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" unto him which died for them, and rose " again.” “For, there is neither Greek “ nor barbarian, circumcision nor uncircum
cision, barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free; “ but Christ is all and in all :" " for ye
are all one in CHRIST Jesus.”
Among the Jews it had ever been a general notion, that the favour of God was confined to their nation, and that all blessings, both temporal and spiritual, were at last to be enjoyed by them alone: and even the disciples of Jesus, after they were converted to the christian faith, laboured for some time under the error, that the covenant of grace did not extend to the Gentiles or Heathens. It was in allusion to this prejudice, and to give his hearers a just notion of the extent of salvation through his merits, that he said, “ other sheep I have, ' which are not of this fold; them also I “must bring, and they shall hear my voice; " and there shall be one fold, and one shep66 herd.” It was not his countrymen only, to whom he was then speaking, who should embrace his gospel, and be benefited by his death; but all nations, and tongues, and languages; should hear the glad tidings of his doctrine, and become his disciples • “ sound of the gospel should go out into all “ lands, and its
words unto the end of the
" earth.” You will perceive, therefore, my friends, how very unscriptural that doctrine is, which would fain persuade us, that God is the God of some particular class of christians only; and that the merits of Christ are limited to them alone; that there are only a comparatively small number of christians, elected and ordained from all eternity to salvation, who will be saved ; and that the remainder, however humbly they may seek their Saviour, are doomed to inevitable perdition. It is melancholy to think, that such doctrines as these should ever be delivered to christian congregations; sir.ce they pot only do dishonour to the mercy and justice of the ALMIGHTY, and fly in the face of the Holy Scriptures; but also have a direct tendency to fill the hearers of them, either, with the pride of the Pharisee, whọ, “ trust“ ing in himself, that he" alone was "right
eous, despised others;" or, with a despair of their being saved : at the same time that it gives them the fatal notion, that the practice of righteousness; the duties of purity and sobriety, honesty, justice, and charity; are not essentially necessary to salvation. When men of a bold and proud spirit hear such doctrines, they immediately imagine that they themselves are among the number of the elect, and become presumptuous with respect to their own spiritual state, and harsh in their opinions of that of other
whereas the hearer who is of weak spirits and a timid mind, takes the doctrine of reprobation to himself; and, believing that all he can do will not recommend him to the mercy of that God, who has pre-ordained him for perdition from all eternity, passes his days in dread and misery ; dies in despair ; or puts an end to horrors which he cannot endure, by lifting his hand against his own life.
You perceive also, my brethren, how these unscriptural doctrines necessarily lead men to think very lightly of the value of a good, moral, and useful life; for, if I once believe that God has positively elected me to salvation, there can be then no occasion to seek that favour, of which I fancy myself secure without any trouble, by holiness, purity, and uprightness. If I sin, I need not be alarmed; for this cannot alter that absolute decree of God, which has sealed me for eternal life. Hence, virtue and vice become mere names; man is made a mere machine, instead of an accountable being ; and God is changed into an arbitrary and partial tyrant, instead of a God of infinite justice, and everlasting love and mercy.
But, my brethren, « ye have not so « learned CHRIST," nor is such instruction consistent with the express declarations of holy writ; or with “ the truth in CHRIST Jesus," as it is taught by the great body of the Clergy of the English church. They know, and teach you, that “ as a man
soweth, so also shall he reap;" that, if he hath done good here, he shall inherit everlasting life ; and if he hath done evil, he shall
go into everlasting fire hereafter. That there is no respect of persons with God;" the only difference which He makes between his rational creatures being this,-loving and rewarding all those who humbly endeavour to do his will; and abominating and punishing all those who knowingly and wilfully refuse to do it. They know, and teach, that repentance, faith, and obedience, will bring every soul to CHRIST; and that, at the last great day, all the holy in principle; the pure is heart, and the righteous in praco tice, of every persuasion, and of every church, shall be gathered together into one fold, under one shepherd, JESUS CHRIST the LORD."
(For the Third Sunday after Easter.]
1 PETER ii. 17.
Honour all inen: love the brotherhood : fear
God: honour the King.
ODLINESS," says the author of
ur texi, is profitable for all things, having the proinise of the life that now is,
as well as of that which is to come:" that is, a man, by believing and practising the gospel, will not only secure to himself, through the merits of his Saviour, everlasting salvation, when he dies; but also, will pass his present life in as much peace, comfort, and enjoyment, as it is allowed to human beings to experience here below. You will not doubt the truth of this declaration of St. Paul, my friends, when you seriously