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and bodily; and ordering, by his providence, (and educated in a christian country, have all things to work together for their good, means of instruction in our hands, and enjoy till at length they are brought home, to be frequent opportunities of presenting ourwith him where he is, and to behold his glory. selves before God in public worship. To
II. From what has been said, we may thousands these, so far from being advanjustly infer, in the first place, “ that this is," tages, will greatly aggravate their condemas the apostle styles it," a faithful saying.” nation, and point the sting of the never-dying When man first fell, God, in the midst of worm. Better were it for us to have been judgment remembering mercy, declared, un- inhabitants of Tyre and Sidon, (Luke x.) yea, sought and undesired, that the seed of the of Sodom and Gomorrah, than to appear in woman should bruise the serpent's head, judgment with no better plea than this. Gen. iii. In every succeeding age, he con- Neither let us speak peace to ourselves, befirmed his purpose by types, promises, pro- cause we are not so bad as others, but perphecies, and oaths. At length, in the fulness haps live decently and comfortably, are useof time, Christ, the desire of all nations, came ful in society, and perform many things that into the world, fulfilled all that had been are commonly called good works. If these foretold, and encouraged every humble peni- works spring from a true love of God, if they tent sinner to come unto him, that they might are framed according to the rule of his word, have life, pardon, and peace. To doubt, or if they are performed by faith in Christ Jeto deny, his readiness to save, is, so far as in sus our Lord, they are undoubtedly good, us lies, to make the word of God of none ef- and skall be rewarded before men and anrect; it is, to charge God foolishly, as though, gels; if otherwise, you have already your like the heedless unskilful builder in the gos- reward, in the complaisance of your own pel, he had begun to build that which was not minds, and the approbation of friends and acto be finished. If, after all that is set before quaintance. The christianity of the New us, it is possible for any soul to miss salva- Testament imports more than all this. It is, tion, that sincerely desires it, and seeks it in to believe in Jesus Christ; so to believe in God's appointed way, it must be because the him, as to obey him in all his commands, to Lord Jesus Christ either cannot or will not trust him in all his dispensations, to walk in save them. That he cannot, is flatly false; his steps, copying out the bright example for, "all power is his in heaven and in earth;" of his love, meekness, patience, self-denial, (Matt. xxviii.) and it is particularly said, and active zeal for the glory of God and the “ that he is able to save unto the uttermost good of mankind. It is, from a consciousall that come unto God by him ;” (Heb. vii.) ness of our utter inability to perform these and that he will not, is as false; for he him- great things, to depend continually upon the self hath said, “Whosoever cometh unto me, promised aid and direction of his Holy Spirit, I will in no wise cast out,” John vi. to seek this assistance by frequent fervent
We may infer, 2dly, That this doctrine is prayer, to offer up ourselves daily as living not only faithful, but “worthy of all accepta- sacrifices unto God; and, finally, when we tion.” And here, methinks, I could begin have done all, to be deeply sensible of our anew. A point so much mistaken by some, unworthiness of the least of his mercies, to and neglected by most, rather requires a confess ourselves unprofitable servants, and whole, or many discourses, than to be passed to place all our hopes upon this faithful sayover in few words. The most high and wise ing, “ That Jesus Christ came into the world God has esteemed the redemption of mankind to save sinners." so precious, “ that he spared not his only Son," Thus, from the consideration of the person Rom. viii. And are there any amongst us, of the Lord Jesus Christ, the greatness of in a land of gospel-light and liberty, where our misery by nature, and the wonderful the words of wisdom are sounding in our ears things he has done and suffered for our reevery day, that dare make light of this mes- demption, we may learn the complete secursage, just give it a hearing, and return to ity of that salvation he has provided, the extheir farms, their merchandise, and their di-treme danger of neglecting it, and the folly versions, as though this unspeakable grace and presumption of attempting to establish of God called for no return? Alas! " How a righteousness of our own, independent of shall we escape if we neglect this salvation ?" him
who is appointed of God unto us, wisdom, Heb. ii. He that despised Moses' law died righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, without mercy. It was dangerous, it was 1 Cor. i. In setting these things before you destructive, to refuse him that spoke upon plainly and faithfully, I trust I have deliverearth; take heed how you trifle with him ed my own soul. Time is short, life is precathat speaketh from heaven! To such as ne- rious, and perhaps to some this may be the glect this, “there remains no other sacrifice last opportunity of the kind that may be affor sin, but a certain fearful looking for of forded them. God grant we may be wise in fiery indignation that shall devour his adver- time, that, to-day, while it is called to-day, saries," Heb. x. Let none of us think it is we may hear his voice. Then we shall unwell with us, merely because we were born derstand more of the text than words can
ON THE CHRISTIAN NAME.
