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the same word; our hope is grounded on the same promises; and the object of our hope is the same im. mortal life. Hope may be more or less strong and influencing in different Christians, according to their different measures of knowledge and grace; but in its object and foundation, in its nature and tendency, it is the same. This consideration should mightily strengthen the bond of peace. Are we pursuing the same grand design, and walking in the same high road to glory? Let us not fall out by the way ; let us go hand in band, and be fellow workers to the kingdom of God. Do we expect to dwell together in heaven? Let there be no variance among us while we are here. In heaven charity never fails: Let us then, above all things, have fervent charity among ourselves; and purify our souls, by obeying the truth through the Spirit, unto unfeigned love of the brethren.
4. There is one Lord, whom we all profess to serve. Jesus Christ is Lord of all by the same right. He has bought us with a high price-redeemed us by his own blood. We all stand on the same footing, and must build our hopes on the same foundation. We have no pretence to glory over one another. Remembering, that we were all under the same guilt and condemnation, and have been redeemed by the same Saviour, we should walk together in all humility, meekness and love.
There is no respect of persons with Christ, for he is the same Lord over all ; and has paid for others the same price as for us, Shall we then dare to smite our fellow servants ? Will our common Lord look on with indifference, while we disturb the peace and order of his household ? “ He who doth wrong, shall receive for the wrong he hath done."
We are called to the same service, are under the same laws, and must appear at the same judgment. " Why then dost thou judge thy brother? Or why
dost thou set at nought thy brother ? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Every one of us must give an account of himself to God. Who art thou that judgest another man's servant ? To his own master he standeth or falleth. Let us not judge one another any more ; but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block, or occasion to fall in his brother's way.'
5. There is one faith. The same gospel is given us for the rule of our faith, and this gospel all Christians profess to receive. Hence the Apostles speak of one common faith—like precious faith, and the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God.
The faith of all true Christians is essentially the same. The object of it is the word of God—the na. ture of it is receiving the love of the truth—the effect of it is to purify the heart. However they may differ in some matters of speculation, they agree in the great doctrines which are essential to godliness. If we would make allowance for men's misapprehensions of each other's sentiments, for their different phrases and modes of diction, for differences, which proceed from the heat of controversy, and would also throw aside such errors as are merely speculative, the faith of Christians would appear to be more nearly the same, than is generally imagined. St. James
"I will you my faith by my works." If your brethren question the soundness of your faith, go, shew it in this orthodox and apostolic manner. If they give you the same proof of their faith, however weak you may think them in some things, receive them, but not to doubtful disputation. If your faith and theirs, is thus far one ; with respect to other things, forbear one an
other in love.
6. There is one baptism, which is the badge of our relation to Jesus Christ. We are all baptized in the name of Christ ; and he is not divided. Christians
of peace ; and his work is not division and separation among Christians, but unity and love. See then that you walk worthy of your vocation, in all humility, meekness, forbearance and love, keeping the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace ; for there is one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all
, through all, and in us all.
The Precious Gifts of Christ's Ascension.
EPHESIANS iv. 8-13.
Wherefore he saith, when he ascended on high, he led captivity
captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Not that he ascended, that is it, but that he descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same that also ascended up far above all heavens, that he might
fiu all things.) And he gave some apostles ; and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers ; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the state ure of the fulness of Christ.
THE Apostle, having mentioned, in the 7th verse, the grace bestowed on believers “according to the measure of the gift of Christ,” immediately proceeds, in the words now read, to explain what the gifts are which Christ has bestowed ; and to shew, that they were dispensed at his ascension, according to the divine purpose, for the general edification of the church.
To proye that the ascension of Christ was to be followed with the bestowment of spiritual gifts, he quotes a passage from the 68th Psalm. Thou hast ascend ed on high; thou hast led captivity captive ; thou
hast received gifts for men.” That this was spoken, not of the divine nature, but of Christ, as God mani fest in the flesh, he concludes from the expression, “ Thou hast ascended on high.” For his ascension presupposes a descent into the lower parts of the earth. And he who thus descended is the same that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things. These terms cannot properly be applied to God, who is a universal Spirit ; nor yet can they, in their full sense, belong to David, or any mere man; and there. fore must be understood of Jesus Christ.
Our Lord's “ descent into the lower parts of the earth,” may signify his incarnation ; according to these words of David, “ My substance was not hid from thee, when I was curiously wrought in the lower parts of the earth.” Or it may refer to his death and burial, in which sense the phrase is also used. “They that seek to destroy me shall go down into the lower, parts of the earth ;” or into the grave.
Christ's exaltation is expressed by his “ ascending up far above all heavens”-above these visible starry heavens-into the glorious presence of God, who has set his glory above the heavens.
Elsewhere he is said to be “made higher than the heavens ;” and to be “ raised to heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, . Christ has thus ascended, “ that he might fill all things :" i. e. might, according to his promise, fill his apostles and other disciples with heavenly gifts and graces, and thus furnish them to every work which they should be called.
“ He led captivity captive."--This phrase is used, in the Old Testament, to signify a complete conquest over enemies, especially uver such as had formerly been victorious. This is the meaning of it in the song of Deborah. In our text it refers to Christ's triumph over Satan and Death. “He, by his death, delivered