Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

calumniated as an encouragement to sin. This any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old monstrous misrepresentation he at once indig- things are passed away; behold, all things are nantly repels and conclusively confutes, by show become new,' 2 Cor. v. 17. ing that the sanctification and the justification of 2. Every believer is become a servant unto the believer, though in their own nature distinct God.' He has been redeemed not with corruptifrom each other, are yet inseparable; that they ble things, such as silver and gold, but with the rest on the same foundation,—that is, on union precious blood of Christ, as of a Lamb without with Christ. That the same faith by which blemish and without spot. He is not his own,Christ becomes the Lord our righteousness, – he has been bought with a price. He feels hinmakes us partakers of his Holy Spirit, causing self constrained by love' to live no more unto him to be made of God unto all his people, “wis- himself, and no more unto the world, but unto dom, and sanctification, and redemption.' him who died for him and rose again; yea, to

This great truth he illustrates by a reference present himself, soul, body, and spirit, as one living to baptism. “Know ye not, that so many of us sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ, as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized which is his reasonable service. into his death? Therefore we are buried with 3. And hence every true believer has his him by baptism unto death; that like as Christ fruit unto holiness. The fruit of his faith in was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Christ is a holy life. Not indeed that this can Father, even so we also should walk in newness be said absolutely, or without qualification, of of life,' ver. 3, 4. Baptism thus exhibits the any, even the most devoted follower and disciple Christian as dying, or buried, and as risen again; of Jesus. Even Paul, with all his high attaindying as a sinner in and with Christ; buried in ments in the divine life, had it to say of himself and with him, that thereby sin might be des- with deepest humility, ‘For I know that in me troyed,—rising in and with him by the glory of (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing; for the Father, to walk in newness of life. And all to will is present with me; but how to perform which baptism thus emblematically represents, is that which is good I find not. For the good realized and accomplished in every true believer. that I would that I do not; but the evil which I The old man is crucified' with Christ. In him, would not, that I do. O! wretched man that I as our surety and substitute, our sinful nature am! who shall deliver me from the body of suffered death upon the cross, and this was done this death ? Rom. vii. 18, 19, 24. But yet this on very purpose that the body of sin,'—the apostle could say truly, to me to live is Christ, whole power of corruption in us, "might be des- Phil. i. 21. The grace of God which had aptroyed. For Christ “ his own self bare our sins peared, bringing salvation, taught him more effiin his own body on the tree, that we being dead caciously every day that, denying ungodliness to sins should live unto righteousness.' Accord- and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteingly he addresses Christians as those who had ously, and godly, in this present world; looking once been the servants or slaves of sin, and for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing who in that condition, living as they had done of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; under the dominion of these fleshly lusts that who gave himself for us, that he might redeem war against the soul, had yielded their members us from all iniquity, and purify us unto himself servants to uncleanness, and to iniquity unto ini- a peculiar people, zealous of good works,' Tit. ii. quity.' But that bondage he notices only for the 12-14. purpose of contrasting it with the freedom which

4. And finally, every believer has for the end their conversion to Christ had brought to their and issue of his course, -eternal life, as the glorisouls. “But now being made free from sin, and ous and blessed result of being made free from become servants to God, ye have your fruit sin, and of having become a servant unto God. Not unto holiness, and the end eternal life.'

that this eternal life is the reward of his own 1. Every believer then is made “free from sin.' merit: it is an inheritance purchased for him by He is freed from its curse through that death the same righteousness of Christ which first which he suffered for it, in the person of Christ. secured his deliverance from the curse and power • Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the of sin, and made him a partaker of the Spirit of law, being made a curse for us,' Gal. iii. 13. He holiness. is freed from its pollution, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost,' Tit. iii. 5. He is freed from its power, being quickened together with Christ,' Eph. ii. 5. If

THIRTIETH DAY.-EVENING.

