Images de page
PDF
ePub

coming to raise them from the dead, and putting the last hand to the work of our redemption--Then will he appear a Saviour indeed, for he will complete the falvation of the faithful-Then will he appear a Christ indeed, for he will finish the design of his unction, and will make us kings and priests to God his Father--Then will he appear Lord indeed, for all things shall be subjected to him, he will triumph over all our enemies, he will swallow up death in victory, and he will clevate us to the pofferfion of eternal glory",

Having spoken of fimple terms, I proceed to add something concerning expressions peculiar to Scripture, These deserve a particular explication, and should be discussed and urged with great diligence, as well because they are peculiar modes of speaking, as because they are rich with meaning. In this class I put such forms of Speaking as these : To be in Christ Jesus. To come to Jesus Christ. To come after Jesus Christ. To live in the flesh, To live after the fiesh. From faith to faith. From glory to glory. To walk after the flesh. To walk after the spirit, The old man. The new man. Jesus Christ lives in you, To live to 'Fesus Christ. To live to ourselves. To die to the world. To die to ourselves. To he crucified to the world. The world to be crucified to us. Jesus Christ made sin for us; we made the righteousness of God in him. Christ put to death in the flesh, quickened by the Spirit. · Die unto fin. Live unto righteorfies. Quench the Spirit. Grieve the Spirit., Refijt the Holy Ghost. Sin against the Holy Ghost : and I know not how many more such expreilions, which are found almost no where but in Scripture. Whenever you meet with such forms of speech as these, you mult not pass them over lightly, but you must fully explain them, entering well into the spirit and meaning of them, It would be very convenient for a young man to procure for this purpose an exact collection, and endeavour to inform himfalf of the sense of cach.

This subject would require, as it well deferves, a particular treatite ; however, I will briefly give an example of the manner in which expreflions of this kind thould be dir

m This discourse was very long and tedious. All that could elucidale the treating of teats by comparijon is retained; but that which lented only to diftract the mind, is expunged,

cuffed

[ocr errors]

a

cuffed. Let us take these words; Mark viii. 34. Whofoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me. Methinks it would not be improper to divide the fermon into two parts. In the first we would treat of the expressions, which Jefus uses, Come after me— deny himself-take up his crufsand follow me. And in the second we would examine the entire sense of our Saviour's whole propofition.

To begin then with the explication of these expressions. To come after Jesus Christ tignifies no other thing than to be his disciples, to take him for the rule and model of our conduct; in a word, to profefs an acknowledgment of him as our head and master, our fupreme prophet and teacher, our pattern and exeinplar.

Deny himself is an expresslon so singular, that it seems to lock reason and nature, and to suppose a thing difficult, yea, abfolutely impoffible, or at least extremely criminal. Yet, it is certain, nothing can be more holy, nothing more necessary, nothing more just than this felf-renunciation which Jesus Christ here ordains. He does not mean that we thould divide ourselves - froni ourielves; or that we thould hate ourselves; but he intends,

1. In general, that we should renounce all that is in us excellive, vicious, and irregular ; this he calls self, beCause corruption is become, as it were, natural to us; we being conceived in fin, and shepen in iniquity.

2. He commands us particularly to renounce that violent, iinmoderate, and exceflive love, which man, in a ftate of depravity, has for himself, making felf-love his chief and only principle of action, in one word, being a god to himielt.

3. He enjoins the renunciation of that false and perverfe pretence, which all finners have, that they are their own matters, that no one has a right over them, thay tu themselves only belongs the disposition of words, actions, and thoughts. The Saviour means, that, renouncing this unjuft and foolith pretence, we thould submit ourselves to the governiment and direction of God, confiding in the conduct of his wildonn; and receiving him to reign in our hearts by his word and spirit. Take up his cross, is an expression confecrated by Jelus Vol. I. H

Christ

Christ to a sacred purpose, though it does not belong only to Scripture style. Here two things are intended by it; the mystical crols of conversion, and the cross of affli&tions.

1. Converhon is called in Scripture a cross; because fin and carnal lufts are made to die within our hearts : this the Scripture calls crucifying the old man.

2. Afliktions are very justly called croises, not only because nature fuffers, but also because by these means we become the horror and reproach of the world.

Finally, to follow Jesus Christ, is, 1. To become his disciple, to believe his doctrine, to approve his inaxims, to be perfuaded of the truth of his mysteries and holiness of his laws.

2. To follow is to imitate him, to propofe him as our exemplar and pattern in the whole conduct of our lives, to walk in the same way as he walked, in order to obtain communion with him in glory.

3. To profess openly our subjection to him, as our Master and Lord, to obey his orders, &c. In a word, to follow is the fame as to come after him, which we just now explained.

