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sinneth, it shall die." And why then does man, pressed with a sense of its obligations, and the sinner, still walk the surface of this earth ? the divine mercies in redemption are felt in Why does the sun shine and the rain fall something of their greatness and preciousness, upon one who now, at least, has forfeited not only is it that all nature seems to put on every claim upon his Maker's bounty? You new beauties, and life possesses fresh charins, can be at no loss, brethren, for the answer. now that the gathering clouds of divine wrath It is because that very Son of God, whom no longer lower, but upon that heart is inwe own as our Creator, has interposed for delibly written by the finger of the eternal our deliverance, and by his mediation averted Spirit the apostolic admonition, “ Ye are not the stroke of avenging justice. A promise your own: ye are bought with a price; there of him, like the bow amid the storm, was fore glorify God in your body and in your mixed up with those words of terror and spirit, which are God’s” (1 Cor. vi. 20). solemn retribution which man's transgression Such, then, are the principal grounds, drew from the lips of Jehovah. To that pro- arising from what Christ has done and sufmise did the faith of the undone, trembling fered for our sakes, upon which he rests bis criminal cling; and by virtue of the great high claim to the devotedness of our life. propitiation to which saints of old looked for. There are others, depending upon the doings ward, and which in the fulness of time was of man himself, as upon bonds voluntarily offered for sin, the wrath of heaven was re-entered and obligations personally contracted
, strained. And thus to that divine Being, in particular that first baptismal vow which who came down for our sakes from his throne binds every member of Christ's church to of glory, we stand now in a new and endear- continual obedience. But on this part of ing relation. In addition to his claims, as he our subject we shall not further enlarge. is the Author and Preserver of our existence, II. Let us proceed to consider, in the and the Donor of every earthly good, has he second place, the believer's practice. To him, imposed those of a Redeemer. He has as to the apostle, “to live is Christ." bought us ; and we are his. For, when no It is indeed true, as St. Paul writes to the less a sacrifice was needed for sin's expia. Corinthians, that Christ “died for all, that tion than that of One who is God as well as they who live should not henceforth live uute man; when a divine surety was needed for themselves, but unto him who died for them our acquittal, and without the obedience and and rose again” (2 Cor. v. 15). But then the blood-shedding of One equal to the Father it is a fact, as plain as it is lamentable, that justice could not be satisfied, nor the law of multitudes of redeemed creatures are not offended Majesty magnified; he paid wil. living to him; nay, even of those who have lingly the wondrous price, and gave himself been devoted to him by the solemn vows of a ransom for our souls. “ Christ hath re- their baptism, numbers have practically redeemed us from the curse of the law, being nounced the allegiance that is his due. Other made a curse for us” (Gal. ii. 13).
lords and masters have dominion over them; We had, likewise, sold ourselves to they are serving divers lusts and pleasures, the great enemy of God and man: we and are led captive by the devil at his will. were the captives of Satan and the slaves My brethren, the words of our text describe of sin; and, though God, as the su- the experience of those only who have believed preme Governor of the universe, still re- with the heart unto righteousness. tained his authority over us, and his in- And in their case “to live is Christ; alienable right to our allegiance, yet it was for, as we remark first, Christ's will is not by the simple exertion of his omnipotence their law, and his example their pattern. and the crushing of the usurper, but by the It is with a constant reference to his re paying down of an infinite ransom that we vealed will and his recorded example that were rescued from the thraldom of the evil they pursue their heavenward course. Their one. If Christ spoiled principalities and religion is not a thing of times and seasons : powers, and made a show of them openly, it it influences them continually. Not merely was on the cross that his victory was won, in the closet and in the sanctuary, but in on the cross that he triumphed. It was by their dealings with the world and amid their death that he destroyed "hin that had the solitary labours, on the public stage of busipower of death, that is, the devil” (Heb. ii. ness and in the privacy of domestic life
, in 14). And “not with corruptible things, as all their plans and purposes and pursuits
, i silver and gold, have we been redeemed from Christ acknowledged, honoured, and obeyed. our vain conversation; but with the precious Does the word of Christ warrant this action? blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish Is it consistent with my Christian profession and without spot” (1 Pet. i. 18, 19). Wher. How would my Saviour have acted under ever, therefore, a heart is found duly im- such circumstances ? These are questions
rhich, in substance at least, the believer will, its evil and bitterness so strikingly manifested abitually ponder, and to which he will as in the crucifixion of the Lord of glory. equire a satisfactory answer. And then, if And thus redemption is not only the solid aty to Christ demand the denial of self and foundation of a sinner's hope towards God, je taking up of the cross, he may not, he but also the means, in the Spirit's hands, of rill not shrink from the painful task. The a new creation in holiness. As that Spirit ath which he has to tread may be rugged takes of the things of Jesus and shows them nd toilsome and arduous; but it is the King's to the soul, and the doctrine of Christ cru. ighway: it is the one which the divine word cified becomes the object of unwavering relias marked out; and in it he perceives not ance, the devout inquiry is called forth, nly the footsteps of the flock, but those of “What shall I render to the Lord ?" and le great Shepherd himself. Therefore, in the divine promise of the new covenant resite of its difficulty, however unpleasant and ceives its fulfilment, "I will put my laws Wolting it may be to flesh and blood, he into their minds, and write them in their erseveres, he turns not aside to the right hearts.” Then the word of God is taken as and or to the left : he follows without hesi- “a lamp to the feet and a light to the path :” its tion the Saviour's guidance.
