Immagini della pagina
PDF
ePub

in your usefulness: and he that stoops low, est for the good of others, is highest in my esteem. Worldly pomp doth only tarnish the glory of my servants, as it cannot confist with those self-denying duties which belong to their employment. Do you reckon yourselves most honoured, not when men give you title and place, but when they hearken to the instructions you receive from me, and embrace the saving message with which I have entrusted you. This, tho' in words somewhat different, is, in my apprehension, a genuine and summary account of what our Saviour taught the first ministers of his church, with regard to the nature and end of their office. And the language of Paul, in the passage before us, is obviously formed upon this original constitution: We preach not ourselves, but Christ JeJus the Lord, and ourselves your servants, for Jesus fake.

From an example of such unquestionable authority, we may justly, and without hesițation, conclude, that to preach Christ Jesus the Lord, is the distinguishing characteristic and proper employment of a gospel-mini.

ster.

ster. And this is the observation which I propose to illustrate in the following difcourse.

It may be affirmed with truth, that something concerning Christ hath been the principal subject of every revelation thař came from God, downward from the original promise made to our first parents, that the feed of the woman should bruise the bead of the serpent. The Apostle Jude informs us, that “ Enoch,' the seventh from Adam, “ prophesied of these things, saying, Behold, « the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his “ faints, to execute judgement upon all.” Mofes fpake of him when he said unto the fathers, “ A prophet shall the Lord your -“God raise up unto you, of your brethren, “ like unto me; him shall ye hear in all " things whatsoever he shall say unto you." --All the extraordinary messengers under the old dispensation, were raised up by God for this very purpose, to foretel the coming of the promised Messiah, and, by the doctrine of repentance, gradually to prepare the world to receive him. The words of Peter to Cornelius are clear and strong upon this

head, head, dets x. 43. “ To him give. all the “ prophets witness, that through his name, “ whosoever believeth' in him, shall receive “ remission of sins.” This, he tells us, was the subject of their own most delightful inquiry : 1 Pet. i. 10.“ Of this salvation “ the prophets have inquired, and searched “ diligently, who prophesied of the grace " that should come unto you: searching “ what, or what manner of time, the spirit “ of Christ which was in them did fignify, " when it testified beforehand the sufferings “ of Christ, and the glory that should fol66 low.”

And if Christ was an object of such importance to those who lived before his manifestation in the flesh, it cannot furprise us to find, that they who could testify that he was come, and had finished the work that was given him to do, should in all their writings and discourses dwell upon him as their constant and most delightful theme.— The author of this epistle informs the Corinthians, that “ hè determined not “ to know any thing among them, but “ Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” And

elsewhere, elsewhere, he faith, that “ he counted all " things but loss for the excellency of the “ knowledge of Jesus Christ his Lord.” This was that “ chofen veffel,” whom the Lord converted in a miraculous way, and fent forth to bear his name before the Gentiles, and kings, and children of Ifrael; and his zeal and fidelity in executing his trust, appear evidently from his writings. He made Christ the foundation of all his sermons, as we read 1 Cor. iii. 10, 11. “ I have laid the foundation, and another “ buildeth thereon. But let every one take “ heed how he buildeth. For other foun" dation can no man lay than that which “ is laid, which is Jesus Chrift;" intimating, in the strongest manner, that all preaching which doth not refer to Christ, and lead to him, is like building a castle upon the loose fand, which may please the fancy for a little, but as it wants à foundation, will foon tumble down, to the equal disgrace and hurt of the builder. And as Christ was the foundation, so was he likewise the end of his preaching; and not of his only, but of all his brethren in

the

the apostleship, and fellow-labourers in the ministry; as is fully expressed in the text : We preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your servants, for Jesus fake. We seek not to advance our own credit and interest; our sole aim is to render Jesus great and amiable in your esteem : and we desire to be confidered in no other light, than as your minifters or servants for Fesus fake.

But what are we to understand by preaching Christ? This question I shall endeavour to answer in the first place ;-after which I shall fhow, that this is the proper employment and distinguishing characteristic of a gospel-minister ;-and then con'clude the subject with some practical improvement.

[ocr errors]

l begin with answering the question, What are we to understand by preaching Christ Jefus the Lord ?

1/, It plainly imports, that we make Christ the principal subject of our sermons. It is by no means sufficient that we

speak

« IndietroContinua »