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and the slave was a man. The view wbich filled their minds and directed their human sympathies was, “There is no difference, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." There is no difference, “God will have all men to be saved." There is no difference,“ Christ gave himself a ransom for all.”
The strangeness, newness of their regard for human nature, demands our attention. Look then at one of the men who were first called Cbristians at Antioch. In his travels he has come to Athens, the seat of genius, of learning, of the arts, and proud above every other city of the earth in its ancestral glories. He has walked through its streets-he has looked with a troubled eye on its temples, its altars, its statues—he has discoursed in the synagogues where a few Israelites worship the one God-he has found in the forum opportunities of conference and discussion. And now he stands on ove of those "immemorial hills"--all the glory of Athens in his sight. He stands before the famed and venerated court of Areopagus, surrounded with philosophers of every school, the Epicurean, the Peripatetic, those of the porch, and those of the academy, crowding to hear the babbler speak. He speaks of God
-one God, the Creator and Ruler of all. He speaks of man; and how ? God hath made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on all the face of the earth.” How strange to an Athenian ! One blood! All nations of one blood! We Greeks-Athenianssprung from the soil—we of one blood with the Jew and the wild Scythian! What! the Ethiopian or Celtic slave that trembles in my presence, of one blood with me! Such is the scorn that speaks from many a countenance in that assembly.
Nor was such a philanthropy less strange to the Jew than to the Greek. The Israelite, indeed, acquainted with his own Scriptures, knew as a fact the original identity of the human race ; but he was as far as the Athenian from recognizing the fact in his affections and his practice. And hardly any one thing in relation to the origin and first planting of Christianity is more marvelous, or more incapable of an infidel solution, than the fact that from among the Jews, abhorring all nations and abhorred of all, there came forth a sect in whose eyes, to whose philanthropy, all distinctions of nation, race and condition, were as nothing. It was by Jews that the doctrine was first preached, “ God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoso
ever believeth on him may not perish, but may have everlasting life." It was a Jew who first announced the conclusion to which he had slowly and reluctantly arrived in the face of the strong. est national prejudices : “Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons; but in cvery nation, he that feareth God and worketh righteousness is accepted of him.”
Thus, among those who were first called Christians, it came to be a principle acknowledged and acted upon, that “ in Christ is neither Jew nor Greek, barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free, but Christ is all and in all.” To them all men alike were men-immortal, responsible, guilty, redeemed; and all believers alike were the sons of God-kings and priests unto God-heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ. In the church, the Israelite, the Roman, and the Greek—the barbarian from Africa or from Britain, and the Scythian from Tartary,—the rich and the poor-the master and his slave, were brethren—all alike cared for each other and for the common interest-the whole “multitude" shared in the deliberations and proceedings which concerned their commonwealth, so humble to the eye of sense, and so august to the eye of faith. There was the school in which was first taught effectually that doctrine, the foundation of all true freedom, or what is the same thing, of all justice and good government among men-that doctrine which is yet to cast down all thrones and to break all fetters—the doctrine of the equality of all men as the rational and immortal offspring of God, as responsible to him, as the objects of his holy watchfulness and his kind regard, as partakers in the shame and ruin of a common apostacy from him, as redeemed by his Son, and as now passing through these scenes of probationary mercy to eternal life or eternal death.
VII. Another trait in the character of those who first bore the Christian name-of which it is indispensable to take some distinct notice—was their extraordinary real and diligence for the propagation of their religion. Every one of them had embarked in the gigantic enterprise of carrying the Gospel through the world. Every one of them felt that in receiving the Gospel, with its hopes and its renewing and ennobling influences, he had received it not for himself alone, but for others—a treasure not to be enjoyed in solitary contemplation, but to be communicated and diffused, and still imparted till the world should rejoice in it. The church at Jerusalem, when first gathered, was pervaded by such zeal, there was among the members so much of self-denial and liberality in behalf of their new faith, that all they had was thrown by common consent into a common treasury. As many as were possessors of lands or houses, sold them, and brought the prices and laid them down at the apostle's feet. In other places there was not the same necessity which existed at Jerusalem ; but the same spirit was found wherever there were Christians. Every where they were prompt to contribute for the common cause. The church at Antioch alone, when churches were feeble, and despised, and small, sent forth two missionaries to preach among the Gentiles. Wherever there was a call for aid, there aid was promptly rendered. The epistles of Paul are full of acknowledgments which prove the liberality of the disci. ples every where. Those who were first called Christians, held all their possessions in trust for Christ and for his Gospel, in the very spirit inculcated by Christ himself : “ Whoever he be among you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he can not be my disciple.” They were not only ready to give, but ready to act, and ready to suffer for the Gospel. They took joyfully the spoiling of their goods, nay, they freely surrendered their lives. Laboring in such a spirit, they saw the victories of the Gospel spreading far and wide. The host of believers was continually multiplied, and in a few years, without arms, without political influence, nay, in the face of the power and scorn of the world, in the face of fierce, malignant, fiery opposition from earth and from hell, the greatest revolution was accomplished which the world's history has ever yet recorded.
