G. B. F. (Gerard Benjamin Fleet) Hallock.

The English pulpit : collection of sermons online

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establish. There are in this congregation, I have no doubt, many
persons who have been converted from the error of their ways ; and
perhaps there is not one here, in whose conversion human agency has
been entirely precluded. He who addresses you was convinced of sin,
and led to the Savior for pardon and acceptance, by the humble but
fervent exertions of a lay preacher. Like some others, he " went to
mock, but remained to pray." And if you recur to the circumstances
of your conversion, you will probably find that it was the sermon of
some minister, the biography of some saint, the advice or reproof of
some friend, the shining light of some devoted Christian, or the fervent
prayer of some sincere disciple, which first awakened you to a sense
of your condition, and led you to " flee for refuge to lay hold on the
hope set before you." Or if, in the first instance, you were directly
moved by the Spirit without any apparent human agency being
employed, we venture to assert, that some Philip, Ananias, or Peter
was called in by jdar blessed Savior, as a subordinate agent, as a
worker together with him, in the completion of your conversion.
Indeed the whole history of the Christian Church proves, that man,



CONVERSION OF SINNERS. 369

feeble man, is God's selected agent in the accomplishment of his glori-
ous purposes of grace. And this is distinctly and clearly assumed, by
the different religious and benevolent institutions of the day, which
concentrate so much human agency with the view of enlightening and
saving the world. Bible, Missionary, Tract and Sunday-school socie-
ties, all recognize and act upon this principle ; and this is the principle
upon which you, as the agents of the London Female Mission, are
authorized and encouraged to put forth your most vigorous exertions in
behalf of perishing thousands, and to endeavor to " save them with
fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment spotted by
the flesh."

Now, brethren, if these things be so, if the method of the Divine
Government, the spirit and tendency of religion, the history of the
church, and the declarations of the Book of God, prove that it is your
duty to exert your powers in the conversion of sinners — how awfully
great is your responsibility ! May you feel it. Remember you cannot
occupy a neutral position here ; for " he that gathereth not with me,'*
saith Christ, " scattereth abroad." If you do not co-operate with
Christ in the great work of saving souls, you do not on that account
remain neutral, but place yourselves, by your very omission of duty,
in opposition to their salvation ; and instead of converting sinners from
the error of their ways, and saving souls from death, you " destroy
those for whom Christ died, and the blood of souls will be found on the
skirts of your garments." "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear."

III. The text may be considered as furnishing the London Female
Mission with the most powerful motives to persevering zeal in
ITS operations. " He shall save a soul from death and hide a multi-
tude of sins."

1. " He that converteth a sinner from the error of his ways, shall
save a soul from deaihJ'^ And who can estimate the value of a soul ?
We may form some conception of its worth, if Ave contemplate its ori-
gin^ as proceeding in a pecuUar way from God ; its capacity^ as being
capable of knowing, serving, loving, and enjoying its maker in this
world, and in that which is to come ; its redemption^ as being " redeemed,
not with corruptible things, such as silver and gold, but with the precious
blood of Christ;" and its immortality, as being destined not only to
exist through all succeeding generations, but for ever and for ever.
Now on the conversion of a sinner, such a soul is saved from spiritual
death. In its unrenewed state it is said to be " dead in trespasses and
sins ; " and very properly so, for as natural death implies a separation
between the body and the soul, so spiritual death implies a separation
24



