1 Timothy 1:11


According to the glorious gospel. These are the words of a true enthusiasm. St. Paul gloried in the gospel. We may read it, however, as in the Revised Version, "According to the gospel of the glory of God." Either way the glory of it fills the heart of the apostle with intense rapture. No good work is done without enthusiasm. The great Italian artists - men like Angelico, Fra Bartolomeo, and Michael Angelo - associated heaven with earth in their work, and did it, not for mere pay, but for great ideal results. So also great apostles and reformers, like Paul, Wickliffe, and Luther, were enthusiasts. But all healthy enthusiasm is inspired by reality and truth. Some men have made shipwreck of religion because they lost the compass of the Word of God; and others, dependent on feeling alone, have wandered, being led by the ignis-fatuus of imagination alone.

I. PAUL SEES IN HIMSELF WHAT THE GOSPEL CAN DO. "Take me," he says; "I was before a persecutor, and injurious." What could account for such a change as is embodied in the man who from Saul became Paul? No theory of moral dynamics can stand, that suggests he lifted himself into so great a change. Neither could the Hebrew Church of that age, which was coldly ritual, sterile, and barren. "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Christ Jesus might show forth all long-suffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting." No man can be so ardent about a cure as he who has tried a physician; no man admires the great artist so much as he who has tested his own feeble powers. And now "what the Law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son," had done, and done in Paul: he is a proof of the gospel before he becomes a preacher of it.

II. PAUL GIVES A NEW SIGNIFICANCE TO THE WORD "GLORY." On his lips glory takes a new meaning. He had seen the glories of the Caesars, who raised their thrones on hecatombs of human lives, and filled their courts with unbounded luxuries and lusts. Surrounded by soldiers and courtesans, their glory was in their shame. He had seen the glories of the architects, sculptors, and artists, at Athens, Corinth, and Rome. But the glory of which he spoke was in a life that gave itself - that came, not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and that on the cross died for the sins of the whole world. It was the glory of goodness, the glory of compassion, the glory of self-sacrifice.

III. PAUL REJOICES TO TELL THE GOOD NEWS OF THIS GLORY. It is the glorious gospel, or the glorious "good news" for all men - Greek and Jew, barbarian and Scythian, bond and free. How simple a thing it seems - "good news!" and yet it is speech that moves the world! Homer is remembered, when the military heroes of Greece are forgotten. Syncs live longer than thrones. This good news was of a Christ who had died, and risen, and was working then in the hearts of men. Paul lived long enough to plant Churches, and to show that the cross could turn men "from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God." He could show them not only the root, but the tree; not only the seed, but the flower. It was good news in relation to man himself - to his present history and his everlasting destiny. The gospel had made life desirable, and checked the false euthanasia of Roman suicide; and it had spread a great sky of immortality above men's heads, so that to live was Christ, and to die was gain. - W.M.S.









According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God.
The gospel is here characterized as glorious. It depends not for its glory on any incidental circumstances. In its essential elements it is the same for all lands and nations, conveying "glad tidings of great joy to all people." The language of the text, with all other gloriousness, implies the glory of perpetuity. Indeed, what is here called "the glorious gospel" is elsewhere called "the everlasting gospel" (Revelation 14:6). Bringing these phrases together, we have "glory everlasting"; changeless amid changeful seasons. But having fully stated this evangelical commonness, let us now remark that the manner in which persons are brought into connection with the gospel varies. One is persuaded by the terror of the Lord, another is drawn by His mercy and constrained by His love. And every one who has tasted of the joys of salvation will find his estimate of them affected, not only by their intrinsic excellence, but by their particular adaptation and application to his individual exigencies and personal experience. Let us, then, in these words, transplant ourselves to Paul's position. Let us contemplate what he speaks of from his own point of view.

I. The apostle may thus have spoken in RELATION TO THE MESSIAH. As a Jew, Paul had longed for Christ. This was the grand promise made to the fathers; the seed of the woman was to bruise the serpent's head; in Abraham and his seed should all families of the earth be blessed; Shiloh should come, and to him should the gathering of the people be. Other nations glory in their founders, and look back. The Jews expected a Deliverer, and looked forward. And hence Christ, when He came and was recognized, gratified a peculiar, earnest, and ever-growing anticipation. The Lord whom they looked for came to His temple, even the messenger of the covenant whom they delighted in. It is true that Paul, in the first instance, was disappointed in Jesus — bitterly disappointed. But that disappointment enhanced, by contrast, his delight, when he came after all to perceive that this was indeed the Hope of Israel. He had abhorred the Christians for neglecting the Aaronic ritual. And what an exposition of their conduct was now before him! — that the rites had been exchanged by them for the reality; that the sacrifices were but shadows, and found their substance in Christ; and that the Mosaic ordinances received the utmost honour in being so fulfilled — in being done away by the accomplishment and verification of all their foreshadowings. In one aspect the revelation was appalling. The stupendousness of the remedy gave Paul impressions which he had never had before of the dreadfulness of the evil, compelling him to reason that "if one died for all, then were all dead." Ruined must that state have been which called for such redemption. Paul stood aghast — sank aghast — at these thoughts. He had supposed himself, as touching the righteousness which is of the law, to be blameless. But under the teaching of the Cross, sin — that is the sense of sin — revived and expanded into such gigantic dimensions, that, at the thought of it, he died: all life of self expired within him; all personal merit paled and perished in a sense of penal desert. And what was now his relief? What was now his refuge? That very Cross which had previously so shocked him. Thus the grandeur of the remedy exposed to him the evil of sin; and the evil of sin commended reactively the gloriousness of the gospel. Surely when redemption exposes the evil of rebellion — when the bitterness of the curse is evolved by contrast with curative blessing — when blackness of darkness is discerned only afar off, and as rendered visible by light streaming from heaven and guiding us to its portals, we may well hear such instruction, and hail in it the "Glorious gospel of the blessed God!"

II. Paul might characterize the gospel as glorious, viewing it in relation to THE GIFT OF THE SPIRIT. Palestine had had its prophets; and wondrous characters had these teachers been. These prophets might be persecuted while they lived, but monuments were soon erected to them when they died. Hence the disappearance of prophets was more deprecated than their severest reprimands, and lamentation found its climax in saying," We see not our signs, there is no more any prophet, neither is there among us any that knoweth how long" (Psalm 74:9). The ancient seers were never numerous. Two or three distinguished a period. But now there is a whole company of apostles, and inspiration is not limited to them. God pours His spirit on all flesh, and sons and daughters prophesy in multitudes. Nor does the privilege terminate with preternatural qualifications. These accompany and promote transforming influences far more precious. "According to His mercy He saved us by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost, which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour." Now was the fulfilment of the promise: "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah... I will put My law in their inward parts and write it in their hearts, and will be their God and they shall be My people." "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ, Jesus," Paul says, "hath made me free from the law of sin and death." The apostles exemplified such renewing power. They manifested a spiritual-mindedness before which all grovelling sordidness might well be confounded, and, as ashamed, hide its head. Quit a partial and suspicious discipleship! rise to the heights of a high calling! and still multiply achievements, and still heighten attainments, tilt your religious profession bear its own proof, and all your aims, and aspirations, and efforts, beam with the glory of the gospel of the blessed God.

