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man, as really fuch as Adam, Abraham, David, the prophets, and all others, appears to me absolutely neceffary to our juft difcernment of the true chriftian scheme and all fentiments inconfiftent with it, have been an embarraffment upon chriftian principles, occafioned much misrepresentation, and prevented the right understanding of many fcripture paffages. Befides, it is only upon this suppofition and principle, that our blessed Saviour's illuftrious and perfect example can appear in a proper light, and have its due force and efficacy. Its true beauty and genuine influence depends upon this its being the example of one in our own nature, tempted as we are. In this view it may be glorious motive to imitate, and carry in it, ftrong encouragements and powerful perfuafion.

The confideration that Jefus was a man, fets his example before us in all its ftrength and beauty: whereas it is entirely enervated, almost annihilated, upon the other scheme. And how, upon any other principle, could the refurrection of Chrift be properly confidered as the pledge, affurance and pattern of ours? The perfuafion of our Saviour's real humanity, is thus neceffary to give life to our chriftian hope. How can we entertain the glorious, animating profpect of a state of reward and felicity fimilar to that of our bleffed Saviour (which however the gospel plainly encourages) upon any other fuppofition? Upon the Arian or the Athanafian scheme, this would be great prefumption.

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It was requifite, on numberlefs accounts, that our Saviour should be man, that he might inftruct us in the most familiar manner, fet a pattern before us not only perfect, but fuited to our condition, in a real human character; that he fhould have a fellow feeling of our infirmities; that he should suffer, die and rise again : in a word, that he might be an example of all virtue, and of the reward to be conferred upon it. As he overcame and is fet down with the Father on his throne; so if we overcome, he will grant us to fit down with him on his throne. A nobler, more animating and triumphant confideration, cannot enter into the heart of man, than this, that our common nature is crowned with glory and honour in the perfon of Jefus Chrift, and that if we refemble him, in purity and goodness here, we shall be like unto him in felicity and glory hereafter. Neither can this fentiment be juftly confidered, as derogatory to the honour of Chrift, as diminishing his greatnefs, or depreciating his merit and glory.

It is moft truly honourable to him, as well as moft comfortable and encouraging to his followers; it really adds to the dignity of his character, and places his life and conduct in a far better and more engaging light: he has done the greatest honour to the human nature, having exemplified in it, every thing truly great and glorious. He spoke fuch wisdom as never man spoke: he lived fuch virtue as never man lived: he was the greatest benefactor

to

to the human race: and ought to be, in the highest degree, dear and venerable in the eyes of all mankind. He was the Chrift, the chofen and anointed of God; his conduct was admirable, lovely and engaging, beyond expreffion: he had the words of eternal life. He was the greateft minister of the Divine Providence, employed by heaven in the most important tranfaction. The power and authority given him by God, is the fame, and calls for equal deference and regard, as if he had been of an angelic order, and exifted in glory before his incarnation: and his virtue is the greater, the more admirable, and far more impreffing and inftructive. Jefus of Nazareth was, incomparably the greatest, the most truly illuftrious perfonage that ever appeared on earth: all other human characters, the moft eminent, vanish upon the comparison. He merits the utmost regard and veneration.

SERMON

SERMON

THE FIFTH.

ACTS ii. 22.

I HAVE taken occafion from this declaration of St. Peter to reprefent, what appears to me, the fcripture idea of Chrift. The fentiments I have inculcated, though contrary to the opinions taught in human systems, creeds and formularies; I am thoroughly fatisfied, are true and right, and I am fo clearly fenfible of their great importance towards the right understanding, rational defence, and genuine power and influence of the gospel, that I cannot but earnestly recommend them to your serious confideration. Though in all probability, many of you may not be able to receive them as yet; I have no doubt they will in time, approve themselves to every examining mind. They will be found fo correfpondent to the reafon and nature of things, and fo agreeable to the whole current of the evangelical hiftory.

The great point to be determined, with reference to the glorious captain of our falvation, is, whether

whether he really had a divine commiffion, whether he really acted under the facred fanction of divine authority. Upon the belief of this, our chriftianity depends upon this as the foundation, all christian faith and practice may be built: whoever acknowledges this fingle point, is a chriftian: and happy had it been for the chriftian world; if this had been the only article infifted upon as the condition of chriftian communion and fellowship: and fo certainly it ought to have been. Surely he merits the denomination of a chriftian, who believes that Jefus Chrift was a man actually appointed of God to reveal his will to mankind.

Chriftians, in later ages, have generally begun their idea of Chrift with a notion of his preexistence.

I think I have proved,

1. That the common notion of a pre-exiftent ftate of Chrift, has no real foundation in the fcrip

tures.

2. That our bleffed Saviour was not an embodied Deity, archangel, or angel, but a real man, a man like unto us, confifting of an human foul and body. The evangelical writers affirm, in the plaineft manner, that our bleffed Saviour was one of the human race; that he had the human nature complete. The departing from this fentiment, has done unspeakable prejudice to the chriftian cause, and greatly hindered its acceptance and influence in the world. The chriftian religion

cannot

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