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My brethren, we preach Christ crucified. That most holy and comfortable truth is implied, and taken for granted, in the whole of our teaching. All our exhortations to repentance, all our encouragements to hope, all our declarations of God's mercy to sinners, have this one foundation, Christ crucified. When we tell you to believe in Christ, we mean, Christ crucified. When we persuade you to do, or to abstain from any thing for Christ's sake, we mean, for the sake of Christ crucified. If we pray in Christ's name, it is in virtue of his name, as a crucified Saviour. If we baptize in his name, it is that you may be elect, through sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Christ. When we invite you to his holy table, it is, that you may spiritually partake of Christ crucified; and have your faith in him strengthened by those convincing words, This is my blood which is shed for you, and for many, for the remission of sins.
It is thus, that in all the ordinances and ministrations of our holy religion, by which the Christian is instructed, strengthened, and comforted in his passage through the vale of tears, Christ crucified is made to him the power of
God, and the wisdom of God. And when his race is run, and that moment, so dismal and hopeless to the unbeliever, is at hand, when he must pass into the world of spirits; when the legal confidence of the formalist, and the unsubstantial wisdom of the disputers of this world are crumbling into dust; religion still attends him, and bids the trembling soul look to the cross of Christ; not to that material representation of it, to which superstition attaches an imaginary efficacy; but to that lively portraiture of the crucified Redeemer, which has been graven by the energy of faith upon the fleshly tables of the heart; and soothes the pangs of departure with the only plea for mercy which can then be urged: "Lord, we humbly commend the soul of this thy servant into thy hands; beseeching thee that it may be pecious in thy sight. Wash it, we pray thee, in the blood of that immaculate Lamb, that was slain to take away the sins of the world; that whatsoever defilements it may have contracted in the midst of this miserable and naughty world being cleansed and done away, it may be presented pure and without spot before thee!" 27
27 Service for the Visitation of the Sick.
RESURRECTION OF THE BODY.'
1 COR. XV. 3.
I delivered unto you first of all, that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures; and that he was buried; and that he rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures.
THE three fundamental articles of Christian faith, that Christ died for our sins, that he rose again from the dead, and that he will come again to judgment, are spoken of by St. Paul, in this chapter of his first Epistle to the Corinthians, under the title of "the Gospel." I declare unto you the Gospel which I preached unto you, which also you have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory
1 Preached on Easter Day.
what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. And this Gospel, the knowledge of these capital doctrines, the Apostle tells the Galatians, he had from the Lord Jesus himself: I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. No other argument is required, to prove the comparative importance of these points of Christian belief, than the simple fact, that they formed the leading features of that direct personal revelation, by which the great Apostle was at once initiated into the secrets of the great mystery of godliness, by him who was its author and object. The first thing he learned was, that Christ died for the sins of the world; the second, that, being buried, he rose again; from these truths followed the assurance of a judgment to come, and of the resurrection to eternal life.
Having, on a former occasion, considered the historical certainty of our Saviour's resurrection, the most important and the best attested miracle recorded in the annals of the world, I shall now take it for granted; and proceed to inquire into the nature of those benefits, which it ascertained and ratified to us. These may be classed under three heads, as they refer to the doctrine and
2 Gal. i. 12.
example of Christ; to his power; or to the atoning efficacy of his death.
With respect to the doctrine; if it be true that Christ hath brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel, it is only by his resurrection that the truth of the Gospel itself is proved, and the certainty of a life after death placed beyond contradiction; for if Christ be not risen from the dead, then was the preaching of Apostles and the faith of martyrs vain. By his resurrection, he rekindled the extinguished hopes of his followers, recalled their faith, and established it for ever upon the rock of truth. He gave the most unquestionable proof of his Messiahship by the most surprising of his miracles; and established the certainty of a future resurrection by proving, in his own person, its possibility, and the truth of his promises. For this reason the miracle of the resurrection was looked upon, by the Apostles, as the key-stone of the whole fabric of the Gospel; that, which being withdrawn, the whole would crumble into ruins, and disappear from beneath their feet. This they urged, as the strongest argument of its truth, both to Jews and Gentiles; as the sure and certain ground of their own hopes, and as a
3 2 Tim. i. 10.