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This effect has, in every age, been manifested in the lives of God's people
St. Paul, the great champion of the faith, was inferior to none in holiness
And the contradictory objections, now urged against the preachers and professors of the gospel, afford a strong testimony in their favour-] APPLICATION. 1. To ministers
[They who preach the gospel, ought, above all, to experience its power
If they do not, their condemnation will be greatly aggravated
Let us then examine whether we have truly, and indeed believed
And let us comply with that solemn, but encouraging injunction:-) APPLICATION. 2. To Christians in general
[Baptism does not supercede, but increase our obligation to believer
However humiliating it be to seek salvation in another, we must submit?
The decree in the text is irreversible, and shall be executed in its season-1
u 2 Cor. xii. 11.
1 Pet. iii. 21. and Rom. vi. 4.
*1 Tim. iv. 16.
Mark xvi. 15, 16.
WAY OF OBSERVATION.
Observations on the Gospel Message.* I. JESUS CHRIST has plainly revealed to us the
terms of salvation
(God has sent various messages to our guilty world
Sometimes he has used the ministry of men, and sometimes of angels
But in the text he speaks to us by his only Sona
• M. CLAUDE'S TOPICS, which are here illustrated and referred to, are subjoined for the convenience of the Reader: See page 941. The words in Italics mark the precise idea that illustrates the particular Topic referred to.
* Heb. i. 1.
His words contain a command, a promise, and a threatening
The duty he enjoins imports a simple reliance upon Christ
Yet is it such a reliance as includes a penitent obediential frame
To faith thus exercised is annexed a promise of eternal life
To the want of it, a threatening of eternal death
It had been made known in types and prophecies from the beginning
But it was revealed by Christ with more abundant light and evidence-] II. Those he prescribed are honourable to God
and suitable to man
[Any other method of salvation would have sety the divine perfections, as it were, at variance
Justice required satisfaction for our breaches of God's law
Truth demanded the execution of the penalty which the law denounced
Holiness forbad any things unclean to enter into heaven
But Christ has borne the penalty, and satisfied divine justice,
And by faith we are interested in all that he has done and sufferedd
Thus mercy may be exercised in consistency with truth and justice
And every perfection of the Deity be glorified in our salvation
Surely such a plan was worthy of an all-wise God
Nor could any other have been so suitable for fallen man
What could we have hoped for from our obedience to the law?
We are utterly incapable of fulfilling its strict demands
Yet, if we could do this in future, it would avail us nothing, unless we could also expiate the guilt of our past transgressions
But by believing in Christ we obtain a perfect righteousness
And are made spotless in the sight of God himself
b Acts ii. 38.
d Acts xiii. 39.
c John viii. 24.
Nor are there any so good but they need this
Nor any so vile but they may be saved by it-] III. All attempts to substitute any other will be
vain [Many are the refuges to which men flee, in a season of conviction
They substitute their own repentance, reformation, &c. in the place of faith
But Christ is the only foundation of a sinner's hope-
The very offer of a Saviour supposes that we are lost--.
Nor need this gospel have been published, if men could have saved themselves-
Can we suppose that Christ would have purchased this salvation at the price of his own blood, if men could have been saved without him?-
Or that, when he delivered so peremptory a message, he intended to leave men at liberty to substitute any plans of their own devising?-
Or that he will violate his own declarations to favour us!--.
We may be sure that, whether we approve it or not, his counsel shall stand-
What he delivered with such authority he will certainly fulfil-
What he so solemnly pronounced at the very hour of his ascension, he will infallably execute at his second coming
What he had then authority to publish he will hereafter have power to enforceIV. To embrace them will be to secure ever.
[The promise of eternal life is unequivocally made to faith
As soon as we believe in Christ, all our sins are forgiven_
And we have a title to a heavenly inheritancek
Nor shall we be deprived of the blessing on account either of the weakness of our faith or the greatness of our conflicts
& 1 Cor. ii. II. i Acts x. 43.
h Acts xvi. SI. k Rom. viii. 17.
The person who is most strong in faith will have most comfort in his way
But the weakest believer shall not lose his reward'.
But he who has been the author of it will also be
in everlasting misery [The gospel is the brightest display of God's wisdom and goodnesso—
And his intention in it is, to deliver men from destruction
But while it is a mean of life to some, it will prove an occasion of death to othersp—
We may err, and that materially, in some things, and yet be saved at last!
But if we reject or adulterate the gospel, we must perish"
Nor should this be thought "an hard saying."
We have ruined ourselves by manifold transgressions
Nor can we possibly restore ourselves to the divine favour
But God has provided an adequate remedy for us
The rejection of that cannot but aggravate our guilt
Well therefore may it aggravate our condemnation also— .
He never offered such mercy to the fallen angels
But it pleased him to deliver up his Son for us
Shall he not then punish the despisers of his mercy!
Surely his patience shall at last give way to wrath
And compassionate invitations be turned into indignant reproofst
Nor shall the damned themselves deny the equity of his procedure"-]
' In the text, respect is had, not to the strength but to the reality of our faith.
m 1 Tim. vi. 12. 1 Heb. xii. 2. 0 1 Cor. ii. 7. P 2 Cor. ji. 15, 16. 91 Cor. iii. 15. r Gal. i. 8, 9. • Heb. iii. 9, 11. Compare John vii. 37. with Matt. xxv. u Matt. xxii. 12.
26, 30, 41.
VI. To spread the knowledge of them should
be the labour and ambition of all Christians [The benevolence and dignity of our Saviour, while giving this last commission, are equally worthy our notice and admiration
XX. In obedience to his command the apostles went forth into all the world
And delivered their message at the peril of their lives
To them are we indebted for all the light we enjoy
And is not their message still as interesting as ever!-- .
It is not still the Christian minister's warrant and XXV. directory?-
Is it not the believer's chief solace and support?
Should we imitate those who took away the key of knowledge? -- .
Or those who forbade the apostles to speak to the gentiles?y-
XVIII Let us rather labour to spread the joyful sound-
And to diffuse the blessings of salvation through heathen lands
Nor ever rest till that glorious promise be accom plished?--]
* Luke xi. 52.
y 1 Thess. ii, 16.
z Isai. xi. 9.
Mark xyi. 15, 16.
DISCUSSION BY PROPOSITIONS.
I. There will be an awful difference between the states
of different men in the day of judgment It cannot be that the same portion should be reserved for all
[God, as our Lawgiver, must manifest a regard to his own law
And, as our King, must distinguish between his faithful and rebellious subjects
But there is no sufficient difference put between them in this world
a Eccl. ix. 2.