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wrath of God, like a stream of brimstone, ready received the mortal wound, and ere doth kindle and inflame, the smoke where- long shall be cast down and trampled unof ascendeth for ever and ever.
der his feet. And will not this inspire Thus have I illustrated the doctrine of you with courage and fortitude ? You my text, and taken notice of some of the fight under a General whom Satan feareth; principal means by which the Son of God and though he uses every artifice to make hath hitherto conducted the war against others unbelievers, yet he himself believes Satan, and shall finally destroy the works j and trembles. Remember the battles and of the devil. And now, in the review of victories of your Redeemer; consider the all that hath been said, let us, in the virtue of his blood, and the efficacy of his
1st place, Praise and magnify our great Spirit. Let faith behold him in his predeliverer, who came into the world upon sent exaltation at the Father's right so merciful an errand. “() the height hand, pleading your cause, and observing and depth, the breadth and the length of your conduct, covering your heads and the love of Christ!” It might justly healing your wounds, while he prepares have been feared, that if the Son of God for you those crowns of glory that shall was to visit this earth, it would have been never fade away; and then cry out with for a very different end, even to display the apostle in holy triumph, “If God be the glory of divine justice, by executing for us, who shall be against us? Who vengeance upon those ungrateful creatures shall separate us from the love of God? who had risen up in rebellion against the Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecuGod that made them. But behold, and tion, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or wonder! He came to save, and not to sword ? Nay, in all those things we are destroy: “For God sent not his Son into more than conquerors, through him that the world to condemn the world, but that loved us.” Be bold, O Christians! in the world through him might be saved.” | the cause of righteousness. Let the Nay, he came to destroy those enemies wicked blush; they have reason to do so, who had vanquished us, and to rescue us their work is base, and their wages deadly. out of their hands.
Lord, what is man, But surely the disciples of Jesus have no that thou art mindful of him ?” My cause to be ashamed, whether they conbrethren, however coldly we may think or sider the nature of their service, or the talk of these matters, angels, whom they reward that attends it. And what a reless concern, contemplate them with ec- proach is it, that the slaves of Satan stasy. They shouted for joy when the should act more vigorously for their masworld was made, but they raise a higher ter than we do for ours !
Their cause is note to celebrate the redemption of man- not only bad in itself, but desperate too, kind. And shall men be silent while as to any prospect of success; whereas angels sing? O let us contend with those the interest for which we contend is so blessed spirits in the praises of our own just and honorable, that the very attemptRedeemer. He is their Lord, but he is ing to support it is glorious; and unless our Saviour. Let our souls, and all that we were to suppose that Omnipotence is within us, be stirred up to bless him, may become weak, and the Creator be and let us, even at this distance, begin overmatched by the workmanship of his that grateful, triumphant song, “Unto own hands, we are sure of victory. What him that loved us, and washed us from then should we fear? Be strong, O beour sins in his own blood, and hath made lievers ! and of good courage. You fight us kings and priests unto God and his the battles of the Lord of Hosts, and Father, to him be glory and dominion for greater is he that is with you than all ever and ever."
that can be against you. Say not that 2dly. This doctrine yields the strongest you are the sons of the Most High, and consolation to every sincere Christian. born from above, unless you can prove He is engaged in a cause that must pre- your descent, by daring to be holy in vail; he follows a leader whom no might spite of devils and men.
The battle may can withstand; he contends with a sub- be hot, but it cannot last long. Death will dued and vanquished foe, who hath al- soon come, and tell you
is accomplished; and angels, who now selves; if God peradventure will give minister to you with joy, will carry you them repentance to the acknowledging of home in triumph to your Father's house; the truth; and that they may recover and the Redeemer, by whose blood and themselves out of the share of the devil, Spirit you overcome, will put the crown who are taken captive by him at his will.is upon your heads, and "grant unto you to This, my fathers and brethren, is the sit with him in his throne, even as he also great aim of the sacred office we hear, to overcame, and is set down with the Father which not our public ministrations only, in his throne."
