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Christ's Commission to his Ministers :
A SER MO N, : Preached before the Conference beld in :
LEEDS, JUlr, 1793,
MARK XVI. 15, 16.. " Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gol-.
pel to every creature. He that believeth, and
is baptized, Thall be saved; but he that be· lieveth not, shall be damned." . 1. TN reading the sacred Narrative of the Evan
1 gelists, concerning the Life and Doctrine of the LORD Jesus, and in comparing their fundry accounts together, it is diligently to be observed, that, in writing their histories, they regarded not the amusement, but only the instruction and edification of their readers. They paid no respect to the gratification of the curiosity of mankind, by a rea' lation of uninteresting and trivial circumstances, but consulted merely the illumination and renovation of their minds, by laying before them im. portant truths. Hence, without detaining us to hear on what occasion, at what time, or in what place, our Lord performed his miracles or delivered his discourses, they frequently carry us forward to observe rather, what is of infinitely greater importance to us, the fact done, or- the doctrine taught.
The consequence, however, of this is, that, if we do not make this proper allowance for their passing over unimportant matters, and reflect that some of them omitted what others of them relate, we shall be led into the erroneous idea of their designedly connecting events, which, in reality, were not immediately connected, and even of their contradicting one another, which would impeach their credit as Historians, and shake the very foundation of our faith.'
2. I am led to make this remark by considering the passage before us in connexion with the context. These words of Christ, as they stand here, seemingly connected with the preceding verses, may appear, at first sight, to have been spoken to his disciples on the day on which he rose from the dead. Whereas, upon comparing the contents of this chapter, with the accounts which the other Evangelists have given, of the events which took place between the resurrection of Christ and his ascension, it seems evident that they were uttered on the day of his afcenfion, and probably at the very time, when, he was lifting up his hands and blessing them,* and was jụst about to be parted from them and carried up into heaven. At that solemn and ever-memorable moment, it seems, among other instructions and advices, recorded by St. Luke, in the above mentioned Chapter, and Acts i, Jesus gave them this most important, moft benevolent, and yet most awful charge, and said, «Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature : He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved ; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” For, as we are assured, verse 19, “ after the Lord had spoken unto them,” viz. the preceding words, a part of which is my Text,
* Lukę xxiv, 30.
TO HIS MINISTERS. ví he was received up into heaven, and sat on the
we la discourse Gop" into hear
In discoursing from these words, containing, as we see, the last, folemn charge of the Son of God to his Disciples, I propose to consider,
J. What is implied in preaching the Gospel ? .
II. To whom the office of preaching it belongs? In other words, To whom this charge is given ?
III. Where they are to preach it, and to whom? And
IV. Lastly. What is required of those who hear it, with the consequences of their complying, : or not complying, with the condition required of them.
I. And first, I am to enquire, What is implied in preaching the Gospel ? Under this head it will be necessary to consider first, what the gospel is, that we may understand secondly, what it is to preach it.
1. Now with regard to the nature of the Gofpel, I may observe first, in general, that the very word, used here and in other places by the Evan. gelists and Apostles, in the original, and translated Gospel, gives us some information concerning it. It means, as is well known, not God's-spel, or God's-tidings, which is all that is fignified by the Saxon term Gospel, but Good-news, or Glad. tidings. Such the Gospel of Christ is in the very essence of it. It is good news, or glad tidings to the fallen race of Adam, to the finful, guilty, weak, and wretched children of men, even tidings of a Saviour, and salvation thro' him. Thereforc when the Angel announced the birth of Christ to the shepherds, he expressed himself thus, “ Behold, I bring you glad tidings of great joy," svayyen sources in xapxy hipocriv, literally, I evangelize unto you great joy, or, I preach the Gospel, contain