« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
we find“ all fulness” of every thing necessary to execute so great a work. God has committed the work to him alone, and hath appointed him to possess all fulness for the execution of it. To him exclusively does the name Jesus belong, because he saves his people from their sins. “ Him hath God exalted to be a Prince and Saviour."
MANY would compromise the work between Christ and the sinner, and ascribe a part to each. The first or leading part of it, however, is ascribed to the sinner, while Christ is employed to fill up any deficiency that may remain. Hence the dangerous direction given by many public teachers to sinners, by which they are fatally deceived, Do what you can and Christ will do the
Such a direction implies, contrary to the universal tenor of Scripture, that the sinner possesses ability to accomplish his own salvation, at least in part; that Christ has no definite work assigned him, being merely to fill up the defects of the sinner's own work, which may be either greater, or less, or nothing at all, according as he may exert himself.
Christ then has nothing to do until the sinner has done all he can, or may chuse to do. But if the assistance of Christ is to be expected only when the sinner has done all he can, none ever can be saved, as no man will be found who has done all that was in his power. But the order in which Christ and the gospel hearer are to work is inverted, and that part which is proper to Christ alone, is ascribed to the sinner. Men are not to be considered as mere machines in the work of their salvation, nei. ther must we ascribe to them that part of the work which belongs not to them, and which they can never accom. plish. In Christ there is a fulness of merit, so that they are not required to atone for their sin, nor obey the law, in order to secure the favour of God. They must
apply unto Christ for his Spirit to beget in them a new life, to illuminate their minds, to produce faith, and disa pose them to a serious and conscientious attention to alí proper means, leading to their salvation. Christ, then, and his work, are first in order. The entire purchase of salvation, and all that energy which renders means effectual, are from him only; and all that the sinner can do is to attend to the means. 6. Work out your salvation with fear and trembling: for it is God that worketh in you, both to will and to do of his good pleasure." Phil. ii. 12, 13. The sinner has not naturally any will or inclination to good,-he is rather averse to it; but God produces such an inclination, powerfully changing the will, without doing any violence to its liberty, and communicates to him spiritual ability for all holy duties. This willingness and ability must precede' any work of the sinner, as they are the very principles of all holy actions. : Be assured then, ye sinners, ready to perish, that the work of Christ does not lie in supplying the defeats of your work, but comprises the whole of your salvation; and that you must act your part under his influence, and by the power of his grace. Beware of losing sight of his fulness, or of separating it from the end for which it is lodged in him. By his Spi. rit hę begins the good work of grace in the soul, and will perform it unto the day of his final appearance. The commencement of it, its progress, and consummation, are wholly his; and all of it a work of
grace. 4. CONSTANT intercourse with the Saviour will be of much advantage to believers. It is for this purpose that all fulness dwells in him as the federal and vital head of his people; and in order that such intercourse might be maintained all believers are brought into vi. tal union with him. Thus they become living branches in him, the true vine, and derive from him all those alimentary influences of grace, which preserve and im. prove their spiritual life. It woull be highly improper for them to content themselves with having obtained this union to Christ, and, by means of it, the justification of their persons, and a permanent principle of divine life in their souls. This union puts them into a condition for accomplishing great and important purposes, by means of the fulness of Christ, in which they are interested, and to which they ever have access. With these they ought to be well acquainted, and to prosecute them with diligence.
Many powerful principles of corruption remain in their hearts, which must be mortified. These obstruct them in the exercises of religion, by distracting and carnalising the heart, opposing the new principles of spi. ritual life, and drawing contrary to duty. This is the law in the members, which wars against the law of the mind, and captivates the soul to sin; it is the flesh which lusts against the Spirit, and hinders believers from doing what they would. When they have taken a just view of the law, they see that it is spiritual, ho. ly, just and good; that it is exceeding broad, comprehending the whole man, and very extensive in its demands. They are then convinced of the difficulty of obedience to it, arising from their inherent corrupsion, carnality and weakness. The fulness of the Redeemer is their source of supply. There is in his blood mo. ral virtue adequate to the destruction of all sin ia thein. This they should improve. He has the fulness of the Spirit, by whose powerful aid they are to mortify the deeds of the body, and crucify the flesh with the affections and lusts. It is his work to preserve spiritual life in them, to advance and improve it, to invigorate every languishing principle, and to fit them for every holy
exercise. They are exposed to many dangerous temptations from Satan and the world, all tending to seduce them from God and the paths of holiness, and to lead them into the commission of sin. Faith, by which these are effectually opposed, is the gift of the Spirit. They are often filled with legal fears and unbelieving surmises, which exceedingly discompose their souls, and discourage them in the ways of God. Under all these, the Spirit of Christ is their Comforter. He resolves their doubts, dispels their fears, and composes their souls, filling them with joy.
When these things are considered believers cannot be too much employed in drawing supplies from the fulness of Christ. Their most important interests are concerned, all their safety from evil, all their improvements in religion, and all their peace and happiness. But they are not at liberty to improve the fuiness of Christ or not, as they please; they are under law to him, and as subjects of his spiritual kingdom, bound to obey him. It is for the purpose of promoting this obedience ihat he holes in his hand all fulness of grace, and offers to his people a liberal supply. Consider, then, Christians, your obligations to your Saviour, who has done and suffered so much on your account; attend urto your own interest, and those means by which it may be effe&tually promoted, especially a careful improvement of the fulness of Christ. Here is your life and strength, your light and encouragement, your peace and safety; here is your all, your complete salvation. Come, then, to this fulness, abide by it, and draw extensively from it: it is the well of salvation.
5. The fulness of Christ affords to believers whatever is necessary to support and encourage them under all their trials and sufferings. Though they are the dis
tinguished favourites of heaven, they are not to expect exemption from troubles, reproaches and persecutions. “ In the world they shall have tribulation." And if they will follow Christ, as his faithful disciples, he tells them, “ They must take up their cross.” If they shall study a little conformity to the world, it will act in a more pacific and friendly manner towards them; but if they abide faithfully by their religious profession, and study a regular attention to its duties, they will forfeit the world's favour, and incur its displeasure. The malice of Satan and the malevolence of wicked men, can never be reconciled to their interest, and will lose no opportunity, and leave no means untried to increase their sufferings, and to obstruct their happiness. A steady adherence to religion may, on some occasions, require believers to sacrifice every temporal enjoyment, and even life itself. The world may stigmatise them as fools, and though it may seem incompatible with the law of self-preservation, to expose themselves to calumny, poverty, and death, when they might easily avoid these evils; yet neither their obligations to God, nor a regard to their own interest, will allow them to act contrary to their profession. They are commanded to follow Christ, in a faithful profession of his name, and also to bear, with patience and fortitude, every cross to which this may expose them. “ They must deny themselves,”-not only by laying an absolute restraint upon their sinful passions and desires, but also upon every lawful enjoyment, which cannot be retained but at the expence of religion. Though believers may not be easily persuaded that this will promote their interest, nothing is more certain. When Peter had said to his Master, “ Lo, we have left all, and followed thee, he received this reply, “ Verily I say unto you, There is op