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God that is to effect the change. To him we look. Those who think our attempts arrogant or presumptuous, mistake the matter, and attribute to us notions of self-sufficiency which we do not possess; on the contrary, we renounce self-dependence, and we adopt the prophet's words in our text, as expressive of our real sentiments—“O Jehovah, our strength, and our fortress, and our refuge, in the day of affliction, our eyes are towards thee, to cause the Gentiles to come from the ends of the earth, and to cast off the lies, and the vanities, and the profitless things, which they inherited from their fathers. And is any thing too hard for God! Hath he spoken, and will he not do it!
Shall the Redeemer, who was wounded for man's transgressions, and bruised for man's iniquities, and died on the accursed tree to redeem man from the curse of the law, not see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied ?- ye Christians, to-day, or whenever ye remember the death of Jesus, remember the millions in various lands to whom his atoning sacrifice has not been preached; and remember his last command—“Go and preach the Gospel to every creature,” and then the guilt of indifference to the cause of missions
DELIVERED AT THE REV. MR, COLLISON'S CHAPEL, WALTHAMSTOW.
THE CONSTRAINING POWER OF THE
2 Cor. v. 13, 14, 15.
“ For, whether we be beside ourselves it is to God, or whether we
be sober it is for your cause ; for the love of Christ constraineth us, because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead; and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him who died for
them and rose again." THE
persons speaking in the verses which I have now read were Paul and Timothy, whose names are joined in the commencement of this letter, which begins thus: “ Paul an apostle of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia.” In the first instance, then, the words we and us refer to these two servants of God. An account of the first introduction of the Gospel at Corinth is given in the 18th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, where it appears that Christianity there met with much opposition. St. Paul, as his manner was, first addressed himself to the Jews : he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and testified that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ, or promised Messiah. The Jews, however, op
posed and blasphemed, and probably mocked the pretensions of Jesus, as many of their posterity have done, up to the present day, Paul was therefore compelled to quit them with this solemn declaration : “Your blood,—the blood of your self-murdered souls,-be upon your own heads, I am clean ; from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles.” Paul accordingly left the house of Aquila the Jew, and entered a certain man's house named Justus, probably a Roman, one that worshipped God. And at this place Paul remained a year and six months, teaching the word of God among the people. Crispus, a chief ruler of the synagogue, one that presided in the Jewish assemblies, who expounded the law, and directed in many things the consciences of the people, believed the truths of the Gospel, and all his house united with him ; and many of the pagan Corinthians hearing, believed, and were baptized; and so was formed the first Christian church at Corinth. Corinth, as is well known, was rich, and learned, and profligate ; and the disciples who formed the first Christian church there, were in some degree infected with the character of the place; and hence, as appears from both St. Paul's letters to them, there existed strifes, and divisions, and various irregularities, and pretenders to the wisdom of words, and superior rationality, and who gloried in showy appearances, and who calumniated the Apostle, representing him, in the way Festus did, as a madman, one “beside" himself, a deranged person. To such pretensions and allusions there is frequent reference in both the epistles to the Corinthians, and the last allegation is particularly met in the first sentence which we have chosen as the subject of this discourse; “ If we be beside ourselves, it is to God; or whether we be sober, it is for your cause;" i.e. if when we preach to you the sublime truths concerning our Lord Jesus Christ, and the awful realities of eternity, we be accused of enthusiasm, fanaticism, or madness, like people “ beside" themselves, we regard not the accusation ; for we walk by faith, not by sight; we obey God rather than men ; we believe God and not men; we perform a duty which God has laid upon us : if we be considered beside
ourselves, the appearances induced arise entirely from our regard to the will of God. Or, on the other hand, if we appear sober, to be dispassionate, and to descend to subjects that are simple and easy, mere common-place topics, to reason with you as carnal persons, to feed
with milk as babes ; we are prompted to this line of conduct by regard to your spiritual welfare ; it is for your cause. And again, when we appear to disregard ourselves, and to neglect the ordinary rules of prudence, as to our own ease and safety, our own wealth and prosperity, we feel fully justified in our own minds; for in addition to the motives which we have expressed, the love of Christ canstraineth us; it is his love manifested towards us, in dying for our eternal salvation, which induces us to pay that little regard to temporalities that we do; it is his love which raises us above the spirit of selfishness which prevails so much in the world. Christ's love bears us away with itself; it causes us to love after the similitude of that love by which we are influenced. Since God so loved the world as to give his Son for it, and since Christ so loved the world as to pour out his life for il; so we, influenced by the same love, desire to spend and to be spent for the glory of God and the salvation of immortal souls. For we thus judge, that since one died for all, then were all dead; the death of Jesus Christ for all, implies that all were dead in trespasses and sins, legally and spiritually dead, and liable to the second death. Jesus died that they might live; he died to atone for their sins, and to deliver them from going down into the pit of destruction, into the lake of fire which will never be quenched, which is the second death. But, adds the Apostle, Jesus not only died to deliver men from so great a death, he also rose again from the dead, for their justification; and having risen from the grave he ascended to heaven, to confer the quickening influences of the Holy Spirit, to regenerate or give a new life to the children of men, to give a spiritual, holy, heavenly life, to dead, corrupted, sinful souls.
Now then, say St. Paul and his fellow servant, we thus judge that if one died for all, then were all dead; and that
all those who are made alive in consequence of the death of Christ, should not live to themselves, but to him who died for them. The Christian's not living to himself, is on the supposition that he is no longer his own property, or master, or Lord. What! says St. Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians, Know ye not, that ye are not your own? for ye are bought with a price ; therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's. And when addressing the Romans, he says—None of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself; for, whether we live we live unto the Lord, or whether we die we die unto the Lord ; living, therefore, or dying, we are the Lord's.—The doctrine taught is evidently this; the disciple of Jesus Christ, the true Christian, his person, soul and body, his faculties, the powers of his mind, and the members of his body, belong to Christ; his time, his property, all he is, and all he possesses, belong to the Saviour; and all should be employed not to please or to gratify self; but be used as the Saviour has directed. All must be dedicated or devoted to the Saviour's cause. The love of Christ, the love of God our Saviour, in yielding himself to death for human beings, guilty and vile in the sight of pure and divine intelligences is, without controversy, the astonishment of the universe. Man, when he is called to make a sacrifice, dwells on the worthiness of the object in whose behalf he makes it; or takes into account the nearness of the relation. For a good, benevolent, and meritorious person, some would even dare to die. For a friend, a father, a sister, or a wife, there are men who would suffer much and risk their lives; but God commendeth his love towards us, in that whilst we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Should an earthly monarch die for the vilest wretch in his dominions, a father yield himself to death for the most abandoned and most worthless son, or a master for the basest slave-it were all nothing, O Christian ! in comparison of Christ dying for thee! Christ's love, is love that passeth knowledge ! O the height of bliss and glory, from which he descended; and O, the depth of misery, from which he raises the penitent and humble soul! In our