Page images
PDF
EPUB

teries. Reason is a good handmaid to religion, but we must never summon her as an umpire. We cannot enjoy our interest in a union to Christ, until faith has free entrance into our heart against all that natural sense may suggest and reject. Imputed righteousness is a glorious doctrine; but I want something beyond this. I want derivative holiness, because in me, that is, in my flesh, “ dwelleth no good thing." Holiness can never belong to a degraded creature, but by union to a nature which is undefiled. In this spiritual union to Christ, decreed before sin and the fall, I am made partaker of the divine nature. The holiness of the church through all eternity, will be derivative; as the sanctification of her members in grace is not from any thing inherent in themselves, but derived from the great head of his body-the church.

John xv. 4. “ Abide in me, and I in you." As the vine puts forth its buddings in the tender branches, so Jesus shows forth in believers the buds of his own graces ; making his people, by their union to himself, the conveyancers of his sanctification to the eyes of men. In like manner, as the root of the vine conveys its sap to the extremest tendrils, whereby they partake of the nature of the vine; so unless proofs of life appear in the branches, unless sproutings of divine grace progressively shoot forth and grow, we cannot conclude that such members are alive.

Cor. ii. 13, 14. “ The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.” As the use of italics invariably denotes that the word so printed is not found in the original scriptures, but is chosen according to the view of the translator, we are at liberty to omit such addition, or to substitute any other expression which shall be in unison with the word of God. In the above portion, by leaving out the word be, I discover a very great beauty; the sense is then rendered, not as if Paul were praying that the grace of the holy Trinity might be with the church, as a thing yet to be petitioned, because still to be obtained; but as if the apostle recalled to their minds the mercies dwelling with them, and theirs by participation. “ This grace, and love, and fellowship with you,” says Paul, “ and ever to be continued with you.” Had our ex

cellent translators inserted is, instead of be with you,” the sense would have accorded with the scope of the divine Author more exactly. The regenerated church alone can walk in these blessings, and the regenerated church is already possessed of all blessings in Jehovah. CHAP. VIII.

Pastoral Fragments concludedMiscellaneous.

Psalm 'xiv. 5, 10. “ All thy works praise thee, O Lord, thy saints bless thee.” What a sweetness and fulness the psalmist makes in this distinction! All creation must praise the works of God; for all creation benefit by their perfection; even devils pay their tribute to his power—but they do so of necessity; it is only the saints, sinners who have tasted mercy, that the Lord permits to bless him. What an immense thing it is, that such creatures as we are have a license, and command to bless the Lord by our worship, by our hearty amen to the sovereignty of Him, “who is glorious in holiness, fearful in praises.” How little do we understand our privileges !

If we compare the three prayers of St. Paul recorded in Colossians i. Ephesians i. and Ephesians iii. we shall find that within the

compass of these scriptures, the Holy Ghost hath combined a fulness of prayer, which no petitions of man can approach. No creature would have known how to ask for such blessings, unless instructed by a divine teacher; and no human mind could have so composed its wants, as to embrace an eternity in their continual fulfilment. - A sermon is not profitable unless we have received, under the word, a thought of Christ. We may be edified, interested, entertained, but not profited to our good, unless our apprehension of Christ is enlarged. And for this reason, it is only God the Spirit, who can show us the things of Christ; and where there is an absence of communion there can be no growth. We are to consider Christ, to revolve him in our minds, this is to live practically in our profession; or as it might be understood to live on him whom we know and confess.

The whole work for which the office of high priest was instituted was mercy. The Levitical dispensation was an absolute gospel, detailed in figurative semblances. Aaron and his successors would have had no employment but for the misery which sin induced ; and the supplica

« PreviousContinue »