Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

fore God, on nothing else than on Jesus Christ and
on Him crucified.

Now, this comes to be a mystery, which the
world can never be made to understand by expla
nation; and which it is only for a Christian to
realize in his own experience. There are constant
alternations of sin and of sorrow, in the history of
every believer; and the guilt of the daily trans-
gression is actually washed away, in this case, by
the evening acknowledgment—the act of confes-
sion on his part, being in very deed followed up
by an act of forgiveness on the part of God. "For
if any man confess his sins, God is faithful and
just to forgive him his sins."

And then the sin

gularity is, (yet if you have no part in that singu-
larity you are no Christian) it is, that, under this
process of daily offending, and daily application to
that blood by which it is again obliterated, there
should, on the part of the disciple, be so fearful
an avoidance of evil-such a dread of sin, and
so grievous a discomfort when he falls into it
-as honest an aspiring after his own personal
righteousness, as if it formed the price of his
salvation; and, withal, the same busy perform-
ance of duty that behoved to take place, had the
old economy of the law been again set up, and
heaven to be challenged upon the merits of our
own obedience. Yes! my brethren, it is the won-
drous property of the gospel, that, while it speaks
peace to the sinner, it charms the power of sin
away from his heart-inducing him to love the

VOL. II.

2 B

་།།

law, at the very time that it holds out an impunity for all its violations; and, with the soft whispers of reconciliation that it sends into the offender's ear, sending along with it a moral suasion into his heart, that gains it over to the side of all the commandments.

And hence my second remark is, that, however zealously the righteousness of Christ must be contended for as the alone plea of a sinner's acceptance, yet that the benefit thereof rests upon none save those, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit. Light where it may, it power along with it;

must carry a sanctifying and you have no part nor lot in the matter, if you are not pressing onward in grace and in all godliness. It is not enough, that upon Christ all its honours have been amply vindicated— upon you who believe in Christ all its virtues must be engraven; and it is thus, and thus alone, that there is brought about a complete and a satisfying fulfilment of its righteousness. The law is not made void by faith, but by faith it is established; and while, on the one hand, all the outrage done to it when written on tables of stone, has been repaired by the noblest of satisfactions on the other hand, does it come forth again in all the brightness of a new and a living lustre, by its being now written on the fleshly tablets of our heart. The handwriting of ordinances that was against us, and contrary to us, has been taken out of the way, having been

nailed to the cross of Christ; but the hand of Jesus Christ as the Lord their sanctifier is ever on the persons of those who believe in Himbeautifying them with His salvation, and spreading over their characters all the graces of holi

ness.

388

LECTURE XLVII.

ROMANS, viii, 5.

"For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit."

I SHOULD like if I could give you a clear understanding of the difference that there is, between your simply dwelling in the flesh as your tenement -and your being immersed, with the practical consent of your will and mind, in those pursuits and pleasures which are natural to the flesh. And the first thing which might occur, for the illustration of this difference, is, to offer, as expressive of it, that distinction of meaning which one feels between the two phrases, to be in the flesh' and 'to be after the flesh.' The one may be thought simply to imply, that the flesh is the place of the soul's present residence; and the other, that all the soul's inclinations and energies, are in full ргоsecution of those objects which minister to the appetites of the flesh. But then you have the very phrase of being in the flesh applied in Scripture not to the state of one who barely occupies the flesh as his present tabernacle, but of one who delights in the flesh as his congenial and much loved element. And it must be in this latter sense of the phrase that it occurs at the distance of a very few verses from the one now submitted to you

when it is said, that they who are in the flesh cannot please God; and when it is further said, that ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you.

At the same time it must be remarked, that, in other passages of the Bible, the phrase of being in the flesh denotes the soul's simple occupation of a fleshly tabernacle, and not the soul's immersion in fleshly habits or fleshly desires. The apostle who said that Christ liveth in me, also says I live in the flesh; and that to abide in the flesh is more needful for you. In this sense too, even Jesus Christ was God manifest in the flesh; and it was a most essential point of orthodoxy that He had come in the flesh. In both of these instances, flesh was the temporary abode; but in neither of them, was it the chosen or the much-loved home. It is true of both, that, though in the flesh, they walked not after the flesh; and though we have not been so fortunate, as to find the former phrase to be in the Bible universally characteristic of nothing more than simple occupancy-yet we believe of the latter phrase, that it is uniformly descriptive of that state, in which a man abandons himself to the propensities of nature, and lives in the full prosecution of its delights or its interests.

And the distinction between these two things, is very well marked by the apostle within the compass of one verse. "Though we walk in the flesh, we do not walk according to the flesh-we do not war after the flesh."

« AnteriorContinuar »