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words can have any intelligible sense, unless we admit the truth of this doctrine. It is not to be denied that the principles enforced by any Instructor may be figuratively spoken of as food, and in that case he may speak of his instructions as bread, intended for the support of the soul; but if he mean nothing more than this, it is difficult to conceive that he should improve upon the figure, and descant on the necessity of his disciples eating his flesh and drinking his blood! Such language has an obvious allusion not only to something that is taught, but to something that is done. It refers to what is connected with the person, and not merely with the instructions of the speaker. That such was the intention of Christ appears from the current language of the New Testament. When our Lord instituted the supper, he spoke of the bread and wine as representing his body as broken, and his blood as shed, for the sins of the world; and in leaving the command that we should all partake of it, he unquestionably intended to convey the lesson, that, in the same manner as the animal frame was supported by receiving food, so was the soul to be sustained by the reception of this great and essential truth. It is from this truth that we derive the expectation of acceptance with God, for it is in this way that we perceive the Messiah to have been “stricken for our iniquities, and bruised for our sins ;” that “by his stripes man can be healed," and that “ by bearing our transgressions he can justify many;" and, as the enjoyment of pardon is essential to future purity and happiness, the cordial reception of the Christ in that character in which he secures it, lies, of course, at the very basis of hope of glory.” It is by the instrumentality of this truth that a soul, dead in trespasses and sins, is, through the agency of the Holy Spirit, made “ alive unto God;" it is the means of its being brought into a new relation to Deity, as pardoned and justified, and therefore is it the means of the new life which it lives in the flesh; and that which is the means of infusing this life at first, is that also by which it is to be continued, and sustained. From all this it is obvious that faith in Christ as the great sacrifice “ that has been once offered to take away sins," is the first sense in which he is in us the hope of glory; for it is thus that that life is derived which can never perish, and that a union is established between Christ and the soul, which will lead him to remember it " when he cometh into his kingdom.”—“Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you ;" but, “ if a man eat thereof he shall not die.” “Whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life: and—I will raise him up at the last day.” It was in this sense of the phrase in question that Paul employed it when he spake to Peter at
Antioch, as recorded in the second chapter of the Epistle to the Galatians :-“I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." In the same manner did he employ the language when he prayed for the Ephesians, “that Christ might dwell in their hearts by faith;"—that thus “ they might be able to comprehend the love of Christ, and to know that love which passeth knowledge.”
After the observations already made, these passages require no remark. “ Greater love hath no man that this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” “I am the good Shepherd, that lays down his life for the sheep."
" God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
The second sense in which Christ is in us, is by the influence of his Spirit superadded to the reception of his doctrine. This is referred to by Himself in his parting address to the apostles, and also by Paul, in the eighth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans—" If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. But, if Christ be in you, he that raised up Jesus from the dead will also quicken your mortal bodies, because of his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” In this sense also is Christ in us“ the hope of glory," both because his Spirit effects that change in our nature, " which makes us meet for the inheritance of the saints in light;" and because, by taking of the things of Christ, and shewing them unto us, he preserves the truths that belong to our peace in that prominence and vigour, which is necessary to support the strong and steady anticipation of immortal life.
There is still another sense in which Christ is represented as dwelling in us, namely, by our habitual remembrance of his laws, and the consequent exhibition of affectionate obedience. This is dilated upon by himself in the fifteenth chapter of John's Gospel. “ Abide in me, and I in you. He that abideth in me and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit.” And then, as if to explain himself, he adds, “ If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall bear much fruit.” “ If my words abide in you,” that is, as he further goes on to say, “if ye keep my commandments ;”. ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; my joy shall remain in you, and your joy shall be full;' "your joy shall be full,” that is, your lives, devoted in obedience to me, will be such an evidence of grace in the heart, that you will rejoice in this evidence as a happy presage of glory hereafter. The apostle who recorded these discourses of Christ, has embodied the
same sentiments in his First Epistle. “ He that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him; and hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.” It is thus that the moral power of the truth operating on the habits and character, constitutes, as it were, the actual residence of Christ in the soul; impresses upon the man his Master's image; and gives, when continued and increased, “ the full assurance of hope unto the end."
