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this, it is no doubt the duty of the minister of the word frer quently to repeat these same warnings, and to urge them as Paul did, by the consideration of the great and gracious things of the gospel. It is the duty of every Christian minister to make these warnings the undertone of all his preaching, even as Paul did of all this Epistle.
The truth needs perpetually to be brought before the minds of all who hear the gospel, that just in proportion to the magnitude of God's mercies to us in Christ Jesus, is the guilt of our neglect, or unbelief, or apostacy. If God had done little or nothing for human salvation, then the guilt had been less which refused his proposals. If men thought they saw better grounds of hope elsewhere, and hence looked elsewhere, it would not have been quite so strange, or sad, or wicked. But how stands the matter in regard to the religion of Christ? How intense the interest which God evinces in this religion! This seems to have the very highest place in his heart. It is not, apparently, so much the happiness of the angelic world, and the worship which angelic hosts continually offer, that engages and delights him, as it is the salvation of perishing men, and the worship of the penitent and brokenhearted of earth.
We look to God's word, and we see that God is everywhere interested there. How clearly he reveals, how fully he explains, how urgently he remonstrates, how tenderly he persuades, plying men at every point with the most powerful motives. There is nowhere in the world a book so much in earnest as the Bible; and all its earnestness has direct relation to the matter of man's salvation. This end—this — by every holy or innocent means, God would compass,
We look further, and we learn the same lesson in seeing what God has actually done for men in his gospel; at what a sacrifice on his part the foundations of human pardon are laid, and the channel for his saving mercy is opened. The declaration may have a familiar sound, but we do not know its full meaning, and we never shall, though we ponder it to eternity, that “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him might not perish, but have everlasting life.” Here were all gifts which even God could bestow, summed up in one. God had but one Son, and he did not give him for angels, but sacrificed him for men. In the one gift and sacrifice he poured out all the treasures of his merciful heart, and expended for our salvation all that even God could possibly give, for any object or for all objects combined.
And if this is not enough to illustrate the urgency of the claims of religion, we may look further to the Son of God, and see him coming forth from the Father and veiling himself in flesh, and wearing out and giving up his life in bearing our sins and carrying our sorrows; we may see him as the ever-living Priest of his people, perpetually interceding for them in heaven; we may see him exalted to be head over all things unto his church, and as king over the universe, ordering all things for the progress of his cause, and satisfied only when he sees of the travail of his soul in the justification of many.
And if this is not enough, we may still further look to the Holy Spirit of God, and see him descending from heaven and dwelling in our world of sin; see him engaged continually in his work of moving upon the hearts of men to bring them to the Saviour,- enlightening their darkness, humbling their pride, renewing their wills, strengthening their weakness, striving unweariedly in then against sin, and helping them on to God.
And if even all this is not enough, we may consider still further that complicated apparatus which God has instituted and set in motion for extending and perpetuating his religion. What mean our sabbaths, our sanctuaries, the living ministry, the circulating Bible, the sacraments, the company of God's people—and all these in constant and full employment-what mean they all, if God is not intent upon the salvation of men through the gospel of his Son ?
And the question comes, can it be that what thus lies so near the heart of God, and thus employs so fully the energies of God, and thus involves so largely the glory of God,- can it be that this is a matter which men may innocently disregard, or lightly let go for rival interests and claims? Or, rather, do we not perceive again and more clearly, that all the stupendous truths of our religion unite and sing, even on
that undertone which sounds the warnings of the Epistle before us?
