Imatges de pÓgina
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7. And lastly, eternal life, which in effect is nothing other than the present life brought to perfection, and extended to eternity : 2 Cor. iii. 18, “But we all with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” This is derived from Christ: “I am,” says Jesus, John vi. 51, “the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever.” By him it is they shall live for ever in glory, seeing he shall remain the eternal bond of union betwixt God and the saints, and the medium of communion : Hob. vii. 26, “ Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost, that come onto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” Rev. vii. 17, “ For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters : and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.—We now proceed,

II. To shew how the believer derives this life from Christ by faith.-For this purpose consider,

1. That faith unites the soul to Christ, receiving Christ into the heart, as the meat we eat is received into our bodies, and incorporates with them : John vi. 56, “ He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.” Seeing, then, faith makes us members of Christ, it must needs make us living souls, partakers of the same Spirit which actuates the Head. Faith knits the soul as a branch to the vine, whereby it partakes of the sap. And it lays down the soul at the fountain of life, and knits it to Christ the Head of influences.

2. Faith applies Christ and his fuluess to the soul for life according to its needs : “He that eateth me, even he shall live by me,” even as by eating we receive the sap and strength of the meat for our nourishment. Christ offers himself as the fountain of life, faith accepts, and on the acceptance applies him. Faith, as the mouth of the soul, sucks here, and so lives by bim, as he lives by the Father, Gal. ii. 20, (quoted above.)

3. Faith presses the promises through which the golden oil runs; Psalm cxix. 49, “Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope.” All the influences of grace run in the channel of the covenant, which is the word of divine appointment, upon that bread which we eat by faith : Isa. lix. 2, “ As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the Lord, my Spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and for ever." Each of these promises are full of the fulness of Christ to

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the believer. Sometimes they drop out at will to the soul : Isa. Ixv. 1, "I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name.” But it is not always What should a person then do? He should go

and press the sap out of them by faith, and put God to the fulfilling of his word; Ezek. xxxvi. 37, “ Thus saith the Lord God, I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them.”

Against a complying with this advice, some may propose this

OBJECTION, But I dare not meddle with a promise. Answ. Then meddle not with life. Is a drowning man so fearful, that he dare not catch hold of a rope let out to draw him to land ? O no ! if your soul be content with Christ, though the promise be in your eyes like Moses' rod, which was turned into a serpent, take it by the tail, and it will be a rod of life to you.-Still the objection may be, But the qualifications of the promise stave me off. Answ. Go to Christ, in the free promise to all who will take him, Isa. lv. 1; John vi. 37, “ All that the Father giveth me, sball come unto me: and him that cometh to me, I will in nowise cast out.” Many bar the door of the promises with bars of their own making, and then complain they cannot enter. Say not, If I had so much love, repentance, brokenness of heart, I would believe. If you be wise, you will believe that you shall get these things : Zech xii, 10, " And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and supplications: and they sliall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for an only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his first-born." Acts v. 31, “ Him hath God exalted with his right hand, to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.”

4. Faith relishes the sweetness of Christ in general, and the sweetness of every part of Christ in particular : “Hearken diligently unto me,” says he, Isa. lv. 2," and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness." And O this is life to the soul ! it makes the whole soul flee away from the world and lusts, after him. “O!” says faith, “thy spirit is good !” “O! then,” adds the soul, “ lead me to the land of uprightness.” “Thy name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love thee.” His words are good, and are as the best of wine, when it goes down sweetly, it causes the lips of those that are asleep to speak, Song vii. 5. Faith discovers Christ in his glory-in the glory of his person; and then all the world is but loss and dung for the excellency of the knowledge of him.-In the glory of his righteousness; then who can lay any thing to their charge ?-In the glory of his Spirit; and then the strongest lusts will get an assault. The soul will triumph over them.— I come now,

III. To make some practical improvement of the whole. Here I confine myself to a short use of information and exhortation.

1. From this subject we may learn, that Christless sinners are dead withered branches, ready to be cast over the hedge, Ye live not at all, because ye live not by Christ. Ye have not taken him for the food of your souls, and therefore no other prospect presents itself to you, but a fearful looking for of judgment and of fiery indignation, ready to devour the adversaries.

2. This lets us see who those are who will persevere and not apostatise, even those who eat Christ by faith. Some there are, who appear very lively at a communion or so, but they quickly wither; why ?-because they have not the living Spirit of God in them, they lie not at the fountain. The streams must be dry, when communion with the fountain is stopped. But those who are knit to Christ, and cleave to him, shall partake of his spirit, and so shall never fall away from grace, John iv. 14, (quoted above.)

