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many a Christian spirit, at last lost his empire before a purer truth. But I forbear to mention these things; I would rather allude to the passing away of false systems of philosophy in modern times; for there are some of our fathers here, whose hairs have but just turned grey, who can remember the rise and fall of some seven or eight theories of infidelity. You can look back, and you can remember when it was a cursing obscenity with Tom Paive, having just also been the leering, scowling thing that Voltaire made it. You remember how it was the soaring, airy, speculating, scheming thing of Robert Owen; and then you recollect how it became the base, grovelling thing, called Secularism. Men have trembled at that, and have thought it will last. I believe I shall live to see the last Secularist buried, and that at the funeral, there will be attending the leader of some new system of infidelity, who, despite his hatred to God, will have to say over the tomb, out of very spite against the one who precedes him, “ Here lies a fool, yclept a Secularist.” You need not be afraid of these things; they live such a very little while. A new moon brings a new phase of the system. The thing that they have fashioned with the utmost diligence, and which they deliver with the most earnest declamation, wbich they think they have proved with the sureness of logic, which they have built, as they think, upon a rock, against which the gates of heaven shall not prevail, how soon it is crumbled to dust, and not a vestige of it is left-scarce a remembrance of it-but all is past away and gone. And even so shall it be. As it was in the beginning, it is now, and ever shall be. “Every tongue that riseth against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn.” The words of the wise are like the leaves of the tree of life, and they fade not; but the words of the wicked are like the autumn leaves, all withered, soon to become skeletons, and be blown away by the blast, to be heard of no more.
Planted by the rivers of water, the tree of the church still groweth, like a young cedar, fresh and green. But these things are like the heath in the desert: they see not when good cometh; from carth itself they fail to draw their nourishment, and heaven denies to the cursed thing its genial shower, and therefore soon it dies, and without a memorial it passeth away. Be of good cheer, beloved! It matters not where the enemy attack our intrenchments, they have been, and they shall be routed. We tell the enemies of Christ to look to the thousand defeats that they have suffered beforehand; we warn them of their folly in attack. ing us again. Woe unto you! woe unto you! Though ye quit yourselves like men, ye Philistines, ye must, ye shall be servants unto Israel. Woe unto you, for the voice of a king is in our midst! Your fathers felt our might. Remember who it was that cut Rahab and wounded the dragon. Your sires have trembled before us; our fathers put ten thousand of your sires to flight, and we will do the same with you, and when we have done it we will say of you, “ Aha, aha, aha,” and will make you a bye-word with our children, and a proverb with our menials for ever.
4. But my text has a special reference to war-the desolation of war. Have you not noticed how magnificently peace winneth its reprisals at the hand of war? Look through this country. Methinks if the angel of peace should go with us, as we journey through it, and stop at the various ancient towns where there are dismantled castles, and high mounds from which every vestige of a building has long been swept, the angel would look us in the face, and say, “I have done all this: war scattered my peaceful subjects, burned down my cottages, ravaged my temples, and laid my mansions with the dust. But I have attacked war in his own strongholds and I have routed him. Walk through his halls. Can you hear now the tramp of the warrior? Where now the sound of the clarion and the drum?” The sheep is feeding from the cannon's mouth, and the bird builds his nest where once the warrior did hang his helmet. As rare curiosities we dig up the swords and spears of our forefathers, and little do we reck that in this we are doing tribute to peace. For peace is the conqueror. It hath been a long duel, and much blood hath been slied; but peace hath been the victor. War, after all, has but spasmodic triumphs; and again it sinksmit dies; but peace ever reigneth. If she be driven from one part of the earth, yet she dwelleth in another; and while war, with busy hand, is piling up here a wall, and there a rampart, and there a tower, peace with her gentle finger, is covering o'er the castle with the moss and the ivy, and casting the stone from the top, and letting it lie level with the earth.
