Imatges de pÓgina
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DEPARTING FROM INIQUITY THE DUTY OF ALL WHO NAME THE NAME OF JESUS.*

SERMONS.

SERMON I.

2 TIM. ii. 19,

And let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

A SOLEMN Occasion of renewing our covenant with God being before us, it is necessary that we count the cost ere we begin to build. A Christian profession is easy, a Christian practice not so. It is melancholy to see how many in their practice do yoke together the name of Christ, and the working of iniquity, as if they had found out that secret of conjoining light aud darkness, Christ and Belial, which is hid from all saints. Our text confounds this mystery of iniquity, shewing that men must either part with Christ, or depart from iniquity: And, says the apostle, "let every one that nameth the name of Christ, depart from iniquity."

In this verse, the apostle obviates that scandal, and that shaking discouragement, which arose to the saints, from the apostacy of Hymeneus and Philetus, mentioned in verse 17. Satan could stand on the ruins of these men, and affright the saints with this temptation, Behold! what loose ground you stand upon these who are now shipwrecked stood once as fair for the harbour as you. To drive the bottom out of this temptation, the apostle tells them, that for all this the foundation of the perseverance of real saints stands firm, as in ver. 19, "Nevertheless, the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his." As if he had said, The devil has got but his own, he has got none of Christ's. They were among Christ's sheep indeed; they were, however, nothing but the devil's goats, of whom he ever had a sure hold by some iniquity or other, one lust or other; and now by this bond of iniquity he has drawn them out from among the sheep of Christ: 1 John ii. 19,

This and the following discourses on this text were delivered in May and June

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"They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us; but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us." But the foundation upon which every real saint is built is sure, and can never be overturned. This is the decree of election; (1.) A foundation of God's own laying; (2.) A sealed foundation of God's own sealing; and therefore affording the most ample security. A seal is for confirming and ratifying a decree and purpose; the decree of election including the perseverance of the saints, as the means to the end, is sealed for this end, and that with a twofold seal; having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his," and, "Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity."

First, It is sealed with God's knowledge, "The Lord knoweth them that are his." Amongst the mixed multitude in the church, the Lord knows his own. He knows those whom he has chosen, he cannot mistake them, though men may, and sometimes do, take others for them. He knows them practically, that is, he knows them, to distinguish them from others, he will take care of them, that they be not lost, as one does with what he knows to be his own; and this secures them.

Secondly, It is sealed with effectual sanctification; Eph. iv. 30, "And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption." "Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity." He sees to the sanctification of his own, causing them to depart from iniquity, which is the only thing which can ruin them; and thus again they are secured.

For understanding this, consider, that the apostle here has an eye to the history of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, Num. xvi. these Old Testament apostates who perished in their sin. There was a dispute betwixt them and Moses and Aaron for the priesthood; the congregation at length thought the former as much the Lord's as the latter, ver. 19; though at first it seems they knew not in whose favour to decide. Moses refers it to God's judgment, ver. 5, "The Lord will shew (Heb. make known) who are his, and who are holy;" importing, that the Lord knew who were his. This was the security of Moses and Aaron when the stroke came. When the earth was to swallow up Korah and his company, as in a spiritual sense it does all apostates, the congregation was, by God's appointment, charged to depart from the tents of these wicked men, and to touch nothing that was theirs, ver. 26. This charge was effectual to the congregation, but not to these men's wives and their children, ver. 27; so the latter perished, and the former were secured. It seems this was a

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