III. Paul may be supposed to have used the language of the text in relation to A FAVORED PEOPLE AND A PROMISED LAND. Paul had anenthusiastic patriotism. Even self-love seemed feeble when vying with love to his people (Romans 9:1-3). With such fervency of affection for his countrymen, Paul beheld and deplored their imperilled condition. The Roman tyranny was becoming every year more intolerable, and defeated insurrections only riveted and aggravated its domination. To what would these things grow? The question was inevitable and ominous; and, whatever desire might answer, probability, verging on certainty, pointed to the extinction of the Jewish name and nation. What was his joy, then, when an occasion of dismay became a source of solace, when spiritual illumination pointed beyond impending ruin to eventual recovery, and foretold the time when all Israel should be saved. Yet another and more cheering aspect of the case now burst upon his contemplation. The promise, that in Abraham and his seed should all families of the earth be blessed, was apprehended by him in its vastness. His survey, restricted before to the literal Israel, suddenly compassed the world, and embraced in all nations the true Israel of God.

(D. King, LL. D.)

The only security at any time either for sound doctrine or earnest moral practice is the gospel. The fallacy with which the apostle contended is found operating in every time. Many would apparently make a divorce in their own minds between the moralities of every day life and the gospel — between works and faith. Because man is an intelligent being and must have a clear notion of what he is doing, if he is to act worthy of his nature, his conduct must be regulated by principle, and especially his moral conduct by a clear understanding of God's will. What, then, is the will of God? It is the system of truth revealed in the Scriptures; in other words, it is orthodoxy. Of course there must be an orthodoxy, or system of right doctrine.

I. GOD IS BLESSED IN HIMSELF, AND THEREFORE HE HAS GIVEN A GOSPEL TO MAN. The epithet blessed, as applied to God, is one of singular grandeur and felicity. In the highest and richest sense of the word, God is the happy or beatific God. God is blessed in Himself, blessed in the manifestation of Himself, and blessed in the communication to others of His own blessedness.

1. God is blessed in Himself. This is a necessity of His being. To be God is to be infinitely happy; for God is just, good; and to be good is to be blessed. To say that a being is good is to say that he is happy. The purity or holiness of God is one of the fountain-heads of His blessedness. Jesus says, "Blessed are the pure in heart." A pure heart is a well-spring of blessedness; it is a bower of fragrance, and an abode of spiritual beauty. It is a bright sky in which the thoughts sing to each other as birds in the sunny air; it is a home of the Holy Ghost. What, then, must be the blessedness of God! He is the holy heart of the universe; the light of light. God is happy because He is perfect. We have never known what it is to be perfect. From first to last in this life we are imperfect, and it is a painful thing to be imperfect. Not only to be so, but to know it — to have the clear consciousness that we carry imperfection within us; to feel that there is a discord at the very centre of our life — that surely is a sharp thorn in the heart. To have come to the vision of an ideal life, which we recognize to be our true and proper life, and love as such, while at the same time we are in bondage to a variety of mean restrictions; this is the cause of unhappiness and unrest. But God is the all-perfect One — harmonious, complete, self-sufficient, and therefore He is the blessed God. God is happy because He is almighty. Our weakness is to us a constant source of pain. We think we should be happy if only we had strength for every emergency, and if the arm could always fully second the will. But we live and die with the sorrowful conviction that, however splendid our projects, our performances are mean. With God, however, there is nothing of this. Above all, God is happy because He is the God of Love. The living essence of the God head has a name, and that name is Love. This is the one supreme joy of the universe; that great affinity, that beautiful spiritual attraction, which draws all souls together in peace and concord, by drawing them unto God. God is love, and therefore He is happy. This is the reason why God might not, and did not keep His blessedness to Himself. Although He was infinitely blessed in Himself in eternity, before angel, or world, or man appeared, He did not remain the sole possessor of this immense, this uncreated felicity. He decreed to unfold the hidden wealth of eternity; to manifest Himself, and to bring forth an image of Himself, in the form of an intelligent and moral being, who should be able to reflect His glory and to share His blessedness. Hence creation; hence the manifested wonders of providence in time; and hence eternal redemption. And so, having looked for a little at the self-possessed, inherent blessedness of God, let us now glance at —

2. God is blessed in the manifestation of Himself. All true work is a pleasure. It is a joy to produce anything. The exercise of power, the facility to act, the creation of a thought, the production of a work of art — each of these manifestations gives pleasure to the person who puts its forth. A child has pleasure in the gradual awakening of its nature, and the first exercise of its faculties. It delights in the discovery and manifestation of its powers, one by one. It delights to be able to walk and to speak. A school-boy, who is a true student, has pleasure first in mastering a problem, and, after that, in exhibiting his mastery over one domain of knowledge after another. A young artizan has pride in the performance of his first piece of independent work, and in earning his first wage. He feels that he is of some worth to the world. In the higher walks of human effort — in the productions of art and literature, the true artist has a pure joy. As the poem, or the picture, or the statue is slowly elaborated, the artist is bringing forth into palpability the fair image that has hitherto dwelt in the ideal world of the soul. There is a blessedness in the manifestation of one's true self. Let these faint analogies remind us of the blessedness of God in the forth putting of His power. He is the Creator, the Supreme Worker, the one Original Producer. He has brought forth the universe. The universe is God's work. And what a work is that! So vast, so beautiful, so profound! Because God is God it must be a joy to Him to bring forth angels, and worlds, and men; and the proof that God rejoiced in His own creation is to be found in the fact that He Himself blessed it, and called it very good.

3. God is blessed in the communication to others of His own blessedness. He who works a work merely that he may delight himself therewith, even although that work is beautiful and good, has not reached the highest blessedness. This consists in making others blessed. He who lives for himself alone can never know what the highest blessedness is. To seek to shut up happiness in one's own heart is to embitter and destroy it altogether; for selfishness .and blessedness can never keep company. Men are unhappy just in proportion as they are selfish; and consequently God is blessed because He is absolutely unselfish. Even in eternity God was not alone in His blessedness; for there are three persons in the adorable Godhead, and from eternity there was fellowship in God, and the high interchange of love. The Gospel was an eternal purpose of God. Yea, how marvellous it is that sin has become the very occasion in connection with which God has revealed the wonders of His grace, and given the highest manifestation of His own happiness and glory. The highest joy of God is the joy of saving souls, It is a blessed thing to communicate happiness to the unfallen, and preserve them in their felicity; but it is more blessed to give joy to the miserable, and open up a way by which the wretched and the impure may return to the very bosom of God. And since these are the tidings; since this is the message of gladness that the gospel brings to every man, how fitly may it be styled the glorious gospel of the blessed God!

II. GOD HAS GIVEN A GLORIOUS GOSPEL TO MAN, AND THEREFORE MAN SHOULD BLESS GOD. In the verse from which the text is taken the apostle speaks of the gospel as something committed to his trust. Notice here some of the particulars in respect of which the epithet "glorious" may be applied to the gospel. The gospel is glorious in its own character; in its authorship; in its unfoldings; and in its everlasting issues.

1. It is glorious in its own character. It is the Almighty God proclaiming an amnesty to sinful men. Surely that is a great fact in the history of this universe. What can exceed in glory such a proclamation?

2. The gospel is glorious in its authorship. Everything God has made is glorious in having Him as its author. Throughout the whole of God's workings, everything speaks of His glory.

3. The gospel is glorious in its unfolding. All the other manifestations of God in creation and providence are but introductory and preparatory to this. Creation is but the scaffolding, and providence but the great stairway leading to the gospel.

