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t that he died for all, that they, which live, should * not live unto themselves, but unto him which * died for them, and rose again.”* When he would most affectingly enforce duty, he draws his motives from Christ. Thus he besought the Corinthians, by the meekness and gentleness of " Christ.”+In the same manner, also, is not only duty in general, but every duty in particular, recommended. His argument to chastity, in the first of these epistles, is, that “ your bodies are members " of Christ :”I and in the second, almsgiving is en. forced by the spirit and example of Christ“ Ye " know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that,
though he was rich, yet, for your sakes, he be" came poor; that ye, through his poverty, might
be rich." ; 3. To “ preach Christ," is to preach Christ's doctrine.
It were of little avail that we made him the chief subject of our discourses; or that, in treating of other subjects, we took frequent occasion to introduce him, if, either respecting himself or these, we taught: a doctrine inconsistent with his: Yet how often this has been done, let the endless vàriety, and irreconcileable contradiction, of the opinions which have been held and published concerning him, bear witness.
Some appear to have thought it preaching Christ, to assert, that he " who is over all, God blessed for
ever;"] and " without whom was not any thing " made, that was made;"|| was but a mere man;
• 2 Cor. V. 14, 15.
# John i. 3.
* 1 Cor. vi. 15.
the child of Mary, but not the eternal Son of God : others, that the “ holy thing," which was miracu. lously conceived by “ the power of the Highest”* was but the natural offspring of Joseph and his spouse. Some affirm that he was before all time, yet once had not a being : that he made and upholds the worlds, yet is himself but a creature. Many have besides represented, as only metaphoricalembellishment, all that scripture teaches concerning his sufferings and obedience, as the atonement for our sins, and the ground of our acceptance with God: and thus, while they cut off the surest source of consolation to penitent souls, convert the sacred records into a book of riddles, and enigmatical equi.. vocations, of the sense of which no reader can be ever certain. But why do I attempt to specify what many volumes could not describe? This much, however, may shew what daring and extravagant conclusions the human mind will form, when it presumes to interpret, by its own preconceptions, the divine oracles; and to erect its own ideas of truth and fitness, into a standard, to which the word of God itself must be conformed. To shun such excesses—to preserve consistency and truth-what can be more properly recommended, both to the preachers and hearers of the gospel, than simply to inquire, with honest minds, what Christ himself has taught; whether in his own ministry, or by his Spirit, speaking in his prophets and apostles? It were absurdity, if not impiety, to say, that, in matters of revelation, we should lay aside the exercise of our reason: Yet, with regard to such matters, does not reason itself inculcate,
. Luke i. 35.
that 'instead of inquiring first what may seem reasonable to us, and then attempting to make scripture coincide with that; we should first inquire what scripture teaches, and then endeavour to ascertain the correspondence between this, and the dictates of right reason? Let the ministers of Christ, then, be careful that what they deliver concerning him, or any subject connected with him, have its authority in his own word, and be strictly conformable to the standard there exhibited. When they inquire what they shall preach, let them not ask counsel of themselves, or take their instructions from men; but let them resort to the law and the testimony of Jesus: and with Micaiah, let them be resolved, that what the Lord saith unto them, that they will speak.* Let them remember, agreeably to the doctrine of a former particular, that Christ alone is to be preached as the Lord of his people's faith; and that while they preach not themselves, neither are they to preach any other, in that capacity, Thus says the apostle,
I certify you, “ brethren, that the gospel which was preached by
me, is not after man: for I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revela" tion of Jesus Christ.”+ The light in which he and his fellow labourers desired to be accounted was that of " ministers of Christ, and stewards of " the mysteries of God.”I And he remembered, that, “ it is required in stewards, that a man be “ found faithful." His claim to attention he accordingly founds on this, “ that he was not as many, ► who corrupted the word of God: but that as of
1 Kings zxii. 14.
* I Cor. iv. I.
$ sincerity, but that as of God, in the sight of God, " he spake in Christ."*
4. Lastly, to“ preach Christ Jesus the Lord,” is to make his glory the end of our peaching.
Had there been no instruction to this effect, either expressed or implied, had there even been no example of it recorded, the discoveries made to us of his high dignity, and his matchless love, should teach us that the promotion of his glory ought to be our leading object. “ For, by him
were all things created, that are in heaven, and " that are in earth, visible and invisible; whether " they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, " or powers : all things were created by him, and “ for him.”+ For his introduction to his office, were miracles wrought, predictions uttered, and a long train of splendid ceremonies ordained. To his day, the patriarchs looked forward with joy, Of his kingdom, the prophets sang with rapture, His coming was “ the desire of all nations.” His nativity was celebrated by angels. His dignity and title to honour, the voice of Jehovah thrice proclaimed, from the arch of heaven, “This is my " beloved Son, in whom I am.well pleased :"I “ Hear ye him."f " Father, glorify thy name. “ I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again."|
If his personal dignity, and the honours which have been put upon him by the father and his angels, teach us, that the ultimate aim of our preaching should be to make his name glorious, justice and gratitude no less require it. By his own blood, he hath purchased our redemption : and “there is
2 Cor. ii. 17. + Col. i. 16,
* Matt. iii. 17. :
| Joho xii. 2h
" none other name under heaven, given among men, " but his, whereby we must be saved.”* The deliverers of their country from a foreign foe, are distinguished by many honours, and their names are known to posterity. But what is victory over an earthly enemy, or deliverance from a temporal yoke, to the triumphs of the Captain of our salvation, and the redemption which he hath wrought? He has not only spoiled for us principalities and powers, through death destroyed him who had the power of death, led captivity captive, and received gifts for men; but he hath slain the enmity between God and man, having made peace by the blood of his cross; and hath subdued us, when enemies in our minds by wicked works ; not to enslave, us but to make us free; that the conqueror and the conquered might rejoice together. Worthy," then," is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, " and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and ho.
nour, and glory, and blessing.” + “ If any man," therefore," speak, let him speak as the oracles of God: * if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability “ which God giveth: that God, in all things, may be
glorified, through Jesus Christ; to whom be praise $6 and dominion for ever and ever. Amen!"I
For the attainment of this great end, the most suitable means, which the ministers of the gospel can employ, are those recommended under the former particulars. To exhibit his glory, it is only necessary to speak of him as he is; to tell of his power,
grace, his undertakings, and achieve. ments; to display the extent of his qualifications, and the necessity of his interposition, for the sal* Acts iv. 12. + Rev. P. 120
# 1 Peter iv. 11.