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which that grace is bestowed, toRomans i. 16.
gether with the terms upon which For I am not ashamed of the Gospel sidered as all comprehended in
it is received ; and may be conof Christ.......
As the apostle saw no reason to the great doctrine of atonement, be ashamed of the Gospel, it is to through the incarnation, sufferings be presumed there was none. And and death of the Lord Jesus if there was none then, there is Christ. Hence the apostle said none now.
For the Gospel, like to his hearers, “ I determined not its Divine Author, is unchangea- to know any thing among you, able. The doctrines which it save Jesus Christ and him cruciteaches, for men to believe, and
fied." the duties which it enjoins, for But, in a larger sense, the word men to practice, are the same now, Gospel includes whatever is taken as they were when Paul.preached for granted, or implied in the docit, with so much freedom and trine of Christ crucified, together boldness, both to the Greeks and with all the consequences resultthe barbarians; both to the wise ing from it. The revelation of and the unwise." We feel autho- Jesus Christ confirms all the docrized, therefore, by the words of trines of natural religion ; such the text, to state it as a truth, not as the existence and goodness of unworthy of serious consideration, God, the free moral agency and that there is no reason to be asham- accountability of man, and the ed of the Gospel of Christ. I obligation of all rational creatures shall endeavour,
perfectly to obey the Law of God, I. Briefly to describe the Gos- upon pain of endless punishment. pel.
The Gospel also takes for granted II. To show what it is to be and asserts the total depravity, ashamed of it. And,
guilt and condemnation of all manIII. To make it appear, that kind by nature, and their utter there is no reason to be ashamed inability to make atonement for of the Gospel of Christ.
their sins, or to deliver themselves 1. I am briefly to describe the from the curse of the Divine Law. Gospel.
The Gospel includes the doctrine We derive the word Gospel from
of Divine Decrees. It represents
. the ancient Saxon, in which lan- Christ as fore-ordained before the guage, we are told, it signified foundation of the world ; and good news. This is precisely the speaks of the eternal purpose, meaning of the original word, in which God purposed in Christ Jethe New Testament. In the most sus our Lord. The Gospel instrict and proper sense, the Gospel volves the doctrine of Election : is good news, respecting the mis
since Christ did not undertake sion, character and work of Jesus the work of Redemption upon unChrist. It is news, or tidings,
certainties; but came into the because it reveals what men could world with a design to bestow not otherwise have known. It is eternal life upon as many as the good news, because it teaches that, Father had given him, who were which it is for the everlasting good chosen in him before the foundaof men to know and embrace. In tion of the world, predestinated to this limited sense, the Gospel the adoption of children, accordteaches the grace of God towards ing to the good pleasure of Him, mankind, and the medium through who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will. The Gos- | character. To be ashamed of the pel teaches the holiness of the Gospel, therefore, is a tacit cour character and the Divinity of the fession, that this system of truth Person of Christ, which qualified and duty, is either false, or futile, him to make atonement for the sins or of an immoral tendency. Low of men; the vicarious design of his thoughts of the Gospel, as unwordeath upon the cross, his resur- | thy of God, or disreputable to rection from the grave, and his men, are involved in being ashamascension to glory. Repentance ed of it. If the Gospel may be toward God and faith towards our embraced and oveyed without vioLord Jesus Christ, as the condi- lating the dictates of right reason, tion of pardon or justification by or tarnishing the brightness of grace, through the atonement, are moral virtue, it must be admitted, taught, as essential to the scheme that no one needs, or ought to be of the Gospel. The Gospel teach- | ashamed of it. Which leads, es the necessity of the special in- III. To make it appear, that fluences of the Holy Spirit to bring there is no reason to be ashamed sinners to repentance, and keep of the Gospel of Christ. saints from falling away to perdi- If there be any difficulty here, tion. Not to enlarge, I may ob- it is not in finding arguments, but serve that all the commands of in so arranging and expressing Christ, all the exhortations of the them, as to give them their due apostles, all the promises, menaces weight and force. Permit me, and predictions in the New Testa- then, to observe, ment, are to be viewed as parts of 1. That the Gospel is agreeable the Gospel of Christ, which, in- to right reason. I say right readeed, in its largest acceptation, son; for reason may be, and too comprehends all the Counsel of often is, blinded by prejudice, God. I am
biassed by passion, and perverted II. To show what it is to be by sophistry. Right reason, is ashamed of the Gospel.
reason properly exercised, without The emotion of shame, is more prejudice, passion, or any undue easily understood than described. bias. To this, all the doctrines It has been felt by all the sinful and precepts of the Gospel, comchildren of men, ever since the mend theinselves. As we have apostacy of our first parents. But, already observed, the Gospel conthough it be felt by sinful crea- firms the religion of nature; i. e. tures only, yet it differs from a all that can be discovered by reasense of guilt, which is more pro- son respecting the being, perfecperly called remorse. Shame is a tions, and providence of God, and consciousness of something mean,
the nature, relations, and obligalow or dishonourable. Men are
tions of men.