God is in earnest in the matter of his religion ; how great is the corresponding earnestness which is claimed from men! God has provided and offered a glorious salvation; what zealous seeking and thankful acceptance should it everywhere induce! Those who are habitually indifferent to the religion of the Bible, and treat its claims as of trivial moment, or who frame for themselves religious opinions, or adopt those furnished by others, disliking the religion of the Bible,—such should learn the great lesson of this Epistle; that there is for them no religion save that of the Bible. There is one God, there is one Bible, and there is one religion. There is nowhere to be found a single promise of God made to men apart from the Bible ; there is nowhere to be found a single promise of the Bible made to men apart from Christ; Christ has laid the foundation for promise only as the Divine Son of God, by the sacrifice of himself; and the Son of God, given as our Saviour, was the one gift which exhausted the treasury of Heaven. And that this great lesson of the Epistle may have its due impression, the corresponding admonitions of the Epistle must be regarded; — that, apart from this only religion, men can have no hope before God; that, neglecting this great salvation, they can not possibly escape the just reward of their transgressions ; that, rejecting the sacrifice which Christ has offered for sin, no atonement is left, and there “remains" only the fearful anticipation of God's judgment and fiery indignation. This undertone of the music of the gospel men everywhere need to hear, until its resounding thunder fills their souls with salutary dread. While mercy everywhere invites, warning should everywhere urge men to salvation - escaping for their lives, looking not behind them, neither staying in all the plain, escaping to the mountain, lest they be consumed.
ART. III.—The Peril and Duty of the American People, with
Respect to the Foreign Relations of the Country, impending War with England and France, and the threatened Humiliation and Partition of the United States.
TO ALL human observation there is one effectual way, and there is but one, to suppress the rebellion, extinguish the civil war, and restore the country to its former condition. That way is to break, scatter, crush the military power of the Confederate Rebel States, to such a degree that all armed and organized resistance, on their part, will cease. The reason why there is no other way, is simply because the dominant class of rebels in arms will accept of no terms of peace which the American people are willing to grant them; and having sedulously contrived an issue which could naturally result only in their own conquest, or the destruction of the American nation, as it then existed—they have, during two years of frightful war, continually put it more and more out of the power of the mass of the Southern people to force the military despotism, under which they groan, to change that issue. Whatever may have been the wishes of those people, or whatever those wishes may be now, or hereafter, they have no power, no means, of making them known, except through that military despotism, whose destruction, by arms, it is the highest duty of the American people to accomplish.
We do not propose, at this time, to discuss the consequences which would follow the effectual breaking of the military power of the armed rebels. The great result designed by the American people, is the restoration of the Federal Union, and the preservation of the national life and institutions, just as they all were before or as nigh to that as the uncontrollable circumstances which may then exist, will allow. Nor do we mean to say that the suppression of the rebellion, and the extinction of the civil war by conquest, are conditions precedent to the possibility of peace; for it is too obvious that perils are gathering over the country, both from within and from without—which, unless met with the greatest wisdom and vigor, may make an infamous peace seal, at once, our ruin and our disgrace. But what we mean to say is, that no peace by which the country can be restored to its former condition is possible, except by means of the military suppression of the rebellion, and the thorough conquest by arms of the rebel forces. We wish, with all our heart, that it were otherwise. We deplore, as we have never deplored any public event, the necessity laid upon the American people, in this behalf. But it is as clear to us, as it ever was, that if any duty ever was incumbent upon any nation or any generation of men, that it is our duty, God helping us, to preserve the life, the integrity, and the institutions of this great nation — and to that end to do all that righteous men, who expect to give account to God, may undertake. Nay, further-we are firmly persuaded that. if, by the folly and wickedness of men, and by the inscrutable providence of God, we are not permitted to accomplish, in its obvious way, the great duty set before us; we are bound so to shape events that we shall reap the most signal equivalents for our failure, and that they who interfere to hinder us shall pay a price for their perfidy, which they will long remember, and for which coming ages will bless us.
Considering the relative condition of the parties, and the actual state of the war, there are, apparently, but three ways in which it is possible for the American people to be prevented from accomplishing the work set before them. It is, no doubt, possible that we might fail through the incompetence of those into whose hands the doing of the great work has fallen. We might also fail through the indifference of a great portion of the American people to the work, or even opposition to it, or disgust at it, on the part of sufficient numbers to deprive it of its national character. And we might fail by means of the armed intervention of powerful foreign nations. It is to the consideration of the last of these three methods of obstructing our successful prosecution of this civil war, that this paper is particularly devoted. In the meantime, while we will not discuss, at present, either the first or second class of dangers above distinguished, it is proper to express, in very few words, their special relation to the third class, and our sense of their own general nature.
We have put the case conditionally, in each instance; we might fail under the condition stated; we might not. It would