teach us; then we shall experience “a peace. For a while these faithful followers of the which passeth all understanding;" (Phil
. iv.) Lamb were known only by particular names, “ a joy which "a stranger intermeddleth not according to the different humours of differwith;" (Prov. xvi.) and a hope “ full of glo ent places,-Nazarenes, Galileans, the peory,” which shall be completed in the end- ple of that way, pestilent fellows, and the less possession of those“ pleasures which are like; but at length, when they grew more at the right hand of God;” (Psal. xvi.) where numerous, when their societies were regu sin, and its inseparable attendant sorrow, shall larly formed, and their enemies universally cease for ever; where there shall be no alarmed, they began to bear a more general more grief, or pain, or fear;” (Rev. xxi.) but and emphatical name. St. Luke has informevery tear shall be wiped from every eye. ed us, that this was the case in fact, and has
likewise told us where it first obtained ; and as I suppose he did not this without some de
sign, I shall endeavour to draw some obserSERMON III.
vations for our use and direction, from this remark in the text, That “the disciples were called Christians first at Antioch,” which I
shall divide into two: thus,—That the first -And the disciples were called Christians general name by which the disciples were first at Antioch.-Acts xi. 26.
distinguished from the world, and united
among themselves, was that of Christians ; The evangelist Luke having contributed and, secondly, That this took place first at his appointed part to the history of our Lord Antioch. Thus the propositions lie in the and Saviour Jesus Christ, proceeds, in the text; but, in treating of each, it may be more pook we style the Acts of the Apostles, to convenient to invert this order, and consider inform us of the state and behaviour of those the latter as previous to the former. faithful followers he left behind him on earth, Now, if we consider the state of the city when he ascended in the name and behalf of of Antioch, before, at the time, and since the his people, to that heaven from whence his event which is here recorded; from each of love had brought him down. We are inform- these views we may gather some lesson of ed, that the gracious promises he had made instruction for ourselves, which ought to be while he was yet with them, began soon to our view in all we read, but especially when take place; for, when the day of Pentecost we read those books " which are able to make was fully come, (Acts ii.) the Holy Spirit de- us wise unto salvation," and where no one scended powerfully upon them, qualified them sentence is insignificant. But let us not forfor preaching the gospel to the whole world, get, with all we read and hear concerning and gave them an earnest of success in mak- religion, to mingle our frequent prayers to ing their first essay the happy means of con- the great Author and Fountain of all grace, verting about three thousand souls.
for that aid and assistance of his Holy Spirit, The first believers, who were of one heart without which we can do nothing to advanand one soul, who continued steadfast in the tage. apostles' doctrine, and had all things in com Antioch, the capital of Syria, built about mon, would probably have been well content three hundred years before Christ, had been to have lived together in Jerusalem, till death long the most flourishing city of the East. had successively transplanted them to the Je- The most remarkable circumstance of its anrusalem which is above. But this was not to cient state, as suiting our present purpose, be their rest; and their Lord, who had ap- was its having been the seat and residence of pointed them to be “the salt of the earth,” Antiochus, the most cruel and inveterate eneand “the light of the world,” (Matt. v.) my of the church and people of God; the made use of the rage of their enemies to ef- most direct and eminent type of that Antifect that separation which those who are christ who was afterwards to appear in the united by the grace of God are often so loath world; spoken of expressly by prophecy in to yield to. Little did Herod and the Jews Daniel, chap. xi.; the completion of which consider what would be the consequence of you may see at large in the first book of the persecution they raised against the church Maccabees, in Josephus, and more briefly in of Christ: but persecutors are always blind, the 79th and 80th Psalms. But behold the and counteract their own designs. So here; wisdom, the power, and the providence of for we are told, that those whom they scat- God! when his people were brought low, be tered abroad "went every where preaching helped them; he set those bounds to the rage the word.” Thus the word of the Lord “ ran of the adversary which could not be broken and was glorified;" their bitterest enemies through; and, at length, in his appointed contributing to push it forward, till, in a few time, he erected this first general standard years, it was published" from sea to sea,” of the gospel upon the very spot where his and “from the river to the ends of the earth,” grand enemy had so long encamped, and from Psalm lxxii.