4. The gospel is glorious in its eternal issues. It is through it alone that we come into the possession of eternal life. What, then, is our response? It is for us to reflect in some measure this glory. It is for us, in turn, to bless the blessed God. We do so, first of all, by believing the gospel — by listening to this message, and accepting it as the truth of God. Can there be anything more awful than for a human being to reject such a gospel? And yet this can be done — this is done every day. What is worthy of the entire and unreserved homage of our being, if the glorious gospel of the blessed God is not worthy of it?In conclusion, there are four warnings that come sounding out to us from this text, to which we would do well to take heed.

1. Beware of ignoring the gospel. This is what many are doing at the present time. They quietly and complacently set it aside.

2. Beware of caricaturing the gospel. It is a caricature of the gospel to represent God as sitting merely on a throne of justice, manifesting only the sternness and severity of the law, and insisting on the law being satisfied at whatever price, and with whatever results. But the gospel has been so caricatured. Its enemies have said that it is a wrathful and vindictive system.

3. Beware of undervaluing the gospel. There are some who regard Christianity as a form of natural religion.

4. Beware of finally rejecting the gospel.

(F. Ferguson.)

The gospel! — "the glorious gospel!" whence did it come? Its birth-place was the bosom of God. What its end and aim? To save a world of souls. Whence does it rescue? From the fellowship and destinies of hell. Whither does it lead? Back to its birth-place — to heaven — to God. The single inquiry into the reason and propriety of the epithet here bestowed upon the gospel — "the glorious gospel." Let this then be our point, to prove that the gospel is a "glorious" scheme — a "glorious gospel." "The glorious gospel!" What is it to be "glorious"? Need I define this to you? — need I tell you what it is to be physically, what it is to be morally "glorious"? Who can need that I define to him the term "glorious," as applied to natural things, that has seen the bright orb of heaven shedding abroad his noon-day splendour? Who that has gazed upon the mighty sea, as it careered along, so bold, so free, so wild, gilded but untamed by that bright orb's beams? Or who so lost, I say, not to religion, but to all sense of moral beauty and grandeur, as to see no glory, no dignity, no greatness, in virtue? And the "gospel" is "glorious!" Why? It is "glorious," I observe —

I. IN ITS AUTHOR. Think you that even the most presumptuous hope would have whispered, that perhaps the very Being whom he had offended would Himself bear the penalty, that his Judge would perhaps be his Saviour, that grace should flow to him and his race through the blood-shedding of the only begotten Son of God, the Son in the bosom of the Father — God Himself? No; the brain of man devised not the "glorious gospel" — the heart of man conceived it not!

II. The gospel was "glorious" IN ITS MEDIATOR. Now this notion that such a free pardon, such a remission of the penalty of guilt, would have been a "glorious" act on God's part, is derived from human analogy, but so far from being a "glorious" act, it would have sullied the brightness of God's glory for ever, for He would have denied Himself, would have appeared before His creation as a Being uttering threatenings which He had no final and real intention of executing. Mercy might have been magnified, but to a woful disparagement of justice and holiness and truth. But "Jesus" is "the Mediator of the new Covenant" — He who is "so much better than the angels" — the Creator and "heir of all things" — the "Beloved Son" — the "very and eternal God!" How "glorious" a gospel flowing through such a mediation! how great the price of its salvation!

III. The gospel is "glorious" IN ITS OBJECTS AND RESULTS. It is the gospel of salvation, a "gospel of peace," It finds God and man at variance — God offended, man lost. How "glorious" then the object of the gospel — to reconcile God and man — to offer salvation, not to the Jew only, but to all the world — to utter a cry free as the air we breathe: "Ho, every one that thirsteth!" But how "glorious" its results! And these, in all their eternal fulness, who shall tell? But how "glorious" now! — how "glorious" Christ Jesus in the heart, "the hope of glory!" — how "glorious" to see "the Ethiopian change his skin, and the leopard his spots!" — to see the "blasphemer," the "persecutor, and injurious," preach "the faith which once he destroyed!" — how glorious to hear the savage gaoler cry: "What must I do to be saved?" But time shall one day be no longer, and shall the gospel glory be entombed in the grave of time? Bather shall its glorious results then truly begin.

IV. The gospel is "glorious" AS CONTRASTED WITH THE LAW. See, then, the glory of the gospel as a scheme of salvation for man, when contrasted with the law. See the law demanding (and that justly) what man cannot render — hear it, as the penalty of non-fulfilment and disobedience, proceed to call for vengeance, the death of the transgressor. See the gospel not only not refusing to recognize man's need, and frailty, as a lost sinner, but taking man up at this very point, the pinching point of his need, that he is a lost sinner. The very object, then, of the gospel is to vindicate God's law, and yet save the transgressor of that law, to exhibit a God all-just as a God all-merciful. But the gospel is more "glorious" yet! for as its only source was the grace of God, as God only "gave His only begotten Son" up to the death, because "He so loved the world," so from first to last is the gospel one of grace, and grace alone. But the gospel is more "glorious" yet! The law, we saw, had no pardon to bestow, no righteousness to give, still less could it restore the fallen nature, renew the alienated heart, or rectify the perverted and biassed will. It could not purify the springs of action. No law does this. But the Spirit of Christ to sanctify, no less than the righteousness of Christ, and the blood-shedding of Christ to justify, is the gift of the gospel. Such is the gospel — so "glorious " to God, so "glorious" to man.

(J. C. Miller, M. A.)

I. It is "the glorious gospel" BECAUSE IT IS A SYSTEM OF ETERNAL TRUTH, IN WHICH THE MORAL PERFECTIONS OF THE GODHEAD ARE MOST TRANSCENDENTLY DISPLAYED.

1. Now, in reference to this "glorious gospel," we say, that in it all the perfections of the Divine nature a strikingly displayed.

2. But in this "glorious gospel" there is, besides the exhibition of all the perfections of the Godhead, the most striking development of them. For though all the attributes of the Godhead are infinite, yet their manifestation may be varied in an endless diversity of degrees and forms: but in this "glorious gospel" there is the most striking display of the whole. Is love an attribute of the Divine nature? Is justice an attribute of Divine nature? Where do we see it displayed so effectually as in "the glorious gospel of the blessed God"? Is wisdom an attribute of the Divine nature? Where have we such a display of it as in "the glorious gospel of the blessed God"?

3. We must, however, advance a step further: here is the most harmonious exhibition of the perfections of the Godhead.

II. It is "the glorious Gospel of the blessed God," BECAUSE IT IS ADMIRABLY ADAPTED TO THE MORAL AND SPIRITUAL NECESSITIES OF MAN. Those necessities are vast and varied; but there is no want that it cannot supply, no guilt that it cannot pardon, no depth of misery that it cannot explore.

1. But when we say that this gospel is adapted to man as an ignorant being, I would remind you that it is so, not merely as adapted to convey to him the truth he should understand, but, by a light directed to the understanding and to the heart, first to instruct the judgment, and then to renovate the soul. There is all the difference in the world between mere intellectual and spiritual light; between that knowledge that may he obtained by the unaided efforts of the human mind, and that which is to be acquired by the teaching of the Spirit of God. The one is as different from the other as the mere picture of a country as it is painted on a map is from the country itself, where, with its hills and dales, and rivers, it stretches itself before your view.

