "know nothing 
but Christ Jesus and him crucified." His sole business, 
officially, is to proclaim, " Jesus Christ came into the world 
to save sinners, of whom I am chief;" and to expound and 
enforce the terms of reconciliation. As the discourse of the 
ambassador, outside of his special official sphere — of politics, 
finances, morals, literature, — is not to be taken as of any higher 
authority than the opinions of any other man equally intelli- 
gent ; so when the ambassador of Christ discourses, outside 
of his commission, concerning science, physics, metaphysics, 
politics, ethics, national affairs, civil and military, his discourse 
is of no higher authority than that of any other man, equally 
intelligent. Nay, his opinions are of even less value than 
other men's, since he can know little of these matters, if true to 
his Master's work. And if he undertake, officially, to speak of 
such things when he stands forth to speak in the name of 
Christ he is simply an impostor, seeking to gain currency and 
confidence for his opinions under false pretences. And if 
the people submit to the imposition, quietly, the result will 
soon show itself in a ministry ^\ith no Spirit of the Lord upon 
it, and a Church witli no Spirit of the Lord in it. And though 
without the Popish form of it, yet, in reality and in substance, 
there will be priestcraft as artful, ruling over as thoroughly 
a priest-ridden people, as ever disgraced the great Roman 

The Gospel is that for the propagation of which the Church 
has been constituted a spiritual commonwealth, Avith its offices 


to bear rule and to preach. By. divine authority, in like 
manner, the secular interests of the world, as the great 
theatre of the gospel's operations in gathering God's elect, 
have been committed to Ciusar. And never are these powers 
confounded that the confusion is not rebuked by leavhig the 
Church, on the one hand, to spiritual death, and the state to 
the decay of liberty on the other. But when, in the true 
spirit of the divine commission, the Church, Avith a single eye 
to her divine charter and mission, and her ministry, under 
a deep sense of their official responsibility, '' preach the 
gospel," then the work of Christ goes forward, conquering 
and to conquer, whether the Avorld-powers frown or smile.* 

IV. Not only is the preacher's office of divine appointment, 
but also the method and manner of discharging the functions 
thereof. '' To preach the gospel to the poor.'''' It is this 
feature that distinguishes the system of instruction appointed 
in the gospel from all those humanly-devised schemes for the 
instruction and elevation of mankind which have made illus- 
trious the world's benefactors. Though its subject matter is 
the profoundest that can occupy the human mind ; though 
all other knowledge is but ancillary to this knowledge ; 
though its truths, at all points, expand from the finite to the 
infinite ; it yet cites as the evidence of its divine origin, that 
" the poor have the gospel preached unto them." The 
originators and expounders of all other systems of thought 
seek out only the more gifted, the intelligent and the refined, 
to be made trophies of their skill in the work of enlighten- 
ment. But Jesus Christ comes proclaiming himself " able 
10 save to the uttermost" — even to the uttermost extent of 
degradation and ignorance. Nay, while his system excludes 
none — high or low — he rejoices, saying, " I thank thee, 
father, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and 
prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes." 

The meaning of all this is, that the method of preaching 

• u~».c Aii[)eiiaix, Noie D. 


the gospel must be adapted to the liumble in spirit, and to 
the capacity of the uneducated ; making the instruction of 
the -wise and prudent incidental, rather than primary. It 
proceeds upon the assumption that, " Not many \visc, not 
many noble, not many mighty are called." There arc, 
indeed, some such called ; for Christ excludes none. But 
when called, it is incidentally, by means tliat are adapted to 
the capacity of the masses, rather than by any excellency of 
speech and words of man's wisdom, specially appointed for 
the conversion of the wise, the noble and the mighty. And 
it is the grand peculiarity of the gospel faith that is unto 
salvation, that it is precisely the same faith whether as exist- 
ing in the heart of the poor unlettered peasant, or of the 
mighty man of science. Its great truths are equally adapted 
to suit the humble powers of thought and limited capacity of 
the one, and to exercise, to their uttermost, the loftiest intellec- 
tual powers of the other, and fill to their fullest the largest 
capacities. The gospel adapted to the poor is equally adapted 
to the great ; w^hile the gospel that aims only to meet the 
capacity of the wise and great is ada[)ted to the spiritual 
wants of neither. Its message is to '• the poor in spirit," to 
" the meek and lowly in heart;" to •' the weary and heavy 
laden." And while its truths transcend the reach of the 
loftiest gifts ever bestowed upon the natural understanding, 
and its stupendous problems have a length and breadth and 
depth that transcends the compass of human reasoning, yet 
they find an interpreter, in the bosom alike of the peasant and 
the philosopher, which expounds them to the apprehension of 
a soul conscious of sin and desirous of salvation. This gospel 
comes as a bread of life to the hungry soul, and as a water 
of life to the thirsty soul. It is, therefore, no more a marvel 
that the poor and unlearned, alike with the great and learned, 
should understand and use it, than that the poor and un- 
learned with little knowledge of the chemistries of philosophers 


should, yet, as readily as the philosophers, understand how to 
appease their physical hunger with bread, and quench their 
physical thirst with water. 

While, therefore, the schools send forth their disciples with 
the command—" Go forth, apply the powers we have disci- 
plined and the knowledge we have imparted in extending the 
domain of thought, and in elevating the standard of learning. 
Seek to be illustrious, as scholars and philosophers, and 
worthy the plaudits of the wise and intelhgent of your race," 
Jesus Christ sends forth his disciples, saying — " Go, with the 
Spirit cf the Lord upon you, — sanctifying all your gifts and 
attainments, — and ' preach.' Preach, — not learning, philoso- 
phy, ethics, political economy — but ' the gospel.' And 
fashion your gospel, not to the gesthetics of the refined, with 
stilted rhetorical step ; not to the whimsical demands of the 
caviller Avith learned air ; not to the exactions of the scien- 
tific sceptic with profound philosophic phrase. Aim at the 
capacities of the masses ; the poor in spirit, poor in learning, 
poor in taste ; and, whatever the schools may think, the 
gospel from your mouth, ' made the power of God unto 
salvation ' shall certify your skill ' as workmen that need 
not be ashamed.' The two grand requisites, therefore, of 
the preacher's office are : First, that he preach the gospel — 
nothing else ; second, a gospel addressed to the capacity of 
the masses of the people. The force of all this will appear 
more clearly as we proceed, next, to consider : — 

V. The prophetic catalogue of the purposes and ends of this 
gospel preaching. For this catalogue will be found to embrace 
the entire purposes of this office, and all thci the soul needs 
a gospel for. 

First, the gospel comes " to heal the broken-hearted." 
It assumes that it comes into a world full of sorrow ; where 
" man is made to mourn." That as " sin has entered," pro- 
jecting its dark shadow ; " so death," including all forms of 


sorrow, " by sin." Physical suffering with its sorrows ; for 
the death begins to work from man's birtli, in aches and pains 
and sicknesses. INIental suffering ; for the death worketli dark- 
ness of the understanding, pronencss to error, dulncss of 
perception, and all the weariness of mind that flows from 
them. Sorrow of heart ; for the deatli worketh all manner 
of loss of friendship, loss of confidence, loss of affection, loss 
of friends, near and dear, with all the agonies of bereavement 
and of sympathy with suffering. But, worse than all, sorrow 
for sin ; growing out of the consciousness that all these other 
sorrows come from the estrangement of the soul from God ; 
and are but types of that eternal sorrow which shall follow as 
the just penalty of sin, still conceiving and bringing forth death. 
And even when faith " hath laid hold of the hope set before 
us in the gospel," this sorrow continues to be the portion of 
God's children in such a world. The temptations too strong 
for us, and the sins that do easily beset us continually break 
the grasp of faith on that hope. The tears of sorrow ever 
dim the eye of faith. Now it is the distinguishing glory of 
this gospel preaching that it has the balm of Gilead to apply 
to these broken hearts. It comes to those mourning, as they 
look upon him that their sins have pierced, to assure them, 
that the blood from the pierced side " cleanseth from all 
sin;" for he hath made propitiation for our sins with his own 
blood. It comes to comfort the people of God in their afflic- 
tions with the assurance that the afflictions come neither by 
chance, nor because he is angry with them ; but because ho 
sees it best for them ; and " the light affliction that endureth 
for a moment shall work out a far more exceeding and eternal 
Aveight of glory." It comes to assure the hearts broken by 
bereavement that these strokes are not in anger ; *' for whom 
the Lord loveth he chasteneth." That they sorrow not as 
those without hope, for " they that sleep in Jesus will God 
bring with him." Not a sorrow — that is a godly sorrow and 


•not the mere sorrow of the world that worketh death, — but 
this gospel has its balm for the wound. 0, it is not the 
applause of the thoughtless and light-hearted world that is 
music to the ear of the true gospel preacher ; but the glow- 
ing heart utterances of some poor broken-hearted sinner 
pointed by him first to Christ ; of some child of God, despond- 
ing and broken-hearted with the troubles that have made the 
world all darkness, and even shut oat the light of God's smile 
from the soul — from whose spirit he hath chased away the 
darkness ; of some broken-hearted father or mother or house- 
hold, whom he has found refusing to be comforted because 
death has come and the loved ones are not, and has enabled 
.them to say, '' The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away, 
blessed be the name of the Lord." To the preacher whose 
heart has listened to the music of their orrateful blessin<2;s 
on him, all the adulation of the frivolous multitude — all the 
applause of literary and rhetorical critics, is as the sound of 
empty brass and a tinkling cymbal. The giddy, the thought- 
less, the hardened in sin, the unstricken souls, need not be 
surprised that the gospel preaching has no fascinations for 
them. Its aim chiefly is at the wants of earnest souls, broken- 
hearted for sin, or by the consequences of sin. 

Second, the purpose of the gospel is to preach " delwer- 
ance to the captives.^'' For it assumes that men must 
perceive the sin and sorrow to be not merely their misfor- 
tune but their fault, — that they are lying under sentence as 
"condemned already" and awaiting execution. — No man 
can reason intelligently concerning his present condition and 
relation toward God without the conviction that he is in a 
state of condemnation, — that his present estate is that of a 
condemned criminal in prison, awaiting the full infliction of 
the just penalty of sin. Hence the inquiry is forced upon 
such an one — Is there no way in which, consistently with 
justice and right, this penalty may be removed ? Hence all 


the religions which men have devised — however varied in. 
degree of intclHgence, refinement and purity — are rehgions- 
of dread — of Lloodj sacrifices and rites — of priests atoning 
at altars. All seem, more or less clearly, to recognize this- 
conviction in the human soid of a penalty for sin, a guilt to 
be removed .by atonement. Now the gospel comes to satisfy 
this inquiry " How can a man be just with God ?" by 
showing how Christ crucified may righteously be accepted of 
God in place of the sinner's eternal crucifixion ; and how 
" the Lamb of God taketh away the sin of the w^orld." 
Not merely procures the pardon of it, in the sense that God, 
though still offended, agrees to waive the execution of the 
penalty : but " iaketli away the sin, so that it shall be 
blotted out and remembered no more. Nay more, that the 
sinner may stand before God as righteous, being arrayed in. 
the righteousness of his substitute. For Christ, the Sinless 
One, hath borne our sins in his own body on the tree," and 
is become " the Lord our righteousness." Such a gospel 
meets fully — and such a gospel only can meet fully — the 
demands of a sinner's own convictions of the just and neces- 
sary deserts of sin, under the perfect administration of a 
righteous God. Meeting those demands it brings the captive 
soul out of the condemned cell singing, " There is therefore 
now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus ? 
Being justified by faith we have peace with God." 

A ildrd purpose of this gospel preaching, and indeed a 
necessary preliminary to the foregoing, is " the recovering of 
sight lo the llindy For it is one of the effects of the death, 
that has caused the sorrow of the race, that it has also 
caused total blindness of the spiritual vision. The gospel, 
therefore, assumes that, wdiatever variety of intelligence may 
be found among the children of men, whether by reason of 
original endowments or by attainments, yet all are alike in 
darkness and in ignorance of any true soul knowledge, or of 


anj consciousness of the truth that is unto salvation. A 
Saviour Avho meets the case, therefore, must be not only an 
.atoning priest, but also an enlightening prophet, as well. 
Hence the gospel comes pointing the soul to his wonderful 
instructions of what man is to believe concerning God, and 
what duty God requires of man. To this end he became 
himself a preacher of this gospel of the kingdom. To this 
end he sends his Holy Spirit to reveal his truth unto babes. 
■" No man knoweth the Father save he to whom the Son shall 
reveal him." All that natural religion can gather out oi 
his works concerning God, is of little avail to instruct a 
blind and guilty soul. But the true gospel preached to him, 
with " the Spirit of the Lord upon it," shall cause the light 
to shine into the heart, as flashed the light upon the murky 
■chaos, when the " spirit brooded upon the waters, and God 
said, let light be !" 

S. fourth purpose of the gospel preaching, — which at once 
places it beyond all comparison with any merely human 
teaching — is " to set at liberty tliem that are bruised.^^ 
Without the holding forth to a sinner the Kingly office of 
his Saviour, and his power to deliver from the galling slavery 
of sin, the salvation would be incomplete. For of what avail 
to him to be enlightened in the knowledge of the truth, and 
even to be pardoned for all the past, if left in his conscious 
impotency to struggle with the inherent sinfulness of his heart 
kept in active eruption by the temptations of a sinful world 
without ? Of what avail to let the light break in by opening 
his cell, and to proclaim the pardon /or a reason^ and reprieve 
from the sentence, if the pardoned criminal shall be left lying 
there helj)less with the shackles upon him still galling him 1 
But it is the glory of the gospel to be not only a pardon and 
a light but ^^0^ power ^ " the power of God unto salvation." 
It not only, as the ethical schools, points to the way of virtue 
and happiness saying, '' this is tho way, walk ye in it," 


but it saith, "rise, take up thy bed and walk" to the 
helpless cripple, or "stretch forth thj hand" to tlio man 
of the withered hand, with the word of command imparting 
a divine power, that restores his spiritual strength to the 
poor cripple, and sends him on his way " leaping and glorify- 
ing God." To him conscious of his impotency its glorious 
assurance is "my grace is sufficient for thee." Thus every 
phase of the sinner's condition is provided for ; nothing, 
absolutely nothing, is left undone, that ho needs. 

And hence the ffth and last distinguishing feature of the 
gospel preaching. That, wherever its voice comes present- 
ing its scheme, just then, and just there can it ''proclaim 
the acceptable year of the Lord.^'' For it can say just here, 
" and this day, is this scripture fulfilled in your ears." These 
blessings of grace which the gospel preacher proclaims arc 
not a beautiful theory which men may sometime hereafter test 
by application of its principles ; not something involving a 
long discipline and preparation. It is a present offer. Now 
is its accepted time : noio is always its day of salvation. It 
is intended to be applied on the spot. There is no need of 
waiting, for all things are ready. Jesus Christ is present 
here and now, in this preaching, to verify its truths and 
fulfil all its pledges. You wait not to get rid of the sin, but 
come to him to take away the sin ! You w^ait not to provide 
a fit dress — purity of character enough to stand before God 
— but come to him and receive the wedding garment — even 
his righteousness. You wait not till you have more light ; 
but come to him to give you light. You wait not to test 
whether you have moral power to keep your resolutions and 
vows ; but come to him, and implicitly trust him for the power 
and all the grace to enable you to live in new^ness of life. 
Nay, you wait not for more faith or stronger faith ; but come 
just as you are with all your darkness and doubts, crying 
" Lord I believe, help thou my unbelief." There is nothing 


to bo waited for, but every thing to impel you to seize upor 
the offer Avhile it is the acceptable ^^ear of the Lord. Nc 
gospel preacher can ever state the case and then leave you 
to decide to-morrow. To-day is the day of grace ! To-mor- 
row may be the day of doom ! To-day, as you come, Avith youi 
sorrow and darkness and weakness, he can confidently assure 
you, because, he can point you to the Lamb on Calvary aton- 
ing for you — " Able to save to the uttermost all that come.'' 
To-morrow he may have become to you " the Lamb in the midst 
of the throne," before whom the universe trembles with terror ! 

Such, brethren, is this great inaugural discourse of Jesus 
at the institution of his new order of ministry in the New 
Testament Church under the last and highest development 
of the covenant of grace. A ministry that unites in it the 
functions both of the priest and the prophet of the ancient 
Church. It is a priesthood that officiates not indeed at a vis- 
ible altar, but stands pointing to the great sacrifice '' ofiered 
once for all " and, therefore, not to be repeated ; and pro- 
claims, not in the prophetic language of type and symbol and 
ritual, but in the literal language of great historic fact, that 
God hath accepted the one great offering of Christ crucified, 
in that he raised him from the dead and seated him at the 
right hand of the Majesty on high. It is of the order of the 
prophet : yet not of one receiving his messages from the vis- 
ions of the Almighty or in prophetic ecstasy, but from the com- 
pleted revelation — the perpetual oracle — to go forth and saj? 
' ' thus saith the Lord Jesus. ' ' Its messages are but still clearer 
statements of what priests and prophets taught, and to the same 
purpose, of healing the broken hearts, proclaiming deliverance 
to the captives, the recovering of sight to the blind, the setting 
at liberty the bruised — the acceptable year of the Lord. 

And in this review of the Saviour's exposition of the 
ancient prophet, I may say to you, in a somewhat special 
sense — '^ this day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears." ] 


proclaim, therefore, " tlic acceptable year of the Lord." II 
there be one poor broken-hearted sinner, who has followed me 
with earnest attention, through the review of the gospel mes- 
sage ; to such I say this Jesus, this gospel is intended for you. 
lie hath come to heal the broken heart to-day if you will 
accept this proffered Saviour ! If there be a poor, broken- 
hearted child of God, prostrate under the heavy stroke of 
affliction, and crying in terror '• deep calleth unto deep at 
the noise of thy water-spouts ! All thy waves and thy billows 
are gone over me," — then for you this gospel is a personal 
message. He hath come to ;ive thee " a song in the night,'' 
and kindly to remonstrate with thee, saying, " Why arc ye 
fearful, ye of little faith." '' Hope thou in God, for thou 
shalt yet praise him." If there be any soul labouring under 
the sense of guilt, and trembhng under the terrors of the law 
that proclaims — "The soul that sinneth it shall die," — this 
gospel is intended for you. He comes this day to invite you, 
•' Come to me and I will give you rest." " There is no con- 
demnation to them that are in Christ Jesus." If there be 
any soul seeking the way of life, yet groping his way in dark 
ness, this gospel to-day is intended for you. He comes to 
ask that you take his hand and be led by him, saying '•' I 
will lead the blind by a way they know not." Nay, if there 
be one whose soul longs for this salvation, but finds faith sc 
weak that it is ashamed and afraid to offer such a faith ; this 
gospel, to-day, is to assure you and encourage you to come — 
saying, '' A bruised reed he will not break, nor quench Kic 
smoking flax." If there be one afraid to covenant with Chr'.sl 
because of a sense of impotence to keep his vows, from sc 
often having broken thorn ; this gospel is intended for you. 
to-day. Me comes to assure you, I will never leave thee noi 
forsake thee. Venture boldW, but venture whol/y. " Rise 
take up thy bed and walk !" Yes ! ^' this day is this scripture 
fulfilled I This is the acceptable ye^r of the Lord." 



Luke xv. Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to 
hear him. 

And the Pharisees and Scribes murmured, saying, — This man receiveth 
sinners and eateth with them. And he spake this parable unto them, say- 
ing, — "What man of jou, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, 
doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that 
which is lost, until he find it ? 

I say unto you, that likewise, joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that 
repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no 

Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth 
not light a candle and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find 
it? &c. 

And he said, A certain man had two sons ; and the younger of them said 
to his father. Father, give me the portion of goods, «&c. Son, thou art ever 
with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make 
merry, and be g*lad ; for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again ; and 
was lost, and is found. 

Such a breadth and depth of thought have all the utter- 
ances of Jesus, that a single paragraph furnishes more than 
theme sufficient for an ordinary discourse. Yet it is well for 
us occasionally, to select as a theme for our meditations an 
entire discourse, and seek to gather the wider views of truth 
which are suggested by the analysis of ah entire argument, 
and a summary view of the bearing and relations of its several 
parts to each other, and to the whole system of doctrine. 


Indeed, in this way only can we properly apprehend and 
appreciate many of the great truths which he taught ; since 
their full force can be perceived only as we contemplate at 
one view the truths developed by his argument in combination, 
and the grand results of his reasoning. 

This fifteenth chapter of Luke contains a whole discourse 
of Jesus, consisting of three parables, all of them directed to 
the exposition and illustration of a great distinguishing prin- 
ciple of his gospel. A principle which in all ages has been 
a " hard saying " to the wisdom of the world; but which Avas 
specially inconceivable to the cold, narrow casuistic formalism 
into which, at the time Jesus appeared, the Church of God 
had apostatized under the covenant of grace, as developed by 
the covenant with David, concerning the typical kingdom of 

The occasion which suggested the great subject of this dis- 
course was the objection of the religious leaders of the Church 
that one claiming to be the Messiah of the covenant, should 
be run after so, by the masses of the ritually vile and con- 
temptible ; and that he should familiarly associate with such 
in utter disregard of that spiritual quarantine, which they 
deemed so essential to prevent the contamination of the holy 
from intercourse with publicans and sinners. They had 
often before, with plausible hypocrisy, urged this objection 
to destroy his influence with the better classes of society ; 
and, even if honestly urged, it was chiefly a question of ritual. 
Yet, as in this case the objection was an outgrowth of the 
fatal error into which they had fallen, subverting the very 
central truth of the covenant of grace, he thinks it worth 
while to put the cavil to silence by exposing the entire mis- 
conception of the scheme of redemption on which it rests ; and 
by bringing out in all its amazing fulness, the great principle 
upon which alone salvation is possible to any. For, as he 
proceeds to show, salvation is all of grace. The ground of 

occASiox, PURPOSE, &C.5 OF ciirist's akgumext. 220 

selecting its objects is not any reason of ctliical and ritual 
merit in them. It lies wholly in the love of Christ in seeking 
lost sinners ; of the Holy Spirit through the Church finding 
and renewing sinners : and of the Father who, in consequence 
of the work of Christ and his Spirit, receives and is reconciled 
to sinners, who are all alike undeserving, and hell-deserving 

If the thoughts of this discourse are transcendently sublime, 
not less is the mode of presenting them transcendently simple 
and beautiful. In justification of his course he enters into no 
profound metaphysical discussion, adapted specially to the 
capacity of the learned cavillers, drawn from the nature of 
the covenant of redemption and the peculiarities of the theo- 
logy revealed under it. So he might have done ; but having 
regard rather to the capacity of the poor publicans and sinners 
who, by reason of the discouragements from the religious 
teachers, have been led to think that religion is not a subject 
comprehensible by such as they ; he proceeds, by his favorite 
method of the parable, to present the whole matter of salva- 
tion something after our fashion of pictorial histories for the 
children, to aid their conception of the marvellous things of 
which they read. He presents, as it were, a magnificent 
panorama of redemption, a series of | ictures exhibiting the 
attitudes and movements of all the parties to the infinite 
transaction. First, the picture of a scene in the great sin 
wilderness ; the shepherd, with uncalculating sympathy for 
the lost sheep, leaving the ninety and nine to go after the 
straying one ; and in the foreground of the picture is Christ 
the Great Shepherd joyfully leading back the lost sheep : 
while, floating in the azure sky above, are the joyous faces 
of angels manifesting their glad wonder at his success. Next, 
the picture of the house-scene and the woman, his Church 
animated hy the Holy Spirit, and employed hy the Spirit as 
his instrument, with like uncalculating interest for the lost one 


of her treasure, eagerlj searching for it ; and in the fore- 
ground is the Spirit-moved woman gladly holding forth the 
recovered treasure ; while over her again are the faces of 
sympathizing angels, glad at her gladness. Next, the home- 
scene of the Infinite Father, as the result of the foregoing 
seeking and recovering of the lost, coming forth, in the full 
yearnings of paternal love, to receive to his bosom the strayed 
child that was '' dead and is alive again ;" while the angels 
gather to the old home from which he strayed, with holy 
rejoicings to welcome back the lost one found. And as 
incidental to this are introduced views from the human side. 
First, of the successive stages of the soul's progress in 
straying. Second, of morose Pharisaism in contrast with the 
rejoicing angels — standing coldly off refusing to go in and 
partake of the general joy. 

If we wished to analyze, in detail, this wonderful exposition 
of the grand principles of redemption, no other method could 
be more logical, exhaustive, and b-eautiful, than simply to take up 
in detail the successive pictures of this series, and discuss, 
First, on the divine side, the work of Christ, the Mediator, 
seeking the straying souls and the principles and motives 
from which he acts. Second, the work of the Holy Spirit 
through the Church with her ordinances ; and the principles 
and motives from which he acts. Third, the Father's act of 
amnesty and reconciliation in consequence of the work of 
Christ and the Spirit ; and th<: principles and motives impell- 
ing him thereto. Fourth, tl e sympathetic interest of tlie 
holy universe of intelligent bei igs in these great transactions. 
Then on the human side, I ifth, the view, or rather the 
scries of views, of the waywai'd soul in its straying, and the 
process of its restoration to the old heaven home from which 
it has strayed. And sixth, t^'ie picture of cold ethicalism in 
its selfishness and self-righteo»isness, carping at this danger- 


ous, unethical enthusiasm over a miserable, thriftless, worthless 

The limits of a single discourse, however, are too narrow 
for such an exposition in detail. Let us seek, rather, in a 
more summary method to gather the general doctrines of 
the argument of Jesus, from the three parables. This we 
may do by a consideration of the three general topics 
which the argument of the three parables expounds and illus- 
trates : — 

First, The principles and impulses on the divine side, 
which prompt and govern the work of redemption. 

Second. The principles and impulses which, working in 
the soul, lead to its redemption. 

Third. In contrast with these, the principles and impulses 
of that ethical gospel of the casuistic Scribes and ritualistic 
Pharisees, which it is a chief aim of Jesus, in this discourse of 
the three parables, to expose and rebuke. 

I. — The obvious meaning of the whole argument is, that, 
in the first place, as before the eye of God and all holy beings, 
the whole world lieth in wickedness alike ; that all have 
gone astray ; that there is none that doeth good ; and there- 
fore the very conception of any meritorious party, as contrasted 
with the wrath-deserving publicans and sinners is utterly 
absurd — It is another form of stating the great truth in which 
the entire gospel theology finds its starting place ; that all 
men, by reason of a vast spiritual apostasy at the very origin 
of the race, are fallen, by nature, and lie in an estate of sin 
and misery. Any theory Avhich ignores this fundamental fact 
cannot possibly lead to a right comprehension of the revealed 
gospel of God. Yet — while declaring man utterly depraved 
and lost, the whole head sick and the whole heart faint, all 
wounds and braises and putrifying sores — the gospel has no 
sort of sympathy with the morose, cynical philosopliy thai 
scoffs at the littleness of man and his baseness, and asks bnce)-- 


inglj, " What is man that Thou shouldst be mindful of him 
or the Son of man that thou visitest him?'' It recognizes 
him, base as he is, as originally made for a higher condition, 
and even yet capable of a glorious destiny. Accordingly, 
Jesus here represents all the holy universe as interested for 
him. Seeking sinners, finding sinners, receiving sinners, 
rejoicing over sinners is the grand idea of all heaven, and, in 
heaven, is the fundamental conception of redemption. The 
mediatorial work of Christ was to go after sinners straying 
and stumbling on the dark mountains. 

The office of the Holy Ghost through all the ordinances of 
the Church is diltgently to seek for the sinner as for lost 
treasure. The Infinite Father's heart yearns for the 
straying sinners as over his lost children, debased as they 
may have become, and rejoices over their return. And all 
the holy beings that, as " ministers of his that do his pleasure," 
are full of sympathetic concern for the lost ; of sympathetic 
interest for their restoration ; and of sympathetic joy over 
their return. 

The attitude of God the Saviour toward man the sinner, is 
not that of an Infinite Ruler chaffering about terms of amnesty 
— Tlie scheme of the theology revealed from heaven is no 
commercial calculation of profit and loss to the universe, of 
saving or of leaving to perish. The God whom it reveals is 
not an infinite pohtical economist, working out the problem of 
what souls it will cost too much to save, and the saving of 
what other souls will require little sacrifice of the majesty and 
stern demands of justice. Jesus transfers the whole matter 
out of the sphere of the cold, calculating ethical reason, into 
the sphere of the heart moved by the natural impulses and 
sympathies and affections, whose forces are not to be estimated 
by the measures of reason and expediency. So he here 
represents every aspect of the work of salvation. 

Tiio Mediator who undertook to procure salvation ; the 

TRUE AXALOc;Y the IIEAKT impulse not liEASOX. 'So3 

Holy Spirit who applies the benefits of his mediation through 
the ordinances of the Church ; the Father who, thereby, is 
reconciled and receiving l)ack the straying soul — all are 
actuated hy motives that are analogous to the natural affec- 
tions and their impulses, rather than analogous to the cautious 
ethical judgments of the reason. And, so f\xr from seeing, in 
this, anything of danger to the stability of God's eternal law 
of righteousness, and therefore jealously watching the move- 
ments of infinite love in favour of the apostate race — all tlio 
holy beings in the universe are looking on with sympathetic 
enthusiasm from the lofty eminences of their holiness, and the 
return of any one sinner of all the guilty race, crying: 
"Father, I have sinned" spreads joy and high gratulation 
through all the mansion in heaven ! 

This is w^onderful, surpassingly w^onderful, to mere human 
conceptions ; and to the ethical philosophy of this world 
seems a most dangerous view of religion. All Scribedom 
shudders, at seeing thus brushed away the elaborate ramparts 
of casuistic cobweb which it hath erected to fence in purity 
and holy respectability from the contamination of publicans 
and sinners. All Phariseedom shrinks in horror, '• as the 
kingdom of heaven suffereth violence" under the preaching 
of such a gospel, at the thought of soiling the sky-pure blue 
of the hem of its garments, and of the shocking rumpling of 
its showy phylacteries, in the press and jostling of the vulgar 
crowd of the accursed. 

And yet, if our limits permitted, it might readily be shown 
that in thus describing the impulses that move all heaven for 
the sinner's salvatioil, Jesus hath by no means carried us 
beyond all analogies of nature, or reasoned contrary to all 
natural analogies ; and that it is the Scribes and Phari>ees 
who, absorbed in their casuistic and ritualistic abstractions 
have forgotten nature and common sense. Nay, but it<^s 
no argument and defence from us. Jesus himself, with a 


divine sabtlety of logic, has construed the argument by th® 
very selection of liis analogies in the parables. The all- 
absorbing zeal of the shepherd to recover the lost sheep that 
is oblivious of the ninety and nine that are not lost ; the like 
zeal of the woman, that seems to make little account of the niije 
pieces in her eagerness to recover the lost one ; the yearning of 
vhe f9,ther's heart and his all-absorbing joy at the recovery of 
the lost son, as if he had no other son all the while ; — all these 
are pictures of very paradoxical things, and curious problems 
in human nature which it would puzzle reason to solve by its 
rules of ethics, propriety and expediency. And yet every 
body knows that they are most natural things, — beautifully 
natural, and true to the life as heart pictures ! Somehow, 
whether there is any reason and propriety in the thing or not, 
the natural men and women of earth, — the shepherds, the 
housekeepers, the fathers and mothers — will feel a concern 
about the straying sheep, the lost money and the wayward 
son, that seems to make them comparatively heedless of that 
which is all safe in possession. Somehow they will rejoice 
more over the one found than over the ninety and nine, the 
nine, or the one, not lost ! And their good friends and neigh- 
bours will, somehow, sympathize more with their joy, in 
recovering the lost than in their contentment with what is 
not lost — yet all this they will do in utter disregard of the 
astute reasonings of the philosophy of expediency, the 
acute theories of the economists, and the staid dignities and 
proprieties of the worldly-wise sages ! The one sheep that 
has strayed from the fold will occupy more of the thoughts 
and engage more of the earnest attention than all that have not 
strayed. The misfortune that causes the loss of the tithe of a 
man's property will be felt by him more keenly than all the 
enjoyments of the possession that still remains to him. He 
will feel, and his friends will feel, a keener sense of joy over 
the recovery of the lost. The father's thoughts will go after 


the son that has Avandcrcd ; the son far off exposed to danger 
from shipwreck and the battle field ; the son whom calamity 
has overtaken ; and his return in safety, or his relief, Avill 
cause a joy not felt towards the sons who have been ever with 
him. Every day we may see the illustration of the principle 
of the joy among the angels over one sinner that repenteth- 
See, when one child of this large household is smitten, and is 
fighting the death battle wi-th disease, how the one monopolizes 
for the time being, all the attention, as if there wxrc no other 
unsmitten children in the house. All the thoughts, all the 
heart anxieties, of father, mother, brothers, sisters, concen- 
trate upon the sufferer as if every life was bound up in 
this one life. Nay, the interest spreads to the whole circle 
of friends in the neighbourhood, and a thousand anxious 
incpiiries and earnest sympathies crowd in from every side. 
And now, as the indications are that the fight is won, and 
death bafiled, what joy begins to well up out of the heart o^ 
father, mother, brothers, sisters, and to overspread every 
countenance ! What joyous congratulations from friends 
everywhere ! 

Need I remind you how in these days of dreadful carnage 
and sufiering on the battle field, all the interest of the family 
concentrates upon the noble son who has gone forth to the 
toils and dangers of war. And how after the battle, as the 
whole country waits in breathless expectation for the news of 
victory or defeat, one could not tell, on visiting that family, 
that there was any other being in the universe about whom 
they felt any special concern, until the question of the safety 
of the absent son is settled ? And when the word comes 
that all is well with him a joy fills their hearts that seems to 
exclude all joy over the other sons that have remained in 

Now Jesus, selecting his analogies in a manner to bring 
out this principle of human nature that is so indisputable as 


a fact, whether it square with theoretic reasoning or not, 
simply transfers the whole matter of salvation to the same 
sphere, as analogous to these natural impulses. He might, 
doubtless, of his infinite knowledge have suggested to the 
"learned scribes reasons of infinite force, why Christ and the 
Spirit and the Father, and the holy angels in sympathy also, 
felt this special interest in lost men. Perhaps it is because 
there was something special in the case of man, as a new 
order of being in the universe, a compound order of animal 
and angel which caused all heaven to feel an interest — first, 
in his creation, then in his trial, and then in his recovery after 
his fall. Man may have some mysterious importance of this 
sort from his peculiar relations to the universe. We have in 
Scrijjture mention of three occasions in which the angelic 
•orders evinced sympathetic joy. The first was on the occasion 
of the creation of man and his world. " Then the morning 
stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy." 
The second, the occasion when the Son of God became 
'' A multitude of the heavenly host was Avith the angel prais- 
ing God, and saying glory to God in the highest, on earth 
peace, good will towards men." The third is the occasion 
mentioned by Jesus in this discourse. " There is joy in the 
presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth." 
From collating these three occasions we would be led, natur- 
.ally enough, to the inference, that there is some high mysteri- 
ous importance attached by the universe of purely igpiritual 
beings to the calHng into existence of this new and peculiar 
order of being, the compound creature man ; a creature not 
after the angeUc order of a separate, individual, immaterial 
existence, but capable, through the connection of his spirit 
with matter, of communicating the power of an endless life to 
a whole race of beings propagated from him. Hence possibly 
the concern at the failure of the, experiment in his trial ; and 
therefore the joy and praising God at the near completion of 


the scheme for liis restoration ; hence the special joy at every 
instance of the success of that scheme in the repentance and 
return of the sinner. 

But Jesus enters into no such high argument. He is 
preaching to the capacity of the poor, the publicans, the sin- 
ners who comprehend little of theology. Therefore he simply 
illustrates by a fact in the sphere of nature, that all alike 
comprehend the certainty and force of ; that the natural fecl- 
in";s of the heart run not accordin<2; to the cold abstract 
reasonings of men. And then explains the relations of God. 
to sinners, under the gospel, as coming within the sphere ol 
the unbidden impulses of the heart and natural affection rather 
than of the cold reasonings of ethical philosophy and natural 

II. — incidental to this great pictorial theology on the 
divine side, is the pictorial series illustrative of a soul history, 
in the out workings of the gospel plan. First, is presented, 
the scene of a quiet home, the result of industry, thrift and 
economy under God's great law " in the sweat of thy brow 
thou shalt eat bread." And earth now can furnish no nearer 
a resemblance to that original home of the race in Paradise 
from which man fell. But, strangely enough, there is seen 
one standing, as the central figure of the picture, amid all its 
scenes of comfort and peace, with every mark of dissatisfac- 
tion and impatience. One idea is dominant in his mind — the 
idea of independence. Ambitious of being his own man, 
buoyant with many illusive hopes, he somewhat arrogantly 
demands, " Give me the portion that falleth to me " that I 
may do as I will with my own, and goes forth to be '' lord 
of himself, that heritage of wo." 

I must leave each one of you, brethren, to answer for him. 
self, as wc pass rapidly in review these pictures, how far this 
is your soul history. 

A second picture now presents itself. Instead of the quiet 


home, behold the hall of gajety and revelry, radiant mth 
light, peopled with crowds -of pleasure-seekers. The wine cup 
sparkles ; the dance wreathed in circles of glorious fascina- 
tion ; music charms the senses ; wit, jocund rep rtee, song, 
beguile the hours. In the midst of the scene we recognize 
the youth of the former picture ; yet how greatly changed. 
The natural excitement and glow of youth has given place 
to the unnatural, feverish excitement of the madman, with 
disgust for the present, eagerly grasping at the future and the 
unattained. Every countenance indicates eJBfort to think and 
feel, this is pleasure, while the inner consciousness gives the 
lie to the profession. 

Let those who crowd the avenues to fame and pleasure, 
judge for themselves how far this is a life picture. 

A third picture presents itself. The splendid hall of revelry 
is in the back ground, all gloomy and deserted. The brilliant 
lights are extinguished ; the garlands faded ; the stage 
scenery is removed ; and the stripped machinery exposes the 
coarse puUies, the dirty ropes, the greasy lamps, the rough 
boards, that moved and supported all the gay pageant. And 
here in the foreground sits a skeleton-like figure, with eyes 
unnaturally strained in search of food. We recognize in it 
the youth of the first picture ; and the man of i^leasure in the 
second. Ragged and friendless he is gazing enviously upon 
a lean herd of swine, as they devour the rough pods of the 
carob tree. Yet it is plain that, under all the desires of the 
physical nature for food, there are other thoughts troubling 
him. There is a consciousness of self-degradation, of utter, 
incorrigible folly, of self-loathing and self-condemnation. 
There is a struggle, as between midnight darkness and flashes 
of light. Memory recalls glorious recollections, and despair 
dashes the hopes inspired by memory : till at length assuming 
the courage of a man he seems, to resolve " I will arise and 
go to my father." 


This picture presents tlie Avhole gosi)cl theory of man's 
aatural condition, even as ho himself must see it when he 
3omes to himself. A being constituted as he is, even ^vhilo 
he is straying away from God, must feel in his nature, if he 
will heed it. the gnawings of an unappeasable hunger. For 
•' man cannot live by bread alone." He;:co this perpetual 
restlessness and discontent, even when " all the kingdoms of 
the world and the glory of them " have been obtained. 
These souls arc hungry. They are trying to feed on carob 
pods which are no true soul-food, only husks that the swine 
io eat. Hence those passions that render life miserable. 
This envy is but the sore hunger casting its malignant, selfish 
glance at the imagined soul-feeding of others. It is famine 
glaring upon the food of others, the sight of which only rasps 
md tortures the hungry soul the more ! This cynical morose- 
aess, and this remorse, are but the sore famine, turning in to 
prey upon the famished man's own flesh. And so of all other 
passions. Hence saith the gospel prophet, " The wicked 
are as the troubled sea which cannot rest, whose waters cast 
up mire and dirt. There is no peace saith my God to the 
wicked." This is the gospel explanation of the phenomena 
Df human nature in its restlessness and passions. And man 
is not far-sighted enough to see what is the matter wii;! him, • 
bill, under the impulses of the Spirit, " he come to himself." 
Then, as he begins to be rational, his dreadful condition breaks 
upon him and drives him to Christ for help. 

Once more the canvas moves. The scene of the first 
picture in part reappears, the blessed home. But on the 
fore-ground of the picture appears a wretched-looking, emaci- 
ated man that totters and averts his face in shame, as he 
stretches forth his hands beseechingly. We recognize him as 
the same -who has figured in different aspects in eacli of the 
views. Coming towards him with out-stretched arms of wel- 
come appears the father from whom he so rudely separated 


in the first .view. The figures dissolve as we gaze upon them, 
and lo ! the old mansion becomes lighted up, and there is a 
ghid gathering of friends, and all the symbols of rejoicing 
over the lost one found. 

Brethren, can you testify to the truthfulness of this picture 
also ? If not, then as you follow this series of pictures to the 
conclusion, no more conceive of the gospel call as simply a 
cold ethical command ; and of obedience to it a mere cold 
calculating resolve to reform, which resolve shall be executed 
at some convenient season. Endeavour to enter into the 
spirit of this soul-stirring picture of Jesus ; give that hungry 
soul of yours a chance ; and if you feel " I am perishing 
with hunger," arise, just as you are, and go to your Father ; 
and, with uncalculating child-like affection, rush to his arms, 
and spring within the blow of the rod of justice. Then 
" shall there be joy in the presence of the angels of God " 
over you also ! 

III. — Having thus expounded the spirit and principles of 
the theology of salvation on the divine side, and on the 
human side, Jesus proceeds to expose and rebuke the ethical 
gospel of the Scribes and Pharisees, by exhibiting in contrast 
with all these noble and generous evangelical views of Christ, 
the Spirit, the Father and the holy angels, and of the rescued 
sinner, the reasoning and spirit of the representative man of 
the ethical gospel. For we need not care here to enter into 
any learned enquiry with Jerome, Tertullian, and other 
fathers, whether the historic original of the younger son be 
the Gentiles, and the historic original of the older son, the 
Jews. No matter to whom primary reference is made as the 
original of the portraits — ^if there be any such primary refer- 
ence at all — " the word is spoken unto us," and paints our 
times just as truly. It was spoken in reference to a revival 
of religion which interested the jnasses of the people, while 
it aroused the murmurs of unspiritual formalists. And when- 

PORTRAIT OF Tin: in'llICAL RELir.lOMSM. 241 

ever tlic like thing occurs — wlicthcr iu the awiikening of tl'e 
masses, or the awakening of a single soul, giving rise to the 
same objections — then of that thing Jesus is here speaking. 

The canvas moves, therefore, once more, and, throwing 
the illuminated home into the back-ground, presents, in the 
fore-ground, the representative of staid and proper formalism 
greatly excited ; but with any other feelings than sympathy 
in the general joy. Hearing the news, and observing the joy 
which it occasions, he is indignant, and Avill not go in. As 
in the previous pictures Ave have inside views of the whole 
gospel scheme ; so now we have the outside view of the whoic 
matter, as viewed objectively by world wisdom, which has 
never yet experienced its saving power. 

And the more carefully we analyze the picture, tlio more 
wonderful will its life-likeness impress us, as a portraiture of 
a phase of religion, and indeed a family of religionists, who 
appear upon the stage Avhenever the w^ork of divine grace 
manifests its power among the publicans and sinners, and 
whenever the shepherd rejoices, and the w^oman rejoices, and 
the father, with all the angels, rejoices over the lost found. I 
have space to present only the general peculiarities and 
phases of the antagonism to the gospel symbolized by this 
elder brother. 

The same fundamental theory of religion represented by 
this elder brother, with its ethical gospel and its hostility to 
evangelical faith, may exist, and in fact always has existed, 
under two somewhat opposite phases. One, the gospel of 
Formalism, with its ethics of " days and weeks and months 
and years ;" with its penances and prayers-sayings ; Avith 
its charitable works of merit and its punctilious ritual obser- 
vances. The other, the gospel of Rationalism, with its elabor- 
ate rules of ethics ; of obedience to the laws of human nature ; 
with its spiritual insights to guide to all truth of natural 
religion ; with its special reverence for the dignity of human 



nature, in the higher and purer specimens of it. Thus it 
was at the time of Jesus' appearing. Phariseeism and Saddu- 
ceeism, however at war between themselves, jet uniting on 
the common platform of an ethical gospel, made common 
cause against the doctrines of the new kingdom of God. 
Thus it continued to be during the ministry of Paul in a 
different field. The ritualistic "Jew required a sign;" the 
rationalistic " Greek sought after wisdom ;" while both alike 
were hostile to a scheme of salvation bj grace, which was 
" to the Jew a stumbling block, and to the Greek foolishness." 
j\ftid the great burden of the Apostle's masterly argument- 
ations is the defence of " salvation by grace not of works, 
lest any man should boast" — against the ritualism which 
insisted on the merit of ceremonial observances, on the one 
hand, and the rationalism that scoffed at the unethical char- 
acter of his gospel on the other. 

And, in every age since, these have been the true dividing 
lines between the religions of all Christendom. Since the 
great Reformation — itself a grand struggle of the revived 
gospel of Jesus, first against the ritualism which had stifled 
its voice for ages, and then against the rationalism which, 
while rejecting the spiritual despotism, despised the doctrine 
of salvation by grace, even more than the ritual dogmas of 
the priestly despots — the whole field of religious thought 
has been subdivided between these three general forms ; — of 
Phariseeism with its ethics of ritual as the ground of a sinner's 
claim ; Rationalism or Sadduceeism with its ethics of natural 
religion and its pretended obedience to the whole law ; and 
Spiritualism Avith its gospel of saving the lost by the direct 
interposition of divine love, without works of merit, but 
simply because Christ loved us and gave himself for us : 
because the Spirit loves and seeks out and renews the lost 
sinner ; because the Father " so loved the world that he gave 
his only begotten Son." 


iVnd, perhaps, tit no period of the workUs liistory have 
these three systems been fighting the battle more vigorously 
than at this day. Alas, I ought to say perhaps, that never 
have the two great antagonists of the gospel been more 
vigorous in their fierce hostility to this gospel of grace for 
publicans and sinners, or more subtle in the arts whereby 
they would destroy its power in the world ; while the gospel 
itself seems to have become enervated, its triumphs checked, 
and its champions disposed to make terms of capitulation, 
and give up the strongholds of truth ! 

Nay, to give more definiteness to your conceptions, I may 
remind you that you may see this conflict going on within 
your own circle. If you examine the matter a little, you 
shall find the religion of all the men and women of your ac- 
(piaintance dividing into these three great charclies. Not 
according to the ostensible denominational lines of distinction, 
at all, but by lines ot division running across all these lines- 
Of one division the Papist leads the van ; but in his wake 
follows a long line of ritualists, gradually shading down to a 
few simple forms held in connection with the true gospel 
faith. Of another division the devotees of " the advanced 
thought" — who have discovered that the gospel of Christ is 
a laggard no longer to be borne with as a dead weight upon 
their march ; and, almost abreast of the main advance, Uni- 
tarianism — falsely so calling it iiihil-arianism — marches, Avith 
its long line following ; not tapering, but spreading its evcr- 
w^idening skirt over numerous phases of religious thought in 
all churches. Popish and Protestant alike. Of a third divi- 
sion, the most earnest of those in all churches who contend 
earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints, as the 
foundation of the gospel ofier to the publicans and sinners, 
lead the van ; and these followed at different intervals — ac- 
cording as their zeal is strengthened and quickened by the 
knowledge which Christ has prescribed to direct Christian 


Z9al- by the various sections of those whose hearts aro 
touched by this gospel for pubUcans and sinners. 

Now nothing can be conceived more exquisite than the skill 
with which Jesus paints this representative man, as a general 
portrait, equallv life-like, of either and of all the phases of 
this ethical religionism, whether ritual or rationalistic, whether 
oicnly infidel or covert under great apparent zeal, for the 
publicans and sinners. 

The chief lines of the character are : First, his calm, cool 
spirit of incpiiry, which carefully avoids any contamination 
from the joyous excitement that reigns in the house. " Tie 
would not go in." He is one Avho does not allow himself to 
feel joyous from mere infection of sympathy, even with friends 
who are all hilarity. The emotions, on his theory, are not 
to be allowed to gush wildly from the heart, but made to 
behave themselves in the most marvellously proper manner, 
by being allowed to exhibit themselves only — after reason has 
carefully considered whether it is fit occasion — according to 
rule. " He heard music and dancing, and he called one of 
the servants, and asked what these things meant ?" 

Second, his grave attempt to investigate the ethical fitness 
of things, first, by reason ; excluding, as of no account in 
the matter, all impulses of affection. Instead of rushing in at 
the news to share the general joy, he stands without in silent 
di^inified rebuke of the fanaticism. He will first weigh in the 
balance of sober reason these emotions ; and, of course, the 
unbidden unreasoning emotions of the heart will weigh very 
little in such scales. 

Third. With all his cool deliberate emotionless power of 
judgment, '' he is angry. '^^ How paradoxical, and yet how 
natural and true to the life ! For in all ages alike has this 
paradox exhibited itself, that the grave philosophic men of 
ethics and the stately and dignified men of rituals, alike, while 
so cautiously avoiding all impulses of the gospel love, have 


yet uniformly indulged very freely the impulses of anger 
toward the evangelical faith. While treating the impulses of 
enthusiastic love in the heart as fatal to any well-balanced 
judgment in religion, they seem altogether unconscious that 
the opposite emotion of anger can in the least disturb the 
delicate balance of their ethical judgments. Nothing is more 
remarkable in the history of the conflict of evangelical faith 
with its two great antagonists, than the fact, that in proportion 
as the former is earnest and sincere in its zeal for the salva- 
tion of pubhcans and sinners, does it rouse the anger and 
malignity of its antagonists. The calm ethical philosopher, 
whose spirit is unruffled as the sleeping waters on all other 
topics in the domain of truth, becomes most unphilosophically 
angry when the subject is " the truth as it is in Jesus." 

The stately devotee of the ritual, while he can patiently 
endure, even with a half-forgiving smile, any and every form 
of rationalistic, semi-rationalistic, or unearnest dissent from 
his apostolical authority, yet can seldom refrain from anger 
when the dissent comes from the disciples of an earnest evan- 
gelical faith. Pilot and Herod here make friends over the 
condemnation of Jesus ; and the grave philosopher can sneer 
just as malignantly, and the grave ritualist curse, just as heartily 
as common men. 

Fourth, his contemptuous refusal to acknowledge as of the 
same blood with himself and part of the family, the humbled 
sinner who cries " father I have sinned." " This thy son " 
saith he — not my brother — " which has devoured thy living 
with harlots." The significancy of this, and its truthfulness, 
few of you need to have pointed out who have witnessed the 
ridiculous affectation of exclusive ritualists. I pass on there- 
fore to the more important errors represented. 

Fifth, his argument against the ethical justice of thus receiv- 
ing back the erring sinner — " Thou hast killed for him the 
fatted calf." The principle of his argument is precisely the 


same which is involved iu all the scoiFs and sneers and learned 
reasonings of ethicalism in all ages. On the one hand the 
injustice of bestowing the reward of everlasting life upon the 
utterly undeserving. On the other hand the inexpediency of it ; 
for what shall become of virtue in the world, if heaven is not the 
reward of virtue ? '* Shall wo not continue in sin that grace 
abound?" Nay, STn the more to have it abound the more ? 
And the answer of the true gospel is precisely the same in all 
ages. In the first place, as to the justice of the thing. If 
put upon that ground none can be saved, for none deserve it ; 
all have sinned. But if Jesus Christ have satisfied divine 
justice for all that let him represent them, then justice is 
magnified and the law made honourable. 

And as to the danger to virtue from salvation by grace 
without works, Jesus prefers to risk his government on the 
love of the souls won by his love to obedience. And besides, 
the provision which he has made for their pardon and justifica- 
tion, as righteous before God, includes also a provision to secure 
their newness of life, — those to whom there is now no con- 
demnation, because in Christ Jesus, " walk not after the flesh 
but after the spirit." 

Sixth, his self-righteousness and selfish exacting spirit. 
" Lo these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed 
I at any time." And all this perfection boasted of while in 
the very act of offering insult and violence to every impulse 
of a father's heart, by rebuking, as ethically wrong, his joy over 
a son restored : is this no sin ? I have not space left to dwell 
upon this very remarkable feature of all ethical religion ; its 
self-righteous assumption to rebuke the justice and fitness of 
the loving impulses of the Infinite Father ; its assumption to 
itself of a perfect integrity while in the very act of putting 
wrong and contempt upon God ; its commercial spirit that 
seeks to pay its own way into God's presence and favour, yet 
relying chiefly upon driving a sharp bargain, to gai i the maxi- 


mum of glory for the minimum market price ; its substitution 
for the humble petition, " God be merciful to me a sinner," 
and the plea " Make me, all unworthy to be called thy son, 
only as one of thy hired servants ;" the exacting demand — 
'' I have served thee many a year," — " Give me a kid that I 
may make merry Avith my friends !" 

Seventh, not less worthy of note is the effrontery and 
ingratitude and falsehood upon which the representative of 
the ethical gospels founds his argument. " Lo these many 
years have I served thee and thou never gavest me a kid !" 
And all this in face of the fact that the father, before the prodi- 
gal departed, had " divided tinto them Jus living'^ — doubtless 
assigning to this one his full half of the estate with the under- 
standing that he is to be sole heir — since saith he " all that I 
have is thine !" Yet all this is nothing ! 
\ And is not this the very falsehood and ingratitude that 
underlies all these legaUstic claims to eternal life ? They 
uniformly forget, in their zeal against the injustice of salva- 
tion wholly of grace — irrespective of the works they boast of, 
that God has already rewarded very fairly and fully their 
moralities, their charities, their abstinence from the sensualities 
of the prodigal. " Where is the reward and encouragement 
of all our self-restraint and virtuous acts, and charitable 
deeds," say they, " if after all, publicans and sinners shall 
enter heaven, merely on accepting the offer." Jesus answers 
all such, saying, " Yerily I say unto you, ye have your 
reward." If God's power is to be measured and determined 
upon the principle of ''a fair day's v>'agcs for a fair day's 
work," then hath he not already fairly paid ? Hath he not 
fairly " divided the living" between you and the prodigals ? 
Ye men of all the virtues, moralities and respectabihties, have 
ye not been all the while enjoying his estate in the life that 
now is ; and all the comforts which his generous hand strewed 
around you ? Have not men honoured and trusted you, a-d 


the reward of 3^0111- integrity, thrift and economy ? Have not 
men applauded and idolized you because of jour wise philan- 
thropic deeds, or your distinguished intellectual attainments ? 
And yet, on seeing the sovereign grace of God bestowing his 
kindness on pubhcans and sinners, ye say, '• We have served 
bim and have received nothing." Is this your lofty integrity ; 
your fair dealing toward God ? Will ye take the full and 
generous wages for the service in the life that is, and then 
demand a monopoly in the life to come also ? Shame on such 
integrity ! 

How wonderful this portraiture of the cold, calculating, self- 
justifying gospel according to ethics ! 

But not less wonderful is the profound and annihilating 
response, with the re-utterance of the great truth he had 
before been illustrating through the three parables of 1 lis dis- 
course : '•' Thy brother was dead and is alive agahi.'^ It is 
not a case to be measured ])y your ethical calculations I It 
is a case of life and death, that arouses every holy impulse of 
the heart. Ethical philosophy will do very well in the sphere 
of the natural ; but how shall it undertake to settle the terms 
and the price for a resurrection from the dead ? 

Brethren, this is our short answer to all the scofts and sneers, 
whether rationalistic or ritualistic, that malign us as enthusaists 
and fanatics, because we preach a gospel to publicans and 
sinners, and find our souls stirred by its success. Thy 
'' brother was dead and is alive again." The scoffers have 
their scoffs simply because of their profound ignorance of the 
true condition of man before God, as vile and guilty and con- 
demned already — " dead in trespasses and sins;" of the true 
nature of that power which raises him to newness of life ; of 
the true nature of the emotions in the soul thus rescued as a 
brand from the burning. If there were nothing more serious 
than the occasional aberration of a fine, noble, ingenuous na- 
then all our zeal would indeed be fanatical. But this con- 


version of a sinner is a mighty work of the power that first 
called light out of darkness ; a wonder of mercy in raising a 
dead soul out of an eternal hell, to restore it to an eternal 
heaven ? Surely '' It is meet that wo make merry and be 
glad thereat ''' 



Matthew xxv. 31-46. — "When the Son of man shall come in his glory, 
and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his 
glory ; and before him shall be gathered all nations ; and he shall separate 
them from one another ; as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats 
and he shall set his sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then 
shall the king say unto them on his right hand. Come, ye blessed of my 
Father, inherit tl;e kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the 
world : For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat ; I was thirsty and 
yo gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in; naked and ye 
clothed me ; I was sick, and ye visited me ; T was in prison and ye came 
vnto me. 

Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of my 
brethren, ye have done it unto me, &c. 

Such is the Avonderful conclusion of the wonderful discourse 
which Jesus delivered, privately, to his disciples as thoy sat 
on the Mount of Olives, the day before his betrayal. It is 
a discourse embodying more real knowledge of the way, 
and to what end men live, of the law of existence under 
which men live, and of the final results and eternal destinies 
of humanity, than is to be found in the tomes of all the unevan- 
gelical schools in the world. And such is the logical unity of 
idea which runs through its lofty generalizations, binding all 
its varied views of the relations of humanity into one vast 
argument, that the power of the vdiole is concentrated upon 
this peroration of that judgment to come, which shall reach 
back, and take fast hold of, all the impulses aud activities of 
the life that now is. 

In answer to their inquiries, " When shall these things 


(the destruction of Jerusalem) be ? and what shall be the 
sign of thy coming and of the end of the world ?" he narrates 
prophetically, the events which shall precede and the circum- 
stances which shall attend the beginning of the work of judg- 
ment which is to close up the old dispensation with the approach- 
ing destruction of Jerusalem, its centre ; and also the events 
which shall precede and the circumstances of the judgment — 
of which the former is a type — that^ shall close up the next, 
and last dispensation, with convulsions which shall shatter the 
great temple of nature itself and leave not one stone upon 

By his favourite method of the parable — that logical two- 
edged sword piercing to the soul, at the same time through 
the imagination and the reason — he develops the relation of all 
life under this last dispensation to the judgment which is to 
follow it, and, at the same time, in order to compel men's 
attention to these principles, through their powers of associa- 
tions he devises a system of spiritual mnemonics that hangs 
his lessons of judgment to come, here, for the husbandman, on 
the fig-tree by his garden wall, where he walks at evening, 
here, for the household in the apartments of the servants ; here, 
for heedless and impulsive youth, and for all the thoughtless 
pleasure-seekers, amid the brilliant scenes of the marriage 
festivities, and rejoicings ; here, for the eager calculating men 
of business, amid the bustling activities of trade and finances, 
and on the tables of the money-lender in the exchange. 

