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us manifesting itself in the form of unbelief. Why is it that, after having heard of the tender love of Jesus, the excellency of his person, the fulness of his heart, and the gracious sympathy he feels for us, we do not love him? It is the sin that dwelleth in us, manifesting itself in the form of hardness of heart. Why is it that, when we know we are vile and polluted sinners, we do not abase ourselves more humbly, and sink into the dust before God, exclaiming, Unclean, unclean," and feel our sins more sincerely? It is sin in the form of impenitence. Why is it that, when we are conscious of the advantages to be derived from habitual prayer, and that in proportion as we commune with God we are vigorous disciples of his Son, we do not walk more humbly and constantly with him? It is the same sin in the form of alienation from God. Why is it that, when, in the providence of God, we are favoured with any advantages which lead us to imagine we are superior to others, we immediately and instinctively vaunt ourselves on the superiority? It is sin under the name of pride. Why is it that, when a rival is more applauded than ourselves, or when we suppose his reward may be greater than what we have a right to claim, we feel the rising of indignation and regret? It is sin in the shape of envy. Why is it that, when the world flatters us, we listen to its voice, and begin to idolize it, and to crave more and yet more of its riches and admiration? It is sin under the name of earthly-mindedness. Thus it is with all the lusts of the flesh: we may be sanctified, but there is still in the heart the existence though not the dominion of the principle of sin. Now this principle must die; it should die; and it will die, before we are presented to God as the fruit of the Saviour's purchase.
There is, however, another question: How does this principle die, so as to be conformed to the death of Christ? The Apostle Paul seems partial to this figure; he frequently speaks of the analogy between the death of Christ by crucifixion, and the crucifixion of sin in the heart and life of the believer. "I am crucified with Christ:"" they that are Christ's, have crucified the flesh, with its affections and lusts." The analogy holds good in various particulars. Death, by crucifixion, was a violent, unnatural death. Some die from infirmity, some from age, some from disease: death under these circumstances would be termed a natural death. Crucifixion was effected by the agency of another, foreign to ourselves: so it is with the sin that dwelleth in us. It will never die of its own accord. No sin will die from disease, for the principle is always in a healthful state, nourished by the corruption in the depraved heart of man. Sin will never die from old age, for in age it is as active as in youth.
agent? The Spirit of God: "If ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”
My dear hearers, depend upon it you will never hate cordially the most odious sin, unless the Spirit teach you to detest it; you will never pray sincerely against one sin, unless the Spirit prompt the prayer; you will never mourn the existence of any evil, however pernicious, unless the Spirit be poured out; and you will never oppose, but always extenuate and indulge in sin, unless the heart be full of the Spirit's grace. It is the Spirit that crucifies the lusts of the flesh. Here is our strength, and, blessed be God, we cannot depend upon it in vain. Death by crucifixion was an ignominious death. A crucified person was generally esteemed a hateful member of society; slaves, traitors, rebels, were crucified. It was because they hated Christ, as well as from the desire to destroy him, that the Jews crucified him. And is not sin a hateful object? Is not that a hateful thing which vilifies every perfection of Jehovah, which brought the eternal Son from the glories of heaven to the pains, the shame, the temptations of earth; which grieves the blessed Spirit; which assimilates us to devils; which stations the transgressor on the left-hand of the Judge, where he hears the sentence, "Depart, thou cursed;" which lights up the flames of hell; which condemns the spirit to the fiery indignation and intolerable burden of Jehovah's wrath for ever? Is not this so hateful, that when we speak of the end of its existence, we should not mention it as the death, the destruction, but as the crucifixion of sin? Death by crucifixion was lingering. The malefactor did not die the moment he was nailed to the cross; he lingered there for hours: hence when the executioners came to the two thieves, they were still alive, and they brake their legs to expedite their decease. So it is with sin, it does not die at once. Young converts are often impatient. "Why," say they, "is there still unbelief, and pride, and evil, in a variety of forms? If I were in reality a Christian, would there be such a powerful control of the unholy principle?" They fancy that as they are justified at once, and regenerated and pardoned at once, so they will be instantaneously sanctified to perfection. No, brethren, no; it is not one prayer that will rid us of sin; we are to continue to pray, "Create in me a clean heart, O God." We are to continue longing for the Spirit; to continue locking unto Jesus; to continue to watch unto prayer; to continue self-examination; to continue striving and labouring, and contending, until the whole armour of God is exchanged for the robe of righteousness, and the sword of the warrior for the palm of victory.
The last question is, How may we know that we have fellowship
with Christ in his sufferings, and are conformed unto his death? Do we really, cordially, hate sin? We know we ought to hate it-this is nothing-do we hate it? We know what it is to hate any evil in the abstract when the humane man, for instance, hates cruelty, or the generous and benevolent man hates covetousness. Now, have we towards all sin against God-towards every thing that opposes his will and glory, the same class of feelings as the generous or benevolent man in reference to the vices we have specified? Do we thus hate it-though in ourselves? Is it so? This is having fellowship with Christ in his sufferings.