2. It is adapted likewise to man as a guilty being.

3. This gospel is still further adapted to man as a polluted being.

4. It is "the glorious gospel" because it is adapted to man, as a miserable being. Misery and guilt are linked to each other in an unbroken chain; and no man can be the voluntary slave of sin, without, in a proportionate degree, being the victim of wretchedness.

5. This gospel is adapted to man as an immortal being.

6. It is so, in the last place, because it is adapted to man as an impotent being.

III. It is "the glorious gospel of the blessed God," because IT IS DESIGNED TO ACHIEVE ULTIMATELY THE MOST IMPORTANT BLESSINGS TO THE WORLD AT LARGE.

IV. I must now come to the concluding part of the subject, TO DEDUCE SUCH REMARKS AS ITS NATURE WILL SUGGEST. First, I remind you both of the privileges and the obligations with which you are invested who possess this gospel. Secondly, we infer from this subject how pitiable must be the condition of those inhabitants of the earth to whom this gospel has never been sent!

(T. Adkins)

It seems, as a revelation, so to eclipse every other, that earth with all its wonders grows dim by its side, and the firmament with all its hosts is no longer effulgent with Deity. And this is, we think, what St. Paul in our text designs to assert of the gospel. He speaks as though the carrying that gospel to a land were the furnishing such a revelation of God as must necessarily, even if it did not overcome the unbelief in man, redound immeasurably to the glory of its Author. He will not allow that it could at all depend on the reception which the gospel might meet, whether or not God would be glorified by its publication. Why should it? Suppose that it were to please the Almighty to give some new and striking exhibition of His existence and His majesty to a people that had been indifferent to those previously and uniformly furnished; suppose that on a sudden the vault of heaven were to be spangled with fresh characters, the handwriting of the everliving God, and far outshining in their burning beauty the already magnificent tracery of a thousand constellations; would not God have splendidly shown forth His being and His power — would He not have given such demonstrations of His greatness as must vastly contribute to His own glory, even if the people for whose sake the overspread canopy had been thus gorgeously decked, were to close their eyes against the glittering evidence, or to hearken to infidel philosophers, who should resolve into natural causes, or explain by their boastful astronomy, the mighty phenomenon which announced the immediate agency of the Creator? God is sublimely independent of man; and if He have made a discovery of Himself — His nature — His perfections — He can contemplate that discovery with ineffable complacency, however it may be regarded by His creatures. He does not wait their admiration in order to be assured of its beauty; He does not require their approval, to be confirmed in His delight. We read, that when God rested from the work of this creation, He "saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good." He surveyed His own work with unspeakable pleasure; He saw and He knew it to be glorious; and if no anthem of lofty gratulation had ascended to His throne from intelligent creatures, He would have reposed, in majestic contentment, on those vast performances, and have felt Himself so praised in His deeds, that neither angels nor men could break the chorus. And why should not we hold the same in regard of the gospel? Why, if this gospel be an incomparably more brilliant and comprehensible revelation of Himself than could have been made by His coming forth from His inaccessible solitude with a fresh retinue of suns and systems — why should not God regard its publication with ineffable complacency, whether men hear, or whether they forbear? Are we to hold it to be in the power of such creatures as ourselves to prevent, by our infidelity, the accruing of any glory to God, from that into which He may be said to have gathered Himself — which is nothing less than a focus, in which all the Divine attributes meet, or from which they diverge, to irradiate the universe? Oh I we are not thus mighty in evil. We may shut our eyes to a manifestation of God, but this is the utmost that we have in our power. We cannot obscure that manifestation; we cannot despoil it of one atom of its beauty; we cannot make it a jot less worthy or expressive of Godhead. And therefore may it well be supposed, that God would regard the ambassadors of His Son — those who with the cross in their hand hastened to publish to the ignorant the tidings of redemption — as more really and more emphatically the revealers of Himself than all those worlds, gorgeously apparelled, with which His creative skill had peopled infinite space. We may well understand, that as these apostles went from shore to shore, making proclamation, wherever they stood, of the mystery of "God made manifest in the flesh," they would be viewed by Him whose commission they bore as finer witnesses to the stupendous, and the awful, and the majestic, and the beautiful properties of His nature, than stars as they marched in their brightness, or angels as they moved in their purity. Who, then, can be surprised at the lofty tone which has been assumed by St. Paul, when speaking of the gospel committed to his trust? But now let us go on to speak of the two separate cases, in order to show you, with greater precision, how this character of the gospel holds good in regard equally with those who are saved and of those who are lost. Is the gospel, indeed, ever detrimental to the hearer? and if detrimental, can it still be styled "glorious"? Yes, the gospel may prove injurious to the hearer, but it cannot prove otherwise than glorious to its Author. You are not to think that the gospel can be a neutral thing, operating neither for good nor for evil. There is a self-propagating power in all kinds of evil; and every resistance to God's Spirit, operating through the instrumentality of the Word, makes resistance easier, and facilitates for the future the hearing without obeying. So that preaching, where it produces no salutary effect, unavoidably hardens the hearer. But if it be admitted that in various ways men may be actually injured by the gospel, making it the occasion of their own aggravated condemnation, what have we to say to such a result being in any sense or degree glorious to God? But we are to blame in confining our thoughts to the ends in which man has an immediate concern, in place of extending them to those in which God Himself may be personally interested. We forget that God has to make provision for the thorough vindication of all His attributes, when He shall bring the human race into judgment, and allot to the several individuals a portion for eternity. We forget that in all His dealings it must be His own honour to which He has the closest respect, and that this honour may require the appointment and continuance of means of grace, even where those means, in place of effecting conversion, are sure to do nothing but increase condemnation. For the great point, so far as we can judge, which will have to be made out in respect of every man who perishes hereafter, is the inexcusableness of that man — his being nothing less than his own wilful destroyer; and the making out this, in regard of those condemned for neglecting the salvation provided by Christ, will require that it be abundantly proved that this salvation was offered, yea, pressed on their acceptance. Think ye that the minister of Christ has nothing to do but to confirm the righteous in their faith, and rouse the careless to repentance? Indeed it is at these that he is avowedly labouring, but in acting upon man he is acting for God. He may seem to you to labour in vain, just because those to whom he speaks forsake not their iniquities; but it is not in vain. He preaches for the day of judgment; he preaches as an evidence of God's forbearance, as a witness against the impenitent — an evidence and a witness which shall be called forth and displayed when the trumpet hath sounded, and the Judge is on His throne. And St. Paul knew, and felt this. He knew, and he felt, that when He preached Christ to a people, he was making that people without excuse if they persisted in iniquity, and therefore providing that God should be "glorious " in dealing with them in vengeance.

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

Two remarks of an expository character will prepare the way for our consideration of this text. The first is that the proper rendering is that which is given in the Revised Version — "the gospel of the glory," not the "glorious gospel." The apostle is not telling us what kind of thing the gospel is, but what it is about. He is dealing not with its quality but with its contents. It is a gospel which reveals, has to do with, is the manifestation of, the glory of God. Then the other remark is with reference to the meaning of the word "blessed." There are two Greek words which are both translated "blessed" in the New Testament. One of them, the more common, literally means "well spoken of," and points to the action of praise or benediction; describes what a man is when men speak well of him, or what God is when men praise and magnify His name. But the other word, which is used here, and is only applied to God once more in Scripture, has no reference to the human attribution of blessing and praise to Him, but describes Him altogether apart from what men say of Him, as what He is in Himself, the "blessed," or, as we might almost say, the "happy" God.