The subject shows us what men at the present day have the best title to the Christian name. I take it for granted that these characteristics which we find so clearly delineated in the Scriptures, are the proper traits of Christian character. I ask then, in the light of this subject, who are Christians ?-who are the legitimate successors of the despised men to whom this name was first applied ? Show us the men who are truly disciples,who make it a business to sit at the feet of Jesus and to hear his words,—who study just what Jesus and his inspired apostles have taught, with the earnestness of eager and inquiring pupils. Show us the men the centre of whose faith is the great and peculiar doctrine of God in Christ; God glorious in holiness, and yet justifying the sinner that believeth. Show us the men on whose hearts and lives this great doctrine and the doctrines to which it is necessarily related, have stamped a deep and clear impression, so that by the cross of Christ they are crucified to the world, and the world is crucified to them. Show us the men who are marked before the world, and disliked by the world for the strictness of their lives, because they undertake to live godly in Christ Jesus ; over whom, whenever any of them fall or seem to fall into any moral delinquency, the world triumphs with malignant exultation. Show us the men who abound in prayer and praise, private, domestic, social—the men who forsake not the assembling of themselves together for devotion, but exhort one another while it is called to-day, lest any be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. Show us the men who, regarding all men as the offspring of God, the subjects of his moral government, the partakers in one ruin, and redeemed by one great expiation, practically regard the welfare and the rights of all men as of equal value. Show us the men whose lives are marked by an earnest and effective zeal for the salvation of men, and for spreading abroad the knowledge of that name by which alone we can be saved. These are the men that we look for. These are the legitimate successors to the name and honors, as they prove themselves to have inherited the spirit of those who were first called Christians. This is the true and only apostolic succession.
The occasion * requires us to address some distinct application of the subject to those who, by their own public and solemn cop. enant, are now about to be constituted a Church of Christ, and who are to maintain in this house the ordinances of the Gospel.
We trust, brethren, that your church is to be a society of disciples, a school organized according to the mind of Christ for the study and practice of his word. Those great truths, the knowledge of which first came by a miraculous communication from the mind of God, and by the power of which the believer is
*Tbis sermon was delivered at the formation of the Church in the Broadway Tabernacle, Now York, on the third of September, 1840.
transformed into the likeness of God, are here, we trust, to be continually expounded and proclaimed. Here is to be maintained, we trust, the purity, the strictness, the holy, heavenly severity of Christian character. The selfish, the worldly, the sensual, the light-minded, the impenitent, are to be warned off from the communion of Christ's disciples; and if any such creep into the sacred circle, they are to be disowned and excluded. Here is to be your place for public prayer and cominunion in holy things,—where God the Father shall be worshiped in the name of his boly Son Jesus,-where sweet songs of praise shall go up to the Author of our redemption from sin,—where Jesus, the eternal Word incarnate, Jesus, the sorrowful, the betrayed, the crucified, the risen, the Almighty Saviour, shall be remembered in the broken bread and the red cup. Here too you are to feed and nourish for continual activity the spirit of a holy and universal philanthropy, and the spirit of a laborious and self-denying zeal for the progress of the Gospel. To all this you pledge yourselves by the solemnities of this evening. Let me then suggest some points of caution and of duty, by the observance of which you may be aided in the performance of your vows.
1. Cherish a lively sense of the paramount importance of the things which have been spoken of as the characteristics of those who were first called Christians. Discipleship in the school of Christ-the reception of the great truths taught by Christ and his apostles—the experience of the power of those truths upon the heart—the practical purity and sanctity of the Christian life --prayer without ceasing, and in the spirit of adoption and of communion with God-and with all these things, and as resulting from them all, a philanthropy like that of the good Samaritan, regarding every human being as a neighbor and a brother -and a zeal like that of the apostles, full of self-denial for the extension of the kingdom of God—these are the things to be cared for first and continually. Where these things are, there is living Christianity. Where these things are wanting, there is no Christianity. Where forms, formularies, measures, and matters of organization, are exalted above tliese things, there the spirit and life of Christianity are sacrificed to externals and circumstantials. The kingdom of God is not meat and drink,-not forms of faith, not forms of prayer—not measures and expedients