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A Missionary Sermon, delivered, of Tarsus. He once breathed
at Hartford, by the desire of the out threatenings and slaughter, Trustees of the Missionary So- against all engaged in the Chrisciety of Connecticut on the Eve- tian cause, and while he thirsted ning of May 9th, 1805-By for their blood, a light from heaRev. Nehemiah Prudden, Pas- ven above the brightness of the tor of the Church of Christ in sun encompassed him, and a Enfield.
divine voice spoke to his con
science and changed his heart. Acts xxvi, 18.
Nor is this the only instance To open their eyes, and to turn to be found in the annals of
them from darkness to light, and Christianity ; but every age from the power of Satan unto since the apostolic has been proGod, that they may receive for- ductive of such instances, though giveness of sins, and inheritance not with miraculous appearanamong them which are sanctifi- ces, yet they were the effects of ed by faith that is in me. the same divine agency. Per
haps in no age has been more "HE Almighty displays him- instances of this nature than in
gent minds, in all his works, both given higher evidence that God in the natural and moral worlds, governs the world, and hath the and justly claims of them a tri- hearts of all men in his hands. bute of love and praise. By the Such instances are testified in dispensations of his providence what we see at home ; in what and grace he breaks down Satan's we hear from abroad; from the kingdom, and some of his clos- wilderness, and those who were est adherents are arrested, and sunk in the lowest grade of savmade willing openly to declare age life. These are among the themselves in favor of Jesus marvellous works of God, and Christ.
with lustre and splendor do they Among those of the above de- display his perfections in the scription, may be reckoned Saul view of the intelligent universe.
Saul of Tarsus was raised up | heavens, laid the foundations of and inspired by the power of di- the earth, and built the world vine grace, to go among the he said let there be light, and Gentiles, and to be the first in-| there was light. strument in the hands of God, to That such a God did exist be. begin the conversion of the hea- fore the world was made, or the then, with the promise of divine | bills were brought forth, he protection. He went, he enter- taught them from the things beed the very seat of Satan's em-fore their
« For the invisipire, forced his strongest liolds, ble things of him from the crea. and was victorious through the tion of the world are clearly strength and grace of Jesus seen, being understood by the Christ. The work was the Lord's, things that are made, even his. and it still is ; and he is now car- eternal power and Godhead.” rying it on, by the instruments and from this evidence, he of his own choice in different draws the conclusion that they parts of the world; opening the were inexcusable not to be. eyes of the people, turning them lieve, and glorify him as God. from darkness to light, and from The visible heavens and earth, the power of Satan unto God, the rain and sunshine, fruitful that they may receive forgive and propitious seasons, all proness of sins and inheritance a- claim intelligent design. And mong them which are sanctified the evidence, that the first cause by faith that is in Christ Jesus. was intelligent, rises still higher
I. Let us attend to what the when we contemplate the pow. apostle did in the execution of ers and faculties of the human his divine mission among the mind. Gentiles.
If there be a God, nature's Agreeable to our text, the voice is, thou shalt worship him, apostle's business was to open and revelation hath taught the their eyes, and turn them from sons of men, what worship and clarkness to light, and from the service are acceptable in his power of Satan unto God, that sight. they might receive forgiveness This led the apostle of the of sins, and inheritance among Gentiles to open the volume of them which are sanctified. What revelation, and illustrate to their the apostle did in the execution understandings the purposes, of his divine mission we learn on- perfections, and glory of Jeholy from his writings ; and from vah as they appear in the face of them it appears that he laid be- Jesus Christ. fore those ignorant Gentiles to From presenting to their view whom he was sent, those truths the character of God, as it was of a divine nature, which it was taught in revelation, the apostle, necessary for them to know and in the next place, proceeded to: experience, that their sins might teach them their own true char: be forgiven.
