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their discipleship. To be a disciple of Christ, a man must do as nearly as possible as Christ did; make rational calculations like him whom he calls his master, and endeavor to walk as he walked. Therefore, to give the right sense of the above parables, I first apply them to Christ, and then to the character of a disciple.
First, Christ is represented as follows:
1. By a man who undertook to build a tower. By a tower, I understand that building of which Christ himself is the chief corner stone.
2. By first setting down and counting the cost, to see if he had sufficient to finish, I understand, that Christ counted the great cost of the work which he undertook in the salvation of a world, and though it was immense, knew he was able to accomplish it.
2. That, having taken those precautions, he will not at last be mocked for undertaking more than he was able to accomplish.
4. The Saviour is represented by a king going to make war with another king, whom I understand to be the father of lies, or the king of the bottomless pit.
5. The Saviour, or Prince of Peace, consulteth whether he be able to meet his foe; and though he had not the numbers in his service which his adversary commanded, he discovered, by divine wisdom, one only method of victory; which was by laying down his life. Offering it in the high places of the field, he could effect the death of his adversary, and having power to take his life again, which his enemy had not, his victory would be worthy of the highest glory and nonor, and eternally complete.
6. Under the consideration of these circumstances, we are not to suppose that our glorious Redeemer will ever sue for conditions of capitulation with the father of lies, nor ask for an armistice until the man of sin is destroyed by the breath of divine truth, and consumed by the brightness of the coming of him, who cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah ; who is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength; who speaketh in righteousness, and is mighty to save.
Secondly. In applying the parables to show the requisitions in the character of a disciple of Christ I
1. As Christ had before told the people, that unless a man should take up his cross, and bear it, and follow him, he could not be his disciple; so he shows, in the parable, that unless they calculated on as high an expense as the loss of their lives, they could not be his disciples, as he had calculated that expense for himself.
2. That if they expected to be builders in the christian temple, they must not only dig deep and lay their foundation upon a rock, but must look for sufficiency for accomplishing their labor from the grace of the great Redeemer.
3. That a profession of christianity, without those calculations, would tend to their own shame, and a dishonor of the cause which they professed to espouse.
4. That if they could not calculate on a victory over the adversary, by way of the cross, but undertook the contest under any other consideration, they were not so wise as a king who would send an embassage to his foe, and sue for conditions of peace, knowing that he was not able to contend with double numbers.
That Christ's ransomed church is represented by a building, may be shown by the following scriptures: 1 Cor. iii, 9, Ye are God's building.' 16. Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the spirit of God dwelleth in you?' 2 Cor. vi, 16: And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God: as God hath said, I will dwell in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.' Eph. ü, 19–22: 'Now, therefore, ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building, fitly framed together, groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord; in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the spirit.'
The rearing of this mystical temple of God, suggests the following subjects of discussion :
1. The materials of which this building is composed:
2. The situation from which these materials are taken, and their preparation for this temple; and,
3. The skill, and operative power of the builder to complete the work.
1. The materials of which this building is composed, are mankind under the denominations of the Jew and the Gentile world. This idea is found in the in
troduction of the above quotation from Ephesians; see verse 11, and onward: 'Wherefore, remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called uncircumcision by that which is called the circumcision in the flesh made by hands; and that at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenant of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world; but now, in Christ Jesus, ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain, one new man, so making peace; and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby; and came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one spirit unto the Father.'
Here we see that the apostle represents the Jews under the denomination of the circumcision, and the Gentiles under that of the uncircumcision. These, he argues, are made one by him who is our peace; and by observing the connexion of the argument, we find that these two, made one, are the materials of which the before mentioned temple of God is composed.
2. The situation from which these materials are taken, and their preparation for this temple, we also learn from the arguments in the above quotation. The situation of the Gentiles is represented as follows: Without Christ, being aliens from the commmon
wealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenant of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.' This was the situation of the Gentiles. The Jews are represented as being only circumcised in the flesh, with hands; which the same apostle tells us availeth nothing in Christ. The method by which these materials are prepared for this temple, is expressed in the following words: And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby.' Reconciliation to God is the preparation necessary. How was this reconciliation effected? Was it by any thing wrought by these unreconciled people? No. The apostle says that Christ did this by the cross. How was the enmity destroyed? By the cross. What was the consequence? Peace was preached to them who were afar off, and to them who were nigh. The universality of this reconciliation, the apostle mentions in a number of passages, particularly, Col. i, 19, 20: For it pleased the Father, that in him should all fulness dwell; and (having made peace through the blood of his cross) by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.'
It being evident that the plan of reconciliation to God, embraces the whole human family, it may be well,
3. To inquire whether this reconciler has sufficient skill and power to effect so great a work. See Eph. ii. 4, 5, 6: But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ; (by grace are ye saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.' Here the apostle produces instances,