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and before the Church of England Missionary Society; indeed they were the last to bring the king back; but now they are nobly exerting themselves. Blessed be God for what success has attended you. If you had failed in these efforts, the failure would have been more glorious than success in any other cause under heaven. But you have not failed. What has God wrought! You do not “ labour in the very fire," nor weary yourselves for very vanity.” You are on the rising side; you are on the superior side; and a side that will in time become universal also.
Why then, you say, should you exert youselves in order to recommend it? Why because God displays his wisdom as well as his power in his operations ; because he accomplishes ends by means; because, if you are in a proper frame of mind, you will long to become instrumental in his hand. If you decline the work, the work will not be declined. Be assured of this: God will raise up enlarged means from other quarters; but you will lose the honour and the happiness of co-operation. Yea, not only so, but you will incur guilt, and you will expose yourselves to the curse of the angel for disobedience, for the neglect of 'opportunities and means: “Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the Lord, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; because they came not to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty."
But my Wesleyan brethren, I would not conclude with a curse. 6 The Lord bless you, and keep you. The Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you. The Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon you, and give you peace." Amen and Amen.
THE EXAMPLE OF ANDREW.
REV. J. ANDERSON, A.M.
ST. PANCRAS CHURCH, NEW ROAD, APRIL 26, 1835.
"He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias,
which is, being interpreted, the Christ. And he brought him to Jesus.”—John, i. 41, 42.
The scene which is presented to us in this passage of Scripture, presents one of those beautiful pictures of simplicity, and purity, and love, which are 80 often revealed to us in the pages of the Inspired Volume. There is no elaborate display about them : there is no effort to adorn the prominent figures with any high-wrought colouring; or to contrast them with any artificial grouping of the objects around them. They are simple and faithful representations of human nature, awakened and purified by the Spirit of faith and of holiness.
We see this evidently in the case before us. The Baptist, if we examine the context, had been delivering, with zeal and earnestness, the message with which he was intrusted. He had been heard crying in the wilderness, “ Make straight the way of the Lord." He had rebuked the impenitent, awakened the slothful, and taught the ignorant. He had spoken no smooth things, nor prophesied deceits ; but had told the people plainly of the coming terrors of the Lord. He had told them of the axe that was lifted up to strike the barren tree to the dust; and of the fire that was ready to devour each unprofitable branch. He had given them, moreover, the baptism of water unto repentance; and bad told them even of One mightier than himself, who should come, whose shoes he was not worthy to loose. “ He was not that light,” he told the people; he was only sent to bear witness of it: and he bore that witness faithfuliy and truly. Yea, he beheld the Lord, of whoin he spake, coming even to the waters of his own baptism : for thus did it become that blessed Redeemer to fulfil all righteousness. He saw the heavens then opened, and the Holy Ghost then descending, and the voice of the Eternal Father then declaring, that that was his beloved Son, in whom he was well pleased. But even further than this was the Baptist commissioned to preach him: for he was enabled to point to
“the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world;" that Lamb “ without blemish and without spot,” by whom a way hath been consecrated for us into the holiest of holies; by whom the means of reconciliation with a Heavenly Father is rouchsafed to an offended world.
These things, we remember, formed the subject of the Baptist's ministry. And these things we find that certain inhabitants of Bethsaida heard ; for they were John s disciples : and by the testimony which they had heard they believed. We are told that they followed Jesus; that they “saw where he dwelt,
* For the District National Schools.
