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s love him who hath first loved us,” and to cast our care on him for all we want for time and for eternity; arguing, with the Apostle, “ He that spared not his own Son, but freely delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him freely give us all things ?” Words these, which are well paraphrased by the author of the Night Thoughts, where he observes :
“ To Man the bleeding Cross hath promis'd all!
Thus, by the doctrine of the Cross, we are instructed in matters of the greatest possible importance to us; and become “ children of the light and of the day." We are no longer foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, and living in malice and envy:" but are made wise unto salvation, present and eternal : We answer the end of our creation, and glorify God on earth, and at last are brought to enjoy him in heaven. For,
4. That same doctrine, which is to “ them that are called, whe. ther Jews or Greeks,” whether ignorant or learned," the wisdom of God," is also unto them, the power of God. “They view the mission of Christ," says Dr. Doddridge," and the great truths of his gospel, confirmed by miraculous evidence, and the accomplishment of prophecy, as far more important than any event which their carnal brethren expect." Indeed, every thing relating to the Messiah, his incarnation, life, miracles, death, resurrection, ascension, session at God's right hand, with his dominion over all nature, and the universe of creatures ; —all display the infinite Power as well as Wisdom of God. But, perhaps, the apostle spoke here partly, at least, with a reference to the Power of God exerted, to make the Jews and Gentiles obedient to the faith,“ in word and deed, through mighty signs and wonders, by the influence of the Spirit of God."* Indeed, not only the Apostles who preached Christ crucified, witnessed the confirmation of their doctrine by the divine power in sundry miracles ; but even those who believed in him, through their testimony, found their own faith confirmed by a similar seal. These signs, according to the prediction of Christ, “ followed them that believed. In the name of Christ they cast out devils ; they spake with new tongues, they took up serpents: If they drank any deadly thing, it did not hurt them, and when they laid their hands on the sick, they recovered.”+ These were illustrious displays of that power of God which sanctioned the preaching of Christ crucified, and the faith of such as were called thereby. For while “ they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord wrought with them, and confirmed the word by signs following."
* Rom. IV, 18, 19.
+ Mark xvi. 17, 18.
5. Nor was it only by external signs and wonders that the Lord confirmed this blessed doctrine ; but also and especially by miracles of mercy wrought for and upon the souls of men. In this respect also the Lord wrought with them: He gave efficacy to the word of his grace, and made the gospel which they preached, the powerful mean of salvation to every one that believed and obeyed it. It “came unto them, not in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance.” It opened the blind eyes, unstopped the deaf ears, and loosed the dumb tongue, It “proclaimed liberty to the captives” of sin, “ the opening of the prison to them that were bound” by their lusts and vices, and was instrumental in “ binding up such as were bruised.” By means of it the sick in sin were healed, and the dead in sin made alive. Yea, they “were quickened, and raised up, and made to sit in heavenly places with Christ Jesus.” They were assured of the favour of God, stamped with his image, and introduced into a state of friendship and communion with him. Being “begotten by this word of truth;" being “ born again of this incorruptible seed,” they were constituted the children of God, not only by adoption, but also by regeneration, and “made a kind of first fruits of his creatures,” dedicated to, and employed in his service, and conformed, in all things, to his holy will. 6. It was
“the power of God unto their salvation from sin and its consequences. By faith in the doctrine of Christ crucified, they were “ blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly things, and in heavenly places :" They had “redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of their sins ; were made accepted through him the Beloved,” and were rendered “ · holy and without blame before him in love." Nay, “his exceeding great power towards them that believed," so renewed them in the spirit of their minds, and transformed them from an earthly and sensual, to a heavenly and divine temper, that their “conversation was in heaven, and their - life bid with Christ in God.” They were “ filled with joy and peace in believing, abounded in hope by the power of the Holy Ghost," and " dwelling in love, dwelt in God and God in them." They enjoyed, therefore, a heaven on earth. They anticipated their future felicity. For having received a title to it in their justification, and a meetness for it in their regeneration
and sanctification, they also enjoyed a pledge, earnest, and foretaste of it in the experimental knowledge and love of God, and in fellowship with him ; it being “life eternal to know” and have communion with “ the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent." This knowledge and privilege, through faith in a crucified Redeemer, they possessed, and thereby had within them that "well of water, which is to spring up to life eternal,” when the grace of the saints shall issue in glory.
