Tuesday, September 14, 2010

to shine forth as the sun...

Abiel Abbot was never a very well man.  His body sometimes did not support the deep dedication of his heart and mind to his congregation.  But "The mode of [his] preaching," it is recorded in his memoirs, "was eminently practical. Religion was with him a deep personal feeling, founded on a delicate and tender sense of the divine mercies. It was this feeling, that he laboured to inspire in others. Hence his preaching was characterized by the closeness of its application to the heart and conduct, and its topics often suggested by passing events in his parish. An intimate acquaintance with the situation and wants of his hearers was the source of his successful appeals from the pulpit."  His sermon, "The Grace of God Bringing Salvation" continued:

"For the grace of God, that bringeth salvation, hath appeared to all men..."  Titus

"1. This weighty passage declares the wonderful grace of God in the Gospel, and the universality of it. "The grace of God, which bringeth salvation, hath appeared to all men." 'We perceive, that the grace of God is the original cause of . salvation ; there was none to move him to his purpose of mercy ; he was self moved. He so loved the world, as to provide for its salvation. The motive, the scheme, the whole was of God ; the party offended was the first to seek reconciliation. How benign and paternal appears his character. Has it not been without due respect to the text, and similar passages, which are innumerable, that God has been represented as wrathful and vengeful towards sinners, till pacified by the more merciful son ? It is quite observable, that in all the passages of scripture, where reconciliation is mentioned, the reconciling of men to God is uniformly intended, and not of God to men. Men are the estranged, and alienated party ; God is kindly disposed, desires not the death of sinners; but their salvation and happiness.—" You," saith the apostle, " that were sometime alienated, and enemies by wicked works, now hath he reconciled;" and again—" all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing to them their trespasses; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you, by us; we pray you, in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God." Such is the affecting language of the New Testament. It is God, who desires our reconciliation to himself. He has sent his own Son to accomplish this blessed end ; and he again employs ministers as his ambassadors, and all to reconcile us to God. We find, among men, that the offending party is the most difficult to be reconciled, and that it is usually harder for the injurious to accept of forgiveness, than for the injured to grant it. And is it not so with our gracious and offended Heavenly Father? Such is " the grace of God which bringeth salvation."

This grace hath appeared unto all men.—The Greek verb here used signifies, to shine forth as the sun. The grace of God in the gospel," hath shone forth like the sun, and giveth light to all." Hence Christ, the author of the gospel, is called " the day spring from on high," " the sun of righteousness," " the light of the world." The blessings of the gospel were not intended for one nation alone, as the Jews hoped, nor for a few selected and favored persons, of different nations, while others were passed by. No, this grace of God hath shone forth unto all men, as universal as the beams of the natural sun, as impartial as the rain of heaven, as free as the blessing of water, " for whosoever will may take the water of life freely." I come now to observe"...(that observation tomorrow.)


No comments: