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in the fourth chapter of the Canticles. speaks concerning his people, saying, After, in the first chapter, the spouse
“ He hath not beheld iniquity in of Christ had been complaining, “ I Israel, neither hath he viewed peram black but comely, O ye daughters verseness in Jacob.” Observe, again, of Jerusalem.” Yet Christ speaks to
I will blot out thy transher in the fourth chapter and says, gressions as a thick cloud, and as a “Thou art all fair, my love; there is cloud thy sins.” Now, what blotted no spot in thee.” No spot is to be out is not seen, and cannot be disfound, no wrinkle, no blemish, nor covered. Again, “ Blessed is the man any such thing in him, that trusteth in whose iniquities are forgiven, and the Lord Jesus Christ, because he is whose sin is covered.” God covers truly one with him. Beloved bre- all his sins with the blood of Christ. thren, there is no spot in the believers | So it is that God doth not behold it, in Jesus as they stand before God. because it is covered with the precious And let us view it in another way.
blood of Christ. Now, some one will We know there is no condemnation say, doth not God know we for them that are in Christ, and why is sinners, and doth he not know every it? It is on account of the righteous- thought of our hearts, and therefore ness which the believer has in conse- must he not see our sins ? Beloved quence of his union with Christ Jesus. brethren, it is one thing to know We know, beloved brethren, that God them, and another thing to see them. cannot condemn the righteous, and he I may know, at this present moment, that believeth is righteous even as He that this book is under my hand, but is righteous. There is no such thing I see it not because it is covered with as condemnation on this account, be- that hand, so God may know that my cause we stand complete in the righte- sins are in me, but he seeth them not, ousness of another, even of Christ our because they are covered with the Lord. But, beloved brethren, observe blood of Jesus Christ. Therefore let the blessedness of it. Being one with the poor trembling sinner hold up his Christ-Christ hath taken away- head; yea, let him hold up the hands Christ hath carried away-Christ hath that hang down, and the feeble knees ; borne away, -Christ hath blotted for God will not behold his sins, beout all our sins and iniquities in cause he hath laid them on his wellhis most precious blood. Beloved beloved Son Jesus Christ. This is brethren, accustom yourselves to me- the reason that God does not behold ditate upon this, accustom yourselves sin. It is because he hath put it away to look at the simple word of God, elsewhere—it is because he hath transand to think how great it is, and to ferred it to his Son Jesus Christ, bethink what a blessed word it is when cause he hath laid upon Christ the
“ The blood of Jesus Christ, iniquities of us all; and Jesus Christ the Son of God, cleanseth us from all himself, like the scape-goat, hath car. sin.” Now it is not some sin only, it ried them away to the land of forgetis not this sin, nor that sin, nor the fulness : they are no more to be found, other sin, but it is all sin together because “now once in the end of the which is washed and swept away in world hath he appeared to put away the flood of Jesus Christ's most pre- sin by the sacrifice of himself.” By cious blood. Beloved brethren, mark the sacrifice of Christ, sin is abolished how Scripture delights to dwell, to as a cloud is dispersed by the power rest on this truth, the putting away of of the sun. Observe, every cloud consin by the blood of Christ. Yea, so tains many million water drops, but putting it away that God himself I still there are more sins in the be
liever in Jesus than there are drops of But, again, these things I speak not, water in the cloud; but mark when beloved brethren, in order to incite the sun rises, it is able and capable of sinners to sin. God forbid. dispelling that cloud, so that not one we continue in sin, that grace may drop remains ; and so when Christ abound? God forbid.” It is not so the Sun of Righteousness rises upon nay, it cannot be so, where grace has the sinner by the power of his beams, once made a conquest in the heart, it he puts, away all the sin that is in is utterly impossible that it can lead a him, he puts it away out the sight of sinner to continue in that state in God, so that God beholds it no more, which he was before. It is of a dif. but beholds him in the righteousness ferent principle; and so, beloved breof Christ, and is well pleased with him thren, the person that cometh to Christ, thereby.
and who is in this blessed state before And one thing more will arise out God which I have just mentioned, he of this view of the subject concerning is likewise a sanctified person, because those that come to Christ, which is he is sanctified by faith in Christ Jesus. this, that their state is peculiarly Now then, let us consider this state, blessed, because God, seeing all their not as he is before God but as he is sins upon Christ, and therefore none to himself, as he appears to be in himof them upon themselves, he is not self, and as he is towards man. Beangry with his believing people even loved brethren, the work of the Spirit when they revolt from him, when they of God upon us renews us indeed ; know that rebellion still lurks in their but, then, it renews us only in part. heart. Still God is not angry—still Our body is not changed at all by the there is not a drop of wrath in God, power of the Holy Spirit working in for all hath been poured out upon us, it is only subdued; but we are Christ (and God is not angry twice made new creatures in Christ Jesus for the same offence), God will not by the power of the Spirit of God; come upon us, because he hath come and then, that being the case, we have and demanded of Christ the payment, the very image of God himself enand he hath paid in full for all our stamped upon our souls; we are made offences and transgressions. Beloved new men, and that new man, as Paul brethren, therefore, when we look at says, “is after God, created in righGod in Christ Jesus, let us think of teousness and true holiness.”
