Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

to those who believe in his name. In consequerce of our Lord's sufferings and death, the Holy Ghost is given ; and he, saith our divine Saviour, shall lead vou into all truth, In particular, he will make us fully understand, the gracious designs of God respecting our redemption by the Sõn of his love. Again saith Jesus," he shall take of mine, and sball shew it unto you.” He shall discover all the exceeding riches of his grace to us, and make us acquainted with those heights, and depths of holiness into which he will bring us, if we bearken to his voice. We surely may be allowed to suppose that tbe love of God the Holy Ghost towards mankind, must be equal to that of the other two glorious persons in the ever blessed Trinity, and that his power is also equal; and if so, bow then can we entertain a doubt, but the gracious designs of God shall be fully accomplished in us, and that we shall be restored to the image, as well as to the favour of God, especially when we are told, ". It is God who workeih in us, both to will and to do of his own good pleasure," If original depravity be too powerful, før God to subdue, and utterly destroy, iben indeed there is just ground for us to despair. But we know that the Lord's hand is not shortened at all, he speaks and it is done, he commands and it stands fast. It is therefore as easy for him to say to a poor leper, " I will be thou clean," as to say to the man sick of the palsy,“ Son, thy sins be forgiven thee." And in both cases, the work was done in a moment. And he who said to the Ruler, when his beloved daughter was already dead." Fear not, only believe and she shall be made whole,''

, is now sayin... even to us, according to thy faith so be it done unto thee, yea, "all things are possible to him that believeth;" So that viewing the promises made to us in consequence of the death of Christ, ire may believe to the full and complete sauctification of our souls.

6. Christ was also anointed King in his church. So the Prophet foretold long before he appeared in this world. Behold a King shall reign in righteousness, and execute judgment and justice in the earth ; in bis days Israel shall be saved, and Judah shall dwell sately.” And again," Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the ihrone of David, and upon his kingdom, to order and to establish it with judgment and with justice.” To the same effect were the words of the angel co the holy virgin. "And the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his Iather David, and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for: ever, and of the increase of his goveroment and peace there

[ocr errors]

shall be no end.". Christ then is Lord and King in his church, which he hath purchased with his own blood, and accordingly bath an absolute right to appoint his own officers therein, to qualify them for, and hless them in the work which he sends them to do. He also prescribes those laws by which the church ought to be governed and regulated, by which he will be worshipped and glorified. And as Christ is King in the church, so he also lives and reigns in the hearts of his subjects. His kingdom is not of this world, it being altogether spiritual, therefore when some of the people enquired of him when the kingdom of God would come; he replied, “ The kingdom of God cometh not with observation, for the kingdom of God is within you." Considered as a King, Christ takes the government of the soul, he sets up his kingdom in the mind, and will reign there till he hath put down all rule and authority and power; for he must reign, even in this sense, till he hath put down all bis enemies under his feet. For this end, he will dwell in us, and walk in us, and he will be our God, and we shall be his people. Thus will be purify his temple, and make our souls a fit habitation for bimself to dwell in.

We all agree that a King should reign over his subjects, and should procure good and wise laws to be inade ; according to which they may be governed, and it is the bounden duty of every good subject to obey the just and equitable laws of his sovereign. Christ then becomes our King, when we willingly, and unreservedly give up ourselves to be governed by him; for we must be volunteers in his service: His subjects have all been conquered, but it was by the power of divine love, they have devoted themselves to him, not out of constraint or necessity, or because they did not dare to do any other ; but they were divinely convinced, that this was the wisest and best course they could possibly take, and must be attended with infinite advantage, both in time and eternity ; therefore they receive hiin joyfully.

An earthly king may reign over his subjects, whether they will or 'not: he may keep them in subjection by the power of his armies : But it is not thus with Christ and his disciples; he reigns in their hearts, he has possession of *their affections; they most cordially love him, he is in their esteem the chiefest among ten thousand ; they greatly deJight in him, he appears to them, altogether lovely! And they rejoice in him for he is the God of their salvation, He hath provided the wisest, and the very best of laws

Рp

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

for them, these are all holy, just and good, directly cal culated to promote their present and eternal happiness ; None of these appear to them to be grievous, but on the contrary they know, that in keeping then there is great reward, and they can say with him of old, “ () how I love thy law, all the day long is my study in it!" He bath re. vealed his laws to ibem in his boly word, and not only so; but he writes them in their hearts. “I will put my laws in their inward parts, and in their minds will I write them" My laws shall be familiar to them, they shall treasure them up in their memory; nay much more than this, I will bring their ininds into a state of conformity to my laws, and so far, and to such a degree, renew them, by the power of my Spirit, that their hearts shall be a kind of transcript of my law, and the enmity of the carnal mind shall be entirely removed. “Ye bave obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine, saith the Apostle, which was delivered unto you. Your mind was graciously wrought upon by my Spirit, and was rendered susceptible of holy impressions, and it took the very form or shape of that pure and holy doctrine which my ministers delivered unto you. You were made holy, spiritual, and heavenly; so that the very image of my law was iinpressed upon your soul, as the melted wax takes the impress of the seal, and thus the righteousness of the law is fulilled in them who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit; the law is not made void by faith, but is fully established,

