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desire, man freed from punishment would still have been man far from God; he would have possessed neither the inclination vor the ability to return; and we are forced to conclude in the largest sense, that he was driven out from holiness, driven out from happiness, yea, driven out from God, who alone is the centre of whatever is holy and whatever is happy.
Now, I stated to you, that in this examination of the whence or from what, man was driven, we should be met with a conspicuous display of the justice of the Most High. You behold this justice as a most righteous and unbending attribute: for here is the very being for whose reception God had prepared this earth, and adorned it with exuberant displays of his workmanshipthe being to whom he had given dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowls of the air, and over every living thing that moveth on the earth-here is this being, the object of the tenderest solicitude of Deity, exiled and banished for one solitary offence. The penalty had been incurred, and not one jot of it shall be remitted: the law had been infringed, and justice must be satisfied. If there be one individual who would presume on the compassion of the Creator-who would ever flatter himself that justice shall not at length be found so rigid as it hath been represented in the declarations of a morose and bigoted priesthood—then I would make that individual tremble at the words, “So he drove out the man.” Thou canst not plead in extenuation the thousandth part of what Adam might have pleaded: thou canst not be beloved as Adam was beloved: one offence his—millions of offences thine: thou canst not appeal as he might have appealed, to the holy communings of early days. He might have spoken pathetically of his former walking with God: he might have dwelt on the sweetness of departed hours: he might have implored forgiveness by the memory of sanctified and enraptured friendship-and yet “he drove out the man."-Rev. II. MELVILLE, B.D.
THE MISSIONARY'S MESSAGE SUITED TO ALL.
HON. AND REV. G. T. NOEL, A.M.
" And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house; and
he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes, and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.”-Acts, xvi. 32, 33.
It becomes my duty this evening, my Christian brethren, to address you upon the subject of Christian missions. And in order to introduce the subject to your notice, I have referred to circumstances that once took place in a heathen town, descriptive of the effect of that blessed Gospel, which is still, wherever it is preached, the power of God unto salvation, when God brings home its truths to the heart by that mighty working, whereby he subdues the rebellious will, and sanctifies the depraved affections of man.
The Apostle Paul had received intimation, in a miraculous manner, to direct his missionary labours towards Macedonia; he gathered it to be the Lord's will, that he should go into that region of the earth. And we find him at the town of Philippi, where it pleased God greatly to bless his efforts. We find, that in after days, he addressed a letter to the Christian church in that city, which is yet extant with us; a letter, which, written out of the fulness of a grateful heart, delights to recollect what God had done amidst the saints that were then at Philippi. At the time to which the narrative before us refers, a new era had taken place in the history of God's church. Until that time, the church of God had been, in its state and character, exclusive; God, in his providence, had raised partition wall between the Jew and the Gentile; and the mercies of God, in his wise and sovereign providence, were greatly limited ; Christ had not yet been glorified, and the Spirit of God had not yet widely descended upon men. Known unto God, my brethren, are all his works and designs, from the foundation of the world. And whatever other reasons may be assigned, why the character of the church of God was so long exclusive, we learn at least to say this from scripture, that, in the wisdom of God, it pleased him to shew
* On behalf of the Islington Auxiliary Church Missionary Association.