acters. In his description of In the execution of his mis- this he includes total depravity, sion, the apostle set before those That all the natural descendants to whom he was sent, this truth, of apostate Adam are totally des. that there is a holy and just titute of holiness in their hearts. Cod. That this God spread the That their depravity consisted in
opposition of heart to God's brethren," saith the apostle, “I moral character, and the nature came not with the excellency of of holiness ; that mankind, while speech or of wisdom, and my in their natural state, do not like speech and my preaching was the truths contained in the word not with enticing words of man's of God, but are displeased with wisdom, but in demonstration of them, and with all holy things. the spirit and of power; that The truth of these observations your faith should not stand in is confirmed by what he has left the wisdom of men, but in the on record in his epistles written power of God." to the Romans, Corinthians, E- The apostle, in the next place, phesians, and others, also, by the did not fail to describe in lively doctrine of the atonement. colors, that benevolent spirit
After this gloomy view of the which was, and still is, and for sinful state in which all the nat- ever will be the ornament and ural descendants of apostate essence of Christianity. That Adam were, the apostle explain- it not only taught sons of ed the way of life and salvation men to love God supremely, but through the atonement which that the benevolence taught by Christ had made, consistently the author of the Christian reliwith the moral character of God gion, required them to love their and his holy law. This led him neighbors as themselves : to reto illustrate the character of the gard the prosperity, the peace, Mediator as the Son of God, and happiness and good of others in Saviour of the world ; that thro' all respects as they did their him life and immortality were own. Let no man seek his own brought to light, and endless life (is the language of inspiration ;) was promised to all who would but every man another's wealth. receive him, and embrace him f It teacheth men to be kindly afastheir prophet, priest, and king, fectioned one to another, to love their hope and portion. He without dissimulation ; for every showed them the purity, spiritu- man to look not on his own ality, and extent of the divine things, but on the things of othlaw, that it required the whole ers; in lowliness of mind, let heart, or supreme love to God, each esteem others better than and perfect obedience to the di- themselves. Charity seeketh vine commands. That the atone- not her own, charity never failment which Jesus had made did eth. not make void the law, but mag- Repentance toward God, and nified it, and made it honorable; faith toward our Lord Jesus vindicated the character of God, Christ, as the only method of his justice, and every perfection, pardon and salvation for their and had declared his righteous-perishing souls, he urged in a ness, that he might be just, and most pathetic and solemn manthe justifier of him who believ- ner. Neither is there salvation eth in Jesus.
for there is none These interesting truths he other name under heaven given recommended to every man's among men whereby we must 'conscience, and with more than be saved. human energy, urged his audi- The resurrection of Jesus ence to embrace them : " My Christ was a favorite doctrine
with the apostle ; it was a neces- II. To notice the fitness and sary part of the Christian sys- propriety of those means which tem, and that which insured the the apostle used, to accomplish resurrection of all Adam's race. the benevolent purpose propose This led him to discourse on fu- ed in the text. ture rewards and punishments ; Those truths, which the aposand to impress upon their minds tle laid before their minds, were the important truths which he well calculated to show them had taught, he introduced the the difference between the true last solemn scene of judgment, God and their heathen gods ;when the vail which hides an between idolatry and Christianawful eternity should be lifted ity. The illustrations which the up, when they and all men apostles gave in their hearing, should appear before the judg- of the character of Jehovah, ment seat of Christ, that every the simplicity and excellence one might receive the things of the Christian religion, would done in his body, according to naturally enlighten their underthat he hath done, whether it be standings, convince their minds good or bad.
of their folly, and gain their That the sacred truths which assent to the truth. Truth, adhe had taught them, or should dressed to the understanding, teach them, might not be for- affords light and knowledge ; gotten ; that they might under- it is means the best calculated stand the whole counsel of God, to open the eyes and turn men and feel that they were shut up from darkness to light, and from unto the faith; he showed them, the power of Satan unto God, that they were in the hands of of any which can be named. God, and were absolutely de- When the Gentiles heard the pendant on sovereign, distin- descriptions which the apostle guishing grace and mercy. That gave of Jehovah's true character, impenitent sinners were so wil they must be led to consider him fully opposed to God, and the preferable to their gods, and gospel plan of salvation for their that a being of such attributes perishing souls, that they would and perfections was fit to govern never accept the offer of life. the universe ; that the religion Therefore divine agency was of which he taught was far supenecessity used, to prevent them rior to their idolạtrous worship; from destroying themselves ; to that it would enlarge and exalt change their stubborn hearts, the human mind, and if they and bring them into that meek, would embrace it, would raise humble, and benevolent spirit them from their low, groveling which the gospel enjoins. This state, to be kings and priests must be acknowledged right, to God for ever. just, and truly benevolent. This It may be observed, also, that is goodness in its highest exer- those means which the apostle cise ; on this principle it is that used, were admirably well calJehovah hath mercy on whom culated to accornplish the benevhe will, that he might accom- olent purpose mentioned in the plish more good in this way, text, as they point directly to than could be in any other. men's hearts and consciences.
Those truths which the apostle