I think this is a fine thought for the lover of peace; and who among us is not ? Who among us ought not to be? Is not the gospel all peace ? And do we not believe, that when the gospel is fully preached, and has its day, wars must cease, to the end of the earth? I therefore say, beloved brothers and sisters, may we not console ourselves, under all the recent outbreaks of a most bloodthirsty and cruel massacre, in the fact, that God hath made desolations, even in war. He hath made desolations in the earth; and, as it hath been, so shall it be even unto the end. There is not now a rampart, which shall not be scaled by peace. Oh! ye hoary bastions! ye shall yet be destroyed ; not by the cannon ball, but by something mightier still. Charged with love, this day we shoot against you the great guns of the gospel of Christ, and we believe that they shall move and shake you to your deep foundations, and ye shall crumble; or if ye stand, ye shall be uninhabited, except by the owl and the bittern. I have a fond belief that the day is coming, when Nelson, on the top of his monument, shall be upset, and Mr. Whitfield set there, or the apostle Paul. I believe that Napier, who stands in the square there, will lose his station. We shall say about these men, “They were very respectable men in the days of our forefathers, who did not know better than to kill one another, but we do not care for them now!" Up goes John Wesley, where stood Napier ! Away goes some one else, who was an earnest preacher of the gospel, to occupy the place high over the gate where another warrior rides upon his horse. All these things, the trickery of an ignorant age, the gewgaws of a people who loved bloodshed despite their profession of religion, must yet be broken up for old iron and old brass ; every statue that stands in London shall yet be sold, and the price thereof cast at the apostles' feet, that they may make distribution as every man hath need. Wars must cease, and every place where war reigneth and hath now its glory, must yet pass away, and fade and wither. We give all honour to these men now, for these are the days of our ignorance, and God in some degree winketh at us; but when the gospel spreads we shall then find, that when every heart is full of it, it will be impossible for us to tolerate the very name of war; for when God has broken the bow, and burned the chariot, we shall break the image and dash the sculpture into a thousand atoms. We shall think, when the trade is done, the men that did it may well be forgotten.
II. I think there is enough to cheer our hearts, and nerve us all for the great battle of Christ. The desolations of the past should lead us to hope that, there shall be the like, and greater in the future. And now I am to look upon my text, (and very briefly) AS A PROPHECY WHICH IS TO BE FULFILLED.
I should only needlessly occupy your time, if I were to go over all my heads again, because really every person will be quite as competent as I am to discern how what hath been, shall be, in a yet higher sense. But we must observe once more, in noticing this as a prophecy, the figure of our text. It was usual, after a great battle, and especially if peace was then firmly established, for the conquerors to gather up the arms of the vanquished into one great heap, and then setting fire to it all, as Israel did to the spoils of Jericho, everything was consumed. One of these days, when Christ shall come in his glory, or when the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ,-(not to say anything which would look like proclaiming the second coming here to-day, although I most firmly believe it, and am sorry that we should ever have allowed in any of our missionary meetings any discussion upon a point which involves the faith of a great proportion of us, who hold this to be as dear and precious a doctrine as any other in the Word of God, and we therefore think it unfair that we should at any time have anything said against this, when we meet together in the common bond of union for the spread of the gospel of Christ; we think it a sore thing that we should be attacked then;-however, leaving all that, whether it be by a spiritual or by a personal coming-we believe that one of these days we shall be roused from our beds by one, who shall say to us, “ Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth;" and when we arrive at the spot appointed, it may be, as the old Ephesians brought out all their books and burned them in the street, we shall see our soldiers marching rank and file, and lay down their arms, and all that they have of murderous implements, piling them into one heap; and happy is that mother's child who shall be there to see it! · But see it some one shall, when it shall be truly said, as the fire is kindled over all these things, “lle braketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the file."
Happy the day, when every war-horse shall be houghed, when cvery spear shall become a pruning hook, and every sword shall be made to till the soil which once it stained witli blood. It is of that my text prophecies, and niy text naturally
brings me to that, as the great climax of the gospel dispensation. This will be the last triumph of Christ; before death itself shall be dead; death's great jackall, war must die also, and then shall there be peace on earth, and the angel shall say, “I have gone up and down through the earth, and the earth sitteth still and is at rest; I heard no tumult of war, nor noise of battle.” This is what we hope for. Let us fight on, with diligence and earnestness.
And now, having thus enlarged upon my text, you will permit me to offer a few remarks on a more practical subject.
The question naturally arises, Why has not this promise been more abundantly fulfilled in our own time?” Many say, “ This is Divine sovereignty.” Well, we believe Divine sovereignty with all our hearts; it is a doctrine which we delight to dwell upon, and ever to acknowledge; but we cannot make Divine sovereignty the great sepulchre for our sins. We cannot have it that everything is to be laid at the door of Divine sovereignty. We believe there is a sovereignty that ever overrules the sins of the church, as well as of the world. We hold that in the highest and purest sense; but we do think it is a very gross mistake for us always to be saying, if we are defeated, “ It is Divine sovereignty.” Israel of old did not say so. They looked for the accursed thing that was in the camp. They did not say, “ Divine sovereignty!" when they were beaten by Benjamin; but they enquired of the Lord. They were not content to say it was sovereignty. It was sovereignty, no doubt; but they desired to find another reason which, when discovered, might help them to remove the difficulty and enable them to conquer.
