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he will gradually adorn them with the beauties of holi. ness, and keep them by his power through faith unto salvation. Which leads me to observe,
In the third place, That the life of Christ doth effec. tually secure an honourable issue to all the afflictions and temptations of his people. It is the same person that was crucified on earth, who is now crowned with glory in the highest heavens; and though he dropped the infir. mities of that body he had assumed, and left all the weakness of humanity behind him in the grave; yet he carried bis pitying nature to the throne, and is still touched with the feeling of our infirmities, and disposed to help us in every time of need. “ He will not break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax." He knows our frame; be remembers that we are dust; and will therefore 6 debate with as in measure, and stay his rough wind in the day of his east wind."
And with regard to temptations, the life of Christ affords the most comfortable assurance, that over these we shall be finally victorious. He that suffered being tempt. ed, will certainly be disposed to succour those that are tempted; and there can be no room to doubt, that he is as able as he is willing. If, while in the form of a servant, he defeated all the artifices of the cunning serpent, and repelled the most violent attacks of the roaring lion; if in his lowest state of abasement, even while he hung upon the cross, he spoiled principalities and powers, making a show of them openly; now that all power is committed to him both in heaven and on earth, can he want either wisdom or strength to bruise Satan under the feet of the weakest of his servants ? Impossible! While the head of the body reigns in glory, we may be well assured, that no member can become the prey of any adverse power; so that every believer may adopt
the language of Paul, and say as he did, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors, through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Once more,
4thly. The life of Christ secures to his people the resurrection of their bodies, and the happiness of the whole man, in the full and everlasting enjoyment of God.
As Adam, by his apostacy, became the source of death to all his natural descendants; so Christ, by his expiatory sufferings, and the glory that followed, is become the fountain of life to all his spiritual offspring; who accordingly are said to be “ begotten again to the live. ly hope of an inheritance that is incorruptible, and un. defiled, and that fadeth not away;" and that by means of his resurrection from the dead. Hence the second Adam is called a quickening Spirit, having the same virtue and efficacy to convey all the fulness of life to those who are new born into the family of God, that the first Adam bad to transmit death to his posterity. It was not the soul of Christ only, but his body also, that was exalted and crowned with honour: in like manner shall the bodies of believers be rescued from the grave, and raised to glory, seeing these were redeemed by Christ as well as their souls. Nay, the bodies of the saints are said expressly to be " the temples of the Holy Ghost;" and it cannot be supposed, that these temples shall remain always under the ruins of death.
death. He who honoured them with his residence, will certainly rebuild
them in due time; as the Apostle reasons, (Rom. viii. 11.) “ If the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you; he that raised up Christ from the dead, shall also quicken your mortal bodies, by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” Then shall that song be sung by all the redeemed company newly raised from the dust, “ Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is now thy sting? O grave, where is now thy victory? The sting of death was sin, and the strength of sin was the law; but thanks be unto God, who bath now given us the victory through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Thus have I endeavoureil to lead you through a very extensive, but surely a pleasant and fruitful field, wherein a variety of objects have occurred, interesting to all, and peculiarly comfortable to the people of God; upon whom I therefore call, in the conclusion of my
discourse, to praise and magnify that compassionate Sa. viour, and faithful High-Priest over the house of God, who ransomed them with his blood; and amidst all the splendours of his exalted state, is not unmindful of his charge upon earth, but continually appears in the presevce of God for them; whose ear is always attentive to the voice of their supplications ; whose mouth is ever open to plead in their behalf; and as if it had not been love enough to die for them, still lives and reigns for them, and even glories in being “the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” To him, with the Father, and quickening Spirit, the one living and true God, be glory and honour, thanksgiving and praise, for ever and ever. Amen.
HOSEA xiv. 8.
Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more
we compare the representation here given of Eph. raim, with the account we have of him (ch. iv. 17.) we shall discover such a wonderful change, as must excite in us a desire to be acquainted with the cause of it. There it is said, “Ephraim is joined to idols;" Here we behold him throwing them away, with every symptom of contempt and abhorrence. Like a man awakened from a dream, or rather like one who had lost his reason, and was now restored to the right use of it, he saith, What have I to do any more with idols ?-It is my
dis. grace, no less than my crime, that ever I had any thing to do with such lying vanities; but now I cast them from me with scorn and detestation, and with a determined purpose, that I shall never henceforth return to them any more.
How is this surprising change to be accounted for? When God said, “ Ephraim is joined to idols,” he im. mediately pronourced that awful decree, “Let him alone.” Hereby a restraint was laid upon every out. ward instrument. All the creatures were charged, by the highest authority, to give him no disturbance in the course of his idolatry, but to leave him entirely to his own conduct, and the unabated influence of the idols he had chosen. By what means then was his recovery
brought about? Had Ephraim the honour to discover the delusion by his own sagacity, and to break the enchantment by his own strength? We find an answer to these questions, (chap. xiii. 9.) “O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself, but in me is thy help.” Had God said, I am determined to let Ephraim alone, there would have been an end of him at once, though the whole creation had been left at liberty to exert its utmost activity for his help; but it deserves our notice, that though God laid a restraint upon the agency of the creatures, yet he laid no restraint upon his own, but reserved to himself the full exercise of his essential and unalienable prerogative, to be the free and sovereign disposer of his grace.
In tbis character he is introduced at the first verse of this chapter, where he issues forth his royal command, and clothes it with power: “O Israel, return unto the Lord thy God, for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity." In order to encourage their hope of acceptance, he teacheth them in the following verses how to pray, and even dictates the very form of surrender they were to make; 66 Take with you words, and turn to the Lord; say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us gracious. ly; so will we render the calves of our lips. Ashur shall not save us, we will not ride upon horses, neither will we say any more to the works of our hands, Ye are our gods; for in thee the fatherless findeth mercy." After which, to remove that distrust and jealousy which necessarily spring from a consciousness of guilt, he goes on to declare his sovereign purpose, expressed in the most comprehensive and absolute terms, of dispensing to them, and conferring upon them, his pardoning mercy and sanctifying grace: “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely; for mine anger is turned away from him. I will be as the dew unto Israel," &c.