but every part of our conduct, ought to 3dly. The stability of the gospel-church be subservient. Let us keep this aim is a necessary consequence of the doctrine continually in our eye, as a lamp to our in my text. Zion's King shall have a feet, and a light unto our path; and, in seed to serve him as long as sun and moon particular, let us place it full in our view endure. The church he hath purchased when we are assembled together in the with his blood is built upon a rock, name of our Lord, to deliberate and against which the gates of hell shall never judge in matters which belong to his spiritprevail. The heathen may rage, and the ual kingdom, remembering that, as all our people imagine vain things; the kings of authority is derived from him, so the exthe earth may set themselves, and the ercise of that authority can be no further rulers take counsel together, against the valid than as it is regulated by his will, Lord, and against his anointed, saying, and subordinated to the purpose for which Let us break their bands asunder, and the Son of God was manifested ; and cast away their cords from us. But he consequently, that every act and decision that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh ; of an opposite tendency shall be finally the Lord shall have them in derision; disowned and reprobated by him who came and at length he shall speak unto them in to destroy the works of the devil. Amen. his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. The proudest of his enemies shall lick the dust, when he ariseth to plead the cause that is his own; and
SERMON XXX. therefore his people may well rejoice under the heaviest pressure of affliction,
THE CHRISTIAN'S CONVERSATION. and look by faith through the darkest cloud, to the complete redemption of Israel from all his troubles.
6 For Je
PIILIPPIANS I. 27.-"Only let your conversation
be as it becometh the gospel of Christ.” rusalem shall be a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with It will be to little purpose to inquire it shall be cut in pieces, though all the what kind of conversation becomcth the people of the earth should be gathered gospel of Christ, till we be satisfied, in together against it."
the first place, that this charge, which was 4thly. This important subject suggests originally addressed to the Philippians, a variety of useful instructions to all who may, with equal propriety, be addressed bear office in the church of Christ, and to us. more especially to those who labor in The qualifying particle ONLY, with word and doctrine. To us is committed which the apostle introduces the exhortathe ministry of reconciliation, that by the tion, plainly denotes, that, in his own manifestation of the truth as it is in judgment, the demand he made was no Jesus, the eyes of sinners may be opened, less moderate than it was just: Only let. and they turned from darkness to light, your conversation be as it becometh the and from the power of Satan unto God. gospel of Christ. This is all I require; We are commanded to "preach the word, and you cannot with decency ask, nor in to be instant in season and out of season, reason hope, that less should be accepted. to reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with all To this conclusion he was naturally led long-suffering and doctrine.” “In meek- by the character and circumstances of ness instructing those that oppose them. I those to whom he wrote. His epistle was inscribed, not to unbelieving Jews or not always prove an insurmountable bar Gentiles, but to saints in Christ Jesus ; in the way to any office, civil or military, to men who had been converted to the which the person is otherwise qualified to Christian faith, as we learn from the fore fill
, or hath interest to obtain ; and theregoing part of the chapter. And it is ma- fore, though the mere profession of Christerial to observe, that as Christianity had tianity be not attended with any temporal been treated with peculiar indignity at inconveniences, yet as the want of such Philippi, where Paul and his companion profession doth not exclude a man from Silas were, by order of the magistrates, any temporal advantages, and as neither publicly scourged and cast into prison, the profession nor practice of Christianity therefore the profession of the gospel, in can be said, in the ordinary course of such a place, was justly entitled to the things, to help any man forward in the most favorable construction: for no- line of worldly promotion; hence it folthing less than a deep conviction of its lows, that every baptized person, who hath truth and excellence could be supposed to not openly renounced the Lord that have induced any inhabitant of that city bought him,” but still retains the name of to profess a religion that inevitably ex- Christian, and would complain of abuse posed him to those contemptuous, as well and injury if his title to that appellation as painful sufferings, which a generous and were either denied or called in question, feeling mind would of all others most must be considered as acting from the anxiously wish to avoid.
freest choice in the profession he makes ; Surely, then, the apostle could have no and can have no reason to be startled, reason to suspect, that a demand so mod- far less to be offended, when we address erate would either offend or surprise him in the words of this holy apostle, them: Let your conversation be as it be- Let your conversation be as it becometh conneth the gospel of Christ. You have the gospel of Christ. Should it be otherembraced the faith of the gospel, and con- wise with any of us, the consequences are tinue to make an open confession of it, obvious; and upon every supposition we without any allurements of a temporal can make, must prove equally fatal to our nature, nay, in the face of the most ob- peace and to our honor. vious and alarming discouragements; and If we believe not the gospel, why do therefore, as there can be no room to call we profess it? To lie in any case is in question either your belief of its doc- shameful, how great soever the temptatrines, or your regard to its laws, I may, tion may be: but to lie deliberately, withwithout presumption, hope to obtain your out any temptation at all, which, as I just consent, when I only exhort you to act a now observed, is the present case; nay, to. consistent and uniform part, by suiting persist in that lie from day to day, when your conversation to the religion you have telling the truth could not hurt nor enchosen, and have the fortitude to avow. danger any secular interest whatsoever, is.
