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from Jerusalem in the 4th verse, where we read, "They that were scattered went every where preaching the word." The original is very emphatic, declaring the good tidings of the word, evangelizing the word, preaching, as we may say, the gospel of the word. They went forth with the message of pardon, reconciliation, and peace. "Unto you," says St. Paul, when he preached in the synagogue at Antioch, "is the word of this salvation sent." Nothing but this can be called "the word." It was this of which our Lord spake in the parable of the sower, "the seed is the word of God;" and it is this that is peculiarly committed into the hands of his servants. But it is said expressly of Philip, in the text, that he preached Christ unto them." The word of salvation is the great subject, and Christ is "the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and ending," of that salvation: "the author and the finisher" of it. Christ is the great theme: Christ in all that he was, and all that he did, and all that he suffered; Christ in his eternal Godhead; Christ in his wondrous humiliation; Christ in his twofold nature; Christ in his perfect and spotless righteousness; Christ in his all-sufficient atonement; Christ in his resurrection and ascension; Christ in his glorious return; Christ in his inseparable union with his people; "Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God," and we may add, the love of God;

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4 Acts xiii. 26.

7 Heb. xii. 2.

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the great manifestation of power, wisdom, and love. Well might the apostle say he desired to know nothing else, because this was every thing. And in this chapter we have an illustration of Philip preaching Christ; for when the Ethiopian eunuch, struck with the singular prophecy contained in the 53rd of Isaiah, asked him, "Of whom speaketh the prophet?" "Philip opened his mouth and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus." And in the 12th verse we have a further declaration concerning Philip's preaching-" He preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ." And as we read, in connexion with this, that he "baptized," we may conclude that under the expression, “ preaching the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ," he went literally fulfilling the Lord's command, "Go ye, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost;"1 and showing that there was no entrance into the kingdom of God's grace but by Christ, through faith in him, and dedication to his service. We have no reason to suppose that Philip overlooked the kingdom of God's glory, but that he showed the indispensable necessity of being first the subject of the kingdom of grace. The whole subject is one, and cannot be divided; but it commences with Christ crucified, with the doctrine of the cross, with his atoning blood, and justifying righteousness, and with the fellowship of

9 1 Cor. ii. 2.

1 Matt. xxviii. 20.

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his sufferings; and thence rises up to his glory, to the crown that we shall partake of with him, that as we have suffered we may reign with him, and be glorified together with him. Indeed, while the apostle Paul speaks of "desiring to know nothing but Jesus Christ and him crucified," (in which he means that he gloried in preaching and proclaiming and testifying what man despised; what was to the learned Greek " foolishness," and to the proud and temporal glory-seeking Jew "a stumbling block," he never took off his own eye, or averted the eyes of his people, from the glory which was to follow; but made the return of Christ in his glorious majesty just as prominent an object as his first coming in his deep humiliation. What a subject then is this which formed the theme of Philip's preaching! And are we at liberty to occupy our hearers with any other? Is any preaching Christian preaching, that has not this for its object? Is any other becoming a minister of Christ, whose especial commission is to invite sinners to Christ, and to build up believers on Christ? In the periods usually allotted for our addresses, are we to forget that which is the very trust committed to us, the very precious treasure put into our hands, and allow some poor ignorant sinner to go away uninvited to that Lord, who sends us forth in his own name, and dignifies us with the title of "his ambassadors," and will acknowledge the message which he has put into our mouths?

21 Cor. i. 23.

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And will it be said that this is not practical? Will the oft-raised objection against preaching the truth as it is in Christ Jesus be advanced, that it withdraws the mind from duties, when this is the great source from which every duty springs? Talk they of morals,' says the Christian poet; 'O thou bleeding Lamb, the great morality is love to thee! It is "love that is the fulfilling of the law," the great and only spring of a willing obedience. O let not such false objections deter the minister of Christ from preaching him fully, or indispose the hearer to listen to him fully preached; but let Christ be proclaimed in all his fullness and freeness, let his ministers go forth in all importunity, let them set Christ before all men as the only appointed way to the Father, as the "Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world," as the manifestation of a reconciled God: let them beseech and entreat men with all the earnestness and all the tenderness of the Master they serve, and let them proclaim him in all his demands upon the service and affection and love of those whom he has purchased. Here there is ample room for the fullest consideration and enforcement of every duty. Only invert not the order. Preach Christ as the Saviour before you preach him as the King. Present him to every guilty soul. "As Moses lifted up the serpent," to be seen by all the perishing Israelites, so let "the Son of Man be lifted up" by us, to be seen by every perishing child of Adam. And be assured of this, that the 5 John iii. 14.


3 Rom. xiii. 10.


4 John i. 29.

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preaching of the Saviour's love will bruise and wound more souls than ever the terrors of the law did. It is astonishing how calmly men may sit at the foot of Mount Sinai, how indifferent they may become to its lightnings and to its thunders, how they may hear all the fearful denunciations of its laws till they become callous to the sound; while the sweet soft notes of mercy will often pierce to the very dividing asunder of soul and spirit," and bring the stoutest rebel in humble broken-heartedness before God. How important then is the question to every minister of Christ, Have I preached Christ? When I go to render up my account to him that sent me, can I say, I have fulfilled the ministry which I have received of the Lord? Have I claimed the gospel, and invited sinners? This may be done most imperfectly. Every minister must be conscious of this. It is such a theme that it would require the tongue not of men but of angels; and all will say, as an apostle did, Who is sufficient for these things?" But here is our encouragement, that it is a simple message; that to be savingly preached it needs not "the words of man's wisdom;"8 and that whatever efficacy it possesses it receives not from us, but from God. While then the minister of Christ should make it the subject of his anxious inquiry whether he does preach Christ, he ought not to despond on account of his own insufficiency. Let him preach Christ so far as he knows him, (and there is reason to believe that every believer will be



6 Heb. iv. 12.

7 2 Cor. ii. 16.

8 1 Cor. ii. 13.


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