testimonies become the rejoicing of the heart, And what think you, hrethren, is the true and are legibly transcribed in the walk and ason of conduct such as this, of a course of conversation ; and thus, while a willing obele so far removed from wbat the carnal dience is rendered to Christ's commandments, ind of man would dictate? Is it a tor- and his spotless character is admired, loved, enting dread of judgment, or a gloomy and imitated, may it be said concerning the rticipation of coming wrath, which keeps the man in whom these characteristics are found, hristian in the narrow path? Is it with that to him “ to live is Christ.” avish step, and the shackles which fear But we will endeavour to sketch yet more stens upon its victims, that he pursues life's fully the life of the Christian. And, thereurney? O no: “the love of Christ con- fore, we remark, further, that, as the will and raineth” him. No duty appears irksome example of Christ are his rule and pattern, so : revolting when the heart is engaged, and the service of Christ is his chief business. He we enjoins the performance. And, there is not called to a life of slothful inactivity, re, it is with the buoyancy and vigour and or simply a life of meditation. He has a leerfulness of the free man that the believer work to do for his Master upon earth; and ins the way
of God's commandments. The that work admits not of the loitering step, or ered ties of gratitude and love unite with the trifling spirit. It is enough to bring into ose of interest and obligation to bind him exercise his loftiest energies, and to call forth
his Lord. He has to tell not only of his most vigorous efforts. Innumerable, ineating and preserving mercy, but likewise deed, are the duties incumbent upon him, and
atoning grace and love. A view of the demanding his faithful observance. And, as ving Redeemer, obtained by faith, has many of these vary with the individual, acoftened the once stony heart, and divested cording to the station which he occupies in i ensnaring world of its meretricious charms. the world, I shall not attempt here ( for my nd, though Calvary and its cross may pre- limits allow not the attempt) to enter into int no attractions to the self-sufficient rea- detail. Suffice it to say that, as the word of ner, and may be a stumbling-block to the Christ is the believer's continual study, that nhumbled heart, yet around that cross his word leads him to continual practice. And, loughts fondly linger, and his affections are not to mention those spiritual exercises which dissolubly entwined. And, while faith require his first attention, the transactions azes upon the wondrous spectacle of a cru- which are carried on between himself and his fied Immanuel, and the mind dwells upon God, on his common engagements, plans, le amazing exhibition of unmerited mercy, and purposes must be written, “ Holiness to od a sure and elevating hope springs up the Lord.” In every business which he ithin the bosom, o how forcibly then do undertakes, and in every employment which lose solemn but tender accents come home engages him, must there be a reference to the soul, “ If ye love me, keep my com- Christ, and the feeling of the great apostle landments”! Yes, and it is at the foot of must predominate in his mind, " Whose I le cross that sin is seen in its most revolting am, and whom I serve.” And every duty atures, and holiness appears in its perfec- is invested with a new dignity, as well as on of beauty. True, sin by the command- stamped with a more solemn obligation, when sent becomes “exceeding sinful," and the it is regarded as done for Christ, and as done ighteous law of God serves to expose the to Christ. Life is seen under a new aspect, vulness of transgression ; but in nothing are when it is considered as the entire property of him who bought us with his blood; when | Herein, therefore, are the Father and the Son it is remembered that to him every por- glorified. tion belongs, and that no works but his must And you are to mark, 100, that the glory at any time be undertaken. Yet such is the of Christ, as Mediator, is indissolubly bound experience of the spiritual man. As in the up with the spiritual welfare of his saints
, case of his divine Master when upon earth, it “For this purpose was he manifested, that he is his meat and drink to do the will of God; might destroy the works of the devil;” and it is the one great object of his life to finish if apostatizing professors “crucify the Son the work which his Redeemer has given him of God afresh, and put him to open shame," to do; for not otherwise can it be said of it is indeed true that in every humble and him, as it was said by the apostle concerning consistent believer he beholds the fruits of bi himself, that “to live is Christ.”
