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the gracious purposes of Jehovah. The faith of Ezra and Nehemiah in the same divine announcements led them to fervent and united prayer, that “ the good hand of their God might be upon them;" and most effective was the combination of prayer with exertion in the enterprises of those holy men. They could exclaim in the exultation of pious confidence, “ the God of heaven he will prosper us;” and add, in the resolution of cheerful activity, “ therefore we, his servants, will arise and build !"-Neh. ii. 20.
And thus, my brethren, we must combine activity with dependance, and prove the sincerity and strength of our faith, by the energy and constancy of our exertions. “ This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached to all nations.”—Here is the prediction. “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”—Here is the command. While the prediction assures us of the eventual certainty of the great result, let the command ever stimulate to holy effort and unabated ardour in this sacred cause. What have we to do with those mysterious purposes that determine the measure and degree and extent of success which may result from the proclamation of the gospel ? Why should we chill the spirit of benevolent enterprise by the spirit of unhallowed speculation about arrangements which the mind of Deity alone can contemplate, and which it is daring and impious presumption for mortals to approach? The gospel announces a remedy of divine appointment for the ills and maladies of a disordered world. That remedy is marked by its adaptation to the wants and circumstances of every creature under heaven. It is the grand catholicon of undoubted efficacy; it is the only specific for the moral diseases of men; and it makes known the “only name by which we can be saved.” In the direct view of its authority, its sufficiency, its exclusiveness, its universality---and, resting on the assurance and promises of its Divine Author, why should we for a moment be diverted from our high and holy vocation of making it known to the whole family of man, by “ intruding into things which are not and cannot be seen”-and attempting to explain the mysteries of the divine intentions ! It is alike the dictate of pity and of piety, of plain and unequivocal command—“ be instant in season and out of season-reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine--beseech men, be ye reconciled to God.'-Whatsoever ye do, do with all your might-work while it is called to-day, for the night cometh when no man can work!"
To encourage you in this sacred enterprise, let the intimations of prophecy, and the explicit assurances of revelation, support your confidence. Look above the agency of instrumental and secondary causes, to the promised influence of
the eternal Spirit. It is the prerogative of Him who is the “ Head over all things to his Church,” to control the waywardness of passion, to overrule the collisions of party, to superintend the revolutions of states and empires, and amidst the working and counter-working of human agencies and conflicting interests, to elicit truth, to establish liberty, to accomplish the designs of infinite benevolence, and to provide for the display of the divine glory in the salvation of the Church, and the happiness of the world. Omnipotence is the attribute of our ascended Redeemer; and “ all power is given to him, that he may give eternal life” to all who believe in his name. The great question respects not the speculations we indulge, or the calculations of prophecy that may amuse and gratify us; but whether we are the disciples of the Saviour, obeying Him as the author of salvation, and seeking to advance his glory in the salvation of all around us? Are we « praying with all prayer," for ourselves and for others, and labouring to effect the conversion and salvation of mankind? Let us, brethren, realize the importance of these solemn and imperative obligations, compared with which, all others shrink into insignificance. Glory not in men, however dignified, nor in talents however splendid, nor in the best constructed system of machinery for the purpose of promoting the cause of truth
and holiness. The Redeemer is jealous of his own honour: “ the palace we are building is not for man, but for God." Then, “ let him that glorieth, glory only in the Lord.” With the wisdom of our plans, we must combine the spirit of dependance, while the spirit of dependance is animated by the confidence of hope. Every thing in the present aspect of the church and the world calls for prayer, activity, and expectation. New scenes are opening around us; new facilities for exertion are providing in every direction; and the great principles of religious liberty are more than ever recognized and established. The fabrics of intolerance and superstition must ere long crumble into ruin. The manifestations of hostility and alarm are signs that some great movements are going forward. Knowledge is diffused, light is advancing, and we fear nothing from their progress. The tyrannies of ages are falling, the banner of freedom is unfurling, and He,“ on whose shoulders is the government,” is overturning, and will overturn, till He shall come whose right it is to reign!
FINALLY, BRETHREN, PRAY FOR US, THAT THE WORD OF THE LORD MAY HAVE FREE COURSE AND BE GLORIFIED!
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