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against themselves ? Jesus wept | of lies. Capernaum was elevaover Jerusalem, because they ted to heaven in privileges, but had the things of their peace thrust down to hell for abuse of offered them, and they would them. If persons are exalted to not comply, but persisted in re- heaven in point of privileges jecting, Luke xix. 41, 42. In they cannot safely conclude in a word, as all the means which their own favor barely on this are used with sinners to reclaim account ; if they have no better them, will aggravate their dam- plea than this, they may not exnation, if they finally prove in- pect any part or lot in that mateffectual ; so in the end they ter. The most wicked and awill advance the glory of divine bandoned in the whole gospel justice. Every Sabbath, every world may thus make out as sermon, every praying opportu- good a plea as they. Hence, nity, every motion of the good | 2d. We infer the folly of men Spirit, and every awakening pro not to have wisdom and resoluvidence, will all advance the glo- tion to improve their spiritual ry of God's justice in the con- advantages. Most men are wisdemnation of the sinner, who er for this world than the next; had no heart to improve the If they have a price in their price in his hand to get wisdom. hands to get worldly good things,
These may be some of the they will not let it slip for want reasons why God puts a price of a little pains ; but when calinto the hand of a fool to get led to the service of God and wisdom.
their souls, the wheels drag May we not hence infer, Ist. heavily-slightexcuses will tury From men's being continued un- them by-small difficulties will der special advantages for heav- divert and hinder them. Their en it does not follow, that they hearts are not set upon these are really profited by them.- things, though their own imThere are various false balances mortal souls are at stake. The in which some men weigh them- great design of God in granting selves and their state : some these advantages is, that they may imagine they have the spe- should be improved. How macial favor of God, in that they ny are there in the world, who enjoy a course of outward pros would rejoice at such a price to perity ; but this is false reason- get wisdom, as those enjoy who ing. The rich man spoken of have the gospel in their hands, in the gospel had great prosper- and hear it statedly dispensed? ity ; but when he died, in hell How would many in infant set
tlements rejoice might they be Some
may be ready to con- favored with such a privilege ? clude in their own favor, because But many who have a fulness of they enjoy great and special such external advantages unfeelspiritual advantages ; so had ingly reject and despise them! the Jews of old ; but they were Yea, how many are there now in broken off through unbelief.- misery who, if they had the world! They cried, the temple of the at command, would give it, Lord, the temple of the Lord; might they have the golden and in that they trusted ; but sceptre of mercy held out to their refuge proved but a refugel them but for one hour ? With
he lift up his eyes.
what folly then are those charge- / prove it? We are taught that able who enjoy these glad ti- they who know their Lord's dings, if they refuse compliance will, and do it not, shall be beaten now ? for shortly, persisting in with many stripes. Allthe means their present temper, their state and advantages which such have will be hopeless. Hence, 3d. We enjoyed will come fresh into infer that those whom we have their minds. In the world they been describing, are undera sore found no heart to mourn for their judgment. Of all the judg- sins ; but now they will mourn ments which light on men in under wrath. They would not this world, those which are spir- shed a tear for all their abominaitual are the most awful, and to tions of heart and life ; but now be deprecated. These strike at they must spend an eternity in the root of all good and blessed- wailing. Here they have no ness; especially, judicial hard- heart to exert themselves to es
cape hell ; and hereafter there How sore a judgment must will be an utter impossibility of it be considered, to have means, it. There they must make their advantages and talents, and yet abode till they have paid the utno heart to improve them ? And termost farthing of their debt of with how many is this the case? ten thousand talents to divine And numbers we have reason justice, Oh, who can dwell in to fear are thus highly favored, devouring flames, where hope who never will improve the never comes ! Let all therefore price in their hand to any good carefully search theirown hearts, purpose ; their heart is fully set and see how they have improved in them to do evil, How awful this price in their hands. Have and great must be human de- we valued, highly prized, and pravity! And how marvellous faithfully improved it? Or is it divine goodness and forbearance, our unhappy case still, that we that God should continue a price have no heart to it? It may be in the hand of such wretched that we have attempted somerebels !!
