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endeavors of christians of all sects and countries--assisted mainly by means of that best of all human inventions, the art of printing. If knowledge is stability, this looks like giving permanence as well as universality to the reign of the gospel. We seem to see the foundations now laying of many generations work now doing which shall make Jerusalem a praise in all the earth, and shall last a thousand years.
XX. And with this thought impressed on our minds by such and so many converging influences, that we are living near the millennium,- that is in an age which seems to promise it speedily,what, brethren, should be our model and standard of life? We must no: go to other ages for patterns ; their signs were their own, and their own were the obligations which grew out of them. We have signs of which they knew nothing, and obliga. tions of course, which in respect to them did not exist. If a man ought not to conduct himself, as at ordinary times, during the prevalence of a plague, or conflagration, or when war spreads desolation through the land ; if with death in his house, a man ought not to behave himself as when health and laughter dwell in every face; then ought not we, under the high and unusual teachings of such signs as ours, to live after their pattern who were strangers to such light. Brethren, christian character takes a new die and tint from the aspect of our age, as we have sometimes seen the color of the sky color the face of the earth. A christian now has in some respects a different look from one of former times. The substantials of christian character are the same always, but those substantials show themselves variously, according to various circumstances. And where some variety of manifestation is not seen, when circumstances are various, there is reason to think that the manifestation itself is not of true christian character, but some counterfeit of it. Let a man be self-denied to a certain degree in certain circumstances, and in other circumstances not more self-denied; and you may have causc to think that his former self-denial was not christian, but convenient and selfish. A man who out of his abundance will do some thing for the poor, ordinarily; and will do no more, when the poor would perish upon ordinary charily, is not a truly benevolent man. Circumstances now put his benevolence to the test, and prove it spurious. So may circumstances show the spuriousness of a man's religion, by making extraordinary exactions of him, which the man will not meet. We ought not then to inquire what a puritan christian did for the promotion of the gospel among the heathen, in order to find out what the gospel requires us to do. A puritan christian living in our times would not have been in this respect just what he was in his own: his piety would have been as transcendent here as it was in other things. He would have been as much more self-sacri.
ficing and devoted than we are in advancing the cause of missions, as he was more spiritual and prayerful and universally conscientious.-If our times would have obliged a puritan christian to live thus, they oblige us also, and where is our personal christianity if we do not meet the obligation ?
Brethren, the spirit of the millennium is breathed forth upon us in some measure by the times which are passing over us ; let us not ask how others felt and what others did ; let us imbibe and exemplify the spirit of the millennium. O what a mercy to live in this period of the world's duration ! Better to live now than to have seen Christ or the apostles. Better to live now than to live in the millennium itself. Something may now be done to hasten the millennium. God has put into our hands the golden skirts of the millennium, and by exerting our strength we may draw it upon the world sooner than it could otherwise come. Happy is he who, having prayers to offer, substance to contribute, a life to devote for the advance of the gospel, discerns the signs of the times, and doeth with his might what his hand findeth to do.
Suffer then, beloved brethren, a brief word of exhortation. Behold tlie spirit and manner of life which become all christians now dwelling on the earth: behold that spirit, and imbibe it ; that manner of life, and pursue it. At all times, indeed, christians should have nothing else to care for in this world, but the glorious cause of Him who redeemed them to God by his blood. Their own true happiness, and the true happiness of man, temporal and eternal, is bound up in that cause ; and moreover, their high vocation, their solemn profession, their openly avowed principles, hopes, and ends of life; and their holy covenant with God and His church so often renewed; most urgently demand always, that they propose to themselves but this one grand pursuit on earth, THE FURTHERANCE OF THE GOSPEL, THE CONVERSION OF THE WORLD: but lay it to your hearts, dear brethren--as you would, not deny that the Heavens do rule in the affairs of mankind—we beseech you lay it well to your hearts and ponder it deeply—that this constant demand has, with respect to you, a most peculiar and most strenuous enforcement in the very remarkable signs of these times—those wondrous works of the Lord, those high operations of His hands, by which this age is so strikingly distinguished. Give yourselves soberly to this meditation, and let it stir you up to HIGH AND SINGULAR EXEMPLIFICATIONS OF THE POWER OF GODLINESS. It will have this effect if you let it have free course in your thoughts. Such exemplifications, and nothing else, will satisfy that call which the Lord of Hosts is at this day addressing to the church out of the bright cloud of his wonderful providence. And know you nol, brethren, that such exemplifications of christianity are of all things most needed? They, after all, are the * light of the world;" and all our plans and enterprises for diffusing light on the earth, will in the absence of these be but as a candle substituted for sunbeams. Light dwells in the Book of God in infinite fulness, and in some measure in its expositions by the ministry; but bible light must fill the hearts, and then shine out pure and bright in the example of living christians, or the mass of mankind will still keep themselves in darkness. Let the world be fully occupied with bibles; and then let there be also some genuine specimens of what the bible can do ; of its power to exalt, and refine, and sanctify men; and let such specimens be multiplied as they were in the first days of the gospel, and the work of the world's conversion will cease to linger. But it will linger while christians content themselves with such small and stinted measures of personal holiness as are now general among them. It will linger while christians generally do not love Christ more, and love His church more, and love the souls of men more, and pray more, and move more holily and unblameably in all the walks of life, and show a sincerer faith in that great saying of their Lord, “It is more blessed to give than to receive." It will linger, and our bright prospects of approaching millenial glory will grow no brighter, and perhaps be presently overcast. Wherefore, brethren, beloved in Christ, practise we beseech you the just lesson of our subject; come out and be separate from the ranks of careless and customary professors; be not the servants of men ; have no fear of singularity; look not around you for examples of spirituality ; look not to former generations; but look to Christ, His claims, and His commands; and let your whole heart be open and bare to the influence of the signs of the times ; and take the world henceforth to record that you count not your lives dear unto yourselves, so that you may finish your course with joy, and do the very utmost that by you may be done, to have the gospel of the grace of God preached and established among all nations.
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