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SERMON I.

JESUS CHRIST the Corner-Stone.

1 Peter, ii. 6.

Behold! I lay in Sion a chief Corner-Stone,

elett, precious : and he that believeth on Him Shall not be confounded.

To the attentive reader the holy Scriptures

continually offer new subjects of admiration and gratitude. Among other circumftances which will excite his wonder and thankfulness, he will notice the accommodating condescension of God to the dulness of human understanding, in setting before men under so copious a variety of appropriate and familiar figures the nature and plan of Redemption through Christ. The fower fowing his feed; the good shepherd giving his life for the sheep; the vine nourishing its branches ; the king making a marriage for his son; the house kolder superintending his vineyard ; the fa

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ther receiving the repentant prodigal; the master settling accounts with his fervants; the wheat-field overspread with tares; the net caft into the sea, and gathering fishes of every kind: these are among the images, by which the office of the Son of God, and his dealings with man, are represented and rendered clear to our apprehensions. In the passage now before us the apostle alludes to our Saviour under the description of a masly corner-stone placed in the foundation of a building, that it may unite and bind together the principal walls, and

may

thus ensure the firmness and the durability of the structure.

Christ is displayed to us as the chief corner-stone, of chosen strength, of inestimable value, fixed by the hand of God himself, and capable of suftaining for ever and ever the fabric of the universal church. Under this image Christ was originally pouttrayed by David and Isaiah. The Stone which the builders refused, the fame is become the head-stone of the corner,

This is the Lord's doing"; it is marvellous in our eyes (a). Therefore thus faith the Lord God; Bea bold, I lay in Zion for a foundation, a stone, à tried ftone, a precious còrner-ftone, a fure foundation ; be that believeth on him fbell not make hafte (6); shall not be hurried into dismay, shall not be confounded. To these words of Isaiah (a) Plalm civit. 22, 23. f) Ifaiah, xxviii. 16.

St.

St. Peter refers. To them St. Paul also refers in his epistles to the Romans, and to the Ephesians (c). In several passages in the New Testament the expressions of David are likewife recited and applied to Christ (d). I propofe, therefore, in the first place, to point out fome of the particulars with respect to which we are to regard Jesus Christ as the great corner-stone. And I shall endeavour afterwards to illustrate the animating declaration of St. Peter ; that he who believeth on Christ shall not be confounded : and the tremendous warning which it involves, that they who refuse to believe on Christ shall be confounded

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for ever.

I. 1. Jesus Christ is the corner-stone of religious doctrine. He is the sole foundation, the author and finisher (e) of our faith. He came from the Father: he is one with the Father: and he knoweth the will of the Father. He was in the beginning with God, and was God: and he knew the incomprehensible nature and the unchangeable attributes of the Godhead. He knew the perfect holiness necessary to obtain acceptance from a God of holiness. He knew the inherent heinousness of fin; the extreme guilt of every deviation

(c) Romans, ix. 33. X. 11. Ephesians, ii. 20. (d) Matt. xxi. 42. Acts, iv. 11. (e) 1 Cor. iii. 10, 11. Heb. xii. 2.

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from the divine law, of every instance of rebellion against God. He knew how great must be the sacrifice, for he offered himfelf to be made that facrifice, by which the pardon of fin, and the restoration of the divine favour, should be procured. He knew by whať price, for that price he undertook to pay, the continual

of the Holy Spirit, by which alone the finner could be enabled to repent, to believe, to become holy, and to persevere in holinefs, must be purchased. He was the Son of the God of truth : he was Truth himself; and he came into the world to bear witness to the truth. By his personal ministry, and by the ministry of his apostles, he revealed to the fallen children of men the things which belonged to their peace. By his Spirit he instructed and empowered the facred writers of the New Testament to spread to the most distant regions, to deliver down to the latest generations, the words of eternal life. Well therefore may St. Paul affirm that all Scripture is profitable for doctrine (f). Well may St. John pronounce ; Whosoever abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, bath not God: be that abideth in the doctrine of Chrift, he bath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you and bring not this doctrine ; receive

grace

(S) 2 Tim. ii. 16.

him not into your house, neither bid bim God Speed: for be that biddeth bim God speed, is partaker of bis evil deeds (8). Take then your faith from the mouth of your Saviour, and of his inspired apostles and evangelists. Look to your bible. bible. Fix

your

foot on that rock. Apply to yourself the admonitions of St. Paul: Be stedfast in the unity of the faith. Be not tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doktrine : but speaking the truth in love, grow up unto Him in all things who is the head, even Chrift. Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines : for it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace. Remember them which have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation, Jesus Christ, the fame yesterday, and to-day, and for ever (b). Recollect the prophetic warning of the same apostle. The time will come when they will not endure found doctrine (i). That time has long since arrived. The prophecy has already been fulfilled, and is at this day fulfilling, with respect to multitudes. Numbers at this day, while they profess themselves Christians, erect themselves in opposition to the essential doctrines of the Gospel. Sometimes they exclaim against its mysteries : and presuming (8) 2 John, 9-11. (b) Ephef. iv. 13-15. Heb. xii.

() 2 Tim. is. 3.

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