passion and a monument of his victory. It And in close connexion with the preceding that one believer he sees of the travail of hi remarks, it may be likewise observed that the soul, and rejoices in the triumph of his grae glory of Christ is the believer's habitual aim. over the powers of darkness and evil. An " Herein,” said the Saviour, “is my Father you may say that Christ is pre-eminently glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall glorified in the homage which archangel ye be my disciples" (John xv. 8). And so render, and in the praises which the seraphia intimate is the union between the Father and sing, I tell you that he is yet more eminently the Son, that what belongs to the one belongs glorified in the case of every faithful disciple likewise to the other, and the glory of the who, once an enemy in his mind by wickel one is the glory of the other._For thus did works, and the slave of Satan and of sin, nor the Redeemer address his father, in that exults in the liberty wherewith grace has made remarkable prayer for his people which he him free, and willingly devotes every powe uttered before his passion, “ All mine are and every energy he possesses to the service e thine, and thine are mine ;
and I am his Master in heaven. glorified in them" (John xvii. 10). Not, This glory, then, is the believer's aim. Al indeed, that it is in the power of any the love of Christ is his governing principle human creature to add any thing to that the glory of Christ must be his supreme transcendent glory which the divine Me- desire. He fears, above all things, to dis diator essentially possesses. He has left those honour his Redeemer by a walk inconsistent earthly scenes of humiliation and sorrow, with his high profession, and to open the amid which he tabernacled for a season; and, mouths of the blasphemers of his Lord ihrough arrayed in the glory which he had with the some sinful indulgence. He longs to show Father before the world was, he now appears before men and angels the power of that grae "on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” which visited him in his extremity, and so tu In that upper sanctuary, as yet indeed con- let his light shine in the world that others cealed from sense, but which ihe eye of faith may be led to bow beneath the same sceptre, penetrates, even principalities and powers pay and to seek the same Saviour. The exten their adoration to the Lamb that was slaiu, sion of Christ's dominion, and the comments and acknowledge him in their worship as the ment of that universal kingdom which is a everlasting God. But, even when we con- he set up, are the object of his fervent prayer sider him in this bis essential dignity, there is and his unwearied labours; and it will a glory which accrues to him from the obe- deed be to him a day of high exultation as dience of his people. We are commanded, rejoicing, when the earth shall be full of the “ whether we eat, or drink, or whatsoever we glory of the Lord as the waters cover the do, to do all to the glory of God.” And, sea," and the shout of the angelic messenger mean and unworthy as we are, from
, from this polluted globe of ours, may a “Hallelujah! the kingdoms of this world are revenue of glory redound to the infinite become the kingdoms of our Lord and of be Jehovah, the same in kind, though not in Christ.” And, therefore, for the dawn of perfection, as that which is offered in his that blessed day does he earnestly pant and presence-chamber above. It belongs to us sigh; and his daily petition at the throne (and this is all which the most exalted crea
• Thy kingdom come; thy will be ture is capable of doing) to manifest his glory, done in earth as it is in heaven." Yet these and to show forth his praise. And this the his anxious longings for the future lead him believer does, not only by the words which not to overlook the duties of the present ; for he utters ascribing to Jehovah the glory due to Christ's glory he lives, and for Christ's unto his name, but especially by a walk and glory he works and strives; and not merely conversation becoming the gospel, and a life the offerings of his lips, but the incense of s which reflects the holy image of his Lord. grateful heart and the actions of the daily
grace is, “
Jk are consecrated to his Redeemer. And “Looking unto Jesus." And then, though
the devotedness of his obedience and the earthly vanities still present to your eyes their 'vency of his zeal does he prove the sin- dazzling forms, though Satan still may rity of that song, which he joins with harass you, and the flesh struggle for the gelic hosts in raising, “Worthy is the mastery, through Christ animating and imb that was slain to receive power, and strengthening you, you will come off more hes, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, than conquerors.' Then life will be prized, d glory, and blessing” (Rev. v. 12). becanse furnishing continued opportunities of But we forbear. Our subject, indeed, is labouring for Christ: then death will be welt yet exhausted; for, in the words of our core, because ushering you into the presence tt there is, we are persuaded, a depth of of him, whom, though unseen, you love. zaning and an extent of application which it And with a holy calmness, and quiet comght well employ the enlightened mind of an posure (the blessedness of which experience ostle himself fully to fathom and to unfold. alone can teach), you will be able to resign e might tell you, further, how in every joy all your concerns into the hands of your merdin every sorrow, in every season of gladness ciful Saviour, and to say from the heart, as of depression, in every trial and in every saints of old could say, even in the prospect nflict, in every variety of circumstances in of the solemnities of dissolution or the pains nich the believer can possibly be placed, of martyrdom, “Whether we live, we live ere is a looking to Christ, a following after unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die hrist, a leaning upon Christ; or, in short, unto the Lord: whether we live therefore or the words of scripture, that “Christ is all die, we are the Lord's” (Rom. xiv. 8). all things.” Enough, however, we trust, But what shall we say to those who are is been said already to enable you to not living to Christ, who are serving divers stinguish between a mere profession and lusts and pleasures, and not the Redeemer of e religion of the heart, and to show you their souls? My dear brethren, reflect, I mething of the nature of that life which beseech you, that a life devoted to the world is hid with Christ in God.”
