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Jesus Christ.” Oh! the blessedness of believing. The same power that formed the visible creation, forms an invisible creation in the soul of man, another life, a spiritual existence, a nature capable of enjoying God. Do not inistake this, I beseech you, because the common mischief of the present day is the supposition that man's energy, power, and capacity can realise all that is to be known in Christianity. It cannot. “ The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” He must be new-created, or when he dies he will eternally perish.
III.-Having gone through these things thus far, suffer me to invite your attention to the third part of the subject—the dignity conferred upon His cause by the glory of His Person. Among mortals, any enterprize, any great scheme-whether for the profit of man or otherwise-is supposed to have the sanction, and is supported, in consequence of the sanction of the personage at the head of it, of the personage who puts it forth, or with whom the scheme originates. Now, if you would know the dignity of Christ's cause, I beseech you to look well at the glory of His Person. It cannot be otherwise than a dignified cause that has the fulness of the Godhead as its source ; it cannot be otherwise than a dignified cause which claims the glorious, self-existent Deity as its Author-Him, “in whom dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily,” as its Founder. Look, for a moment, at the dignity of the affinity between the precious, glorious Christ of God and His Church; the holy, holy, holy Lord God Almighty in affinity with the worms of the earth, the creatures of a day, less than nothing, and vanity, taken into covenant union and eternal relationship with the most High God, a betrothing oneness set up and established from everlasting between the highest Being that we have ever heard of and the lowest creature His hands have formed; the dignity of that cause of His, in which He said to a worm of the earth, “ I have betrothed thee to me in loving-kindness, in tender mercies, and faithfulness; and thou art mine." Oh! the dignity of that union which enables the Church of the living God, separated from the world, to sing, “ My Maker is my Husband : the Lord of Hosts is His name." Think of it for a moment. To be related to nobility is all very well in its place; to be related to majesty we count a high dignity, especially if it is honourably recognised as such. But what is alĩ the dignity on the earth-what all the nobility and majesty among creatures (however proper in its place) to the dignity of being one with Christ-the dignity of being an heir of God and a joint-heir of Jesus Christ-the dignity of being emphatically part of Himself, bone of His bone, flesh of His flesh, members of His mystic body, every one members one of another, apart from the world—to dwell in His ordained ancient, everlasting city-to be partakers of His manifestations, by experimental enjoyment, and as an eternal consummation to sit with Him upon His throne for ever and ever. This is the dignity pointed out by “the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity," who says, “To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word." All glory to His name, that He has conferred such dignity on worms; 'and when the work is completed, and grace is consummated in glory, then shall it be said
and sung concerning her, “The King's daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold."
Oh! how blessed to witness the Church of Christ keeping up her dignity; maintaining her distinction, conscious of her union with her glorious Lord; wearing the robes He has provided on purpose for her; always decked with the jewels He gave her (all His graces); going to court in court dress every day; feasting at the King's table; claiming unity with Himself, looking Him in the face, and saying, “He is my Lord and my God.” Oh! the dignity of having such affinity or Divine relationship, in which the King of Zion places Himself in union with the worms of the earth.
Moreover, the dignity of Christ's cause is for the purpose of triumph, that the triumph of His Church may be quite certain and secure. I beseech you, beloved, look well to it, that your dignity is not tarnished. That is a fine piece of advice of the apostle's, to keep your garments unspotted from the flesh. I can easily imagine that a princess, and especially a queen, going to court fully robed, would be exceedingly cautious, and so would all about her, that there should not be a spot on her brilliant and beauteous apparel. And ought not Christians to be very cautious that their garment, that precious righteousness of Christ, and their putting it on and wearing it, should not be spotted by the flesh, but kept unspotted? And if this tenacious regard to our high dignity in union with Christ is maintained, do mark the triumphs to which it must lead, yea, the triumphs which it has achieved. It will lead His Church, like Himself, to triumph over sin, to triumph over the world, to triumph sover Satan, and behold him fall like lightning to the ground, to triumph over all the evils and harassings of the wilder ness through which she is passing, and ultimately to triumph over death, with “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?"
My hearers, I beseech you, if in union with the Lord Jesus Christ, never suspend your triumph. The law cannot curse you nor condemn you; the devil cannot conquer, though he may attempt it; the world cannot deprive you, for you are not of the world ; sin cannot have dominion, for you are under grace, not under the law. The sorrows of the wilderness may take away some of your fleshly feelings of delight, but they cannot rob you of one portion of your inheritance, which is in the fulness of Christ. Your business and mine, therefore, is to triumph in all circumstances; as the apostle says, “Thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ." We have examples not a few, in which the Lord's people have triumphed in Christ, in dangers, in prisons, on racks, at the stake; they have triumphed in Christ in poverty, in sickness, in sorrow, in death ; they have triumphed in Christ when humbled and cast down; they have triumphed in Christ when pursued and hunted like partridges on the mountains. Oh! the blessedness of keeping up a lively consciousness of the dignity of the unity between Jesus and His Church, my soul and my Lord, the King of Glory and a poor worm of the earth. What shan depress me or bear me down with such dignity attached to Jesus' cause?