whence his pernicious counsels and enter
prises had so far proceeded. The application / still founded upon scripture, and confirmed by of this is very suitable to the times in which experience. If we know nothing of it in our we now live. We see a powerful combina- own cases, it is because our tempers and mantion against the Protestant interest. Our pers have hitherto been too conformable to enemies are many and mighty: their designs, that wicked world which in our baptisms we we have reason to believe, are deep laid, and were engaged to renounce. I shall have octheir efforts unwearied. Once and again our casion to speak farther upon this point before hopes have been almost swallowed up; and I close; in the mean time, here is a test to though we, through the singular goodness of examine ourselves by. If we could not glory God, have hitherto escaped, the storm has in the christian name, under the same cirfallen heavy upon our brethren abroad. What cumstances as the disciples bore it at Antioch, may be the immediate issue of the present we are yet unworthy of it. Let conscience threatening appearances, we know not; but judge. we may encourage ourselves, from the expe Once more, Antioch, the city where the rience of past ages, as well as from the sure gospel once so flourished, that from thence promises of scripture, that however the kings the whole christian church received that of the earth may assemble, and the rulers name by which it is still called, is now no take counsel together, (Psal. ii.) God has a more. It has been a heap of ruins more than hook in their nose, and a bridle in their jaws; five hundred years. The light of the gospel (Isa. xxxvii.) and all their force and policy has been long withdrawn; gaiety and festishall at last bring about what they least de- vity are likewise forgot. Slavery, imposture, sire and intend, the welfare and glory of and barbarism, have blotted out the resemGod's church. He that caused the christian blance, and even the remembrance of what it name go forth first at Antioch, where the truth once was. O that our yet happy land could of God had been most eminently and success from hence take a timely warning! Our prifully opposed, can likewise introduce a tem- vileges are great; perhaps greater, all things per and worship truly christian, in those considered, than any nation has possessed places which at present seem destitute of since the days of Solomon. Our preservation either. And for this it is our duty continual- hitherto has been wonderful; often have we ly to pray:
been in extreme danger, but have always Again, if we consider the state of Antioch found deliverance at hand. Yet let us not be at the time the disciples were first called high-minded ; our sins and aggravations (it is Christians there, we may learn how to form to be feared) have been, and still are, very a judgment of our profession. This city was great likewise; and God, we see, is no more then luxurious and dissolute to a proverb, a respecter of places than of persons. Antieven in Asia, where luxury and effeminacy och is ruined; Philadelphia, which received were universally prevalent. Whether this so honourable a testimony from the mouth of name was assumed by the disciples, or im- the Lord himself, (Rev. in.) has been long posed by their enemies, we cannot doubt but since destroyed. Let us beware of boasting; that, in common repute, it was a term of the let us not presume too much on what we are; most extreme reproach and ignominy. Nor nor say. “The temple of the Lord, the temcan I suppose the worst appellations any sect ple of the Lord are these.” Jer. vii. We are in succeeding ages has been doomed to bear, the bulwark of the Protestant interest, and have implied half of that contempt which an none can hurt us. If the Lord with us, it inhabitant of Antioch or Daphne expressed is true; if we walk worthy of the vocation when he called a man a Christian. If we wherewith we are called, we are safe ; but, imagine a sect of people, who, at this time, if otherwise, we know not how soon God may in France, should style themselves the dis- visit us with his heavy judgments, war, faciples of the late Damien, and be called after mine, discord, or pestilence; till we become his name, we may perhaps form some idea of a warning to others, as others are now prowhat the people of Antioch understood by posed warnings to us. Our liberties, our prothe word Christian. The apostle assures us, perties, our religion, are in God's hands; may that he and his brethren were “accounted he incline our hearts to true repentance, lest the filth and offscouring of all things,” (1 Cor. at length these blessings should be taken iv.) ας πορικού αρματα του κοσμου-παντων ποριψημα. | from us, and given to a people that will bring He has chosen two words of the most vile forth more fruit. and despicable signification; which, I believe, There is an ambiguity in the original word no two words in our language will fully ex- *WW*tora, which our translation renders callpress. The outward state of things is since ed; for, though that is the more general changed, and the external profession of chris- sense it bears in Heathen writers, wherever tianity is now no reproach; but let us not it occurs in the New Testament, except in imagine the nature of things is changed too. this passage, and in Rom. vii. 3, it signifies to It was then received as a maxim, That “all be taught or warned by a Revelation from hra. who will live godly in Christ Jesus, must suf- ven. Thus it is spoken of Joseph and 1 fer persecution :" (2 Tim. ii.) and it is a truth Imen; (Matt. ii.) Simeon;(Luke ii.
