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persons have always been to confine, salvation to their own parties, and to anathematize those who are walking without the line drawn by their prejudice, and ignorance, and pride. But the Gospel knows nothing of it. The Gospel teaches us to say, "Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity." The Gospel teaches us to say of every disciple of Jesus, Whosoever shall do the will of my Father who is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother." When shall we remember this? When Jude would eulogize the Gospel, the finest epithet he could attach to it, was its commonness; and therefore he speaks of his contending for the commonness of the faith.' Common to all ages-all countries-all conditionsall characters.
should hereafter believe in him to
To perish by His hand."
And as there are none excluded from its benefits, so there are none who are exempt from its appointments. It reaches to all men and all creeds. It asks leave to address none. It commands sovereigns as well as the subjects. It says, "Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth"--" Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the son lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. "Blessed are all they that put their trust in him." It leaves none beneath its notice. It enters into all the directions of actual life. If you When the Apostle says, that this are single, it prescribes your choice grace of GoD which bringeth sal--if you are connected, it regulates vation hath appeared to all men," he your condition-if you are masters, means particularly to intimate that it tells you of "a master in heaven"none are excluded from its benefits, if you are servants, it enjoins you, and that none are exempt from its "to adorn the doctrine of GOD your appointments. He means to intimate Saviour in all things"-if you are that none are excluded from its bene- wives, it enjoins you to reverence fits. You never in the Scriptures your husbands"-husbands, “to love read any such language as this, If your wives even as yourselves"-if this person seek him he will be found children, "to be obedient to your by him, but if this seek him he will parents"-and if parents, to "train reject him. So far from this the up your children in the nurture and language of the Gospel is, "Who- admonition of the Lord." And thus soever will, let him take of the waters you see "the grace of GoD which of life freely." Look unto me and bringeth salvation hath appeared to be saved all the ends of the earth." all men." Go forth, and as many as you find, both bad and good, bid to the wedding. In proclamations of grace among men there are always some exceptions; for instance, the ringleaders are excluded; their pardon would endanger the safety of the community. But "GOD's thoughts are not as our thoughts, nor GOD's ways as our ways." We have, therefore, in Scripture, some of the chief of sinners, the vilest of the vile, the ringleaders, if you will, called, on purpose to be patterns: not to induce people to continue in their sins; but to seek after salvation from them; and, therefore, says the Apostle, after mentioning his former wickedness, "nevertheless I obtained mercy, that in me, first, Christ Jesus might shew forth all long suffering; for a pattern to them which
Let us now Secondly, attend to what is here said of THE INFLUENCE OF THE GOSPEL. It is expressed by teaching
it teaches. Here two inquiries will be needful. First, it will be needful to ask how the Gospel teaches? much depends on this.
It teaches by way of precept. Some of those precepts are particular; others are far more general; and they could not be otherwise, unless every house had been turned into a place of confusion, and the world itself could not have continued the books that were written.
But the advantage of the Gospel is, that it does not only teach by way of precept, but by way of example; and as example goes so much farther than precept, every thing in the Gospel is thrown down before you in in
stances and facts. You see every Nor does this go far enough; the thing embodied and live there. You Gospel not only teaches in the way are not told of the Christian warfare; of precept, example, and motive, but but you see the warriors engaged. in the way of real and spiritual opeYou are not informed only of the ration and efficiency. It is here that pilgrimages; you see the pilgrims- none teaches like Him-it is here that you mingle with them-you go along he gives not only the lesson, but the with them-you hold converse with capacity necessary to receive it—it is them. You see the actings of faith here that he gives not only the light, in Abraham-of meekness in Moses- but the seeing eye; and not only the of patience in Job-of zeal in Paul. sound, but the hearing ear. He The Pagan religion wanted a perfect teaches the blind to see, the deaf to example; so did the Jewish religion hear, the dead to feel. Oh, yes; too. They had a great many emi- precept, example, and motive, suit nent models, but the most eminent well for those who are already alive ; characters had their failings. Here but what will they do with those who we have the advantage under the are dead in trespasses and sins, unGospel dispensation; we have one less there be something more? There who did no evil, in whom was no is this distinction between the Gospel sin-the holy one of GOD-godliness and all other moral means. All other incarnate the ten commandments moral means are left to their own walking up and down in the flesh-unaided strength; but this is not the the blessed GOD manifest in the case with the Gospel. The Gospel is flesh. connected with the presence and the energy of GOD, and this is ensured to us. The Gospel is the ministration of the Spirit; "not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord." And when it is effectual for our salvation it comes, as the Apostle says to the Thessalonians, "not in word only, but in power, and the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance." And it is thus, therefore, that we can reckon on the success of it as preached; and that we are encouraged to go forth, even with our knowledge of the depravity of human nature; "for as the rain cometh down and the snow from heaven and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."
