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with the grave clothes which the rude manners of ages had cast around her.' Then the voice of prevailing truth said, loose her and let her go! In the same proportion as the light of the Gospel increased, the province of learning was irradiated, and the same valuable effect will follow on its propagation, to the end of time. These are blessings which men, in general, enjoy from the ditfusion of the word of life ; but there are blessings infinitely superior, which abound to believers in particular.
But, o how great, how numerous are they ! Born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. The joyful Christian looks up to the ruler of heaven, and cries abba, Father! Behold, Jesus says, I make all things new; the believer feels his creating power. Old things pass away; his hopes, his fears, his joys, his sorrows, his companions, his prospects, all things become new. He looks over the list of his offences, and his heart is filled with confusion and deep repentance ; he looks to his suffering Redeemer, and rejoices with joy unspeakable, while he hears him say, “ Son, thy sins are forgiven thee.” He is blest with access' by the new and living way to the heavenly throne. While a believer is lifting his cry and looking up, Jehovah is bowing the heavens and coming down. He draws nigh to God; God draws nigh to him. God contemplates, and is delighted with his own perfections ; the believer contemplates in his humble measure, and is delighted with the perfections of his God. A Christian holds communion with the Supreme Majesty. Laugh ye profane! Employ your railings against the good man's experience ; he minds it not. If we say we have no fellowship with him, we lie, for truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. So the moon holds bright communion with the sun, the sovercign planet; so she receives and reflects his beams, she shines gloriously in a dark hemisphere, and moves onward, sublime in her heavenly course, regardless of all the barking animals which betray their senseless malice.
The servant of Christ possesses the pleasures of a good conscience. Why did Cain exclaim, every one that findeth me shall slay me? Why smote the knees of Belshazzar together? Why were the joints of his loins
loosed, because a hand wrote, he knew not what, upon the wall? Why did Herod, on hearing the fame of Jesus, cry John the Baptist is risen from the dead? Why? because the horrors of a guilty conscience terrified and confounded them. But believers exercising themselves in the work of faith and labour of love, have a conscience void of offence towards God, and towards
" The day glides swiftly o'er their heads,
“ Made up of innocence and love ; “And soft, and silent as the shades,
“ Their nightly minutes gently move."
Undisturbed by the accusations of guilt in his own conscience, he anticipates, with calm delight, the solem.. nities of the final judgment. Justified by faith in Christ, freely from all things, his fears vanish; for who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? God that justifieth? Who is he that condemneth? Christ that died? He is risen again, and is at the right hand of God, making intercession!
When afflictions come upon a Christian, he can perceive they are intended for his good, and that they are imposed by the hand of his best friend. He regards himself as a fellow sufferer with the long train of patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs. He knows his afflictions work out his glory ; afflictions which are but for a moment, end in a weight of glory, far more exceeding and eternal.
He overcomes the false maxims, the hard speeches, and fierce resentments of an evil world, and has a right to the tree of life. The hopeless physician, the throbbing pulse, the filmed eye, the measured grave, the descending coffin, to a believing mind are not horrible, they are divinely pleasing Sin, the sting of death, the worm of hell, is destroyed. Let worms riot in his body, this corruptible shall put on incorruption. The earthly house may now be demolished, and it may lie for ages uninhabited and desolate, but it shall become a temple inconceivably glorious. When the trumpet sounds, on the resurrection morning, believers shall spring from their tombs, shake themselves from their dust, trample on the
broken powers of the grave, put on their beautiful garments, and rise in a cloud to meet their coming Lord. They shall pass the gate into the holy city, receive the crown of life and the palm of victory, and join with the harpers, on the sea of glass, in an everlasting anthem of praise.
Extract from a Sermon delivered in Union Town, Fay
ette county, (Pa.) June 24th, 1805, and published at the request of the Union Lodge, No. 92. By the Rev. Thomas HERSEY, D. D.'
THE grand design of Christianity is, to recover lost mankind from the labyrinths of sin and misery, and conduct him safely through the thorny maze of time to the ceaseless felicities of an endless life. Her revelations discover to us the riches of divine grace-treasures of wisdom and knowledge, whereby these glorious purposes are accomplished.