(Acts x.) Noah; (Heb. xi.) and elsewhere. I trust in him shall never be ashamed. This It does not therefore appear quite certain is another important lesson comprised in the from the text, whether the disciples chose word Christian. this name for themselves, or the wits of the Nor is this all : in the name of Christian time fixed it upon them as a mark of infamy; they might, and we may, read the terms or, lastly, whether it was by the special di- upon which we are to stand with the world. rection of the Spirit of God that they as- If I were asked what the words Platonist sumed it. But I'incline to the latter suppo- or Pythagorean signified, I should say they bition; partly, because, in those happy days, expressed certain persons who embraced it was the practice and the privilege of the the sentiments, submitted to the institutions, disciples to ask, and to receive, direction and imitated the conduct of Pythagoras and from on high in almost every occurrence; Plato; and, in order to describe them far. but, chiefly, on account of the excellent in- ther, I need do no more than give an account structions couched under this emphatical of the lives and writings of their respective namne, sufficient to direct and to animate masters. Could I thus, in some distant, unthose who were to be known by it, in their known country, where the name of chrisduty to each other, to God, and to the world. tianity had been only heard of, have an opSome of these I propose to infer from the portunity of declaring the history, the docother proposition contained in the text, That trines, and the laws of Jesus Christ ; how he the first name by which the followers of the lived, how he taught, how he died, and upon gospel were generally known, was that of what account; what usage he himself reChristians.
ceived from the world, and what he taught Hitherto, as they were separated from the his followers to expect after he should leave world, so they had been divided among them them: if I should then describe the lives and selves; and so strong were the prejudices the treatment of his most eminent servants, subsisting between the members of the same who lived immediately after him, and show, body, that we find, in the beginning of this that as he was, so were they in the world;" chapter, some of one party contended with (1 John iv.) that pursuing his pattern, they the apostle Peter only for eating with those found exactly the same opposition ;-would of another. Hence we read the phrases, not the inhabitants of such a country con“We of the Jews," “ They of the Gentiles.” clude, even as the scripture has assured us, But henceforward they are taught to blend that the temper of christianity, and the temand lose the greater distinction of Jew and per of the world, must be exactly opposite; Gentile, and the lesser divisions of Paul, and that, as it is said, “Whoever will be a Apollos, and Cephas, in a denomination de- friend of the world is the enemy of God," rived from him who alone was worthy to be (James iv.) so, whoever had boldness to protheir head, and who was equally "rich in fess himself a friend of God, must necessarily mercy to all that call upon him" in every be an enemy to the world; and would be place.
sure to find the world, and all in it, at sworn And, as they thus were taught union and enmity with him? But if I should farther affection among themselves, so their relation tell them, that though the same laws, the to God, the way of their access to him, and same warnings, and the same exarnples, still their continual dependence upon him, were subsist, yet that fierce opposition I have strongly implied in this name. A christian spoken of is at length nearly over, so that is the child of God by faith in Christ; he none are better pleased with the world, or draws near to God in the name of Christ; more agreeable to it, than many of those he is led and supported by the spirit of Christ who speak most honourably of the christian Christ is the Alpha and the Omega, the be name; would not these people immediately ginning and the ending, of the faith, hope, and infer, that one of these contending powers love of every believer. From him alone every must have yielded to the triumphant genius good desire proceeds: by him alone every of the other? that either the whole world good purpose is established : in him alone any were become such christians as those who of our best performances are acceptable. Let were first styled so at Antioch, or that us beware (it is a necessary caution in these modern christians must be, for the most part, days) of a Christianity without Christ. I tes- so only by profession, and have neither right tify to you in plain words, that this is no bet- nor pretence to their ancient spirit? And ter than a house without a foundation, a tree could we suppose farther, that after this inwithout a root, a body without a head, a hope formation, some of these remote people were without hope; a delusion, which, if persisted to land at Dover, and make the tour of this in, will end in irremediable destruction: “For kingdom, can you think they would be long other foundation can no man lay, than that in determining which of these is indeed the which is laid, Christ Jesus:" he is the cor
case ? ner-stone, “chosen of God and precious." Numbers are deceived by restricting many Alas for those who are offended with him in passages in the New Testament to the tines whom God is well pleased! but those who / in which they were delivered, though it seems
