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twixt the tumultuous gratifications of pafsion and appetite ; while at the same time, by continuing to profess that gospel we counteract, we every day publish our shame and misery to the world around us, and virtually confess, that we are guilty and self-condemned before all who have an opportunity of observing our conduct.
So that the subject of my text is one of the most important that can employ our attention, as our practical regard to this demand of the Apostle is absolutely necefsary to preserve the peace and purity of our own hearts, and to support that character which the most proffigate reverence, and which all who can discern real beauty and excellence will covet to possess; I mean, the venerable character of an upright man.
Having thus prepared the way, by showing, that the same charge which was primarily addressed to the Philippians, may, with strict justice and propriety, be extended to us, let us now proceed to examine, with attention and candour, the standard which our conformity is enjoined ; or, in other words, let us inquire into that gospel of Christ to which our conversation, that is, the whole of our external conduct, as expressing the inward temper of our hearts, ought to be suited.
- Among the various particulars included · in the gospel of Christ, the two following may be selected as the most distinguishing and comprehensive, namely,
1. The Doctrines we are taught to believe; and,
II. The Laws we are commanded to obey.
Each of these particulars I shall examine apart; from whence we shall discover, with eafe and certainty, what manner of conversation it is that may be said to become the golpel of Chrift.
I. I BEGIN with the Doctrines of the gofpel, or the truths we are taught to believe. And without descending to the peculiar tenets, or modes of expression, by which Christians of any denomination have chosen to distinguish themselves, I shall confine myself entirely to those capital points, in which the sober and intelligent of alU 3
most every denomination will be found to agree,
Now the gospel, strictly so called, or that “ word of reconciliation,” the substance whereof the Apostle hath elsewhere expresfed in one fort sentence, to wit,
66 That God wa in Christ reconciling the world
unto himself, not imputing their trespas“ ses unto them,” necessarily supposes, that man is in a state of distance and alienation from God, liable to punishment in consequence of his apoftasy; and fo perverted and enfeebled, that he hath neither the difposition nor the ability to do any thing that can be effectual for his own recovery.
It informs us, that “God who spared
not the angels that sinned, but hath re"? served them in everlasting chains under “ darkness to the judgement of the great day,” fo pitied the human race,
u that " he sent his only begotten Son into the “ world, not to condemn the world, but " that the world through him might be “ faved.”—The nature and dignity of this great Deliverer are thus described by an inspired Apostle : “ In the beginning was u the Word, and the Word was with God, 66 and the Word was God. All things
were made by him; and without him
was not any thing made that was made.” This “ Word,” adds he, “ was made flesh, " and dwelt” or tabernacled “ among men. -" He who was in the form of God, and
thought it not robbery to be equal with God, made himself of no reputation, took upon
him the form of a fervant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being “ found in fashion as a man, he hum“ bled himself, and became obedient unto
death, even the death of the cross.”—This death is uniformly represented by all the New-Testament writers as an atoning facrifice for the fins of men. Hence Chrift is styled
“ the Lamb of God which taketh away the fin of the world.” He is said to “ have borne our sins in his own body “ on the tree,” and “ to have made peace
by the blood of his cross;" to have “ been 6 made fin for us, who knew no fin, that we “ might be made the righteousness of God 6 in him ;” and “ to have suffered, the just s for the unjust, that he might bring us to
“ God." The Apostle John calls him the
propitiation for our sins;" and the author of this epistle, in another letter addressed to the Christians at Roine, (the principal aim whereof was to explain and vindicate this important doctrine), expressly says, that
we are justified freely by the grace of God, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to “ declare his righteousness for the remission “ of fin; that he may be just, and the ju“ ftifier of him that believeth in Jesus.”
The gospel doth every where present him to our view, as a powerful, a suitable, yea a necessary Saviour ; fo necessary, that “ there is ic
not salvation in any other;" so powerful, that he is able to save to the uttermost all " that come unto God by him;" and so suited to the circumstances of fallen creatures, that they who are funk into the most deplorable state of ignorance, guilt, pollution, and servitude,' are rendered “ “ plere in him,"_" who of God is made
into them wisdom, and righteousness, and “ fanctification, and redemption.”