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choice was the same: "Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber."
Among all the classes of sinners, heretics, hypocrites, impostors, mammonists, and worldlings, there are none promoted so high as the scorning fool. He is the chairman; he stands first and highest, and is at the front of all that enter the gates of death. “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the council of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.”
I read of no exalted chair, or seat of promotion, among sinners, but the above, which is called the seat of the scornful. And, as this chairman is sure to have many pupils, followers, and admirers, so he is sure to gain many proselytes; many of which look up to him, and wish they could imitate him in art and craft, in eloquence and fluency, in parts and abilities, in wisdom and knowledge. This person being a ringleader, and gaining much applause by mocking of God, it is but right that he should be supreme in misery, as well as supreme in wicked
And God declares, in the very verse preceding my text, that he will deal with this sinner as he has dealt with God. “Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly. The wise shall inherit glory, but shame shall be the promotion of fools.” And as, in this world, those that despise Christ shall be lightly esteemed, so these scorners, at the day of judgment, will be despised, destroyed, and abhorred, even by their own proselytes and admirers; and they will hate
him, and curse him, and torment him, to all eternity, as their worst enemy, and soul-destroyer. And God declares that he will pay him in his own coin; that is, he will laugh at his calamity, and mock when his fear cometh. His own atrocious crimes, and the heinous guilt of them; his fears, anguish, and torments; shall be his promotion in the great day, as soon as the last trumpet shall be blown. “Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” Shame and everlasting contempt will be the promotion of this fool. His chiefest glory has been in his own shame, and shame shall be his future promotion.
GOD'S GREATEST TREASURE IN MAN'S WORST
1 CORINTHIANS XII. 24, 25.
" For our comely parts have vo need : but God hath tempered
the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked : that there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another."
The apostle, in this chapter, is comparing the church of Christ to a human body, and the different members of the body as representing so many particular members of the church. And as there is an union, both in flesh and spirit, between Christ and his people, first, by his incarnation, and, secondly, by our regeneration, (for by the former he took our flesh, and by the latter we are made one spirit with him, and the Saviour and his church being husband and wife;) so they are for ever one, as man and his wife are one. Hence she bears his name, and is expressly called Christ: “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body being many are one body; so also is Christ.” Now, as Christ signifies anointed, the unctuous Spirit of God being upon all believers, the church bears this name, for we are anointed with the same Spirit; as it is written: “ Now he which establisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God.” “ For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” This spiritual baptism that Christ came to administer, to which John himself gave testimony, when he said, “He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire,” is what the Saviour promised just before his being apprehended; “Ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost, not many days hence.” And, on the day of Pentecost, the Spirit was most plentifully poured forth upon
the apostles, which made them ministers of the Spirit, not of the letter. They all drank into one Spirit, according to the Lord's promise. Their poor, dry, barren, lifeless, and thirsty souls came to him, and drank freely of the well-spring of life; "and, in their ministry, out of their bellies flowed rivers of living water. “This spake he of the Spirit which they that believe on him should receive.” To be baptized with the Holy Ghost is to be regenerated and renewed by the Spirit of God; and to be baptized with fire is to have the love of God shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost given unto us, Rom. v. 5. And this most holy Spirit being one in them all, made them all one in themselves, and members one of another.
" For the body is not one member, but many." The human
body consists of various parts, and each member is assigned to its own proper use and office in the body; and though their offices may differ, yet they are intended for the mutual use, aid, and assistance, of
every member. Now, as the different members of the body are of different uses, so are the different members of Christ's mystical body. « If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?” The foot most certainly is the greatest slave in the human body, because it bears the greatest weight, and is the lowest member in the whole frame; and perhaps may mean one in the lowest stage of grace, with some life, faith, hope, and expectation, and yet not a little burdened with corruption, temptation, doubts, and fears, as some are all, their lifetime in bondage through the fear of death, and misgivings of heart; and so, like the foot, are the lowest and meanest.
And such are often least and last of all in their own eyes, and, like the feet, much pressed down to the earth, and sel-dom joyful, or heavenly-minded; and yet, like the foot, diligent in the means of God's appointment; though often staggering, halting, limping, and meeting with so much opposition, they are often discouraged because of the way. However, the feet belong to the body; and if these be out of order, all the members are in a concern about them, for the whole is confined from travelling. And so the foot, in the body mystical, serves to excite the pity, compassion, yea, and the patience too,