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tion, and expect an implicit compliance with their injunctions, by virtue of their office and personal influence. But a true minister, will account it it his honour and pleasure to preach to an enlightened people, who love and study the bible, and, like the Bereans, search the scripture *, to see if things are so as represented. We have no dominion over -your faith, but wish to be helpers of your joy t. Nor do we pretend to dominion over your purses, though we are to remind you of the apostle's charge, To do good and to communia cate forget not I.
How much are they to be pitied, who account that word of grace a burden, which to those who receive it with thankfulness, proves the balm and cordial of life! Take heed how you hear. If the gospel is not made to you a favor of life, it will be a
and condemnation, and leave you utterly hopeless and inexcusable. If you continue impenitent and obstinate, the hour is coming, when you will wish you had never heard of the name of Jesus. It had been better for you never to have been born, or to have * Ade xvii. 11. + 2 Cor. i. 24. | Heb. xiii. 16. H 4
lived and died among the savage Indians; or to have been an idiot or a lunatic to the end of your days, than to have lived where the doctrine of salvation was published in your hearing, if you finally reject the counsel of God against yourselves !
S E R M O N
THE PROGRESS OF THE GOSPEL,
Rom. x, 18. Their found went into all the earth, and their words unto the end of the world.
THE beavens declare the glory of God*. * The grandeur of the arch over our heads, the number and lustre of the stars, the beauty of the light, the splendor of the fun, the regular succession of day and night, and of the seasons of the year, are such proofs of infinite wisdom and power, that the scrip. ture attributes to them a voice, a universal language, intelligible to all mankind, accommodated to every capacity. There is no Ipeech nor language where their voice is not * Pl. xix. .
heard. The combined effect of the visible works of the great Architect, presses a declaration upon the ear of reason--The band that made us is divine. We must, however, understand it of the ear of right reason. The loudest voice is unnoticed by the deaf. Thus it ought to be, and thus it would be, if man were indeed a rational creature, as he proudly boasts himself. That the fact in general is otherwise ; that the bulk of mankind are no more affected by the works of God, than the beasts of the field : that the philosophers who profess to study them, so faintly difcern, so frequently deny, the great first Cause of all, is a proof that sin has darkened and depraved the noblest powers of the soul, and degraded man into the state of an inattentive idiot. However the evidence, if it does not excite his admiration and praise, is abundantly sufficient to convict him of stupidity and ingratitude, and to leave him without excuse *.
This passage, taken from that sublime ode of David, the nineteenth psalm, is applied by the apostle to illustrate the character, and the progress of the still more wonderful dis* Rom. i. 20.
play of the divine perfections, which God has made known by the glorious gospel. A variety of truths shine (like stars in the firmament) in the system of revelation. But principally Jesus the sun of truth and righteousness, the source of spiritual light and life, answers to the description there given of the material sun, His going forth is from the end
and there is nothing bid from his heat *.
But the fulfilment of the promises respecting Messiah's kingdom is progressive. So far as this prophecy has been accomplished, the arm of the Lord has been revealed. It is his doing, and may justly be marvellous in our eyes. The truth of the prophecy will be proved by its final completion ; which, though not likely to take place in our time, we may be assured that it cannot fail, for the Lord hath spoken it. And besides, we have a sufficient pledge and security for the whole, in what he has already done. It was not necessary for the fulfilling of this prophecy, nor consistent with the tenor of many other prophecies, that the spread of the gospel should be instantaneous and uni* Pf. xix. 6.