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fellowship is formed. Where a natural incapacity exists, there can be no fellowsbip; as the senseless clod can hold no fellowship or communion with the sun : neither can there be fellowship between things of opposite natures, the one of which would be destructive of the other; as fire cannot hold fellowship with water, life with death, light with darkness. Man may hold fellowship and communion with his fellow-man ; there is a community of nature, and may be a communion of mind and heart, of thought and feeling, resting on a moral as well as physical basis. Some of our highest and purest earthly enjoyments arise from the tender endearments and offices of society, friendship, and affection; and the Christian experiences a happiness peculiarly his own in the communion of saints. Between man and his Creator there is a physical capacity for fellowship and communion in a similarity of nature; for “God is a Spirit :" such is the human soul, and thus qualified to have fellowship with God. Did we not know from revelation, that “of him" as the Creator, “through him” as the Preserver, “and to him” as their End,“ are all things,” reason itself would suggest, from a review of man's powers

and city, that he was intended for fellowship and communion with God. Possessing a spiritual nature, to which the material objects that surround us are unsuited; with boundless desires, which cannot be satisfied within the vast range of created existences ; and appointed to endure always; where shall his soul find rest, except in fellowship with Him, who is an infinite Spirit, and filleth all things in time and eternity? A desire for happiness is inseparable from the constitution of our nature. In the pursuit of happiness, the sinner, ignorant of God, wanders through creation. Each new experiment only serves to convince him of the fruitlessness of his effort, and that“ vanity” is written on every page of terrestrial enjoyment. Empty, disappointed, dissatisfied, and vexed, must the highest-favoured carnal man be, till he return unto God.

A moral fitness, however, is also indispensably necessary to our fellowship with God. There may be a natural capacity where a moral fitness is wanting; and this want will prove an insuperable impediment to communion. Satan is a spirit, and physically capable of communion with God; and in his first estate, as a companion of holy angels, no doubt, held sweet converse with his Creator : but now, fallen and full of sin, he is morally disqualified ; “ for what fellowship has light with darkness, or what concord hath Christ with Belial ?” Such, too, is the condition of the unconverted man: he has a physical capacity, but no moral fitness; and awful as the language may seem, yet is it true, that he has no communion with God; his fellowship is with darkness; he lieth in wickedness; he is of his father the devil, and led captive by him at his will. “If," then, "we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie,

and do not the truth." “God is light,” but you walk in darkness, in ignorance and folly, in depravity and guilt, in condemnation and misery; and infinite light can hold no communion with darkness “in him is no darkness at all;” infinite knowledge and wisdom cannot hold communion with ignorance and folly; unsullied holiness, with guilt and depravity ; nor ineffable happiness, with condemnation and misery. Hear this, unholy professors of a holy religion! You call yourselves Christians ; you profess to be of the fellowship of saints, and to belong to God; and yet you are not saved from sin. Pride yet swells in your imagination, passion frequently triumphs over you, and the love of this world rivals in your heart the love of God. You are negligent in some duties, dilatory in others, cool in your zeal, and censorious in conversation. Your profession is vain, your pretensions are hypocritical, you dishonestly assume the garb of light, to conceal the darkness of your heart and life; and, adding spiritual falsehood, before God and his church, to your other sins, “ you lie, and do not the truth.”

There must, then, be a moral fitness in an illuminated mind and renovated heart. This we have not by nature. It is imparted unto the believer by the agency of the Holy Ghost. It is he who removes the ignorance of the carnal mind, subdues the enmity of the will, purifies the affections, and creates the soul anew after the image of God, in knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness. By the communication of his own uncreated light, he prepares the Christian to have fellowship with himself, who is light, and in whom is no darkness at all.

There must not only be a moral fitness created by the agency of the Holy Ghost within us,-an inward and spiritual light imparted, —but we are to “ walk in the light as he is in the light,” if we would maintain our fellowship with God. This walking in the light includes two things : a secret intercourse with God, and a life of holy obedience, maintained by faith, prayer, meditation, earnest breathings, fervent wrestlings of spirit. By these acts of devotion we ascend the mount, and catch a distant view of the heavenly Canaan ; we place ourselves immediately under the beams of the Sun of Righteousness ; we drink in the light from the unfathomable sea, till the soul becomes light, and resplendent with divine glory, as the moon, or irradiated cloud, which reflects the light of the sun. From this secret intercourse with God the Christian comes forth, like Moses from Mount Sinai, his face bright with divine light, and carrying, as one observes, the tables of the law in both his hands, written in his practice. He walks in the light : guided thereby, the law of light shines through a life of holy obedience. In all his daily intercourse with his fellow-men, he carries about with him that pure light which he has derived from God, who is light. He is true and just, benevolent and charitable, doing

“good to all men, especially to them that are of the household of faith ;" he is long-suffering and gentle, forgiving offences as he has received forgiveness, and practising sobriety and temperance; he shows that he has communion with Him who is light, and of purer eyes than to behold iniquity; and is preparing for that blissful vision of God, where there shall be no night, but where the soul shall be raised to the fullest and most perfect resemblance of Him who is light, and who dwells in that light which is inaccessible to mortal eye.

This, then, is that inward and outward holiness to which we are called by the Gospel, which forms the basis of our fellowship with God, and is the source of all spiritual comfort. It is this which creates our peace, maintains our joy, and opens already in the heart a foretaste of heaven. It is the light of comfort, and the joy of faith.

