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and character of Jesus Christ. Everywhere one-half of the work, failing to see that the the Scriptures testify of hiin; and they | New Testament was the fulfilment and supply, in the portrait which is drawn by 1 completion of the Old, he discerned the his followers, such an idea of moral excel relation which bound Christianity and the lence as no age and no country in the old Hebrew faith of his fathers in one. world had ever so much as conceived, still And though the Gentiles scoffed at it as less produced ; such a type of goodness as folly, and turned to their own material was not only new, but as was opposed to l strength that they might glory therein, all that up to his advent had been accepted he saw with a spiritual vision clearer by or approved by the family into which he reason of that heaven-sent blindness wbich entered when he was born at Bethlehem, quenched his outward orbs that here was and which has yet been the model of all the highest strength; that here there the worthiest lives that have been spent in lodged a power that was Divine; and so the world since then.
he was able to say, "I am not ashamed I contemplate that need of the wanderer of the Gospel of Christ." detached from God, and the likelihood that II. And still another thought sustains it will be supplied; I listen to the claim the apostle's soul. He is not ashamed of which prophets and apostles urge to be the Gospel BECAUSE IT IS A SAVING received as God's messengers, and examine POWER. “ For it is the power of God both the matter and the manner of the unto salvation." book which they have left behind them for The direction in which apy power acts is our use ; above all, I survey the figure of the test of its actual worth. Force and One to whom every word of the book points, energy may be found totally disconnected and in whom all the hopes of the Hebrow with true dignity and goodness. Some of and all the facts of the New Testament find ! the world's heroes who have displayed the a meeting place; I turn to a world which greatest strength have been men who were that book and that Saviour have trans the least worthy of the world's regard. It formed, and I am compelled to acknowledge is a degrading idolatry which transforms that in all this there is the manifestation of 1 the self-seeking despot like Napoleon or a wondrous power. Yea, I behold here an | the insane and savage Frederick of Prusirresistible body of evidence proving that sia into the recipients of profoundest the Gospel, no less surely than that out- | homage. They were men of power ; but ward world which awes the savage and they did not wield their force in a benig. solemnizes still more deeply the spirit of nant way: theirs was an energy which the enlightened man, is a thing which comes wrought only evil and death. And alfrom God. Nay, that, inasmuch as moral though God is always holy, just, and good, force is greater than material energy, this there is a power of God having a tendency Gospel is in reality the highest and the towards that which man cannot but regard holiest example of the Almighty's power. as evil, for it leads to punishment. He is Productions of his might before which man able to destroy both soul and body in hell. stands stilled into awe and reverence are But the power which he exhibits in the those works in nature which lie spread Gospel concerning his Son is the instrubefore the human eye, this world which ment by which he saves ; and so it is prehis hand hath fitted and furnished as eminently the good tidings which have the habitation of man. But the waters come to gladden and bless the helpless and which he hath bound in a garment ebb weary souls of men. Man has no power to away, the mountains which he bath estab. | obtain salvation by anything which he lished sink out of sight, the sky which himself can do; and this Gospel tells us, is strong and as a molten looking-glass that wben we were yet without strength, melts and disappears, the roar of the thun in due time Christ died for the ungodly. der is stilled in the presence of the Gospel The law could not save him, in that it was of Christ. For this is not, like each of weak through the flesh; but what the law these mighty works, simply a power of could not do, God accomplished by sendGod. No; it is “ Christ, the power of ing his own dear Son. And of a power God."
which was not only so great, but also so This power Paul felt. Its blessed Source, merciful and kind, the apostle was not by a special revelation from heaven, he had l ashamed. He saw,beheld. It had touched and transformed 1. That it was the only power which his heart. Though his own nation rejected could deliver man from the penalty of sia.
