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The acutest foes used every art heavenly-mindedness and devotion. Every friend to mankind will wish that these things may prevail.
to entangle him; but were always entangled themselves. If they took counsel against him ever so privately, or even conceived a thought against him, he shewed that he perfectly knew their most secret counsel, and the thought of their heart.
The example of this great teacher was a transcript of his precepts. His vigilant and implacable enemies could not convict him of a fault. He sought not his own glory or his own will, but the will and glory of him who sent him.
The doctrine brought from Heaven by him gave light to nations who sat in darkness, without God, and without hope-ununcertain whether repentance would be accepted, and ignorant what true repentance means. He taught the worship of the Father in spirit and truth came to call sinners to repentance, and proclaim remission of sins through the blood of his cross. No man cometh unto the Father, but by him. Whatsoever we ask in his name, the Father will give. To whom shall we go for the words of eternal life, but to him who came from the bosom of the Father, to teach the way of God in truth, to open before us the gates of immortality?
Would we see a perfect system of morality, where shall we find it, but in the sermon he preached on the mount, which filled the multitudes who heard it with astonishment? The maxims themselves the principles upon which they are foundedthe motives to the observance of them, all concur to prove him a teacher infinitely superior to any that hath appeared in the world before or since. That distinguished sermon contains every precept of purity, temperance and moderation; of contentment, self-denial and meekness; of humility, charity and forgiveness; of resignation,
The works which he did in his Father's name witnessed that he was the Christ, that prophet of whom Moses and succeeding prophets spake. A voice from heaven, on one occasion and another, witnessed the same thing. Add to these proofs, the accom. plishment in him, and in him only, of a succession of prophecies, from the beginning of the world until he appeared; together with the fulfilment of his own prophecies, particularly respecting his passion and resurrection, the desolation of Jerusalem, and state of the Jews. The evidence arising from his doctrine, precepts, example and works form a body of evidence, which completely evinces that Jesus was the Christ.
It was foretold that the Messiah should make atonement for sin. "The chastisement of our peace was upon him. The Lord laid upon him the iniquity of us all. He poured out his soul unto death, that he might make reconciliation for iniquity, and bring in everlasting righteous
Awake, O sword, against my Shepherd, and against the man that is my FELLOW, saith the Lord of hosts: smite the Shepherd." The evangelical prophet has given a lively description of his passion, exactly correspond
ing with the history contained in the gospels; and connects his intercession in heaven with his sacrifice. He bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." David, speak ing of him, saith, "Thou art a priest forever. The Son of Man came to give his life a ransom for many. God sent his Son to be a propitiation for the sin of the world, and in him is reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses.
Having offered one perfect sacrifice, our high priest sat down forever on the right hand of God, where he maketh continual intercession for us. All our services must be performed in the name of the Mediator, that God may be glorified. He is able to save to the uttermost all that come to God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession. His resurrection proved him to be the Son of God with power. The decree was then pronounced, "This day have I begotten thee. I have set my King upon my holy hill of Zion. I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession." The dispensation of the Holy Ghost, after he ascended, in the view of the astonished disciples, assures us, that he is exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour. Miraculous gifts were doubtless continued in the church through the apostolic age, though in all probability gradually withdrawn, after the martyrdom of Paul. Angels, authorities, and powers above are made subject to our exalted Redeemer. He "hath on his vesture and on his thigh this name written, King of Vol. I. No. 6.
kings, and Lord of lords." His kingdom is not of this world. His laws are enforced by spiritu al and eternal sanctions. His people shall be willing in the day of his power. He is head over all things to the church-able to defend it from all its foes. Righteousness is the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. The spirit of wisdom and understanding, counsel and might, knowledge and the fear of the Lord rested on him. Defended by him, the gates of hell have not prevailed against his church. He shall have dominion from sea to sea. In his days shall the righteous flourish, and the meek inherit the earth. He must reign until all things are put under him. Thus the kingdom shall be the LORD'S.
Lastly, Authority is given him to judge the world; because he is the Son of Man. For this purpose he will descend from heaven, in like manner as he was seen to ascend, attended by hosts of angels. They shall gather all nations before him; and under his direction, sever the wicked from among the just. Apostate spirits are reserved unto the judgment of the great day. At that day, impenitents of mankind and infernals will unite in confessing, "Thou art righteous, O Lord, because thou hast judged thus." Holy angels and glorified saints will then unite in the acclamation-Now is come salvation and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ.
May all men know assuredly that God hath made the crucified Jesus both Lord and Christ. He shall be revealed from heaven
in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that obey not the gospel. He shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe. We persuade men by the mercies of the Lord. We persuade them also by the glory and the terrour of the judgment seat of Christ.
Then cometh the end, when he shall deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father. For when it is said, All things are put under him, it is manifest that HE is excepted who did put all things under him. For the suffering of death, we see Jesus crowned with glory and honour. Faithful to him who appointed him, God also will be faithful to his covenant with the Redeemer, and build up his throne to all generations. All that the Father hath given me, shall come to me; and I will raise them up at the last day, and give to them eternal life.
us appear to be an interesting one? Can our hearts be indifferent to a character so exalted? Were Gabriel sent from the presence of God upon an embassy to men, it would become them to treat him with great reverence. What regard then is due to him who is so much higher than the angels, by whom the worlds were made, and by whom all things consist; who, notwithstanding, tabernacled in flesh, and gave himself a sacrifice to expiate human guilt? who for the suffering of death hath all power given him in heaven and earth? They will reverence my Son, is the just expectation of HIM who sent him.
