Page images

own." Ye children of men! ye are become God's; and that, not alone by the right of creation, but also chiefly by the right of redemption and the purchase of Jesus Christ, even as Paul says, in the words, “ Ye are not your own.” But why not? Because “ye are bought with a price.” And wherewith ? Not with gold or silver, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot (1 Peter i. 19.) Thus dignified, noble, and precious, were our immortal souls in the estimation of God! Ah, if we only duly knew it, we should not act so inattentively, nay, in fact, so licentiously with our souls. Christ has purchased us from the free inclination of his love, and by this purchase, we are again become God's, and are therefore no longer our own. Christ, by the shedding of his blood, has again reconciled us unto God, to whom we had become obnoxious

He has, I say, reconciled us unto God, by taking away the sin which separated us from God; so that God now again takes pleasure in us. By the shedding of the blood of Jesus Christ, God is again become ours, so that now the most wicked of mankind may again find God, as their God, in the atonement of Jesus Christ, if they only truly repent, and approach in faith unto God through Christ. God is not only ours by the redemption and purchase of Christ, but we are also become God's, both as it respects body and soul : hence Christ was obliged to take a body and a soul, in order that by the shedding of his blood he might sanctify us

by sin.

again, both in body and soul, and place us in a situation to belong again to our God. Therefore, both our bodies and souls belong to God in Christ. Christ has, by this purchase, obtained a new right, and a new claim to our body and our soul. He can demand them, he can lay claim to them, they are now become his. By the shedding of his precious blood he has deprived the devil of his right over us; Satan has now lost all right to us, and, through the ransom paid by Christ, all sin has lost its right and claim to the children of men. Therefore no one ought reasonably to despair, as though he could not be delivered from the devil, the world, and sin. Hence, however much our foes may rage : they must nevertheless leave us entirely at liberty, if we only sincerely give ourselves up to the Saviour. God said to Pharaoh, Let my people go, that they may serve me' (Exod. ix. 1.) But Pharaoh would not ; because he supposed he had another and more peculiar right to them. Yet, notwithstanding, no sooner was the paschal lamb slain, than he was compelled to let them depart, whether he would or not.

See, therefore, my dearest friends! what a great privilege, what great grace we deprive ourselves of, if notwithstanding all this, we still continue voluntarily to serve the devil and the world, from whom we might be so easily delivered by Christ, since he has purchased us; so that we now most justly belong to him, and are his. O how precious is this Gospel ! But is it not treading under foot the blood of Christ,


and accounting it an unholy thing, when, notwithstanding all this, we still voluntarily remain sinners? We are not at all compelled to this,.my beloved friends! We may soon be delivered. Christ is willing and able to make us free.

But, as far as we are true Christians, we are not only God's, according to the right of creation, and redemption, but we are also Christ's by the right of voluntary presentation and the giving up of ourselves to Christ. Christ has bought us; ought we not therefore to be peculiarly his ?

O that we might apprehend and believe this, with a still more thorough conviction of the heart, and not merely with the understanding ! But if we are desirous of really partaking of the redemption of Jesus Christ : the thing purchased must be actually delivered up and given over to him. If Christ has purchased body and soul, if he has obtained the right of property over them: it remains, therefore, that we give them up to him, and place them in his hands. We must be unwilling any longer to continue our own; we must entirely yield 'ourselves up to Christ with body and soul, with heart and will.

Now the commencement of this is made in true conversion. But conversion, my dearest friends! does not consist in a mere outward propriety of conduct, in refraining from gross sins, in practising this and that virtue, in occasionally making some good resolutions, and offering the Lord God many fine and sweet words; in these and such like things, I say, conversion does not consist, but rather in this, that through the grace

of Jesus Christ, we become poor, weary, and heavyladen sinners. Christ, as we have heard, in virtue of his purchase has obtained a right over us: and he seeks to legitimate this right in every one of us, by all the convictions, emotions, and knockings, he causes us to feel. He is desirous, that his purchase should be delivered over to him, This, my dearest friends! is his object with us. Therefore a person who is desirous of sincerely giving and devoting himself to Christ, must previously have thoroughly perceived, felt and experienced his sinful, damnable, and entirely helpless state. He must feel most assuredly convinced, that out of Christ, he must be lost, both in time and eternity. He must then entirely surrender himself to Christ at discretion, like a poor culprit and malefactor, who is well aware that he has, merited death, but who still consoles himself with the hope of mercy from his judge, and continually cries, “ Is there no more mercy for me, a poor sinner?" Or, like the publican in the Gospel, who, beating upon his breast, exclaimed, “God be merciful to me a sinner !”. But these were not mere words, which only came from the lips : they were words which proceeded from a lively acquaintance with his misery, from the most inward feeling of his pi, tiable condition, and from the deepest grief of his heart.

We must give ourselves up to Christ like a patient resigns himself to his physician, with these words, “I resign myself to your directions. If you know of any means to heal me, prescribe them; and whether they be bitter or sweet, I will

take them. I will be obedient to you, if you are but able to help me and restore me to health." Thus it is we must surrender ourselves to Christ, as the only Saviour and physician of our souls, that by his grace, and the operations of his Spirit, he may make entirely new and different people of us, and redeem us from sin and all our misery.

We must present and yield up ourselves to Christ who has bought us, even as a bride gives and resigns herself to her bridegroom. As soon as the bride gives her consent to the bridegroom, she immediately presents him also her whole heart and her whole will. She is ready to follow him, wherever he chooses to go, and do what pleases him. She desires nothing else than to depend upon his command, his will, and his good pleasure. See, it is thus we must also present and resign ourselves to Christ, our dearest Redeemer, by our actual consent, and by a real surrender and transfer of our hearts, our wills, our bodies, and our souls. We must come to him as we are, and not wait till we have become pious, or rather have made ourselves pious; but we must come to Christ in our true characters, as miserable, as wretched, as sinful, and without strength as we feel ourselves : we must resign ourselves to him, give him our consent, and, by the co-operation of his Spirit, be and continue ever resigned to him, both in sorrow and in joy.

O happy hour! when the individual, by a thorough and real conversion of his heart, thus renounces all right over himself, closes

his eyes

« PreviousContinue »