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thought. When Philip went down to Samaria, and 'preached Christ there,' we are told there was great joy in that city.' When the Galatians first heard a gospel-preacher, they received him as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus;' and had it been possible, they would have plucked out their eyes, and have given to him; such was the blessedness they then enjoyed. And when the poor heathen jailer of Philippi was brought to the saving knowledge of Christ, he rejoiced, believing in God, with all his house.' And so it will be with us in some measure, if we are sensible of our need of Christ, and if we heartily receive this good news. If an army of rebels, subdued by war, and at the will of their conqueror, were doomed to death, would it not fill their hearts with joy, to be told that the king for the sake of his son, had freely pardoned them all, and received them to his favour, and would never more remember their offence? Or if a company of miserable prisoners, in such a place as the French Bastile, or the Spanish Inquisition, who had endured all the horrors of a rigorous confinement for many years, were to hear the sound of liberty and freedom, would it not gladden their very souls? Such are the glad tidings of great joy,' which the gospel brings to this present company to-day; and such will be their effect too, if you believe to the saving of your souls.

And this, you will perceive, is a very different scheme from that of those who tell us, that if we are but sincere, and do as well as we can. God is merciful, and we need not fear; and who can make no more of Christ than a good man, who came to teach good things, and set us a good example; and to assure us that God will accept our repentance and sincere obedience instead of that which his law requires. Beware of this merely moral scheme; it will be poison to your souls. If Paul had taught only morality, he need not have said, 'I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.' The philosophers of Rome would have made no objection to it; but it was the satisfaction of Christ, the sacrifice of Christ, the righteousness of Christ, which they despised. The cross was the stumbling-block of the Jews, and the banter of the Gentiles; but nothing deserves the name

of gospel, which does not make a precious Jesus' all in all,' the first and the last,' in our whole salvation. Therefore, when the gospel began to be corrupted by false teachers, who told them they must be circumcised and keep the law of Moses, besides believing in Christ, St. Paul cried out aloud, against the motly mixture of Christ's righteousness, and man's righteousness: he called it another gospel, and protested against it, saying, 'If any man preach any other gospel unto you, than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.' We are now to consider,

II. The important Design and Use of the gospel-it is' the power of God unto salvation;' that is, it is the powerful instrument which God employs, and makes effectual to the salvation of believing sinners.

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Salvation is the grand object which God has in view in the gospel. Salvation is a great word, but a greater thing. Nothing so great, nothing so important as the salvation of a soul, that must be happy or miserable for ever. And it is sad to think that poor thoughtless mortals should ever use such a word in a light and profane manner. What is more common than to hear a person say, As I hope to be saved? And what notion have such people of salvation? They only hope that when they die, they shall not go down to hell, a place of fire and torment; but that they shall go up to Heaven, to some fine unknown shining place above the skies, where they shall be free from all pain and uneasiness.' Poor ignorant creatures! they have no desire to be saved from sin, neither the guilt nor the power of it; no desire to have their hearts changed, their natures refined, and their souls filled with the love of Christ. But the salvation proposed in the gospel, is great and glorious beyond description; the greatest blessing that man can bestow, or man receive; and it is by the gospel that he conveys this blessing. Wise men in all ages have seen the need of some remedy for human nature in its miserable and fallen state. Philosophers and lawgivers have tried their skill in vain. They were physicians of no value. The gospel provides the only medicine for the cure of the soul; and this is effectual. It is God's power to salvation. It is the powerful mean, in the hand of the

Holy Spirit, to save us from the guilt of sin, and to give us a right to Heaven; and to save us from the power of sin, and make us fit for Heaven.

1. It is the power of God with respect to the pardon of our sins, and the justification of our persons. Without the gospel, we could never have been sure that the great God would pardon a sinner; we could never have known upon what terms he would do it. We could never have been certain that we were actually in a state of favour. But the gospel is a message from God himself, assuring us, not only that there is forgiveness with him,' but inviting us to apply for it, and accept of it. The gospel is 'the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them." God has appointed and accepted the mediation and sacrifice of his Son, for the satisfaction of his law and justice, and making peace; so that he might not charge any sin, or inflict any punishment, upon those who believe, or receive the atonement. Upon this ground the ministers of the gospel, as ambassadors for Christ, pray and beseech sinners to be reconciled to God. Since satisfaction is actually made to the justice of God by the death of his Son, that he may honourably show favour to sinners, they entreat them, by these gracious encouragements, to throw down their arms of rebellion, to submit to mercy in God's own way, and to yield themselves up to him without reserve, that everlasting peace and friendship may be established.