I. THE REVELATION OF GOD IN JESUS CHRIST IS THE GLORY OF GOD. The theme, or contents, or the purpose of the whole gospel, is to set forth and make manifest to men the glory of God. Now what do we mean by "the glory"? I think, perhaps, that question may be most simply answered by remembering the definite meaning of the word in the Old Testament. There it designates, usually, that supernatural and lustrous light which dwelt between the cherubim, the symbol of the presence and of the self-manifestation of God. So that we may say, in brief, that the glory of God is the sum-total of the light that streams from His self-revelation, considered as being the object of adoration and praise by a world that gazes upon Him. And if this be the notion of the glory of God, is it not a startling contrast which is suggested between the apparent contents and the real substance of that gospel? Suppose a man, for instance, who had no previous knowledge of Christianity, being told that in it he would find the highest revelation of the glory of God. He comes to the Book, and finds that the very heart of it is not about God, but about man; that this revelation of the glory of God is the biography of a man: and more than that, that the larger portion of that biography is the story of the humiliations, and the sufferings, and the death of the man. Would it not strike him as a strange paradox that the history of a man's life was the shining apex of all revelations of the glory of God? And that involves two or three considerations on which I dwell briefly. One of them is this: Christ, then, is the self-revelation of God. If, when we deal with the story of His life and death, we are dealing simply with the biography of a man, however pure, lofty, inspired he may be, then I ask what sort of connection there is between that biography which the four Gospels give us, and what my text says is the substance of the gospel? Brethren! to deliver my text and a hundred other passages of Scripture from the charge of being extravagant nonsense and clear, illogical non sequiturs, you must believe that in the Man Christ Jesus "we behold His glory — the glory of the only begotten of the Father." And then, still further, my text suggests that this self-revelation of God in Jesus Christ is the very climax and highest point of all God's revelations to men. I believe that the law of humanity, for ever, in heaven as on earth, is this, the Son is the Revealer of God; and that no loftier — yea, at bottom, no other communication of the Divine nature can be made to man than is made in Jesus Christ. But be that as it may, let me urge upon you this thought, that in that wondrous story of the life and death of our Lord Jesus Christ the very high-water mark of Divine self-communication has been touched and reached. All the energies of the Divine nature are embodied there. The "riches, both of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God," are in the Cross and Passion of our Saviour. Or, to put it into other words, and avail oneself of an illustration, we know the old story of the queen who, for the love of an unworthy human heart, dissolved pearls in the cup and gave them to him to drink. We may say that God comes to us, and for the love of us, reprobate and unworthy, has melted all the jewels of His nature into that cup of blessing which He offers, to us, saying: "Drink ye all of it." And my text implies, still further, that the true living, flashing centre of the glory of God is the love of God. Christendom is more than half heathen yet, and it betrays its heathenism not least in its vulgar conceptions of the Divine nature and its glory. The majestic attributes which separate God from man, and make Him unlike His creatures, are the ones which people toe often fancy belong to the glorious side of His character. Of power that weak Man hanging on the cross is a strange embodiment; but if we learn that there is something more godlike in God than power, then we can say, as we look upon Jesus Christ: "Lo I this is our God. We have waited for Him, and He will save us." Not in the wisdom that knows no growth, not in the knowledge which has no border-land of ignorance ringing it round about, not in the unwearied might of His arm, not in the exhaustless energy of His being, not in the unslumbering watchfulness of His all-seeing eye, not in that awful Presence wheresoever creatures are, not in any or in all of these lies the glory of God, but in His love. These are the fringes of the brightness; this is the central blaze. The gospel is the gospel of the glory of God, because it is all summed up in the one word — "God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son."

II. THE REVELATION OF GOD IN CHRIST IS THE BLESSEDNESS OF GOD. And so I would say, the philosopher's God may be all-sufficient and unemotional, the Bible's God "delighteth in mercy," rejoiceth in His gifts, and is glad when men accept them. But there is a great deal more than that here, if not in the word itself, at least in its connection, which connection seems to suggest that howsoever the Divine nature must be supposed to be blessed in its own absolute and boundless perfectness, an element in the blessedness of God Himself arises from His self-communication through the gospel to the world. All love delights in imparting. Why should not God's? He created a universe because He delights in His works and in having creatures on whom He can lavish Himself. The blessed God is blessed because He is God. But He is blessed too because He is the loving and therefore the giving God.

III. THE REVELATION OF GOD IN CHRIST IS GOOD NEWS FOR US ALL. It means this: here are we like men shut up in a beleaguered city, hopeless, helpless, with no power to break out or to raise the siege; provisions failing, death certain. Some of you older men and women remember how that was the case in that awful siege of Paris, in the Franco-German War, and what expedients were adopted in order to get some communication from without. And here to us, prisoned, comes, as it did to them, a despatch borne under a Dove's wing, and the message is this: God is love; and that you may know that He is, He has sent you His Son who died on the cross, the sacrifice for a world's sin. Believe it and trust it, and all your transgressions will pass away. Is not that good news? Is it not the good news that you need — the news of a Father, of pardon, of hope, of love, of strength, of heaven?

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

Show what the gospel of Christ is, by illustrating the description given of it in our text.

1. The gospel of Christ is "tidings." This is the most simple and proper conception we can form of it. It is not an abstract truth, it is not a merely speculative proposition, it is not an abstruse system of philosophy or ethics, which reason might have discovered or formed; but it is simply tidings, a message, a report, as the prophet styles it, announcing to us important intelligence, intelligence of a connected succession of facts; of facts which reason could never have discovered; intelligence of what was devised in the counsels of eternity for the redemption of our ruined race, of what has since been done in time to effect it, and of what will be done hereafter for its full completion when time shall be no more. It is true, that, in addition to these tidings, the gospel of Christ contains a system of doctrines, of precepts and of motives; but it is no less true, that all these doctrines, precepts and motives are founded upon the facts, communicated by those tidings in which the gospel essentially consists; and that to their connection with these facts, they owe all their influence and importance. Perfectly agreeable to this representation, is the account given us of the primitive preachers, and their mode of preaching the gospel. They acted like men who felt that they were sent, not so much to dispute and argue, as to proclaim tidings, to bear testimony to facts.