It is true, and it ought to be gratefully a baseness the most superfluous, and conacknowledged, that our present situation sequently the most contemptible, that can in these lands is very different from that possibly be imagined. of the ancient Philippians. Christianity, On the other hand, if we truly believe as reformed from the corruptions of Po- what we profess, what an odious as well pery, is the established religion of our as disgraceful appearance must we make, country: so that if a man believe the when our conversation is such as doth not gospel of Christ, he may, with the most become the gospel of Christ? By " holdperfect safety to his person and property, ing the truth in unrighteousness,” and make as public a confession of his faith as counteracting the dictates of religion, and he inclines. But it is equally true, that the conviction of our own minds, we exno man is compelled by the terrors of per- pose ourselves to the lashes of that self-secution to profess Christianity, if he do reproach which will not fail to occupy not believe it; nay, the profession of in every lucid interval betwixt the tumultucredulity itself, if it break not forth into ous gratification of passion and appetite ; blasphemy, aggravated by sedition, doth while at the same time, by continuing to
profess that gospel we counteract, we stance whereof the apostle hath elsewhere every day publish our shame and misery expressed in one short sentence, to wit, to the world around us, and virtually con- " That God was in Christ, reconciling the fess that we are guilty and self-condemned world unto himself, not imputing their before all who have an opportunity of ob- trespasses unto them," necessarily supserving our conduct.
poses, that man is in a state of distance So that the subject of my text is one and alienation from God, liable to punishof the most important that can employ ment in consequence of his apostasy; and our attention, as our practical regard to so perverted and enfeebled, that he hath this demand of the apostle is absolutely neither the disposition nor the ability to necessary to preserve the peace and purity do any thing that can be effectual for his of our own hearts, and to support that own recovery. character which the most profligate rev. It informs us, that “God, who spared erence, and which all who can discern real not the angels that sinned, but hath rebeauty and excellence will covet to pos- served them in everlasting chains under sess; I mean the venerable character of darkness to the judgment of the great an upright man.
day," so pitied the human race, " that he Having thus prepared the way, by show- sent his only begotten Son into the world, ing, that the same charge which was pri- not to condemn the world, but that the marily addressed to the Philippians, may, world through him might be saved." The with strict justice and propriety, be ex- nature and dignity of this great Detended to us; let us now proceed to liverer are thus described by an inspired examine, with attention and candor, the apostle: "In the beginning was the standard to which our conformity is en- Word, and the Word was with God, and joined ; or, in other words, let us inquire the Word was God. All things were into that gospel of Christ to which our made by him : and without him was not conversation, that is, the whole of our any thing made that was made." This external conduct, as expressing the in- “Word," adds he, “was made flesh, and ward temper of our hearts, ought to be dwelt," or tabernacled,
among men. suited.
“He who was in the form of God, and Among the various particulars included thought it not robbery to be equal with in the gospel of Christ, the two following God, made himself of no reputation, took may be selected as the most distinguish- upon him the form of a servant, and was ing and comprehensive, namely,
made in the likeness of men; and being 1. The Doctrines we are taught to be found in fashion as a man, he humbled lieve; and
himself, and became obedient unto death, II. The Laws we are commanded to even the death of the cross. This death obey.
is uniformly represented by all the New Each of these particulars I shall ex- Testament writings as an atoning sacrifice amine apart; from whence we shall dis- for the sins of men. Hence Christ is cover, with ease and certainty, what man- styled “the Lamb of God which taketh ner of conversation it is that may be said away the sin of the world.” He is said to become the gospel of Christ.
