« PrécédentContinuer »
hast loved them even as thou hast holiness: he aims at the happiness loved me," are the words of our of his fellow-creatures: he lives not Lord addressed to his Heavenly unto himself, but unto Him that Father: and Christians delight in died for him and rose again. As God as their exceeding joy : they God has no personal interest in his see in Him the fountain of joy, above designs and actions but that imevery thing else ; they treasure up pulse of always seeking the first in Him all their hopes. God rests and highest good, so Christians have in his love to them, and rejoices fellowship in this: they perform a over them with joy; and they rejoice disinterested course of duty, they in their relation to God; and say, bave a delight in it, they imitate the “ The Lord is my portion, saith my love and benignity of God. As God soul; therefore will I hope in him.” promotes his glory by the success of His love is shed abroad in their the Gospel, by manifesting his Son; hearts by the Holy Ghost. The so Christians work together with love of Christ constraineth them. him in this : they delight in proThe love of Christ is the first prin- moting God's glory by the progress ciple which distinguishes the true of the Gospel; they study to adChristian, and the first effect of faith vance the designs of God in Christ; in him.
they exalt the Saviour; they endeaThis fellowship, therefore, with vour to allure men by his example the Father, and with his Son Jesus to return unto him. Christ, is vital and warm. It is not The Christian has also fellowship political and external, verified in with his Saviour in his conflicts. some transient effects; but seated The triumph over principalities and in the heart. The purest affections powers, and spiritual wickednesses of the Christian are fixed on God in high places, which remains to be and Christ as their centre.
effected, is carried on by means of III. This fellowship is one of his church; and every Christian is a action and pursuit.
soldier under this banner: he symChristians enter into the Divine pathizes with the Eternal Mind in plan, so as to be, in a humble sense, feeling a holy jealousy of the name fellow-workers with God. The Chris- of God, in fighting on the Lord's tian understands the revealed ends of side, in leaguing himself against the God in the dispensations of provi. spirit of the world and the power of dence and grace; and his inward Satan. As Christ is described in mind corresponds with them. God, the heavenly visions of the Apohaving brought the Christian to a calypse as riding upon a white similarity of moral feeling, and to horse, and having a name on his a preference and delight in himself, thigh, King of kings and Lord of sets him at work on a course of holy lords, and as going on in his Gospel action ; and this course is in unison conquering and to conquer ; so with the Divine will. The Christian Christians are described as riding on serves God in the gospel of his Son, white horses, and having the name of He renounces the service of sin and God on their foreheads; as being the the world; he follows not the desires called, and chosen, and faithful ; and of the flesh and of the mind; but overcoming, by the blood of the he enters on a course of active obe- Lamb and the word of their testidience to God; and in this he has mony. fellowship, so to speak, with the The Christian thus is interested Divine pursuits and actings. God in the great revealed purposes of the makes it his design to communicate Most High. He has fellowship with happiness by means of holiness and the Father and his Son Jesus Christ order: the Christian enters into therein. He unites himself with the this design, and seeks to benefit Eternal Mind. He delights in entermankind by promoting peace and ing into the holy purposes of God, CuriST. OBSERv. No. 352.
of peace on earth and good will which constitutes the supreme haptowards men. Christ puts on him piness of God himself. something of his honour.
with reverence: but the love of Christianity has in every age holiness, a heart at peace with God, achieved its conquests in a way pardon and acceptance, approbation .which the world thinks nothing of. of conscience, joy from deriving life Christianity would have died with from Christ, moral self-approbation the first century but for this zeal of what is all this but a part of the the church : but the Apostles and Divine complacency of God, in being first teachers were filled with the conscious to himself of infinite pumind of Christ ; they entered into rity, goodness, truth, and love? The his place; they considered it as be- Christian derives his happiness from longing to themselves; they counted the blessed sensation that he dwells not their lives dear unto them, so in love with God and with the that they might finish their course company of his fellow-Christians : with joy, and the ministry they had and is not this a part of the hapreceived of the Lord Jesus, to tes. piness of God himself, who comtify the gospel of the grace of God. municates to him out of his fulness? Let us not think we can have fellow. “God is Love; and he that dwelleth ship with the Father, and with his in love, dwelleth in God and God in Son Jesus Christ, if it does not him.”—Again : when he is uniting make us partakers of the energy of himself with God and Christ by acts the first Apostles, of their practical of faith, by efforts of devotion, conprinciples, of their pursuit of their templation, love ; the influences of great end,—the communication of peace and union with Christ are holiness and happiness to mankind. such, and so endearing, that it is Every one, in his own station, must some participation of the Divine do this; not only by aiding in all happiness itself. God is his own designs for the propagation of the portion, his own rest, his own cenGospel, but by silent prayers, by a tre; and the Christian derives his pure and holy conduct, by a spirit happiness from resting upon that of unity and love, by avoiding the Eternal Centre of Felicity, in finding appearance of evil, by filling up his in God a fulness of good; all desires station in the house of God, by dis- being subdued to that one desire charging the duties of social life. after happiness which is only to be Thus he becomes a witness for God found in God. “ If thou hadst and his Christ in the world.