370 THE ENGLISH PULPIT.

between the soul and its Maker ; but on its conversion a resurrection
takes place. He who is the Resurrection and the Life approaches, and
with authority and power exclaims, " Come forth ! " — and the soul at
once feels the vital principle, heaves with Divine animation, and thus
passes from death unto life. The converted sinner now lives ; and it is
the " life of faith in the Son of God, who hath loved him and given
himself for him;" and he performs the various functions and enjoys
the inestimable blessings of a spiritual existence. But on the conver-
sion of a sinner, a soul is saved from eternal death ; from blackness and
darkness ; from tribulation and wrath ; from fire and brimstone ; from
the worm that dieth not ; from weeping and wailing, and from gnashing
of teeth. Such are some of the Scripture characteristics of death —
eternal death — death which never dies, and to which every uncon-
verted sinner is exposed. If on the death of a soul, both man and
beast should be clothed with sackcloth — if all creatures capable of
emotion, should join in the loud and doleful lamentation — if every
tree of the forest and herb of the field should immediately droop like
the weeping willow — if every dew drop should be mingled with blood,
to indicate the agony of maternal nature, and if the sun should put
on his funeral robes as the first mourner on the occasion — the expres-
sion of sorrow would indeed be affecting, but it would fall far short of
giving us any adequate conception of the misery occasioned by the loss
of a soul. And will you not endeavor to save a soul from death ?
Brethren, if you saw your neighbor's house on fire, would you not
hasten to quench the flame ? If you saw a fellow-creature drowning,
would you not plunge into the river to his rescue, or furnish him with
some means of escape ? Or if you saw numbers in the city dying of
the plague, and you possessed an infallible remedy, would you not
apply it without delay, that the plague might be stayed ? But what is
the saving of burning houses, drowning men, or dying multitudes,
compared with the saving of one soul from death ? He who saves a
soul from death, performs a greater work than he who saves a land
from famine, a city from the plague, and a country from an invading
foe. Then, bring all your capabilities to bear upon this important and
momentous work. Have you talents at your command ? in this work
let them be employed. Have you influence in the world ? in this work
let it be exerted. Have you zeal in your hearts ? in this work let it
ardently burn. Have you devotion in your spbrits ? in this work let it
ascend to the throne of heaven. Have you wealth at your disposal ?
in this work let it be liberally expended. Men ! Brethren ! Patriots !
Christians ! By what inspiring name shall I call you ? Your duty is
plain ; and for its performance, humanity is entreating, and Christian-



CONVERSION OF SINNERS. 371

ity exhorting, importuning, and commanding. The case is urgent ;
for sinners are perishing whilst I am speaking — perishing by thou-
sands — perishing within the reach of help — perishing in your city,
and at your doors ! Every man therefore to his work ; and what you
do, do quickly, do it with your might ; do it in spite of all opposition,
and upon your heads shall abundantly descend the blessings of them
that are ready to perish.

As the agents are supporters of the London Female Mission, you
have in this a most powerful motive to zeal and perseverance in your
important and deeply interesting operations.

2. " He that converteth a sinner from the error of his ways, shall "
also " hide a multitude of sins.^^ Every sinner is guilty of a multi-
tude of sins — sins of omission, and sins of commission — sins of the
heart, sins of the lips, sins of the life ; but when conversion takes
place, all those sins are covered by the great propitiatory sacrifice —
are blotted out by the precious blood of Christ, and Divine justice sees
them no more. But the word rendered " hide," is susceptible of
another meaning, and I am much inclined to believe that its meaning
in the text is to withhold from sight, rather than to withdraw from
sight, or to hide hj prevention, rather than by covering. If this inter-
pretation be adopted, the text will certainly read more naturally, " He
shall save a soul from death, and prevent a multitude of sins." One
sinner, we are told, destroys much good ; and this may especially be
said of one of those unhappy females, whose salvation this society
seeks to accomplish ; but when converted, a multitude of sins are pre-
vented ; and not only sins which she would have committed, but sins
in others, who might have been influenced by her example, or been so
unfortunate as to fall into her snares. Had any person succeeded in
converting Voltaire, Hume, Paine, Robert Owen, or even certain
degraded females, whose " paths incline unto death," and " whose
guests are in the depths of hell," what infidelity, what blasphemy,
what intemperance, what lasciviousness, what murders, and other forms
of vice, ruining many famihes, breaking many hearts, and destroying
many souls, would have been prevented ! And on the other hand,
what multitudes of sins have been prevented by the agents, who led
Luther, and Wesley, and Whitefield, and other successful ministers, to
the foot of the cross, and the enjoyment of salvation ! — sins, which
might have brought the fearful judgments of heaven upon famiUes,
communities, and nations ! Brethren, if you wish to benefit not only
the present generation, but generations yet unborn, and to give a
moral impulse to the world that shall live when you are dead, labor to
convert a sinner. There was a woman in the attire of a harlot, walk-