Those to whom this blessed promise is made • Who will render to every man according to his

are here described as following a certain course deeds: to them who, by patient continuance in in this world,—and as having their hearts set on well-doing, seek for glory, and honour, and a certain inheritance in the world to come. immortality, eternal life,' Rom. ii. 6,

1. The course they follow in this world is 'a 7.

patient continuance in well-doing. Their daily The Lord is slow to wrath,—having no pleasure business, like that of their divine Master, is 'to at all that the sinner should die. How melan- be going about doing good.' Their piety and choly, how humbling,—that this exercise of the virtue are not the product of mere impulse, or divine compassion should often be taken as a sentimentalism,- spurious and evanescent. They license to continue in sin! “Because sentence are the offspring of that · faith in Christ, which against his evil work is not executed speedily, purifieth the heart, which worketh by love, and therefore is the sinner's heart wholly set in him overcometh the world. They are the fruit of a to do evil.' He begins profanely to dream that tree planted by the rivers of water, whose leaf the righteous Lord, who loveth righteousness, neither falls nor fades. They are like the morning and hateth iniquity, is such an one as himself, light, which, however faint in the early dawn, not knowing that the goodness of God is designed, while yet struggling with the shadows of night, as it is surely fitted, to lead him to repentance. never disappears,—but, on the contrary, shines And thus, in the hardness of an impenitent heart, more and more, unto the perfect day. But not -hardening still more every day under those only is the course of life in question, “a continuvery manifestations of compassion and tenderness ance in well-doing,'-—it is a “patient' continuance that should have melted it into the deepest con- in it. The ways of wisdom, it is true, "are trition, the most godly sorrow for sin,-—he goes pleasantness, and her paths are peace, Prov. iii. on "treasuring up for himself,'-as the apostle 17., but they do not, on that account, the less testifies in the verse immediately preceding the require from all who follow them much selftext,—-wrath against the day of wrath, and denial. Therefore, said the apostle Paul, “let us revelation of the righteous judgment of God.' not be weary in well-doing; for in due season we

There is surely something very awful in that shall reap, if we faint not,' Gal. vi. 9.. striking description of the conduct of the impeni- 2. But further, those to whom the promise of tent sinner:—"treasuring up wrath. It is his the text is made, are described as having their own doing,—it is his own hand that is piling hearts set on an inheritance in the world to come. up the mountain of iniquity, which is destined It is one of the sure marks of the unregenerate, finally to fall on him, and grind him to powder. that they 'walk by sight.' The things of sense He is busy in the acquisition of unsanctified gain: and time alone have a reality to their carnal minds. and every addition his selfish toil is making to These they seek,—and for these they live. It is, his riches, is only serving to purchase for him a on the other hand, an equally distinctive characlarger inheritance in the place of torment. He teristic of the believer, that he walks by faith,'is running greedily in quest of pleasure, and each that faith which is the evidence of things not seen, new sensual indulgence is but preparing a fresh and the substance of things hoped for. Being pang of remorse wherewith to embitter the “risen with Christ,' he seeks 'those things which endless misery of a ruined soul. He is surround- are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand ing himself with the pomps and vanities of a gay of God. He is in the world, but he is not of the and giddy world, only to form a darker contrast world. He knows that this is not his rest: that with the dismal horrors of hell. He is climbing here he has no continuing city, no sure place of laboriously up the slippery steep of ambition and abode,—and he looks for one to come. His earthly aggrandizement, that like Lucifer he may treasure is in the heavens, and his heart is there have a deeper fall into the gulf of perdition. also. To be at home in the body,—is to be Verily, “God shall render unto every man accord- absent from the Lord. And, therefore, as a ing to his deeds. What a man soweth, that shall stranger and a pilgrim on the earth, he feels that he also reap. "They that sow to the flesh, shall nothing here can meet and satisfy the longings of the flesh reap corruption.'

and aspirations of a soul which is joined unto But not less true it is, that they who sow to Christ. His desire and prayer is, that where the Spirit, shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting,' Christ is, there he may be also,—and passing

