Sermon—“A Sign, A Son, Immanuel”

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“The precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard, that went down to the skirts of his garments.”—Psalm 133:2

My soul, behold, in the anointing here set forth of the Jewish high priest, a type of His anointing who is a Priest for ever, and a Priest upon his throne; and while looking at Aaron, say, as the Lord Jesus did upon another occasion concerning Solomon, “A greater than Aaron is here.” It is sweet, very sweet, and very profitable, to behold the old church shadowing forth the new, and the law ministering to the gospel. Yes, blessed Jesus, I behold in Aaron, and in the precious ointment poured forth upon his head, thus running down to the skirts of his garments, the beautiful representation of that fulness of the Spirit, which was poured out upon thee without measure; that from thee the communication might glow down to the poorest, the humblest, the lowest of thy members, even to the very skirts of thy clothing. “It pleased the Father that in thee should all fulness dwell:” that of that fulness all thy people might receive, and grace for grace. And by virtue of our interest in thee, and union with thee, all thy people do richly partake of communion in all thy benefits, blessings, mercies. The sun shines not to itself, nor for itself, but to impart light and life to others: so dost thou, the Sun of Righteousness, shine forth in all thy glory, not for thyself, but to bless, and enliven, and give out of all thy grace and fulness, every suited blessing, according to the measure of the gift of Christ. My soul, bring home these precious truths to the conviction of experience. Was Jesus indeed anointed for his people? Was grace poured into his lips? Was he, like Aaron, so installed into the office of the priesthood, and the Holy Spirit so unmeasurably communicated to him, on purpose that all his little ones should partake of this unspeakable gift of God? Did God the Father say to Jesus, “I will pour my Spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing npon thine offspring?” Well then, my soul, hast thou partaken of the Holy Spirit? Hast thou communion with Jesus in all that concerns thy salvation? A child of God, a joint, heir with. Christ, and a soul begotten of the Holy Spirit, hath interest and communion in all that belongs to Jesus, as the Great Head and Mediator of his church; interested in his Person, interested in his work, interested in his righteousness, in his life, in his death, in his resurrection, in his everlasting priestly office, and in his everlasting glory. What sayeth my soul to these things? Go, my soul, go this morning, go in the strength of this interest, and look at a throne of grace, within the vail, whither thy forerunner is for thee entered; behold thy glorious Aaron, wearing the priestly vestments still, and having all grace, all fulness; waiting to be gracious, and to impart of that fulness to thy necessities; and having received gifts for men, yea, for thee, the most rebellious, that the Lord God might dwell among them. Lord, proportion thy mercies to my wants; and as the day is, so let the strength be.

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The system of religion formed and propagated by Mahomet, and still adhered to by his followers. It is professed by the Turks and Persians, by several nations among the Africans, and many among the East Indians.

Mahomet was born in the reign of Anushirwan the Just, emperor of Persia, about the end of the sixth century of the Christian era. He came into the world under some disadvantages. His father Abd’allah was a younger son of Abd’almotalleb, and dying very young, and in his father’s life-time, left his widow and an infant son in very mean circumstances, his whole subsistence consisting but of five camels and one Ethiopian she slave. Abd’almotalleb was therefore obliged to take care of his grandchild Mahomet; which he not only did during his life, but at his death enjoined his eldest son Abu Taleb, who was brother to Abd’allah by the same mother, to provide for him for the future; which he very affectionately did, and instructed him in the business of a merchant, which he followed; and to that end he took him into Syria, when he was but thirteen. He afterwards recommended him to Khadijah, a noble and rich widow, for her factor; in whose service he behaved himself so well, that by making him her husband, she soon raised him to an equality with the richest in Mecca.

After he began by this advantageous match to live at his ease, it was, that he formed the scheme of establishing a new religion, or, as he expressed it, of replanting the only true and ancient one professed by Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and all the prophets, by destroying the gross idolatry into which the generality of his countrymen had fallen, and weeding out the corruptions and superstitions which the latter Jews and Christians had, as he thought, introduced into their religion, and reducing it to its original purity, which consisted chiefly in the worship of one God.

Before he made any attempt abroad, he rightly judged that it was necessary for him to begin with the conversion of his own household. Having, therefore, retired with his family, as he had done several times before, to a cave in mount Hara, he there opened the…

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“That in everything ye are enriched by him, etc.]”

This is still a continuation of the thanksgiving for this church, that they were “enriched”, or plentifully and abundantly provided for by Christ, with all grace, with all the riches of grace; with his own unsearchable riches, of which they were made partakers, and the riches of glory, to which they were entitled by him; and all which come to them through his poverty, which makes his grace in the donation of these riches the more illustrious: and particularly the apostle is thankful, that they were enriched by Christ

“in all utterance, and in all knowledge;”

that not only they had the knowledge of the truths and doctrines of the Gospel, concerning the person, offices, grace, and righteousness of Christ in the theory of them, or a speculative notion of them; but for the most part had a spiritual experimental knowledge of these things; and many of them had such large gifts of knowledge, elocution, and utterance, that they were richly qualified to preach the Gospel to others; nay, even had the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, so as to speak with divers tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

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This chapter of holy scripture shines amongst the brightest portions of Old Testament prophecy for one key verse. Isaiah tells Ahaz, king of Judah, ‘the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel’. Here the Lord God unfolds a most explicit prophecy concerning the coming Messiah and His purpose of salvation, redemption and grace.

A single message

As we have seen, these revelations were for the hearing and obedience of faith. God’s prophets informed the Lord’s elect concerning His covenant promises. These revelations confirmed the church in believing, and reassured God’s people in times of trouble and danger. God provided the prophets with a progressively unfolding message of sovereign grace. Isaiah tells us who would come, Micah tells us where, Zechariah tells us how, Daniel tells us when, and Jonah tells us why.

The background

There is a lot of history behind this chapter. 2 Kings 15 and 16 and 2 Chronicles 28 give details of the events leading up to this meeting between Ahaz and Isaiah. Syria and the separated kingdom of Israel, also called the ten tribes, entered into an alliance together to harry and distress Judah. Ahaz was afraid, and all the nation of Judah with him. This seems to have been a protracted war and Judah was already depleted of men and wealth. The country knew it could not withstand another battering.

Despair reaches a peak

Isaiah was instructed of the Lord to go and meet Ahaz and his courtiers outside of the city of Jerusalem and take with him his young son Shear-Jashub. The boy’s name is significant as it means ‘the remnant shall return’. His presence with Isaiah this day was itself symbolic of God’s mercy and augmented Isaiah’s message. Ahaz was a corrupt and idolatrous man. He was intent on appealing to Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria, for help against Rezin, king of Damascus, and Pekah, king of Israel, who now threatened to overwhelm Judah.

The hard heart of Ahaz

Isaiah’s message to Ahaz was bold, authoritative and full of comfort to all who trusted in the Lord, but Ahaz was not such a man. He could not and would not be dissuaded from seeking help from Assyria, nor would he believe Isaiah’s prophecy that the Syria-Israel confederacy would fail though God Himself had said so. Now Isaiah brings a word of condemnation: failure to believe proves the king is unstable and faithless. His throne will not be established. In addition, Ahaz’s determination to save himself by allying with Assyria will bring disaster upon himself and his people.

Ask a sign for proof

That there be no doubt concerning God’s patience with Judah the Lord again speaks to Ahaz by Isaiah and invites him to ask for a sign. How forbearing God was to this wicked and presumptuous king. Despite Ahaz rudely turning away from God’s prophet Isaiah boldly insists that God’s way is the right way. Let Ahaz ask a sign to prove and substantiate God’s promise. Let Ahaz ask anything, be it in the earth below or in the heavens above.