known the gift of God," said our IV. This fellowship with the Lord, “and who it is that said unto Father and his Son Jesus Christ is thee,Give me to drink, thou wouldest a participation of their felicity. have asked of Him, and he would
The happiness of Christians, as have given thee living water. He men, arises from a variety of sources. that drinketh of this water shall They are men like others, and whilst thirst again ; but he that drinketh of in this tabernacle many things are the water that I shall give him, shall common to them with the rest of never thirst; but the water that I mankind. They must have the shall give him shall be in him a pains and pleasures of a physical well of water, springing up unto nature, the sympathies of general everlasting life.” This water, of society, the joys and sorrows of which our Lord here speaks so men. They cannot rise above those divinely, is no doubt the very elesources of sensibility which belong ment of the Divine happiness. The to them as inhabitants of this world. communication of those holy plea
But still there is a happiness be- sures which spring from love, from longing to them, as being in a right faith, from devotion, is to have felstate of mind towards God; and lowship with the Divine fulness of this is of the same nature with that felicity.
God communicates to Christians, festations of this fellowship, so as to first, his nature, and then his felicity. embody heaven here below, are of He prepares them for loving him, rare occurrence; and some Chris. for having the same delight, and the tians have but little of this part of same actions and pursuit; and then, the blessing. But that fellowship from this, he communicates to them which begins with purifying the of his felicity. He sanctifies the heart and tranquillizing the convessel, and ihen fills it with holy science, will brighten and enlarge peace and blessedness. He makes more and more: the peace will be it a recipient of holiness, and so of sweeter, the hope will brighten. happiness. He begins by sanctifying, You shall return unto Zion with and then proceeds to bless more and songs, and everlasting joy shall be
upon your heads ; you shall find joy They partake, finally, of God's and gladness, and sorrow and sighing felicity when they are put in pos- shall fee away. You are in union session of the eternal reward of with the blessed and only Potentate. heaven. Thus they enter into the You are travelling forward to a state joy of their Lord ; not only that of higher Divine manifestation. The which he bestows, but that which Father now loves you, and will come he possesses.
and take up his abode with you: Here is the secret of the Lord hereafter you will dwell with him which the stranger knoweth not; in glory : there you shall serve him here is the inward refreshment of day and night in his temple, and go the Christian's soul. Under all out no more ; there you will be incalamities he has a peace and hap, dependent of the external agents of piness which nothing can destroy, nature ; for the Lord God and the in the foretaste and hope of eternal Lamb will be the light of that temple. glory. And this is what our Lord Thus light is sown for the righteous, meant when he said, “My peace and gladness for the upright in heart. I leave with you, my peace I give The communications of God now, unto you; not as the world giveth are the preludes and foretastes of give I unto you."
what is to come : the path of the Some portion of the fellowship just, as to happiness, as well as to with God, which we have now en- spiritual improvement, is as the deavoured to trace in these four shining light, which shineth more particulars, belongs to all Christians; and more unto the perfect day. but in the highest exercises of it, it One or two practical reflections is not so.
may now be made, derived from the Some parts of it are inseparable language of the Apostle in the confrom the character of the Christian.
text. The sanctifying spirit pervades his Ist. The impossibility of this life. The conscience bears its tes. fellowship existing unless we walk timony that in simplicity and godly in the light. sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, Let none perplex himself with but by the grace of God, he has difficult questions, nor attempt to had his conversation in the world. explore the secret purposes of God, A certain tranquillity arises in his nor try to refer to some high or mind from having secured his hidden mysteries to ascertain whegreatest interests, and that they ther or not he has fellowship with are placed beyond the accidents of the Father and with his Son Jesus danger and death. Pardon, and ac- Christ. Ask yourselves only this ceptance with God in Christ, fill question, Am I walking in the light, him with peace. Hope dawns upon
as God is in the light ? If you are his soul and excludes a setiled setting your feet in his path, if you gloom.
are bearing his name upon your But the higher orders and mani- forehead, and are cleansing yourselves from all filthiness of the flesh 2d. Let Christians know the greatand spirit; if you are distinguished ness of their privileges. from the world which lies in wick. Remember, that you were strang. edness; then you may concludeers, without Christ, without hope, you have this fellowship. For you without God in the world. The walk on high, you are treading an time was when you said to vanities, elevated path, and God himself is Ye are my gods: you gave them walking with you there. God is practically the preference to God. bringing all his power to aid you But you have been brought to a there : you cannot sink with such a stand, you have been stopped in help. The way-faring man, though your career. You have chosen a fool, shall not err therein.
