תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

right state of the affections, before you can do the will of the Lord, or be allowed to see his face with joy and exultation "u.

There are no difficulties in the way of your sanctification, but unbelief, and a rooted attachment to sin. If you will but seek it with a becoming earnestness, the blessing is certainly attainable. Thousands, besides the Corinthians, have already been“ washed, sanctified, and justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God *.”

The fountain of Christ's blood is still open, to cleanse the most polluted heart. Though your souls, then,- be ever so much defiled, yet, when purified in the "fountain opened for sin and uncleanness," they will lose their guilt, and retain neither “spot, nor wrinkle, nor blemish, nor any such thing"." Is not such a condition as desirable as it is blessed? And will you not be chargeable with cruelty to yourselves, if you neglect to pray that “God, by His especial grace preventing you, may put into your minds good desires; and that, by His continual help, he may enable you to bring the same to good effect", that so, with all his “ ransomed people, you may return, and coine to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon your heads; may obtain joy and gladness; and sorrow and sighing for ever flee awaya."

10. Those who have partly obtained the blessing of sanctification, should labour incessantly after a fuller conformity to the Divine will. Not contented with your present low attainments in knowledge and faith, you should daily be going on to perfection, pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus ;" “not as though you had al

He John iii. 3. * 1 Cor. vi.11. • Ephes. v. 27. y Collect for Easter Sunday. • Isa. xxxv. 10.

ready attained, either were already perfect ; but following after that for which you are apprehended of Christ Jesus";" “ praying the very God of peace to sanctify you wholly, and that your whole spirit and soul and body may be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christb.”. To lainent from the bottom of the heart our manifold defects, and to aspire after holiness in principle and in practice, is the best kind of evidence of our Christian sincerity, and advancement in grace, without which the most splendid profession is but hypocrisy and deceit.

Believers are imperiously called upon to cherish devout affections. - It is the will of God, even your sanctification.” This single consideration should excite inen “to cleanse themselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, and to perfect holiness in the fear of God.” Besides, a variety of other reasons forcibly urge it upon Christians. Has God in mercy adopted you as his peculiar people, as his beloved sons? Has he called you to an heavenly inheritance? Has Christ redeemed your souls from death, and sent his Spirit to sanctify you? Do you not sustain a filial relation to the Triune God? Then, as you are not your own, but the exclusive property of Him who hath bought you, " glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." a Phil. iii. 12-15.

1 Thess. v. 23. 4] Thess. iv, 3.

di Cor. vi. 20.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

LECTURE XXVII.

ON THE PRIVILEGES WHICH EXCLUSIVELY BELONG TO

CHRISTIAN BELIEVERS, 1 Cor. ii. 21–23. For all things are yours; whether Paul,

or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; and ye are Christ's ;

and Christ is God's. Worldly men, whose thoughts and desires are totally absorbed with present objects, are too apt to consider religion as a mean and visionary pursuit, which is unproductive of any advantage that can recompense the patience and self-denial which it requires. This opinion is not only contrary to truth and experience, as a cursory glance at the privileges of a sincere Christian will demonstrate ; cons of God,

also an impious attack on the wisdom and goodness of God, who has connected the best interests of man, in both worlds, with a conscientious attention to the duties of religion. "Godliness,” says an inspired writer, , “is profitable for all things; having promise of the “life that now is, and of that which is to come."

A Believer is a person who receives the testimony of God in his word, as strictly and unalterably true ; and acts suitably to such a conviction. Conscious of his guilt and demerit, he has fled to Christ for salvation, who is set forth in the Gospel as a refuge for sinners : embracing him by faith as his Redeemer and Intercessor, he contides altogether in his atone' ment and obedience, for acceptance with God; and he regards the Holy Spirit as his Sanctifien and Guide to the possession of that eternal glory which his Saviour has purchased for him.

1 Tim. iv. 8.

This Divine faith and knowledge makes a Christian to differ most essentially, both in spirit and in practice, not only from his former self, but from the ungodly world around him. Actuated by love to God, he exhibits such fruits of piety in his general conduct, as evidence the superiority of his principles, at the same time that they condemn the wickedness of the rest of mankind ae.

To this state of grace and salvation the most distinguished blessings are attached. The charter of privileges secured by the Gospel covenant to believers, is so rich and extensive, that the limits of a short Lecture will only allow us to touch slightly

upon it.

We have already discoursed concerning some of those advantages which result from the exercise of faith in Christ. We have seen, that, on the repentance of the Children of God, he remembers their iniquities no more; grants them a full, free, and everlasting forgiveness; justifies them from every charge of guilt; esteenis then righteous in Christ ; accepts their persons and services; and gives them a foretaste of those heavenly pleasures which they will hereafter enjoy in his kingdom. There are, however, some capital blessings belonging to Christians, which, not having been noticed, deserve a distinct consideration: these are, adoption and preservation.

1. Adoption into the family of God is a privilege connected with a state of Salvation; the nature of which, as it was anciently practised, may be thus ex. plained. “It was customary, especially in the States of Greece and Rome, for a man of wealth, in default of issue from his own body, to make choice of some person, upon whom he put his own name,

** Heb. xi. 7.

proclaiming him his heir, and requiring him to relinquish his own relations, and never to return to his own family. In this act there was an imitation of nature, by which the afflictive failure of offspring from themselves was supplied by something as much like a child of their own as possible. The person thus adopted was, by law, entitled to the inheritance, upon the decease of his adopter; and, however void of the least title to such a benefit before, he was now invested with the same privilege as if he had been really born the son of his benefactor. If such an act of adoption were to take place in favour of a pauper, or a destitute orphan, how conspicuous would be his exaltation! how exceedingly pleasing the change in his condition! In the judgment of the world, how happy the object of such a prosperous providence!"

Our natural state is more pitiable than that of a desolate orphan, or an indigent beggar. Christ affirms, “that we are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked,” till our relation to him, by a living faith, at once enriches us with all spiritual blessings. This is, indeed, a hard saying, which offends carnal men: but believers acknowledge such to have been their own case. In this deplorable condition, they heard, understood, and believed the record of the Gospel, that "God sent forth His own Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that they might receive the adoption of sons"; and be fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of Godo; for to as many as received him, to them

gave

he

power to become the sons of God."

In this way, believers pass from the kingdom of Satan into the family of God, by a gratuitous adoption. Gal. iv.4,5. Ephes. ii. 19.

John i. 12, 13,

2

[ocr errors]
« הקודםהמשך »