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And now, beloved, having thus prefaced our discourse, we have another observation to make before we proceed to a full discussion of the text. What an instance of Divine sovereignty we have in our text! He who is wise can see sovereignty everywhere in the work of salvation, but how clearly is it present here. Bithynia must not hear the gospel; the apostle desires to go and preach it there; but as yet, it seems, God does not intend that Bithynia should be evangelised. He desires to tarry in Asia, and there throughout its length and breadth preach the gospel; but he is strictly forbidden, and the command comes to him that he is to go across to Europe, and there proclaim the gospel. Was not this sovereignty? Why was it that God shut the door in Bithynia, and opened it in Philippi! Was it that Philippi was more worthy, or that Bithynia needed it less? Assuredly not. It was of God's mercy that he sent the gospel at any time, and when he sent to Philippi the most eminent of apostles to preach it, who shall blame him? Has he not a right to do what he wills with his own? But we may rest quite assured, that his sovereignty was not an arbitrary exercise of despotic will. It was a sovereignty dictated by the highest wisdom; for while God rules all things according to his own will, yet we are expressly told, that he doeth it according to the counsels of his will, his will being no blind headstrong thing, willing for no reason whatever, but being always subject to his own sense of that which is the wisest, and which will promote his glory and his creature's profit. However, we must still observe, Divine sovereignty is that which casts a rich lustre upon grace, when we recollect that it is sovereign and free. Oh ye, of the race of Britain! bless the Lord, that he hath sent the gospel unto you; for while doubtless there is wisdom in it, remember there is also sovereignty in it. “He hath not dealt so with any nation. Praise ye the Lord." Had he willed it, had he been fit, the gospel had this day been flourishing in the centre of Africa, and you might at this mo.nent have been destitute of the word of the gospel, living barbarians like your fathers, embruing your hands in blood. Unto the great, dread Sovereign, who ruleth as he wills on earth as in heaven, be glory for ever and
And now we turn to our text. “And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us." First, we shall observe, that the best help that can be rendered to any people is the preaching of the gospel. “Come over and help us," that is, preach to us. Secondly, we shall notice that although we have no visions or dreams in the night, yet, the nations of the earth are calling to the church of the living God, and ure saying to us, “ Come over lo us, and help us.” And then, thirdly, I shall conclude, by solemnly asking the question, what do you who love the Lord intend to say to those, who are now asking at your hands the help of a preached gospel ?
1. First, then, THE GREATEST HELP THAT CAN BE GIVEN TO ANY PEOPLE, IS THE PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL, and when I say this, I am uttering a truth which I need not guard. The gospel is a help, not in one way, but in every way. Those who have not the gospel stand in the greatest need of help; but when the gospel is carried, you carry everything within it. In the folds of the gospel sleepeth the manifold wisdom of God, and bis manifold goodness also toward the sons of men. Behold, the nations of the earth this day are still the bond-slaves of tyrants -many lands are still subject to despotic dynasties, who trample men beneath their feet, as if men were but earthen pitchers to be broken in pieces by the iron rods of kings How is liberty to be established in these lands? Shallthe point of the bayonet bring liberty to these nations that still are slares? Never, never. Iron makes our fetters, iron rivets them, but iron never can unloose them. We need something more potent than steel to carve out the liberty of mankind. Love the love of the Gospel, must be the ground work of liberty, and if liberty, equality, and fraternity, the three great words that are the world's heir loom, are crer to be fully known and realised, it must be by the preaching of the Word of Jesus. The preaching of the gospel is the terror of despots. If you ask what makes this land free, every candid man must say it is the open gospel and the unfettcred preaching of the Word. Glasgow's motto is, “Let Glasgow flourish by the preaching of the Word.” It is the coat of arms of liberty herself. Liberty Nourishes by the preaching of the Word of God. Certain it is that wherever you find Protestantism, you find liberty, and wherever you leave Protestantism behind you, you begin to feel the yoke, and to hear the groans of the oppressed. It is true that Protestantism doth not in every place produce perfect liberty, because it is not sufficiently true to itself. There are still places where the slave feels the lash, while his master calls himself a Christian; but this is not the legitimate effect of our religion, but rather the effect of a delusion which hell itself did first invent, and which nought but the deep depravity of men could ever permit to stand before the face of God's sun. Yes, ye tyrants on your thrones, the little stone cut out of the mountain without hands shall yet break you in pieces! O great statue of tyranny with thy head of gold, and thy feet of clay, thou shalt yet totter, for this shall break thee in pieces, for the breaker is come out before us, and the king at the head of us, and who can withhold his might? What shall hold out against the mighty principle wherewith Christ makes men free?
