Page images
PDF
EPUB

till you have sensibly felt your praises reach the skies? Have you not thought with the poet.

“ Well, you shall quickly pass the night,

To the fair coasts of perfect light ;
Then shall your joyful senses rove
O'er the dear object of your love.
Here I could sit and gaze away,

A long, an everlasting day.” Continue to do this in remembrance of him, and he will be sure to remember you; for he says, “ he that honoureth me, I will honour." Some of the Lord's people say they would gladly do this in remembrance of Christ, but as they are cast in providence to meet for worship among the baptists, and they will not admit any but baptists to commune with them, they cannot therefore do this in remembrance of him, as they cannot see the ordinance of baptism.

My dear friends, let me ask you this serious question, as in the presence of a heart-searching God. Did you ever look for it on your bended knees in prayer to God in the new testament, praying, that if it was in his most holy word, he would reveal it to you? I will venture the idea, that if you do, you will find it written as with a sunbeam, that he that runs may read; yet, in order to find it, do not look in the book of Genesis, nor in the book of Ezra, among the hard names, but rather in the Acts of the Apostles, in the new testament; and look not for it as a lazy man looks for work, hoping he may never find it; for, having once found it, you will never be

and then do this in remembrance of Christ; and having put on Christ, walk up and down in his name, and thus make manifest you have been with Jesus.

A. B.

sorry

for it;

FRAGMENT. Faith and repentance can in no sound sense be called conditions of the new covenant; but they are those gifts and graces which the Lord works by his Spirit in all those whom he has already taken into covenant with himself. The very first motion of the soul towards God is the effect of his having loved, chosen, and reconciled that soul unto himself in Christ Jesus. Even the day of the soul's espousal is when she is dead in trespasses and sins; and all her wedding ornaments are what she receives from her husband after marriage ; seeing she brings nothing to him but rags, yea, “ filthy rags," which cannot cover her nakedness. All the soul's after-advancements in the divine life, are but steps whereby she rises up to the knowledge of those blessings which are treasured up for her in Christ, and which she receives out of his inexhaustible fulness. The life-giving Spirit having made the soul feel the burden of sin, she cannot be satisfied till the same Spirit proclaim and witness peace within her, and enable her to cry" Abba Father,” as the earnest, seal, and pledge of her salvation.

ORIGINAL

ESSA Y S.

LXXXVIII.

SANCTIFICATION.

To be honoured by God in this life to serve him according to his revealed will, has an influence so elevating, that the man who is thus distinguished by him is raised as high in the scale of being as he can be while he remains in the present habitation of clay. This is practically delineated in the plans of his action, and in the methods which he has chosen to stand separated from the principles and spirit of this evil world. As a member of the mystical body of Christ, he lives by consequence of his alliance to his person in a very different way to what he formerly did. He is not like those unhappy beings who were disgusted with the world, and who retired into dens and thickets to gratify their evil tempers in another form, no; the reason why he has resigned the principles and the spirit of the world is this, he has discovered it to be enmity against God, and to pursue it would advance his misery; and to cherish it, would increase bis guilt. There cannot be a more striking proof given of our alliance to Christ than when the things which he approves are by us beloved and cherished with a fixed regard for his glory. The end of that plan of wisdom which God has devised is thus effected in us when the government that he has set up in his kingdom is warmly embraced and defended. True spirituality of mind is above all price; and we may say of it, what Job has said of wisdom, the price of wisdom is above rubies.". The doctrine of sanctification is of the highest importance to the church of God, to be scripturally known and felt; but there are many mistaken concerning it found amongst the disciples of Jesus, and they will necessarily have a pernicious tendency upon those who embrace them. It has often occurred to me when I have thought upon this subject, that it does not meet with that regard from the ministers of Christ ich it demands. We frequently hear them say, that the gospel dispensation is holy, but wherein the holiness of it consists they are not very heedful to inform their congregations. But as scandal und destruction are disgraceful things for any christian to practice, we will not adopt a course of conduct that will ultimately do us more injury than it can do those whom we accuse,

The subject which we have introduced is very comprehensive in its bearings upon every branch of truth revealed to us in the scriptures. The first view that we are led to take of it is, the decree of God concerning the people who are to appear with Christ in the kingdom of heaven. We speak not now of the number of the people chosen in Christ, so much as of the principle on which God has

66 for

purposed they shall enter the world of light. To every considerate christian it will appear very obvious, that as heaven is to be the final habitation of the just, it was a becoming act of God's to decide that no one should enter into that state of being who is not personally holy as the consequence of it. There is more contained in the decree of election than we are accustomed to conceive. It may be denominated the prolific root which contains all that God has seitled upon his children, and that which is comprehended in it is revealed in the holy scriptures, and it is imparted to us according to divine decision. This fact can never be affectionately and cordially received until the man of God is regenerated and enlightened to perceive that it is the root of sanctity and spirituality.

The imperious pride of nature resents it with disdain, and rejects the fact that the people who are to be glorified with Christ are loved and foreknown by God; but when the Holy Ghost sheds light by the scriptures upon the mind, and by his sacred persuasive influence discloses to us that we were chosen in Christ, that we may be holy and without blame, it immediately appears in a new aspect, and it is hailed as a pledge of the everlasting love of God toward his people. Every doctrine of revelation is best understood when the nature of it is practically demonstrated; we can then defy scepticism; and in the possession of it we know and believe its essential worth and excellent tendency.

The decision of God in Christ comprehends all the people who will finally appear with him in heaven, clothed in his righteousness; and as it is the source of all sanctity, it must originally contain every thing which proceeds from it, just in the same way as the tributary streams which feed the flowing river do roll gently on its coursé until it empties itself in the mighty ocean from whence they proceeded.