This life, as relating to the ministers left in charge of his 
Church, is symbolized as that of the servant faithful to execute 
the orders of the absent master, with an eye ever watching 
his coming ; or of the unfaithful servant, forgetful of his duty, 
and of the day of reckoning. The inner life in the souls of 
christian people is set forth as that of virgins waiting for the 
coming of the bridegroom — all alike asleep from his long delay ; 
l)ut some, thoughtful to have oil in their lamps ready to join 


tho torch-light procession; otliers, thoughtless, having none. 
This inner hfe, as also developing itself in outward activities, 
is symbolized as the life of servants, factors with entrusted 
capital, who shall render it back with great increase, and 
r(^ceivo honour and applause ; or without increase and receive 
shame and everlasting contempt. 

Having in this amazing generalization presented tlie pro- 
phetic history, not only of the destruction of Jerusalem, but 
of the signs which shall distinguish the w^holc subsequent life 
of humanity, and its relations to the 13fe to come, the divine 
teacher finds a peroration not unworthy the grandeur of his high 
argument. AVith the easy, unlabouring movement of an iniinitc 
mind, he presents the scenes of the judgment which shall close 
up the last, as the judgment upon Jerusalem closed up the 
previous dispensation. And this in a manner not only to burn 
them indelibly into the imagination, but bring their infinite 
truths within reach of the humblest human understandinir. 

The hour, betokened by all the previous signs of his coming, 
suddenly bursts, unanticipated, upon the living generations. 
The hand of the Almighty lets go its hold ; and the beauti- 
ful universe drops into general chaos. The sun is turned into 
darkness ; and the moon into blood ; and the stars fall from 
their places. The elemental fires burst forth ; the heavens 
as a parched scroll roll up : and lo ! behind the rolled up 
screen, the " Son of man is come in his glory !" Spirits hoaiy 
with the revolutions of eternity attend him with reverent awe ; 
and the sons of God, who shouted for joy at the birth of Time, 
are here to stand with Ilim at Time's infinite grave. The Son 
of man is come now, as a king and judge, to mount his glorious 
throne of judgment. At his command the archangel sounds 
the trumpet for the opening of the assize, and summoning the 
earth to give up the imprisoned dead, and the sea the dead 
that are in it. The sharp summons echoes through all the 
wide domain of the world. "In a moment, in the twinkling, 


•of an eye" the living change the mortal for the immortal ; 
and ringing through the sepulchres of the earth and the deep 
caverns of the sea, the summons pierces the dull cold ear of 
death. It disinherits them all. The earth heaves; its 
charnel houses rattle, its tombs burst. The sea is stirred to 
its depths, and its surface hidden by the myriads of the 
sleepers rising from it. The air is alive with spirits, rehabi- 
litating in the spiritual bodies which have sprung from the 
natural bodies as their germ. They gather in innumerable 
array — all the generations which the stream of time has swept 
into the grave — re-awakened and re>invested around that 
" throne of his glory !" They stand under the heart-searching 
eye of Omniscience, trembling as the leaves of an aspen forest 
in the twilight, with the struggling soul emotions of hope and 
fear, of confident assurance or trembling apprehension, of 
glad expectation or remorseful despair. 

" And he shall separate them from one another, as a shep 
herd divideth his sheep from the goats." It needs but* a 
single glance of the judge's eye, in this court, to discriminate 
the real character of every one of this " great multitude that 
no man can number. ' ' The decision depends not upon evidence 
.of facts, but evidence of consciousness anterior to the facts. 
The quibbles and arts of the special pleader are unknown at 
this bar, for they avail nothing to delude the judgment of far- 
seeing Omniscience. The black guilt of the sov.l that never 
uttered itself in word and act, or that hid most securely from 
the keenest scrutiny of human skill, is laid bare, in all its 
deformity, to the instant glance of the judge. And as he sees 
so he divides : and by a line of separation that crosses all 
lines hitherto run between men. It divides between those of 
the same household, of the same circle of friends, of the same 
neighourhood. It puts a father on the right, and a son on the 
left ; a mother on the right, and ^ a daughter on the left ; a 
sister on the right, and a brother on the left ; a wife on the 


right, and a husband on the left : a servant on the right and a 
master on the left ; a peasant on the right, and a prince on the 

With a smile that lights up the universe, the Royal Judge 
invites the one part, saying, " Come ye blessed of my Father, 
inherit the kingdom prepared for you." It seems to them as 
a dream. They speak of their unworthiness of tliis unbounded 
mercy ; but are reassured. Joy transports them. The trial 
is ended ; their destiny is fixed beyond possibility of further 
change ; the prize is won ; and the crown of everlasting joy 
is on their heads. 

But who shall attempt to conceive of, and describe the 
horrors of the multitudes on the left to whom, now turning, he 
saith, " Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared, — 
not for you, but — for the devil and his angels," — with whom 
ye took part. They remonstrate and plead now ; but it is too 
late. It is finished with grace, " stretching out the hands all 
the day ;" it is finished with wisdom's earnest argument, 
" lifting up her voice in the streets and in the cliief places of 
concourse:" it is finished with mercy pleadhig Avith, and 
weeping over the despisers of grace. Justice hath raised 
its sceptre and begun a new reign, that knows no interposi- 
tion of " One mighty to save ;" and that thereiure must 
endure for ever. Their groans, and wails, and thrones of 
despair avail not now, even to have " the rocks to fall upon 
them, and the hills to cover them, from the face of him that 
sitteth on the throne." Not a ray of hope alleviates the 
melting sorrow. The farewells are no blessings ; for fare- 
well hath lost its meaning ; since there can be no hope of 
welfare thereafter. Terror sits enthroned on the brow of the 
King, and, there " remaining now no more sacrifice for sin," 
must remain there forever. 

Contemplating with wonder and awe the appalling grandeur 
of this scene, wo are ready to ask on what principle is this vor- 


diet rendered, of infiuite joy on the one hand and mfinite 
^voe on the other ? What heroic deeds of infinite glory have 
these done, to merit that welcome, " Come ye blessed of 
my Father ?" What crimes of infinite blackness have these 
done ? What guilt inexpiable, and of ineffaceable stain 
npon the soul, sends these away, under the terrific sentence 
'• Depart ye cursed?" The whole turns upon this principle 
simply, as its pivot. — '' I was hungry, ye gave me meat ; and 
ye did not. I was thirsty, ye gave me drink ; and ye did 
not. I was a stranger, ye took me in ; and ye did not. I 
■svas naked, ye clothed me; and ye did not. I was sick, ye 
visited me ; and ye did not. I was in prison, ye came unto 
me ; and ye did not." 

But how can such a test have application to all these 
myriads of all ages and generations ? Since only an obscure 
portion of one generation had ever seen the King, as the man 
of sorrows, hungry, thirsty, and friendless ? Yes, but then 
" inasmuch as ye did it not unto the least of my brethren ye 
did it not unto me." In this he speaks not of the personal 
Jesus in the flesh, but of the representative Jesus, standing as 
head of that great enterprise of founding and gathering a 
kingdom for himself out of the wreck of " the works of the 
devil ;" and regarding every poor soul, called by divine grace 
to join him, and become a fellow-citizen of the saints, as so 
being one with him that what is done to the disciple, because 
he is a disciple, is done unto the Lord. Hence the p»rofound 
significance of his saying to Judas and his fellow Apostles 
when complaining of Mary's waste of the ointment that should 
have been sold and given to the poor, " The poor ye have 
always with you," They stand as my representatives conti- 
nually, and give opportunity to test your love for me : therefore 
grudge not to their Lord the single offering, to him personally 
of a grateful heart anointing him for his burial. What ye do 
unto the poor, the very least of my brethren, is done unto me. 


*' Yes " — now joins in with us the delighted legalist — " that 
is just what I have always maintained concerning the nature 
and rewards of true religion. Precisely as I have held, no 
Christ here makes the wliole of religion to hinge upon good 
works of charity to the poor and the suffering. What comes 
now of this theory that preaches ever of a new heart, and 
holy affections, and faith, as the essence of all religion ?" 
'' Yes" — chimes in the amiable worldly moralist and philan- 
thropist — '• and while you have been wrangling about your 
creeds and worships : your doctrines of atonement and justifi- 
cation by fliith and regeneration ; about your b'turgies, aiul 
sacraments, and forms ; I have been feeding and clothing the 
hungry and naked poor, and- visiting the friendless and the 
pi-isoner. Nay, not content Avith individual effort, I have 
organized charitable societies of men and women, that have 
poved far more effective and useful, every way, than these 
churches. Is it not, after all, just as I have maintained — no 
matter for behefs and creeds where a man can show his char- 
itable deeds. " He can't be wrong whose life is in the 
right ?" 

But be not so hasty in the interpretation of these sayingJ? 
of the Divine Teacher, as though they were the mere word 
chaff which the superficial sport with on the surface, drop- 
ping out into the unseen depths the weighty kernel of truth, 
of which the words are but the husks. Such hasty interpre- 
ters have failed utterly to see the profound depths of the 
vast argument from which Jesus is now concentrating the 
essence into this peroration of judgment. They forgot 
that these are the words of the King, and relate to "the 
Idngdom prepared from the foundation of the world ;" devel- 
oped as to its materials, through all the ages of the world, 
under his leadership, labours, suffering and superintendence ; 
and now to be completed and constituted his eternal kingdom. 
And, therefore, nothing that is said here has relation to acts 



except as thej bear upon tho interests of that kingdom, and 
their relation to him as King thereof. Thcj overlook the 
very essential peculiarity of this test — '^ Inasmuch as ye did 
it to the least of these my brethren, ye did it unto me." 

You will perceive that, in this regard, the test to be applied 
to the life at the day of judgment is thoroughly evangelical. 
Christ makes himself the great turning point. " To me," 
saith he, " is your allegiance due ;" and as done unto me have 
all these acts their peculiar value. So that the question 
'' what think ye of Christ ?" is substantially the test question 
of the judgment. And the six acts specified have their 
moral and spiritual value not intrinsically, but as exponential 
of the state of thought and feeling in the soul concerning 

What comes then of thy boasted good works thou legalist ? 
Of what value thy deeds of holiness, Christ the ICing and 
his kingdom not being in view in the performance of them ? 
"When thou shalt stand up before the great King and say, 
" Lord ! Lord ! have I not done wonders of goodness — my 
acts of piety, are they not known of all men ? My marvel- 
lous charities, behold, are they not written in all the news- 
papers ?" Then shall the King say. — They were done unto 
men, and have their just reward in the praise of men : they 
were done for the sake of self-gratulation or to obtain the 
luxury of praise in the newspapers and have received their 
reward. Not being done unto me, and with an eye to the 
honour of my kingdom, they have no value in this inquest. 
" Depart from me, I never knew thee — thou hast never 
known me !" And in surprise and terror shalt thou pass to 
the left hand. 

And thou, amiable world-moralist, so much to be loved and 
applauded of men for thy noble-heartedness and generosity ; 
for thine acts are indeed praiseworthy, as springing simply 
from the amiable impulses of thy nature, instead of the cold 


calculations of self-riglitcous legalism. But alas ! if thy 
deeds are done only as unto men, from the natural impulses 
of humanity, whatever may be their value otherwise — how 
can they be of any account in this inquest of what has been 
done as unto Christ ? These amiable qualities of nature 
cannot be accepted in lieu of the affectionate loyalty to 
Christ ! There is this fatal lack of one thing yet, in all 
thy gifts of broad to the hungry, and drink to the tliirsty, 
and cbthing to the naked — that all are given not as unto 
Clu'ist ! How shall accomplishments of mind and heart or 
deeds of thy life atone for the crime of neglecting such a 
God and Saviour ? 

And thou, noble model-man adorned mth refinements and 
moralities of life. What though thou followest after stainless 
honour ; shrinkest from all meanness, as from the leprosy ; 
bhunnest all unjust gains ; livest the patriot and philanthro- 
pist, striving to ease the wounds of tortured humanity and to 
exalt the masses above the clouds of ignorance ? — Nay, what 
though thou aspirest, with noble ambition, to rise thyself and 
bask in the sunshine of all attainable knowdedge and truth ? 
Why, for any of these, or all of these, shalt thou expect to 
pass unchallenged by the Son of man, the King from whom 
thou hast stood aloof; nor done any of thy noble acts, nor 
made any of thy lofty attainments Avith refei^ence to liim ? 

The test of judgment, therefore, is thus plainly seen to be 
thoroughly evangelical in principle. 

But another is now ready to ask. Is this not a somewhat 
loose inquisition into the obedience rendered the King ? A 
■wQYj slight re\dew of the grand results of a life ? Is this 
then all ? Is it only these six acts of charity that shall be 
brought out, for and against a man, in the great day which 
tries the issues for eternity? Is then, this book of God's 
remembrance filled up with entries of the most ordinary acts 
of common humanity ; which nature would teach a savage to 


do ? Acts of value scarcely sufficient to be entered as items 
in a tradesman's daily journal ; and certainly of no higher 
importan'ce than to be entered, aggregately, as " sundries'* 
in his ledger ? 

This inquiry grows, again, out of that narrow and shallow 
literalism in the interpretation of the word of God, which, 
forgetting that spiritual thoughts can be conveyed only in the 
language of analogy and approximation, catches at the mere 
words — the husks containing the thought, and manipulates 
and tears at the husk till the thought is dropped out and lost. 
So the enemies of Jesus, when on earth, blundered continu- 
ally concerning his meaning ; as w^ien he spake of his king- 
dom and of himself as a king ; or when he spake of the 
temple of his body ; or when he spake of himself as '' the 
living bread which came down from heaven." And so even 
his disciples accepted too literally his words, and supposed 
they might sit, one on his right hand and the other on his 
left, in the kingdom of God. But such error here is, at 
once, made manifest even from a careful study of his words. 

The mistake here arises from taking this enumeration of 
acts as a random list of any six, as specimens, out of a thou- 
sand acts that might have been named. Whereas it will be 
found, on careful study of them, that, with divine skill, Jesus 
here exhausts all the categories of heart testing acts, in this 
six-fold classification ; and that the six things which, on super- 
ficial glance, appear to be loosely cited specimens out of the 
numberless acts of the merest charity and humanity, recog- 
nized as duties by the veriest savage, constitute, perhaps, as 
severe a test of gospel faith and Christian character as is to 
be found anywhere in the Scriptures. 

You will observe that the six things here. set forth are 
peculiar, in that they cover the six phases of human misery ; 
and that every human affliction that arises may be referred 
to one or other of these six categories — hunger, thirst, naked- 


ness, sickness, friendlessness, and restraint of lil)crty. They 
embrace the six germinal elements of all necessary consola- 
tions of human life — meat, drink, clothing, health, human 
fellowship, and the social privileges of freedom. Tliey em- 
brace the six things which it is the great aim of all human 
activity to enjoy, and of all human care to avoid the loss of 
The labours of life, in all its phases of occupation in the field, 
in the work-shop, in the pursuits of commerce, in the pursuits 
of learning, are directed to the securing of meat, drink, clotli- 
ing, health, friends, freedom ; and to avoiding the sorrows of 
hunger, thirst, nakedness, loss of health, loss of friends, or 
loss of freedom. So that Christ hath here most wonderfully 
grouped, in exhaustive classification, at the same time, all 
human desires, all human calamities ; and, therefore, all 
phases of temptation to human nature. 

Now in each of these states of calamity he assumes him- 
self to have been, representatively, in his brethren of the 
kingdom ; and to have passed under the eye of every one of 
the great multitude gathered around his judgment throne ; 
and the test he applies to every one is " How didst thou act, — 
cherishing Christ, or neglecting him ? for Christ, or against 
him?" Or, in the fuller statement of the point, Christ hath 
founded a kingdom on earth ; and hath set on foot a contest 
with the god of this world with his world kingdoms ; he hath 
associated with himself in the work those his brethren, the 
redeemed ones, as fast as snatched from the burning. In the 
prosecution of liis enterprise, every form of human calamity 
is encountered ; and he will make it the test, Avhat part each 
one took in the conflict, whether sympathizing with and aiding 
him, or coldly neglecting him ; and this as evinced by the 
acts of the life. For though he reads the heart, and needs 
not the evidence of overt acts for himself, yet it is meet that 
his brethren, who can judge only from the acts, shall see the 
propriety of the award. 


Words give utterance to the thoughts and feeUngs of the 
soul, but may be false reporters ; 'deeds attest the honesty of 
the words ; and affliction shows the sincerity of deeds. 
Therefore a true test of a man's spirit must embrace the 
test of what affliction ho will endure, or what loss he will 
suffer to sustain in affliction, as well as the evidence of the 
deeds or the words. For any cause will find friends enough 
i.c aid it, by both word and deed, while it is prospering and 
running with the popular current ; but when it is struggling, 
and buffetting the waves of affliction, and needs sacrifices to 
sustain it, then none but its true friends will stand fast. 
There is, therefore, a divine philosophy in this statement of 
the test that seems so artless and simple at first sight. It 
can be neither evaded nor counterfeited ; it can be applied 
alike to every rank and condition of men ; it fairly attests the 
real state of the heart before God. 

! if Jesus had made his test, as some would have it, a 
question of orthodoxy of forms of belief ; then every sound- 
headed student of theology, who logically drew forth from the 
word the grand system of doctrine embodied in it ; every 
skillful logician, who had transfixed the assailants of the 
system on his keenly pointed dilemmas ; every fierce and 
bloody defender of the faith who had " proved his doctrine 
orthodox, by apostolic blows and knocks," would pass trium- 
phantly to . the right hand. But the multitude, to whom 
carefulness about meat and drink and physical comforts had 
left no time to weigh these nice distinctions ; the unlearned 
and ignorant without capacity to consult or comprehend the 
learned faculties and systems of Divinity ; the children of 
poverty and sorrow whose heart burdens were too great for 
the free play of the understanding among these high argu- 
ments ; all these would have been excluded. The kingdom 
of Heaven would then have beconje a university of learned 
dogmatists only. 


Or if tlic test, as others would have it, liad been tlic frames, 
feelings, excitements, and convulsions of the inner man only ; 
then the self-confident rabble of enthusiasts would rush for- 
ward from the cells of the hermits, from the cages of the 
mad-house, from the noisy halls of ftmaticism, even from the 
revelling places of the drunkard, and the bloody dens of the 
holy inquisition ; all pleading the holy frames and deep con- 
victions of their souls. Every visionary, every dreamer, 
every self-deluded prophet and false Christ, every self- 
righteous Pharisee, every malignant, fanaticalJezebel, would 
have rushed at once to the right hand ; and the kingdom of 
heaven would become an eternal bedlam. 

Or if, as still others would have it, the test of judgment 
had been devised to measure the intrinsic value of the offer- 
ing or the greatness of the labour done, or of suffering endured, 
how many a selfish miser or self-indulgent Dives would have 
been glad, on a death bed, to compromise the matter by the 
gift of Tuitold treasure that could no longer minister enjoy- 
ment, in exchange for a title to admission to that kingdom ? 
How many in high station would willingly undergo all labours, 
and put their kingdoms and empires all to labour, for the sake 
of that title ? How many would cheerfully undergo all pen- 
ances and self-mortifications and tortures, as atonement to 
offer for a life of wickedness, on that day of trial? 

But '^ to the poor the Gospel is preached ;" and with 
reference to the poorest is the test devised on that day. Had 
it been any thing beyond a bit of bread, a cup of water, a 
sick visit, how large a body of the truest, and stablest of 
Christ's friends must fail to stand the trial ? 

It may be asked, however, in the last place, if this test can 
possibly be interpreted as universal ; seeing that it seems to 
refer to ages of suffering and persecution ? How shall Chris- 
tians in the ages and counti-ies of the Church's prosperity 
prove themselves whether they be ready to abide the test of 


judgment, since only rare and exceptional cases of suffering 
for Christ can fall under their notice ? 

This difficulty is apparent only, not real. For a little 
reflection will satisfy you that the test is equally applicable 
whether to a sufiering Church in ages of persecution, or a 
Avorking Church, in days of peace and prosperity. By the 
very nature of the Christian life, causing ''• him that heareth 
to say come," as well as by Christ's special command, every 
Christian, and the Church of Christ are, essentially, propag- 
andist. While, therefore, in the one case, the test is what 
one will suffer for Christ, or how far he is in sympathy with 
those that suffer ; in the other case it is Avhat one will do for 
Christ, and how far he is in sympathy with every effort to 
call sinners and edify saints. And in this work he shall have 
full opportunity to minister to the Avants of Christ's brethren. 
For it should be distinctly understood that propagandism — 
the missionary work — is an essential development of the spi- 
ritual life. Christ assumes that every man who is Christian 
enough to praj, will pray "Thy Kingdom come I" and of 
course will labour earnestly for that which he prays for. And 
in view of that feature of the spiritual life, Christ appointed 
among the ordinances of worship in his kingdom the " collec- 
tion for the poor saints" as a means of grace. And Paul 
thanked God for his unspeakable gift in giving this grace to 
the Church of Macedonia, for the saying, "thanks be unto 
God for his unspeakable gift," was in allusion to their degree 
of piety as evinced by their gifts to the poor. 

The obscurity which may exist in your minds touching the 
application of this test in our age arises very largely from the 
fact that our usages and methods of providing means in sup- 
port of Christ's Kingdom have separated that provision too 
widely from our acts of worship ; so that the test which 
Christ arranged for his people, in their worship, has been 
practically removed from them. Instead of the contributions 


for tko support of tlio gospel ])cing the spontaneous offerings 
of hearts in which "f^iith Avorketli by love," and from i)urely 
devotional impulses, in many cases funds arc received from 
the state, raised by compulsory tax : in others, largely, from 
endowments which the mistaken forethought of Christian 
people have laid up in store to support the gospel among 
their children, as if afraid to trust the power of God's grace 
to confer faith and love enough upon the children to support 
the gospel for themselves. And even where the contribution 
is voluntary, the giving is separated from the worshij), both 
in idea and in fact, and laid upon the wealthy as any other 
claim in ordinary business transactions. Thus the gifts are 
not the tests of faith and love in those who give, while the 
humble poor of Christ's flock have, in the worship, little or no 
opportunity of exercising the grace of fellowship at all. Nay 
so entirely has this great idea of Christ's appointment in the 
worship of the Church; been lost sight of, that to many the 
collection dt worship is becoming positively offensive, as 
unsuitable to the sacredness of public devotion. And to 
'"'^se^7e the dislike to frequent collections among many good 
people might almost suggest the painful suspicion that the 
nature of their business transactions during the week was 
sucli that the sound of money in the house of God on the 
Sabbath awakened disagreeable associations. When our 
present usages shall give place to more of the simplicity of 
the gospel, in this regard, and a nearer conformity to Christ's 
order in his Church, then will the outward prosperitj^ and 
success of the Church become more truly exponential of the 
degree of fiiith and real piety which animates tlie people. 
And then will be seen and felt, in all its power, the significance 
of Christ's choice of this peculiar form of a universal test at 
the judgment. 

Let it not be supposed, however, that this application of it 
is the only one for the Church in this age. I have made special 


reference to this application, simply because the usages of th& 
churches, at present, seem calculated to obscure in the minds 
of the people the principles of this application. In all condi- 
tions of the Church, it will be found that, in some form, one 
or other of these six evils is the temptation to stand aloof from 
Christ and his cause. Though not literally in fear of hunger 
and thirst, jet, because of their eagerness to provide for, or 
enjoy, the luxuries that minister to appetite, men have neither 
time nor heart to attend to the call of the gospel. Though 
not fearing suffering from want of clothing, yet innumerable 
luxuries of fashion and dress prove a snare to the soul. 
Though not literally to be made a stranger by casting in the 
lot with the people of God, yet it involves, perhaps the loss of 
one's rightful place in the affections of the godless family, or 
in the esteem of godless friends. And so of many other 
forms of these temptations. The world still loves not Christ 
and his precepts, and therefore " they that live godly in 
Christ Jesus must suffer persecution." 

The walks of business are full of maxims of trade and 
usages openly at war with the spirit of Christ's precepts. 
The world of fashion and pleasure is equally ruled by tastes and 
maxims and usages contrary to the precepts of Christ. And 
the Christian who stands manfully for Christ will find some 
inconvenience, some loss, and much scorn. Christ brings 
his judgment into close companionship with these e very-day 
issues, and will demand whether you were ready to endure 
the cross for his sake, or stand by those faithfully who had 
to endure hardships for his sake. 

But I cannot dwell upon the various forms of applying 
Christ's test. I have aimed to show from the connection 
that the test here enunciated is designed to reach back and 
cover our life under the whole gospel dispensation ; that it is 
a test thoroughly evangelical requiring works simply as the 
Oiitgrowth and the evidence of a living faith in Jesus Christ 


in the soul ; that the test is absolutely universal in its reach 
even to the thoughts and intents of the heart ; that its pecu- 
liar form renders it equally applicable to a suffering, or to 
a peaceful, working Church. 

And now, brethren, I must leave you to make your own 
application, personally, of the great truths here taught by 
him who is our King and who will be our Judge. Remember 
that this is a very present matter with every one of us person- 
ally, since it is the e very-day impulses and acts that now 
distinguish our life which shall tlien be tested ; and a few 
more days, or years, at best, will settle the issue. " He 
that is unjust shall be unjust still ; he that is filthy shall bo 
filthy still ; and he that is holy shall be holy still." The 
testimony in the case shall be sealed up then for the verdict 
of that great judgment. If we would receive the Avelcome 
'" Come ye blessed of my Father " in that dread day, then 
it behooves those of us who have been left in charge of the 
Master's house to be faithful in executing the trust, ever 
watching for his return, that he find us neither sleeping at our 
post, ]ior acting a faithless part. It behooves you who watch 
for the Bridegroom that you may go into the marriage supper 
of the Lamb, to see to it that, though you may from the long 
delay be sleeping, you have the oil for the lamps, even his 
grace hi your hearts. And not only so, but this inner life in 
the soul must have its full and JDroper outworking in the dili- 
gent use of the several talents entrasLed to you. For only 
with this spiritual life in the heart, evincing itself in the 
dihgent employment of the five, or the two, or the one talent, 
will any be ready for the great assize, and its great test. 
Beware how, resting on false grounds of hope, ye go confi- 
dently forward undeceived into the King's presence, saying 
" Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name, and dona 
wonderful works," only to hear him say " depart from me- 
— I never knew you." 





Luke xvi. 19-31. There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in 
purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day. And there was a 
certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate full of sores, and 
desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table ; 
moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that 
the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom; the 
rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lifted up his eyes, being 
in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And 
he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus 
that he may dip the tip of his fmger in water and cool my tongue, for I am 
tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, Remember that thou in 
thy life receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things ; but 
now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between 
us and you there is a great gulf fixed, &c. 

The identity of doctrine, and the logical coherency of this 
Avith the judgment discourse, concerning the relations of the 
present to the future life, appears so plainly in the Lazarus 
of this parable, as Christ representing himself in one of his 
brethren, — an hungered, athirst, naked, sick, friendless, — as 
to need nothing more than a simple reference to it, without 
further exphcation. 

Jesus had been warning of the importance of a wise use of 
earthly goods ; of the antagonism between the true worship 
of God and the worship of riches ; and of the danger of covct- 
ousness. In answer to his solemn warnings '• the Pharisees 
who were covetous," it is said, '' derided him." As though 
judging it useless to reason with men determined not to be 


enli<^htenecl and convinced, he seeks another avenue to the 
heart and conscience through the imagination. For while the 
gospel appeals, in chief, to the reason and understanding of 
men, it appeals also to the imagination, to the passions, to all 
the powers of the soul. Therefore, as bj some divine acous- 
tics, he places an ordinary world scene in such a focus that 
the monotonous buzz and din and commonplace of the life 
that is, comes echoed back, in terrific thunder tones, from the 
endless vistas of the life which is to come.; and at once con- 
firms and illustrates his previous argument, bj presenting this 
^reat tragedy of earth and heaven and hell ; showing how the 
mortal humanity reaches onward, and becomes the immortal 
humanity inhabiting eternity. 

I propose a brief critique on this divine tragedy ; and to 
gather from its dramatis loersonoe^ its scenes and its dialogue, 
the general truths which Jesus here inculcates. 

" A certain rich man was clothed in pur^jle and fine linen 
•and fared sumptuously every day.^^ This is a ohief person- 
age of the tragedy. That is an important error of interpreta- 
tion here, which supposes that his sin consisted in being rich, 
wearing fine clothes, or living sumptuously. The gospel 
gives no ground for the too common impression that the rich 
man will go to hell because he is rich, and the poor man to 
heaven because he is po(5r. Nor, while enjoining " modest 
apparel," and '' the adorning of the inner man of the heart," 
rather than the outer man, does the gospel countenance that 
sort of piety, which consists in the style of one's eating and 
material of his eating, on Fridays or any other days ; in the 
cut and colour of one's coat, or the fashion of head dress ; in 
the tone of one's voice, the phase of one's face, the manner of 
one's speech or the air of one's bearing. It is not even charged 
that he became rich by unfair means. lie was probably a 
young man, since he speaks of five brethren, and of his 
father's house — a moral man, being a Pharisee ; and a nomi- 


nal member of the visible kingdom, recogiiiziug Abrabam as 
bis fatber. 

It is far more important, brctbren, for you to bear in mind, 
tbat Cbrist sajs notbing against tbis one of tbe heroes of this 
tragedy, except simply to paint bim as one in full enjoyment 
of everything tbat tbe -world bas to offer, in contrast -witb tbe 
other earth picture which follows. Especially is this import- 
ant to any of you who imagine that the warnings of tlie gospel 
apply only to the drunken, tbe profane, tbe licentious, tbe 
infidel, and not to you who " are not far from the kingdom 
of God." This man of the divine tragedy, for aught we can 
see, was just as moral, according to the world's standard, and 
as respectful to religion as any of you. 

'-''And there luas a certain beggar ^^^ &c. In perfect con- 
trast with him who bad everything the world can give, is this 
picture of utter misery in the lack of all things ; concentrat- 
ing in one case all six of the evils of the judgment test, hungry, 
thirsty, naked, friendless, sick, and — though not literally 
in prison — ^yet by the leprosy or other loathsomeness, 
excluded from the companionship of man as realiy as if in a 
prison. And, as wc infer, sustained by a heroic faith, ho bore 
it all without a murmur against Providence, or even a com- 
plaint against the rich man, saying, '' even so Father, for so 
it seemeth good in thy sight." *• 

Such is tbe view of tbe contrasts, as the present life exhibits 
them. Now the scene of the tragedy changes to tbe next 
life, and there agaiu presents them in still wider contrasts, yet 
contrasts entirely reversed. 

" And it came to i^ass that tlie beggar died^ and wa>i 
carried by the angels into Abraham'' s bosom^ Speaking, as 
he was, to Jews, he could convey no loftier conception of 
heaven than tliat it is the place where Abraham is ; and 
speaking, as he was, to people whose usage was, not as ours 
to iiit at meals, but to recline on couches — the head of eacli 


person next below reaching to the breast of him above at 
table — (as at the last sup;:)Oi' John it h said '' leaned on 
Jesus' breast at supper" J he could not more aptly express the 
second place of honour at the celestial table than to saj, he 
was in Abraham's bosom. Thus he that was esteemed 
unworthy a place even among the servants at the rich man's 
table on earth, is transferred to the very highest place, save 
Abraham's, at the festive table in heaven ! 

It is specially worthy of note, how Jesus here, as the 
gospel elsewhere, ever symbolizes the immortal state to us 
in figures and forms gathered from the best and loveliest 
things that belong to the mortal state. The communion of 
friends together, in breaking bread at each other's table, is 
among the purest of earthly pleasures ; and, hence, that 
furnishes a favourite figure in the scriptures for the expression 
of what is spiritual joyousness and high privilege. The sac- 
rament of the Old Testament covenant was cast into this form 
of a supper — so of the same sacrament in the New. The 
promise of Jesus to the believing soul is " I will come in 
and sup with him and he with me." And John permitted, in 
his visions, to gaze in upon the redeemed in glory, found 
them waiting for the marriage supper of the Lamb. So here 
Jesus, when he would describe the life to come for us, sets it 
forth as a communion of friefids together at a glorious celestial 
feast with Abraham, the father of the faithful at the head of 
the table. 

This is the glory of the heaven of Jesus, that it is a human 
nature heaven. And, to one who has truly entered into the 
spirit of his teachings of immortality, it is nothing short of 
blasphemous, to hear men coldly talk of the "immortality 
brought to light in the gospel," as but another mode of pre- 
senting the beautiful speculations of the schools concerning it ; 
and of Jesus and Socrates and Plato as co-ordinate teachers 
on this point. For what though Plato had demonstrated 


immortality — wliieli lie did not do, but only surmised it ? of 
what practical use his immortality of a spirit, ushered naked 
and shivering into eternity, even when proved ? What care 
I to be told of an immortality stripped of everything but mere 
existence ? What joy to me in the thought that, after the 
present existence, I shall be dashed as a splinter from the 
wreck of Time, to float, vibrating and tossing on the ripples of 
the illimitable ocean of eternity ? One shrinks from tlie 
thoudit of an existence that has nothms; in it in common with 
the present. But it is a different matter, when Jesus tells ns 
of an existence beyond death that is not severed at all from 
any thing that is pure and holy and beautiful in the present 
life ; of an eternal manhood, of which this is the infancy ; of 
an eternal harvest, of which this is the seed time ; of an eternal 
treasure house, into wdiich shall be garnered for us all the 
precious jewels gathered out of the rubbish of earth and lit up 
by the beaming smiles of God Almighty, the sun thereof ; of 
the whole family gathered from the scatterings of earth under 
him " of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named*' 
— A family whose oldest children heard the echoes of the song 
of the morning stars when time began, and whose youngest 
children shall have heard, in the flesh, the sound of the arch- 
angel's trump, proclaiming that Time shall be no longer ! A 
family embracing patriarchs and prophets and apostles ; and 
the noble army of the martyrs ; and all the holy and good 
who have ever lived, with all the good, and pure and dear of 
the friends we have ever known ! Then, then, the immortality 
is attractive and to be longed for " with ardent pangs of strong 
desire !" Such an immortality is fitted " to comfort those that 
mourn and to heal the broken-hearted." For it enables us to 
follow our departed, in thought, to the assembly with Abraham, 
and to feel that, instead of wandering lonely through an illimi- 
table desert of eternal existence, they are with friends who 
care for them, and with Jesus who loves them, even with Gud 



" Vfho wipes away all tears from their eyes." We can, with 
joy, now reason — what though, 

" A brightness hath passed from the earth, 
Yet a star is new born in the sky ; 
And a soul hath gone home to the land of its birth, 
Where are pleasures and fulness of joy ! 
Where its thirst shall be slaked with the waters that spring, 
Like a rirer of light, from the throne of the King; 
And a new harp is strung, and a new song is given, 
To the breezes that float o'er the gardens of heaven !" 

The immortality, according to Jesus Christ, is no mere 
shadowy , metaphysical existence, but the carrying over death 
of everything sinless that pertains to humanity here. 

The earth itself dies not ; for the holy memories of it die 
not ; its purer and nobler affections die not ; its holy thoughts 
die not. They pass on, over death, imperishable as the soul 
itself, to constitute the elements of its heaven. For the eternal 
life, as Jesus teaches, actually begins here. " He that 
beheveth on the Son hath (not shall have) everlasting life." 
And, of course, the consciousness belonging to the eternal 
life here must go on with the soul, over death, as the con- 
sciousness of infancy goes on into manhood. 

Such is the infinite contrast between the Lazarus lying at 
the rich man's gate, with the" dogs for companions ; and the 
Lazarus exalted, next to head, at the celestial table, with the 
multitude of the redeemed doing him honour ! 

It is specially worthy of note, also, how Jesus seems ever 
to select the very humblest people for the high places of dis- 
tinction in his kingdom. This is the case in, perhaps, every 
one of the few instances in which he appeals to that principle 
so universal in human nature, the love of eminence and distinc- 
tion. I recall now only three of these cases. One was that 
of the poor widow that, timidly and half-ashamed, dropped her 
two fartliings into the treasury among the ostentatious gifts ot 
the wealthy ; of whom he declared she had excelled them all. 

Another -was the case of the humble -woman whose heart. 

bursting with gratitude led her to make the offering of her 
beautiful trinket, the alabaster box of ointment — all she had 
to offer ; of ^Yhom he declared that fame should perpetuate 
" her memory, " Avherever this gospel shall be preached." 
The other is this case of Lazarus, who had not even the two 
farthings to give, and by reason of his infirmity, had nothing 
that he could do for the Master, except, with heroic faith, to 
suffer without murmuring ; of whom he declares, he is exalted 
to the second place of honour in heaven. 

Ye humble ones of Christ's people ! here is encouragement 
and comfort for you. You ask " What can I, a servant do, 
in my low station of poverty, to evince my faith and love." 
'' Wliat can I, a timid and shrinking girl do ?" "What can I, 
an over-taxed mother do, whose world lies wholly within my 
own dwelling ?" " What can such as we do ?" '^0, if we were 
high in station, blessed with wealth, influence, office in the 
Church, then could we evince to the world how sincerely Ave 
love Jesus ! But our want of opportunity to test our faith 
makes us sometimes doubtful whether we really believe and 
love him or not !" But any of you have a better opportunity 
than Lazarus had ; and yet he won the second place ! The 
measure applied by Jesus Christ is not the amount and value 
of the thing done, nor the "extent of your sphere ; but the 
perfection with which you fill your sphere, whether it be large 
or small. Nay though your sphere be narrowed by poverty and 
suffering down to your very self, you may, by suffering aright, 
gain a higher place than many that can do much. What he 
will have is the devoted love of the heart, which may be 
evinced equally by great acts, or by small acts. The Queen 
on her throne, filled with gratitude for some great act of 
kindness and blessing, evinces the love for the great benefactor 
by a royal gift, it may be of the half of her kingdom. But 
the little child, whoso heart your kindness may have won. 


just as clearlj and beautifallj ev.nces the love of its little 
heart by thrusting upon you with overflowing generosity, all 
the prized toys which it deems too precious to allow any other 
to touch ! Just so with the gifts which evince love to Jesus. 
Indulge in no day-dreams of what you would do in another 
and larger sphere ; nor impatiently thrust yourself into spheres 
of doubtful fitness. Just where you are, and as you are, dis- 
charge the duties of your station, with a loving and trusting 
heart, looking to Jesus. If this simple principle were com- 
prehended, we would have less of that ambitious looking for 
" a mission" which has exposed religion to reproach ; and a 
solution of the problem of " woman's mission." For then 
" feed my lambs" — a mission gr^at enough for Peter, would 
no longer be thought not great enough for woman ! 

Now comes another infinite contrast, infinitely sad — " The 
rich mail also died.^^ The riches avail nothing to save him 
from the last lot of the beggar ! The lines of their existence, 
though infinitely divergent, cross each other at death as a 
point common to both. Think of this, ye that serve Mammon 
as your master. Of what avail all that Mammon can do for 
you, after a few days of treacherous enjoyment. Will the 
stately mansions and the broad acres that surround them, 
make Dca:!i more chary of approach to their lord ? Will fine 
linen cool the fevered blood ; or purple sooth the aching frame; 
or sumptuous fare tempt the languid appetite once he hath 
breathed upon you ? Will your garnered '' bonds " buy 
the medicine that shall : 

" Minister to the miad diseased, 
Pluck from the memory the rooted sorrow, 
Raze out the written troubles of the brain ?" 

Will your gleammg silver tempt Death to restrain his hand, 
when, " he hath bent his bow and made ready the arrow to 
the string ?" May your yellowy gold ascend, before you to 
the high places of heavenly justice, as sometimes it hath 


ascended to high places of earthly justice, and bribe the pen 
of the recording angel to erase, or make no record of your 
deeds of sin ? Of ^Yllat use then this carefulness and zeal in 
the service of ^lammon, that leads you to neglect and contemn 
the service of God ? 

'' And was buried.''' This is not said in the case of Lazarus, 
Avlio probably was thrown aside as a loatlisome carcass from 
the sight of men. But in the vain effort to keep up distinc- 
tions even after death, the rich man's body was probably 
escorted with solemn pageant to its burial. And, doubtless, 
out of his vast wealth a splendid monument was reared to tell 
the story of his virtues, and, possibly, like many of its kind, a 
lying monument at that. But his true monument he hath 
reared for himself, as we shall see a little farther on. 

" And in hell he lifted up his eyes being in torment^ 
Here large numbers, who affect great admiration for the 
amiable teachings of Jesus, shrink back declaring, " this is 
a hard saying, who can hear it ?" The chief of these 
objectors may be classified into three ; those who deny that 
the scriptures mean to teach a retributive torment ; those 
who deem such a doctrine inconsistent with other funda- 
mental truths of revealed theology; and those who reject, 
alike, the inspiration of the scriptures and the retribution. 

As to the first of these classes, who profess to accept the 
scriptures as of inspired authority and yet deny that they 
teach the doctrine of a hell, it must be confessed there is 
nothing to encourage an argument with such. For if the 
acknowledging of the scriptures, in the plain common sense 
meaning of their words, docs not settle the question, it is 
difficult to conceive how such a truth can be expressed in 
human language at ail. We need not stand upon the terms 
"hell" and ''fire" and - Tophet." If these are offensive 
to " ears polite," then find smoother terms if you please. 
The question is not of words, but of ideas and princij>lcs- 



Whether this scene is properly named " Hell," or " Hades," ' 
or '^ Sheol ;" still it is a place whore a soul is in " torment," ] 
'' afar off" from Abraham's state of bliss, and crying out in I 
anguish. So that the idea of a place of intense unhappiness, I 
separate from the place of bliss after a man dies, and this ] 
OTowino; out of something; that had existed before death, is I 
still left, though your criticisms have utterly rooted out the \ 
terai " hell," or substituted for it the smoothest and most 
delightful of euphemisms. Nor does it affect, in the least, I 
the principle, Avhether the parable is taken as narrating a 
real or a fictitious case ; since Jesus Christ, whose '' truth is 
stranger than fiction," would employ to illustrate his doctrines ' 
only that fiction, which is truer than truth, in the sense of 
having been specially created for the exhibition of some great 
principle. The real objection to the modern method of first 
applying a patent critical machinery to the words of inspira- .; 
tion, to squeeze out of them, before using, everything i 
offensive or contrary to some new theory of theology, ethics, j 
or philanthropy that has been first constructed outside, the 
sphere of inspired ideas, and then brought to the bible to be •: 
udderpinned with texts, is not so much that it overthrows this 
or that doctrine of the gospel, as that it accustoms the people ; 
to trifling with the divinely inspired rule of faith. When the : 
people are taught by one bibUcal critic that " hell " does ; 
not mean hell, but some poetic fiction ; by another that ! 
'' Holy Ghost " does not mean " Holy Ghost," but a meta- 
physical figure of speech ; by another that " wine " does not | 
mean wine, but water filtered through grape sauce ; by | 
another that " slave " does not mean slave but an apprentice or 
a hireling ; by another that the saying, " All scripture is 
God-inspired," does not mean inspired in any sense that 
guarantees the scriptures against absurd, mistaken or legend- j 
ary statements ; how shall they do otherwise than conclude \ 
that, from the uncertainties of its meaning, the bible is utterly | 
wortliless as an infallible rule of faith ? I 


Besides it seems utterly useless, if one had a taste for 
it, to argue the reality of future retribution, with such as 
profess to accept the inspired scriptures, and yet deny this 

For even after we have reasoned from indubitable premises, 
with mathematical certainty, to our conclusion that there is a 
hell, that conclusion must bo expressed in language ; and it 
is beyond the ingenuity of' man to find language more definite 
and less subject to perversion by criticism than that in which 
scripture has already expressed the same conclusion. But 
they say the scriptures do not mean that, though they say it. 
So these amiable theologians and critics might just as pro- 
perly turn to the audience to which we have demonstrated 

" There is a death whose pang 
Outlasts this fleeting breath 
And eternal horrors hang 
Around this second death" — 

and gravely caution them against alarm at our conclusion ; 
that we did not mean what we seem to mean, that after the 
death of the body the soul may be unhappy ; that manifestly 
we used poetic figures of speech, and allowance must be made 
for poetic license ! In what language could we express the 
future retribution for sin ; or in what greater variety of method 
and connection, than Jesus and his inspired agents have 
already done ? And if these critics may say that Jesus and 
bis inspired agents did not mean what they said, but some- 
thing else — why not also say that, when we thus express in 
language the conclusions to which the most inexorable logic 
may drive us, we do not mean what our language conveys, 
but something entirely the reverse ? 

Of that very amiable class of theologians who deny retri- 
bution on the ground that such an idea is utterly repulsive 
to their conceptions of the love of God, as everywhere 


declared in the gospel, there is space now only to say that 
their conception of the gospel is simply a caricature of the 
gospel ; less rude, it may be, but not less wide of the truth 
than the fierce and wrathful gospel of the most malignant 

The gospel preached by Jesus, is no monotone of " love," 
" love !" It is no cradle song of lullaby to soothe a babe to 
sleep with. It is no strain for the compass only of the gentle 
rebeck, or "lute, or soft recorder." It is a many-sided, 
many-voiced strain to fill the mighty compass of that great 
organ, the human soul ; to sweep its infinite diapason, and 
awaken, alike, the deep thunder tones of an accusing con- 
science ; the loud wails of penitential sorrow ; the subdued 
tones of loving but trembling faith ; and the lofty notes of the 
holy ecstasy of '* joy unspeakable and full of glory !" It is 
Jesus Christ who wept over sinners, saying " that thou 
hadst known!" who proclaims "the terrors of the Lord" 
and flings " the arrows of the Almighty." Remember it is 
the same Jesus who spake the parables of the lost sheep, the 
lost treasure, and the father yearning after his poor prodi- 
gal, in the previous chapter, that speaks this parable of the 
rich man in hell lifting up his eyes in torment. 

Of that class who reject the scriptures, and Who, on prin- 
ciples of mere Deism, scoff at retribution, there will be occa- 
sion to speak further on. 

''Ajid seeth Abraham afar off and Lazarus in his bosom.^^ 
They who, from bitter experience, know anything of the 
pangs of a joy just within their reach, lost beyond hope of 
recovery ; of high expectation suddenly dashed to pieces, 
just as about to be fulfilled; of arriving at the station after 
long and weary absence from the loved ones at home, only to 
see the train, homeward bound, gone just out of reach — need 
no'-, be told that this is one of the- darksst lines of this picture 
of a lost soul. To be doomed, amid all the agonies of hell, to 


see for ever Abraham afar off and Lazarus in his bosom, is 
Avhat must sting most keenly. 0, if that existence might be 
an eternal oblivion of all that is holj and pure in plcasiire, 
and an utter unconsciousness that anj thing better than this 
state of torment existed in the universe, it would alleviate 
half its horrors ! If instead of a division by " a great gulph 
fixed," across which the doomed may look, it were an infinite 
wall erected, with foundations deep laid in the depths of hell, 
and its battlements overtopping the battlements of heaven — 
then the soul might at last sink into comparative apathy, from 
never conceiving of anything better than these horrors ; 
verily, this touch of the divine pencil throws a deeper dark- 
ness even over '• the outer darkness," that shrouds the 
"weeping, and wailing and gnashing of teeth !" 

We come now to the dialogue of the divine tragedy 
between hell and heaven. First Hell speaks ; — 
''■Father Abraham, have mercy on me and send Lazarus.'''' 
This is the only case of prayer to saints recorded in scrip- 
ture ; and he did not get what he prayed for. Alas, this 
poor soul is ready now to plead his Church relation, and, being 
within the covenant Avith Abraham his father, to set up that 
as his claim to salvation. It was the current error of his 
time. John Baptist had occasion to warn men against it, 
saying, '• Think not to say within yourselves, Ave have Abra- 
ham for our father." Jesus had occasion to remind the 
dignitaries of the Church, "If yo were Abraham's children 
ye would do the works of Abraham." Paul had afterward 
continually to argue that only " they which are of faith, the 
same are the children of faithful Abraham." And, to this 
day, one of the greatest obstacles to tlic true gospel in the 
heart, and one of the most delusive errors, is this same pro- 
pensity to rely on being in the true Church, as the chief title 
to sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob in the kin-^- 
dom of heaven. But while to be in the true Church is all- 


important, that is not because, being there, one is secure of "j 

heaven. .; 

On the other hr.nd, how many a pastor has found with pro- ] 

found grief— when called to the death-bed of some poor reck- I 

less apostate from his birthright in the Church ; who all life i 
long has been ashamed of his relation, and joined with the 
scoffers to sneer at it— that now, when earth is fading from 
his view without, and nature dissolving within, he is ready 

enough to catch at that, as a sinking man catches at the straw ; \ 

and relates the story of his birth as a member of the Church, | 

the recog^iition of it in his baptism, and the prayers and godly i 

instructions of pious parents, as some ground of hope for him I 

still ! Remember, ye on whom the vows of God rest ; however i 
you may now be ashamed of them, and scoff at the call to 

fuLill them, the day is coming when you shall in like manner ; 
be ready enough to acknowledge them ; but alas too late 1 If 
you are wise you will call now upon your fathers' God, and 

the God of your mother, and ask that their prayers for you ; 

may be answered. ; 

Heaven responds : — Soji, Remember^ that tliou^ in thj 

lifetime^ reoeived^t thy good things^ and likewise Lazarus evil j 

things^ hut now he is comforted and thou art torme>.ted.'^ ] 

In this response is set forth substantially that great prin- ; 
ciple which is positively asserted, or more or less directly and ] 
distinctly assumed in every paragraph of the gospel. And not j 
only so, but it is a principle embodied in the very constitution ! 
of the human soul — That justice requires a retribution after j 
this life ; at least in so far as to rectify the obviously imper- j 
feet dispensation of rewards and punishments here. For, as I 
men see how on every hand wickedness goes unwhipped of | 
justice ; how dishonesty, falsehood, meanness, dishonour stalk -; 
abroad, and tread under their feet, oft-times, purity, truthful- 
ness, benevolence, honour, fidelity ; how the brute law of j 
" might maJces right, ^^ becomes the law of man's rule over ' 


nivin ; how " the wicked spreadeth himself in prosperity as a 
grccii bay tree, and is not in trouble as other men, nor 
plagued like other men ; " while men of integrity and virtue 
have "waters of a full cup wrung out to them,'' until they 
wail in their despair ^' I have cleansed my heart in vain and 
washed my hands in innocency, for all the day long have I 
been plagued, and chastened every morning ;" — they are 
obliged to feel, that, if a just God rules the affairs of men, 
there must be a high court of appeal, where these unjust 
awards of earth shall nil be set right. In this aspect of the 
question, they who deny future retribution not only contra- 
vene the revelation of God, but insult the ethical instincts and 
universal judgments of mankind." 

Heaven continues : And besides all thiSy between us and 
7J011 there is a great fjulf fixed: so that theij which tvonld 
pass from hence to you cannot : neither can they i^ass to its 
that would come from thence. ^^ 

Aside from the judicial view of the matter, there is a reason, 
in the natural order and eternal constitution of things, why 
the rich man and Lazarus cannot spend their eternity 
together. While the bible holds forth heaven ai)d liell in 
the forensic aspect of the awards of a judgment, it no less 
clearly exhibits them as the natural and necessary results of 
the life on earth. So that were there no coming of " the Son 
of man in his glory ;" no setting up of his throne of judg- 
ment ; no trial and award, no inquest into the deeds of the 
present life, heaven and hell must follow, nevertheless. For 
those two estates in the future stand to the present in the 
relation simply of a natural separation of the evil from the 
good, which in this present state are nnnatiirally mingled 
together. Hell began on earth when sin began ; but, in 
virtue of the great mediatorial enterprise of Christ to gather 
out of the doomed race a body for himself, the hand of Infinite' 
Mercy suppresses the outbursting of its fires to give time and 


•opportunity for Christ to " seo of the travail of his soul and 
bo satisfied." Hence the Apostle speaks of our universe as 
simply " kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of 
judgment, and perdition of ungodly men." And, since the 
Tvork of redemption is finished, they speak of all the period 
that follows, as the "last time," indicating that at any time 
now, the period may arrive when the Mediator having no 
further use for it, the original sentence may be executed, and 
the unnatural give way to the natural order, of the good to 
itself and the evil to itself. In accordance with this theory 
of the race, as a race, is all the teaching concerning the case 
of the individuals of it. '• He that belie veth not," saith Christ, 
is condemned already^ and the wrath of God abideth on him. 
■On the other hand, " He that believeth, Jiatli everlasting 
life" ; the estate of heaven is already begun in his soul. 
Every man carries within him here the germs of his heaven 
■or hell. The grace of God nurtures the one, keeping it 
.alive to the day of deliverance ; the mercy of God restrains 
the other from bursting forth until the day of doom. The 
gospel theory leaves, really, no place for the cavils against 
the injustice of punishing a man eternally for the sin of a few 
days on earth. For, according to this theory, the sinner, 
.remaining unchanged by the grace of God, and without the 
new life, goes on into eternity just as he is, to sin on, and 
therefore to suffer on for ever. He suffers hero because ho 
is a sinner, though, on account of the restraining mercy of 
God, he only partially suffers the consequences of his sin. 
He goes on a sinner and, therefore, to suffer, in an estate where 
;inercy ceases to interpose, but where the full consequences of 
his sin follow it forever. Hence it is represented as the 
decree, after the present estate, '' He that is unjust let him 
be unjust still, and he that is filthy, let him be filthy still, and 
lie that is holy, let him be holy still." 

Thus, also, the relation of the present to the future life is 


set forth bj the Apostle as the natural relation of seed time 
and harvest. " What a man sowetli that shall he also reap. 
He that soweth to the flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption ; 
and he that soweth to the spirit, shall of the spirit reap life 
everlasting!" By the same law, therefore, under which 
kind produces kind, and by which he that soweth wheat shall 
reap wheat, and he that soweth tares reap tares, — shall he 
that soweth sin, during the present seed time, reap the 
han'est of sin throughout eternity. 

Bear in mind this very solemn view of the life here, as 
simply the elements of heaven and hell commmghng ; the 
heaven suppressed by the antagonist workings of sin in the 
members ; the hell suppressed by the hand of Grod's mercy 
restraining it. Remember, too, that the condition natural 
is that of condemnation; and the new life in the soul the 
be^innin'i; of the everlastin2; life. Let not the fact of the 
junction of the two estates of life and death under the social 
conditions of the present life deceive you into the belief that 
there is little difference between " him that believeth," and 
" him that believeth not." When, of God's grace, that 
iutimate friend of yours is led to believe in Jesus, leaving you. 
in unbelief, then, and there, this separation begins. A narrow 
chasm at first perhaps ; you still join the hand of friendship 
across it. But it will go on widening and Avidening, till, after 
death, it spreads '•' a great gulf, fixed," infinite and bridge- 
less ! 

It is on the ground of this second argument, in the response 
of heaven, that we meet the class of scoffers at the scriptural 
doctrine of retribution before-mentioned. We will sot aside 
that view if you please ; or even admit, for the sake of argu- 
ment, the validity of your reasoning against the justice of 
eternal retribution. But " besides all this,'' independent of 
tlie question of the justice of the thing — by the natural and 
necessary order of the universe there is a " great gulf 


fixed," between the evil and the good in the future state. 
And what though you have overthrown the judgment seat of 
Christ in the gospel, and scoffed the whole theory of reward 
and punishment out of the faith and the memory of the world, 
— wherein will you have bettered your condition ? The evil 
mature within you still exists ; and unless you are to perish 
as the brute, must continue to exist for evt^r. If you scoff at 
the gospel theory of a change of nature by a divine regenera- 
tion here, as absurd and unphilosophical, it is equally unphi- 
losophical to conceive of any such change there. So that, on 
your own showing, here is a nature full of passions, and evil 
passions at that, passing on, stripped of all that held the 
passions in check on earth, into eternity, an inextinguishable, 
intelligent, conscious being. Now what else can follow than 
some such estate as Jesus describes by these tremendous 
types ? Follow, in idea, the men that surround you here, embo- 
died in the flesh, as they pass into that existence, and tell us 
wherein the gospel exaggerates the picture of what must be 
their future estate. Follow this sensualist, whose only notion 
of enjoyment, or capacity for it, is of that happiness which he 
has in common with the brutes, that comes through gratified 
sensations. But now the link is rusted away which bound 
his spirit to the flesh, and thereby furnished that channel of 
pleasure through the senses from a material world ; and he 
rushes, a naked, shivering spirit into a realm w^iere there are 
no longer any senses to minister, or objects of sense to fur- 
nish pleasure ! Follow this Shy lock, whose only conception 
of happiness is of gold hoarded up, and to whom a loss by 
some speculation or accident brings the pangs of hell even 
here on earth — follow him as his spirit dashes into eternity, 
stripped of all his wealth, to wander an immortal beggar! 
Follow this creature of envy and jealousy, whose spirit burns 
with the smouldering fires of hell, if a rival gets the start of 
him in popular esteem, as he passes on to an eternal state in 


^vllicll the infinite gulf is fixed between the good and evil ; 
across which he must gaze forever at the crowned victors in 
the race for true glory ! Follow these, or any one of a score 
of characters that might be cited, into their immortality, and 
tell us what fitter figures Jesus could have used to describe 
it, than the eternal " waihug and gnashing of teeth !'' 

Yet this is not all ; for it presents the mere negations of 
pleasure. /Vnd moreover it takes into the account only the 
self-action of each individual. But conceive of these spirits 
now all existing together. To aid the conception imagine 
the vile, depraved and reckless of the earth, even as they 
are in the flesh, all gathered to themselves. Empty out 
upon some island of the sea, all your prisons, with all the 
'- hells " of your populous cities ; all the haunts of licentious- 
ness and crime ; all the dens for the plotting of dishonesty. 
Let there be no virtuous men to move among them. Let it 
be the place where law with its threats comes not ; where 
the usages of respectable life with their restraints come 
not ; where the philanthropist with his appeals comes not ; 
where angels and ministers of mercy come not ; where the 
restraining grace of God comes not ; and. hope of amendment 
comes not ; and death comes not, nor the fear of retribution 
after death. Let all the fierce Avickedness that is in them 
work itself out in a carnival of every lust and revelry of 
every passion ! See you not that these figures of the scrip- 
tures for such a state of existence, instead of being rhetorical 
exaggerations are but the feeblest approximations of finite 
language to the expression of infinite ideas of terror. 

