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2 COR. iv. 3.
"If our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them which are lost."
In the preceding chapter, the apostle St. Paul had been comparing the knowledge of the way to please God, and the hopes of future glory, which the Jews had before the coming of Jesus Christ upon earth, with the knowledge and the hopes which he and all Christians had after Jesus Christ had come; and he showed how greatly superior the advantages of the Christian were in every way; for," saith he, "if that which was done away"the forms and ceremonies of the Jewish
law, which at Christ's coming were abolished, "was glorious," as being of God's own appointment-as having been ordained with great terror, and very awful signs of God's power and majesty, upon the Mount Sinai-and as shadowing forth, by continued types or emblems, that Messiah, who shall come in the fulness of time to deliver the world from the bondage of sin and the power of Satan; if this law, which was only to last for a certain time, was nevertheless, for these and other like reasons, a glorious and a holy thing; "much more that which remaineth is glorious:" much more the Christian faith, the religion in which we, brethren, by God's mercy, have been brought up-a religion which shall remain to the end of time, and which never shall be succeeded by any more perfect rule, either of faith or of practice, as long as this world shall last, "much more" must such a religion "be glorious”— glorious in itself as showing God's justice, God's mercy, God's wisdom, and
every perfection of Godhead "in the face of Jesus Christ"-glorious in its present effects as conquering the power of Satan, and reversing the curse of death pronounced against sin-raising sinners from spiritual death to life and holiness, and creating them anew after the image of God-glorious in its consequences, as bearing those who believe in it, safely through the changes and chances of this life, to that place whither their Master and Lord, Jesus Christ, hath gone before, where they shall no more "see through a glass darkly," but "face to face." then," continues the apostle, have such hope, we use great plainness of speech:" there was no occasion for him to speak in difficult or mysterious language-he had nothing to conceal—nay, rather, the more plainly he preached the unsearchable riches of Christ, the better he would discharge his duty. "Therefore, seeing we have this ministry," he continues, in the beginning of the fourth chapter, "as as we have received mercy,
we faint not; but have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but, by manifestation of the truth, commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God." And, brethren, it is " by manifestation of the truth" that we, the commissioned ambassadors of Christ, desire to commend the word to your consciences; it is not by keeping back any but smooth and pleasant words, which may gratify ears that are offended by plainness of speech, that we can either commend ourselves to your consciences, or satisfy our own. We desire, according to the ability which God has given us, to set forth the whole truth before you, to explain the mercy and the terrors of the Lord-to show what you must do to be saved—what are your grounds of hope-what you should believe, and how you should in all things walk so as to please God. Having done this, nothing more remains for us, as ministers, to do, but to pray for you. To
believe or not to believe-to repent or not to repent-to choose your portion here, or to seek for the treasure that faileth not, reserved in heaven for you-must be left for you to determine for yourselves; for the apostle continues, in those solemn words which I have chosen for my text, 'If our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost; in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine upon them."
First, then, let me endeavour to explain to you what St. Paul means by the words, "our gospel,"—that is, the gospel which we apostles preach. It occurs twice in connexion with my text. St. Paul first calls it "our Gospel," and then "the glorious Gospel of Christ.” The word 66 Gospel," then, signifies "glad tidings," an announcement, or publishing, of something which was full of joy and gladness to mankind. Now, what were the glad tidings which St. Paul and the