תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

gone away backward...... The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot, unto the head, there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores ?” This is no exaggeration ; but so universal are the defection and departure from Christ, that “if the Lord had not left us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah !"* Oh ! how fearfully has the mind and will of God been contravened which He expressed in those memorable words He uttered before He suffered, concerning those that should believe in Him, “ That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they may be one in us : that the world

may

believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one. I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.”+ How, unless UNITED, can the Church be a witness to the oneness of glory, the perfect unity, and the oneness of love that exists between the Father and the Son? How can the world believe, if we are not bearing a true and faithful witness to Christ? Alas ! that, through us, God'sname should be blasphemed !—that, through us, the enemy should triumph and ask, “ Where is thy God?Whilst we mourn over this state of things, and pray for the restoration of Zion, let us not forget the duties we have to perform in our own respective sphere. Let us, * Isaiah i, 2-6, xx. 9,

+ John xyii. 21-23.

with pure and upright hearts, serve God in that station in life in which He hath placed us; and show that we are Christ's by His Spirit which dwelleth in us-that we are from above—a heaven-born, spiritual, and holy people.

And, lastly, the Church is called to bear witness to the hope of glory. Sickness and death are the consequence of departing from that perfect unity, holiness, love, and power which she received of her risen and glorified Lord at the beginning. As in the natural, so in the spiritual. Through the fall of Adam from his original creation-standing, death entered into the world; and through the declension of the Church from her redemption-standing (for Christ is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption), corruption and death have prevailed. Like as the children of Israel, who came up out of Egypt, entered not into Canaan through unbelief, but perished in the wilderness, so has the Church, wandering in a wilderness state, not entered into rest; but she is called to enter into glory, and to be clothed with her house from heaven, and to be made like unto her Lord. And the Church, at the beginning, looked not for death, but for the appearance and coming of Christ. Death hath no dominion over Him; and the time cometh when it will have no more dominion over her. The translation of Enoch, the seventh from Adam, was doubtless a type of that translation of the Church which shall take place at the day of the Lord's appearing. And that translation must be sought, not in separateness of spirit, but in the unity of the body; and though

we may fall in the wilderness because of sin, which yet prevaileth in the baptized, yet shall we attain unto the resurrection from the dead, and be glorified together when the Lord appeareth. The Church is to appear in glory with her Lord; and then will her constitution be fully manifested—the holy city, the new Jerusalem, will descend from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband”—

having the glory of God, and her light most precious;" and in which the nations that are saved shall walk.” This is the glory which is set before usto this we are called, and for this we should be waiting, and not for death. Our Lord's words are, “I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I

am,

there ye may be also.” And His command is, “Be ye like unto them that wait for their Lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.”

Such is the witness the Church should render unto Christ; who, whilst He is unto all men “the way, the truth, and the life,” is so in a much higher sense to the election—the baptized Church. Ever since the fall, Christ has been unto all men the way of access to God, through His righteousness and the shedding of His blood; but unto the Church He is all this, and more; for He becomes the way," through the death of the flesh, into the dispensation of the Spirit—the door into the sheepfold by which the sheep enter, and go in and out and find pasture. He is also “ the truthto all—the light of creationthe light that lighteneth every man that cometh into

[ocr errors]

the world--a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of His people Israel. But besides all this, He is to the baptized the light of the things of the Spirit, and of the heavenly glory. He is, moreover, 6 the life of the world, ministering life to a fallen creation, redeemed by His blood. He sprinkles man with clean water, renewing his spirit within him. He also renews the face of the earth, preserving man and beast. But He is especially the life of the Church, imparting to the members of His body, through union with Him, that eternal life which was with the Father, and was manifested by the Son-the good Shepherd, who came that His sheep might have life, and have it more abundantly.

Consider, then, my Christian brethren, your high and holy calling, wherewith ye are called, and pray that ye may walk worthy of it, as those that are in Christ Jesus—as those that are not only redeemed, but created anew in Him-the children of the second Adam, partakers of His Spirit, and heirs of His glory. I cannot better conclude this subject than in the words of St. John-- Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is; and every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself even as He is pure.” And that we may fully comprehend the greatness of this love, let us further pray, in the language of St.

Paul, “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto us the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him: the eyes of our understanding being enlightened ; that we may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His

power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and hath put all things under his feet, and gave Him to he head over all things to His Church, which is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all.”

« הקודםהמשך »