Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

or two only, will be exhibited. “Think not that I am
come to destroy the law, or the prophets. I am not
come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you,
till heaven and earth pass, one jot, or one tittle shall in
no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whoso-
ever, therefore, shall break one of these commandments,
and shall teach men so, shall be called the least in the
kingdom of heaven. But whosoever shall do and teach
them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of
heaven. For I say unto you, that except your right-
eousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes
and pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom
of heaven.” Another specimen of the preaching of Jesus
Christ may be taken from the same sermon on the JMount.
“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love
thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you,
Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good
to them that hate you, and pray for them who despite-
fully use you, and persecute you, that ye may be the
children of your Father who is in heaven.”
Such was the doctrine and spirit of the preaching of
Jesus Christ: and, “JWever man spake like this man.”
His great system of morals was comprised in a few com-
prehensive points: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God
with all thy heart, and thy neighbor as thyself. And
all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to
you, do ye even so to them; for this is the law and the
prophets.” And finally; “if any man will be my disci-
ple, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and
follow me.”
The ministry of Christ was not only attended with an
irresistible ño. on the consciences of men; but it
was established by many incontestable miracles; and
more than once, was there a voice from heaven, saying,
“This is my beloved son: hear ye him.” . Many of the
chief priests and scribes, however, refused to hear him.
And was not the ancient prophecy of Moses verified in
their utter destruction ? Alluding to the Saviour, the
prophecy of Moses was, “A prophet shall the Lord your
God raise up unto you, of your brethren, like unto me;

him shall ye hear. And it shall come to pass, that every soul which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among his people.” Accordingly, those who refused to hear the Saviour’s preaching, were soon overwhel. med in the destruction of their city and nation. “ Then was there tribulation, such as had not been, from the beginning of the world, no nor ever shall be.” The Saviour did not, like John the Baptist, labor chiefly in desert places. . But he declared, under trial before the high priest, “I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing.” Christ not only taught the people himself, and preached the gospel of the kingdom of God; but he em. ployed above four score men to preach in his name; and in his name to work miracles. These he sent forth into every part of Judea ; and gave them a solemn charge, that if any would not receive them, nor hear them, to shake off the dust of their feet for a testimony against them. These disciples and ministers of Christ, having performed the first part of their missionary service, veturned with joy, saying, “Even the devils are subject unto us, through thy name.” Irresistible was the influence of the Saviour, and complete was his success, in setting up, and establishing his kingdom, even though he was persecuted to the death of the cross; and made his way to the throne, through the valley of the shadow of death. Thus, it appears, that, from the beginning of the world, down to the death of Jesus Christ, God never failed to support a succession of evangelical ministers, and preachers of righteousness. And by their means, the church has existed, and will exist to the end of the worldAnd it has always been fatal to the best interests, and to the souls of mankind to neglect their opportunities to hear the ministers of the word of God. While refusing to hear the ministry of the word, according to divine institution, no sinner has ever been convicted, and no soul has ever been converted to the christian faith.Thus faith cometh by hearing.

Soon after our Saviour arose from the dead, he established his church under a new dispensation. He appointed new ordinances and institutions, more significant of the great subjects of grace and salvation. Great was the increase of light and privileges; but not to supercede the ministry of the word. This, instead of being superceded, was greatly improved; and was extended to all nations. Jesus Christ, before he ascended to heaven, solemnly delivered to his apostles, and through them, to the whole body of faithful ministers, in their successive generations, a commission to go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned.” In other words, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded; and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

From this time forward, more evidently than before, faith was to come by hearing. Now, as far as possible, all nations and classes of people were to be furnished with the ministry of the word of God. All people, therefore, had they been disposed, might, long before now, have had opportunity to hear and embrace the gospel. Of the apostles and primitive ministers of the gospel, it is said, “ Their sound went out into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world;” meaning, at least, the whole known world; or the Roman empire. In the time of the Apostles’ ministry, preachers of the gospel were greatly multiplied; and their object was, according to their commission, to preach the gospel to every creature; well knowing, that faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the administration of the word of God. From the history of the labors and sufferings of the first ministers of the gospel, it is evident, that the conversion of the world was their object; and, that, according to divine appointment, the preaching of the gospel was the principal means to accomplish their object. And were not this the case, why all this provision of

[ocr errors]

preachers ? If perishing sinners could, consistently with the plan and purpose of God, be converted from Jewish infidelity, or heathen idolatry, and be brought, by any other means, to the acknowledgement of the truth; the labor and expense of preaching and hearing might have been saved. Had not the preaching and hearing of the system of divine truth been essential to the salvation of sinners; would the ministers of Christ have been required to spend and be spent, to labor and suffer, and die in the cause P Certainly not. Many say in words, and many more in practice, that preaching is a traditional thing, a useless ceremony. It certainly is so, unless it be essential, in the plan of infinite wisdom, to produce the christian faith. . But, that it is essential, we have abundant proof. It has, in all ages, been the principal means of salvation. Why do men plough, and manure, and sow, and plant their fields P Because there are no other means appointed to obtain a harvest. As no man ever gathered a literal harvest, without first sowing the seed; so no man ever gathered a spiritual harvest of precious souls, where no o seed is sown. Scrip. ture and observation testify abundantly, that among all who have proudly refused to hear {...}. preachers, not one has ever been found to embrace the Saviour, or to give the least evidence of religion. In every instance that can be named, where the least evidence of the christian faith exists, it manifestly came by hearing; even by hearing the ministry of the word of God. Where opportunity for hearing is granted, hearing is essential to salvation. r Some indeed are so situated in life as rarely to have opportunity to bear, or to refuse to hear, the preaching of the gospel. Of such it may be said, “If there be first a willing mind, it is accepted, according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.” He who has a benevolent and Christ-like temper of heart, shall inherit eternal life. But whoever neglects to hear, when opportunity is presented, will perish in unbelief. Hence the Apostle sounds an alarm in the ears of the Hebrews, in these words, “Not forsaking the assembling of your.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

selves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another, and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. . For if we sin wilfully, after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain, fearful looking for of judgment, and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.” Thus we find, that forsaking the ministry of the gospel, after special awakening and illumination, is a strong symptom of reprobation.

INFERENCES.

1. Does faith come by hearing P then it is also cherished by hearing. Mankind then begin to realize the importance of the means of grace, when they begin to realize the christian faith. Would christians have their faith grow exceedingly, like that of the Thessalonians; let them attend constantly, and very strictly to the preaching of the gospel, and to the stated ministry of the word and ordinances of God. Other, and collateral means must also be improved ; such as the study of the holy scriptures, prayer and serious meditation, holy and heavenly conversation, speaking often one to another of the great doctrines, duties, hopes and promises of the gospel.

But after all, it is probable, that the christian faith is cherished and increased by sermons, plain, solemn, pungent, discriminating sermons; more than by any and all other means whatsoever. “It certainly pleases God, by the foolishness of preaching, to save them that believe.” Faith is evidently not only begotten, but cherished by the ministry of the word of God... Every humble and believing heart, feeling its own weakness, ignorance and darkness, is in unison with him who cried out and said, with tears, “Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief.” The best external remedy for the unbelief of christians, is a constant, diligent, and prayerful attendance on the ministry of the gospel. To the most faithful followers of Christ, and those who are already strong in faith, the preaching of the gospel is a savor of life unto life.

[graphic]
« AnteriorContinuar »