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arose out of it; for "he had determined to know nothing but Christ, and him crucified."]
2. His spirit
[This was in perfect accordance with the doctrine which he preached. "The whole manner of his life" was regulated by it; and marked a determined "purpose" to live only for the Saviour in whom he believed, and to put forth all his powers for the propagation of the Gospel of Christ. In the discharge of this duty he had shewn the utmost "fidelity";" concealing nothing that could be profitable to his hearers, but boldly "declaring to them the whole counsel of God." He knew that," in every place, bonds and afflictions awaited him:" but "none of these things could move him :" neither counted he his life dear to him, if only he might discharge, to the satisfaction of his own conscience, the high office which had been committed to him. This was his uniform course of life, from the first moment of his conversion: and all who knew him could bear witness to it.]
3. His conduct
[His zeal for God was duly blended with love to men. He bore with all, however weak, however ignorant, however perverse, they were: nor could the most cruel treatment divert him from his purpose. In the midst of all the injuries he sustained, he still prosecuted his labours of love with all imaginable" long-suffering, and charity, and patience;" "becoming all things to all men, if by any means he might save some;" and accounting it rather a matter of self-congratulation than of grief, if he should be called to pour forth his blood as a libation upon the sacrifice and service of his people's faith. O that men would study this character, and seek to have it embodied in their own experience! For this end]
I will propose it,
St. Paul himself says, "Be ye followers of me, as I am of Christ." And so would I say to you, as in my text, Be diligent followers of him in the above respects.
1. Embrace his principles
[It is observable, that the Apostle himself takes for granted that every true Christian will resemble him in his
This is here the import of the word translated "faith.” d Phil. ii. 17.
views of divine truth: for, having spoken of the sufferings which he had been called to endure, he adds, "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution." "The living godly in Christ Jesus" marks at once" his doctrine and his manner of life." "A life of faith on the Son of God" is that which characterizes every Christian under heaven. Yet it is not the faith alone which so distinguishes him, but its operation on the heart and life: it is "the living godly in Christ Jesus." The faith and practice must go together. If separated, they are of no value: faith is of no value, if not productive of works; and works are of no value, if not proceeding from faith. I wish this to be clearly and fully understood. In truth, there is not a person in the universe who can act up to this high standard, unless he live under the influence of faith. Nothing but a sense of redeeming love can constrain any man to such an entire surrender of his soul to God. But, on the other hand, no man who truly believes in Christ will ever stop short of it. Be ye, therefore, followers of Paul in this respect.]
2. Expect his trials—
[We are ready to think, that sufferings for righteousness' sake were the portion of the Apostles only, or of the primitive Christians: but they are, and will inevitably be, the portion of all believers; as St. Paul tells us in the words which we have just cited; "All who will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." Persons may be ever so wise, and ever so prudent, and ever so blameless in the whole of their conversation; but they never can escape persecution of some kind. They may not, indeed, be called to endure the sufferings inflicted on St. Paul: through the tender mercy of our God, that measure of persecution is now prevented by the laws, which afford protection to all classes of the community: but hatred, and contempt, and obloquy, will attach to all who resemble our blessed Lord, and to all who tread in the steps of the Apostle Paul. It is in vain for any one to hope that he shall be a follower of Christ without having a cross to bear: for, "if men called the Master of the house Beelzebub, much more will they those of his household." In this respect, therefore, as well as in his religious sentiments and feelings, every one of you must prepare to resemble this bright pattern of all that was great and good.]
3. Maintain his conduct
[Imitate his zeal for God: and let it be seen that you live only for God. Let your whole manner of life be consistent. Let your determined purpose be manifest let it be evident to all, that you have but one wish, one desire. And let nothing
under heaven cause you to turn aside, even for a moment, from the path of duty. "Be steadfast, and immoveable, and always abounding in the work of the Lord." At the same time, imitate his love to man. Whatever treatment you meet with in the world, be long-suffering and loving towards all; and "let patience have its perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, lacking nothing." In all this, let your conduct be so uniform, that you may appeal to those who have the nearest access to you, and opportunities of observing you at all times, that this is the constant tenour of your way. It is an easy matter to be Christians in public: but, to preserve a perfect consistency in the whole of your deportment in private, requires an unintermitted watchfulness, and a measure of that is possessed by few. But, indeed, I must say, that it is by such fruits alone that the goodness of the tree can be discerned. May God enable all of us so to walk, that we may be able to make our appeal, both to God and man, without fear and contradiction; and to the praise of that God who hath wrought all our good works within us!]