thing, but if so, have we not conIsrael, it seems, had means tented ourselves with the bare used with them, after they were form of godliness ? External given up to judicial blindness performances will never avail and hardness, Isa. vi. 9, 10. And to recommend us to God; it is he said, go and tell this people, the heart that he looks at and rehear ye indeed, but understand quires ; his demand (with which not; and see ye indeed, but per he will not dispense) is, My son ceive not ; make the heart of give me thy heart. How can this people fat, and make their we be reconciled to ourselves, ears heavy, and shut their eyes; to remain without a heart, to Jest they see with their eyes, those things which are matters and hear with their ears, and un- of infinite moment and concern? derstand with their heart, and Let all lament it before God, convert, and be healed. Hence, that they have had so little heart 4th. How miserable must those to this price.
!" If our heart be eventually, who have all their condemn us, God is greater than lives had a price in their hands our heart and knoweth all things; to get wisdom, and yet misim-I but if our heart condemn us not,
(being well informed) then have | And forany one to become a tru. we confidence towards God." ly religious man, is expressed in
scripture by being born of the Spirit.
Indeed, the Holy Spirit is reA View of the following Apostolic presented as being the great Benediction.
blessing which Christ purcha
sed for his redeemed people, “ The grace of our Lord Je- and which is bestowed sus Christ, the love of God, and them; and if any man have not the communion of the Holy the Spirit of Christ, we are asGhost, be with you all.”
sured, he is none of his.t 2 Cor. xiii. 14. As the precious and abiding
influences of the Holy Spirit are NE great and distinguish- common to all Christians, and
ing excellence of Christi- are the distinguishing marks of anity consists in the peculiar their discipleship; so these are nature of that friendship which described in the holy scriptures, it dictates and inspires between as their common privilege, by Christians. The most obvious which they are connected with distinction by which they are to each other, and distinguished be known from the rest of man- from the world, and by which kind, is marked by this tender, they have sweet communion akind, and mutual affection.
mong themselves. Hence the Divine Author of This communion consists in Christianity left this parting ad- | their joint participation in one dress with his disciples, viz. “A and the same good. As all new commandment I give unto Christians are born of the Spiryou, that ye love one another as it, led by it, and walk in it, this I have loved you, that ye also constitutes their common charlove one another." “ By this acter and felicity. shall all men know that ye are The Holy Spirit being truly my disciples, if ye have love one divine, and possessing all divine to another."*
perfections, and dwelling in true The love of Christians is, in Christians as a principle of dimany respects, different from the vine life and action, produceth in friendships of this world and the them a spiritual taste for holy men of this world. And the ho- and divine objects and enjoyly scriptures abundantly teach ments. From this source arise that it is produced in them by all their love to God and divine the renewing and sanctifying things; all their repentance toinfluences of the Holy Spirit - ward God and faith toward our Hence, to be in the Spirit, and Lord Jesus Christ ; all their huto be led by the Spirit, and walk mility, weanedness from the by the Spirit, are usual expres- world, and heavenly mindedsions of the holy scriptures, to ness; all their reverence to God denote the true grace of God, and good will to men ; and, or that the subject is a true dis- from hence arise all their expeciple of our Lord Jesus Christ. rimental and practical religion,
and all the felicity experienced bundant participation with each by them, in contemplating the other in the Holy Ghost, that divine perfections, displayed in unfailing source of all holy affecthe works of creation and prov- tions and enjoyments. The disidence, and still more abundant cerning and attentive reader, ly in the holy scriptures, in the will expand the thought here law and gospel; but above all, in suggested, to all Christians, the revelation of the mediatorial whom he conceives to exist, system. The contemplation of at present, whether in this world these divine objects, thus mani- or the world of Spirits, and to fested, is an unfailing source of all those whom he contemplates holy enjoyment and Christian as about to exist in future, in the consolation, ever satisfying, ever blessed millennium and through
out all duration, together with We proceed to observe, that all holy creatures of the angelic as all holy affections are con- orders ; and he will enjoy the nected with the love of our neigh- happifying prospect. As these bor, it hence follows, that Chris- all pass in review, he will partians are prepared and disposed take in the happiness of each into rejoice in the good of others. dividual, and in the reciprocation From their own experience of of that happiness, through all the felicity resulting from the that blessed society of saints and exercise of holy affections, ter- angels.. minating on their proper objects, Let it be further observed, and from their belief that other with the deepest reverence, hu. Christians possess the same mility and gratitude, that this good, they participate in their train of thought presents to our holy enjoyments, as far as they view and explains the great come into view, even as if they scripture doctrine of the com. were their own. Hence, the ho- munion of Christians with the ly enjoyment of each one is Father and his Son Jesus Christ, much increased by the view and in the Holy Ghost. Such sin contemplation of the felicity of ners as we are would be inex, his fellow Christians, in the en-cuseable in the highest degree, joyment of the same good with in the thought of communion himself.