Here is the fundamental fallacy of all those scoflfs at the 
gospel theology, as if it were responsible for the existence 
of the hell from which Jesus comes to redeem men. Hell 
is, in idea, altogether anterior to the gospel theology. It 
would have flamed none the less fiercely though Jesus had 
never ccmc with the gospel remedy. AVliether the gospel 


be trustworthy or not, there can be no doubt that the germ- 
inal fires of hell do exist ah^oadv in the nature of man. 
And though the scoffers of these '' last dajs " should 
triumph, and crush out of the world's thought every con- 
ception of a gospel, still these passions are alive in the 
human soul, and this depravity, with its inevitable sorrow ; 
and so long as the soul exists must exist with it, save by 
some divine interposition such as they scoff at. Will men 
never learn that scoffing at the proposed remedy does not 
stay the disease ? What though you demoDstrate the quack- 
ery of the panacea that claims to be a sure antidote for 
cholera ? that stays not the still tread '' of the pestilence that 
walketh in darkness !" What though you loathe the remedy 
which science has compounded for your sick bed, and cast it 
from you ? That gives no ease to your aching joints or 
fevered brain ! What though in your peevishness, you strike 
down the arm of your physician, as he comes to hold over 
you the shield of his skill and ward off the thick flying arrows 
of death ? That checks not the advance of the king of 
terrors to lay his cold hand upon you and claim you as his 
prey ! Now the gospel is simply a remedy and Jesus Christ 
the great physician whom you must accept, or else let the 
disease of your soul work out the agonies of the second 

Silenced by this argument, though it has failed to silence 
our scoffers yet in the flesh — changing the plea — Hell speaks : 

" / yray thee tlierefore^ father, that thou ivouldst send 
him to my father' 8 house: for I have five bretJiren: lest they 
also come to this place of torment.''^ 

Next to his own torment is the agony of the thought that 
the brethren, who followed his godless example and were led 
astray by his evil influence, should come to suffer with him, 
and thereby increase his torment. 


I have before said that lie liad rcai-ed his own true monu- 
ment in Ufo. So does every man that lives. For an 
influence, for blessing or for cursing, is ever going out from 
hiui, and the results will gather in upon hiui in the eternity 
to come. Men see not the operation of this principle in the 
present life ; for if they did there would be less of that 
ambition to Ijc known as ringleaders in wickedness, drawing 
followers after them to sin ; and less of that sort of merri- 
ment that finds its sport in leading one, tenderly reared in 
seclusion, to swear his first oath, to engage in. his first revel, 
to do his first act of open contempt for God and religion. 
Wliat if the w^orld's ambitious heroes, panting for blood and 
carnage, and for the adulation of sycophants, lived under 
such a la,/ here, that they should see in this life the real 
monument that they have built for themselves ? What if, 
instead of pyramid of brass or Parian marble, inscribed w^ith 
its lying words, erected over them dead, their real monument 
were erected visibly around them yet living? What if 
around and over such an one as a centre, were reared a 
huge hollow pyramid of all the bones wliich his ambition has 
scattered to bleach and moulder ; with the myriads of skulls 
facing inward to grin horribly down upon him ; with all the 
blood which his cruelty has shed perpetually drizzling and 
dripping as moisture from the horrid walls ; with the sighs 
of all the hearts which his faithlessness has broken moaning 
through the crevices, as moan the winds of autumn ; and 
ever and anon, the despairing curses of all the ruined howl- 
ing over it, as howls the tempest in its fury ? 

Yet analogous to this is the commemoration of the present 
m the future life ; and this supposed monument is the type 
of the position of the evildoer, in eternity, with respect to 
his life here. Every man is building, day by day, his monu- 
ment to commemorate his life on earth throughout the endless 
ages. And when death shall tear away the unseen screen 



that now hides the seen from the imseen, he will behold his 
iN^ork all finished. 

I need only suggest to you the solemn lesson which this 
cry of agony should have for godless fathers and mothers, 
who shall be held even more strictly responsible for the five 
children than he for the five brethren. If they pervert that 
authority whereby they stand in the place of God to their 
children during infancy, and the unbounded influence which 
they exert on all the subsequent life, and thus not only lose 
their own crown, but, so far as they can, tear the cvovfu from 
the heads of the children God has given — what imagination 
shall depict the agony of the prayer for eternal separation, 
in that world, from those whom they loved here ! 

Heaven responds : — " The?/ have 3Ioses and the Prophets; 
let tliem hear themy 

They are without excuse, even though influenced by the 
evil example of their dead brother ; for they had all neces- 
sary means of knowing God's will ; his warnings of the inevi- 
table doom of sin ; and his kind invitations to them to accept 
the generous atonement provided to take away the sin of the 
world. brethren, if jMoses and the Prophets were gospel 
enouo;h to leave them wi;hout excuse, then what excuse for 
those who, on the back of Moses and the Prophets have all 
the wonderful revelations of Jesus and the Apostles ! Recall, 
I pray you, the reasoning of the Apostle, "If the word spoken 
by angels (messengers), Moses and the Prophets, was stead- 
fast, and every trangression received its just recompense of 
reward : ' How shall we escape if we neglect so great salva- 
tion V And again, " He that despised Moses' law died 
without mercy ; of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, 
shall he be thought worthy who hath trodden under foot the 
Son of God ?" 

Ilell speaks : — Nay, fathei- Abraham ; hut if one went 
unto tkcr.ifrom the dead, theij Ml repent ^ 


Here is one of those raarvcUous portraitures of a universal, 
in an individual case, at a single stroke, which so distinguish 
the bihle paintings of human nature under the calls of the 
gospel. " If one rose from the dead ;" if the proof were 
made clearer ; if there were more certainty of these things ; 
if these doctrines were not so puzzling or the rectitude of 
God'« dealings were more manifest ; if our circumstances 
were more favourable and our temptations not so great ; in 
short, if God had done something else than he has done, or 
his gospel were, in some manner or other, different from 
what it is — then surely we would be Christians. 

Heaven responds finally: — '* If theij believe not Moses and 
the Prophets^ neither ivill they he persuaded though one rose 
from the dead^ This sentence is very commonly read as 
intending chiefly to assert the sufficiency of Moses and the 
Prophets, as a rule of faith, which truth has already been 
asserted in the preceding response ; and is taken as the 
foundation for discourses showing the fullness of the evi- 
dences of the Old Testament revelation, and therefore of the 
New Testament also. But the point of the response, evi- 
dently, is directed to the fallacy of the appeal just made ; 
and to assert that the difficulty in the way of sinners is not 
want of evidence, but want of heart, in themselves. While 
it indeed asserts, by implication, the perfect sufficiency of the 
evidence for Moses and the Prophets, it means also to assert 
that no matter though. this evidence were stronger, the result 
would be all the same. For in fact it matters little to unbe- 
lievers whether the proof be sufficient or not ; since they 
have never attended to the subject enough to know whether 
it be so or not. They are insincere in the plea of w\ant of 
proof, want of harmony in the doctrines, and want of consis- 
tency with the ethical reason. For even though such were 
the fact, they have never examined the matter enough to 
know it. 


I have already transcended all proper limits of a discourse, 
or I should undertake to justify most fully this charge of the 
insincerity of the unbelief and cavils of men at the gospel. 
I must content myself, however, with a general remark or 
two for the special benefit of such of you as may sometimes 
be tempted to feel that, if the religion of the gospel be true, 
then it is strange that so large a part of the world have 
doubts about its evidences, and difficulties with its doctrines. 
Just make the experiment of analyzing this crowd of un- 
believers, and estimate how many of them have ever gone 
into the question far enough to know whether Moses and the 
Prophets, Jesus and the Apostles, are worthy of belief or not. 
Set aside first the great crowd of the ignorant, the stolid, the 
sensual, the brutish who mock at hell without proof; and 
mdeed, have neither the capacity nor the intelligence on the 
question of religion, to comprehend the force of an argument. 
Evidently more proof could do them no good ; for of what 
use to bring more proof to men who have never considered 
the matter enough to know that the evidence is defective 
and that more proof is wanting ? At once now you have 
cleared the field of ninety-nine hundredths of the unbelief in 
the world. 

Now set aside, next, the class who disbelicTc from mere 
afiectation ; — the youth just home from college, supposing he 
has circumnavigated this great ocean of science from the 
beach of which Isaac Newton claimed only to have skipped 
stones, as a child ; and, in proof of his attainments, obtrud- 
ing his difficulties with rehgion on distressed mother and 
sisters. Or that class of minds which, in this regard, never 
grow old, but have a passion for the display of their origin- 
ahty by not believing what people generally behove. For 
what proof can be devised that shall convince affectation ? 
And now we have again greatly thinned the ranks of unbe- 
lief. Next, set aside the really learned and gifted sceptical 


men of the secular professions, who will lioncstly tcU you 
tliat their scepticism arises in large part, perhaps, from their 
ambition, while students, to rise in their profession, or the 
absorbing pursuits, after they have risen, which have never 
left them time to examine the question. For of course it is 
of no use to send Lazarus from the dead, to affirm the truth 
of Moses and tho Prophets, to men who have not had time to 
know what Moses has said ; nor time either, nor inclination to 
listen to Lazarus unless he come with some important case of 
worldly business. Now you have left, on the field contro- 
versy, none save the few who have written learned books 
and constructed elaborate arguments against Moses and the 
prophets. And of these I have space to make the suggestion, 
only, that he who examines them will find that in every case 
where the plea of difficulty and want of proof is put in, the 
conscious or unconscious insincerity of it is evinced either by 
the palpable ignorance of the inspired writer's real meaning, 
or by their application to scripture of principles of evidence 
wdiich common sense applies to no other writings ; and which 
if applied to any other ancient history, literature, or philos- 
ophy, would make a tabida rasa of all the record of the 
thoughts of all past ages. 

But this critique on this divine tragedy has already, I 
fear, been extended beyond the limits of your patience. 
Carry with you the infinitely solemn truths which it has 
developed, and make, for yourselv^es, the obvious application 
of them to your daily life : remembering that Jesus aims 
here to present to you this every day-life on earth as it will 
be contemplated, at no distant period, from eternity, without 
the opportunity then to change the results. 





JoHNxix. 15 — 37. — The chiefpriestsansweredjWe have no king but Coesar. 
Then delivered he him, therefore, to be crucified. And they took Jesus and 
led him away. And he, bearing his cross, went forth into the place called 
the place of a skull which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha ; where they 
crucified him and two others with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the 
midst, &c. 

But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came 
there out blood and water * * * And another scripture saith, they shall 
look on him whom they pierced. 

John iii. 14, and xii. 32, 33. — And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wil- 
derness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up. 

And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me. This he said signi- 
fying what death he should die. 

A thousand years of preparation, as we have seen, gathered 

the material, under the covenant with Abraham, for tlie con- 
struction of the typical gospel kingdom by the covenant with 
David. Through another thousand years of wonderful vicis- 
situde has this typical kingdom stood, until now not only the 
faith of Jehovah's saints but the instincts of the JcAvish 
masses are eagerly anticipating the immediate rise of the 
kingdom which it foreshadowed, and asking " when shall the 
kingdom of God appear ?" And yet the coming of the great 
Antitype to " sit upon the throne of his father David," and 
to establish his kingdom from sea to sea that " all nations 
may flow unto it," has only accelerated the decay of all 
spiritual life out of the typical kingdom, and accelerated its 
movement toward its utter and final apostasy. '' He came 


unto his own, and his own received him not." But their 
very passion in rejecting him is used as the instrument 
whereby, through his death, the work of redemption shall be 
finished ; wlierebj the scaffolding of types and shadoAvs shall 
be taken away, and the finished scheme exhibited in all its 
perfection and glory. 

As the germinal truths of the covenant wdth Abraham 
sprang forth, flowered and fruited, and then shed their fruit 
to germinate anew in the covenant with David, organizing the 
typical kingdom ; so now, these truths, having again sprung 
forth, flowered and fruited, must shed their ft-uit again to 
germinate anew in the true spiritual kingdom which it typi 
fied. " The hour has come " that " the corn of wheat fall 
into the ground that it abide not alone, but bring forth much 
fruit." And wonderfully does Jehovah accomphsh the fulfill- 
ment of his promises and purposes by causing the very wrath 
of man to praise him ! On this memorable Friday morning, 
the 9th of April, as preparatory to the great act which sets 
up the spiritual kingdom, the Church of all nations — the sub 
ject of all types and symbols and prophecies — behold the 
culmination of the apostasy of the typical kingdom of David ! 
The oSicial representatives of this typical kingdom, mth a 
representative mob of the masses at their back, are here 
around a heathen judgment seat clamouring for the blood of 
the Son of David ! And, as the unwilling heathen judge, 
irritated to contempt and bitterness by a clamour that he 
despises but dares not resist, yields up the innocent victim, 
arrayed in mock royal robes and crown, cries out in scorn 
and derision, "What! shall I crucify your king?" — the 
maddened nation shouts, " We have no kixCx but CiESAn!" 
The very Church of the living Jehovah officially utters the 
blasphemy, that there is no spiritual kingdom — no saviour 
King for the throne of David ! No king but Csssar ! 

Brethren, docs it seem inconceivable to you that the visible 


Church of God on earth can become so utterly faithless and 
apostate ? I tell you nay, such must ever be the result, in 
greater or less degree, from any similar dropping out of the 
gospel spirit from the doctrines and forms of the Church. 
First will come the Erastian inability to perceive any longer 
the distinction in kind between the spiritual kingdom, its 
government and obligations, and the kingdom of Cnesar ; 
then, naturally enough, the spiritual kingdom is cast aside as 
an unnecessary appendage and a clog to the gospel ; then the 
gospel King and Priest rejected, and the shout •' no king but 

The very greatness of the fact that '' Christ died and rose 
again according to the Scriptures" — upon which fact the 
whole system of revealed theology turns, as upon a pivot — 
may so absorb our attention, in reading this story, that we 
may overlook the illustrations of the doctrine of Christ cru- 
cified, which the very record of the incidents indicates a 
purpose to furnish us. You will observe that the Evangelists 
do not merely record the great fact that Jesus was crucified, 
as the Scriptures had foretold. They present the fact before 
us in an amazing word picture. And, as the skilful artist, in 
painting some ^-ast object out of the range of ordinary thought, 
surrounds it on the canvas with ordinary objects, — men, dwell- 
ings, animals and trees, — as relative measures, whereby we 
may gather by comparison, some notion of tlie vastness of the 
central object : so these inspired painters, in presenting tXe 
dying Son of God, set him forth, not in solitary grandeur and 
vastness, but surrounded by human objects — by the play of 
human passions, the outbreaks of human wickedness, the 
gush of human sorrow — as if to enable us at a glance to 
perceive the immeasurable grandeur in which the Man of 
Sorrows towers above these merely human conceptions. 

Let us endeavour to transfer ourselves back to that memor- 
able Friday morning in Jerusalem, and study the scenes which 


are enacted there, after this formal act of apostasy bj the 
representatives of the nation in shouting, " No king but 
Caesar !'' We shall find in them rich lessons of instruction ^ 
both on the human, and the divine side of the gospel system. 

Attracted toward the court by this shout, '• No king but 
Caesar," we find the judge just in the act of yielding, under 
the popular cry, " If thou let this man go, thou — art not 
Caesar's friend ;" for he dreads the utterance of such a charge, 
however absurd, in the ears of the irritable Tiberius, his 
master. Therefore be gives sentence as they demand ; but 
^' he took water and washed his hands before the multitude 
saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person." 

Singular paradox ; a magistrate innocent of the blood of 
one whom judicially he murders, while declaring him just in 
the same breath ! No, no 1 Pilate, think not with water to 
wash off that stain of blood from thy hands. For, falling 
upon the official hand that pretends to weigh justice in the 
balance, its stain hath struck too deep for any water cleansing. 
The untitled, powerless, private man, forced by the mob to 
deeds of cruelty, might perhaps with the tears of ingenuous 
sorrow wash out the blood spot! But thou art imperial 
Caesar's legate, Pilate. Thine is the strong arm of the law, 
flashing its gleaming sword, by God's ordinance, in the defence 
of innocence, as well as in vengeance on guilt. Thy gorgeous 
ermine is full wide to shelter in its ample folds this torn and 
bleeding lamb that the fierce dogs of bigotry are thus savagely 
pursuing. With all thy pompous pretence to dignity and 
chivalrous Roman honour, thou art but a miserable pedlar in 
blood ! Baser than Judas whose narrow soul thought thirty 
pieces of silver a worthy price, thou art selling him over again 
for a worthless smile from these ecclesiastical bloodhounds, 
whom every manly instmct of thy nature loathes and abhors ! 
Thou art a poor coward^, Pilate, that thou fearcst such a mob> 
with the strong arm of Caesar to defend thee, and the broad 


shield of eternal justice to hold. before thee ! No, Pilate, no! 
Not all the waters of Jordan that washed leprous Naaman 
clean ; not all the waters that ever gushed from the rills of 
Siloam; not all the tears of sorrow that shall flow through 
eternity for thy sin, shall ever wash off that stain of blood ! 
Yet how common seems this mistake of Pilate, that the 
unrighteous judgment of an official, given under pressure of 
strong temptations from personal consideration, — either of 
desire to win popular favour ; or avaricious hankering after 
gain ; or the impulses of partisan malice or party obligations 
may be atoned for, by giving the innocent the benefit of 
one's personal convictions and professions as an off-set against 
the damage to him of one's villainous official deed ; and that 
it is enough to perform a little penitential handwashing for 
the filthy job done to popular order! How little do men 
seem to comprehend the solemn truth that, as in the Church, 
under his revealed law, God hath appointed his ministers to 
be his representatives, and will surely punish the corrui)t and 
unfaithful servants, so in the state, under that natural law 
which be hath revealed to all men alike. '' The powers that 
bo are ordained of God;" and will likewise be held accouni- 
able to God. That the magistrate, called by the public voice 
to office, is in his sphere, '^ the minister of God for good," to 
the upright citizen, and the minister of God, "■ a revenger to- 
execute wrath upon him that doeth evil." And every curse 
threatened against official unfaithfulness in the Church, lies 
with all its force, in the other sphere also, against the magis- 
trate who misrepresents and caricatures God's essential justice. 
Ye cowardly hand-washers ! If ye have not the manly courage 
to breast the billows of popular fury, and make your official 
voice heard above all the howls of the mob, then why thrush 
yourselves into places to which, obviously, God hath not called, 
you ? If Tiberius, jnoved by the popular clamour threaten you, 
then tell Tiberius and the mob, " we ought to obey God rather 


than men," and go into exile with a clear conscience foryoui 
companion. To the sort of men whom God calls to represent 
him, the passion of Tiberius and the curses of the mob are 
sweet music compared with the accusings of conscience 1 
Beware how ye make light of bartering justice, either for the 
popular smile, or for place, or for gold. If bj a righteous 
Providence ye be not driven to Pilate's doom of exile, and 
suicide, like Judas; yet, be assured that, amid the curses 
of the ruined, the wails of the heart-broken and the moans of 
the murdered ringing in your ears, ye shall wash, and wash 
in vain at that blood-spot throughout eternity ! 

And, on the other hand, when public virtue hath come 
to such a pass, that the clamour of the mob, instead of the 
■ covenanted law, must find utterance through Pilate on the 
bench ; or, that popular sentiment regards Pilate's use of his 
official authority for personal ends either of avarice, ambition 
•or passion, as a venial sin of natural infirmity, that a little 
handwashing may atone for ; then may we know that the day 
of political doom is nigh such a people, even at their doors ; 
for now, " judgment lingereth not and damnation slumbereth 
not." The judgment upon such a people hath in fact already 

We follow, where the mob has led the way with its victim, 
through an eastern gate of the city ; and find here gathered 
upon and around a curious skull-shaped hillock, a motley 
•crowd, all intensely excited, as they gaze at the scene 
transpiring on the summit : Beginning first our study of the 
ordinary and relative figures of the picture, our attention 
cannot but be attracted by the movements of scribes and 
lawyers — public opinion manufacturers — gathering each 
around him a little knot of listeners, dehghted with the 
familiarity of the great men, and eager to hear what they will 
have to say. They discuss the various rumours of plots and 
treasons concocted by this Jesus : the positive testimony of 


the -witnesses that he threatened to destroy the temple ; and 
his bhasphemous confession that he claimed to be the Son of 
God. They horn and re-horn the condemned on their mer- 
ciless dilemmas, after this iiisliion ; either he can deliver 
himself from deatli and -will not ; or he would deliver himself 
and cannot. If he can and will not, he perishes justly, for 
liis stubborn wilfulness. If he would do it but cannot, then 
he dies justly as a blasphemous impostor, who has falsely 
been claiming to be the Son of God. And the simple crowd 
gape with wonder at the learned men, a,nd are surprised they 
never had thought of so obvious a truth before. Busy among 
the crowd too arc holy priests and Pharisees, moving Avith 
unwonted condescension and familiarity among the common 
herd ; seemingly heedless of the rumpling their fringed 
borders, and their enormous phylacteries, in their zeal to have 
the people duly instructed in the merits of the case ! And 
they have occasion to use all their zeal ; for the people are 
easily swayed from one extreme to the other. It was only on 
Monday last that, as Jesus approached the city, they gave him 
an ovation which Governor Pilate himself might well have 
envied. IS'ever had Mount Zion and Moriali echoed with 
more hearty Ilosannahs. And beside, among this crowd are 
many whom Jesus has healed of disease, or whose friends he 
has healed ; and they feel grateful to him. And to many also 
his words have a strange fascination. Such impulses brood- 
ing in the hearts of the people may burst forth at any moment 
if there be exciting cause. And as the deed now done is 
incongruous, alike with the spirit of the Roman and the 
Jqwish law, any tumult which may cause inquiry at Home 
may prove disastrous both to Pilate and the Sanhedrim. 

All these matters, however, arc duly cared for. Hour 
after hour bears witness to the skill and strategy of these holy 
dignitaries of the Church. The infection of the official logic,, 
wit and raillery becomes general. Louder and more wide 


spread are the sliouts of laughter at the drollery of the mob 
jesters, as they wag their heads, and hurl the keen shafts 
of their satire. Ah ! thou temple destroyer, and temple re- 
builder ! Try thine Almighty hand now ! Thou omnipotent 
Messiah of the prophets, display thine omnipotence ? Thou 
saintly truster in God ; let us soe if God will deliver thee ! 
Till shuddering, at the worse than brutal ferocity of the 
human wild beasts, we shrink back as from the opened portals 
of hell. 

We observe another of these relative objects of the paint- 
ing, yonder in the back ground. It is the multitude of 
women who have followed him out of the city. Motionless 
and terror-stricken they gaze and listen with horror at the 
cruel yells, and though with instinctive modesty, they shrink 
Iback from the noisy crowd and stand afar off, yet, as by some 
fascinating spell, they are bound to the spot. Among them 
we may suppose moves neither pompous Pharisee nor witty 
official, nor astutely reasoning lawyer. The heart and the 
understanding of woman — save when she is utterly abandoned 
of God's Spirit, as some tigress Jezebel — while she contem- 
plates suffering, is a poor theatre for the success either of the 
studied wit of the official or the keen logic of the lawyer. 
The intuitive aversion of her heart to cruelty annihilates the 
lieartless jest; and the stubborn dogmas of her unanalyzing but 
unerring judgment, dashes in peices the flippant logic that 
pretends to justify barbarity and bloodshed. If she cannot 
argue against cruelty, she can yet weep over it. Nor shall 
stately smile of high official, nor soloDin pomp of Pharisee, nor 
brilliant logic of lawyer ever change the conviction of her 
very heart of hearts, that wanton mockery at the agonies of 
the suffering is not un-manlike and un-godlike. They stand 
and weep, and wring their hands. It is not the utterance of 
a true faith in Jesus ; but the deep natural sympathies of a 
womanly heart. 


Within this outer circle, and nearer tlie centre of the knoll 
is another of these relative ohjects, illustrating the singular 
contrasts of humanity hrought in contact Avitli the wonders of 
the gospel. It is a little cluster of military men, sitting as 
calm and unmoved as if lounging at some Roman outpost. 
Four of them seem to bo intent upon a game of chance ; the 
stake being a beautiful homespun robe without seam, evi- 
dently the work of delicate fingers, as a gift of affection. 
Under the stony eye of the soldier we detect the liyena glance 
of the gambler, as the successive throws of the dice indicate 
hope or despair of Avinning the prize. But how does amaze- 
ment fill our hearts, as the thought occurs of the old prophet's 
complaint who seems to wake from the dead, after a thousand 
years, and wail over the scene, — " They parted my garments 
among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots." The 
iiisimincant toss of a Roman soldier's hand is executinsr the 
eternal decrees of God, and registering the description that 
marks the stripped owner of this robe as the Messiah to whom 
the prophets bare witness ? 

Raising now our eyes, we behold a fourth of these relative 
objects of the picture. A sight at which cruelty itself may 
well shudder ! On two upright posts, with horizontal beams 
near the top, hang suspended two victims, after a fashion 
which could have been devised only by a demon. Through 
each hand, extended to the horizontal beam is driven a spike 
crushing through that delicate congeries of nerves and mus- 
cles which marks the hand, so evidently, as a work divinely 
fachioned. Through the feet a similar spike is driven, nail- 
ing them together to the upright post ; and thus the victim, 
left no other support than a small projection on which he sits, 
hangs quivering, and, in the writhings of his agony, lacera- 
ting the torn hands and feet more and more. 

They both justly suffer the same penalty of crime ; but 
with far different spirit, as is obvious by their look and 


behaviour. He on oar right ahnost extinguishes our sym- 
pathy in our cold shudder at the iicrce malignity of liis nature. 
The effect of the intense suffering draws out to the surface, 
as it Avere, the wormwood and gall of a spirit long used to 
crime against society. He is an enemy to mankind, and 
mankind an enemy to him. It but adds to the fierceness of 
his hatred, to find himself at last a helpless victim. As the 
nails lacerate under the nervous twitchings of his writhing 
body, and the intolerable pain causes him to cry out, the 
lurid firej. of hell seem to light up his eye. He curses the 
world, curses himself, curses God. And as he curses, turn- 
ing a fierce glance upon the uncomplaining sufferer at his 
side, he joins in the fiendish sport of the mob, and cries, 
'' Ah, thou saintly Messiah, come down from thy cross and 
take mo down." True to the life this horrible picture of the 
self-righteous sinner ! '' If I am a robber, still I am not one 
of these saintly pretenders ! I never pretended to be what 
I am not.*' See, here, you that make this self-righteous 
boast to keep you at ease in sin, see here the style of your 
religion in that dying hour to which you put off the gosj)el 
call ! Men are apt to die just as, they have lived ! 

To our left hangs the other, in outward appearance at first 
sight not unlike this blasphemer. But we readily discover 
him to be the reverse in every indication of character. The 
naturally harsh and fierce demeanour has been subdued. He 
struggles to bear his torture without a murmur. A calm 
serene joy seems to have suddenly settled upon his spirit. 
Wliere suffering abounds some felt joy much more abounds. 
Now his eyes are raised to heaven as in thanksgiving ; 
and tears fill them, as he whispers his gratitude. He has, 
a little while ago, heard the sufferer at his side in the 
midst of the scoffs and jeers, praying " Father forgive 
them, they know not what they do." And the conviction 
at once flashed upon his soul that one who could thus 


pray must be more than man, and is sure enough the Saviour 
Messiah! With the heroic faith which such a conviction 
evinces — a faith that couki penetrate through all the darkness 
that now overhangs the man of sorrows, and discover in him 
still Christ the son of God, he breathes his simple petition, 
'• Lord remember mo when then comest into thy kingdom." 
And at once he receives the assurance, " To-day shalt thou 
bo with me in Paradise !" 

Ye, that are trusting to the dying prayer for the remission 
of sin and acceptance Avith God, note this case closely, and 
you will discover that it oflfers you no encouragement in your 
procrastination. There is one case recorded that none may 
despair and say, too late ! But that case, remember, is not of 
one who has all life long been warned, and yet has spurned a 
thousand calls ? Nor is it probable that a poor halting, pro- 
crastinating, double-minded sinner, who puts olf till death the 
great work of life, will be able to exercise such a faith as the 
poor thief in the agony of death. 

At the foot of the central cross we find a fifth of these 
relative objects ; one every way calculated to arouse all the 
sympathies of the heart. It is a group of four ; three women 
all of the same name, and a young man of beautiful figure 
and manly countenance ; mild and gentle in look as a lamb, 
yet determined, bold and unyielding as a lion. He is facing 
boldly the derision and scofifs of the mob ; and his heroic 
faithfulness and attachment to his .suffering friend seems to 
compel for him the respect and regard even of that brutal 
crowd. For, down in the depths of human nature, lies hid an 
instinctive respect for the man that stands by his friend in 
spite of all hostility and hate. It was not probably, because 
he had more faith tlian the other disciples that John stood 
here when all had forsaken him ; but rather that the 
manly and sympathising soul of John could not endure the 
thought of leaving the poor old mother to stand there heart- 



broken alone. For one of this group is Mary the mother of 

For eighteen hundred years Art, in all her forms, has 
laboured to give expression to the sorrows of Mary, yet, 
though hers is a human grief, — the gushing forth of a sorrow 
that has gathered to bursting in a human heart, — Art has 
never reached the desired goal. Poetry has lavished all its 
epithets and symbols of grief; Music has contributed everj 
conceivable note of its scale. Painting has employed all its 
most touching lines of sorrow; Statuary has chiselled the 
softest and saddest outlines of which the marble is expressive 
— And yet, which of all has so perfectly suggested all the 
depths of the sorrow to our imagination as the evangelist 
John who stood at her side when, at one stroke of the word 
painting pencil, he says, " Noiv there stood at the cross of 
Jesus, Ms mother.''^ What Art or eloquence of speech can 
add anything to that conception ; such a mother witnessing 
such a son, in the agonies of such a death ? 

Thirty years ago, the old man of God in the temple uttered 
the prophetic words, "yea a sword shall pierce through 
thine own soul also." But it is not difficult to understand 
that to the daughter of Eli filled with glorious memories 
of the past histoiy of her people, and of still more glorious 
hopes of the future kingdom of Messiah, all this should be 
taken as merely some strong figure of speech. How should 
it be otherwise when to her, a youthful maiden, as the last of 
the line of David, Jehovah's own angel had declared, " Thou 
art highly favoured among women." And, educated as she 
had been in the oracles of God, as interpreted by her age, it 
is not wonderful that she should, in the ardour of youth and 
hope, indulge in the loftiest expectations of the power and 
glory of her son as the Prince of the house of David. That 
she should in her dreams see, in the brilliant prospective, the 
array of a saintly conquering host ; and gorgeous palaces and 


untold splendours, and Jesus her son, " fairest of the sons of 
men," standing as the author, the centre, the ruler of all ? 
True she must have read in the prophets much to dash such 
expectations. For, amid all their poans of glory there came 
up ever the wail of the " man of sorrows, acquainted with 
grief." Bat how should she understand such prophecies when 
the whole learning and wisdom of her age passed them bj as 
insignificant or to be understood only in a figurative sense ? 

What a wreck of fond hopes ! What a dashing in pieces 
of splendid visions ! As she now sees the Royal Son of 
David in the hands of his enemies, hanging in agony, an out- 
cast from earth and heaven ! I fancy the words of the 
youthful John fall powerless on the dull ear of her faith, as 
he tries to comfort her. He doubtless tells her, " despair 
not yet ; Jesus told us last night at the table — Let not your 
hearts be troubled ; beheve in God and believe also in me. It 
is expedient for you that I go away." But you, cliildren of 
affliction, who have hung around the death agonies of a child : 
ye know by experience, how dull the ear of faith is then ! 
How, when even the departing ones assure you, " it is expe- 
dient for you that I go away," you cannot comprehend the 
lesson. Have ye had also something of Mary's glorious ex- 
perience fifty days after this, when the amazmg out-pouring 
of the Spirit demonstratecl how expedient it was that Jesus 
should go away ? 

We direct our attention now to the great central object of 
this gospel word picture. And the first incident that we 
observe, beautifully connects him, as human, with these 
human objects around him. Aroused by the moans of the 
poor heart-broken mother at his feet, from the deep thought 
which appears to absorb his mind, he seems as one making 
final arrangement of his earthly aSfairs preparatory to his 
departure. Turning his eyes, all full of human kindness and 
.sympathy, to the sorrow-stricken mother and the young friend 


at her side ; his countenance lights up almost with a smile at 
the thought, that one of the twelve has proved himself worthy 
of trust in any emergency. The noble young friend that no 
danger could deter from standing by the son, will never 
desert the mother in her old age and helplessness ! As Mary 
and John both look up with earnestness, seeing that he will 
speak, Jesus saith in the simple majesty of heart language — 
to Mary " Behold thy son !"— to John " Behold thy mother !" 

Let it console you who ofttimes come to the throne of grace 
with a heavy heart, because of the impenitency, the dangers 
or the suffering of this son, this daughter, this husband, bro- 
ther, father, mother — that you come to a Saviour who can 
sympathise with you in all the tender solicitudes of these 
dear, relations. Nor are your little domestic sorrows beneath 
the notice of so exalted a King. Say to him in faith — 
" Behold my son !" — my mother, my husband, my brother, 
my father, my daughter ; and you shall not go away unblest. 

Now, as if done with all earthly cares, he drops back into 
those mysterious contemplations and inward throes which 
manifestly absorb his soul. It is this awful absorption of 
spirit, amid all the agonies of the flesh, that at once distin- 
guishes the central victim as at an infinite remove from all 
mere human sufferers. He is " treading the wine press 
alone ; of the people there is none with him." And as now 
we attempt to scrutinize the pale countenance, there is an 
overpowering awe and majesty in its calm contemplative 
communion with some inward grief that utterly baffles and 
repels us from the task. There is such an apparent uncon- 
sciousness of external pains, while every nerve and muscle of 
the bodily system is on the rack of torture, as fills us wiih 
amazement. We discern in a moment that the acutest pene- 
tration can never gather from the external countenance here 
the infinite emotions that prey upon the soul within. All the 
genius of the dramatist is here at fault. The pencil of 


Raphael, or the chisel of Phidias, drops from the discouraged 
hand of the genius that dares the attempt. Ilcncc no truly 
enlightened Christian soul ever looked upon a [)icturc of the 
crucifixion, however ex([uisitc as a work of art, without the 
impression, how infinitely short the picture falls of present- 
ing the Jesus of his soul's ideal ; nay without an instinctive 
shrinking from it as a profane mockery ! Genius can paint 
or carve Jesus the man bearing his cross, or the cross bearing 
the man Jesus : but only as genius may paint or carve the 
thieves on either side of him. But genius can no more paint 
or carve the Christ on the cross bearing the sins of the world 
than it can create a world. All the externals here fall infi- 
nitely short of expressing the struggle of his mighty soul in 
conflict with principalities and powers. 

And, therefore, it will be found that, just in proportion as 
a man is drilled into an adoration of Jesus throu<2;h the out- 
ward image of him, will the true idea of Jesus as an atoning 
sacrifice for sin drop out of the consciousness of his faith. 
And just in proportion as the Church magnifies the import- 
ance of the external ; parading everywhere the cross, the 
crucifix, the painting of the scene on Golgotha, just in that 
proportion do the great spiritual truths of the cross drop out 
of the consciousness of the Church ; and her worship become 
a mere soulless, unspiritual symbolism, appeaUng to the imagi- 
nation rather than to the spiritual depths of the soul. 

It is now high noon — fhe sixth hour — twelve o'clock. 
Behold, as we gaze, there are indications of inward agony as 
from a burdened conscience ! A change passes upon that 
calm countenance ! A strange, mysterious change ! It is 
the expression of one agitated at the thought of sin ; and an 
awful mysterious struggle is going on in the soul ! Is then 
this sufferer, that even Pilate declared to be a "just person," 
conscious of some transcendent guilt, unknown to all save 
himself? How suspicions — just as foretold by the prophet — 


"begin to arise in our sinking lieo.rts ! " Surely ho is stricken, 
smitten of God and afflicted." It may, possibly, not bo virtue 
suffering with heroic fortitude because supported hj a clear 
conscience. It is possible that man could find no fault in him, 
yet God sees and his own conscience feels, a terrible pressure 
under some guilt of immeasurable enormity. 

Nature, as if in sympathy with our dark mysterious sus- 
picions, lays off her sunshine and cheerfulness, and " from 
the sixth hour there is darkness over all the land till the 
ninth hour." As the anguish of him on the cross grows more 
terrible, deeper and darker becomes the gloom, till the noisy, 
profane mob is awed into silence. Terror begins to reign in 
the stoutest hearts. Many steal away at the beginning of 
the darkness back to the city ; others follow as the darkness 
thickens : those that remain stand fixed to the spot by the 
fascination of their very terror. For three long hours the 
struggle goes on in that mighty soul : till even faith begin3 
to fear the worst — that the sufferer will sink under the crush- 
ing weight and die under every visible token of God's dis- 

But as it approaches the hour of evening sacrifice — 
suddenly all are startled by the strong cry from the sufferer, 
whom they supposed too feeble to utter anything above the 
low murmuring wail of the dying. The words ring as though 
the Psalmist prophet had come forth from the sepulchre of the 
kings to rehearse his wail : and it echoes back from Mount 
Zion — " Moil Eloi. lama sabaclithani ! — My God ! my God, 
why hast thou forsaken me !"* 

* Dr. Bushnell, who, after regaining somewhat the lost confidence of the 
Christian public by his able discussion of the " New Life " and "Christian 
Nurture," seems to have fallen into an almost insane hate for the doctrine of 
Christ's atonement as expiatory, and declares that, rather than believe 
Luther's justification by faith, the " Article of the standing or falling 
church," he would see the church fall — strangely enough dares to say, in a 


It is the true type of every believing prayer that ascends to 
the ear of God. " My God," still !— " Yea t'hough he slay me, 
yet will I trust in him." That appeal to the Father's heart 
is never in vain. And now it is heard. Deliverance comes 

discourse of " Christ and his salvation," that this utterance of Christ on the 
cross is merely the interjectional cry of " one just rediny out of life''' and to 
be understood not literally but as the hyperbole of anguish ; since God did 
not forsake him, or regard him as suffering to satisfy divine justice. 

This is an amazing instance of reckless dogmatism on the part of one 
who affects such a horror of dogmatists ! And it illustrates the straits to 
which absurd theortes of theology, reared outside the Scriptures are 
reduced, when brought to be forced in upon the Scriptures to secure for 
them the character of Christian doctrines. Dr. Bushnell is, manifestly 
oblivious of the fact that Jesus, in this cry, is quoting the opening words 
of that wonderful twenty-second Psalm, which prophetically narrates of 
Messiah how, " All that see me laugh me to scorn : they voa^ titeir heails 
saying, he trusted in the Lord that he would deliver him \ let him deliver 
him." How "the assembly of the wicked enclosed me ; they pierce/l my 
hands and my feet." And how " they part my garments amons; them and 
upon my vesture cast lots." Does Dr. Bushnell mean that real auguish in 
its death agonies utters itself in poetic quotations? or tj^at Jesus was only 
acting tragically in his death ? IIo, indeed, expressly asserts that Jesus 
uttered what was not true, in crying thus— a mere exaggeration. And 
yet Dr. Bushnell writes a volume on " Vicarious Sacrifice,' pretending to 
receive the doctrine. 

So also in saying that he was " reeling out of lifj.'' Dr. Bushnell seems 
equally oblivious of the fact that Jesus said, " I have power to lay down 
my life and to take it up again," and that the Evangelists declare that so 
fiir from "reeling out of life" with those words on his lips, Jesus evidently 
became calm again; thought of a prophecy not yet fulfilled — viz, " In ray 
thirst they gave me vinegar to drink," and therefore said, " I thirst ; "' 
that when he had received the vinegar he bowed his head saying " It is 
finished ; " and then, so far from being exhausted, he cried with a loud 
voice, uttering the prayer of calm, joyous faith, "Father into thy hands I 
commit my spirit ; " and thereupon " dismissed his spirit." 

Surely the man who can so recklessly set aside the plain statements of 
Scripture, is not to be trusted as a guide to report for us the statements of 
the Protestant flithers touching the atonement ! Dr. Bushnell has a right 
as against the Christian world to range himself with Theodore Parker in 
theology. But he has no right to pretend to teach atonement, and uudcr 
"false pretences" lead men to disbelieve and to scoff at it. 


to the mighty soul. The light of peace illumines his counten- 
ance ! And Nature, in sympathy, resumes her cheerfulness. 

But before passing on, with this climax of the agony on the 
cross fresh before us, let us contemplate the significance of 
this darkness and this despairing cry. Especially would I 
call upon all who pretend to accept the Evangelists as God- 
inspired, and yet deny that this suffering is in expiation of 
divine justice, to explain to us these amazing phenomena. 
For, be it remembered, these are not puzzles of the sort that 
trouble them concerning the doctrine of atonement. They 
lie not back in the sphere of the Infinite among the counsels 
of eternity, but in the outer sphere of the visible universe, 
and, therefore, are susceptible of explanation on some con- 
ceivable theory. 

Explain to us, then, on any theory that denies the great 
princij^le that " he was wounded for our transgressions and 
bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace being 
laid upon him : " that " he bore our sins on his own body on 
the tree : " that '' we are justified by his blood : " and that 
" by the righteousness of cne the free gift comes upon all men 
to justification of life:" — Explain these amazing prodigies of 
nature darkening over him without, and the hidings of God's 
face darkening his soul within ! 

For, according to all that we know of the laws of human 
nature, — dying only as a martyr for truth, or even tragically 
to exhibit suffering in order to awaken and call forth the 
sympathy of a " new life," and lead it, in sentimental 
harmony with God, to suffer at the presence of sin in the 
universe, — Jesus should have, at least, died calmly and even 
joyfully. Heretofore he has manifested in all things unmur- 
muring submission to the will of God ; and, seeing that 
Providence has ordered this time and manner of his death, 
why should a good man fear it, and agonize in spirit under 
the infliction of it ? Even Socrates died without terror and 
mental suffering. 


Still more than this, Jesus had none of those oppressive 
doubts that must trouble even a Socrates, assured of the 
justice of his cause — those doubts of having purity of character 
sufficient to bear the scrutiny of the immortal, as of the mortal 
judgment seat. Not unfrequently these doubts, at the ap- 
proach of death, project their dark shadows into the chambers 
of the soul and bring out the writing hitherto unnoticed which 
memory has traced on its walls, recording many a sin. For 
Jesus had "no sin upon him, neither was guilt found in his 
mouth." Neither could Jesus have been overwhelmed with 
the uncertainty about immortality, which troubled even 
Socrates, that he should despond so in his death and cry 
"My God! why hast thou forsaken me?" For nothing 
could be surer or more real than his conviction of an imme- 
diate transfer of him the homeless one to the mansions of his 
Father's house. 

Surely, it will not be pretended that the mere physical 
agony caused his spirit to break down, and despondency to 
overwhelm his soul, while we see the two men on either side 
of him enduring the same physical agony — one, with proud, 
defiant scorn, cursing and joining in the jeers of the rabble ; 
the other with holy peace of mind joraying " Lord remember 
me when thou comest into thy kingdom." 

We find no solution of this agony and despondency there- 
fore either in the moral, the intellectual, or the physical 
nature of the man Christ Jesus. And the question still recurs, 
why should Jesus the leader and model of so many thou- 
sands of martyrs, and saints of high attainments in the new 
life, be, in his death, so different from them all ? Why should 
David, with death staring him in the face, sing " the Lord is 
my strength, I will not fear what man can do," and yet Jesus 
wail in Gethsemane — " my Father, if it be possible let tliis 
cup pass!" Why should Shadrach and his friends walk 
cheerfully amid the flames of the fiery furnace, with " a fourth 


form like unto the Son of God " walking with them, and yet 
the Son of God himself in this fiery furnace of affliction have 
"his visage so marred above any man's?" Why should 
Stephen, with the crushed bones grinding through the quiver- 
ing muscles and nerves of his body, under the barbarous 
stone-blows, be able to cry, with the delight of a child, 
" Behold I see the heavens opened and Jesus standing on the 
right hand of God," and gently breath the petitions, " Lord, 
lay not this sin to their charge," — " Lord Jesus, receive my 
spirit " — -while Jesus himself moans in agony at the prospect, 
and wails the hidings of God's face in the crisis? Why 
should Paul exultingly say, " I am now ready to be olFered, 
and the time of my departure is at hand : I have finished my 
course, henceforth is laid up for me a crown of glory " — while' 
Jesus in loneliness of agony complains "What, could ye not 
watch with me one hour?" and, in view of the conflict with 
death, " Sweat great drops of blood," and now in the hour 
of dissolution cry, " My God! My God! why hast thou for- 
saken me?" 

Brethren, there is no explanation of all this, short of a 
practical denial of the whole story, as anything more than 
legend, save in the explanation which the scripture gives of it, 
and which it is, indeed, the purpose of Old and New Testament 
alike to give us. This cross is the great altar which all the 
altars from Adam to Ezra typified. This victim is the Lamb 
of which every victim offered, under every revealed worship 
was a prophecy ; and of which, indeed, every victim that 
smoked, through all the ages on the altars of heathenism was 
an unconscious prophecy. This transaction, in the outer 
sphere of the natural, is but the infinite truth presenting its 
finite side to our comprehension, that God's justice must be 
magnified in the infliction of the sentence "Thou shalt die'^ 
for sin, while God's mercy provides and accepts the substi- 
tutes in the sinner's stead. In this act the instinctive con- 


sciousness of universal humanity — save as rationalistic theo- 
rizing freezes out the soul instincts of humanity — receives the 
satisfaction of its longings for an expiation for sin, that may 
at once meet its ethical sense of right and its hope of tlie 
divine favour. To this act that we are contemplating as the 
grand centre, all the revelations and -worships and mighty 
wonders of all prenous prophetic teachings looked forward ; 
and all the revelations and worship and mighty wonders of 
the succeeding apostolic teachings look backward. Nor can 
any one, with intelligence enough to discern between mere 
critical jugglery and honest common sense, and between solid, 
manly logic and " glittering generalities," read the Titanic 
demonstrations of Paul in Romans, Galatians, and Hebrews, 
without perceiving that to tamper with this simple story of 
'' Christ crucified " in its plainest common sense meaning, 
is, just in the same degree, to filch away the very heart and 
substance of the scriptures, and leave them a hollow sham, or 
miserable wreck of old wives' fables ! 

But if we accept fully Paul's great idea that God is " setting 
him forth, a propitiation^ through faith in his blood, to declare 
his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, 
through the forbearance of God," then we have the solution 
of these mysteries. We can see why, at this amazing scene, 
Nature should veil her face in teiTor, and, at its close, ri^e 
reverently from her seat, dropping her sceptre, to do obeisance 
to her departing Lord. We can see why still a deeper dark- 
ness than Nature's veils the light of God's countenance from 
ihe sufferer; why "he is stricken and smitten of God and 
: ifiicted." It is not, as we might have dark suspicions it is, 
because he is paying the penalty of his own sin — but because 
"he is wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our 
iniquities." He is " bearing the sins of 7?mr/2/," for, in him 
are represented now all the sins of all the myriads which, 
shall constitute the body of the redeemed that arc to sing 
" he hath washed us from cur sins in his own blood." 


We return for a moment to the closing scene. The agony 
of the desertion is over, and the hght returned. It is now 
three o'clock, the hour at which every day, for two thousand 
years, the sacrifice, typical of this, has heen celebrated. As 
at twelve o'clock he had arranged his personal human affairs, 
preparatory to his departure, giving Mary his mother in charge 
to John ; so now he seems absorbed Avith the thought of his 
-official cares, and to inquire if all things written in Moses and 
in the Prophets and in the Psalms concerning his death have 
been fulfilled. There is yet one prophecy — " In my thirst — 
they gave me vinegar to drink." He cries "' I thirst ;" — and 
wonderfully is the prophecy fulfilled. There was no vinegar 
.near to suggest it, but under a momentary impulse of com- 
passion, " one of them rayi and took a sjjonge and filled it 
■witli vinegar^ and put it upon a reed and gave him to drink." 
Again like the dice-throwing soldiers, the enemy is micon- 
-sciously registering the marks of Messiah. Everything now 
accomplished he announces, " It is finished !" and then calmly 
but with loud voice saying, Father, into thy hands I commit my 
spirit" — he departed amid the groans of agonized nature that 
.rent the rocks ; opened the sepulchres ; and — to mark it as 
no ordinary earthquake — rent the hanging vail of the temple ! 

The frightened mob rushes away frantically, wringing their 
hands as they press into the city. The Roman soldiers, how- 
ever alarmed, must stand to their post. Their captain can 
• only exclaim in mingled terror and astonishment — "sure 
enough this must have been the Son of God !" The women 
who loved and revered Jesus still stood afar off in amazement : 
they have no terrors of conscience to drive them off; an(^ 
they are held fascinated to the spot. 

As the evening shadows lengthen, behold, there comes for 
to the deserted hillock a squad of rough soldiers to finish tne 
death work, and take the bodies away, out of regard for the 
.tender scruples of the holy Pharisees about allowing the bodies 


to hang beyond sundown on the gibbet. They roughly break 
their bones and thereby hasten the death of the two thieves, 
who might otherwise have hngered a day or two. To their 
surprise the victim on the central cross seems already dead. 
But the Roman soldier under orders must act very surely. 
So to make sure, one thrusts his rough iron spear into the 
victim's side to pierce his heart, and there comes forth blood 
and water. It puts beyond all chance of dispute hereafter 
that Jesus died ; and rose from the dead and not merely from 
a swoon ! 

But this singular incident — one provided for in neither 
Roman nor Jewish executions — recalls to us the strange pro- 
phecy, " they shall look upon me whom they have pierced I" 
" and the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem 
shall mourn." And our thoughts started in the direction of 
the thoughts of the dying Jesus, to know whether " all things 
are now accomplished and the scripture fulfilled," there seems 
to gather around the deserted Calvary in the twihght a pro- 
phet chorus singing in the ear of faith his death, as gathered 
the angels to sing his birth. 

Zachariah takes up his plaintive elegy. " Look how they 
have pierced him, and mourn. Awaked thou hast, sword, 
against the shepherd, and the sheep are scattered. They 
weighed his price, thirty pieces of silver, and cast the thirty 
pieces of silver to the potter in the House of the Lord I" 
Micah takes up the strain, — "They have smitten the Judge 
of Lsrael with a rod on the cheek." Daniel, as beating time to 
the music on his great prophetic drum — " Seventy weeks are 
accomplished" — the exact sevent;^- times seven years — 
and, behold, Messiah is cut off, not for himself, but to 
Msh transgression, make an end of sin ; to make reconciliation 
iOY iniquity and bring in an everlasting righteousness." 
Isaiah's voice, many-toned as the organ, now wails, '• He is 
oppressed and afflicted, yet opened not his mouth. 0, thou 


despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted 
with grief I Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him. Ho shall 
sec of the travail of his soul and shall be satisfied ; because 
he hath poured out his soul unto death, and is numbered -wrth 
the transgressors ; and bears the sin of many, and makes 
intercession for the transgressors." David, as if new depths 
of penitential sorrow arc awakened in his soul — re-echoes the 
wail " My Grod ! Mj God ; why hast thou forsal^en me ! 
They have pierced my hands and my feet." Old Elijah, 
with spirit softened, comes to " speak of his decease now 
accomplished at Jerusalem." And Moses with him declares 
— " Behold the prophet like unto me" — Behold the true blood 
sprinkled at last under the covenant promising " Wli^n I 
see the blood I will pass over 1" Jacob — " The sceptre hath 
departed from Judah, for Shiloh hath come. Behold him 
whom I saw at the top of the ladder, now descended to its 
foot on his mission of grace." Abraham, rejoicuig to see this 
day, cries, " God hath provided the lamb, on the very mount 
Moriah — The Isaac is laid upon the altar, but no angel stays 
the father's hand." Adam with wonder declares the heel of 
ihe woman's seed is bruised — and terrible is the bruising ; but 
thereby hath he crashed the serpent's head. Beautiful Eve 
mingles with the moans of ^lary his mother, her joyous mater- 
nal song— now sure enough, " I have gotten the man, I have 
gotten the man — the Jehovah !" 

Yes! Not a line, not a syllable of all that God hath 
spoken, at all the " sundry times" and in all the " divers 
manners" hath failed in this wondrous scene of the lifting up 
and the piercing on Calvary. 

Brethren, I dare not even enter upon the great practical 
lessons here, save only to suggest the blessed lesson to you, 
from the manner in which this great central fact of Christ's 
death is here presented, surrounded by these relative human 
objects, and the play of these human passions answering back 


to the amazing voice of God that speaks in this death. It is 
the story of a " Jesns,the same yesterday to-day and forever;" 
and of a human nature just the same also to-day as yesterday. 
As you look on him pierced, and mourn that your sins pierced 
him thus — Remember you look to him who coidd pray with 
it all — " Father forgive them." If there is one of you who feels 
himself a poor, cowardly, Lord-denying Peter, and weeps 
bitterly as he seems to look upon you ; remember his gracious 
message — " Go tell Peter to meet me in Galilee " — the kind 
test " Lovest thou me ?" — and the grace that made Peter so 
lion-hearted on the great Pentecostal day to say — not ^' woman 
I know him not " — but to charge in the teeth of the excited 
ten thousand, fierce and blood-tliirsty in the streets of Jerusa- 
lem — "■ Him being delivered — ye have taken and with wicked 
hands have crucified and slain." Nay if there is here a poor 
Judas whom conscience charges with having betrayed and 
sold the master, only come weeping like Peter — go not away 
in despair to death — ^but come look upon him. There is no 
such difference between denying and betraying, that Peter 
may be saved and Judas not ! 

If there be some heavy-hearted father or mother or brother 
or sister here, bowed down with sorrow for the hardness and 
impenitency of this child or brother or sister, who hath forgot- 
ten all the vows of infancy and the teachings of childhood — 
Fear not that your humble heart-troubles are too' unimportant 
for the great King. You have a High Priest who can sym- 
pathize with you ; one that, even amid the agonies of his cross, 
forgot not these tender ties of nature, but said " behold thy 
mother !" Come boldly with the burden and cry in faith — 
" Jesus Saviour behold my child — my brother — my sister" — 
and your cry shall not be in vain. 

If there is one among you procrastinating the offer of grace 
— and secure in the hope that when death comes he will accept 
it — remember him who wasted his dying breath in jeers and 


curses at Jesus. But on the other hand, if there be some 
aged sinner who feels it is now too late, then be encouraged 
with him on the cross, to cry " Lord, remember me !" and 
even yet obtain the assurance of his favour. 

He was thus lifted up to " draiv all men unto him," with- 
out respect to birth, or age, or moral character. The very 
gamblers who played for his robe ; the very mob that shouted 
" he saved others, himself he cannot save " — the very soldiers 
that pierced his hands and feet, and he that pierced his side, 
so far from being given over, were selected to prove how he is 
" able to save to the uttermost." For remember his last com- 
mand runs " Go preach my gospel— beginning at Jerusalem." 





Acts xvi. 29-3L — Then he called for a light ; and sprang in, and came 
trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, and said, Sirs, -what must 
I do to be saved ? And thev said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and 
thou shalt be saved. 

To the student perplexed by some curious anomaly in nature, 
or principle of philosophy ; to the physician perplexed with 
some case for which his reading furnishes no parallel nor 
suggestion of a remedy ; to the lawyer weary with looking for 
some precedent to settle the principle of the case in hand ; 
how gladly comes the information that such a problem, such 
an instance, or such a case, has come before some great 
master of human knowledge, in these departments severally, 
and has been clearly and indisputably settled. Why should 
it be less a matter of gladness to you, my brethren, so deeply 
concerned in this question of salvation, and often so uncertain 
about it, under the various theories of men concerning it, to 
be told that the great question has been authoritatively settled 
and in a form precisely to meet your case, whatever it may 
be ? That there is a decision not merely of the abstract 
principle, in thesi, as the logicians would say, but on a case 
actually occurring. Not a decision either, under some of the 



ancient covenants with an incomplete development of the 
gospel salvation ; but twenty years after the last of the old 
covenants had given place to the new covenant in Christ's 
blood ; twenty years after the completion of the scheme bv 
the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus ; and given by 
a man to whom, after his ascension, Jesus had appeared per- 
sonally for the special purpose of commissioning him to speak 
for him, in declaring the terms on Avhich he will be the Saviour 
of men. Not a decision, either, founded upon the case of 
some one peculiarly related to the scheme of salvation, as one 
of the chosen people, under special covenant, but upon the 
case of one wholly outside the covenants — a Gentile like you 
— and as worldly-minded and unbelieving as hitherto any of 
you have been. 

You are perhaps ready to ask however — '' Is not this a 
peculiar case, and out of analogy with mine, seeing that here 
was a miracle wrought in shaking open the prison doors and 
shaking off the fetters — whereas now there are no such 
miracles to convert men." I answer no : the miracle here is 
but an illustrative incident in the case, and does not at all 
remove it out of the sphere of ordinary experience so far 
as relates to saving the soul. For you will perceive that the 
miracle, so far from converting this man, left him frightened 
indeed, but as worldly-minded and full of concern about his 
official responsibility as ever ; yea so utterly atheistic as to 
be ready to commit suicide. It was after the miracle was 
all over, and, as its result, had driven him to the verge oi 
suicide, that the calm, kind words of the Apostle brought 
him to himself. And now as the result of these kind words, 
taken in connection with all he had heard before, he was 
convinced, convicted of sin, and, in agony of conscience that 
made him tremble and prostrate himself, he asks, " what 
must I do to be saved ?" 

It is a very common error that the miracles of the New Tes- 


tanient history were the great means of the conviction and 
conversion of men under the New Testament ministry. And \ 
this error involved in them is that which at once exposes the 
miposture in all these legendary miracles of modern saints 
and prophets wrought to convert heretics and infidels. A 
miracle never converted anybody : never was intended to 
convert anybody: never could in the nature of the case, 
convert anybody. For a miracle, that is, an act in the 
sphere of the natural which no power but God's can do, is I 
simply the seal which God puts to the commission of those 
whom he sends to speak in his name, in order to verify the I 
commission and to distinguish them from impostors and false i 
prophets. It is analagous to the seal which is put upon the 
commissions and other public papers issued from the clerk's 
office, or the secretary of state's office ; and bears the same 
relation to the gospel preached by these commissioned men, 
that the seal of the office on the paper, bears to the commis- I 
sion and instruction contained in it. Nicodemus stated the | 
logic of the matter precisely — " Rabbi, we know that thou art | 
a teacher come from God, for no man can do these miracles | 
which thou doest excej^t God he with Mm.'''' Hence, when I 
men claim to have wrought a miracle, we naturally ask — what 
revelation from heaven does this miracle attest the commis- 
sion to deliver ? And so, when men claim to speak a revc- , 
lation from heaven, we naturally ask — " where is the miracle 
that attests your authority to speak from heaven ? If the 
claim is to work miracles without any message from God to 
us, we know at once that it is an attempt to counterfeit the 
seal of the office in heaven. If a claim to make revelations 
without the miracles to attest it, we know at once it is tlio 
trick of an impostor and false prophet. Hence you find 
Jesus ever appealing to his mighty works as the attestation 
of his authority to speak God's words. And yet to such as 
curiously demand simply to have the miracle — *' the sign " 


—without caring to hear the message of God, he says " an 
evil and adulterous generation seeketh a sign, but there shall 
no sign be given." 

In order to see that a miracle, in the nature of the case, is 
not a converting power, just imagine that it were our office, 
as ministers, on the Sabbath day to work miracles before you 
instead of preaching the gospel. The first exhibition of our 
power — say in raising some dead man — would indeed excite 
and frighten you — drive some of you, perhaps, to suicide, as 
this jailer. Others would go away talking of the wonder and 
filling the world with the story : but none of you thinking of 
your sins and the need of salvation ! The next Sabbath the 
same wonder repeated would not alarm and excite so much ; 
the following Sabbaths less and less ; till at length, the act 
of God's power in raising the dead would affect you just as 
little as those daily acts of God's power which keep the sun 
punctual to the moment every morning, and the moon and 
stars in their places. 

This case therefore is, notwithstanding the miraculous inci- 
dents that precede, precisely the case of any one of you, who, 
in the ordinary way, have been led to accept the proposition 
that God is and that Christianity is true ; and moved by 
some call of the gospel entreating you, " Do thyself no 
harm 1" have been led earnestly to ask " what shall I do ?" 
And, whether it be the case of a worldly mind, that never 
thought of it before, or of some one long familiar with the 
subject, and often aroused before, — or of some real Christian 
in darkness and doubt about his personal acceptance with God 
— ^here is your case made and decided, by one expressly 
authorized to decide it. And if you can comprehend the 
meaning of the terms of this short answer, '* Believe on the 
Lord Jesus Christ," then you know all that is essential to be 
known in order to be saved. 

For have you ever noticed the singular tendency of the 


mind of this great inspired logician Paul, to pack the ^v]lolo 
sum and substance of the gospel, whether as a theology or as 
a practical experimental truth, into one brief sentence or even 
clause of a sentence ? As the mathematician glories in his 
science, which can often express in one brief formula, with a 
few signs, great propositions and facts which it would require 
pages to develop and utter in ordinary language, so Paul 
seems to delight in generalizations that express the whole 
gospel in one simple formula. As a theology, he expresses it 
all in two words, " "We preach Christ crucified." As an epic 
history, in the sentence, " Jesus Christ came into the world 
to save sinners.*' So here as an experimental fact — "Believe 
on the Lord Jesus Christ," — ^this is the whole of it. So that 
if you can comprehend two simple ideas into which analysis 
resolves the sentence, and accept them, you may be saved. 
These propositions are — First, — the object of belief — " The 
Lord Jesus Christ." Second, — the subjective act of the soul 
involved in the word " Beheve." Assuming that you are in 
earnest enough, in asking the question, " What must I do to 
be saved ?" to look at these two propositions from the prac- 
tical and experimental standpoint, I propose to assist you in 
getting at their definite meaning by developing their signifi- 
cance in the plainest words, and by the simplest analogies and 
illustrations I can find ; and reasoning, not theoretically, but 
simply upon the plainest principles of common -sense and 
human nature. 

As to the proposition, the object of the belief— "The Lord 
Jesus Christ " — I may assume that all of you have already 
some tolerably distinct conceptions of its meaning. The 
instructions of the fireside, of the Sabbath-school, the public 
worship, and even the ordinary social conversation under 
which you have grown up, give you greatly the advantage of 
the jailer in that respect ; and have brought you naturally 
and almost unconsciously, to the same point, to which the 


earthquake brought him, namely, the conviction that this 
'•Lord Jesus Christ"' whom these ministers preach, and 
Christians talk about, is a divine being. You have also, 
perhaps, comprehended something of the profound truths of 
theology which are embodied in this title — for the title is a 
theology. You understand how as " Christ," he is the 
anointed and commissioned mediator between a holy God 
and unholy men. How as '' Jesus," so named at his birth 
when he became the Son of man like ourselves, he is " the 
Saviour" of his people from their sins. How as " Lord," 
he is Head and Ruler not only of all things in heaven and 
earth generally, but, in a special sense. Lord of a peculiar 
body of people whom he redeems out of the lost race of men. 
And that, in fulfilment of all these titles, he came to earth, 
taking our human nature in conjunction with his divine 
nature ; lived a life of holy obedience to a law of which ho 
was not the subject but the ordaining authority ; died the 
death of the very guiltiest of sinners, as an atonement for 
th© sins of those he would redeem ; rose from the dead and 
ascended to the throne in heaven, thereby demonstrating that 
he was indeed the " Christ " appointed of God to be the 
mediator, and that this sacrifice was accepted of God ; and 
that the way is now open for the return of all who had 
rebelled against his authority, and by their sins had forfeited 
all claim to the divine favour. And that this willingness of 
God to receive sinners w\as further demonstrated, in sending 
forth the Holy Ghost, by whose divine power the sinners 
should be made willing and enabled to return to God. Sup- 
posing the knowledge of these facts already sufficient to 
enable you to comprehend them when thus summarily stated, 
I pass on to the second of these propositions, with which you 
probably have more difficulty. 

The inspired direction is simply " Believe." There is a pre- 
liminary inquiry here which usually suggests itself to worldly 


men, — " Wlij believe ?" tlicy say, how does that answer the 
inquiry, ''what mnst I do ?^^ When the ministers of the 
gospel, instead of telling me to do anything, say " believe on 
the Lord Jesus Christ ;" what relation has this idea of the 
*' Lord Jesus Christ " to the idea involved in the question of 
something to be done to secure God's favour ? If you would 
tell me what duties should be done — what prayers — what 
reform of life — what acts of holiness, must be done, I could 
then comprehend it as an answer to the question " What 
must I do ?" But instead o( sayuig do these things, which 
constitute true rehgion acccording to the teachings of the 
gospel, you say nothing of doing, but only " believe," — 
" believe on the Lord Jesus Christ !" Now, why is Christ 
held up to the thought rather than Christian duties in the acts 
of life ? 

Without going into the depths of theology for an explana- 
tion — as I have promised not to speak theologically — we may 
find reason enough why Christ should thus be held up to 
your thought in the depths of your own consciousness, if 
you arc in earnest in asking " What must I do ?" For any 
sort of analysis and observation of the state of mind which 
leads you to ask earnestly, will show that Christ is precisely 
the object to meet the wants of that state of mind. 

Thus, in the first place, one of the reasons which induce 
you to ask for instruction in the way of salvation is the trouble 
you find, in your attempts to approach God in prayer for the 
pardon of the sins of which you are conscious, of conceiving 
of the Being to whom you speak, definitely enough to feel 
that your communion with him is a reality, and that he hears 
you and answers. You labour, as preliminary to any utter- 
ance, to have some notion of him to whom you speak. And 
as you endeavour to conceive of an Infinite Spirit, filling 
immensity with his presence, huw everything seems to become 
confused and dizzy, till at last it seems to you as if you are 


speaking to mere vacuity ; and naturally enough your thoughts 
and desires have no outflow, for all seem to come back upon 
you. Your thought refuses to convey the message which the 
heart would send. In this trouble, finding you cannot pray, 
save in some mere form that you feel is not true prayer, you 
come to us, saying ^' What must I do ? I cannot pray." We 
answer, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ." And why? 
Because, in Jesus Christ God is presented to you in a form that 
your thought can conceive of, and that your heart's aJBfections 
can go forth unto, though you see him not ; just as they can 
go forth to the friend, father, or mother far off out of sight ; 
as you sit down and write your thoughts to them, until it 
seems almost like speaking to them face to face. As Tayler 
Lewis somewhere says of the bible, that it is the Infinite Mind 
which comprehends all the finities, turning a finite side to 
finite men, that they may comprehend and commune with its 
thought ; so we may say of " Jesus Christ," '' God manifest 
in the flesh," that he is the infinite God presenting his finite 
form to us that we may conceive of and commune with him. 
" The same yesterday, to-day, and forever," that simple 
gospel story sets him before you so clearly and definitely, 
that, as you would speak to him of your sins and soul-troubles, 
you may be assured it is the same compassionate son of man, 
a " High Priest that can sympathize with our infirmities ;" 
and you can talk to him as man talks to his fellow. See you 
not then how appropriately we say to you, " Believe on the 
Lord Jesus Christ " when in that state of trouble about pray- 
ing, you come to us asking, " What must I do ?" 

Unitarianism, indeed, charges us with idolatry in praying 
to God as clothed thus in the form of humanity. But how 
can Unitarianism provide for this conscious want of every 
earnest soul that, burdened with a sense of sin and helpless- 
ness, tries to pray, save by treating the earnestness and heart 
feeling as fanaticism, and confining rehgious experience to 


mere cold speculative thought of God ? Suppose we grant 
that a few of the more etherial spirits, by long training, can 
rise to the heights of conceiving of God as a pure infinite 
spirit, definitely enough to speak their heart utterances to 
him and commune with him ? Yet what is to become of the 
vast masses of unlettered, untrained men ? Of the poor unin- 
tellectual peasant ? Of the little children ? Of the broken- 
hearted sufferers — in no frame of mind for subtle reasoning 
and laborious effort to conceive of God ? All these need just 
as truly as Channing, or Ware, or Parker, or Emerson, to 
have a God to whom, in their troubles and darkness, they can 
go and pray. Tell them of the Jesus Christ, of whom they 
can all conceive as the son of man, the man of sorrows, the 
lover of the poor and the little children, and they can all pray 
just as really as the profoundest philosopher. They can 
readily be taught, especially under the leadings of the Holy 
Spirit, that their thoughts reach his thoughts and find sympa- 
thy there. It is as our dying boy unconsciously and artlessly 
illustrated it. After reading in the Sunday-school book the 
story of the little boy in sorrow for his dying mother, who, 
having heard the story of Jesus, conceived the idea of writing 
a letter to Jesus and leaving it in a stump in the lonely woods, 
where Jesus might find it ; — said our boy, " It may seem 
foolish in a boy like me, six yeai*s old, to feel so, but I could'nt 
help wishing like the little boy, that I might write a letter to 
Jesus and ask him to help the doctor to make me well, or else 
to take me out of this dreadful suffering." We said, " why, 
poor boy, we have a shorter way than that of asking Jesus for 
what we want ;" and were about to explain to him by some 
simple analogy, but his thoughts recurring immediately to 
what he had seen, with so much wonder and childish delight, 
at the telegraph office — a question sent to one of the family 
a thousand miles off and answered in a few minutes — his eye 
sparkled through the tears as he asked, " How? could you 


do it by telegrapli ?" Struck with the analogy, we could 
but reply '' Yes ! that is more like it. In everybody's heart 
the earnest wish for blessing from Jesus strikes a chord that 
reaches to the heart of Jes«s, and he answers back to our 
hearts in the same way." 

If the illustration seem childish and simple, it may only the 
more aptly suggest to you, who have felt this trouble, in the 
approach to God in prayer, how the things ''hidden from 
the wise and prudent are revealed to babes !" and why it is 
that we meet such soul trouble as ^^ours with simply holding 
up Jesus Christ to your' thought. 

But you find also a second difficulty that leads to this 
inquiry. That is, a surprising degree of darkness and igno- 
rance on the whole subject, as experimentally applying to 
your case, however clear you may have supposed your gene- 
ral theoretic knowledge of the gospel to be. Like Bunyan's 
pilgrim in the Slough of Despond, you know nothing of the 
way of escape save that you must not not get out on the side 
next the City of Destruction from which you are trying ta 
flee. Hence pastors are so often surprised that those whom 
they had trained so carefully in gospel knowledge should seem 
in such utter darkness, when the self-appropriation of their 
knowledge is to be made. This consciousness is, indeed^ 
implied in the question " What must I do ?" We answer 
again, " Beheve on the Lord Jesus Christ" — why ? Because 
Christ is specially revealed as the Prophet who by his teach- 
ings and spirit, meets that very difficulty. Having once 
obtained the conception of Jesus before alluded to, you can in 
no way so readily get the knowledge you want as by prayer- 
ful study of his own teachings of the way of salvation. You 
will now find with what wonderful simplicity he teaches. 
How, as a mother teaching the little ones by pictures and 
comparisons, so he by constant analogies and figures from the 
external world — conveys tho idcas^of this work in the sphere 


of the internal and spiritual. And once you realize that the 
gospel is not a story of what Jesus once said, merely, but of 
what he is noiu saying to you, and desire that, by his Spirit, 
he will enable you to understand experimentally his sayings, 
you will wonder that you should have been in darkness so 
long about that which is so plain. 

A third difficulty which leads you to make this inquiry, 
what must I do ? — is the greater consciousness of sinfulness 
now than you ever felt before. Though ready enough, here- 
tofore, to acknowledge yourself, generally, a sinner, you had 
no such conception of your guilt and unworthiness before God 
as now. Your very efforts at reform, fixing your attention 
upon your sins, it seems to you that, with all your efforts to 
be good, you are every day getting worse and worse. It is 
this experience that leads to the common request, " Pray for 
me, I am such a sinner I cannot pray." And this enters 
largely as an element into the reason for asking — " What, 
must I do ?" Again we answer — "* Believe on the Lord Jesus 
Christ." And why ? Because, to meet this very difficulty, 
he is revealed as your Priest, making atonement, and thereby 
taking away sin ; and, by taking it away, releasing the con- 
science of its burden and the soul of its terror in approaching 
God. And once you apprehend clearly as a great reality, 
personal to you, that in this life of Jesus he obeyed for you,, 
and that in his sufferings and death, you were represented, 
and your sins atoned for, then you begin to feel the force of 
the Apostle's saying — " Being justified by faith we have peace 
with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." And now you 
can approach God as a reconciled father. 

There is still a fourth element of trouble in your experience 
which leads you to ask — " What must I do ?" You discover 
now, in a sense never realized before, your helplessness and. 
your want of strength and self-command to keep your resolu- 
tions to lead a holy life. You find with Paul, " When I 


Tvould do good evil is present with me." Before, jou have 
reUed upon jour strength of character and your abihty, if you 
only once determined on it, to lead a holy life. But now the 
habits of sin are so strong that you cannot but feel — " What 
though all the sins of the past were pardoned, and I assured 
•of it by a voice from heaven ! still, if left here just as I am in 
a world full of temptations to sin, before another day passed 
I would be again covered w^ith sin, and guilty before God." 
Hence you are afraid to trust yourself, when urged, in obedi- 
ence to Christ's command, to confess him before men. You 
have so little confidence in your present purposes of holiness 
that you fear you will disgrace such a profession, and there- 
.fore hold back. And in your dissatisfaction and despair you 
ask, " What must I do ?" Once more we answer, " Believe 
on the Lord Jesus Christ." And why ? Because he is held 
up to your thoughts, in the gospel, as not only your prophet 
to teach and your priest to atone, but also your king to sub- 
due your spiritual enemies and to rule himself in your heart. 
As the result of his work of atonement he has secured for you 
the Holy Spirit to create anew, to give sensibility to the 
conscience, and strength to the spiritual life. His gospel is 
.not only a teaching of God, and of the forgiving love of God, 
l)ut the " power of God unto salvation." It exhorts you, feeling 
your weakness and assured that you shall find grace to help 
you in time of need, instead of giving way to the power of 
sin, to feel that you can do all things, Jesus Christ strength- 
ening you. 

You may now begin to see w^hy we hold up Jesus Christ 
simply, before the inquiring soul rather than direct him to do 
this and do that, under the rules of a Christian life. We do 
not mean that the newness of life of holy obedience is any the 
less important, or that it need not follow. The principle of 
the gospel is that you shall serve and obey not by rule, nor 
ibr reward, nor from mere fear ; but from the same principle 


on Avhich you. serve and obey the mother who has won your 
willing, uncalculating service by her love to you. Jesus 
Christ is wiihng to risk the ethics and the obedience of his 
people, after they thus accept him as the remedy for their 
troubles, on their sense of gratitude and love for him who loved 
them and gave himself for them. And, on tlie other hand, you 
perceive that the reason why we hold up Jesus Christ as the 
answer to " What must I do ?" is not from any pressure of 
theological dogma, but because it is precisely the direction 
which provides the remedy, with marvellous fitness, for the 
conscious wants which lead to the question. 

If now you can understand the other term of the direction — 
" Beheve " — which expresses the subjective act of the soul, in 
thus contemplating the object Jesus Christ, — then you have 
the whole of it. 

But here again you feel great difficulty. You feel conscious 
that it must mean something more than simply to believe intel- 
lectually that Jesus Christ was and is ; as you believe that 
Cgesar, or Paul or Luther was and is. What is then this 
pecuUar believing on the Lord Jesus Christ which is unto 
salvation ? 

Here, again, let us take the simplest, common-sense method 
for ascertaining the significance of a peculiar, technical term: 
that we are in doubt about. Your method, in ordinary cases, 
when readin;^: an author who uses a term the meaninfj; of 
which you do not know and have no means, as the lexicon, at 
hand to enable you to determine it, is to note carefully the 
connection in which the word occurs ; and, as you pass on, to 
note also its connection in a second and third and fourth 
occurrence. From the notions gathered out of the connection 
at one place compared with those gathered in the othci-s, you 
construct for yourself the definition of the term. Let us apply 
the simple principles to any one of these inspired authors, and. 
see what is the meaning of " believe" here. 


We take the gospel of John. On the very first page we 
find, " He came unto his own and his own received him not." 
This you can readily comprehend ; for you know, from your 
own case, the state of mind and feeling denoted by saying you 
'' receive" one who comes : the feeling of pleasurable satis- 
faction Avith which, when the announcement from the door is 
of a favourite friend, you " receive " him. Also you know the 
feeling, in the contrary case, when, though treating the visitor 
with all courtesy, still you in your heart '^ receive him not." 
Well, the evangelist proceeds, " But to as many as received 
liim, even to as many as believed on Ids nane, he gave power to 
become the sons of God." Here, then, we have discovered 
at least a part of the meaning of " behoving," for the author 
puts it as synonymous with " receiving " Christ. And if after 
you have become acquainted with the Lord Jesus Christ as 
we have been contemplating him, we announce to you that 
he is here to call on you, do you receive him, with pleasure- 
able satisfaction, analogous to that with which you welcome a 
friend ? If so, then, in so far, you " believe on the Lord 
Jesus Christ." 

We turn over a leaf of the author, and reading on, 
we find, " As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilder- 
ness, even so the Son of man shall be lifted up, that 

whosoever" Now, as the analogy recalls to our minds 

the scene of the dying Israelites, lying scattered on the 
hot sands of the desert, and hearing the proclamation " look 
upon the brazen serpent that Moses hath raised on the pole 
and you shall not die," we see, therefore, that the rhetoric 
would require the writer to continue the figure and say that 
whosoever " looketh to him lifted up shall not perish, but 
have everlasting life." But instead of " looketli,^^ it is, 
" heUevetli on him, shall not perish." Hence you discern 
that " believing" is a synonym, ^again, for that eager, long- 
ing look which a dying Israelite would cast toward the ser- 


pent on the pole. And nothing can exceed the force and 
beauty of that figure. You h:ive observed the power and 
eloquence of a look, often exceeding all power of speech. 
You have seen it in the speechless dying man, as he tries to 
communicate his heart's desire without words. You have felt it, 
as a child, and especially as a parent, when the little one at 
your knee, coveting some favourite object, as the fruit on the 
shelf, yet fearing to ask, lest it be chilled with a " no" — that 
most chilling of all responses to a child from one that loves it 
— casts that look of desire on the coveted object, and looks, 
and looks again, but dares not utter a word. If now the 
cliild would boldly ask for it in words you could refuse ; but 
you have more than the ordinary nerve if you do not break 
down, at last, under the appeal of that elocpient look, and 
respond to it by giving the object of desire, or kindly explain- 
ing and apologizing if it cannot be given. Well now '' believ- 
ing" on the Lord Jesus Christ is just that look of desire as 
the soul, in the troubles I have described, sees Christ thus set 
forth in the gospel. If you can recall how you felt, as a little 
child, while you timidly plead by a look when you could not, 
dare not, utter the wish ; and perceive that your present wish 
for salvation is like that, — then this is " believing." 

We turn over another leaf, reading on and find, " Ye will 
not come unto me that ye might have life," and again on the 
next page, " No man can come to me except the Father draw 
him," and in immediate connection, " He that believeth on 
me hath everlasting life." Here, again, we discover that, in 
accordance with all the preceding, " believing" is synony- 
mous with " coming," and the state of mind implied in comin;j; 
to one for relief — involving at once trust in his abiUty and 
willingness to relieve, and earnest desire for the relief. And 
so we might go on througli the whole New Testament. It will 
be perceived that this '• believing" assumes as its very start- 
ing point the ordinary belief, historically, in Jesus Clu^ist as a 


Saviour : and upon thai element superadds the heart impulses 
of joyful acquiescence, desire and confiding trust in liim as a 
friend. While these all, again, resolve themselves into 
simple willingness to have him as our Saviour from sin, and 
our Lord. 

But one of the very things, perhaps, most difficult of belief 
of all the things in the gospel, is just this conclusion, to a soul 
yet in darkness and conscious of the burden of sin. And 
therefore, in conclusion, it may be important to confirm all 
that has been said, by proving to you, after the same fashion 
Df reasoning as before, that this is all, absolutely all, that is 
implied in the terms of salvation stated by the Apostles. 
That there is no such consideration of good works to be offered ; 
nor any such amount of penitence, and such strength of 
faith, to make one worthy, as men will insist on making a part 
of the condition of salvation. This proof can be made very 
conclusive by a brief examination, in comparison with the terms 
offered to the jailer, of all the forms of stating the terms found 
in the gospel. 

Of these forms of statement there are three classes. First 
— ^literal statements. Second, representations of Christ's 
work in his miracles by analogies. Third, by figures of 
speech. The chief of the literal statements of the terms seem 
at first sight to be somewhat various and even contradictory. 
In one case the condition is " repent ;" in another '' believe ;" 
in another " repent and believe ;" in another " repent and be 
baptized," in another " believe and be baptized;" in another 
" repent and be converted ;" in another- " whoso confesseth 
me, him will I confess ;" in another " if thou confess with thy 
mouth and believe with thine iSffim-; in another " whosoever 
shall call upon tho name of the Lord shall be saved ;" in 
another " whosoever will, let him take of the water of life 
freely." But you will find that, ^on a thoughtful examination 
of these various statements, they are all merely different ex- 


pressions for the same act of soul, according as that act is 
viewed on its different sides, and from different points of view. 
Repentance is the soul, after an apprehension of Christ's 
goodness, contemplating its sins ; faith is the soul, after an 
apprehension of its sinfulness and helplessness, looking from 
its sins away to Christ ; conversion is the outer expression of 
this faith and repentance in the acts of the life, turning away 
from sin to Christ. Any soul that truly repents, believes ; 
any soul that truly believes, repents ; any soul that truly 
believes and repents, ''• converts" from sin to Christ, as the 
natural result. So " confessing Christ" or being " baptized'' 
— which is Christ's appointed way of confessing him — arc the 
outward expressions of the internal penitence and faith of 
the soul, and imply of course the reality of that feeling which 
ihej represented. So " calling on the name of the Lord to 
-oe saved" implies the penitence which creates the desire to 
be saved, and the faith which trusts in the Lord Jesus for 
salvation. And all, in their last analysis, mean the same as 
'' whosoever will" — wishes truly — desires truly — to have 
Jesus as a Saviour. And it is in confirmation of all that I 
have said, to find that our view of the terms of salvation, as 
set forth by the Apostles, so beautifully harmonises and 
explains all these different expressions of the terms found 
elsewhere in the gospel. 

A second method of exhibiting the terms on which Christ 
receives sinners is by the record of his similar acts of grace, 
in the outer sphere, by his miracles of healing. You will 
find in the record of his miracles some strikiniz; external 
analogy to every feature of that soul-trouble which you 
experience. And, doubtless, it was for this purpose that the 
record of so many cases was made. It could not be, as some 
seem to think, merely to record for us the proofs of his 
divine authority to teach, for, after relating to usa-how, at 
his word, the dead arose from the grave, and, at liis com- 



mand, the winds liushed their howling, and the sea stilled its 
raging^ what other proof could we want of his divine autho- 
rity ? For what other purpose then this careful record of all 
the incidents of so various cases of healing, than to illustrate, 
for those in spiritual darkness, how he restores sight to the 
blind ; to illustrate for those conscious of their loathsome 
spiritual disease how he heals the leprosy of sin ; to illustrate 
by healing the withered hand, or the jooor cripple, how he 
restores the soul that cries what must I do ? from its sense of 
utter helplessness. And so through the whole list of spiritual 
troubles. These miracles are all so many diagrams, as of 
the mathematicians, whereby Jesus will aid our minds to 
apprehend, and comprehend, those great spiritual truths, 
which otherwise so confuse us. 

Now, turning to any of these cases you find that the same 
great truth as to the terms of blessing is set forth. The 
condition is only that, desiring the healing and believing in 
his power to heal, they come and gratefully accept the gift. 
Nay, in many of these cases, it is specially illustrated, how 
it is not for the sake of the faith, or in reward of strong faith 
that he grants his grace. Both Matthew and Mark record for 
us, how when in the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, outside the 
limits of the Church, he met with a case of very strong faith 
in a poor heathen woman. It was an anxious and sorrowing 
mother who brought her little daughter possessed of a devil, 
and fell in agony at his feet, crying, " Have mercy, Lord, 
thou son of David ! " For in some way she had been led to 
the knowledge of the ancient covenant and the belief that 
Jesus is Messiah. He tried her faith by that severest of all 
tests the national prejudices against any claim of foreigners 
to superiority, — saying " I cannot bestow gifts intended for 
the peculiar people of God as yet upon Gentiles ; I cannot 
take the children's bread and cast it to the dogs." But the 
mother's heart, full of the one great idea, the suffering child, 


forgot all prejudice and insult ; and with that irresistible 
logic of a mother-heart, as it were, cornered him with his 
own argument, " Truth, Lord, it is wrong to take the chil- 
dren's bread for the dogs ; but may not the dogs pick up the 
crumbs that tba children let fall? And wilt thou not let a 
heathen dog, but still a broken-hearted mother, have this 
crmnb as thou art passing? The Saviour's compassionate 
heart could not resist the appeal. But, making an exception 
in her favour, cried " ! woman great is thy faith ! Go along, 
go along, and let it be as you say." 

Now if this case of strong faith stood alone, you might 
perhaps feel afraid to trust the gospel assurance, when you 
think of your feeble, doubting faith in comparison with this. 
But, as if to prevent that mistake, and to prove to you that 
" he will not break the bruised reed nor quench the smoking 
flax ; " in the very next chapter but one, is told the story 
of the poor father who came with his boy similarly suffering, 
while the Saviour was up in the mount of transfiguration and had 
his faith all wrecked, by the failure of the disciples, from want 
of faith, under the worrying of the Pharisees, to heal the boy. 
As Jesus comes down, at length, the poor father kneels and 
cries " Lord, if thou canst have mercy on my son ; " and, with 
the natural impulse of the father, rehearses all the details of 
this desperate case — so desperate, he thought, the disciples 
were not equal to the task. Seeing his darkness and doubt, 
Jesus tests his faith also, saying in effect, the " if" is not with 
me but with you. — "If thou canst believe, all things are 
possible to him that belie veth." The poor father, seeing 
that all depended on belief, burst into an agony of tears, 
crying, "Lord, I believe," but, as if fearing he had gone too 
far, takes it back, in the petition, " Help thou mine unbe- 
lief." But Jesus pitying him, who had no faith in his own 
faith, took just what he had to offer, and healed his boy just 
as he had healed the woman's daughter. 0, if you are standing 


back because you fear that though you desire Jesus to be 
your Saviour, you have no faith or so feeble faith — then you 
need not fear to press your claim on such a Saviour, who 
shows such compassion. If you dare not say, " Lord I 
believe ;" yet pray " help mine unbelief," and venture on him 

I can only allude, in conclusion, to the third form of 
expressing the terms of salvation, as a final and conclusive 
proof, that the only condition is involved in the Apostle's 
statement as I have expounded it. Indeed it needs nothing 
more than an allusion, since these figures seems to be so 
graded as to express assurance of acceptance from the high- 
est to the lowest degree of the energy of faith, and that the 
lowest will not be rejected. Thus you are told to "Flee 
from the wrath to come," to the " strongholds," as one 
having the energy to hasten swiftly, vigorously. But if you 
plead *' I have no energy of faith to flee," then the gospel 
saith '' come to Jesus," even though you must creep as the 
poor lame man, or grope your way as the poor blind man, and 
that shall be taken as faith. If still you plead '' I am utterly 
impotent, unable to move, so as to come in any way," then, 
saith the gospel, " stretch forth thine hand and " receive " 
the Lord Jesus for he is nigh thee ; and that shall answer 
as faith. Nay, if you still plead, '' I cannot stretch out a 
hand, for the very arm hangs powerless as that of the poor 
man in the gospel," then saith the gospel "Look to Jesus," 
for " he that looketh upon him lifted up shall live." Naj 
more yet, — If still you plead, " I cannot look, for alas the 
hazy film of spiritual death is over my eyes, and all is dark- 
ness," then saith the gospel, " Poor sinner, if nothing else, 
lie still just as you are, and " submit to the righteousness of 
God," allowing Jesus to throw the robe of his righteousness 
over thee, and that shall answer,v for ' whosoever will ^ 
may take him for a Saviour." 


Brethren, I have finished what I proposed, and I leave it 
now for you to say, whether, according to every principle of 
ex|3erience and consciousness, these terms of salvation could 
he fuller, fi'eer, or more precisely adapted to the state of 
soul for which they were intended, or a more complete answer 
to " what must I do.'* 

And hero again to-day, in the name and by the authority 
of Jesus the Master, I say to every soul in earnest and 
troubled with the consciousness of sin, " Believe " — " only 
beUeve " not opinions, but on a personal Saviour — not a creed, 
but on a Christ—" Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and 
thou shalt be saved." 



I Timothy i.-15. — This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, 
that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. 

The simplicity and comprehensiveness of this saying, as a 
summary of the Christian creed, has been justly applauded. 
Said the elder Alexander, after teaching theology forty years: 
'' The longer I live the more I incluie to sum up all my 
theology in the single sentence, '^ Christ Jesus came into the 
world to save sinners, of whom I am chief." 

Nor let it be supposed that this language of the Apostle, 
even as a summary of objectiver theological truth is meagre 
and defective. For a thoughful analysis of the passage 
develops these propositions as contained in it. 

1. That men are sinners is the fundamental fact upon which 
the whole gospel proceeds, and to which it all refers. 

2. They are sinners in a sense that they need, not merely 
reformation, cultivation, elevation by a Socrates ; but salvation 
by a Jesus, that saves ; and therefore must expiate sin. 

3. The Jesus that saves must needs be also Christ the 
" anointed," appointed — commissioned of God as Mediator, 
and therefore be divine. 

4. The " Christ" must needs " Come into the ivorld^^ 
thereby becoming Son of man, as well as Son of God. 

5. This view, as objective truth, logically self-consistent 
and accordant with first truths, commends itself to the 
rational understanding as faithful — " reliable " — '* behev- 
able" — to be confided in as truth. 

6. Also, as subjective, experimental truth, it commends 


itself to the heart and conscience of universal humanity, as 
worthy of joyful acceptance. 

7. The practical result of its acceptance is a humility out 
of which springs the profoundest conviction that this gospel 
is able to save to the uttermost. For each feeling himself 
chief of sinners, because knowing more of his own heart than 
of other people's, conceives that a gospel that met his case can 
meet any case. 

But I conceive, brethren, that neither the peculiar power 
of this Apostolic summary, nor the key to its interpretation, 
lies so much in its brevity and comprehensiveness, as in the 
glowing fervour which pervades it, as the grateful heart-utter- 
ance of personal experience. As one snatched from death's 
door, unexpectedly to enjoy the pulsations of a new life and 
health, gratefully attests, and feels that he cannot over-esti- 
mate, the skill which warded off from him the deadly assaults 
of disease — and enthusiastically urges that all the sick should 
try his physician ; so the Apostle here says in effect — 
" I whose case was so utterly hopeless — I a blasphemer and 
a persecutor of his people — now, a sinner saved by grace, 
stand a monument of his infinite power and goodness. Who 
can doubt the reliability of a gospel that saved me ? Or who 
can hesitate to try a remedy that met successfully such soul 
diseases as mine ?" 

Without therefore going into an exposition, theologically, 
of the points shown to be involved in the Apostle's summary, 
but looking rather to his earnest commendation of it, as worthy 
the confidence and glad acceptance of all, I propose simply 
to show any of you, who have not accepted it, that this gospel 
view of man the sinner, ruined and helpless, and of Christ 
Jesus as the Saviour suited to the case, commends itself to 
your understanding as entirely reliable ; and is worthy your 
glad acceptance ; and that Jesus is ready to accept you, how- 
ever great a sinner you may be. In order that you may the 


more readily comprel. end my argument, I shall gather the 
elements of it from your own knowledge of facts, and your 
own conscious experience. 

1. " Came to save sinnej's.'' As just stated the peculiarity 
of the true gospel of Christ, and that which distinguishes it, 
at once, from all gospels of mere human device, is that it 
assumes, as its fundamental fact, that men are sinners ; guilty 
sinners under wrath ; helpless sinners, in a state of utter ruin. 
^' He shall be called Jesus, for he shall save his people from 
their sins," was the word from heaven that heralded his 
coming. " The Son of man is come to seek and save that 
which was lost," and, " I came not to call the righteous but 
sinners to repentance. They that are whole need not a 
physician but they that are sick,"— this was his own formal 
declaration of the purpose of his mission. And in his wonderful 
discourse in defence of his conduct in mingling with publicans 
and sinners, against the Pharisees, the point of his argument 
was to shew that saving sinners is the grand enterprise which 
interests all heaven. That the mission of the mediator was to 
search for straying sinners ; and the mission of the Holy 
Ghost was, through the Church, to search for lost sinners, 
as for lost treasure ; that in consequence of this, God the 
father received back with joy the prodigal sinners, and the 
holy angels, full of sympathy with the enterprise of infinite 
love, rejoiced over the lost sinner found. That no being in 
the universe, outside of hell, but ethical religionists of the 
Pharisee order, did not rejoice at seeing such love to lost 

If, as some in our day will have it, Christ Jesus came 
merely to teach and to set an example of virtue, — that would 
imply that darkness, and ignorance only was the trouble with 
men. If, as others will have it, he came merely to have 
them pardoned ; that would imply simply thouglitlessness, 
frailty and errors of judgment. But when it is declared that 


Christ Jesus cama to save sinners ; that implies a state of 
wreck and utter spiricual ruin. 

It would, indeed, seem superfluous, at first signt, that one 
should undertake to demonstrate to men that they are sin- 
ners, in a world such as this, — -so full of sin and its curse, — 
and whose inhabitants so universally seem ready to admit 
that thay " err and go astray like lost sheep." And yet un- 
belief on this very point lies at the foundation of most of th3 
in^delity and^ contempt for the gospel that everywhere pre- 
vails. The gospel according to Channing, of the dignity of 
human nature ; the gospel according to Renan, of the sentimental 
and transcendental oneness with God of human nature ; and 
th3 gospel according to Owen and Holyoake of the mere 
anlmahsm of human nature, all alike reject the gospel idea 
of a Christ Jesus — Saviour — because all alike ignore the 
gospel doctrine of man a sinner,, in the gospel sense. And 
for precisely a hke reason, differing only in degree, many of 
you who do not scoff with the devotees of either of these 
gospels, at the doctrines of atonement for sin, yet your minds 
are in darkness and doubt on the whole subject of the 
doctrine of atonement and of the Holy Spirit, simply be- 
cause, though you make the general admission that all men 
are sinners and you among them ; yet you have not clearly 
apprehended that they are sinners in the gospel sen^e. Not 
comprehending the nature and extent of the disease, you can 
not, of course, comprehend fully and clearly the nature and 
extent of the remedy. And therefore while from the im- 
pressions of early education you are not disposed to deny 
the general statements of the gospel, you cannot avoid the 
secret feehng that the case is overstated ; that the gospel 
does not accord with your consciousness in those strong 
statements of the " death of trespasses and sins ;" the 
" carnal heart enmity against God ;" and the heart " des- 
perately wicked,'' &c. 


Come then, let us reason together of this matter — looking 
for the elements of our argument, not among the dogmas of 
theology which you profess not to understand, but down into 
the depths of your own spirit. 

By way of removing obstacles, and getting upon a common 
ground of argument, let me first premise a few things which 
the gospel does not imply in saying that Jesus comes to save 

It does not imply, in the first place, that the state of ruin 
is complete and final as that of " the angels that kept not 
their first estate." According to the gospel, what specially 
distinguishes the estate of ruin in the present life is, that it is 
a ruin merely in progress. The sorrow that sin brings as its 
curse is mingled here with the tokens of a mercy and love 
that forbears because the Christ Jesus has interposed, and is 
yet carrying on his work of saving sinners. 

The state which is to follow this is that in which the 
sorrow which the sin brings with it is no longer alleviated by 
the tokens of mercy and of purposed restoration. This gos- 
pel, observe, says he '' came into the luorld, to save dinners ;" 
but he goes not into hell to save sinners. The virus of the 
spiritual death has been taken into the system, and the death 
stupor only is upon you hero ; from this ho comes to arouse 

Hence you will observe the wide difference between the 
gospel view of the ruined and depraved condition of hum:iii- 
ity, and the cold, cynical contempt for the littleness a:id 
meanness of man expressed by the infidel philosoph3% tlKit 
recognizes no higher estate from which man fell, nor higher 
estate to which he may be restored again. While the gospel 
describes you as a soul in utter ruin, it recognizes the fact 
that the ruin is of a temple originally glorious ; while it 
represents your moral nature as a chaos, without form and 
void and darkness upon it ; at the same time, all the ele- 


ments of a beautiful cosmos are hidden within the chaos ; 
and when God who " called the light to shine out of dark- 
:^ess" hath shined into your hearts the process of reconstruc- 
tion shall begin, and go on until a holy God shall pronounce 
-it good. While the gospel represents your spiritual nature 
xis a desolate waste ; it is yet the desolation of a wasted 
Eden, over which the fierce storms are breaking in their 
fury, but the germs of a beautiful life are sleeping in its 
•soil, which the warm breath of God can call out again in due 
season. This gospel does not mean to deny, then, that there 
are germs of its original greatness still in the soul : that its 
power of moral perception is still there ; and its romantic 
admiration for that which is noble and manly and God-like is 
still there, even in its " death of trespasses and sins." 

Nor does the saying, " came to save sinners " imply on 
your part a vivid consciousness of the utter alienation from 
God involved in this sinful estate. On the one hand, the 
-Standard by which the gospel measures acts of obedience to 
•God may be much higher than yours ; and on the other 
hand, you may be unconscious of the real extent of your 
ruin, measured even by your own standard. You may be 
but another illustration of the Apostle's other saying, " If 
our gospel be hid it is hid to them that are lost, in whom the 
God of this world hath blinded their ^j/es," &c. 

With these limitations of the meaning of the gospel in 
: saying you are a sinner so ruined and helpless as to need a 
divine Saviour ; — let us look now for the evidence confirming 
that saying within these limits. 

In the first place, if you accept the gospel story at all, 
then the fact that such a being as Christ Jesus should speak 
of you in such terms as he does, is at once very strong pre- 
.sumptive evidence that there must be something dreadful in 
your condition. For of all teachers that ever spake, Jesus is 
■the last that could be supposed to use terms of exaggerated 


harshness, or of rhetorically overstating the character and 
condition of men on the side of evil. The tenderness of feel- 
ing that wept over a city full of malignant enemies, saying, 
apologetically, "0 that thou hadst known:" the love that 
amidst agonies inconceivable, could pray for those that were 
inflicting.thc agonies, and plead, apologetically, " They know 
not what they do," ''Father forgive them," would surely 
prevent him from using terms harsher than the facts warrant, 
in setting forth your condition before God. If, therefore, it 
seem to you that his statements go beyond your consciousness 
and moral judgments in this case, does not that rather ar^-ue 
that his moral standard is higher than yours, and his spiritual 
insight deeper and more piercing than yours, and his know- 
ledge of your condition better than yours ? 

Now, in addition to these considerations, when you proceed 
thoughtfully to consider the facts of your own consciousness 
and the movements of the moral nature within you, they will 
be found to confirm all that the gospel says of your estate of 
sinful ruin. 

Beginning with the most palpable of your inner conscious- 
ness, I would remind you that, whatever may be your theories, 
you find yourself here in a world full of trouble and sorrow. 
And such is the constitution of your moral nature that you 
cannot avoid associating in thought, the existence of the evil 
with the existence of sin as the cause of it. ISTor can you 
avoid the impression of some sort of moral disorder in the 
relation of men to the infinitely Good Being who, as reason 
teaches you, must govern the universe of men. And, as 
matter of fact, moreover you find that the greatest of your 
own sorrows, such as arouse your soul to its depths, -never fail 
to develop in you a consciousness or at least a suspicion 
more or less definite and distinct, which connects the sorrow 
as a judgment back with some sin done as the cause of it, 
and of which it is the penalty. It is the propensity of men 


nniversallj, whether enhghtened or ignorant, thus to associate 
sin and suffering together as cause and effect. Of course we 
except from the rule the mad dreams of genius, such as those 
dark atheistic vagaries of Shellej that conceive of the uni- 
verse as under the rule of a malignant being delighting in 
the infliction of pain, and also the artificial moral natures of 
men run mad with their own theories of no sin in the universe. 

Another palpable fact is that you are surrounded bj a 
•world full of wrong ; of men that do wrong ; of men that 
applaud men that do wrong : yea vfhose hero-worship is at the 
shrine of monsters of wrong-doing. Nor can you hide from 
yourself the fact — ^however partial to yourself in your moral 
judgments — that you partake of the common nature, and are 
oftentimes a wrong-doer also. And that all this wrong-doing 
is against God's order — and the proper order — is also an 
instinctive impression of your nature; however you may 
thank God that you are not as other men in the extent of 
your wrong-doing. Yet like all other men you feel the tragic 
impulse of your moral nature giving forth its judgments 
that this transgression and disobedience should receive a just 
recompense of reward. You find also an inarticulate logic of 
the moral nature inferring that somehow there must be vast 
moral disorder, in the present state, under which so much 
wrong goes unwhipped of justice. And, withal, an occasional 
suspicion that your own future may yet bring the reckoning, 
and a conscious dread at the thought of it, if *' judgment 
is laid to the line and righteousness to the plummet." 

Now in all such impressions and impulses you are but find- 
ing attestations to the gospel saying of " Christ Jesus came 
into the world to save sinners." And in that very shyness 
of feeling which you may detect in your own heart at the 
thought of coming into the presence of God even now, and 
that shrinking back from the thought of death, you attest the 
fact that you are conscious of sin. For if innocent, and not 


a sinner, what has innocence to fear in all the realms of God, 
go -where it maj ? Or, if merely frail and erring, why should 
mere frailty and error be afraid of a Being -whose benevolence 
is "written all over the works of his hands ? Or why should a 
soul not conscious of impurity, and a conscience untroubled 
with guilt, shrink as you find yourself shrink, even now, from 
coming into the more immediate presence of a Holy God, 
though it be only in thought to commune with him ? 

Still more palpable facts of consciousness attest the dis- 
order in your spiritual nature. What means this paradox, 
which you cannot have failed to notice — the infinite dispropor- 
tion between your moral impulses and conceptions, and your 
ability to realize them ? Why are these better aspirations 
always thwarted by some inertia of will that leads you ever 
to lag in the execution, or some jar of the passions with 
them, or some opposing impulse just on the theatre of action ? 
That somehow your own judgment is set at derision by the 
lawless appetites and passions Avhich it ought to govern ? 
That your prudence is not equal to the task of restraining 
your impulses to do evil ; and yet often interposes its 
restraints upon the more generous impulses of your nature to 
do some worthy or noble deeds ? You boast of your reason 
and intelligence, which can be led only by logical arguments 
and indisputable proof to convictions that the gospel is 
worthy of acceptance. You boast of your determined will, 
that can restrain you from sinful indulgence. You boast of 
your practical judgment, as the guide of your life. But why 
is the reason and intelligence so often outwitted by the plea 
of appetite and strong temptation ? Why does the strong will 
display its power chiefly in overruling your conscience ? 
Why are the practical judgments set aside, so often, in the 
thoughts, and the acts of the life so wholly given up to the 
things which reason must teach you are unworthy to be the 
chief concerns of an immortal creature, — " things that perish 


in the using ?" Why do you, a being gifted with the strong 
"will and the practical wisdom, allow yourself to become the ; 
servile creature of the mere shams and shows of life Avhich ■ 
yjur loftier sentiments revolt at, and your profoundest con- 
victions condemn as unworthy of you ? 

See you not that this whole moral and spiritual nature 
within you is in a state of hopeless disorder ? Just attempt for | 
an hour to watch, as one watches the processes in a bee-hive, ' 
the workings of thought, emotion and conscience ; and how ■ 
plain is it that all within is a disordered wreck. Whatever 
the philosophers may teach you of the laws of association of j 
thou'^ht, to what small extent can the operation of any law i 
be discovered, eapocially when you would make God and 
your relations to him, and the utterances of your conscience, ; 
and your condition morally and spiritually the subject of 
thought. How impulses, as it were from without, whose 
source no law can trace, rush in and break up the train in 
defiance of all laws of association. How suggestions base, ^ 
impure, impious, wild, unaccountable, make the soul as very ; 
bedlam 1 As well attempt to trace the laws of harmony of 
the sounds from some worn-out and broken musical instrument 
upon which half a score of rollicking children are beating ! One 
that makes the attempt in earnest will indeed be ready to 
accept the theory that the human soul is but a wrecked and 
broken harp, its strings all passive, save as struck by wild 
demons in their infernal freaks ; until the Holy Ghost, whose [ 
aid was procured by him who saves sinners, retunes the harp i 
and draws forth by his divine touch the heavenly music which I 
it was originally framed to make to God's glory. \ 

And still another most palpable proof of the moral ruin of 
your soul may be found in your experience touching those 
very impulses and powers within you, which the humanitarian 
gospels flatteringly cite to you .as evidences that our gospel 
overstates the case. These higher and better aspirations of \ 


"which jou arc capable ; the immortal fires which slumber 
within you ; and the powers of high spiritual life which give 
so much dignity to that soul that the gospel of Paul pronounces 
fallen and depraved. 

Granted all ! But alas, what should be more humiliating to 
you than to find that these noble impulses and aspirations 
have, somehow, a dead weight upon them which they cannot 
lift. That these immortal fires are, somehow, ever smould- 
ering and smoking, never blazing forth ! That these powers of 
a high spiritual life are, somehow, so shackled that they never 
can actualize themselves in lofty action, and realize the noble 
ideal that flits before you ! Your will is strong enough — but 
then do you will according to conscience ? or, even if in 
accordance with conscience, is the will obeyed ? Somehow you 
do not execute what you will to be done ! With the Apostle, 
you find a law in your members, that when you would do good 
evil is ever present. And at times, perhaps, you have 
almost cried with the Apostle, " 0, wretched man that I 
am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death ?" — 
though you did not reach in your experience his answer of 
deliverance, " I thank God through Jesus Christ my Lord." 

This soul of yours, somehow does not obey the strong will ! 
All the currents of habit set in against the will ; the volcanic 
fires of passion burst out and overflow, in disregard of its 
authority ! If you doubt it, then just will once to serve 
Jesus Christ ; and see how much respect your will can com- 
mand. You will see how the world and its interests set your 
will at defiance — nay you have seen it. ITow base motives 
creep m, and you cannot expel them ! How you resolve to 
cast off the world with its pomps and vanities, and find them 
mock your efforts ! How you try to flee from these evil sug- 
gestions and thoughts, and find yourself as a man trying to run 
away from his shadow ! Hoav you resolve to control your evil 
thoughts, evil tempers, and evil habits, and rise to the true- 



ideal of spiritual character, and yet the wild thoughts and 
fierce tempers and lawless habits seem to chase you, and grin 
at you in derision ! 

Indeed, can we conceive of any aspect of human nature 
more affecting than this capacity for noble and lofty concep- 
tions, with an utter powerlessness to execute them? So may 
you have seen some poor sufferer with the body utterly palsied 
and powerless to any effort, even the movement of a muscle, 
or of the tongue itself, while yet the intellect is unimpaired, 
and its powers evidently in full play within. There lies the 
poor sufferer on his bed ; the eye still gleaming with intelli- 
gence, but the tongue powerless to utter it ; the strong will 
in full play, yet not a muscle will obey its behest ; the powers 
of intelligent conception actively at w^ork within, yet not a 
motion to signify their existence, which can be inferred only 
from the anxious and beseeching eloquence that speaks from 
the eye. If you have ever seen the case, it was more affect- 
ing and distressing to you than the death itself which would 
release the spirit from the dead body. 

Now very analogous to this is the case with these immortal 
spiritual powers within you, helplessly chained to the moral 
body Oi sin and death. What more affecting proof could 
be o!i[ered of the spiritual ruin in the soul than a spirit with 
such faculties and capacities bound fast to a moral corpse and 
crying : " Who shall deliver me from the body of this 

So far from any contrariety to the gospel statement, the 
existence of such impulses and faculties in the soul, without 
power of realizing themselves in act, is ' the very strongest 
confirmation of the gospel view that the soul is all in a state 
of disorder and disease, a wreck lying in its ruins, incapable 
of being restored except by the Christ Jesus Avho comes to 
save sinners. Thus the argument^ from the facts of conscious- 
ness cumulates at every step in proof that the gospel assumes 


rightlj that you arc a sinner in this strong sense of helpless- 
ness and rain. 

You -will observe that I have not even alluded yet to facts, 
in that stiil -wider field of argument, concerning those lovr', 
brutal instincts and more animal appetites and passions -which 
have so poAverful a sway in your soul ; and which your own 
moral judgmeiits at once condemn as unworthy of your nature, 
and making you odious in the oyes of all pure and holy beings. 
I have avoided that field of argument, and chosen rather the 
evidence from those very phenomena on the ground of which 
you may think the gospel overstates your case. And I wish 
too to avoid raising any incidental questions of dispute, or 
unnecessarily arousing your pride, or exciting in you suspi- 
cions of the fairness of the argument. But, even thus 
narrowly confined, is not the proof conclusive that the saying 
which represents you a lost and ruined sinner, is one so much 
in accordance with your own knowledge and experience, as to 
make it to your rational understanding a " faithful " saving, 
one entirely reliable and to bo confidently believed. 

And now if on the back of all these natural experiences, 
you have been moved upon by the Holy Ghost, as I have no 
doubt you have been, more or less powerfully ; —if he hath 
awakened your conscience to new sensibility, opened the 
blind eyes of your spiritual vision, that you may behold 
something of your guilt and misery, and of the holiness of his 
law; and if he hath enlightened the understanding in the 
knowledge of the truth, then will you need no further argu- 
ment to confirm it as a faithful saying that you are a sinner, 
guilty and condemned, as well as helpless and ruined before 
God, and be prepared to comprehend the argument from 
experience showing that the other gospel statement of Christ 
Jesus as the Saviour suited to such a case is also a " faithful 
saying " commending itself to your implicit belief. 

2. But, whatever may have been the degree of your con- 


Action of sin by the Holy Spirit, you may readily comprehend 

-en from the natural experiences of conscJoasness which I 

'ave been describing, what I shall now say, in brief outline, 

uf the adaptedness of the Saviour^ Christ Jesus, as held forth 

m the gospel to this spiritual condition of man the sinner. 

He '' came into the world. ''^ He took the human nature 
upon him, to this very end, among others, that these sinners 
might be able to comprehend the love of the Being against 
whom they sinned ; and with their finite conceptions commune 
with him. He came, the "brightness of the Father's glory 
and the express image of his person !" yet so veiling the 
dazzling brightness that you might look upon him. The 
infinite in him puts on the measure of the finite to hold 
converse with finite minds. Christ Jesus is the love of God, 
the mercy of God, the holiness of God, the sympathy of 
God for man, all embodied for you in the form of a fellow- 
being, to encourage you to approach God for the settlement 
of this sin difficulty ; that you may speak to him as man to 
,ns fellow, and tell the story of the soul disorder and soul 
^roubles, with the conviction that he generously sympathizes 
j^ith you and is ready to help you. Nay, Christ Jesus comes 
expressly in the character of a teacher, a prophet sent from 
"^•od, to expound for you the causes of this disorder in the 
» vii and to point out the remedy. Need I tell you that, in 
:^'«5 whole aspect of the gospel's Christ Jesus, you find your 
^ase precisely met ? That all this exactly suits the darkness 
.1 iiimd, and indefiniteness of conception, which has over- 
whelmed you when you endeavoured to conceive of God 
definitely enough to speak of him; and the vague, dreamy 
floating of the thoughts when you tried to pray, until all idea 
of God seemed to vanish and you found yourself talking to 
nothmg ? That this view of him, presents him as now saying 
to you just as truly as he said to those who heard him in the 
fi'^sh those simplo instructions of the nature of his kingdom and 


the terms of forgiveness ? And that jou need no longer Hstcn 
to the mere opinions and theories of learned scribes as they 
speculate of sin and its remedy ; but have one to direct you 
who " speaks witli authority and not as the scribes ?" 

And so with the gospel view of this " Christ Jesus," coming 
to render a life of perfect obedience to that law to which he 
was not, as other creatures, subject, but as the representa- 
tive of the great body of wliom he is the head ; and then as 
the guiltless one to make atoning sacrifice for the sins of the 
world to take away the sin, and have it remembered no more ; 
thereby enabling the sinful creatures to stand, as represented 
in him, guiltless before God, and clad in his righteousness. 
Keed I point out to you how precisely this meets that con- 
sciousness of sin that makes you dread the presence of God ? 
How, as that deep sense of guilt would frighten you away, 
Jesus Christ meets you to show you how, incorporated with 
him, you can suffer the penalty of your sins to roll over upon 
his innocence, and not merely be passed over and sentence 
remitted, but '' tahen aiowj^'' as though it existed not. And 
how, therefore, you can approach God with all the innocent 
confidence of a little child and be adopted as his child ? Thus 
satisfying at once your sense of moral justice by showing you 
that the penalty has been paid for you, while he assures you 
of the love of God who gave his only begotten to die f:>r you. 

And so again with the gospel view of the " Christ Jesus," 
as securing also by his death the power of the Holy Ghost, 
from on high, whereby those that accept him as a Saviour are 
"created anew in Christ Jesus unto good works." That 
power that restores the disorders of the soul ; renews the 
will ; gives it strength to keep the disorderly passions in 
subjection, imparts vigour to the better nature, to maintain the 
struggle against the passions and lusts in the soul, and to live 
the life of grateful consecration to him. Need I point out to 
you how precisely adapted is such a Saviour to the necessities 


of that ruined and disordered soul wliich we have been describ- 
ing? How accepting this offer you may go boldly forward, 
feeble as you are, feeling you '' can do all things Christ Jesus 
strengthening you ?" 

Thus even so far as the testimony of your inward experience 
goes, you can see that this gospel saying, both as to your 
disease and the remedy for it, is one that carefully studied 
must commend itself both to your logical nature as true — 
'' faithful," in the sense that it is worthy of belief — and also 
commends itself to your heart as worthy of your glad accept- 
ance. And having thus shown you, that independent of any 
testimony of others, this remedy is reliable, I may with the 
more confidence refer you to the universal testimony in its 
favour of those who have made the actual experiment, which 
testimony is uniformly Avith Paul, " this is a faithful saying 
and worthy of all acceptation." The conviction of the 
innumerable thousands, living and dead, who believe this 
gospel to be of God, is founded mainly upon their experience 
oftits adaptedness to reheve those terrors of the conscience, 
and those disorders of the soul of which you know some- 
♦ thing.- Can you doubt any longer when thus you find 
this remedy attested, at once, by all you know of the 
disease for which ic provides, from your own conscious- 
ness ; by all that you can understand of the nature of the 
remedy itself, as so marvellously adapted to the case ; 
and then by the universal testimonies of millions in heaven^ 
and on earth, proclaiming, as the result of their experience, 
^' This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that 
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners ?" Nay, if 
you can refuse to beheve and accept truth thus attested, 
ought not that fact satisfy you that the continued unbelief is 
evidence not of an understanding unconvinced, but of a heart 
" desperately wicked ?" 

3. But perhaps there may be some of you who fully admit 


the proof, 'dxid acknowledge the saying as faithful, and would 
gladly accept it, if you could only feel sure that Christ Jesus 
will accept such a sinner as you. From long struggle with 
the soul disorders within : from a deep conviction of sinfulness, 
seeing that you have sinned so greatly, or against so much 
light, or in grieving the Holy Spirit ; or from discourage- 
ment about yourself, seeing how often you have resolved 
and vowed, and yet broken all solemn vows, this offer may 
indeed be gladly accepted by others, but is not to such as 

I stand here in the Master's name, to say to you, that yours 
is the very case met, and you are specially invited to come 
first. " Of whom I am chief," said the great Apostle, who 
had been the blasphemer and the persecutor. And tlie 
argument is, the gospel that saved me will save anybody ; the 
Christ Jesus that accepted me will accept anybody. And 
such you will find to be the feeling of every sinner, saved by 
grace. Knowing more of the depths of sin in his own heart 
than he can knoAv of anybody else's heart, he cries " I am 
chief !'' And so far as his knowledge goes he judges rightly. 
Hence it is such a matter of amazement to him, that he should 
have been snatched as a brand from the burning. 

Dora Greenwell, in the " Sunday Magazine," — in the talk of 
the poor pitman to his wife — has expounded this principle 
with exquisite beauty and power. Saith the poor reckless 
pitman :— 

I've got a word like a fire in my heart 

That will not let me be — 
" Jesus the Son of God, who loved, 

jJtid icho gave himself for me." 

There's none on earth could frame such a tale. 

For as strange as the tale may be — 
Jesus, my Saviour, that thou shouldest die 

For love of a man like me ! 


Why only think now if it had been 

Peter, or blessed Paul, 
Or John, who used to lean on his breast, 

One couldn't have wondered at all ! 

If He'd loved and He'd died for men like these, 

Who loved him so well — but you see 
It was me that Jesus loved, wife, 

He gave himself for mc. 

It was for me that Jesus died, 

For me, and a world of men 
Just as sinful and just as slow 

To give back his love again ; 

He did'nt wait till I came to Him, 

But he loved me at my worst ; 
He need'nt ever have died for me. 

If I could have loved him first. 

And could'st thou love such a man as me. 

My Saviour ! then I'll take 
More heed to this wandering soul of mine. 

