« VorigeDoorgaan »
against whom all conspired, was the Maker of all, and men proved themselves to be blind at noonday; it pleased God, by the foolishness of preaching, to save them that believe. Nothing but this can save them : woe be to that man who teaches that there is any other method of salvation than the preaching Jesus Christ. This is the instrument which God has crowned with success. Before the rising Sun of Righteousness, idolatry melted away, as wax before the fire; and effects, the reverse of those produced by that baneful system, attend the beneficent progress of the gospel. Cruelty and impurity, disappear in holiness and brotherly love. Christianity, instead of severing the ties of nature, harmonizes and unites the most distant from each other, as brethren; according to the design of our Saviour, that he should gather together in one the children of God, that were scattered abroad: while those, who before were stained with every vice, are purified in their hearts and conduct by the influence of heavenly truth.
In proportion, my brethren, as you value the blessings of religion, you will wish that others should partake them with yourselves : in proportion as you are disposed to pray, Lord, evermore give us this bread; you will desire to communicate it to all beside. You will love your brethren, as you love your Saviour, not having seen either : if
you have been divinely taught, this will be your feeling in regard to all mankind. That man's heart is not right with God, who can look, unmoved, upon the vast heathen world, lying dead
in trespasses and sins ; dead by a moral, a voluntary death, such as cannot be pleaded in arrest of the divine judgement. But, though they have destroyed themselves, in God is their help; he has laid help on one that is mighty to save even to the uttermost. The Father has appointed his beloved Son to be the dispenser of all spiritual blessings, as Pharaoh appointed Joseph to be the dispenser of bread to the perishing Egyptians; and, as Pharaoh answered every application by saying, Go to Joseph; the Father says to sinners, Go to Jesus Christ with all your wants ; no man can come to the Father but by him. He is the ark, in which all the hopes, all the treasures, of human nature are reposited; in him is all the fulness of God.
A cause so great and sacred as that of christianity absorbs all those differences and divisions, of a minor kind, that exist among us; and I trust and believe there is not a missionary of our own Baptist communion, who would not infinitely prefer the conversion and salvation of one soul, to making the whole heathen world adopt our views of a disputed and comparatively inconsiderable ceremony. If there is such a man, I am no party to his sentiment; there exists no communion between us; let not my soul enter into that man's secret! No, my dear brethren! we, I trust, have far higher views; the only kind of proselytes we desire to make are proselytes to God and Jesus Christ! In the promotion of such a cause, we are ready to forget our own denomination, and to co-operate with every other ; we feel that, with such an object proposed, were we to sit still, the very stones in our streets would cry out, and almost rise up into bibles and missionaries ! Contribute, brethren, to the support and extension of this sacred enterprise, and you will convert uncertain riches into the means of bestowing the true riches,—of diffusing the unsearchable riches of Christ; your contributions will become, in the hand of God, bibles, instructions, prayers, sermons; the messengers of saving mercy to many immortal souls.
CHRIST'S MISSION FOR THE ADOPTION OF SONS
IN THE FULNESS OF TIME. *
[PREACHED AT MELBOURNE, NEAR ROYSTON, SEPTEMBER 1827.] Gal. iv. 4, 5.—But when the fulness of time was come,
God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
The Galatians, among whom Paul had taught the religion of Christ, were soon led astray as to some of its most essential and important doctrines, by the arts of Judaizing teachers.
They admitted and inculcated the obligation of circumcision and other ceremonies of the ancient law, maintaining that without these men could not be saved; thereby vacating and superseding the sacrifice of Christ, and denying the sufficiency
* Printed from the Notes of the Hon. Mr. Baron Gurney.
of his mediation and death for the salvation of sinful men.
Of these Paul testified that, if any man submitted to circumcision on this ground, with a view to procure acceptance with God, or as any ingredient of justification in his sight, for such a person Christ had died in vain. He subverts the only foundation laid in Zion, by mixing those observances of the law of Moses, which were typical of Christ and his kingdom, with his satisfaction, as the ground of acceptance with the just and holy God.
In order to recall the Galatians from these errors, he directs their attention in the words just read, to the great and fundamental doctrine of Christ's incarnation and atonement, to its completeness and efficacy, not only in saving us from guilt and condemnation, but in reinstating us in the divine favour, and bestowing on us inexpressible privileges ; admission into his family and the reception of that spirit of adoption which is the spirit of his Son, whereby Christians feel the dispositions and perform the duties of obedient children to their heavenly Father. “When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons; and because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.”
In these words there are three things that demand our attention :
I. The mission of Jesus Christ, and the manner in which he manifested himself.
II. The design of his mission ; “to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons."
III. The fitness of that season which God, in his infinite wisdom, appointed for this purpose : it was in “ the fulness of time.”
I. In the first place, these words present to our attention the great fact of Christ's mission from the Father, and his appearance in our world. Of the dignity of the person of our Saviour, as denoted by the expression, “God sent forth his Son,” we have sufficient notice in various parts of the New Testament.
The character of Jesus Christ as the Son of God, is placed in contrast with the dignity of angelic intelligences, and is asserted in the first chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews.
“ God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds ; who being the brightness of his glory and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high"; being made so much better than they, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son ? And