« הקודםהמשך »
of death, the Devi!; no, nor painfully afraid of God himself; only thou hast a tender, filial fear of offending him. Dost thou believe? Then thy ".soul doth magnify the Lord," and thy "spirit rejoiceth in God thy Saviour." Thou rcjoicest in that thou hast " redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins." Thou rejoices t in that "Spirit of Adoption," which crieth in thy heart, "Abha, Father!" Thou rcjoicest in a "hope full of immortality ;" in reaching forth unto the " mark of the prize of thy high calling ;" in an earnest expectation of all the good things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
12. Dost thou now believe? Then the love of God is now shed abroad in thy heart. Thou lovest him, because he first loved us. And, because thou lovest God, thou lovest thy brother also. And, being filled with " love, peace, joy," thou art also filled with "longsuffering, gentleness, fidelity, goodness, meekness, temperance," and all the other fruits of the same Spirit; in a word, with whatever dispositions are holy, are heavenly, or divine. For while thou beholdest with open, uncovered face, (the veil being now taken away,) "the glory of the Lord," his glorious love, and the glorious image wherein thou wast created, thou art "changed into the same image, from glory to glory, by the Spirit of the Lord."
13. This repentance, this faith, this peace, joy, love, this change from glory to glory, is what the wisdom of the world has voted to be madness, mere enthusiasm, utter distraction. But thou, O man of God, regard them not; be thou moved by none of these things. Thou knowest in whom thou hast believed. See that no man take thy crown. Whereunto thou hast already attained, holdfast, and follow, till thou attain all the great and precious promises. And thou who hast not yet known him, let not vain men make thee ashamed of the Gospel of Christ. He thou in nothing terrified by those who speak evil of the things which they know not. God will soon turn thy heaviness into joy. O let not thy hands hang down. Yet a little longer, and he will take away thy fears, and give thee the spirit of a sound mind. He is nigh "that justifieth: who is he that condom net h '.' It is Christ that died, yea rather, that rose again, who is even now at the right hand of God, making intercession" for thee.
Now cast thyself on the Lamb of God, with all thy sins, how many soever they he: and "an entrance shall Fuow] be ministered unto thee, ir.to the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!"
THE FIRST FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT.
"There is therefore noiv no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." Rom. viii. 1.
1. By " them which are in Christ Jesus," St. PauJ evidently means, those who truly believe in him; those who, "being justified by faith, have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ," They who thus believe do no longer "walk after the flesh," no longer follow the motions of corrupt nature, but "after the Spirit;" both their thoughts, words, and works, are under the direction of the blessed Spirit of God.
.2. "There is therefore now no condemnation to" these. There is no condemnation to them from God; for he hath justified them "freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus." He hath forgiven all their iniquities, and blotted out all their sins. And there is no condemnation to them from within; for they " have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that they might know the things which ,are freely given to them of God;" (1 Cor. ii. 12;) which Spirit "beareth witness with their spirits, that they are the children of God." And to this is added, the testimony of their conscience, "that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, they have had their conversation in the world." (2 Cor. i. 12.)
3. But because this scripture has been so frequently misunderstood, and that in so dangerous a manner; because such multitudes of "unlearned and unstable men," (oi ayuzSns xgu asTieorroi, men untaught of God, and consequently unestablished in the truth which is after godliness,) have wrested it to their own destruction; I propose to show, as clearly as I can, first,
Vol. I. No. 2. G
Wlto those arc "which arc in Christ Jesus, ami walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit:" And, secondly, How "there is no condemnation to" these. I shall conclude with some practical Inferences.
1. J. First I am to show, Who those arc that "arc in Christ Jesus." And arc they not those who Believe in his name? Those who arc "found in him, hot having their own righteousness, but the righteousness which is of God by Faith?'' These, who " have redemption through his blood," are properly said to be in Him. For they dwell in Christ, and Christ in them. They are joined unto the Lord in one Spirit. They arc ingrafted into Him as branches into the vine. They are united, as members to their Head, in a manner which words cannot express, nor could it before enter into their hearts to conceive.
2. Now " whosoever abideth in him, sinneth not;" " walketh not after the flesh." The flesh, in the usual language of St. Paul, signifies corrupt nature. In this sense he uses the word, writing to the Galatians, "The works of the flesh an? manifest;" (Gal. v. 19;) and a little before, "Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust, (or desire) of the flesh." (V. 16.) To prove which, immely, that those who " walk by the Spirit, do not fulfil the lusts of the flesh," he immediately adds, "For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit; and the Spirit lustcth against the flesh, (for these are contrary to each other,) that ye may not do the things which ye would." So the \vords are literally translated; (ivct a «v ^tkr^i, Tzvtz Troinre") not, "So that ye cannot do the things that ye would;" as if the flesh overcame the Spirit: a translation which hath not only nothing to do with the original text of the Apostle, but likewise makes his whole argument nothing worth; yea, asserts just the reverse of what he is proving.
