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A Missionary Sermon, delivered at Hartford on the Evening of the Election Day, May 10, 1804, by the Rev. AMOS BASSET, of Hebron.
JOHN VIII. 56.
Your Father Abraham rejoiced to see my day; and he saw it and was glad.
HE Sacred Scriptures bear ample testimony to the high esteem in which Abraham was held by the only wise God, who is never deceived in characters. Such an esteem must have been occasioned by some excellent spirit discerned in him, which rendered him totally different from his idolatrous cotemporaries, from the men of the world in all ages, and particularly from his degenerate posterity, the carnal Jews. Christ in conversation with these Jews denied their right to call Abra- | ham their spiritual father. He referred them to several things wherein this father of the faithful essentially differed from them: the sum of which things may be considered as given in the text.
It is believed, brethren, that the character of this patriarch may with propriety be brought into view on the present occasion, since the Holy Ghost has testified that, "what is written of him was not written for his
sake alone, but for us also”— since we of the Gentiles partake of the blessings promised in his seed-and since, with the high approbation of his maker, he joyfully devoted his heart and life to the same cause which we now profess to have in view, and which we hope we "prefer above our chief joy." Your attention is invited,
1. To the view which Abraham had of the day of Christ.
2. To the influence which this view had upon his heart and life.
1. The view which Abraham had of the day of Christ.
The promise made to Abraham signified, that in his “seed i. e. Christ, all nations of the earth should be blessed." We are informed, that "God preached the Gospel to Abraham.Gal. iii. 8. That which constitutes the chief excellence of the Gospel, constituted the chief
excellence of the view referred | to in the text.
It may, accordingly, be observed, that the most interesting part of the view which this friend of God and of mankind had of the day of Christ, was his appearance upon earth to reveal the gracious counsels of his Father; and as the author of everlasting happiness to multitudes besides his own posterity; and eventually to all the nations of the earth.
1. The perfections of the most High were then to be fully and clearly displayed. The unsearchable love of God would then shine upon the earth with a brightness before unknown-accompanied by his sovereign wisdom and power, justice and faithfulness, mercy and truth.
should reach the uttermost parts of the earth, and all nations taste the salvation of God. Deity displayed-all his perfections seen to harmonize-millions and millions made happy-a Paradise upon earth-a revenue of glory to the great Author of all this happiness!
My Christian friends, can there be a doubt that a view of the day of Christ was a very justifiable ground of joy? Let our attention be directed,
2. To the influence which this view had upon the heart and life of Abraham.
He rejoiced, saith the Saviour, that he was permitted to see this day. He rejoiced with an eager desire to obtain as perfect a view as possible; and in proportion to the clearness of the view, his holy, benevolent heart glowed with delight.
A strong affectionate faith u nited him to the Messsiah and to his cause by an inviolable at
In full confidence that God was immutably faithful, he "staggered not through unbelief" at any difficulties or apparent impossibilities in the way of duty.
At that day God would publicly manifest himself in the flesh. "The only begotten Son who was in the bosom of the Father, would proceed forth and come down to this world to "de-tachment. clare him," so that men and Angels might "see his glory."And finally he would close his public appearance upon earth by such an exhibition of love as the universe had never beheld before, "the Son of the Highest" offering his life a ransom for enemies. Then would the law of God be highly magnified, Satan vanquished, and an everlasting righteousness brought in.
2. The extensive spread of happiness. Abraham delighted to contemplate the divine perfections. He wished all the world to behold them and be happy. The day of Christ would introduce this most desirable event. Then should the "word go forth-the day spring from on high should spread;" till it
In him we observe that sure mark of true religion, a tender regard for the Divine honor.How evident did this appear in his intercession with the Deity, on the plains of Mamre. How evident also, in his refusal of the goods offered him in the valley of Shaveh, lest any, except Jehovah, should have the honor of making him rich.
Assured that the Messiah should come in his family, and the true religion be entrusted with them, he was strict to regulate his household according to the precepts of God. While
other families went into idolatry, he laboured to fix upon his the character of piety.
All his worldly arrangements were made subservient to the cause of religion. There was no particular spot where he settled, but what he held himself in readiness to leave at the Divine call. Seperate from Christ" and the promotion of religion he avowed no interests, no pursuits, no treasures.
The promises belonging to the day of Christ, though "afar off," were realized, and sweetly engaged the ardent attention of his soul. And having his will entirely swallowed up in the will of God, he stood continually in the attitude of one listening to the voice of his sovereign. This voice was the supreme law of his heart. Did this voice direct him "Get thee out of thy country and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall shew thee?" Immediately" he went out not knowing whither he went." Did the same voice command him, " Abraham take now thy son-thine only son Isaac-whom thou lovest-offer him for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee?" To him it was sufficient to be assured that GOD had given this command. He arose. He took his beloved Isaac with full purpose of heart to obey; knowing, that tho' Isaac should be offered, God would easily fulfil his promises. When the same authority commanded him to "stay his hand" he desisted, and not till then.His obedience was implicit, prompt and persevering.
