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ordinances which Christ hath prepared for us to walk in. These are some of the chief things which He hath commanded us to observe and do. They are so plain that none but those who shut their eyes to the truth can avoid seeing that they are essential to our salvation. The delight attending their constant observance is so great and so pure, so reviving, strengthening, and exhilarating, that he who hath once entered this strait gate, he who hath once fairly taken Christ's yoke upon him would rather lose his life than lay it down. It is the purpose of our Lord and Saviour Christ in whatsoever He commandeth to unite us to himself as members of his spiritual body, and to that end to sanctify us by his Spirit, that Spirit which proceedeth from the Father and the Son. Now these ordinances which Christ hath thus laid down have a most especial and obvious tendency to this sanctification and this union. They will quicken both the hope of being like unto Him, and (what is infallibly consequent upon that hope) the endeavour to purify ourselves even as He is pure.
If we neglect them we cannot expect either to be united to Him, sanctified, or purified.
Thus only shall we attain salvation through Christ, not by saying to him Lord, Lord, but by doing whatsoever He hath commanded. Let us then beware of the delusions of Satan. For as he deceived our first parents by saying ye shall not surely die though ye do that which God hath plainly forbidden; so he endeavours to deceive us now saying ye shall not surely die though ye omit to do whatsoever Christ hath commanded. Believing the devil in contradiction to God brought sin and death into the world. Let us take heed my brethren lest believing the devil in contradiction to Christ betray us into the second death where the worm dieth not, and the fire shall never be quenched.
Now to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, be ascribed all honour, praise, and glory, might, majesty, dominion, and thanksgiving, for ever and ever. Amen.
LIVING UNTO CHRIST.
2 Cor. v. 15.
He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth
live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them and rose again.
The difference between a natural man and a Christian is that the one lives unto himself and the other unto Christ. The one seeks redemption from misery from the things of the world; the other from Christ. The one makes the world his Saviour and Redeemer, his Lord and Master, although he may call Christ his Saviour; the other in heart and life acknowledges no Saviour and Redeemer no Lord and Master except Christ.
What it is to live unto Christ I shall endeavour to declare. In general it implies that the whole scope
and tenor of our lives be directed not to seek our own private advantage, but by word and example to promote his doctrine and religion: but to be more particular, we must act
First from love to Christ. This is the point from whence the inference in the text is taken. The love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead; and that He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them and rose again. All our actions must proceed from love to Christ, even though we give only a kind word or a cup of cold water for his sake.
To live unto Christ signifies that we should live and act as his servants, not as men-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, knowing that we have a Master in heaven. Whatever we have, whether riches, learning, or influence, are so many talents entrusted to us, and belonging to our Lord, and to be employed for his service. We must not be satisfied with saying Lord, Lord, omitting to do what He has commanded, nor say My Lord delayeth his coming, but instantly and resolutely, cheerfully and diligently act as his servants, employing our outward or inward gifts for the good of our neighbour in soul or body as talents belonging to our Lord.
To live unto Christ signifies also that we act in strict conformity to his example. He hath left us an example that we should follow his steps. He that saith he abideth in Christ ought as he walked, so also himself to walk. This is a great test of sincerity in living unto Christ. It is iinpossible that
that man should live unto Christ who omits to set that bright and heavenly example before him in every thing
To live unto Christ signifies that we must be conscious of our own inability to do any thing good without power imparted from him. We are insufficient of ourselves to do any thing as of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of Him. Therefore
To live unto Christ signifies that we dedicate all our actions to Him, trusting in his all-sufficient merit for their acceptance. He is our high-priest, holy and undefiled, and through Him only our services become acceptable. They must pass through his hands that they may be cleansed, purified, and hallowed. On Him only we must ground our hopes of acceptance and reward. When dedicated to Him our ordinary actions become actions of religion; but without Him our best actions are deficient and worthless. Unless we perform them for his sake they are nothing. Purity of intention, a sacrifice without blemish and without spot it is in vain to look for
all our actions. We must trust to Him to forgive their deficiencies and defects, and to accept and atone for them. All which implies that,
To live unto Christ requires that we should implore Him for our helper in all things, and that we should undertake nothing without praying unto Him, or, which is the same thing to God in his name. If we wish to have our lives consecrated