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ing matter of great joy; “ for unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord." * So that tidings of a Saviour, at least of such a Saviour as Christ the Lord, are good tidings, and the very essence of the Gofpel. Hence it is, that when the evangelical Prophet, Isaiah, was foretelling Gospel Days, and describing the message which the ministers of the Gospel would, in those days, deliver to mankind, he expressed himself in the following words : “ How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace, that bringeth tidings of good, that pubTisheth Salvation, that faith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth !” This therefore, is the true nature of the Gospel. It is good tidings, or good tidings of good: and a message of peace and falvation. And accordingly, as we learn from the sacred writers, they that preached the Gospel, “preached peace by Jesus Christ," + and bore witness, that it is
faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that he came into the world to save finners." I
2. To be a little more particular. The Gospel may be defined thus : " It is that revelation which God hath made of himself, and of his mind and will to mankind respecting their salvation.", This was made first, obscurely, and in part, to the ancient Patriarchs, and by them to the early ages of the world, before and after the flood. As to : Adam, when God said, “ The Seed of the woman shall bruise the Serpent's head ;” and to Abraham when he promised him, that in his Seed all the nations of the earth should be blessed :
and lastly to Jacob, when he assured him, that “ Shiloh should come, and that unto him should the gathering of the people be." But when the Law was given to the posterity of Jacob, from Mount Sinai, ** Luke ii. 16, 11.
+ Acts xiii. 26. * I Tim. i. 15.
an institution took place, the design of which was to exhibit to mankind, in a variety of typical perfons, and actions, and emblematical representations, the whole Gospel, with its Author, origin, and end, its precepts and promises, its privileges and blessings, its grace and glory, as it was in due time to be unfolded more fully and clearly by the eternal Word of JEHOVAH, made flesh, and the Spirit of Truth and Holiness poured out, in all his plenitude of gifts and graces, upon the first disciples and ministers of the divine Immanuel. When this “ fulness of time was come,” and that fame God, “who at sundry times, and in divers manners," had, formerly spoken to his ancient people by the prophets, had in these last days fent forth his Son, the brightness of his glory and the express image of his person, with credentials and powers, such as no other divine Messenger ever was, or will be invested with, then the Gospel, which in former ages had been exhibited in types and shadows, rather shaded than revealed, was manifested in all its glory and appeared “ Full orb'd in its whole round of rays complete.” It arose upon the world with healing in its wings, and shone forth in all its beauty, fplendour, and importance. “ The day-spring from on high vifited us, to give light to them that fat in darkness, and in the region of the shadow of death, and to guide their feet into the way of peace.” It is this lart, clearest, and fullest revelation of the divine Will, respecting our salvation, that is most properly and emphatically termed the Gospel, and that is here chiefly meant; as also, in divers other passages of the New Testament, which you may examine at your leisure.
3. The Gospel, considered in this view, has respect to all the offices sustained by its glorious
Author. In reference to his Prophetic Office, it is a revelation of truths, including doctrines, precepts, promises, and threatnings, more clear and full than any preceding discovery. These truths, as they are of a spiritual and divine nature, and concern chiefly if not wholly, spiritual and divine things, so they are to us the most important that can be imagined. They ist, respect God the FATHER, whose nature and attributes, especially his moral attributes, as his holiness, justice, truth, mercy, and love, have been abundantly more plainly and fully revealed to mankind, by Christ and his Apostles, than ever they were before. “ No man hath seen God," says St. John, “at any time ; the only begotten Son, who is in the bofom of the Father, he hath declared him.” “ The Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true. And we are in him that is true." « They thall know me," fays God, speaking of gospel days, "<from the least to the greatest.” They regard 2dly, the Son of God, whose person and offices, humiliation and exaltation, grace and glory, are exhibited and displayed, by himself and his Evangelifts and Apostles, as they neither were, nor, in the nature of things, could be before his manifestation in the flesh. They concern 3dly, the Spirit of God, not indeed so much, 'with respect to his nature and effence, as his office in the Church, and his operations in the souls of men, in order to their salvation. - These are revealed much more at large, and with abundantly greater evidence, in the New Testament than in the Old, and we fee with much more clearness than the Jews did formerly, how he enlightens, quickens, ftrengthens, sanctities, and comforts his people, and by a variety of gifts and graces, prepares them for, and
gives them a pledge and earnest of eternal felicity and glory. The truths of the Gospel, 4thly, rclpeet ourselves. They reveal to iis our fall in Adam, with the sinfulness and guilt, the depravity, weakness, and misery, entail d upon us thereby, in a much clearer and fuller manner than they were known to the Old Testament saints. In the mean time our Redemption by Christ, with the nature and properties, causes and effects of that salvation which is by faith in him, is also manifested and displayed in all its love and power, glory and extent, in this fame Gospel. Here we learn also, the Will of God concerning us, viz. what he requires us to know, to believe, to experience, to be, to do, to suffer, and to enjoy. The immortality of the soul, the resurrection of the body, the conflagration of the world, the final judgment of Men and Angels, and the reftitution of all things, are among the important and astonishing discoveries, exhibited to our view in this ever blessed Gospel
4. Again, in reference to his Priestly Office, the Gospel implies a free and sincere offer of privileges, which Christ hath procured for us by his death, and received, in consequence of his ascenfion into heaven. What these privileges are, I need not now take up your time in endeavouring 'to Thew. You, my brethren, are well apprized that remission of fins, the favour and friendship of God, and adoption into his family, whereby we become his sons and daughters, are among the first and principal of them. These prepare the way for others, such as our heavenly Father's peculiar care and protection, an ample provision for the fupply of all our wants, temporal and spiritual, with an assurance that all things, even affliction and death, shall work for our good. Add to this, that Christ has procured for us, and in his Gospel offers to us,
“ fellowship with God," thro' the eternal Spirit; which, as it implies a title to, and, in fome degree, at least, a meetness for the happiness reserved for us in the heavenly mansions, so it is also an earnest of that happiness in our hearts. These blessed privileges of the Gospel to be enjoyed here, are, you know, to be crowned with the everlasting vision and enjoyment of God hereafter, when his people shall be admitted to see his face and behold his glory, so as to be transformed fully into his likeness, and poffefsed eternally of his felicity.
5. Once more : if the Gospel be considered in reference to the Kingly Office of Christ, it implies the promulgation of a variety of Laws, enforced with fanctions, the most momentous and awful that can be imagined, even with promises of happiness, and threatenings of misery, infinite and eternal. All these laws are wise and holy, just and good. They enjoin repentance towards God, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, in order to our poffefsing any, even the first of the fore-mentioned privileges, remission of fins, or justification before God. And upon those that are justified and there. by furnished with the main spring of obedience, Love, they inculcate the uniform practice of piety and virtue in all their branches, directing us in every part of our duty to God, our neighbour, and ourselves, and “ teaching us, that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world looking for the blessed hope, and glorious appearing of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Chrift."
6. That thcse Laws of Christ make a part, and an important part of the Gospel, is evident from this consideration, that Christ is as certainly a KING, as he is a Prophet, or a Priest, and requires our obedience, as much as our faith or con