I would conclude, exhorting you to an eating of Christ by faith, in order to your living by him. And therefore,

1. Study to make it appear that your greedy appetite after that dust, which is the serpent's meat, and the meat of the serpent's brood, is now blunted. Shew that you hunger and thirst no more after it. You must not now feed on the world and your

former lusts. True, Christ finds his people with their navel cat, but he does not leave them so. If you have tasted the sweetness which is in Christ, your lusts will now have no sweetness at all. But if in

find no sweetness in him, your lusts, it is likely, will be strengthened, instead of being weakened by this communion; and this is dreadful, Prov. vii.

2. Derive your life from Christ, live by believing. It is a sad evidence of a decline, when there is no communication of the life of grace from him.

3. Live on Christ and learn to be content with him alone.

Lastly, Study to live to bis glory; Phil. i. 21, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Amen.

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THE FOLLY OF TURNING ASIDE FROM THE LORD. *

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1 Sam. xii. 21,
And turn ye not aside ; for then should ye go after vain things, which

cannot profit nor deliver, for they are vain.
YE have been professing to forsake your wandering life through the
empty creation, and to turn to the Lord as your portion, as your
soul's rest, and as your great Lord and Master from henceforth.
There is one thing of which I would persuade you, the faith of which
would keep you ever with him; and this is, that if you were to
change every day, you can never do better, never do so well. This
is the scope of our text; in which we have Samuel's reason to the
Israelites for their not turning aside from the Lord in any case ;
which is, “For then should we go after vain things, which cannot
profit nor deliver, for they are vain."

These words (without any supplement, and to the same sense, but
more forcibly expressed) may be read word for word thus : "And
ye shall not turn aside, but after vain things,” &c.; that is, ye can-
not turn aside, but you must, by doing so, go after vain things.
The text is a defiance held out to men in their attempts to mend
their condition by departing from the Lord. In which there is,

1. A case supposed, which is, That they should turn aside from the Lord ; and having done so, they have the wide world to choose upon, let them take to the right hand, or to the left, choose the best they can pitch on, some or all, that what is wanting in one, may be made up in another. This is the utmost extent to which it can be carried. There is,

2. The determination in this case, which is expressed in the text with all confidence. Ye shall not, ye cannot for your hearts, turn aside, but after vain things; I defy you to find out a substantial good for yourselves in the whole creation, separate from God. Betake yourselves to what you will, to idols that are so already, to other things to make idols of them, make your best of them, you shall never make more of them than vanity, they are unprofitable, empty, helpless nothings.-From this subject I take the following

DOCTRINE, That no man shall mend his condition, but will ruin it, by turning aside from the Lord, let him turn to what hand soover he will.-For illustrating this doctrine, I shall,

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• Delivered at Galashiels, on Sabbath, Sept. 6, 1719.

I. Offer some things for explaining this point.
II. Evince the truth of this weighty point.
III. Add the practical improvement.
We are then,

I. To offer some things for explaining this point.--Here I observe,

1. That no man, by turning aside from the Lord, shall mend his condition, but ruin it, in point of rest to his heart, and satisfaction to the desires of it: Isa. Ivii. 19, 20, create the fruit of the lips; peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is

near, saith the Lord; and I will heal him. But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.” Every man's heart within him is naturally an hungry, empty thing, which must be filled from something without itself, or it cannot rest. Some, hearing of the soul's satisfaction to be had in God, come away to ordinances, and are for a time found about the Lord's hand, like the mixed multitude from Egypt among the Israelites. They do not at the very first find that satisfaction for which they look, and they cannot wait; but for haste to be filled, they go back to the world and their lusts. In this case, the more haste, the less speed; they are farther from it than ever.-I observe,

2. That no man, by turning aside from the Lord, shall mend his condition, but ruin it, in point of comfort and ease to his conscience; Psalm xxxii. 3, 5, " When I kept silence, my bones waxed old, through my roaring all the day long. I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess nay transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.” This is the true way to get ease. But some awakened siuners seek ease by their tears, confessions, resolutions, and the like, not by the blood of Christ : but, alas ! those plasters will not stick, they will never draw out the thorn of guilt. Some divert the pain of conscience, by filling their hands and heads with business, like Cain. Some stifle it by sinning, yet more over the belly of convictions. But the sore healed with any of these, which are but mere palliatives, will break out more dreadfully than ever, though perhaps not till there is no remedy. And how is the case thus mended ? is it not ruined ?-I observe,

3. That no man, by turning aside from the Lord, shall mend his condition, but ruin it, in point of his interest and advantage : Jer. ii. 13, “For my people have committed two great evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns broken cisterus, that can hold no water.” He who changes, changes

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