Look, brethren, too, and see how the nations of the earth are lying under gloomy superstition. Perhaps there is one thing in the world worse than kingcraft, and that is priestcraft. May God save us from two things—from tyrannical kings, and from priests of all sorts. Priests of any sort are bad, but superstitious priests are the worst of all. Oh, how many nations of the earth have their intellect blighted, their hopes blasted, their progress stopped, their whole history eclipsed of its glory, their state robbed of its riches, by the cursed dominancy of priests. Men are compellej to believe just what the priest chooses, Because he wears a cassock; because he has been educated in the deep mysteries of craftiness, he is to be lord over men's consciences, and consciences and hearts are to bow before him; wherever he comes his word is to be law, his will is to open and shut the gates of heaven, for he pretends that the keys of heaven and of hades are hanging at his girdle. How shall we deliver men from these enthralling superstitions! No how, but by the preaching of the gospel. You cannot make men free, even by governments; you camot give them a thorough freedom by giving them a republic itself; for that republic must fall so long as priestcraft is there, for liberty and priestcraft agree as well together God and devil, and no better; and until the one falls the other can never stand.
But the preaching of the gospel which teaches that believers are all priests and kings ; which lifts every one of us into the high places of princes and monarchs, and puts every one of us on a level with pontiffs and priests—this is the gospel which shall yet set men free, and the preaching of this, and this only, is the world's great and grandest hope of its deliverance from the slavery of the body and the yet more accursed bondage of the soul.
But, beloved, there are some nations of the earth that have never as yet tasted of the sweets of salvation. Large tracts of country have been discovered, where the people are still debased and degraded; the kraal of the Hottentot has not yet blossomed into a mansion, the spear of the New Zealander has not yet been entirely changed for a pruning hook. There are many places where all the joys of lite and the social comforts and enjoyments of our being, are as yet totally unknown. Now, the gospel has blessings in both its hands. Wherever it goes it has the blessings of heaven, rich and golden-it has the blessing of the carth, fair and silvery'. They are both precious things, and while we believe the gospel is ordained most of all to bless man for the hereafter, yet the secularist himself, it lie were wise, must take some interest in the progress of the gospel, for it is a blessing to men eren in this life. The great civilizer is the cross. Nothing else can make the barbarian into a civilized man, but the cross and the vision of Christ hanging on it. Blessed are the feet of them that bring glad tidings of peace, for where they bring the glad tidings of peace with God, they bring also good news of goodwill towards men, even goodwill towards men as creatures here, as well as good news to them as creatures that are to exist for ever. My dear brethren and sisters, if you would bless the world, in the largest possible sense, temporarily, spiritually, and eternally ; if you would bless the bodies and the souls of men; if you would bless men in their children, in their houses ; if you would bless them in their meats and drinks, and in all the necessities of life, the one simple means of doing all this, is just the proclamation of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that fully preached and received, has been proved in instances which I need not now stop to recall to your memories-instances abundant and recent, to be after all, the power of God, not only to salvation but to civilization too.
There is yet one more point which I must mention here in which the gospel is the best help to man. We must remember to-day, that there are districts of the earth where the ground is yet red with blood. There are sad portions of our globe that as yet must have the name of Aceldama, the field of gore; there are spots where the horse-hoof is splashed with blood; where the very carcasses of men are the food of ravens and of jackalls; the mounds of Balaclava are as yet scarcely green, and the spots where rest the relics of our own murdered sisters and brothers are not covered with the memorial stone. War has ravaged whole districts; even in these late times the dogs of war are not yet muzzled, Oh! what shall we do to put an end to war? Mars, where is the chain that shall bind thee, like Prometheus, to the rock? How shall we imprison thee for ever, thou cruel Moloch; how shall we for ever chain thee? Behold here is the great chain, that which one day is to bind the great serpent; it has the blood-red links of love. The gospel of Jesus Christ the crucified one, shall yet hush the clarion of war, and break the battle-bow in sunder Happy are we, thrice happy, that we have a gospel which shall make men
“ Hang the useless helmet high,
And study war no more.” Let us spread it, then, to earth's utmost bounds; for, to repeat the text I quoted just now, it hath blessings in both its hands, wherever it goes, temporarily as well as eternally, it blesses the human race. And when it shall have spread to its utmost limits, when all the habitable earth shall be covered with it, then the mist that swathes our planet shall be rolled away, and bright, like a new-born morning star, this earth shall shine out with her sister stars in all her glory, and the angels 3ball once more sing, and God himself shall repeat his verdict--"all things are very good."
