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« God so LOVED the world, that he
gave “ begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on
Him, should not perish, but have everlasting “ life.” John iii. 16.
He revealed the ATONEMENT of God, the Son, in assuming the human nature, and offering himself up a sacrifice for the sins of men. My “flesh,” saith hợ, “ I will give for the life of " the world."
John vi. 51.-" A BODY hast " thou prepared me. Lo, I come to do thy will, "O God.” Heb. x. 5.
He revealed the INSPIRATION of God the Holy Ghost; which was now to descend from heaven, and to “abide with men FOR EVER;" (John xiv. 16.) even the spirit of truthi which should " reprove THE WORLD of sin, and of righ
teousness, and of judgment;" John xvi. 8.; the Holy Spirit, which should " be given by s our heavenly Father to them that ASK HIM.” Luke xi. 11. These were the doctrines which were to give LIGHT to the world. They are comprehended by the Apostle Peter in one sentence. He addresses believers as being "elect, , “ according to the foreknowledge of God the " FATHER, through sanctification of the SPIRIT 6 unto obedience; and sprinkling of the blood 56 of JESUS CHRIST.
1 Pet. i. 2. These doctrines our Saviour embodied in a
short Commission or Charge, which he delivered, after his ascension into heaven, to one of his Apostles. It was given to that Apostle, whom our Lord called " the CHOSEN VESSEL, to “ bear his name to the Gentiles.” Acts ix. 15. For when Paul was proceeding on his way to Damascus," a light above the brightness of the
sun shone around him; and our Saviour spoke to him from heaven in the following words: “I send thee to the Gentiles 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, which is in me.” Acts xxvi. 18.
This Charge our Lord delivered AFTÈR bis ascension into heaven, expressly for the instruction of his Ministers, in regard to the DOCTRINE they were to preach, and the EFFECTS which should follow. It may therefore be considered as a summary of the doctrine of the four Gospels; and every Minister of Christ ought to engrave it on the tablet of his memory, and comprehend it well; whether he preach “ to Greek or to barbarian, to learned or "to unlearned, to bond or to free."
Here is first established that fundamental
truth, which ought ever to be present with us in all our counsels concerning the promulgation of the gospel, That the Gentiles' are :" under “ the power of Satan."-"I send thee," saith our Lord, " to the Gentiles, to turn them from
the power of Satan unto God." This is a truth which the wisdom of this world “ will not “receive ;” and it is assaulted by a false philosophy continually. But, like a rock assailed by the restless waves, it will remain for ever IMMOVEABLE. 'For what we call a revelation from heaven, is properly a revelation of this, That all men are by nature“ in darkness, and “under the power of Satan;" and that Christ hath come " to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God.”
The second part of our Saviour's Charge declares the EFFECTS of preaching the Gospel, namely, That the Gentiles should receive “ for
giveness of sins by faith in Christ," and that “ their eyes should be OPENED.
." These are the effects in this world.
The third part declares the consequence in the world to come ; that they should receive a glorious “ INHERITANCE among them which are sancti“ fied;" that is, among them which are made • MEET by the Holy Ghost” to become partakers Fof theịnheritance of the saints in light.” Col. i. 12.
· These were the doctrines of Light " which
were now made manifest, and, by the com“ mandment of the everlasting God, were to “ be inade known to all nations." And our Saviour said unto his Disciples, “Go ye into “ all the world, and preach the Gospel unto
every creature.” They accordingly went forth. Though unlearned men, they went forth with confidence, to CHANGE THE RELIGION OF THE
The darkness of paganism receded before them; and in process of time there was a general illumination. In the course of three hundred
years, EVERLASTING GOSPEL” was published generally throughout the habitable world and a great company were gathered out of many nations, who became partakers of “ the INHERITANCE among
them which are sanctified.” But, during that period " the children of light” had to maintain a fiery conflict with the powers of darkness. For a new thing appeared upon the earth. The pagan religions, though they differed from each other in form, yet agreeing in principle, had existed in amity together ; because they were of the same kind, and inembers of the same family. “ The strong man, “ armed, kept his palace, and his goods were in peace.” Luke xi. 21.
Luke xi. 21. But they no sooner
beheld the religion FROM HEAVEN, than they all united against it, and persecuted it. They hated its purity, its humility, its spiritual worship, its renunciation of self-glory, and its contemplation of eternal life. “ The light shined " in darkness, and the darkness comprehended “ it not.” John i. 5. The heathen governments devoted multitudes of their fellow-subjects to death, not for crimes which they had done, but “ for righteousness sake; wonderingthemselves at their own new and strange work, of which there had been no example in the records of nations. And these multitudes met death with cheerful hope; because they knew that there would be " a resurrection from the dead." At length the great conflict was ended, and the Christian faith obtained the dominion.
But, as Adam, the parent of the human race, fell from his high estate by withdrawing from communion with God; so his descendants follow his sin, in perverting the truth, and renouncing the gift of heaven. As the chosen race who had communion with God upon earth at Sinai, turned away afterwards and sought salvation by other gods : so that peculiar people, yet more highly favoured, who had “ communion with " the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost," turned away. “ from him who spake unto them from