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worship and ordinances, on the holy Sabbath. We bence remark,
1. In a review of what has been said on the Sabbath, and its duties and privileges, Christians are comforted and animated. With great delight, they anticipate, through the medium of the earthly rest, the heavenly rest, where all labor and sorrow will cease forever. O what a privilege it is to Christians, to live in a state of preparation for the eternal Sabbatism ! But to obtain a good hope of the heavenly rest, much depends on the improvement of the earthly rest. Let us therefore fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into his rest any of us should seem to come short of it. He, and he only, who calls the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, and honorable, has an earnest of the enjoyments of heaven.
2. How unpleasant and gloomy must this subject be, to those who have no relish for the duties of the Sabbath! The Sabbath, being a type of heavenly rest, they can easily decide, that they have no taste for heavenly enjoyments. And if they have no satisfaction in such enjoy; ments as heaven affords, how can they hope for any final happiness ? Ought not all to despair of any rest, till they begin to delight in the duties of the Sabbath, and of the sanctuary? If the Sabbath be irksome; if it be a weariness; if they say in their hearts, “ When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn ? and the Sabbath, that we may set forth wheat ? making the ephah small
, and the sheckel great ?” Their case is wretched indeed! it is almost hopeless. Surely, with this temper of mind, they cannot reasonably hope to enjoy that eternal rest, which is the antitype to the holy Christian Sabbath ; and which remains forever..... AMEN.
THE MINISTRY OF THE WORD OF GOD.
The Ministry of the Word of God. Of all the divine institutions, no one has been more perpetual, in all ages of the world, and no one has been inore manifestly essential to the conversion and salvation of sinners, than the ministry of the word of God. By the word of God, is meant all that system of instruction in revealed truth, which is contained in the bible, and is necessary to the knowledge of God, and of ourselves, and of the way of salvation by a Mediator.
By the ministry of the word of God, is meant the preaching of the system of divine truth, by men who are set apart to this important work according to divine institution; even by men who are called of God, as was Aaron."
From the holy scriptures, and from universal observation, it is evident, that the ministry of the word of God, and a faithful and persevering attention to it, are essential to faith and salvation. This subject is illustrated particularly in the tenth chapter to the Romans; in which the previous doctrine is that of salvation by faith. “ If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness,” or justification ; 6 and with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, 6 Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed." Faith in Christ is stated as the only essential condition of salvation; and as being equal. ly essential to the salvation of Jews and Gentiles. « For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek; for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” It is here taken for granted, that whosoever is a devout worshipper of the living and true God, is a true believer, and an heir of salvation. 6 How then shall they call on him, in whom they have not be
lieved ?" Nothing can be done acceptably, without the Christian faith. Without faith, it is impossible to
66 please God.” But further. 66 How shall they believe in him, of whom they have not heard ?" We now come to the very point which establishes the main question ; 4 How shell they hear without a preacher 2" The hearing here mentioned, is limited in its meaning to the hearing of the ministers of the word of God. Without hearing the embassadors of the Prince of Peace, how can there be a cordial reconciliation to God ? « How shall they hear without a preacher ? and how shall they preach, except they be sent ?" As it is written, - How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things ! But they have not all obeyed the gospel ; for Esaias saith, Lord, Lord, who hath believed our report ? So then, faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God," that is by the ministry of the word of God. This, according to all that goes before it in the connection, is the legitimate construction of the words. “ So then, faith cometh by hear. ing.” The hearing, by which faith cometh, is the hearing of the faithful ministers and preachers of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Thus the proposition appears to be, in a great measure established, that the ministry of the word of God, and a faithful and persevering attention to it, are essential to faith and salvation. This is God's appointed way of salvation. The Apostle Paul, in his salutatory address to Titus, his own son, according to the common faith, speaks of the manifestation of the word of God, and the success of the gospel, as being only through preaching ; intimating, that without this, all other means of grace and salvation would be ineffectual. Accordingly he adds, “ For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city.” Elders were the ministers of the gospel, whose business it was, to preach the gospel ; and without a faithful discharge of their duty, as the servants of Christ, there was no hope of the success of the gospel. The particular business of Paul, in his preaching, was to plant ;
and of Apollos, to water ; and when these duties were faithfully discharged, “ God gave the increase.” Faith
, ful preaching of the word never fails of success. Looking forward to gospel times, the Lord says, by the prophet Isaiah, that “ As the rain cometh down and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater, so shall my word be, that goeth forth out of my mouth; it shall not return unto me void ; but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” Nothing is wanting, but a faithful ministry of the gospel, to ensure a glorious success to the cause and kingdom of Christ.“ It came to pass in Iconium, that they” (Paul and Barnabas] “ went both together into the synagogue of the Jews, and so spake, that a great multitude, both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed." This was the unfailing effect of a true and faithful ministry of the word of God. And this glorious effect is produced by no other means. Despise the preachers of the gospel therefore and truly they are but earthen vessels, having no sufficiency of themselves,) yet in despising them you despise the most essential and necessary means of salvation. Call the preaching of the gospel foolishness (and to them that perish, it is foolishness indeed, yet it is seriously to be considered, that it pleases God, by the foolishness of preaching (as men impiously call it,) to save them that believe.
From the testimonies of scripture, which have been considered, it is evident, that although God produces the true Christian faith in the hearts of his elect, by the direct energy of his Holy Spirit; yet he sees fit to make use of certain means to produce it; and especially the ministry of the gospel of Christ. This is indispensably important. As far as opportunity is presented, ministers must preach, and the people must hear the system of divine truth, or both must die in their sins, and perish in their unbelief. : Further to establish this doctrinal proposition, it may be observed, (and it is sufficient to observe,) that God has,
in all ages of the world, even from the days of Enos; down to this day, raised up and supported a succession of faithful preachers of righteousness; by whose instrumentality, more than by any and all other means, religion has been promoted. From the days of Enos down to the flood, we read of eight successive preachers of right
Some of these, Enoch and Noah in particular, were greatly distinguished as prophets; and all were preachers of righteousness; all were the messengers of ihe Lord of hosts.
Let it now be seriously considered, what would bave been the state and character of fallen man before the fooil, had there been no preachers of the word of God ? In the posterity of Cain, we have a specimen of what inankind would do, without the preaching of the word. The earth was filled with violence and slaughter. Preachers before the flood were very few in number ; perhaps no more than a succession of individuals. But, so great was their influence, under the blessing of divine providence, that the church of God was supported and perpetuated, for sixteen hundred years. Had there been
. 110 preachers, it is probable, that in less than half of that time, the human race would have been nearly exterminated, by their own violence, and ungodly lusts. Thus, in the earliest
age of the world, it is found, that the salvation of sinners, and the support of the church, depended on the preaching of the word of God.
After the flood, God continued a succession of preachers, consisting of Patriarchs and prophets, down to the days of Moses. He appointed ordinances and institutions in his church, to prefigure and commemorate the great and glorious plan of redemption and grace, through the Mediator. The Patriarchs were constituted as officers to administer in holy things.
The sabbath was, from the beginning, consecrated and set apart as a day of holy resting, and religious offerings and sacrifices to God. On this day the preachers of righteousness were inore particularly employed to administer divine instruction. On this sacred day, especially under the law of Moses, double offerings and instructions were required.