7. And now, my brethren, as the very same are the spiritual effects of the gospel in every age and nation, in which it is truly and properly received; as it always has been, and still is, “the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth ; I should surely be guilty of a great omission of duty, if I were not to add, protracted as my discourse has already been, a few words by way of application of what has been advanced. I call upon you therefore, to examine yourselves, touching your experience in these im. portant matters. In what light do you view, and in what spirit do you receive this doctrine of “ Christ crucified ?” And what effect has it upon you? Is it a stumbling-block to you, as it was to the Jews ? or do you, with the Greeks, consider it as foolishness? Notwithstanding that you have, it may be, often attentively heard it, does it not leave you in ignorance and sin, in guilt and wretchedness ? Or, being truly and effectually called, and brought to experience repentance unto life, and saving faith through it, is it to you the wisdom of God and the power of God? Do you discern and acknowledge the most manifest traces of divine, yea, of infinite wisdom and power, in this wonderful dispensation ? And are you enlightened and renewed by it? Are you, who “ darkness, made hereby light in the Lord ?" Are you“ made a people who were not a people ? and have you
mercy who had not obtained mercy ?"* Although you were formerly "dead in sin, and in the uncircumcision of your hearts," has he “ quickened you, and raised you up, through faith of his divine operation, having forgiven you all trespasses ?” Are you “ washed, justified, and sanctified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God ?” “ washed in the layer of regeneration ; renewed by the renewing (power) of the Holy Ghost, and being justified by grace, made heirs, according to the hope of eternal life?”These, my brethren, are questions infinitely momentous, and it concerns you all, more than I can describe, to be able to answer them in the
* Eph. y. 8. and 1 Pet. ii. 10.
+ 1 Cor. vi. 11. and Tit. iii. 5-7.
affirmative. In the affirmative you will soon be able to answer them, if you receive in faith and love, the testimony that is and will be borne here, concerning Christ crucified, and “
obey from the heart the form of doctrine which," from this pulpit, will be
delivered unto you.”
Now may he “who was crucified in weakness, but who liveth by the power of God,” even our Lord Jesus Christ himself, give efficacy to the word now spoken, “and may God our Father, who hath loved us, and given us everlasting consolation, and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts, and establish you unblameable in holiness, and fruitful in every good word and work."
PREACHED DECEMBER 25, 1815, AT THE NEW CHAPEL, CITY-ROAD,
AND PUBLISHED AT THE REQUEST OF THE BOOK COMMITTEE IN LONDON.
The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his
glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John i. 14.
In these words the apostle sets before us a fact the most important to the glory of God and the happiness of mankind, and the most extraordinary and marvellous in its own nature, of any that ever took place, or probably ever will take place, on the theatre of this earth, or in any part of the universe, and productive of the most important consequences to the whole intelligent creation of God : a fact which has been the chief subject of prophecy, and of the Di. vine communications to mankind from the beginning ; which bas engaged the earnest and unremitted attention of the highest creatures in God's creation for these almost six thousand years; and which will be the principal source of joy and felicity to all the redeemed, and the object of their contemplation, wonder, and praise to all eternity : a fact, for the commemoration of which, this day is set apart in all parts of Christendom, and which, therefore, ought now especially to engage our attention. That we may
proper view of it, let us inquire,
1. What we are to understand by the Word here, and in what sense, and for what purposes, the Word was made flesh.
II. The certainty of this : We beheld his glory, says the apostle, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father.
III. What we do or may gain hereby : This Word made fesh is full of grace and truth.