Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

First then, I am to explain the word perfection:

This word, when applied to a race, engagement, work, or building, means the finishing, or end of a thing.--Thus Paul counted his life not dear unto himself if he might but finish bis course with joy; and when he was ready to be offered up, he said, I have finished, that is, perfected * my course + : Thus Christ also, a little before he suffered, faith to the Father, I have finished the work which thou. gavest me to do :-And Moses, speaking of the sal, vation of GOD, faith ; his work is perfe&t: For, as Solomon testifies, Whatsoever God doth foall be for ever ; nothing can be added to it, nor can any thing be taken from it: For that which is properly and absolutely perfect, admits of no addition whatsoever. Therefore when CHRIST upon the cross had received the vinegar that the Scriptures might be fulfilled, he said it is finished, and bowing his head he gave up the Ghost : And thus likewise in the days of the seventh angel's founding, he assures us, that the mystery of God Mall be finished.

But this word is not only used in a good but also in a bad sense, for that which is finished is perfect; whether it be of fin unto death, or of obedience unto life: When the iniquity of the Amorites was full, they were given up to destruction ; and when the Jews had filled up the measure of their sin, they were destroyed without mercy: In

which • TETEAEXAO + Compare Acts xx. 24. with 2 Tim. iv.7.

which sense the Apostle James assures us, that lin
when it is finished, bringetb forth death. Tnerefore per-
fection is so far from meaning a finie's state that it
sometimes means the very reverse of it ; because it
is the fulness or end of any thing whatsoever. -
Sometimes this word is applied to seeds or plants
growing in the earth ; and then it denotes a full
growth, or ripeness : Thus the husbandman is said
immediately to put in his fickle to the corn when
it is fully ripe ; which ripeness is its perfection:-
Hence the feed which fell among thorns, being
choaked, brought forth no fruit unto perfeElion.

The Greek word for perfection in some passages of
Scripture*, means the orderly disposition, fitting,
or arrangement of parts, . members, or persons, in
their proper place, state, and condition : Thus
when the several members of one body, (whether in
the body natural, in civil societies, or in the Church
of CHRIST) continue in their proper state and place,
duly and severally performing their respective of.
fices, for the mutual benefit and good of the whole,
unto the edifying of itself in love; such a body is
said to be perfect : Or, when any one member is
broken or disjointed, the restoring of it to its na-
tural state and office is its perfection. This is a
perfection of parts; in which sense che man of
GOD, that is a minister of CHRIST, when he is
completely furnished with gifts and qualifications
both to teach, reprove, and exhort others, and to
be an example to them in all things according to

godliness,
.. See 1. Cor. i: 10, 2 Cor. xiii, 11. Gal. vi. 1, Eph. iv,12.

God son of parte is its perfere of it to

godliness, he is then said to be perfeel, thoroughly furnished unto all good works *. This is a minister's compleatness or perfection, for the thorough performance of the work of the ministry in all things into the glory of God; and the salvation of them that hear him: And the special means of his being furnished with this grace and knowledge, is by diligently searching and regarding the pure word of God; for this inan shall be blessed in his deed. The fame word is also used to denote the complete fitting up, or uniting together of the vessels of wrath prepared for deftrullion t, as of several members compacted to gether, and fitly placed in one body: For verily they go hand in hand in iniquity, and are confederate together against God and his CHRIST ; and therefore it is meet that they should be punished, and perifh together, for God is juft.

SECONDLY; I proposed to thew wherein the perfection of a Christian, that is, of each believer in particular as a member of CHRIST, doth properly confift.

From the Scripture I think it plainly appears that a Christian is therein said to be perfect in three respects :

1. He is perfect in sincerity :
2. He is perfect in parts : And,
3. He is perfect in degree

Mm
• 2 Tim. iii. 17. - ' † Rom. ix. 22.

[ocr errors]

And

And, 1. It appears from Scripture that Sincerity in believers is a perfection: For the Hebraut, which corresponds with the Greek word || for perfection, must in divers places be thus understood ; therefore the translators have rendered it fincerity * and integrity t, hence an upright and a perfeet heart || are one and the fame thing: In all these Scriptures, perfection as it means fincerity or uprightness, stands opposed to deceit, guile, and bypocrisy; or a real truth of grace, to a mere Mew of it.-Thus a sincere believer is perfect, when opposed to one that pretends to be a Chriftian, or is so in appearance only. In like manner, the true Golpel of CHRIST is called the fincere milk of the word; as distinguished from that which is adulterated with the false and corrupt glosses of men. There is then a perfection in fincerity, as it is distinguished from, and opposed unto diffimulation and hypocrisy; and this plainly shews that the heart of every true believer is wholly upright, in whose spirit there is no guile : Sincerity therefore is a kind of perfection, which grace is in every one that is born of God. But,

2. The Christian hath a perfe&tion of parts. He is a new creature, having no part or member lacking: Every Christian, as such, hath spiritual eyes to fee, and ears to hear, and feet'to walk ; as well

..

as DNI !Tedsso. Jos. xxiv, 14.. +Gen. xx. §, 6. # Kings ix. 4.- Kings xv. 14. — Ifa. xxxviii. 3. Prov. xi, 3. Plal. xvii. 23. xix, 13+ xxxvii, 37.

as -

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

as a heart to understand, and savour the things of God. The new man is not born blind, nor maimed; he is deficient in no one member whatsoever. Thus he is begotten of God by the word of truth, thro' che regenerating power of the Holy Ghost; and is as to parts a perfect man: For, as Adam lust all God's moral image in his soul at once; so to God's elect it is restored in their souls by regeneration at one and the same instant of time: and as the whole of the first Adam's likeness is trans-, mitted to his natural offspring at one and the same, time; so the spiritual likeness of Christ is at once formed in our souls. The old man, is that, which we receive from Adam, by natural generation: and the new man, is that which we receive from CHRIST, by spiritual regeneration: By the former, we bear the image of the earthly; and by the latter, the image of the heavenly. The person is the same in boch states; but the condition of the perfon is quite changed : The former subjects us to the curse and wrath of God; but by the latter, we become the fons of God, and are made meet for heaven. And that this change of spirit, heart, and mind, is made at once, complete and perfect in every part, tho not in degree, is from Scripture abundantly manifeft.--Thus every feed fown in the earth brings forth its entire nature and likeness, at one and the same time ; and by this means ic continues to advance, and grow up togecher in every part, unto its full growth, maturity, and perfection. And thus it is with every Christian; M m 2 .

for

« AnteriorContinuar »