III. The great reason or ground of this fellowship. That man can acceptably approach unto God only through the medium of some satisfaction for his sins, is a truth received from the earliest ages of the world. “ Shall I come before him with thousands of rams, or ten thousands of rivers of oil ? shall I give my first-born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul ?” is an inquiry expressive of a conviction generally prevalent, not only amongst those who possess a written revelation, but also among Pagans. When we view the character of God, who “is light," and that of the sinner, who in his natural state is “ darkness” itself, we perceive an absolute contrast, and discern difficulties in man's way to communion and fellowship with God, which cannot be removed by human reason; for how shall justice have fellowship with guilt, holiness with sin, happiness with misery ; in a word, light with darkness, a sinner with God? What to human reason is impossible, God has himself effected by sending his only-begotten Son to be the Saviour of the world. The economy of human redemption by Christ is the leading theme of revelation, and is set forth in promises, in prophecies, and in types. The most ancient mode of worship recorded in holy Scripture, which was no doubt taught by the Creator himself to Adam and his sons, was sacrificial; beginning with Abel, one of the earliest of the antediluvians; continued by Noah, the father of the new world; but assuming a more solemn, regular, and magnificent character, first, in the tabernacle, and then in the temple at Jerusalem. These, however, were but shadows, their substance being Christ; they were done in a figure, and were typical representations of the sacrificial death of our Redeemer; in themselves they possessed no virtue to take away either the guilt, the power, or the curse of sin, but derived their efficacy from the offerer's faith in the great Antitype.

“ Wherefore,” saith the Apostle, “when he cometh into the world,” as man's Redeemer," he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldst not,

but a body hast thou prepared me," being made man of the seed of David according to the flesh. “In burnt-offerings and sacrifice for sin thou hast had no pleasure;" for,

“ The blood of goats, and bullocks slain,

Could never for one sin atone;
To purge the guilty offerer's stain,

Thine was the work, and thine alone.” “Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me) to do thy will, O God,"—to accomplish thy great purposes in relation to mankind, shadowed forth under former dispensations; and, by offering up myself as an atonement, to finish transgression, and make an end of sin.

It is, then, “the blood of Jesus Christ his {Son," the sacrificial death of our Mediator, “ which cleanseth us from all sin ;” and, by thus removing the great barrier which first separated man from his Creator, re-opens the way to God, and is the ground and the reason of our communion (and fellowship with him. There are two points to which our attention may be directed: the dignity of his person, and the universality and perpetuity of the efficacy of his atonement. He is the Son of God; not a created son, nor a son by adoption ; but the Only-begotten of the Father ; “God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made;" of the same nature and essence with the Father, he is co-equal and co-eternal, over all, God blessed for evermore." He for us men, and for our salvation, was made man, became incarnate of the Holy Ghost; being, says the Apostle,“ made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law:" thus taking on him, not the nature of angels, but the human nature in the seed of Abraham ; according to the prophecy : “In thy seed shall all nations be blessed." His humanity, thus taken from our own nature, is not a new creation, but an assumption from a nature already existing ; so that hereby he is one of ourselves,-our Brother, our Kinsman, a second general Head, as Adam was the first. In his adorable person are thus united the divinity and the humanity. Each nature perfect and entire, existing separate and distinct, without a mixture of natures, or conversion of one nature into the other; thus forming not two Christs, but one God-man, Immanuel, God manifest in the flesh. We want language fully to set forth, in its reality, all the dignity of our Redeemer, the only-begotten Son of God. He is described by the Prophet Isaiah as the Child born, and the Son given, on whose shoulders the government is laid, and whose name is “called, Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father," and “the Prince of peace." Zechariah represents him as “my Shepherd,” (that is, Jehovah's Shepherd,) and,“ the Man that is my fellow,"—Jehovah's equal. In

the same strain are the words of St. Paul: “Who being in the form of God," (that is, in reality God) he "thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant,” (becoming, in reality, a servant,)“ and was made in the likeness of men ; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth ; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

In this constitution of the person of our Redeemer, the wisdom of God is eminently manifest. He was to be a victim, and shed his blood in sacrifice; it being ordained, that without shedding of blood there is no remission of sin; therefore, the Divinity being impassible, he was made man, that he might have blood to shed. The sin being that of our race, it was just that our race should make the required satisfaction. His humanity was not a new creation, prepared specially for him, but taken out of our own stock, blood of our blood, bone of our bone, the woman's Seed, of Abraham's own posterity, of the house and lineage of David. Thus the claims of immutable justice are met by the circumstance, that the victim is of the same nature by which the offence is committed ; so that the nature that sinned has also made the atonement. But it was God's law that was violated ; and this law like its Author, divine, its claims could not be met by any sacrifice merely human; Divinity only could treat with Divinity, and God answer to God. This difficulty, then, is met by the fact, that our Redeemer is God as well as man. And though we cannot take upon us to describe the manner in which the two natures are united in one person, or how the properties of the one are communicated to the other, yet it is plain that the union of the Divinity with the humanity gives infinite value to every act of the man Christ Jesus; rendering his death and blood-shedding an available sacrifice, making full satisfaction to the law, for the sins of all mankind. redeemed not with corruptible things, as silver and gold; but with the precious blood of Christ."

In man we behold a fallen creature,-guilty, unholy, far from God, miserable in himself, and doomed to everlasting destruction. God, who is love, wills his salvation, and his bowels of mercy yearn over him : “My bowels are troubled for him: I will surely have mercy, upon him.” Moved by the strong impulse of infinite love, every attribute of the Godhead is put into activity ; but whilst God wills and purposes man's salvation, it is to be effected only in harmony with his other moral attributes of justice, holiness, and truth. The justice of God must be maintained, his holiness vindicated, his truth kept invio

66 Ye are

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