372 THE ENGLISH PULPIT.

ing in yonder street, alluring those who were void of understanding,
and " casting down many wounded ; yea, many strong men were slain
by her ; for her house was the way to hell, going down to the cham-
bers of death ; " but by the blessing of God upon the exertions of the
London Female Mission, she was awakened and converted. The event
excited but little interest in this degenerate world ; there was no ring-
ing of bells, no flourishing of trumpets, no firing of cannon, no illumin-
ation of the city, no display of fire works ; nor was any medal struck
to commemorate the glorious occurrence. And yet, it excited a deeper
interest among the angelic host, than all the exploits of bravery, that
mark the battle field, and throw whole nations into ecstacies of joy ;
for while angels pass by all those exploits without ever once stopping
to strike their lyre, they rapturously sung the heavenly chorus, and
throughout all their shining ranks rejoiced over that one repenting
sinner. In the conversion of that unhappy female, you gave a moral
impulse to society, which in a few years may be felt at the very antip-
odes, and at last appear in tens of thousands of glorified spirits at the
right hand of God. What a motive is this for perseverance and
energy in the operations of the London Female Mission !

In conclusion, we remark —

1. That the exertions of the London Female Mission are much
required. It is stated on what is deemed good authority, that there
are witliin the precincts of this city not fewer than eighty thousand
females living upon the wages of their iniquity, supported at an
expense of eight millions annually, or something more than twenty
thousand pounds per day ; and that one out of every three of the
daughters of persons in the humbler walks of life are found to asso-
ciate with these outcasts of society before they have attained the age
of twenty years. Oh ! that I had the authors of this appalling evil
now before me. I would not only tell them with tears of the numer-
ous families they have ruined, the many hearts they have broken, and
the unnumbered souls they have destroyed ; but I would implore help
of God to seize their blood-stained spirits, and shake them over the
pit of hell, that the waitings of their victims might rouse them to a
sense of their sins and danger. It is certainly impossible for Christians,
jealous for the honor of God, and concerned for the benefit of man, to
look upon the state of our metropolis with stoicism, or refuse their
co-operation in efforts to renovate it. Ours is the city of the plague ;
and if something be not done to stay it in its deadly progress — if the
pious rush not in between the living and the dead — it may reach our
own families, poison our own cup, and this great and wealthy metrop-
ohs may become as Admah, and be made like unto Zeboim. Men of



CONVERSION OF SINNERS. 373

Israel, help ! Humanity cries, Help ! Patriotism cries, Help ! Christ-
ianity cries, Help ! And hark, a voice issues from yonder wretched
garret, where there is one, who was formerly beautiful, amiable, modest,
and the joy of her parents' hearts ; but in the hour of temptation, she
fell, and is now degraded, forsaken, broken-hearted, perishing ; and
oh ! hear her, for she cries for — Help !

The usages of society are such, that when a female wanders from
the path of virtue, and abandons herself to a course of infamy, she is
prevented from returning to virtuous society, and must in all proba-
bility perish in the ways of error, and be lost for ever, independently
of the kind interposition of this or some kindred institution. She may
be disgusted with her mode of life, and earnestly desire to forsake it,
as is the case with many such characters ; but where can she go ?
Her relations, if she have any, feeling that she has so greatly dishon-
ored them, refuse to afford her shelter, and even disown her. She is
without character, and what family, in her present state, will engage
her as a servant ? If charity do not therefore stretch forth its kind
helping hand, what, we ask, is to become of her ? We do not sketch
a fictitious picture, but believe this to be the true state of thousands
in this metropolis. Many are laboring to destroy them ; and will no
one labor to save them ? Millions are annually expended to hasten
their souls to hell ; and shall little or nothing comparatively be given
to save them from that place of torment ? Exasperated relations
spurn them from their presence ; virtuous families refuse to employ
and shelter them ; and must they look in vain to the followers of the
benevolent Jesus, for sympathy and refuge ? The London Female
Mission says. No ! The views which have now been given, led to the
establishment of this institution. May you also be so impressed with
them, as to afford the Mission your utmost countenance and support,
in its varied forms and modes of operation.