Do we really pray against it? We know what it is to pray against temporal calamities, and how fervently we can say, Lord, deliver me from this embarrassment, remove this pain, prosper and bless this scheme. We can pray, I say, fervently, when our temporal interest is concerned. But do we pray with the same fervour and desire against the existence of sin in the heart? Does this so trouble us, that we cannot rest without crying, Lord, sanctify me! Lord, destroy pride, and every sin which is the object of thine indignation! We know what we pray for if in this spirit we supplicate this object, we have fellowship with Christ in his sufferings-we are conformed to his death.
Do we desire the sanctification, as well as the removal of affliction? All in this congregation are, perhaps, familiar with sorrow; but are all familiar with the desire to have the sorrow sanctified to the crucifixion of sin, as well as for its removal? Are we unwilling that God should hasten his departure, in any afflictive dispensation, unless it has made us more dead to the world, and more alive to his glory? This is the principle-this the anxiety of his children; and if it be ours, we have fellowship with Christ in his sufferings-we are conformed to his death.
Do we anticipate heaven with joy, as a sinless world? We may desire heaven, from the recognition and fellowship that will there be enjoyed with our departed friends-as the place where sorrow is unknown, and possess no more religion than atheists. But do we long for it as the condition in which no sin can enter? Is this the source of satisfaction to our minds? Were the other circumstances excluded from the state of glory, should we rest on this with complacency, and with this end in view, exclaim, "O that I had wings like a dove, that I might flee away and be at rest." Brethren, the religion that saves and profits us at the hour of death and at the day of judgment, is an internal operation-not in the lips, but heart; and the sum and the substance of all practical godliness is, in having "fellowship with Christ in his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death."
"CALLED" OF GOD.
REV. J. SHERMAN,
SURREY CHAPEL, DECEMBER 18, 1836.
Whom he did predestinate, them he also called."-ROMANS, viii: 30.
It was a saying of the ancients, that you might as soon wrest the sword out of the hand of a giant as divide one of Homer's verses. There was such an intimate connexion and dependence throughout the whole of Homer's poem, that it was impossible to separate one verse from the other, or one portion of the poem from the other, without injuring the whole poem and the general construction of it. And, beloved, we may say, that you might as soon pluck the sun from the firmament, or alter the whole course of nature, as to separate any one of the links of this blessed chain presented to us in the verse of which we have just read a part. In this chain there are four great links: predestination, calling, justification, and glorification: but there is an indissoluble union, a happy and beautiful construction throughout the whole. There is, it is true, a vast distance between the links of the chain; two of them are in heaven, and two of them are uponthe earth: but they are all united, and must not be severed. The distance is no less than heaven and earth, eternity and time; yet they must not be severed: he that is predestinated must be called, and he that is glorified must be justified. The first brings heaven down to earth; the second takes earth up to heaven. The first is the fountain which sends forth the second and the third; and the second and the third are the course which brings us up to the fourth. No man, unless he is predestinated, will be called and justified; and he that is not called and justified will never be glorified. So that the whole you see are linked together in most blessed harmony. By our election we have our calling and by our calling we prove our election.
As we proved last Sabbath morning that it was necessary to contemplate the former, "Whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first-born among many brethren;" so, brethren, from the remarks
I have made, you will perceive that it is my intention this morning to contemplate the second link in this most blessed chain: and as you see it connected, and standing as it does here, how important must the question appear to every mind, Am I called? Have I the evidence of being called of God, according to the Scripture term, "Who hath saved us and called us with a holy calling; not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began ?" If this question can be set at rest in any of your minds, what blessed consequences would result! If you arrive at the conviction of this fact this morning, then your justification follows; and if your justification, then your sanctification is included in it; and if your sanctification, then your glorification. One link proved proves all the rest: if you could prove your predestination, you could prove all the rest: but you cannot prove that unless you are called; it you are called; it is this link which proves your election. Therefore the great exhortation of the Apostle is, "give diligence to make your calling and election sure;” knowing that, as this stands first in God's operations on the mind, if this is distinctly proved, the rest satisfactorily follows.
Let us now enter on this subject with prayer, with meekness, with a desire to be profited by it; and who can tell but that a shower of heavenly blessings may come down upon our spirits this morning, and that we may gain that refreshment which we want in our way to heaven. Lift up your hearts, dear hearers; and God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loves us will bestow it upon us.
Let me point out first, the nature of this calling; secondly, the means of this calling; and, thirdly, the properties of this calling.
Let us look, first, at THE NATURE OF THIS CALLING. two calls of God of which the Scriptures repeatedly speak: and the one must never be put in the place of the other: if a mistake is made in one of those calls, that mistake is frequently most fatal.
One is the outward call of the Gospel. Many are called,” says our Saviour," but few are chosen." They are invited, entreated to come to Christ: but to know how ineffectually this outward call of the Gospel often is, I need only look round on this congregation this morning. How many have sat in this chapel, and heard the most melting tones that were ever uttered by the preacher, the most persuasive entreaties that ever sounded out from human lips—many who sat there ten, twenty, thirty, forty years ago, and there they still sit; Ezekiel's prophecy is fulfilled in them: let me read it to