Imatges de pÓgina

Christians, by serving Christ; churchmen, by loving the brethren; ministers of the people, by keeping wisdom in your lips and in your heart. But ye are become either zealots, or mere professors of the truth. Cease from these extremes, and become clean and holy through the truth." Truth is a person-Jesus Christ is Truth; and truth never is until it be alive in a person. It is idolatry to worship truth elsewhere than in a person; and it is promoting the service of idolatry to uphold truth in any form, save that of a living person. Thou art a base hypocrite if thou merely sign a book, and shew not the contents of the book in thy person. And what I say to you ministers, I say to all men: Become what you believe-live the thing which you believe to be true.

Christ, in thus addressing the angel of the Philadelphian church, doth put a stamp upon honesty in a minister of religion; which I desire devoutly to possess ; which the fear of man and the power of public opinion are ever seeking to destroy in my heart, and which nothing but thou, O Spirit of Truth, art able to continue there. O, he that would be true in such a time as this must convict many men of being liars, and should be prepared for the opprobrious name of insolent and presumptuous fellow, the fate of being cast out and crucified every day in those members of affection and loving kindness which are dearer to a man than the flesh of his body. O, it is a feeble voice that I can lift up amidst the whirlwind of the public voice: but for the sake of the multitude, tossed and tempest driven, I will lift it up from the high place where God hath stationed me; and some mariners, wiser than the rest, may hear my warning voice. Hear then, all ye people; and give ear, ye ministers of the people, He who is holy and true hath witnessed, that without holiness no man shall see the Lord. And without truth there can be no holiness; for he hath testified again in his last prayer," Sanctify them by thy truth, thy word is truth" and that Spirit who is the quickening principle of the new life is ever denominated by these two names, the Holy Spirit and the Spirit of truth, because truth is holiness in the mind, and holiness is truth in the members they are inseparable. To have dared to separate them is one of the infinite enormities of the mo

ther of abominations, who dared to sanctify a lie by maintaining that the end justified the means. And following her example, the evangelical system is fast bringing religion into the same bondage. I believe in my heart that as foul things, before Heaven, have been done for the promotion of our religious societies, as great concealments, yea, and misrepresentations of the truth, as dishonourable and dishonest methods of gaining popular favour, as were ever employed by the regular and mendicant orders of the Church of Rome; and it would have proceeded to much greater length than it hath, had it not been resisted by the honest and upright character, which the religious and political institutions of this kingdom had impressed upon that worldly society which our evangelical system is continually affecting to despise. The way by which you will recover yourselves from this snare of the devil, is to resume your personality; and, while you give all reverence to other persons, and all diligent study to natural things, you must remember that in order to constitute a responsible person before God, before the church, and before the state, you must sit the arbiter of your own thought, word, or act. And only in so far forth as you exercise this sacred right of private judgment are you a man at all: you are a thing, a piece of human mechanism, wrought by some spirit of another man, or of a devil; but a man you are not, neither a member of the body of Christ, nor yet acted on by the Holy Ghost. For the church of Christ, if it be a building of many stones, these stones are every one alive. If it be a body of many members, these members are every one made free, and acting by no law, but the royal law of liberty. The church's unity standeth, not in the extinction of personal liberty, but in the regeneration of it; so as that each man shall shew himself to be the work of one God, the member of one Christ, the inspiration of one Spirit, by working to the same one effect in all diversities of time, place, and circumstance. God redeems man by making him free, and he expects man in his freedom to bring forth the free will tribute of a whole life devoted unto that Christ who hath redeemed him. God overbears no one ; the devil overbears every one. Christianity overbears no one; the Papacy overbears every one. They are not men, they are stocks and stones, who will out of any reverence

yield up their personal liberty. It is not religion to be in bondage to any man, or to any system of men: it is religion to be free. O God! how thou hast ennobled man. Q with what nobility thou hast entrusted him, for thou dost reverence thine own image, thou dost love thine own offspring. All nature is combined to chain him down upon the naked rock, and to tear out the vitals of his peace: thou alone consultest for his peace. Therefore if you would escape out of the region of untruth, into the region of truth, you must first cease from being bondsmen of the evangelical system, or of any system, Calvinistic, Arminian, Pelagian, Utilitarian, and become free men, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ. O what a redemption was needed, to make such bondsmen free: being made free, let us not again become entangled with the yoke of bondage. Be all law abolished, but the law of the Spirit, the royal law of liberty. O man, seek the freedom of the will, and in thy free love of goodness behold the present God. There is no presence of God, but in the will to do good: there is no presence of Christ, but in the way to do good: there is no presence of the Spirit, but in the act of doing good and goodness in the will, in the way, and in the acting, is man redeemed, man united to Christ, mau inhabited by the Spirit, man glorifying his Maker. This is holiness, this is truth, this is dignity, this is blessedness. There is no God like unto our God, and there is no creature like unto a man renewed in the image of God in righteousness and true holiness. Well hath the wisdom of man said, "Honesty is the best policy;" and well hath the poet written,

"An honest man's the noblest work of God."