2. The exertions of the London Female Mission have been henefidal.
This society has met with various forms of opposition ; but the Divine
blessing has manifestly rested upon it. It has rescued many a victim
from the grasp of the destroyer ; bound up many a broken heart ;
healed many a wounded spirit ; reclaimed many a wandering prodigal ;
protected many a virtuous female ; and saved many a perishing soul.
Since its establishment in November, 1836 * three hundred and five
young women have been rescued from an evil course of life. This
mission contemplates two objects ; for it not only seeks, by the Divine
blessing, the restoration of the fallen to their families and to their God,
but it aims to preserve the virtuous from the snares and dangers to

* Tliis sermon was preached Oct. 1, 1840.



374 THE ENGLISH PULPIT.

which they are exposed. For the accomplishment of the former object,
it has established a " Probationary House,^' in which there are at pres-
ent forty-five females ; and three " District Asylums,''^ in which there
are one hundred and forty-four females. For the accomplishment of
the latter object, it not only forms " Crirls^ Associations,'" under the
control and direction of Christian ladies, with the view of cultivating
moral habits, and checking in its incipient state, and while under the
parental roof, every tendency to female profligacy ; and provides
" Temporary Refuges for indigent young women,^^ who are employed,
instructed, and supported, until permanent situations can be obtained
for them ; but it has established " Servant'' s Homes and Registries,^^
where such as are out of place, but have not forfeited their character,
are provided with comfortable lodgings at a moderate charge, and
where a registry is kept to facilitate their obtaining situations. It also
issues two monthly publications, and several tracts, all greatly calcula-
ted to promote its benevolent objects. In its labors of love, it knows
no distinction of sect or party, of color or clime, but simply aims,
under the blessing of the Most High, to diminish the amount of
wretchedness and moral degradation to be found in London, and as far
as possible to elevate the standard of female character ; and were its
funds more ample, it might greatly enlarge the sphere of its opera-
tions. The committee of this institution earnestly invite the attention
of the benevolent to the following facts : — " From January 1st, 1839,
to January 1st, 1840, a period of one year, the number of young
women who applied to be admitted into the Asylum of the London
Female Mission was 404 ; of these, 109 were received ; the remaining
number were sent away principally for want of room, the house then
rented by the Mission being able to accommodate only thirty inmates.
Since that period, a larger house, capable of receiving eighty beds,
has been purchased, and furnished for forty-eight females ; to which
number the advantage of the institution is now extended. But though
the operations of the society, in this department of benevolence, has
been greatly enlarged, and the managers feel that they have advanced
to the full extent their funds will allow, yet the number of apphcants
for the society's aid, is still so great, as to amount, in the short space
of three days, to twenty-five in number ; to all of whom the committee
were obliged to say, " We cannot receive you," What ! are they then
to return to their haunts of vice and misery ? thus to be repulsed in
their attempts to escape from ruin ? We cannot receive you ! Who
then will receive them ? If they have knocked at the door of a Chris-
tian institution, and have been refused admittance, though they asked
for it with tears of penitence in their eyes, and in the name of the sin-



CONVERSION OF SINNERS. 375

ner's Friend, what door will open to take them In ? We cannot receive
you ! " Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon,"
that in the metropolis of the Christian world where truth has triumphed
and martyrs have bled, in three days twenty-five females applied to ?
number of Christian ladies and gentlemen, to interpose their aid to
save them from wretchedness and hell, and were refused that aid.
We cannot receive you ! Indeed it was true ; and no person's feel-
ings can be more deeply affected with the rejection of those females,
than were the feelings of the committee of the London Female Mis-
sion, in being necessitated, by their exhausted funds, to deny the as-
sistance and protection sought for. The committee bring the case of
these twenty-five hapless females before you to-night ; and will you, as
a Christian congregation, refuse to replenish their funds, and thus
practically say to so many imploring outcasts, " We cannot receive
you ? " What ! must they then be abandoned to ruin, descend into
the pit, and bitterly exclaim, as it closes upon them, " No man cared
for our souls ? " Remember, you must meet them at the bar of God ;
and if you refuse them help, and they should in consequence be lost,
how will you encounter their penetrating and upbraiding glance, as
they turn from the judgment seat to meet their awful doom ? Will
you rather save money, than immortal souls ? Your money perish
with you ; for if this be your feeling, it is easy to perceive that you are
" in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity." A piercing
cry for assistance has this evening reached you ; and " if you forbear
to deliver them that are drawn into death, and those that are ready to
be slain ; if you say. Behold, we knew it not ; doth not He that pon-
dereth the heart consider it ? and He that keepeth the soul, doth He
not know it ? and shall not He render to every man according to his
works ? "



376

SERMON XXXI.