Bethe words of the prophet, when he loved, we may see perfectly well, from says, “ Fury is not in me.” There is the Epistle of John, what it is to be no wrath in the mind of God towards a sanctified person, that is, that as any soul that trusteth in the Lord many as are the children of God bear Jesus Christ, it is gone, gone for ever.
the image of God enstamped upon All the seven vials of that wrath are their souls. Now the person who poured out on the head of Christ who cometh to Christ we know is a bealone was able, who alone could, and liever in Christ; and then what says who alone did bear the whole weight that Apostle concerning the believer? thereof. Therefore now God is well "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is pleased with us in Christ Jesus his the Christ is born of God: and every Son, he beholdeth us clothed in his one that loveth him that begat, loveth perfections, and he is infinitely well him also that is begotten of him." He pleased, because he sees us in the is born of God, saith the Scripture, same light as he sees his Son, now and therefore he is a child of God, that he is at his own right hand in and we know that the Father begets in heaven.
his own likeness. So that when God
re-begets his children he stamps upon Again, beloved brother, what is this them his own likeness, he places upon darkness? We know that the darkthem his own image, and so, as the ness is a darkness of an holiness, and Apostle Peter says, we are made of unrighteousness of sin, and wretchpartakers of the Divine nature, having edness. The darkness in which the escaped the corruptions that are in the devil himself walks, for he himself is world through lust.” Remark, there- said to be the prince of darkness. Let fore, this, beloved brethren, we must no man deceive you, therefore, says have, if we are the people of God, the the Apostle, for he that committeth image of God upon us ; and now, then, sin is of the devil, for the devil sinneth wherein does this image consist? “This from the beginning, and he was a liar is the message,” says John, “which from the beginning. Again, if God is we have heard of him and declare love, and if the children of God are unto you, that God is light, and in like him, what follows ? but that we him is no darkness at all.” So, then, must walk in love, walk even as Christ that the children of God must be chil- walked, and Christ's walk was the dren of light, because God himself is walk of love. We have seen the love light. Again, that same Apostle says, of God in giving Christ to us; we have “God is love"-what follows? then seen the love of Christ to us in that, the children of God must walk in love, whilst we were yet sinners, he laid must be children of love, otherwise down his life for us. That being such they will not be, they could not be the a proof of love, and the children of children of their heavenly Father, the Lord Jesus Christ being like him, whose name is love. Again, "God is we ought, says St. John, to lay down a Spirit”—what then follows ? “Those our lives for the brethren. Here, who worship him must worship him then, we see the character which will in spirit and in truth, for the latter be invariably contemplated on those seeketh such to worship him.” There- that are brought to Christ and came to fore the children of God must be spi- God through him. ritual, because God himself is a spirit. Again, let us remark, that if such Hence, “that which is borne of the be the character of the children of flesh is flesh, and that which is borne light, and if the love of God be their of the Spirit is Spirit.” Then, beloved peculiar character, how very opposite brethren, whatever is capable of being is that love to that of the world. reflected of God's character is en “Love," says an Apostle, “not the stamped on the children of God, when world, neither the things in the world, the Holy Spirit, by his sovereign act, for all that is in the world, the lust of regenerates us and makes us new crea- the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the tures in Christ Jesus—What, then, pride of life, is not of the Father but ought to be our conduct in this re- of the world.” Can we, then, indeed, spect? If we are the children of light unite with the world? Beloved bre.. how can we have any association with thren, we must come out of the world, the deeds of darkness ? how can we yea, we must be separate from the walk in darkness ? " Let not man de- world; we must not partake of that ceive you—if we say we have fellow. worldly spirit which is the death of ship with God, and walk in darkness, thousands of thousands. No, we must we lie and do not the truth; but if we come out from them we must not walk in the light, as He is in the light, have any thing to do with them-we we have fellowship one with another, must not touch the unclean thing and the blood of Jesus Christ, God's we must be separate from them, and son, cleanseth us from all sin.” | God has promised that he will receive us, and be a father unto us, and we
may be so known.
How shall we shall be his sons and his daughters. know ourselves to be ministers of
Again, if God is light, and love, Christ, for instance, if we do but and righteousness, and holiness, so compare ourselves with the standard likewise God is truth; therefore, the which the Apostle Paul hath left, children of God must be lovers of whereby to known them. He says :truth and haters of lies, and haters of “ Are they ministers of Christ? (I all liars. “And who is a liar but he speak as a fool) I am more ; in labours that denieth that Jesus is the Son of more abundant, in stripes above meaGod, he is anti-christ who denieth sure, in prisons more frequent, in both the Father and the Son." Oh, deaths oft. Of the Jews five times rethen shall we go together with those, ceived I forty stripes save one. Thrice shall we make friends of those, whom was I beaten with rods, once was I the Apostle John speaking of, de- stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a clares, “that it is unlawful to receive night and a day I have been in the deep. and that whoso biddeth them God In journeying often, in perils of waters, speed, is partaker of their evil deeds !” in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own No; we must come out from amongst countrymen, in perils by the heathen, them; we must be separate from them, in perils in the city, in perils in the and depend upon it, God will receive wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils us and be a Father unto us.