The Gospel exhibashamed of that only, which is its the Supreme Being in the most considered as beneath their dig- rational and sublime light, as a nity and debasing to their charac- Spirit, present in every place, and ters. Hence arises a desire to endued with infinite
wisconceal that of which one is dom and goodness; of whom, and ashamed. To be ashamed of the through whom, and to wlrom, are Gospel, implies an apprehension all things. The description, which that one has acted beneath his the Gospel gives of mankind by rational nature, in embracing it; nature, as dead in trespasses and or that, to comply with its require-sins, and children of wrath, corments, is degrading to the human responds with universal observa
hon and experience. The doc- cles and Prophecy. Miracles ever trine of atonement, which is the manifest the power of Him, who great peculiarity of the Gospel, is established the laws of nature, and agreeable to the common appre. Prophecies the knowledge of Him, tensions of all mankind. This is who sees the end from the beginevident from the general observ- ning. The combined evidence of ance of expiatory rites, the almost both constrains men to believe, in universal practice of offering sac- spite of their hearts. Men must rifices, and the general belief in become maniacks, before they can one or more mediators between discard any doctrine, however God and man.
mysterious and incomprehensive, It is true, the Gospel teaches which comes thus sealed with the several things, which are above finger of God, and attested by his human reason ; such as the Trini- word. ty of Persons in the Godhead, the 3. The Gospel tends to enlarge union of the Divine and human and liberalize the minds of those natures in the Person of Christ, and who study and embrace it, far bethe resurrection of the bodies of yond any other science. Human pen, at the last day. None of sciences are conversant with the these things, however, are contrary works of God; the Gospel is conto reason. It is not implied, in versant with God himself. Philosthe mysterious mode of the Divine ophy only teaches what things are ; existence, that there is more than but the Gospel teaches why things one God, or that three Gods are The Gospel is the science one God, or three Persons one of final causes and moral ends, Person. The mysterious union of which, of all sciences, is, incomtwo natures in Christ, does not parably, the most interesting, comimply, that the Divine nature be- prehensive and sublime. "What came human, or the human nature reason, then, have men of the Divine, or that the two natures brightest genius and strongest in
were blended together. It is not tellectual powers, to be ashamed ! necessary, therefore, to renounce to study the Gospel ; which, above
one's reason, in order to exercise all other studies, expands and elefaith in the Gospel, or that much | vates the mind ? learning should make one mad,' 4. There is no
reason to be before he can assent to the myste- ashamed of the Gospel, because ries of revealed religion. What it comprises the best system could be more rational, than to of morals ever published to expect, that as the works of God the world. No other moral sysare full of mystery, the mode oftem is so correct in principle, so his existence and operation, should pure in practice, or so eficient in be above the comprehension of its sanctions. All other systeins finite minds ? I observe,
build morality upon selfish princi2. That the Gospel comes to us, ples. The Gospel alone teaches attended with plenary evidence of men to love their neighbours as its truth and Divinity. Its exact themselves, and to do to others as
correspondence with the sound they would have others do to them. | dictates of reason, so far as reason As the system of morals taught in
is able to go, is presuniptive evi- the Gospel, is founded on love to dence, that it is all rational and God and love to men, it must ever true. But we have ligger evidence tend to produce an unspotted life, than this, even the highest con- as well as a holy heart. Other ceivable or possible, that of Mira- 1 systems omit some virtues, such
as forbearance, humility and for- plays the power and wisdom of giveness ; while they give indul-God; Providence displays his gence to some vices, such as pride, goodness; the Law displays his emulation and revenge. But, the justice ; but, in addition to these,
, Gospel inculcates every virtue, the Gospel displays his Grace, however self-denying, and con- which the apostle calls “the riches demns every vice, however natu- of his glory.” The Gospel exhibits ral and popular. It is, indeed, in the Grace of God, in devising and all respects, “a doctrine accord- opening the only possible way for ing to godliness.” Finally, the the salvation of lost men.
To all, system of morals taught in the who cordially embrace its docGospel, is, of all moral systems, trines and precepts, it brings presthe most efficient. Its precepts ent peace and joy, and a good and prohibitions are sanctioned by hope of everlasting life. Thus the authority of God and the ret- the Gospel glorifies God, and saves ributions of eternity. The Pagan lost men. Well, then, might philosophers enforced their moral Paul, and well may every Christsystems by refined reasonings upon ian exclaim, "I am not ashamed the beauty of virtue and the de- of the Gospel of Christ : for it is formity of vice, and upon the util- the power of God unto salvation, ity of the one, and the hurtfulness to every one that believeth.” of the other, in the present life.
