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For many centuries the ministry in the christian church has seemed to labor more to persuade people into a belief of the general failure of the gospel dispensation, than to inspire a hope that its success will eventually correspond with the universal and impartial love of the Saviour: and though the preachers have uniformly professed great love for sinners, and a willingness to exert all their means to prevent the everlasting ruin of souls, yet they have as constantly in sisted that they shall rejoice in heaven to see the un converted part of their congregations in a state of hopeless misery! But how is this consistent with the idea of resting in their love ? It is easy to conceive how the minister of the word rests in his love to the people and to the gospel, if he has the prospect bright before him, of the final, full, and entire success of the ministry.–St. Paul says ; " Having this ministry we faint not.” But what is the peculiar nature of this ministry which caused the Apostles not to faint ? See the answer in the same Apostle's words; " Who hath made us able ministers of the New Testament, not of the letter, but of the spirit; for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” Possessing the love for mankind which the Apostles evidently did, they must have fainted if their ministry had been a ministry of death ; but their ministry was a ministry of life, of righteousness, and reconciliation, in which they labored that they might "
present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” The same spirit of love, which gives rest to the faithful minister of the word of life, is the rest of every true believer. It is acknowledged by all denominations of christians, that the spirit of Christ is the spirit of love, and that this love extends to all mankind. With the different persuasions among us, there is but one sentiment on this subject. All christian people profess to love the whole human family, and to pray for the salvation of all. Now since this is uniformly
let us ask, what rest can they have while exercising this generous love and benevolence, and yet believing that millions of their fellow creatures must inevitably, not only be excluded the joys and peace of heaven, but be the subjects of positive misery for
It is true we have been told the extravagant story that the saints in heaven will rejoice forever in the everlasting misery of the unconverted. We have been told, that parents will rejoice in the sentence of endless condemnation passed on their own offspring in the eternal world! But will this be resting in love? If parents have as much love for their children in the next state as they have here, will that love allow them to rest in heaven, while their offspring are tortured in everlasting burnings ? No, allowing the doctrine of future endless misery, those who rest must rest in eternal hatred! but in hatred there is no rest.
My brethren, did you ever find rest in a spirit of enmity ? in a disposition to rejoice in another's misery? Is it possible for unmerciful wrath to give rest? No, if we ever find rest either in this world or in the next, it must be in love. And love, that it may give rest, must have its vast desires accomplished.
What an unbounded field of glory and beauty our subject presents to our rejoicing eyes !
The vast, the unbounded, the incomprehensible love of our heavenly Father, is his eternal rest. After all his judgments, after all his righteous indignation is fulfilled on all his enemies, he will retain his unchangeable love to all his offspring, and rest forever in seeing all the desires of his universal, impartial love fully accomplished.
Jesus, the mediator, who loved us and gave himself for us, shall see of the travail of his soul, and be satisfied, shall see all the desires of his heart accomplished, shall have the heathen for his inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession, and shall rest in his love for mankind forever.
The apostles of the Lamb, who following the steps and the example of their divine master, loved the human race, labored in the ministry of righteousness, and reconciliation, suffered the loss of all earthly things for the establishment and promotion of the truth, shall see all the desires of their love fulfilled, and rest in their love.
All the faithful successors of the Apostles, in the ministry, who have been excited by the powerful influences of the spirit of love, to fulfil their ministry, in the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God, shall see all the desires heir love fulfilled in the reconciliation of all things to God, through Jesus, and shall rest forever in their love.
Every true believer in Jesus, who hath been quick ened by the spirit of the gospel, which is the spirit of love, shall see the boundless desires of his heart fulfilled in the subjection of every creature in heaven and on earth, to the authority and love of Christ, and shall forever rest in his love.
To conclude-My friends, let us never seek rest but in love. “Let not the sun go down upon your wrath." “Let us love one another, for love is of God.” that loveth another hath fulfilled the law."
THE HEALING EFFICACY OF CHRIST'S DOCTRINE.
MARK , 31
Thou seest the mukitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, who touched me?
The occasion of these words was the following circumstance. One of the rulers of the synagogue, of the name of Jairus, came to Jesus, and falling down at his feet, besought him most earnestly, saying, “my little daughter lies at the point of death. I pray thee come and lay thy hands upon her, that she may be healed, and she shall live.” The compassionate Saviour was moved at a petition which flowed so directly from a parent's heart, and which indicated such strong faith in his power to heal. He immediately went with the afflicted father. No sooner was it known that he was going to heal the sick child, than a great crowd of people followed and pressed hard upon him. They were, no doubt, extremely anxious to be eye witnesses of the miracle. In this vast concourse there was a yoman who had been afflicted for twelve years with a distressing disorder, “and had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse.” This afflicted woman had lost all hopes of recovery by the assistance of human aid; indeed she was poor and pennyless. Her little estate had already passed over into the hands of her physicians, who in room of doing her any good, i had caused her many painful sufferings. Destitute, | alone and friendless, a thought came into her mind, and it immediately formed itself into a resolution accompanied with a perfect confidence, that if she could by any possible means, press through the crowd of per
ple so as to but touch the clothes of Jesus she should be made whole.
It is scarcely possible to imagine a circumstance more calculated to excite exertion than this. She was, no doubt, a very feeble person, a great multitude of people were crowding, and pressing to keep close to Jesus that they might not miss of seeing the miracle. The difficulty of getting through the crowd was, no doubt very great; but salvation was so near and so desirable, that it invigorated her feeble system to such à degree that her efforts were availing. It is not unlikely that we may form a pretty correct idea of the manner of this woman's exertions on this occasion. She would naturally direct her eyes toward Jesus and get a glimpse of him as often as possible; when it so happened that she could, by the greatest exertion get before one of the crowd, she never let the opportunity slip; one step gained was cautiously kept; she was careful that no one should crowd her back ; she looked well to her feet that they should not slide ; spake not a word to any one lest she might miss an opportunity to advance; the nearer she gets to the prize the stronger and more active she grows, till she eagerly reaches forth her hand and touches the garment of the Saviour. She now realizes her faith, her confidence has not deceived her, she is made whole.
Though this woman did not once think that the Saviour was apprehensive of her approach, we have good reason to believe that he who knew the very thoughts of men's hearts, who saw Nathaniel under the fig-tree, knew her case, her faith and the efforts she had made to come to him. Immediately after this woman touched his garment, he turned himself about in the press and, as if surprised that any one should touch bim, said, who touched my clothes ? The disciples, being ignorant of the particular case, and surprised that their master should ask who touched him, when he had, for some time, been pressed with the crowd of people all around him, said to him, “thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou who touched me?” Jesus made them no reply, but cast his eyes