3. They who arc of Christ, who abide in him, "have crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts." They abstain from all those works of the flesh; from "adultery and fornication;" from "nncleanness and lasciviousness;" from "idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance;" from "emulations, wrath,strife, sedition, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings;" from every design, and word, and work, to which the corruption of nature leads. Although they feel the root of bitterness iti themselves, yet arc they endued with power from on high, to trample it continually under foot, so that it cannot "spring up to trouble them ;" insomuch, that every fresh assault which they undergo, only gives them fresh occasion of praise, of crying out, "Thank6 be unto God, who giveth us the victory, through Jesus Christ our Lord."
4. They now "walk after the Spirit," both in their hearts and lives. They are taught of him to love God and their neighbour, with a love which is as " a well of water, springing up into everlasting life." And by him they are led into every holy desire, into every divine and heavenly temper, till every thought which arises in their heart is holiness unto the Lord.
6. They who "walk after the Spirit," are also led by him into all holiness of conversation. Their "speech is always in grace, seasoned with salt:" with the love and fear of God. "No corrupt communication comes out of their mouth, but only that which is good;" that which is "to the use of edifying;" which is "meet to minister grace to the hearers." And herein likewise do they exercise themselves day and night, to do only the things which please God; in all their outward behaviour to follow Him, "who left us an example * that we might tread in his steps;" in all their intercourse with their neighbour to walk in justice, mercy, and truth; and "whatsoever they do," in every -circumstance of life, to "do all to the glory of God." »
6. These are they who indeed "walk after the Spirit." Being filled with faith and with the Holy Ghost, they possess in their hearts, and 6how forth in their lives, in the whole course of their words and actions, the genuine fruits of the Spirit of God, namely, "love, joy, peace, longsufTering, gentleness, goodness, fidelity, meekness, temperance," and whatsoever else is lovely or praiseworthy. They "adorn in all things the gospel of God our Saviour;" and give full proof to all mankind, that they are indeed actuated by the same Spirit, "which raised up Jesus from the dead."
II. 1. I proposed to show, in the second place, How "there is no Condemnation to them which are thus in Christ Jesus," and thus " walk, not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."
And, first, To believers in Christ, walking thus, "there is no condemnation" on account of their Past Sins. God condeinneth them not for any of these; they are as though they had never been; they are cast "as a stone into the depth of the sea, and he remembereth them no more. God having set forth his Son to be a Propitiation " for them, " through faith in his blood," " hath declared unco them his righteousness, for the remission of the sins that are past." He layeth therefore none of these to their charge; their memorial is perished with them.
2. And there is no condemnation in their Own Breast; no sense of guilt, or dread of the wrath of God. They " have the witness in themselves:" they are conscious of their interest in the blood of sprinkling. "They have not received again the Spirit of Bondage unto fear," unto doubt and racking uncertainty; but they "have received the Spirit of Adoption," crying in their hearts, " Abba, Father." Tims being "justified by faith," they have the peace of Cod ruling in their hearts; flowing from a continual sense of his pardoning mercy, and "the answer of a good conscience toward God."
15. If it be said, "Bat sometimes a believer in Christ may lose his sight of the mercy of Cod; sometimes such darkness may fall upon him that he no longer sees Him that is invisible, !io longer feels that witness in himself of his part in the atoning blood; and then he is inwardly condemned, he hath again the sentence of death in himself:" I answer, supposing it so to be, supposing him not to sec the mercy of God, then lie is not a believer: for faith implies light; the light of God shining upon the soul. So far, therefore, as any one loses this light, he, for the time, loses his faith. And, no doubt, a true believer in Christ may lose the light of faith; and so far as this is lost, he may, for a time, fall again into condemnation. But this is not the ease of them who now "are in Christ Jesus," who now believe in his name. For so long as they believe and walk after the Spirit, neither God condemns them, nor their own heart.
4. They arc not condemned, secondly, for any Present Sins, for now transgressing the commandments of God. For they do not transgress them: they do not "walk after the flesh, but after the Spirit." This is the continual proof of their "love of God, that they keep his commandments ;" even as St. John bears witness, "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin. For his seed remaincth in him, and he cannot sin, because he is born of God :" he cannot, so long as that seed of God, that loving, holy faith remaincth in him. So long as "he keepeth himself" herein, "that wicked one toucheth him not." Now it is evident, he is not condemned for the sins which he doth not commit at all. They, therefore,