that “the world by wisdom knew not God,” that the boasted efforts of human reason were inadequate to retrace the character of God, which sin had blotted from the earth. And God had seen fit to select one people to be a typical people, to bear his name for a time, and to be the depository of those oracles of mercy, the extent of which would be realized in after days, when it would please him to throw down that middle wall of partition, and to extend the mercies of redemption to the last and lowest of mankind, to prove himself to be the God of the Gentile, as well as of the Jew. From the time that Jesus Christ came into the world, and gave a commission to his disciples, that exclusive dispensation of the church terminated; and a new condition of the church took place, which we may well call a missionary state. Now God would have all men to be saved. He had realized all the purposes he had designed in the exclusive dispensation of his church. And now the great Redeemer of mankind had extended his arms upon the cross, in token of his disposition to clasp the whole world to his bosom; and he had commanded his disciples to “ go into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature.” The whole history of Jesus Christ was indeed a inissionary history. The anthem that hailed his advent into the world, was a missionary anthem : “ Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will towards men.” It was not to Palestine alone, that good will was limited; that good will, preaching peace by Jesus Christ, was to be extended to all mankind. And his whole life was a missionary life; he went from village to village to proclaim the new doctrine of mercy; he stood amidst the guilty, the wretched, and the sad, the herald of mercy to mankind; his accents were those of continual pity and compassion—" Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” And his most affecting prayer, when he hung upon the cross, referred to the Gentile as well as to the Jew; there were Roman soldiers engagerl in the process of his destruction, and he breathed out this prayer, that had no limit in its meaning, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And when he had breathed upon his disciples, ere he re-ascended to the glory which he had with his Father before the world was, he commissioned his disciples to carry that message, the meaning of which they would ere long fully comprehend, to the utmost ends of the earth, that wherever sin had wrought sorrow and produced guilt, there might the great remedy for guilt and sorrow be known; and from those ends of the earth, however desolate, the cry might arise, of the spirit of man, contrite
and afflicted; like the shipwrecked mariner ready to perish, from the ends of the earth he might cry, “ Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”
And, my brethren, this state of the Christian church yet continues. Eighteen centuries have rolled away, and the commission given to the Apostles yet remains in force, and will remain in force, until a third dispensation shall be apparent in the church of Christ—the triumphant and millennial period, when the earth shall no longer be full of the habitations of cruelty, when it shall no more be said, as now we have read, that “ the earth was filled with violence;" the earth shall be then full of the knowledge of God, as the waters cover the
And that same Jesus, on whose name persecution and scorn had
ong rested, shall re-appear without sin the second time unto salvation, to be the “ Prince of the kings of the earth,” and to “ reign before his ancients gloriously.” Then shall his will be realized, in the accomplishment of those vast, those rich, and extensive promises, which unfold the purposes of God, in all their generosity and power, to the miserable race of Adam.
At the time, then, to which the history of the text refers, the Apostle Paul, iu imitation of those who had received the last commission of Christ, and himself having received a miraculous ad spiritual commission, was now in Macedonia, beckoned thither because men were standing in the utmost need of that instruction which the revelation of God can alone impart. I would consider, therefore, in order to plare more particularly before you the circumstances of the history - I would consider the commission, which the Apostle Paul had received from Christ, and the success which accompanied the fulfilment of that commission.
The Apostle tells us, in one part of this history of the Acts of the Apostles, that he received a direct commission from Jesus Christ who had miraculously appeared to him, on his journey to Damascus. He tells king Agrippa, when standing before the bar of the Roman judge, that he had heard addressed to him these words: “Rise, and stand upon thy feet; for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of those things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. Whereupon,” he adds, “O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: but showed first unto them at Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.” This great Apostle to the Gentiles tells us, also, that he was not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ ;" because it was the power of God unto salvation to every one that believed, whether to the Jew or to the Gentile. There were many things that might have caused shame in his mind; he was known to have opposed that blessed Gospel, that new way of life; he was known to have been its bitterest enemy; and we are well acquainted with the difficulty that stands in the way of a proud and self-righteous heart, in declaring such a change of mind, as that he now foregoes all former notions, associations, and opinions, and stands up the defender of doctrines he had vilified and opposed. But, my brethren, there were motives fully adequate to overpower all antagonist motives in the mind of the Apostle. When the kingdom of God was brought in all its lustre upon his mind, when he comprehended that kingdom, when he understood the nature of the mediation which God had instituted in the power of his incarnate Son, when he comprehended with all saints what was the height, and depth, and length, and breadth, of that inimeasurable love, wherewith God in Christ had loved man; when the new feelings of contrition, and gratitude, and love had exerted, through the power of the Holy Ghost, their salutary and sacred influence upon his heart-a new world had opened before him; every thing appeared to be changed ; nothing was worth living for, but the understanding of the purposes of God in Christ Jesus; the kingdom of God was now the great point that absorbed his whole soul; and he therefore declares, that, whether he was to be accounted sober, or whether beside himself, the love of Christ constrained him henceforth to forego every former opinion that was opposed to truth and righteousness, and under the direct inspiration of God the Savioár, to make known his will, as the polestar by which man may steer his way through the tempestuous ocean of this présent world. He was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.” The command he had received, he treasured in his soul. He knew its worth. He knew the claims that God had upon him. And when speaking in after times of every form of disaster and calamity by which the human mind can be tried, he said, “None of these things move me, neither count I my life dear