to have borne our sins in his own body I. I BEGIN with the doctrines of the on the tree," and "to have made peace by gospel, or the truths we are taught to be the blood of his cross; to have “been lieve. And without descending to the made sin for us, who knew no sin, that peculiar tenets, or modes of expression, we might be made the righteousness of by which Christians of any denomination God in him; ” and “to have suffered, the have chosen to distinguish themselves, I just for the unjust, that he might bring shall confine myself entirely to those cap- us to God." The apostle John calls him ital points, in which the sober and intel- “ the propitiation for our sins ;." and the ligent of almost every denomination will author of this epistle, in another letter be found to agree.
addressed to the Christians at Rome, (the Now the gospel, strictly so called, or principal aim whereof was to explain and that "word of reconciliation," the sub- I vindicate this important doctrine) expressly says, that "we are justified freely forter, to heal their diseases, and to make by the grace of God, through the redemp- them "partakers of the divine nature; " tion that is in Christ Jesus, whom God "to shed abroad the love of God in their hath set forth to be a propitiation through hearts;" and to bring them with filial faith in his blood, to declare his righteous- boldness to the throne of grace, where ness for the remission of sin; that he they shall obtain mercy, and find grace to may be just, and the justifier of him that help them in every time of need, till the believeth in Jesus."
divine life, which is begun on earth, shall The gospel doth every where present attain its full perfection in the kingdom him to our view, as a powerful, a suitable, of heaven, that undefiled and permanent yea, a necessary Saviour ; so necessary,“ inheritance, which is reserved for all that “there is not salvation in any other; " those who, being born of God, are kept by so powerful, that "he is able to save to his power through faith unto salvation.” the uttermost all that come unto God by Once more, the gospel informs us, that him ;” and so suited to the circumstances this Jesus, " who died for our sins, rose of fallen creatures, that they who are sunk again for our justification ;' hereby givinto the most deplorable state of igno- ing the most authentic evidence, that he rance, guilt, pollution, and servitude, are had finished his great undertaking, and rendered “complete in him, "36 who of God was accepted by the Father in all that he is made unto them wisdom, and righteous- taught, and acted, and suffered upon ness, and sanctification, and redemption.” earth ; " that he ascended up on high,” as
We are further taught, that faith in a triumphant conqueror," leading captivi. Christ, or a cordial acceptance of him, in ty captive;" where, being constituted the full extent of his character as Media- "head over all things for the church,” he tor, is the appointed means whereby we now sits enthroned at the right hand of become interested in this all-sufficient Sa- God; from whence he shall once more deviour. For “ this is the command of God, scend to this earth, not in the form of a that we believe on the name of his Son servant, but clothed with Majesty, and atJesus Christ." “He that believeth on tended by all the holy angels, to gather tothe Son hath everlasting life; he that be gether his elect, in whom he shall be glolieveth not the Son, shall not see life, but rified; while at the same time, as an awful the wrath of God abideth on him." Which and righteous Judge, he shall'“ take venlast expression plainly implies, that the geance on them that know not God, and sinner is previously under a sentence of obey not his gospel; who shall be puncondemnation; and that by rejecting the ished with everlasting destruction from offered ransom, the sentence remains in the presence of the Lord, and from the full force, and his former guilt becomes glory of his power." still more aggravated by his ingratitude All who are acquainted with the Scripand obstinacy: whereas upon our believing tures must be sensible, that in delivering in Christ Jesus, we forthwith obtain the this summary of Christian doctrine, I remission of sins; for the blood of Jesus have done little more than repeated the cleanseth from all sin.” And " being thus words of the New Testament writers as justified by faith, we have peace with God they are translated into our own language ; through our Lord Jesus Christ:" nay, we and therefore I may take it for granted, are adopted into the family of God: for that those capital articles, to which many "to as many as receive Christ, to them others might have been added, will reagives he power to become the sons of God, dily be admitted to belong to the gospel of even to them that believe on his name." | Christ. Neither is this a mere honorary title; but It remains, then, to be inquired, What they on whom it is conferred are actually influence the faith of these interesting enriched with all the privileges the title truths ought in reason to have upon our imports : together with the dignity, they temper and practice? or, in other words, receive the nature of children. They are what manner of conversation is suited to regenerated by grace; the Spirit is given such belief? to them, both as a sanctifier and a com- That we may be qualified to judge with