And now, beloved, there are many reasons, I think, why we do not prosper as we could desire in the missionary field; and permit me very briefly to hint at one or two. I shall mean no offence to any.
One reason is, because we have not a thorough and entire unanimity with regard to the matter. Now, I know something of the Baptist denomination. I have wandered through every county of England, pretty well, and been to a great number of the churches, and I grieve to sce thąt there are many of our churches still standing totally aloof from the missionary field. If they stood aloof from our particular society, I might not so much regret, if they chose to have one of their own; but they have not one of their own either. There is the great thing for which I would blame them. That they should have some objection to unite with those whom they think to be different from them in doctrinal opinions, would not only be excusable, but possibly there might be occasions when it would be praiseworthy; but that any of us who hold strongly the doctrines of the grace of God, and who, perhaps, give greater prominence than others to the truth, as it was taught by Calvin, and, as we believe, taught by Christ, should therefore have no Missionary Society, is a great and crying sin; and I really think that the defection of a large part of our body, however it may be caused, may be one reason why we have not had such an abundant blessing from God. For, look ye here! Ye say ye can do without them. Very well: so said the people to Joshua, when he led his troops to attack Ai. They said, “Let not all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men go up and smite Ai; and make not all the people to labour thither; for they are but few.” They thought it would be unnecessary, and Joshua leit behind him a large part, and only took with him his strong able-bodied men. But, together with “the accursed thing” that Achan had concealed, I believe that the want of all the army of Israel was a part-cause of the defeat at Ai. So it is with us. Ah! if there be a means whereby we can get every brother who calls himself a Baptist, to unite himself with this society, if there be any method of love, if there be any way of making concessions, if there be any mode or any means whereby we all could be bound together in the holy brotherhood as á denomination, I think we are each of us bound to make it. I am sure, as far as I am concerned, I may say that there is not to be found upon the surface of the world, one more strongly attached to the old faith, as I believe it to be--the old, strong, doctrinal faith, coupled with the earnest preaching of the gospel to every creature; yet I find myself not out of place in preaching for a Baptist Mission, nor out of place in helping it, and throwing my whole heart into it. "It seems to me it was founded by ourselves: the very men who held these truths were the first leaders in it; and it seems to me the most strange and marvellous thing, that any brother should, from his love to sound doctrine, stand aloof from missions. I am sure it is a stab against our prosperity as churches at home, if we do not come forward to help the missions at large.
I am just saying this, because it may reach to the ears of many of the brethren who are possibly not present to-day. I trust they will think the matter over. We do not ask them to come with us-we will be very glad if they will—but do let them at the very least have a society of their own. Let them be doing something, and do not let it be said that there is a Baptist existing who does not love to send the gospel to the utmost ends of the earth. That maniac nonsense about God doing his own work and our sitting still and doing nothing, ought to have been buried long ago. I know not how to characterize it: it has done us immense damage. We know that God has accomplished his own work; but he always has worked and always will work with means. The men who do not approve of working by means, and stand by and say, “ I do not sympathise with it," I do not wonder that God does not work with them: they do not deserve to be worked with, if they think so. Let us cast away that, and let us say, “ If we can agree with these brethren who associate in missions we will do so; if we cannot agree with those wlio associated in one society, we will do it somehow else; but do it we will, for it is our anxious wish that the kingdoms of this world should become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ.”. But again, it is not all that, my brethren. It is a want of real love to missions in all our churches: and if this should fall scatheless, and if any should say, “ It is not so with the church of which I am a member," let it be so; I do not mean, when I speak generally, to include each individual. It is, I believe, one reason of our want of success, or of that measure of want of success that we have, that there is not a true love of missions in the churches that really help them. Many love missions; they love the cause of Christ, but they do not love Zion better than their own households; but, as far as I can judge, there are many whose attention to the mission field is confined to that one day in the year when the sermon is preached. Some of them confine that day very closely too; for the very smallest threepenny piece that can be discovered is appropriated to the collection on that occasion. They love the mission; yes, they do, but their love is that old sort, of which it is said, “ She never told her love." They never tell it by any contribution, but they keep it very still in their hearts. We cannot think but that they do desire that the gospel should fly abroad, for they sing it with lusty lungs and with voice vociferous; but when there is aught to be done they pinch and screw—the purse-string is made half the ordinary, circumference, and it cannot be undrawn. There is little to be given for Christ. Christ must take the dregs, the sweepings of their wealth. Ah! if our churches loved missions, if we had more of the true spirit in our midst, we should find scores of our young men rising up to go out and preach the gospel to the heathen; and then the church, taking an interest in the young men who sprang from its own bowels, would think it its duty to maintain its missionary, and send him forth preaching the gospel to every creature.