or to self can issue only in a death of despair. But this, you say, is a high standard. And, "To die is gain,” was the apostle's declararhaps, the impression of some minds at the tion concerning himself; but he could say, 'esent moment is, that we have been de- “ To me to live is Christ.” And, would you ribing the life of the Christian as it ought possess his prospects for eternity, you must be, rather than as it is really found. I learn to follow him as he followed Christ. If n well aware, beloved brethren, that in the you are not living to Christ, О it is indeed ost advanced believers sanctification is im- sad to think whose work you are now doing, :rfect, that iniquity mixes itself with all our in whose snares you are now entangled. rvices; and that, were it not for the cleans- | And it will be a fearful thing to pass into g efficacy of the Mediator's blood, our eternity under the guilt of divine obligations ost self-denying performances and our very disregarded, baptismal vows broken, redeembliest offerings would be nothing better than ing love slighted. In proportion to the magi abomination. But this, at least, I will nitude of the privileges unimproved will be enture to affirm, that the life which has been the severity of the everlasting doom. I urge presented is both in some measure the ex- you, therefore, with all earnestness, while rience, and in its full extent the aim of your day of grace is yet lengthened, to seek very true Christian. And my wish now is help from on high, that you may be delivered stir up those among us who have indeed from the captivity of Satan, and freed from lieved through grace, to a higher improve the chains of the destroyer. I press upon ent of their privileges, and a closer walk your most serious consideration the sure and ith God. Do the things which you have certain truth that, just as yon now sow, hereard, beloved brethren, constrain you to con- after you must reap. The word of God, ss with the apostle that you have not "al believe me, cannot be broken; and that word ady attained, either are already perfect"? declares, in clear, solemn, authoritative terms, ben, like him, “press toward the mark for “ He that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh le prize of your high calling of God in reap corruption; but he that soweth to the hrist Jesus." Be diligent in your attend Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life cver. ice upon all the means of grace; be much lasting" (Gal. vi. 8). : secret prayer, and in holy meditation. well often upon the marvellous instances of vine goodness to your souls, especially pon the love manifested in your redemption. et your watchword and your motto be,
and from whence arise (where they are not checke
in their rising by the neighbour growth of a A PSALM of richest value, experimentally, to the allowed fleshly will) the ever-growing desires e Christian, whose walk is with God. Its title the Spirit, should be noticed. The wilderness of Judah was God is desired. Not the knowledge merely the scene in which those experiences were known truth by which the mind may be interested, bu which enabled the sweet psalmist of Israel thus to that which fills the heart while it stimulates th write. David was never more with God, and couscience. Such knowledge is of impossible al God with him, than in the wilderness of Judah. tainment apart from practical obedience and di It was there that, while an outcast from the face votedness to Christ. He will not reveal himse of Israel, he could do valiantly for God. Je to hearts that are not truly thirsting for his lot hovah's prophet had assigned him that retreat. (John xiv. 21-23). To bring the soul to th He went there in obedience to him. Deeply- condition, and to keep it there, is the perpetu searching trials, indeed, befell him there ; but striving of the blessed Comforter in the saint they were precious trials of a faith which grew Joy unspeakable, and full of glory, is the prese but the more vigorously under the healthful dis- experience of the soul that waits with patien cipline through which it passed. Realized de- upon God (ver. 3-5). Christ is to such the mu pendence upon God turned, on each occasion, his row and fatness of heavenly blessing. Tu weakness into strength. God kept him from the watches of the night (now far spent) of earth hand of Saul, and led him, and used him, as Is- trial, are made light to the believer whose baa rael's true deliverer from the spoilers of the Phi- has learned the secret of true strength (ver. listines (1 Sam. xxii. 5-23, xxiii. 1-15). Tasting Col. i. 11). Past mercies are reviewed in pro thus, in the dry and weary land, the realities of of the faithfulness and power of God. Form divine loving-kindness, his soul, sustained in con- experiences, both of trial and of deliverance, a scious blessing through the knowledge of de- called to remembrance (ver. 7), and found to livering mercy, is growing ever in the knowledge of active power as present arguments of joy al of God, is thirsting more intensely for him, peace. Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, to-day
