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ed, and “the new man” must reign in us now, as the old
man" did in our unregenerate state-Do we ask, How shall
this great work be effected? We answer, Encourage its mo-
tions, and exert its powers-The new principle of life in us
is as water, which seeks continually to extinguish the corrupt
principle within us-And if, upon any temptation occurring,
we watched carefully the motions of that principle, we should
frequently, perhaps invariably, find it directing us to what is
right-But it is “a still small voice” that cannot be heard
without much attention-And it may be very soon silenced
by the clamours of passion or interest-It is the voice of God
within us; and, if duly regarded, would never suffer us to err
in any great degree-It has also powers, which like the mem-
bers of the body may be strengthened by exertion-Put forth
its powers in the exercise of faith and love, and it will be found
to grow as well as any other habit-Having indeed the tide
of corrupt nature against it, its progress will not be so rapid,
nor will it admit of any intermission of our labours—But the
more we do for God, the more shall we be disposed, and en-
abled, to do for him—We must however remember not to ad-
dress ourselves to this duty in our own strength Of ourselves
we can do nothing; but if we rely on the promised grace of
Christ, we shall be strengthened by his Spirit, and be chang-
ed into his image from glory to glory”-]
We may improve this subject
1. For conviction

[If this progressive change be the necessary evidence of
our being true Christians, alas! how few true Christians are
there to be found!—Yet nothing less than this will suffice
If we be really “in Christ, we are new creatures; old things
are passed away, and, behold, all things are become new"h
It is not an external reformation merely that we must experi-
ence, but a new creation--Let all reflect on this-Let all
enquire what evidence they have of such a change having
passed upon their souls—The voice of Christ to all of us is
this; " YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN; except a man be born
again, he cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven"-]
2. For consolation

[Many are ready to despond because of the severe conflicts which they experience between the spiritual and the carnal principle in their souls—They say, If I were a child of God, how could it be thus?-We answer, This is rather an evidence that such persons are partakers of a divine nature If they were not, they would be strangers to these conflicts

h 2 Cor. y. 17.

i john ii. 3, 7.

Though they might feel some struggles between reason and conscience, they would know nothing of those deeper conflicts between the flesh and spirit-These evince the existence of a new principle, though they shew that the old man still lives within them-Let not any then despond because they feel the remains of indwelling corruption, but rather be thankful if they hate it, and if they have grace in some good measure to subdue it-Let them trust in God to “perfect that which concerns them”—And look to him to “fulfil in them all the good pleasure of his goodness"-Then shall they in due time put off their filthy garments, altogether, and stand before their God without spot or blemish to all eternity-]

k Gal. v. 17.

CCCCLI. TIE CHURCH'S UNION WITH CHRIST.

Rev. xix. 7, 8. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to

him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted, that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean, and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.

THERE are some passages of scripture which are particularly marked, as it were, by God himself, in order that we might be aware of their importance, and give to them the attention they deserve. The destruction of antichrist, and the establishment of Christ's universal kingdom, are here represented as already effected, and as be. ing the subjects of most exalted joy to all the hosts of heaven. And that the church of God in all ages might Took forward with earnestness to these glorious events, St. John was ordered to write them in a book, and to de. clare with more than ordinary solemnity, that “they were the true sayings of God.”

Without entering too minutely into the figure by which the church's connexion with Christ is here ex. pressed, we observe in general, that I. There is an union with Christ to be enjoyed

[The connexion of believers with Christ is sometimes represented by a branch united to the vine, and a member to the head: but here it is set forth under the figure of a marriage union. This is frequent both in the Old and New Testament ---And the propriety of such a representation is manifest; since the soul, as soon as ever it believes in Christ, becomes “one spirit with Christ;'and, while it consecrates to him all its faculties, is admitted to a participation of all his honours and benefits.] II. There is a meetness for that union to be attained

[The “ Lamb's bride" can never be admitted to a full enjoyment of her privileges till “she have made herself ready." Doubtless the righteousness with which the believer must be clothed in order to his justification, is none other than that which Jesus himself “ brought in” by his obedience unto death; and which is “unto all, and upon all them that believe.”c But that, to which the text refers, seems rather to be the inherent righteousness, whereby we are rendered meet for the enjoyinent of heaven. This is no less necessary than the other; because it would be unworthy of the Lord to receive into so near a relation to himself one who still continued in an unrenewed state, and because no one could enjoy such a re, lation without having first obtained a suitable temper and disposition of mind. ] III. The union itself will be a ground of much joy and

thankfulness

[The text is verified whensoever a person is truly converted to God. Then is the soul “presented as a chaste virgin to Christ,"s and an union is forined, that shall. never be dissolved. And is not this a matter of joy? yes: even the angels of God rejoice at such a sight:" much more therefore must they rejoice, who are thus united to the Lord.

