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his being united to Christ in this world, or be admitted to those more sublime entertainments that are above Something like this we are to understand by seeing the kingdom of God. But it will not be amiss to inquire a little what is meant by the kingdom of God. And we may understand,
1. The spiritual kingdom of Christ here in this world. I mean that gracious temper of mind, or those holy dispositions that are implanted in the heart by regeneration, and also when a number of such do unite together in an ecclesiastical body. This is called Christ's kingdom, because they not only have Christ's kingdom in their hearts, but also, being visibly united together to promote the cause of Christ, they may, by way of eminence, be so styled. And,
2. We may understand the kingdom of glory, or this principle of divine life consummated in the heavenly world, so that this kingdom that believers have set up in them in this world, is the same in kind as it is in heaven. But when we shall come to put off this tabernacle, and be imbodied spirits in the upper world, our love will be increased, and we shall drink full draughts out of that crystal stream that glides gently through the paradise of God.
Oh! did believers once know adequately what is prepared for them in the heavenly world, how would they despise all things here below, and long to be on the wing for heaven! Well may it be called a kingdom, where are crowns not of gold, but of glory ;— where the King of kings sits amid the heavenly throng, and feeds them with his celestial dainties. And when the body is reunited to the soul at the resurrection, there will no doubt be much higher degrees of glory. Oh! then, let us live as becometh those that are so highly favoured of the Lord.
1. Hence see the propriety of our blessed Lord's assertion in the text, that, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God, or enjoy the favour
and love of God, either in this world or that to come. If men are totally depraved, as has been considered, from thence arises the absolute necessity of the new birth, and it is no strange or unaccountable thing that men must be born again. There is no obtaining the blessings of heaven without it. Therefore, says our Lord, Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again."
2. Hence learn the folly of all those that rest in any thing short of regeneration or the new birth. For, however far we may go in the things of religion, yet, if we are destitute of this divine and holy principle, we may be assured of it, from scripture as well as from the nature of things, that we cannot see the kingdom of God.
3. Let us examine ourselves whether we are possessed of this holy temper of heart or not. Have we new dispositions ?-new affections ?-and new desires? Are God and divine things the centre and object of our supreme love? Have we repentance towards God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ? Have we got that universal benevolence which is the peculiar characteristic of a good man? Do we love the law of God? Have we viewed it in its purity and spirituality? Are we heartily disposed to walk in the ways of holiness? Do we freely and voluntarily choose that way? Are we well pleased with the gospel way of salvation?
Lastly. Let all those that are strangers to the new birth be exhorted no longer to live estranged from God, but labour after this holy temper of mind. Flee to Christ before it be too late. Consider that there is an aggravated condemnation that awaits all impenitent sinners. There is a day of death coming. There is a day of judgment coming. A few turns more upon the stage and we are gone. Oh how will you answer it at the bar of God, for your thus remaining enemies to him? It is sin that separates from God. But it is the being or remaining such that will eternally separate you from him. Never rest easy till you feel in you a change, wrought by the Holy Spirit. And believe it,
until then you are exposed to the wrath of God; and without repentance you will in a few days be lifting up your eyes in torment.
The Lord grant that we may lay these things suitably to heart; that we, having the kingdom of Christ set up in our hearts here, may grow up to the stature of perfect men in Christ Jesus. This will lay a foundation for union with all holy beings, and with this everlasting happiness in the kingdom of glory is inseparably connected, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The manuscript from which the above is a transcript, nearly verbatim, was found among the papers of Rev. Ebenezer Bradford, of Rowley, Massachusetts, with the following note on a blank leaf.
"This sermon was composed by Lemuel Haynes, a young fellow who was brought up a farmer, not favoured with so much as a good common education.
66 'E. BRADFORD."
The papers with which this was found bear the date of 1776, and it is unquestionably one of Mr. Haynes's early productions; and from a careful comparison of this with his other manuscript sermons, there is nearly conclusive evidence that this is the very discourse read on the occasion as stated above. The manuscript was kindly furnished by Rev. James Bradford, Sheffield, Massachusetts.
PREPARATORY STUDIES, ETC.
THE incident respecting the Saturday night sermon, as stated in the preceding chapter, brought young Haynes very favourably into public notice. He had always been regarded as a youth of uncommon amiableness and ingenuity. From childhood he had been marked for his unspotted purity of character. When he entered a house upon an errand for his master, there was such retiring humility in his whole deportment as prepossessed all in his favour.
Now he began to be regarded in the neighbourhood as one raised up of God for more than common usefulness. It became known that he possessed uncommon gifts in prayer and exhortation; and, the parish being destitute of a minister, he was frequently called upon to read approved sermons, and to lead in the devotional exercises of the house of God. A report has gone abroad that, by invitation, he took the deacon's seat, and delivered his own original sermons on the Lord's day. Of this I can find no evidence except that of tradition.
It was now discovered by a discerning Christian community, that in this young man were the germes of usefulness. He was encouraged to look forward to the Christian ministry. On this subject a letter of his own furnishes the following remarks:-"I was solicited by some to obtain a collegiate education, with a
view to the gospel ministry. A door was opened for it at Dartmouth College, but I shrunk at the thought. Reverend Mr. Smith encouraged me, with many others. I was at last persuaded to attend to studying the learned languages. I was invited (1779) by the Reverend Daniel Farrand, of Canaan, Connecticut, to visit him. I accordingly did; with whom I resided some time, studying the Latin language. He was a most pious and friendly man."
Mr. Farrand was a most extraordinary man, whose excellences and eccentricities were happily balanced. In him were blended the deepest piety and the most amusing wit. His memory was so tenacious, that, when he was abroad on the Sabbath, if he happened not to take the sermons with him which he chose to deliver, he could, by recollection, preach them with facility, without his notes. His great originality of thought and quickness in repartee were much celebrated among his contemporaries. He was a poor man, and seemed even to contemn worldly wealth. Not far from him resided a gentleman of a directly opposite character in this respect. While he possessed extensive arable lands and well-watered meadows, he was penurious to a proverb. One day he invited Mr. Farrand to a walk into his meadow, which stretched far in front of his dwelling. As he was pointing to the fertilizing creek that passed through it, and was boasting of the richness of the soil, Mr. Farrand rebuked his covetousness and pride with the following lines:
Though a broad stream, with golden sands,
Yet he's a wretch, with all his lands,