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the flesh, and all the enemies of our immortal souls ; being at the same time entirely resigned to all the dispensations of his Providence, assured that he knows infinitely better what is good for us than we ourselves can do, and that he will make the “ light afflictions of the present
life, which are but for a moment, work “ out for us a far more exceeding and e“ ternal weight of glory.” Surely it well becometh us, his subjects, to follow him in the path which he himself hath trodden, however rugged or difficult it
may appear; remembering that we are enlist ed under his banners, bound to obey his commands, and to conform ourselves to his example. In this
way testify our regard to him, and our cordial subjection to his authority. In this way alone can we hope to be ever with the Lord, and to share in the honours which he hath provided, and promised to confer on all his faithful servants.
You see then, my friends, that if you would hear Christ, you must receive him, and believe in him as your Prophet sent and authorised to instruct you in the will of God for your salvation ; that you must
alone can we
embrace him, and trust in him, as your Priest, to atone for your sins; and that you must submit to him as your King, yielding yourselves up to him a willing people in the day of his power.
Let me now, secondly, deduce those practical improvements which are inplied in this duty of hearing Christ, so immediately connected in the passage now considered with the high and honourable testimony the Almighty thus publicly gave of him, as his beloved Son. First
, This teaches us, that the legal dispensation was now at an end, that the gospel kingdom was to begin, and Jesus Christ to be the universal Teacher, Lawgiver, and Head of the Christian Church.
Moses and Elias, who represented the former dispensation, appeared in the character of Old Testament prophets, when Christ was transfigured; but you must observe, that before the voice was issued forth, a cloud overshadowed them, and when that voice had ceased, the disciples, on lifting up their eyes, saw no man save Jesus only. At the time of Christ's baptism, such a voice from heaven was heard
making part of the same declaration ; but the time of Christ's death, which was the completion of the Old Testament prophecies, and the termination of its legal institutions, being now at hand, there was added on the present occasion to the voice which was uttered at his baptism, this memorable and important clause, “ Hear
him!” The disappearing of Moses and Elias, with the addition of this clause, clearly intimates, that now the gospel was to take place of the law. The substance being now come, the shadow flies away. The law and the prophets were now fulfilled in Christ; and his people were no more to worship God, and seek acceptance with him according to former ordinances, but in the way which Jesus should teach and appoint.
He is the Prophet foretold in ancient prophecy; the sole Head and King of the Church, and his laws alone are binding on the conscience. Whoever, therefore, shall have the presumption to make laws contrary to his, or inconsistent with them ; whosoever shall add to, or take from what he hath said ; whoever shall make for themselves terms of Christian Communion which he hath not instituted, are not to be regarded : Nay, my friends, you are bound not merely not to regard them, but to beware of their delusions. This is invading Christ's prerogative; and though it were possible for an angel or saint from heaven to assume such a power, we would not be at liberty to hear, or to obey his words. The well-beloved Son of God, to whom Moses and Elias surrendered their authority and influence in the Church, you are to hear, in opposition to, and in exclusion of all others; and you are to confess him alone as the Lord of your faith and conscience.
Secondly, We may infer, that the hearing of Christ, as already explained, is the sure and only way to happiness. “ He is the way, the truth, and the
life," and there is no coming to the Father but by hearing him. All other methods which men may invent will prove vain and insufficient, and must disappoint their hopes.
None ever yet trusted in God and were ashamed ; 66 Christ is the chief
corner-stone, laid in Zion, elect and “ precious ; be that believeth on him 66 shall never die.” O! my brethren, let me urge it on you, as a truth never to be forgotten, that Christ is the only Saviour. Whatever may be the foundation on which you attempt to build, if it be not Christ, it is worthless and unsound. Neither can you join any other foundation with him. If asked to give a reason for the hope that is in
the language of the lips, the language of your hearts must be, “ Christ is all.”
But though Christ be indeed come upon the best errand, and though he be every way qualified to save, yet, if we do not hear him, we cannot share in his salvation. Nay, our conduct will be the more inexcusable. For God says, by his servant Moses, concerning this Prophet whom he was to raise up, 6 that whoso66 ever will not hearken to my words, “ which he (viz. Christ) shall speak in
my name, I will require it of him.” Our Saviour and his Apostles speak the same language.
“ If I had not come,”