and abode with him that day; for it was about the tenth hour." We know not, my brethren, what was the subject of the holy converse then vouchsafed to these first followers of Christ, for the Scripture has not revealed it: but assuredly, if ever the affections of our common nature were turned to grace; if ever the outward senses, or the inward feelings, of our nature were attuned to heavenly peace and harmony, that must have been when these humble Galileans were admitted to the abode, and beheld the glory, of the Son of God. We know, in fact, that their minds were enlightened, and their affections purified, by the privileges to which they were admitted; for the language of Andrew, in the text, proves his knowledge of the truth. He had been the disciple of John, but was now taught of Christ: he had followed the servant, but now did homage to the Lord: he had obeyed the messenger, but now he saw that King of Glory, of whom that messenger was the forerunner. His heart, then, was lifted up from the depths of sin; the high places of pride were brought down within him: the crooked paths of worldly policy were exchanged for the simplicity of truth; and the wretched contentions of worldly strife for meekness and order
These, then, were the blessings vouchsafed to Andrew when he became the Lord's apostle; and these were the blessings which in all earnestness and faith he sought to make his own brother partaker of. Mark, how quickly and powerfully the spirit and the principle of faith brought forth its fruits. "He first findeth," we are told, "his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. And he brought him to Jesus." Observe: he brought that brother to whom he revealed that blessed truth to the fountain of that very truth. That Jesus was “the Christ ;” that Saviour was become to him "the Anointed One;" the Priest to make atonement; the Prophet to instruct; the King to rule. He of whom the prophets had spoken was that very Jesus. Yes, he was "the seed of the woman;" "the child" of Abraham's promise; "the prophet" that should arise up "like unto Moses." It was He of whose coming Balaam spoke, when he beheld" the star" which should "arise out of Jacob." It was He of whose coming Isaiah spoke, when he spake of "the names whereby he should be called". "The Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace." It was "the desire of all nations;" it was "the Lord our Righteousness;" it was "the seed of David; that "stem" to which "the Gentiles should look," and whose "rest should be glorious;" it was that blessed "angel of the covenant;" it was, in fact, the full consummation of all those blessed promises, which, from the day of Adam's fall, had been vouchsafed to man, to be his guide, his support, and his consolation. All this was now fulfilled; and all this Andrew, in the fulness of his affection, made known to his brother.
And in contemplating his zeal and eagerness to convey that truth, I know not what more touching picture can be presented to us of fraternal love, purified and exalted by the love of Christ. Observe, it is not only the love which we are permitted to feel, and which we rejoice to feel, for those who are born with us of the same parents, who dwell with us under the same roof, who have shared the hopes and the fears of our childish days, and who still walk by our side along the path of life; but it was that enduring bond of brotherhood which shall remain when earthly kindred and earthly affections have crumbled into dust; it is that bond which unites the things which are temporal with the things
that are eternal ; which imparts a sacredness, even to worldly affections; and makes them a means of grace, a pledge of heavenly comfort.
But it is needless longer to dwell on that point; for I feel that your own thoughts must far outrun my words. You must feel that, to be possessed in your own persons of the knowledge of God through Christ, and then to be permitted to hold up the light of that same blessing to those whom you loved in this world—you must feel that to be a blessing, in comparison with which all the poor hopes of this life sink into very nothingness.
Now, if this be so with reference to those who are of the same household with ourselves, who are partakers of the same daily bread with ourselves; I would ask you, Does not the same principle exist in kind, though it may differ in degree, with all who are in any way brought within the reach of our influence ? The Gospel which we profess to receive teaches us to despise no man; yea, it teaches us to “honour all men." It confines not the friendship of our neighbours within any of those arbitrary sections to which human theorists would confine us : but it expressly tells us, that, whatever may be the differences, whatever the gradations which mark our earthly path, it tells us, nevertheless, that as we have many members in one body, and all members bave not the same office ; so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another."
Bearing this great principle, then, in mind, you will find that to bear the message of Christian truth to the hearts and the consciences of all with whom you are brought in contact, is not only a duty to which you are bound, but a privilege in which you ought to rejoice. And if you perceive that, then you will acknowledge as its necessary consequence, that the object for which I am this day directed to ask your support, is at once a legitimate object of appeal from the Christian minister to a Christian people. For what is it we are commanded to ask ? Is it not that you should give light to them that sit in darkness and the shadow of death, by pointing to that glorious day-spring from on high which hath visited us? For what is it but to lift up the soul which is weighed down by the cares and sorrows of life, and make it lean upon the sure hope of that Redeemer, who is “the father of the fatherless, and the husband of the widow? Is it not to assure the poor that they are blessed, for that theirs is the kingdom of heaven? Is it not to assure the meek in heart, that they are blessed, for that they shall inherit the earth? Is it not, in short, to instruct your poor and suffering brethren-those who were created by the same Almighty hand that created you—those who are journeying by your side along the path of life—who, like you, are candidates for the same everlasting inheritance, through the merits of the same Redeemner? Is it not to instruct them in the reading of that glorious Gospel of the blessed God, which is not after man, neither is received of man, neither was any man taught it but by the revelation of Christ? It is, in fact, to embody in the hearts of each one present, and to shew forth in the acts of each one present, the same holy and glorious love, which prompted the Galilean apostle, first to find his own brother Simon ; then to declare to him the blessings which had fallen on his own path; and lastly, to bring them to the full enjoyment of that Saviour.
More than this--the extension of Christian truth to those who might not otherwise hear it-more than this is not required; nor indeed can much more be done than to give that instruction in the doctrines and duties of our religion, to which a claim of common right, we maintain, is in some sort constituted in a Christian country, by the very capacity which there exists in its inhabitants to profit by it. Of knowledge in general, I beliere the observation to be a just one, that there are branches of it which it would be preposterous in the mass of inankind to attempt to acquire, because they have no immediate connexion with their respective duties, and because they demand talents which nature possibly has not given, and opportunities which Providence has withheld. But with respect to the primary truths of the Gospel the case is widely different: they are of such daily, such actual necessity, that they form, not the luxury of the mind, but the positive needful sustenance of the soul itself. « This is life eternal,” saith the Saviour,“ to know Thee, the only living and true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent."
Upon what ground, then, does that objection rest, which pretends to foresee, that, by the advantages of such an education, the poor man may be raised above the laborious duties of his station, and thus his usefulness in civil society may be impaired? It is not easy to conceive, in what manner instructing men in their duties can prompt them to neglect those duties--or how that enlargement of reason, which enables them to comprehend the true ground of authority, and obligation of obedience, should dispose them to disobey it. The admirable mechanism of society, together with the subordination of ranks which is essential in society, is surely not an elaborate imposture which the exercise of reason would detect and would expose. I can perfectly understand that such an objection may have force in the case of tyrannical and unlawful governments; the support of which is fear, and to which ignorance is as congenial as it is abhorrent to the spirit of a free nation. I can understand it also to have force in the obedience of papal authority ; where ignorance gives a support to prejudice and perpetuity to error. But in a country like our own, in which the meanest peasant has birth-rights, unless they are forfeited to public justice--I say the objection implies a reflection upon the social order, equally impolitic, invidious, and unjust. We are never to forget, that the mass of the people forms the broad basis of that pyramid of our civil and ecclesiastical constitution of which we are a part; and that it is therefore essentially necessary, that the foundation of that vast fabric be made firm and secure, and be well compacted by the sound principles of Christian truths, which are the chief support of national happiness and prosperity. That foundation, I say, must be laid broad, and surely the elaborate ornament would be but a wretched coinpensation for that solidity that is required in the foundation of the building. Be assured it is not because the people know too much that they are become, or are likely to become, the willing subjects of the factious or the unprincipled demagogue : it is just because they know too little : it is because ignorance is the field in which the political impostor reaps his most abundant harvest; it is in ignorance that he finds the most powerful instrument to work, and to carry forward his evil designs. Therefore it is this, so congenial to our pature-this very ignorance, this indolence, this unwillingness to be instructed -I say it is this which continues still upon the hearts of the people, notwithstanding the vast and gigantic efforts that have been made for many years to remove it. The records of crime in this land are sufficient evidence to shew how large a proportion there is to be found amongst those who crowd our jails in the towns and in the country, who are still plunged in the darkness of most fearful ignorance.