Considered in its practical bearing on Chris- and for ever, is the needed and appreciated sa tian experience, it is evident that this psalm ap- and Portion of the really growing, Christian plies only to those who are realizing in some de- Hopeful patience fails not to result and to aboard gree what is expressed in the opening verse. Be with present joy, from looking immediately lievers may be divided, with reference to their him (Heb. xii. 1,2). Divine mercy, tasted he spiritual condition, into three classes. There are below with the keen appetite of personal need Christians who are in a decidedly careless state. and traced upward to its ever-living Spring, There are those who, while in the main walking found to be better than life. It comes from bi wisely as to their practice, are yet indifferent to who is our Life, savouring of him with a revivia the solid growth and progress of their souls in freshness in the soul. The lips, thus fed, epe Christ. There are, lastly, some who truly walk willingly in acceptable praises, making giad cea in him, with desire only to be well-pleasing to fession to the name of Jesus (ver. 5 ; Heb. si him in all things, and to increase in the know- 15). Praise, joined with prayer, is the constan ledge of God; to be sincere, and without offence, occupation of a soul that is abidingly in the per until the day of Christ (Col. i. 10; Phil. i. 10). sence of God. Jesus found solitary places long
It is to the last of these that the language of before the dawn (Mark i. 35), to seek this sols this psalm applies. The world may be found a in the thirsty wilderness of a world which kees wilderness in more ways than one, and by other not God. And such is now the Christian's cal means than the faith of heavenly things. It is ing. To joy in God through Jesus Christ
. Fizde the Spirit of Christ alone that finds it always ing tribulation in the world for Jesus' sake, such. A spiritual man, having tasted Christ, has rejoice evermore in him, rejoicing in Christ Jesu tasted divine love, and has beheld in spirit the and having no confidence in the flesh ; watching
, light of glory. God is desired, because known. meanwhile, with thanksgiving, in contin The recognition of mercy from God is compatible prayer (Col. iv. 2); recognizing willingly is with practical indifference as to that knowledge contrariety between the Father and the work of God which the Holy Ghost imparts increas- and wholly choosing him. Kept thus of him. ingly to the partakers of the heavenly calling, as preserved in Christ, kept by divine power through he opens, in Christ, the deep treasures of spiritual a faith that already sees Jesus crowned with glary blessedness to the thirsty and inquiring soul (1 and honour, and looks, even now, for the board Cor. ii. 9-16). If Christians are satisfied with his appearing. The world is a thirsty land to getting such a view of divine redemption as may such. But godliness, with contentment, maka assure them of the soundness of their hope in rich their souls with au exceeding gain. MaaChrist as believing sinners, and, consequently, of while, the Lord knoweth them that seek hia, their safety in him from coming wrath, they are
Jesus is not indifferent to that which is done ud as yet incapable of thoroughly enjoying this suffered for his sake. He is capable of sympathy psalm. For it is an expression of healthy spi- with every heart whose desire is to find and follow ritual growth, of ardent desire to Godward. Calm the footsteps of his way. He is a merciful asi and sober confidence, and quiet assurance of hope, faithful High Priest to every believer at his need are the ground and basis upon which the livelier His friendship (John xv.), in the condescending and more positive energies of the inner man rest, nearness of his love, is appreciable only as we are
From “ Notes and Reflections on the Psalms.” By A. like-minded to himself (Phil. ii. 5).
The psalm has, I conceive, & prophetics noticed this book. -Ed.
ference to the suffering remnant of Jewish faith,