From these designations of the great Head of the church, which convey to him the very essence of God, and constitute him the great centre of holiness in the creation of God, the hope of every groaning sinner seeking righteousness, and finding it not, the joy of every seduced, misled, and lost creature, shewing him the way back again to truth and honour;—from this his spiritual excellency, and his spiritual appropriateness to man's bondage and misery under him who was a liar from the beginning, and the father of falsehood,-we now pass to the attribute of power, of royal power and dominion upon the earth, which he hath attained, in virtue of that very

holiness and truth, which, as a living creature, he did maintain. That creature, (for it is in his creaturehood, that the excellency of his holiness and truth standeth, though the origin of them be in his Godhead); that creature who possesseth holiness and truth, is well entitled-is in right of God's own being entitled-to the supremacy of things created. If God himself be holy and true, then be assured that only such as are holy and true shall attain unto eminence in his creation. He is not the King to respect persons, and to set vile men high in place his principle of government it is, to exalt the righteous, and to establish the true, because he is a God of righteousness and truth; and therefore it is, that the supremacy of holiness and truth, which Christ possessed upon the earth, draws with it the supremacy of power; for such I conceive to be the thing expressed in these words: “He that hath the key of David, who openeth, and, no man (one) shutteth, who shutteth and no man (one) openeth."


The language is taken from the conclusion of the xxiid chapter of Isaiah, entitled, "The burden of the valley of vision." That vision concerneth the city of David, Jerusalem, the upper city that was built around and on Mount Zion, which was in the hands of the Jebusites until David took it, being in respect of its situation, as contrasted with the lower city, the type of the Jerusalem which is above, the mother of us all. And, because the Philadelphian church hath its promise in terms of this Jerusalem, that cometh down from heaven, therefore is it, as I think, that Christ takes this second part of his designation from the burden of the valley of vision. Now that burden consisteth of two parts; the former including the first fourteen verses, and taken up with the burden, properly so called, the woeful calamities which were to come upon Zion at the hand of the king of Babylon, and which fell out in the days of Jeremiah the Prophet. The second part beginning at the 15th verse, is altogether personal, directed to " Shebna, the treasurer," who was over the house, that is, the house of David, occupying the office which we now denominate that of Lord Chamber

lain. To this Shebna, the prophet carried tidings of dismay; foreshewing to him, that, instead of lying down in that sepulchre of honour and of state which he had prepared for himself, he should be violently turned out, and tossed like a ball into a land " large of spaces (marg.) there to die, bereaved of his glory, and covered with shame; in which day of trouble and disgrace to him, Isaiah is further commissioned to foreshew a day of honour to Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah, and in the prediction of his glory are found the words which our great Shepherd here appropriates unto himself. In order to do justice therefore to the fragment taken out, and presented to us, in the text, it will be necessary to study the scope of the whole, which in all its parts, as well as in this, is evidently prefigurative of Christ, in this character of being unto God what Eliakim was to David, of being in God's house, which is creation, what Eliakim was in David's house, having the key of every chamber thereof, to open or to shut according to the pleasure of his own will. In the very name, Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah,-which being interpreted is, "God the strong, or the Resurrection, the Son of God the gracious," is contained the substance of the mystery; which is, Jesus the powerful and mighty one, proceeding forth of Jesus the humble and gracious one; Jesus with power, the reward of his grace. Of this Eliakim it is said, "I will clothe him with thy robe, and strengthen him with thy girdle; and I will commit thy government into his hand." The robe was, and indeed is to this day, in eastern countries, the gift of a king unto his servants, when they enter into his service, whereto allusion is made in the third chapter of this Prophet: "When a man shall take hold of his brother of the house of his father, saying, Thou hast clothing; be thou our ruler, and let this ruin be under thy hand in that day shall he swear, saying, I will not be an healer; for in my house is neither bread nor clothing make me not a ruler of the people" (vers. 6, 7). The girdle again, as bearing the sword, the quiver, and other weapons of war, is, throughout Scripture, the symbol of strength, and likewise also because it supports a man who hath much labour to undergo. be clothed therefore with Shebna's robe, and to be strengthened with Shebna's girdle, is a noble style for expressing


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