‘I will not ask’

Yet, Ahaz would not. This shows how hardened Ahaz was against God. His false humility on pretence of not tempting God merely aggravated his crime. The request to ask a sign was neither an offer, nor a suggestion, it was a command to be obeyed by which both God’s word concerning Syria and the covenant promises of the Messiah would be affirmed. Ahaz refused and with him the house of David refused. They would rather place their trust in the army of a heathen king than the arm of the Holy Lord God.

Yet a sign shall be given

But God will have His way and a sign shall be given. ‘Behold’ invokes a statement to startle and astound. There shall be a birth of immense importance. A virgin shall conceive and her son will be as the presence of God with men to secure the deliverance Isaiah had foretold. That Ahaz would not see this child was not important, his unbelief had already determined his fall and failure. Isaiah beheld by faith. The Lord’s elect beheld by faith. People of faith in ages to come would lay hold on this prophecy and trust God’s promise of salvation, despite their impending trials and the persecution of the church.

Judah will rue this day

Isaiah is not finished with the king yet. Assyria, the human power to whom Ahaz looked for help would become his scourge and conqueror. God would hiss and bring Egypt and Assyria down upon Judah in judgment like so many flies and bees to distress and destroy the nation. Yet, even as Isaiah uttered this judgment his son Shear-Jashub stood by his side. A remnant shall return from exile, faith would be preserved among the elect, and God’s covenant promise will be fulfilled. Behold! A Son shall be given who is Immanuel, and He shall save His people from their sins.


Peter Meney

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“For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator; for a testament is of force after men are dead, otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.”—Hebrews 9:16-17

Behold, my soul, how graciously the Holy Ghost hath here represented the necessity of Jesus’s death, in order that the testament, or will, he left behind him, might have the intended effect; and all the benefits and blessings he bequeathed in it to his people, might be fully paid and made over to them for their present peace and everlasting happiness. Now, my soul, mark down, for this day’s special meditation, the many precious things here contained. Observe how very accommodating the Holy Ghost is to explain to thee divine things, by the similitude of human transactions. As a man makes his will, so Jesus made his. As what a man gives is altogether a free and voluntary act, so Jesus was not constrained by what he gave in his blessed will; but the whole was the result of his own free, gracious, and everlasting love. And as a man must die before his will can be put in force, so Jesus must, and did die, that his testament and will might have the full effect also. But there is one sweet point more to be taken into this account, in which, my soul, thy Jesus hath infinitely surpassed all men in this article of their wills. When a man dies he appoints by will an executor, to whom he must trust the management of all his effects after his decease; and should his executor prove unfaithful, his best designs for those he loved, when living, may all fail of the end when he is dead. Now here lies the sweetness of Jesus’s will: – he not only made the will, but he himself will see it fully executed; for as he died once, in order that by his death his will might be confirmed, so he ever liveth to see the whole of his blessed gifts and legacies paid. Precious, precious Jesus! how sure then is thy will, and the certainty of every tittle of it being fulfilled. Now, my soul, there are two grand things which concern thee to inquire concerning the will of the Lord Jesus. The first is, whether thou hast any interest in it? And the second is, what the Lord Jesus hath left behind him? Recollect, my soul, that in this instance, as in the former, when men make their wills, it is to dispose of their effects to their relations, their friends, their families. Jesus also hath his relations, his friends, his family. Yes, thou dear Lord, thou condescendest to call thy people thy spouse, thy brethren, thy children, thy jewels, thy redeemed. My soul, dost thou claim relationship to Jesus? Canst thou prove, or hast thou proved his will? Is Jesus thine husband? Hath he betrothed thee to himself? Again – hast thou the marks of a child in God’s family? Art thou born again? Again – if you are his, then hast thou his Spirit: “for he. that is joined to the Lord is one Spirit.” If you are a child of God, and a joint-heir with Christ, then art thou under his divine leadings; “for as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” If thou hast these marks of relationship, thou mayest safely look for his gifts. Surely Jesus hath remembered in his legacies his spouse, his children. And Oh, what an inventory wilt thou find, my soul, under the second inquiry, when thou hast fully proved the first. Oh, what legacies, what gifts, what an inheritance, art thou entitled to by the will of Jesus! All temporal blessings, all spiritual blessings, all eternal bIessings! Pardon, mercy, peace, in the blood of his cross; the sweet enjoyment of all providences in this life, and the sure possession of everlasting happiness in that which is to come, Oh, how true was it, my God and Saviour, when thou didst say, “I will cause them that love me to inherit substance.”

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The religious doctrines and rites of the Jews, the descendants of Abraham. Judaism was but a temporary dispensation, and was to give way, at least the ceremonial part of it, at the coming of the Messiah. The principal sects among the Jews were the Pharisees, who placed religion in external ceremony; the Sadducees, who were remarkable for their incredulity; and the Essenes, who were distinguished for their austere sanctity. At present, the Jews have two sects; the Caraites, who admit no rule of religion but the law of Moses; and the Rabbinists, who add to the law the traditions of the Talmud. See those articles, and books recommended under article JEWS, in this work.


The Mishna, which comprehends all the laws, institutions, and rules of life (which, besides the ancient Hebrew Scriptures, the Jews thought themselves bound to observe,) was composed, according to the unanimous testimony of the Jews, about the close of the second century. It was the work of rabbi Jehuda (or Juda) Hakkadosh, who was the ornament of the school of Tiberias, and is said to have occupied him forty years. The commentaries and additions which succeeding rabbies made, were collected by rabbi Jochanan Ben Eliezer, some say in the fifth, others in the sixth, and others in the seventh century, under the name of Gemara, that is, completion, because it completed the Talmud. A similar addition was made to the Mishna by the Babylonish doctors in the beginning of the sixth century, according to Enfield; and in the seventh, according to others.

The Mishna is divided into six parts, of which every one which is…

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“I thank my God always on your behalf, etc.]”

Now follows a thanksgiving for various blessings bestowed upon this church, which is a proof of the apostle’s great affection for it, and how much its welfare lay at his heart. The object of thanksgiving is God, for as he is the author of all mercies, the glory and praise of them ought to be given to him. The apostle styles him “my God”, to distinguish him from others; and to express his faith of interest in him; and to observe to this church, that all the good things they enjoyed came from him, who was his God and their God, his Father and their Father; and for which reason he returned thanks to him for them, and by so doing set them an example: the persons on whose behalf he gave thanks were not at this time himself and Sosthenes, but the members of the church at Corinth; and the continuance of his thankfulness for them, is “always”, as often as he went to the throne of grace, or at any other time thought of them: what he particularly gives thanks to God for in this verse is,

“for the grace which is given you by Jesus Christ:”

And includes all sorts of grace, adopting, justifying, pardoning, regenerating, and sanctifying grace; every particular grace of the Spirit, as faith, repentance, hope, love, fear, humility, self-denial, etc. all are gifts of God, and entirely owing to his free grace, and not to man’s free will and power, or to any merits of his; and all come through the hands of Christ, and are given forth by him, as the Mediator of the covenant, and in consequence of his blood, righteousness, sacrifice, and merit.

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Religious faith expresses itself both in worship and in work. In such acts of religious service as may declare the soul’s devotion to the Deity, and in such works as are believed to be pleasing to Him, and such as naturally grow out of the faith cherished, and correspond to the worship offered.

Worship, properly speaking, is adoration and praise offered to God. The emotion is instinctive in a devout soul and tends to exalt and magnify Him to whom all honor and glory are due. It is offered in view of the glorious excellency of the divine character; and also because of what God has done for men. Both for what He is, and for what He does. Worship is usually attended with confession for sin and with supplication for pardon and needed grace. It is an important duty and a gracious privilege. But no act of devotion can be acceptable to Him, unless it be spontaneous and sincere. If it be such, He delights in it and accepts it with pleasure from His creatures. Its influence on individual piety, on the Church’s spiritual life, and on the moral sense of the community, is not sufficiently understood nor highly enough valued.

While, strictly speaking, it is defined within narrow bounds, yet in ordinary language all religious service is spoken of as worship. All recognize the Divine Presence as the inspiration of devotion and the object of veneration. The various parts of public and social worship claim brief attention.