We must again ask what the Gospel teaches? what it teaches us to deny? Ungodliness and worldly lusts." What it teaches us to do? "To live soberly, righteously, and godly, in the present world." What it teaches us to expect? "Looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great GoD and our Saviour Jesus Christ." What it teaches us to acknowledge? "Who
The Gospel also teaches in the way of motive. Motive is something designed to move, and adapted to move; and, if you observe the Gospel, you will find that it addresses every principle of our nature, every passion of our bosom, our hope, our fear, our joy, our sorrow, our abhorrence, and our admiration. It draws back the veil, and we see a burning world-a descending judge-the rising dead-the dead, small and great, standing before GOD-the glories of heaven-and the flames of hell. It addresses our ingenuousness; it tells us of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ; how that "though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor that we through his poverty might be rich." It makes us to "cómprehend with all saints what is the height and depth and breadth and length and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, that we may be filled with all the fulness of GOD." It addresses our discouragements, our timorousness, and the sense of our weakness, and it meets us there. It says "fear not, for I am with thee; be not discouraged, for I am thy GOD. I will strenghten thee, yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness"-" My grace is sufficient for thee, my strength is made perfect in weakness."
gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people zealous of good works."
the indulgence of our passions, and affections, and appetites, and senses
when you are moderate with regard to all earthly things; not too eager to gain them, and not too fond of possessing them, and not too sorrowful when you resign them-then you live soberly. When "whatsoever you would that men should do unto you, you do so also to them"-when you render to all their due-obedience to whom obedience is due-honour to whom honour is due-pity to whom pity is due-relief to whom relief is due-and money to whom money is due; and when you are actuated not merely in these concerns by legality, but by conscientiousness; and when you regard also what is due to the various classes of your fellow-creatures as to their souls as well as their substance and their bodies-then you live righteously. And when your hearts are right with GOD-when you believe in him-when you fear him— when you love him-when you resemble him-when you make his word your rule-when his honour is your aim-when you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, you do all to the glory of GoD-then you live godly. And the Apostle is not backward to remind you where it is you are thus to live, namely, "in the present world." For there is another world towards which you are rapidly advancing, and with which you are very intimately connected. This is the seed time, that will be the harvest; and "that which a man soweth will he also reap." But the grace of GoD does not leave your religion to a future world; no, it makes it your concern in this. Its truths must be learnedits principles must be gained-its disposition must be exercised in the present world. You must now, or never, acquire that taste that will prepare you for the enjoyment of heaven-you must now, or never, obtain that capacity that will fit you for the employments of heaven-you must now be "made meet for the in
Therefore observe what it teaches us to do; "not only to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, but to live soberly, righteously, and godly." Here is a fine reference to the three parties who are concerned in all moral acts and duties-ourselves-heritance of the saints in light." our fellow-creatures- and our GOD. "Now he that hath wrought in us," We should live soberly with regard to saith the Apostle, "for the self same ourselves, righteously with regard to thing is God, who has also given us our fellow-creatures, and godly with the earnest of his Spirit.” And when regard to GOD. When we are sober- he says, that it must be in "this preminded-when we are temperate in sent world," he means to show the
It teaches us what we are to deny. "Ungodliness and worldly lusts." Here the law begins, and here it must begin, because sin is the first occupant; and therefore there must be an ejection before there can be another inhabitant dwelling there. You are, therefore, required, to "lay aside all malice, and guile, and hypocrisy, and envy, and evil speaking, and receive with meekness the engrafted word." You are required, to "put off the old man with his deeds, according to the deceitful lusts of the flesh, and to put on the new man." You are required to break up the fallow ground, and not sow among thorns. But though it begins here, it does not end here. It requires you not only to cease to do evil, but to learn to do well. There are many people who are leaning on a negative religion. I mean to say that a negative useless life is as criminal a life and as unchristian as a life of profligacy. I say from the Scriptures, that the tree that brought not forth any bad fruit, was hewn down and cast into the fire because it brought not forth good fruit. I say from the Scriptures, that the servant that was unprofitable was a wicked servant and cast into utter darkness; not because he abused his talent, but because he hid it in the napkin. Dont tell me you never swear-do you pray? Say not that you oppress not the poor and needy-do you succour and relieve them? Hear the decision of the Judge of all: "Depart ye cursed, for I was hungry, and ye gave me no meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink; I was sick, and in prison, and ye came not unto me.'
the redeemed will be complete, as well as their persons, and the whole of them issued into the joy of their Lord.
possibility, as well as the necessity, of the case.
Oh the present world is a sad world, a sad place for religion; "it lies in wickedness," as the Apostle says. Christ is every where reviled holiness is discountenanced-the Sabbath is profaned-the way of truth evil spoken of; and yet, according to the Apostle, bad as the situation is, it is possible for the grace of GOD to teach a man " to live righteously, soberly, and godly, in the present world. There have always been instances of this, and there are instances now. You, young people, will not be able to justify your neglect of religion on the score of your youth; for there are persons in your season of life who are remembering their Creator. None of you will be able to excuse yourselves from the peculiarity of your condition in life, your business, or connexion; for you will find there were many in the very same circumstances with you, and possessed with the same passions, who yet loved and served GOD.