Many important lessons might be deduced from this subject. It would be easy, for instance, to shew how it reminds us of our obligations to God in doing that for us, by the discovery of his truth and the gift of his Son, which it was utterly impossible we could do for ourselves. We might notice, too, the claims which it teaches that Christ has upon our devoted regard, affection, and obedience; and the guilt which must certainly attach to that person, who attempts to unite any thing whatever with him, as the ground or consideration upon which pardon is expected. Without, however, pretending to specify or illustrate all the inferences which the subject would suggest, I shall content myself with noticing, very briefly, the two following.
The first is, the unspeakable importance and value of religion, when language like that in the text is employed to describe it. What an intimate union it supposes between the soul and God ! How holy must be its character, how perceptible its influence, how elevating its joy! How necessary it must be, dear brethren, that we should be well persuaded, and see well to it, that the agency of the Son of God is exerted in us ! “ Know ye not that Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates ?" any man be in Christ he is a new creature; old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new." “ If Christ be in you, the body should be dead with respect to sin, and the spirit alive with respect to righteousness." Religion, brethren, must be every thing with us, or it will be nothing. It must be supreme ;-superior to all things else with which our minds are interested, or upon which our affections are fixed, or it will possess nothing of that impression, vividness, and power, which we suppose to be intended by the indwelling of Christ in the soul.
Our second observation is,-how delightful is the thought of having a hope of glory" to cling to, an anchor of the soul sure and steadfast, amid the billows and eddies of that turbulent stream on which we are embarked ! “ The fashion of the world passeth away." Its scenes are incessantly shifting. Its richest possessions
are both transitory and mean, and are felt to be inadequate to the immense demands of our spiritual nature. We want something upon which the mind can repose; in which it can find solace and satisfaction, even should nothing else remain to us but itself. When oppressed by personal or domestic distress; when compelled to drink the bitter waters of adversity; when the gourd under which we may have been accustomed to recline suddenly droops and withers, and we are exposed to the burning blast and “the fiery trial,” oh! how refreshing is it to possess even the feeblest hope of inheriting that world in which such changes never can occur ! In prosperity itself, when we have all that the world can furnish, and all that the heart can wish, we need this hope to impart any thing like rational satisfaction, and to fill the void that continues to be felt; but, in other circumstances—in those which are most common, and for which all should prepare,-nothing is adequate to sustain a consistent calmness, or to infuse a becoming fortitude, but a humble expectation and trust, “ that, after this earthly tabernacle, in which we are called to groan, shall be dissolved, we shall have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
BY HENRY FORSTER BURDER, A. M.
Eph. i. 3–5.—Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus
Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ : according as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love; haring predestinated us unto the adop
tion of children by Jesus Christ to himself. The very announcement of a discussion on the controverted points of Election and Predestination may instantaneously dispose some persons to assume the aspect of opponents, and to place themselves in an attitude of hostility. In order then to guard against a state of feeling, unfavourable to calm inquiry and successful investigation, let me be allowed to attach importance to two requests. The first is, that you will divest yourselves of all sectarian prejudices and predilections, and determine, with candour and fairness, to examine the statements and to weigh the arguments which may be now adduced. The second is, that you will lift up your hearts to God, for “ the wisdom which cometh from above," and then yield your minds to the authority of the divine word, as the tribunal of ultimate appeal, by which every question in religion is to be set at rest.
But is not this subject, some are ready to ask, one of a class, which may be pronounced both perplexing and unprofitable? Let me inquire, in reply, whether on this subject perplexities the most disquieting do not already harass the minds of thousands of many to whom the doctrine of Election, unscripturally stated, proves a stumbling-block at the very entrance of the christian course ; and of many more, who are thereby discouraged and retarded, either in the incipient stages, or even in the entire progress, of their career. Let me also suggest another inquiry. Is not this subject distinctly,