I. The Preaching Service.

As public religious service is usually arranged by evangelical Churches generally, preaching holds a foremost place and the service is secondary. With a liturgical Church it is different. There the service rules, and preaching is largely subordinate. Preaching, strictly speaking, is not worship, though calculated to inspire and assist worship. Preaching is a proclamation of truth, not an address to the Deity. The preacher is a herald (kerux), a proclaimer, and his address (kenigma), a message delivered to an audience.

1. The Object of Preaching.

The true object and design of preaching is the salvation of sinners and the edification of the saints by means of instruction and persuasion. Instruction may properly be said to be the first object of preaching. Most emphatically it is not to entertain or recreate an audience; nor to crowd the house with hearers, nor to build up wealthy and fashionable congregations; nor to rent pews and replenish the treasury; nor to…

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“The trumpet of the jubilee.”—Leviticus 15:9

My soul, pause over the subject of the jubilee trumpet; for surely much of gospel was proclaimed by it. It should seem that there were four distinct and special sounds of the trumpet in the camp of Israel. The trumpet of memorials, so called, (Levit. 23:24.) was blown on the occasion of the new moon, calling the people to the joyful assembly, Psalm lxxxi. 3. There was also the fast trumpet of which the prophet speaks, Joel ii. 1. Besides these, the war trumpet gave a certain sound to prepare to battle, 1 Cot. 14:8. And this of the jubilee, which differed from all. And although the jubilee trumpet was never heard but once in fifty years, yet so sweet and so distinguishing was the sound, that no poor captive among the servants in the camp of Israel, was at a moment’s loss to understand its gracious meaning. Say, my soul, is not the gospel sound, when first heard by the ear of faith, precisely the same? When pardon was first proclaimed to thee by the blood of Christ, and the day of his atonement so manifested to thy spiritual senses, that the captivity of sin and Satan lost their power upon thee, was not this indeed the jubilee trumpet, and the acceptable year of the Lord? Hast thou heard this joyful sound? Hath the Son of God made thee free? Hath Jesus caused thee to return to thy long-lost, longforfeited inheritance? And wilt thou never forget the unspeakable mercy? Hail, thou Almighty Deliverer, thou Redeemer of thy captives! I had sold my possession, sold myself for nought; and thou hast redeemed it for me again without money. I had sold it, indeed, but could not alienate it for ever, because the right of redemption was with thee. Yes, blessed Jesus, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise. Thou art the next of kin, the nearest of all relations, and the dearest of all brothers. And thou hast redeemed both soul and body, both lands and inheritance by thy blood; and so redeemed the whole, as never more to be lost again, or forfeited for ever. And now, Lord, thy jubilee trumpet sounds; and the proclamation of the everlasting gospel is heard in our land, to give liberty to the captive, sight to the blind, to bring the prisoners out of the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison-house. Oh, cause me to know the joyful sound, and daily to walk in the light of thy countenance. Cause me, by the sweet influences of thy Spirit, to live in the constant expectation of the year of the everlasting jubilee, when the trumpet of the archangel shall finally sound, and all thy redeemed shall then return to Zion with songs, and everlasting joy upon their heads; when they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. Hallelujah.

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A sect distinguished by their professing pure, sublime, and perfect devotion, with an entire disinterested love of God, free from all selfish considerations.–The authors of this mystic science, which sprung up towards the close of the third century, are not known; but the principles from which it was formed are manifest. Its first promoters proceeded from the known doctrine of the Platonic school, which was also adopted by Origen and his disciples, that the divine nature was diffused through all human souls; or that the faculty of reason, from which proceed the health and vigour of the mind, was an emanation from God into the human soul, and comprehended in it the principles and elements of all truth, human and divine. They denied that men could, by labour or study, excite this celestial flame in their breasts; and therefore they disapprove highly of the attempts of those who, by definitions, abstract theorems, and profound speculations, endeavoured to form distinct notions of truth, and to discover its hidden nature. On the contrary, they maintained that silence, tranquillity, repose, and solitude, accompanied with such acts as might tend to extenuate and exhaust the body, were the means by which the hidden and internal word was excited to produce its latent virtues, and to instruct man in the knowledge of divine things. For thus they reasoned:–Those who behold with a noble contempt all human affairs; who turn away their eyes from terrestrial vanities, and shut all the avenues of the outward senses against the contagious influence of a material world, must necessarily return to god when the spirit is thus disengaged from the impediments that prevented that happy union; and in this blessed frame they not only enjoy inexpressible raptures from their communion with the Supreme Being, but are also invested with the inestimable privilege of contemplating truth undisguised and uncorrupted in its native purity, while others behold it in a vitiated and delusive form.

The number of the Mystics increased in the fourth century, under the influence of the Grecian fanatic, who gave himself out for Dionysius the Areopagite, disciple of St. Paul, and probably lived about this period; and by pretending to higher degrees of…

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“Grace be unto you, and peace from God, etc.]”

This is an usual salutation in all Paul’s epistles; (see Gill on “Romans 1:7”).

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“Thy lips, O my spouse, drop as the honey-comb.”—Solomon 4:2

While Jesus is so precious to his people, that they seek him in every thing that is lovely, and indeed can discover nothing to be lovely until they have found Jesus in it, what an endearment is it to the soul of a believer, when he discovers Jesus looking upon him, eyeing him, and even commending Jesus’s own graces, which he hath imparted to the soul, brought out into exercises again by the influences of his own Holy Spirit. My soul, canst thou really be led to believe that Jesus is speaking to his church, to his fair one, his spouse, to every individual soul of his redeemed and regenerated ones, in those sweet words of the song? Doth Jesus, the Son of God, call thee his spouse; and doth he say, thy lips drop as the honey-comb? Pause, my soul, and ponder over these gracious words of thy God. By thy lips, no doubt, Jesus means thy words; of which Solomon saith – “pleasant words are as an honey-comb, sweet to the soul and health to the bones. “Prov. 16:24. Do thy lips drop in prayer, in praise, in conversation, in christian fellowship, in ordinances, and in all the ordinary intercourse of life? Is Jesus thy one theme; his name, his love, his grace, his work, his salvation; what he hath done, what he hath wrought; how he hath loved, how he hath lived, how he hath died, how he now lives again to appear in the presence of God for his people; and to give out of his fuluess, his mercies, his treasures: in visits, in manifestations, and the ten thousand numberless, nameless, ways by which he proves himself to be Jesus? Do thy lips, my soul, drop in these topics when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, when thou risest up, and when thou goest in before the presence of God, in the public worship of the temple, or the private closet, where no eye seeth thee but him that seeth in secret? And doth thy Jesus really mark these things? Doth he condescend to notice his poor creature, and to esteem these droppings as the sweetness of the honey? Precious God, precious Jesus! what a love is here. O for grace, for love, for life, for every suited gift of my God and Saviour, that my lips, from the abundance of the heart, may drop indeed as the honey-comb – sweetly, freely, not by constraint, except the constraint of thy love; but constantly, unceasingly, for ever, as the drops of the honey-comb which follow one another; that prayer may follow praise, and praise succeed to prayer; and that there may be a succession in magnifying and adoring the riches of grace; that the name of Jesus may be always in my mouth; and from that one blessed source, that Jesus lives in my heart, and rules, and reigns, and is formed there the hope of glory.

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A sect in the ancient church, composed of persons, who, being prepossessed with that maxim in philosophy, “ex nihilo mihil fit,” out of nothing nothing can arise, had recourse to an eternal matter, on which they supposed God wrought in the creation, instead of admitting Him alone as the sole cause of the existence of all things. Tertulian vigoriously opposed them in his treatise against Hermogenes, who was one of their number.

Materialists are also those who maintain that the soul of man is material, or that the principle of perception and thought is not a substance distinct from the body, but the result of corporeal organization.

