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vation, that the apostle exhorted the Thessalonians to pray for himself and his fellow-labourers, “that the word of the Lord might have free course and be glorified." There is something peculiarly impressive in the object of the petition—"have free course.” When the Gospel was first preached, it met with continual opposition. Yet, like some mighty river, checked in its progress by opposing rocks, it forced its way, and fertilized all the regions through which it bent its course. The Gospel still flows onwards, and shall continue to flow, till the earth be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.
This prayer is always needful, because the enmity of the human heart is in every age the same.
In the first family, we find a Cain opposing the work of faith and love. The same spirit continues to manifest itself, wherever the worship of the true God is established. The Israelites misused their prophets who spoke to them the word of the Lord, stoning some and killing some.”
The pagan powers as well as the Jewish rulers set themselves against the Lord and against his anointed. The holy apostles of our Lord were called to perpetual sufferings, whilst they spread abroad, through a preached Gospel, a Saviour's dy
Papal Rome has long carried on the work of slaughter amongst the sheep of Christ, checking by fire, tortures, and anathemas the progress of genuine Christianity, lest the pure, unadulterated word of God should have free course and be glorified.
No wonder then, that the thunders of the Vatican are heard to roar against the most blessed of all human institutions, the British and Foreign Bible Society
But the Gospel has other enemies who labour to check its progress.
Infidelity directs the shafts of ridicule against its holy mysteries. Socinianism, under the specious name of rational Christianity, seeks to rob the Gospel of its brightest jewel ; “ God manifest in the flesh.” Indifference, worldly-mindedness, formality, and hypocrisy, whilst they render the mere nominal professors of Christianity barren as the sand; tend more to check the spread of the truth, than all the united attacks of its most hostile foes.
There is however a goodly company of faithful Christians who delight in the Gospel of Christ, and whose lives are devoted to advance its progress throughout the earth. These are the happy servants of the Lord, who pray in secret, and are willing to spend and be spent, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. They meet with a double hindrance, the one outward from the enmity of the world ; the other inward from the sin which dwelleth in them.
Yet they are enabled through grace to press forward, and to help forward the work of the Lord. O! that
my station may ever be amongst this blessed flock. Lord, make me one of the humble labourers in thy vineyard. Give me a heart to receive the truth in the love of it, and to feel its power. Teach me to pray with holy fervour: “Thy kingdom come;" and to rejoice in every opening prospect of that blessed period, when the earth shall be filled with thy glory. Even now, the morning streaks begin to appear on the distant mountains : even now, the Sun of righteous. ness is arising with healing in his beams.
O! what glorious times are dawning
Hark! the jubilee horn is sounding,
As the light is still advancing,
Idols now-the spell discover'd-
Hasten, Lord, the joyful season ;
XXVIII. THE TWO SOURCES.
Whilst men of philosophic minds are busily employed in tracing effects to their causes ; and others, of a more adventurous spirit, in traversing unknown regions to trace some mighty river to its source : how few, considering the magnitude of the object, are employed in discovering the two most important of all sources : -the source of misery—and the source of mercy.
This discovery, so essential to our happiness, and without an experimental knowledge of which, we must for ever remain in a state of spiritual death, is but little regarded by the great bulk of mankind.
Human wisdom and philosophy have been labouring for ages to find out the origin of moral evil, and a remedy against it; but they have failed in the attempt. The world by wisdom knows not God, for darkness hath covered the earth, and gross darkness the people.
We need only to peruse the fabled absurdities of heathen mythology; to witness the self-inflicted tortures of the Hindoo devotee; to behold the superstitious penances imposed by the Church of Rome; yea, all the errors and evils which have abounded among Christians, Jews, Mahomedans, and Pagans in every age; to be convinced, that man can never, by any effort of his unassisted reason, discover the true source either of misery, or of mercy. The Bible alone reveals them both.
There, I learn that the sin of Adam is the source of human misery. “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin.” " In Adam all die." From this fountain issue ten thousand poisonous streams which embitter life, fill the world with wretchedness, and carry unnumbered millions on their boisterous waves, till they are plunged into endless perdition.
There I learn, that God in Christ is the only source of mercy. “ God in Christ reconciling the world unto himself.” “ Beside me,” saith Jehovah, 66 there is no Saviour.” « There is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.” “Other foundation can no man lay shan that is laid, which is Jesus Christ."
All good in time and in eternity flows from him who is goodness itself. When man had destroyed himself, and was justly reaping the fruit of his doings, it pleased Almighty God of his own free mercy and grace, to reveal the wonderous plan of salvation, by declaring, “that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head.”
This declaration of grace was unasked for and unexpected ; and therefore proves to us fallen creatures, that God is the only source of mercy ; that God is love; for he so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
As God is the source of mercy, so the channel through which this grace descends, is all of mercy. Jesus Christ the eternal Son of God gave himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour.
By this stupendous sacrifice, divine Justice is satisfied; the holy law is magnified; the holiness of Jehovah is unsullied ; and eternal truth remains inviolate; yea, by this amazing sacrifice all the divine perfections receive additional lustre in the eyes of saints and angels.
The whole volume of inspiration is occupied with tracing the various streams which flow from these sources of misery and of mercy; in opening the nature and effects of sin; and in revealing the nature and operations of infinite love.
To understand these aright, through the teaching of the Spirit, is to understand the Scriptures ; to have an inward practical knowledge of them in the heart, is to be made wise unto salvation.
The excellent Archbishop Leighton thus beautifully describes this stream of mercy flowing from the Fountain of eternal love : “ The spring of these waters of salvation, hid in the councils of God before time began, was opened immediately after the fall; and began to flow in a small bụt reviving brook. Increasing by degrees, and from the very beginning, making every place it passed through, fertile and pleasant; it soon became a large stream. At length the main current of the Gospel flowed in ; and now it rolls on full of water, greatly enriching the earth,