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of Christianity. It is a great and blessed thing when a man has, from his youth up, been faithful; neither transgressed in any considerable respect, the will of his Heavenly Father. For such a one a crown of glory is laid up; for such a one the promise abideth sure that he shall dwell in the presence of God for ever! How many dangers does he not escape who, from the beginning of his course, has never widely wandered! How many fears, how many bitter sorrows, how many struggles against habits of length ened evil, how many agonies unspeakable of repentance, of shame, of doubt, of terror and despair, has he escaped, which must be assuredly undergone by him who at the third, the sixth, or, still more, at the eleventh hour, is awakened to a sense of his condition. Yet even of this last, whose day is drawing to a close, the case, though most perilous, is not altogether desperate. His heart may yet be touched; he may yet seek the face of the Lord sincerely, humbly, penitently; and that gracious Lord, before whose angels there is joy on the conversion of a single sinner, that Lord who bare with Him from the cross the spirit of the penitent thief to Paradise, will not disdain even the offering of a single and a last hour, nor shut the gates of Heaven against repentance under any circumstances. But can he regain his lost ground in the race? Can he, beginning late, yet equal his earlier competitors ? that must depend on ten thousand different circumstances; but it must, under all circumstances to a certain degree, depend on himself. His task will be the harder, too hard I own for a dying man; and for an old man, unassisted by an extraordinary measure of Divine grace, beyond the reach of possibility ; yet much may, in the strength of the Most High, be done; and if he sanctifies his few remaining years to the service of God, with a livelier faith in pro. portion as his end is nearer, a deeper sorrow in proportion as his sense of guilt is keener, a holier fear in proportion as his danger is great, and an unbounded love in proportion as the mercy shown to him is unbounded, it may be that some of those who have in past life accounted him reprobate, may to their surprise, but in Heaven surely not to their envy, hear the sentence, “I will give unto this last even as unto thee !"
The sum of all is this, that the most experienced Christian has great need to fly from confidence ; and the most dispirited penitent no reason for indulging in despair. The first, even in his most prosperous course, will do well to take heed, lest those, whom he has left far behind, should, through his carelessness, be gaining ground on him; and he should learn to think more comfortably and hopefully of many whose present condition appears most estranged from God, inasmuch as we know not but an acceptable time may yet be found, in which they may be called of God, and hear His voice, and gladly and successfully become His labourers. The second may be emboldened to a more excellent zeal and a warmer piety, to improve to the best advantage whatever time remains to them, by the assurance that for those who labour well even a single hour, a reward may be in store, at which even their associates in glory may be astonished. But let all men beware how they suffer precedents of this sort to withdraw them from a timely care of their salvation, as knowing that whenever they are last called is the eleventh hour to them; that the later our repentance is deferred, it must needs be the more arduous and sorro
rrowful; thàt neither youth nor middle age are exempt from the accidents of mortality; that though life should be granted, it does not follow that grace will return; and that he who commits his soul to the chance of an evening which may never arrive, and a warning which may never be granted to him, may learn too late the consequence of his unspeakable folly, when the vintage is ended and the night is come, and the steward of the vineyard shall descend in His Father's name to recompense their deserts alike to the profitable and unprofitable servant!
THE CONVERSION OF THE HEATHEN.
[Preached at Bombay, on Whitsunday, May 22 ; at Colombo, Sep.
tember 18; and at Calcutta, on Advent Sunday, November 27, 1825; in aid of the Incorporated Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts.]
Астѕ ii. 38, 39., The promise is unto you and to your children and to all
that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
On the nature and certainty of that illustrious event which we are assembled this day to commemorate; on the personality and divinity of that mighty Spirit whose advent has been now recorded; of the manner in which His testimony confirmed the truth of our Saviour's mission from the Father; and on the blessed support, consolation, and protection, which the universal Church, and each individual member of it have since continued to receive from Him; on these natural and usual topics of discussion on the day of Pentecost, on which it is reasonable to suppose the majority of Christians informed, and on which I have abundant reason to believe my present audience well instructed, it is not now my intention to address you. There is another consideration, less obvious, or less frequently insisted on, but which arises no less naturally from the circumstances under which the Holy Ghost was given ; and which, in connexion with those circumstances, I shall endeavour to impress on your conviction; I mean the diffusive and universal character of the revelation of God's will through His Son; the interest which every nation under Heaven possesses in the Christian covenant; and the obligation which rests upon every believer to assist and forward, in his station and according to his ability, the extension of that knowledge whereby he is himself made wise unto salvation, the communication of those spiritual riches which he has himself received so freely.
* This Sermon is published agreeably to a promise made by his Lordship to the several Archidiaconal Committees formed upon its delivery. It is printed exactly as it was originally preached at Bombay. The body of the Discourse was substantially the same when delivered at Colombo and Calcutta, the introduction only, which relates to the day of Pentecost, being altered as the seve. ral occasions required. It was the intention of the Bishop to deliver it again at Madras on his return from his visitation of the Peninsula. It is unnecessary to relate the sad event by which this intention was frustrated.-CALCUTTA EDITOR.
That the message of mercy brought by Christ to mankind was the common heritage of all who partake in our v human nature; that to the Shiloh who should come, the gathering of the nations was to be; and that, in the promised descendant of Abraham's loins all the tribes of the earth were to be called blessed, are truths so broadly stated in Scripture, and so universally received by those who defer to scriptural authority, that it seems needless, at this time of day, and among those who are not professed unbelievers, to prove that the religion of His Son was designed by God as the religion of all mankind; that it was the will of the Most High that His knowledge should cover the earth as the waters cover the sea ; and that the false systems and false divinities of former ages should be consigned, by the disclosure of a holier and sublimer creed, to the custody of oblivion, of neglect, and scorn; to the moles of their consecrated grottos, and the bats of their dark and deserted temples.
In conformity with these principles, and with innumerable passages in the ancient prophetic writings, in which these principles are developed and confirmed, we find our
Lord, while on earth, announcing to His Jewish disciples His anticipation of other sheep of a different and distant fold; we find the same Lord, when already risen from the dead, sending forth His disciples, so soon as they should have received power from on high, to preach the Gospel to every creature ; we find the promised Comforter, in the iniraculous glory which He shed forth, and the miraculous gifts which He communicated, assuming a form and confirming a faculty, of which the one was without meaning, and the other without utility, except as symbols and instruments of diffusive light and knowledge; and we find, lastly, in the counsel given by St. Peter to his alarmed and conscience-smitten countrymen, that the promise, consequent on baptism, of remission of sins, and the gifts and comforts of God's Spirit, was not only to them and to their children, but to as many as God should call from the furthest regions of the earth, and the nations previously most estranged from the knowledge and worship of Je. hovah.
It may be thought, indeed, that on this avowed intention, and these repeated injunctions of the Most High, the duty of endeavouring the conversion of the heathen might rest with sufficient security even abstracted from every other consideration of charity to the heathen themselves, and the desire, which is natural to every well-constituted mind, of imparting to others those blessings which we ourselves most value.
That man would be no dutiful servant, that man would be any thing but an affectionate son, who, even without a positive command, and with no more than a bare intimation of the wishes of his father or his lord, should hesitate to employ the best exertions in his power to fulfil his blameless desires, and perform his righteous pleasure ; and still less are the express injunctions of a parent or a superior to be slighted, because we ourselves do not at once perceive the expediency of an order, or apprehend, without having made the trial, its entire success impossible. When David expressed, though it were but a transient wish, to drink of the fountain which welled up beside the gate of Bethlehem, his valiant men rushed forward, at