Here alone is the means of escape from the truth sets the poor prisoner, once held the just judgment of God. No flesh is in error's unholy bondage, free. A dew justified by the law ; for it only serves to life enters and takes possession of the show that all have sinned, and come short believing soul. of the glory of God. It imparts a know Where else shall the source of a new life ledge without any comfort; it unfolds a be found ? The search that stops abort of black and dreary prospect in which there is the Cross of Christ will end in vain. The no ray of hope. In the light of the law terrors of the conscience may build altars man sees only this, that he is a criminal, of superstition on which men shall offer and that he cannot escape the judgment of even the fruit of their bodies for the sin of God; it is a power to detect and bring to their souls; but they will never purify the light his sinfulness, but not to save. The heart. Rome had thus multiplied her saving office, to which that law is inade- deities; but the worshippers had not been quate, Christ fulfils. He comes revealing delivered from the sore bondage of de the righteousness of God; and by his pravity by any of their innumerable gods. atoning death he secures for those who be. The poet may appeal to the sensibilities, lieve in him the pardon of their sin. He and the artist to the taste of man; but sets forth in still clearer characters the they both fail in the attempt to inspire a criminality of man, showing the exceeding new life within the soul. Rome had her sinfulness of the sin which demanded so poets who touchingly proclaimed the fathergreat a sacrifice ; but he declares that, by hood of God, and her sculptors and faith on him and consistently with God's painters who embodied lofty ideas in their justice, the repentant sinner may now be works; but the refinement of which their justified, and become the happy recipient productions were at once the fruit and the of peace of conscience, and rejoice in hope spring served only as a thin veneering to of the glory of God. The anguish of the cover uncleanness. The philosopher may guilty soul is now stilled; the horrors of appeal to the dignity of the race; but he its black forebodings are now appeased. cannot plant spiritual dispositions in the The penitent believer has now put on a breast or lessen the awful depths of human garment which can shelter him from the depravity. But what all these agencies stroke of justice.
are powerless to effect is accomplished by «That spotless robe which he hath wrought
the Gospel of Christ, whicb, as it first of Shall deck us all around;
all succeeds in purifying the conscience, in Nor by the piercing eye of God
giving ease to that great moral avenger One blemish shall be found.”
causes the affections to flow out towards Attired in that protective robe, the apostle God and allures the soul to mount upwards was not ashamed of the blood-bought ap to a holy lise. It has the power to still the parel which shielded him from the penalty tumult of the guilty mind, and it presents of sin. And he gioried still more in the a Saviour to our view who, delivering us Gospel, which he was ready to preach even | from the condemnation of sio, gains the in proud and haughty Rome, when he heart and becomes the model which we reflected,
follow in our lives ; so that we all, with open 2. That it was the only power which face beholding as in a glass the glory of could deliver man from the dominion of sin. the Lord, are changed into the same image
Christ came to deliver us not only from from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit the penalty attached to evil-doing, but also of the Lord. As the agent for achieving from the bondage of depravity. Ho came this transformation, and which effects it not only to give us an imputed righteous when the moral malady has been proness, but also to plant a personal righteous nounced to be beyond a cure; as the power ness in the believer's soul. The garment which meets the emergency when all mor. which shelters him from punishment makes tal efforts have left man in the filth of him shine to God. The faith which im the unrenewed state; as the purifier and parts peace to the conscience likewise gives strengthener which can make us walk in it sanctity. There is thus a twofold re newness of life; as the deliverer from the demptive power in the Gospel of Christ ; deadly lusts of the flesh and of the spirit for he not merely stills the anguish of the Paul saw in the Gospel of Christ a thing of soul in the anticipation of punishment, I which he had no need to be ashamed. but he also saves his people from their sins. And shall we not unite with the apostle in He makes them to know the truth; and glorying in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified | his' union with Christ the believer is not unto us and we unto the world ?
more surely eased in his conscience and 6 Let the vain world pronounce it shame.
purified in his life than he is' ransomed And fling their scandal on thy cause;
from the power of the grave and redeemed 1. We com• to boast our Saviour's name, from death. The shadow of the sepulchre ; And make our triumphs in his cross.”
does not project itself across the pathway 3. The apostle was not ashamed when of the Christian's life to wrap him in & he saw, moreover, that tliis Gospel was the midnight gloom; he beholds in the King only power which made sure the hope of of Terrors only a grand liberator who shall immortality, and so inspired power against sct him free, and so he goes down wil. death.
