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grace of the speaker. They wondered either paralizing their efforts, or ren
dering himself invisible, passing through the midst of them went his way."
at the degree of mental cultivation, the dignified and graceful language in which this youthful mechanic proposed to them the sublime mysteries of GOD. Surprise for a moment seems to have got the start of prejudice, but it was only for a moment; and next we find them exclaiming, "Is not this Joseph's son? Is not this the young man whom we have seen labouring with his own hands at his father's business? Whence hath this man this wisdom? Before we can be expected to receive so remarkable an announcement as this, that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah of GOD, he must produce some supernatural claims to our attention and respect?" Our Lord well knowing their thoughts, and having now delivered his testimony, and, therefore, being indifferent as to any interruption that might follow, replies, "Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country. And he said, verily I say unto you, no prophet is accepted in his own country;" and he then proceeds to show, from the examples of Elijah and Elisha, that their greatest miracles were performed on the Sidonian widow and the Syrian leper, not on those who abounded with the truths and ordinances of GOD. And what was the effect of this plain and faithful declaration of our Lord? That his hearers, at once, by their conduct verified the proverb and justified our Lord's treatment of them. No sooner, says the evangelist, "had they heard these things, than they were filled with wrath, and rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong; but he" availing himself of his supernatural power, and
With how lamentable a picture of human nature does the whole of this incident present us! Contrast only the kindness, and meekness, and gentleness of Christ, with the rudeness, and ferocity of his hearers! And whence came this unmeasured hatred, and undissembled opposition to the Saviour, and to all that he had in mercy proclaimed? Brethren, it was simply the effect of prejudice indigenous to the natural heart, striking its deeply rooted fangs into its kindred soil, the hot-bed of human corruption. Yes, brethren, it is one of the strongest effects of prejudice to be met with throughout the whole revealed word of GOD. They were determined not to receive the Saviour who did not live, and speak, and act precisely as their preconceived opinions had determined that he should; and yet there was nothing in our Lord's language to excite their prejudice, nothing to call it into action, but every thing to allay and to dissipate it. Indeed this is a remarkable feature of his discourse, and is well worthy of your notice, as an additional evidence of the forbearance, tenderness, and compassion which marked this most unavailing effort of the Lord; for if you look to the sixty-first of Isaiah, you cannot fail to be struck with the circumstance that Jesus stopped in the middle of the passage which he quoted. The verse runs thus, "To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; but the last clause he totally omitted. He declares that he came "to preach the acceptable year of the Lord;" that is, the year of Jubilee; that is, he came the bearer of freedom from the chains of sin, of cleansing from
not entirely effect this, if he can only so far prejudice you, as to lead you to listen with a suspicious ear, or a cold and indifferent heart, one trifling advantage is already gained and the great promise is secured of ultimately
its pollution, of safety from its condemnation but not one word did he utter, which was equally true, and equally important, that he came also "to preach the day of vengeance of our GOD." How beautifully did he adapt those words that he might dis-keeping you from Him in whom alone arm, and if possible to soften down are to be found acceptance and all opposition; "for he willeth not peace. that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance!" But even in the hands of Christ it was utterly vain. Lulled for a moment, but only to burst forth with redoubled animosity, the prejudice of his hearers swept all before it; and would even have embrued their hands in innocent blood, rather than have opened their hearts to the admission of the Saviour's love.
With such an instance as this before our eyes, can you be surprised, my brethren, if we warn and caution you, if we exhort and entreat you-earnestly and beseechingly entreat youas you value your own souls, to beware of religious prejudice. It is Satan's great weapon, and one which in an age of boasted liberality is as continually in his hand as it ever was. While we are speaking the invitations of Christ to your ear, Satan is continually employed in dropping the poison of prejudice into your heart; striving to convince you that these are contracted or mistaken views of the divine word; that to do justice and love mercy are the whole duty of man; and that the love of Christ, a simple and entire dependance on him, and him alone, are weak and enthusiastic notions but little warranted by Scripture, the mere Shibboleth of party, and unworthy the attention of a manly and intellectual mind. If Satan can thus prejudice you against the peculiar doctrines of grace, and the person of the Saviour, as he did the hearers of Nazareth, his triumph is complete; but if he can
What we ask of you, then, is this, be not content with any prejudice in religion which has not led you directly to the Saviour-be satisfied with no profession, no feeling of religion which does not daily bring you nearer to him. It is just in proportion as your knowledge of Christ, and your love of Christ, and the necessary attendant on these your obedience to Christ grow and increase, that every Christian grace will grow and increase, that your conformity to the will of GOD will grow and increase. Your patience in suffering, your consistency in holiness, your meetness for heaven all derive their color, all take their proportion, all draw their stability from this one fundamental truth, "the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord;" while, on the other hand, the Spirit of God has declared "if any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha"-his name for ever blotted from the Lamb's book of life.
