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servant of the tyrannizing Satan, the proportion to my simplicity and faithGod of this world ?
fulness in publishing the doctrines of I would, though so often refused the everlasting Gospel, your neglect and wearied with disappointment, will stand aggravated, your condemagain point to you the open door, nation be increased, and that he who again invite your feet to the nar- now bends over you, and would con
way that may lead to the strain, with the affections of the pastor eternal city; and remember this, and minister, shall become a witness that if you listen not to my voice now, against you at the bar of judgment, there cometh a day when it shall and at the opening of the door of pierce sharper than a two edged sword eternal destiny, and at the descent of —there cometh a day, when just in a way that leads no more back. Amen.
DELIVERED BY THE REV. GERARD NOEL,
AT RICHMOND, SUNDAY MORNING, OCT. 28, 1832.
II. Corinthians ii. 2—14—16.—“ Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to
triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish : to the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other
the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things ?” The importance of the Christian of God, in connexion with the dearest ministry rests upon the truth and interest of mankind—we unveil the authority of the Christian revelation. allotments of eternity—we unfold, to If the religion of Christ be not derived the eye of faith, scenes of the brightest from the conjectures of men, but from glory, or scenes of the darkest despair. the revelation of God, it commands The subject of our ministry belongs human attention at once, by all the to the deepest sympathies of our comarguments of fear, and by all the al- mon nature; we convey a message lurements of hope. Its accents are no
from the Creator to his creatures, and longer doubtful; its doctrines are no in the communication of this message, longer the sport of rival controversies, painful as it may be to the pride of but the recorded decisions of God, those whom we address, we repose on -decisions, the reception or rejection strength not our own. Our statement of which will tell upon the happiness is from Christ, and we rely upon his or the misery of each man, eternally.
“ Now Under this solemn impression the thanks be unto God, which always Apostle Paul devoted his life to the causeth us to triumph in Christ, and proclamation of the Gospel. “ We maketh manifest the savour of his are ambassadors for God"-we bear knowledge by us in every place. For a high commission—we reveal the will we are unto God a sweet savour of
Christ, in them that are saved, and in In the use of this interpretation of them that perish: to the one we are the passage, the words of the Apostle the savour of death unto death ; and will present to our view the nature of to the other the savour of life unto the Gospel ministry; its success in life. And who is sufficient for these every place to be a ground of great things?”
thanksgiving to God; and the insufThis language is eminently figura- ficiency of man for its due fulfilment. tive; and it is still a question, to what And, oh! that the mighty workings custom the Apostle refers. Some of the Spirit of Christ may so prevail think the allusion throughout is to the in us, my brethren, as that we may triumph of a heathen conqueror, scat-grasp firmly hold of these momentous tering fragrant incense in his way, the themes. If ever I have prayed for a perfume of which would be deadly sacred impression on your souls, I imto the captives doomed to experience plore it yet more fervently to-day. I his revenge, and full of life to those would be solemn in my own thoughts, who were to be the objects of the con- I would have these thoughts to be full queror's clemency and regard. Others, of eternity, and I would ask of God and I think more justly, account the that you may be serious in your allusion to be to the sweet fragrance thoughts. poured upon the dress of the Jewish The expressions of the Apostle, in high priest when he came forth to the First place, UNFOLD to us The teach and to bless the people : for NATURE OF THE GOSPEL MINISTRY. there the Lord promised his blessing, “ Now thanks be unto God, which even life for evermore. To the peni- always causeth us to triumph in tent, who confided in the truth of his Christ, and maketh manifest the sadoctrine, that doctrine was as the vour of his knowledge by us in every savour of life; to the obdurate, who place. For we are unto God a sweet despised his Gospel, it was as the savour of Christ, in them that are odour of death.
saved and in them that perish : to the This figurative language was fami- one we are the savour of death unto liar to the Jews, “ The law,” says one death; and to the other the savour of of their ancient writers, to them life unto life.” that go on the right hand of it is the The office of the Christian ministry, savour of life ; but to them that go on in the view of the Apostle, is to make the left hand of it, it is the savour of known the savour of the knowledge of death.” The Apostle thus appears to Christ in every place. The knowadopt this language in respect to the ledge of Christ is the theme of his Gospel, to whose effects, indeed, it far ministry, and the savour of that knowmore emphatically refers. The minis- ledge implies its excellency. “ 'This ters of Christ proclaim salvation by is life eternal, that they might know the death of Christ, and so are the thee, the only true God, and Jesus sweet odour of life to those who be- Christ whom thou hast sent.” “ Let lieve ; yet the ministers of Christ be- not your heart be troubled : ye become the odour of death, the instru- lieve in God, believe also in me.” In ments of a deeper condemnation, ac- reference to this knowledge, the cording to the command of Christ, Apostle could say,
“ What things “ Go ye into all the world and preach were gain to me, those I counted loss the Gospel to every creature. He for Christ. Yea, doubtless, and I that believeth and is baptized shall be count all things but loss for the excelsaved; but he that believeth not shall lency of the knowledge of Christ be condemned.”
