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for correction, and be only rendered miserable by the discovery, Should this be the case, it is not only hoped that they may be excused on the ground of inadvertence; but also that they may prove not wholly unuseful, being found in different connexions, and applied to different purposes,
The subjects were common-place in themselves; and could be only rendered novel in any degree by their order and treatment. They were also very extensive subjects, and the difficulty of the Preacher arose from the necessity of selection and coneentration. He was obliged to reject much that offered, and to confine himself in each instance to two or three views. These ought to have been the most leading, and comprehensive, and profitable. But here the Author can only be answerable for intentions and endeavours.
To conclude. No thought was entertained of any thing more than the delivery of these Lectures from the pulpit till many of them were preached. They were therefore only distinguishable from his ordinary publick addresses by their length. Into this he was led by a wish to do some justice to the subject without a second discourse upon the same topic, which always divides and impairs the impression. Till a desire began to be expressed for their publication, he had only short notes from which they could be written out. But he then began to secure them, pecially by hints and mementos after preaching: and he is persuaded his friends will find the Lectures more than substantially the same they heard with so much candour and acceptance. They will also observe, that he has secured as far as possible even the style in which they were delivered.
One thing will be perceived in each of the discourses. He has largely treated the subject in a way of application. He did not intend to hold up the Christian to barren contemplation. His aim was to make his hearers fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of the promise of Christ by the Gospel.
Behold the awful portrait, and admire,
Percy Place, Sept. 10th, 1826.
THE CHRISTIAN, IN CHRIST.
" I knew a man in Christ." --2 Cor, xiv. 2.
“ A CHRISTIAN is the highest style of man;
SO sings, with his accustomed energy and excellence, our admired Young. It is not, however, with the poetry of this passage we now have to do, but with the sentiment contained in it.
Yes ; 66 A Christian is the highest style of man.” Inspiration itself pronounces him to be more excellent than his neighbour, however that neighbour may be distinguished. Who, on a fair trial, can bear a comparison with him ?—The rich ? But he has 6 the true riches;” durable riches, with righteousness;
66 the unsearchable riches of Christ.”. The honourable ? But he is " great in the sight of the Lord;" he has 6 the honour that cometh from God only.”—The learned ? But he is made “ wise unto salvation ;" he has 6 an unction from the Holy One, and knoweth all things.”—The sons of heroism ? But, “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he that ruleth his own spirit than he that taketh a city.” He subdues enemies that vanquish all other victors : he is more than a conqueror ; and the Captain of his salvation thus eulogizes and rewards him: “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out; and I will write upon him the name of my God; and the name of the city of my God, which is New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God, and I will write upon him my NEW NAME."
It was a high encomium our Saviour pronounced on his forerunner : “ Among them that are born of women, there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist.” But observe the addition : yet 6 he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” Even Adam, in his original state, was nothing to a Christian. Redemption delivers us from far greater evils than creation : the one rescues us only from non-existence; the other, from sin, and death, and hell. The blessings of grace are far superior to those of nature. What was the garden of Eden to 66 the new heaven and the new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness ?” What was the tree of life to him, the true source of immortality, who came, “not only that we might have life, but have it more abundantly?” We were made by an exertion of wisdom and power; but we are saved by the 6 manifold wisdom of God;" and by “the exceeding greatness of his power, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places."
When therefore a man, ashamed of such an infinite distinction, endeavours to free himself from the imputation as a reproach, it is credible, “that if angels tremble, 'tis at such a sight.” For however deluded
we are, they judge of things according to their real value and importance. The world may shout at a victory that has slain its thousands, and filled domestic life with “the fatherless and the widows ;" but w there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” Men may disesteem and neglect “ the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow;" but “ the angels desire to look into these things."
Christ crucified was to the Jews a stumbling-block, and to the Greeks foolishness; but John “heard the voice of many angels round about the throne, and the beasts and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying, with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.'
Your Preacher, therefore, is more than justified in a plan, the design of which he has already intimated, and which he now proceeds to lay before you. It is to hold up the CHRISTIAN to your view, in some very important and comprehensive conditions and relations. To this design, we dedicate Twelve Lectures.
The First will lead you to contemplate the Christian in CHRIST.
The Second, in the Closet.
The Tenth, in Death.
The Twelfth, in GLORY. “ Consider what I say, and the Lord give you understanding in all things.”
We are this morning to behold the Christian,
If this Lecture is more general than the remaining ones, let it be remembered that it is fundamental to the whole series ; and with the subject of it, all in rcligion begins. Every thing in your Christian character is derived from Christ. You cannot be a Christian unless you are in him.
Of this state the Apostle here speaks. “I knew a man,” says he,“ in Christ.” The mode of expression is humble and modest; but by this “ man," he unquestionably intends himself. We all have known some in Christ; and this should awaken our joy and praise. But religion is a personal thing. We cannot be saved by the grace of others.
Yet their experience should encourage and induce us to apply to the same source. For they were once destitute; and He who enriched them is able to supply us, and, blessed be his name, is equally willing. He even intends that every instance of his mercy should be a plea against despair : hence the “ man” before us could say, “Howbeit, for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all long-suffering for a pattern to them that should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.”
To come nearer our subject. There are three states mentioned in the Scripture with regard to Christ.