« PoprzedniaDalej »
is a Life ; there is a new principle implanted in the souls of men, a principle of motion, of perception, of enjoyment; something that is active and permanent in its nature ; according to another figure of speech, used for the same purpose by our Lord, in his discourse with the woman of Samaria; “ Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again ; but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him, shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water, springing up into everlasting life.”—Here is the abiding, active principle; that which we call life, and in which there is a gradual progression; the babe, the young man, and the father in Christ.
The word of Christ is the instrument of regeneration ; “Of his own will,” says St. James," he begat us with the word of truth ;" and hence we are said to be “born of God.”
All such persons are said to live, according to the 24th verse, “ He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life; he shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life.” We read also in the fifth chapter to the Romans, of “ Justification unto life.” The believer is brought into a new state ; and “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus," makes him free from the law of sin and death..
It is also a life of Confort, to which we are called, for, being “justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ." There is satisfaction and pleasure in the word, and ways, and people of God. Believers delight in his service, and find a day in his courts, better than a thousand : they had rather be door-keepers in the house of God, than dwell in the tents of wickedness. '
Further, it is a life of Holiness. Those who live,“ live to the Lord.” They are “ alive to God, through Jesus Christ;" they are “redeemed to God;" they are no longer the servants of sin ; they no longer live to themselves, but to the Lord ; his
will being their rule, his honour the great end of all their actions; and then
A life of Glory shall crown the whole. This is God's great object; and therefore the believer is said already to “have everlasting life.” The title to it he possesses in Christ Jesus, and the first fruits of it are received in the graces and influences of the Holy Ghost.
Thus we have endeavoured to shew the condition of all natural men, they are dead; the description of the gospel, it is the voice of the Son of God; the application of this with power, the dead shall hear ; and the happy effects of the whole, they that hear shall live.
How wonderful is the condescension of Christ ! He speaks, he speaks even to dead sinners.—To us, even to us," is the word of this salvation sent !" and O what importance does this give to the preaching of the gospel, to the reading of the Scriptures, and to all divine ordinances! It is the voice of the Son of God. We should remember, whenever we attend them, that we are all present before God; we come to hear the voice of the Son of God. And O let us take care that we hearken to this voice. Does he speak, and shall we not hear? Shall we turn a deaf ear to the calls and entreaties of the Saviour? Behold, says he, “ I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and sup with him, and he with me." Doubtless it is the character of all true Christians, that they hear the voice of the Son of God. Beware, then, of neglecting or refusing to hear him; for it is written, “ If any man will not hear this prophet, he shall be cut off from among the people ;” and if any finally refuse to hearken to him, how awful will be his condition another day! T'hen will he say, “ Ye have set at nought all my counsel, and
would none of my reproof; therefore, I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh.” But if, through Grace, we have been enabled, as some of us doubtless have been, to hear his gracious voice, let us, with joy, receive and rely upon the assurance he gives us in the text, that we shall live," he that heareth shall live !" May this be our happiness, through Jesus Christ. Amen.
THE PRACTICAL KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST.
Ephesians, iv, 20, 21. But ye have not so learned Christ : If so be that ye
have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus.
THE Gospel of Jesus Christ provides the only
1 efficacious remedy for all the diseases of the moral world the only effectual relief to fallen, guilty, dying man. We have, at all times, occasion to blush for the vices of mankind, and especially for those of our native country ; but, bad as things are, they would be infinitely worse if the influences of the gospel were withdrawn ; if the doctrines of Christ were not preached ; if Christian examples were not exhibited. Multitudes among us, who are not real and spiritual Christians, happily differ much from men in a heathen state; from such men as are described by St. Paul in the verses preceding our text. Exhorting believers to a holy conduct, he says, verse 17, “ This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,” &c. &c. Šuch is the faithful but melancholy picture which, from having resided two years at Ephesus, he was enabled from his personal knowledge to draw ; but the Gospel of Christ, preached by himself and others, had produced in many persons a happy change. Many, who were once in total darknese, had been VOL. III.
savingly enlightened ; many, who had been dead in trespasses and sins, had been spiritually quickened ; many, who were once “ far from God,” had been “ brought nigh by the blood of Christ ;” and now, he affectionately exhorts them, in this chapter, to “ walk worthy of the vocation wherewith they had been called,” ver. 1.-they must differ from their still pagan neighbours, who wallowed in vice ; for, say she in our text, “ye have not so learned Christ," or rather“not so ye—for ye have learned Christ;" having learned of Christ, ye must learn to live like Christ. He who taught you, is himself holy, and requires you also to be holy.
This sentiment is applicable to all the professed disciples of Christ; to us, my brethren, as well as to the Ephesians. The text then presents to us the following most valuable lesson:
Those who are taught by Christ, are under the strongest obligations to walk according to his instructions.
To illustrate and enforce this sentiment, let us, 1. Consider what is meant by being taught by Christ; and 2. The obligations under which they are laid who are so instructed.
1. What is meant by being taught of Christ our text speaks of learning Christ- of having heard him, and of having been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus. These expressions may include learning of him, as our teacher ; and learning him, as the great subject of his teaching; for he is both the Master and the Subject.
* Christ is the great Teacher of the world. Ineffectual were all the efforts of heathen sages to enļighten the world. The great philosophers had done little or nothing to better the condition of mankind at largeSt. Paul, who well knew what their attempts had been, declares that, after all, “ the world by wisdom knew not God”-it was re