A king ought to protect and defend his subjects from the power of their enemies, that both their persons and property may be secure. Thus Christ our glorified 'king, will protect and defend all his faithful followers: They have many wise and powerful enemies to coniend with, but while they fight under his banner, who is the Captain of their Salvation, they are sure to conquer all who oppose them. He will gird them with strength unto the battle, and will give them a complete suit of spiritual armour. They shall have the sword of the spirit, and the shield of faith; the breast-plate of righteousness and the girdle of truth; the helmet of salvation, and the shoes of the preparation of the gospel of peace; and he will give them both wisdom and courage, so to use this armour, as to gain a continual victory.

In all the seveo epiştles to the ancient churches, the promises of eating of the fruit of the tree of life; of not tasting of the second death; of eating of the luidden manna; of receiving the white stone, with a new name thereon ; of having power over the nations ; of receiving the morning star; of being clothed in white raiment; of having their names written in he book of life: of being made a pillar in the temple of God, to go out no more; and of fitting with Christ on his throne, are all made to him who overcometh, or to the conqueror. The design of our Captain is, that we should be crucitied to the world, resist the devil, and mortify the deeds of the body, standing fast in the liberty in which he hath made us free. It matters not how timorous, or fearful we may naturally be, the Lord will inspire us with courage and fortitude; and will communicate such spiritual strength that neither wicked men, nor evil fpirits, shall be able to hurt us.

Thus every faithful minister will preach Christ, in all the riches of his grace, in all the treasures of his love, and in all the sanctifying power of his Spirit: So likewise he will preach Jesus, the Saviour of lost and ruined linners: "Thou shalt call his name Jesus,” said the angel of God, “ for he shall save his people from their fins ;” and he answers to his name in all those who believe in him. There is no need to enlarge here, as it will appear from what has been said ; that he saves them from the love of lin, by the influences of his fpirit; from the guilt of fin, by the sprinkling of his precious blood; and from original depravity by the sanctifying power of his grace. And hence we conclude he will save them to the uttermost here, and eternally hereafter. And as he is Jesus the Saviour, so he is the Lord. We embrace him as our Lord, and become his willing and obedient servants: duty is our delight, and his service perfect freedom.

Thirdly, What are we to understand by, “ And Ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake?"

We learn that the ministers of Christ are of the fame fpirit with their master; who came not to be ministered unto, but to minister': And although they are the proper govern rs of the church, under Christ; yet they are not to lord it over the house of God, but to govern his family, considered as Fathers of the people, having their spiritual welfare greatly at heart. They have not dominion over their faith, but are helpers of their joy, and inult teach them to believe, experience, and practise, what God hath left upon record in his word. “The fervant of God must not strive, but be gentle to all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness ins sucting those who oppose themselves."

1

They must be accountable to their master at the last, respecting the faithful discharge of their ministry; and for his fake they are the servants of the people, and are wil. ling to spend and to be spent for their good, in every pollible wav. Having no end in view but the glory of God, in the salvation of souls, they are instant in season, out of feáson, performing every part of the ministerial office with all diligence and constancy.

It is no small degree of honour, which the glorified head of the church puts upon those whom he calls to preach the everlasting gospel to mankind; and if he succeed their labours, and they are made the happy instruments of turning finners to righteousness, they have infinite cause to be thankful : But from a deep sense of their own insufficiency, for this great and important work, they will say with an Apostle, " Who is sufficient for these things?” This will lead them to the throne of grace in earnest prayer, as they well know, The help that is done upon earth the Lord'

, doth it himself. In consideration of this, how fervently should they cry to the Lord that he may not only assist them in their work, but attend their labours, with a blessing from above ; that seeing the fruit of their toil, they may cheersully proceed in their work.

As the fouls of men are so precious in the fight of the Lord, being not only the workmanship of his hands, but also the purchase of the blood of his beloved Son, and as their falvation is of infinite importance; How faithful, how affectionate, and how diligent ought every minifter of Christ to be, to bring as many souls to God, and to heaven, as he poslibly can! That he may be faithful, how diligently should he search the sacred Scriptures, and how fervently thould he pray, that the Lord would give him light and understanding therein, that he may be able with all possible clearness, and with the utmost fimplicity to explain every branch of the doctrine of Christ, and to enforce it, with the most powerful and convincing arguments, upon those who hear him, that if posible he may make the most ignorant understand, and the most stout-hearted to tremble. But he ought not only to be acquainteil with, but to be able to explain, every part of christian experience, delcribing the different stages of the christian life, the various

states that a child of God must pass through, and the trials 'ind exercises, which generally attend those who walk with God, and to set before them the unsearchable riches of Christ, which it is their duty and interest to follow after and to labour to attain.

« AnteriorContinua »