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No. 115.]






A Sermon

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plying and widening their circles of infuence abroad the earth unto this present, the Holy Spirit attending and blessing their labours, and through whose instrumentality the word of God hath so mightily grown and prevailed; and looking forward to



Acts v. 42.—“They ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ."

LITTLE beginnings have large end- | that most magnificent and glorious of ings. A man drops a small seed upon all eras, through whose instrumentthe earth, and it starts up and ex-ality, the whole world, now lying in pands into a tree of a thousand arms. darkness, shall be filled with the The slender rill that lapses from a knowledge of the Lord, as the waters rock, presently increases to a stream, cover the channels of the sea. This and the stream swells into a river, extension of divine truth, being in and the river, gathering as it rolls, itself, a triumphing comment upon becomes the arm of the sea; and then the unanswerable position of the Phathere is a mingling, a sweeping, and a risee, Gamaliel, as recorded a few spreading of the waters through the cir- verses preceding my text. "If this cuit of the broad ocean. And so of the counsel or this work be of men, it rise and progress of the religion of Jesus. will come to nought, but if it be of At first there was the utterance of a single GOD, ye cannot overthrow it." voice in the solitudes of the wilderness, and next was the testimony of the Son of GOD to himself, in the village and in the city; forthwith was the gathering of the twelve, and a declaration from the mouths of these of the simplicities of the Gospel, in law and doctrine, to the surrounding nations. Then arose from the Apostles,

the great company of preachers multi-ture of the Mosaical economy, in rite and ceremony, which left not of the ancient temples, one stone upon another. It was this which struck to their centre, and shivered into a thousand atoms, the idols of the heathen, which swept the great Diana of the Ephesians, and the pillars of her


Yes, my dear friends, whatever is, or whatever shall be, the aspects of the globe in the light and beauties of holiness, cometh under God, of preaching. This is the great lever, which by little and little, is lifting the wide universe out of the bondage of ignorance and superstition. It was this which overturned the existing struc

house, where all the world wor- | up the same irrepressible voice to "the shipped, into one indistinguishable truth as it is in Jesus ;" and that, ruin. It was this, which enkindled a after they had been beaten, and "comlight, that the power of the most manded that they should not speak in numerous and mighty of adversaries the name of Jesus, and they had decould not put out—a light, still blaz- parted from the presence of the couning up in the enemies' face, to in- cil rejoicing, that they were counted crease in radiance, until it merge and worthy to suffer shame for his name," be lost in the glories of Heaven. It yet, again, despite all the threatenings was this, which snatched from the of human malice to intimidate, all the grasp of Satan, which drew as brands gatherings of human power to burst from the burning, thousands of souls over and crush, the old enthusiasm that had now been writhing upon of their souls, broke out afresh," and beds of eternal torment, but who are daily in the temple, and in every house the exalted and beatified, as happy an- they ceased not to teach and preach gels, singing and ministering before the Jesus Christ." Theirs was a living, throne of the Lamb. Such has been the as well as a dying martyrdom. They influences and effects of the preaching were told to take no thought of the of the word, and well might a know- body, nor did they. Their mission ledge of these things, well might a was the deliverance of the message knowledge of this blessedness, nerve with which their souls were charged with fresh vigour, and sustain with and reckless of all temporal conseconstant unction, the endeavours of quences, they stood true to their trust. the Apostles in their holy work, "So "We ought to obey GoD, rather that daily in the temple, and in every than men," was the confession which house, they ceased not to teach and they made, and which their life illuspreach Jesus Christ." trated. Let the church in the appointment and striving of her holy ministers, retain this motto, and she shall pass unharmed through a world of flames, she shall ride in safety as the ark of GOD upon a world of waters.

As a Christian minister, my prayer to GOD, is, that I may be led to imitate more and more their high and noble example; and whilst the same blessed Spirit, who gave such large success to their labours, is present to carry home with demonstration and power the weakness of mine, may you my Christian hearers, approve yourselves, the seals of my ministry, and thus become the crown of my rejoicing, in the great day of the Lord. Amen.