lingly, nay, often with gladness, to the • It may be said, and said with perfect grave as the road to glory, beholding in the truth, that even although revelation had risen and exalted Redeemer who has passed never deigned to teach us this, the fact that the portals before him the sure and glothere is a future life must have been solfo | rious pledge that he also shall rise again evident to the soul of man.' It has at all, and live in a royal and eternal blessedness times and in every land been the feeling of in heaven. He believes that Jesus died mankind, that there is a world to come. and rose again, and that even so them also The idea of a fipal judgment, haunting who sleep in Jesus will God bring with man throughout his life and descending him. This was the belief of Paul. With upon his spirit with impressive force at the simple and unaffected earnestness he could dying bour; the feeling that bere we see a say, towards the close of his tempestuous process begun but not ended-that bere we voyage across the sea of life, that he was mark the steps of a progress, but cannot ready to depart, and that to die and be with trace a termination; the consciousness that Christ he regarded as “ far better” than to the soul is not the body, and may not die hare his career upon the earth prolonged. when the body dies-that while a body | And of this power, which for him made the which daily perishes is adapted to the grave less cold, which transformed it into world of sense and time,' the deathless the gateway of life and so dispelled its spirit is meant and made for an immortal gloom, which snatched the victim from the world : all these are ideas which 'natural enemy and laid him in the bosom of a religion had impressed upon the human Friend, the apostle was not ashamed. mind. But the hope of a future life which III. Nor were these animating and con: man possessed apart from revelation was soling truths his only protections against a one disturbed by doubt. The idea was false shame. He gloried in the Gospel of osten grotesque in the forms which it as Christ, BECAUSE IT IS A UNIVERSAL POWER. sumed, and it was always most shadowy " For it is the power of God unto salvaand dim. It is a special glory of the tion to every one that believeth." Gospel of Christ that, for the first time, it Thus universal in its power, it knows no set before men the clear prospect of eter- distinction of age or sex, of country or connal life ; and this in language distinct and dition, of place or time. There is an applain, in events which raised it beyond the parent distinction when we are subseuncertainties of mere conjecture and wbich quently told that it comes to the Jew first, far transcended even the brightest colour and also to the Greek. But this “first" ing; of the heathen's hope. That Gospel, has' a relation only to the order in which as it told of the resurreciion of its Author, i the Gospel was proposed, and not to any more than confirmed all the imaginings of preference of the Jew over the Greek. It feeble man. It proclaimed, in language was only in a certain limited sense that which a child might understand, and in | the Jews held the first rank. They were tones of authority which only God might the ancient people of God, while the other employ, and in accents of love which only a nations were strangers from the covenants Saviour might utter, that there is another of promise. To them the preaching of the world beyond that in which we dwell, that Gospel was first addressed. “I am not the day on which it departs from earth is l sent,” said Jesus, “but unto the lost to the undying spirit only the birthday of sheep of the house of Israel ;" and while a life that shall never end, that the present there was this limitation in his personal existence is the meanest portion of our , ministry, the primitive preachers of the heritage, that “ death is all in death that l Gospel, being Jews, were instructed to prodies." That Gospel taught us that by l claim the offers of mercy througla a Saviour first of all to their own countrymen... But, find no region which does not send forth while this national precedence in the order joyful notos to swell the triumphs of the of time was secured fo: Israel, it was com. Cross. The Gospel has snatched subjects manded that repentance and remission of from every idol temple in the world, and sins should be preached in the name of many of the false gods it has utterly upJesus Christ among all nations. The He. rooted and destroyed. The traveller may brew, si'.ce he was the first called, was not visit lands where civilization lies buried, deprive a of his rank; but the Jew and the and from which even life has fled; but the Gentil, were equally united in the par tombs of the generations that once moved ticipation of the Gospel. It was a gift upon their soil are speaking of the Gospel's meant for all mankind, and equally adapted power. To no existing nation can the to the need of the whole human family. Christian pilgrim wander where he will not
That the Jew could become the recipient find those who own the Saviour's might to of this salvation, the apostle knew without gave. In Lapland and in China the love of looking beyond his own case. That the Jesus has melted human hearts. At the Gentile could experience its power, he had | Christian shrine the dusky son of Ethiopia learned in many a heathen community , and the pale Caucasian kneel in the .com. where disciples had been gathered under mon reception of tbe truth which fits them his own preaching into the fold of Christ. | both. This knits in one the European He had witnessed its blessed strength to philosopher and the man who was once a comfort and purify and heal the soul cannibal, but who now blushes to hear the working in the learned and the illiterate, in name. In the name of Christ the mightiest the blameless Pharisee of strict external potentates of the earth are crowned ; and life and the licentious idolater, in the old through that name the slave is finding and the young, in the master and the slave. power to die. Europe sends the message And of a power thus illimitable in the to far-off islands of the sea, and in the sphere of its operations, which had sum. same generation receives in the testimony moned humble fishermen from the Ga- of the renewed savage a rebuke to her own lilean shore to a higher life and which had faint experience of the Gospel's power. done the same for the highly cultured Thus the Gospel has swept from pole to Greek, the apostle felt that he had no pole, embracing] men within its loving aeed to be ashamed. Rome might mul | grasp of all the nations that exist under tiply her gods, but not one of them could the sun. assure their worshippers of pardon. She “ Sinners from earth's remotest bound might boast of her poets, but the sweet