"And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne, and the living creatures, and the elders: And the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; saying, with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I, saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him who sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, forever and ever."
Does not the question before
Christianity was first confirmed by eye-witnesses and ministers of the word, whose ministry was sanctioned by signs and wonders, divers miracles and gifts of the Holy Ghost. It hath been confirmed by its extensive promulgation and continuance, against every kind of opposition. In the hands of the weakest instruments, endowed with power from on high, its light spread, like the orb of day, through the world. It hath collected additional evidence from age to age, as appears from the history of the church and world. It is transmitted to us, that we might believe, and, believing, might have life through the Redeemer. Does it consist with any respect to the cause of virtue, that men are offended in him? Do its mysteries warrant the rejection of it? What shall we substitute in its room, if we reject it? what rule of faith? what guide in our duty to God and man, or for the government of our appetites and passions?
Those who are ready to make every objection to the gospel, which a vain imagination can suggest, or readily listen to such objections, should first answer the weighty arguments in defence of it. Among these arguments that taken from its unquestionable historical facts is entitled to first consideration. He who should undertake to dispute the authenticity of these facts, would have a much harder task than would be requisite to refute the superficial and unfounded cavils, which are reiterated in books on infidelity.
Were the infidel to pronounce on the moral character and life of Jesus, he must either deny that there ever was such a person; or that he taught the doctrine, and wrought the works, and exhibited the example ascribed to him or he must say, that a deceiver might possess a character which has no part dark might fill up life with doing good
might live in heaven while on earth-and, in attestation to the truth, lay down a life filled with labour and sorrow.
Just thoughts of Christ are intimately connected with the love of God and our neighbour, meaning by the term neighbour every man to whom we can shew mercy, without respect of nation, profession or character. Pretenders to patriotism and philanthropy cast contempt on him who gave himself a ransom for all-who proclaimed peace on earth and good will to men, in connexion with glory to God on high. The imitation of his love, which maby waters could not quench, nor the floods drown, is the characteristic of his disciples. Charity is the greatest of graces, and nev
The primary and more obvi ous reason is mentioned last, viz. "that they might live according to God in the spirit," i. e. that by the sanctifying influence of its holy doctrines, men might be raised from a carnal, to a holy and spiritual life.
Another reason for preaching the gospel to sinners, here pointed out, is, "that they might be judged according to men in the flesh." To ascertain the apostle's idea it will be necessary to notice its connexion with the foregoing verse, where he observes, that those who remain disobedient to the truth, shall be judged for their perverse
ness; and to prepare suitable evidence against them for this trial, the gospel is to be preached to them; viz. "that they might be judged according to men in the flesh," i. e. that by the medium of the gospel they might be convicted, and condemned upon the same publick evidence, on which criminals are convicted in human judicatories. God could distribute exact justice, by his perfect knowledge of the heart; but it is highly important that creatures should have a clear view of the equity of his sentence; and in order to this, their guilt must be proved by such overt acts as are sufficiently indicative of the temper of their hearts. Their rejection of the gospel will afford this evidence. They will be "judged according to men in the flesh," or upon evidence of which creatures can judge. "They will have no cloak for their sin." All will then be convinced, that, "if any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ," he justly deserves to be anathema, Maranatha."
Remarks on the foregoing Con struction.
principles of human justice. On this construction it is difficult to discover the contrast which the apostle evidently intends to make between being judged according to men in the flesh, and living according to God in the spirit. What contrast is there between men's being treated at the last day according to the principles observed in human judicatories, and their living according to God in the spirit? May they not be treated in that way at last, whether they live according to God in the spirit, or not?
It is not doubted, that the thoughts of the ingenious author of this exposition are, in themselves, just and important. The doubts and inquiries here suggested respect the performance merely as an exposition of the passage under consideration.
1. The phrase, "that they might be judged according to men in the flesh," is supposed by our correspondent to refer to the final judgment, or the distribution of rewards and punishments at the last day according to the
2. The flesh in scripture use generally signifies a principle or state of moral depravity; especially when it stands in opposition to the spirit, as it does here. But according to the foregoing exposition, the flesh has no such signification.
3. Is it reasonable to suppose the term, dead, here means dead in sin, when it is used in another sense, that is, literally, just before;
"who is ready to judge the living, and the dead.”
4. In the reasoning on the passage, it is implied, that they, to whom the gospel is not preached, will not be convicted and condemned upon publick evidence. "The gospel was preached to them, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh; that is, that by the medium of the gospel they might be convicted and condemned upon the same publick evidence, on which criminals are convicted in human judicatories." But will not men, destitute of gospel light, be convicted and condemned upon like evidence? They will indeed be judged by the law of nature. But the evidence, on which they will be judged, will be as publick, as