If it's only for thy sake 1 

Yes, it is the glorj of the gospel, that it is " able to save 
to the uttermost;" that it is a gospel to save sinners, — the 
chief of sinners ; and that its trophies, every one of them are 
living testimonies to encourage especially the soul who cries 
"I am chief!" '* You" saith Paul "are the very sinner to 
come first. I, the persecutor and blasphemer have been 
accepted that I might be a standing assurance to the despair- 
ing !" Yea, and so Paul's Master before him had commanded 
it to be preached. The very commission which gives the 
Church her divinely appointed ministry, runs — " Preach the 
gospel to every creature, — beginning at Jerusalem.^'' The 
divine order of the work shall be the worst sinners first. 
Therefore before going into all the world, go first to the poor 
sinners hardened under the blaze v of light and grieving the 
Holy Spirit. Go tell those who imprecated the awful curse 


^' His blood be upon us r^^nd our children," that the blood 
if they will, shall be upon them first, as the blood of sprinkling 
to bless, instead of an immortal curse. Go, tell the poor, 
compromising, cowardly Pilate that the blood with which ho 
bought his peace with the mob, shall, if he Avill,buy his peace 
w^ith God first of all, and wash off from his ofiicial hands that 
blood-stain that no water can ever wash ofi". Go, tell the poor 
heartless jesters, who jeered at my agonies, saying, " If thou 
be the Son of God come down from the cross," — that I have 
not only come down, but, also, ascended to my throne, and 
if they will, my first act of royal clemency shall be their 
pardon. Go, tell the reckless gamblers who played for my 
seamless robe so eagerly, that they first, if they will, may put 
Qn the robes of my righteousness ! Go, tell the rough soldier 
wdio thrust his spear so brutally into my side, that he may 
first be washed in the blood, and first drink of the water of 

Yes ! on the very front of this gospel saying, verifying it as 
God's saying, and distinguishing it from all human gospels, 
is this order of its offer. All human gospels seek first the 
least depraved — the finer natures, the morally elevated ; 
whereas this gospel ordains "begin at Jerusalem;" take the 
chief of sinners first, to show that none need despair. What 
more do you want, in the way of proof, that " it is a faithful 
saying and worthy of all acceptation ?" 



lioMANS viil. 28-31. — And we know that all things work together for 
good to them that love God, to them who are the called^ according to his 
purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be con- 
formed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first born among many 
brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called ; and 
whom he called, them he also justified ; and whom he justified, them he 
also glorified. What shall we then say to these things ? If God be for us^ 
who ci>n be against us ? 

The Apostle resumes here, in the twenty-eighth verse, the 
subject of the afflictions which the chihlren of God are called 
upon to endure in this life. And as then he had assigned as 
one reason why they should not be allowed to crush the heart, 
that these " sufferings of this present time, are not Avorthy to 
be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us ;" 
so now he assigns, as a second reason, that these sufferings 
are the means of good, blessings in disguise. 

That apparent ills are often the means of good, is a fact 
which even men of the world may find out by experience. 
The disease brought on by sensuality has often restored a 
man to himself: the loss by some daring speculation in 
business has sobered his rashness, and trained him to self- 
reliance ; the overthrow of his schemes of ambition has been 
a salutary discipline to make him a wiser man. But more 
eminently, and more certainly, is this the case with the true 
Christian. The crushing of his earthly hopes gives him a 
stronger set heavenvrard. 

The humiliation of some fall into sin chastens his spirit. 
Even when death enters witliin the circle of his affections, and 


causes the deep wailings of nature to echo in all the chambers 
of the soul, he finds by experience that the affliction has been 
a means of spiritual good. Just as the trees that grow on the 
exposed summits and in the open fields are found to strike 
their roots far deeper down, and take firmer hold of the rocks 
beneath, than the trees that grow in the shelter of the forest : 
so the plant of divine grace in the soul is found to strike 
deeper root, and take faster hold of the rock of salvation, by 
the very blasts of the tempests of life which would seem to 
overwhelm it. The calamity, to the eje of sense tremendous, 
works out a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. 
But troubles in this life are not apt to come alone : and, 
ofttimes, one calamity seems to follow another as though 
God. in his anger, were striking blow after blow. Here is the 
place at which true fortitude displays itself. Almost any 
man can nerve himself for the single great shock, especially if 
he sees the direction in which the blow is coming. But when 
called upon, while staggering under one, to measure his 
strength with another, and then another; or to stand sur- 
.rounded by "a sea of troubles," boisterous and raging — then 
none but the greatest souls are found equal to the task. 
Hence the Apostle declares, not only that one calamity may 
result in good, but " all things work together for good." 
When the troubles come from this quarter and that ; when 
troubles from without come upon troubles within ; when news 
of evil from abroad comes in upon the heart already breaking 
with trouble at home ; when the storm rages fiercely, — the 
winds meeting from every quarter to lash the sea into fury, — 
-then must God's children feel there is one at the helm, that 
will pilot them through ; one who has promised — " in six 
iroubles I will be with thee, and m seven will not forsake 
thee." That though " many are the afflictions of the righteous, 
yet the Lord delivereth him out of them all." And though 
faith cries out — " deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy 


"waterspouts : all thy Avavcs and thy billows arc gone over 
me ;" still its cry also is " in the night thy song shall be with 
me." For — " out of the depths have I cried unto thee,'* 
and " in thee do I put my trust." Yea, " though he slay mo 
yet -will I trust in him." This is every Christian's practical, 
doctrine of Providence. 

It is surely strange, on any ordinary principles of human 
reasoning, that a doctrine so full of comfort, in a world so full 
of trouble, should have to fight its way against the most 
determined opposition of every class of worldly-minded men. 
Yet the opposition to this doctrine is manifold. 

First, that of the natural heart; which, in its dislike to 
conceive of God as near to us, in -even the ordinary affairs 
of human life, takes refuge in a natural sadduceeism, believing 
neither in angel or spirit as having any concern, at least with 
every-day life things, however God may concern himself 
about the Sunday services of his creatures. This is the 
practical philosophy of the multitudes who trouble themselves 
little about the grounds and reason of thai which suits their 
natural inclination. Only in the time of alarm and deep 
affliction do they think of God as working all things. 

Secondly, the opposition of that transcendental atheism,, 
which with all its theoretic drcamings of God as the universe, 
or the universe as God, really leaves the world without a 
personal God to care for it at all. The very conception of an. 
infinite personal and moral Being that moves and acts within 
the sphere of humanity, sympathizing with its sorrows, would 
dash in pisces their transcendental structures as inevitably, as 
the acceptance of the first truths of inductive science must 
dash in pieces the cycles and epicycles, and crystal orbs, 
of their visionary predecessors of antiquity. Hence this 
*' science, fakely so called," not only cannot accept, but treats 
with passionate scorn the truth, that God works all things 
together for sood, to anv class of his human creatures. 


So again, in the third place, this truth is assailed by a 
theological scepticism, which, while it professes to accept with 
reverence the revealed doctrine of God, yet cannot reconcile 
with its theories of how the universe is governed, and espe- 
cially how man could be free under a government, which 
proceeds under a plan and purpose to accomplish certain 
■ends : — and therefore cannot accept this doctrine of God's 
constant interposition in man's affairs. Jeremiah saw the 
working of the scheme of providence beautifully symbolized 
by the potter at his wheel, moving with his foot on the treadle 
his whirling stone, and wdth his hand fashioning into shape 
the clay as it whirled ; and when the vessel was marred in his 
hand, lumping again and throwing back the clay, refined by 
the very marring process, to be moulded anew, into a better 
vessel. Both the philosophers and the theological sceptics 
accept Jeremiah's symbol so fa^r as concerns the wheel. But 
.the philosophers will have it that the w^heel is moved, not by 
any intelhgent power, but driven by some infinite blind 
impulse, as of steam power, water power, or magnetic power; 
and works out the fashion of the vessel to honour or to 
dishonour under the eternal laws of centrifugal motion ! The 
theological sceptics, however, accept not only the potter's 
wheel, and the clay upon it, but also the wheel as driven by 
the intelligent motive power of the foot on the treadle^ and the 
clay fashioned by an intelligent hand as it wdiirls ; yet they 
cannot' accept the theory, that the hand is working, according 
to a purpose and pattern, in the mind of the potter, and that 
the very marring of the clay in his hand is made the means 
of refining and preparing it, to be thrown back in lump and 
moulded anew according to his pattern. 

There is a fourth form of this opposition, from what I may 
call the sentimental scepticism, more dangerous than any 
because it probably reaches more minds, and, by its plausible 
air of reverence and concern for the dignity of God, leads 


even the piously disposed astray. This sentimcntalism is 
shocked at the inspired conception of Jeremiah and of Paul ; 
and especially at the application of it in the teachings of 
Jesus, that God's care extends to the very humblest of his 
creatures, individually : that he marks the sparrow's fall, and 
numbers the very hairs of their heads ; that God clothes? 
feeds, and protects them. 

The sentimental sceptics by no means deny a providence, 
operating by general laws, having a care over general results, 
and even interposing on great occasions. But they regard it 
as the veriest fanaticism to hold, that each individual with 
his little sorrows and troubles fixes the attention of the great 
Ruler of the universe. 

Now this whole conception of the sentimentalists, with all 
its show of special reverence for the dignity of Providence ; of 
sensitive shrinking from the vulgar conceptions of the masses ; 
and of compassionate concern for the feeble-minded enthu- 
siasts, who talk of Providence, " working all things together 
for good to them that love him " — will be found, on analysis, 
to evince, in the first place, bad taste — in the second place, 
worse theology — and, in the third place, still worse logic. 

Bad in iaste is this notion that it is incongruous to the 
dignity of " the lofty One who inhabiteth eternity," to 
conceive of him as concerned with the little common-places 
of human life. For it is but the application, in religion, of 
that silly conceit of vulgar parasites, that it is preposterous 
to expect great people even to know or care for the little 
troubles of the obscure and lowdy. Whereas all intelligent 
men conceive of it, as one of the marks of real (-dignity and 
greatness, that it stoops, without any condescending airs to 
sympathize with the lowly. Did any man of good sense and 
true taste, who ever noticed the case of Grace Darling, imagine 
that the imperial Queen of Britain compromised the dignity 
of her exalted station in stooping to caress, and do honour to. 


the fisherman's heroic daughter for her daring rescue of the 
storm-wrecked men ? 

It is among the very sublimest of all the conceptions of 
God in the scriptures, when Jesus argues, '' are not five 
sparrows sold for two farthings ; jet not one of them is 
forgotten before God?" ''Fear not, therefore, ye are of 
more value than many sparrows." For how immense!}^ does 
it add to our conceptions of the grandeur of God, that the 
Infinite Mind, which takes in at a glance the illimitable uni- 
verse, notes distinctly, at the same time, every particle of it! 

I have said it is worse theology. For however reverent 
seeming and pious this sentimentalism, with its language in 
the purest dialect of Canaan, yet for all practical purposes 
of religion, it really banishes God from the universe. Of 
what avail, to creatures such as we, to call upon us to love 
and adore a Being without sympathy for our little sorrows, 
sitting yonder at the centre of the universe abstracted in 
contemplating the outworking of the laws he has ordained 
for it, and watching their results ? Can the soul of man be 
drawn toward such a Being ? For all the pij-ctical purposes 
of worship this god is not a whit better than the gods of 
ancient mythology. Nay one could more readily bow down 
to their Jupiter, Apollo, or Mercury, than to this abstraction, 
or rather personification of the eternal laws of nature. For 
even the ancient heathen exhibited their gods in a human 
form, to suggest the thought of some sort of relation between 
us and them, that may draw out the feelings of our hearts in 
prayer to them. 

The logic of this conception of God is still worse than the 
taste or the theology. It is in every aspect of it illogical. 
First, as a scientific statement of God's relation to the uni- 
verse. If man is too little to be worthy of God's concern 
about his affairs, then what of the myriads of creatures below 
man in the scale ? As Dr. Chalmers well puts the case, 


somewhere, the same science which puts iuto our hands the 
telescope, through whlcli we discern that innumerable w^orlds 
and systems of worlds are co-tenants of infinity with our 
world ; until our scepticism, as it gazes cries out, " What 
is man that thou, the Ruler of these myriads of worlds — 
shouldest be mindful of him ?" — puts into our other hand 
the microscope, through which we gaze down upon a uni- 
verse of sentient creatures, far below the reach even of 
unaided human vision, until we cry out in response to our 
doubts, " Why not man, if the divine care so obviously 
extends to all those myriad races l^elow him ?" All know- 
ledge of nature, from that of the hyssop upon the wall to 
the cedar of Lebanon, and to the knowledge of suns and 
systems, attests that throughout all its range, no marks have 
ever been found of any carelessness, in the smallest of the 
works of the divine hand, more than in the mightiest of them 
all. The structure and movements of the ant that creeps 
upon the wall, the antennoe of the gnat that floats in the 
evening sunbeam, not less than the movements of the planets 
in their courses, attest the presence and care of God. 

And every man can attest from his own history that it is 
equally bad logic, as applied to individual experience, to say 
that God controls the great results of life, but not its minute 
incidents. For every man knows how the grand result often 
so turns upon some event of life intrinsically the most insig- 
nificant, as upon a pivot, that if God control not the little 
things, he cannot control the great things. The coming to 
a place a little too late ; the accidental meeting of a friend 
in the street ; the little disappointment that prevented the 
execution of some cherished purpose, has proved to be the 
event upon which the whole subsequent life and character 
turned. And had not God been working in "all things," 
he could not have brought out the grand result which fol- 
lowed from them. 




Every student of history knows that this is the very worst ] 
logic, as a statement of the law of universal history under I 
God's providence. Let these theorists tell us what they i 
could consider an event and a result great enough to be 
worthy the interposition of God's providence. Shall it be 
the discovery of the telescope, that revolutionized the thought 
of the world concerning the universe, of w'hich we form a 
part ; and caused the " heavens to tell the glory of God," 
as they never told it to former ages ? Well, the event that 
led to this discovery, we are told, was the idleness of a 
spectacle-maker's boy engaged in grinding the glasses, who 
instead of attending to his work, was amusing himself with 
looking through two of the bits of glass, and to his surprise 
noticed that, looked at through two glasses held at a certain i 
distance apart, the distant church steeple seemed to come | 
close to him ! Of course the telescope was within reach of 
any inventive genius then. If then God controls the dis- 
covery that revolutionizes the thought of the world, he must 
control the thoughts and acts of the spectacle-maker's lazy '. 
boy ! ■ I 

Or was it an event great enough to be worthy the interpo- j 
sition of God's providence, when one-third of the civilized ; 
world were led off into apostasy after the false prophet ? ; 
Well, history tells us that there was an hour in the prophet's i 
life, before he had deceived the nations, when the avengers ] 
of blood were in such hot pursuit that there seemed no ' 
human probability that Mohammed, in sight just before 
them, and exhausted with the race, would live another hour. , 
But at a turn in the way, seeing a cave near the path, he, ! 
in despair, rushed in to hide himself. The pursuers coming 
up in a few moments, and noticing the cave also, were about 
to examine before they went on, but they observed a sparrow ! 
fly from her nest in the mouth of the cave, and a spider's ] 
web in the arch unbroken ; and concluding that it would be ! 


a waste of time to search, since, if Mohammed had gone in, 
the spaiTOw would have hecn frightened off before, and the 
spider's web broken, thej daslied on, and Mohammed escaped. 
See you not that if God would control this vast apostasy of 
Mohammed, he must also watch the sparrow as she builds 
her nest, and the spider as she weaves her web ? Nay the 
lesson of all history repeats the maxim of Aristotle, "■ What 
the pilot is to the ship, such is God to the universe." There 
is no ground in any sphere of human knowledge for these 
clamours against the Apostle's view of God's relation to us, 
and his statement, " All things work together for good." 

But not " for good" to all, but to a peculiar class — ^' to 
them that love God." And now perhaps some child of God 
who has followed our argument with deep interest so far, is 
ready to exclaim, " this is indeed a comfortable doctrine, 
but alas it avails little to me, since the afflictions work together 
for good only to such as feel and know that they love God. 
If I could but know with certainty that I love him, then the 
consolation would be indeed ' a song in the night ' of my 
affliction. But — ' do I love the Lord or no ?' is the very 
question of questions with me. I hope I love him. I try to 
love him. I sometimes thought I did love him. Yet, at the 
very time when most I need the consolations of this doctrine, 
then am I least certain of my right to apply it. The tears of 
sorrow so dim the eye of faith, that I cannot see as before. 
The wails of sorrow in the heart seem to silence its utterances 
of loving trust. And in the darkness of ray spirit, the record 
of many a forgotten sin comes out, as though memory had 
written it with phosphorescent ink that made no trace while 
the sun shone brightly. But now, when the darkness comes, 
the glaring record comes out to arouse the condemning con- 
science : as when Reuben in his sorrow remembered the lon^i^ 
forgotten sin, and cried, ' we are really guilty concerning our 
brother.' And while all these causes combine to make me 


doubt, I am in tio state of mind to look down into the depths 
of my heart, and, by some skilful anatomy of the passions of 
it, or by careful apphcations of tests, as by some spiritual 
chemistry, ascertain the presence or the absence of any love 
of God there. How then shall I know whether the comfort 
is mine, and that all these afflictions are working together for 
good to me ?" 

I answer, not by any such search in the depths of your 
heart, nor by any anatomy of the affections, nor by any such 
spiritual chemistry. Observe, the Apostle seems to anticipate 
such a difficulty from the use of the general phrase, " to them 
that love God !" and therefore appends, as in apposition there- 
with, the explanatory clause — " to them who are the called." 
So that instead of directing you to look down into the depths 
of your heart, he directs you to look out of yourself altogether, 
and away from yourself. To listen not for the voice from 
within, but listen to the call that comes from without, saying 
'• Look unto me and be ye saved, all ye ends of the earth." 
You test your spiritual state by simply referring to the calls 
of the gospel to sinners, and its offers to sinners, and then 
observing how your heart responds to that call. If gladly, 
willingly, — then " Whosoever will" are the terms; and the 
doubt-generating sins are provided for. " Though your sins 
be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow." And if you 
gladly hear that call, thereby you know you love him and the 
consolation is yours. 

The scriptural philosophy of Christian experience is very 
beautiful. If you would either excite, or test the presence 
of any emotion in the heart, you must bring before the under- 
standing the truth, which tends to excite and call forth that 
emotion. You can never by mere act of your own will call 
these emotions into play. Just as when you would have me 
love your friend, and when out of regard to you, I wish to do 
it; yet I cannot at your bidding love whom you love. But 


jou tell rae of his many noble qualities, and recite the story 
of his generous and noble deeds, and Avhlle I listen to these 
truths, my heart warms in unison with yours toward your 
friend. So while the gospel religion is a religion of the heart, 
and lays all stress on the affections, it never assumes that 
sinners, by a mere volition, can make themselves love Christ, 
and the Spirit and the Father. But it tells you the wonderful 
story of Christ's generous acts, and of the Spirit's kind mov- 
ings, and of the Father's yearning compassion, that, as you 
listen, the affections of love shall be awakened in the heart. 

And it is just this principle of awaking and nurturing the 
Christian affections, through the truth of the gospel, that dis- 
tinguishes the genuine religious experience from the current 
counterfeits of it by fanaticism on the one hand, and mere 
sentimentalism on the other. The fanatic has his moods of 
religious feeling. But it is a self-excited frenzy of the 
imagination ; or he dreams a dream ; or he sees a vision ; or 
he hears a voice from the unseen — these are the excitinir 
causes ; not the simple truths of the gospel call. So the 
poetic sentimentalist has often his moods of religious feeling ; 
and no doubt is sincerely persuaded that the impulses of his 
spirit, under an excited imagination, are the true impulses of 
love to God. As I remember hearing a celebrated dramatic 
actor describe, how the music of the great organ at Haarlem 
as he was alone in the cathedral, made him so pious that he 
fell upon the floor, and prayed that God would let him die at 
once, while in a frame fit to die, and go to heaven. This sort 
of religious feehng substitutes music of the organ, '' dim 
religious light," impressive ceremony, and the beauty of 
painting and statuary, for the truths of the gospel call, as a 
means of exciting the affections to love God. It conceives of 
these gospel doctrines as simply something to make a creed 
of, to swear by rather than something to live in the daily 
heart experiences of men. 


It is a farther assurance to those thus called, and loving 
God, that God is working all things together for good to them, 
in that this call itself, is '• accordhij to his |?:«'pose," or pre- 
arranged plan, under the movings of the love wherewith 
he loved them before the foundation of the world." For in 
Paul's conception of it, the eternal purpose, plan and decree 
of God is not so much a doctrine among many others of the 
Gospel system as a point of view from which to contemplate 
all the doctrines. All that God hath done : all ho is doing ; 
his entire work of creation and providence, are simply the 
development of the C0v?u. .els of eternity. And, as he proceeds 
to show, the golden chain whose links ri:\i through all time, 
binds all time and the eternity that follows back to the eter- 
nity before time was, 

" For whom he did foreknow. " You will observe how 
this " For" connects all that follows, as explanatory of and 
ancillary to this phrase "called according to his purpose," 
in the twenty -eighth verse. Is it not very noteworthy that 
the theologians who do fierce battle against the doctrine of 
predestination should ever choose this twenty-ninth verse 
" whom he did foreknow them he did predestinate," as their 
battle-ground; though this is merely ancillary and an explan- 
atory appendage to, "called according to his purpose" in 
the iwenty-eighth verse ? Surely one would think that, if a 
battle must he fought here, it should be on the 'chief passage, 
and not on the mere incidental appendage to it ! That it is 
otherwise, should of itself excite the suspicion, that the 
difficulty with this great doctrine, arises not so much out of 
what the scripture saith, as out of what scientific theology 
and metaphysics saith. 

" Whom he did foreknow them he did predestinate to he con- 
formed to the image of his Son'' How did he foreknow 
them — in what sense ? Some Would tell us, " whom he did 
foreknow as holy," — that is, '^ conformed to Christ's image — 


tliem he did predestinate." But whatever else the place may 
mean, it cannot mean this. For instead of predestinating 
them on account of their foreseen conformity to Christ's 
image, that is precisely the thing they are predestinated to. 
That is the result of the predestination, not the cause leading 
to it. And just here, I imagine, lies the whole trouble which 
men make with the doctrine. They will insist on under- 
standing it as meaning that God predestinated them, passing 
over this life, to heaven after death, whereas Paul says he 
predestinated them to be holy and conformed to the image 
of Christ. You will ask me, '• But does not the Confession 
of Faith say, ho 'predestinated some to everlasting life !'." 
So it does: and the objection to that statement as differing 
from Paul's here, arises simply from overlooking the fact 
that the Confession, after its manner, here uses the exact 
language of the scriptures for expressing this conformity, 
to the image of Christ as Paul hath it. You Avill observe 
that Jesus Christ says, "he that believeth hath (not 
shall have) everlasting life." That everlasting life begins 
here on earth when the sinner is born again ; and to 
that new birth he is predestinated, and as Paul here says 
whom he did predestinate them he also called. For remem- 
ber all this account of predestination is appended to explain 
more fully that term " called," in the twenty-eighth verse. 
So the Confession, in speaking of the estate to which men 
are predestinated, and into which they enter here on earth, 
but uses the precise words of Jesus Christ. I have had 
occasion heretofore to show you how this conception of the 
heaven, or everlasting life, as beginning here on earth and 
carrying over death with it the sinless elements of the 
humanity on earth, is the peculiar distinction of Christ's 
doctrine of immortality. 

But you will ask in what sense then did he foreknow them ? 
I answer, in the sense of the word " know," when the Judge 


shall say '• Depart from me I never knew you" — though in the 
ordinary sense he knows all men. Or in the sense in which 
Jehovah said, " Ye only have I hnoivn of all the nations ;" 
though he, in the ordinary sense, kneiv all nations. As in one 
of these cases he means to say, " I never chose," or " prefer- 
red," you as mine, and in the other, "I have preferred," or 
"chosen" you, only of all nations, so here the Apostle means, 
obviously, to say whom he '•'fore-preferred,^^ or "fore-chose," 
them he did predestinate, to become holy and Christ-like. 
And as this predestination is to the result of a call obeyed, 
therefore whom he predestinates, them he also calls by 
his word and Spirit. So that, in reality, the whole ques- 
tion in dispute between what is known as Calvinism, in 
our day, and its antagonists, is the question, "who maketh 
thee to differ?" — a question on which,however rationalism 
that believes not in any conversion by the Spirit of God 
may mock, yet all true Christians must substantially agree, 
discordant as may be their metaphysics of predestination. 
How answer you this question : 

" Whj was I made to bear thy voice 
And enter whih there's room, 
While thousands make a wretched choice, 
And rather starve than come ?" 

If you answer it as the same hymn, — 

" 'Twas the same grace that spread the feast, 
That sweetly forced me in, 
Else I had still refused to taste, 
And perished in my sin :" — 

Then we have no need to quarel over that bugbear of modem 
cavillers known as Calvinism. Hence, true Christians of all 
names are found singing and praying very much alike, how- 
ever wide apart in their speculations. 


The evanjicUcal Arm.^nian siags just as the rest of as • 

*' Grace first conti-ivcd the way, to save rebellious man ; 
And all the steps that grace display, which drew the wdndrous plan. 
Grace led my roving feet to tread the heavenly road. 
And new supplies each hour I meet, Avhile travelling on to God. 
Grace all the work shall crown, through everlasting days, 
It lays in heaven the topmost stone, and well deserves the praise I" 

And jet when, or where, did Calvin ever distil a bluer Cal- 
vinism than that ? 

Whom God '• fore-chose," them he predestinated to be 
conformed to Christ, and in order to the accomplishment of 
that purpose, he " calls^' them. Observe now we have the 
full account of " the called according to his purpose," in 
the twenty-eighth verse. And now the Apostle proceeds to 
show, how that image of Christ, in them, is brought about. 
*^' Whom he calls, them he also jurstifies." These sins that 
so darken their souls, and that burden conscience, are taken 
away by the blood of the Lamb having atoned for, and thereby 
'' blotted them out." And the obedience of the " Lord our 
righteousness" becomes the sinner's obedience, so soon as, 
hearing the call, he accepts it, and by faith, is in '• Christ 
Jesus," and represented both in his act of obedience and of 
atonement. And meantime the Holy Spirit, who has made 
the call effectual, and imparted the new life to the dead soul, 
whereby it puts forth this living act of faith, carries on his 
work of conforming it more and more to the image of Christ, 
until, with death, the body of sin drops off and the spirit 
becomes like Jesus and sees him as he is, — Thus '^ Whom 
he justifies he also glorifies." 

Now we can sec the power and beauty of the Apostle's logic 
— sorrows and affliction cannot do other than Jiood to them 
that are called under such a purpose of grace. For since 
God hath such an end in view for them, all thinirs that occur, 
however aflflictivc now, must work together to that groat ond 



— the glory which shall follow. And we are prepared to I 
accept his triumphant conclusion, " If God be for us who can 
be against us?" ; 

I have space only to add, in conclusion, a few brief sug- 
gestions touching the exact adaptation of this view of the : 
grand system of gospel theology, from the stand-point of : 
God's eternal purpose and plan, to all the wants of the liuman 
soul. [ 

First, this is the only view of the gospel system of theology > 
that can satisfy the logical rer^uirements of man's intelligent j 
faculties, which cannot receive, as from God, any system of ! 
truth inconsistent and self-contradictory. It may be easy to \ 
reason very astutely, about some one or other doctrine of the 
gospel system, and hew and shape it into conformity with ' 
some mere human theory ; greatly to the puzzling of simple- ; 
minded believers. But the true test is whether the point, | 
so hewn and shaped, will cohere with all the other points of \ 
the beautiful system. Just as the skilful workman from the i 
great city, where the division of labour gives wonderful , 
aptness in the several parts of it, may astonish the rude work- 1 
man of the forest, by the almost divine skill with which he 
can carve a mantel, or a pillar, or a cornice ; while yet he is- \ 
unable to construct, like the forester, a log cabin and keep '. 
its corners all square and its walls perpendicular. This i 
survey of the great field of revelation is the only one that I 
will close, without some of the arts and tricks of the incom- 
petent or careless surveyor, who cannot make Mi^plat close — i 
his last line coming out at his starting point — without omit- | 
ting a side, or enlarging or diminishing some line or some ; 
angle. i 

But, in the second place, what is still more important, is, ; 
that this is the only view of the gospel which can sustain the ] 
human soul, in danp-er and affliction, and insuire it to great \ 
and heroic acts. i 


For, unsupported by this consciousness that Oocl is near 
him, and has a destiny for him to work out, in the " all things" 
of his life, man's spirit is feeble. He cannot be self-reliant, 
except as reliant on a power above his power. Hence the 
Coesars, the Alexanders, the Napoleons of the world's history, 
have ever had some sort of blind instinctive impression of" 
that great truth which the faith of the Pauls, the Luthers, the 
Calvins, the Knoxes, so clearly apprehended. AVhatever 
else they may have done for the human spirit, Arminianism 
and Rationalism never yet constructed a true moral hero. All 
the world's spoken epics, all the world's acted heroisms, all 
the world's suffered martyrdoms, have had their roots struck 
deep in this conviction of Paul's, that " all things work 
together," to the purposes of God. 

In the third place, and practically still more im[x>rtant 
than meeting either the logical, or the heroic necessities of 
human nature, this view of the gospel system is the only view 
which can meet the wants of the soul of man, in the hour of 
darkness and deep affliction. Hence, when in view of the 
controversies among Chrisuans, the wish has sometimes been, 
expressed for some compromise ground upon which all God's 
people could unite, I have ever felt that, whatever else 
might be yielded, if I am to minister in Christ's name, there 
are two great truths which I must cling to with the grasp of 
despair. One, the truth of justification by faith : so that as 
the poor dark-minded sinner comes inquring, " What must I 
do to be saved ?" I may confidently point him to the Lamb 
of God, and say, '• believe " — " only believe, and tliou shalt 
be saved." The other, this truth concerning God's eternal 
purpose according to which he worketh all things : so that I 
may comfort his suffering children. How am I dumb under the- 
wailings and complaints of the broken-hearted without Ciis I 
How can I face this David, as he comes wringing his hands,, 
and crying in his agony, " Oh Absalom! my son! my son ! 


"would Gad I had died for thee "? What can I say to this poor 
•'' Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted 
because thej are not " ? How shall I claim that my Master 
hath sent me with a gospel, " to comfort them that mourn 
and to bind up the broken-hearted," unless I may say to 
them — " This affliction cometh not by chance — it comes as 
the outworking of his adorable purpose," who " worketh all 
;things together for good to them that love him ?" 

And not less essential is this truth to sustain the church in 
the days of darkness and rebuke, than to comfort the indi- 
vidual soul. For it is in accordance with his great purpose, 
that days of affliction and rebuke shall come upon his Church 
also. And all history shows that however, in her days of 
sunshine and prosperity, the learned sons of the Church may 
amuse themselves with splitting metaphysical hairs and fill- 
ino; learned tomes, with their difficulties about the divine 
purpose, yet when the " storms of sorrow fall," then the 
universal heart of the Church must fall back upon this 
doctrine. When in the days of persecution, the smitten 
shepherd must gather his scattered flock to feed on lonely 
moor, or in wild glen, or under over-hanging cliif by the 
sea side, his thoughts irresistibly turn to this consolation 
— "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present are not 
to be compared Avith the glory which shall be revealed in us." 

When the Church, his bride, cries in her anguish — •' The 
Lord hath forgotten me !" her comfort is in the same glorious 
assurance. " Behold I have graven thee on the palms of my 
'hands" so that in stretching forth the hand to work I am 
reminded of thee : and have care to " work all things together 
for thy good." When mahgnant infidehty shouts, " Chris- 
tianity is a failure !" and the mocker from Seir calleth out 
to her prophet watchman, standing amid the midnight dark- 
iiiess of her desolations — " Watchman, what of the night ? 
Watchman, what of the night ?" Where now the promises of 


the " sure covenant with David ?" Staying his soul upon 
this great truth of God's eternal purpose of love, the prophet, 
can answer back with heroic faith — " The morning cometh," 
ye ministers of hell ! '' the morning cometh" — " and also the 
night" to you. And when in the times of spiritual decay 
and apostasy from the truth, worldly wisdom and prudence 
tempts the witnesses for " the truth as it is in Jesus" with the 
plea — forbear, withhold the offensive truth, and stir not up 
the storm that must overwhelm the Church : faith, resting 
on this same assurance of his purpose that " the gates of hell 
shall not prevail," can calmly say, " Let the storm come, it 
will scatter the sear leaves and dash down the withered, 
branches ; but the God-planted tree shall only strike deeper 
root, and take firmer hold upon the great Rock of Salvation I" 

And, in the fourth place, however much vilified as a 
doctrine, that cuts the nerves of Christian zeal and exertion, 
for the salvation of men, this is really the doctrine from 
whose encouragements all Christian zeal must derive its inspi- 
rations. For feeling that he is " a co-worker with Cnrist," 
the great shepherd seeking lost souls, whose purpose of love 
must be accomplished, that " he see of the travail of his soul 
and be satisfied," the Christian then can go forward, undis- 
mayed by all obstacles and discouragements. Observe how 
Paul, immediately after this triumphant demonstration, filled 
with burning zeal declares, " I could wish myself accursed for 
my brethren. My heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel 
is that they might be saved." 

I may add in conclusion that this is the view of the gospel, 
which furnishes the strongest ground of appeal to sinners, 
crying, " now is the accepted time ! Behold now is the day 
of salvation." If your salvation were a thing within reach of 
your own unaided power, then we might feel less concern at 
seeing you going on to the grave in impenitence. For at any 
moment you could exert your power and secure salvation.. 


But seeing you helpless and able to " work out jour own 
salvation," only because it " is God that worketh in you 
to will and to do of his own good pleasure," — we are alarmed 
to see^you so heedless of this call through obedience to which 
alone you can obtain the needful help. spend not your 
energies, in trying to penetrate the dark cloud, that hovers 
around the lofty summit of this theology, and shrouds from 
mental view the secret purposes of God. Behold the golden 
link of the pendent chain that gleams here along the level of 
time — this call of the gospel. Seize hold of that, here and 
now, that you may be drawn up — justified — to be eternally 
crlorified ! 



II Tim. i. — 10. — But is now made manifest by the appearing of our 
Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hatli brought life 
and immortality to light through the gospel. 

I Coit. XV.-22, 53, 54. — For as in Adam all die, even so in Clu'ist shall 
all be made alive. 

For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put ou 
immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and 
this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pas? 
the saying that is written. Death is swallowed up in victory. 

I take the secona passage cited as exegetic of the first. 
As the one declares that Jesus Christ revealed the doctrine 
of immortality, and abolished death — reduced it to zero in the 
formula expressive of the soul's existence — so the other 
declares the mode in which this immortality is both secured 
and revealed. That it is by the connection of the race with 
Christ in his resurrection, as with xVdam in his death ; and, 
consequently, it is not merely the soul that is immortal ; but, 
the power of death over the body being abohshed, " the 
mortal shall put on immortality." 

'' Broil gilt life and immortalit)j to liglit through the gospel.'*^ 
At the very enunciation of this proposition, in its broad 
sense, rises a many-voiced clamour, not only from the gospel- 
rejecting schools of philosophy, but from within the confines 
of the Church itself. " Was not immortality brought to light 
before Jesus came ?" asks the gospel according to the 
classics. " May not the doctrine of immortality be demon- 
strated independent of the revelation of Jesus Christ ?" asks 
the gospel according to College. 


I propose to examine ])riefly : First ^ the grounds on which 
this argument for immortaUty, outside the gospel, is made to 
rest by the ancient and the modern schools. Second^ In con- 
trast with this, the grounds on which the gospel rests the 
argument. And, Thirds the gospel teaching concerning the 
nature of the life and immortality. 

I. — The notion floats, very vaguely indeed, but very gene- 
rally, in the minds of our classically trained young men, that 
Socrates and Plato demonstrated, and Cicero, after them, 
expounded so fully the doctrine of the immortality of the soul, 
that little was left to be done by the gospel of Jesus on that 
subject. Therefore it seems to them to border on the extra- 
vagance of enthusiasm that the Apostle should thus claim 
that Jesus brought immortality to light^ as though men had 
not heard and taught the doctrine of immortality before. But 
admitting, for the sake of argument, that Socrates and Plato 
had reasoned out, ever so conclusively, the doctrine of the 
endless existence of the soul, it cannot be claimed by their 
most enthusiastic admirers that they established a " life and 
immortality" so clearly as to " abolish death," — that great 
unnatural fact — ^by setting before men hopes so glorious as to 
make the matter of the death of the body practically insigni- 
ficant in their view. And, in the next place, the claim set 
up for Socrates, Plato and Cicero in this matter is much 
higher than the facts actually warrant. Any one, not content 
with admiring these philosophers on the basis of mere second- 
hand knowledge, must know this. Looking at the facts, 
rather than the poetry of the matter, it will be found that 
there is no ground for that excess of admiration which prefers 
Socrates to Jesus, Plato to John, and Cicero to Paul. For 
neither of these philosophers ever claimed to have proved 
a practical immortality, which one should greatly care for. 
Looking into the logic of the matter, it will be found that 
what they did undertake to prove, they rested upon such 


grounds as no intelligent man would be willing to rest his 
argument upon in anv case of practical importance. 

In the celebrated discussion of this question in Plato's 
Phacdo, Socrates in prison is represented as resting the 
argument, in chief, on the three points. First, the universal 
conviction of mankind that, after death, the soul exists in 
Hades ; which argument he weakens rather than strengthens 
by his suggestion of the dogma of universal dualism, that 
contraries beget contraries — as darkness light, so death life, 
&c. Second, the dogma that all knowledge is reminiscence, 
and the ideas suggested by objects of sense are merely 
recalled as having existed in the soul before ; and therefore 
as the soul existed before the body, so it, probably, shall exist 
after it. Third, that the soul being uncompounded, cannot 
be dissolved as the body is, and therefore must continue to 
exist. Now, aside from the many beautiful suggestions in 
the details of the argument, it is very manifest, that, beyond 
the fact of the general impression among mankind of their 
immortality, there cannot possibly be framed an argument on 
such a platform that could convince anybody, in any degree, 
beyond the conviction already felt from the instinctive 
impressions of his nature. And, indeed, as a practical proof 
Socrates himself did not seem to rely upon it ; since we find 
him saying to his judges, '' To die is one of two things : either 
the soul is annihilated, or it passes into some other state. 
If death is a sleep in which the sleeper has no dream, then 
death would be a wonderful gain. But if death is a removal 
to another state, and ivhat is said he true, that all the dead 
are there, what greater blessing," &c. Divesting this classic 
gospel of its romance, thus, it will be perceived that even if 
the Apostle in this saying, " brought life and immortality to 
light," had Socrates, Plato and Cicero distinctly in mind, he 
had no call to vary the statement in the least. 

It may bo important, however, by way of dispelling the too 


common delusion on this subject, to show further, not onlj 
that reason unenlightened by revelation did not, but in the 
nature of the case could not, demonstrate an immortaUtj 
which could aiford practical comfort to the spirit of man ; a 
" life" as well as an immortalitj. 

If even it were granted that the certainty of a future 
existence had been established by philosophy, with a clearness 
greatly in advance of the native impressions of the common 
mind, that would establish neither a blissful immortality to 
be hoped for by all, nor a retribution whose discriminating 
award should secure it to a part. Leaving out of view, for 
the present, every other element than that claimed to have 
been proved — the existence of the soul after death, such 
existence of a human soul, as now constituted, must be noth- 
ing else than an immortal hell. 

Every one knows the oppressiveness of time itself to the 
human spirit, when, in utter vacuity of thought, the progress 
of time, at every moment, is distinctly noted. Who that 
has been compelled in utter listlessness to watch the move- 
ment of the hand of the clock dial for a few hours, is not 
ready to define pleasure as that wdiich causes time to pass 
unnoted ? If the world's tyrants could control the move- 
ments of the mind as they can those of the body, herein would 
they have found a method of torture beyond all the horrors 
of rack, and fire and faggot. They need only doom their 
victims to. sit for years, and mentally note each second as it 
passes. Conceive, then, of such a soul on the threshold of 
the immortal existence which Plato has demonstrated for it — 
mere naked existence — contemplating the eternal prospect ! 
In the body it could '' kill time," but how shall it kill 
eternity ? Devise, if you can, some measure of the progress 
of eternity analogous to our measurement of time, in order to 
impress more definitely and distinctly this point upon your 
mind. To measure time we begin with the movement of the 


pendulum ])y the earth's attraction ; next by the movement of 
the earth on its axis ; next by the movement of the earth 
in its orbit. Enlarging now these familiar measures, we may 
conceive, according to our astronomers, of another cycle, 
measured by the movement of our sun with his system around 
some other sun in the remote depths of space, compared with 
which all the circuits that earth has made since time bea;an 
until time shall end, are but as a point of time measured by 
hundredths of a second. And yet when this soul shall have 
noted each moment of all this cycle, it is, as compared with 
what is to come, but a single tick of the pendulum, to be 
sixty times repeated, till a minute of eternity is measured ! 
Conceive, again, of this remote sun with all his systems 
revolving in an orbit of almost infinite sweep around some 
remoter central sun, in the depths of immensity, whose 
circuit shall represent the minutes, and these minutes to be 
watched — every moment of finite time in them — to the 
sixtieth repetition of the circuit through immensity ; and at 
last the clock of eternity strikes one : but this only to begin 
again the movement and repeat interminably the same suc- 
cession of cycles in the new hour again to be noted by thi^ 
soul still existing. But the effort to grasp the notion, even 
by feeblest approximation, is vain. See you not that if 
nothing but existence is demonstrated, Plato has demon- 
strated only an eternal burden to the soul. 

But, next, add to this element of existence, in the inheri- 
tance of the soul, the co-existence of conscience with it as 
another element, and you have only multiplied the horrors an 
hundredfold. For it cannot be claimed that any soul ever 
having lived here goes into that state of existence pure, and 
with a conscience absolutely clear ; and the existence there 
must be consciously under the eye of a pure God. True, 
this soul has existed under the eye of a pure God here, for 
"" in Him we live and move and have our being." But other 


objects of consciousness veiled the sight of God ; and an atmos- 
phere of mercy and grace here softens and reflects the glorious 
brightness. Well does the Apostle say, however, "Our 
God is a consuming fire," when conceived of by an impure 
3oul, apart from his mercy and grace as manifested in the 
present state. Just as our sun is the glory and joy of crea- 
tion, while shining through an atmosphere which softens the 
light from above and reflects it in a thousand forms of 
beauty : but the atmosphere removed from the earth, this 
sun would become but a glaring fire-spot in a single point of 
the heavens, and all the universe else as a pall of pitchy 
blackness. So we must conceive of an impure soul removed 
from the spiritual atmosphere of the present state of long 
sufiering and grace, which reflects the milder radiance of 
God. The sinful inheritors of that endless existence must 
see God only as the " consuming fire," in all the intolerable 
brightness of the sun in heaven without an atmosphere, in 
the midst of a universe become the blackness of darkness for 
ever ! 

And as we now proceed to add to these two elements of 
eternal existence and the co-existence of a moral nature in 
an impure soul, the other element of the passions inherent in 
the soul itself, we but add infinitely at each step to the hor- 
rors of that estate, not of '^ life and immortality " but of 
death and immortality. 

Nor can reason, unaided by revelation demonstrate, from the 
existence of a general conviction in mankind of a retribution 
as well as an existence in the future, any such theory of retri- 
bution as may relieve the foregoing difficulties. For, admit- 
ing that the existence in a future state is certain, and that 
men generally have an impression that the future state is 
retributive, with reference to character here ; still, the two 
cannot be logically connected^ on the theory of the immor- 
tality of the soul merely. Thus, you argue, " I feel that I am 


not wholly material, nor to perish with my material part, and 
am conscious of some sort of capacity for immortal existence.'* 
Very well. You argue further, '* I am conscious moreover 
of certain moral impressions that suggest the thought of re- 
wards to virtue in that future existence which have not heen 
bestowed here, and of penalties for vice, which have failed to 
be visited here. Very well. But now here interposes a 
difi5culty. You are so constituted also as to feel that the 
awards of virtue and vice should be rendered to the same 
being who did the virtuous and the vicious acts. But death 
coming in dissolves this compound being who committed the 
acts, by strij^ping the mortal from the immortal, and sends 
the immortal part a purely spiritual, and therefore a different 
order of being, to stand at the bar and receive the award. 
So that the being that receives the reward is not even the 
same order of being that did the virtuous act : nor is the 
being on whom is visited the penalty of vice the same order 
of being as he who did the sin. Without some other fact to 
constitute a nexus between the idea of a future state and the 
idea of retribution, no skill of philosophy can bridge this 
chasm in the logic. And the discovery of such a chasm 
must naturally lead to the suspicion that the previous con- 
ceptions have been mistakes, mere dreams of the fancy. 

As a matter of fact, moreover, the utmost extent of the 
argument of the classic philosophy is to prove that the soul 
onay exist, because it has a capacity for endless existence. 
But this is very far from proving that it shall exist. 
Socrates argued that the soul is uncompounded, and, there- 
fore, dissolves not as the body, and may continue to exist. 
But while the soul is an uncompounded existence, it is yet a 
dependent existence, and therefore, if God please, may cease 
to exist. God need only stop the out-goings of life from 
himself, and in a moment he would be alone in the universe. 
It is therefore possible that the human spirit should be 


c[uenchabl'j. iVnd when we take into the account that it is 
an impure spirit, and Godless, the possibihtj, apart from the 
revelation of Jesus, becomes even a probabihtj. For, seeing 
how the impure, reckless and depraved must be excladed 
from the purer society here, and remembering that the con- 
sequences of contagion there, in the presence of God, where 
the slightest taint of impurity must sluice the fountain of life 
and hoist the flood-gates of horror and pollution.^ does not the 
probability seem to be all on the side of the siiggestion that 
Gt)d should quench such spirits as a protection to his moral 
universe ? 

The assumption, therefore, that the classic philosophy 
either did estal^hsh or could estabhsh the doctrino of immor- 
tality upon any satisfactory basis, is purely a delusion. Ifc 
neither demonstrated the certainty of a future existence 
against the contrary probabilities, so as to add in any degree 
to the strength of the popular convictions ; nor did anything 
to .satisfy the popular curiosity concerning the retributive 
character of the future state ; nor, even if it had done both, 
could, it possibly have demonstrated a blissful immortality, 
but oiily an immortal hell. 

It is,jjerliaps, a matter of still mor^ practical importance 
to examine into the claim of what I have called the gospel 
according to college, to be able to establish so clearly the 
doctrine of immortahty, as to render the tea<3hing3 of Jesus 
on that subject unnecessary- Perhaps, in regard to no other 
article of the Glu*istian faith, does there prevail, among the 
more intelligent class of the people, so vague and obscure 
notions, as in regard to the nature of the Christian teachings on 
the subject of immortality, and their relation to the teacliings 
of natural religion on fehe same subject. This arises, in large 
part, from the confused and inadequate notions of the doctrme 
picked up in the schools — all^ well enough in themselve? 
perhaps — which arc unconsciously substituted for the teach 


mgs of Christ and his Apostles concerning immortality. The 
question ha\ing been discussed by the thinkers of all ages, 
and a favourite subject of thought and speech among the 
people, as well as among the learned, these reasonings of the 
leaders of human thought, gathered out of the books of the 
schools, become the groundwork of the popular faith instead 
of the Gospel. And most dangerous is the delusion, which 
prcvails extensively, that the Gospel did not so much origin- 
ally reveal to men the doctrine of a future estate, as improve 
upon the discoveries of natural reason , and that the improve 
ment consisted chiefly in a more effective mode of presenting 
the doctrine to the masses, and, perhaps, adding a little to 
the force of the argument of the learned professor in the 
lecture room. The prevalence of this notion in the popular 
mind, opens the way for that singularly treacherous infidelity 
of our age, which instead of vv^aging the open warfare of the 
infidelity of the last century, steals into the Churcli itself, in 
learned looking toga, solemn looking gown and ])auds. Epis- 
copal lawn and sleeves, or sanctimonious white cravat, to 
undermine, by its various arts, the foundations of the 
popular faith. First, it proposes merely to relieve the gos- 
pel of some of the difficulties which a narrow-minded era of 
interpretation has put upon it ; next, to fashion its interpre- 
tation to meet the demand from the " advanced thouoiht " 
above, or from the Jacobinical pliilanthropism of popular 
opinion below ; and, next, to find a higher, more spiritual, 
and less external gospel, outside the gospel of Jesus alto- 
gether, fomided upon the nature of man. The masses, even 
of Christian people, under the illusion that on many topics of 
religion, especially this of the future state, natural religion 
has a sort of concurrent jurisdiction with the gospel of Jesus, 
are captivated Avith the idea of a more philosophical religion 
which shall catch all the learned and great men '-with guile ;'' 
and discover not the cheat, save as some poor earnest soul. 


sorrow-stricken, and with guilty conscience, attempts to find 
a Saviour in the New Evangel ; but comes back wailing, 
" They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where 
they have laid him." 

Now a very simple analysis and classification of the facts 
and arguments, on this subject, which lie within the compass 
of reason and natural religion, must satisfy any intelligent 
man that, whatever else there may be in them, there is 
nothing upon which he can rest a practical faith in immor- 
tahty ; and that he needs, just as much as though the phil- 
osophers had never reasoned, the revelation from Jesus of life 
and immortahty. 

Beyond all doubt it is true that mankind, as a mass, have 
vindicated for themselves the claim to some sort of existence 
beyond the life that now is. The learned and the unlearned 
alike, in all ages, have agreed on the main question, however 
they may have differed in the detail, and in the clearness 
of their utterance on the subject. As widely as modern 
travel has investigated human opinion under every clime ; 
as far as recorded history and tradition carry us ; and even 
so far as we have been able to interpret the mysterious 
records of the earliest civilizations of the earth, on the 
Euphrates and the Nile, we find traces of the conviction 
that, somehow, and in some form, the human soul exists 
beyond the present earthly state. The mysterious oracles of 
the priests, directing the popular religious convictions : the 
strains of the poets that give utterance to the popular con- 
ceptions ; the grave words of the greatest and best of the 
leaders and heroes of the people ; and the profoundest 
speculations of the philosophers seem here all to unite in 
their testimony. 

And, so far as it goes, this testimony is concurrent mth 
that of the " Holy men of old, who spake as they were 
moved by the Holy Ghost." To a certain extent Confucius 


and Zoroaster are here at one -with Moses ; 'Pythagoras at one 
with Solomon ; IlesiocI and Homer, with David and Isaiah ; 
Socrates, with Jesus; Plato, with John ; Cicero, with Paul. 
And so in all succeding ages. The creed of the barbarous 
Goth and Visigoth, touching the fact of a future existence, 
was at one with that of his victim the semi-christianized, 
effeminate Italian ; the creed of the Moslem "with that of the 
antagonist Spaniard ; the creed of the Buddhist with that of 
his conqueror, the Briton. 

But when we proceed now to enquire for the origin of this 
singularly universal conviction, it will be found that, contrary 
to the current vague notions of the subject, it cannot be 
traced either to any suggestions of external nature, or to the 
arsruments of the learned thinkers of the world. It is not 
from external nature, for all her analogies, instead of hinting 
an everlasting life, suggest decay, dissolution and death. 
All life, from the lowest form of vegetable, up to the highest 
forms of animal life, is seen to be quenched, and its physical 
organisms are dissolved, returning to the inanimate dust. 
Nor does the highest intellectual and moral life avail to lift 
its possessor above the doom of the meanest reptile that 
creeps upon the earth. It is not, therefore, in accordance 
with the analogies of external nature, but rather in spite of 
them, that humanity is possessed of this ineradicable convic. 
tion that its inner life shall not die. 

Nor is this general conviction the result of faith in the 
reasonings and conclusions of the few profound minds that 
lead the thought of the people. For when these leaders 
have had occasion to reason of the matter, it has not been in 
the way of original suggestion or of positive argument, but 
rather in the way of critical and polemic argument — based 
upon the general convictions of mankind — against the excep- 
tional, eccentric, sceptical minds who have pretended to 
dissent from the general belief. 


Nor can this general conviction have originated among 
people unenlightened by revelation, in any tradition derived 
from the recorded revelation of God. For it will be found 
that the inspired writers, no more than the philosophers of hea- 
thenism and natural religion, undertook to demonstrate, as a 
new truth, the doctrine of immortality to the masses. Like 
the philosophers, they everywhere assume the prevalence of 
such a conviction in the human soul. And it is one of the 
very purposes of this revelation from Heaven to expound for 
men this paradox of his nature, how he, a mortal, should have 
these instincts and impulses of an immortal nature within him. 

This is, probably, the true statement of the case, philoso- 
phically considered, — that the tendencies to such a belief in 
an immortal existence grow out of the very structure of the 
soul itself; or from some original instincts imbedded in its 
very constitution. Just as the geologists tell us of the traces 
of the forms of organized life — ferns — trees — reptiles — ani- 
mals, which must have existed anterior to the rock itself, and 
have been imbedded in it in the process of its formation. So 
there are found in the depths of man's spiritual nature, these 
intuitions, as traces of another life, in another era than the 
present, which at once suggest to the soul these mysterious 
hints of another phase of existence than this ; and would 
seem logically to suggest to the theologian, as the material 
l^henomena suggest to the geologist, the idea of some great 
convulsion which has wrecked an anterior phase of life. 

In addition to such intuitions and impressions derived from 
the original law of his nature, the logical processes of the 
human mind tend to develop and strengthen these impressions, 
in spite of the analogies of external nature which suggest the 
contrary. For man soon learns to differentiate himself, the 
thinking personal being, from the mere physical nature with 
which he is connected. And once he learns to make the 
inference, '' I think, therefore I am not the dead matter nor 


the mere physical existence," he finds it no difficult logical 
leap to the other inference, " As I think and therefore I am, 
aside from the material nature, so I may continue to think 
when the material organism is dissolved, and therefore I shall 
continue to be." For nothing is more natural than that man, 
conccivinii; of himself as a self-conscious bein^, thinkinii;, feel- 
ing, and ^Yilling apart from the unconscious matter, should 
conceive also of the notion that his existence is that of a per- 
petually self-conscious being whose life dissolves not with the 
physical organism which it animates. 

Now on the back of this comes the fact of a mysterious 
moral nature in man, perpetually referring his feelings, words 
and acts to a God above him ; thereby leading to the sugges- 
tion of some power from without, moving upon him as subject 
to it, and causing him to anticipate not merely a perpetual 
existence, but an existence retributive in its nature in reference 
to the present. But how these two conceptions of existence 
and retribution are to be connected, so as to make the retri- 
bution upon the purely spiritual creature a just recompense 
of reward for sin done by the compound existence of a differ- 
ent order of being, reason alone has no means of determiiiing. 

Such in general are the sources of argument and the 
reasonings to which a true philosophy would trace this 
general conviction of an endless existence. And on such 
grounds as these true philosophy must reject not only the 
coarse materialism of the atheist, but also the wild dreams of 
the pantheist concerning the absorption of the soul in the 
great soul of the universe ; as a mere disguised, poetic form 
of the atheism which holds the annihilation of the soul. 
Manifestly, the claim of our modern pantheists to have both 
believed and proved the soul to be deathless is a miserable 
sham. For what else than practical annihilation is it when 
the self-conscious, thinking, willing, individual being is dis- 
solved as a personality and merged into the soul of the uni- 


Terse ? On the pantheistic principle it might just as readily 
be proved that the body is quite as immortal as the soul. For 
the body does not die in the sense of annihilation ; it is dis- 
solved merely, and merged in the matter of the universe, 
out of which it was fashioned at first. And if it is not the 
death of the spirit when it ceases to be an individual spirit 
and merges into the one great soul of the universe, why is it 
any more a death of the individual body when it dissolves 
: and merges in the universe of matter ? 

But while, on grounds of reason and natural religion, the 
atheist and pantheist may indeed be effectually silenced, yet 
we must remember that it is one thing to show what is not 
the truth, and altogether another thing to declare and estab- 
lish practical truths on" which men may confidently rest any 
important interest. For any such purpose this college gospel 
is as utterly useless as the classic gospel before considered. 
Nor is the professor in the lecture room, in any true sense, or 
in any degree, a co-ordinate teacher of immortality with the 
minister of Jesus Christ. 

II. You are now ready to ask — " What then has the gos- 
pel done for the doctrine of immortality, — if it have neither 
originally demonstrated it, nor yet confirmed and enlarged 
the teaching of philosophy concerning it ? Much every way. 
Nay, I will say, all^ every way ; but, chief of all, in enun- 
ciating, and practically demonstrating, this truth, that not 
merely the spirit of man shall live beyond the present life, 
but that the '' mortal must put on immortality," also. For 
you will perceive that, in the Apostle's argument extending 
through this fifteenth chapter of Corinthians, and of which 
these words form the triumphant conclusion, we have a full 
-and elaborate exposition of all these mysterious and other- 
wise paradoxical intuitions of humanity. 

The substance of the Apostle's exposition is this: That 
'though the creature man, — a compound being, the junction 


of angel and animal in the same bein;:; — was constructed 
upon a platform of endless existence for the compound 
nature ; yat, since the original nature was constituted, a 
huge moral convulsion has transpired wrecking the ori<^inal 
order of life. " In Adam all die ;" for as the head of this 
new order of being he represented the whole order. But, 
on the other hand, this death has not been fully accepted as 
the final condition of the creature ; for, immediately upon the 
wreck, a mediator Christ interposed, and hath undertaken to 
restore out of the race a body of people for himself; and, to 
that end, connected himself with it, as a second head to re- 
deem. " As," therefore, '^ in Adam all die, so in Christ all 
are made alive." As by the relation to the first head, 
Adam, every creature that is born, is born to die, under the 
sentence of the curse ; so, by virtue of the relation to the 
second head, Christ, every creature that dies, must die to rise 
again. And rise again, not a different order of being — pure 
spirit — but rise the same compound order of being physical 
and spiritual as originally made. Hence the separation of 
the physical from the spiritual at death, is but a mere 
incident of the creature's existence : a mere temporary sus- 
pension of the bodily functions to the spirit, analogous some- 
what to the suspension of the intellectual and spiritual 
functions to the physical nature during infancy. Tlie sum. 
total of the eternal existence shall be according to the ori- 
ginal type, both physical and spiritual, a compound nature ; 
the death is a mere incident, and its period reduces to zeroy 
— a not assignable quantity in the formula expressive of the 
whole existence. It is practically " abolished," therefore, in 
the gospel theory. 

" In Christ all are made alive." The gospel theory, as 
stated by the Apostle in this argument, is that, besides the 
peculiar special relation in which Christ stands to that part of 
the race which is actually redeemed and restored by him, he 


stands also in a very important relation to the whole humanity 
whose nature he assumed. In dying and rising again he 
stood, in an important sense, as representative of the race, 
while, in a special sense, he stood as the representative of his 
redeemed people. As every one born of Adam is born to die, 
because concerned ia the disobedience of Adam, the repre- 
sentative head ; so, also, because concerned in the obedience 
of Christ the representative head of humanity, every one that 
■dies, must die to rise again. There is no need of any cautious 
limitations of such universals as this — " So in Christ all are 
made alive," or of the Apostle's other saying, that Christ, "by 
the grace of God tasted death for every man," — in order to 
make them harmonize with such other declarations as, in 
accordance with obvious facts, represent Christ as dying for 
his elect people ; and that only a part of the race are actually 
redeemed. For besides the link that connects Christ specially 
with his people to secure their salvation, there is also a link 
which connects him with the race at large, so as to secure 
such movement of the Holy Spirit upon the fallen nature 
generally as to keep ahve the religious consciousness, and 
prevent the race from sinking into a mere brutish and devilish 
animalism under its subjection to Satan ; and so as to secure 
also the resurrection of all who die, to be reconstituted 
the compound nature in which man was originally created. 
In a most important sense, therefore, the saying is true to the 
■widest and most absolute extent, — that " Jesus tasted death 
for every man ;" and that "• in Christ all are made alive." His 
resurrection was the resurrection of our nature, in so far that 
it becomes a law of the nature that it cannot remain under 
the power of death. It is not by an essential law of the 
nature, in the sense of natural religionism, that we are 
immortal and cannot cease to exist ; but because, by virtue 
of our relation to Christ, we are ponstituted immortal both as 
to soul and body. And if there never had been one sinner 


-who would accept his mediation ; if the earth never had con- 
tained any but rejectors of Christ, scoffers and infidels ; still, 
by virtue of the work of Jesus Christ, the resurrection of all 
would have been secured, though the salvation of none had 
been secured. The despisers of his grace, because they share 
the nature with him, shall rise with him, and have an imperish- 
able existence though it be rising to shame and everlasting 
contempt. As the untold myriads of the race were repre- 
sented in the act of his rising from the dead, therefore the 
earth must give up its dead, and the sea the dead that are in 
it, and they shall join him risen to be judged and ruled by 
him. Thus the Apostolic argument finds the basis of an 
f immortality, not as in the inherent nature of the soul itself, 
which is a dependent existence, and therefore if God please 
may terminate, but in the connection of the race with a 
Redeemer who has secured the immortality not only of the 
soul but of the whole compound nature — physical as well as 

You will perceive at a glance how such a theory of 
immortality furnishes the clue to all those puzzles which the 
classical and the college gospels find too hard for them. 