2. The tidings which constitute the gospel of Christ are glad tidings; tidings which are designed and perfectly adapted to excite joy and gladness in all who receive them. That they are so, is abundantly evident from the nature of the intelligence which they communicate. They are tidings of an all-sufficient Saviour for the self-destroyed. And must I prove that these are glad tidings? Does the sun shine? are circles round? is happiness desirable? is pain disagreeable? And is it not equally evident, that the tidings we are describing are glad tidings of great joy. But it may in some cases be necessary to prove even self-evident truths. To the blind it may be necessary to prove that the sun shines. And in a spiritual sense we are blind. We need arguments to convince us, that the Sun of righteousness is a bright and glorious luminary; that the tidings of His rising upon a dark world are joyful tidings. Such arguments it is easy to adduce, arguments sufficient to produce conviction even in the blind. If you wish for such arguments, go and seek them among the heathen, who never heard of the gospel of Christ. See those dark places of the earth, filled not only with the habitations, but with the temples of lust and cruelty. Enter into conversation with the inhabitants of these gloomy regions. Ask them who made the world; they cannot tell. Who created themselves? they know not. Ask them where happiness is to be found, they scarcely know its name. Ask for what purpose they were created, they are at a loss for a reply. They know neither whence they came, nor whither they are to go. View them in the night of affliction. No star of Bethlehem, with mild lustre, cheers or softens its gloom. If this be not sufficient, if you still doubt, go and contemplate the effect which these tidings have produced wherever they have been believed. We judge of the nature of a cause by the effects which it produces, and, therefore, if the reception of the gospel has always occasioned joy and gladness, we may justly infer that it is glad tidings. And has it not done this? What supported our trembling first parents, when sinking under the weight of their maker's curse, and contemplating with shuddering horrors the bottomless abyss into which they had plunged themselves and their wretched offspring? What enabled Enoch to walk with God? Here the well-spring of salvation was first opened to the view of mortals; here the waters of life, which now flow broad and deep as a river, first bubbled up in the sandy desert; and thousands now in heaven stooped and drank and live for ever, tasting the joys of heaven on earth. Then pause and say, whether the tidings which excite all this joy are not glad tidings? Have patriarchs and prophets been deceived? Were the apostles and primitive Christians mad? Are the angels of light infatuated or blind? Is the all-wise God in an error? Does He call upon all His creatures to rejoice, when no cause of joy exists? You must either assert this, or acknowledge that the gospel of Christ is glad tidings of great joy.

3. The gospel is not only glad tidings, but glorious glad tidings. That it is so, is asserted in other passages, as well as in our text. St. Paul, contrasting the gospel and the law, with a view to show the superiority of the former, observes that if the ministration of death was glorious, the ministration of the Spirit must be still more glorious; for if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. Glory is the display of excellence, or perfection. That the gospel contains a grand display of the moral excellences and perfections of Jehovah, will be denied by none but the spiritually blind, who are ignorant of its nature. If any doubt respecting the character of the gospel still exists in your minds, it must surely vanish when you recollect that it is —

4. The gospel of God, of the blessed God. What that is not glorious can proceed from the God of glory? What that is not calculated to give joy to all holy beings, can proceed from the God of happiness and peace?

II. CONSIDER ITS HUMAN ADMINISTRATION. It was committed, says the apostle, to my trust. But why? I answer, the gospel was no more designed to remain locked up in the breast of its author, than the rays of light were intended to remain in the body of the sun. In condescension to our weakness, therefore, God has been pleased to commit the gospel to individuals selected from our ruined race; individuals, who, having experienced its life-giving and beatifying power, are prepared to recommend it to their perishing fellow sinners. Of these individuals, the first to whom it was committed were the apostles; it was committed to them as a proclamation is committed by earthly princes to their heralds, not to be retained, but communicated.

(E. Payson.)

I. THE MANIFESTATION WHICH THE GOSPEL GIVES OF THE GLORY OF GOD. There are many sources whence we may derive some faint glimpses of the Divine glory. We may see it in the world around us, wherever we cast our eyes. This, then, we take it, is the glory of God; the revelation of His mercy and grace to sinful man. And this revelation is only to be found fully developed in "the glorious gospel of the blessed God." Here we see the attributes of Deity brought out with surpassing and undimmed lustre. Do we speak of Deity as the only wise God? We see this attribute also strikingly brought out in "the glorious gospel of the blessed God." Wisdom consists in the employment of the best means for the best ends; and although evident traces of this attribute are scattered all around us in the fitness of things to the manifest design contemplated, it is in the gospel alone that we discover the mightiest effort of Divine wisdom.

II. THE COMPREHENSIVENESS OF ITS BLESSINGS. In this point of view, also, we shall see significantly brought out the truth of the text, that it is "the glorious gospel of the blessed God." The blessings of the gospel are calculated to meet all the wants and longings of man as a pilgrim destined for eternity. Here knowledge is offered, which, while it is worthy of the highest intellect to expend its gifted powers in boundless research, is also adapted to the meanest capacity; here is knowledge far superior to any that the philosophers of Greece ever taught, or the proud sons of Rome ever knew; here is knowledge which can penetrate with its illuminating influences the innermost darkness of the understanding, refine the affections, purify the heart, and regulate the life of man in his upward aspirations for heaven. Do you feel yourselves guilty before God? In the gospel you may learn the way to obtain redemption through the blood of Christ, even the forgiveness of sins. But more than this: the gospel offers the cleansing and renewing influences of the sanctifying spirit. It belongs to the glorious gospel alone to afford substantial and enduring joy.

III. THE MAGNITUDE OF ITS TRIUMPHS. The triumphs of the gospel were soon made manifest, even in the earliest days of Christianity.

IV. THE SIMPLICITY OF ITS REQUIREMENTS. Now the grand scheme of the gospel presents us with many things inscrutable to our understandings, which things, like the angels, we "desire to look into" (1 Peter 1:12); but what affects us much more than all is, the simplicity of the means by which the most mighty and blessed results are accomplished. In this simplicity of arrangement, so available by all, the glory of the gospel shines conspicuously and pre-eminently forth. Herein we discover the master-wisdom of the great Contriver, and are led to ascribe "glory to God in the highest."

(W. J. Brock, B. A.)

I. I will consider WHAT WE ARE TO UNDERSTAND BY THE BLESSEDNESS OR HAPPINESS OF GOD, AND WHAT ARE THE ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS OF IT.

1. Perfect knowledge, to understand what it is that constitutes happiness, and to know when one is really possessed of it. For as he is not happy, who is so only in imagination or a dream, without any real foundation in the thing; for he may be pleased with his condition, and yet be far enough from being truly happy: so, on the other hand, he that has all other necessary ingredients of happiness, and only wants this, that he doth not think himself so, cannot be happy.

2. To perfect happiness is likewise required a full power to do whatever conduceth to happiness, and likewise to check and control whatever would be a hindrance and disturbance to it; and therefore no being is as happy as it can be, that is not all-sufficient, and hath not within its power and reach whatever is necessary to a happy condition, and necessary to secure and continue that happiness against all attempts and accidents whatsoever.

3. There is wisdom also required to direct this power, and manage it in such a manner, as it may effectually conduce to this end; and this is very different from mere power abstractedly considered; for one may have all the materials of happiness, and yet want the wisdom and skill to put them so together, as to frame a happy condition out of them; and he is not happy, who doth not thoroughly understand the proper method and means of compassing and securing his own happiness.

4. Another most considerable and essential ingredient of happiness is goodness; without which, as there can be no true majesty and greatness, so neither can there be any felicity or happiness.

5. Perfect happiness doth imply the exercise of all other virtues, which are suitable to so perfect a Being, upon all proper and fitting occasions; that is, that so perfect a Being do nothing that is contrary to or unbecoming His holiness and righteousness, His truth and faithfulness, which are essential to a perfect Being.

6. Perfect happiness implies in it the settled and secure possession of all those excellences and perfections; for if any, of these were liable to fail, or be diminished, so much would be taken off from perfect and complete happiness.

7. In the last place, infinite contentment and satisfaction, pleasure and delight, which is the very essence of happiness.

