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His enemies, no less than his friends, will then see him to be “ King of kings, and Lord of lords”-] In that day“ grace will be brought unto us"
(Grace and glory are sometimes used as synonymous terms in scripturek
Indeed, grace is glory begun, and glory is grace consum. mated
The spiritual blessings which God bestows, appear now to be the gifts of grace'
But how much more shall we acknowledge the glories of heayen to be so!
How shall we marvel at the goodness of God in all his dealings towards us!
How shall we adore his wisdom, even in the darkest of his dispensations
How shall we stand amazed that we were saved, while so many others were lost!
Surely, “when the top-stone is brought forth, we shall cry, Grace, grace, unto it”m.
All this felicity “shall be brought unto us” openly, and in rich abundance
Now, the grace imparted to us is small, though “ sufficient for us".
And the consolations vouchsafed unto us, are known only to ourselves
But in that day the kingdom will be given us in the presence of the whole universen
And our happiness shall be commensurate with our capacities and desires
What we partake of now, we obtain by diligent pursuit
What we receive then, shall be “brought unto us” freely by the hand of Jesus himself-]
In the mean time it becomes us to seek it with all earnestness II. In what manner we ought to seek it
The directions given by the apostle are very suitable and instructive
He recommends to us three things 1. Activity of mind
[The Jews were accustomed to wear long garments These they girded about their loins, when it was needful to use expedition
k 2 Cor. iii. 18. compared with the text. m Zech. iy. 7. * Matt. xxv. 32, 34.
Eph. ii. 7, 8. o Luke xii. 35-37. ö Ps. lxxxvi, 11. • Gal. y. 24.
By this figure, familiar to them, the apostle represents our duty
Our minds are dissipated by ten thousand vanities
And our affections, for the most part, flow loosely round us
But our thoughts and desires should be carefully gathered in
We should pray, like David, “ Unite my heart to fear thy name"P_
Heaven is not to be sought with a divided heart
Earthly affections would impede our progress, as flowing garments in a race
The prophet compares them to an incumbrance of thick clay upon the feet_
We should therefore "gird up the loins of our mind”
And "give all diligence to make our calling and election sure”-]
2. Sobriety of manners
[Sobriety, in the scripture use of the term, means moderation
Excessive cares, and inordinate attachments, are very unfavourable to the soul
They so engross the mind with present things, as to draw it away from those which are eternal
We cannot therefore too carefully watch against these evils
We should endeavour to be “ dying daily” to the world
We should be as one crucified, to it; and it, as one crucified, to us
This is the state and character of every true Christian
And we must attain it, if we would successfully pursue the one thing needful—] 3. Stedfastness of faith
(Faith respects the certainty of the promises; and hope, the accomplishment
Now, our faith is apt to waver, and our hope, to languish
Temptations often allure us to forego our interest in heavenly things—
And unbelief would often persuade us that we have no part or lot in them
But we must be careful never to be moved away from the hope of the gospel
1 Hab. ii, 6.
Gal. vi. 19.
Hope is the very anchor of the soul that must keep us stedfast in this tempestuous world
We must “therefore hold fast our confidence and the rejoicing of our hope firm to the end"
The nearer we come to the prize, the more earnest should be our expectation of it
If our conflicts be many, we should, even against hope, believe in hopel
The proper disposition of our souls is well described by the apostles?-
And it is to persons of this description only, that Christ's appearance will be a source of joya-) ADDRESS 1. Those who are only nominal Christians
[Your loins indeed are girt, but it is for the pursuit of earthly objects
Instead of having your souls engrossed with heavenly things, you are perfectly indifferent towards them
As for your hopes, they extend to nothing but what relates to this present life
Alas! what an awful contrast is there between you and the true Christian!
What then, suppose ye, shall be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ!
