1. Supposed not expressed
Sturtevant on Beddome's Preaching 2
Mr. Beddome also gives us an instance to our present purpose, in vol. i., p. 145, on Ps. cix. 66, “I have believed thy commandments."
I. What is implied in believing God's commandments?
1. That we are convinced of their reality and existence.
2. That we are persuaded of their excellency and perfection.
3. That we admit their perpetual authority.
4. That we have a holy dread of their sanctions.
5. That we rely on divine grace to fulfil them.
II. The necessity of this faith, Heb. xi. 6.
2. Expository exordiums
Beddome on Col. i. 27: “Christ in you the hope of glory.”
"Glory is the greatest word in our language; and "the God of glory" is one of the most magnificent titles given to the Supreme Being in the sacred scriptures. No word is so sweet, so full and comprehensive." Glory is the object of all true believers. The hope of it is wrought in them by the Holy Spirit, and they are begotten to it by the resurrection of Christ from the dead. Whatever else they relinquish, they will not part with this; they live in hope, and die in hope. It is this which stimulates them to action, and supports them under their various afflictions.
Christ dwells in all true believers as a principle of spiritual life and action. The second Adam is a quickening spirit, giving life wherever his presence is enjoyed; and, as the body without the soul is dead, so the soul without Christ is dead also. All our spiritual performances, and all our capacity for what is good, are from him; and, without a vital and intimate union with him, we can do nothing.
"Know you not" says the apostle, “that Christ is in you, except you be reprobates?" John xv. 5; 2 Cor. xiii. 5. The union between Christ and believers is not indeed essential, like that which subsists between the sacred Three, though with that it is in some respects compared, John xvii. 21. Nor is it a personal union, like that between the divine and human nature of our Lord. Nor is it merely an operative or influential union, like that between God and all his creatures ; "for in him we live and move and have our being." It is a mystical and spiritual union, a union of affection, interest, and design. It is also mutual and reciprocal : he dwells in us and we in him; he sups with us and we with him : and because he lives we shall live also, John xiv. 23; Gal. ii. 20 : Rev. iii. 20.
A similar introduction is furnished by the same author on Acts xi. 23 ; “Who, when he had come, and had seen the grace of God, was glad," &c. The discourse is strictly observational, and a narrative introduction would have been very suitable, but in that case the necessary exposition must have supplied the materials for the first observation,
By “the grace of God” in scripture is generally meant his favour to the unworthy, in opposition to merit and desert. It supposes that God is under no constraint in exercising mercy, and that man has no claims upon him. It is the only source of all the great blessings we enjoy in this world and of all the blessings we shall enjoy in the next. This grace is displayed in our regeneration, sanctification, and preservation; and, when its subjects are completely glorified, grace will be fully satisfied. Faith is necessary to salvation, but does not lessen its freeness; for that also is matter of free favour, as Eph. ii. 8, 9.
The term grace is however sometimes put for the effect of God's free favour towards us, and is so to be understood in our text. Considering the favour of God as the original source of our salvation, it is grace in the fountain : in its operations it is grace in the stream: or say grace in the principle and in the product. In both respects it is absolutely free, without money and without price. It anticipates our deserts and endeavours, and far exceeds our highest hopes.
It is evident that where this grace is it will be seen, and that the appearance of it in others is matter of joy to Christians, and especially to faithful ministers.
3. RISE FROM SPECIES TO GENUS. Thus Beddome, on Rom. ii. 15, "Their consciences also bearing witness" takes occasion from a particular kind of witnessing to discuss, in his introduction, the more general idea. The author says,
At the mouth of two or three witnesses, it is said, shall every word be established. Thus the record which God has given of his Son is confirmed by "three that bear witness in heaven, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit;" and "by three on earth, the Spirit, the water, and the blood." Thus also there will be credible and authentic witnesses against the sinner in the great day : God himself, who knows our secreti thoughts, is an eye and ear witness of all we do and say. Also the divine work, especially the holy and righteous law of God; “for," says our Lord to the Jews, "there is one that accuseth, even Moses, in whom you trust.” The word accuses the penitent sinner to himself and the impenitent sinner to God. Conscience also, which will then be freed from every corrupt bias, and roused from its present state of stupefaction. There are times, even in this world, when conscience is aroused to do its office, and in such a manner as to make the sinner tremble. The apostle is speaking of the heathen world when he says, “Their consciences also bearing them witness" but it may be applied to all mankind.
He then returns to the particular subject of the text. The language is rough, but it suits a certain subject.