We can understand now why these original intuitions of 
immortality are found imbedded in the nature of man as the 
geologist finds the traces of a primeval life in the rocks. The 
nature as originally constructed has been convulsed, upheaved, 
— " In Adam all died." And as the physical life now upon 
the earth's surface is nourished from the grave of an anterior 
life whose traces are still found, so this inspired science tells 
us that the spiritual life which now exists is nourished as it 
were, from the grave of an anterior spiritual life which this 
moral convulsion heaved into chaos. 

This gospel theory expounds also the meaning of those 
impressions, ineradicable from his nature, of a future existence, 
as though an intrinsic necessity of such a nature, while at the 


same time reason must argue that, as a dependent existence, 
the life is quenchable, and, as a sinful soul, the probabilities 
are that God will quench out its life as a safeguard to the 
purity of his universe. When man has carried himself thus 
by his native impressions to the verge of eternity, and there is 
met with the sceptical doubts of reason, and stands shivering 
in turn at the prospect, not knowing whether he shall be per- 
mitted to spring forward, as his impulses would lead him, in 
the flight through immensity, or whether, on account of his sin, 
and as a just doom, he shall be blotted out of existence ; just 
then this gospel of life and immortality comes to announce to 
him, from the Father of Spirits, that, by covenant with the 
Mediator representing humanity, the irrevocable decree of 
God is that the spark kindled by the breath of life breathed 
into him shall never go out nor wax dim. Therefore these 
intuitions of immortality and the hopes founded upon them are 
just, notwithstanding the doubts of reason to the contrary. 

So, again, with the difficulty in connecting and reconciling 
the intuitions of future existence and the co-existing impres- 
sions of the moral nature concerning a retribution, while, 
according to reason, the retribution would seem to be visited, 
contrary to the natural sense of justice, upon another being 
purely spiritual for the sins done by a being of diflferent order, 
a compound being with both soul and body. This gospel 
doctrine again confirms the correctness of both the intuitive 
impressions against the doubts of reason ; and harmonises all 
by revealing that it is the mortal which puts on immortality, 
and therefore the same being — the compound being that did 
the sin here — shall receive the retribution there. 

This gospel is needed therefore, if for notliing else, to 
expound to humanity the paradoxes of its nature which philo- 
sophy could not expound. And herein you have but another 
illustration of the fact that a .revelation from heaven was 
needed, not only to explain the mystery of God, but also the 


mysteries of Avhicli man finds his nature so full. That the 
bible mui?t be the most human of books as -well as a divine 
book ; and furnish an articulate utterance for these strange, 
confused instincts of the spiritual nature. Not without reason, 
therefore, does Jesus make this the grand practical evidence 
of the divinity of his gospel, that it comes as bread of life 
exactly suited to feed their hunger, and as a water of life to 
quench the thirst of the soul. 

But, that it thus expounds the cause and nature of these 
impressions of a future state, is very far from being all or even 
the chief of what the gospel does for the doctrine of immor- 
tality. All this is but the preliminary preparation, and lay- 
ing the foundation for teaching the true theory and functions 
of immortality. The key to the whole gospel theory lies just 
in this proposition enunciated by the Apostle, — " this 'i aortal 
must put on immortality." The prominent features of this 
gospel theory founded upon this fact, are set forth in these 
propositions : 

First, that the immortality of our nature rests not so much 
upon the intrinsic nature of the soul itself, as upon the office 
work of Jesus Christ, the Mediator, for the race and the 
Redeemer of his elect ; 

Second, that this immortality, as to its nature, consists in the 
restoration of the humanity to its original type at creation, a 
compound nature by reason of the junction of the physical 
and the spiritual in the same being. 

Third, that the mode of this existence is exhibited to us 
as an actual fact by the riaode of the existence of Jesus after 
his resurrection — he being the '' first fruits of them that 

Fourth, that therefore the redemption by Christ includes 
the restoration of the physical nature of all that die — a 
*' spiritual body" springing from the natural body as its 
germinal seed — as well as the restoration of the spiritual 



nature of those that are saved, bj perfecting the growth of 
the " everlasting life" implanted in the soul here. 

Fifth, that therefore the humanity, just as it is here on 
earth, only wholly purified or wholly depraved, shall inhabit 
eternity. The mixed state, existing here under the reign of 
grace, shall cease ; and the depravity gathered to itself con- 
stitutes the everlasting death ; while the purified shall be 
gathered to itself and constitute the '^ life and immortahty." 

Compare now, for a moment, these soUd and subhme truths 
with the philosophic shadows and poetic dreams of the classic 
and college gospels ; their dreamy cloud palaces shifting over 
head, with this actual Jerusalem city of God come down out 
of heaven ; their feeble eSforts to become the articulate voice 
of the unconscious prophecies of humanity in its longings, with 
this great utterance of great substantive historic fact ; their 
attempts to gather up the shadowy notions that floated down 
the stream of generations, with this actual incarnation of them 
all ! And thus will you be able to conceive something of the 
cool effrontery of this philosophic gospel which proposes to «s 
to set aside the gospel of life and immortality, and let it 
devise for us a more scientific and better reasoned gospel. 
That would have us remove from the solid foundation of 
Jesus and the Apostles, that they may build our faith upon the 
foundation of baseless Platonic and Socratic dreams ! That 
would put back the stone to the door of the sepulchre which, 
for four thousand years, humanity had been pushing at in vain 
till Jesus came ; put it back now, just to see how philosophy 
could roll it away if it were there ! 

No ! No ! brethren, you cannot afford that experiment ! 
It hath cost too much to make the first experiment in the blood 
and agonies of him who, as our representative, burst the bars of 
death that we might shout " Death, where is thy sting?" 
Even if, as the philosophy assures us, the thing could be done 
in a way to relieve the world of some of its superstitions and 


fimcies, and relieve the gospel from the sneers of tUe philoso- 
phic wits, still the new gospel of tlie " -wise and prudent'* 
might be a hidden gospel to the babes. As practical men wo 
saj, ''let well enough alone.'" 

" Better to bear those ills we have 

Than fly to others that we know not of." 

IIT. But the fullness and completeness of the gospel will 
appear, in still more remarkable contrast, if we proceed to 
the details of its teaching, and the manner of its teaching, 
concerning the " life and immortality," as a continuance of 
the life which now is. These details relate to the life, 
considered simplj as a life ; and the blessedness of that life, 
both as a negatioii of all evil and the fullness of all positive 

First, the manner of the gospel, in its teaching, is to seek 
a foundation on which to rear the structure in that fundamental 
law of our nature which leads us to attach importance to lift ; 
to have a regard for the living thing which we cannot attach 
to dead matter, except as imagination clothes it in the 
attributes of hfe. We feel a nearness of relation to the living: 
plant above the unorganized matter around it; to the insect 
that creeps upon the plant, above that ^VQ feel for the plant 
itself ; for the animal of higher order more than for the insect ; 
for the intelligent human creature, more than for the animal ; 
for the high intellectual human life, more than for the lower 
and unintellectual ; and for the moral life, again, more rever- 
ence than for the merely intellectual. Now the gospel, taking 
fast hold of this law of our minds, vrhen it would convey to 
us some notion of its transcendant blessing, declares it to be 
a life above all these, — a spiritujil, and everlastmg life. " He 
that believcth hath everlasting life." " I am that bread of 
life." '^ A well of water springing up unto everlasting life.' 
— These forms of speech are, more than any other, the fav- 
ourite gospel expressions for the redemption which it olfers. 


Accordingly in the gospel representations of the estate of the 
immortality of the redeemed, its purpose is to show that in 
this immortality provision is made for all the forms of this life, 
whether the sentient, the intellectual, the emotional^ the moral, 
or the spiritual life. 

For the sentient, or lowest form of life, not only is provision 
made in the restoration of an immortal hody in junction with 
the immortal soul, but in a "new heaven and new earth'* 
prepared for it. And as in the life here this connection of 
the spirit with matter is the source of much of its pleasurable 
enjoyment, so in the "life and immortahty" that form of 
enjoj^ment shall not cease. Such I take to be the meaning 
of the intimation of a new earth wherein dwelleth righteous- 
ness ; of the city with its walls of jasper; of the crystal 
stream springing, as a river of light, from under the throne ; 
of the green fields, shaded by glorious trees that bear the 
luscious fruits ; where the Lamb leads them to drink of the 
river of his pleasures. What other significance have all 
such pictures, than that the sinless joys of which the senses 
are the inlets shall be ministered unto ? That for the 
glorious bodies a new world shall exist over which the light 
of that estate of immortality shall b.e thrown, and kindle it 
into beauty and glory ? Conceive, then, what visions of glory 
shall burst upon the crystal eye restored to the capacity it 
had in a sinless world ! What new enchantments of melody to 
the ear attuned anew ! What witchery of speech to the loosed 
tongue ! In short, what sensations of exquisite delight from 
that restoration when the mortal shall have put on the immor- 
tality in the rest that remaineth for the people of God ! 

But this is the lowest form of life. Higher than all this 
must be the joys of the intellectual life and immortality. 
Here, as saith the Apostle, " we know in part and we prophesy 
in part. But when that which is, perfect is come, then that 
which is in part shall be done away. For now we see 


through a glass darkly; but then face to face." Here 
the intellectual vision can see things only by their shadows ; 
as through a translucent glass, beyond which the shadows 
are ever flitting. But there we shall be admitted within 
the veil to a direct view of God, and knowledge shall 
be intuitive. And the change must of itself vastly enlarge 
the reach of human powers of intelligence. " We shall 
know as we are known," says the Apostle. Now our appre- 
hensions are confused by false notions mingling with the true ; 
then we shall know, as God knows, the true from the false. 
Here our ideas, even when true, are often mere obscure 
glimmerings of the truth ; but there, those clouds will be dis- 
pelled from the mental perceptions which the coming in of sin 
has thrown over the mortal. Here we cannot grasp complex 
ideas by reason of the obscurity of our perceptions and the 
feebleness of our powers ; there, relieved of all such trammel, 
the power of combination shall be immeasurably increased. 
Here the knowledge of the mortal is limited to such of the 
two classes of being, matter and spirit, as exist in our universe ; 
there, being in direct communication with other orders of 
being, the range of our knowledge shall be indefinitely 

And the intellectual nature itself must vastly increase its 
powers, under the new circumstances, restored to the original 
greatness it had when first man was made in the image of 
God. Conceive of the memory, as it passes on eternally, 
gathering ever new stores into its treasury, and losing none 
out through forge tfulness, until its contents shall be vaster 
than all the libraries of the world. Of the powers of associa- 
tion, multiplying suggestions and trains of thought incal- 
culably. Of the imagination, also, gathering all the while its 
images and fanning into a glow its fires, as it passes through 
the various orders of intelligence, and fashions its wonderful 
creations. Of the reason, gaining even new cognitions for its 


premises, and working out, unembarrassed bj untruths, its 
conclusions. Of the executive energy of the will, and the 
reflex influence on the intellect of emotions always holy ! 

xis we pass upward td the still higher emotional life whose 
laws we are less able to analyze, we but the more feel the 
force of the Apostle's declaration, " eye hath not seen nor 
ear heard, neither hath it entered into the mind of man to 
conceive" of the glory of the life and immortality. But if 
we have reasoned correctly from the scripture intimations 
announcing the restoration of the sentient and intellectual 
life, we perceive that, with such a platform of existence, sen- 
tient and intellectual, the emotional nature of humanity must 
then be projected upon such a scale that we have no analogies 
whereby to illustrate it. The ordinary play and ripple of the 
emotions of the heart, in this restored humanity, must, in the 
nature of the case, transcend all epic and all tragic grandeur 
of the mortal state. 

Still less able are we to form adequate conceptions from 
analogies and approximations of the highest of all forms of 
life — the spiritual life in that estate of life and immortality. 
For we see it here only in its feeble manifestations, in per- 
petual struggles for continued existence in the soul, against 
the passions and depravity that naturally have had sway 
therein. Yet we may readily conceive, by contrast, what 
such a life must be when delivered from this bondage. How 
the soul, purified and restored to the full and free play of 
that spiritual life, sustained and cherished now, instead of 
resisted in its action, by all the powers of the other forms of 
life, must attain immediately to inconceivable heights of this 
life. " The pure in heart shall see God," is the expressive 
phrase of the gospel — " see him as he is." The war in the 
members over, all the spiritual energies, unembarrassed and 
untrammelled, are directed to the one object of near approach 
to, and closer communion with, God. " It is not lawful for man 


to utter," saitli the Apostle, the things that belong to that 
life. ''An exceedmg and eternal weight of glory'' is the 
accumulation of terms whereby he would enlarge our ideas of 
it. But our conceptions of the nature of that estate, in all 
forms of life, are materially assisted by various descriptions 
of the blessedness of that life in addition to what is taught of 
the nature of it. For, 

Secondly, the gospel, by most expressive negations, 
furnishes us with many elements from which we may deduce 
something of its nature. It is described as a rest — cessation 
from toil and struggle. And this, in conformity with the 
gospel view of the mortal life as a condition of sin and ruin, 
and consequently of sorrow and spiritual languor and weariness. 
The fundamental conception of " the life and immortality " is 
of an estate from which all that is sinful is separated, antl 
nothing allowed to enter that can disturb the quiet of the soul. 
The chaff hath all been winnowed out, the wheat garnered to 
itself. And there being nothing sinful, either within or with- 
out, there is no more struggle nor fighting the good fight of 
faith. So also the gospel declares, negatively, there shall be 
no more curse. Therefore, an eternal deliverance from all 
reproaches of conscience, and from the dread of God's dis- 
pleasure. " They hunger no more nor thirst any more." AH 
the longings and yearnings, and uneasiness of the mortal 
(State shall cease ; " neither shall the sun light upon them, 
nor any heat." " There shall be no more death," nor " sorrow 
and crying," for " God shall wipe away all tears from their 
eyes." All these arc expressive of the nature of that state 
as a deliverance from every conceivable form of uneasiness 
and disquiet of spirit. 

And to the same <3ffect are all those negations, by figurative 
description, which give rein to the imagination, and invite a 
contemplation through symbols of that estate. " There shall 
be no night there ;" " they need no candle, nor light of the 


sun." The mortal machine needs no longer to be wound up 
bj these alternations between action and repose. There shall 
be nothing to interrupt incessant activity in the service of 
God. The mortal has become like Him whose attribute it is 
that '*he never slumbers nor sleeps," and like the living 
creatures before His throne who ceaae not day and night 
singing " Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was and 
is, and is to come." And, just as it is a perfection of the God- 
head, and of these lofty-created intelligences, that they sleep 
not, so the mortal, in that estate of immortality, shall spring 
forward to take its place among the highest creatures to 
serve and enjoy God without a pause. There shall be no 
night either in any of its figurative senses of darkness and 
ignorance, of affliction and sorrow of heart, of treachery and 
secret crimes. To the mortal in a world of sin, how keen 
must seem this insight into the human nature, and that which 
is attractive to it, in thus negatively describing this immor- 
tality as no sickness with its languor, no sorrow of counten- 
tenance, no death, no stormy passions with its wreck and 
havoc, no cares of life to agitate, no reverses to fill the spirit 
with gloom, no jealousy to trouble friendship, no treachery to 
watch, no evil to struggle against! Verily, this must be a 
divine skill that describes an immortality so precisely to meet 
the desires of humanity. i^iM 

Thirdly. Far from resting in mei^ negations, however, the 
gospel descriptions represent a positive bliss also, displacing the 
idea thus negatived. If they need no light of the sun, it is 
because the " Lord God giveth them light." If they need no 
temple, it is because the " Lord God is the temple thereof." 
All the knowledge which could have been communicated to 
the mortal by means and ordinances will then seem insignifi- 
cant as the light of the candle compared with the sun. The 
universe will be to the immortals one infinite manifestation 
of God. His righteousness and truth, and holiness and 


loving-kindness — all his attributes— will blaze and glow 
throuMi immeasurable space. And the faculties and capaci- 
ties of the immortal shall be equal to the task of compre- 
hending God. No longer gathering conceptions from dim 
shadows and mysterious types, but, having entered into the 
very presence-chamber of Infinite Majesty, the mind shall 
have directly the power of the eye, and gather in truth as 
his eye takes in the scenes of nature. 

I might show you also how this positive bliss is involved in 
the description of it as an " inheritance," as ^' glory and 
honour," as " reward," as a " kingdom," all with reference 
to different aspects of the mortal state, and in contrast with 
it. Time fails, however, for further illustrations of the method 
of the gospel teaching concerning the life and immortality. 
For it is specially important to fix your attention, before 
closing, on the practical bearing of this whole argument upon 
the daily life of a mortal that is thus to put on immortality. 

1. From the forgoing views of this whole subject, you will 
no longer be at a loss to comprehend why the Apostle, in his 
argument in the fifteenth chapter of Corinthians, makes the 
resurrection of Jesus the great key-stone fact of revelation, 
without which '• our preaching is vain, and your faith is vain." 
Nor wdiy, elsewhere in the gospel, this doctrine of the resur- 
rection is made fundamental, and why the Apostles describe 
the substance of their message as " preaching Jesus and the 
resurrection." Not only is the doctrine of the resurrection 
logically, in idea, anterior to the doctrine of justification by 
faith, because the raising of Jesus from the dead is the assur- 
ance to us that God accepted the offering of his obedience 
and death as full s^tisfaction for our sins, so that " lie might 
be just, and yet the jusiifier of him that believe th in Jesus ;" 
but the resurrection, and the carrying the humanity with 
him to the right hand of God, is the fundamental fact on 
which any real faith in our immortaUty must rest, in which 


we find the kej to tlie mysterious instincts of wliicli we are 
conscious, and upon which any doctrine of immortaUty, 
adequate to the comfort of our souls in view of death, can be 

2. You will readily perceive also, from this view of the 
gospel doctrine, that any and every attempt to subvert the 
great truth of the resurrection as an historic fact — no matter 
under what pious disguise, or from what intention — is nothing 
else than simple infidelity, and leading us back to mere 
heathenism. For, as the Apostle declares, " If Christ be not 
risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith also is vain. 
Yea and we are found false witnesses of God, and those 
which arc fallen asleep in Christ are perished." Assuming 
the correctness of our view generally, then nothing can be 
more inexorable than this logic, as any man that can 
appreciate a logical demonstration must see. So far, there- 
fore, from rendering any aid to gospel truth by these classic 
gospels, or college gospels, which claim to establish immor- 
tality for man without any resurrection, there is danger that, 
however well intended, they remove the very foundations of 
the popular faith, and lead men to trust " another gospel, 
which is not another," as the Apostle saith when describing 
the teaching of " some that would pervert the gospel of 
Christ." Set it down in your minds, when tempted by your 
pride to hear tnd ac:out these leci'.iied and scientific gospels 
of immortality, that the most they can do for you is to con- 
firm the testimony which your own inner nature has already 
aSirmed of the probability of a future existence, and on that 
basis reason out for you an immortal hell, not a life and 
immortality. I hardly need remind you, even after what has 
been said, that the whole of that class of bibhcal expositors, 
who employ their ingenuity in so reading the inspired word 
as to make the story of the risen J^sus not fact, but a 
beautiful allegorical or philosophical fiction, whatever may 


be their motive — wlietheT* sincere or insincere, conscious or' 
unconscious — are simply perpetrating a sham upon you, in 
pretending that such interpretations may consist with any 
real faith in Christianity. Bear in mind that the grand 
anti-Christian movement of our day is not open and bold 
attack, but a flank movement to get into possession of the 
citadel of faith which has for near two thousand years proved 
impregnable to the gates of hell. Discovering that humanity 
must have a gospel to satisfy its longings, and that, therefore, 
the assaults of open atheism and deism were unsuccessful 
from disregard of the necessities of humanity, the assault by 
the infidelity of our age is chiefly by strategy— to substitute 
'• another gospel, which is not another," but really no gospel 
at ^\L And the favourite strategy of all is to impose upon 
the people a gospel of Jesus, vjith the part of Jesus omitted. 
There is of course no need of reminding well-grounded ^ 
sober-minded Christian men, of the treachery : but it may be 
important to remind our ardent young men of literary tastes 
and j^ursuits, that if the general ground of the preceding 
exposition be correct, then that seemingly Christian style of 
thought that is now pervading a large portion of our litera- 
ture in every department ; which affects to be too spiritully 
intellectual to accept " the external" religion of the fathers, 
and their common sense readings of the scripture history — is 
but disguised infidelity, whether conscious or unconscious. 
And while it may seem to be Christianity, and to construct an 
attractive form of the gospel for the benefit of literary men, 
yet in the day that sorrow and trouble of conscience shall 
drive you in search of a gospel to rest your souls upon, this 
will surely prove " the baseless fabric of a vision." '' Other 
foundation can no man lay save that is laid in Christ Jesus :" 
howe^^er brilliant the genius, and profound the reasoning 
powers, of him that attempts it. And any foundation that 
pretends to be in Christ Jesus while ignoring his death as 


mi expiation for sin, and his resurrection as the basis of our : 

life and immortality, is but a cheat and a delusion of the : 

iiuman spirit. | 

3. But there are other lessons for the practical life in \ 
this Apostolic view of ^' life and immortality." You will per- \ 
■ceive that in this view the question of immortality is neither 
any curious speculative problem, nor any beautiful poetic 
dream to captivate the imagination : nor any mere sentiment 
to play upon the affections of the heart. It is a question of \ 

I :^tern realities that lie just ahead of us all : and in a few days 

with some — a few months with others — a few years with the i 
youngest will be the one question in which all the transient 

issues and excitements that now absorb us will be swallowed . 

up. It is therefore no mere subject of debate to which you ; 

listen as hearers having no concern, or only a very remote , 

concern. It is a question of life and death — life and immor- ; 

tality, or death and immortality — to every one of you. ; 

4. And it adds to its pressing importance that this is no 
question of the future with which the present has little to do ; 
and which therefore may be left to be settled when the future 
shall become present to us. If merely a question of the end- ; 
less existence of the soul, in another and different order of | 
existence, it might be so. But as it is the present mortal ' 
that is to put on immortality, every man and woman, old and ' 
young, is actually determining each hour what shall be the i 
character of the immortality. The life that now is — this very I 
every-day, unromantic life — wearing away, hour after hour, ' 
is the £i;erminal seed of that immortal life. And " what a ' 
man soweth that shall he also reap. He that soweth to his i 
flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption ; but he that soweth I 
to the spirit shall of the spirit reap life everlasting." So ; 
that every day the character of the immortality is in process \ 
of development. And every day, according as you are \ 
sowing to the flesh, or by God's grace, sowing to the spirit, ' 


is determining, just in that far, whether the mortality shall 
put on an immortality of joy, or an immortality of sorrow. 

5. It is altogether a delusion that it is left to mien's choice 
whether they shall stand in any relation to Christ or not, and. 
whether they shall be judged by his gospel or not. For, as 
we have seen, even the Christ-rejecting sinners of the race,, 
just as much as the sinners who accept his salvation, are 
already in such relation to Christ that his resurrection 
secures their resurrection from the dead ; and therefore also- 
a retribution, in their present nature — rising to life and im- 
mortality or rising to shame and everlasting contempt. And 
however men may say " we will not have this man to reign ^ 
aver us," there is really no choice in the matter, save the- 
question wdiether he shall reign in their heart's affections, as 
the Lamb in the midst of the throne leading them in life 
and immortality, or as the Lamb in the midst of the throne,, 
whose wrath will cause them to cry, in vain, " Rocks fall on 
us, and hills cover us from the face of him that sitteth on the 
throne." The relation of Jesus to us, as head of the race, 
is a matter settled in the counsels of eternity. His relation 
to us as a pardoning and restoring Saviour is the question 
which each must determine for himself. 

G. You will observe that th^ yerj terms in which the 
immortality is set forth, various as they are, all exclude 
alike those hopes of a blissful immortality founded on the 
illusions and dreams on which men at ease in sin are resting 
their hopes. Not only is the immortaHty to spring from the 
" mortal " here as its germinal seed, but all the terms used 
as figures to express the nature of the life and immortality 
imply that the mortal has settled its character. It is a rest. 
Therefore it can be the award only to those weary of the 
struggle with sin ; and with toils in the master's service. It 
is an inheritance. Therefore only for the family of Jesus 
Christ provided for in " the last will and testament " of his- 


TdIoocI ; constituting them heirs of God and joint heirs with 
-Jesus Christ. It is a rev^ard. Therefore conferred upon 
those who have laboured faithfully to receive it. It is ylory 
and honour Therefore properly conferred only upon those 
who have conquered and won tho victory : not to the 
•cowardly, and half-hearted, and double-minded who stood 
aloof from the conflict. It is a* 'kingdoyn, and therefore com- 
posed only of such as have been naturalized in the mortal : 
since otherwise they must remain everlasting aliens. 

Not a term, not a figure of speech, not an argument or 
exposition setting forth the " Hfe and immortahty," but thus 
points to the mortal and proclaims to you — '' Behold now is 
4he day of salvation I" 



EpHESiANS V. 11. — Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest and arise 
from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. 

Seems it a strange and abrupt transition, brethren, that in 
the midst of these plain and homely admonitions concerning 
the duties belonging to the ordinary, every day level of the 
Christian life, here suddenly shoots up this alarum cry 
^' Awake thou that sleepest," as shoots up mount Tabor 
from the plain of Esdraelon ? 

It is because of that tendency of the great Apostle's mind, 
ever absorbed with the two grand generalizations which con- 
stitute the essence of the gospel — man's estate of sin and 
death, and Christ crucified his all-sufficient Saviour — to see 
every other truth in the light of these two and in its rela- 
tions to these two. Hence to him the Christian, primarily, 
is one who hath been awaked from the death of trespasses 
and sins by the grace of God; and all his dangers and 
temptations have their root in his tendency, from the drowsi- 
ness that is upon him, to fall back into the stupor of the death 
sleep again. Hence to the Apostle's view the end and aim 
of all counsels and admonitio-ns is to counteract this tendency, 
and in effect to ply him continually with the alarum which 
first roused him from the death sleep. 

The explanation of this abruptness is, therefore, analogous 
to that which the critics give us of the abrupt, irregular 
grandeur of genius such as Homer's, Pindar's, or Shake- 
speare's. That great truths lie hidden in their minds which 


Other men do not see, and therefore the worldngs, under 
these truths, of the vast forces within is as the movenlent 
of those primeval volcanic fires of the geologists which, in 
their ordinary ripple and play, have heaved up, here a vast 
chain cf mountains to span a continent : here the fantastic 
irregular heaps ; and here the solitary peak shooting upward 
to the sky as if having sought to cool its molten head in the 
regions of eternal snow ! 

Without further comment on its connection and relation, I 
propose to illustrate the fundamental truths expressed in this 
gospel alarum. First, Concerning the death-sleep, as the 
natural condition of men ; Second, Of the awakening from 
it ; Third, The encouraging promise annexed of aid to the 
awakened; Fourth, The urgent hastefulness of the gospel 

I. " Thou that sleepest and art dead." Such is uniformly 
the picture which inspiration paints of the native condition of 
man spiritually. And, without a proper apprehension of this 
truth, all the gospel truths become confused, obscure, or 
meaningless. Born into a world that has wandered from 
the spiritual orbit into which it was projected by the hand of 
its Maker, the change of orbit has produced a change of 
climate ; the intense chills of the spiritual winter have stupe- 
fied all the moral powers of man ; and no plants of hohness 
can endure it but such exotics as the great Lord of the 
garden shall, with unceasing care and attention, shelter 
from the chill blasts, and by the warm breathings of his 
love, expand the blossom and ripen the fruit. 

This is declared not merely dogmatically in all the state- 
ments concerning the nature and character of man, in the 
scripture, but is assumed and implied in every invitation ol 
the gospel mercy. This is a gospel for saving sinners, for 
calling not the righteous but sinners, for saving that which 
was lost ; for quickening them that are dead in trespasses and 
in sins. 


The very call of the gospel of love comes as a cry cf com- 
passionate alarm. As pastor Vinet beautifully illustrates this 
very call of the text. It is as the cry of some monk of St 
Bernard on the Alps scouting with his faithful dog, and 
finding, perchance, a traveller through the Alpine snows 
stretched out to sleep upon the white sheet of frost, and 
already beginning to be bound in the .arms of that invincible 
slumber which precedes freezing, from which no voice but 
God's can ever wake him ; he shakes the sleeper, and shouts 
the alarum in his dull ear, " awake that I may guide thee to 
shelter.*' Just such is the cry of Jesus Christ, in his gospel? 
to the slumbering sinners of earth already in the death 
stupor. " Awake thou sleeper — arise from the dead — I will 
give thee light." 0, sinner, if it seem to you a very rough 
shakin'g up and a harsh call, when sometimes he lays his 
hand in affliction and trouble upon thee, still remember it is 
the roughness of love yearning for thy salvation. As I 
i*emember to have read in some of the journals, the story of 
that hardy sea-captain wrecked, mid-winter, upon our bleak 
northern coasts, under chill blasts that had sent all living 
things to shelter. Far down the beach he saw a light, and knew 
if he could keep up life and motion within his icy garments, 
long enough to reach it there was- still a chance for life. His 
own stout frame could have endured, as the gnarled oak, all 
the blasts of the tempest, but Avith either hand he led a boy 
the very idols of his soul — eight and ten years of age. 
Tlieir tender frames were soon chilled as a flower in the 
frost ; and that heavy drowsiness began to fall upon them 
which is ever the precursor of death by freezing. At every 
step or two, as he urged them over the frozen sands, they 
would plead '' Father, could'nt you let us stop and rest, and 
sleep, just a minute — then we'll go bravely on !" But, 
knowing it was a race with death to reach the sign of shelter, 
the poor father must, at length, with rude shakings, and even 



blows urge them on, while his heart bled at every blow and 
his heartstrings were breaking. 

Just such is the rudeness of this Saviour Jesus, as, through 
his Providence as well as his word, he would arouse thee 
from this death stupor, saying in kindness and compassion — 
" Awake " now, " it is high time to awake out of sleep." 
The death stupor is upon thee, and if thou fallback after this 
awaking no voice of mercy may come to awake thee again." 

It is difficult indeed to make the propriety of this figure 
apparent to the men of this world. For it seems tc them, as 
they look upon the restless activity that surrounds them, that 
any other term than " asleep," should be the figure to 
describe it. "This world around us asleep?" they ask — 
these panting millions, pressing, dashing, trampling each 
other in the dusty highways of fortune, fame or pleasure ? 
.t\sleep 1 — this restless raging ocean of life, over which the 
storm king rides in his fury. Humanity asleep, that neither 
night, nor sickness, nor satiety can check in its tumultuous 
course ? Your figure of the Alpine traveller can surely aj)ply 
to none save these stolid unthinking animals in human form ; 
or these sluggish drones whom neither pleasure nor danger 
can excite ; with whom the physical life is the all of them, and 
who, fastening themselves to some stable support as the 
oyster, care for nothing but their physical wants, and trouble 
themselves only to open and shut the mouth in receiving and 
retaining the needful sustenance of life ! 

The scriptures however make no distinction in this regard ; 
nor do they classify these sleepers into the active and the 
tranquil. But they do teach that this spiritual slumber may 
consist with great physical and intellectual actinty. They 
are not only sleepers but somnambulists. They walk and 
still sleep; they speak, though still they sleep; with open 
eyes they sleep ; but in the view of the gospel they have eyes 
and see not — ears have they ^ but they hear not. They 


sec Avliat is not, and do not sec "what is ; things far off seem 
near to them; things near seem flir off. While they walk, as 
"wakeful men, their steps are not directed by the reality of 


" This life's a dream, an empty show," with all its passions 
and agitations. These activities arc but dreams ; visions 
created by the fancy, no longer restrained by realities, and 
running wild of the judgment. They live in a phantom world, 
in which they give to the phantoms the forms of reality, but 
on awaking to their true hfe, all these must dissipate. It is 
not a sleep therefore which suspends the physical and intellec- 
tual activities. But if it is to sleep when men have no longer 
power to distinguish sliadows from realities ; if it is to sleep, 
when men's thoughts are all absorbed with gaining an end 
which does not exist ; and if it is to sleep when men are 
utterly unconscious of all the realities that surround them, 
while their anxieties and fears are directed to fancies that flit 
before them — then certainly the gospel utters no paradox in 
describing as sleepers, men Avho are applying all the energies 
of an immortal nature to perishable tilings ; and attributing to 
finite things a value and importance that can belong only to 
things infinite. 

There is neither piety nor good sense in the sentimental 
tirades of discontented spirits against the vanity and worth, 
lessness of the world and of the life of men in it. The life 
in this world has its value, and the world in its own sphere has 
its value, but not as the reality and the great object of an 
immortal soul's existence. To that soul, framed for another 
life and for God as its great object, the world is the shadow 
of a great reality. As the physical universe is a shadow of 
God who made it and proves his existence, so all that belongs 
to life in this universe is a shadow of the infinite realities that 
exist in the life spiritual. What is this love of fame, and of 
the applause of other beings, but the shadow of that true 


desire of the soul for the plaudit " well done good and faithful 
servant," from God and holy beings ? What is this desire to 
live in the remembrance of men when we are dead, but 
another form of the soul's natural desire for immortal 
existence, and horror of ceasing to exist ? What is this 
greed of gain but the shadow of that passion of the soul to 
have in store, for the future, treasures in heaven, where moth 
and rust corrupt not ? Nay, what is this incessant desire of 
pleasures and the excitements of joy but the shadow of the 
soul's inarticulate longing for " his presence where is fulness 
of joy, and at his right hand where are pleasures for ever 
more." To man, as an immortal being, there can possibly be 
no reality save God and his relation to God. 

The gospel, in this respect, but intev-:rets for men those 
suspicions and guesses which the slee/.j-vs have sometimes 
made in their disturbed dreams. For this sleep of theirs is 
the restless sleep of disease — sometimes almost coming to 
waking. And, as it is in restless imperfect sleep that we 
dream most, and the dreams are most like our waking 
thoughts, so many of these dreamers, in different ages, have 
seemed to come to a sort of half consciousness, and to the 
suspicion of the true harmony of their nature with something 
more real than this dreamy state. 

II. Now there can be but one of two awakenings from this 
death sleep; either the natural waking when death shall 
come and dissolve the fancies and sham objects of sense from 
the view of the soul ; or the spiritual awakening under this 
gospel alarum. For, obviously, if the nature of the sleep has 
been truly described, then the awakening from it must be at 
the death which dissolves the physical nature. If it seem a 
paradox to say that one awakes from sleep in the sleep of 
death ; and that one arises from the dead at death ; the 
paradox is only apparent and verbal. When the scriptures 
speak of death as a sleep,' it is only by figure, to describe that 


^vhicli is apparent and in accordance with human forms of 
speech and thought. Death is the true awakening of the soul 
from these dreams which have hecn described. If not, then 
it must 1)0 the beginning of a dreamless sleep, which it is 
unnatural and revolting to us to think of. Man himself, 
in his dreams, instinctively looks forward to death as some 
sort of awakening of his spiritual nature. 

And what, think you, shall be the awakening of those who 
have all life long been pursuing phantoms ; when suddenly 
God, the true end of the soul's existence, bursts upon its view 
after the long night of sensual revel and debauch ? When 
^' the Lord of the servant shall come as a thief in the night 
and find him asleep at his post." No finite mind can conceive it 
nor human tongue describe it. If you could ask yon trav- 
eller, who, in his sleep-walking, has stumbled over the pre- 
cipice of a thousand feet, what kind of waking that was to 
find himself mid-air rushing down to destruction. If you 
could ask that father, awakened to find himself and children 
enveloped beyond all hope of deliverance in a sheet of glow- 
ing flame, what sort of waking that is ! If either could find 
words to express the soul emotions of such a moment, then 
might you find words to express by feeble approximation the 
awakening of the sleeper at death. 

The inspired writers find all language breaking down 
under the Aveight of the thoughts they would convey of the 
terrors of that waking. They seem to labour to convey some 
idea of it through analogies and approximations. They bid 
you try to conceive of the most terrific things in the sphere 
of the external world, and then intimate, " worse than all 
that." Nothing can be conceived more terrible than of a 
mountain at whose base one is walking, suddenly turning over 
to overwhelm us, or its huge land slide to rush down upon us. 
Yet saith the inspired vision, they pray to the mountains *' fall 
on us," and to the hills " cover us from the face of him 


that sitteth on the throne." The most terrific of conceptions 
now, will then be regarded, in comparison, as favours to be 
prayed for. Perhaps the most exquisite of all human grief 
is the separation, to see their faces no more, from our kindred 
according to the flesh; yet in that awakening, souls shall 
esteem it the second best thing to be prayed for ; that heaven 
will send and keep away the five brethren from the place of 
torment ! 

think, sleeper ! Even though you cannot think — as a 
waking spiritual man — yet dream of a soul, made in God's 
own image, with God for its great end, think of such an one 
waking from its night of debauch — all its dreams fled ! All its 
connection with physical nature cut off, and it cast suddenly, 
a naked, shivering spirit as a wreck upon the shore of 
eternity. Its sources of pleasure all cut off" in the destruc- 
tion of their channel, the physical senses. Its passions, for 
want of anything to feed upon without, all turning in, with 
vulture greediness, to prey upon the soul itself! The scoff- 
ers have assured you that the gospel hell is no revelation 
from God, but only a dream of the poets. But the dullest 
fancyj'peeds no aid of poets to conceive of the horrors of 
sucli a soul-waking as that. In comparison with the sober 
deductions of reason concerning the necessary results of such 
a waking, all the visions of poets are but the feeblest approx- 
imations. What, in comparison, is Dante's conception of the 
seven circles of hell increasing in intensity of torment down- 
ward to the centre ? Or the lowest of Milton's " still lower 
deeps?" Or "Shakespeare's picture of souls doomed: 

To bathe in fiery floods or to reside 
In thrilling regions of thick-ribbed ice, 
To be imprisoned in the viewless winds, 
And blown, with restless violence, about 
The pendent world ? 

Nay the solemnly, sober figures of Jesus in the gospel of 


'' the roaring of the lake that burncth," of the " crackle of 
the fire that is not quenched," of the gnawing of " the Avorm 
that dieth not," of " the weeping and wailing and gnashing 
of teeth," seem no strong figures for the expression of such 
a doom ! 

We may catch some faint glimmer of what the full soul- 
waking must be from the partial wakings that are sometime 
seen to occur this side of death ; the awakings under the 
rough shaking of heart-breaking sorrow and disappointment 
to utter despair ; sometimes producing frantic ragings, some- 
times a cold, stony calmness still more terrible as the evidence 
of hopeless remorse. What agony of heart comes on then ! 
What litter wreck of the spirit ! The cells of the mad-house 
give us the external of it, but Jesus Christ, the physician of 
the heart broken, alone can tell the depths of that internal 
horror ! 

I remember reading in our journals some years ago the 
story of a poor creature, who half drunk or wholly drunk, lay 
down in a skiflf on the Canada shore above the great cata- 
ract ; and, by the additional weight in it, the skiff was loosed 
from its moorings and floated out into the quiet but strong 
current. Loud were the shouts from either side when his 
condition was discovered, " Awake thou sleeper," yet he 
dreamed on, and floated on smoothly, but every moment 
more and more swiftly; till, approaching the mighty cataract, 
the voice of its thunders seemed at last to wake him, and he 
was observed to rise just in time to see that he was lost 
beyond hope. If you can imagine now the soul emotions of 
that poor sleeper, as shooting over the fatal verge he hung 
suspended mid-air for an instant over the boiling chasm below, 
then may you conceive something of the emotions of a spirit, 
that dreaming floats down the current of time, when suddenly 
it wakes by the plunge into eternity ! 

I have read — perhaps in a discourse of the pastor Vinet 


already referred to — the affecting story of a somnambulist, 
a young and joyous girl, who, in her sleep-walking, issued 
through the sky-light of the chamber to the roof of one of 
those lofty buildings so common in the old cities of Europe ; 
and there, sound asleep, walked and danced in sight of an 
excited crowd of passers-by arrested by the perilous move- 
ments. Dreaming she seemed to be, of some approaching 
fete, and, now was arranging her toilet, standing on the very 
verge ; now walking back ; now approaching and seeming to 
look down upon the crowd far below, as calmly as if from a 
balcony. None dared utter a word to wake the sleeper : all 
rather held their breath in horror. Till at length, as she 
stood once more on the verge, the flash of a light from an 
opposite window falling upon her eyes suddenly waked her. 
A shriek rent the still air an instant, and she fell to be 
dashed to pieces. The waking revealed the terrors of her 
position ; and the terror impelled her forward to death. 

A faint type this of the soul suddenly waked to this 
despair by a light from some Providence of God falling 
upon the eye of the gay dreamer, and making him conscious 
of his true position. 

It must be so. For remember, the true relation of the 
soul to God and things infinite can in no wise be changed by 
this dreamy sleep w^hich makes it unconscious of the relation. 
True, very often we find men so thoroughly brutish in their 
nature that it is difficult to conceive of such creatures bearing 
any other relation to God and the universe than the brutes 
that perish. We sometimes say of this godless and debased 
Judas, that can conceive of nothing higher in the way of 
motive than the thirty pieces of silver, — " he has no soul ;" 
he " has no conscience." But he hath a soul and a con- 
science for all that. Buried far down in the depths of his 
nature, under all this moral filth and mire that covers up the 
spiritual nature in him, this Judas hath a conscience. And 


in due time, it may be before the full waking of death, that 
conscience will come struggling, and gurgling up from the 
depths and shriek in awful thrones of despair — " I have 
sinned — I have sinned — I have betrayed the innocent 

And if such are the terrors of the partial wakings, even 
with the dim and confused notions of the relation of the 
immortal nature to God, and under the feeble workings of 
conscience, even in its best estate, this side death, what 
must be the horrors of that waking as all the dread realities 
of the unseen shall burst upon the soul, and of the arousing 
of conscience to sleep no more for ever ? 

But blessed be God ! we are not shut up, without 
alternative, to this natural waking of the soul at death. For 
the gospel of Jesus Christ provides for an effectual waking by 
supernatural power this side of death, and for creating within 
us a waking life which, imperfect as it may be while yet 
existing in the body of sin and death, shall pass on over death 
to become a perfect and everlasting life. For not only hath 
a provision been made for taking away the sin that brings this 
death stupor on the soul, but, with that atonement for sin, a 
power also, even the work of the Holy Spirit, which makes 
this gospel a power of God unto salvation. This heavenly 
agent, who alone can make his voice heard by these sleepers, 
taking the things of Christ shews them unto them. Jesus, as 
represented by Him, comes now just* as really and truly as 
when he came in the flesh. Scouting over the Alpine sin- 
deserts and finding these wanderers stretched out on the sheet 
of frost, and dreaming as death is treacherously binding them 
fast in his invincible slumber, he sounds the alarum, shouting 
in their dull ear — " Awake thou slee.per" ! " Arise from the 
dead" ! for death is upon thee ! 

III. And now is made apparent the distinguishing glory of 
the gospel alarum. It not only arouses the sleeper to his 


impending danger — which is a cheap enough act of humanitj 
that even the instincts of nature would prompt — but makes 
the tender of effective aid to utter helplessness — '' ItviU give 
thee light. ^'' Finding the poor wanderer bewildered and in 
darkness as he shakes off the stupor, instead of leaving him 
there to perish, this kind friend saith, " Come, I will light thee 
through the darkness and will guide thee to safe shelter. I 
will lead the blind in a w^ay that they know not." 

It is just here that all the ethical gospels, and moral power 
gospels, and rationalistic gospels, of human device in their 
origin, or counterfeits of the true gospel, completely break 
down. Whatever dispute there may be wdiether their voice 
hath ever had power to awake a soul truly, there can be no 
dispute as to their powerlessness to aid the perishing soul once 
it is truly awake. Your arguments of the beauty and 
propriety of virtue and the unwisdom of a life of sin ; your 
rules iov the guidance of life by a vigorous discipline ; your 
arguments of the rectitude of God's moral government in 
punishing sin — all your ethics and disciplines and natural 
theologies are well enough in their place. And the moralities, 
which good government requires to be observed in order to 
attain the favour of God, may be all proper enough, but of 
what avail to a poor soul with the drowsiness of this death 
stupor upon it ? 

Your gospels that, ignoring the depravity of fallen man and 
the death stupor that is upon him, play physician to them that 
are whole and not to them that are sick, may ceach clearly 
enough in what way an unfallen nature may secure God's 
favour ; but are of little use for directing awakened sinners. 
The preachers of the old-fashioned moral gospels were good 
enough guide-boards at the cross-roads to point out the road 
to heaven, to those that have the power of spiritual locomo- 
tion. But of wiiat use a guide board to a poor cripple lying 
at its foot powerless to move ! The preachers of the trana- 


cendcntal ethics who have succeeded them have only added 
to the difiSculty by writing the inscriptions on the guide - 
board in a language that none but the initiated can ever read. 
Much after the fashion of a waggish guide-board that I 
remember in the valley of Virginia, which excited first the 
wonder, and then the mirth of childhood by its inscription — 
*' To Bunker Hill tivo miles. ISf.B. If you canH read, ask at 
the tavern,^' Of what possible use to the great masses of the 
people, whose thought and speech are limited to the every- 
day vernacular, these exquisite essays in ethics and aesthetics 
from men who pretend to speak in the name of Jesus ? 

" I^cill give thee lighV^ is the offer of Jesus. It is one of 
the various forms of expressing the offer of grace and salva- 
tion of v*hich there is such a variety in the gospel. For the 
forms of the offer are varied to suit the different phases of 
that state of soul when a consciousness of its sad condition is 
awakened in it; each one implying all the others. Here it 
takes the form of the offer of light with reference to the dark- 
•ness of a soul awakened out of its night slumber by the 
sounding of the gospel alarum. That is one of the most vivid 
and impressive of all the gospel descriptions of the work of the 
tioly Spirit, in the renewal of a soul, which makes it analo- 
gous to the work of the spirit at creation, moving upon the 
chaos, and bringing all to order, as God said "Let light be ; 
and light was." Saith the Apostle, " God who caused hght 
to shine out of darkness hath shined into our hearts, to give 
the light of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." 
Nor can we better conceive of the nature of the spirit's work 
in those cases of light suddenly breaking in upon the awakened 
soul, than by recalling the impression upon ourselves of the 
magnificent description, of God's work in the Oratorio of 
" Creation." Recall how with full orchestra the huge dis- 
cords describe, first the chaos, " without form and void and 
darkness upon the face of the deep," until the very soul is all 


-unnerved and in utter disorder. Tlien how the single sweet 
voice carols forth " God said let there be" — returning and 
.repeating as if afraid to pronounce the word of command — 
till the whole force engaged, as if catching the inspiration 
' chimes in, shouting in thunders of sweetest harmony '' Light " 
''Light" '' Let there be light"— till light seems to gleam 
from every tone of the hundred-voiced choir ; light from every 
note of the pealing organ ; light from loud trumpet and silver- 
toned bugle and soft-breathing flute ; and the very atmos- 
phere becomes a sea of effulgent glory. 

Thus it is when, the voice of Christ heard and his offer of 
light accepted, the soul at once is filled " with joy unspeakable 
and full of glory." 

But the experience of his promise fulfilled is not always 
this sudden breaking in of light as when God first called 
light out of darkness. The analogy would rather be that 
.causing the light to shine out of darkness by the operation of 
the laws which he had ordained for his great work when 
finished ; as we may conceive it to have dawned that first, 
sabbath morning iii the beautiful regions where he afterward 
^' planted the garden eastward in Eden." First the faint 
streaks of light in the east detaching the horizon from the 
dark line of the mountains. Then the mountain tops tinged 
with light. Next "the sun coming forth out of his chamber, 
rejoicing as a strong man to run a race" — then the shadows 
dropping down the mountain sides, and the light penetrating 
the deep gorges. Till now light seems to engender light and 
all nature lies basking in the smile of its Maker as he pro- 
nounces all very good. This is the gradual coming into the 
soul of that " peace of God that passeth understanding." 
And it is not less surely the supernatural work of the Spirit 
on the soul, than when the light breaks suddenly in upon the 
darkness. For just so Jesus illustrates to us his methods in 
iis miracles <^f restoring the blind man. In one case, he 


simply speaks the word of power and the eyes are openec!, 
and, in a moment, the glorious light of heaven rushes in. 
In another case, he uses external means, and at first the- 
blind man sees, indistinctly, " men as trees walking. '' 
But both cases are equally acts of his divine power. 

IV. One word as to the hasteful and urgent manner of 
this call. In this alarum, coming as the fire cry in the night 
— "Awake thou that sleepest," you have the true type of 
all gospel invitation. This is seen in the various forms of 
express call. " Escape for thy life, Look not behind thee, 
Tarry not in all the plain ! Escape to the mountains lest thou 
be consumed." " To day if ye will hear his voice, harden 
not your hearts." " Now is the accepted time." " Behold 
now is the day of salvation." But, besides all this, you will 
find that every invitation given ; every tender of his salvation ; 
every statement of its terms ; implies that it is now to be 
accepted. Not in all the word of God is there an invitation, 
to come to-morrow : nor a statement of the terms that guaran- 
tees you those terms to-morrow. 

Listen then to this call, and, if its appeals reach the dull 
ear of the soul, spring up at once and shake ofi" the slumber. 
Say not a " a httle more sleep, a little more slumber, a little 
more folding of the hands to sleep" ! Remember that the 
sleeper who is roused, and then falls back, only sleeps more 
soundly than before ! Say not wait, wait, while time waits 
not, and the current that carries thee onward to the abyss 
waits not, but becomes every moment fleeter ! Stay not to 
quarrel and debate about the terms, or the manner of the 
arousing. Stay not, pleading your powerlessness to move till 
God moves thee. Dream not of miracles, where God hath 
appointed means ! Lie not still waiting for God to compel 
thee to move, for he will have a wilHng service. Expose not 
thyself to all the soul temptations of the world, the flesh and. 
the Devil, expecting God to make thee world-proof, flesh- 


proof, Devil-proof: Take not the viper to your bosom and 
■expect God to charm it that it sting not : Tamper not with 
the poison cup, and look to God to neutralize the deadly 
draught : " Awake thou sleeper " and bestir thyself. It is 
Christ calling and pointing thee to shelter and refuge ; with 
the light in his hand to lead thee thither. Turn not back to 
thine idle dreams, lest thou be left to that dreadful waking 
where there shall be none to aid thee forever ! 





Rcvclation xxii. 16-18. — I am the root and the offspring of Davi:5. 
and the bright and morning star. And the Spirit and the bride say, come 
And let him that beareth say, come. And let bim that is atbirst come. 
And whosoever will, let bim take the water of life frecljv'. For I testify 
unto every man that beareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any 
man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that 
are written in this book. 

This remarkable gospel of invitation ^' The Spirit and tlie 
Bride say come,'' has a very peculiar significancj, mj 
brethren, alike from tuhenee it is, from where it is, and from 
ivhat it is. As to the tvhence, it is a message of Jesus, back 
to the sinners of earth, for whom •' he endured the cross, 
despising the shame," and comes from tlie throne of all power 
to which, sixty years before, he had ascended, carrying the 
humanity with him ; and after his finished sacrifice, and 
completed scheme of redemption, as developed in the new 
covenant of his blood, had been already proclaimed by his 
inspired Apostles to the utmost limits of the known world. 
But though now on his throne there is no abatement of his 


interest in that wonderful scheme of redemption, which he 
had been gradually developing, through the revelations " of 
sundry times and divers manners," under successive covenants- 
for four thousand years. Referring to the last of these 
covenants, organizing the typical kingdom under David^ he 
proclaims himself " the root and the offspring of David," now 
enthroned in the heavens as the ''bright morning star" for 
whose rising faith had longed through all the darkness of 
prophecy. And, in full view of the scheme completed by the 
offering of the sacrifice once for all ; of the outpouring of 
his Spirit ; of the complete opening of the new and last era 
of redemption ; of the dispensation of the Spirit ; of the 
historic faith, now substituting facts actual for the types and 
symbols of prophecy ; and of the Church of one nation, under 
the old covenant with Abraham, become the Church of all 
nations under the new covenant, he utters this last gospel as 
the climax of all the gospels "vvhich God had revealed through 
the prophets— through his Incarnate Son— and through the 

This then is the gospel according to Jesus ascended, 
delivered after his complete scheme of salvation had for sixty 
years been in the full tide of successful experiment. It is 
therefore peculiarly to our dispensation. It is the peculiar 
type of that Gospel which, without symbol or altar, or limit of 
nation, is to be preached till his second coming. 

So also it is significant, from ivliere it is, in the series of 
recorded revelations. It is the last paragraph, of the last 
chapter, of the last book, of God's revealed word. For you 
will observe that, immediately upon its utterance and record, 
that great seal — written all over, with curses against him, who 
shall by a single w^ord add to, or subtract from the revelation 
here finished — closes up finally the communications from 
heaven. That it is such a general closing up of the whole 
volume of inspiration, and not merely applicable to this last 


book, is manifest from the fact that while all previous revela- 
tions at the sundry times closed with a call for other 
revelations to follow them, this closes with no call for more to 
follow. Mosjs called for '' a prophet like unto him," whom 
they should hear. David and the prophets all call for more 
glorious revelations to follow. Malachi closes up the Old 
Testament with a call for the coming of the " Messenger of 
the covenant" to develop the old covenants still more clearly. 
Jesus, when ascending, called for the coming of the Holy 
Ghost to lead his Apostles into all truth, and commissioned 
them to speak still further in his name. Now the last survi- 
ving of these xipostles, having traced on the prophetic chart 
the history of this last dispensation down to Christ's second 
coming to judgment, without any notice of any more revela- 
tions to come through all this era, closes up the communica- 
tions from heaven by calling for no more but placing upon the 
record this tremendous seal. All Mohammed Korans, all 
Saints' legends of visions, and revelations, and miracles — all 
Swedenborg dreams and communications with heaven — all 
Mormon appendices, all stupid revelations, rapped or written 
by silly spirits, are hereby anticipated, excluded, denounced 
and threatened with ail the curses written in God's book. 
But before that great seal shall finally close communication, 
Jesus has one more last word to say. In every conceivable 
form of assurance and invitation, he had called sinners through 
all the divers manner of his revelations before — yet still 
yearning to see the travail of his soul, his love seems to stay 
the ^and that is putting on the seal, that it may first insert 
one more invitation and assurance, lest some poor dark-minded 
sinner should still despond and despair. And so there was 
crowded in this last gospel, under the very seal itself that 
closes communication. 

And wdicn we consider ichat it is, we must confess it to be 
infinitely worthy of the source whence it comes, and the place 


where it stands as the climax of all the gospel revelations. 
"Stay," the ascended Jesus seems to say : " Put not on the 
cursing seal, till there first be put in one more gospel assur- 
ance and invitation. And make it wide as human thought 
can possibly conceive of it : plain as human language can 
possibly utter it : and cordial as the heart of God alone can 
give it. Assure them from me, David's creator, and yet, as 
the offspring of David, Mieir brother, partaker of flesh and 
blood : assure them from me, the Day-star of all their longings, 
now, beyond all dispute risen, and enthroned in the heaven — 
that the fountain of life is now thrown wide open, and its 
streams are gushing forth in all their infinite fulness, witli 
every barrier of approach to it absolutely taken away. Tell 
them that not only have they leave to come, but every loving 
voice in heaven and earth, pleads and urges them to come. 
That my Spirit whispers to the depths of their spirits, saying, 
" Come." That my bride, the Church, in all her divinely 
appointed ordinances cries "Come" ! " Come." Nay more, 
lest it be in highways and hedges where there should be no 
Church ordinances to reach any one, every sinner that heareth 
my voice himself, is authorized to say to any other sinner, 
" Come." Nay more, lest there should be no such sinner to 
invite him — tell any soul that feels the thirst not to stand on 
ceremony, but, self-invited, " Come." Nay more still — lest 
now some poor sin-darkened soul should stumble at the word 
" athirst," and doubt if his thirst is real or great enough — 
strike out even that, and say absolutely — " wJiosoever will, 
let him tak3 of the water of fife freely." I will be the 
Saviour of ; ny that will have me for a Saviour. Only let 
him cry in his despair, " Lamb of God I come — just as I 

Brethren, I may well shrink from the task of developing 
this gospel according to Jesus ascended, when I find all 
human conceptions and human language breaking down in 


tlic attempt to utter the infinite fulness and freeness of a 
Saviours love. Yet I may assist you in forming some con- 
ception of the great truths embodied in these beautiful 
approximations and figures, by answering for you these 
questions — 

1. What ideas arc involved in this figure of " the 
water of life ? " 

2. What ideas in the correlative figure " thirst ? " 

3. What causes develop the consciousness of this thirst 
in the soul ? 

4. On what terms may the soul conscious of it have the 
thirst quenched ? 

5. By what agencies is the soul athirst brought to the 
waters of life ? 

I. As suggesting at once the answer to the first inquiry, it 
is needful only to remind you that, in all the eras of revelation 
and under all the covenants, the famihar symbol for the 
redemption provided by Christ is this of the living waters to 
quench the spiritual thirst : Under the old covenant with 
Abraham, the salvation guaranteed in it was symbolized to the 
Church in the desert by the stream that gushed from the 
smitten Rock in Horeb, and followed them in all their wan- 
derings. For, saith the Apostle, " They drank of that spiritual 
Rock that followed them : and that Rock was Christ." 
Under the covenant with David the Church was taught to 
sing in her liturgy, " As the hart panteth after the water 
brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, God." Isaiah 
three centuries later, after presenting in prophetic visions the 
scenes of the cross and the exaltation that should follow, 
predicts this very gospel of Jesus ascended, saying — " Ho 
every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, even he that 
hath no money." Seven hundred years later, on the great 
day of the feast, as the priest dipped up water with the 
golden pitcher, and poured it upon the altar, while the vast 


multitudes inarched around in procession, singing from Isaiah— 
" With joy shall we draw water from tho wells of salvation" 
— Jesus stood and cried saying, " If any man thirst, let him 
come to me and drink." Thus it will be seen that this is 
confirmatory of all the old gospels, and that in all cases this 
symbol of the water for the spiritual thirst has reference to 
the work of Christ in his incarnation, death, and resurrection. 
It is a poetic synonym for " Christ crucified," the one great 
idea of the whole revelation. For, above all books, the bible 
is a book of one idea : and hence this tendency to those 
magnificent generalizations that sum up and concentrate its 
essence in a single sentence or phrase ; as, " when I see tho 
blood I will pass over" — " we preach Christ crucified." And 
readily enough may the gospel be thus summed up, since it is 
this death of Jesus as an atoning sacrifice which gives its 
significance to every paragraph of the bible as the living word 
of God. Just as, in the physical structure, the heart is the 
seat of its life, and the blood driven from the heart to the 
extremities, is all that makes them living flesh, rather than so 
much dead clay : so the cross of Jesus Christ is the heart of 
the revealed word of God, and the blood driven from the 
cross into every sentence and word of it is that which gives 
them their life, as the word of God instinct with living truth. 
Nothing therefore can be more absurd than the very 
fashionable form of Deism, which pretends, while accepting 
the character of Jesus as perfect, to separate what it calls 
the beautiful morality of Jesus from the gospel theology of 
atonement, so ofiensive to the wisdom of this world. It is but 
a gospel of Jesus with the part of Jesus omitted. For it is 
the theology of Jesus, the atoning sacrifice, which imparts all 
its vitality to the morahty of Jesus as a law to the conscience. 
Deism may indeed carve out of the gospel a beautiful ethical 
system ; but when the work is v done, it stands forth only as 
the marble smitten by the chisel of genius into the beautiful 


form of the living being, cold and lifeless as beautiful ! Unita- 
rianism may carve out of the oracles of God an elegant struc- 
ture of natural religion ; but when the work is done, it stands 
forth a merely beautifully carved earthen vessel to contain 
the living waters ; but, with no atoning sacrifice of Christ, 
there is no water of life for the thirsty soul therein. 