The apostle, in a fore-cited passage, tells you, it will be “ vengeance”b
Yes, and Jesus will bring it with his own hand
It is in vain to think that your portion will be the same with that of a diligent, self-denying Christian
But, blessed be God, grace is now brought to you by the gospel
Yea, all the glory of heaven is now offered you by God him. Selfe
Only repent, and go unto God as reconciled in Christ Jesus
Then shall you“ pass from death to life, and from hell to heaven] 2. Those who are Christians indeed
[There are some, who“shine as lights in a dark world" Some, who, while living on earth," have their conversation in heaven”
Doubtless, ye meet with many conflicts and troubles in yout way
a Heb. vi. 19.
* Heb, iji. 6.
y Rom. iv, 18.
To you then in particular is the text addressed
For persons, circumstanced like you, these words were writtend
Survey that grace which is now speedily to be brought unto you
Take a view of all the glory and felicity of the heavenly world
Compare with that your light and momentary afflictions You will then soon form the same estimate as St. Paul before
Be not then diverted from the great object of your pursuit
Remember the solemn caution which God himself has given you
And take for your encouragement that faithful promisek
THERE is not any thing around us from which we may not draw some hints for our spiritual instruction. The habits and customs of the world, if duly improved, will afford us many valuable lessons. A reference to these is peculiarly useful when we wish to convey instruction to others; because it strikes the imagination more forcibly, and carries stronger conviction to the judgment. St. Paul, in writing to the Corinthians, availed himself of the Isthmian games which were celebrated there, to illustrate their duty with respect to their souls. Amongst other sports, that of the foot-race was held in high estimation; and great preparations were made by those who engaged in them, in order to qualify them for their extraordinary exertions. In reference to these the apostle speaks of himself as running in this race; and proposes himself to the Corinthians as a pattern for their imitation, if they were desirous to win the prize.
We shall consider
The direction here given
The words of the text are not a mere exhortation to run our race, but a special direction respecting the manner in which we are to run it. We should be, like the apostle, 1. Disentangled from worldly cares
(St. Paul had equal liberty with others to marry, and to take a wife with him in his journies. But he knew that such a step would of necessity involve him in many cares, and impede his exertions in the cause of Christ. He therefore lived in celibacy himself, and recommended it to others, both men and women, especially during those seasons of persecution, when they were liable, every day and hour, to be called to lay down their lives for the gospel sake. Now, though there is not any necessity for us to imitate him in this individual act, yet we must admit the principle in its fullest extent, and live under its influence continually. We must study to be “without carefulness.” We must endeavour to « serve the Lord as much as possible without distraction."d We must “Dot entangle ourselves more than is necessary with the affairs of this lite,” or multiply our cares in such a way as to rob our souls of the attention due to them. To do this would be as absurd as to “load our feet with thick clay," when we were about to run a race. On the contrary, we should endeavour to “lay aside every weight,”: conscious that cares of every kind impede our progress in the divine life, and, if suffered to increase, will endanger our ultimate success.h] 2. Divested of selfish principles
[Never was a selfish spirit more subdued and mortified, than in the apostle Paul. Instead of claiming from the Corin. thian church that support, which God himself had assigned to every minister of the gospel, he endured numberless wants and hardships, in order to set an example of disinterestedness to others. And, when he himself was perfectly acquainted with the extent of Christian liberty, he “made himself the servant of all,” becoming all things to all men, that by all means he might save some. Thus did he forego what he might have justly claimed, and consent, as it were, to pay, what tione had any right to demand: he willingly sacrificed both his pecuniary rights, yea, and his Christian liberty too (as
* 8Tw refers to the manner in which the apostle ran: and irz to the end for which such exertion was necessary. & Ver. 5. with I Cor. vii. 1, 7, 8, 26, 27.
e lb. ver. 32. 1 Cor. vii. 35. ¢ 2 Tim. ii. 4.
f Hab. ii. 6. x Heb. xii. 1. h Matt. xiii. 22.
i Ver. 12-15 & Ver. 196-22.