Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

ther; whom the Father sent into the world, to execute the counsels of his love, in the redemption of mankind; it is to exhibit him as the Saviour, by whose interposition we are rescued from eternal destruction ; and without whose mediation men must irrecoverably perish :* it is to publish and assert his rights as Lord of all; both in virtue of his original prerogative, and of the special donation made to him by the Father: it is particularly to celebrate him as the head and sovereign of his church. In other words, it is to vindicate his divine commission; to state the necessity, to illustrate the nature and extent of his undertaking and character, as the Redeemer; to maintain and en. force his sacred and universal authority.

These topics are the favourite sụbjects of the new testament writers. According to circumstances, they sometimes dwell more largely on one, sometimes on another particular; but still it is Jesus, whom it is their constant aim to bring in view. If they relate events, these are the facts and circumstances of his own life, and death, and resurrection; or those, in which his grace, or his power is manifested. If they detail doctrines, these are the doctrines whose object it is to define and illustrate the offices which he sustains, the benefits which he bestows, and the relations in which he stands to men." If they promulgate ordinances or precepts, these are " the commandments of the Lord.”+

It was thus, the apostle reminds the Corinthians, that he, when among them, preached Christ. But

* It may be proper to remind the unlearned reader, that both Christ and Jesus, are significant names; the former, like the Hebrew Messiah, expressing our Lord's commission, as God's anointed, (see Psalm ii.) and the latter, his office as the Saviour, (see Matt, i. 21.)

f 1 Cor. xiv. 37.

there is reason to think, agreeably to a remark formerly made, that he meant, in this passage, to lay a peculiar emphasis upon the term “ Lord ;” and to direct their attention to Jesus, as the Lord of their faith, in opposition to the false teachers, whose usurped authority he endeavoured to subvert; and in contradistinction to himself and other preachers of the truth, who derived from Jesus all their title to credit and obedience, and who could not, more than others, pretend to either, on their own account. Jesus is the prophet, as well as the redeemer, of his church; and him the voice from heaven commanded even apostles to hear.* Paul remembered the charge; and to manifest his submission to it, takes care to mention, that what he delivered to others, " he had received of the Lord.”+

But the term is susceptible of a more extensive import; and Jesus is our Lord, in more acceptations than this.-It was proper to admonish the once idolatrous Corinthians that, as the maker and preserver of the universe, “by whom all things consist,” I he was, by eternal right, their supreme proprietor: and it was proper that they and we should be reminded that, to this unchangeable right of sovereignty over all, he has added peculiar claims on us

“ Ye are bought with a price ;”S and he is “ the “ Lord that bought us."| He too, by the constitution of the gospel dispensations, is the prince and governor, to whom all authority is committed in the kingdom of heaven—“ For unto us a child is

born, unto us a son is given; and the govern“ment shall be upon his shoulder; and his name " shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty • Lake ix. 35. f 1 Cor. xi. 23. I Col. i. 17. $ I Cor. vii. 23. & 2 Pet. ii. I.

God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of

Peace.”* His claims, as Lord, he hath also ascertained by conquest; for he has subdued those, by whom we were enslaved, the powers and principalities of darkness; “ that we, being delivered

out of the hand of our enemies, might serve him “ without fear, in holiness and righteousness before " him, all the days of our life.”+ To him, in fine, belong the titles and prerogatives of the Captain and Leader of the hosts of the redeemed; of the chief Shepherd, and Bishop of souls; of the HighPriest of our profession; and of every other sacred relation, with which superiority and dominion are connected. We are, therefore, with Paul, to preach him as having, “ in all things, the pre-eminence.”I

2. To“ preach Christ Jesus the Lord,” is to have respect to him, even when discoursing of those subjects, in which he is not the immediate object of contemplation.

Ministers are sometimes called upon to preach on particular occasions, which might be thought to preclude any direct reference to him; as when, by the mandate of “ the powers that be,” they are required to lead the attention of their hearers, to the favourable or threatening aspect of providence, in public affairs; or when peculiar circumstances occur in the congregations over which they have charge. Even this, however, is no sufficient excuse for not introducing him ; whether we consider the reason of the thing, or the practice of the apostles.

When a person is warmly attached to an object, he is prone to introduce it on all occasions ; and often, without considering whether pertinently or * Isaiah ix6. + Luke i. 74.

Colos. i. 18.

not: yet if the object be respectable, this conduct is excused; if universally esteemed, it is admired. On this principle, what subject is there on which Christ, in some one of his characters, may not be introduced ?' And when the number, variety, and extent of these characters are considered, it will appear that without straining or risk of impropriety, his ministers may render any subject subservient to the purpose of fixing upon him the attention of their hearers : for there is no relation in which we stand to God, as men or christians; there is nothing that can interest us in religion, or be of importance to us, as moral and accountable creatures, which is not affected by what Jesus has done for us, and by the regards which we bear to him. It is, then, no sufficient apology for the omission of Christ, in à christian preacher's discourse, that he is noť mentioned by name in the text; or that it contains no immediate reference to his person or offices. * In the second verse of this chapter he is not named ; yet what person, that professes to publish the gospel, could lecture or preach on“ handling the word

of God," or on “ the manifestation of the truth," without specifying him, who is the chief subject of “ the truth,” and “ the word;" to whom, therefore,“ the truth" is a title emphatically ascribed ?

Observe how Paul's manner of preaching accords with what we now recommend.

In his discourse at Athens, his aim was to prove,

It is to be regreted, that this apology was once given by so celebrated and respectable a preacher as Tillotson, and has been recorded in his name. To those, who are unwilling to have sufficient respect to Christ in their discourses, it has afforded an argument by which to justify themselves : while some, though differently inclined, have been deterred, by such an authority, from mentioning Christ, where, otherwise, they would have brought him in

view

to a philosophic audience, the unity and perfecțions of the Deity. Yet this was but intended to lead them to Christ; whom, therefore, he takes early occasion to introduce. God “ hath appointed “ a day, in the which he will judge the world in

righteousness, by that man whom he hath or“ dained; whereof 'he hath given assurance unto “ all men, in that he hath raised him from the “ dead."*

On another occasion, as the best mean of illustrating the attributes of God, instead of dwelling upon them in the abstract, he directs our attention to Christ, as “the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person.”+

So, in the views of providence which he suggests, the Saviour is represented as “ given to be head “ over all things to the church;" as having all

things put under his feet,” I “ and in subjection “urder him."

If he enter into a proof of the general resurrecs tion, he employs, as the principal part of his argument, the resurrection of Christ :// and he concludes his animated description of the triumph over sin and death, with which the resurrection of the saints shall be accompanied, by " thanks to God, “ which giveth us the victory, through our Lord “ Jesus Christ.

Does he treat of duty ? He represents it as the fruit of faith in Christ, and of union with him. They, “ which are in Christ, walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit.**

“ We thus judge, that, if one died for all, then were all dead; and • Acts xvii. 31. Eph. i. 22. See 1 Cor. XV. 3--22. ** Rom. viji. I. | Heb. i. 3. $ Heb. ü. 8.

Ibid. 57.

« PredošláPokračovať »