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spirits, both in flesh and without flesh, both upon earth and in hell, neglect him or profess themselves open enemies to him, yet he is precious; precious not only in himself, not only to his father, not only to the choirs of heaven, who behold his full glory without a veil, but precious to some even in our guilty world; precious to a sort of persons of our sinful race, who make no great figure in mortal eyes, who have no idea of their own goodness; who are mean, unworthy creatures, in their own view, and who are generally despicable in the view of others; I mean he is precious to all true believers. And though they are but few comparatively in our world; though there are, I am afraid, but few additions


I made to them from among us; yet, blessed be God, there are some believers even upon our guilty globe; and I doubt not but I am now speaking to some such.

My believing brethren, (if I may venture to claim kindred with you,) I am now entering upon a design, which I know you have much at heart: and that is, to make the blessed Jesus more precious to you, and if pos. sible, to recommend him to the affections of the crowd that neglect him. You know, alas! you love him but little; but very little, compared to his infinite excellency and your obligations to him ; and you know that multitudes love him not at all. Whatever they profess, their practice shows that their carnal minds are enmity against him. This you often see, and the sight affects your hearts. It deeply affects you to think so much excellency should be neglected and despised, and so much love meet with such base returns of ingratitude. And you cannot but pity your poor fellow sinners, that they are so blind to the brightest glory and their own highest interest, and that they should perish, through wilful neglect of their deliverer; perish, as it were, within reach of the hand stretched out to save them. This is indeed a very affecting, very lamentable, and alas! a very common sight. And will you not then bid me God speed this day in my attempt to recommend this precious, though neglected, Jesus? Will you not contribute your share towards my success in so pious and benevolent a design by your earnest prayers ? Now, shall not the interceding sigh rise to heaven from every heart, and every soul be cast into a praying posture?' I shall hope

to discharge my duty with more comfort and advantage, if you afford me this assistance. And surely such of you cannot deny me this aid, who desire that Jesus may become still more precious to your own hearts, and that he may be the object of universal love from all the sons of men, who are now disaffected to him.

To you that believe, he is precious-He?-Who? Is it mammon, the god of the world ? Is it pleasure, or honor? No; none of these is the darling of the believing heart. But it is he who is the uppermost in every pious heart; he, who is first in the thoughts and affections; he whom every friend of his must know, even without a name; if it be but said of him, he is precious, this is enough to distinguish him from all others.

“ If it be he the apostle means, may every

believer say, who is most precious to my soul, then I can easily point him out, though without a name. It must be Jesus, for O! it is he that is most precious to me." The connection also of the text directs us to the same person. It is he the apostle means, whom he had just described as a living stone, chosen of God, and precious; the chief corner-stone, the great foundation of the church, that spiritual temple of God, so stately and glorious, and reaching from earth to heaven; it is this precious stone, this heavenly jewel, that is precious to believers. “ To you that believe, he is precious," i.e. he is highly

You esteem him one of infinite worth, and he has the highest place in your affections. He is dearer to your hearts than all other persons and things. The word run requires a still stronger translation: “ To you that believe, he is preciousness ;" preciousness in the abstract; all preciousness, and nothing but preciousness; a precious stone without one blemish. Or it may be translated with a little variation, “ To you that believe, he is honor.” It confers the highest honor upon you to be related to him; and you esteem it your highest honor to sustain that relation. Though Jesus and his cross are names of reproach in the unbelieving world, you glory in them, and they reflect a real glory upon

Or, “To you that believe, there is honor." Honor is now conferred upon you in your being built as

valued by you.

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* The pronoun be, is not in the original; but the passage reads thus : To you who believe, honor.



living stones in the temple of God upon this precious foundation ; and honor is reserved for you in heaven, where the crown of righteousness awaits you.

“ To you which believe, he is precious ;" that is to say, the value of this precious stone is, alas ! unknown to the crowd. It is so far from being precious, that it is a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence; a stone | disallowed of men, (v. 4,) rejected even by the builders, (v. 7,) but you believers, ye happy few, have another estimate of it. Faith enables you to see the glories of the blessed Jesus ; and, when you know him through this medium, you cannot but love him. The blind world neglect the Lord of glory, because they know him not: but you believers know him, and therefore to you he is precious. Faith presents him to your view in a just Jight, and directs you to form a proper estimate of him. It is truly lamentable that such real excellency should be despised; but so it will be with the world till they believe. The mere speculative recommendation of their reason, the prepossessions of education in his favor, and the best human means, are not sufficient to render Jesus precious to them. Nothing but saving faith can effect this.

