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E are again reminded of the silent and rapid lapse of time by the close of another volume: happy should we be, if the parting admonition, at the end of this year's labors, might make a salutary impression on the minds of our readers.
There are two considerations of particular importance, which will interest the heart of the contemplative Christian, as he turns over the pages of a religious magazine. One is, that this world, in its ever varying circumstances, its endless fluctuations, affords no stable foundation for human happiness. As men advance in age, the proof of the uncertainty of worldly prospects, and the unsatisfying nature of human acqui
sitions, is so continually repeated, that it cannot be resisted. į How vain are most of the projects, which we see entertained
with ardor, pursued with zeal, and at last abandoned in disgust. How needless are most of the anxieties of men, in reference to the perishable objects before their eyes. Could we look back ten years, and recal every subject, which gave us either uneasiness or pleasure, what a striking lesson would be furnished to us, of the futility of human pursuits, labors, and cares.
The other consideration seems peculiarly applicable to ourselves and our readers, in reference to the various things recorded in this volume. Every month brings to our view fields white for the harvest, into which whoever pleases may
enter, and receive wages unto eternal life. This world, especially at the present period, affords as encouraging a place for doing good, as the sublimest imagination can create, or the most benevolent heart desire. In the noble endeavor to raise
immortal beings from a state of degradation and of exposure to divine wrath, there are motives suflicient to command the most strenuous exertions of every intelligent creature. God has seen fit to permit men to enjoy the privilege, the honor, and the happiness to labor in this divine work. How foolish will it be to neglect this privilege, to despise this honor, to lose this happiness: how supremely wise to avail qurselves of every opportunity to arouse, awaken, and urge to virtue and to heaven a world lying in wickellness, but to be reformcd, renewed and brought into the obedience of Christ.
For the Panoplist.
No. XI, Joux x, 9. By me, if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go
in and out, and find pasture. By many figurative representations docs our Savior display his own character, and the duties and privileges of his people. The custom wbich prevailed in those eastern countries which were the scene of his labors, of conveying instruction in figures, was well suited to the gradual and cautious manner, in which, it was the design of the Cluristiau economy that the Messiah should be revealed. To those who were prepared to receive the truth, this method of teaching was most forci. ble and striking. The meaning intended to be conveyed, might readiIy be apprehended by all humble inquirers after the will of God. To such it was given to know mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.' And none were liable to be deceived, but the proud, and such as were wise in their own conceit. In accordance with this practice, therefore, and the better to accomplish the purposes of his mission, our Savior communicated a great proportion of his instructions, both to his disciples and others in parables, and on some occasions, as the historian informs us, without a parable he spake nothing.
In the context, this Divine Teacher exhibits himself as the door of the sheep; as the medium of entranre, into the visible church, and into possession of the blessings of salvation. While he discourages, in the most decided manner, all expectation of being saved in any other way, he affords the strongest ground of confidence, even his own word, that all such as come in by the door shall not only partake of the blessings of his eternal kingdom, but shall enjoy the privileges and consolations, which belong to its subjects in the present world. “I am the door: by me, if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out and find pasture."
In illustrating this gracious promise, it is proposed to consider
1. The terms on which the blessings included in it, are offered, and
11. The blessings themselves. L The terms of the promise.
“By me," says Christ, “if any man enter in, he shall be saved.” This language corresponds with the title which he assumes. Having VOL. XV.
called himself a door, it was necessary to represent the connexion between himself and the faith and salvation of believers, by the terms entering in by the door. This act is rendered necessary to salvation. They only who shall come in by the door, who shall make Christ the medium of their entrance, can hope to reap the benefit of the promise. All who attempt to climb into the enclosures of his empire, in any other way, are proved, by that attempt, to be thieves and robbers, and of course, to have no title to its blessings. The same sentiment is inculcated by Christ when he declares himself to be the way, and asserts that no man conieth to the Father but by him. Christ is indeed the only way of approach to the Father. Through him alone can sinners find access, either to his throne of grace, or to his love. The whole world lieth in wickedness; all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Hence it is impossible for a holy sovereign to regard them in any other light, than as rebels and enemies. They have violated his law. His righteous authority has been contemned; and the whole human race have become guilty before God. Now Christ is the appointed door of entrance to a reconciliation. In him, God is reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing unto them their trespasses. He was wounded for their transgressions, he was bruised for their iniquities, the chastisement of their peace was upon him, and by his stripes they may be healed. All these representations receive ample support from the lively oracles, by which we are also taught, how inportant a part is taken by Christ in the salvation of his people, and on what terms they are to derive advantage from his mediation. From the Scriptures it is manifest, that to all who are saved by him, he is wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption.He is indeed, the only foundation, For, says the apostle, other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. He begins, carries on, and perfects the work of grace in the heart. The believer lives, because Christ lives in him. He is a branch of the living vine, a member of the glorious head. Severed from him he is withered and lifeless. But how, it may be proper to inquire, is that connexion with Christ, from which proceeds all this benefit, produced? This is the principal point to be illustrated under this head of discourse. We answer, that this connexion is produced by faith. In this consists the entrance into the door. The nature of this connecting principle by which believers become entitled to the inheritance of Christ's people, may be ascertained from the various forms under which it is represented by the inspired writers. Coming to Christ, receiving him, building on him, and several others, are terms indiscriminately used on this subject, by the great Teacher himself, and his disciples. Still, they are all involved in the act of believing. This is the term therefore, most frequently used by all the writers of the sacred volume. The language of Christ is full and explicit. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." And again, "Ile that believeth on him is not condemned-He that believeth on the Son bath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not sce life, but the wrath of God abideth on bim.” This was also the sentiment of the apostles. In this way were thc Phillippian jailer and othors