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bits as may be useful to you hereafter. Consider not merely what may be most pleasant or profitable for the present time ; but in every pursuit, inquirë what aspect your course of action bears to your eternal interests.--If he have conquered for you
death,” and rendered it your servant; shew your sense of the advantage which he has in this bestowed, by habitually contemplating it as such. Make the thoughts of it familiar, that they máy be pleasant. Be alike superior to that trembling timi. dity, which causes somé to shrink from the name of death; and to that unthinking audacity; often misnamed courage, which sometimes prompts others to rush blindly on destruction. Exert yourselves to secure the enjoyment of your victory over the grave, by living, so as not to fear it. And if you so live, that the thoughts of it shall, at no time, be alarming or unwelcome, your lives shall be useful, your comforts rich and many.-Do you possess also
things present," as your Saviour's gift? Receive all events with gratitude, as by him ordered for your good. When his providence smiles, I need not tell you that you owe him praise : but let me warn you to be jealous that his favours withdraw not your
affections from himself. Be.ever mindful that they were given, not to nourish sloth, or to gratify corruption, but to awaken thankfulness, and to afford encouragement to activity. And when his providence frowns, be thankful still. Fatherly reproof is no less an evidence of fatherly affection, than tenderness and indulgence. Often, it is more truly for our good.---And has your Lord, in one vast donation, conveyed to you all thăt is comprehended in " things to come?" Let me repeat the
exhortation, to make the enjoyment of them your habitual aim. “ Look not at the things which are “ seen, but at those which are not seen."* “ be risen with Christ, seek those things which are
above; where Christ sitteth at the right hand of “ God. Set your affections on things above; not " on things on the earth.”+ The worldly are apt to overrate the value of their possessions; to make them too much the objects of their meditation and attachment. But your future inheritance you cannot too frequently contemplate, or too intensely desire. And when your hearts and imaginations have done their utmost, to conceive the blissful enjoyments, and happy scenes of heaven, your ideas will still fall short of the reality.
Let all, then, lift up the psalmist's prayer" Remember us, O Lord, with the favour that thou “! bearest unto thy people! O visit us with thy sal“ vation! that we may see the good of thy chosen; " that we may rejoice in the gladness of thy nation; " that we may glory with thine inheritance !”ť And let all join in the psalmist's thanks, “ Blessed “ be the Lord God of Israel, from everlasting to “ everlasting !"
And may he make what has now been spoken, refreshing to the flock of Christ, and a mean of alluring strangers to come into the fold of the good shepherd ; for his own name's sake. AMEN!
CHRIST THE FATHER'S UNSPEAKABLE GIFT,
2 Cor. IX. 15.-Thanks be to God, for his unspeak
(Action sermon, preached at Brechin, August 25, 1799; being the first time
the Author presided in the dispensation of the Lord's Supper there.]
In this and the preceding chapters, Paul reminds the Corinthians of his exhortation in his former epistle, to a charitable contribution, for the relief of the poor saints at Jerusalem. He enforces it by a variety of motives; such as their own former readiness to acts of beneficence; the example of the Macedonian churches; the grace and condescension of Christ; the advantages which would accrue from their liberality, to themselves and others; and the glory that would redound from it to God. The whole is concluded in the words of our text, “ Thanks be unto God, for his unspeak“ able gift!"
To these words, various meanings have been assigned. By some, the apostle is understood as thanking God for the contribution about to be made; by which so much glory was to arise to him, and so much good to his people. By others, he is supposed to bless God, who has the hearts of all men in his hand, for the excellent gift or grace of charity, with which he had endowed the Corinthians; and by which they were prompted to ad
minister to the wants of their poor fellow saints.Neither of these interpretations are discordant with the context: but the epithet “ unspeakable,” or more literally, “ impossible to be described,"* seems too strong to be applied to almsgiving, or even to the grace which prompts it. The “ un
speakable gift,” therefore, is interpreted by most, as referring to Christ Jesus. In confirmation of this interpretation, it may be remarked, that “the gift “ of God” is a name, by which he distinguished himself, in his conversation with the woman of Samaria.t And it is said of God, that “ he gave his "only begotten Son."I A gift is something conferred from the free bounty of the bestower, independently of any agreement between parties, and without right or merit in the receiver. And what more free, on the part of God, than the gift of a Saviour to sinners? What more transcends description or conception, than the gift of his eternal Son!
In this view of our text, its connexion with the apostle's exhortation, and its tendency to enforce liberality, are peculiarly striking. He had already, at the outset, mentioned the grace and condescension of Christ; as an argument to charity; and what more natural than to recommend the same, from the disinterested love of God the Father? If God has given his Son for you, will you refuse to contribute of your temporal goods, for your brethren's relief? What is your deed of charity, in comparison with his? This is also the argument of John
In the original, ávexdingri70s, that which cannot be particularly set forth. t. John iv. Io.
Ibid. ïïi. i6.
“ If God so loved us, we ought also to love one " another."*
The sacrament of the Lord's Supper was of old called the Eucharist, or thanksgiving ; because, as it presents us with a lively emblem of that deed of immense charity, which God hath wrought for men, the celebration of it is a natural and proper occasion for the highest exercises of gratitude. To suggest, therefore, some considerations which may serve to excite your thankfulness, and to inflame your love, will afford no improper introduction to the employment of this day. Of such considerations the text will prove an ample source.
And in discoursing from it, my chief object shall be to illustrate the infinite value of the gift which it celebrates; and of course, the infinite obligations of those, upon whom that gift has been conferred.With this view, I have to observe, that there are two circumstances, in which the value of a gift, and the obligation of the receivers, principally appear; and which, in the present case, are peculiarly conspicuous. These are
1. The greatness of the gift itself.
II. The relative character and situation of the parties.
I. The greatness of a gift renders it valuable.--. This general assertion' is so plain and obvious, that it needs neither proof nor illustration, then, observe its application, in a few particulars, to" the gift of God."
1. He, whom God hath given us, is the greatest person in the universe, and the dearest to himself. Behold,” says John, “ what manner of love the
# I John iv. II.