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A SERIOUS ADDRESS, &c.
I CORINTHIANS, X. 15.
I SPEAK AS TO WISE MEN : JUDGE YE
WHAT I SAY.
HE Gospel of our Salvation is very
justly styled the gospel of the grace of God; yea, the grace of God itself, , which bringeth salvation : all its glorious and distinguishing doctrines exhibit to our view the exceeding riches of divine grace. ---Grace laid the foundation of the spiritual temple ; grace raises the superitructure; and the top-stone will be brought home with shoutings, crying, Grace! grace unto it!or rather to him who has brought it home.
But if any persons have such views of the doctrines of grace, as cause them to lose
fight of their genuine influence on the hearts of believers, as lefsen the importance of christian duty, or supersede warnings against fin, exhortations to watchfulness, and diligence in using the means of grace, or solemn admonitions by the awful example of others, their ideas do not coincide with those of the inspired Apostle :-Read the context.
Having in the preceding chapter spoken of the christian life under the idea of running in a race, or being engaged in a warfare, or severe conflict ; in the beginning of this chapter, he cautions persons against resting in external performances or outward privileges, or being satisfied with the form of godliness, while strangers to its power on their hearts. The Ifraelites were under the cloud, and passed through the sea ; they ate the manna which came from above, and drank of the water which flowed from the fmitten rock; yet, after all, were overthrown in the wilderness, and many of them perished in their fins. " Now these things happened unto them for ensamples;
and they are written for our admonition : wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed left he fall.” The dear children of God, though they shall never fall into hell, may fall into error, and sin, so as to dishonour the Lord, wound their own consciences, and grieve their fellowchristians. Therefore, watch and pray, left ye be overcome and fall by temptation.
The words of the text, as they will apply to subjects in general, upon which ministers of Jesus Christ may be called to speak, are by no means improper on the present folemn occasion. I shall, therefore, as the Lord may enable me, endeavour to address you in a very serious and affectionate manner. I speak as to wise men ; judge ye what I say.
Some of you, very probably, possess a considerable degree of natural and acquired wisdom; confequently are wise men as to the things of the present world : and many
you, having been taught by the Holy Spirit, are, I believe, made wise unto salvation. However, remember you
nothing but what you have received of the Lord; therefore do not glory as though you had not received it.
Permit me to make remarks on my text as I proceed.
First, The words imply, that a true minister or servant of Jesus Christ does not desire an implicit regard to be paid to those things which he afferts, but will exhort persons to examine them, in order to judge of their nature and of their importance. Judge ye what I say; and, Be
followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
Secondly, It is of very great importance in religious concerns, for persons to be fully persuaded in their minds by what rule they are to judge, in order to determine what is truth, and what is error.
Shall we appeal to human reason on this occasion ?-it is awfully depraved; blindness prevails in the mind of every man by nature; and reason, without divine revelation, is by no means our standard. Shall we determine by the writings or opinions of eminently great and gracious men, who
have devoted their time to study and serious inquiry after truth ? I revere the man of found learning, though I can lay no claim to it myself: I venerate the aged minister of the Blessed Jesus, whose hair is grown grey
ways of righteousness. If I differ from such in some particulars, I do it conscientiously. But, after all, men have been, in some respects, mistaken ; men are still fallible creatures, who know but in part: therefore, Call no man master upon earth; for one is your master, if ye are christians, even Christ. The rule, the only rule, the everlasting rule by which we are to judge and determnine, with reference to divine truth, is the facred word of God.
_" To the law and to the testimony; if men speak not according to this word, it is because (in that particular) there is no light in them.” Again: “ Search the Scripture ! - What faith the Scripture ?--How readest thou ?” I do, therefore, seriously exhort you to compare what you may hear at this time with the oracles of God. - Judge ye what I say.