Page images

in well-doing amidst insult, contempt, and ingratitude, and compassion to perishing sinners, are best learned. by looking to the cross; by witnessing the triumph of divine love in the sufferings of Emmanuel, and hearing him mingle his dying groans, with prayers for his cruel and insulting murderers.

Meditation on this subject may also convince us, that we must expect tribulation in the world, and the enmity or contempt of unbelievers, if we belong to Christ, and bear his image. His wisdom, holiness, and love were perfect: yet no one of our race ever experienced such hatred and insult from all ranks, orders, and descriptions of men, as the spotless Lamb of God! Malefactors commonly meet with some pity amidst their tortures, however merited: but Jews and gentiles, rulers, scribes, priests, soldiers, and the multitude, could unite in cruel mockery of the holy Jesus, when expiring on a cross! Away then with all those flattering sentiments of human nature, which represent it as loving and delighting in genuine excellency the cross of Christ, and the sufferings of his most faithful servants in every age, form a demonstrative confutation of the proud delusion! And if our hearts have been changed by divine grace; so that we love and imitate the lowly and humble Saviour : let us count our cost, expect scorn and hatred from men, tribulation in the world, and peace and consolation from the Lord alone. Let us also look beyond the cross, and contemplate the glory which followed: "that we may not be wearied and faint in our minds." We too have a joy set before us: let us then endure

our lighter cross, and despise the shame; assured that if we suffer with Christ, we shall also reign with him in glory.

But, my fellow sinners, where will you appear at his second coming to judge the world, if you now neglect his great salvation? If you join his enemies; and, by cleaving to your sins, prefer Barabbas to Jesus, sell him as Judas did for a few pieces of silver, or determine you "will not have him to reign over "you?" Still he invites you to come to him, that you may have life eternal: Oh! that you would seek to him as a Saviour, who will shortly come to be your Judge.

In fine, contemplating the cross of Christ, teaches us most effectually every lesson contained in the sacred scriptures. Let us then, my brethren, further prosecute our meditations at the Lord's table: and while we remember the love and sufferings of our Redeemer, let us renew our repentance, and acceptance of his salvation, and give up ourselves to his service; that," as bought with a price, we may glorify him "with our bodies and spirits which are his."

[blocks in formation]



Now is Christ risen from the dead.

WE learn from this chapter, that some of the Co

rinthians had denied the doctrine of a resurrection : probably explaining away the apostolical language on that subject as figurative; and as only meaning conversion, or that change which took place in the world by the introduction of Christianity. In confuting this dangerous error, the apostle called their attention to the resurrection of Christ, as an undeniable fact: and he shewed, that the denial of a resurrection was equivalent to saying that Christ was not risen; and thus tended to subvert the foundation of Christianity, and to destroy the hopes and comforts of believers. "If there be no resurrection of the dead, then is not "Christ risen: and if Christ be not risen, then is our "preaching vain, and your faith is also vain; yea, "and we are found false witnesses of God.-And if

Easter Sunday, 1796.

+2 Tim. ii. 17, 18.

"Christ be not raised,-ye are yet in your sins: then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are pe"rished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, "we are of all men most miserable." All the joys and supports of Christians are inseparably connected with future and eternal felicity; without the hope of which they would have nothing to counterbalance their peculiar trials and conflicts.

If Christ were not risen, believers were yet in their sins, and even the martyrs had finally perished. But were not the primitive Christians converted from idols to serve the living and true God? Did they not “repent, and do works meet for repentance?" Were they not exemplary in the practice of all good works? And did they not meet death for the sake of a good conscience towards God? How then could they be yet in their sins?-Because, none of these things could atone for their transgressions; and, if Christ were not risen, no effectual atonement had been made: they must therefore have still continued under condemnation, and exposed to the curse of the law which they had broken. A most conclusive proof, that the death of Christ was a vicarious satisfaction for sin; and that none can be saved, who are not interested in that atonement !

It is deemed uncandid to charge men's doctrines with the consequences resulting from them; yet I apprehend we should all consider ourselves bound to warn people against the consequences of taking a poisonous mixture, even if he who administered it was not at all aware of its nature: and the apostle has here set us the example of doing the same, in opposing

those erroneous doctrines by which immortal souls are fatally deceived.

He then adds the words of the text, "Now is Christ "risen from the dead," and proceeds to treat very copiously on the doctrine of the resurrection. But I shall confine myself to the subject before us, and attempt,

I. To prove that Christ is risen from the dead.

II. To shew the inferences which may be drawn from that event.

III. To apply the subject to ourselves. I. I shall prove that Christ is risen.

Though true Christians have "a witness in them"selves," which in general satisfies their minds, as to the certainty of the things which they have believed: yet in peculiar seasons of temptation, an acquaintance with the evidences of Christianity would tend greatly to their establishment. And in these times of infidelity and scepticism, all who would "contend "earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints,” should be able to give a reason of their hope to every enquirer or objector: both to defend themselves from the charge of enthusiasm and credulity; to obviate the doubts of those with whom they converse; and to preserve young persons, perhaps their own children, from the fatal contagion. It is therefore greatly to be lamented, that pious persons are in general so littlc furnished with this sort of knowledge, of which they might make such important use.

« PreviousContinue »