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ing them equally unfit, to judge what doctrines they mould receive, as illiterate patients, what medicines they nould apply; - and reckoning it no more competent for them, to chufe: their own paftors, than it is for children, to pitch upon .pedagogues for themselves :) without pretending, at farther length, to determine the boundaries of their privileges, - let our people have unceasing proofs of the most tender concern for their peace and edification,
Though we give them leave to distinguish, ac. cording to the scriptures and our own standards, between truth and error; though we permit them to judge what minifterial gifts are most adapted to their capacities; though we hear such remonftrances as are founded upon just claims of right; and though we grant such redress of grievances as is competent for us, and consistent with our character and duty; do we any more, than-obe
come all things to all men ?"
Let the clergy of other churches be determined, if they will, in their decisions, by the wisdom of this world, the opinioas and commandments of men ; --by attachment to party, love of politics, defire of gain, or uniformity of conduct, without regard to divine authority at all; but, let us-regardless of every other consideration, of every lower motive, ... let us make conicience of iquariog all our decisions by " the law and the testimony."
While their statutes are founded upon-" Thus
faith the wisdom of human legisla-ures :- Thus “i faith the councils of the fathers ; Thus faith " the Pope, or the People;”-let us glory in founding. ours upon
- THUS SAITH THE « LORD."
Nay, to whatever discoveries other ecclesiastics may pretend,---until we fee, from our bibles, that
disappointing, discouraging, and distressing the mem. bers of Christ ; that licencing and ordaining men of doubtful or dangerous principles; that protecting the enemies of the reformed fyftem, weakning the hands of it's best friends, forwardness in censuring disobedience to our own orders, delicacy in finding fault with the breach of God's commands, and fixing paftoral relations without the least prospect of uses fulness; until we fee that an imitation of such meafures would feem good to the Holy Gbost,- I trust it will never--never seem good to us.
By keeping, therefore, in our own spheres, and continuing to act in character, the disciples will still have cause to rejoice" for the confolation,”-whenever our decrees are announced ;+diffenfions, meriting the smallest notice, will be prevented ;--and the · unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace," happily preserved.
S E R
s, in our times, men have different notions of
Christianity ;-during our Lord's perfonal ministry, they had various opinions concerning Christ himself. Some faid, that he was Elias
S; " and others, Jeremias ; or one of the prophets,"
His disciples, alone, had just apprehensions of him, and acknowleged him to be " Christ, the Son " of the living God;" verf. 16. So belivers, only, are indowed with the saving knowlege of Christ and his Father. “For it is given unto" such “to
* This fermon was preached on the 20th of April, 1769, at the admission of the reverend Mr. Collia Campbell to the parish of Renfrew.
“ know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven; " but to" others “ it is not given.” Chap. xiii. 11.
Peter and his fellow.apoftles were indebted, for this faving knowlege, to Christ's Father and their Father, to his God and their God; "for flesh and “ blood (faid our Lord to Simon) hath not revealed “ it upto thee, but my Father which is in heaven," verf. 17. In like manner, that knowlege must flow.--uniformly flow, in the same channel to other finners. For no man knoweth the Sou but the " Father," chap. xi. 27. and “no man can come " unto” Christ“ except it be “given unto him “of” his “ Father," John vi. 65.
In calling and distinguishing Peter, by name, our Lord discovered the holy delight he had, in the firmness of faith, intrepidity of zeal, and success, as an apostle, whereof that name was expressive. “ I say unto thee, that thou art Peter,” verf. 18. Mewing us, that as he knoweth and distinguish ath, fo," he calleth his own sheep by name,” John. x. 3. And Thewing, that our Lord is wonderfully pleased-highly charmed, with their graces, attainments, and performances, --- saying, “ Let me "s see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; "s for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is " camely," Song ii. 14.
Having taken such notice of Peter's name,-in the words of my text, our Lord directed him and his brethren to a more glorious object, whose
name is as ointment poured forth ;” and from whose lavour, the persons, the names, the principles and the lives, of men derive all their exceljence and value. “Upon this,” rock said he, pointing at himself, and not upon Simon Bar-jona, “I “ will build my church.”
What we propose, in a dependance upon grace, is,
I. To consider what Christ, is, according to this passage, - A rock.
II. What he, herc, promiseth,-Upon this rock, will build my church.
III. To improve the subject, in a suitableness to the occasion of our prelent meeting.
I. We are to consider whit Christ is, according to this passage--a rock.
Here, it may be observed, in general, that strictly fpeaking, the description of this glorious person, is a talk infinitely beyond the capacity of angels themselves; consequently, that a man of like passions with others, is by no means equal unto it. For, " who (lays one inspired writer) can declare his “ generation ?" If. liii. 8. And, says another, speaking of the Father, “What is his name, or * what is his Son's name, if thou can't tell ?” Prov. XXX. 3.
In the name, however, which our Lord here takes to himself, two things may be observed, in way of illustration,
1. That Canaan, being a rocky mountaneous country, afforded the happielt (helter froin fuidea irruptions, and unexpected attacks of enemies.
The Old-testament scriptures furnith us with many instances, wherein the Ifraelites retired to one or another rock, in the land of promil?, for safety, when furprized, or reduced to extremity. Accordingly, Balaam, alluding to this very circunstance, took up his parable, and laid of the Kenires, “Strong “ is thy dwelling-plaệt, and thou purtest thy neit in
a rock,” Num. xxiv, 21
Agreeable to this metaphor, our Lord's very name, Jesus« - the Saviour, is expressive of the piotection and safety that sinners find, in his righte. ouinels, perfectious and providence as Immanuel ; NS