We may say further, that we are sanctified from sin by the sacrifice of Christ. By the will of God we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. --For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. - Jesus also that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate." The idea of setting apart a people for God, who were morally impure, is very evident by these testimonies of divine truth. The charge of guilt stood against them in the court of equity; and the poisonous nature of it had corrupted them, and rendered them unfitting to serve the Lord. In the scheme of human redemption, every attribute of God is supremely displayed, God is immutably holy, and eternally just; therefore the iniquity which we have committed is by him righteously condemned; but as he is the God of love, mercy, and goodness, exercising his supreme prerogative, we behold him extending grace to the undeserving in that way which is most congenial with the perfection of his nature, and by which the rights of his government are maintained. The Son of God, who is the chosen head of the spiritual world, had covenanted with his Father to ransom the lost church from iniquity; and in him the

- The

whole family of God was legally represented, when he became incarnate and took flesh, essentially the same as ours, but in the manner of his taking it he shut out all its impurity. He took up the law in its broken form, and obeyed the precept; endured the penalty, and became thereby the Saviour of his mystical body. In him we are released from the charge of guilt ; for by the death of Christ sin was destroyed, and a fountain opened to cleanse us from its defilement, in order that we might appear in the presence of God without a wrinkle of deformity, or a stain of pollution remaining. blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."

Under the levitical dispensation the Jews were acquitted from guilt, and cleansed from defilement, by the sacrifices which were daily offered to God; and now in the end of the world we are sacrificially sanctified from sin for God by the death of Christ. The atonement made by Christ to divine justice for the sins of his people when it is applied to them by the Holy Spirit, it does really cleanse them from the guilt and filth of sin; and by the appointment of God those who are redeemed to him, are set apart for him as his chosen and purchased possession.

The good which lies above us, and which is by an act of will assigned to us by God, together with what has been done for us by Christ Jesus, is wrought in us by the Holy Ghost according to his good pleasure. No man has any scriptural ground to conclude that he is of the family of heaven, who is not a partaker of a divine nature. God will not dwell where there is nothing but defilement. He has therefore decided the question, and has informed us, that “ he would make known the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you the hope of glory.” The inspired apostle gave thanks for the Colossians “ to God and the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. The temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.From these scriptures we learn that the chosen and redeemed church of the living God is ultimately the sanctified place of his residence. God has purposed that his people shall be quickened by the Holy Ghost from a death in sin to a life of righteousness. When the Holy Ghost imparts divine life, he then inlays the mind with the principle of truth, and the sanctified man is capacitated to act for God. Prior to regeneration there is not any thing in the mind of man by which the eternal Spirit can operate upon its powers, and consecrate them for God. But when the relationship in which Christ stands to his seed is manifested by the communication of eternal life, the vital union of the living member of Christ's body to his person and fulness, is the formal reason why the eternal Sanctifier does set apart the regenerate for God by shedding upon them the influence of his priesthood and reign. This plan of forming a people for God is by his will rendered necessary and certain ; for no man has either physical or moral ability to raise himself to stand in so high, holy and heavenly an alliance to the person of the Son of God. It is a state of being that is not the due of man by creation law; and as there is not now through sin in man that moral rectitude which was the due of the creature in equity, and there is our aversion to the law expressed by every wicked man, so that the whole creation is disqualified to serve God as it was their bounden duty to do, since man cannot recover by his own performances the lesser good which he has lost, and it never was the intention of God to restore him to his Eden state of purity, it follows that a meetness to enjoy God in Christ, in the way that he has promised his people shall know and love him, can alone be derived from Christ on the basis of eternal election in him to holiness. Almighty power is therefore exerted to form the man to bear the image of Christ; and when that is done, whoever has passed under this most important change, is a partaker of the principle of sanctity, and he is really holy. This is an incipient principle of true godliness by which the heirs of grace are supernaturally fitted to receive with affection the revealed will of God. The perception and sensibility of the mind demonstrates this; for the knowledge of God which he possesses, has eternal life in it; and the feeling of his heart is that of a ransomed son, who is brought back to the house of bis Father with gladness and rejoicing. Sin, which before was to him a sweet morsel, is detested and forsaken ; and the daily breathings of his mind after conformity to the testimonies of God, evince his regard for truth, and that he values his friendship above gold. The cleansing blood of Christ is the theme on which he dwells with sacred pleasure, for by the shedding of it justice was satisfied, and peace for ever established between God and his children. Standing in the righteousness of Christ justified to eternal life, he patiently tarries in his pre-ordained lot with gospel evidence that Jehovah who had chosen it for him is his Father and everlasting portion. The doctrines of the gospel are to such a man what the dew is to the tender herb, the means of preserving life, and rendering of him fruitful. These sacred expressions of the mind of God are embraced with the warmest affection, and held fast in a sacred mind. There is an agent at work secretly by them upon the mind to effect the great end for which they were at first revealed. Every one of these doctrines centre in the person of Christ, and he is the fountain of holiness and life, and he sends by them all that they are intended to convey to the offspring of God. We are not left to conjecture whether this is true, for it is plainly declared, “that all scripture is given by inspiration of God; and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” By or according to the sacred expressions of the mind of God, the Holy Spirit works upon the mind of a gracious man to form his understanding that he may know the nature of the religion of Christ, and be prepared for a state of spiritual servitude and obedience to the will of God. Prior to his spiritual birth there was no aptitude or disposition of mind to worship God in a spiritual man

« PreviousContinue »