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this is not natural. Especially when we remember the temptations of that world to which he is crucified, and the corruption of that heart which he is subduing, and the rebellious lusts of the flesh which he habitually mortifies.
We have reason to be thankful that these evidences of the glory of Christ have never failed. We may see them in those around us ; nay, we may possess them in ourselves : and let none be satisfied unless he does possess this inward testimony. Every one possesses it, who, through faith in the Son of God, is renewed after the image of God in righteousness and true holiness, and enabled to escape the corruption which is in the world. And God has put this proof within the
of every one: “He that believeth on the Son of God, hath the witness in himself;" has it in the consciousness of his heart, and the obedience of his life. This is a sure record ; and this is the true faith, and eternal life.
I conclude with a single reflection : The word was made flesh. For what purpose ? “For us men, and for our salvation.” He descended to our nature, that He might exalt us to his. He was made flesh, that we might be raised above the flesh, and become “partakers of the divine nature.” He became the Son of man, that we might become the sons of God. But to what end, if we still remain carnal, earthly, sensual ? Know ye not that the unrighteous, the unholy, the ungodly," shall not inherit the kingdom of God”? If it could be so, if an unsanctified, unrenewed nature could be admitted to the presence of God and the glory of his power, what need was there that the Word should be made flesh and dwell amongst us ?
Therefore “cleanse yourselves from all filthiness of flesh and -spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord.” “Mortify your members which are upon the earth :” and “glorify God in your body and in your
spirit, which are God's.” For “ if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die; but if ye, through the spirit, do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live;" live for
THE SUFFICIENCY OF THE SON OF GOD TO SUPPLY ALL THE
WANTS OF HIS DISCIPLES.
JOHN i. 15, 16.
15. “ John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom
I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me; for he was
before me. 16. " And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.”
The purpose of John the Baptist's mission was to prepare the way for him of whom he spake. He of whom he spake was come, and was now ready to enter upon his ministry. John therefore must be superseded, and retire before the presence of Jesus, of whom he was the forerunner : just as the morning star, which shines so brightly until dawn, disappears when the sun rises in the heavens.
And now the Evangelist proceeds to describe the benefits of his light ; his blessed influence upon the world. His divine nature, his eternal existence, his omnipotence, had been before declared. . “ In the beginning was the Word ; and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” But this might be, and yet no advantage be derived to man. The mine may be rich ; full of gold or precious stones : but what is this, unless the mine is open to us, and we have access to the treasure ? To the treasure which is laid up in Christ, all who believe in Him have access. The apostles had already proved this; and St. John
speaks his own experience, when he writes, Of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.
It was from his fulness that these unlearned and ignorant men received “a mouth and wisdom," which all their “ adversaries had not been able to resist.' He supplied their answer to the high priest and elders. It was not in their own strength, which had been proved weakness, but in the might of their Master, that they said (Acts iv. 19), “Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”
It was from his fulness that they had been enabled to perform works exceeding the power of man: as Peter declared (Acts iï. 16), after the healing of the cripple, “ His name, through faith in his name, hath made this man strong: yea, the faith which is by Him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.”
It was from the supply of his fulness that Paul could dare to say, (1 Cor. i. 4, 5, “I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ : that in everything ye are enriched by Him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge.”
Still, if this abundant grace had been poured out upon the apostles only, those who believe in Christ “through their word would read of it with little interest. It would not concern them. But when St. John says that of his fulness have all we received, he speaks in the name of all successive believers. He means that Christ is the fountain from which all may supply their need. “Ho every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and he that hath no money, come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk
1 Xápır ával zápitos. A double measure of grace ; grace increasing by successive degrees.
2 Luke xxi. 15.
money and without price.” “Whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely.” This is expressed in many ways in Scripture. Sometimes Christ is the stem, which furnishes the sap of life to all his branches. Sometimes He is the stream, which pours forth its perpetual supply. Sometimes He is the treasury, in which “it has pleased God that all fulness should dwell:” “ in whom are laid up all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge :" * and these He dispenses by his Spirit, "dividing to every man severally as He will.” Thus he recovers them from their lost estate, and repairs the ruins of the fall.
Observe the richness of the treasure, observe the copiousness of the stream. Do we want pardon? There are none who do not need it: but even where it is most urgently needed, of his fulness it may be received. He has made a full, perfect, and sufficient satisfaction for the sins of all that believe. Even the malefactor upon the cross was permitted to find that “the blood of Christ cleanseth from all sin."
Do we require knowledge ? He is “the light of the world.” He has revealed to us all that is most valuable to learn. He has given us an acquaintance with God, an acquaintance with ourselves; He has told us the nature of this world and the nature of the world to come : He has told us on whom God will have mercy, and on whom He will not have mercy: He has abundantly fulfilled the expectation which had gone forth concerning Him; “when Messias cometh, which is called Christ, he will tell us all things.
Or do we need a power which we have not in ourselves, to subdue our natural sinfulness, to keep down indwelling sin, and to renew the heart after the image of God ? He is the source of all spiritual victory : and God would have us trust to the fulness of his strength, that we may receive grace for grace, grace
grace for grace, grace in abundant 3 John xv. 4; vii. 37.
4 Col. i. 19; ii. 3. 5 John iv. 25.
and increasing measure. Thus living upon Him in perpetual dependence, the disciples maintain a continued intercourse with their Master, the soldiers with their Captain, the servants with their Lord.
Here then must be sought whatever is wanted of grace and spiritual knowledge. Independently of Christ Jesus we have nothing: as He Himself declares, “Without me ye can do nothing.” With Him
everything; As it is written again, “ He that abideth in me, the same bringeth forth much fruit :” and as Paul has left on record, “ I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Let no one boast : for 66 what hath he which he hath not received ?" sufficiency is of Christ.” Let no one despair: for who has ever come to Him in penitence and faith, and been cast out,
found his truth to fail ?
THE OLD AND NEW COVENANT CONTRASTED,
OF THE LAW.
John i. 17.
17. “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by
Jesus Christ." A COMPARISON is here drawn between the first and second dispensation. And the difference is strongly marked by the circumstances attending them.
The law was given by Moses. Moses was a highly favoured servant of God, selected to communicate his will to the chosen nation. Yet he was a man; one of the fallen race of Adam. But
and truth came by Jesus Christ. God, having a design of mercy, sent forth his Son-his well-beloved Son, in whom He was well pleased : and He, “the mighty Lord,” was proclaimed as “the Prince of peace.'