Jesus, my Lord.” The subject of the
Gospel ministry is not philosophy, lasting Spirit, and whosoever is in
, morality, as separated from the high lives henceforth to God. motives of religion ; but it is the The Apostle calls this subject of the knowledge of Christ—the history of ministry the savour of Christ: “Both,” the adorable person, work, and office says an ancient writer, on account of the Lord Jesus Christ, the incarnate of the holy fragrance of his doctrines, Son of Gov—it is the atonement of and also his partial manifestation.” his blood shed for the sins of the “ The Apostle,” he remaks, “ calls whole world—it is the everlasting love our present knowledge, the odour of of God in Christ towards his elect knowledge, because of the small part church, dear to him as the apple of an of the truth which we now have, and eye—it is the conversion of the heart because that which is now concealed from its feeble and earth-fallen ten- shall in due time be made manifest ; dency to the love and obedience of like the process of fumigation, which the faith-it is the sanctity of the will is often carried on by a hidden fire, and of the affections, by the great sending forth, beyond the boundary, teacher and comforter, the Holy Ghost its sweet odour; thus we are refreshed -it is the visible display of grace, the by it, see it not, and yet enjoy its life of faith, the growth of gratitude, fragrance." These ideas are as just the preparation for Heaven, the fel- as they are eminent. We see through lowship of the Father and of his Son a glass, but yet darkly, but the docJesus Christ. Human science is trine of Christ is still as fragrant valuable only as it is connected with odours poured forth-it forms a Heathis knowledge. In itself it may ven of hope and peace. “ Thy love," augment power, and thus augment says the church to Christ, “is better calamity—in itself it may engender than wine. Because of the savour pride, and communicate materials for of thy good ointments, thy name is as violence and passion. It is only when ointment poured forth.” “ Thou art combined with, and sanctified by, thu fairer than the children of men: grace knowledge of Christ, that it guards is poured into thy lips.” the welfare which otherwise it falsely are like lilies, dropping sweet-smellassumes to protect. Without Christ, ing myrrh,” “This is my beloved, man is a sinner doomed to woe and and this is my friend, 0 daughter of death, cold-hearted, selfish, and proud. Jerusalem.” Separated from Christ, he is to be In these figurative terms are desarraigned at the bar of his judge, cribed the excellency of the knowledge without advocate, plea, or hope ; he of Christ, its power over the heart, and must perish : for the ungodly is to its holy efficacy on the affections. It is perish. The penalties of God's go- not a knowledge which is curious, but vernment will press him down, and not essential ; playing about the fancy, who shall rescue him from his so- but without influencing the conscience. vereign grasp ? To know Christ is to It is a knowledge connected at once know a remedy for all this misery. In with high principle, with the fairest the blood and righteousness of Christ, hopes and with the brightest prospects. pardon, peace, and increasing blessed. It is the medium through which sin is ness are found. He is the God-man forgiven, the heart saved, the memory -the Lord of Heaven-JEHOVAH's healed of her wounds, and her sorrows fellow, wearing the human form, converted into joy. Yet still we see strong to save, and glad to redeem. as through a glass darkly. The fragWith him is the residue of the ever- rance is very refreshing, but he who
“ His lips katters it is still unseen ; and when | Greeks foolishness.” Light,” says le comes the second time, without sin the author of the Christrian doctrine, unto salvation, then shall we see him “ is come into the world, and men face to face, and know even as we are love darkness rather than light, beknown.
cause their deeds are evil.” To such Such is the subject of this ministry, persons—to the worldly, the proud, and the operation of this ministry is and the self-righteous, the Apostles to make manifest the savour of the became as the savour of death; they knowledge of Christ. God would have became the unwilling instruments to ail men to be saved, and to come to many of a more aggravated destructhe knowledge of Christ; he would tion. This result had already arisen not conceal the tidings of great joy; from the instruction of their great he lays it rather upon his church Master, “ If I had not come and to spread the tidings through the spoken unto them,” as none other wide world. “Go ye into all the man has, “ they had not had sin”— world, and preach the Gospel to every that is, this aggravated sin—“ but creature.” This knowledge of Christ now they have no cloak for their sin. is as needful for one as for another. For they have hated both me and my Within the boundaries of this know- Father.” How often it happens in ledge lie folded up all the remedies the natural world, that remedies, for human calamity-wherever guilt otherwise the most powerful, if they requires pardon, wherever a torn con- miss the desired effect aggravate disscience needs binding up, or a defiled ease !-so in like manner the word of heart requires pure affections—for the God, when it proves not the odour of savage and the civilized, the learned life, becomes the odour of death. But, and the unlearned, the child and the blessed be God, very frequently the grown up person, these are the only the effects were medicinal and, consedatives for pain, the only cure for solatory: the Apostles were to many the soul's disease ; without these we as the refreshing odour of life; their droop and die for ever.
