Imatges de pÓgina

bear it before the foundation of the world. He prepared a body for his first and only Begotten, brought him into the world in the fullness of time, and all the days of his flesh preserved and upheld him in life and vigour, with the right-hand of his righteousness. Our Lord Jesus Christ openly professed, that his life in the flesh depended upon the will of the Father; that his actions were obedience to the law of the Father; and that his sufferings and death were subjection to a commandment received of the Father. Entirely and universally devoted and resigned to the glory of the Father, he acknowledged the doing of his will to be the meat that supported and strengthened his life. "Master, eat," said the disciples. "I have," replied he, "meat to eat which ye know not of." "Hath any man, whispered they, in surprise, "brought him ought to cat?" Jesus answered, "My meat is to do the will of him that "sent ine, and to finish his work." How sublime is this sentiment! It was then too high for the comprehension of his disciples, and by natural men it is still wholly unintelligible. But the men who have received an understanding to know him that is true, will enter into its meaning without the help of dictionaries. "Let this mind be in "you, which was also in Christ Jesus." To do the will, and finish the work of the Father who sent him, was his meat; and let it be yours to do the will, and finish the work of Christ Jesus, "who gave himself for you, that he "might redeem you from all iniquity, and purify unto "himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works."


In the SECOND place, we shall endeavour to explain the affirmation concerning the person who eateth Christ.Concerning this, three particulars may be distinguished and illustrated: The sense of the metaphor "cateth;" the life which he who eateth liveth by Christ; and, the assu-, rance expressed, that he who eateth him shall live by him.

The sense of the metaphor “eateth” is first to be ascertained and illustrated. In the ear of the natural man, the sound of this metaphor is harsh and dissonant, and, in his apprehension, the application of it is absurd and ridiculous. Though accustomed to a figurative style, and a similar application of this particular metaphor, some of the hearers of our Saviour contended that it was unintelligible. "The Jews therefore strove among themselves,

saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?"— That the application of this particular metaphor could not be unfamiliar to a Jewish ear, appears from several passages of the Old Testament, where it is used. "Thy "words," saith Jeremiah, "were found, and I did eat them" -I considered, believed, rejoiced at them. "Son of man," said the Lord to Ezekiel, "open thy mouth, and eat that I "give thee;" (which was the roll of a book)-Read at tentively, meditate deeply, believe firmly, digest the contents thoroughly. "The meek shall eat and be satisfied" -They shall receive the gospel concerning the person, obedience, death, resurrection, and glory of Christ; and, in believing it, be filled and satisfied as with marrow and fatness. In imitation of this figurative language, familiar to the ears of his hearers, and agreeably to the representation of himself, under the metaphor of bread, our Lord used the word "eateth" to express the sense of the word 'believeth,' ascertaining, at the same time, this to be his meaning: I am the bread of life: he that cometh unto me "shall never hunger, and be that believeth on me shall ne"ver thirst." Here it is obvious that Christ is the bread of life, and that eating him, and living by him, are forms of speech, which, in his application of them, correspond to coming unto him, and believing on him. Unto the modern Jew, eating Christ will still appear an uncouth phrase. But who can help the perverse humour of this poor man? Eating, which is a sensible action, is a just metaphor of believing, which is a spiritual exercise. In believing the testimony of God concerning him, Christ is received with appetite and desire, and received in believing. Christ gives to receivers spiritual nourishment, and plenary satisfaction and joy. "These things have I spo"ken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and "that your joy might be full." "Whorn having not seen, ye love; in whom though new ye see him not, yet be"lieving, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glo"ry." "Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and "peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through "the power of the Holy Ghost."

The life which the believer who eateth liveth by Christ, is next to be illustrated; and concerning it, the following particulars may be observed:-1st, By Christ he who eateth or believeth is quickened and made to live. "The