"They ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ."-" They ceased not"-the context gives these words a peculiar emphasis and significancy. You will find that the Apostles, for the decision and faithfulness of their testimony, had been cast into the common prison, and from whence, being redeemed by the Angel of the Lord, they again stood forth in the very presence of their persecutors, to lift

But, in dwelling upon the text, I would refer :





OUR OBLIGATIONS TO PREACH JESUS CHRIST. It is the solemn object of our ordination. We are set apart to the work-we express our belief that we are called and moved thereunto by the power of the Holy Ghost; and we should be recreants from our vows, we should become apostate from the articles of our faith, and traitors to

the cause we professedly espouse, were we to gainsay the appeal that presses. To teach and preach Jesus, is the great business of our days; whatever be the varieties of our talents, if the lines converge not to this centre, our talents are abused; whatever be the plenitude of our strength, if it be not consecrated to this, if it be not spent in this, our strength is worse than unprofitable. Our lamp must burn at the altar, our sinews must bear the cross. Oh, he who would enter into this sacred office, from the love of ease and idleness-he who would assume the priest's robe for the sake of worldly lucre, influence, or aggrandizement, is undermining and pulling down the very establishment he nominally supports!

Our obligations to preach Jesus Christ, rest upon the conviction that sinners have need of him. In their natural estate they are, in St. James's words, “blind, and poor, and naked." Blind in their ignorance of the true God and Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent-blind as followers of the blind, to fall in into one common destructionblind to the interests of their soulsblind as preferring the evil and rejecting the good-blind as turning their back to the only light which shines from to lead their steps to Heaven. Poor as despoiled of the privileges and honours of a happier estate-poor as defrauded by an enemy of the birthright of the sons of GOD, and the blessing of a heavenly Father-poor as cast from the affluence of the garden, into the necessities of the wilderness -poor as the heirs of bodily sorrows, and as the victims of an inwardly consuming anguish, because of guilt and the judgment-poor as the slaves of sin, and the subjects to death, temporally and eternally. Naked, as filled with a sense of their shame, as having their eyes open to the guilt of disobedience as possessing no garment in their own righteousness, nor in that of others, wherewith they might stand

clothed in the sight of GOD-as wanting that white raiment which alone Christ can put on.

Our obligations to preach Christ, are based upon this persuasion and assurance, that in all the multifarious wants of man, Christ is the one, the near, the all-sufficient, the ever-living, the inexhaustible supply. The poor wandering and fainting flock lacks a shepherd to guide and cherish-Christ is the true shepherd. The stricken and bowed low, with the hitherto incurable leprosy, lacks the hand of the physician to bind up and heal-Christ is the wise physician. The deceived, the forsaken, and the abandoned lacks the faithful adviser, the able defender, the counsellor for good-Christ is the unchangeable friend, and the mighty advocate, and the Prince of Peace.

Our obligations to preach Christ Jesus, lie in the one deep and experimental truth, that without him, every thing is nothing, whilst with him, and in him, there is abundantly more than we can either ask or think to satisfy and enrich here, and to bless everlastingly. And we cease not to preach Jesus Christ, because we are bound, thus to oppose and put to confusion the spirit of anti-christ, who is so continually rising before us- we cease not to preach Jesus Christ, because if we did, Self would have stolen in to exact his idol worship; for when we cease to preach Christ, we straightway begin to preach man. We cease not to preach Jesus Christ, because we have no other legitimate theme upon which to speak. We cease not to preach, because were we to do so, we should be cheating poor souls of all the good they can expect this side eternity. We cease not, because we are ever hopeful that some exhibition of his love and tenderness, some proffer of his pardoning grace, may melt into, and constrain the sinner's heart-may touch some hidden string, that shall

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of the other name Christ, that is, the anointed. The anointed, the set apart and consecrated, through the sign of the Spirit, as a dove de

give back the melody of Jesus' name. We cease not, because our own souls have the tribute to pay, of a continual gratitude and praise. Of whom should the heart of the redeemed cap-scending from the golden cloud, and tive be full, but of his liberator? Of whom should the heart of the pardoned rebel be full, but of his king? | Of whom should the heart of the adopted child be full, but of his father? We cease not, because we dare not to cease, because the fear of GOD is in our eyes, because of the penalty of the blood of souls, of the reprobation and woe that shall be upon us, shall inevitably fall upon us, if we preach not the Gospel of GOD's dear Son.

But, Secondly,-WHAT IS IT IN A FEW WORDS, TO PREACH JESUS CHRIST? What in substance, and what in manner? In substance. Let us analyse the title-Jesus-a name synonomous with Joshua, and meaning a deliverer -a deliverer from what? From the bondage of sinfrom the tyranny of that most cruel and despotic of taskmasters, Satanfrom sin as a ruling principle, and from sin, as a destroying violence upon the body and the soul-from the fears of the valley of the shadow of death, and from the terrors of the deeper darkness beyond! A deliverer from these evils, and by what means? At what cost? By the offering up of himself, the just for the unjust, by the shedding of his most precious blood, as the Lamb of atonement, for the sins of the world. We preach Jesus, a deliverer, and do you receive our message? Do ye believe in him? Have you the faith to take him at his own word, to acknowledge and trust in him in the great | office shadowed forth in his name? Do you look to him as a spiritual Joshua, conducting you from a land of dearth and distress, into a country of fruitfulness, and joy, and peace ? And now the signification