But the nuptials mentioned in the text are those of the church in the latter days, when both Jews and Gentiles shall form one mystical body, and be united to Christ their common head. Then will “the king's daughter be all glorious within, and her clothing be of wrought gold:”k in other words, universal holiness, both in heart and life, will prevail throughout the world, and the whole human race be adinitted to the

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a This figure is used by Isaiah liv. 5. Ezekiel xvi. 8. Hosea ii. 19. and through the whole book of Canticles. It is also used by thie Baptist, John iii. 29. and St. John, Rev. xxi, 2, 9. and St. Paul, Eph. v. 31, 32. and Christ hinself, Matt. ix, 15. and xxii. 2. b I Cor. vi. 17.

c Dan. ix. 24. and Rom. iii. 22. and x. 4. d Col. i. 12.

e lb.

f John iii. 3. & 2 Cor. xi. 2.

Luke xv. 10. i Εph. i. 10. ανακεφαλαιώσασθαι,

lo Ps. xlv. 13-15, 1 Isaiah Ix. 21. and Eph. V. 27.

Vol. IV.

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most intimate fellowship with their Lord and Saviour. What a blessed event will this be! If the nuptials of an earthly prince be a matter of general congratulation, how much more will heaven and earth unite to celebrate this marriage! Well might the angel say, “ Blessed are they who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb.”m] This subject may be IMPROVED. 1. For our conviction

[The representation of our conversion to God under the figure of a marriage naturally leads us to enquire, What reason we have to think that we are thus nearly related to the Lord Jesus Christ? Have we ever given ourselves unreservedly to him? Are we maintaining sweet intercourse with him in secret? And are we so adorned with all holy graces, that our relation to him is visible in our whole deportment? If we be not thus “?

making ourselves ready for him now, we cannot hope to be acknowledged as his bride, in the great day of his appearing.) 2. For our consolation

[It is often a subject of bitter lamentation to us, that our fellowship with Christ is so rare and transient. But “this is not the place of our rest:" in this world we are only, as it were, betrothed; and have time given us to provide the wedding. garments. It is in heaven that our happiness is to be consummated. Let the interval then be improved in preparation for our future bliss: and soon the time shall come, when“ we shall be for ever with the Lord. Comfort ye one another with these words.”n]

m Ver. 9. See also Isaiah xliv. 23.

n 1 Thess. iv, 17, 18.

CCCCLII. LOVE TO THE BREturen.

1 Pet. i. 22. Seeing that ye have purified your souls in obey.

ing the truth, through the Spirit, unto unfeigned love of the brethren; see that ye love one another with a pure heart feruently,

AS our Christian profession lay's us under peculiar obligations to holiness, so our Christian experience should influence us to exert ourselves as much as possible in the service of our God- The more we have at. tained, the more we should aspire after still higher attainments-To this effect is St. Peter's exhortation in the passage before us—In his words we may observe I. What he takes for granted respecting all true Chris

tians The apostle, writing to those who professed to be followers of Christ, gives them credit that they were his disciples indeed; and takes for granted 1. That they had “obeyed the truth” ”

[To“ obey the truth” is, in scripture-language, the same as to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ -The substance of the divine record is, that in Christ Jesus there is life, and that we either have life or are destitute of it, according as we possess, or are destitute of, the knowledge of Christa_This is the true record of God, which we are enjoined to receive with all humility and thankfulness-And when we so embrace it as to found all our hopes of salvation entirely upon it, then we may properly be said to obey the truth--Now this every Christian does; he does not merely give his assent to any propositions about Christ, but he "flees to Christ for refuge, and relies upon him as his only Saviour_And the apostle takes for granted (with good reason too) that they to whom he was writing, had so received Christ; for, however they might have been baptized into the faith of Christ, they were no better than mere heathens, if they had not truly believed in him-]

2. That in obeying the truth they had also“ purified their souls'

[We may cleanse the outward part of our conduct by va. rious means-A regard to our reputation, a self-righteous desire of recommending ourselves to God, or a spirit of pride and self-complacency, will be sufficient to rectify in a measure our external behaviour; but it is the property of faith alone to purify the heart'-_And as nothing but faith will prevail for this end, so wherever faith is, it will infallibly produce this effect — The faith that has not this fruit is dead; and will no more avail for our salvation than the faith of devilsd_Well therefore does the apostle take it for granted, that they, to whom he wrote, experienced this effect of their faith; seeing that it is the principal intent of the gospel to insure and produce it-1

b Acts sy. 9.

a I John v. 11, 12.-
a Jain. ii. 19, 20.

c 1 John ii. 3.
e Tit. ii. 11, 12

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