To you therefore which believe he is precious. The illative particle, therefore, shows this passage is an inference from what went before ; and the reasoning seems to be this : “ This stone is precious to God, therefore it is precious to you that believe. You have the same esti. mate of Jesus Christ which God the Father has; and for that very reason he is precious to you, because he is precious to him.” That this is the connection will appear, if

you look back to the 4th and 6th verses; where you find Jesus described as “a chief corner-stone, laid in Zion, elect or chosen, and precious; disallowed, indeed, of men, but chosen of God, and precious." * Men wickedly disapprove this stone, and even many of the professed builders of his church reject him. This, says the apostle, must be granted. But this is no objection to his real worth. He is precious to God, who knows him best, and who is a perfect judge of real excellency; and The word used in ver. 4 and 6 is a compound, rendered precious" in

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And this is an inti nation that the text is an inference from

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the above verses.

for that very reason he is precious to you that believe. Faith teaches you to look upon persons and things in the same light in which God views them ; it makes your sentiments conformed to his. Christ is the Father's beloved Son, in whom he is well pleased ; and he is your beloved Savior, in whom you are well pleased.

Is it any wonder that Jesus should be precious to believers, when he is so precious in himself, and in his offices, so precious to the angelic armies, and so precious to his Father?

1. He is precious in himself. He is Immanuel, Godman; and consequently, whatever excellences belong, either to the divine or human nature, centre in him. If wisdom, power, and goodness, divine or human, created or uncreated, can render him worthy of the highest affection, he has a just claim to it. Whatever excellences, natural or moral, appear in any part of the vast universe, they are but faint shadows of his beauty and glory. All things were created by him and for him : and through him all things consist : Col. i. 16, 17. And whatever excel. lences are in the effect must be eminently in the cause. You do not wonder nor censure, when you see men delighted with the glories of the sun, and the various luminaries of the sky; you do not wonder nor blame when they take pleasure in the beautiful prospects of nature, or in that rich variety of good things which earth and sea and every element furnishes for the support of man, or the gratification of his senses: you do not wonder and blame, when they are struck with moral beauty, when you see them admire and approve wisdom, benevolence, justice, veracity, meekness and mercy: you never think it strange, much less censurable, that men should love these things and count them precious; and can you be astonished, can you ridicule or find fault that Jesus is precious to poor believers? If the copy be so fair and lovely, who would not love the original, that has eyes to behold it? Believers see so much of the worth of Christ as is sufficient to captivate their hearts, and convince them of their guilt in loving him no more ;

and the clearer their views are of him, the more are they mortified at the criminal defects of their love! for 0! they see he deserves infinitely more!

2. The Lord Jesus is precious in his offices. His me.

diatorial office is generally subdivided into three parts; namely, that of a prophet, of a priest, and of a king; and how precious is Christ in each of these!

As a prophet, how sweet are his instructions to a bewildered soul! How precious the words of his lips, which are the words of eternal life! How delightful to sit and hear him teach the way of duty and happiness, revealing the Father, and the wonders of the invisible state! How transporting to hear him declare upon what terms an offended God may be reconciled! a discovery beyond the searches of all the sages and philosophers of the heathen world. How reviving is it to listen to his gracious promises and invitations ; promises and invitations to the poor, the weary, and heavy laden, the broken-hearted, and even to the chief of sinners! The word of Christ has been the treasure, the support, and joy of believers in all ages. “I have esteemed the words of his mouth,” say Job, “ more than my necessary food.” Job xxiii. 12. It is this precious word the psalmist so often and so highly celebrates. He celebrates it as

more to be desired than gold; yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey, and the honey-comb:” Psal. xix. 10. “O how I love thy law!

says he; “it is my meditation all the day:" Psal. cxix. 97. “How sweet are thy words unto taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth:” ver. 103. “ The law of thy mouth is better than thousands of gold and silver : ver. 72. “Behold, I have longed after thy precepts:” ver. 40. “Thy statutes have been my song in the house of my pilgrim

ver. 54. “In my affliction thy word hath quickened me:

ver. 50.

“ Unless thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in my affliction :" ver. 92. This is the language of David, in honor of this divine Prophet, near three thousand years ago, when Christ had not revealed the full gospel to the world, but only some rays of it shone through the veil of the Mosaic dispensation. And must not believers now, who live under the more complete and clear instructions of this great prophet, entertain the same sentiments of him ? Yes, to such of you as believe, even in this age, he is most precious.

But this external objective instruction is not all that Christ as a prophet communicates; and indeed, did he

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