to have been the great care of the apostles to light of nature, and the powers of human prevent, if possible, our making this mistake. reason, venture to determine the fitness of St. John, having expressly said, " if any man things by their own standard, and declare in love the world, the love of the Father is not their words, as well as by their actions, in him," immediately explains what he means “they will not have this man to rule over by the world, namely, “the lust of the flesh, them,” Luke xix. Is not this an unaccountthe lust of the eye, and the pride of life,” able event upon your plan, that the name 1 John ii. If high distinction, vain show, which first went out from Antioch, under the and sensual pleasure, make no part of the greatest disadvantages, should so soon overworld at this day, I must allow that we have spread the world, without arts or arms, withno part in the apostle's decision, nor any out any force, or any motive of any external cause to observe his caution; but if these kind? Is it possible that any kind or degree things are as highly prized, as eagerly, and of enthusiasm could influence, not a few, at almost as universally pursued now in Bri- one time, or in one place, but multitudes, of tain as they were sixteen hundred years all ages, sexes, tempers, and circumstances, since at Rome and Antioch, surely we bear to embrace a profession which, in proportion the name of Christians in vain; if our hopes to the strictness wherewith it was followed, and fears, our jcys and sorrows, our comforts was always attended with reproach and sufand our cares are not very different from fering? Those laces which were most noted those of the generality among whom we live. for opposition to this way, have been long “ If any man,” says Št. Paul, “ have not the since buried in the dust; but a succession of spirit of Christ, he is none of his,” Rom. viii. those whom the world counted “ not worthy Now, whatever more is meant by the phrase to live, and of whom the world was not of having the spirit of Christ, it must cer- worthy,” (Acts xxv. Heb. xi.) has always subtainly mean thus much at least, a disposition sisted, and still subsists. Had you lived in and turn of mind in some degree conforma- those days when Jesus Christ assured a comble to the mind that was in Christ Jesus, to pany of poor disregarded fishermen, that neibe evidenced by a life and conversation suit- ther the power nor the policy of the world, able to his precepts and example: “He was nor the gates of hell, should ever prevail holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from against them, (Matt. xvi.) you might have sinners; he went about doing good,” Heb. been less inexcusable in refusing to believe vii. He was gentle and compassionate, meek him. But now, when you have the accomand patient under the greatest provocations; plishment of this promise before your eyes, so active for the glory of God, that his zeal, and well know (for you are book-read) what by a strong and lively figure, is said to have various attempts have been made, with what eaten him up; (John ii.) so affected with the steadiness and formidable appearances they worth of souls, that he wept over his bitterest have been for a while carried on, to render enemies; so intent on his charitable designs these words vain, but how at length such attowards men, that an opportunity of helping tempts have totally failed, and ended in the or instructing them was as meat and drink confusion and ruin of those who engaged in when he was hungry, (John iv.) and made them,—what tolerable reason can you assign him forget weariness and pain; so full of de- for the part you act? Does the tendency of votion towards God, that when the day had the gospel displease you? Is it an enemy to been wholly consumed in his labours of love, that virtue you are so fond of talking of? On he would frequently redeem whole nights the contrary, we are ready to put it to the for prayer, Luke vi. But I must stop. No proof, that here are not only the sublimest pen can describe, no heart conceive, the life maxims of true virtue, but that the practice, of the Son of God in the flesh: yet, in all or even the real love of virtue, are quite unthese things he was our great exemplar; and attainable upon any other scheme, and that no profession or appellation can benefit us, the most specious pretences, independent of unless we are of those who copy closely and this, are no more than great "gwelling words carefully after him. For thus saith the be- of vanity,” 2 Pet. ii. I speak the more freely loved apostle, “ He that saith he abideth in upon this point, because I speak from expehim, ought himself so to walk even as he rience. I was once as you are. I verily walked. He that saith I know him, and thought that I “ought to do” (or at least that keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and I might do) “ many things against Jesus of the truth is not in him," 1 John ii.
Nazareth," Acts xxvi. None even went farI shall conclude with a short address to ther than me, according to the limits of my three sorts of persons. And, first, If there years and capacity, in opposing the truths of are any such here (would to God this part of the gospel. But the mercy of God spared my labour may prove needless!) I would re- me; and his providence having led me commend this subject to the consideration of through various changes and circumstances those who have almost, if not altogether, cast of life, in each of which I have had a still off the honourable name into which they were deeper conviction of my former errors, has at baptized, who, trusting to what they call the length given me this opportunity to tell you,