II. I propose, to show, THAT THIS ATTRIBUTE OF PERFECTION DOTH BELONG TO GOD, AND THAT THE DIVINE NATURE IS PERFECTLY BLESSED AND HAPPY; and this is so universal an acknowledgment of natural light, that it would be a very superfluous and impertinent work to trouble you with particular citations of heathen authors to this purpose; nothing being more frequent in them than to call the Deity, "the most happy and most perfect Being," and therefore happy, because felicity doth naturally result from perfection. It shall suffice to take notice of these two things out of heathen writers, to my present purpose.

1. That they accounted happiness so essential to the notion of a God, that this was one of the ways which they took to find out what properties were fit to attribute to God, and what not; to consider, what things are consistent with happiness, or inconsistent with it.

2. Whatever differences there were among the philosophers concerning the perfections of the Divine nature, they all agreed in the perfect felicity of it; even Epicurus himself, who so boldly attempted to strip the Divine nature of most of its perfections, by denying that God either made or governed the world; whereby he took away at once His being the first cause and original of all things, and His goodness likewise, and wisdom, and power, and justice, or, at least, made all these useless, by taking away all occasion and opportunity for the exercise of them; yet this man does frequently own, and profess to believe, the happiness of the Divine nature. For thus Lucretius, the great disciple of Epicurus, describes his opinion of the Divine nature: — "It is necessary that the Divine nature should be happy, and therefore altogether unconcerned in our affairs; free from all grief and danger, sufficient for itself, and standing in need of nobody, neither pleased with our good actions, nor provoked by our faults." This was c very false notion both of God and happiness, to imagine that the care of the world should be a pain and disturbance to infinite knowledge, and power, and goodness.

III. HOW FAR .CREATURES ARE CAPABLE OF HAPPINESS, AND BY WHAT WAYS AND MEANS THEY MAY BE MADE PARTAKERS OF IT. As we are creatures of a finite power, and limited understandings, and a mutable nature, we do necessarily want many of those perfections, which are the cause and ingredients of a perfect happiness. We are far from being sufficient for our own happiness; we are neither so of ourselves, nor can we make ourselves so by our own power; for neither are we wise enough for our own satisfaction. All the happiness that we are capable of is, by communication from Him, who is the original and fountain of it. So that, though our happiness depend upon another, yet if we be careful to qualify ourselves for it (and God is always ready to assist us by His grace to this purpose), it is really and in effect in our own power; and we are every whir as safe and happy in God's care and protection of us, as if we were sufficient for ourselves. But to what purpose, may some say, is this long description and discourse of happiness? How are we the wiser and the better for it? I answer, very much, in several respects.

1. This plainly shews us that atheism is a very melancholy and mischievous thing; it would take away the fountain of happiness, and the only perfect pattern of it.

2. If the Divine nature be so infinitely and completely happy, this is a very great confirmation of our faith and hope concerning the happiness of another life, which the Scripture describes to us, by the sight and enjoyment of God. So that the goodness of God is the great foundation of all our hopes, and the firmest ground of our assurance of a blessed immortality.

3. From what hath been said concerning the happiness of the Divine nature, we may learn wherein our happiness must consist; namely, in the image and in the favour of God: in the favour of God, as the cause of our happiness; and in the image of God, as a necessary inward disposition and qualification for it. All men naturally desire happiness, and seek after it, and are, as they think, travelling towards it, but generally they mistake their way. In a word, if ever we would be happy we must be like "the blessed God," we must be holy, and merciful, and good, and just, as He is, and then we are secure of His favour; "the righteous Lord loveth righteousness, and His countenance will behold the upright."

(Archbishop Tillotson.)

The word here translated blessed is the same that occurs in the beautitudes, signifying happy, and is to be distinguished from another word, also translated blessed, but signifying to be blessed or adored. This phrase " the happy God" stands out in bright contrast with the dark dream of Asia, that there were two gods — one good, one evil — Ormuzd and Ahriman, against which Jewish religion had witnessed from the beginning. The Jewish faith was distinguished from all other ancient beliefs by maintaining the unity and blessedness of the King Eternal, and by asserting the recent origin, the reptile quality, and the final destiny of evil.

I. Let us, then, observe THAT OUR OWN SOULS, IN THEIR PROFOUNDEST INSTINCTS, COMPEL THE BELIEF IN THE HAPPINESS OF THE ETERNAL MIND. Our minds revolt at once at the idea of a miserable everlasting cause. We cannot steadily conceive of an everlasting and boundless power otherwise than as resting on its own ocean depths in unfathomable bliss. We cannot even imagine it as suffering eternally, whether from weakness, or weariness, or pain, disappointment, or malignity, or through sympathy with everlasting misery of created beings. The necessity of indestructible being, which supports the eternal life, necessitates its blessed life. The very heathen, as in Homer, always speak and sing of "the happy gods." If we are to follow in our thoughts the instincts of our own nature (and we have no other means of thinking of the boundless life), then it is blessed for ever. For life here — its product — in all its orderly states is identical with enjoyment. It is disorder alone which produces misery. Think of the life on this planet, from its lowest to its highest ranges, from the dance of animalculae seen in the magnified drop of water up to the pleasures of the highest races that frequent the atmosphere, the land, the ocean. To breathe the pure air, to drink in the pleasant sunlight, to seek for and enjoy each its proper food, is the law of life, for if their life is short they have no sense of its shortness, and while it lasts it supplies the pleasures of motion, of rest, of vision, of action, and of love. For mankind there opens a new world of delights. Words fall us to describe the heights and depths of human enjoyment. What must that blessed existence be as a life of thought! To us thought is one of the chief and steadiest sources of enjoyment even amidst all our darkness, and deficiency of light, and baffled inquiries, and unsatisfied longings for intelligence. But what must be the delights of that infinite intellect, the energy, the reach, and the force of that Spirit, whence have sprung all the worlds, all the sciences, and all the minds in the universe. What must be that life of inexhaustible power in design, radiant within all the archetypes of beauty in form and colour, the mind in which have dwelt for eternity the patterns of all loveliness in earth and heaven; in which have bloomed the floral splendours of all the worlds; all the lovelinesses of figure, and form, and face, and scenery in earth, and sky, and air, and in the heaven of heavens? What, again, must be that life of creative energy from whose eternal love of life-giving have sprung all the delights of parental and life-giving love through the creation? What ideas can man form of the intrinsic and eternal blessedness of God before and apart from the creation? In that past creationless eternity, the Son, we are told, "was in the bosom of the Father"; He "had a glory with the Father or ever the world was." And in Him were gathered up all the thoughts and purposes of God as to creation, moral government, and redemption (John 17:5-24). This gives a ledge of solid ground for one further step upward in our thought. In the past eternity the self-existing wisdom and power revolved the whole infinite future of His manifestation to an everlasting universe, including the redemption of man, the incarnation of the Word; and this eternal counsel of love was the outcome of the holy and loving blessedness of the Sun of spirits. For God is love. He was never alone in eternity.

II. LET THIS SAME TEMPER APPEAR IN OUR WORSHIP. Let us "sing unto the Lord."

(E. White.)

I. THE IMPORT OF THE GOSPEL AS HERE CONVEYED. You are all doubtless aware that the true meaning of the word gospel is glad tidings, or good news. The gospel tells us of the grace and love of the Father, of the condescension and sacrifice of the Son, and of the mission and influence of the Holy Ghost. "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son," etc. This is good news for all men, and this is the gospel. We all like to hear glad tidings. The intelligence of the relief of Lucknow and the salvation of our countrywomen and children sent a thrill of joy and gratitude throughout the country — it was good news. But no tidings ever proclaimed to men can equal in sublimity, and joyousness, and importance, the good news of the gospel.