doctrine distilled as the dew upon the Yet are the ultimate effects of this parched soil of the human heart; it ministry widely different; it becomes, brought to the awe-struck criminal we are told, a savour of death unto the hopes of pardon from his Aldeath, as well as a savour of life unto mighty Lawgiver; it conveyed to the life. The Apostle here says for him- harrassed, with the vain speculations self and his fellow labourers, “We of vain Gentile philosophy, an attracare savours of death unto death." tive revelation of the name and chaChrist had put his fragrancy upon racter of the true God; it brought to them, but the world was not refreshed the heart of him, torn with an inby them. The faculty which should curable anguish by that vain philosohave rejoiced, was perverted and in- phy, the full assurance of a blessed jured by sin; hence the character and immortality; it brought to the soul the doctrines of the Apostles were too degraded by selfish and sensual pasoften slandered and condemned; the sions the high objects and glorious purity of their lives created resist purposes for which Christ himself had ance among the wicked, while the lived and died; it became the medium, doctrines which they taught unfolded through the energy of the Holy Ghost, that pride which sought its own exalt- by which the love of Christ was shed ation. “ We preach,” says the Apos- abroad in the heart; it constrained the tle, “ Christ crucified, unto the Jews astonished and happy believer to live a stumbling block, and unto the no longer to himself, but to him who died for him and rose again. To such | though to some he proves the rock of the ministry of the Apostle was indeed offence. The proper result of the a savour of life.
Gospel ought ever to be distinguished In both cases, however, whether in from its accidental results. It belongs, the painful results of aggravated guilt, alas ! to human depravity, to convert or in the happy results of recovery, the instrument of life into the instru
a ment of death.
savour of Christ : “ We are unto a The TRIUMPH OF The Gospel in
God a sweet savour of Christ,” the EVERY PLACE WAS THEIR GROUND Apostle declares, “in them that are OF THANKSGIVING TO God, and the saved, and in them that perish.” This Apostle expressed his feelings of noble Gospel, whether contemplated in its and heart-felt delight, “Now thanks doctrines or its ministry, whether in be unto God, which always causes as its destructive, or its saving effect, to triumph in Christ, and maketh was still precious to God, the sweet manifest the savour of his knowledge odour of Christ, the wonder of re- by us in every place.” It is here deeming love, the brightest manifest- affirmed, as a second great point of ation of the power and glory of God the text, that the Gospel is incapable to man. Through his unbelief it of defeat. Like the palm-tree, it even might accidentally bring a curse, but grows under pressure ; it is ever victhat was not intended, but it was in torious : where it saves not, it kills. tended to convey a blessing. The Its effect is never neutral; it gains hardness of heart in him who rejected a moral victory in every possible case. it, changed not the character of the Where it touches the spring of conGospel, to whose generous motives he trition and love in the human heart, had been so long listening in vain. It and the waters of repentance flow, was still to God the same Gospel, its it saves the soul alive, and manifests decisions the same, its effects just the the unsearchable depths of the divine same. To the diseased eye the light beneficence; where it gains no lodgis hurtful, and yet the sun does not ment into the spirit of the impenitent shine to injure. Thus the Gospel is and lost, it manifests his character, it still the Gospel-to those who believe exhibits in open day his concealed deit, it brings health—to those who re- pravity, and justifies, in his case, the ject it, it brings destruction. It is penalty of destruction. It yields still still to God a sweet odour. The term a moral triumph to God; it exhibits odour is here, very emphatic—it is as his awful and ultimate justice, when if the Apostle had said, so great is the his insulted mercy has told upon the power of the Gospel, that, not only by criminal in vain. The ministers of the taste, but even by the perfume, it Christ are ever on the side of vicvivifies or destroys, and whichever it tory; but, oh! they would win for may be, it is never preached in vain. mercy, and not for justice — they But how is it, then, the ministration would triumph in Christ, not by of life? The answer is easy—when merited ruin, but by unmerited salit saves by faith it acts according to vation ! its own nature; when it occasions de- But if these results attend the prostruction through unbelief, the effect clamation of the Gospel, who is sufis not of itself, but the incredulity FICIENT FOR THESE THINGS? This of those who reject it. Christ is the is the third point in the text. light of the world, though he blinds Well might the Apostle ask this the unbelieving; he is the foundation question. If the sword be derived stone that God has laid in Zion, from the armoury of heaven, and stand