-for “to them who, by patient continuance in the time of his sojourning here in fear,' he looks well-doing, seek for glory, honour, and immor- for the blessed hope, and the glorious appearing tality,' God shall render "eternal life.'

of the great God, and our Saviour,'-until at length, being made 'meet for the inheritance of redeemed them by his precious blood, prepares the saints,' he enters finally and eternally into the and fits them for being ‘for ever with the Lord! joy of his Lord—into glory, honour, and immor- That course of well-doing is throughout every tality, in heaven.

step of its progress, from its first and feeblest But when it is thus promised that God shall beginnings in conversion, to its termination in render eternal life to those who, by patient con- perfect holiness, entirely the result and fruit of tinuance in well-doing, seek for the rest which the grace of God. It was grace that brought remaineth in heaven; we are not for an instant to the believer into the narrow path,—that upheld suppose that this course of well-doing constitutes him day by day in pursuing it,--and that in the their meritorious title to that blessed inheritance. end conducts him into the kingdom of heaven. It is nothing more than the training and discipline, Not unto us, not unto us, but unto thee, O Lord, by which the same gracious God, who, in his be all the praise' sovereign mercy, chose them in Christ' and

OCTOBE R.

FIRST DAY,-MORNING.

ference with any of their ways; refusing to 'If we deny him, he also will deny us,' 2 Tim. sacrifice for his sake the smallest of their worldis

pleasures or to forego the least considerable of ii. 12.

their selfish desires; if practically they be subThe Scribes and Pharisees thought themselves jecting his will to theirs, and his authority to the most unjustly accused, when they were charged opinion or the custom of the world, is it not with allowing and sanctioning the persecuting manifest that their love for him is at best an undeeds of their fathers. They built the tombs of meaning pretext, if it be not in truth an impious the prophets and garnished the sepulchres of the mockery. And that were that Saviour again on righteous,' in testimony of respect and reverence; earth, sitting like 'a refiner's fire and like fuller's and did not this sufficiently prove that had they soap,' to purge their character and deeds; with lived in the days of their fathers, they would not the same uncompromising fidelity which distinhave been partakers with them in the blood of guished his preaching among the Jews, smiting the prophets? But was this indignant disclaimer at every one of their corruptions with the sharp borne out by the fact? Did they not go about two-edged sword that went forth out of his after the very manner of their fathers, to kill mouth,—at their covetousness, their pride, their Jesus himself,—that great prophet who had told hypocrisy, their filthiness and foolish talking and them the truth which he had heard from God. jesting, which are not convenient, then might a They knew not what spirit they were of—but spirit of hostility have been evoked which had Christ, whose judgment in all things is according they been numbered with the Jewish multito truth, solemnly declared that so completely tude at Jerusalem of old, might have led them were they at heart consenting to their fathers' not simply to deny him, but even to join in that sins, that the blood of all the prophets shed from fierce and fearful cry, 'crucify him, crucify him.' the foundation of the world should be required Christ is never so deeply injured as when he of that generation. And may not professing is wounded in the house of his friends. Christians, possessing as they do, a heart that is position of an avowed adversary is indescribably still deceitful above all things, as well as desper- less hurtful to his cause, than when that cause is ately wicked, practise upon themselves a similar denied and repudiated by one who had professed delusion. Are not we baptized members of to be on its side. When Judas denied and beChrist's visible church? Have not we, all our trayed his Lord, the natural result of that prolife long, borne the Christian name? How harsh ceeding was to bring suspicion upon the characthen and unreasonable to accuse us of denying the ter of Christ. It gave occasion to adversaries to Lord! But if they who would thus complain blaspheme. It enabled them to say, 'now at of the charge, be all the while keeping Christ length the truth concerning this Jesus begins to at a distance from them; suffering not his inter- ' appear. His own followers who have lived in

