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Paul had said, Christ crucified. This was not an argument which philosophers would understand, and must be established by some other influence than that of human wisdom. He now brings forward another proof:-the condition of the disciples and the teachers of the Gospel:' not commonly persons of rank and power, but humble and unknown: such as men would be more likely to despise than to follow. Not many of them were wise by human teaching, or mighty by earthly power, or noble, by rank and birth; though they had that better wisdom which cometh from God, and that highest nobility which belongs to his adopted children. There were indeed amongst them Sergius Paulus, the governor of Paphos,” and Dionysius the Areopagite,” and of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.” There were not wanting some of better rank, who sought the honour which God bestows, and embraced the religion which men called foolishness. But the larger number belonged to that class which followed the Lord Jesus when the elders and Pharisees rejected him: “the common people, who heard him gladly,” had fewer prejudices, were more open to conviction, because they had less to renounce when they renounced this world. The success of a cause which was thus maintained, without those earthly means which might be expected to prevail, proved plainly that the strength of the cause was in God, and in no other.
* “Both teachers and disciples, of an uneducated sort.” Chrys., whose homily on this passage contains a very powerful and wellconducted argument.
* Acts xiii. 12. * Acts xvii. 31. ‘Acts xvii. 12.
* Mark xii. 27.
27. But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
28. And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
29. That no flesh should glory in his presence.
“As Jesus stood by the lake of Gennesaret, he saw two ships standing by the lake:" but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets.” These were James and John, who were partners with Simon. “And Jesus said unto Simon, From henceforth thou shalt catch men.” “And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.” “And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican named Levi sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me. And he left all, and rose up, and followed him.”
Thus God chose the foolish things of the world to confound the wise: the fishermen of Galilee to teach the philosophers of Greece the way to heaven: the weak things of the world hath God chosen to dispute against the chief priests and scribes and rulers, and show them the true interpretation of their own Scriptures: and base things of the world, as the publicans; and things which were despised, and things which are not, are thought nothing of held in no more account than if they did not exist, as the Gentiles:" these hath God chosen to bring to nought things of influence, and authority, and power. And not without reason has he selected these mean instruments, and these humble persons. That no flesh should glory in his presence. That “the excellency of the power might be of God,” and not of man: that none might be able to say, By my abilities or by my authority has this been done: that the whole world might perceive how God was the author and finisher of it all. They, however, to whom Paul was writing, had received the word as it is in truth, the word of God: and these might be satisfied, that if they had followed that which men despised, they had still followed that which God approved.
* Luke v. 1–1 l. 7 Luke v. 27.
* 2 Esdras vi. 56. “As for the other people which also come of Adam, thou hast said that they are nothing. And now, O Lord, behold, the heathen which have ever been reputed as nothing, have begun to be lords over us.”
30. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption :
31. That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”
When the land of Egypt was afflicted by famine, that famine which Joseph had been enabled to foretel, and against which he had made provision, “the people cried to Pharaoh for bread:" and Pharaoh said unto all the Egyptians, Go unto Joseph; what he saith unto you, do.” “And Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold unto the Egyptians.” It is an example of the way in which Christ is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption. Without him there would be, not indeed “a famine of bread or a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord:” a want of all that know
9 Jer. ix. 23. Gen. xli. 55, &c. * Amos viii. 11.
ledge which is needful that a man may serve, obey, or honour him. But he has commanded us to go to his beloved Son, and hear him, and do whatsoever he saith unto us. And it shall be our wisdom. In the propitiation which he offered, there is full and perfect virtue to make atonement for the sins of all men: so that we are commanded to go unto him for pardon, and he will clothe us with the garments of righteousness. “All fulness dwells in him;” so that in our corruption and our weakness we are to go to him, that he may open the storehouses of the Spirit, and supply us with the grace we need, and work in us sanctification. In him, too, we have redemption. He has purchased us with his own blood, and to him must we go for the title and privileges of our freedom. Thus, for ignorance, we have knowledge of the truth; are “filled with all wisdom.” “ For condemnation, we have justification; are accounted righteous before God.” For corruption, we have sanctification; are “renewed in the spirit of our minds.” For bondage, we have redemption; are made “free indeed."" And all through Christ Jesus. These privileges are derived to us through him. Two things, however, remain to be observed. First, as the Egyptians were to apply to no others, but to Joseph only: so must we apply to Jesus only. He is “the way, and the truth, and the life.” We must depend on him alone for our salvation. That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
3 Col. i. 9. • Rom. viii. 1. * Eph. iv. 21–24. " John viii. 36.
Secondly, he is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption. But he is not so made these to us, that his having them is to be instead of our having them: but that from him we may receive them. His righteousness, his redemption, become ours through our faith. His wisdom is not to leave us in our natural vanity and folly, but to make us “wise unto salvation.” His innocency, his perfect obedience, is not instead of sanctification in ourselves, but to “purify us, even as he is pure,” to render us “holy, as he who hath called us is holy.” “For if these things be in us, and abound, they make us to be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.”
THE ATONEMENT MADE BY CHRIST THE SUM OF PAUL’S PREACHING.
1. And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.
2. For 1 determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
When Isaiah desired to point out to the Israelites the unreasonableness of that idolatry to which they 7 2 Pet. i. 8, 9.