« PrécédentContinuer »
ried to the afflicted of his flock, who may be prevented from attending the public dispensation of the Word ; nay, more, his earnest appeals to the consciences of sinners may be brought under the eye, and home to the heart, of persons in distant regions, where his voice has never been, and never may be heard. We are aware that some delicacy is required in the discharge of the work which we have undertaken, and it is our intention to pursue our course, if possible, without giving cause of offence. We know that some ministers entertain a strong prejudice against the practice of sermon reporting, we think unjustly, and we believe that if the matter be calmly and candidly considered, every preacher of the Word, who earnestly desires the conversion of souls, and wishes in his day and generation to shine as a light in the world, will hail with pleasure the enlistment of the press in the work of disseminating evangelical truth as widely as possible. It is not always convenient for a minister to print his own discourses; but here is a vehicle by which he may send forth his manuscript for the benefit of the world, or, if he object not, suffer us to give his sermons that publicity which otherwise they would not obtain. Indeed, we humbly consider it to be the duty of every clergyman to allow some memorials of his zealous labours to be snatched from forgetfulness and to be retained in a permanent form for the edification of the Church at large, as well as for the spiritual welfare of his own flock. To those clergymen who have favoured us with copies of their Sermons, or who have permitted us to take notes of them, we return our thanks. We are sure that the publication of them will neither detract from their honour, nor lessen the efficiency of their ministerial duties. May every pastor of our Established Church be wise to win souls while here below, and hereafter shine as the stars, for ever and ever! And may this little publication be made instrumental in the accomplishment of that prayer in our Ritual in which it is supplicated “that peace and happiness, truth and justice, religion and piety, may be established among us for all generations !”
THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND PREACHER.
Patronized by the Clergy and others.
The Important Influence which the Possession of the Scriptures ought to
have upon our own Character and Conduct.
PREACHED FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE
BRITISH AND FOREIGN BIBLE SOCIETY,
At St. John's Chapel, Bedford Row,
HON. AND REV. B. W. NOEL, A.M,
Text.-" What advantage, then, hath the Jew, or what profit
is there of circumcision Much every way; chiefly because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.”—Ro
mans, 3d chapter and the 2d and 3d verses. The Jews of St. Paul's day, boasting very much of their national distinctions and privileges, were disposed to undervalue those religious and moral qualifications, which are known in the sight of God as of any value. To meet these feelings on their part, St. Paul, in the chapter preceding that from which our text is taken, declares, that unless their profession of attachment to the Mosaic law led them to an obedience to the will of God, it would be of no service to them; whereas, on the other hand, their being shut out and becoming aliens to that community, would not hinder any one from being the
child of God, if he was converted by divine grace. “For circumcision verily profiteth," he says, “ if thou keep the law; but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision ; therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision ?” Thus laying down this great truth, that outward distinctions were of no avail towards a person's acceptance before God; but, on the other hand,
whatever outward distinctions were wanting, that change of heart which leads to an affectionate obedience marks any one to be his child. “ For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh, but he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter, whose praise is not of men, but of God.”
But this doctrine, so novel to the Jews, who imagined that others could not be accepted, because not belonging to their nation, and that they must be the children of God, by the very fact that they did belong to it, would lead them to ask if the Gentile, when thus converted by grace, is a child of God; and the Jew, if not obeying the law, is not his child ?
“What advantage, then, hath the Jew, or what profit is there of circumcision ?” What is the use of that professed attachment to the Mosaic law, in which they were so early trained? The apostle adds, “Much every way, chiefly because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.” Although, without conversion of heart, no religious privileges are of any use,-although, without a person is brought to obey God, no religious knowledge is of any service to him,-.yet still, as affording facilities for instruction and impressions, the different religious privileges which a person may enjoy by his position in life, may be of the greatest moment to him. Although the Jew, without conversion, could not be accepted of God; although the Gentile, with conversion, would be accepted, still the Jew had his advantage over the Gentile with respect to that knowledge which is the appointed mean of conversion. Therefore the apostle says, the Jew hath much advantage every way, viewed in considering the means of instruction and improvement which his position afforded. “Much every way, but chiefly because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.” So he turns to sacred Scripture,
This subject, then, leads us to observe, that of all the means of improvement which were vouchsafed to the nation, beyond those St. Paul referred to, this is the most important--the possession of a revelation of the will of God. In that light let us examine that state ; let us observe the important influence which the possession of the