I know that I may justly be charged with repetition in dwelling again on this high subject, but, brethren I cannot leave it; it grows upon me in every incident that comes before me; it is written in living characters, in every verse of the Saviour's history. The more the character of Christ developes itself, the more does this love enkindle in the heart, and the more convinced do I feel that Christ, and the love of GoD in Christ, is the great sum and substance of the religion which he lived and died to teach In all, whatever be our object
as ministers of the Gospel, whether it be to change the heart of the open sinner, or to strengthen the faith of the young believer, or to edify and build up, and advance the mature Christian, we find that the one great subject which alone carries with it the blessing of GOD to these great and important ends, is the subject which our Lord himself preached in the
synagogue of Nazareth, namely, Jesus Christ the Saviour of the poor-the deliverer of the captive—the restorer of sight to the blind-the healer of the broken hearted—the power and the wisdom of GOD to every soul that believeth. That he may, by the Spirit of grace, be present in our souls this day, may God in his mercy grant for Jesu's sake.-Amen.
DELIVERED BY THE REV. W. JAY,
AT SURRY CHAPEL, JUNE 2, 1833.
1 Peter, v. 10, 11.-" The God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever.-Amen."
My brethren, the first object of the Christian ministry, is the conversion of sinners; and the Saviour says to every messenger he employs, as he said to Saul of Tarsus, "I send thee to open their eyes, to turn them from darkness unto light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me." The next object is the improvement of those who are already converted; for those who are born again, must be nourished up in the words of faith and sound doctrine-they must not only enter the way everlasting but go forward-they must not only be planted, but watered, and rooted, and grounded in love. To change the metaphor, not only must their religion be solidly based, but they must build up themselves in their most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keeping themselves in the love of GOD, looking for the mercy of our
Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
Therefore," says Paul to the Thessalonians, "We sent Timothy, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellow labourer in the Gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith." Hence we read, that when Apollos came to Antioch, he "helped them much who had believed through grace." Hence too the language we have now to examine and improve: "The GOD of all grace," says Peter, "who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever.-Amen.”
Here we have A CHARACTER-" the GoD of all grace." Here we have AN OPERATION" who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus." Here we have A CONCESSION "after that ye have suffered a while." Here we have A PRAYER" make you perfect, stab
lish, strengthen, settle you." Here unto us, Lord, not unto us but unto we have ADORATION AND PRAISE- thy name give glory, for thy mercy, “To him be glory and dominion for and for thy truth's sake.” ever and ever.-Amen."
Now from this grace GoD is cha
We have here, first, A CHARACTER -the character of the blessed GOD"the God of all grace." Grace is the darling word of inspiration, and it is the darling word of all those, who have come here this morning, not to glory in their own worthiness and works with the Pharisee, but exclaiming with the Publican, "GOD be merciful to me a sinner."
Let us now review these five arti-racterized; and there are two things cles, with a brevity more proportioned which will serve to show the greatto the limits of the exercise, than to ness of the title, when he is called, the amplitude of the subject. "the GOD of all grace." In the first place, from Him is derived all the grace ever possessed by any individual from the beginning of the world. He inspired Enoch with his holinessAbraham with his faith-Noah with his dedication to himself-Moses with his meekness-Job with his patience -Solomon with his wisdom--and Paul with his zeal. Upon all the saints he conferred all their excellences, and supplied all their exigences; "in them, that is in their flesh, dwelt no good thing." In themselves they were nothing; of his fulness they received and grace for grace.
"Grace how exceeding sweet to those,
Who know they sinners are,
Their help is only there."