There are others called by this name, who have maintained that there is nothing but matter in the universe.
The followers of the late Dr. Priestley are considered as Materialists, or philosophical Necessarians. According to the doctor’s writings, he believed,–

1. That man is no more than what we now see of him: his being commences at the time of his conception, or perhaps at an earlier period. The corporeal and mental faculties, inhering in the same substance, grow, ripen, and decay together; and whenever the system is dissolved, it continues in a…

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“Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, etc.]”

This epistle is inscribed to the saints at Corinth; who are described by their being “the church of God”, a particular congregated church; a number of persons gathered out of the world, and joined together in holy fellowship, carrying on the worship of God together, and walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord; a very high character this, to be called the church of God, which is the pillar and ground of truth: and it may be observed, that this is here given to a people, among whom were many irregularities, errors, disorders, and divisions; which shows, that a church of God is not to be unchurched for everything that is amiss in them: they are further described by the place of their abode, Corinth, the “metropolis” of Achaia; a very large and opulent city, a place of great trade and commerce, and famous both for its wealth and wisdom; but not so famous for anything as this, that there was a church of Christ in it; of the city of Corinth, (see Gill on “Acts 18:1”); and of the church, (see Gill on “Acts 18:8”). The members of it in general, for it cannot be thought to hold good of every individual, are said to be

“sanctified in Christ Jesus;”

Not by baptism, for they were sanctified before that; but were set apart, or chosen in Christ from all eternity, to grace here, which sense the word “sanctified” is sometimes used; and to whom Christ they were sanctified by his Spirit in his name, out of that and holiness which is in him: wherefore it follows; for though they were chosen to holiness in Christ, and unholy; though Christ had given himself for them to sanctify and purify uncalled were impure; they fell in Adam, and became both unholy and unclean, and were so in their lives and conversations; nor are their own free will, but were become such through the powerful grace of principles of holiness were wrought in them; and by which they were called And this epistle is not only inscribed to these saints at

“with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord”

as in Achaia, of which Invocation of the name of Christ not only respects prayer to him, but being given to Christ, and perforated in his name, is a very considerable Ethiopic version here styles him, any but a divine person, one that is truly and properly God, without phrase, either, as some think, refers to “every place” and so Syriac, and Arabic versions; and the sense is, that whether in was, or the Corinthians were, or any of the other saints in signifying, that invocation of God is not confined to any particular place, rather it refers to “our Lord”, and shows that Christ is the common Lord of therefore ought to love one another.

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Articles Of The Faith And Order Of A Primitive Or Strict And Particular Baptist Church Of The Lord Jesus Christ, Based On The Declaration Of Faith And Practice Of John Gill, D. D., 1720

IX. Divine Chastisement.

We believe that, though the people of God are exempted from the penal consequences of all their sins by the death of Christ, and freely forgiven all their transgressions[1] their voluntary sins after regenera­tion and conversion are followed by His paternal rebukes and chastenings[2] for the correction of their way­ wardness[3] their instruction in the truths they have disregarded or slighted[4] and the restoration of their souis.[5]

[1] See Article VIII.
[2] 2 Sam 12:3; Ps 39:11; 89:32; 119:75; Prov 3:12; Jer 31:18-20; Mic 6:9; Mal 2:2; 1 Cor 11:30-32; Heb 12:6-9; Rev 3:19
[3] Ps 39:11; 94:10; Jer 30:11; Hos 2:6
[4] Ps 78:34,35; 119:70,71; Hos 5:15; 141-4
[5] Ps 23:3; 88:8; Is 27:7-9; 57:17-19; 2 Cor 2:6,7; 1 Jn 1:9



Note 1.—Article viii. states our belief in the rich grace of God as exemplified in the justification of His people and the free and full forgiveness of their sins. Article ix. with great propriety follows, to assert our conviction as to His holiness in chastening them for their offences. The one truth thus balances the other, and relieves the Gospel from the charge of leading to licentiousness.

The word chasten, or chastise, in English, signifies to inflict pain for the purpose of correction, and accurately represents the Greek verb paidem. The primary meaning of this is to treat as a child, but it includes the…

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Sermon—“The Veil Rent In Two”

For the full order of service, including hymns and reading, please follow this link…

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Sermon—“Study The Scriptures”

For the full order of service, including hymns and reading, please follow this link…

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“The mercy promised.”—Luke 1:72

“The mercy promised!” Why, God graciously promised many mercies, and most faithfully and fully performed them. Yes! every thing out of hell may well be called a mercy. Every child of Adam beareth about with him, day by day, tokens of God’s mercy. The air we breathe, the garments we put on, the food we eat; all the comforts, conveniences, enjoyments of life; these are all mercies. But none of these are what the sweet portion of the morning points at. It is here a particular, a Special, one specific mercy. And who can this mean, my soul, but Jesus, thy Jesus? – He is, indeed, “the mercy promised,” the first mercy, the first promise; the first, best, and comprehensive gift of God in the bible. He is indeed the mercy of mercies, the first born, the sum and substance of every other. He is essential to make all other mercies really and truly mercies; for without him, they ultimately prove injurious. He is essential to put a sweetness, to give a relish, a value, an impertance, to every other. Where Jesus is, there is mercy; where Jesus is not, what can profit? My soul, hast thou Considered this? – Dost thou know it? Is Jesus thine? Is this mercy promised, really, truly given to thee? Hast thou taken him home to thine house, to thine heart? Pause, if it be so, how dost thou value him, know him, use him, live to him, walk with him, hope in him, rejoice in him, and make him thine all? Hast thou received him as a free mercy, an undeserved mercy? Hast thou accepted him as so seasonable a mercy, that, without him, thou wouldest have been undone for ever? Is he now so truly satisfying to thee in all thy desires, for time and for eternity, that thou canst bid adieu to every enjoyment, if needful; and, looking up to Jesus, canst truly say, “Whom have I in heaven but thee, and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee?” Oh my soul, if this be thy portion, then hast thou a Benjamin’s portion indeed! God thy Father hath given thee indeed the mercy promised; and Jesus is, and will be, thy mercy, and the mercy of all mercies, to all eternity. Amen.

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A class of people whose distinguishing character it is, not to profess any particular form or system of religion; but only to acknowledge the existence of a God, and to follow the light and law of Nature, rejecting revelation and opposing Christianity. The name of deists seems to have been first assumed, as the denomination of a party, about the middle of the 16th century, by some gentlemen in France and Italy, who were desirous of thus disguising their opposition to Christianity by a more honourable appellation than that of atheists. Viret, an eminent reformer, mentions certain persons in his epistle dedicatory, prefixed to the second volume of his Instruction Chretienne, published in 1653, who called themselves by a new name, that of deists. These, he tells us, professed to believe in God, but shewed no regard to Jesus Christ, and considered the doctrine of the apostles and evangelists as fables and dreams. He adds, that they laughed at all religion, though they outwardly conformed to the religion of those with whom they lived, or whom they wished to please, or feared to offend. Some, he observed, professed to believe the immortality of the soul; others denied both this doctrine and that of providence. Many of them were considered as persons of acute and subtile genius, and took pains in disseminating their notions. The deists hold, that, considering the multiplicity of religions, the numerous pretences to revelation, and the precarious arguments generally advanced in proof thereof, the best and surest way is to return to the simplicity of nature, and the belief of one God; which is the only truth agreed to by all nations. They complain, that the freedom of thinking and reasoning is oppressed under the yoke of religion, and that the minds of men are tyrannized over, by the necessity imposed on them of believing inconceivable mysteries; and contend that nothing should be required to be assented to or believed but what their reason clearly conceives. The distinguishing character of modern deists is, that they discard all pretences to revelation as the effects of imposture or enthusiasm. They profess a regard for natural religion, though they are far from being agreed in their notions concerning it.

