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join in casting out the heir, and would dethrone him from the glory he had with the Father before the world was. And God be merciful to his people, and to his little flock in this portion of his vineyard, and keep them by his mighty power, through faith, unto salvation. Dear brethren, let us manifest our reverence for our blessed Lord by a yet more earnest rendering to him of the fruits of that love, trust, and obedience we profess to him. In this day of rebuke and blasphemy, when the love of many has waxed cold, let us cleave to our first love, and honouring the Son even as we honour the Father, make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence, by the faith of him. For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you according to the riches of his glory to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man ; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith, that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the Church by Jesus Christ throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
CONFESSION OF CHRIST.
MATTHEW x. 32, 33.
*Whosoever, therefore, shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."
O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end, was the earnest and affectionate apostrophe of Moses to the Israelites, under the prophetic view which he had of their defection from God, in becoming indifferent and insensible to the wonders, providences, and judgments, by which they were declared his peculiar people. And is there not occasion, my brethren and hearers, for a surprise and a concern of an equally impressive character when we look round on the state and condition of this gospel land, and behold the multitudes, who, dismissing from their consideration the claims of Jesus Christ to their love, veneration and obedience, live here as if hereafter had no account to settle with them individually, and eternity no retributions commensurate with its everlasting nature. Is it not a heart-sinking prospect to survey any assembly of Christian people, and count up what a small proportion of them are known, even by outward profession, as the disciples of Christ, or bave, in any shape whatever, brought themselves within the terms upon which alone heaven offers its mercy and proposes its rewards to our fallen race; to behold the thousands who from infancy even to grey hairs, have had it rung in their ears, that there is but one only name and means under heaven for men to betake themselves to for reconciliation with God, yet are, nevertheless, trifling away their little and daily shortening span of being in the frivolous vanities and insipid dissipations of folly and fashion ; or more gravely occupied, are exclusively devoted to the god of this world, and the portion he has to bestow ; or, still more shamefully abandoned, defy heaven's King with their daily blasphemies, and outrage even the decency of a world that lieth in wickedness, by the grossness of their impiety. Alas ! my hearers, is this picture overcharged, or is the record too true to be falsified by all the subterfuges of lies which the practical deniers of Christ and his gospel, of God and his Son, resort to, to hide from themselves the direct and positive bearing of the awful declaration contained in my text. If the offer of mercy to sinners is limited by conditions to be performed on their part, and the conditions themselves be openly and clearly propounded in the offer, then must this mighty question be within the reach of every man's determination who has access to the record ; and if among those conditions there should be one paramount, to which all the others are subordinate and consequential, then must it be still more readily determined to which of the two grand divisions of this world's population we belong. To think otherwise of what heaven in its mercy and wisdom bath revealed to us, for our government and direction, for our comfort and assurance, is to defeat the whole gracious plan of man's salvation, to throw the veil of mystery over what is plain and practical, and by our own act to bring a cloud over that Sun of Righteousness which hath arisen upon the world with healing in his wings. Yet experience and observation prove to us that it is the case with thousands, who, on the gratuitous assumption of a mysteriousness in practical religion, settle down either in unbelief, or, what is just as fatal, some unwarranted scheme of general mercy which is to prove effectual for their eternal happiness, even though unsought and unobtained. Hence the carelessness and indifference to the gospel and its message of mercy. Hence the coldness and deadness to the high interests of eternity, and to the only means whereby to secure its unfading glories, so prevalent in the world ; and hence the contemptuous neglect of Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of our faith, which stamps the ungrateful character of man with its most odious feature.
Had such persons, indeed, never heard the words of my text, had they no knowledge of the nature and office of Him who uttered them, the case were different-but, alas ! it is not so. They have grown up under the sound of the gospel ; thousands of times has it been propounded to them, and their consciences bave borne witness to its truth, but they have put it away from them ; they have seen of all descriptions of persons, from the most gifted and cultivated grade of intellect down to the poorest and most illiterate of their fellows, brought under the influence of Christ's religion, and counting it their highest privilege to confess the name of Jesus, not only under the favourable circumstances of established Christianity, but in the face of tortures and death, as their only but all sufficient hope and assurance of eternal life. These things have they seen and known, but alas ! they have not considered them, like the Israelites of old, they have never brought them to bear upon the deep anxieties of a dying bed, upon the eternal interests of an immortal soul about to appear before its Judge laden with sin.
But, my hearers, we must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. He is not only offered as our Saviour, but is constituted our Judge. As he hath bought and ransomed us so will he alone determine our everlasting condition according to that unchangeable word which he hath spoken unto us. In that word you hear it declared by the Judge of quick and dead, that on the confession or denial of the LORD Jesus Christ by us in this world will depend our condition in the world to come. Very immediate, therefore, is the interest which we all have in settling what is comprised in this Christian duty, lest in the most trying moment which either time or eternity shall ever witness we find our expectations disappointed, our hopes confounded, and all the day dreams of our own righteousness and of God's mercy swept away by the irreversible I never knew you of our righteous judge.
I shall, therefore, endeavour to show you what we are to understand by the terms confess and deny, as here used by our LORD Jesus Christ, and then conclude with some practical inferences from the subject. Not, my friends, that there is one among you to whom the very sound of the words does not convey the awful import of their meaning and application to your individual state and condition, as respects the account you have to give in for all God's mercies, and especially for the grace of the gospel-no-but if, happily, through God's good blessing I may win some of you over to count the cost at which you sacrifice to the world the present peace and solid comfort of the gospel, and the future acknowledgement of him who is King of kings, and Lord of lords.
Whosoever, therefore, shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
In common speech to confess or deny means, to acknowledge or disown something that is affirmed or offered ; and though the words as used in my text might with perfect safety be thus limited in their application, seeing the gospel is the record of the testimony which God hath given to the world concerning the person and office of Jesus Christ ; yet in the language and usage of Scripture, they carry with them a more extended and inclusive meaning, involving not only acknowledgment or denial, but acceptance and rejection likewise, together with the temper and disposition of mind with which we act. Hence, to comprehend the full force of this passage of Scripture, we must bear in mind what it is that is proposed to us, to be acknowledged or disowned, received or rejected, with the ground or reason on which the proposition is constructed. Now, as this involves the whole of that revelation which GOD has made to us, it includes our entire acceptance or rejection of it. In this no qualification whatever can be admitted, not only because of its author, but because each part is so connected and interwoven with all the rest, that the minutest and apparently most unimportant circumstance could not be withdrawn without injuriously affecting the whole. In the most extended sense of the text, therefore, to confess JESUS CHRIST is, with a thankful believing spirit to embrace the message of mercy God hath sent to us by him as the foundation of our faith, the ground of our hope, and the rule of our life. While actually to reject revelation, or carelessly to neglect the mighty interests therein made known to us, is in the same sense to deny him, to treat with contempt the condescending interposition of heaven in our behalf, and to bar ourselves out from any possible benefit from this great salvation.