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personally, and practically righteous. And through union with him, and participation of the influences of his Spirit, we become fruitful in righteousness, “that we may be sincere, and without offence, till the day of Christ,” John xv. 1-8.
IV. Tm; RESULTS or nrerrrnoUsunss. “ Unto the glory and praise of God.” The essential glory of the Divine essence is infinite, and therefore unchangeable; but the manifestation of his glorious perfections is the original design of all his works. Consider, First, Righteousness is, “ to the ‘glory and praise of God,” in the scheme of redemption. In this, we behold the glory of the wisdom, power, love, mercy, justice, and holiness of God displayed; in creating, preserving, redeeming, and saving rebellious sinners. God is evidently glorified in the origin, author, work, design, and effects of our redemption. His glory is thus made manifest both to angels and men, Rev. iv. 11 ; Luke ii. 14; 2 Cor. iii. 11.
Secondly, Righteousness is “ to the glory and praise of God,” in the subjects of salvation. They are conscious that all their good comes from him ; and, therefore, they gratefully ascribe praise and adoration unto him for all his benefits, Ps. ciii. 15. And in all their designsand deportmeut they “ show forth his praise, do all to his glory, and glorify him in their bodies and spirits, which are his.” And in the kingdom of heaven they will ascribe salvation, glory, honour, and power, unto God and the Lamb, for ever and ever, Rev. i. 5, 6. ‘Let these observations stimulate our desires—promote our devotion—and inspire us with praise.
XXXVIII. THE‘ GOSPEL REVEALED.
Cotoss. 1. 27.
“ To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you the hope of glory."
Tnn various blessings and privileges of the Mosaic dispensation were confined to the children of Israel, as the Lord’s peculiar people. But whatever religious advantages the Jews enjoyed under the Old Testament, which distinguished them from all other nations, it is evident that the coming of the Messiah was designed to abolish this distinction, that “the blessing of Abraham might come on the 'Gentiles.” And hence, the birth of Christ was to give “joy to all people,” Luke ii. 10. His death was a reconciliation both for Jews and Gentiles, Eph. ii. ‘16. And his gospel was to be preached “in every nation, and to every creature,” Mark xvi. 15; that whoever believed his doctrine might be saved, and obtain eternal life. And when St. Paul was called to engage in the work of the ministry, he received a special dispensation to become “ an apostle‘ of the‘' Gentiles,” to whom he was sent to bear the name of Christ, and teach them the way to salvation. But the calling of the Gentiles to be the Jfellow-heirs with the Jews, and incorporated into the'same bo y of the visible church, was a mystery hidden from former ages and generations, till Jesus Christ sent his ambassadors to “ turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto Got ,” by the preaching of the gospel. And when they heard the truth, many of them gladly embraced it by faith, and received its saving benefits; And in the text, the Apostle congratulates both the Jewish and the Gentile converts at Colosse, as believers in Christ, and subjects of his grace. To whom God would make known, &e. These words describe,
I. Tim PECULIAR CHARACTER or THE GOSPEL. " The riches of the glory of this mystery.” This concise description of the gospel is sublime and appropriate; ‘and presents us Wllll cor
rect views of the intrinsic excellences it possesses, and the gracious effects it produces.
First, The gospel is _RICI-IE8. It is a rich display of the Divine perfections in the scheme of redemption. A rich and unspeakable gift of mercy and grace. A rich invaluable treasure, and plenitude of spiritual and eternal blessings. It enriches the soul with salvation, and constitutes those who cmbrace it “ rich in faith, heirs of God, joint heirs with Christ, and heirs of the kingdom of heaven.” These are “ riches of grace—riches of glory—tlie unsearchable riches of Christ— and the durable riches of righteousness.”
Secondly, The gospel is GLORIOUS. It is glorious in its fluthor and origin, who is the God of essential glory, and infinite perfection. Glorious in its constitution and contents, as a covenant of grace and message of salvation. Glorious in its blessings and privileges, offering pardon and peace to the penitent, and the present enjoyment of every spiritual grace and consolation to them that believe. . Glorious in its designs and operations, promoting the honour of God, and diffusing a saving knowledge of the truth, by its enlightening and renovating influence, 2 Cor. x. 4, 5; Tit. ii. 11, 12. Glorious in its promises and recompense, leading the believer to the final possession of eternal glory in the world to come.