They are classed by some of their own writers into mortal and immortal deists; the latter acknowledging a future state; and the former denying it, or representing it as very uncertain. Dr. Clarke distinguishes four sorts of deists. 1. Those who pretend to believe the existence of an eternal, infinite, independent, intelligent Being, who made the world, without concerning himself in the government of it.–2. Those who believe the being and natural providence of God, but deny the difference of actions as morally good or evil, resolving it into the arbitrary constitution of human laws; and therefore they suppose that God takes no notice of them. With respect to both these classes, he observes that their opinions can consistently terminate in nothing but downright atheism.–3. Those who, having right apprehensions concerning the nature, attributes, and all-governing providence of God, seem also to have some notion of his moral perfections; though they consider them as transcendent, and such in nature and degree, that we can form no true judgment, nor argue with any certainty concerning them: but they deny the immortality of human soul; alleging that men perish at death, and that the present life is the whole of human existence.–4. Those who believe the existence, perfections, and providence of God, the obligations of natural religion, and a state of future retribution, on the evidence of the light of Nature, without a divine revelation; such as these, he says, are the only true deists: but their principles, he apprehends, should lead them to embrace Christianity; and therefore he concludes that there is now no consistent scheme of deism in the world. The first deistical writer of any note that appeared in this country was Herbert, baron of Cherbury. He lived and wrote in the seventeenth century. His book Dr. Veritate was first published at Paris in 1624. This, together with his book De Causis Errorum, and his treatise De Religione Laici, were afterwards published in London. His celebrated work Dr. Religione Gentilium was published at Amsterdam in 1663 in 4to., and in 1700 in 8vo.; and an English translation of it was published at London in 1705. As he was one of the first that formed design into a system, and asserted the sufficiency, universality, and absolute perfection of natural religion, with a view to discard all extraordinary revelation as useless and needless, we shall subjoin the five fundamental articles of this universal religion. They are these: 1. There is one supreme God.–2. That he is chiefly to be worshipped.–3. That piety and virtue are the principal part of his worship.–4. That we must repent of our sins; and if we do so, God will pardon them.–5. That there are rewards for good men and punishments for bad men, both here and hereafter. A number of advocates have appeared in the same cause; and however they may have differed among themselves, they have been agreed in their attempts of invalidating the evidence and authority of divine revelation. We might mention Hobbes, Blount, Toland, Collins, Woolston, Tindall, Morgan, Chubb, lord Bolingbroke, Hume, Gibbon, Paine, and some add lord Shaftesbury to the number. Among foreigners, Voltaire, Rousseau, Condorcet, and many other celebrated French authors, have rendered themselves conspicuous by their deistical writings. “But,” as one observes, “the friends of Christianity have no reason to regret the free and unreserved discussion which their religion has undergone. Objections have been stated and urged in their full force, and as fully answered; arguments and raillery have been repelled: and the controversy between Christians and deists has called forth a great number of excellent writers, who have illustrated both the doctrines and evidences of Christianity in a manner that will ever reflect honour on their names, and be of lasting service to the cause of genuine religion, and the best interests of mankind.”

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“Paul called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ, etc.]”

The author, or rather the writer of the following epistle; for the Holy Ghost was the author and dictator of it, and which was never doubted: he is described by his, name Paul, though his Jewish name was Saul; and very probably he being a Jew by birth, and yet born in a Roman city, might have two names, the one Jewish, the other Gentile; and by the one he went when among the Jews, and by the other when concerned with the Gentiles: and also by his office, “an apostle of Jesus Christ”; immediately called, and sent forth by him; had the Gospel from him by immediate revelation, and a commission to preach it; and which high office was confirmed by signs and wonders, and mighty deeds; by the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost conferred on him, and on others under his ministry; and by the eminent success which attended the preaching of the Gospel by him. This his character he the rather mentions, because some in this church, through the insinuations of the false apostles, demurred upon it; whereas this was not a mere name given him by men, and by which he was only commonly called by them, but was an office he was “called” to by Christ; he did not rush into it, or assume it of himself, but had a divine warrant for it; for he was invested with it,

“through the will of God:”

Both by the secret will and purpose of God, by which he was a chosen vessel, to bear the name of Christ among the Gentiles, (Acts 9:15); and by the revealed will of God, signified by the Spirit of God, who said, “separate me Saul and Barnabas, for the work whereunto I have called them”, (Acts 13:2), and shows, that it was not owing to any worth or merit in him, but purely to the free grace and sovereign will and pleasure of God, that he was made an apostle of Christ:

“and Sosthenes our brother.”

This seems to be the same man, who was the chief ruler of the synagogue of the Jews at Corinth; and was converted to the Christian faith by the Apostle Paul whilst there, as appears from his favouring the cause of the apostle, for which the Jews beat him before the judgment seat, and yet Gallio the Roman deputy took no notice of it, (Acts 18:17): in the Syriac dictionary mention is made of one Sosthenes, governor of a city, one of the seventy disciples, who was educated at Pontus, and cast into the sea by the order of Nouna; and is also said to be bishop of Colophon in Ionia, (see Gill on “Luke 10:1”); but without any reason. This person the apostle joins with him, not as in equal office with him, but as a brother in Christ, and very probably a ministering brother, and a companion of his; and the rather, because he might be well known to the Corinthians, and respected by them; wherefore he chose to join him with him, to show their agreement in doctrine and discipline, and in advice to them, which might have the greater weight with them; (see Acts 18:17).

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“I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one.”—John 17:23

Think, my soul, to what a transcendant honour, to what a state of unspeakable happiness, the truly regenerated believer in Jesus is begotten. Who shall declare it; what heart shall fully conceive it? Mark, my soul, how graciously thy Redeemer hath pointed it out, in those sweet words. Observe the foundation of the whole, in that glorious mystery of union between the Father and the Son. This is at the bottom of all our mercies, and becomes the source and spring of every other. “Thou in me,” saith Jesus; not only as One in the nature and essence of the Godhead, in a sameness of nature, of design, of will, of perfections, and in all the attributes which constitute the distinguishing properties of Jehovah; but peculiarly as Mediator, the head of the church and people, in communicating all the fulness of the Godhead to dwell bodily in Jesus, as the Glory-man, the God-man, the Anointed of God. Thus, being one with Christ, and dwelling in Christ, in such a way and manner as the Godhead never did, and never can, dwell in any other. And as Jesus is thus One with the Father in the essence of the Godhead, and the Father in him, dwelling in him, and being in him, in all the work of redemption, as Mediator – so is Jesus one in the nature of the manhood, with all his mystical members. “I in them,” saith Christ,” as thou art in me. “Jesus is the Head of his body, the church, and he is their fulness; and they members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. Hence result the blessed effects which his redeemed all derive from him,” that they may be made perfect in one. “Sweet and precious thought! in Jesus they are made perfect. From him they derive perfection. As one with him, they are counted, and beheld perfect before God; and by him they will be found so to all eternity. And what particularly endears this lovely view of the believer’s perfection in Christ Jesus, is this; that every individual member of Jesus’s mystical body, is all alike equally interested in this perfection in Jesus. For as it is from the same Spirit dwelling in them all, that they are quickened to this spiritual life in Christ Jesus, and are all of them made living members, and united to Jesus, their one glorious head; so there must be an equally near and dear union to Jesus, and to one another. Delightful consideration! as the apostle-reasons upon another consideration – “The eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of thee; nor the foot say, because I am not the hand, I am not of the body. “In Jesus they are all one; neither can any touch the least of his people, no more than the apple of his eye, without touching him. Is it so, my soul? And art thou one with Jesus, one with the glorious Head, one with the precious members? Hast thou communion in all that concerns Christ; communion and interest in his Person; communion in his righteousness; communion in his lice, in his death, in his resurrection, in his church, in his people, in his ordinances, in all that concerns Jesus? Oh then, rest assured that thou shalt have an everlasting communion, and nothing shall separate thee from Jesus – neither in time nor to all eternity. Go down, my body, go down to the grave with this perfect confidence – “That if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead, shall also quicken your mortal body, by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”

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Those who suppose that, as Christ died for all, so, before he shall have delivered up his mediatorial kingdom to the Father, all shall be brought to a participation of the benefits of his death, in their restoration to holiness and happiness. They teach, that the wicked will receive a punishment apportioned to their crimes; that punishment itself is a mediatorial work, and founded upon mercy; that it is a mean of humbling, subduing, and finally reconciling the sinner to God. They suppose that the words eternal, everlasting, &c. as they sometimes apply to the things which have ended, so they cannot apply to endless misery. They say, this doctrine is the most consonant to the perfections of the Deity, most worthy of the character of Christ, and that the Scriptures cannot be reconciled upon any other plan. They teach their followers ardent love to God; and peace, meekness, candour, and universal love to men, they observe, are the natural result of these views.