lighting upon him-through the unction and precious influences of the Holy Ghost-and do you acknowledge Christ in the separate glories of his offices, as having in each, the seal and testimony of the Spirit? Do you receive him in the power of this attestation as baptized with the Spirit, as the immersed and inter-penetrated through every word and work, with the influence of the Spirit. He can only be received as such by the spiritually discerning, by those who have been washed with the same mystical waters-to whom Christ is thus, sanctification. Others may account him, one set apart to exhibit as a man, the focus of all existing virtues and graces to display as a sufferer, and a martyr, the disinterestedness of a pure affection, and an uncompromising adherence to truth admist agonies of unutterable strength-to unfold as a teacher knowledge, the most important, wisdom the most profound. But here they stop; thus much affects the earthly image and representation, but not the living and spiritual Christ, as irradiated and filled and glorified with the emanations of GOD the Holy Ghost.

The manner of preaching Jesus. But here I speak with a faltering tongue. I never ascend this pulpit, but as trembling with the weight of my own insufficiencies-I confess that I know not how to preach Jesus as I ought to know; but still I would pray, and strive after a more excellent way. To think how long I have been with you, and how little has been done, fills me with painful anxieties, not that for a moment, I would attribute any thing to man, in himself considered; but I feel conscious that the withholding of the Spirit, has arisen

from some grievous neglect on your | for its own sake-who bring not with

part or mine, or both, of making our intercessions for those influences and assistances, without which a Paul may plant, or an Apollos water in vain. Let this day be the date of a better course. One thing, however, I would affirm, that the manner should be characterised with a spirit of simplicity, and decision, and faithfulness, and affection, and the devotion of a holy zeal-that the man should be forgotten in his menage-that the wise, after the rudiments of this world, should be hidden to himself and others in the office of the minister of Christ!

them some chair of judgment from which they may criticise, condemn, and perhaps, denounce the preacher for some peculiarities in the delivery, forgetful of the preacher's message, picking at the bark of divine truths and leaving the kernel untouched. You should hear with watchfulness and prayer; watchfulness against the sins and temptations that are most prevailing; and with prayer to the Holy Spirit of GOD, that he may impress, and sanctify, and guide you into all truth, and enable you to stand adorned with those holy graces and dispositions, which are so beautifully illustrated and powerfully enforced in the example and by the lips of Christ. You should hear with faith, receiving the mysteries of Christ as mysteries-as those deeper things of God, whose reception is for an exercise of faith here, and whose solution and discovery shall be amongst the felicities of eternity.

But, Lastly,-THE POSTURE WITH WHICH YOU SHOULD HEAR THE PREACHED WORD. You should hear as fully sensible of the value of the privilege of hearing. What gem had not David plucked from his royal crown for one of the opportunities with which you are blessed? How lavish had priests been of their distinctions, and prophets of their gifts, in exchange for one hour of your sabbaths. And oh, the treasures expended, and the blood shed by our fathers and martyrs for your pre-hearts-who neither seek Christ in

But while I cease not to preach Christ, are there not amongst you, many with unbelieving ears and hard

sent liberty, of assembling yourselves in peace together. You should hear as men personally concerned, and addressed in every appeal and invitation and reproof, in every promise and curse. You should bring the application home, not sitting as some of you do, fancying how well the preacher's word affixes to such and such an one; but you should lay open and bare, your own heart to let the arrow lodge there. You should hear with humility, keeping Self in subjection, schooling down your natural arrogancy into the dependence and simple credence of the little child. Oh, how few are those who unfeignedly come for the sincere milk of the word, that they may grow thereby-who bring not with them some previous system of principles and duties hugged

the letter, nor in the Spirit? Who, while I cease not to preach, cease not to sin, binding themselves with stronger chains, plunging themselves into deeper darkness, through the intervening days of our holy sabbaths? Who have yet to know, if they ever know, what repentance is-Who have yet to know, if they ever know, what humbleness of mind is-Who have yet to know, if they ever know, what faith in a Saviour's blood and merits is-Who have yet to know, if they ever know, what justification in him, what sanctification in him, what adoption in him, a hope in Christ is-Who are now lying under the shadow of a double curse, the curse of original, and the curse of actual sin, the curse upon the heir of the fallen Adam, and upon the willing

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