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wheresoever the blood ot'Christ is thus applied, it "purged"' ihe conscience' from dead works;"—and over inward sin: for it purifieth the heart from every unholy desire and temper. This fruit of faith St. Paul has largely described, in the sixth chapter of his Epistle to the Romans. "How shall we," saith he, " who [by faith] are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" "Our old man is crucified with Christ, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin." —" Likewise, reckon ye yourselves lo be dead unto sin, but alive unto God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign [even] in your mortal body," "but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead." "For sin shall not have dominion over you.—God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin,—but being made free,"—the plain meaning is, God be thanked, that though ye were, in time past, the servants of sin, yet now—" being free from sin, ye are become the servants of righteousness."
5. The same invaluable privilege of the sons of God, is as strongly asserted by St. .John; particularly with regard to the former branch of it, namely power over outward sin. After he had been crying out, as one astonished at the depth of the riches of the goodness of God,—" Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God! Beloved, now arc we the sons of God: and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know, that when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is ;" (1 John iii. l.&c.;)—he soon adds, "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaincth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God." (Yer. 0.) But some men will say, "True: whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin hahitualli/." Habitually I whence is that? 1 read it not. It is not written in the book. God plainly saith, "He doth not commit sin;" and thou addest, hahitualli/.' Who art thou that mendest the Oracles of God ?—that "addest to the words of this book .*" Beware, I beseech thee, lest God "add to thee all the plagues that are written therein!" Especially when the comment thou addest is such as quite swallows up the text: so that by this ntbohux wX*vr,r, this artful method of deceiving, the precious promise is utterly lost; by this v.vfLzi% z-.^uxwv, this tricking and shuffling of men, the Word of God is made of none effect. 0 beware, thou that thus takest from the words of this book, that, taking away the whole meaning and spirit from them, leavest only what may indeed be termed a dead letter, lest God take away thy part out of the book of life!
6. Suffer we the Apostle to interpret his own words, by the whole tenor of his discourse. In the fifth verse of this chapter, he had said, "Ye know that he [Christ] was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin." What is ihe inference he draws from this? ** Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him." (Ch. iii. 6.) To his enforcement of this important doctrine, he premises an highly necessary caution: "Little children, let no man deceive you;" (ver. 7>) for many will endeavour so to do; to persuade you that you may be unrighteous, that you may commit sin, and yet be children of God; "he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the Devil; fqr the Devir sinneth from the beginning." Then follows, "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him : and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this," adds the Apostle, "the children of God are manifest, and the children of the Devil." By this plain mark (the committing or not committing sin) are they distinguished from each other. To the same efiFect are those words in his fifth chapter, "We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not: but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not." (Ver. 18.)
7. Another fruit of this living faith is Peace. For, "being justified by faith," having all our sins blotted out, "we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ." (Rom. v. 1.) This indeed our Lord himself, the night before his death, solemnly bequeathed to all his followers: "Peace," saith he, "I leave with you ;" (you who " believe in God," and "believe also in me;"), "my peace I give unto you." "Not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." (John xiv. 27.) And again, "These things have I spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace." (Ch. xvi. 33.) This is that "peace of God which passeth all understanding," that serenity of soul which it hath not entered into the heart of a natural man to conceive, and which it is not possible for even the .spiritual man to utter. And it is a peace which all the powers of earth and hell are unable to take from him. Waves and storms
16, 1/ ;) "if so be that wc suffer with him," (if we deny ourselves, if we take up our cross daily, if we cheerfully endure persecution or reproach for his sake,) "that we may also be glorified together." And in whom doth the Spirit of God bear this witness? In all who are the children of God. By this very argument does the Apostle prove, in the preceding verses, that they are so: "As many," saith he, "as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." "For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of Adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father!" It follows, "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God." (Ch. viii. 14-16.)
4. The variation of the phrase in the 15th verse, is worthy onr observation. "Ye have received the Spirit of Adoption, whereby wc cry, Abba, Father!" Ye, as many as are the sons of God, have, in virtue of your sonship, received that self-same Spirit of Adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father: We, the apostles, prophets, teachers, (for so the word may not improperly be understood,) we, through whom you have believed, the " ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God." As we and you have one Lord, so we have one Spirit: as we have one Faith, so wc have one Hope also. We and you are sealed with one "Spirit of Promise," the earnest of your and of our inheritance: the same Spirit bearing witness with your and with our spirit, "that wc arc the children of God."
5. And thus is the Scripture fulfilled, "Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted." For it is easy to believe, that though sorrow may precede this witness of God's Spirit with our spirit; (indeed must, in some degree, while we groan under fear, and a sense of the wrath of God abiding on us;) yet, as soon as any man feeleth it in himself, his "sorrow is turned into joy." Whatsoever his pain may have been before; yet, as soon as that "hour is come, he remembereth the anguish no more, for joy" that he is born of God. It may be, many of you have now sorrow, because you arc "aliens from the commonwealth of Israel;" because you are conscious to yourselves that you have not this Spirit; that you are "without hope and without God in the world." But when the Comforter is come, "then your heart shall rejoice;" yea, "your joy shall be full," and " that joy no man taketh from you." (John xvi. 22.) "We joy in God," will ye say, "through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement;" "by whom we have access into this grace," this state of grace, of favour, or reconciliation with God, "wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God." (Rom. v. 2.) "Ye," saith St. Peter, whom God hath "begotten again unto a livelyhopc, are kept bythc power of God unto salvation: wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye arc in heaviness through manifold temptations; that the trial of your faith may be found unto praise, and honour, and glory, at the appearing of Jesus Christ: in whom, though now ye see him not, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory." (1 Pet. i. 5, &c.) Unspeakable indeed! It is not for the tongue of man to describe this joy in the Holy Ghost. It is " the hidden manna, which no man knoweth, save he that receiveth it." But this we know, it not only remains but overflows in the depth of affliction. "Arc the consolations of God small" with his children, when all earthly comforts fail? Not so. But when sufferings most abound, the consolation of his Spirit doth much more abound ; insomuch that the sons of God " laugh at destruction when it cometh ;" at want, pain, hell, and the grave; as knowing Him who " hath the keys of death and hell," and will shortly " cast them into the bottomless pit; " as hearing even now the great voice out of heaven, saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying; neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away." (Rev. xxi. 3,4.)
III. 1. A Third scriptural Mark of those who are born of God, and the greatest of all, is Love; even the love of God shed abroad in their hearts, by the Holy Ghost which is given unto them." (Rom. v. 5.) "Because they are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into their hearts, crying, Abba, Father!" (Gal. iv. 6.) By this Spirit, continually looking up to God as their reconciled and loving Father, they cry to him for their daily bread, for all things needful, whether for their souls or bodies. They continually pour out their hearts before him, knowing " they have the petitions which they ask of him." (1 John v. 15.) Their delight is in him. He is the joy