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Spirit of God have ceased in the church, but His ordinary ones remain. He gives the word of wisdom and the word of knowledge to His ministering servants, so that they speak the wisdom of God, the testimony concerning Jesus, by faith in whom men are made wise unto salvation; and by diligently searching the holy scriptures, they are enabled to declare from them the whole counsel of God, all the truths which He has revealed for the edification and admonition and comfort of His church. But He will be enquired of by His people, that He may do for them as He has promised. It is in answer to importunate, persevering prayer, that spiritual blessings are bestowed. The ministers of Christ must implore the teaching and grace of the Holy Spirit, to enable them rightly to divide the word of truth, or to dispense the word of wisdom and the word of knowledge; and the hearers of the word of God must pray for the same teaching and grace to give them a right understanding of it, and faith to embrace the truth as it is in Jesus. Prayerless hearers are unprofitable hearers of the word of God. They hear it in vain. It does not sink into their hearts, or bear fruit in their lives. They go away and forget it; it is not mixed with faith in their minds; so that they do not believe to the saving of their souls. Let it be our earnest prayer that faith may come to us by hearing the word of life, that it may be the means of our salvation.
ELEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY.
THE GOSPEL OF THE GRACE OF GOD.
1 Corinthians xv. 10, 11.
BUT BY THE GRACE OF GOD I AM What I
AM: AND HIS GRACE WHICH WAS BESTOWED UPON ME WAS NOT IN VAIN; BUT I LABOURED MORE ABUNDANTLY THAN THEY ALL: YET NOT I, BUT THE GRACE OF GOD WHICH WAS WITH ME. THEREFORE WHETHER IT WERE I OR THEY, SO WE PREACH, AND SO YE BELIEVED.
In these words the apostle acknowledges the obligations under which he was laid to the goodness of God for every blessing that he enjoyed ; and show the powerful influence which Divine grace had over him; that it caused him to labour most abundantly in endeavouring to promote the cause of God in the world to the utmost of his
ability; and while he made known the gospel of Christ, the same grace operated in the hearts of many who heard it, so that they believed its report, and were made partakers of the blessings consequent upon faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the only Saviour of perishing sinners.
In the Epistle for this day the subject of his ministry is stated, the great truths which he constantly proclaimed, and which were made effectual by the operation of the Holy Spirit for the conversion of sinners from the error of their ways, their reconciliation to God, and the eternal salvation of their souls. Let it be our prayer, that the grace of the Holy Spirit may be bestowed upon us, while our meditations are directed to the subjects here brought before us, that believing the word of Divine truth, we may possess that joy and peace which it was designed to communicate, and may be enabled to rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
The apostle commences with addressing those among whom he had gone preaching the kingdom of God: Brethren, I declare unto you the gospel, which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, , and wherein ye stand,
stand. Here we see that it was not by a succession of novelties in doctrine, that the apostle sought to attract the attention of his hearers. He had preached the gospel to them, they had received it, and they stood or continued in the profession of it, and yet he still declared it to them; he considered it needful to repeat to them again and again the same truths as he had before delivered; which showed his anxious desire that they might have a right and simple understanding of the leading doctrines of the gospel of Christ, and that their minds might be deeply impressed and imbued with them. The vast importance of the gospel of Christ appears from his assertion respecting it, By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless
ye have believed in vain. The gospel of Christ is the means of salvation. It was for the purpose of promoting the salvation of mankind, that our blessed Saviour commanded it to be preached to every creature throughout the world. But in order that this benefit may be derived from it, it must be kept in memory, or beld fast, as the marginal reading is, it must be adhered to; it must be retained in the mind; the heart must be held under its influence; the life and conduct must be regulated by it. Without this a profession of faith is vain. While then we hear the gospel of Christ, we should pray that its truths may be written upon our hearts by the Spirit of God, that receiving the truth in the love of it, we may grow thereby. There is such a thing as an empty, vain, unprofitable, unfruitful profession of faith; a believing in vain. Let us fear lest our profession be of this kind. Let us seek to have our hearts brought under the influence of the truths of the gospel, that the blessedness derived from believing it with all the heart may be our portion.
The apostle having shown the great importance of the gospel as the means of salvation, and expressed his anxiety that its blessings might be enjoyed by the persons to whom he preached it, recapitulates its leading truths. He says, I delivered to you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins, according to the scriptures. He stated, first of all, that fact which is the most important to be believed, the death of Christ as the substitute for guilty sinners. This was the glad tidings which the apostle Paul delighted continually to proclaim, that death being the wages of sin, Christ Jesus, the Lord of glory, came into the world, and suffered death; in order that through faith in His name the sinful children of men might be made partakers of eternal life. What a wonderful declaration is this, that pardon and salvation are bestowed through Jesus Christ our Saviour, upon all them that believe in His name.
It might be expected that such a gracious declaration, made in the name of the God of heaven, would be hailed with joy by all the transgressors of the law of God who should hear of it. But instead of this, how many, alas! hear of it with the utmost indifference and unconcern, as if it were a matter in which they were entirely uninterested; as if it were not " for us men and