The sentiments of the Universalists were embraced by Origen in the 3d century, and in more modern times by Chevalier Ramsay, Dr. Chryne, Mr. Hartley, and others. But one of the greatest advocates for this doctrine was Dr. Chauncy. His arguments are these: 1. Christ died not for a select number of men only, but for mankind universally, and without exception or limitation, for the sacred Scriptures are singularly emphatical in expressing this truth, 1 Thess. 5:10. 1 Cor. 15:3. Rom. 5:6. 1 Pet. 3:18. John 1:29. John 3:16, 17. 1 John 2:2. Heb. 2:9.—2. It is the purpose of God according to his good pleasure that mankind universally, in consequence of the death of his Son Jesus Christ, shall certainly and finally be saved, Rom. 5:12. &c. Rom. 8:19-24. Col. 1:19, 20. Eph. 4:10. Eph. 1:9, 10. 2 Tim. 1:4.—3. As a mean, in order to men’s being made meet for salvation, God will sooner or later, in this state or another, reduce them all under a willing and obedient subjection to his moral government, 1 John 3:8. John 1:29. Matt. 1:21. Psalm 8:5, 6. Heb. 2:6, 9. Phil. 2:9-11. 1 Cor. 15:24–29.–4. The Scripture language concerning the reduced or restored, in consequence of the mediatory interposition of Jesus Christ, is such as leads us into the thought, that it is comprehensive of mankind universally, Rev. 5:13.

The opponents, however, of Dr. Chauncy, and this doctrine, observe, on the contrary side, that the sacred Scriptures expressly declare that the punishment of the finally impenitent shall be eternal, Matt. 17:8. Matt. 25:41, 46. Mark 9:43. Rev. 14:11. 2 Thess. 1:9. Eph. 2:17. Jude 13. Rev. 9:3. Rev. 20:10. Matt. 12:31, 32. Luke 12:10. Mark 3:29. 1 John 5:16. Heb. 1:4, 6. Heb. 10:26, 27. Matt. 26:24.

The title of Universalists distinguishes those who embrace the sentiments of Mr. Relly. Dr. Joseph Huntingdon was a great advocate also for universal salvation, as may be seen from a posthumous work of his, entitled, “Calvinism improved; or the Gospel illustrated in a System of real Grace issuing in the Salvation of all Men.” This work was answered by Mr. Nathan Strong, minister of Hartford, in Connecticut, in which he endeavours to reconcile the doctrine of eternal misery with the infinite benevolence of God.

This doctrine of universal salvation, or restoration, besides being generally acknowledged by the Socinians, has been defended in England by Mr. Winchester, and after him by Mr. Vidler and others. The latter has been opposed by Mr. A. Fuller and Mr. C. Jerram. Dr. Chauncy’s Salvation of all Men; White’s Restoration of all Things; Hartly on Man; Universalists’ Miscellany; Fuller’s Letters to Vidler; and Letters to an Universalist, containing a Review of that Controversy, by Scrutator; Mr. Spaulding’s Treatise on Universalism, published in America.

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This chapter contains the general inscription of the epistle, the usual salutation, and a special thanksgiving for blessings received; after which the apostle intimates the occasion of his writing, the divisions about their ministers, which gives him an opportunity of discoursing concerning the nature, end, use, and efficacy of the preaching of the Gospel. The inscription is in (1 Corinthians 1:1,2), in which an account is given of the persons concerned in this epistle; and first of Paul, the only inspired writer of it, who is described by his name, by which he went among the Gentiles; by his office, an apostle of Jesus Christ; and by the manner in which he came into it, being called to it not through any merit of his own, but through the sovereign will and pleasure of God: and next mention is made of Sosthenes, a brother minister of the Gospel, who was with the apostle, and joined in the salutation of the church, to whom the epistle is written; who are described, by their general character, a church of God; by the place of their abode, and seat of their church state, Corinth; and by their special characters, sanctified in Christ by election, and saints through the effectual calling; and with them are joined all other saints in Achaia, that belonged to them and the apostle, that called upon the name of the Lord.
And then follows the salutation in (1 Corinthians 1:3), usual in all the epistles.

After that a thanksgiving to God for the grace they had by Christ in general, (1 Corinthians 1:4).

And particularly for their gifts of utterance and knowledge, which were plentifully bestowed upon them, (1 Corinthians 1:5).

And were a confirmation to them of the Gospel of Christ, (1 Corinthians 1:6).

And by which it appeared, that they were not behind other churches in these things; and are commended for their waiting for the coming of Christ, (1 Corinthians 1:7).

By whom the apostle assures them, they would be so confirmed in the mean while, as to be presented blameless by him in that day, (1 Corinthians 1:8).

Of which they might be assured from the faithfulness of God, who had called them to communion with Christ, (1 Corinthians 1:9).

Upon which he exhorts them to unity of affection and judgment, for this end, that there might be no schisms among them; and this he does in a way of entreaty, and that by the name of Christ, and from the consideration of their being brethren, (1 Corinthians 1:10).

Suggesting hereby, that there were divisions among them: and signifies, that he had good reason to believe it, having had an account of them from a family of repute among them, (1 Corinthians 1:11).

And then expressly mentions what their differences were about, namely, their ministers, (1 Corinthians 1:12).

And uses arguments to dissuade them from their dividing principles and practices; showing, that one was their Lord and master, Christ, who was crucified for them, and in whose name they were baptized, and not his ministers, (1 Corinthians 1:13).

And since some among them made an ill use of their having been baptized by the apostle, he is thankful that he had baptized no more of them, and mentions by name those that he had baptized, (1 Corinthians 1:14-16).

And gives a reason for it, taken from the principal end of his mission by Christ, which was to preach the Gospel, and not only or chiefly to baptize, (1 Corinthians 1:17).

The manner in which he was sent to preach, and did preach it, is observed by him, not in the words of human wisdom; and that for this reason, lest either the Gospel should be of no use, or the effect of it should be ascribed to a wrong cause; and then be obviates an objection that might be made to this way of preaching, that hereby the Gospel would be brought into contempt; to which he answers, by granting that it would be, and was reckoned foolishness by them that were blinded and were lost; and by observing on the other hand, that it was effectual to saving purposes to others, (1 Corinthians 1:18).

And though the former sort might be the wise and prudent of this world, this need seem no strange thing, since the infatuation of such persons is no other than what was foretold would be, as appears from a testimony out of (Isaiah 29:14), cited in (1 Corinthians 1:19).

Upon which some questions are put, and inquiries made, after men of wisdom and learning, whose wisdom God made foolish, (1 Corinthians 1:20).

The reason of which was, because they did not make a right use of their natural wisdom in the knowledge of God, wherefore it was his pleasure to save men by means esteemed foolishness by them, (1 Corinthians 1:21).

And these wise men, who accounted the preaching of the Gospel foolishness, are distinguished into two sorts, Jews and Gentiles; the one requiring miracles to confirm it, the other seeking wisdom in it, (1 Corinthians 1:22).

But finding neither, though there were really both, the preaching of a crucified Christ was a stumbling to the one, and folly to the other, (1 Corinthians 1:23).