The opclosest intimacy with him, begin to turn against sion which the every day life of any professing him, and to become his accusers. To the eye of Christian is fitted to convey,—it is vain for that the world indeed, he has hitherto maintained a man to count upon the fact that he has never in reputation for piety and holiness,—but this Judas words denied Christ. His conduct constitutes a has been behind the scenes,—he has seen him in daily denying of him. That man is basely deceivhis private hours,—he has been admitted to his ing the world as to Christ's true character and confidence,—and he now denies his Messiahship, claims,—he is taking, so far as he has the power, and denounces him as a deceiver.' And while everything from Christ's religion which is fitted that single act of treachery must thus have served to challenge the esteem, the love, and the devout so grievously to dishonour Christ in the eyes of veneration of men; and he is putting upon it a the unspiritual and unbelieving world,-how dis- character calculated to expose it to shame and astrous must its effects have been on those who scorn. This is by far the most common form of had perhaps been beginning to think favourably the sin against which the text utters so impresof his claims,—who were turning towards him sive a warning. In words many confess Christ, with some disposition to listen and to inquire; who in deeds deny him. It will avail nothing but whom this unexpected shock, this public that such men may come in the great day of denial of him by one of his own chosen followers, accounts claiming a close and intimate relation to may have sufficed to turn back unto their former Christ,-in virtue of names, and professions, and scepticism,--and may thus instrumentally have forms. He will cut short their hypocritical been the occasion of arresting a movement other- pleadings with the brief but pointed sentence, ‘I wise fitted to have conducted them to heaven. know you not; depart from me, ye workers of And the same treachery which thus injured and iniquity.' 'If we deny him, he also will deny us.' dishonoured the Saviour, was fitted to degrade his faithful disciples. It was calculated to cast the shade of doubt and distrust over the sincerity of their professions of attachment to the cause of

FIRST DAY.—EVENING. Jesus. Suggesting, as it might do to an ungenerous world, that some selfish motive, in their

'Fear thou not; for I am with thee : be not discase too, was at the bottom of all their present

mayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen zeal in his service,--and that when the tempta

thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold tion should become sufficiently strong, they too

thee with the right hand of my righteousness,

Isa. xli. 10. would cast off their allegiance and forsake him.

Let none then think that because they' name These words are graciously designed to encourage the name of Jesus,' they cannot be numbered and comfort the people of God, amid the maniamong those who are chargeable with denying fold perplexities, struggles, and trials of this him. They may be doing so daily,--and that present evil world. in the very circumstances most fitted to wrong

and When the traveller is setting forth on a journey offend him. You profess indeed to be a follower through the trackless desert, or the pathless of Christ! If men were to form their opinion wood,—where, at every step, he may lose his of him and his religion from what they see in way,—where, overtaken with thirst and hunger, you, what would that opinion be? Would they his soul may faint within him,—where beasts of be led by the exhibition you make of the Chris-prey may lie in wait to devour him,—where tian character to venerate Christ, to love Christ, apprehensions of unknown danger must be conto consider an interest in Christ to be the one tinually clouding and agitating his mind, -what thing needful, the pearl of great price? Would would he not give for the company of a powerful your conduct impress them with a sense of the protector,—an unerring guide ?' importance of Christ's gospel,—of the holiness of When the unpractised soldier is girding himself his religion,—of the blessedness of his service? for war, and all the untried hazards of the deadly Or would they, on the contrary, so far as their conflict in which he is about to engage, are rising judgment is founded on the observation of your up in fearful array before him, what would he character and life,—be tempted to think Chris- not give for the skill and experience of a leader tianity a thing of very small moment,—to regard in whom he might safely confide, one who was it as a matter which deserves not to occupy very familiar with all the stratagems of the enemymuch of their time or their thoughts,— which in who had already measured and mastered his truth was of no practical value, leaving men very strength? much as it found them. If this be the impres- When the orphan child is cast out, friendless and destitute, on a cold and selfish world. What\'ye are mine. He washed you with water, and would he not give for the guardianship of a anointed you with oil: he decked you with ornafather's care,- for the shelter of a mother's love? ments, and put a crown upon your head. And