A word more, and I will draw to a close. The dignity attached to the cause of Jesus, in consequence of the glory of His Person, leads to final exaltation; and oh! who can conceive of the dignity that shall then be displayed? Who can comprehend the extent of the expression that He shall present His Church to Himself—"a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish ?” Look at the passage, and ruminate upon it. The very purpose of the Redeemer's suffering was the promotion of His cause, His own personal triumph, that He might wash His Church from all iniquity, that He might cleanse and purity His Church, and “present it to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing." My soul looks for that important hour,
When, with the throng assembled round the throne,
Salvation to the Lord! Examine, beloved, examine diligently this one point before we close; I mean your relationship, your affinity with the precious Christ, in whom “dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” Do not go cringing about as if you were mean and hungry. fulness. If only you know Christ, do not talk about necessities, and cares, and ruin, and the like, but talk about fulness. Yours is a bank that never fails; a King that never abdicates His throne; a Bridegroom that hateth putting away, that never gave a bill of divorce, but who has sworn by Himself, "Where I am, there shall my Church be, there shall my disciples be, there shall my Bride be.” Oh! may He deign to comfort your hearts, and employ all the rest of your lives to glorify, honour, and exalt Him in whom "dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily."
God grant His blessing to these few hints, and His name shall have all the glory.
Go to your
A Discourse, Delivered in Grove Chapel, Camberwell, Sunday Morning, Oct. 8, 1848,
BY THE REV. JOSEPH IRONS.
“ But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth
therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this
man shall be blessed in his deed.”—James i. 25. WHERE is the man who does not desire real blessedness? Where is the man who really obtains it? Where is the man who will not tell you that it is uppermost in his mind, and thoughts, how he can be most happy and blessed? And yet, where is the man who understands what it is to be so? What awful mistakes are made about what constitutes real blessedness. Some men think it consists in the gratification of their carnal desires; that generally is considered blessedness. Some men think it consists in the accumulation of a large amount of white and yellow earth. That subjects them to woe, for “woe to them that lade themselves with thick clay.” No, real blessedness is frequently quite the reverse, and my text lets out the secret, and tells us where real blessedness is to be found. It is in his experience only who looks into, not at," the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein.” It is not the double-minded man who continues therein, but "he being not a forgetful bearer." And here let us pause a moment. Some will say, • What a very bad memory I have, I cannot even remember the text sometimes." That is more your sin than your infirmity; and I should like those who complain of bad memories, to consider whether they cannot remember much of business matters, of their prospects in life, and of things likely to tend to their benefit in the world. If they tell me they can remember these things very well, or tolerably well, but they can remember nothing of Christianity, it proves my assertion, that Published in Weekly Nuzabers, 1d., and Monthly Parts , 5d.
there is more sin in not remembering than infirmity. Now, why is it you can remember the things I have mentioned so much better? Because you not only maintain a lively interest in them, but use means to do so; you make memorandums, you rehearse in your own thoughts what was said and done before you, and become familiar with it. If you did so with the Word of God, I should not have so many complaints about bad memories. How blessed is the man who “looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein." He is a “doer of the work.” “A doer,” say some; we thought you were an enemy to good works.” You never thought so, you never heard me say so, and, therefore, do not tell me a lie about it. On the other hand, some will say, “All the work is done, we have nothing to do.” Then you need not come to hear the Word of God, but may as well go to bed at once. If he be “a doer of the work," then comes the sanction mentioned in my text, “this man shall be ”-no doubt about it," this man shall be blessed in his deed.” I know it; I have had the blessing, and therefore speak not at random.
Now, according to this view of the text, let us first of all attempt to find out what is meant by “the perfect law of liberty;" this is an appellation somewhat peculiar—"the perfect law of liberty." Secondly, let us consider the interest supposed to be taken therein, to " look into it. And then, thirdly, the manifestation of it, to be “doers of the work," as recorded in that “perfect law of liberty;" and then mark the sanction, “this man shall be blessed in his deed.” I know not how long I may be able to stand, for I have had no relief from the most excruciating pain since two o'clock; but I hope the Lord will give me power to set forth something relative to these four points to glorify Him.
1.–First of all, “ the perfect law of liberty." What am I to understand by it? I read a great deal in the Old Testament, and also in the Epistle to the Hebrews, about the old law; and that law, the apostle states, in the 7th chapter, is changed, and abrogated, and annulled, owing to the weakness and unprofitableness of it; and yet there were persons, even in Paul's day, who wished to bring the Jewish converts to Christ under the old law again; and we find in Galatia, that they thought it very well to receive the Christ as the Messiah, but they must be circuincised and keep the law as well; so that when they found “the perfect law of liberty," they were to attach to it the old bondage. And is not this too much the religion of the present day? Is not this precisely what is broached in the name of the gospel? The old law, the covenant of works, contains contingencies and uncertainties, leaving almost everything to the caprice or efforts of man. I cannot preach that law. It is not "the perfect law of liberty." Bear with me, while I insist that this “perfect law of liberty,” is nothing more or less than the gospel of Christ; and I shall take upon me to denounce everything else that assumes the name of gospel, as being no better, than what Paul calls, “an accursed gospel,” and not the law of liberiy.”
There are two prominent views which I intend taking. First, I say that the truths of the gospel in their harmony constitute a “perfect law of liberty;" secondly, that the official character of Christ embodies all “the perfect law of liberty ;”it is found in Him. “The perfect law of liberty" presents to our view the grand principles, truths, and doctrines of the everlasting gospel; because I know both in the Old