I remember Edward Irving once preached a sermon to a vast congregation, upon missions; I think he preached for four hours; and the object of the sermon was to prove that we were all wrong—that we ought to send out our missionaries without purse or scrip, giving them nothing! Edward never volunteered to go himself! If he had done so at the end of the sermon, we might have endorsed his philosophy. But he stayed at home, and did not go. Now, we are no believers in that. We think that if a man cannot have help, it is his business to go without it. If a man loves the ministry, if he can only preach Christ's gospel in poverty, God bless him in his poverty; if he has to be a tent maker, like Paul, and to work for his own living, and to go forth without purse or scrip! But as a church we cannot have that. “No, no,” we say, “ brother, if you are going to a foreign land, and you give your life and health, and if you renounce the comforts of your family, we cannot let you go without anything. The least we can do is to provide for your needs.” And one says, " There! though you go without purse or scrip, you cannot get across the sea except you have a ship; I will pay your passage-money." Another
says, “ You cannot preach to these people without learning the language; and while you are learning the language you must eat and drink. It is quite impossible that you can live by faith, unless you have something that you can nourish your body with: there is the fund to support you, that you may give all your time to the preaching of the Word.” Ah! if we did but love Christ better, my brothers and sisters, if we lived nearer to the cross, if we knew more of the value of his blood, if we wept like him over Jerusalem, if we felt more what it Was for souls to perish, and what it was for men to be saved- if we did but rejoice
with Christ in the prospect of his seeing the travail of his soul, and being abundantly satisfied-if we did but delight more in the Divine decree, that the kingdoms of this world shall be given to Christ, I am sure we should all of us find more ways and more means for the sending forth of the gospel of Christ.
But to conclude. Perhaps, I may say, and some of you may with tears confess 'tis true, it is a want of revived godliness in our church at home, which prevents our hoping for any great success abroad. Ah! brethren, we must till our own vineyards better, or else God will not make us successful in driving the plough across the broad acres of the continents. We want to have our brethren mors earnest in prayer. Look at our prayer meetings,-a miserable handful of people, compared with the congregation. We want to have them more earnest in labour. Look at many of our agencies, dying for want of effective labourers, when they are to be found, but they are not willing to come forth. Where is the zeal of olden times? We are not among those that say, “ The former times were better than now.” In some respects they were-in others not so good; but if they were better, it is not ours to bemoan, but ours to labour to make these better still. We want (gathering up all things into one), we want the outpouring of the Divine Spirit in our churches at home. Just as the anointing oil was first poured on Aaron's head, and then went to the skirts of the garment, so must the Holy Spirit be poured on England, and then shall it go to the utmost borders of the habitable earth. We want to have Pentecosts at home, and then, Medes and Parthians and Elamites shall hear the Word. “ Begin at Jerusalem," is Christ's ordinance, and it is Christ's method. We must begin there; and as we begin there, in circles wider and wider and wider, yet the gospel shall spread, till, like a sea of glory, it spreads from pole to pole.
Now, dear brethren and sisters, in repairing to our homes this morning, let us carry away at least one thought. Let us believe firmly that God's purpose shall be accomplished; let us hope joyously that we may be the instruments of its accomplishment; and then let us labour prayerfully, that our wishes may e consummated. What is there that you can do to-day for Christ? Oh! if you love Christ, do not let this day pass till you have done something for him. Speak for him; give to him; pray for him. But let each day be spent as a mission day, and be you each day a missionary for Christ. Begin at home. Enlarge your charity; but begin first at home. Let your own houses be cared for, and then your own synagogues; and then, after that, you may send your missionaries to every part of the earth. I beg for a good collection to-day. It is the first time we have met together in this place, and there is a large number of us; if we do not give a right good collection to-day, we shall not save our own credit. That is a poor way of putting it. It will be a disgrace to us, if we do not give well to-day; but beside that, if we save our own credit, we shall not approve our love to Jesus. Give as God hath given to you.