« הקודםהמשך »
mbi covery, which glorified saints will make of the match
less love of God in redemption through Christ, will I , open fresh sources of pleasure through all eternity. ofa
But our Lord affirms, that even now the immediate effect of faith in his name is such abundant satis#faction of soul, as extinguishes all vehement desires 15 after any thing on earth, and causes new consola
tions to spring up to an overflowing fulness; till to the believer's wants are entirely removed, and all his
wishes completely gratified in the enjoyment of Toi eternal life:-“Whosoever drinketh of the water fied that I shall give him, shall never thirst; but the Sie water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of vile water springing up into everlasting life“.” stt
Such are some of the principal and lasting sources 01
of religious pleasures enjoyed by the disciples of the crucified Jesus. From a view of their nature, it is evident they stand quite independent of the world,
for every thing worthy of being called real satisfacGo tion; and enjoy much happiness, in spite of every The disappointment which it occasions.
Besides, there are seasons when God sees fit “ to fill them with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” This high degree of spiritual delight he usually,
vouchsafes previous to severe trials, or when they ** are preparing for more extensive usefulness. At
such times, God condescends,ina remarkable manner, to be their “exceeding great joy." There are, moreover, seasons of devotion, both in public and private, when the souls of the righteous, emancipated from their fleshly bondage, mount upward, on the wings of
faith, and catch a portion of the spirit and the hapi piness diffused through the inhabitants of heaven. Surely, upon a review of the Christian's privileges,
John iv. 14.
we shall be justified in applying to him the words used by Moses, to describe the enviable felicity of the Jewish Nation in covenant with God :- Happy art thou, O Israel! Who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord! The eternal God is thy refuge ; and underneath are the everlasting armso.
o Deut. xxxii. 27-29,
ON THE COMMUNION OF SAINTS.
1 John i. 3, 4.--That which we have seen and heard, declare we
unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us : and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and his Son Jesus Christ,
And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be fuil. The original word, which is translated saints in the New Testament, signifies holy ones ;, that is, godly persons, who are sanctified in heart, and, by virtue of the holy principle which influences them, live in obedience to God, and in the habitual pursuit of righteousness. They are such, not by a mere profession of the Gospel, but by faith, uniting them to Christ, and enabling them “ to perfect holiness in the fear of the Lordb." As things under the Law were esteemed holy when set apart to the service of God ; so the people of the Most High God, being called out of this profane and wicked world, and consecrated to the peculiar service of the Lord, are justly denominated saints and holy ones ; the sanctity of their affections, and the general purity of their lives and conversation, manifesting their relation and likeness to God, the fountain of all holiness.
It is not, therefore, an outward vocation, but an internal principle of righteousness which constitutes *1 Cor. i. 2.
John xv. 4.-8.
a man a saint. And those who truly become suchi characters, are first regenerated by the Spirit of the Lord, whose heavenly “workmanship they are, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that they should walk in them.” They “are washed, sanctified, and justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God? :" in whomn also, after that they be-, lieve, they are sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of the inheritance
they are called to possess, which is “ incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away?.” Secondly, they are as much distinguished from the rest of mankind by their holy conduct, as by the privileges which peculiarly belong to them ; for, as God, who hath chosen them in Christ before the foundation of the world", is holy, so are they holy in all manner of conversation ; approving things which are excellent, wishing to be “sincere and without offence until the day of Christ, and to be filled with all the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.”
Unspeakably great are the blessings which belong "to the saints and to the household of God. There are given to them “ exceeding great and preeious promises,” which partly relate to their comfort here, and partly to the glory reserved for them in heaven. But no one of the privileges bestowed on
them gives us a more exalted view of their dignity * and happiness, even on earth, than that which is
mentioned in the words of St. John: “That which we have seen and heard, declare we unto you, that
may have fellowship with us: and truly our Eph. ii. 10.
« 1 Cor. vi. 11. . Eph. i. 13, 14. 'i Pet. i. 4,5. "Eph. i. 4. 8 Phil. i. 10, 11.
fellowship is with the Father, and his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.”
Here the saints are represented as having communication one with another, as well as with God and his Son Jesus Christ.
1. They have communion with the whole Church of Christ, and with all his faithful people, however widely dispersed throughout the earth. Neither time nor place can break asunder that bond of brotherhood and union, by which the saints are related and joined to each other : “ for by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we are Jews or Gentiles, whether we are bond or free; and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many." There is therefore, a general sympathy and affection,
a supplication for all saints," which every disciple of Jesus must maintain, to evince the lively interest he feels in the afflictions and happiness of that great family of God, which is composed of the universal Church of Christ on earth. · But they are favoured with a nearer and more intimate communion with the saints living in the same Church with themselves. “ If we walk in the light, then we have fellowship one with another'; as they had with the Apostles, who received their doctrine, and conformed to the precepts which they taught: we all enjoy the benefit of the same religious ordinances, all partake of the same consolatory promises, all are endowed with the same graces of the Divine Spirit-faith, hope, joy, and love, “ and endeavour to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace*;"-all are branches of Christ, the true
* I Cor. xii. 12-15. 1 John i. 7. Eph. iv. S.
vine, from whom we derive spiritual life and vigour, all hold the same “Head, from which all the body, by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God'." A holy society thus divinely constituted, having been alike baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, making the same confession of faith, hearing the same word and doctrine preached, worshipping at the same altar, receiving the same memorials of their Saviour's dying love, and partaking of the same benefits of redemption, should feel a cordial attachment to one ano
ther, strive to promote each other's temporal and 6
spiritual welfare, comfort one another in sorrow and trial, rejoice in their mutual prosperity, and consider any good or evil which may happen to the least of its members, as affecting, in some degree, all the rest.
Such a communion amongst Christians is beauSentifully described by the Psalmist : “ Behold how
good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even
Aaron's beard ; that went down to the skirts of his mi garments; as the dew of Hermon, and as the dew i that descended upon the mountains of Zion : for
there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.'
2. The saints of God living in the Church militant are in communion with departed saints in glory.
The mystical union between Christ and his Church is the true foundation of that communion which one member has with another ; since all the members live and increase by the same influence which they I Col. ii. 19. m 1 Cor. xii. 26.. Psalm cxxxiii. 1-3.