Come bending at thy teet: 38t of them all could not lift the load of
To thee their prayers and vows ascend ;
In thee their wishes meet." care from the human heart. She might indulge in speculation in academic groves
And what it has been upon untold mul. sacred to philosophy, but there she could | titudes the Gospel is fit to be upon you. behold no other than an earthly light. | God will have all men to be saved. He She might increase her boundaries and does not desire the death of the sinner. grow in wealth, but all her material / Oply, you must not be ashamed of the strength and grandeur would only lead to a Gospel. Though it is thus universal in its more refined pollution of the life and take power, it professes to save only such as her farther away from God. Paul preached believe. Without faith God will neither a Gospel which could achieve all in which justify nor save any one. But he asks these agencies were of no avail. Why, l you, nay, he commands you, to believe. then, of such a Gospel need he be ashamed To make Paul's glorious confession ; to re
And has not the history of man in the pose with the calm of a perfect confidence on intervening centuries given us ample cause the Cross; to feel that it is the power of to regard with still greater confidence this God unto salvation to your own helpless portion of the apostle's argument ? He had and weary soul, all this may be thine. If seen much of the Gospel's universal fitness the unfailing promises and the blessed to save mon, but we have seen still more. hopes of the Gospel are not yours, that Ho saw the bud; we have seen it burst will never disprove the universality of their into the flower. For where shall the tra- power ; it will only prove that you have veller now go who wishes to escape those excluded yourself. If we believe not, yet portions of the earth's surface where man Christ abideth faithful : he cannot deny has never felt this saying force ? He will himself. And his words are these: “Whoso, ever shall confess me before men, him will | Father who is in heaven." That God, in! In I confess also before my Father who is in his mercy, may deliver us from the fatal heaven. But whosoever shall deny me power of false shame, I pray. Amen. before men, him will I also deny before my !
A THREEFOLD PRIVILEGE, CORRESPONDING SERVICE.
BY THE REV, J.. T. WIGNER. “ When it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by His grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred wot with flesh and blood.”-Gal. i. 15. 16.
No writer in the New Testament speaks more of himself than does the Apostle Paul; no writer thought less of himself. This seems parodoxical, but it is true; and the reason thereof is manifest. Paul never refers to himself but in order to exalt his Lord and to magnify the grace of God displayed towards him. * Not I, but the grace of God that was in me.” The marked character of bis conversion, 80 sudden, 80 startling, so genuine, left its deep impress on all his after-life; the prominent position he formerly occupied when he persecuted the saints, and his eminent zeal and usefulness afterwards in preaching the faith which once he laboured to destroy, all combined to make him a man known and observed, and exposed him to opposition as severe as his persecution of the Christians had been aforetime. Hence, sometimes in a way of defence, when his apostleship was doubted by professors, or his conduct blamed by worldling, and at other times to illustrate the riches of Christ's grace, he refers to his life
, history, gracious conversion, and delight in Christ's service. It was because be loved the Lord Jesus so intensely, and would fain exhibit more attractively to men a Saviour's grace, that he so frequently referred to himself. The passage above, as well as many others similar, will confirm this view, and to the above statement to the Galatian church we call your attention.
I. A THREEFOLD PRIVILEGE : Birth, CONVERSION, USEFULNESS.
1. BIRTH.--Paul speaks of his birth-of Jewish parents, a “Hebrewof the He brews;” the privileges of citizenship—"I was free born ;” the place" born in Tarsus ;" the attendant circumstances—" brought up,” &c.; and now, as a Chris tian man, taught and enlightened by the Spirit of God, he resolves it all into the Divine pleasure : “It pleased God." How often persons think-young persons especially—“Oh! had I been born under such circumstances, in such a station of life, with such advantages, how much better it would have been for me. Know that if you have been savingly converted to God, all the circumstances o your birth, “ parents, native place, and time," were all under the guidance of a Wisdom which never erre, and were so many links in the chain of Providence, resulting in your present participation of the “ riches of his grace.” In your case, as in Paul's, your birth itself, your birth in its incidental circumstances, has been as it "pleased God." BIRTH, as connected with influences and preve dices. Who can doubt but that the strong prejudices which Paul had agains Christianity and the disciples thereof, were mainly cwing to his parentage and early training? They trained him in the Jewish faith, they placed him under Jewish teacher, he was “taught according to the perfect manner of the lan the fathers.” Is it surprising that he grew up as he did, and that his prejudia were so strong! Innumerable proofs come before us of the influence of parenlang and training, The look, the homely life, the daily expressions, the inn convictions wrought out; or, on the other hand, the strong prejudices of parent-all these have a mighty influence in moulding the habits of the o
en for me."