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as3erted, and proved, that “ by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified" in the sight of God (Rom. iii. 20). Then he turns, and says, “ Being justified freely by His grace. And again, “By grace are ye saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God" (Eph. ii. 8).
In his preaching I mark four things prominent: principles, privileges, promises, and precepts. And I insist that that man does not preach a pure gospel who does not preach all four.
Principles stood first with him. He said, “ I have laid the foundation, for other foundation can no man lay than that is laid " (1 Cor. ii. 11). What were the principles he preached? They are summed up in very few words. “By grace are ye saved ” (Eph. ii. 8). That is the principle if I go no further—if I add no more than these five words, By grace are ye saved.” Well, then, there is nothing for works. No. He urges elsewhere, “ If by grace, it is no more of works ” (Rom. xi. 6). They neutralize one another. Then it is an act of grace. It is the fulness of grace. It is an operation of grace. That is the principle of the gospel, and saves the ruined sinner-an act of grace passed in the covenant council of peace before all time—a fulness of grace treasured up in Christ, of which some of us have read to our hearts' delight this morning. " My grace," says Jesus, " is sufficient for thee" (2 Cor. xii. 9); and thousands and millions have been receiving out of that fulness—" grace for grace "—ages by-gone. Then it is the operation of grace—the Holy Ghost putting forth Omnipotent power without the creature's assistance, and making him participant of that grace which is treasured up for him before all time.
Then there were privileges set forth by him in his preaching. “Because ye are sons," says he, “ God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father" (Gal. iv. 6). The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirits that we are the children of God; and if children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ” (Rom. viii. 16). I pray you, was it ever known among more tals that beings had anything to do with making themselves children, with making themselves heirs, with making themselves joint-heirs ? Is it not an act done for them? So Paul sets forth privileges as well as doctrines. Moreover, if privileged to be sons, heirs, joint-heirs, and to have the spirit of adoption bestowed, then all the freedom of access is reckoned among the privileges, all the fulness of the covenant is pleaded as the portion which belongeth to the family of God, all the education, all the clothing, the robes of righteousness put on the children of the living God, all the provisions, all the guidance, all the protection, all the perseverance, and all the glorification too, of the entire family of God, are a matter of privilege, a matter provided, a matter enacted, a matter secured unto the entire family of God. That is Paul's preaching, a pure gospel; not only the principles, the sovereign grace, of God, but the privileges bestowed by the hand of God, recorded in the Word of God, and realized only by the people of God.
Paul preached also the "exceeding great and precious promises,". " that by these," says his brother Peter, “we might be partakers of the Divine nature” (2 Peter i. 4). Paul dwelt on these with delight, and they always formed a part of his preaching; but he never set forth these promises as dependent upon creature doings; he never set them forth as having contingencies attached to them as in the Old Testament dispensation on account of their inhabiting the land of Canaan, and
their Church organization there. That was gone by, and the promises of the gospel he set forth as “ Yea and amen in Christ Jesus." Mark you, not yea and nay, but “ Yea and amen in Christ Jesus, unto the glory of God by us (2 Cor. i. 20). I do not wonder at his success while he thus honoured God.
Then again, whilst he insisted on promises, which are so exceeding great and precious, numerous and varied, that there is not a case or circumstance into which the child of God can be brought, but he has promises in the Holy Book exactly suited to that case or circumstance; and, moreover, the promise of the Holy Ghost that He will apply those promises in answer to prayer; so that when He gives the spirit of prayer with any particular promise, the answer is at hand to the seeking child of God. Whilst he insisted in these promises, Paul also preached the precepts of the Word of God; and in his Epistles, which he commences with the boldest expressions of gospel doctrine, and proceeds with experimental godliness, and the peculiar features of the character of the Churches to which he writes, he always closes his exhortations with the preceptive contents of the Word of God, and with the most pressing exhortations to the people of God to "every good word and work." Just as our blessed Lord did when He told His disciples, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matt. v. 16).
Now, in order to preach that pure gospel, in the preaching of which Paul was so successful, the preacher must insist upon principles to their full extent, as found in the oracles of God. He must insist upon privileges as the Lord's gift to His whole family. He must insist upon promises, as “ Yea and amen in Christ Jesus," as in no way dependent upon the creature. And he must insist upon precepts as enjoined upon the living family of God, and who are “a peculiar people, zealous of good works."