God's people are all travellers,—and through think you that now he will forget or forsake the both wood and wilderness must they bend their adopted children of his Father? •Can a woman way towards the land of promise. They are forget her sucking child, that she should not have soldiers,—and in many “a good fight of faith' compassion upon the son of her womb? Yea, must they draw the spiritual sword, before they they may forget, yet will not I forget thee. Yea, can hope to win the unfading crown of life. They I have graven thee upon the palms of my hand. are orphan children sent forth into a world that I will strengthen thee, I will help thee: I will persecuted and put to death their elder Brother. uphold thee with the right arm of my righteous

But ‘let not your heart be troubled, neither ness. What an exhaustless store of comfort to let it be afraid. Does the Christian, humbly the Christian do these exceeding great and preconscious that it is not in man that walketh to cious promises convey! order his steps aright, need and desire a The devil, as a roaring lion, may go about guide to conduct him in safety through the perils seeking to devour, but his head shall be bruised of his pilgrimage? 'Fear not,' says Jesus, for I under the feet of this glorious Guide, Conqueror, am with thee.' "The Comforter, which is the and Friend. The world may spread out its Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my allurements to seduce and betray, but this is the name, he shall teach you all things,' John xiv. 26. victory that overcometh, even our faith in Christ. • When he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will The flesh, with its deceitful lusts, may war against guide you into all truth. He shall receive of the soul,—but the help of his Spirit will enable mine, and shall show it unto you,' John xvi. us to crucify the flesh, and to walk before him in 13, 14.

newness of life. Death may throw his terrors Does the Christian require and long for 'a across the valley of dissolution,—but Christ hath leader and commander,' to strengthen his hands abolished death,—and therefore, though we walk and encourage his heart, that he may acquit him- through the dark valley, we shall fear no evil. A self as a good soldier,--that he may be enabled judgment day may reveal the great white throne, to 'withstand in the evil day, and having done all before which all kindreds, and tongues, and to stand ?' •Be not dismayed,' says the Lord nations, must appear: but who shall lay anyJesus, ‘for I am thy God. He has himself thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God spoiled all the principalities and powers by which that justifieth,—who is he that condemneth? the Christian can be opposed, and has made a · Who then shall separate us from the love of show of them openly:--triumphing over them in Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persehis cross: and he will send none to this warfare cution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? on their own charges; already he has provided for Nay, in all these things we are made more than them the complete armour of God. For a girdle, conquerors, through him that loved us. For I --sincerity and truth: for shoes,--the prepara- am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor tion of the gospel of peace: for a breastplate, angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things his perfect righteousness : for an helmet,—the present, nor things to come,-nor height, nor hope of his salvation: for a bulwark of defence, — depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to the shield of faith: for a sharp two-edged sword, separate us from the love of God, which is in --his own most blessed word. Thus armed, his Christ Jesus, my Lord,' Rom. viii. 33–39. people shall be more than conquerors, through Christ that loveth them.

Does the Christian feel oftentimes, in seasons of despondency and trial, as if deserted and for

SECOND DAY.—MORNING. lorn,--as if all things were against him, as if no "He that spared not his own Son, but delirered man cared for his soul? Let him remember, that "to as many as believed Christ, to them gave he

him up for us all, hou shall he not with him power to become the sons of God.' Yes, Chris

also freely give us all things?' Rom. viii. 32. tians, in the day of your orphanage, when ye In these words the Holy Spirit is reasoning, most were cast out into the open field, he passed by, tenderly and conclusively, with the distrustful and saw you, polluted in your own blood, and he nature of man. In the immediately preceding said unto you, 'live.' Yea, he sware unto you, verse the apostle had exclaimed, in the language and entered into a covenant with you,—saying, I of humble but joyful confidence, if God be for

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »