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SE R M O N
COLOSSIANS i. 153-19.
Who is the image of the invisible God, the first
born of every creature: for by him were ali 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. And be is before all things, and by bim all things, confift. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; that in all thing's be might have the pre-eminence. For it pleased the Father, that in bim should all fulness dwell.
O UR Lord Jesus Christ is uniformly -re
presented to us in the sacred Scriptures as the Saviour of fallen man; a Saviour absolutely necessary ; nay, as the ONLY Saviour.–To this character he laid claim, in clear and express terms, when he said to
Thomas, “ I am the way, and the truth, “ and the life : no man cometh unto the “ Father but my me.” And in this important light did Peter set him forch at the bar of the Jewish Sanhedrim: When speaking of him as the stone set at nought by the builders, which was now become the head of the corner, he added these memorable words : “ Neither is there falvation in any “ other : for there is none other name under “ heaven given among men whereby we “ must be saved.” Of the same import was the testimony of that illustrious prophet who was sent to prepare the way before him, and to introduce him to his public ministry by baptism : “ He that believeth on the Son, “ hath everlasting life : and he that be.“ lieveth not the Son, fhall not see life; “ but the wrath of God abideth on him.” Accordingly we are told by the Apostle John, that “ this is the command of God," the first in order under the gospel-dispenfation, and which claims the title of his peculiar commandment, “ that we should “ believe on the name of his son Jesus " Chrift."
It is, or at least it ought to be, unnecefsary to observe, that this intimation of the divine will is sufficient, by itself, to constitute our duty. It surely belongs to the great Lord of all, to dispense his own grace by what hand, and in what manner, it pleaseth him; and in no case doth it become the creatures of his power to say unto him, What dost thou ? or, Why dost thou thus ?—Elihu spake the words of truth and soberness, when he said unto Job, “ God " is greater than man : why dost thou strive « against him? for he giveth not account “ of any of his matters ;" that is, he is not bound to explain the reasons of his conduct; and none hath a right to demand that he should. But glory to his name, that with regard to the greatest of all his works, that dispensation of grace which angels desire to look into, and upon which the happiness of a whole order of his creatures doth depend, it cannot justly be faid, that he giveth no account of this matter. He hath not only interposed his authority as Sovereign, and commanded finners to believe on his Son, that they may be saved ; but he hath like
wise, in some measure, unfolded the secrets of his eternal counsel, and in particular, given us fuch encouraging views of that mighty One upon whom he hath laid our help, as render his command to believe on him at once the strongest and most endearing expression, both of his wisdom and of his love : so that they who refuse to comply with this command, counteract the soundest principles of reason, resist the clearest and most satisfying evidence, and thall be found, in the final issue of things, to have been equally chargeable with cruelty to themselves; with ingratitude, the vilest ingratitude, to their benefactor ; and the most obstinate rebellion against their Sovereign Lord.
A few remarks upon the verses I have been reading, will serve to -illustrate what I have just now - faid. And I have chosen this passage for the - subject of my present discourse, in hope that God may bless it for the conviction of fome who have hitherto rejected his gracious counsel; but chiefly with a view to confirm the faith, and to heighten the joy, of believers in Christ, by Vol. II. G
showing them, that he in whom they trust, is in all respects worthy to be depended upon, and will assuredly carry forward the work he hath begun, till it shall be perfected at length in their complete falvation.... - The information that is here given us concerning our Redeemer, may be comprehended under the following heads.
First, What he is in himself ;-or, his original dignity. si.. . Secondly, What he is to us ;-or, the statión he holds in his church. And, . - Thirdly, His qualifications for the difcharge of what belongs to that station.'
• What the Apostle faith upon the first of these particulars, amounts to something more than a simple assertion of our Lord's divinity. It is such an enlarged and accurate description of proper and effential Godhead, as cannot poffîbly be applied to any inferior being. The only expression that háth an appearance of difficulty is in the close of verse 15. where Christ is styled the first-born of every creature. But the difficulty evąnishes, when we attend to the ex.