2 Tim. iii. 12.
THE TRUE GOSPEL HATED.
All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
WE are apt to imagine that persecution for righteousness' sake was peculiar to the apostolic age: but St. Paul, reminding Timothy of the various trials which he himself had endured, tells him, that the Gospel would continue to give offence, wherever it was faithfully preached, or consistently professed; and that "all who would live godly in Christ Jesus should suffer persecution." Now, that we may enter into the true import of these words, and see their full scope, I will shew,
I. What is the life which is here described
[The Apostle does not say, "All that will live godly:" for then his assertion would not be true. A conformity to the law, under which men live, will by no means give offence to those around them. Heathens, of every class and of every caste, will admire those who are most scrupulously observant of the rites prescribed by their religious system- - The Pharisees were held in the highest estimation on account of
the self-denying ordinances which they practised. And papists are canonized for their penances and pilgrimages, and selfimposed austerities. Even amongst us, an exact attention to outward forms and to moral duties will gain for any man the admiration of all around him. This is not the life which will, in the general, expose us to persecution, whatever it may do under some particular circumstances. The life that will involve us certainly in persecution, is, "the living godly IN CHRIST JESUS;" that is, the depending on him for all the grace whereby to serve our God, and the giving to him the glory of all that we do. This is what the Gospel invariably requireswill still give the very same offence which it gave in former days. This it was which so incensed Cain against his brother Abel. Abel offered a burnt-offering as an acknowledgment of his dependence on the sacrifice of Christ, which should, in due time, be offered: and God's attested approbation of that offering stirred up in Cain the murderous purpose to destroy his brother's life. St. Paul, and all the rest of the Apostles, suffered on the same accounta And at this day, wherever that religion is professed and exemplified, the very same hatred prevails against it Other doctrines cause
no divisions: but wherever salvation by faith in the atoning blood of Christ is proclaimed, there is a division among the people; "some saying of the preacher, He is a good man: others saying, Nay, but he deceiveth the people."]
If this be so, it is of importance to shew, in reference to this doctrine,
II. Why it gives such universal offence
1. Because it is so incomprehensible in its nature[A preacher of Christ crucified, whilst he calls men to the performance of good works, will maintain most strenuously the impossibility of our being ever justified by them, either in whole or in part. He requires all to seek acceptance with God through faith alone Now, people in general neither do, nor can, comprehend this. If we are not to be justified by our works in any measure or degree, why need we perform them? Thus they stumble at that very stumbling-stone which offended the Jews of old, and caused them to reject the salvation which the less moral Gentiles most thankfully accepted—]
2. Because it is so humiliating in its require
a 1 Tim. iv. 10.
b Rom. ix. 30-33.
[What! must the most exemplary Pharisee, who has been "touching the righteousness of the law blameless," renounce all his own righteousness, and come down upon the very same ground with publicans and harlots, and "enter in at the strait gate" of repentance and faith, as much as the most abandoned of mankind? Who can endure to hear that, or make up his mind to comply with it? What! after having done so many things, must I seek acceptance solely through the righteousness of another imputed to me? Such views were, in the days of old," to the Jews a stumblingblock, and to the Greeks foolishness":" and such will they be judged by all, who are not truly enlightened by the Spirit of God
3. Because it is so exclusive in its pretensions
[If the Apostle would have suffered circumcision to be retained by the Jews as a joint ground of hope before God, "the offence of the cross would have altogether ceased." Or if he would have suffered the name of Jesus to be enrolled among the gods of Greece and Rome, the Gentiles would have entirely renounced their opposition to him. But he required that the whole world should abandon their various grounds of hope; and trust exclusively in "the Lord Jesus Christ, as their wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption." He declared, that there was no way to heaven but through Christ; and that "if an angel from heaven should preach any other doctrine than this, he must be accursed". " This is the testimony which we also bear; and which every one who receives the Gospel must accede to. And can we wonder that this rigid and immoveable purpose should give offence? Can we wonder, that, when we require every child of man to bow to this doctrine, and inflexibly to adhere to it, even though he were menaced with death for his fidelity-can we wonder, I say, that men should rise up against us, and endeavour to extinguish the light which we set before them? It cannot be but that such authoritative demands should give offence to those who have not obtained grace to comply with them---]
Let me then ADDRESS,
1. Those who are intimidated by the opposition made to them
["Fear not man, who can only kill the body; but fear Him who can destroy both body and soul in hell." "If you will not lay down your life for Christ, you cannot be his disciples." We cannot lower those terms. Christ died, under
c 1 Cor. i. 23.
d Gal. i. 8, 9.