I have hastened over this view of the pure preaching of the gospel in which Paul was so successful, and I come now to say a word or two about that success. He talks about "mighty signs and wonders"and many there were; he names one in the preceding verse as a prominent one, that the Gentiles who had been so rebellious, such idolators, so far from God, and accounted by the Jews as creatures scarcely human, that the Gentiles should be made “ obedient by word and deed.” “ Mighty signs and wonders indeed!" Whether Gentiles or Jews, it is one of the
greatest miracles known upon the face of the earth when God brings a poor ruined sinner, a rebel and a traitor, down to obedience to the sceptre of Christ. And therefore the apostle speaks of the importance of supernatural “weapons and warfare " to accomplish this. He says, “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty, through God, to the pulling down of strongholds" (2 Cor. x. 4), and the bringing down of "every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God.” And this is the point to which I particularly refer, " the bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ," pulling the man down, humbling him, laying him low, bringing every thought into subjection to Christ, so as to conquer the poor sinner, and bring his every thought into obedience to Christ. This is indeed a "mighty sign and wonder."
Let us speak of these signs and wonders more generally. The suc. cess of his ministry in the rescuing of Satan's slaves, the refreshing of the living Church' of God; and thus the glorifying of Jesus's namo.
His success lay in the rescuing of Satan's slaves. I have often told you, and I must repeat it this morning, that every child of Adam born into the world, is born a slave to Satan and sin; and that a rescue must be effected by supernatural power, or he perishes eternally, because he is not only incapable of effecting his own escape, but is as unwilling as he is unable. He lives in slavery, and he hugs his chains. It is, therefore, a "mighty sign and wonder,” when, by the preaching of the everlasting gospel, a poor ruined sinner, who was just before in Satan's captivity, loving sin, wallowing in iniquity, a stranger to God, and probably wrapped about with notions of self-righteousness, is rescued, delivered, brought out, made to bow to the sceptre and to the honour of King Jesus, and reject the slavery of Satan at the hazard of all consequences. It is a "mighty sign and wonder;" yet it was done by Paul's preaching, and he never claimed the efficiency for himself. All was ascribed to his glorious Master. And when the work was accomplished, in delivering his congratulations to the Thessalonians, he says, “Our entering in unto you was not in vain; for ye wereturned to God from idols to serve the living and true God"-to look for His Son from heaven—to turn from idols. A "mighty sign and wonder," when a man has been pursuing a course of rebellion against God all his lifetime, to be suddenly turned, not only in his external conduct, but in the bias of his will, the current of his affections, the whole stream of his inclinations turned, so that with one mind and mouth he is turned to worship God, whom before he had insulted. A "mighty sign and wonder!". And I would not be without the joy in my soul this morning that this sign and wonder hath been manifested amongst us here during the last thirty years, by the power of the Spirit of God; that while the gospel has been preached, pure principles laid down, the privileges of the saints set forth, the promises of the Word urged, and the precepts of the Word enjoined, the Holy Ghost has taken you out of Satan's captivity, broken your hearts, melted your consciences, turned your feet, reversed your affections, and given you“ a new heart and a right spirit.” Glory to His name that "signs and wonders " are not yet at an end.
Moreover, Paul's success in preaching lay greatly in refreshing and establishing the Churches of the living God, so that under his labours they were built up in their most holy faith.” Here I must remind you, that, in most instances, the poor slaves of Satan that have been delivered and rescued, and taught to hate sin, and flee from their former practices, that begin to read their Bibles, to bend the knee, and to attend the means of grace; yet, as if they still could be nothing else than slaves, seek to fabricate another slavery for themselves, to forge legal bonds for their souls, to depend upon a conditional, con. tingent, and an uncertain scheme of salvation, which shall rest chiefly upon their own exertions; and a tremendous slavery this forms. You will recollect how vehemently Paul wrote, concerning this evil, to the believing family of God at Galatia. “I marvel," said he," that you are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of God unto another gospel, which is not another.” Having begun in the Spirit, they were seeking to be made perfect in the flesh, because certain Judaising teachers crept in amongst them, and taught them erroneous things. Alas, alas! for the Churches of God in the present day, which swarm with Judaising teachers, who insist upon conditions, contingencies, uncertainties, proposals, and matters which they say are left with the creature to accomplish, and perfect God's work. When Paul found out that this was the case with the Churches he had been instrumental in establishing, he wrote to them, he preached to them, and rebuked them sharply; and his ministry was so successful, that multitudes became rooted and grounded in the truth of God. They saw that it was of grace, and not of works; they abandoned the Popish or Puseyite system of creature doings; and, under the operation of the Spirit of God, acknowledged that it was all of grace, from first to last, that their salvation was obtained. This was the success of Paul's preaching; and I believe that the same success would attend the preaching of the present day if it were all like Paul's. So successful was his preaching, that it overcame all obstacles that stood in the way. It was of no use to fight against him, to oppose him, or to withstand him. They might put him in prison, they might thrust him into the inner prison, they might make his feet fast in the stocks, still he would pray to the Lord. It was ot' no use to send him to Rome as a prisoner. He would there preach the same pure gospel. He would even plant the Church in Cæsar's household, where he was taken to be tried and condemned. It was of no use to attempt to stone him to death; for he would get up, though left for dead, and preach the same gospel to the same people, and in the same places in which he had been so illtreated, and confirmed the souls of the disciples. “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus to testify the gospel of the grace of God." Oh that we had a few Pauls raised up in our day! Oh that our God would send a few veterans into His Church who would regard nothing but the glorification of God—who would have nothing of self-interest, nothing of creature doing, and nothing of human systems; but who would aim but at this one point-Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life or by death. Satan may tempt, the world may frown upon him; he is in perils by land, he is in perils by sea, he is in peril of robbers, he is in perils among false brethren, and that is the most deadly of all perils; yet, amidst all these, the Lord stands by him, for he says, “That by me may be fully known the gospel of Christ.” That was Paul's work, and it overcame all obstacles, whether of earth or hell. Well, I sometimes cherish the blessed hope that I shall fare as he fared—that the precious gospel of God shall be fully told out, and bear down all before it, and enable me to exult, with the patriarch of old, “Oh, my soul, thou hast trodden down strength;" and in the last chilly moment that I shall be permitted to speak on earth, I wish to be able to exclaim, “More than conqueror, more than conqueror, through Him that hath loved me.”