1. The gospel is good tidings to man as a rational and intelligent being. The possession of a thinking soul is the distinction and glory of man, and knowledge is necessary for the welfare of his soul. The desire for know. ledge under various modifications is one of the natural desires of the human heart. Nowhere is there such a treasury of the highest knowledge for man as in the gospel of Jesus Christ. On the loftiest and most important themes it yields the surest information — the only information which can fill and satisfy the human soul; throwing the purest light on the pilgrimage of man; unfolding his dignity, his duty, and his danger; dispelling doubts, dissipating darkness, and offering certainty on questions about which men have perplexed themselves in vain.

2. Further, the gospel is good news to man as a moral and sinful being. Man is a moral being, and everywhere gives evidence of the possession of a moral nature. In all countries, amongst all peoples there are moral judgments, distinctions between right and wrong, or between what it believed to be right and wrong. The presence of conscience is universal. It is a sad and solemn truth that man is a sinner, and that he is guilty. But the gospel brings good news to him. It tells him of a Divine provision by which he may be pardoned and saved. It tells him of a sacrifice which has been offered for sin — a sacrifice of boundless value, which has met all the requirements of righteousness, and laid the foundation for mercy. How glorious the news for a guilty soul! And this is not all. Man, as a sinner, is not only guilty, but polluted, more or less, under the power of sin. How shall he be purified from this pollution, rescued from this dominion? The same gospel that tells him of pardon, tells him also of purity. "The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin." And further —

3. It is good news to man as a social and a suffering being. Man's life here is, more or less, in company with others, a pilgrimage of sorrow. He is born to trouble. And perhaps sometimes you are perplexed, and strange thoughts come into your mind, so that you call the proud happy, and the wealthy blessed, and wonder what kind of a Being it is that governs the world with such apparent inequality. Is this world left to chance, or left to the sport of fiends? The gospel comes to our relief, and tells us that an Almighty Father governs all; that He numbers the very hairs of our heads, and that not even a sparrow can fall to the ground without His permission. It tell us that now we are in a state of probation and discipline, and provides the richest consolation, with the assurance that God is too wise to err, and too good to be unkind.

4. The gospel is glad tidings to man as a dying and immortal being — dying, and yet immortal. Yes, both. It is the gospel only, — not philosophy, not reason, not infidelity, not atheism, — but the gospel of Christ alone that can teach us to say and sing, "O Death, where is thy sting? O Grave, where is thy victory?"

II. THE CHARACTER OF THE GOSPEL AS HERE GIVEN. It is glorious — "the glorious gospel." Few descriptive terms are more commonly used, and yet, perhaps, none more difficult of exact definition than "glorious." There are many kinds of glory recognized and spoken of in the world, and many things called glorious. There is regal glory, military glory, political glory, intellectual glory. We speak of a glorious day, a glorious scene, a glorious achievement, a glorious victory. It is expressive of lustre, excellence, and beauty. Glory belongs to God; and that which belongs to Him or comes from Him is alone truly glorious. Nowhere has the word so fitting and true an application as in reference to the gospel of God. It is the expression to us of the supremacy, greatness, and moral excellence and perfection of the Almighty Father, and is especially glorious in two respects: as a revelation, and as a remedy.

1. The gospel is glorious as a revelation. It makes known to us, what we nowhere else can learn, the loftiest truths connected with the character of God, and with our relationship to Him. It is the highest revelation of God, and of His law, of His government, and grace. Nature speaks of Him, and providence speaks of Him, but it is the gospel only that fully unfolds His moral character — reveals His grace. There, too, we see — as nowhere else can be seen — the value of man's soul, the terrible act of sin, the majesty of moral law, and the glory that may yet be ours. By the revelation of such momentous truths, the gospel may well be designated "glorious." But it is not only in the truths revealed, but in the manner and mode of the revelation that the gospel is especially glorious. "God, who at sundry times, and in divers manners, spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son." It is not a mere proclamation from heaven, nor a Divine theory, nor a set of holy doctrines, but a revelation of facts — facts the most wonderful and glorious in the world's history. It is this especially that constitutes the distinction and grandeur of the gospel. "Great is the mystery of godliness, God was manifested in the flesh." The full and final revelation is in Jesus Christ, in what He was, and what He did. To rest on His love, to trust His righteousness, to look up into His radiant countenance, is to see the glory of the gospel.

2. The gospel is glorious as a remedy. It is a remedy, perfect and sufficient for human care and crime, for sin, and wretchedness, and death. We have seen that something is wrong with humanity; for there is everywhere the consciousness of evil and guilt. The gospel of God meets that which is wrong and sets it right. It is a perfect remedy, never-failing if fairly tried. In its universality, its adaptation and its efficacy, we see its glory. That gospel is, indeed, a glorious remedy for all, good news to the thoughtless, the outcast, the prodigal, the penitent. It contains within itself the test of its truth, its adaptation, and its power. Try it.

III. THE DESIGN OF THE GOSPEL IS HERE INFERRED. It is "the glorious gospel of the blessed God." The word that is rendered blessed, might perhaps be more familiarly rendered happy, for that is its meaning. The good news about Jesus as the Saviour, and the Friend of sinners, is from the blessed, the happy God. God is infinitely happy; nothing can disturb His serenity, or interfere with His enjoyment, or hinder His pleasure. But happiness is eminently diffusive. A cheerful, happy man will soon make his presence felt in any company; if we may so say, he cannot help it; his influence will be from the outgoing of his own nature. Thus the gospel is to us the expression of God's blessedness, and His provision for the happiness of His sinful creatures. We learn, then, that its design in reference to men is to make them happy — truly, eternally happy. Oh! that they would believe this and turn to the gospel of God as to the fountain and means of solid, durable enjoyment. Happiness, true, abiding happiness, can only be found in the glorious gospel of the blessed God. Would you then be happy, happy in your souls, and in your homes, in your daily toil, and duty, happy even when you have to pass through scenes of sorrow, and when the shades of death fall upon you? Accept the good news of the gospel. No intelligence can affect you, except it is believed. The best earthly tidings will neither sadden nor elevate if you do not credit them. So every man must receive God's message, and believe the gospel for himself if he would feel its preciousness, and realize its power.

(J. Spence, D. D.)

I had a great affection for Algernon Wells, and I now distinctly call to mind that blended pathos and humour which gave an exquisite charm to his unaffected manly character. He had, like , "the gift of tears," and was apt to weep on public occasions when his heart was touched, or his carefully finished plans were interrupted; but he had a fund of humour in conversation, and could pour forth sunny smiles and hearty, healthy laughs, such as I do not think often irradiated and warmed the countenance of the angelic doctor. His death was like his life, full of faith and love and joy; and when his end was drawing nearer than he apprehended, he said to Dr. Burder: "My dear friend, if it please God, I hope to be able to preach as I have never yet done. Not that I reproach myself with having concealed or forgotten it. No, but more than ever I would fain speak of it as I have thought and felt here. I would make it the first thing, the pre-eminent. All gathered knowledge, all history, all poetry, all pleasant thoughts and happy things — all that I have, and am, and know, and think, shall range round and illustrate, but be subordinate to this the glorious gospel! The more I think of it in my long and quiet ponderings, the more precious and needful it becomes to me!"

(J. Stoughton, D. D.)

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