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"last Adam," which is one of the official titles of the Son of God, "is made," by a gracious constitution of his living Father, "a quickening spirit," and quickeneth whom he will. By his voice, heard in effectual calling, the dead in trespasses and sins awake to righteousness and life, stand up, and rejoice in their living and quickening head. Of their life he is purchaser, promiser, bestower, and preserv er. So nearly is their life connected with his, that they attribute it to him living in them. "I am crucified with "Christ," saith one, who speaks the mind of all: "neverthe"less, I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life "which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son "of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."—2dly, By Christ he who cateth or believeth is justified. "We,' saith an apostle, "have believed in Jesus Christ, that we "might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the "works of the law." Through his obedience and blood, believers in him are delivered from condemnation, made the righteousness of God, and entitled and restored to life in the eye of the law. "The law of the Spirit of life in "Christ Jesus, hath made them free from the law of sin "and death. For what the law could not do, in that it "was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in "the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin condemned sin in "the flesh; that the righteousness of the law might be ful"filled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the "Spirit."-3dly, By Christ he who eateth or believeth is sanctified. Sanctification is one of those comprehensive words, by which all the works, or actions, of our life in him, are expressed. Of our life in him, holiness is the essence, or vital and operative part, and described by a writer, who could not mistake its nature, to be living unto God, and bringing forth fruit unto God. "I through the "law, am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. "Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the "law, by the body of Christ, that ye should be married to "another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we "should bring forth fruit unto God." In these descrip tions, the mystery of our sanctification, or the dependence of the life and fruit of holiness upon Christ, is obvious to every spiritual eye; and, with equal beauty and lustre, you will observe it breaking forth in these which follow: "Now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein

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"we were held, that we should serve in newness of spirit, "and not in the oldness of the letter. For in that Christ "died, he died unto sin once; but in that he liveth, he liveth "unto God. Likewise, reckon ye also yourselves to be "dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus "Christ our Lord."-4thly, By Christ, he who eateth or believeth, is nourished. The whole body depending on Christ, who is their head, receive daily of his fulness, and by communion with him in Spirit and grace, grow up into him in all things. Under this similitude, the dependence of their life on him, and the communications from him by which it is nourished and strengthened, are represented. "From him the whole body, fitly joined together, and com"pacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the "effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh "increase of the body, unto the edifying of itself in love.""Holding the Head, from which all the body, by joints and "bands, having nourishment ministered, and knit together, "increaseth with the increase of God." In his person, office, and fulness, Christ Jesus is the bread of life and the water of life, and eating the one, and drinking the other, are metaphors of believing. Eating and drinking is daily believing, and daily believing is daily living and growing: "As it is written, The just shall live by his faith." "If ye "know these things, happy are ye if ye do them."-5thly, By Christ he who eateth or believeth is preserved. Of the life which he bestows and nourishes, Christ is the strength, the protection, and defence. Like David, when pursued by his enemies, believers flee alway to Christ, their rock, their refuge, and their portion in the land of the living. "The Lord," says that hero, "is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?"-Of Satan, who hath the power of death? No.—Of men, who have the instruments of death? No. Of sin, which is the sting of death? No. Of the curse, which is the bitterness of death?→ No. Of sickness, which is the messenger of death? No.Of the law, which denounces the sentence of death? No."The Lord liveth," "the Lord is the strength of my life," and "the Lord will redeem my life from destruction, and

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crown me with loving-kindness and tender mercies." In a style equally bold, and with a confidence built on the same rock of life, the apostle raises his voice, saying, "O "death where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the

"law; but thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory, "through our Lord Jesus Christ."-6thly, By Christ, he who eateth or believeth, reigns in life. "They who receive "abundance of grace, and of the gift of righteousness, shall "reign in life by one, Jesus Christ." Regeneration, i which they are quickened and made alive, is the commencement of their reign, which, like his own, will never expire, but in duration run parallel with the days of eternity. When cut off out of the land of the living, and numbered with the slain, lying in the grave, his reign in life was not dissolved; and when they die, and mingle with the dust, their reign in life by him is not interrupted. In the Lord they die, and unto the Lord they die. The Lord in, and unto whom they die, is Lord both of the dead and living; and when dead in him and unto him, they live in him, and unto him, and with him. "I am," saith he, "the living bread, which cometh down from heaven, that a "man may eat of it, and not die. If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever. Verily, verily, I say unto "you, he that believeth on me hath everlasting life." Precious words! more desirable than gold-sweeter also than honey and the honey-comb! Read them over and over, consider them attentively, O hearer! lay them up in thine heart: believed and digested, through the power of the Holy Ghost, they will be unto thee the joy and rejoicing of thine heart.

We shall now illustrate the expression of assurance that he who eateth, or believeth, "shall live" by Christ.He doth not say, that the eater or believer may live, but that he shall live. The assurance expressed by this word doth not rest upon the strength and virtue of the action of eating, which is the metaphor of believing, but upon the strength and virtue of the bread that is given and received, which is Christ sent, and living by his living Father; and concerning it the following particulars may be observed: -1st, In his office Christ liveth by the Father. After the power of an endless life, he was set up in the glory of it, and out of it will never die. Length of days, for ever and ever, are given unto him, and of his years there shalt be no end. Now, his life, in the vigour and glory of his office, preserves the existence and strength of their life."Because I live, ye shall live also." His life unto God shall never be cut off, and their life by him unto God shall

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