When we survey the dark ages of Christianity, and behold the gallows, the gibbet, and the stake, erected as the criterions of truth and error, or as the standards of religion ; meek-eyed compassion drops a tear; the bowels of benevolence sound like a harp–lamenting the ignorance, barbarity, and superstition of those gloomy days. Humanity shudders, and pronounces those sanguinary butchers hostile to Emanuel's kingdom. They perverted the sacred text, and wrought the implements of husbandry into instruments of cruelty and death. The pious, affectionate husband was torn with unrelenting violence from the bleeding bosom of a tender wife, and stretched on the bloody wheel, expired, in agonies beyond the power of language to describe. Female delicacy had no power to soften, nor virgin chastity to mitigate, the brutal rage of these ferocious MONSTERS! -Torture, excruciating torture, has been the portion of millions whose only crime was love to God and man! In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her 'children, and would not be comforted, because they were not! Impious persecutors! Devils incarnate! where did ye learn the hellish arts of whipping, scourging, drowning, hanging, starving, boiling, roasting, frying “ the excellent of the earth, of whom the world was not worthy ?"
Is this an exhibition of the meek and lowly mind, the quiet, peaceful temper, which Christianity enjoins ? Is Christ's kingdom of this world? Will his servants fight? Were his immaculate footsteps stained with the blood of men ? Are the weapons of our warfare carnal ? Were his disciples commissioned, like the followers of Mahomet, to propagate their religion with fire and sword? The Gospel furnishes no pretext for their crimes, and can never produce such effects. The soul that is cast in this heavenly mould, has received a different impression. Strange that any in this enlightened age should wish to control the unalienable rights of conscience ! National establishments of religion, are « THRONES of iniquity which frame mischief by Law," and call down fire from Heaven to consume the righteous !
We anticipate the illustrious day, when the predictions of the prophets shall be accomplished ;-when swords and spears shall no longer wreak with human gore;when the smith, with his hammer, fire, and anyil, shall forge them into tools of industry, for the cultivation of the soil. They advertise us of abundance of peace, as long as sun and moon shall endure. When shouting cherubims announced to the shepherds, the nativity of HIM who was born in a manger, they praised God, saying, “ glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, good will towards men.” The Gospel is that wisdom which is from above, which is peaceable. It is emphatically styled the Gospel of peace. It cannot be amenable to the tribunal of infidelity, for the perfidy and crimes of wicked men. We might as reasonably charge the ocean with the guilt of murder, when presumptuous men rush unbid. den through her waves into eternity or the streets of Paris with rapine and slaughter, because, there tyrants have run mad, and drenched her pavements with each other's blood!
Turn your eyes for a moment across the Atlantic, to Asia, Africa, and Europe. The commonwealths of des.
pots, not only where the Gospel is not published; but where it has been abused : where church and state have been consolidated. What a spectacle of wretchedness presents to our view! There men in power have, for filthy lucre, made merchandize of the kingdom of Heaven, and assumed a !ordship over God's heritage. There ironheated tyranny, rivits the chains of oppression, on groaning millions of miserable vassals.
While you drop a tear of sympathizing sorrow, contrast your situation with theirs. Our lot is cast on Columbia's happy shores ;– The land of liberty—the asylum of the oppressed. Here the light of Heaven shines -the peaceful standard of King Jesus is erected; and none dare to make us afraid. There the clash of arms, the thunder of war, the groans of the wounded, and the pangs of the dying, are the amusement of crowned ruffans. There the bereaved widow, bemoans the untimely loss of her murdered husband! There the orphan's melting eye, laments the assassinated father! Cities are wrapped in flames, kingdoms depopulated ;--Ah! the heart of humanity dissolves at the doleful tale of human wo. There the insatiable jaws of avarice, and all the rayages of venal ambition, are for ever rending their inmost bowels ! Here we set under our own vine and figtree. Here we enjoy a government founded on the broad basis of natural, civil, moral, social, and religious rights; by which the dignity of the community, the interests, peace, and happiness of individuals are secured, to the astonishment of tyrants, and the political glory of a great, free, independent, and enlightened people! Prosperity has marked our footsteps ;-Agriculture has flourished ; -The flag of American commerce has been unfurled in the remotest regions of the earth! Here the arts and sciences have flourished with unrivalled glory. The Gospel of Christ is published with success. We have reason to hope and believe, that a glorious day is approaching, when all shall know the Lord; when swords and spears shall be transformed to ploughshares and pruning hooks : and storms of political and religious contentions, shall no longer vex the nations. Rejoice, O Zron ! thy walls are salvation, and thy gates praise. No weapon formed against thee shall finally prosper. How beautiful upon