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bute of his substance, towards the necessary expences of such a work? Who, that has a mite to spare, but will cheerfully yield that mite, when the cause and commands of his bleeding Saviour, and the eternal welfare of millions ready to perish, are requiring it at his hands? And who, that has a heart to feel, or a tongue to pray, but will unite to give his God no rest, till he shall appear to save the sinking nations-till he shall establish and make Jerusalem, a praise in the whole earth?
Those, who believe the heathen to be happy in this life, and safe for eternity, will of course deride and oppose all exertions to send to them the gospel. And those, who regard the gospel, as a means, not of saving them from endless ruin, but merely of improving their temporal condition, will never be much engaged in diffusing its blessings. But those, who regard the state of the heathen as it has been exhibited in this discourse-who regard them, as plunging together down to the regions of eternal death, from which nothing can rescue them, but that mercy, which is offered through Christ-all such, it would seem, must be engaged, to bring them to a knowledge and acceptance of this mercy. It was these views of the moral miseries and dangers of the heathen, which pressed like a mountain on the heart of Paul, and urged him onward in his career of love. And similar views have impressed and excited all the faithful laborers and Missionaries, who have lived and died since. Of such, my brethren, let us be the followers;-and whatever sacrifices we may be called to make, or afflictions to suffer, in the service of our beloved Lord, will shortly be compensated and "swallowed up, in a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." Amen.
ON THE AGGRAVATED GUILT OF SINNING AGAINST LIGHT.
Luke xii. 47, 48.
"And that servant which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes; but he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes."
OUR Lord, in these words, adverts to a very equitable rule of treatment among masters respecting their servants; and seems to assume it as a maxim of his own government over his creatures. Here are two servants, who have transgressed their master's will; still, they are not equally guilty, nor will they be punished with equal severity; for one of them has disobeyed knowingly, and the other ignorantly-one "knew his lord's will, but prepared not himself, neither did according to his will;" while the other had not the same knowledge of what was required of him. So here may be two persons, who have committed the same overt act of sin against God, who still are not chargeable with the same degree of guilt; for one of them may have been favored with more light than the other, and consequently may have been under stronger obligations to yield obedience to the commands of his Maker.The following, I think, is the sentiment of the text:
The guilt of wrong actions is in proportion to the light against which they are committed.
In support of this plain and almost self-evident proposition, I shall adduce, in the first place, the Scriptures. It was provided in the law of Moses, that those who sinned through comparative or total ignorance, were not considered so guilty or unclean, as those who sinned presumptuously, and with a full knowledge of their duty. (See Numb. xv. 24-31.) -It is mentioned by Job, in his description of flagrant transgressors, that "they are of those who rebel against the light. The great reason, why it will be more tolerable for Tyre, and Sidon, and Sodom in the day of Judgment, than for the cities where Christ performed most of his mighty works, obviously is, that the inhabitants of these latter cities will be found to have sinned against superiour light.
Our Saviour, at a certain time, remarked concerning his enemies; "If I had not come, and spoken to them, they had not had sin; but now" (on account of the light which my ministry has shed around them) "they have no cloak for their sin."-It is farther asserted by the Apostle James, "To him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin."
These various representations of Scripture in addition to the declarations in the text, clearly teach us how God estimates the improper conduct of his creatures. He measures the guilt of sinful actions according to the light against which they are committed. That this is a proper mode of regarding such actions, may be shewn, in the second place, from the nature of things. Every degree of light respecting a holy and good law, necessarily exhibits more of its propriety, and thus increases our obligations to obey
it. So every degree of light respecting sin, shews us more and more of its enormity, and proportionally increases our obligations to avoid it. And since every increase of light increases, in this way, our motives and obligations; he, who sins against the greatest light, violates the strongest obligations, and is the most flagrantly sinful.
It may be observed again, that the sentiment under consideration is conformable, probably, to the common sense of all men. When children disobey the just commands of their parents; their offence will be estimated by every reasonable parent, according to their means of knowing and understanding what his pleasure was. And when citizens violate the wholesome laws of the land, their guilt will be rated in the same way. Indeed, could the sentiment of the text be submitted for the consideration of all men; it would commend itself to the consciences and the common sense of all. All would agree—other things being equal-that the guilt of wrong actions ever is, and ought to be, in proportion to the degree of light against which they are committed.
Having thus shewn, in few words, the agreement of this sentiment with Scripture, reason and common sense; the discourse will be continued and conIcluded with a number of inferences and reflec tions.
1. If what has been said is true, then every mean of increasing our knowledge is attended with an increasing responsibility.-Knowledge is usually and very justly regarded as desirable. The more useful knowledge we can acquire, the better. And the more our means of knowledge are multiplied, the greater are our privileges. Of the correctness of these positions, no person can be more fully apprized
than myself. But let us, my brethren, understand the subject. It results necessarily from the remarks which have been made-from Scripture, reason, and common sense that every addition to our knowledge, or our means of knowledge, adds just so much to our responsibility. We must either improve means, or misimprove them. If we improve them properly, they will promote our best good; but if we misimprove them, they can only serve to enhance our guilt, and aggragvate our final doom.-It is a great privilege, for instance, that we have Bibles, and so many opportunities for reading and understanding them. But this privilege brings with it a proportional responsibility. We cannot sin with the Bible in our hands, as we could, had we never seen it. Learning from it out Maker's will, if we neglect or refusé to obey, we shall deserve, and must receive, more stripes, than though we had remained in heathenish ignorance. It is a great privilege, that we have Sabbaths, sanctuary enjoyments, and such frequent opportunities of hearing the gospel. But this privilege also brings with it a proportional responsibility. We cannot transgress the law, reject the Saviour, and persist în sin, with the gospel almost daily ringing in our ears, as we might do, had we never heard its joyful sound. It is a great privilege, that the Holy Spirit of God has descended, and is operating among men. But this privilege, like every other, brings with it its responsibility. We cannot sin, under the strivings and teachings of the Holy Spirit, and while God is displaying all around us the power of Divine grace, as we might, had we never felt or witnessed the light and benefits of spiritual influences upon the soul. It is a great privilege that we have books, and tracts, and all the varied means of know