Thirdly, The gospel is ivivsrsnioUs. When the term mystery ‘is applied to the gospel, it does not signify the impossibility of knowing it, but rather, that it contains such profound truths as we are naturally unacquaintcd with, and could not know,'but through the medium ofrevelation. This is evident from the text, which states, that the gospel is a mystery, and asserts, that it is “ made known among the Gentiles.” The doctrines of the gospel—the properties of religion—and the glories of heaven, are m sterious subjects, unknown to human reason, and but partia y and imperfectly known by faith to the most eminent saints, 1 Tim. iii. 16: 2 Cor. v. 7; 1 John iii. 2. ‘
II. THE GRACIOUS REvELATION on THE eosrnn. “ To whom God would make known,” &c. The Lord has revealed the gospel to mankind at different periods of time, under every dispensation of his grace, and through various instruments and mediums of instruction, Heb. i. 1, 2.
First, the gospel is made known in its written revelation.
The Scriptures reveal the will of God, and clearly unfold the gospel of C.rist for the salvation of sinners. Moses in the law wrote of the Messiah, and to Him gave all the prophets and apostles witness. And thus the gospel was obscurcly made known in the promises, types, and predictions of the Old Testament, but is more fully revealed in the writings, testimonies, and doctrines oF the New, Rom. xv. 4; 2 Tim; i. 10, also iii. 16, 17. ‘ Secondly, The gospel is made Icnownin its public‘ministration. Under the law, the Lord appointed a priesthood, and sent his servants to “minister in holy things,” and to instruct the people. When Jesus Christ abolished the legal, and established the evangelical priesthood, he appointedanew ministry of the gospel to_make known its truths, and enforce its claims, Ephesians iv. 11, 12. When he was on earth he
_ preached his own gospel, and engaged his apostles in the same
important work; and when he rose from the dead, he renewed and enlarged their commission, Matthew xxviii. 19, 20; Luke xxiv. 46, 47. The gospel is preached that it may be “ known” in its doctrines, precepts, and promises. Thirdly, Th_e gospel is made known in its internal applica
tion; The word written and preached cannot save us, except '
it be revealed in our hearts. The Holy Ghost is given to apply the gospel, and convince “the world of sin, of righteousness, and ofjudgment.” He applied it to the understanding—to the _conscience—to the will, and to‘the affections, 1 Thess. i. 5; 1 Pet. i._22. ‘
III. THE PERSONAL 1NI~‘LUENc1=: o1-‘ THE eosnm. “ Which is Christ in you the hope of glory.” Observe,
First, The gospel must be received in faith. It is a faithful revelation and report of the redemption of the world by Jesus Christ,'which we should fully credit‘ as an important fact. It is also a message of salvation, which we must cordially embrace in all its personal benefits and saving effects, Romans i. 16. . ‘
Secondly, The gospel inspires the,believer with none.When it is received in the heart, its possessors are “ begotten again unto a lively hope.” The Christian’s hope has its present objects and exercise in reference to this life, but its
final object is eternal glory, which the Lord has promised to
them that love him.
Thirdly, The gospel urnishes the snoUrzn of our hope, “ Christ in you,” &c. he indwelling of the Saviour by his Spirit constitutes, together with an interest in his blood, the only rational and Scriptural foundation of the Christian’s hope. Christ not only preached unto you—professed by you—dwelling among ‘you—but in you, as your present Saviour, and sure ground of your hope for futurity. By way of conclusion, we may remark, the gospel claims our gratitude—involves our interests—demands our attention—and secures our salvation.
XXXIX. THE FAITHFUL SAYING.
I Tut. i. 15.
“ This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all aceeptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”
I1‘ has been said, with a great degree of truth, that “man is an animal fond of novelty.” “ The eye is not satisfied with seeing,” &c. To curiosity we must confess ourselves indebted for many of our improvements in knowledge, and for many of the comforts of ‘life: yet it is. evident that every subject that offers itself to the eye—that every report that reaches the ear —is not equally worthy of notice. ~ One report has no foundation in truth; and another though true, contains nothing of interest; therefore we disregard them both. Such reports, on the contrary, as are both true and important, have certainly a claim on our consideration. Of this description is that contained in the text._ This is a faithful saying: it is true, worthy of all acceptation; it is important. Let us notice,
I. 'WnA'r THIS ssvmo mrorrrs. “Christ Jesus came,” &c. Under this division of our discourse, two subjects present themselves. 1. The character and condition of those whose salvation is proposed. 2. The character and undertaking of