Christ; you have enlisted under But are you living in any known his banners ; you are engaged in his sin ? are you walking according to service ; you count all things but the course of this world, fulfilling loss for the excellency of the knowthe desires of the Aesh and of the ledge of Christ Jesus your Lord. mind? are you reading and hearing You are occupying with your talents the word of God, but not keeping during the absence of your
Master it? is there a secret practical de- and King. You wait the approach termination that Christ shall not of death with composure. You rule over you ? Then do not lie, by have participation of the moral nasaying that you have fellowship with ture, the preference and delight, the the Father. No; whatever be your actions and pursuits, and the felicity, profession, your knowledge, your of the Father and of his Son Jesus zeal, your consolations, " if you say Christ. You treasure up your riches you have fellowship with Him and in heaven. You are preparing to walk in darkness, you lie, and do see a world wrapped in flames, and not the truth.” He that walketh in yet lose nothing ; because Christ darkness, hath 10 fellowship with has reserved for you a new heavens the Father. “God is light, and in and a new earth, wherein dwelleth him is no darkness at all ;” and “if righteousness. we walk in the light, as he is in the Consider, then, the height of your light," then only " we have fellow- privilege. Angels desire to look ship one with another, and the blood into these mysteries of love. They of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us envy you not, but they congratufrom all sin."
late you on the surprising immuHow many high professors are nities to which you are elevated. resigned to scorn by this infallible Their joys are heightened by the test ! How many are there to whom mysterious wonders of redemption. Christ will say, “I never knew you; They will for ever worship the Tridepart from me, all ye that work une God- the Father, the Son, and iniquity!”
Those whom Christ the Holy Ghost-for their several knows, he conforms to his image. shares in the great work of salvaThere are but two elements; an tion. To the principalities and element of moral darkness, and an powers in heavenly places is made element of light. Those whose known by the church the manifold element is light, deliberately prefer wisdom of God: they are ever the will and favour of God to all learning new lessons of the chaother happiness. True religion will racter of God, and deriving new moalways leave some traces of its na- tives for adoring and serving him. ture upon us. Few can doubt whe- This is, then, the height of your ther they live to the world, or live privilege. Heed not, therefore, the to the glory of Christ, if they would trials of your present state.
Be of examine the matter. He that hath good comfort : it is your Father's this hope in him, purifieth himself, good pleasure to give you the kingeven as he is pure.
dom. You are begotten to a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus excited to tumults by one Cirist.” Christ from the dead, to an inheri. See also Acts xviii. 2. tance incorruptible, and undefiled, In the Epistle to the Christians and that fadeth not away : let not at Rome the Apostle enters deeply temporal things disturb you; act into the great question of the abrowith the equanimity belonging to gation of the Mosaic economy, and the expectants of such blessings. the removal of the partition wall In a very brief time your state will which constituted the distinction be changed, and death will be betwixt the descendants of Israel swallowed up in victory. In the and the other families of mankind. interval, Christ's name and charac- This subject, which is of great importter are entrusted to your hands. ance in a general view, is promiThe world will judge of the Chris- nently brought forward in various tian religion according to your con- passages; the Divine foreknowledge duct and spirit. You must there- is displayed, as testified by the profore act as ihose who are to be the phecies which went before; the sinsalt of the earth, the light of the ful conduct of individuals is shewn world : thus you will become as a to be no ways palliated by the purcity which is set on an hill. Walk poses and dispensations of Infinite thus in all purity and holiness of Wisdom; and many illustrations of conversation ; walk as those whose the doctrines of the Gospel are comfellowship truly is with the Father, municated. and with his Son Jesus Christ. The superscription to this Epistle,
“ To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints," makes
no distinction between converted REMARKS ON ROMANS viii. 17-27. Jews and Gentiles. The persons ad
dressed had, moreover, made consiTo the Editor of the Christian Observer. derable progress in knowledge; and, I submit to your consideration the being in the possession of spiritual enclosed observations on that very gifts (ch. xii.), were not altogether remarkable passage, Romans viii. strangers to the topics introduced in 17—27. As the view which I take this Epistle. of the passage is in a good measure The passage before us includes original, it may be that your readers a comprehensive retrospect of the will not concur in my interpretation; dispensation of grace, from the call - but I shall be glad to weigh their of Abraham to the end of time; objections, and shall feel amply re- the grand scheme being here prepaid by such a discussion as shall sented under one of its aspects; tend to throw light upon this much- and “things that be not, are called controverted subject.
as though they were.” A few recolAt an early period, the great lections will be useful, as introduccontroversy betwixt the Jews and tory to the subject. Christians was agitated at Rome. The ancient descendants of the There the Jews, being rich and patriarch Jacob being the adopted factious, disputed the matter with sons of God (Exod. iv. 22, Rom. greater violence; and there also, the ix. 4), the power of that adoption admirers of the Grecian philosophy was manifested in the judgments on taking part in the dispute, such Egypt; by which kingdom they had tumults were occasioned that the been most cruelly oppressed : yet, Emperor Claudius, in the eleventh “ as obedient children,” they ultiyear of his reign, banished the con- mately obtained a rest, in the land of tending parties from the city. This Canaan, the promised inheritance. fact is stated by the historian Sue- But Christians of all nations are tonius who, confounding Christians also the sons of God, by adoption; with Jews, affirms that “they were and this the Apostle demonstrates