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I should pass on, to the remaining part of my subject, had not as much time been already taken up as is usually allowed to discourses of this nature. I proceed therefore to that most important part of the ministerial office, namely, the application of religious subjects to the circumstances of the parties to whom they are immediately addressed.
The words of the Text are interesting to us, so far as we are concerned in them. Considered as addressed by Ministers of the Christian Church to their respective congregations, the subject contained in them is brought home to personal application. Taking the subject before us in this light, the only light indeed in which we are concerned to take it; the Gentile Converts in the Church of Corinth being considered as our representatives; St. Paul may be understood as speaking to us
rough them. Our case, so far as respects the privileges of the Gospel, corresponds with what their's was. We, like them, are by nature aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and, like them, have been admitted through grace into the covenant of the Gospel. We, in sloft, are the descendants of those Gentiles, who, on the defection of the Jews, were heretofore brought out of darkness into light, by the preaching of the Apostles. We, this day, might have lived in gross darkness, as our heathen forefathers did, previous to their conversion: had it not been our happiness to be born in a country, where the light of Christ's Gospel may be said to light every man that cometh into the world. A blessing, which, on our part, demands the utmost return of gratitude; a return, which can in no way be so acceptably shewn, as in the worthy use of the blessings we enjoy. “ For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon him for?” Deut. iv. 7.
Christ Jesus is made unto us wisdom. The light of his Gospel
his Gospel has effectually chased away those clouds of heathen ignorance, which must otherwise have surrounded us. In this sense our Blessed Saviour calls himself “ the light of the
world;" and says, that whoever followeth him, “ shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”
Being then, by the preaching of the Gospel, made light in the Lord, let it be our concern, my Brethren, to walk as children of the light; that the Sun of Righteousness be not provoked, by withdrawing his shining, to plunge us again into that darkness, from which we have been providentially delivered. To this end, let us « take heed to ourselves, and keep our souls diligently, lest we forget the things which our eyes have seen; and lest they depart from our hearts all the days of our lives.” Particularly let us watchfully guard against that wisdom of this world, which, under the pretence of superior illumination, is now doing its utmost to extinguish the light which hath been graciously revealed. Remembering, at all times, that whilst spiritual knowledge is the parent of humility, the wisdom of this world seldom fails to generate pride. And as pride once cast angels out of heaven; we may rest assured, that it will oppose the most effectual barrier to the admission of mortals into it.
In thus guarding against that wisdom of this world, which is, what it ever was, “ foolishness with God;" we shall adopt the most probable means of securing our selves against the self-sufficiency of those, who profess to be their own Saviours : remembering with humble gratitude, that Jesus Christ is made unto us Righteousness ; by becoming that expiatory sacrifice, which took away the curse of the Law, which must otherwise have been executed on the sons of fallen Adam ; Jesus Christ himself being made a curse for us; thereby giving us a right to plead his righteousness and sufferings on our behalf, as performed in our nature and in our stead.
In this sense did Christ condescend to become our Righteousness ; by giving us a covenanted title to the benefit of that Righteousness which He wrought in the flesh: and thus compleating that gracious plan of Salvation ; according to which, it became possible for sinful creatures, on certain conditions, to be accounted righteous before God: being justified by his blood shed for the remission of sins; and reconciled to God by his death: being justified ; i. e. being accepted or approved of as just; standing recti in curiâ before God: absolved from all guilt and punishment; “to the praise of the glory of his
; grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the Beloved; in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” Eph. i. 6. Which mode of justifying sinners, is described by St. Paul, as an act of judgement on the part of God; by which he declareth his own righteousness or justice, in the acceptance of a competent satisfaction offered to him in amends for the debt due to him, and in reparation of the injury done to him; in consequence thereof acquitting the debtor, and remitting the offence. Being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that
, is in Christ Jesus, whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to de