But still, beloved, the greatest help that the gospel brings is help to the soul. Ah, Christian men, ye know what this means: your brothers and sisters are this day wandering blindfold, they know not whither. "Ye know, for the Bible tells you, that they are wending their weary way down to the gulf of black despair! Oh, does not your heart desire that the blind eye should be opened, that the misguided should be directed on the path to heaven: would not your pity, desire to snatch the fire brand from the flame? Do you not anxiously seek to know how you can lead the vicious to virtue, and the virtuous to the righteousness that is in Jesus Christ? Have you no desire to sec God's elect ingathered, to see them washed, and sanctified, and perfected? Remember this is to be, and since it is to be, it is certain that ye must send the gospel far and wide, for by no other means can God's elect be gathered home. How can they believe without a preacher? How can they preach except they be sent? The gospel must go throughout all lands, that the elect may be gathered home, and the Messiah's kingdom come. Oh! ye who love the souls of men, it is to you an awful thought that hell's caverns are filling; it is a dreary thing to you to see the broad road so crowded with its many travellers ? You are longing and wishing that the Darrow way might have more pilgrims; I beseech you, then, look to it, that by every means and by all means ye aid the preaching of the gospel of Jesus ; for it is the help for which the earth calls, a:id the help which you must render to it. Come over and help us by preaching Christ's holy gospel. Thus have I done with the first head, may the Lord help us in the second.
II. The second point is, that although not in visions of the night, yet EVERY DAY AND EVERY HOUR, THE NATIONS OF THE EARTH ARE SAYING, “ COME OVER AND HELP us." Do you not know, that the loudest eloquence is silence? To move the heart of the right-minded, ye need not the declamation of the orator. The sight of silent, dumb misery, is the highest eloquence to a tender heart. It is true, I must confess it, the nations of the earth do not vocally ask for your help; nay, worse than that, if you send them the help of the gospel, they will many of them reject it Your missionaries have been slain,--the altars of false gods have been stained with their blood; but still I solemnly repeat it, the nations of the earth are silently crying, “ Come over and help us.” If I saw a person in the street sick, faint, and - dying, although he spoke not to me, though he asked me not to befriend him, I should think the weakness of his silence more potent than all the power of words. Ay, and if I saw him like a maniac, rejecting my help and pushing me from him, if I was convinced that he was really a maniac, for that very reason that he needed my help, I would thrust my alms upon him, I would willingly give him my help and assistance; and so must you do. The nations of the earth are dead in sin; how can they cry to you? But it is yours to see their misery; and let the poor, poor dumb wounds of this bleeding earth speak to you. It is true, earth is a maniac, and it puts away the only cure. But what care we for that? It is ours to thrust our kindness upon unwilling men, because we believe that their unwillingness arises from the madness of their disease. Let us take the poor man that has fallen among thieves. Let us pour in the oil and the wine, and if he doth not receive it gratefully, because he is faint, if he putteth his hand upon the wound, and rends away the liniment, and unbinds the plaster, nevertheless, let us bind him up again, and set him upon our own beast, and carry him to the inn. Let us pay for the lodging, even though as yet he cannot speak to thank us; and the day shall come, when the wound is healed, and the burning fever is removed; when his brain is cool, and his reason restored, that he shall fall at our feet and kiss the hand that once he spurned. Unborn generations shall bless the men that sent the gospel, which at first their fathers did reject.
And now, brethren and sisters, let me plead the cause of the dumb. No man of Macedonia is here to-day to say, “Come over and help us;" but let me be the heathen's spokesman, and very earnestly ask you to come and help him. Methinks, I will stand here as a heathen this morning, and I say to you, as if I had not heard the gospel, “Ye Christians of Britain! ye highly favoured ones, who know the name of Jesus and prove the power of the Spirit, preach the gospel to us, for we are men like yourselves. What though our skin be of a colour less fair than your own? Yet he fashioneth our hearts alike. Oh tell us not, because we feed on the locust, and eat the serpent, that therefore we are not of your kith and kind! Not that which goeth into a man defileth a man.' It is true, our kings and princes are only fit to rank with your beggars; but oh! God hath made of one blood all nations that dwell upon the face of the earth; and from our huts and cabins we come forth to-day, and we say to you, "We are men-we are your brothers-younger brothers, it is true-we have not had a double portion of the inheritance; brothers, too, whose fathers spent their part in riotous living; but why should the children's teeth be set on edge because the fathers have eaten sour grapes ? Why must the son of Ham for ever bear the curse of Canaan? O preach the gospel to us! We are men; mother Eve is our mother, as well as yours; Adam, too, is the father from whose loins we sprang; and because we are men, the common sympathy of humanity bids you listen to us, when we say, 'Come over and help us.'' Besides, we have another argument. We are told that unto you is the Word of this salvation sent,' not for yourselves, but for us, brothers, who have not heard the gospel, and who know it not. And you have the treasure in your own land; and we believe you have the treasure given to you, that you may lavish handfuls of it out to us. We know that old Judea had the covenant and the oracles, and the gospel to keep for coming generations; and we believe that you men of Britain have the gospel, not for yourselves, but for us. We have heard that your Master said, 'Ye are the lights of the world;' not lights of Britain, not lights for yourselves, but the lights of the world. Oh! bear your burning torches into the glades of our dark forests; come and shed your light through the dark mists of our idolatrous temples ; let the bats of our superstition, and the owls of our ignorance, fly away before the sunlight of your gospel. It is not for yourselves you have received it, but for us. Oh! give it to us. Preach the gospel to us, for it is designed for us. But we have another argument, brethren; look at our miseries!”