Though those that were called by grace from among them, whether Jews or Gentiles, had different sentiments of it, and of Christ preached in wisdom and power in Christ and his Gospel, which the apostle, an ironical concession, calls the foolishness and weakness of God, to the wisdom and (1 Corinthians 1:25).

And instances in the effectual the wise, the mighty, and noble, (1 Corinthians 1:26) weak, and base; and the end of God, in the call of such, was to draw a veil over and bring to confusion the wisdom and power of men, (1 Corinthians 1:27,28).

And also that no creature whatever should dare to 1 Corinthians 1:29), but the true object of glorying in grace being in him, and from him, is suggested, (1 Corinthians 1:30) that whoever glories, should glory in him, (1 Corinthians 1:31).

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“O Lord, my God, mine Holy One! We shall not die. O Lord, thou hast ordained them for judgment; and O, mighty God, thou hast established them for correction.”—Habakkuk 1:12

This is truly the language of faith. To say, in faith and feeling, “O Lord my God,” is a blessed thing, and also to feel assured that you will not die. Christ says, “Because I live, ye shall live also.” And it was on this ground that Habakkuk’s faith was built: “Art thou not from everlasting?” Some speak about faith as though it were a mere trifle, a bauble, or a toy, and that they could use it as their fleshly nature felt disposed; as if they could take it up and lay it down at their pleasure. But this is an awful delusion. Such men are entirely ignorant of vital faith. They cannot, with such fleshly ideas, rightly say, “O God, thou art my God.” But the language of our text truly bespeaks the convincing power of precious faith living in the heart: “My God.”

1. Let us consider the nature and ground of this faith.
2. The claim faith makes: “My God.”
3. The conclusion faith comes to: “We shall not die,” though “we are ordained for judgment, and established for correction,” and though faith seems sometimes at a distance from us, and we are ready to say, “Ah! Why all this judgment, and why all this correction? Why are we thus taken through the furnace of affliction? But faith anon comes with power, and we see our everlasting security in Christ, and are enabled to draw the blessed conclusion,’ “We shall’ not die.”

1. The nature and ground of faith. The Pharisee of old thought he had great faith, and talked largely of his goodness; but he was deceiving his own soul; he was unacquainted with the…

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A Sermon Preached By William Gadsby On April 13th, 1843.

(This is but a fragment of the sermon. The reporter which recorded the spoken word could not keep pace with the preacher. This accounts for some broken sentences, missing parts and an unfinished ending)

“The breaker is come up before them; they have broken up, and have passed through the gate, and are gone out by it; and their king shall pass before them, and the Lord on the head of them.”—Micah 2:13

In all God’s dealings and dispensations with the Jews, he kept a constant eye on the well-being of his elect people. You find frequently, when God is giving, by the prophets, solemn admonitions, warnings, and threatenings to the Jews as a nation, or teeming forth awful denunciations and curses against them, they suddenly break off to drop a word of comfort and encouragement to God’s spiritual family. I believe that the world was created for the elect’s sake; that the Bible is given for the elect’s sake; and that if God had not had an elect people, there would never have been a Bible; for when God is speaking concerning it he says, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness;” and it is that “the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” And again: “Whatsoever was written aforetime was written for our learning, that we, through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, might have hope.” Perhaps some one may say, “Well, then, if I am not one of the elect, it is of no sense praying, no use reading, no use repenting.” There never was a man in the world that ever did pray spiritually, there never was a man in the world that ever did repent evangelically, but God’s elect, nor ever will be. Therefore, if you are brought really and spiritually to cry, to pray, and to repent before God, that is a proof that you are one of his elect; and the Lord says, “Shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily.” Some of God’s dear family, after long waiting and crying before him, begin sometimes to be cast down, and even think that God will not hear them; but shall he not avenge his own elect?

I believe that the idea of a kind of universal salvation, universally offered to all men, is one of Satan’s engines, in order to eclipse the glory of God’s salvation, and is something like a lottery, to give to all what is called a chance of being saved. I believe that the salvation of God is a certain salvation; and that the redeemed of the Lord shall have a chance of being saved is a parcel of lumber. “The redeemed of the Lord shall come” (not have a chance), “they shall come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away;” and this shall be the result and the effect of the Breaker having come up before them.

Perhaps you will say, “Who are the men intended in the text?” Well, now; let us just look. “I will surely assemble Jacob; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel,” &c. Well, then, it is this remnant before whom the Breaker is gone up. And do not you know what the Lord says in one place? “Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved;” and in another place he says, “Except the Lord of hosts had left us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.” Nothing is more common among men than to take it for granted that they are among the Lord’s people, because they are so numerous and so respectable. If the Bible is a lie, they are right; but if the Bible is true, they are not; because God says it is a “small remnant.” And again: “Ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.” And again: “Broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many there be that go in thereat; and strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Say you, “How strait is it?” I will tell thee, poor creature. It never did, nor ever will, let one sinner enter with one rag of his own. It tears every rag off the bones, and the sinner is obliged to go as a poor, naked, destitute creature; and if you are never made to go that way, you will never go, as sure as there is a God in heaven. It is common for a mercer to cut off from a piece of cloth fragments of it, which are thrown aside; and when it is a fag- end, he throws it under his feet. And God’s people, in all ages of the world, have been a kind of fag-end people, considered as useless and worthless, and fit only to be trodden under foot by the men of this world.

“The Breaker is come up before them.” Now I consider that the Lord Jesus Christ, who is their King, that is gone before them, is the character here intended; and I shall just attempt to glance at the movements of this Breaker in the two following senses:

I. In his going up before his people in his meritorious work.
II. In his going up, and breaking down all before him in their hearts and consciences.

I. Let us, then, first, dwell upon the movements of this Breaker in his going up before his people in his meritorious work. From everlasting his delights were with the…

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“A new heart will I give you, and a right spirit will I put within you. I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh and will give you a heart of flesh.”—Ezekiel 36:26

What a precious cluster of solemn declarations of undeserved mercy and free grace are here! Blessed, thrice blessed, art thou, O Israel! Thy God,—O the wonders of his love! Thy God has connected his own glory and thy well-being together; so that, though thy froward heart has led thee to profane his Name among the heathen, and though there be nothing in thee, nor of thee, considered in thyself, but what is awfully depraved, the regard the glorious God has to the honour of his own Name, and by inseparable connection with his honour, binds his blessed Majesty, by all the ties of infinite love to thee and by all that is dear to himself, to do thee good.

Brethren, beloved of the Lord, read the account, pause as you read, and stand astonished at the matchless methods the Lord takes of making known his love and loveliness to you, and with deep humility say, “Dear and blessed Lord! Shall I still insult such matchless love as this? Shall I still mix with the men of the world and make them my chief companions? And shall the things of the world be the principal objects of my pursuits, and thus profane thy great and glorious Name among the heathen? God forbid! Let the honour of thy Name and the greatness of thy love lead me to love, worship, and adore thee; and may it be my great concern from henceforth to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, being assured that all other needful things shall be added unto me. O thou Fountain of blessedness! Make me more watchful, prayerful, and thankful, and enable me to stand fast in the glorious liberty of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Beloved, it is the church’s blessedness that Jehovah has inseparably connected his glory with her real good; so that, while his blessed Majesty regards his own honour, he cannot, he will not, forsake or neglect his dear people. This is a blessing big with infinite importance. O that we were able at all times, under the blessed teaching of God the Holy Ghost, to fix a right estimate upon this glorious truth! Then we should find that in the greatest straits and difficulties, and even when our own worthlessness and sinfulness appear in their deepest hue, we have every encouragement to come boldly to the throne of grace. Mark that!—”the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help us in time of need.”

