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Self-examination at the close of the
Some General Observations on Anger
ter to be abhorded by the Young
Peculiar Characteristics of Divine
62 The Dispensation of the Gospel
The Grandeur of the Gospel
all has given us to do
The Majesty of God.
The Condescension of God
158 The Different Distinations of the
Human Body and Spirit at Death .
Under what circumstances Anger be-
comes Sinful .
Unhappy Tendency of Anger :
A Solemn Thought
An Important Truth.
A Christian Minister's Soliloquy on
his way to the Sanctuary
Excellency of the Bible
32 Reason and Kindness
14 Sir Isaac Newton
On Associating with the World 32 Woman's Fortitude
The Grandeur of the Gospel. There is a grandeur in the glorious Gospel of God, which soars far beyond all finite excellency and conception. It is entitled, “A great light," great trumpet ;” and “ so great salvation.” The period of its introduction is called, “ The fulness of time. All things from the beginning of the world, were designed to prepare the way for it: as the period approached, God said, “ Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; and I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come." The Gospel regards immediately the soul and eternity, the only two things in the world which are atsolutely great, and yet the only two things which the majority depise and neglect. The gospel abounds with “ exceeding great and precious promises;" it unfolds blessings that are incomprehensible in their nature and excellency; for “ eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” The apostle does not refer here to the treasures of glory, but to the provisions of the gospel; for he adds, “God hath revealed them unto us by his spirit.” Every thing compared with the Gospel is trifling and mean. True, the world often allures, but it is in the absence of thought; its power over us is derived from delusion. As soon as we can reflect, as soon as we enter into solitude, when we are on the borders of the grave, oh, how the world diminishes and disappears! How amazed we are that it should ever acquire such influence over us! How surprised at the exertions, the sacrifices we have made to carry any of its points ! But now the Gospel rises to an inconceivable value, it appears to our minds as the one thing needful. When a man is awakened and enlightened from above, all else falls in his esteem. Then the cry is not, “ What shall I eat, what shall I drink, wherewithal shall I be clothed ?" But what shall I do to be saved. How shall I bow myself before the most high God? How shall I obtain justification with life? How shall I secure a title to heaven, and a meetness for it? No wonder the apostle calls this “the wisdom of God in a mystery." Here we contemplate God as the God of love,-here we see the greatness of his mighty power,- here we see the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness towards us,-here he hath abounded towards us in all wisdom and prudence,—here we behold the image of the invisible God, and here we see why Paul rejoiced in it as the power of God to salvation to every one that believeth. No wonder that satan opposes this Gospel; for
“Satan rages at his loss,
And hates the doctrine of the Cross."
Virtuous conduct, mere morality, never excites persecution. It is “ the testimony of Christ," as it is called, that has dragged down the altars ; it is this
THE DISPENSATION OF THE GOSPEL.
which has rescued the captives; it is this which has destroyed the works of the devil ; it is this which draws all to the side of Christ. What wonder that the angels, who are proverbial for knowledge, yet make this the theme of their study. They pass by the sun, and moon, and stars, to drop around the cross. They are no where represented as being philosophers, or astronomers, but they are Christian students ; they desire to look into these things—"the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow." Oh! the Gospel dignifies every place it enters. Capernaum was a poor, despicable fishing town; but Christ preached in it, and hence he speaks of it as being " exalted to heaven." When the Gospel enters a country, it is said, “ Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.” Wherefore was this earth formed, and why is it perpetuated? Was it only to be a promenade for satan, a laboratory for the chemist, a counting-house for the merchant, a field of battle and of slaughter for the hero, a cabinet for the intrigues of princes, an observatory for the stargazer ? Was it for this that Christ rejoiced in its habitable parts ? No. But because “ the knowledge of him was to cover the earth as the waters cover the sea; because the mountains were to bring peace to the people, and the little bills by righteousness; because he should come down as rain upon
the mown grass, as showers that water the earth; because he should live, and to him should be given of the gold of Sheba : because his name should endure for ever; his name should be continued as long as the sun: men should be blessed in him, and all nations should call him blessed. And blessed be his glorious name for ever, and let the whole earth be filled with his glory! Amen, and Amen.” Oh, reader, you cannot value too highly the Gospel. Embrace it with your whole heart. Amid the prevaleuce of infidel philosophy let your language be
“Should all the forms that men devise,
Assault my faith with treach'rous art;
And bind the Gospel to my heart.”
The Dispensation of the Gospel. Of all means for the dispensation of the Gospel, God has placed special honour upon the Christian ministry. Hence the reasoning of the apostle. " Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed ? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard ? And how shall they hear without a preacher ?” And, “ when the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." Our Saviour himself, when on earth, preached personally; he preached peace to them that were far off, and to them that were nigh. As our exalted Saviour, this was his boon. “ He gave some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers." By this it was that in the beginning of the Gospel nations were converted from Paganism to Christianity. By this, at the time of the Reformation, men were converted from Popery to Protestantism. What did Knox in Scotland ? How has it been among us?
Less than a
THE DISPENSATION OF THE GOSPEL.
century ago professors of religion were asleep, infidelity was alive, Sabbath breaking was almost universal, preaching was anything but evangelical. This was the state of things, when it pleased God by means of a band of men, whose hearts he had touched, having the everlasting Gospel, to go forth and preach, wherever they found a place or a congregation, they preached ; and "Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth !" It is quite impossible now to calculate how great and extensive has been the influence of their labours. And how is it now ? Take the members of a Christian society, you will find most of them called to God by the instrumentality of a preached gospel. One would say,
“ Ah, you cannot imagine what a poor, dead, stupid creature I was, as to all the things of God, till I heard a sermon, which came to me like a clap of thunder, and led me to cry, what must I do to be saved ?" A second would say, “ You cannot imagine what a proud self-righteous pharisee I was till I heard a sermon, which, like a scythe, mowed down all my hopes, and left me at the foot of the cross, saying, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength."
And God has ordained that the Gospel shall be preached by men, and not angels. There is a difference here between the administration of the law, and the dispensation of the Gospel. The law was “ ordained by angels in the hands of a mediator.” One produced the darkness, another shook the mountain, another rolled the thunders, and another inscribed the law on tables of stone. “ But unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come whereof we speak," that is the economy of the Gospel. In reading the Acts of the Apostles, we shall find that it was so all along. Though an angel appeared to Cornelius, it was only to tell him to send for Peter, who would instruct him in all that was necessary. An angel was employed to deliver Peter and John from prison. What a fine preacher he would have been had he gone among the people! But no, he said to the apostles, " Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life." We can never sufficiently admire the wisdom of God in this arrangement. Had angels been employed to preach the gospel, their greatness would have made us afraid, we should have been dazzled and overawed. But now that we have this treasure in earthen vessels, the excellency of the power appears to be of God. The victory achieved over the proud foe becomes more humbling, now that he stills the enemy and the avenger, by ordaining strength out of the mouths of babes and sucklings. Angels could not speak to us from experience. They know nothing of godly sorrow for sin, of the exercise of faith in Christ for pardon. They are ignorant of the christian warfare. They could not weep or sympathise with us in their addresses ; the thing could not go from heart to heart as it is among
Behold then your duty, reader, in relation to the christian ministry. As this is the principal means in the hands of God for the dispensation of the Gospel, according to your opportunities hear the preaching of the gospel, endeavour to to bring others under the joyful sound, and pray o that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified."