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do come to Him with a real and earnest desire to partake of the spiritual and heavenly blessings which He came upon earth to procure for and bestow upon the sinful children of men. This is a mystery indeed: how the God of infinite holiness and justice can receive into His favour sinners who were exposed to His wrath; in such a way that there should be no jarring between His attributes of justice and mercy, which still display infinite perfection; that He can be both a just God and a Saviour."


These mysteries, and others connected with them in the holy scriptures, the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God, unfold and explain to their fellow-sinners. They proclaim the wonders of their Saviour's incarnation, which the Christian church calls to mind especially at this season; the great mystery of godliness, that God was manifest in the flesh.16 They make known the bitter sufferings and death which He endured as the substitute for guilty sinners, that He might be the propitiation for our sins: His resurrection, whereby was declared the acquittal of those whom He came to redeem; His ascension into heaven, whereby He opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers; His outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, to qualify His apostles for the work

14 1 Tim. i. 15.

15 Isaiah xlv. 21.

16 1 Tim. iii. 16.

of the ministry, and to enable those who heard the word of God to receive the truth in the love of it; and His ever living to make intercession for them that come unto God by Him, as their Mediator and Advocate. These mysteries were hidden from the world before the coming of Christ. The nations of the earth were sunk in ignorance and sin, and felt that an awful uncertainty hung over all things beyond the grave. What reason have we to bless God that we live in a time in which these mysteries are revealed, when the light of the glorious gospel of Christ shines around, and marks out as with a sunbeam the way to God and heaven. May we, while we have the light, believe in the light, that we may be the children of light." May it be given to us to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God,18 that we may be blessed by Him both in time and in eternity. We are to consider,

Secondly, The design of the apostle's exhortation, Let a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. It is as much as to say, Consider those who minister to you in holy things, as servants charged to deliver to you a most important message from their and your Lord and Master; and as stewards appointed to distribute to each of the household of God a portion from the word of God which is entrusted

17 John xii. 36.

18 Luke viii. 10.

to them. Let your attention be taken off from the men to their message. Let it be your anxiety to obtain the blessing derived from knowing the mysteries of the kingdom of God. A day is coming when the Lord will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the heart; and then they only will be blessed who have with the heart believed unto righteousness.19 As the servants and ambassadors of Christ, as though God did beseech you by us, we pray you in Christ's stead, Be ye reconciled to God.20 We beseech you, that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.21 Do not reject the message of the gospel which we deliver to you, but give it the consideration which is due to a message of such unspeakable importance. The Lord Jesus Christ sends it to you; He who came into the world to save sinners; He who laid aside His glory, which He had with the Father before the world was, and appeared as a Man among men, "for us men and for our salvation;" He who was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities, and poured out His soul unto death as a sacrifice for sin; He calls upon you by us, His ministers, to repent and believe the gospel, that you may not perish, but have everlasting life. Overlook the insignificant messenger, and lay to heart the message which he is commissioned to deliver to

19 Rom. x. 10.

20 2 Cor. v. 20.

21 2 Cor. vi. 1.

you. See that ye refuse not Him that speaketh to you from heaven.22 He is present while His gospel is preached, for He said to His disciples, Lo! I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.23 He knows whether His word be received, or disregarded. And as He declared to some when He was on earth, so it still remains true with regard to those who hear it, The word that I have spoken the same shall judge you in the last day. He will come again to judge the world in righteousness. The Lord will come, and will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts of all men. Then blessed will they be who have received the message of the gospel, and awful will be the condition of those who have rejected it.


Let us ask ourselves then, What do we think of these things? What are the thoughts of our hearts upon the subject? Whatever they are, we are told that God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil.25 May it be our happiness then to have praise of God, as those who have received the message of the gospel which is delivered by the servants of Christ. May we all have wise and understanding hearts given us to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God. The gospel of Christ is the one thing needful to be

22 Heb. xii. 25. 23 Mat. xxviii. 20. 24 John xii. 48. 25 Eccl. xii. 14.

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known. For of nothing else can it be truly declared, He that believeth it shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned; yea, he that believeth not is condemned already," he is under condemnation, and is only awaiting the time when the sentence will be put in execution, as soon as this mortal life shall come to a close. It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.28 As death leaves us, judgment will find us. There is no repentance in the grave. Are we then ready to die? Are we prepared to meet our God? We know not how soon we may be called hence. There is but a step between us and death. Let us then seek above all things to be prepared for death and for judgment, by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, and being made partakers of His Holy Spirit. Let it be your earnest prayer, brethren, that the word of God may take deep root in your hearts, and that it may spring up, through His blessing, and bring forth fruit in your lives to His glory; that it may be manifest that the exhortations and instructions of the ministers of Christ are received, not as the word of men, but as they are in truth the word of God; that your faith does not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God, which worketh effectually in them that believe,29 to His glory and their salvation.

26 Mark xv. 16. 27 John iii. 18. 28 Heb. ix. 27. 29 1 Thess. ii. 13.

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