Sidor som bilder

became the sacrifice for us sinners: "For, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." He atoned for our sins; he reconciled us to God; so that, "whosoever believeth upon him, should not die, but have everlasting life." What then was the effect, when this Divine Person came into the world? Temples, which before were built for impure rites, were razed to the ground, and on their site were erected temples of Christianity. The poor heathen, accustomed to worship his unknown god, or his rudely sculptured image, raised his hands and his heart to the Triune Jehovah. The religion of Jesus Christ spread rapidly through the world; the poor, as well as the rich, felt the happy effects of the good tidings. At the word of Jesus, sight came to the blind, hearing to the deaf, the paralytic, bound to the earth in pain and misery, in the sight of multitudes, took up his bed and walked. The spots of the leper disappeared in the presence of the mighty God. Yes, the very water, drawn from the pure crystal stream, blushed, when it saw its God! Multitudes, who had come

from afar, were fed upon a few loaves and fishes; baskets full of the superabundant fragments were taken up, from what before would scarcely have satisfied a thousandth part of those, who were fed. Those, who were possessed with Devils, and were driven to frenzy, at the sight of Jesus were healed. The raging and tempestuous billows, lashed by the gale, hastening in unrestrained liberty to the shore, at the word of God suddenly turned into a peaceful and serene calm. And the very sepulchres,

the tombs, which contained under them the mouldering remains of mortality, opened, the mortal revived, life bloomed afresh, the pure glow of health, and the springs of nature took their former course. Oh! we want a widow, receiving back her only son, the only fond image of her husband, to tell the joy, which Jesus of Nazareth brought to a world, then dead in "trespasses and sins." We require a Lazarus, just throwing off the folds and the wrappings of the grave, to show the effect, which the Gospel had in those days-to stand before us with the new life glowing in him, after having

taken the sting from death, and the victory from the grave. But you are verily persuaded of the mighty effects, which the Son of God wrought upon earth; if not, would you be persuaded, though one should arise from the dead?

But go we on to mark, further, the striking effect of the Gospel. When the time was at hand for Jesus to be delivered into the hands of wicked men, he said, “I will not leave you comfortless." "I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of Truth." And, when he expired on the cross, this Spirit, in a bodily shape, descended, according to the promise of the crucified Redeemer, and guided and directed the works of those, into whose hands was committed the propagation of the Gospel.

But the Spirit was not confined to them only; the Spirit was to remain for ever; the ordinary effects took the place of the wonderful and miraculous, and are now shed profusely upon the heart of every individual. And these are the effects of the


Comforter, which the Saviour promised to send to his people, when he ascended to the bosom of his Father. Men, before "dead in trespasses and sins," are now quickened." The old Adam is deadthe second Adam in them blooms and lives. Though born in sin, men, through the merits of the Saviour, are reconciled to God. God the Father hath had compassion on them, by accepting the sacrifice of his Son, who has suffered in our stead.

But let me draw your close attention to the effect, which the Gospel has now upon the hearts and lives of men. The infant is baptized by our church; the outward and visible sign, and the inward and spiritual grace, are received by the child. "Water" is "the outward sign," and "the inward and spiritual grace" is "the death unto sin"-" the new birth unto righteousness." An infusion of spiritual life is cast into the soul, by which it is made capable of living unto holiness. In the names of young children do the sponsors promise obedience to the laws of God. The outward rite is only necessary to the outward

admission, and the inward blessing follows upon the inward acts of the heart, so that the baptism effectual to salvation must be accompanied by good works; and, if there be a failure in these, there must be a supply or renewal of those inward acts, to regain the spiritual blessings. The infant, thus fortified, by the grace of God stirring in him, has sufficient help, as he grows up, to enable him, in his own person, to accomplish those things, which his godfathers and godmother declared, that when he came of age, he himself should perform. The preventing grace is succeeded by the co-operating grace of God; and man becomes an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven; the way is opened, by which he may be saved. See man thus regenerated. The heart of stone now becomes, by the effect of the Gospel, feeling; the soul, stripped of its natural defilements, becomes pure; the affections, and the innate virtues soften his rude nature, taming and bringing into subjection his ungoverned passions. Oh! see the Christian applying to his heart the announcement of the Gospel, and, in the

« FöregåendeFortsätt »