The church of Christ is called the City of our Solemnities; and it is one of the solemn acts of faith to plead with God for his Name’s sake. David, the man after God’s own heart, put in his plea upon that sacred ground: “For thy Name’s sake, O Lord, pardon my iniquity, for it is great.” (Ps. 25:11.) But he not only pleaded for himself but also for the whole church upon this blessed ground: “Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy Name, and deliver us and purge away our sins, for thy Name’s sake.” And under the glorious teachings of the blessed Spirit, Jeremiah goes upon the same sure ground: “O Lord, though our iniquities testify against us, do thou it for thy Name’s sake; for our backslidings are many. We have sinned against thee.” (Jer. 16:7.) But, beloved, though the Lord has in infinite love determined to bestow the greatest blessings of his heart upon his people, he has made it their great privilege, as his children, to ask these blessings at his hands. Hence he says, in connection with that matchless cluster of blessings promised in Ezek. xxxvi., “Thus saith the Lord God, I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them.”

Do I hear some poor sensible sinner say, “Alas for me! I am such a poor sinful, wretched creature that I fear Jehovah would consider his solemn Majesty insulted were I to crave a single blessing at his hands. I have awfully backslidden from him and have given the professed enemies of God cause to blaspheme his holy Name; and what can I expect but the doom of those who trample underfoot the Son of God, and who do despite to the Spirit of grace? Wretch that I am! I am more brutish than any man!” Come, come, poor desponding soul! Sink not into despair! Thy base proceedings cannot make the Lord cease to regard his own glory. That is as dear to him as ever; and this should encourage thee to plead with the Lord, not for your sakes, but for his great Name’s sake. God puts within his people a new heart and a right spirit, and cleanses them from all their idols and filthiness.

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A Sermon Preached By William Gadsby In Manchester, March 22nd, 1840.

The following is from MS. It evidently, is like all the following, fragmentary.

“Now, as I beheld the living creatures, behold one wheel upon the earth by the living creatures, with his four faces. The appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the colour of a beryl; and they four had one likeness; and their appearance and their work was, as it were, a wheel in the middle of a wheel; when they went, they went upon their four sides; and they turned not when they went. As for their rings, they were so high that they were dreadful; and their rings were full of eyes round about them four. And when the living creatures went, the wheels went by them; and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up. Whithersoever the Spirit was to go, they went; thither was their Spirit to go; and the wheels were lifted up over against them, for the Spirit of the living creature was in the wheels.”—Ezekiel 1:15-20

You may, perhaps, say I am about to go beyond my depth. No man can truly preach God’s Word unless the Spirit of God reveal it to him. I have long struggled with this passage, which now, I trust, God has been pleased to cast a ray of light upon; and as the Spirit of God shall enable me, I will boldly speak of the mystery therein. The solemn and divine mystery of the Holy Ghost is couched in these figures, which are confirmed in Ezekiel x. 10: “And as for their appearances, they four had one likeness, as if a wheel had been in the midst of a wheel.” Some fleshly mind will reply, “Why then does not God reveal himself in more intelligible terms?” Such a question is insulting to God. When Christ was asked why he spake in parables, he answered, “Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but unto them it is not given.” He spake in parables, that in seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand. Yes, that the blindness of God’s people might be made light, and that it might be hidden from the rest, as Christ most solemnly declares: “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.” This will, nay, does confound reason, and the wise understand it not. They go blindly on; they hear with their ears but understand not. The lame, the maimed, and the blind are led to put confidence in the Lord, and no one else.

My mind has been engaged with these wheels many times. They have proved too hard for me, and have, by their workings, many times made me giddy. But I will speak a few thoughts, as God is pleased to throw a light upon the subject in my soul.

I. What is meant by the Living creatures.
II. What is understood by the wheels, and the wheels within wheels.
III. The living creatures turned not; for the Spirit of God appears to lead them within the wheels.
IV. That the Spirit of God is the Leader of the whole. The Spirit led the van, as we are told in verse 20: “Whithersoever the Spirit was to go, they went; thither was their spirit to go.”
V. What is intended by the rings being full of eyes, and being lifted up so high that they were dreadful.

I. Then what are the living creatures ‘They are the ministers of the Son of God. They are also called cherubim in chapter 10. Observe, they are living creatures. There are many learned and…

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Mr. Bridgman: “The Baptist minister who will shew me the plain unequivocal command for the immersion in water of a believer, as constituting water baptism, either as commanded by Christ, or his apostles under his authority, I tell him this, that in my own chapel, at my own expense I will have a pool made, and he shall be my baptizer—will you accept the challenge?”

My Reply:

In reply to this paragraph, I shall state some things that appear quite plain to me on the subject of believers’ baptism, but I shall not pretend to a successful execution of the challenge, because that which may be laid down as a truth and proved so beyond any fair disputation by one person, may not be at all effective in another’s sight, and the point in hand is not only to be established on the ground of undeniable truth, but it is to be shown, and here lies the difficulty; because I have not only to make my exhibition, but to secure admitted sight thereof in the same sense in which the point in hand is exhibited. And when any man can see sufficiently clear for practice under the name of an institution of God, what has not one single text, direct nor indirect, in precept or precedent in the Word of God, it is hardly to be expected that he can by any human effort, be brought to see what is plainly written and practiced out in the Word of God. There is but one cause for a man’s seeing all the parts of truth’s system in their native order, but there are a vast many reasons for his not seeing, as there are also for his seeing that to be truly divine that has no relation whatever to divinity.

In my stating how believers’ baptism is to me so plain on the text of the New Testament, let it be fully understood that I believe the Scriptures to be the infallible word of God, that there is no deficiency about them, nor superfluity in them; that they contain no self-contradiction, and that nothing that is commanded is by us to be reckoned indifferent; that they are sufficiently pointed and plain to the purpose of every subject intended, and that where one part may seem inexpressive, it is that we should associate some other part therewith, that so by comparing Scripture with Scripture we may come at the mind of the Spirit; that the greater or less acceptation of a word is to be taken from the association in which it stands, and that the current practice of immediately inspired men is infallible comment on, and explanation of, the mind and will of God, for our obedient and practical observance; and that, according to these rules, I shall, by the merciful kindness of our God, now endeavor to proceed. And,

1. Our Lord’s commission to his apostles stands in as positive command of baptism as it does of preaching the gospel. And the mode and subjects are as positively determined by command, as the whole commission itself was of God. And the apostles as well knew what was to be…

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There are three principal heads in this chapter. I. Preparatory to a consideration of the knowledge of Christ, and the benefits procured by him; the 1st and 2nd sections are occupied with the dispensation of this knowledge, which, after the manifestation of Christ in the flesh, was more clearly revealed than under the Law. II. A refutation of the profane dream of Servetus, that the promises are entirely abrogated, sec. 3. Likewise, a refutation of those who do not properly compare the Law with the Gospel, sec. 4. III. A necessary and brief exposition of the ministry of John Baptist, which occupies an intermediate place between the law and the Gospel.

1. The holy fathers under the Law saw the day of Christ, though obscurely. He is more fully revealed to us under the Gospel. A reason for this, confirmed by the testimony of Christ and his Apostles.
2. The term Gospel, used in its most extensive sense, comprehends the attestations of mercy which God gave to the fathers. Properly, however, it means the promulgation of grace exhibited in the God-man Jesus Christ.
3. The notion of Servetus, that the promises are entirely abolished, refuted. Why we must still trust to the promises of God. Another reason. Solution of a difficulty.
4. Refutation of those who do not properly compare the Law and the Gospel. Answer to certain questions here occurring. The Law and the Gospel briefly compared.
5. Third part of the chapter. Of the ministry of John the Baptist.

1. Since God was pleased (and not in vain) to testify in ancient times by means of expiations and sacrifices that he was a Father, and to set apart for himself a chosen people, he was doubtless known even then in the same character in which he is now fully revealed to us. Accordingly Malachi, having enjoined the Jews to attend to the Law of Moses (because after his death there was to be an interruption of the prophetical office), immediately after declares that the Sun of righteousness should arise (Mal. 4:2); thus intimating, that though the Law had the effect of…

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