with God, had we not his own Again, the truly good man, word to assure us that, in the who enjoys the indwelling of the mediatorial plan, even this wonHoly Spirit, sanctifying his af- der is effected, so that God, in fections, and is also happy in very deed will condescend to contemplating the felicity of his dwell and commune with men fellow Christians, in the same on the earth.” enjoyment with himself, feels a Hence, in addition to many distinct satisfaction in contem- scripture passages, of like implating that felicity which he plication, we have the following considers them as enjoying in words of the holy apostle :the knowledge of his felicity and " That which we have seen and of that of each other, resulting heard declare we unto you, that from like benevolent percep- ye may have fellowship with us, tions. Thus Christians have a- and truly our fellowship is with
the Father, and with his Son will to men in the holy trinity, Jesus Christ."*
in the mediatorial system ; or In the light of this, and simi- it may rather mean the boundlar divine declarations, we are less love of the Father, personled to contemplate the unity of ally viewed, in the gift of his the Godhead in the three divine Son for the redemption of sinOnes, which scripture repre- ners. sentations lead us to call per- The grace of our Lord Jesus sons. A triune Deity ; in whom Christ, in this text, evidently deeach divine person is equal notes' his divine, free, and boundly possessed of “ the fulness less mercy to sinners, expressed of God." So that the one living in his sufferings and death for and true God, enjoys infinitely their redemption, or displayed perfect and independent com- in his whole mediatorial undermunion, in himself.
taking and work. However view= The Father and Son have ed, the communion of the Holy communion in the Holy Ghost, Ghost, is the result and issue of with each other, and with all ho- the love of God and the grace ly intelligent creatures, in heav- of Christ, and it involves the en and earth. The Holy Ghost whole of that infinite good which is the infinitely perfect and bles- comes to the saved from among sed centre of union and com- men, through the mediatorial munion to the Father and the plan, and shorts that, in design Son, with each other, and with and execution, it is the united all saints and angels.
work of the Father, the Son, and This leads our thoughts back the Holy Ghost, and that“ these to the sacred passage with which three are one,” in nature and in this dissertation was introduced. all divine attributes, designs and It is the apostolic benediction to works. the Corinthian church, to whom From the preceding view of he was writing, in which he this subject, we may infer the commends them to the love of following truths, viz. God, the grace of Christ, and 1. Professing Christians have the communion of the Holy sensible or visible communion Ghost. The import of this com- with each other ; or those who munion, as to the object of en profess and appear to be Chrisjoyment, has been already ex- tians have visible fellowship plained. The holy and vener in Christian society, in prayable name of God may be un- er, and in all the institutions of derstood as standing in this social religion and worship, esplace, for the triune Deity ; or pecially in the Lord's supper. it may be used to denote the We speak not of the means by person of the Father, whom we which they are enabled to make find in holy scripture, represent this favorable judgment of each ed as acting in the character of other. Admitting that they esGod, in the affair of our redemp- teem each other as such, they tion. And accordingly, the love have visible communion in prayof God will mean, either the er, the Lord's supper, and other united counsel of divine good- institutions of social religion.
This constitutes what is called * 1 John i. 3.
the communion of saints. This