This is the first part—The second consists in confidering the entire sense of Jesus Christ's whole propofition. He means then, that, if we would be really of the number of his disciples and followers, we must tübunit to two things, fanctification and affliction.

1. SanEtification. Here enter into the subject, and fhew how impossible it is to belong to Jesus Christ without forsaking fin and entirely changing the life. The grace of God, that bringeth salvation, hath appeared to all men ; teaching us, that, denying ungodliness and worldly lufts, we fhould live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world, looking for that blefed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ.

These are St. Paul's words to Titus; and three things may be remarked in them, grace, holiness, and glory. And you may easily observe, that grace conducts to glory only by means of holiness : take away holiness, and grace and glory can never be joined together

. The apostle therefore does not say, The grace of God hath appeared to all men, teaching us to look for the glorious appearing

of

of Jesus Chrift; but he says, Thé grace of God hath appeared to all men, teaching us to deny ungodliness and worldly lufts, to live soberly, righteously

, and godly, in this present world; and so to be looking for that blessed hope, the glorious appearing of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ. Grace indeed ends in glory; but it can only do so by the intervention of holiness.

You may also allege, to the same purpose, the end of Jesus Christ's coming into the world, which was not only to destroy fin as it fubjected us to eternal punishment, but as fin. You may finally shew how much it is for the glory of the Father and of Jesus Christ, and for the reality and plenitude of salvation, that the disciples of Jesus should be fanctified.

2. Affliction. Two things here must be discussed : 1. The truth of the fact, that true believers are exposed to afflictions in this world. 2. The reasons why the Divine Wisdom subjects believers to these trials.

1. The truth of the fa£t results, 1. From the examples of all the great fervants of God who have appeared in the world to this day, as Noah, Abraham, Lot, Mofes, St. Paul, and all the other apostles of Jefus Christ. From the whole history of the church, which was always nourished and increased in afflictions. This may be illuftrated by the burning bush, which appeared to Mofes; or by the thip, into which Jesus and his apostles went, tossed with waves, and exposed to the violence of winds and storins.

2. The reafons for this dispensation of Divine Providence may be taken from a common-place of afflictions ; as, By means of afflictions God restrains our impetuous pafions, exercises our virtues, detoches us from the world, elevates us to the hope of a better life, and displays the glory of that admirable Providence which governs us. Amictions also are particular honours, which God confers on us, by them enabling us to walk in the steps of Jesus Christ, and conforming us by them to our divine leader. For these reasons, and many more of the same kind, we may fairly conclude, that with profound wisdom Jesus Chrift has called us to affliction, and joined the cross to the profeflion of true Christianity“. * This is somewhat abridged, for the fame reafon as the foregoing.

2.

Jefus ;

We have before observed *, that, beside simple terms, and singular expressions peculiar to Scripture, there are also fometimes in texts, particles, that are called syncategorematica, which ferve either for the auginentation of limitation of the meaning of the propofition: As the word so in John iii. 10. " God so loved the world.” The word now in the vijith of Romans; “ There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jefus :" and in many more passages of the faine kind.

Whenever you meet with these terms, carefully examine them; for sometiines the greatest part, and very often the whole of the explication depends upon thein, as we have already remarked on that pallage just now mentioned, God so loved the world: for the chief article in the doctrine of the love of God is its greatncís, expressed by the word yo. It is the same with that other term now, There is, therefore, now no condemnation to them which are in Chrift

for the word now thews, that it is a conclufion drawn from the doctrine of justitication, which the apostle had taught in the preceding chapters; and it is as it he had faid, From the principles which I have established, it follows, that there is now no condemnation, &c. Having then explained, 1. What it is to be in Christ Jesus ; 2. What it is to be no more subject to condemnation; chiefly infift, in the third place, on the word now; and thew that it is a doctrine which necessarily follows from what St. Paul had establihed touching juftification, in the foregoing chapters : so that this term makes a real part of the explication, and indeed the most important parto.

Sometimes these terins in quefiion are not of contequence enough to be much dwelt on, but may be more properly passed with a Night remark. The word Behold, with which many propositions in Scripture begin, must be treated for; you must not make one part of this, nor insitit on it too long. The fame may be laid of that familiar expression, of Jesus Chrilt, Verily, Verily, which is an afleveration, or, if you will, an oath: but neither on this unust

you inliit much. So again, Amen, or fo be it, which clotes fome texts. Woe be to you, which Jesus Christ often

See ante, page 47. o See this exemplified in Skel. 45. where the discussion turns ens tirely upon the word “ henceforth." See allo Skel. 69. whese the word “men” ferves as the foundation of the whole discourie.

redcats

[ocr errors]
« PrécédentContinuer »