He was not afraid nor ashamed to appear on the side of Jehovah, tho' in the midst of idola
ters. Wherever we follow him in his pilgrimage from place to place, we easily trace his footsteps by the monuments of his piety and devotion--altars erected-where "he called upon the name of the LORD." He publicly honored the Messiah with his substance, in the person of Melchisedek-a priest of the most high God" after a peculiar order the noted representative of Christ in that day. To this illustrious character the patriarch imparted a "tythe of all," as a pledge that his substance was consecrated to the service of one who was to be made a "priest according to the power of an endless life." He wished the world to know that Jehovah was his shield. He obtained his wish. The princes around him, struck with the evidences of its truth made to him this acknowledgment, "God is with thee in all thou dost."
Such was the influence which a view of the day of Christ had upon the heart and life of Abraham. Attracted by the glory of that day, which in his view shone with a lustre superior to all earthly things, he lived "a pilgrim and stranger on the earth." His time, his possessions, his habitation, his worldly arrangements, yea, his tender attachment to a beloved son, were all made to subserve the cause of that Saviour, whose day he saw, and in whose day he rejoiced. He persevered in faith and obedience till his life and his trials were in the same moment finished-successfully finished. "He died in the faith, seeing the promises afar off," fully persuaded that he who had promised would assuredly perform, and leaving behind him
"shall be increased. He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people, and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. The lofty looks "of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall
be bowed down; and the LORD "alone shall be exalted in that ❝day.
The wolf also shall "dwell with the lamb, and the
"kid, and a little child shall lead "them. They shall not hurt
nor destroy in all my holy "mountain: for the earth shall "be full of the knowledge of the "LORD, as the waters cover the "sea." Psa. Ixxii. Isa. xlii. 4. Psa. Ixviii. 31. Rev. xv. 4. Psa. xxii. 27. Dan. xii. 4. Isa. ii. 4, 11. and xi. 6, 9. Hab. ii. 14. Look upon the prospect open
The faith and obedience of Abraham derive some special lustre from the circumstances of the age in which he lived; but it must not be forgotten, that there can be no essential moral" leopard shall lie down with the difference between him and the friends of God in every age.— "All drink into one Spirit." All must be tried. From all is required a temper essentially the same. So surely as our souls live, our professed faith and love will be justified by obedience, if they are not vain. There are now the same things to excite faith and exertion that there have ever been. The same Goded by these promises. It is not and Saviour-the same joy-the same supports-and the same prospects, brought near by the lapse of centuries and shining brighter as we approach them. To the anointed Saviour, both their Lord and ours, are the promises made, that "He shall "have dominion from sea to sea "and from the river unto the "ends of the earth. They that "dwell in the wilderness shall "bow down before him. The "kings of Tarshish shall bring presents. Ethiopia shall stretch out her hands unto God. The "Isles shall wait for his law."A nations shall call him bles"sed-yea, all kings shall fili | "down before him. All the kin"dreds of the nations shall wor"ship before him. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge
an illusion. It is made substantial by the "counsel of God and confirmed by his oath, that we might have strong consolation.” It is not possible for these promises to fail. The Lord, “faithful and true" has made them. The Lord, who is not a man that he should lie, nor the son of man that he should repent.Here then is the faith and patience of the saints. Need it be added, that Jehovah has hith
to faithfully accomplished each promise in its season, for more than five thousand years?
[TO BE CONTINUED.]
On the Holiness of the Inspired
T has been the general idea of the Church, in all ages,
that the penmen, employed by | the Holy Ghost, to give the original copy of the Sacred Scriptures, which they respectively wrote, were truly pious men.This is the concurrent opinion of annotators, expositors, and other Christian writers, who have given us their sentiments on the subject, with but here and there, a solitary instance of one, who has seemed to doubt of the real piety of a few of the writers. If this sentiment be true, it is worthy of being noticed and illustrated, because it furnishes an argument, calculated to confirm our faith in these writings; while the opposite idea would necessarily degrade them in our estimation. And the circumstance that this has ever been the belief of the Church, will of itself lead a serious and modest mind, to favor the thought that there are sufficient reasons to support it. Some of these will now be mentioned.
1. There is nothing said in opposition to this opinion in the holy Scriptures. God has not expressly informed us, that any of the inspired writers were unsanctified men. He never speaks of them as he does of the Prophets of Baal, of false Apostles, and of unfaithful shepherds; tho' he has seen fit to record the sins, which some of them committed, that they might stand as a warning to his people. He has, therefore, left us to form a favorable opinion of their moral characters. Instead of intimating, that any of them were his enemies, he has told us, that "Prophecy came not, in old time, by the will of man; but holy men of GoD spake, as they were moved by the Holy VOL. V. No. 1.
Ghost."S The words holy men, and men of God, especially as both the phrases are used together, and in connection with the declaration, that they were moved by the Holy Ghost, are sufficient to admonish us to be cautious of so explaining them, as to suggest that the whole. means no more, than that God inspired them to write his will, without an evident necessity for such an explanation. That they were moved by the Holy Ghost is sufficient alone for that idea, without the appellations holy men and men of God, which are here given without distinction, to all the sacred writers in ancient times. That they were all of the household of God, has also been supposed to be implied in the words, 'Ye are built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone, in whom all the building, fitly framed together, groweth into an holy temple in the Lord. This idea appears to be further confirmed, by the declaration, of which salvation, the Prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophecied of the grace that should come unto you; searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ, which was in them, did signify, when it testified before-hand the suf ferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.' To these may be added the passage, 'And what shall I more say, for the time would fail me to tell of Gideon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae, of David also, and Samuel, and of the