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membrance whatever he had said unto them." And St. Paul, though not at this time an apostle, or even a Christian, we may confidently affirm, was not denied the assistance and illumination bestowed
the others; so that the words of these writers are to be regarded as the words of Christ himself. “He that heareth
heareth me, he that despiseth you, despiseth me;” “Lo, I am with you always ;” and we may be sure they would not have been gifted with the miraculous knowledge of languages, except for the purpose of propagating the truth; and the same truth which they preached, they undoubtedly also wrote; therefore what “God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.” Our blessed Saviour delivered chiefly the practical parts of his religion,--he left it to his apostles to inculcate the great doctrine, which alone renders all religion available and acceptable, viz. that of justification by faith in him; in other words, that through the merits of his obedience and death alone, men can be accounted righteous before God. So that if any man thinks it sufficient that he should chiefly study and attend to that part of the New Testament which is comprised in the four gospels, he must needs omit one half of his religion. I bave made these remarks because some in their ignorance, (as I said before) or perhaps in their
“ to open
prejudice, set one part against the other. I have heard it asked, by way of reproach, why St. Paul is preached instead of Christ, as if the words of that great apostle were not to be regarded as having the authority of his Divine Master, whereas Christ said of him, “he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and Kings, and the children of Israel.” And again, in the commission which he gave him to be an apostle, he said, I send thee unto the Gentiles,
their eyes and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.' Therefore I cannot doubt that when I am listening to St. Paul, I am listening to Christ; and I should desire to be classed with those to whom this apostle says, “ for this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but (as it is in truth,) the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you
that believe.” And I receive not only from St. Paul, but from all the other writers of the Epistles, such cheering views of the mercy of God, as displayed in the sacrifice and death of Christ, that even “the gracious words which proceeded out of the
mouth” of Christ himself, seem to be surpassed by those which by his spirit he dictated to his apostles. Therefore with this explanation you will understand in what sense I said on the former occasion, that which I repeat now, that I can use an argument calculated to impart a stronger assurance of God's goodness and
any thing which Christ himself said, either at Nazareth or elsewhere. I can“ preach Christ crucified;"-I can say more intelligibly than John the Baptist, “ Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world ;-I can proclaim, “the blood of Christ cleanseth from all sin ; "-I can say, “Christ hath once suffered for sin, the just for the unjust, to bring us unto God;" in short, I can now freely and unreservedly preach that atonement and propitiation for the guilt of the whole world, which our blessed Saviour when on earth passed over in silence, but very slightly alluded to; and therefore, gracious, merciful, kind, full of comfort, invitation, and encouragement as his words were, -we can now add to their force an hundred-fold, by saying, he who thus spake did not utter vain words, but most fully proved the exceeding greatness of his love for sinners, by shedding his precious blood upon the cross, whereby his promises are ratified and rendered eternally effectual.
Therefore let the love of Christ constrain
you: Judge thus, that if he died for all, then were all dead, (dead in trespasses and sins, and under the condemnation of eternal death ;) and that he died for all, that they which live should henceforth not live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again."
It is this argument above all others which should bring men to Christ; it is this which should make them feel perfectly assured of the truth of his words, “ Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out;" it is this which should add an overpowering weight to all his promises and invitations ; it is this which should make them lay aside all fears and doubts, and eagerly embrace the offers of mercy so freely made, so remarkably confirmed.
But one consideration yet remains, and a very material one it is, lest we should be led away by that vague trust in God's mercy, which I endeavoured to expose in a former part of my discourse, namely, who are the persons that may appropriate to themselves this joy and consolation in Christ. I know no restriction of the offer indeed; it is made to all. But what is the description of persons likely to accept it, and qualified to receive it? It is not said, “ Ho every one, come ye to the waters ;"—nor, “come unto me, all people,
and I will give you rest;”—but “ ho every one that thirsteth,” and, “come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden.” The meaning of this is, that men must be sensible of their wants, and so come for relief: all have equal need of God's mercy in Christ, but some will not apply for it, nor will it be bestowed upon those who do not perceive their need of it. This we may learn from our Saviour's text: He was anointed to preach the gospel (the good tidings) to the poor, (the “meek," as it is in the prophet,) that is, to the “poor in spirit,” the humble, the unpresuming ;-to those who are free from pride and arrogance, and lofty opinions of themselves ;-to those by whom his doctrines would be valued, and accepted as indeed “ good tidings;"— to those who as little children, would submit with teachable minds, to receive instruction, and be heartily thankful for God's goodness in revealing to them the knowledge of his salvation. Again, Christ was sent “ to heal the broken-hearted." This does not apply to those, whose hearts are stony, unhumbled, obstinate, impenitent, but only to the softened and contrite sinner, who mourns over his guiltiness, and scarcely dares so much as to lift up his eyes to heaven ;-to him “is the word of this salvation sent;"_to him it is said, fear not, for “ Christ hath redeemed thee, though thy sins