Imatges de pÓgina

tency, that the potency of the Holy One might be known. This, now, is the meaning of Christ's being made under the law. The law is not positive, but moral. It is holy to obey it it is sinful to disobey it. Christ was made under it, for the end of proving that he was the Holy One; the law is the expression of God's holiness; and he who keeps the law is holy as God is holy. Christ therefore is the Holy One, though in mortal flesh; and he maketh mortal flesh to fulfil the law of holiness. He is God's holiness in action, demonstrating in a life of sorest temptation, what an almighty power of holiness there is in God to cast off, and to cast out, to resist and to overcome all sin, and sin's ministers, within the bounds of the creation of God. Christ's life in flesh made God's holiness from being a word to be a thing. It is no more spoken of, it is done. And this work of presenting flesh holy, against all the combinations of sin, and sin's ministers, visible and invisible, Christ having accomplished, became the Head, was exalted to become the Head of a new creation, having the Holy Ghost given to him for the very end of quickening whom, and what, the Father pleaseth, into an everlasting life of holiness which shall prevail for ever against unholiness quite to expel it from the realm of life, and evermore to restrain it in the lake that burneth, which is the second death. This office of mortifying and crucifying all the members of sin, and quickening them anew unto holiness, of discharging God's creation of its poisonous load, and in its stead infusing into it the glorious life of holiness, Christ putteth forth at present in his church, and by his church;-in them, and by them alone, as his body, given to him of the Father, for this very end, that through the members thereof Christ the Head might effectually resist, impetuously turn back, and for ever shut out from the creation of God the tide of sin, which had poisoned its life, destroyed its beauty and consistency, and brought it to the foulness of corruption and the dust of the grave. In the church, and by the church, I say, is the work of wrestling against flesh and blood, against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in the super-celestial places, carried on through the ministry of the Holy Ghost, through Christ, and the inworking of the Father in us:

and every action of the church, the body of Christ, thus wrought in of the Father, ministered to by Christ, and supplied with the Holy Ghost, is holy, is most holy, if indeed there be degrees of holiness. I mean to say, that the actions of the saints which are not holy, are not of God, nor of Christ in them, by the Holy Ghost, but are of themselves; are not of the Spirit, but of the flesh; are in truth, manifestations of that awful power, with which God hath created the human spirit, the power of resisting, and overcoming, and rejecting himself. I speak not blasphemy when I say, that the Almighty permitteth himself to be overcome by the spirit of man. It is not that he cannot, but that he will not, overpower us. He hath treated us from the beginning, and he will treat us to the end, as beings whom he made in his own image, and to exercise his own lordship. The image of God must not be constrained, because he whose image it is, is not constrained, but free. The being whom God hath made a lord, must remain a lord; and if he have made himself a bondsman, he must be the actor in making himself a lord again. And so the Son of God, when he came to retrieve man from being a bondsman, became a bondsman in order to do it, and as a bondsman effected man's liberty, and made him to become lord again. Aye, it is a fearful dignity this in which God hath constituted man, a very fearful and awful dignity it is, to have the power of "grieving," and "vexing," and "quenching," and "blaspheming" the Spirit of the Almighty God, and of Jesus in whom it pleased the Father that the fulness of the Godhead should dwell: but so it is, and let every saint know it, and be aware of it, that though the Spirit of Christ and the Spirit of the Father be in him, he may resist them both, and doth so every time that he sinneth; so that sin in a saint is a thing of most awful heinousness, and would be of most fearful consequence, if we had not such a God and such a Redeemer to do withal. Sinful actions of the saints are very sinful: they all draw on to apostasy, and their consummation is apostasy,-a more direful state of being than that of the devils themselves, whereof a sure sign is given in this, that the beast and the false prophet are cast into the lake of fire one thousand years before Satan the prince of evil. But while this is true, it is

