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and misrepresentation should follow the servants of Christ. And though men in a Christian country confess nominally the faith of Christ, acknowledge the doctrine of the atonement as a part of the national creed, and freely allow some allusions to it in the course of Christian doctrine, yet if in truth the real doctrine of the Cross is an offence and foolishness in their eyes, they must be expected to brand with some mark of folly or disgrace, those who embrace it, and live agreeably to it. It has been thus in every age. The same contempt which attended our Saviour his Apostles and their immediate followers, will assuredly in a measure be visited upon us, if we imbibe their spirit and tread in their steps. There is only this difference, that in the early days of the church the reproach was cast on Christianity itself, as well as on the professors of it, but that now Christianity is allowed to be right, and the tenets common to it with other religions are admitted to be true, and all the odium is cast on its great and peculiar doctrines. The blow aimed at enthusiasm is in fact meant for religion ; and under an alleged hostility to excess is concealed that fixed abhorrence, which the proud and superstitious, the presumptuous and worldly-minded, feel to the humiliating doctrine of a crucified Saviour. Let us not therefore be surprised if these imputations fall on ourselves, but be prepared for
them; and also prepared to return good for evil, and blessing for reproach, that by our good works, which they behold, they may glorify God in the day of visitation.
Finally we are led from this subject,
BEEN ENABLED TO DISCOVER AND FEEL THE POWER
AND WISDOM OF THE CROSS OF CHRIST. It is to the same grace which gave the Saviour to die for sinners, that we are indebted for being brought to a saving knowledge of him. By the grace of God we are what we are. works of righteousness, which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost. This is implied in an expression of my text to which I have not hitherto expressly adverted; it is to them that are CALLED, says the Apostle, that Christ is the power of God, and the wisdom of God. We are directed by this language devoutly to attribute any difference between ourselves and others, to the free mercy of God. It is be who hath called us by his grace; who hath called us according to his purpose; who hath saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began. Let us then ascribe to him all
the praise. Let us glory in any sufferings which may arise from this heavenly vocation. Let us walk worthy of our high calling of God in Christ Jesus ; and, renouncing more and more our pride and vain wisdom, confine our exultation to that Cross, in which are combined all the displays of God's power, and all the treasures of his wisdom and knowledge.
CONVICTION OF SIN.
ACTS, II. 37,
their heart, and said unto Peter and to the
The first step in repentance is ą, due sense of our sins. This sense of sin is the beginning of true religion in the heart; and it is substantially the same in all who are converted unto God. Man is a transgressor of the divine law, and till he is deeply sensible of this, he will not forsake his iniquities, or seek for the pardon of them through the atonement of Jesus Christ, or begin a new course of life. The chief object of the Christian ministry, so far as irreligious persons are concerned, should, therefore, be the same with that of the Apostle Peter in the sermon connected with the text, to produce convietion of sin. The circumstances may in. deed yary; but the end to be pursued is the same: and it is by the plain statement of truth that God is pleased to impress men with the
sense of their condition and danger. In endeavouring then to explain the nature of that sorrow, or compunction, of mind which is the beginning of real repentance, I shall consider, from the words before us,
1. The instructions which are the means of producing it;
II. The sorrow or compunction itself;
1. We are to notice THE INSTRUCTIONS WHICH ARE THE MEANS OF PRODUCING SORROW FOR SIN. It is particularly stated in the text, that the Jews to whoin St. Peter addressed his sermon, When they had heard this, that is, his declara-> tion that Jesus whom they had crucified was Lord and Christ, were pricked in their hearts. The means whicb God used, therefore, to awaken their minds was the word of truth. St.* Peter demonstrated in a plain argumentative discourse that Jesus was the true Messiah: he proved that the gift of tongues was a fulfilment of the prophecy of Joel; that God had accomplished his own purposes in the death of Christ; and that the resurrection of Jesus was expressly foretold in the book of Psalms. He boldly declared that he and his brethren were witnesses of this resurrection, and that the miracles which followed were the effects of his exaltation to the right hand of the Father. He then demon