II.-Let us now, in the second place, speak a word or two about the efficiency of Paul's preaching. It was by the power of the Spirit of God—and truly such mighty signs and wonders" are never accomplished otherwise, or by any other power-I would not, God forbid that I should, depreciate the powers of the human soul with which God may have endowed any of His sent servants. He endowed them with those powers for the purpose of making the best use of them; but I insist that if all the created powers of all the twelve apostles were concentrated in one preacher, all their fervour, all their eloquence, all their erudition, all their diligence and ardour of spirit concentrated in one spirit, and that one preacher were to preach the whole age of man,
with unabated fervour, but with no power from above, there would not be a single soul converted to God, not a soul rescued from Satan's grasp, or a soul receive the least benefit therefrom. True, that most probably the judgment might be informed to some extent; but for saving purposes-mark the expression, for saving purposes
the power of the Spirit of God must be granted. Wonder, oh heavens, and be astonished, oh earth, that this marvel is still going on at the present hour! May the Holy Ghost continue to descend here, that the same congratulations which Paul addressed to the Thessalonians may apply to us: “The gospel was preached unto you, with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven.” “For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance." Such is the vast privilege of genuine Christianity:
I do not intend to waste your time by examining theories that have obtained amongst men—they may be right, or they may be wrong; but they end in inere amusement if we have nothing more.
It is only by the power of the Spirit of God, and it is the province and the office of the ministry of the Holy Ghost to manifest Christ, and nothing is done until Christ is manifested. “ It is God that separated me from my mother's womb," said Paul, “ and called me by His grace to reveal His Son in me.” Whose office is this? Certainly not of the tutor, not of the president of an academy, not of books: it is not a human gift; it is just the province of the Holy Ghost, as set down by Jesus Himself. “He shall take of mine, and show it unto you." "He shall glorify me." That is the work of His ministry. There, while Paul preached in the various directions in which the providence of God led him, the Holy Ghost accompanied his ministry; and, just as it was with Peter, “While I was yet speaking," said he, “ the Holy Ghost fell on them who heard the Word.” Paul proves this to be by the power of the Spirit of God; so that while, to use his own language, in immediate connexion with our text, he was delivering God's truth “from Jerusalem, and round about, even unto Illyricum, in all the fulness of the gospel of Christ," as he marched, the third Person in the glorious Trinity hovered over him, rested upon him, taught him what to say, broke open the fulness of eternal truth to his view, fired his soul with zeal and love to proclaim it, caught the sentences off his lips, applied them to the hearts of his hearers, and mighty signs and wonders were effected. Thus is He accustomed to work now, and to give success to the ministry of the gospel. And are not your hearts uplifted to Him, that He may thus work for you, in the manifestation of Christ, the glory of His person, "the brightness of His Father's glory, and the express image of His person," in the adaptation of His official chr. racter, having all power in heaven and on earth, to rescue, recover, transform, and bring home to glory, all that the Father gives into His hands. This the Holy Ghost manifests, and applies to the heart.
Here I pause a moment to mark the difference between that know. ledge of Christ which is obtained in theory by mortals, and that knowledge of Christ which comes from above by the teaching and ministration of the Holy Ghost. The former leaves man as dead as it found him, as cold as the marble statue, and as incapable of moving in anything spiritual; a speculator, a carnal reasoner, one that may take upon him, by the keenness of his natural intellect, and by dint of reading, to raise a theory, argue a point, and attempt to oppose, by polemic skill, the precious truths of God, in more simple hearts. But