As the spokesman for my poor brethren to-day, I stand before you, and I remind you of the tortures to which the poor Hindoo devotee puts himself. I remind you of the cruelties enacted in the Chinese empire—the horrors of a government that is based upon idolatry I tell you of the distress, the destitution, the poverty, the nakedness, the misery of the Bechuanas and the Bushmen; and I speak for these, and I say “Christians, you have the means of alleviating their woes by sending them the gospel; will you not do it?” Look at the dwellers in the land of the jungle and the lion. There they are; the serpent has grasped them in his folds, and like the boa-constrictor of their own forests, he is crushing their nations, until the ribs of the strong man snap, and the hearts of the women melt like wax. And you have the sword in your hands that can cut the serpent's head! Your Master bruised that head beneath his heel, and you must do the same. Oh! come, come, ye missionaries of the cross, ye ministers of Jesus, come and deliver us from this deadly hydra! Save us from our fearful doom! Our miseries invoke your aid. It is true, we cannot speak to you in gentle language; but there was a time when poets walked amongst us, and sone of the light that shone in Paradise, yet gilded our darkness; and we treasured up a few of those faint rays, and we are hoping that the sun of righteousness will yet dawn upon us. Oh! come, roll away those mists; come, chase our night, and let us see that sacred, high, eternal noon, which is the daughter of the gospel following the Sun of Righteousness.
And now Christian men, let me speak to you as one of yourselves. Brethren, you and I are soldiers, soldiers of the cross, and at this hour worlds are rushing to the shock. The fight is thickening, and we are warriors! Shame upon the craven who stays from the battle. The trump is sounding to-day. Mohammed has waked from his sleep; the Moslem, with bloody hands, has sought to slay our race; the Hindoo, too, the meek-eyed Hindoo, his eyes have glared like the eyes of his tiger, and his lips have smacked with gore. The battle is raging. Not there alone. Popery hath aroused itself; with mighty effort it is endeavouring to win back this gem of the sea, this first isle of the ocean. Infidelity, too, is on the stir; her myrmidons are flying here and there. Everything is awake, except the church of God. Oh! rouse ye, men and brethren; rouse, now that the fight is at its fullest fury. Now is the time for our most desperate valour, our most earnest zeal. Recollect, every time vou bow your knees, and say, “ Our Father,” you tell a lie at the end of that prayer, if you are not seeking to make his kingdom come, and his will be done in earth, as it is heaven. You are praying for what you do not try to get; you are insulting God by saying, “Thy kingdom come," with as foul a mockery, as if I should say, “ Be warmed and be filled," to some poor dying beggar, and then refused to give to his needs, that he might remove his distresses.
Recollect, too, that you cannot be Christians at all, not in the right sense of the word, unless you everyone of you would compass sea and land to make one proselyte. You must have in you the spirit of propagation, desirous to win others to Christ, or else the genuine blood of Christianity is not in your veins. Of all things in the world Christianity is the most prolific, if it be true. Mohammedism of old had mighty power to spread itself, but not such power as Christianity had. The religion of Jesus began like & mustard seed, with those few men in an upper-room; but ere a half century had rolled away, the gospel was preached to every nation under heaven; and if we had Christianity in our hearts of the right sort-hot, burning stuff, not the lukewarm shams of this degenerate age, our religion, ere another half a century will have won the day. If the Spirit of God should give us true diligence, in the course of another half century there would not be one district that would not have been trodden by the foot of the minister, nor one town or city which would not have been evangelized. I know I am not speaking without book now; I am absolutely certain that what I am saying is a sober matter of fact. If you will just calculate the proportion between the four hundred, and the progress made in one half a century, and then begin
with the three or four millions—I should hope there are as many as that-of true Christians in the