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sake, for Christ's sake; and, whatever we do, trusting only in him for our acceptance with God.
And now let St. Peter persuade you not to be offended at Christ in any respect; but to take him as he is, and offers himself, and as you must, if you receive him at all. . Here is an excellent reason given why you should, in these words : “ He that believeth on Him shall not be confounded.” A sinner, and not confounded ! vile man, a rebel to God in the whole form of his life, and the strong bent of his heart, and not be confounded ! Did not Adam's one sin confound us all, and give us up to death, and all the pains and sorrows that lead to it? And can we escape, who have disobeyed God a thousand times over, shall we not be confounded ? No, there shall not a hair of your head perish: for Christ is therefore precious to them that believe, because they know he is their Redeemer, both from the curse of the first man s sin, and all their own. This, my brethren, is the very hope of the Gospel; and the answer of God to repentance and faith is, “ The Lord hath put away thy sin, thou shalt not die;" 2 Sam. xii. 13. “ There is now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus," and live as they believe. On the contrary, if you stumble at Christ on any account whatsoever, if you think he comes too close to your hearts, and searches every corner of them too narrowly with his law, for sin; calls you too strictly
l to repentance, and newness of life; lays you too low in your own eyes, and exalts himself too much in being all in all for salvation to every soul of man; if he is too humbling, too holy, too all-sufficient, too precious a Christ for you; if these are the wretched causes of his being disallowed — as, indeed, they are, whatever else is pretended, — then hear what the Lord himself says, “Whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken," dashed in pieces, as a glass would by being thrown
against a stone; " but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder," as it will fall thus dreadfully heavy on all the impenitent and unbelieving when he comes to judgment.
But does not the apostle here say, that those to whom he is a stone of stumbling, and rock of offence, were thereunto appointed ?” And does not this seem to imply that it was the will of God they should, and could not do otherwise ? No, by no means; it would be dreadful indeed to think that any are so appointed, and, as I may say, forced upon their damnation. Observe what he says: “ They stumble at the word, being disobedient;" and therefore plainly charges all upon the disobedience and stubbornness of their own wills; and his meaning is, that they were set and bent upon it by their own evil disposition, and that it would inevitably turn to their destruction; to which all who do so stumble are certainly appointed, i. e. to reap the fruit of their own disobedience, according to the fore-mentioned words of our Lord, and which St. Peter seems here to have had in
The Lord grant we may take warning both from the master and his faithful servant. Oh! be not offended at your God and Saviour, for any thing he requires you to do or believe. Keep in mind the mercy of this day, lay it up in your hearts, and carry it on to every day of your lives. Think, I say, on the mercy and glory of this day, in which he condescended to be born in our flesh, that in it he might do great things for us. How great the angels knew and told us, when they all rejoiced together for our sakes at his humble birth, and sang, “ Glory to God in the highest, for peace on earth, and good will towards men ;” Luke, ii. 14. By taking our nature he redeemed it from the curse it was fallen into; he sanctified it by his life, he 'expiated the sin of it by
his death, he raised it from the grave, and is now set down in it at the right hand of God. Behold your peace, and who it was that wrought it! We had no hand in it, no thought to contrive it, no will or power to effect it. It was all the act and deed of Christ for us, the purchase of his life and death, and is altogether his free gift to us. Take it, and you may rejoice in the faith and hope of a Christian, that God is a reconciled Father; refuse it, and you are lost for ever. And it is refused, when we either take
any share of it to ourselves, or do not improve it to holiness of heart and life. “I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more;" Heb. viii. 12. Here is one part of God's covenant, or royal grant, to man ruined by sin. The other is, “I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts, and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people. And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, know the Lord; for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.” Ver. 10, 11.
My brethren, so he is a God to us, so we are Christians and his people, so we know the Lord, and in this knowledge of him, all things pertaining to life and godliness. And both parts of this blessed covenant are his glory, his mercy to us, and work in us.
. He receives us to the grace of forgiveness, that we may know him in his love; and when we do thus know him by a true faith, he enables us to glorify him in the fruits of it, and walk with him as all his children and servants do, in the newness of a pure obedience.
Lord Jesus, take us into thyself, that, having tasted how gracious thou art, and, being grounded on thee, the rock of our salvation, we may give glory to God; lay aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil-speakings; loving one another, with a
pure heart fervently; as' new-born babes desire the sincere milk of the word, that we may grow thereby; and be a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, the
a service and thanksgiving of our whole lives, acceptable to God by thee, our blessed and only Saviour. And, 0 Almighty God, who hast given us thy only begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and as at this time to be born of a pure Virgin; grant that we, being regenerate and made thy children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by thy Holy Spirit, through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy
nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into
his marvellous light. 1 Pet. ii. 9. St. Peter, in the foregoing verses, having spoken of Christ from the prophet Isaiah, as a living stone of God's laying, or foundation of life ; and how precious he is to believers, though he was disallowed and rejected of men, more especially his own people, the Jews; proceeds in this and the following verse to put them in mind of the high privileges they were invested with as Christians, what a great and happy change was made in their state, and what cause they had to rejoice in it. But ye,
notwithstanding his being a 'stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence to the disobedient, ye, says he, they to whom he wrote, and all Christians to the end of the world, " are a chosen generation;" as Christ was chosen of God, so are they in him, and beloved of God for his sake: “A royal priesthood;" so St. John says, “ He hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father;" Rev. i. 6. “We who were far off are made nigh by his blood,"; Eph. ii. 13; have the liberty of approaching God in Christ our Head, as being one with him; and may come boldly to the throne of grace, as a royal priesthood; it is a very high thing to be spoken of such sinners as we are, but the poorest beggar, believing in Christ, is entitled to this privilege: “a holy nation,” washed in the blood of Christ from all spot of sin, keeping themselves from the defilement of it, and studying to be like him in holiness. And he says farther, that Christians are “ a peculiar people;" what the Jews once were, they are now, Jews and Gentiles in one body, God's peculiar people, his right and property, what he esteems his own, and as such distinguished by his favours, and heirs of his blessings. And they were thus separated, he tells them, from the rest of the world, to be “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people,” for the ends of God's glory, as well as their own salvation. As “ the heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handywork,” (Ps. xix. 1.) so they were to “ let their light shine before men, to the praise of the glory of his grace;" that others, seeing the mighty change which had been wrought upon them, and acknowledging the divine power in it, might be allured by it to come to God for the same change in themselves, that they too might be “ called out of darkness into his marvellous light.” My brethren, hear your call in the words this day: “A chosen generation! a royal priesthood ! a holy nation! a peculiar people!” Poor worms of the earth, sinful dust and ashes, what greater can we think of, than to have such honour put upon us! When you hear the words, how can you help saying to yourselves,