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AGAINST UNSOUND DOCTRINES:
THE SUBSTANCE OF
PREACHED IN THE PARISH CHURCH
ST. ANN, BLACKFRYARŠ;
ON SUNDAY, APRIL 20, 1770.
BY AUGUSTUS TOPLADY, A. B.
VICAR OF BROAD-HEMBURY, DEVON.
Seeing, then, that we have such hope, we use great plaintess
of speech....2 Cor. iii. 12.
The ensuing discourse was first preached at St. Matthew, Bethnal Green, April 22. Some persons then present, to whose judgment and request I pay the highest deference, desired me to retrieve as much of it as I could the Sunday following at St. Ann's; with a view to its being taken in short-hand, and published.
The loss of my nearest relative, soon after this sermon was preached, and the many avocations occasioned by that lamented and unexpected event, account but too well for the delay with which the publication has been attended. Having, however, transcribed it at last from the notes of the person who penned it at the time of its delivery, I now transmit it to the press, most affectionately and respectfully inscribed to my dear London friends, whose favours, equally great, nu. merous, and unmerited, I have no other public way of acknowledging
LONDON, July 3, 1770.
A SERMON, &c.
AND IF THERE BE ANY OTHER THING THAT IS CON
TRARY TO SOUND DOCTRINE.1 Tim. i. 10.
ST Paul is commonly, and most probably, supposed to have written this epistle about A. D. 65, that is, about two years before his own martyrdom, and about thirty-one after our Lord's ascension-he addressed it to Timothy, who, though a very* young man, had been some time in the ministry, and was then entrusted with the oversight of the church at Ephesus. In the estimation of unprejudiced reason, “honourable age is not that which standeth in length of time, nor that is measured by number of years : but wisdom is the grey hairs unto men, and an unspotted life is old age.”+
But Timothy, though young, was far from robust. He was only strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. His regenerate, heaven-born soul, dwelt in a sickly, infirm body, whence we read of his wuxv« «odevetai, 1 Tim. v. 23. or frequent indispositions arising perhaps originally from a natural delicacy of constitution; and certainly increased by a rigid abstemiousness and constant course of ministerial labours. Thus our hea
venly Father, graciously severe, and wisely kind, takes care to infuse some salutary bitter into his children's cup below; since, were they here to taste of happiness absolute and unmingled; were not the gales of prosperity, whether spiritual or temporal, counterpoised, more or less by the needful ballast of affliction, his people (always imperfect here,) would be enriched to their loss and liable to be overset in their way to the kingdom of God. Wherefore, consummate felicity, without any mixture of wormwood, is reserved for our enjoyment in a state where perfect sunctification will qualify us to possess it. In heaven, and there only, the inhabitants shall no
any sense whatever, I am sick. * St. Paul in the opening of his apostolic directions to Timothy, adopts the same simple, majestic, and evangelical exordium, with which the rest of his epistles usually begin. Paul an apostle of Jesus Christ, ordained and sent forth by the head of the Church, the supreme Master of the spiritual vineyard, without whose internal, authoritative commission, none have a real right to minister in sacred things, or to thrust the sickle into God's harvest. For how can men preach to purpose, so as to be instruments of conviction, comfort, and sanctification, except they be sent of God, and owned of him ? whence the apostle adds, By the commandment of God our Saviour, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who is our hope. As an English nobleman who travels to some foreign court, cannot reasonably expect to be received as the representative of his sovereign
* Isai. xxxiii. 24. † Rom. x. 15. | Kat' etilanny, according to the positive injunction, ar xnress designation,
here, unless charged with an actual delegation, and able to produce the credentials of his mission; no more is any individual authorized to arrogate to himself the honour of a divine ambassage, but he that is called of God, as was Aa
A sufficient degree of gospel light and knowledge, an ardent love of souls, and a disinterested concern for truth, a competent measure of ministerial gifts and abilities, and above all, a portion of divine grace and experience, a saving change of heart, and a life devoted to the glory of God, are essential prerequisites to an evangelical discharge of the sacred function.
The first verse may be read thus : “ Paul an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the express or authoritative designation of Jesus Christ our God, Saviour, and Lord.”+ So the passage may be rendered : and so perhaps it ought to be understood in its natural and most obvious construction. Now, even supposing that the apostle had not the divinity of Christ immediately in view at the time of his writing these words, yet you must either give up his inspiration, or believe that Christ is, with the Father and the Spirit, God over all, blessed for ever; since, on a subject of such unspeakable consequence, it would have argued a degree of negligence, little short of criminal, had the apostle expressed himself in terms palpably liable to misapprehension. I therefore conclude, that both as a scholar and as a Christian, as Gamaliel's pupil, and as an inspired apostle, our sacred penman would have delivered himself in a far more guarded style, had not the Son of God been indeed God the Son.
* Heb. v. 4. ή Κατ, επιταγών Θι8 Σωτης » ημωνκ αι Κυρ 18, Ιησε Χρις8.