among false brethren; in weariness But, beloved -brethren, if such be and painfulness, in watchings often, in the character which all who come to hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in Christ must bear, if we can speak this cold and nakedness.” of all the children of God, how much Is there any minister here present more ought they to possess the cha- that can say that he bears these marks racter who are God's ministers, whom of a minister of the Lord Jesus Christ? he has raised up to preach the glad I have never yet met with such a one, tidings of his everlasting Gospel ? | and therefore the conclusion I draw Ought not they, above and beyond all
from it is this, that the church is not others, to come out and shew them in the same state now that it was in selves separate from this wicked and the days of the Apostle. Now, some perverse generation ? Beloved it ought will say, aye, but the face of the indeed to be so. We ought to shew world is altered, and now they are not forth by our conduct and conversation
so persecuted as they were in consethat we are a peculiar people, a chosen quence. But I say, beloved brethren, generation—that we are a royal priest- if this be the reason, let us be sure of hood, and a holy nation.
one thing, that insomuch as we escape Beloved brethren, the ministers of the persecution of the world, by so Christ are not only to come to Christ, much do we lose the spirituality of but they are to bring others to Christ; the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. for it is God working through their in. If the world cease to persecute, why is strumentality, that brings souls to his it? Is it because the world is come dear Son Jesus Christ. Let us remark, to us, or is it because we are gone to and let us look into the Scriptures, and the world? It is not, it cannot be, see that we are sure that we bear the that the world is come to us, but it marks that are there given, in order to
must be that the church is gone down recognize the true ministers of Christ.
to the world; because, though the But, brethren, this I say, that if we
world has no common principle with look into this present time, we shall
the church, yet the church has with scarcely find any marks whereby we
the world. They have the same body
of Aesh, they are exposed to the same peculiarities of the minister of the temptations continually, and the con- Lord Jesus Christ. sequence is, beloved brethren, the And, beloved brethren, now to conworld can only love us in proportion clude, I may observe, it is because, as it sees its own image reflected upon comparatively speaking, this society us, and sees the image of Jesus Christ is as it were a small and outcast soto be absent. What is it the world ciety, for I speak by comparison, it i hates in us? It is not our own per- a small society, it is but one compasons, it is not the body of flesh and ratively little known and much spoken blood, no, nor our soul either, but it is against, that it is with peculiar pleathe image of Christ which is enstamped sure I stand up as its advocate on this
This the world cannot bear. occasion. I know not, indeed, fully Jesus Christ was the image of God, what measure of success they have and they loved not him—they liked had; I place it not on that; I place it not him—but they slew the Prince of on this, that they are not ashamed of Life, and they crucified the Lord of the Gospel of Christ and those prinGlory. And, beloved, we have the ciples of which I have now been speakimage of Christ upon us, and in pro- ing; and that the great reason that portion as they see that image in us, induces them to go forward is for the in that proportion will they, and must sake of the remnant, according to the they, hate and persecute, and evil en election of grace. “I endure all things,” treat us. Oh, then, it is not us they says Paul, “ for the elect's sake." persecute—it is God they persecute- Beloved, brethren, if we go forth in it is Christ they persecute. “Saul, their principles there is no disappointSaul, why persecutest thou me?" But ment to be met with. We know where whom was Saul persecuting? Not the God call us he will not call us in vain person of our Lord Jesus Christ, but -we know that God has a twofold it was Christ in his members; and he purpose in the preaching of his Gossays, in the twenty-fifth chapter of pel, and that though it be a savour of Matthew, “ Inasmuch as ye have done death unto death to some, yet we shall it unto one of the least of these my not have gone forth without God's brethren, ye have done it unto me.” purpose, for we know that “the GosOh, then, let us see, if we would be pel is the savour either of life unto thought Christian ministers, whether life or of death unto death.” or not we have any thing of these marks. Are we, then, cast out as case, and these being the motives, I evil? Are our names reviled ? Are would entreat you to open your hearts, we said to be deceivers, and yet true ; and your purses likewise, in order to as poor, yet making many rich; as support those ministers, who, as far having nothing, and yet possessing as God has given them opportunities all things ? Are we as the filth of the of doing good, have met with such earth and offscouring of all things ? portions of success as we might raNow, these are the marks of the true tionally expect. We do not, indeed, Apostle of Christ, the true minister of expect to see the whole world conthe Gospel of God. My brethren, I verted by means of their instrumentawould not say that we should wilfully lity, but, in those dark countries, which throw ourselves into persecution and are most eaten up by papal superstibring it on ourselves; but this we tion, in the minds of Babylon on the plainly know from the word of God, one hand, and again, by the open inthat except these things do come, we fidelity of apostate Protestant nations are without one of the most striking on the other; among them we send
se Beloved brethren, this being the