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whom therefore God hardens; that is, by withdrawing his restraining power, he permits them to harden their own hearts, and thereby to become vessels fitted to destruction, Do you say, that God does make a difference; he makes angels higher than men ? True, but this is not a moral difference; and higher does not always mean happier, And if man is offered a happiness as high as his nature will admit, it is sufficient. If the vessel be full, it will not complain, because it is small.
My Friends, the means of salvation, as well as salvation itself, are ordained. We can all use these means. God doth not fetter 'our feet, and then command us to run. If we could not come, knock, and ask ; we should not be called upon to come, knock, and ask. We must plant, the ministers must water, and the Spirit of God will give the increase. We shall be judged according to our means of belief and obedience. Infants, we trust, who have committed no sin, will be redeemed by mercy, without judgment. The Heathen, who cannot believe before they hear, will probably be judged by the loud voice of conscience in their own breasts. Those who were under the Law, will be judged by the Law. Those under the Gospel will be judged by the Gospel. Errors of ignorance will be winked at. Errors of presumption will be punished. If our election were unconditional, Saint Peter would not have called upon the faithful, to give diligence to make their calling and election sure. And Saint Paul would never have feared, lest he, after all that was done, might himself become a castaway. The simple truth is, that, in a christian land, all who obey the Gospel are elected; all who disobey the Gospel are non-elected. The good are elected to everlasting life ; the evil to everlasting death. Salvation is free. The Spirit is free. And we
Finally. Although the Spirit of God is the grand agent, we must not be passive, in the new birth of the soul. Feeble, dependant man is called upon to co-operate with his Maker. We must give diligence. Draw nigh to me, and I will draw nigh to you. God helps those, that help themselves. We must not sit still, and
pray ; but, at the same time, must put our shoulder to the wheel. Nor should we demur. It is impossible to be happy, unless we be holy. The kind Spirit is now brooding over our hearts, like a Dove ; hovering and alluring us, as it were, from our thorny nest on the earth, to the healing branches of the Tree of Life in the Heavens. Let us yield to the upward influence. Then our bodies, which are born from beneath, shall die ; but our souls, which are born from above, shall live,
THE GREAT QUESTION.
SERMON X X X VIII.
Acts xvi, 30.
- WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED?
This has been the inquiry, ever since the world was made, What must I do to be saved ? This is still the inquiry of dying man, scattered and grouped over this vast earth into various peoples, and kindreds, and tongues, from the burning tropics to the arctic ices; of all, who feel something swelling within their dissolving nature, which speaks of an hereafter ; What good thing shall I do, to inherit eternal life?
Ít is a melancholy sight, to look over the world, and see the different means used by the creature to gain the almighty favour of the Creator ; the imperfect, the deluded, the unworthy means used to propitiate the Deity, and to clothe this frail mortal with a hope of a blessed immortality.
Look at the Mussulman ; the devotee of the great
military apostle. Hear him cry, “There is no god but God; and Mahomet is his Prophet Hear him declare, “The sword is the key of heaven and hell.' See him purify his body by washings, and leave his soul uncleansed. Hear him
pray his five times a-day, except when he has prayed enough on the day before, to lessen his number to-day. See him fast through all the month Ramazan; fast all the day, and feast all the night. Behold him make his weary pilgrimages to the distant shrine at Medina, one at least of which is necessary to salvation
see him also walk his seven times round the house of Abraham, and with reverence kiss the black stone, which descended
white out of heaven. And hear him boast of the brighteyed Houris, which await the faithful in his sensual paradise. Thus does the Mussulman expect to be saved.
Look at the Chinese. His moral guide is the great Confucius, who lived about five hundred years before Christ ; and to whose memory each town in China has a place consecrated. But if this great philosopher could point out the way of life in this world, can he point out the way of life in another ? The Canonical book of the empire is called “The King ;' which, however it may every where foster the belief of a Supreme Being, does no where inculcate a spiritual worship. Thus, by believing in the doctrines of The King,' and by obeying the wise maxims of Confucius, does the China man hope to be saved.
Look at the Hindoo. If not, like the ancient Persian, bending before the rising Sun ; behold him bowing before the image of his chief god, Brahma, and his two aids, Vishnu and Sheva ; and offering a polluted, degrading worship to the innumerable inferior deities, the works of their own hands, that cover and infest the land. Each man has his god. See the mourning widow ascending the funeral pile of her dead husband. See the immortal human soul destined to run the gauntlet through the bodies of the brute creation, before it can arrive at happi
Thus, by a multiplied series of groveling, and sometimes excruciating ceremonies, grounded upon a faith in polytheism, and in the metempsychosis, does the Hindoo expect to be saved.
Look at the Indian; the red man of our own forests. He worships the Great Spirit. But how limited must be his revelation of a future state, when he directs his hatchet and his bow to be buried with him at his death, thinking he shall want them in another world. Thus does even the poor and untaught, but proud Indian, pay homage to some Being above himself, in expectation of being saved.
Look at the Jew ; the believer in one half of the Bible. Here stands a Jew of one sect, who admits of no religion but the law of Moses; there stands a Jew of another sect, who adds to the Law of Moses the traditions of the two Talmuds. See the Rabbi unrol the parchment of the He
brew Pentateuch, and hear him expound from the Chaldaic Targum. He is still looking for the Messias to come, to rebuild the temple, and conduct his chosen
people back to the promised land. The Jew believes in a Saviour yet to come, and thus he hopes to be saved.
Look even at the Monk ; the believer in more than the whole of the Bible. He kneels, and prays over his rosary; he invokes the whole calendar of saints ; he fasts often ; and performs his long and severe voluntary penances. Thus, by mortification of the flesh, instead of humiliation of the spirit ; by adhering to the uncertain traditions of the church, instead of following the certain injunctions of the Bible ; does the austere Monk expect to be saved.
Thus do we behold a great portion of the world, the Mussulman, the Chinese, the Hindoo, the Indian, the Jew, and the Monk, all employed in doing some imaginary good thing, in order to inherit eternal life. Perhaps now some inquisitive mind, some mind yet unstable in the faith, may ask, And why is not the hope of these men as well grounded, as the hope of the Christian ? They have their holy books, their Korans, their Vedas, their Shastahs, their Talmuds, their Traditions ; and how know we, that these are not as sure guides, as our holy book,
the Bible? Why is not the religion of the Mosque or the Pagoda, of the Synagogue, the Temple, or the Monastery, as good as the religion of the Church ? This is a reasonable inquiry, and to such as are sincere in the question, and whom ignorance or negligence has left une furnished with a reason of the hope that is in them; and some such we fear there always will be in every mixed assembly ; to such, it demands a sober answer.
To this, therefore, we reply, that if we support the divine revelation of christianity, of the Bible, all other religions, all other holy books, fall to the dust ; for the Bible declares, that there is no other name given under heaven, whereby we can be saved, than the name of Jesus Christ. And to support the credibility of the christian religion, our arguments are very many-fold. To these, however, we can here only advert to the heads of the most prominent, all