THE GLORY OF THE GOSPEL.

BY REV. T. ADKINS.

" The glorious gospel of the blessed God." — 1 Timothy, i. 11.

Man is an ambitious being : the desire of attaining to some species
of real or imaginary excellence is intimately interwoven with the very
texture of the human mind. This desire commences with the earhest
dawn of our conscious existence — as soon as we are capable of form-
ing an opinion respecting our actions and our possible' circumstances :
and it remains with us through every subsequent stage of our life ;
stimulating us to future attainments, and holding out the prospect of
greater good.

But the entrance of sin has beclouded our faculty of spiritual per-
ception, and vitiated our moral taste : and hence many seek happiness
in that which is not in itself essentially " glorious ; " but which only
tends to augment the suffering, and to increase the misery of the
heart. There are individuals who possess such a perspicacity of pride
as to discover in themselves excellences imperceptible to any eye but
their own. There are those who are so disposed to attain to elevation,
that they are content to occupy a position, even though it be on a
dunghill, if they can but secure the attention of their fellow men.
There are others who, having no virtues to plume themselves with,
boast of their very vices, and glory in their shame.

My brethren, I have this evening to put before you an object, not
of imaginary, but of real glory ; an object, the transcendent ^splendor
of which surpasses all that human ambition ever panted after, or
human success ever won. All the productions of nature, and all the
events of time — all that has been achieved by the ingenuity of man,
or the majesty of God himself, is veiled before its transcendent splen-
dor : and in reference to them we may say, what the apostle said in
reference to the comparative splendor of the two dispensations —
that the former had no glory " by reason of the glory that excelleth."
that this evening each of us may purge our abused vision at the
fountain of heavenly radiance, that we may be blessed with spiritual
perception to behold the unequalled splendor of that, respecting which
it is declared, by the voice of infalUble truth, that it is " the glorious
gospel of the blessed God."



GLORY OF THE GOSPEL. 377

The expression rendered, " blessed," might, with no less propriety,
have been translated " the happy gospel." And this suggests to us
an important train of thought. All holy beings are happy ; and all
happy beings are benevolent : they are happy just in proportion as
they are holy ; and they are benevolent just in proportion as they are
happy. Angels are holier than men, and therefore they are more
happy, and more benevolent. Unallied to us by the ordinary sympa-
thies of a common nature, they yet take an intense interest in all that
relates to the well-being of man. God is the holiest being, and there-
fore he is the happiest ; and, being the happy God, he is the most
benevolent being in the universe ; and his own happiness is augmented
whilst he is diffusing felicity through countless myriads of intelligent
beings.

By " the g(Jspel," I understand that revelation of mercy in which
the Deity, through the substitution and sacrifice of his Son, conde-
scends to bestow blessings on a lost and ruined world. It is the gospel,
because it is glad tidings ; glad tidings, inasmuch as it is a scheme
through which the Deity bestows the greatest blessings on man —
bestows them in a manner correspondent with the perfection of his own
nature, and in a manner adapted to the moral impotence of our own.

Instead, however, of occupying your time with any prefatory re-
marks respecting the nature and constitution of this gospel, I proceed
to seize on the distinguishing feature which the apostle places before
us, and remind you that it is " the glorious gospel : " and it is so

BECAUSE IT IS A SySTEM OP ETERNAL TrUTH, IN WHICH THE MORAL

Perfections of the Godhead are most transcendently display-
ed. There is but one being in the universe that is self-existent and
dependent, and who, consequently, can make his own glory the ulti-
mate object of his existence : and that being is God. Consequent



Online LibraryG. B. F. (Gerard Benjamin Fleet) HallockThe English pulpit : collection of sermons → online text (page 42 of 45)