« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
risen from the Dead. This, and no other than this, is the Holiness, and spiritual Temper, of the Christian Life, which implies such a Resignation of Mind, such a Dedication of our selves to God, as may resemble the Death of Christ. And on the other Hand, such a Newness of Life, such an Ascension of the Soul, such a holy and heavenly Behaviour, as may shew that we are risen with Christ, and belong to that glorious State, where he now fits at the Right Hand of God.
It is in this Sense, that the holy Jesus faith of his Disciples, they are not of this World, even as I ain not of this World; being not left to live the Life of the World, but chosen out of it for the Purposes of his Kingdom, that they might copy after his Death, and Oblation of himself to God.
AND this is the Condition of all Christians to the Consummation of all Things, who are to carry on the same Designs, and by the same Means raise out of this corrupted State, a Number of Fellow-heirs with Christ in everlasting Glory. The Saviour of the World has purchased Mankind with his Blood, not to live in Ease and pleasurable Enjoyments, not to spend their Time in Softness and Luxury, in the Gratifications of Pride, Idleness, and Va
nity, but to drink of his Cup, to be baptiz'd with the Baptism that he was baptiz’d with, to make War with their corrupt Natures, humble themselves, mortify the Desires of the Flesh, and like him be made perfect through Sufferings.
St. PAUL so well knew this to be the Design and Spirit of Religion, that he puts his Title to the Benefits of Christ's Resurrection upon it, when he says,
THAT I may know him and the Power of his Resurrection, and the Fellowship of his Sufferings, being made conformable to his Death (a):
It is his being made conformable to his Death, on which he founds his Hopes of sharing in the Resurrection of Christ. If Christians think that Salvation is now to be had on softer Terms, and that a Life of Indulgence and sensual Gratifications is consistent with the Terms of the Gospel, and that they need not now be made conformable to his Death, they are miserably blind, and as much mistake their Saviour, as the Worldly Jews who expected a temporal Messiah to deliver them.
OUR Redemption is a Redemption by Sacrifice, and none are redeem'd, but they
(a) Phil. iii. 10.
who conform to it. If we suffer with him we shall also reign with bim.
We must then, if we would be wise unto Salvation, die and rise again like Christ, and make all the Actions of our Life holy by offering them to God. Whether we eat, or drink, or whatsoever we do, we must do all to the Glory of God.
SINCE therefore, he that is call'd to Christianity, is thus call’d to an Imitation of the Death of Christ, to forbear from Sin, to overcome the World, to be born of the Spirit, to be born of God, these surely will be allow'd to be sufficient Evidences, that Christianity requireth an entire Change of our Nature, a Life perfectly devoted to God.
Now if this is Christian Piety, it may serve to instruct two Sorts of People:
FIRST, those who are content with an outward Decency and Regularity of Life : I don't mean such as are hypocritical in their Virtues; but all those who are content with an outward Form of Behaviour, without that inward Newness of Heart and Spirit which the Gospel requireth.
CHARITY, Chastity, Sobriety, and Justice, may be practised without Christian Piety: a Few, à Heathen, may be charitable and temperate; but to make these Virtues become Parts of Christian Piety,
they must proceed from a Heart truly turned unto God, that is full of an infant Simplicity, that is crucified with Christ, that is born again of the Spirit, that has overcome the World. Temperance or Justice without this Turn of Heart, may be the Temperance of a Few or a Heathen, but it is not Christian Temperance till it proceed from a true Christian Spirit. Could we do and suffer all that Christ himself did or suffered, yet if it was not all done in the same Spirit and Temper of Christ, we Thould have none of his Merit.
A CHRISTIAN therefore must be sober, charitable, and just, upon the same Principles, and with the same Spirit, that he receives the Holy Sacrament, for ends of Religion, as Acts of Obedience to God, as Means of Purity and Holiness, and as so many Instances of a Heart devoted to God.
As the bare eating of Bread, and drinking Wine in the Holy Sacrament, is of no ule to us, without those religious Dispositions which constitute the true Frame of a pious Mind, so is it the same in all other Duties ; they are mere outward Ceremonies, and useless Actions, unless they are performed in the Spirit of Religion : Charity and Sobriety are of no Value, till
they are so many Instances of a Heart tru: ly devoted to God.
A CHRISTIAN therefore is to be sober, not only so far as answers the Ends of a decent and orderly Life, but in such a Manner as becomes one, who is born of the Holy Spirit, that is made one with Christ, who dwells in Christ and Christ in him. He must be sober in such a measure as best serves the Ends of Religion, and practice such Abstinence as may make him fittest for the Holiness, Purity, and Perfection of the Christian Life.
He must be charitable, not so far as suits with Humanity and good Esteem aniongst Men, but in such a Measure as is according to the Doctrines and Spirit of Religion
For neither Charity, nor Temperance, nor any other Virtue, are Parts of Christian Holiness, till they are made holy and religious, by such a Piety of Heart, as shews that we live wholly unto God.
This is what cannot be too much consider'd by a great many People, whose Religion has made no Change in their Hearts, but only consists in an external Decency of Life, who are sober without the Piety of Sobriety, who pray without Devotion, who give Alms without Cha