Now our salvation, as to the contrivance of it before time-the execution of it in time-the consummation of it when time shall be no more, is the offspring of this grace entirely; and, therefore, the Apostle says, to the Ephesians, "by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of GOD; not of works lest any man should boast." And with regard to himself, he says, "by the grace of GOD I am what I am; not I, but the grace of GoD which is in me." Such was his acknowledgment while he was on earth. What is his acknowledgment now he is in heaven? Has he altered his language - has he changed his conviction? Perfect knowledge has added a thousand fold to the force of his conviction. Do you not read that the top stone of the sacred temple "is to be brought forth with shouting, crying, grace, grace, unto it." Myriads will be engaged in this song and swell the triumph, ALL with the same heart, and with the same voice, will exclaim, "not
And, secondly, He has every kind of grace for the relief and ease of sinners now. Do you, for instance, need forgiveness? He has pardoning grace. There is forgiveness with him
with him there is mercy-with him there is plenteous redemption. Do you need renovation?—He has sanctifying grace. "I will pour clean water upon them, and they shall be clean; from all their filthiness, and from all their idols will I cleanse them." Do you need illumination?—He has enlightening grace. "If any man lack wisdom," says James, "let him ask of GOD, who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not, and it shall be given to him." Do you need hope?-He is called "the GOD of hope."-Patience? He is called "the GOD of patience."-Comfort? He is called "the GOD of comfort,"--Love? He is called "the GOD of love.”— Heaven? He is "the GOD of heaven." Do you need help in grace? Surely, you do need this every day, and
here! Every thing here wears the degradation of mortality.
But now, take every thing here— man, with his idols and his palaces, will be anathematized-the laurels of the conqueror wither on his browfame may be marred by the libeller
and this while he is saying, in the Scripture, "Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it."-" Ask, and receive, that your joy may be full."-This is the character—he is “the GOD of all grace."
every hour, to aid you in your duties, to sustain you in your trials, and to render you more than conquerors in your spiritual conflicts. Well, he giveth more than this; and, therefore, go to him for yourselves--go to him for others-go to him with enlarged desires, and emboldened hopes;-riches make to themselves wings and flee away-our strength is not the strength of stone, nor are our bones brass-and our dear connections drop off one after another, like leaves from the trees in autumn, till we are led to say, "lover and friend, hast thou put far from me, and my acquaintance into darkness." If these things do not leave the man, the man will soon leave the things, he has only an annuity in them for life-he has only a life interest in them. What is that life interest? "A vapour that appeareth for a little while, and then vanisheth away."
Here is Secondly, AN OPERATION.— "The GOD of all grace has called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus." All the words the Holy Ghost uses are worthy of our notice; for they are words of wisdom, as well as of kindness. The radical idea of glory is brilliancy; but this is too childish to dwell upon. The secondary idea, therefore, is excellency displayed. Excellency is either natural, or intellectual, or moral, or spiritual, or divine. A future world is designed to develope and exemplify all these kinds of excellency; and, therefore, I need not observe how often the term is applied to the blessed condition of the righteous in the world to come. Thus David says, "thou shalt receive me into glory."-Thus Paul says, "When he, who is our light, shall appear, we shall also appear with him in glory."-Thus Peter says “I am a partaker of the glory which shall be revealed." But how can we do justice to this glory?—It is called His glory; that is, because he is the author of it; it is enjoyed only in His presence, and it is what He himself enjoys; and, therefore, even the blessedness into which the righteous shall enter, is called, not their joy, but "the joy of their Lord." It is "His eternal glory." How does this attri--the dungeon, for the palace-the
But it is not so with "the prize of our high calling of GOD in Christ Jesus." This is "a building of GOD, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens"-this is "an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for us"-this is a crown of life"-this is " a kingdom that cannot be shaken," "the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour." The people of the world often wonder that Christians run not with them the same excess of riot; they marvel that they can turn away so from the things of time and sense; and, especially, that they can 'so easily resign those dissipations which seem to be essential to their very being. The reason is they do not know all. They do not consider that the Christian makes an exchange, and infinitely, for the better; and thus only resigns the toys of infancy, for the pursuits of manhood
bute add to the value of it! and how does it distinguish it from every thing
impure puddle, for the fountain of life-the leeks, and garlick, and