Page images

formerly the whole powers of his foul were buried in the


of sin, devoid of all life and sense in spiritual things. Now the dead are raised, the dry bones have come together, and stand upon their feet. The dead soul could never have infuíed life into itself, but would have eternally rotted in the grave of fin, if the Spirit of Christ had not entered into it, and Christ become the life of the foul : Psal. xvi. II. “ Thou wilt shew me the path of life.” As the life of the body lies in the union of the soul with the body, so the life of the soul lies in its union with God through Christ. And as it was by eating, Gen. iii. o. that mankind were separated from God, and laid in the dust of death, so it is by eating that the foul comes to be re-united to God, and to live again in Christ : John, vi. 53. 56. “ Then Jesus said unto them, · Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. · He that eateth my

flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.”

The believer derives from Chrift, 2. A life of favour with God: Psal. xxx. 5. « In his favour is life.” We are naturally dead in law, under a sentence of condemnation, the broken law has doomed us to eternal death : Gal. iii. 10. “ Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things written in the book of the law to do them.” But the sentence against the believer is reversed, he is no more a condemned man, but is justified: Rom. viii. 1. “ There is therefore now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus.” Now he is a free man; who can lay any thing to his charge ? “ It is God that justifieth, who is he that condemneth ?" Can justice say any thing ? it is satisfied. Can the law ? it has got all its de

them in Christ : Gal. iii. 13. “ Christ hath redeemed us from the ourse of the law, ha


mands upon

Kk 3

ving been made a curse for us.” What is become of those long accounts of their debts, subscribed with their own hands ? Christ has blotted them out with his blood, put them out of the way, left the criminal should fear that they yet may be read. The nails are driven through the writing, so that it is. nailed to the cross, and hence will never appear more against them, Col. ii. 14. What has become of the face-covering, which was on the condemned man? Christ has destroyed in this moun. tain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations, Ifa. xxv.

What is become of death which stood before him, ready to devour him? Ver. 8. “ Christ has fwallowed up death in victory." Glory, then, be to the Lamb, by whom we live. Ver. 9. “Lo, this is our God: We have waited for him, and he will fave us : This is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his falvation." --The believer derives from Chrift,

3. The new life of gospel-obedience and true holiness : Rom. vi. 4.5: “ Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death : That likeas Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we had been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.” The believer is not now the man he once was, he is not only come out of the grave of his natural state, but he has cast off his grave-clothes : Col. iii. 8. “ But now ye also put off all these, anger, wrath, malice, blafphemy, ' filthy communication out of your mouth.” These reigning lufts are laid afide, for the Lord hath said, “ Loose him, and let him go.” He has put on Christ, personates him, as the beggar in borrowed robes represents a king on the tage. There is none resembles Chrift in his life

among among men, so near as the believer does ; for he labours to walk, even as he also walked. Now his obedience is universal. He has respect unto all God's commandments, Pfal. cxix. 9. His heart is enlarged in breadth and length to the law of Christ. He loves those ways which he formerly hated, and hates those which he formerly loved. His obedience is a cluster of vital acts in the soul, of all which Christ is the principle : Gal. ii. 20. “ I am crucified,” saith he, “ with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me : and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live .by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."

As Christ is the principle, To he is also the end of the believer's life : Phili, 21. “ For s me to live,” says he, “is Christ, and to die, is gain.” O! whence comes this new life! fure it could never be struck out of vows, resolutions, and Christless endeavours, nor hammered out of the united force of the whole powers of the foul, called forth together as in a folemn day. But they have been planted together with Christ, Rom. vi. 5: (quoted above). Therefore they rise up with him, in the likeness of his resurrection. An eternal barrenness had shut up their womb; but being married to Christ, who is risen from the dead, they now bring forth fruit unto God, Rom. vii. 4.---The believer derives from Christ,

4. A life of activity in grace, as springing water is accounted living water : Pfal. 1xxx. 18. “ So will we not go back from thee : quicken us, and we will call upon thy name.” Sometimes the believer is at a low ebb with his graces. Faith, the conduit-pipe, by which life comes into the soul, is stopped, and then all the flowers in his garden, the believer's graces, begin to hang down their heads, and wither. The weeds of corruption begin to thrive. What shall become of the foul then? There is still one ground of hope, it is not like the false path of the hypocrite, laid short of the fountain, in which all communication is cut off, and this is the reason why their common graces go back, and never rise again; but the faith of the true believer remains still a bond of union betwixt Christ and the soul, and therefore says he, John, xiv. 19. “ Because I live, ye shall live also.” Christ puts in his hand at the hole of the door, his Spirit opens the means of conveyance, and influences again flow, which put quite a new face upon the soul : Hos xiv. 7. “ They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine : the scent there. of shall be as the wine of Lebanon." Christ speaks life, and thus the coldrife soul begins to glow : Luke, xxiv. 32." And they said one to‘another, Did not our hearts burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures ?” Fire is brought from the altar of burnt-offering, and this is set to the in. cense of their prayers which lay downwards before, and then they mount up like pillars of smoke..-The belieyer derives from Chrift,

5 A life of growth in grace; life, and more life: John, x. 10. “ I am come,” says Jesus, “ that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." Things which have life, grow in the growing time, and grace is of a growing nature : Prov. iv. 18.“ The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” The trees planted in the house of God, even the righteous, shall flourish like the palm tree : he shall grow like the cedar in Lebanon. « Those that be planted in the house of the Lord, Ihall flourish in the courts of our God,"


Pfal. xcii. 12. 13. They do not indeed grow always; and why, but because they do not eat always ? they have their fick fits, when they lose their appetite, and then may they say, My leanness! my leanness !- neither is their growth always discernible ; they may notwithstanding be growing. The kingdom of God in the soul, is like feed cast into the ground, which springs and grows up, one knows not how, Mark, iv. 26. 27. But they grow sometimes, there are golden fpots of time, when the dew of heaven lies on their branches, so that they will be adding a cubit to their spiritual stature. And all this is derived from Christ : Mal. iv. 2. “ But unto you that fear my name, shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings ; and ye shall go forth and grow up as calves in the stall.” It is their being planted by the Lord which produces this ;-their waiting on him : Ifa. xl. 31. “ They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles ; they shall run, and not be weary, and they shall walk, and not faint.” And this growth which they have from him has a beauty, which that wants which arises from any other quarter. It is universal, regular, and proportionable : Eph. iv. 15.“ But, speaking the truth in love, may grow up to him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.” They are not as others, who, like the rickety child, have a big head, but a flender body; but all comes away together under influences from Chrift. They grow inwardly in close walking with God, the foul cleaving more closely with Chriit : They grow outwardly in good words and works, which are more communicative and edifying to others : They grow upwardly in heavenly-mindedness, and contempt of the world; and in the mean time also downwardly


« PreviousContinue »