equally true, that the actions of the saints which are done in obedience to the Father, and to Christ, and, by their inworking in us, are holy as the holiness of God; and are a continuance of Christ's holy work in the flesh, and of his power through a human will to subdue a human body, a sinful world, and all the spirits of darkness: and the more of these holy works, in heart, speech, and behaviour, a saint produceth, the greater is his favour with God now, and the greater will be his reward in the kingdom to come. And to the end of encouraging the angel of the church of Philadelphia, who was honest and earnest in the pursuit of holiness, and taught his church to be so, Christ presenteth himself as the Holy One, that he might be of good heart, and of a strong hand in the course which he had chosen. "I am the Holy One; be not thou afraid of any power of wickedness in the flesh, in the church, or in the world around thee, or in the prince of the power of the air. Be thou holy, for I am holy. Thine afflictions are all to make thee a partaker of my holiness. Go on, go on thy way rejoicing: fear not the flesh; I strangled sin in it, and ever since I am its Master, hold it down as I put it down, keep it down. Be holy, O my son; for I, thy Father, am holy. Be thou holy, my servant; for I, thy Master, am holy. I have redeemed thee from all iniquity go on serving the living God." And as he spake unto this faithful saint, so speak I in his name unto all the saints of God. Yield perfect holiness, submit yourselves unto the mighty power of God: trust in him, and be not afraid. Do this, and your souls shall live.


"These things saith the true One." The word here translated true is not the simple primitive word, but a derivative, which is perhaps better rendered truthful or real. It is applied by the Greek classics when they would distinguish the real from the fictitious; as the "real horse," in opposition to the horse in the picture. In 1 Thess. i. 9, God is called "The True," in contradistinction to idols; and in 1 John v. 20, 21, we have it, in the same connection, applied both to God and to Christ: "And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding that we may know Him that is true: and we

are in Him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal Life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols." Now it will be remembered that the main scope of all this First Epistle of John is to preserve the church from impostors, false prophets, false spirits, and false professors of the Gospel; and therefore I think it reasonable to infer from these its last words, that the idea which the Apostle would convey by the word true, is real, in opposition to all fiction; true, in opposition to all falsehood; truthfulness, in opposition to every shadow of pretence. The like conclusion have we from considering the first chapter of the Gospel by John, where Christ is set forth as the true Light, in opposition to all pretenders, and even in distinction from those who only reflected the light that was in him, and in particular to John the Baptist : "There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world" (verses 6-9). This addeth another thing necessary to complete the meaning of the word true, as a designation of Christto wit, that he, and he alone, of all whom God had sent is the real one, the rest being only witnesses of and to him, representatives as it were of his person, but not the real person himself; and for this reason it is that in the same context it is said, that "Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." All that had come before being but types and 'shadows of that truth which in him came forth full and clear. When it is said therefore in the text, "I am the true One," I am inclined to comprehend under that word all which is contained in John's announcement, "Truth came by Jesus Christ." Understanding this, I interpret it to signify that in him the whole truth of Godhead standeth bodied forth; that, as God is a person, he is incapable of being expressed truly, but by a person, and though the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things which are made, still over all these things, the Head and Lord was a person made on purpose to be an image and likeness of God. Yet Adam was only an image, and not the reality of God.

Christ is not the image, but the reality of God. He is the person in the world who sets out completely and truly the person of God; who is not in the world, neither can be. "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father." I am the true One. Moses is but a representative, and the Jews but the members of that representative head, the shadow of a people, the form and figure of the truth. 'Therefore, O angel of the Philadelphian church, heed not these troublers of thy peace who say they are Jews, but are not, being of the synagogue of Satan. I am the true One; and there is in me no pretence, no formality, no apparition, no counterfeit therefore be thou free from all pretence, hypocrisy, simulation, and dissimulation. Be true, for I am true. Put away from thee the desire of a name: be filled with the love of the truth, for I am the Truth.' As we have observed, the temptation of his neighbour the angel of Sardis was, to be carried away with the love of a name, which, in the historical aspect of the epistle, is the temptation of the churches called Protestant, and especially of the churches in this land which is the head of Protestantism; and above all, of the churches in Scotland, which is the most Protestant of all Protestant churches and being so, I hold up this designation of Christ to my brethren, the ministers, presbyters, and deacons of the church, as most worthy of their study and imitation. Exact truth and sterling honesty do well become men of every name and profession; and without this first quality of a man, the seed of God's verity will not take root in his heart; but, above all others, it becometh the ministers and rulers of the church, who represent him whose name is The Truth. Be done, O brethren, with your forms and formularies of truth, as if it were enough to have subscribed to these with your hand: be the Truth, embody a living epistle: shew your faith in God's sovereign and electing love by living, moving, and having your being in him. Shew your belief in Christ's universal atonement, by being gracious unto all, and willing to die for the sake of the most worthless. Shew your belief in the inworking of the Holy Ghost, by speaking as the oracles, and working the works, of God. Be ashamed to have written your faith in these things, so long as you possess not the living substance of these things. Shew yourselves

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