That this is the principal design of the text appears from the next verse. For in the gospel is the righteousness of God by faith, revealed to faith;' the righteousness of Christ, which becomes ours by faith, is revealed to be believed on, and trusted in. Now, God makes this gospel his power to salvation. This is the doctrine which he owns and blesses. By the power of his Spirit he opens the understanding to receive it, and the heart to believe it. Thus the sinner comes to God, is accepted, and saved.

2. It is the power of God with respect to the renewing our spirit, restoring the image of God in our souls, subduing our sins, and forming us to that holiness

without which no man can see the Lord.' It was as much the design of Christ to save us from sin, as to save us from hell, We are to esteem it a precious part of his salvation, to be delivered from the slavery of the devil, and the tyranny of our native corruptions. The doctrine of salvation by grace, through faith,' is so far from being contrary to holiness, or hurtful to good works, that it is God's powerful instrument of producing them. The gospel of Jesus Christ contains the purest precepts in the world. The instructions of Christ to his disciples contain the noblest morality; infinitely finer than all that the heathen sages ever knew. The gospel also furnishes us with motives to obedience, infinitely stronger than any other. Here sin appears to be sinful indeed, especially in the agonies and sufferings of Jesus. Here holiness is displayed with heavenly beauty, in the character and conduct of the dear Redeemer. Here we are forcibly drawn by the love of Christ, who requires, as a proof of our love to him, that we keep his commandments. He expects all his followers to resemble him. He requires them to deny themselves, and to take up their cross daily to mortify the deeds of the body; to part with sin, though as dear as a right hand or a right eye; to set their affections on things above; to be fervent in their devotions to God : to abound in every good word and work; to be honest and just in all their actions; to be charitable to the poor and needy; to visit the sick, to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked; in a word, 'to love our neighbour as ourselves.'

Nor does the gospel only require such holy dispositions and actions, but it enables believers to attain and perform them. By the same faith which receives Christ as our righteousness, we are united to him; (for, 'without him we can do nothing') and by virtue of union to him we can do all things. As the branch derives virtue from the tree to bear fruit, so believers receive, out of the fulness of Christ, grace for grace,' that they may bring forth the fruits of righteousness and goodness, which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory of God the Father.

3 The salvation of God thus begun, shall be perfected in glory. Grace is the bud of glory. Even now

the heirs of heaven have a foretaste of Heaven. They have the Spirit of God, who is the Seal and the Earnest. 'Hereby,' saith St. John, know we that we dwell in God, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.' This is the great evidence, the great ground of assurance, that we are in a state of salvation; that we have everlasting life: and having the earnest, we may depend upon the full possession. What a source of consolation is this, in all the troubles of this miserable world! Here only is an antidote to death. And this is enough. If sin be pardoned, death cannot hurt us. The sting of death is sin; but Christ hath extracted the sting. Thanks be to God who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Soon shall the believer be delivered from all the trials of the present state. The separated spirit shall be with Christ; and the mortal body shall be raised a glorious body. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun, in the kingdom of the Father.' And thus, you see, the gospel is the power of God to present and eternal salvation. Is this a thing to be ashamed of? God forbid ! This is what we were in the third and last place to prove, namely, that,

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III. There is no reason why we should be ashamed of the gospel, but rather that we ought to glory in it.

Shame is a very powerful passion. It was introduced by sin, and should be applied to nothing else. But it is the misery of our fallen nature that we 'glory in our shame,' and are ashamed of our glory. Wicked men are not ashamed of sin; but they are ashamed of that gospel which would save them from sin. Through the temptations of the Devil, and the ignorance, pride, and carnality of the human heart, true religion has always been accounted a shameful thing, so that it has always required a holy boldness to make an open profession of it. Let us see what it is that makes men ashamed of the gospel, and whether there be any good reason for being so.

I. Some are ashamed of the gospel, because they are chiefly poor and mean people who profess it. This was an objection made by the Pharisees to our Saviour himself- Have any of the Rulers, or of the Pharisees

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