IMPROVEMENT. These reasonings were either too 1. If there are such reasons as refined to be apprehended, or too have been mentioned, for not beweak to be felt by the bulk of ing ashamed of the Gospel; we mankind. But the moral precepts may hence infer, that those, who of the Gospel are clothed with Di- disbelieve it, are ignorant of it. vine authority, and sanctioned by all the doctrines of the Gospel are promises of everlasting life to agreeable to right reason. It is those who obey, and threats of impossible, therefore, to undereverlasting punishment to those stand these doctrines, without seewho disobey. The Gospel, it is ing them to be rational and contrue, proclaims pardon to peni- sistent. All the mysteries revealtents; but it is only to such peni-ed in the Gospel, are attended tents, as both confess and forsake with the highest possible evidence,
, their sins. The Gospel also con- that of miracles and prophecy. It rects eternal life with faith ; but is, therefore, impossible for men it is only such a faith as works by to see this evidence, without being love, and exhibits itself in good convinced by it, whether they love works. It assures all men, that the truth, or Irate it. All the prethe unrighteous shall not inherit cepts of the Gospel are pure and the kingdom of God. What rea- good, such as commend themselves son, then, have the most virtuous to every enlightened conscience in of men, to be ashamed of such a the sight of God. How, then, is it moral system? I shall only add, possible to know and understand
5. That there is no reason to the Gospel, without believing it? be ashamed of the Gospel, because Some, who enjoy the light of the it brings the highest glory to God, Gospel, reject it, not because they and the highest happiness to all, know so much, but because they who cordially receive it. It ex- know so little. Ever learning, hibits, in the clearest, fullest, and they are never able to come to the most affecting light, the whole knowledge of the truth. Men character of God. Creation dis. | are infidels, by reason of the igno
rance that is in them, on account | knowledge, the more reason they of the blindness of their hearts. have seen to believe the apostle,
2. If there are such reasons when he says to the Galatians, “ I as we have seen for not being certify you, Brethren, that the ashamed of the Gospel; we may Gospel which was preached of me hence learn, why some men of is not after man. For I neither great abilities and knowledge, in received it of man, neither was I all ages, have believed the Gospel. taught it, but by the revelation That this is the fact, will not be of Jesus Christ.” called in question. Though it be 3. This subject shows, why some true, 'that not many wise men af- men of abilities and considerable ter the flesh, not many mighty, not human learning, have disbelieved many noble have been called, but the Gospel. It has not been, bethat God, in his holy and righteous cause, upon close and fair examisovereignty, has, generally chosen nation, they have found its docthe foolish things of the world, to trines to be unreasonable, its mysconfound the wise, and the weak teries absurd, its evidence deħethings of the world, to confoundient, or its moral precepts impure; the things which are mighty;' yet, but because they either refused to that some men of the most shining give the Gospel a close and patient abilities and profound erudition, in examination, or examined it with every period of the Christian era, eyes clouded with prejudice, or have firmly believed the Gospel of coloured by passion; because they Christ, is evident from all history. hated the light, and would not Paul was brought up at the feet of come to it, lest their deeds should Gamaliel. Many of the Fathers and be reproved.' Infidelity is seated Martyrs, were distinguished for in the heart. It is as easy, theretalents and learning. The Re- fore, for great men, as for small, formers and Puritans were, some for the learned, as for the ignoof them, among the first scholars of rant, to be infidels. All men are the age. Boyle and Bacon, and equally blind, when they shut their Newton, and Locke, and Addison, eyes. Indeed, it is easier for men and Johnson, with a host of other of genius and acuteness, to be indistinguished laymen, have believ- fidels, than for men of less capacied the Gospel. At the present ty and penetration; for they are day, it is thought, that, in point better able to invent sophistical arof talents and learning, the advan- guments to reason themselves into tage is greatly on the side of those unbelief. By their worldly wiswho believe the Gospel, in all parts dom, they are able to make themof the civilized world. Our sub-selves fools, and to change the ject shows us, why these men have truth of God into a lie. received the Gospel as true.
it is 4. We may infer from what has because they have candidly and been said, that it must betray a impartially exercised their reason mean spirit and a contracted mind, in examining the rational and con- to despise the Gospel, or any of its sistent doctrines of the Gospel, in doctrines or precepts. A man of weighing the clear and demonstra- enlarged views and vigorous inteltive evidence by which it is con- lectual powers, may be totally igfirmed, and in comparing its pure | norant of the Gospel. Such were and efficient moral system with the some of the Pagan philosophers.lax and powerless theories of unin- A man may have an intimate and spired men. The greater their sa- extensive knowledge of the Gosgacity and the more extensive their pel itself, and yet feel averse to all