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Be astonished, O ye heavens at this; and, O carth, be thou horribly afraid ! What love, what gratitude, or what praise can with sufficient ardor be rendered unto him? If heaven ad. mire and adore, how shall man fully appreciate and magnify the value of this soul-cleansing blood ?
Let us all see that we become purified and cleansed by the vire tue of this atoning blood ; and this will be life to our souls, even life eternal.
CHRIST A PRECIOUS SAVIOUR.
I. PETER' 11. 7.
Unto you therefore, who believe he is precious,
THESE words are the expression of an heart which hath submitted to the gospel. Every thing respecting St. Peter, shows him to be a man of a sanguine disposition. He was first to plunge himself into the sea to meet his Lord, and to make the forward declaration, " Though all should deny him, yet he would not,” Whoever will read the gospel history with attention, understanding and care, will find that our Lord selected for his disciples, persons of every character, temper and disposition. He gives us in his choice an epitome of mankind, and an epitome of the infirmities, failings, and wickedness of all future christians.Look into the family of Christ, and there you will perceive in his disciples, every virtue and religious exercise, from the raptures of full assurance, with all the intervening grades down to the most determinate scruples and infidel objections. Yea, we find in his family the grossest kinds of iniquity, hypocrisy, avarice, and treachery; the greatest expressions of attachment, with cursing, swearing, lying, and the most utter renunciation of any connection or acquaintance with him. His family are a true picture of the christian world.
His disciples are almost universally, by theological writers, repres sented as poor ignorant creatures, illiterate fishermen, &c. True, the most of them were men unlearned, when called to be his followers. But, being at least four years in his college, and under his daily lessons and divine instruction, is it reasonable and fit to be continually holding them up to the world as ignorant and illiterate ?
However destitute of what the world terms learning, when Christ took them under his care, it is abundantly apparent, when he constituted and ordained them apostles, they were men of distinguished erudition, and eminently furnished with an extensive acquaintance with all the parts of divinity. Let us hear no more of the illiterateness and ignorance of the disciples, who had been under the tuition of our Lord long enough for a modern college education. This false and mistaken sentiment has introduced into the christian church, hosts of truly ignorant preachers of all denominations, to instruct christians more knowing than them, selves. This is the pride of folly, and many of their more learned adherents chopse to have it so,
The words of our text, are a conclusion froin what the apostle Peter had been before affirming. He had been previously declaring, Christ the Lord, was a living stone, chosen of God and precious ; that believers “ had been born again not of corrupti“ ble seed, but of incorruptible.” That they had tasted that the Lord was gracious, full of mercy and goodness, having every thing that was amiable and desirable, and capable of attracting affection in himself. That Jesus Christ was to their views and feelings, the most acceptable and sufficient medium of access to, and communication with God. “ To whom coming as unto a “ living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God and « precious." And that they who apply to him for salvation shall never be confounded. They shall never be disappointed, put to shame or confusion of face. They shall have sweet consclation
and confidence in God in this world, and perfect joy and felicity in the next.
From these principles possessing the hearts of all true believers, the apostle makes this important and natural inference in our text, “ Unto you therefore which believe he is precious.”
The word precious, communicates a leading idea in this sentence. In the sacred oracles, the original word is often translated honor. “ Render honor to whom honor is due.” It is used to express filial duty and obedience, “ Honor thy father and thy mother.” It is employed to designate the price, value or great worth of any thing, “ There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box u of very precious ointment.” And his disciples were filled with indignation at the waste, and said " It might have been sold for "much.” This shows us that this precious ointment was of great valuation. In this way almost every thing that is important and dear to mankind, both in things temporal and in things spiritual, is expressed by the word precious. The productions of the earth are stiled, “ precious fruits ;” the promises of salvation, “ pre“cious promises ;” the grace of faith, “precious faith.” . All which show the transcendant excellency, infinite worth, value and sweetness of Jesus in the estimation, and to the taste and delightful feelings of the believing heart.
Christ is the exalted head of the universe, a glorious ruler; who can declare the pleasing joy, with which the believer bows down to his government? His government fills his soul with delight, that all the governments of this world cannot afford. He is cloathed with the dignified offices of prophet, priest and sovereign ; all names, titles, and honors are concentered in him ; all riches and pleasures dwell with him ; nothing strange then, that he should be the object, precious to them that believe. He is glorious and valuable beyond conception in his nature ; the brightness of his Father's glory, and the express image of his person, and he is all in all to his people.
I selected this text, with a view to endeavour to express soms thing of the preciousness of Christ to the soul that receives him. But the term is too extensive, and at the same time too comprehensive for my feeble pencil to make the desirable impression. Your own experience must bring home to your own bosoms, the feeble suggestions, and then fill your hearts with all the heavenly and ineffable pleasures contained in the word preciousness; 2 word comprehending more than eternity can expand.
Christ Jests, how precious! Precious as God-precious as Mediator-precious in his offices of prophet, priest and kingprecious in his states of humiliation and exaltation-precious in his life and doctrines precious in his death, resurrection, and ascention. In one word, infinitely precious in himself, and in all his benefits.
What he was to these ancient christians, he is still the unchangeable Saviour, in the estimation and feeling of all true believers to the present day. He is the Saviour who changeth not, and from everlasting to everlasting, is precious to believers.
The inference in the text is an established truth with respect to every individual real christian. Whatever may be his thoughts of himself, bis misgivings, fears and doubts, no exception is admissable here, Christ is precious to all who believe. However strange, it will be found a fact ; let every christian enter into the experience of his heart, and if he does not feel a love and preference of Christ, above all things that ever entered into his sober and rational view, (melancholy and vapoury clouds excepted) can he suppose himself in his expatiated hope a friend of Christ? The gospel liope is to all, and this hope is laid before every creature.
The preciousness of Christ is an essential characteristic of every believer. This is a distinguishing mark of the christian. To whom Christ is not precious, whatever his sensations or convictions about religion may be, his works and endeavours, his fair