" Tlie water of life," therefore, which this gospel of Jesus 
ascended proclaims, as now accessible to all, means that pro- 
vision for the everlasting life secured in the obedience and 
atoning sacrifice of Christ for sinners. It is here as elsewhere 
a generalizing formula, expressive of that scheme of grace, 
which, contemplating man as fallen from the lofty estate of 
holiness, conscious of guilt, and spiritually impotent, provides 
for taking away the guilt, clothing the sinner in a righteous- 
ness wrought out for him, and renewing and restoring his 
nature by divine power. 

II. Accordingly, the wants of the soul for which the gospel 
provides are expressed by the term which forms the second 
subject of our inquiry, the correlative figure ^' Athirst^' — 
" let him that is athirst come." It is peculiar to the gospel, 
in all its forms of revelation, that it assumes the existence, 
more or less conscious, in the human soul, of wants for which 
it makes provision ; of disease for which it provides a remedy ; 
of a guilty conscience for which it provides peace ; of spiritual 
hunger for which it gives the bread of life ; of a thirst in the 
soul for which it is the water of life. And on whatever other 
evidences of its divine origin the learned and philosophical 
may rest their faith in it as divine, the great practical evi- 
dence on which the gospel itself rests its claim to be divine, is 
that it meets the conscious wants of the human soul — an 
argument which tho ignorant and the learned can alike com- 
prehend. The greater part of those truths which constitute 
natural rehgion — as the existence of God, the immortality cf 
the soul — are assumed bv the gospel to be already known 


and felt to be true bj every man ; and therefore are assumed 
as the basis of its offers, rather than made the subjects of 
demonstration bj proof and reasoning. Assuming that every 
man in earnest must feel that there is a God, the judge and 
the rewarder of every man according to his works ; that the 
soul shall continue to exist, and that there must follow a 
retribution for the sins of the present life ; that the moral 
nature of man is diseased and its powers enfeebled — the 
gospel proposes to expound the attributes of God, and his 
relations to the sinner ; to unfold the causes of the souFs dis- 
ease, and the terrors of conscience ; and to point out the 
infallible remedy both for the guilt, and the helplessness of 
man. In other words to provide a water of life for the soul, 
of which '^ he that drinketh shall never thirst, but it shall be 
in him a well of water springing up unto everlasting life." 

Nor should w^e limit this thirst of the soul, in our concep- 
tions of it, to that special state of conviction by the Holy 
Spirit which makes men wilHng in the effectual call to salva- 
tion; though indeed, that is the only "thirst" which ever 
truly leads man to the water of life. In a very important 
sense this thirst may be said to belong to humanity at large, 
and evinces itself in impulses of the natural man under the 
ordinary movements of the Spirit. As there is a sense in 
which the interposition of Jesus, the Saviour, affects the 
whole race, and a sense in which, as the consequence of his. 
interposition, the Holy Ghost moves upon humanity at large 
preventing the utter extinction of its spiritual faculties, and 
thereby its utter degradation to a brutal devilishness as the 
result of its subjugation by Satan and the fall : So there is a 
general sense, in which all men " thirst," for some such 
" water of life," as the gospel provides. Dr. Trench, in his 
Hulsean Lectures on " Christ, the desire of all nations," has 
illustrated with great force and learning, how humanity, in 
all ages anterior to the incarnation, evinced this longing for 


some such provision as the gospel makes for its moral and 
spiritual necessities, in the incarnation, death, and ascension 
of Jesus. How all its mythologies, all its sacrificial ritual, 
all its assthctic culture, all its philosophic speculations, were 
but so many unconscious prophecies and longings of humanity 
for a divine-human prophet, priest and king. And I need 
only remind you how the objects of heathen worship were 
ever either gods made men, or men made gods ; thereby 
signifying their conception that the relief of humanity must 
come from some junction of the divine with the human 
nature. How their Hercules and Orpheus stories, and many 
stories of their class hint at their conception that their deliv- 
erer must somehow vanquish death and the grave, the great 
enemy of the race. How their sacrificial altars, even flowing 
with blood to expiate sin, and appease the wrath of oficnded 
divinity, evinced their conception of the substituting for the 
forfeited life of the ofifender, the " life which is in the blood '' 
of the victim. How their most beautiful conceptions of the 
genius of sculpture were the results of efforts to set forth 
divine beings in the form of humanity. How the loftiest con- 
ceptions of their philosophy were in the efforts to devise some 
power which should elevate and restore from their feebleness 
the moral and spiritual powers which they recognized in human 
nature. What are all these but so many utterances of that 
inward tldrst of the general spirit of humanity for something 
analogous to that which the gospel provides ? 

Indeed we might at once illustrate and demonstrate the 
co-relation between the gospel doctrines and the necessities 
of human nature from the modern speculative philosophy no 
less than the ancient, as related to the revealed theology. 
For so intimate will be found the logical relation, that false 
systems of theology uniformly lead to false theories of the 
philosophy of human nature ; and false philosophies of human 
nature lead, more or less immediately, to false systems of 


The modern neologists have seized upon this general cor- 
respondence between the gospel and the longings of humanity 
in all ages, as evinced in its mythologies and sacrificial rituals, 
as a point of assault upon the gospel's claim to have had a 
higher than human origin. With elaborate learning they 
have gathered and analyzed the poetic myths of the religions 
of all countries and ages, to show us how these conceptions 
of a divine-human deliverer, of an atonement for sin, of a 
victory over death, and of a renewal and restoration of 
human nature, have ever flitted as shadows before the imag- 
ination, or have been dreamed as beautiful dreams by the 
poetic souls of the world in all ages. Therefore, say they, 
the gospel of Christ is only a step in advance, a condensation 
of the shadows into more definite shape. Now we admit the 
premise of fact, but reason to precisely the opposite conclu- 
sion that instead of being a shadow, because the soul thirst 
of the world had created shadows before, this must be the 
reality and the substance which cast the shadows. For the 
shadow cannot exist without the substance to cause it. And 
as, when looking down into the smooth waters of the lake — : 
see, far below, the trees, and green meadow, and flocks feed- 
ing upon it, we infer, without looking up for the proof, that 
though all we see is shadow, yet the shadow is there because 
the reality is above ; so when we contemplate these shadows 
reflected to the vision of the human soul, during all time, we 
infer that some reality, somewhere causes the shadows to 
exist ; and when now we find, m this revelation of Jesus, the 
counterpart of all these shadowy conceptions, as great facts, 
substantially existing, we naturally conclude that the exist- 
ence of such facts has caused the shadows. 

A story of our early colonial times in America illustrates 
our argument. It is the story of the pilgrim colonists still 
dependent on the mother country for their food, reduced, by 
the long delay of the supply vessel, to the very verge of 


starvation. Day after day, ^ye are told, they stood on the 
beach straining their eyes in vain ; and night after night, 
prayed in agony for its coming. Till one evening, as they 
gazed, behold, far out at sea, they discovered the image of a 
vessel, just such as they expected, painted far off on the 
eastern sky, though no ship was within their horizon. They 
received it as a token from heaven in answer to their prayer, 
sent that their faith might not fail ; and in a day or two, the 
long wished-for vessel, just such in appearance as the image 
on the sky, came, bringing them relief. The simple-minded 
colonists devoutly believed that, supernaturally, God had 
given them a sign to cheer their desponding faith. But as 
discoveries in the science of optics advanced, the philosophers 
found an explanation of the image of the ship on the sky, 
in the laws of refraction, by which, in certain conditions of 
atmosphere, images of real objects by the refraction of the 
sun's rays may be cast in the air, and thereby become visible, 
even when the object itself is below the horizon. And now 
the pilgrim story became a subject of dispute — some still 
holding that the vision of the ship was a supernatural answer to 
their prayers ; others that it was a creation of their imagina- 
tion under the terrible excitement of famine ; others that it 
was but the operation of ordinary natural law. But a few 
summers since, the question received a solution that left little 
room for debate. The crowd of visitors on the beach at a 
celebrated sea-bathing resort, looking out to sea, beheld on 
the sky an image so distinct that they recognised it as the 
steamer '• Asia," from Europe, not yet due by two days. 
And by means of the telegraph, the whole continent was 
informed of the phenomena, so that the people everywhere 
might note for themselves whether the coming of that par- 
ticular vessel would verify the prophetic shadow. And sure 
enough, at the expected time, the "Asia" came. From 
the real object, far below the horizon, the sun had painted 


the beautiful image on the sky. Now, ia like manner, we 
argue it was neither a supernatural revelation from their 
gods, nor a mere delusion of excited imagination which caused, 
this vision of the deliverer of humanity in the souls most, 
conscious of the soul-thirst among the heathen. It was the 
shadow projected on the soul's horizon by the real object yet 
far below its horizon of vision. It was the gospel '• Asia " 
coming in, freighted with the bread of life and the water of 
life for famishing spirits. 

The gospel of Jesus Christ claims indeed to be the " great 
mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh," and to be 
foolishness to the wisdom of this world. Yet it by no means 
claims to bo out of analogy with all that men had ever thought, 
or felt before. On the contrary, it glories in bringing out to 
the clear light of day the mysterious truth which the spiritual 
nature of man suggested to him dark hints of the existence 
of. It represents all creation as groaning and travailing in 
pain till now : and Jesus Christ as the stiller of creation's 
groans, himself at once the Eternal Son of God, and the 
leader of humanity in its final march to victory, and the 
realization of its unspeakable desires. The vision of the 
world's dream has in him its waking reality. The shadows 
and shifting cloud palaces that floated on the world's spiritual 
sky became, through Jesus Christ, the real city of God. 
Jerusalem come down out of heaven, and standing stable on 
earth. The ladder of the world's night visions, reaching 
from earth to heaven, with superhuman beings, gods many 
and demigods many ascending and descending upon it, is 
realized in the coming forth of Jesus from the bosom of the 
Father to declare him, and through him the ascending and 
descending of '' ministering spirits, sent forth to minister to 
them which are heirs of salvation." 

Hence the ineffable folly and effrontery of these trans- 
cendental sophists who, affecting to regard all historical and 

CAUSES Trnicii make conscious the soul thirst. 443 

external religion as a clog upon the lofty devotional flights 
of its spiritual insight, say to us, '' Destroy this temple, and 
in three days we will raise it up," a far more gorgeous 
spiritual temple for the worship of the soul, in which shall be 
celebrated the rites of the absolute and universal religion. 
What is their proposition in effect but to ask us to turn away 
from the fountain of living water, and, with the heathen, 
struggle to quench the thirst of the famishing soul at the 
shadowy rivers and lakes which have ever been projected to 
the view of thirsty men upon the spiritual horizon of 
humanity, from the reality of lying far out of sight. 

I have extended these illustrations rather for the sake of 
impressing a great general truth too much overlooked, than 
because I take the primary or chief reference of this •' thirst " 
in the gospel of Jesus, ascended to be the general v>'anty 
felt by humanity -at large, of something analogous to the 
provisions of the gospel. And because, also, with this 
general truth in mind, wo can the more readily appreciate 
the force and beauty of the figure ^' athirst " as applied to 
that state of tho individual soul to which special reference is 
had in the saying " Let him that is athirst come." 

III. This leads to our third proposed inquiry, into the 
causes which develop this consciousness of thirst in the indi- 
vidual soul to which reference is here specially made. These 
are natural and supernatural. 

A first natural cause tending to such a result is the consci- 
ousness, in every intelligent spirit ; of instincts that fiiil to be 
met by corresponding provisions in the nature of the life tliat 
now is ; and of powers of action and tendencies to action which 
have no theatre wide enough in the present life, for their proper 
development. Every man who reflects at all on his inner 
nature discovers in himself a singular paradox — the powers 
of a giant fettered within the limits of a cradle ; passions that 
find no corresponding objects in life, upon which to ex])end 


their energies, ideals of heroic hfe that he can never actuahzc. ^ 
Hence the restlessness of the human spirit, never content | 
with the attained but ever gazing forward and eagerly grasp- ; 
"ing at the unattained. Hence the peculiar tendency of man, 
above all other animals, to excessive indulgence of the merely ] 
sensual appetites. It is simply the attempt to feed the hungry \ 
soul, '' on the husks that the swine do eat ;" to satisfy that ' 
spirit with -'bread alone," which was made to feed upon 
•" every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." i 
And even among the few who rise above these grosser con- ; 
ceptions, and grasp after fame, as men of wealth, of learning, ' 
or of high position — there is in the end always the same dis- , 
.appointment. i 

After a life spent in pressing along the crowded and dusty I 
•avenues to wealth, honour and fame, the poor cheated spirit i 
must sit down and review life with discontent and disap- I 
pointment. The whole of it — even at the best estate — is | 
now seen to be but the repetition, over and over again, of the j 
delusion of childhood, when he ran eagerly in chase of the ! 
end of the beautiful rainbow that stood in the meadow, to find ^ 
the pot of gold, which the faith of the nursery always held to 
1)0 buried there. Or, in case the passions have been specially \ 
called into play, in the pursuits of life, then the review of it is 
rather analogous to that of the poor famishing emigrant, i 
rushing, all day long, over the hot sands and under the burn- | 
ing sun of the Sierra Nevada desert, in desperate chase after \ 
the cool streams and refreshing shades which the treacherous I 
miasma has created on the horizon before him ; only to find j 
himself at last deluded, and nothing left him but to lie down 
on the burning sands and die. Hence to the more reflective ! 
of men there must ever be some sort of consciousness of this j 
'-' thirst" instinctively in the soul. \ 

On the back of this negative aomes in, oft times, the positive 
icause of deep sorrow, affliction, and disappointment to excite : 


this thirst — for such is the ordinary lot of human life. And 
it is ever the tendency of sorrow that darkens the soul to 
awaken instinctive impressions of guilt, and of wrong done, 
that has caused God to send the affliction. There comes also, 
the suspicion of the treacherousness of these promises of satis- 
faction which the world has been holding out, and of the risk 
that at any moment all may be swept away and the spirit 
beggared, and for the time the thirst burns in the soul. 

On the back of these again come those impulses of the 
natural conscience, which, though ordinarily it may sleep, is 
often aroused by the fall into some unusual sin, or the coming 
in of some unusual sorrow. It alarms the fears, by suggesting 
retribution in store, and an angry God who sees the sin with 
special displeasure. 

But over and above these natural causes come the movings- 
of the Holy Spirit whose office it is to convince of sin. And 
especially, in the case of those who are brought within the 
reach of that word, which is the sword of the Spirit, — do the 
great truths of the gospel sometimes take fast hold of the 
conscience. Even in these cases, it may prove to be those 
ordinary movements of the spirit of God, whereby the natural 
conscience is excited to action, and the spiritual nature within 
kept from being utterly crushed. But in other cases the 
mere, " sorrow of the world that worketh death," becomes the 
true, " godly sorrow that leadeth to repentance." Then 
begins a longing for deliverance from sin, which cries out — 
'^ as the hart panteth for the water brooks, so panteth my soul 
after thee, oh God ; my soul longeth, yea thirsteth for God." 

Now, while this gospel according to Jesus ascended, extends 
to all these cases, yet it has specially in view this last case of 
the earnest soul, under the movings of the Spirit, thus 
'■ thirsting" for that which will relieve its thirst. 

IV. And on what terms now may such have relief ? On. 
no other th.m si.nply to take it, " freely !" " Freely" is the. 


answer of the gospel of Jesus ascended. As I have shown 
jou before — even after putting the offer in terms so wide as 
to say, " let him that is athirst come" — the compassionate 
Saviour, as the last words that shall ring from heaven in the 
sinner's ears through all our dispensation, proclaims still more 
absolutely, " whomever ivill, let him take the water of life 
freely." No matter who he be, no matter how great his guilt, 
no matter how depraved his nature, no matter how dark and 
damning the stain of sin upon his soul ! Brethren, I have 
shown you in a former discourse, how all the expressions of 
the terms of salvation in the gospel of Jesur incarnate and of 
his Apostles, whether literal or figurative, when reduced to 
their last analysis amount to this, that whosoever will may 
come. And now we have in the last gospel of all — the gospel 
of Jesus ascended — and the last of that gospel, the direct 
confirmation of that argument. The climax of all the gospels 
preached from Abel to Abraham, and from Abraham to David, 
and from David to Jesus Incarnate, and from Jesus Incarnate 
to the last of his Apostles — the climax of all, the key 'to all, 
and the final development of all is this—" whosoever will, 
let him take of the waters of life freely. Surely this is 
enough — nor can human thought conceive cr human lan- 
guage utter any offer freer than that ! But the compassion of 
Christ for lost sinners is not exhausted with the throwing open 
the fountain of life and saying, " whosoever Avill let him take 
freely.". Had it been left thus, no sinner w^ould have been 
saved. He hath devised a system of agencies to " draw all 
men unto him," as he is thus " lifted up," and the fountain of 
life opened. 

V. What are these agencies ? They are, again, both 
natural and supernatural. In the first place, availing himself 
of the power of human sympathy, he constitutes every sinner 
'' that heareth," and thereby quenches his own thirst, a mis- 
sionary to tell others also to come. The very act whereby 


he is created anew, awakens in him the desire, " that all 
would believe." So that surrounding every sinner where- 
evcr this gospel has been preached, there are those who can 
testify by experience to its efficiency, as a means of quench- 
ing the '' thirst." Is there not reason to fear, brethren, that 
this agency of personal effort is not employed as extensively 
as, under the terms of this gospel, it would seem to be author- 
ized and enjoined ? Is there not too much timidity, on the 
part of many who have truly heard, about permitting the 
natural impulses of the new life to have d^br-course in utter 
ing the invitation — " Come ?" ^ 

In the next place, the results of this scheme of salvation 
are organized by Christ into a great body, whose chief func- 
tion it is, to extend the invitaujn. The Church of God, the 
bride of the Lamb, saith '' Come." This is the sum and sub- 
stance of all her ordinances. 

The one grand mission of the Church on earth, is to hoR 
forth this water of life in the view of perishing sinners, and cry 
" Come." And, organized as this peculiar body is of " the 
families that call on the name of the Lord," many of you find 
your life so woven hito the web of other lives about you, that 
every holy tie which binds you to earth, is a cord about you 
to draw you to the fountain of life. Not only the voice of the 
venerated pastor of your youth, in the word, sacraments and 
prayer, a voice of authoritative invitation, but the voice of 
personal affection — of Sabbath teacher, friend, father, mother, 
wife, sister, brother, child, are all to you voices of special and 
perpetual invitation. 

And if fretted by the importunity of the voices from 
the bride on earth you seek to retire within yourself — 
then, in your deepest solitude, comes the voice of the bride, 
as the redeemed Church in heaven. For a thousand holy 
memories and associations so connect you with the departed 
of the Church in heaven, that voices of personal invitation 


"whisper thence to jour spirit also. It may be the whisper of 
the venerated father, now at rest from his tolls, gently chiding 
you, as he used kindly to chide your folly, saying, ' Why for- 
sake the fountain of living waterij for broken cisterns that can 
hold no water ?" Perhaps it is the soft mother's voice that so 
fascinated the ear of your childhood with her cradle song of 
Jesus, that now seems to awake with the familiar strain : 

"Delay not! Delay not! loved one, draw near; 
The waters of life are still flowing for thee ;" 

Thou doating father — perhaps it is the voice of the cherub 
boy whose Sabbath school choral once so charmed thee, now 
singing to soothe and comfort thee : 

« Jesus the Saviour in mercy said * come ! 
Joyfully, Joyfully haste to thy home V 
Death with his arrow indeed laid me low. 
But, safely with Jesus, I feel not the blow. 
Jesus hath broken the bars of the tomb, 
Joyfully, Joyfully, I have got home." 

Thou sad sister — perhaps it is the noble brother whose sun 
went down ere yet it w^as noon, and who, wrapping himself in 
the robe of his manly beauty, lay down to sleep in Jesus — 
that now beckons thee to come and " take of the w^ater of 
life," that thou may est walk with him on the banks of the 
river of life. Or thou brother — it may be that sister, who 
parted with thee at the river of death, waving back so cheer- 
fully her farewells, that is now waving the invitations from 
the river of life ! 

Thou weeping Rachel — it may be the little one for whom 
thou art refusing to be comforted, that from that glorious 
kingdom of Heaven stretches its eager hands, with the 
immortal smile upon its countenance calling to thee " Come ! 
mother, come ! Come, learn the love of Jesus who took me 
from your arms to his own ; come up here where they nerer 
die any more, and never cry any more. Come ! just taste this 


water of life, for they who taste it never thirst any more !'^ 
Yes, the bride saith come ! on earth and in heaven alike ! 
Yet, alas ! sucli is the power of sin in the soul — even in the 
thirsty soul — that all these eloquent voices of invitation arc 
unavailing in themselves ! But the same love which opened 
the fountain of life hath provided an agency of persuasive 
power enough to " make them willing in the day of his power." 
For, in addition to these natural agencies, '• The Spirit saith 


Brethren, having no space now left for any adequate de- 
velopment of the great gospel doctrine of the work of the Holy 
Spirit, in persuading and enabling sinners to embrace Jesus 
Christ, offered here as the water of life so freely, I may with 
a single explanatory remark, appeal simply to your own 
experience, for the testimony to the reality of this, as of the 
natural agencies moving sinners to accept the offer. The 
teaching of the gospel is that, while the work of the Holy 
Spirit is supernatural, in opening the blind eyes and renewing 
the will, and persuading the soul to willingness, he yet, ordina- 
1 1>, operates through the natural avenues of approach to the 
soul. -^ Behold," saith he, " I stand at the door and 
knock." He makes use of the usual method of siiainin^ 
admittance, operating in and through the agencies already 
described. Hath he not, therefore, often said to you 
" Come ?" In those deep and solemn impressions which the 
truth hath made ofttimes — in that impulse, that led you to 
resolve to accept the offer — in those solemn providences, 
which so much impressed you — in those movings of con- 
science, charging you with sin — in those uneasy longings 
for something better, and. that dissatisfaction with yourself — 
It was the Spirit saying '' Come." heed the voice and 
grieve Him not away ! 





The recent mournful defection in the Church of Scotland, to thoroughly 
rationalistic views of the obligation of the Mosaic law in general, and its 
law of the Sabbath in particular, having occurred since the discourse on 
the Gospel Covenant and worship of the lost Eden was written; and hav- 
ing awakened a fresh interest in the discussion of the Sabbath question, 
the Author presumes that it may not be unacceptable to his readers, if he 
shall append to this paragraph touching the Eden Sabbath, at least a 
reference to some views in this volume which seem singularly to have 
anticipated the new ground upon which Dr. Macleod proposes to void the 
authority of the Fourth Commandment in the Christian Church, viz., the 
fact that the Sinai revelation was in the nature of a Covenant transaction 
with Israel, and therefore passed away with the Mosaic dispensation save 
in. so far as its precepts were of universal moral obligation anterior to and 
independent of the revelation at Sinai. 

In Discourse VI., on the Sinai Covenant, will be found the general prin- 
ciples on which he thinks the argument against the Anti-Mosaic Rationa- 
lism should be founded. To wit, that the whole Anti-Mosaic theory 
arises from an entire failure to perceive the nature of the Sinai revela- 
tions as a Covenant with the Church of that age, as representative of the 
Church in all ages — as both Moses and the Martyr Stephen assert — prescrib- 
ing a rule of life to convince of sin, and a ritual to teach how sin is taken 
away. That nothing enacted by Jehovah Jesus, through Moses, has been 
repealed any more than what Jesus enacted through Paul ; however some 
aoncrete forms of the law in its application may fall away, and become 
obsolete by the progress of ages, and the fuller revelations of redemption. 
That the reason, therefore, for the comparative silence of the New Testa- 
ment on the subject of the Sabbath, to which Dr. Candlish refers with so 
much effect in a recent lecture, is the same as the reason for the silence on 
the subject of the organization of the Church, and the membership of the 


children in the Church ; namely : That the Church was regarded as already 
organized, and the children in it under the Covenant with Abraham; and 
the Sabbath as already established in the Covenant with the Church, at 
Sinai, as all other precepts of the holy life. Therefore, it devolves on those 
who deny the Sabbath, to take the labouring oar, and show where it is 
repealed in tlie New Testament. 

It will be perceived, moreover, that not only the general principles sug- 
gested in Discourse VI., but the argument of his whole series of discourses 
illustrates how the fact of the identity of the visible Church in all ages — 
and together with the fiict of the representative character of Israel at Sinai, 
■who, as Stephen says, "received the lively oracles to give unto us" of 
the Christian dispensation, furnishes the key to the interpretation of the 
whole scripture as a history of redemption ; and therefore Dr. Macleod's 
device for avoiding the force of the argument from the Fourth Com- 
mandment, drives him to the assertion of a principle on which it is impos- 
sible to interpret the scriptures in the sense of the symbols of his Church? 
or indeed in any other than the rationalistic sense. 

In the unfortunate controversy among the Protestants of the Reforma- 
tion, respecting t^e sacredness and perpetual obligation of the Sabbath, as 
a Divine ordinance — which controversy may be traced, perhaps, to the 
almost Antinomian zeal of Luther and Calvin, against even the semblance 
of Judaical legalism, as well as their just hostility to mere ecclesiastical 
ordinance, as of authority over the conscience — the British, and after them 
the American Churches, have generally held the stricter views of the 
sacredness of the Sabbath, against the laxer views of the Continental 

Yet at the same time, both in Britain and America, a perpetual conflict 
has been necessary to maintain this stricter view against the combined 
influence of semi-Popish Churchism, of the type of Laud and the " Book of 
Sports," immigrant Continental Protestantism, Popery and open Infidelity 
— all of which unite with the secularism of the masses to overthrow the 
Christian Sabbath, or at least to pervert it into a mere holiday instead of 
a day wholly consecrated to the public and private worship of God. 

In this struggle too, there is reason to fear that in their zeal to gain the 
popular verdict, and meet the popular prejudices, as in the Sabbath Mail 
controversies, and other efforts to gain legislative sanction and protection 
for the Sabbath — its advocates have based the argument a little too exclu- 
sively on grounds of expediency ; and have sometimes even attempted to 
enforce tbeir views by doubtful illustrations, to the effect that Providence 
directly interferes in the ordinary events of life, to reward the obedient 
arbd punish the Sabbath-breaker, and thereby appealing to interest, rather 
than conscience, to demonstrate that Sabbath observance is on the whole 
a good speculation. 


No doubt also the true doctrine of the Sabbath, a3 an article of Chris- 
tian faith, has been obscured somewhat to the public view, by the zeal for 
legislative enactment of the Sabbath on grounds that imply some sort of 
authority in the civil legislature to enact religious laws with pains and 
penalties. Even in America, where, theoretically, the sphere of the state is 
wholly political, the leaven of the original Puritan conceptions of the 
State relative to religion, has led to plying legislativrcs with theological 
arguments for the Sabbath. The Sabbath, as an article of Cliristian doc- 
trine, and as one of the covenant engagements of the Church with her 
adorable Head, ''the Lord of the Sabbath," is one thing; the Sabbath as a 
public necessity, and enacted by the will of a people permeated with 
Christian ideas, through their servant the legislature, is quite a different 
thing. The consequence, here as in all other cases, is that the " confound- 
ing things which God hath sundered leadeth to decay of true religion." 

It will add another to the instances of good coming out of evil if this 
new phase of the Sabbath controversy shall lead to a thorough exposition 
of the theory of the relation of the " Church in the wilderness" to tho 
Christian Church and the obligations of the Sinai Covenant upon the 
Church of all ages. 



It has occurred to the author that perhaps students, and others accustomed 
to the closer methods of thinking, into whose hands this volume may fall, 
would be pleased to have, in a form more elaborate than is suited to popular 
discourses, a brief statement of Ikis theory of the place of the Church 
in the scheme of Redemption ; — the more especially, as they will discover 
that the theory of Biblical interpretation, and the method of preaching, 
exliibited in these discourses, gives prominence to the churchly idea, in our 
holy religion. 

xVsidc, however, from this special reason for such a statement, it is the 
profound conviction of the author that among all the sources of our con- 
troversies in the Reformed churches, and of the Rationalistic perversions of 
the gospel, none has been more fruitful than the failure of Protestants to 
perceive clearly and grasp firmly the great doctrine of the Church as a 
fundamental truth of the gospel revelation. 


It was the obsf^rvation, perhaps of Kleiforth, whose own views on the 
subject of the Church diverge very widely from the scriptures, that of the 
four great branches of sacred science — Theology, the science of God, 
Anthropology, the science of man as related to God, Soteriology, the 
science of salvation, and Ecclesiology, the science of the Church — the 
three first have had their full development in the history of the Church 
but the fourth remains to be developed. That the controversies touching the 
nature of the Godhead which closed under the labours of Athanasius fully 
developed Theology ; the labours of Augustine against the Pelagians fully 
developed Anthropology ; the labours of Luther and Calvin against Rome, 
to establish salvation by grace, fully developed Soteriology ; thus leaving 
Ecclesiology still to receive its development in the Protestant Churches. 
Unfortunately this development has been slow ; not because the Reformers, 
did not catch glimpses of this great doctrine also, but because their ex- 
posed condition compelled them to take shelter under civil governments 
which would not permit the full and free development of a doctrine which 
seemed directly to affect their absolute control over their subjects. The 
jealousies and divisions growing out of this connection of the churches 
with civil governments; the popular prejudice against church authority 
arising out of the terrible abuses of it by the Church of Rome, and the 
gradual growth of the error that the gospel doctrines may be held and pro- 
pagated without the gospel Church, have hitherto prevented any progress 
in this development. 

The fundamental error of many of the Protestant theories of the Church 
lies in overlooking the fact that the doctrine of the Church is a fundamental 
truth of the gospel, and is entitled to the same sort of consideration as other 
articles of theology. Nay more, that not only is this doctrine intimately 
connected with the other articles of Protestant theology, but it enters as an 
element into all those doctrines, and to a large extent moulds and shapes 
the scientific statement of them. It will be the purpose of the remarks 
now submitted, gathered from a previously published tract on this subject 
now out of print, to illustrate this view of the question. 

There is in the minds of many persons, and even students of theology, a 
prejudice against such reasonings, as too transcendental, and out of the 
sphere of practical Christian knowledge. But students, at least, should 
know that by celestial observations alone can safe and practical terrestrial 
charts be constructed. And while the mariner may, indeed, laarn to find 
his way over the ocean by his chart, as men learn a trade, yet, in order to 
any true and intelligent guidance by the chart, scientific observations to 
determine the relations of the Earth to the bodies in the heavens becomes 
a prime necessity. So it is absolutely necessary in order to any true 
ecclesiology, to study the relations of this idea of the Church, to those 
other great ideas which entered into the plan of redemption framed in the 
councils of eternity. 


No student of scripture needs to be told that the Apostles give no 
ground for this notion of separating practical religious thought from the 
]ii-ofounder views of God's method of Redemption. That — in exhibiting the 
practical truths of the doctrines of grace — they ever look backward to 
eternity and forward to eternity from the stand of the revelation given 
through them. As after the method of those immense triangnlations of 
the modern trigonometrical surveys, which, from some known base line 
measured upon the plain, take observations, forward and backward, of the 
prominent mountain-tops at immense distances, from which, again, other 
observations are extended, till the measuring-lino of .their science is laid, 
encompassing half the globe, and determining with marvellous accuracy, 
even to a single inch, the distance : — so these inspired Apostles, assuming 
as the ground-work of their argument that which they now see and hear 
under the outpouring of the Spirit, from this direct their vision back to the 
prominent facts in the past dispensations of God, and onward to the pro- 
minent heights of the prophetic views of the dispensations yet to 'come j 
and from these in tarn they determine new points of the argument. With 
a logic at once sublime in its reach and intinite in its comprehension, they 
determine the measure, the proportions, and the relations of that transcen- 
dent problem of man's salvation, which has its primary elements in tlie 
depths of eternity past, and its conclusion in the depths of eternity to come. 
So in every department of revealed knowledge, they alone shall succeed 
in obtaining adequate conceptions of tlie significancy of the several parts 
thereof, and the highest practical knowledge of the whole, who, under the 
guidance of the Holy Spirit, shall have studied the " pattern in the 
heavens," as it existed in the mind of the Infinite Author of salvation. 

Since the Reformation, four chief theories, and these inclusive of all 
other theories of revealed theology, have had currency in Christendom, — 
the Papal, the Zuinglian, the Lutheran, and the Calvinistic. Of these the 
first named is the original error against which the last three may be 
regarded as successive forms of just protest. All three of these protests 
are true in their general idea intrinsically, and successful in developing 
the chief truths of the gospel, but with widely different degrees of clear- 
ness and completeness, and with still more widely-different degrees of 
success in preserving pure and incorrupt the doctrines of grace. Recur- 
ring again to the analogy just employed, these four theories may not 
unaptly be compared, as to their relative value, with the four different 
theories of the visible universe which have in different ages had currency 
in the world. The Papal theory of theology, like the ancient mythoic- 
gical theory of the universe, scarce pretended to have any foundation 
other than in mere human fancies and its general prevalence among men. 
And just as the Ptolemaic, the Copernioan, and the still more modern 
theory of the Mecanique Celeste, are successive protests against the me/c 


prejudices and dreams of men ; yea, just as by each of them the funda- 
mental facts of the Cosinos had in some sort their expLanation, but with 
different degrees of consistency, clearness and beauty, so with the three 
Protestant theories of theology. The Zuinglian, taking as the central 
priuciple of its structure the truth that the word of God alone can be any 
:*»ithoritative rule to the conscience, developed from that point a true, in 
(?pposition to a counterfeit gospel ; yet a gospel too easily perverted by 
reason of its tendency to exalt the rational man of earth into a centre of 
the spiritual system, or at least, from its narrowness of view, to obscure 
tjie higher truths of the scheme of Redemption. The Lutheran theory, 
taking as its central principle the justification of the sinner by grace alone, 
through faith, after the fashion of Copernicus, exhibited Jesus Christ, the 
Sun of Righteousness, as the real centre, to whom the rational man of 
earth, with all that concerns him, is attracted, and around whom he 
revolves. Calvin, whilst perceiving that the central truths of both Zuingle 
and Luther were indeed great truths, yet, with tlie still wider vision of 
La Place and the moderns, beheld not only the rational man revolving 
around the mediatorial Sun ot Righteousness as his true centre, but also 
that man and his Central Sun revolved again around a still profounder 
centre, even the Eternal Purpose of God, fixed in the counsels of eternity 
before the world began. Such, generally, is the relative position to the 
others of that remarkable theory of theology which, however men have 
cavilled at, they must be constrained to admit both its singular accordance 
with the very language, and its logical development and elucidation of all 
the great facts of revelation. 

Of this system of theology the eternal purpose of God is, ideally, the 
great central truth. All that has transpired under the reign of grace and 
under the administration of Providence, since the world began, is con- 
ceived of as simply the gradual manifestation in time of the purpose 
formed from eternity.* The revelation which God has made of himself in 
his word is but the record of the execution of his Eternal Decree, and the 
publication to the world in time of the proceedings had in the counsels of 
eternity. The revelation of Himself, experimentally, to the souls Of his 
people is but the manifestation of the love wherewith he loved them before 
the world began. Every syllable of truth revealed in the scriptures is 
conceived of as having its significance and its importance determined by 
its relation to the purpose previously existing in the Divine Mind ; so that 
the doctrine of the Decree and Predestination of God is not so much a 
doctrine of Calvinism— one distinct truth in a system of truth — as a mode 
of conceiving and setting forth all the doctrines which make up revealed 

Now, pursuing the hint already suggested touching the connection 

* Eph. i. 4-12, iii. 9-11; Rom. viii. 28-33; John xvii. 2-5. 


hetwoon the S5'-stcm of theology and the idea of the Church, and taking 
this theory of Calvin as correct, a sure and reliable central point -will be 
found for the doctrine of the Church, likewise, in the eternal purpose of 
God. For the fuudamcutal idea of the Church, as a separate and distinct 
portion of the human race, is found in the peculiar moile of that purpost- 
itself. It is set forth as a distinguishing feature of the purpose of redemp- 
tion, tliat it is to save not merely myriads of men as individual mev^ but 
myriads of sinners, as composing a Mediatorial body, of which the Media- 
tor shall be the head ;• a Mediatorial Kingdom, whose government shall 
bo upon His shoulderf forever; a Church, the Lamb's Bride, of which He 
shall be the Husband ;| a bride whose beautiful portrait was graven \ipon 
the palms of his hands, and whose walls were continually before him.§ 
when in the counsels of eternity he undertook her redemption. 

The mission of Messiah, undertaken in the covenant of eternity, was not 
merely that of a teaching Prophet and an atoning Priest, but of a ruling 
King as well. His work was not to enunciate simply a doctrine concern- 
ing God and man's relations to God, as some Socrates, for the founding of 
a school ; nor even merely to atone for sinners as a ministering priest at 
the altar : it was, as the result of all, and the reward of all, to found a 
coiiiuiunilij, to organize a government, and administer therein as a perpetual 

It will be perceived, therefore, that the primary and fundamental con- 
ception of the Church of God has its germinal source far back in the 
purpose of God, and that the Church naturally and necessarily grows out 
of the very form and mode of the scheme of redemption for sinners, as it 
lay in the Infinite Mind. As the purpose was to redeem not only elect 
sinners, but a body of elect sinners, — an organic body with all its parts 
related to each other, and the Mediator himself the head thereof, — it is 
manifest that in that purpose is involved ideally the Church as an elect 
portion of the race under the Headship of the Messiah, and distinct from 
another and reprobate portion of the human family. 

The elementary conception of the Church, therefore, and that concep- 
tion of it which must be presupposed and enter into every definition of the 
Church, is of that elect body of men which was contemplated in the cove- 
nant of redemption, as constituting the mediatorial kingdom of Christ, 
a,nd for the sake of which body he undertook the work of salvation. 
Other elements, as we shall see, must necessarily enter into the definition 
as this ideat of the purpose of God becomes actual in the external ma:r- 
festation of the purpose in time ; but this element must obviously be fouud 
involved in any and every form which the notion of tJic Church, as actual 
and external, can take. In this view of the case is found the reason for 
the fact that a Calvinistic theology cannot long retain its integrity and 

* Col. i. lS-20. t Isa. ix. 6, 7. + Eph. v. 20. § Isa. xlix. IG. 


purity save in connection ■with a Calvinistic ecclesiology, and for the 
more general fact, already referred to, of the intimate connection between 
a -wrong theology and wrong views of the Church. 

As thQ general ideal purpose of God becomes actual and revealed in 
time, so every part of the purpose has its corresponding act'- .1 external 
manifestation. The Mediator of til'e ideal eternal co.^nant . com-., tbe 
Jehovah, in various forms manifesting himself to men ; the Angel of the 
covenant, not only the ideal covenant of redemption, but of the actual 
covenant of grace, in its successive renewals and various forms ; the King 
of Zion ; the Word, speaking "at sundry times and in divers mansners to 
the fathers," and in the last time becoming incarnate to finish the atone- 
ment for sin ; the ascended Son of Man, that hath the seven Spirits of 
God, to send forth the Holy Spirit, in his place, to carry on the work of 
redemption on earth till he shall return a second time in glory. 

So in like manner the ideal ekUkLoi of the covenant of redemption 
become the actual kletoi (called ones) of the manifested purpose in time. 
Inasmuch as they are called by an external Mesh of the word, they are 
gathered iu successive generations to constitute the external ekklena on 
earth. In as far as they are called also by the internal klesis of the Spirit, 
they are gathered to constitute the invisible ekklesia, the full and complete 
actual of the eternal ideal. For whilst, indeed, the effectual call of the 
Spirit can alone fulfil the promise of the eternal covenant to Messiah, yet, 
as that call is externally through the word and the visible ordinances, the 
very process of calling and preparing the elect of God creates the visible 
Church in the very image of the invisible. And it is in this visible body 
that the Mediator carries on his administration, works by his Spirit, gives 
laws and ordinances for the present, and exceeding great and precious pro- 
mises of that which is to come ; and through this body carries on his 
purposes of mercy toward a world lying in wickedness. 

This statement concerning the actual and visible Churcli as the develop- 
ment of the ideal elect body of the covenant of redemption is by no means 
exclusive of all other aspects of the Church in the gospel scheme. The 
visible Church is an important, if not a necessary, means of revealing to 
men the whole counsel of God ; and, for aught we know, such is the con- 
stitution of the human mind that by no other method could have been 
communicated to human intelligence that peculiar feature of the purpose 
of God which contemplates the redeemed not as individuals merely, but as 
the mediatorial body of the Redeemer. In another view, the Church is an 
indispensable means of accomplishing the great purpose of his love to his 
chosen people, as an institute for the calling, training, and edifying the 
elect. What is intended in the foregoing view is to exhibit the external 
Church in time as, primarily in the logical order of thought, the develop- 
ment of the ideal body of the covenant of redemption. Contemplated as a 


part of the process of manifesting to men the purpose of God to gather an 
elect people, the Church is a means through which God makes known his 
counsel. Contemplated as to its immediate end, the Church is a divinely 
appointed institute, by which and through which to accomplish his ]>urpo3e 
in his calling and edification of his elect. But both these views, however 
important and essential, are, logically speaking, secondary and iucidoutal 
to the idea of the Church — a Church on earth, as the development of his 
Church ideal — " tlie pattern in the heavens." 

It is a marked peculiarity of the Abrahamic covenant that it brings into 
view the Church visible, not simply as the external manifestation and 
development of the ideal mediatorial body of the Redeemer in the eternal 
covenant, but at the same time, also, as an actual institute for the calling 
and training of the elect people of God. From this time forward, through 
the entire revelation, the visible Church is exhibited as a body externally 
called to the privilege of receiving the oracles of God, and of being 
specially under the charge of Jehovah as his peculiar nation, the special 
beneficiary of his promises, and enjoying the special agency of his Holy 
Spirit. It is no longer limited in extent of numbers to the true k/tjtoi, — the 
called internally by the Spirit according to the eternal purpose, — but also to 
the called [/v7.?/ro/] who are externally called by the word only. Now, as 
several times intimated in these discourses, and assumed as the ground, of 
their arguments and expositions, every revelation ever communicated, 
every ordinance appointed, every promise and covenant made of God, has 
been, not to and with men as men, or as constituting nations, but to and 
with the Church, as such, — a body organized or contemplated as the- 
elements of an organization. In the widest sense, to the ancient Church 
were committed the oracles of God. The successive revelations come not 
from God as Creator to men as creatures, but from Messiah as Prophet and 
King over his Church to his own peculiar people. The revelations of Sinai 
are expressly declarer to have been made to the covenant-people ; and 
when Jloses wrote the words of the Lord in the book, they were formally 
ratified as the covenant between God and the Church. After Moses, all 
additional records of inspiration are given to the Churoii as the depository 
of the Oracles of God. Here, as in all other points, Rome does not invent 
pure falsehood, but only counterfeits the truth. The Church is in truth 
anterior to the Scriptures, the receiver of the Scripture, the guardian of the 
Scripture. Rome adroitly perverts all this to mean that the Church is 
superior to Scripture, the maker of Scripture, the infallible interpreter of 
Scripture. Less monstrous indeed, but not less deceptive, is the Rational- 
istic assumption that the idea of the Church is something extraneous to 
the Scripture, — having no other relation than that of an expedient or even 
a necessity superinduced upon the Scripture, simply by the outworking of 
a system of revelation made to the world of men at large, and when 


received bv any portion thereof, attracting them together to constitute a 
School of Religions Philosophy. 

From the foregoing views of the relation of the idea of the Church, first 
to the plan of Redemption in the Purpose of God, and secondly to the 
record of the manifestation of the Purpose of God in time, we derive these 
general observations concerning the idea and nature of the Churcli. 

1. The primary and germinal idea of the Church of God is of that elect 
body of men which was contemplated in the covenant of Redemption as 
constituting a mediatorial body, of which Messiah is the Head, and for the 
sake of which he undertook the work of Redemption. 

2. It being an essential feature of the Plan of Redemption that the 
purpose of God have its manifestation through successive ages of time, and 
its accomplishment through external instrumentalities, even the call (k?i,?/(7/.c) 
of the word, providing the instrumentality through which shall be made 
the call (k7i?~'U!c) of the Spirit, — together with the other external ordinances 
for the edifying and training of an elect people in external convenant- 
relation to the Mediator, — the very outworking of the purpose of God in 
time brings into existence an actual external (e/c/c^T/cr/'a), — a called out and 
separated body of men, corresponding to the ideal of God's Purpose. 

3. In accordance with this relation between the ideal and the actual, the 
Purpose of God is revealed by means of convenants, as between the 
"Mediator and a separated portion of the race ; and in particular one 
covenant, as a charter, specially and formally organizing into a community 
the portion of the race to which the Mediator shall specially reveal himself 
and give the oracles and ordinances through which he will execute his 
mission to the race at large, over which he shall exercise spiritual authority 
as its Pounder, Lawgiver, and Head ; and in which he will set officers to 
teach and rule, and by the Holy Spirit as his agent carry on the work of 
recreating his people. 

4. This body visible on earth is perpetual and identical through all ages. 
It may vary in its degrees of purity, down to utter apostasy ; it may have 
its seat exclusively in one nation and run in the line of natural descent, or 
it may have its seat alike in all nations and treat as one blood all kindreds 
of men ; it may be now conspicuous before the world, or now humble and 
comparatively hidden ; it may vary as to the degree of Divine knowledge 
xiurrent in it, having now only a partial and now a fully-completed revela- 
tion as its rule, and of course, therefore, may vary as to the form of its 
ordinances and instrumentalities for teaching Divine truth : — but, withal, 
it is essentially the same body of people, organized for the same purposes, 
administered in by the same Head and Ruler, and, under him, ministered to 
"by the same sort of ministering servants, having the same sort of duties to 
discharge, for the attainment of the same great ends. And in this fact, 

• doubtless, is the true solution of the comparative silence of scripture 


liistory touching Church government. There being no organic changes 
from the first institution of this government, there is no call for any special 
reference to that subject in the history. The events which constitute the 
true life and glory of a nation — the natural and healthy developmeut of its 
organic laws — arc not those which find a place in history, but rather the 
events which destroy and disorganize. Hence the saying of men, " Blessed 
the nation whose annals are tiresome." But the Divine history records no 
tiresome uunals merely to fill out in rhetorical proportion the history of a 
given space of time. In this history iiilence takes the place of the tiresonni 
annals of other history. Hence the silence concerning the external consti- 
tution of the kingdom whose history it records is simply expressive of the 
continued sameness of external government through all its progressive- 

5. The idea of the Church being thus a complex idea, the proper defini- 
tion of the Church must not only enumerate the essential elementary ideas 
that enter into the complex whole, but also make such an enumeration as 
shall arrange in logical order these several elements according to tlicir 
relative position and prominence each to the other. From the foregoing 
views, the definition of the Church — as simply a fact of revealed theology — 
should describe it as that body of men, taken as a whole or any part thereof, 
which, acccording to God's eternal purpose to call out and organize a 
part of mankind into a kingdom, is called successively in time by hisVord 
and Spirit to a confession of Christ, an engagement to his covenant, and 
subjection to the laws of his kingdom. This general description, however, 
while comprehending all the elementary ideas, must have certain modifica- 
tions, according as one or another aspect of the Church is prominent in 
the mind. But these modifications can only change the relative prominence 
of the several elements one to the other, neither adding any element, nor 
taking any away. Thus, in defining the Church as actual and visible, the 
constituent elements of the Church are persons not only as individuals,, 
but also as representing families, according to the general principles of all 
the covenants of God. So in defining the Church in greater or less extent 
by corresponding modifications, according as the mind has prominent 
before it the whole or the part, the definition of it embraces, according to 
scripture usage, any variety of extent. As it is gravitation — involving 
the same general idea — whether as embodied in the phenomenon of the 
apple foiling from the tree in the sight of the philosopher, or in that of the 
earth retained in its orbit ; so, by reason of its connection with the groat 
ideal, it is the Church of God, whether it be the Society in the house of 
Priscilla, the Church of the Saints at Philippi, the Church of many con- 
gregations and languages at Jerusalem or Antioch, the Church at large 
which suffered persecution, the General Assembly and Church of the First- 
born whose names are written in heaven, or the ideal Church of the Pur- 


pose of Redemption, — wbicb Christ loved before the world began, and for 
which be gave lumself in tlie Eternal Covenant. 

Such accordingly is the definition of the Church, as a point of Calvinistic 
-doctrine, in the Westminster Confession. The entire article forms one 
definition, containing, in their logical order, the three elementary ideas 
wiiich enter into the complex whole, in three distinct paragraphs : first. 
the Church ideal, or invisible ; second, this ideal as manifest and actual in 
the Church visible ; third, this visible body as an organic body, receiving 
risible officers, laws, and ordinances from her great Head. 

Any definition of the Church, therefore, is doctrinally defective, which 
ignores either of these elements, the internal call (^Kh'/cic) of the Spirit, the 
■external klesis of the word, or the organic nature of the cJddesia. As with 
the peculiar ordinances of the Church, — Baptism and the Lord's Supper, — 
the three elements of the internal grace, the external act, and the Divine 
appointment thereof are all essential to the true definition, — and that is 
ever a dangerous description which ignores either of the three : so with the 
definition of the Church itself, and for precisely like reasons. And hence, 
asamatter of fact, defective conceptions of the Church and of the sacraments 
go ever baud in hand. When the Chirrch is conceived of only as external 
-and organized, to the exclusion of the internal element of its structure, 
then the sacraments become merely external rites, and the administrator 
the authoritative dispenser of grace through them. When, on the other 
"hand, the Church is conceived of as wholly an internal thing as to its 
•essential nature, then the tendency is ever to conceive of the sacraments, 
in their external character, as simply appropriate and suggestive cere- 
monies, representing internal acts of the soul merely, rather than as the 
means of grace to the soul ; and the administrator of the sacraments, not 
so much God's authorized minister, as one chosen by the company to 
preside merely in the performance of a solemn ceremony. So of any 
other defective view of the Church. The entire system of the gospel has 
in truth all its parts so related, that error in regard to any one part must 
in some form affect every other part. Considering that the gospel hath 
sprung from an infinitely perfect Mind, it cannot be otherwise. 

The importance of the foregoing views, in order to the practical exposi- 
tion of the scripture, either devotional or practical, in the Church, will be 
manifest. In fact, one of the chief causes of the confused and conflicting 
interpretations of many portions of the word of God arises from the pre- 
vious want of a decision of the question whether there be a Church at all. 
With the advantage of this vagueness as to the general subject concerning 
•v^N :ich the appeal is made to scripture, it is obviouslj^ impossible to settle, 
from the mere words of the scriptures themselves, the true significancy of 
their teachings on the subject. Hence errorists, though pretending to 
appeal to the scriptures, may give illimitable range to the imagination, 


and, being free to give any one of all possible meanings to the words of tlio 
snored record, thereby deprive them of any real significance. If, however, 
it has been established previously that a visible Cliurch, in some form or 
other, is an absolute necessity of the plan of redemption as revealed in the 
scripture.^, demanded by the natui*e of the plan itself; presupposed by the 
very mode of revealing the plan ; essential as a ir.eans of communicating 
one of its fundamental facts to the world, and not less essential as a means 
of accomplishing the divine purpose ; required as a key to the interpreta- 
tion of the Sacred History, the prophetic expositions of the doctrine of 
j\Iessiah, and the apostolic teachings concerning his kingly office ; then 
there are limits fixed within which the language of prophets, evangelists 
and apostles, concerning the Church and its ordinances, is to have its inter- 
pretation, and which fix the meaning thereof with remarkable accuracy. 

Having obtained this general conception of the Church, we assume this as 
a positive standard, and turn now on the other hand to consider the relation 
to this idea of the Church of the more important and obvious of the 
abstract principles which underlie the structure of this peculiar body, the 
Church visible — the great government not reckoned among the nations. 
These may be considered as relating to four general points — the source of 
the Spiritual power — the delegation and vesting of the power — the mode 
of exercising it — and the distinctions and limits of this ecclesiastical power, 
and that secular power which also God has ordained to the civil magistrate. 
1. The source of all Church power is primarily Jesus Christ, the 
Mediator. As this is manifest from all that has gone before touching the 
nature and idea of the Church, so also it is manifest from the most explicit 
declarations of every scripture relating to the subject. Anterior to his 
coming in the flesh, as Jehovah he administered through prophets, priests, 
and extraordinary ministers. The preamble to the apostolic commission 
asserts this power as the foundation of their authority. " Ml power is 
^iren me, [as Mediator:] go ye, therefore," &c. And, accordingly, all 
power in the Church is exercised by him and in his name. His apostles 
teach in the name of Jesus.* In the name of the Lord Jesus the offender 
is cut ofif.f His promise to the courts of the Church is to be present when 
two or three are gathered together in his jiamc.t And, in like manner, all 
the prophetical views of his relation to the Church declare in effect the 
government shall be upon his shoulder.§ Nay, as actually containing in 
himself, by way of eminency, all the offices of the Church, he is styled the 
Apostle,|j the Shepherd,ir the Chief Shepherd andBishop,** the Head of the 

* Acts iv. 17, 18. t I Cor. v. 4. t Matt, xviii. 20. 

§ Isa. ix. 6, 7, » ; Luke i. 32, S3. II Ucb. iii. 1. 

U John X. 11. •* 1 Peter ii. 2^. 
ft Col. i. 18, and Epb. i. 22. 


2. As to the delegation and vesting of this power, it is expressly taught 
that he hath made such delegation, vesting the power in men. Throughout 
the Old Testament, such is represented to be the method in which he 
carried on the administration of his kingdom. Men ruled and administered 
the ordinances and spake in Jehovah's name. In tliat civil theocracy, in 
which he ruled as local king, — set up to be a type and historical prophesy 
of his fnlly developed spiritual commonwealth, the New Testament 
Church — men commissioned by him ruled as judges and kings over the 
nation, though Jehovah was King. So in the delegation of power under 
the last dispensation, distinguished as the ministration of the Spirit, to the 
Apostles he said, " As my Father sent me, even so I send you." 

But in neither case, whether under the Old or New Testament dispensa- 
tion, was this power vested in the prophets, kings, or apostles personally, 
but as representative men. Not in the office-bearers of the Church, either, 
as distinct from and irrespective of the people ; nor yet in the people con- 
templated as an aggregation of individuals. In all cases the power is 
vested in the Church as an organic body, composed of both rulers and 
ruled. For as God hath set the members of the body, so hath he " set in 
the Church, first, apostles, secondly, prophets," &c. In every inspired 
allusion to the power of rule in the Church, the power is represented as 
vested in an organic body, as the human body with its several members and 
their functions.* And as it has been shown before that the idea of the 
Church from the very first, even in the purpose of redemption, was of an 
organic body, the reason for this peculiar view of the scripture, as to the 
vesting of the power is very manifest. 

The power vests in the body as such ; the administration of the power is 
in office-bearing members of the body whom the Great Head selects, calls, 
qualifies, and commissions to rule ministerially in his name. The Holy 
Ghost makes them overseers. But yet the vocation to the exercise of the 
oflfice is in the people, who must try the spirits, and judge whether they be 
men full of faith and of the Holy Ghost. As in the ancient civil theocracy 
in which Jehovah reigned as local king invisibly, through a visible king as 
his minister, chosen and commissioned by himself; — though Jehovah's own 
prophet has formally anointed David king, that call and commission from 
God did yet not actually constitute David king until, after long years of 
trouble and darkness, Judah first, and then all Israel, called him to the 
throne. So in this spiritual kingdom of Christ, though the appointment to 
office, the qualification and commission, are from him, the true invisible 
Head of the kingdom, yet the vocation to the actual exercise of the office so 
conferred is in the people. In this sense of vocation alone, and not in the 
sense of power delegated by the people to their office-bearers, are they, in 

Rom. xii. ; 1 Cor. xii. : Eph. iv. 4. 

XvOTE TO DiscoUKs:: IV. 4G'j 

any case, the representatives of the people. If, as has been shown, th-? 
idea of the Church, as one great body, is essential in the system of redemp- 
tion, and if in the body as snch are vested the powers of external govern- 
ment, and that in the form of office-bearers provided by the Great Head and 
given to the Church, to be called to the actual exercise of these functions 
only by the people, then they are ministers of the Church of God, and liold 
relations to the whole Church of God which preclude the idea of their being 
exclusively the representatives of any given part of the people. Hence the 
parallel between the Church as a spiritual commonwealth and the civil 
republic is wholly fanciful, or implies a theory of the idea and nature of 
the Church fundamentally diflFerent from that presented in the former i)art 
of this discussion. 

