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To the HON. SAMUEL T. ARMSTRONG, Mayor of the city of Boston, and to her benevolent friends in Massachusetts and New York, this translation is dedicated by the grateful
THE LOVE OF JESUS.
EPHESIANS 5: 25-27.
Even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word; that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
HEARKEN, my beloved! Jesus desires a holy, pure, unspotted, unblemished church. Mark it well! - Why it is that I wish and beseech you to mark it well on the day of your confirmation, you may easily understand; for you know that you are entering a church of Christians, you are received as members of a Christian church. You ought, therefore, first of all, to understand what a Christian church should be.
You take your name from Christ. He, the purest, the holiest, who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth, he is the Lord of the church. He is the Head, under whom the members are all united by one Spirit to one body. He has founded and established the church. He has dearly purchased every member for his own, by sufferings such as no man before or since has endured, by humiliation unto death, even to death on the cross. He so loved the church, that he gave himself for it. It is his ordinance and command, that in all the earth, men, without distinction of people, or other outward circumstances, shall be I called and invited to assemble and unite themselves under him, the Lord and Head of mankind. From him is the doctrine in which you are to be instructed, and which, according to his will, shall be taught in all the world. Of him the gospel testifies, which is preached to the church, and which, according to his will, shall be preached to the nations of the earth. That he came into the world to make sinners happy; that he died in order to save sinners from the misery, and ruin, and death of sin;
that God raised him from the dead, and exalted him to be Lord and King at his right hand; that he there lives and reigns, endowed with all that is needed to lift up fallen, sunken humanity, to raise it from its low estate, and elevate it to his own greatness and glory, till all his enemies shall be humbled beneath his feet; this is the sum and substance of the gospel which he wished to have proclaimed. And because these glad tidings are its summary, it bears the name of gospel. 'Repent ye, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out.' Believe on the Lord Jesus, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission sins.' This is the sum and substance of the call, the invitation to the church of Christ. You hear that that proclamation is universal, that this invitation is universal. But not all who heard that proclamation, and understood this invitation, accepted the gospel, and followed the call.
The men who knew, and had often and painfully felt their blindness and perverseness, their impurity and debasement and exposure