Then what does it teach us to expect? "Looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great GOD and our Saviour Jesus Christ." This hope does not mean the grace of hope, but the object of hope. It is said to be, in another place, "laid up for us in heaven." It is described by its attribute, "blessed ;" and it may well be called "that blessed hope," for eye hath not seen nor ear heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of man, the things which GOD hath prepared for them that love him." And it is also described by the season when it is to be attained," the appearing of the great GoD and our Saviour Jesus Christ." This season is mentioned, because it will then be accomplished. The intermediate state is not denied, or overlooked, or undervalued by the Apostle here and elsewhere; but he leads forward, very naturally, the minds of Christians, to the consummation of the whole, in " the adoption, that is to say, the redemption of the body;" when the flesh which has slept in hope shall be awakened when this vile body will be changed and fashioned like the Saviour's own glorious body-when the number of
And what does it teach them, finally, to acknowledge? For their religion is not a future existence only; no, they can look backward as well as forward. They acknowledge this, "He gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." They own that he who had given them the earth, and the sun, and the seasons, at last gave himself, and gave himself not only to them, observe, but for them. That is, to be poor, and to be persecuted, and to be opposed, and to suffer, and to die; and not to be a martyr only, but to be a redeemer; and not only to redeem them from iniquity, and the curse, and the possible consequences, but as they were defiled as well as guilty, so they stood in need of renovation as well as pardon, to purify them unto himself by the agency of his Holy Spirit, that they might be thereby "a peculiar people," whose peculiarity should not consist in notions-in opinions-in the act of an agreement in the use of a pronoun-or in a dissent from the ancient established customs and manners of the community in which they live, but a practical peculiarity and dissent from the spirit, and maxims, and cares of this world-" a peculiar people zealous of good works." Oh, my brethren, this is what they believe and what they avow! These are the glorious truths that feed and nourish their experience and their practice. Under the influence of these principles they live; and in the enjoyment of these principles they die. And what would our religion be, abstracted from this exalted sentiment, that he gave himself
gave himself for us-“gave himself for us, to redeem us from all iniquity, to purify unto himself a peculiar people zealous of good works?" Or what would our religion be if these words were philosophised away, explained away, as some would explain them, till nothing should be left but a caput mortem, and that the retreat of heresy? But Christians feel their power and feel their vitality.
And, my brethren, what an evidence have we here of the mighty doctrine of the faith once delivered to the saints-I mean the divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Apostle speaks of the " great GoD and our Saviour Jesus Christ." Surely he means the same being-and he is the being intended? This is undeniable because of his appearance. The appearance is never, in the Scriptures, applied to the Father, but only to the Son; and the being who is to appear, is the same being "who gave himself for us to redeem us, to purify unto himself a peculiar people zealous of good works."
Nor is this all, the Apostle remarks (and what a proof again is this of his divinity?)-that our recovery is not only from him, as the author; but terminates in him as the last end. He says, "he gave himself for us to purify unto himself a peculiar people." In another place it is said, "he hath redeemed us unto GOD by his blood." Here, then, he does it to present us to himself a glorious church. And as it is in another place, He cleanses it, and washes it by the washing of water, that he might present it to himself a glorious church.' As in the old creation, so in the new; therefore, as the Apostle says, "not only are all things made by him, but for him."
And we are here reminded by the Apostle, of our obligations to him, that we may acknowledge, not only our dependance on him now, but how much we owe him and shall owe him for ever---that we may dedicate ourselves to his service, and ask, "Lord what wilt thou have me to do?"
And therefore how valuable and worthy does the Gospel appear? How distinguishable is it from all other systems, every one of which are formed after the image of man as he now is, and in accommodation to his
wishes; whereas the Gospel is only in accommodation to his wants, but these it infinitely suits, and these it completely relieves? It is a doctrine of godliness and grace-it is "profitable unto all things, having the promise of the life which now is, and the life which is to come.' It unites the glory of GOD, and the happiness of man completely together. While it tranquillizes the conscience of the sinner, it also heals the moral maladies of his nature, and makes him a new creature. Well, therefore, may the Gospel be called, "the glory and excellency of God."
And what can we think of those who oppose it-those who endeavour to persuade others and especially the rising young-what they do not, and really cannot think, whatever they may pretend to believe themselves, that a system so wisely contrived by GOD-so holy in its tendencies-so sublime in its doctrines -so adapted to make men, individually and socially happy, is a cunningly devised fable, and the offspring of a weak or wicked mind? Why we ought to consider them the vilest, the basest, and the cruelest enemies of the human race,
But what is our duty with regard to this Gospel? It is to be thankful for the invaluable blessing. It is to inquire whether you have received it, not as the word of man, but, as it is in truth," the word of GOD, which worketh also effectually in them that believe." It is to fear lest the promise being left you of entering into his rest, any of you should come short of it. It is to be concerned for its diffusion and spread. It is by this alone that the world will be morally changed. Should you not, therefore, daily and hourly pray, that "his word may have free course and be glorified,"-that "his way may be known upon earth, and his saving health among all nations."-Amen.
END OF VOL. V.
C. WHITTINGHAM, TOOKS COURT, CHANCERY LANE.