3. As to the mode in which the power of government shall be exerci-'^^'d 
there is this remarkable peculiarity in the view set forth in the Scripture 
history of every era of the Church,— viz. : that whilst the office-bearers 
have severally certain functions to discharge, as of teaching, administering 
sacraments, and oversight, yet all power of jurisdiction is to be exercised 
only through tribunals. The fundamental and only office of jurisdiction, 
alike in the Church under all dispensations, is the office of elders, Presbu- 
teroi. The title Episcopos, occurring not over half a dozen times in the 
Xew Testament, seems used only in speaking to or of Gentiles unfamiliar 
with the ancient ecclesiastical language of the Church, and hence e-icicn-rg 
is really nothing more than a Grecian equivalent for the Jewish ecclesias- 
tical term Preshuterol. From the first to the last of the dispensations of 
God recorded in Scripture, as before shown, the uniform exponent of a 
government in the Church is the office of the elders, Prcsbuteroi ; and if 
a name of distinction for the Church visible, considered as a form of spiri- 
tual government, is to be applied to it, ^^Presbyterian" has been the proper 
title from the days of Israel in Egypt to the present. Of course we mean 
this in no offensive denominational sense, but simply as the statement of a 
philological fact of the scriptures. 

Now, taking this title to be expressive of government in the Church, the 
flict that, uniformly, throughout the Scripture, a plurality of these office- 
bearers is always indicated, whether referring to their existence in a par- 
ticular community or Church, or to the exercise of jurisdiction thereiu, is, 
in itself, little short of demonstration that their power is exercised onlv 
jointly and in tribunals. It is ever the elders of a city or Church in any 
locality, never the elder; it is ever the elders who sit in council, who act in 
the name of the people, who consult together of the things pertaining to the 
Church. There is not a case that the author is aware of, in all the scrip- 
tures ia which an ordinary office-bearer ever exercised jurisdiction alone. 
He acts always as one constituting a member of a tribunal. 

And whilst this power is thus limited in the mode of its exercise, it also 



ts limited as to its end, which is wholly spiritual. In fall accordance with 
the idea of a kingdom not of this world, and of the power of men in it as 
wholly ministerial, is the end for which it is exercised. It is spiritual : it 
is to gain our brother. It is that the spirit of him against whom this power 
is exercised may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. It is for the edifi- 
cation of his people, and for the Lord's business for the peace and harmony 
of the Church, for the extension of the Church, and for Jehovah's glory. 

4. Touching the distinction between the power ecclesiastical and the civil 
power, — which latter is ordained by God also, — the points of contrast are so 
numerous and so fundamental that nothing but the confusion of mind arising 
from the oppression of Ccesar, and Antichrist backed by the power of Caesar 
could ever have caused the obscurity and inconsistency of the Church's 
testimony in modern times. For they have nothing in common except that 
both powers are of divine authority, both concern t'he race of mankind, and 
both were instituted for the glory of God as a final end. In respect to all 
else — their origin, nature and immediate end, and in their mode of exercis- 
ing the power, — they difiFer fundamentally. Thus, they differ : — 

(1.) In that the civil power derives its authority from God as the Author 
of nature, whilst the power ecclesiastical comes alone from Jesus as 

(2.) In that the rule for the guidance of the civil power in its exercise is 
the light of natui'e and reason, the law which the Author of nature reveals 
through reason to man ; but the rule for the guidance of ecclesiastical 
power in its exercise is that light which, as Prophet of the Church, Jesus 
Christ has revealed in his word. It is a government under statute laws 
already enacted by the King. 

(3.) They differ in that the scope and aim of the civil power are limited 
properly to things seen and temporal ; the scope and aim of ecclesiastical 
power are things unseen and spiritual. Religious is a term not predicable of 
the acts of the State ; political is a term not predicable of the acts of the 
Church. The things pertaining to the kingdom of Christ are things con- 
cerning which Caesar can have rightfully no cognizance, except indirectly 
and incidentally as these things palpably affect the temporal and civil 
concerns of men ; and even then Caesar cannot be too jealously watched 
by the Church. The things pertaining to the kingdom of Caesar are mat- 
ters of which the Church of Christ, as an organic government, can have no 
cognizance, except incidentally and remotely as affecting the spiritual 
interests of men ; and even then the Church cannot watch herself too 

(4.) They differ in that the significant symbol of the civil power is the 
sword ; its government is a government of force, a terror to evil-doers ; 
but the significant symbol of Church power is the keys, its government 
only ministerial, the functions of its officers to open and close and 


have a care of a house already complete as to its structure externally, and 
internally organized and provided. 

(5.) They differ in that civil power may be exercised as a several power 
by one judge, magistrate, or governor; but all ecclesiastical power per- 
taining to government vs a joint power only, and to be exercised by tribu- 
nals. The Head of the government has not seen fit to confer spiritual 
power of jurisdiction in any. form upon a single man, nor authorized the 
exercise of the functions of rule in the spiritual conmjonwealth as a several 

It is unnecessary to digress here into a discussion of the rationale of 
these fundamental distinctions. It would not be difficult to show, however, 
that they are neither accidental nor arbitrary, but spring out of those 
fundamental truths concerning the nature of the Church itself, and of its 
relations to the gospel, which have already been pointed out. These 
distinctions, therefore, are of a nature to forbid all idea of any concurrent 
jurisdiction, and to render certain the corruption and final apostasy of any 
part of the Church which shall persist in the attempt to exist as a govern- 
mental power concurrent with the State, — it matters not whether as supe- 
rior, inferior, or equal. They are the two great powers that be, and are 
ordained of God to serve two distinct ends in the great scheme devised for 
man as fallen. The one is set up, in the mercy and forbearance of the 
Author of nature toward the apostate race at large, to hold in check the 
outworking of that devilish nature consequent upon the apostasy, and to fur- 
nish a platform, as it were, on which to carry on another and more amazing 
scheme of mercy toward a part of mankind. The other is designed to 
constitute of the families of earth that call upon his name, and into tiie 
hearts of which his grace has yiit enmity toward Satan and his seed, a 
nation of priests, a peculiar nation, not reckoned among the nations, of 
whom Jehovah is the God and they are his people. That not only the 
utter disregard of this distinction in the formal union of the Church and 
State — either merging the Church in the State or the State in the Church 
— is destructive of the Church, but that, also, any degree of confusion in 
respect of this distinction is proportionably dangerous and corrupting, the 
history of the Reformed Churches generally, and in particular of the Church 
of Scotland, is a most striking illustration. Nay, the entire history of the 
Church, from its first organization, testifies that his people must render to 
Ca3sar the things that arc Ciesar's as distinct from rendering to God the 
things that are God's, or the Church suffers. 

But, it may be proper to add here to prevent misapprehension of the 
author's views, that the Scriptures, in their teachings concerning spiritual 
government, go beyond the enumeration of certain abstract truths merely. 
They set forth with equal clearness the specific forms in which these truths 
are embodied in the scheme of government appointed for the Church, both 


in reference to the officers and the courts thereof. As to the offices to be 
executed in a community whose real ruler is invisible, — Jesus Christ, — 
whether considered either as acting personally or through the movements 
of the Holy Ghost the functions arv-^ necessarily ministerial only, and are 
therefore readily determined by the nature and design of the kingdom itself. 
If, as we have seen, this kingdom is in its nature the outward development 
and a mode of revealing a purpose to gather an elect body out of the race, 
and, considered as to its design, is an institute for the calling, gathering, 
and preparatory training of the elect out of the successive ages of time, 
then these official functions have reference to developing the purpose and 
accomplishing this design, and therefore must relate to three things exclu- 
sively, — viz. : the call of the elect into communion and keeping up their com- 
munion with Christ the Head, — that is the ministry of the ordinances ; the 
preserving the order and harmony of the body, — that is, government and 
discipline ; and the provision for and care of the revenues of the commu- 

In perfect consistency, therefore, with these views of the nature and 
design of the Church, and the corresponding functions needful for the 
ministry of " doctrine, discipline, and distribution," the scriptures exhibit, 
as the three classes, of divinely appointed officers, first, ministers who both 
rule and administer the ordinances, — a double office necessarily growing 
out of the essential connection between the word and the spiritual govern- 
ment founded upon it; second, ministers of rule only, and in spirituals 
only, — an oflSce arising out of the nature and joint power of the govern- 
ment as, in idea, distinct from the several powers of administering ordi- 
nances, both of which unite in the first-named office ; third, the minister of 
temporal things pertaining to the community for the keeping prominent 
that ordinance of the fellowship through which is expressed the relation of 
one to another, and of one part to another part of this body, even as the 
other ordinances and government are expressive of the relation of one and 
all to the Great Head. 

It affects not the substantial correctness of this view of the permanent 
offices in the Church as growing out of the very nature and desigu of the 
Church, and therefore necessarily in substance the same in all ages of the 
Church, that under the several dispensations recorded in scripture God 
raised up extraordinary officers at divers times and of divers sorts, as judges, 
prophets, apostles, &c. Nor does it any more affect this argument and 
threefold classification of the officers that, under different dispensations, 
any one of the three offices should have been discharged by two or more 
persons in the different aspects of it, as when both priest and prophet of 
the Old Testament discharged in effect the functions of the preacher of the 
word of the New Testament. For if the offices arise out of the nature and 
design of the Church, the fundamental element of a proper classification is 


the function itself, rather than the functionary. During the era of imme- 
diate inspiration, such changes of mere form were made by the same great 
authority which first instituted the ofhce ; and, indeed, during tlie progress 
of the Church under a progressive and incomplete revelation, such cliangea 
must occur, in the nature of the case, with tlie changes of the forms 
of the ordinances, according as successive new revelations presented 
Messiah, the great object of worship, in new aspects. It is only after the 
revelation is complete and the immediate inspiration witlidrawu from the 
Church that the forms of the ordinances, government, and offices of the 
Church must thenceforth remain stationary', and just at the point in which 
the last and highest development of the revelation left tliem. The limits 
of this note forbid, and the general familiarity with this branch of the 
subject renders unnecessary, any argument in detail to show that the last 
and complete development of the Church under the apostles exliibit, as the 
three ordinary and permanent officers thereof, elders who rule,* the funda- 
mental office of the Church, as a government, from the first to the last; 
elders who both rule and labour in word and doctrine ;t deaconsj who 
represent the fellowship of the members of the Church in each other's 
gifts, and who have care of its revenues and the necessities of the poor. 

As to the courts of the Church, the essential relation of these to the 
foregoing general views of the idea and nature of the Church is manifest, 
and, indeed, has already been pointed out in what has been said touching 
tlie governmental power in the Church as exercised always jointly and by 
tribunals. But the other principle needs here to be brought iuto view 
which also has already been referred to in a preceding part of this discussion 
as a fundamental peculiarity in the definition of the Church. This is the 
faot that the oneness of the Church is so absolute by reason of the connec- 
tion of the visible with the invisible, as the actual development of the ideal, 
that the definition of the Church is substantially the definition, at the same 
time, either of the whole or any part thereof. From this it follows, in 
coming to regard the Church as a governmental power, that the power of 
the whole is over the power of every part thereof, and also the power of 
the whole in every part thereof. Hence, therefore, the same power is in 
every tribunal that is in any tribunal, whilst the power of the greater part 
is over the power of the smaller part. As it is, the Church of God, whethir 
considered as the body meeting in a single house, or the body in Jesusalem, 
or Ephesus, or Antioch, composed of bodies meeting in different houses 
and worshipping in different languages, or whether considered as the 
whole body of the Churches of Judea, Samaria, and Galilee ; so tribunals, 
in a corresponding extent of jurisdiction, must of necessity exist in order 
to the discharge of the functions which we have seen are an absolute con- 

* Rom.xii 8 ; 1 Tim. v. 17 ; Heb. xiii. 17. f Ileb. xiii. 7, 8 ; 1 Tim. v. 17. 
X Acts vi. 4, 7 ; 1 Tim. iii. 8. 


dition of the existence of the Church as one visible body, all the parts 
thereof in active communion with the Head. And here also is involved 
the consequence that in all ages of the Church the tribunals thereof, as to 
their functions, must be essentially the same, notwithstanding, as in the 
case of the officers of the Church, the progressive revelation under the 
admini:;tration of men immediately inspired may and must produce changes 
in the form of discharging these functions, until the completed revelation 
and the withdrawal of inspiration shall at last leave them permanent in 
form as well as in substance. 

Now the Scriptures exhibit, accordingly, this actual uniformity of 
government, by a series of tribunals representing the different extents of 
the meaning of the word Church, as existing under every dispensation. 
Elders and ministers of the word form their constituent elements, — and 
that in tribunals having jurisdiction of various degrees of extent, from 
a single community of worshippers up to that over the whole visible body. 
Such was the structure of the ecclesiastical tribunals, as distinct from the 
civil, under the first general organization of Moses ; such it appears in all 
the subsequent history, whenever occasion calls for a reference to it. Such 
we find it, beyond all controversy, at the opening of the New Testament, 
as appears from the numerous allusions to the synagogue with its elders 
and chief ruler, and to the sanhedrim of chief priests, priests, and elders ; 
and such, with scarce a single important modification, do we find the 
government of the Church under the apostles ; and so left as the perpetual 
order of government for the Church. 

Thus, with remarkable consistency, the Scriptures are found exhibiting 
the same great idea of tlie Church, as pervading all the details of office and 
government ernbodied in the actual forms which the Church assumed 
throug-h all the ages of inspiration. 

As concerning the form finally developed at the close of inspira- 
tion, and which, therefore, is to remain the perpetual form of government 
for the Church under the dispensation of the Spirit till the second coming 
of Christ, it would not be consistent with the design of a volume not 
intended to be distinctively denominational to enter upon the discussion of 
that question. The purpose of this note is to set forth the fundamental 
itiportance of the doctrine of the Church as part of the gospel doctrine, 
not to discuss the merits of the distinctive forms of the author's own 

The importance of this idea of the Church, and its direct bearing upon 
the question of worship in the Church, will be pointed out in a brief note 
to Discourse X. 

If this note may seem to any to be very extended, or in any way aside 
from the general subject of the volume, it is needful only to remind such 
that the principles here set forth furnish the clue to a large part of the 
biblical interpretation upon which the discourses are founded. 



The fundamental conception of all true external worship and ordinances of 
worship is, on the one hand, to be the channel of communication for the 
voice of God to the soul, and, on the other, of the soul of the worshipper 
answering back to God. 

Concerning the ordinances of public worship, what they are in kind, and 
in what manner to be performed, there can be little question among those 
who agree in holding the scriptures to be the only rule of faith and 
worship. Reading, expounding, and preaching the word; blessing the 
people; prayer, singing praise, and the act of fellowship in the collection ; 
these, together with the sacraments, (which as complex ordinances are best 
left to a separate consideration,) and discipline, which cannot here be con- 
sidered, are the ordinances of scriptural authority in the public worship of 
God. Here, then, are plainly appointed the two sorts of acts of worship 
which express the communion between the Great Head of the kingdom and 
the citizens thereof. The minister of the worship stands, in the reading, 
expounding, and preaching the word, and in the benediction and pro- 
nouncing sentence of discipline, to speak for God to men ; and in the 
prayer to speak for men to God. And in addition to the prayer, by which 
the people, in one form, make response to the voice of God through the 
representative voice of the minister ; in the ordinance of singing praise 
provision is made for each worshipper to make response for himself; and 
therefore the choice of this form of utterance in harmonious sounds, that 
the voice of response from the great congregation, each for himself, may, as 
an external act of worship, be without harshness and confusion. The 
bearing of this view of singing praise in public worship upon the question 
whether it, like the prayer, shall be done representatively by a few, or by 
the whole congregation, is very obvious. 

Once the nature of the ordinances of worship is properly apprehended, 
and their relation to the idea of the Church, it at once separates them in 
idea from every other kind of acts analogous to or resembling them. The 
reading of the word in the public worship is a solemn official ministration 
for Christ, and the utterance of his voice to the people. Hence the custom 
so earnestly urged as an expediency by many who hold high views of the 
dignity and sacredness of the ministry, of reading the scriptures at public 
worship in alternate portions by minister and people, originates in a mani- 
fest misconception of the nature of that ordinance of reading the Avord, and 
tends to obscure in the minds of the people its true relation to the worship 
as belonging to the class of acts in which the minister speaks for God to 


men. The expounding of the -word is no mere display of critical learning 
or skill, but the solemn unfolding of the mind of the Spirit in the word. 
The preaching of the word can no longer be mistaken for skilful teaching, 
or elegant speech, or profound reasoning, or labouring to convert men ; 
all these may be involved in it as incidents ; but the preaching of the word 
is essentially the uttering the message of Christ to men, and applying it to 
the soul ; it is the taking that word which Christ, as the Prophet of the 
Church, hath uttered, and, through the usual forms of operating by speech 
upon the human soul, and by the aid of the Holy Ghost, making it still the 
voice of Christ to men now, as really as it was to those to whom it was 
first uttered. In this aspect of his work, and assuming him to be both 
teacher and pastor, the preacher of the new is the true successor of the 
prophet of the old dispensation. In the one case, the revelation not yet 
"being completed, the prophet gathered from direct communication with 
God his message to be delivered, and then permanently recorded it as 
God's voice ; in the other case, the revelation being now complete, the 
preacher has that, as the permanent oracle, from which, led by the Spirit, 
he is to gather the message of God, and, by every proper means of reach- 
ing the human soul, lodge it there, as the message of God. So the bene- 
diction upon the people is the word of God to men. It is not of the class 
with the prayer and praise which it resembles in form, but belongs to the 
other class of acts in which the minister speaks for God to men, and 
perhaps is most nearly analogous to the authoritative sentence of discipline 
which it is his office also to pronounce. The act of fellowship in the 
collection for pious uses is more complex as an act of worship, but is pro- 
perly reckoned also among the responsive acts of the people, whereby they 
give expression to the communion that exists between all the members 
and all the parts of the one great body, through the communion of each and 
all with Christ the Head. Thus every ordinance of the Church in detail 
is perceived to have its significanc}'', its reason, and its distinction from 
everything else that is not an ordinance of worship, on account of its rela- 
tion to the same fundamental idea of the Church external and actual, as at 
once the development of the great ideal, and as the instrument for the 
final and perfect accomplishment of the great ideal of the purpose of 

Still more direct is the relation of the idea of the sacraments to the idea 
of the Church visible as an organized spiritual community. For the two 
sacraments of the Church, alike under the Old and New Testaments, are 
but the signs and seals of the two special covenants in the great series of 
covenant-revelations, by one of which i^ne Church visible was constituted, 
and by the other, the full and complete r^edemption of the Church so consti- 
tuted was guaranteed. The sacramental seal of the charter covenant of 
the Church, circumcision, as all other ordinances of the Old Testament, 
expressed faith as fVom a prophetic stand-point, and a desire for regenera- 


tion as the cuttdtig off of the filth of the flesh ; baptism expresses faith from 
a historic stand-point, and coutempUitcs prominently the outpouring of 
the Holy Spirit as the power which alone can effect the regeneration. Thus, 
however apparently unlike the symbol, the thing signified in both is tho 
same, — viz., the Holy Ghost, as the regenerator and sanctifier of the elect 
ones of the eternal covenant. 

These observations bring into view a peculiarity of all these seals of tho 
covenant, alike in the Old and the New Testaments, — viz.: that the seal is 
itself of such kind and form as to signify visibly the great idea contained 
iii the instrument to which it Is attached. Thus, as just observed, the 
circumcision or baptism symbolizes the renunciation of the sin character- 
istic naturally of the seed of the serpent, and that regeneration of the 
nature by divine power which puts the enmity between the seeds ; thus it 
becomes significant of a translation into the body of the elect seed to 
become the Lord's people. The passover, or the Lord's Supper, is at once 
commemorative of the deliverance of the elect body from death, and, at the 
same time, the spiritual life as nourished only by communion with their 
King and Deliverer. So that in each case the seal becomes a sign also, and 
therefore the sacraments, as external acts of worship, become seals and 
signs of internal grace, and involve, in one and the same act, both parts of 
the communion which constitute worship, — the word of God to the soul, 
and the response of the soul to that word, — both words made visible to 
the senses, and at the same time nsed as the instrumentality of the Holy 
Spirit to confer the blessings symbolized. 

As circumcision or baptism, therefore, is the seal of the covenant which 
first constituted the visible Church, so, in the very nature of the case, it 
becomes the sacrament which continually perpetuates the visible Church. 
It is the entering into solemn contract to be Jehovah's people, as he 
contracts to be the God of all such in the original instrument. As that 
original instrument expressly provides that the family principle, which had 
obtained in all the previous as in all subsequent covenants, shall still be 
recognized as fundamental under this covenant charter of the new visible 
community, so that principle must continue to be recognized under all dis- 
pensations and changes of the form of the seal. As the original social 
organization out of which the Church grew was the family, so the consti- 
tuent elements of the visible Church, from the first, were families. Its 
members are not individual believers merely, but their seed also with them. 
And, as we have already shown that tuis community, in essential idea and 
in fact, remains the same under all changes of dispensation, so it is still 
constituted of the same elements as at first. 

And as the one sacrament is thus made the instrument of a perpetual 
process of creating the visible Church itself, so the other sacrament is a per- 
petual attestation of the great promise to redeem his elect covenant people, 
and on their part of their simple reliance on that promise for salvation, and 


their renewal of the cugagemeut to be his people, ruled and guided hy him- 
as their King and Head. As, then, in the ministration of the word, the 
minister commissioned of Christ speaks for Christ to men, so in the sacra- 
ments he stands as Christ's authorized attorney, to exhibit his covenant and 
receive from men their seal to it. The sacraments thus become special 
means of grace, exhibiting, as they do, the whole promise of the gospel in 
substance in the form of a solemn bond closed and sealed. His people, by 
reason of sin and manifold temptations, ever prone to doubt, unbelief, and 
confusion of ideas as to the terms on which they may receive salvation, aro 
herein reassured in the strongest form, — even the bond of Jehovah ; and 
they arc at the same time reminded that the simple terms of this covenant 
alone are the terms of salvation, and there are no open questions touching 
them, nor need they ever concern themselves as to anything behind the 

It is scarcely needful to add the inference from the foregoing view that 
where there is no Church there can be no sacraments, and, conversel}^, no 
sacraments, no Church, in the sense of a visible organized body. 



No logical Christian mind can avoid the suspicion that the first prin- 
ciples of the true doctrine touching the relation of the temporal and 
spiritual powers must have very generally fallen out of the consciousness 
of Christendom, as he contemplates the singular fact that, after 1800 years 
of experiment, the whole question seems as unsettled as ever ; and that 
all parts of Christendom alike are still divided and agitated by antagonist 
theories on the subject. In Papal countries, everywhere, he find 3 the old 
contest going on as keenly as ever, between the various theories of Ultra- 
montanisra which make the State a creature and subject of the Church, 
and of Cis-Montanism which make the Church the creature and subject 
of the State. He finds the continental Protestantism aroused to ncAV vigor 
in the 19th century, in the conflicts between the various forms of the old 
Zuinglian, semi-Erastian theories, which ignore the separate and indepen- 
dent existence of the Church, and the new theories of the school of Hegel, 
that the Church is but an incidental and temporary aid to the state in 
developing its moral ideal of a religious commonwealth or theocracy — 
that, as Strauss hath it, " The Church U but the crutch of the State ;" the 
theories of the school of Stahl and Kleiforth, that the Church (not the 
congregation, but the incorporated officers and orders of the Church) con- 


stitutes a government above the state ; or of Schleirraachcr, contending 
for the co-existence of Church and state. In Great Britain, independent 
of various semi-Erastian denominations of Dissenters, he finds the Angli- 
can Church agitated by earnest conflict between the theories of the Lords 
in council and the lawyers, that the Church is merely a head servant of 
the Crown, incompetent to dismiss even her infidel servants from the 
priesthood, except at the bidding of the Crown ; the Broad Church theo- 
ries of Arnold, ignoring the separate existence of the Church, and, with 
Ilegel, contemplating the Church as a temporary means employed by the 
state in the process of developing its ideal of a Christian state ; and the 
theories of the school of Palmer, claiming the independence of the Church, 
and, at the same time, support from the revenues of the state. In Scot- 
land, he finds the descendants of the Covenanters divided between the 
theories of both state support and submission to state dictation by the 
Church ; of support from the state without submission to state dictation, 
and of neither support from nor dictation by the state to the Church. 
And even the yearnings after ecclesiastical union between the evangelical 
bodies whom the secularism of state support and dictation has driven out 
of the state Church at various eras, are seriously impeded in giving effect 
to these Christian truths by grave dissensions on the theoretic question 
whether the Church may not sell her birth-right for the state's ''mess ol 
pottage !" 

But, what is more remarkable still, he finds the American Churches,, 
whose boast it has been for near one hundred years that here at last the 
Church's independent existence has been recognized by the civil power, 
apparently eager to assume the secular yoke again as if tired of their 
liberty, to engage in the service of Caesar, and shout with the mob, '' We 
have no king but Caesar !" And, in consequence of this tendency, they 
are agitated by conflicts similar to those of the Churches under the state 
yoke, between the theories — First, of what may be called the Virginia, or 
Scoto-American school, denying any connection or co-ordinate jurisdic- 
tion in spirituals or temporals between the state and the Church ; the 
theories of the New England school claiming the Church as oae of the 
agencies fostered by the state for secular purposes and to develop the- 
Christian state ; and the theories of what may be called the Gallio school 
of entire indifierence to the whole question of the relation of Church and 
state which so agitates all Christendom. 

Meantime, he finds without the enclosures of the Covenant in all Chris- 
tendom, two great classes of thinkers among the politicians and jurists. 
One class disposed to patronize the Church as an important agency for 
controlling the civil masses of the people and strengthening the civil 
Government; another class who look upon the Church and all claims on 
her part to authority and control with extreme jealousy, as a spiritual des- 
potism which is ever making war upon liberty of thought and liberty of 


■conscience. According to these thorough-going secularists, the Church 
has for centuries past been the great enemy of popular liberty and free 
governments ; and the martyr-spirit of the politicians alone has sheltered 
the people from the cruelties of the priesthood. The woolfish sheep have 
"oeen constantly worrying the lamb-like dogs ; the priests, by some super- 
human subtilty, have befooled and subjugated the lawyers ! 

That such a suspicion of some general error underlying all these theo- 
ries is well founded, will appear if, after the favourite method of the 
critical philosophy of the 19th century, we proceed historically to review 
the various phases of this conception of a relation between the secular and 
the spiritual powers from the earliest forms of its existence up to what, in 
•our judgment, is the true and scriptural view of it, namely, that presented 
in the views of the fathers of the Scottish Reformation, on the ecclesiastical 
side ; and in the views of the fathers of the American Republic, on the 
civil side ; and which therefore we denominate the Sco to- American theory. 
It will, we think, appear from such historical review — First, that the 
conception of a use of religion for state purposes is Pagan in its origin, 
and, therefore, impossible, in any form of it, to be actualized under Chris- 
tianity. Second, that the union of the Church with the state, whether as 
subject to, superior to, or co-ordinate with, the state is due in all cases to 
the usurpations of the civil, rather than the ecclesiastical power. Third 
that the troubles and agitations on the whole subject cannot be removed 
save by a full recognition, both by Church and state, of the doctrine of 
Jesus, " My Kingdom is not of this world." 

Nothing can be plainer from history than that the idea of some direct and 
necessary connection of the civil power with religion came not first from the 
Christian civilizations. In all pagan nations, in all ages, the secular and the 
spiritual powers have been blended as inseparable parts of the same govern- 
mental machinery. In the Egyptian, the Greek and the Roman civilizations 
alike the head of the state was at the same time the head of a college of priests, 
and the civil government depended for its sanctions upon the mysterious 
power of religion. In all alike religion assumed directly the place of law to 
the citizen, or stood a "power behind the throne higher than the throne." 
The wars which ravaged the ancient world were wars of religion ; each 
-battle determined the relative power of local gods. The key to the Old 
Testament history is found in the fact that the wars between the chosen 
people and surrounding nations were wars of religion. That, in the Pagan 
conception, each battle decided a theological question, and the relative 
power of Baal, Ashteroth, Isis, Apis, or Osiris, as compared with the 
Jehovah of Israel. Of this you will find a striking illustration in the 
history of the defeat of Bcnhadad and his royal colleagues with his Syrians 
in the 21st chapter of I. Kings ; who, when the " committee on the 
conduct of the war" inquired the cause of the repulse from the hills of 
Judah, was gravely told, '' Their gods are the gods of the hills — there- 


fore, they were stronger than we. But let us fight them in the plain and 
surely we shall be stronger than they." 

Much as has been said of the mingling of civil and ecclesiastical in the 
Mosaic constitution, it is a fact that in that constitution only of all the 
ancient governmental constitutions was the distinction beween the civil 
and the ecclesiastical powers carefully distinguished, as Gillespie, of the 
Westminster Assembly, has abundantly shown. 

The idea of a blending of the two powers, secular and spiritual, is purely 
a Paganism in its origin. Only in the Jewish nation, of all the nations of 
antiquity, is to be found any exception to the general practice. 

In all the inspired expositions of the mission of Jesus Christ, whether 
in the Old or the New Testament, two ideas are fundamental. The first, 
that his design is not merely to teach a doctrine, and make an atonement, 
but also to found a community and establish a government. The other 
idea is that the power of administration in this government, of which he 
is King, is something distinct from that civil power under which human 
society is organized for protection of the life, liberty, and property of man. 
That there are duties to Caesar altogether distinct from the duties due to 
him as spiritual King. That "His kingdom is not of this world." 
Accordingly after the full setting up of this kingdom, with the Pente- 
costal organization, his Apostles went forth, not only proclaiming a doc- 
trine but organizing a community ; and establishing a governmental power 
over it not only distinct from, but in defiance of the civil governments of 
the world. The same men who are dragged continually before civil tribunals, 
and immured in dungeons, yet go on discharging all the functions of 
officers of a government; from their very prisons sending forth their 
rescripts and expositions of the Christian law ; and are obeyed as impli- 
citly, by the new community, as if clothed with all the authority of Caesar. 
With no other resources of power than its own inherent energy as a spir- 
itual government, it spread its conquests and survived all efforts for its 
extermination ; and before three hundred years elapsed it had become a 
more truly universal kingdom than any of the Caesars ever ruled. 

But at the opening of the 4th century, just when, through the genius of 
Cyprian, the notion of the ministry as the incorporate Church, and of 
the central episcopate in the Church as a visible bond of unity for the Chris- 
tian community had obtained general currency, the Roman Emperor him- 
self suddenly became a convert from Paganism to Christianity. His 
previous heathen notions of the relation of religion to the state as an cle- 
ment of governmental power combined with the state policy of that parti- 
cular time, and with the novel ideas of Cyprian concerning the Church to 
suggest the csCablishment of Christianilij in place of Paganism. Constan- 
tino had no conception, as a statesman educated in the heathen school, of 
the possibility of governing the state without the aid of religion ; while 
Constantine as a Christian convert could not longer make use of Pagan- 


ism. What more natural, therefore, than that the Christian religion and its 
Priests should ba called upon to discharge for the state the functions which 
Paganism had heretofore discharged as part of the government machin- 
ery ! The common form of stating the origin of that tremendous ecclesi- 
astical despotism which ruled the world for the subsequent thousand years 
is to describe it as a gradual encroachment of the ecclesiastical upon the 
civil power. Whereas fr.cts show it was by a single step, and that a step 
taken by the civil, not the ecclesiastical power. The intelligent inquirer 
on this subject need only study carefully the enactments of jus ecclesiasti- 
cum in the last sixteen books of the Theodosian, (a.d. 429,) and the first 
books of the Justinian code, a hundred years later, to perceive that the pro- 
cess by which the Christian Church became established was not through 
the triumph of the ecclesiastics over the lawyers, and the scheming of the 
Church against the state. The order and dates of the '' constitutions" or 
■edicts of the emperor trace clearly the process. First, the prohibition of 
persecution of the Christians. Next, the permission, to the Church, of the 
jus acquirendi, or power of holding estates through the Bishops. Next 
the provision for the support of the ministry by the state. Next the 
•grant of a large portion of the spoils taken in war to the Church, after the 
•old heathen fashion. Next giving the administration of the Church to 
the Bishops. Next, immunities to the clergy, as a privileged class. Next 
the transfer of all matters relating to marriages and wills to the ecclesias- 
tical court. Then the successive gifts of territories to the Church, and 
finally, under Otho, in 1201, the formal establishment of the Popedom as 
a temporal po'wer in the states of the Church. 

Of course the State made no such extensive grants of favors without a 
consideration. The Church must enlist in the service of the State, by way 
of compensating its pious kindness. To secure this service the State soon 
iDegins to claim to nominate Bishops, and to exercise a veto upon ecclesias- 
tical legislation. Then to decide questions of doctrine and liturgy. Thus, 
as, according to Cyprian's ecclesiastical theory, the unity of sacerdotal 
power in the See of Rome gives the Church all the elements for a central 
power of control ; so, according to Constantine's political theory, religion 
being an essential element of power to the state, it is therefore a plain conse- 
quence that through the Church, that is the clergy, we may rule the world. 
Once thus inaugurated by emperors from Constantine to Clovis, it is not sur- 
prising that, as the civifism of Constantine and Justinian becomes broken up 
into feeble polities, the Church still holding fast to her organic unity, should 
<;ease to feel dependence on the State; till soon the Church rises higher 
than the State, and the Pope is above Cjssar. What though the State uoav 
Isegins to raise remonstrance and resistance? Starting upon Constan- 
tine's theory, as a premise admitted, recognizing as the sum of all law the 
Theodosian and Justinian codes,— and receiving, as undoubted, the Pagan 
axiom that tlie state aaust have a religion — how wore tlie lawyers and 


;Hiblicists to resist the logic and the towering genius of Gregory VII, wlien 
lie reasoned out jind enacted the conclusion of the Church as supreme and 
independent, and the state as dependent ui)on the Church ? That the niediie- 
val publicists should hold the Pope to be the head of all states — to detlirone 
princes as his vassals and absolve subjects — is by no means so absurd a 
conclusion, if the semi-Pagan premise of Constantine and Clovis be true. 
Nay, we may go further, and say that if the premise of modern publicists, 
as Vattel, Grotius and Puflfendorf, be true, that the state, as such, must have 
a religion, it is not easy for modern lawyers, more efficiently than the 
middle-age lawyers, to resist the conclusions of Di'. Brownson, who has 
recently revived these doctrines of the mediaeval Popes, that the spiritual 
is supreme and over the temporal. For all the maxims of these Popes are 
a direct logical deduction from the original Constantine constitution, and 
from the Pagan notion of religion as a part of the state government. 

Resisted, as it often was, this order of things continued for 1000 years, 
to the Protestant Reformation. Let us now notice briefly how the Church- 
State doctrine was afiected by this great revolution. The Protestant Refor- 
mation brouglit about a return, in faith and order, to the model of the 
primitive Church. It was, moreover, a successful effort of the civil govern- 
ment to shake off spiritual despotism. But it must be confessed that it was 
a failure, on the part of the Church, to shake off temporal despotism. 

The Reformation of the 16th century developed indeed such views of 
the doctrine and order of the Church, as would, if permitted to work out 
their logical results, have led to a restoration of the spiritual independence 
of Christ's kingdom. Luther's first ideas of the nature of the Church were 
in revolt against the Cyprianic theory, and his definition of the Church as 
" the congregation of faithful men, in which the word is purely preached 
and the sacraments rightly administered," is an overthrow at once of the 
Cyprianic notion of the clergy as constituting the Church; and it logical'/ 
works out a separation of the Church from the State. It is plain on com- 
paring the earlier with the later ideas of Luther that he was driven, by 
pressure from without, step by step to recognize the civil magistrate in a 
Christian land as somehow a part of the Church. So in the constitution 
of the Reformed Churches, so called, who embodied the first ideal of 
Luther. But Zuinglo, while admitting the right of representation in the 
people, conceived that mayors and counsellors might be assumed to repre- 
sent the people, in the Church organization, and appoint for them their 
Church officers. Calvin's ideal Church necessarily flowed from his theo- 
logy ; and, far more assiduously than either Luther or Zuingle, he laboured 
to establish the Church as a perfect spiritual government. But while 
holding with Luthei-'s first ideal that the Church and State are two distinct 
powers, he held also with Zuingle that the State may suppress heresy by 
force. While claiming that the Church is a complete autonomy under her 
divinely appointed rulers, yet like Zuingle he supposes that the " little 


council" of state may be assumed to represeat the people and by advice of 
the clergy appoint her ruling elders. Bearing in mind that Calvin, being 
e<lucated a lawyer, was imbued with the ideas of the Justinian code, then 
still in the ascendant as the source of all law ; it is not so surprising that 
Calvin, the lawyer, should have failed in organizing a government accord- 
ing to the ideal of his gospel theology. In so far as Calvin failed it was 
as a lawyer, and in spite of his theology. 

As the Anglican Reformation differed from the Lutheran, in that the 
king rather than the people took the initiative in throwing off the Papal 
yoke, we therefore may, naturally enough, expect to find the Anglican 
theory, from the very start, more Erastian, that is, tending to merge the 
Church in the state than the Lutheran. Besides Cranmer, who more than 
any other ecclesiastic, gave shape to the Anglican system, was thoroughly 
an Erastian in principle, even to the extent of denying the necessity of any 
other authority for ordination than the king's commission. Hooker, to 
whose brilliant genius the exposition and defence of the Anglican system 
owes more than any other man, devotes the eighth book of his great work 
to the special denial and refutation of the proposition that the power of 
ecclesiastical dominion may not be given to the civil ruler or prince. 
His argument assumes the broadest ground of the ancient Paganism in 
making the Church and the State but two forms of the one and the same 
thing. "Just as," says Hooker, "though a triangle, contemplated one 
way, hath two of its lines called sides and the other base, and, con- 
templated another way, may have this base one of the sides, and a side the 
base thereof; so the Church and State is one society, being called a com- 
monwealth, as it liveth under secular law, and a church, as itliveth under 
spiritual law." All the various theories of the modern English parties 
assume in substance this idea. Dr. Arnold's theory is but a slight modifi- 
cation of Hooker's. Such writers as Palmer, while revolting at the slavery 
of the Church under such an idea, and at the coarse logical results that 
rationalistic liberalism derives from the original system, are driven to curious 
logical expedients to shield the system, and at the same time to assert the 
independence of the Church. 

The Scottish of all the National Churches of the reformation came 
nearest to realizing the true Protestant ideal of an independent Church 
To whatever cause we may choose to ascribe this — whether because Ox 
less exposure to the temporal power of the Papacy or to the necessity felt 
for resisting the Erastianism of the English reformation, or to their clearer 
ideas of the gospel, it is unquestionably true that in Scotland more clearly 
and consistently than in any of the reformed churches, was develoi)ed 
from the fii'st, not only an ideal, but an actual doctrine of the relation of 
the Church to the State, as an independent governmental power, wiiich l; 
consistent with the true Protestant theology. Indeed, so far were the 
Scotch fathers in advance in their views that their zeal for " Christ's 


crown and covenant," which motto embodies the essence of the whole 
truth on this subject of the Church's relation to the State, has strangely 
been made the target for the gibes and jeers of the English-speaking 
world ever since. And those who have gibed and jeered have done s > 
chiefly from their want of ability to comprehend the thoughts of the pro- 
founder thinkers than themselves, even after those thought3 have been 
worked out for them. The preliminary chapter of the Second Book of 
Discipline — the great symbol of the Scotch Church prior to the Westminster 
form of Government — is beyond comparison the profoundest philosophical 
disquisition on the principles which underlie constitutional law existing 
in any language. Its great first truth, that the power ecclesiastical is from 
Jesus Clfrist the Mediator, and is distinct in its own nature from the civil 
power given by God to the magistrate, is the great germinal principle 
of all freedom in Church or State. For the space of a century this noble 
army of the martyrs attested the truth of the freedom of Christ's spiritual 
kingdom, in spite of fire, and fagot, and thumb-screws, and iron boot. It 
was only after the seductions and arts of the civil power cheated the 
Scottish Church out of what violence could not wrench from her martyr 
grasp, that, in the act of settlement under Queen Anne, her testimony for 
this great truth was silenced, and she was left to degenerate in the 
eighteenth century nigh to spiritual death. For just in proportion as the 
Church has been purest in doctrine and most fervent in holy zeal — and 
most spiritual in feeling, has this conception of the two distinct powers 
been developed in the consciousness of the Church. It is only at such an 
era that Erskino of Dun could declare boldly to the Regent Mar — " There 
is a spiritual jurisdiction and power which God has given unto his kirk 
and to them that bear office therein. And there is a temporal power and 
jurisdiction given of God to kings and civil magistrates. Both the powers 
are of God, and most agreeing to the fortifying of one another if they be 
rightly used." It is only at such an era that Andrew Mellville dare 
say to the tyrant James, " There be two kings and two kingdoms here in 
Scotland. There is King James, the head of the commonwealth; and 
there is Christ Jesus, the King of the Church, whose subject James Sixth 
is, and of whose kingdom he is not a king, nor a lord, but a member." 

The sum of the whole matter as gathered from the reformation history is, 
that while the true theory of the relation of the Church as independent 
of the State was conceived of generally, and in the Scotch Church fought 
for during a century, yet there was a general failure to actualize the theory 
for three reasons — 1st. That the reformation was not only a spiritual but 
a political revolution. The chief aim of the civil governments was to 
emancipate themselves from the Papal yoke, under the ecclesiastical con- 
stitutions of Coustantine and Justinian. 2nd. Whatever ideas the Churches 
might have, being compelled to take shelter under the civil power against 
the legions at the command of the Pope, they were not permitted to develop 



them. 3r(l. In any attempt to develop actually tbe Church, as an inde- 
pendent spiritual government — a "kingdom not of this world " — the jeal- 
ousy of the civil powers, on whom the Church was dependent for protection, 
suppressed the effort, 4th. The current notion among the civilians of that 
era was that of the Theodosian and Justinian code — the whitewashed 
Pagan theory — of the right of the state to employ religion as one of its 
governing powers. 

It may now be added in passing, that, for two hundred and fifty years 
after the reformation it was again the generally received doctrine — not of 
the ecclesiastics but of the civilians — that the state must control religion. 
This was the doctrine even of the most sceptical and liberalistic of them 
all. Hobbes claimed the right of the sovereign to dictate religious opin- 
ions ; and it is doubtful if any thing more ridiculous to an enlightened 
Christian man can be found in the times of the school-men, than Vattel's 
Chapter on religion — though he is still a great luminary in our schools of 
law. In Chap. 12th, Book 1st, on "Piety and Religion," Vattel thus 
presents the whole theory of modern liberalism. 

" § 125. To the practice of piety all mankind are indispensably obliged, 
and those who unite in civil society are under still greater obligation to 
practice it. A nation then ought to be pious. 

"§ 127. Religion consists in doctrines concerning the Deity, and the 
things of another life, and in the worship appointed to the honour of the 
Supreme Being- So far as it is seated in the heart it is an affair of conscience ; 
so far as-it is external and publicly established, it is an affair of state. 

"§ 129. The establishment of religion bylaw, and its public exercise, are 
matters of state, and are necessarily under the nirisdiction of the political 

" § 130. If there be as yet no religion established by public authority, the 
nation ought to know and use the utmost care in order to establish the 
best. That which shall have the approbation of the majority shall be 
received and publicly be established by law, by which means it will become 
the religion of the slate. 

" It solely belongs to the society the state to determine the propriety of 
those changes (in religion) ; and no private individual has a right to 
attempt them on his own authority nor consequently to preach to the people 
a new doctrine. Let him offer his sentiments to the conductors of the 
nation, and submit to the order he receives from them. 

" § 139. The prodigious influence of religion on the peace and welfare of 
societies incontrovertibly proves that the conductor of a nation ought to 
have inspection of what relates to it, and authority over the ministers who 
teach it." 

Here let us remember is the highest result of liberalism in religion amid 
the opening glories of the 19th century, and from a profound civilian ! 
We are sometimes asked how is it, if Gillespie, and the London Ministers 


in the "Westminster Assembly era, held the theory of the entire separation 
of politics from religion, they yet should have assented to so many acts of 
the Church inconsistent with that theory ? The answer is very easy when 
it is borne in mind how arrogant were the claims not merely of the Stuarts, 
but of the civilians and publicists as late even as the era of Vattel. It 
will be seen that this eminent publicist propounds just as solemnly ami fx 
cathedra the fundamental maxims of the semi-pagan Justinian theory of 
Church and State as though no Reformation had ever occurred, and no 
progicss in the world's history for 1500 years. Wliat pagan PontllT or 
Papal bull ever uttered heathenism worse than Vattel's. If such notions 
still passed current among civilians, down to the very era of the Ameri- 
can Revolution, is it wonderful that the Scotcli Reformers ohould have been 
compelled to accept from the civilians and politicians, a partial actualiz- 
ation of their theory, and fail to establish a free Church? Nay, if such 
are the notions with which students of law are imbued, from the high 
sources of legal wisdom, is it wonderful that even in the American States 
we should find such hazy and confused notion;} among American lawj'ers 
of the relation of the state to religion ? Is it wonderful that, even in face 
of the American Constitution, senii-plous, and occasionally pious politi- 
cians and cabinets, losing the confidence of the people should rush eagerly 
for aid to the Church, in their political sicknesses? and that republican 
monarchs should assume authority to appoint, and the Republican mob to 
enforce the observance of sacred days, and dictate liturgies to the ministers 
of the Church? 

Thus the Scottish doctrines of the independence of the spiritual com- 
monwealth, though not crushed out under the heel of civil usurpation 
over the Church, at once, as on the continent, yet were restrained, confused, 
and corrupted by the overpowering influence of the civilians and publicists 
for two hundred years. The Scottish fathers " came unto their own, but 
their own received them not."' It was resciwed for another age to witness 
the unfolding of their great principles, once the pressure of the civil power 
should be shaken off. It is one of the beautiful laws, in the economy of 
nature for the propagation of certain plants, that the seeds are endowed by 
nature with gossamer wings, which, unfolding in the ripening process of 
autumn, enable them to mount upon the winter blasts and travel to distant 
islands and continents, to fall there and germinate, to the great surprise of 
the inhabitants of the far-off laud. It is a beautiful emblem of the pro- 
cesses in the spiritual economy of Christ's kingdom, whereby truths sowa 
in tears that seem fruitless and apparently forgotten shall, as if endowed with 
wings, float upon the winds of human passion and strife, and find a resting 
place and a germinating soil in far-off climes, and then produce the harvest 
in joy. Let us notice now briefly how the law had its e.^emplification in 
the case of the great distinctive truths of the Scottish Reformation. 

As colonies of Great Britain, the general principles of the Anglican 


State system obtained ia America until the period of the Revolution. In 
New England the Puritans had actualized their ideal, not of a church, 
but of a community of churches. They had sought relief against the 
despotism of Church and State at the opposite extreme of State and 
Church, not making; the Church a part of the State, but the State a part 
of the Church. The relation of religion to the civil power in the practical 
working of the system soon became thoroughly Erastian. At the era ot 
the formation of state constitutions, the old fallacy was embodied in the ; 
organic law of Massachusetts, that "as morality is essential to liberty and 
good government, and religion essential to morality, therefore the state 
should provide for the temporal support and propagation of religion." The 
premise is true enough, but the true inference is — therefore the state 
should keep its sooty fingers off religion — for, as all history had shown, the 
fostering of the state means, rather, to kill out all spiritual religion. 
Even as late as 1830, perhaps, a levy continued to be made in Massa- 
chusetts for the support of religion. The result of the modification of 
Church, and, Stateism, which compelled a man to pay for religion, aad yet 
allowed him to choose to what form of religion and denomination his tax 
should go, was practically this — that, as usual, the majority of men having 
little taste for earnest spiritual religion, were disposed, if they must 
•pay for religion anyhow, to pay towards the salary of that minister, who 
would trouble tkein with the least of it. Thus a bounty was offered practi- 
cally for sham religion — for " the form of godliness that denied the power." 
And probably to this more than any other source may be traced the 
growth of the innumerable isms in religion for which New England is so 

The evil effects of the fallacy of the New England logic on the subject 
extended far beyond the masses. Drilled into the minds of their educated 
men in their youth, these fallacies hide themselves in the minds of th^ 
taost illustrious, not only of their theologians, but also of their jurists and 
publicists, and seem to render them incapable of perceiving that great 
truth of the gospel which the Scottish fathers saw so clearly ; that there 
are two powers, and two commonwealths ordained of God : — one in the 
hand of the civil magistrate for the protection solely of men's temporal 
interests; the other in the hand of the Church for the protection of men's 
eternal interests. 

Even men so illustrious as Justice Story and Mr. Webster, — in face of the 
very principle of the constitution, of which they were the great expounders, 
allow themselves to promulge — and think they do God and their country 
service, by propounding — principles on the subject of the functions of civil 
government, as thoroughly heathenish,af not so broadly stated, as those 
of Justinian or Vattel. Says Judge Story — (on the Const., p. 260) : 

" The right of a society or government to interfere in matters of religion 
will hardly be contested by any persons who believe that piety, religion 


and morality are intimately connected with the well-being of the state, 
and indispensable to the admlriistration of civil justice."*** 

'• It is impossible for those who believe in the truth of Christianity, as a 
divine revelation, to doubt that it is the especial duty of government to 
foster and encourage it among all the citizens and subjects."' 

Now the author of these discourses humbly trusts that he "believes in 
the truth of Christianity in a higher and stricter sense even than Judge Story 
did; and believes also in the importance of "piety, religion and morality,'' 
&c. ; yet he equally disbelieves what Judge Story declares impossible of 
disbelief to such ; namely, that it is any special duty of the civil govern- 
ment to foster religion ; or that it has any rio^ht to interfere in matters of 
religion. And if, by making this confession, he writes himself an infidel 
in the judgment of the body of Christians— so called — with which Judge 
Story is supposed to have sympathized, he has the consolation of feeling, 
that, as will be shown presently, that he stands with "Waddel, and 
Graham, and Stanhope Smith, of the Old Hanover Presbytery, who, if 
infidels, were men very zealous for piety and religion. He holds, as they 
held, that the state has nothing to do wi'th religion, except to let it alone, 
that it may be kept pure and spiritual, and thereby promote a pure 
morality of a somewhat higher type than events show the New England 
theory has been able to produce for the benefit of the state 

So also, Mr. Webster, in his oft-cited speech on the Girard will case — for 
whom, indeed, the apology may be offered that he is playing the advocate 
and not the judge : — 

" We have in the charter of Pennsylvania that the preservation of Chris- 
tianity is one of the leading ends of all government. This is declared in 
the charter of the state. Then the laws of Pennsylvania, the statutes 
against blasphemy, the violation of the Lord's day, and others to the same 
eflfect, proceed upon this great kroad principle, that the preservation of 
Christianity is one of the main ends of all government J^ 

It is needless to say, in response to this declaration, that, if true, it is 
difficult to see for what end Jesus Christ set up a distinct spiritual govern- 
ment; or how the Apostles could declare the Church of the Living God 
" to be the pillar and ground of the truth." If this is true, then, obviously, 
the conception of Hegel and Strauss, that the Church is simply '' a crutch 
of the state," for the purpose of preserving Christianity, is the true one! 
And, therefore, the charter of Pennsylvania is directly in the fiice of Christ's 
order, of the state for temporals and the Church for spirituals. 

In the middle, and especially in the southern colonics, as Virginia, the 
English state-system was formally established — and so thoroughly fixed in 
the j)opular mind, that its ministers were encouraged to demand a con- 
tinued establishment, even after tlie independence of the colonies. This 
brought on that remarkable conflict which led to the celebrated •' Act for 
establishing Religious Freedom," which is probably the' first recognition, 
by any civil power, in all history of the doctrine of the Scotch Reformers 

486 '^ APPENDIX. I 

on the civil side of it, and therefore to the full and final development -of the i 
Scoto-American theory. j 

That the famous Act to establish religious freedom was the legitimate- J 
result of the Scottish Reformation, and the actual shooting forth of the 
seed wafted over the ocean from the minds of the Scottish fatliers— a single i 
glance at the history of that Act will suffice to* show. i 

At the era of the Declaration of Independence, the dissenters — Presby- i 
terians and Baptists — not only outnumbered the Established Church, but ; 
greatly exceeded it in zeal for independence. These dissenters, in the j 
struggle for civil liberty, naturally enough demanded religious liberty and ! 
equality also. As the result of their first movement, we find in the Bill of 
Rights, prefixed to the Constitution of the State, passed in. 1776, this 
significant declaration. Religion or the duty we owe to the Creator, and ! 
the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and convic- 
tion, not hy force or violence ; And therefore all men are equally entitled, 
to the fi-ec exercise of religion according to the dictates of conscience. ' 
This declaration, however, was merely abstract, and did not stay the effort 
of the Old Establishment to seek to be continued, at least so far as to be 
incorporated and supported in common with others, and to retain its 
glebes. That we have not ascribed too much influence to the teachings- [ 
of the Scotch fathers in directing Jefferson and Madison to the great con 
elusion reached after nine years' struggle in the Virginia Legislature) \ 
appears from the fact that the civilians were guided in the matter largelj' : 
by a series of memorials from the Old Hanover Presbytery, drawn by such 
men as Waddel, whom V/irt has immortalized as the " blind preacher," by j 
Scotch William Graham and Stanhope Smith. And it needs only the 
citation of a few passages from their memorials for religious liberty, to I 
the Legislature of Virginia, to show that they were thoroughly imbued i 
svith the spirit of the Scotch fathers ; and that in the wilderness, under 
the encroachments and persecutions of the Colonial State Church, they had 
been led a step in advance of the Scotch fathers. From the first memorial , 
of Hanover Presbytery to the Legislature of Virginia, we select the fol- I 
lowing: — 

" We embrace the declaration of rights (Mr. Jefferson's bill already 
quoted) as the Magna Cliarta of our commonwealth. Certain it is that i 
every argument for civil liberty gains additional weight when applied to ' 
liberty in the concerns of religion. Neither can it be made to appear that \ 
the gospel needs any such civil aid. We rather conceive that when our 
blessed Saviour declares his Kingdom is not of this world, he renounces , 
all dependence npon state power. And we are persuaded that if mankind j 
were left in the quiet posselsion of their unalienable rights and privileges^ | 
Christianity, as in the days of the Apostles, would continue to flourish in | 
the greatest purit}' by its own native excellence and under the ali-dispos- i 
Ing Providence of God. We would humbly represent that the only 




So again, in a memorial of Ilanovcr Presbytery iu 17 75, against a 
general assessment: "As every good Christian believes thtil Christ has 
ordained a complete systcin of Lams for Ike qovrniincnt of his ki'ii^dom, so 
■we are persuaded that by his Providence, he will support it to the final 
consummation. In the fixed belief that the kingdom of Christ and the 
concerns of religion are beyond the limits of civil control, we should act 
an inconsistent and dishonest part were we to receive any cmolunieuts 
from human establishments for the support of the gospel. If the Legisla- 
ture has any rightful authority over the ministers of the gospel, and it is 
their duty to levy a maintenance for them, as such, then they arc invested 
with a power, and it is incumbent upon them to declare vdio shall ■preachy 
what they shall preach, and to whom they shall preach." So again in a 
fourth memorial in August in 1785, against the incorporation of the 
English Church: 

" As Christians also, the subjects of Jesus hrist, we are wholly opposed 
to the exercise of spiritual powers by civil rulers. We conceive ourselves 
obliged to remonstrate against that part of the Incorporating Act which 
authorizes and directs the regulation of spiritual concerns. This is such 
an invasion of divine prcro^aiiue, that it is highly objectionable on that 
account, as well as on account of the danger to which it exposes our 
religious liberties. Jesus Christ hath given sufficient authority lo his 
Church for every lawful purposz ; and it is forsaking; his authority and 
direction, for that of feeble men, to expect or to grant the sanction of civil 
law to authorize the regulation of any Christian society." 

It will be seen at once that here is the revival of the ancient Scotch 
testimony to the completeness and independence of Christ's spiritual 
government; and differs only in going one step in advance to the first 
practical inference from that doctrine, which inference their peculiar 
circumstances prevented the Scottish fathers from making. In conse- 
quence of these persistent testimonies, when the Act of Incorporation was 
put upoA its passage, Mr. Madison took a sudden turn upon the friends of 
an establishment, by moving to substitute for their bill, a bill which, seven 
years before, Mr. Jefferson had prepared as a part of the revised statutes of 
Virginia, under the titleof " An Act to establish Religious Freedom,"' since 
so celebrated, and whose principle was intended doubtless to be embodied 
in the article of the Federal Constitution forbidding any establishment of 
religion or interference with it. 

To perceive the connection between this bill and the memorials of the 
Presbytery it needs only that we cite a sample of Mr. Jefferson's blil. it, 
declares among other things: — "that the attempt to coerce the raiiul In- 
civil penalties is a departure from the plan of the Author of uur ho!/ 
religion. That the impious presumption of legislators aud rulers, both 
civil and ecclesiastical, in this reijard, hath established and maintained 


false religions over the greater part of the world in all time. That to 
compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of 
opinions which he disbelieves, is sinful and tyrannical. That to suffer the 
cvM viagistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion, is a dangerous 
fallacy which at once destroys all religious liberty.^' " That it is time enough 
for the rightful purposes of civil government for its oflScera to interfere 
when principles break out into overt acts against peace and good or der.^^ Such 
was this great disavowal — the first in all history so far as known to the 
author — of all claim to extend its power over the Church and religion by : 
the civil government ; and the formal adoption, on the civil side, of the 
great truths enunciated by the Scotch fathers on the ecclesiastical side. 

These principles, as we have seen, were not fully accepted in all parts of 
the United States. In New England, not only by reason of the continued 
influence of the ancient Erastian theory — but also from peculiar prejudice 
against Mr. Jefferson, as a sceptic in religion, these principles were re- 
garded with suspicion. The prejudices against Mr. Jefferson, as a sceptic, 
in other portions of the country, combined with the prevalence of many 
prejudices imported into the American Churches with a ministry reared 
under the established systems of England and Scotland, made many 
Christian men slow to receive them. All alike seemed to forget that even 
if Mr. Jefferson were a sceptic, God often has made use of unbelieving 
men, as Cyrus a heathen, and caused them to be the greatest benefactors 
of his Church. Perhaps had Mr. Jefferson not been, as they charged, an 
infidel, the current religious prejudices of his time would have prevented 
him, as they did the great Patrick Henry, from perceiving the force of the 
statements and reasoning of the Hanover Presbytery memorials. But, in 
spite of all this, these principles were so obviously in conformity with the 
political doctrines of the constitution of the young States ; and the influ- 
ence of Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Madison so powerful, that they gradually 
became at least theoretically the American doctrine of Church and State. 
The subsequent success of the experiment in the Church added also con- 
tinually to the strength of the argument. 

M 1 : 1 has been said and sung of the results of the American Revolution 
to the civil liberties of mankind. But the day will probably come when 
these results shall be held as nothing to its results for the Church of God 
in relieving her from bondage to the civil jDOwer. Of all the acts and 
sayings of Mr. Jefferson, illustrative of his far-sightedness, this is perhaps 
the most remarkable, that in selecting from among the great acts of his 
life one significant act to be recorded on his tomb-stone — he should have 
selected this, " Thomas Jefferson, author of the act for establishing religious 
freedom." This note having already been extended far beyond the limits 
intended, the author must refer the reader, for a succinct statement of the 
truths concerning the relation of the secular and spiritual powers, which 
distinguish the true gospel from the Pagan theory whose history has here 
been traced, to the note on Discourse IV. in this Appendix.