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are passed away, all things are to them become new;" they are "God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works;" they "put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." And, as the work of introducing members into the church is thus entirely in the hands of God, we might expect to hear that those who are so introduced, are selected or chosen by him, whose work it is; which fact we consequently are taught in the Scriptures. "He hath chosen us in Christ before the foundation of the world;"" he 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." "He hath from the beginning chosen us to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth." And hence, as the fountain of that new life, in which believers become the people of God and enter into his church, springs from the sovereign Lord of all, who dispenses life to whom he chooses, who gives faith and repentance, and changes the heart, and opens the eyes, and clears the understanding, and alters the affections, and makes his people willing in the day of his power, it must be that his grace, his sovereign favour, is extolled in the volume of revealed truth: wherefore we are told that "it is to the praise of the glory of his grace," and that we are redeemed "according to the riches of his grace," and "that the exceeding riches of his grace are shewn to us in his kindness towards us through Christ Jesus; for we are saved by grace, through faith; and that not of ourselves: it is the gift of God."
And this grace is manifested in the impotency of the unregenerate, and in their inability to save themselves: in those striking pictures is this set before us," when we were sinners"-" when we were enemies,”"when we were without strength Christ died for us,"-our weakness for the task of restoration, and our enmity against Him who would restore us, made the case hopeless; and therefore of ourselves we could do nothing. Our own exertions are especially excluded, our own works are by name repeatedly mentioned, as that which cannot save us; for "to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.... Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed.”
And grace is magnified again in the utter worthlessness and unrighteousness of those whom the Lord introduces into the church; for it is not the righteous, but the sinners that are called to repentance (Matt. ix. 13); and the Good Shepherd seeks and saves that which is
lost; and they who were not a people are called the people of the living God. This is conspicuous in divers instances, and in varied aspects of doctrine in the Scriptures, the epitome of which is in "the faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners:" and he who has left on record this epitome of the Gospel, for the unceasing comfort of the church, thought himself "the chief of sinners;" and indeed he was so; he was a furious, raging enemy of Christ, and would most gladly have exterminated the nascent church, when sovereign grace changed him in the height and glory of his bloody sins, and brought him immediately from darkness into light, with a transition so rapid, and with a change so striking and unexpected, that it is impossible to insinuate that Paul's conversion, at least, was effected by any merit of preparation or "congruity of grace." And so the Church of Corinth is addressed as the Church of God, "sanctified in Christ Jesus;" and the Corinthians are described as "called saints" (1 Cor. i. 1): but who and what they were before the grace of God enrolled them amongst the peculiar people, we are very plainly told, and in words which have no ambiguous meaning; "fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, abusers of themselves with mankind, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, extortioners:"-"such were some of you," says Paul; “but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God" (1 Cor. vi. 9, 10, 11).
Let us therefore contemplate mankind, not in the light of moral philosophy, but in the light of the word of God, and we shall then find that there are two generations upon the face of the earth; the one the sons of Adam, the other the sons of God; the one children of darkness, the other children of light; the one born in the flesh, the other in the Spirit; for "that which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
Now, the sons of darkness are exceedingly numerous, even many" who are on the broad road which leadeth to destruction; and to them are given the power, wealth, and influence of this cursed earth, governed by the evil one, and under his jurisdiction, so that he distributes temporal emoluments to whom he pleases (Luke iv. 6). These are the vast multitudes which people the habitable globe; and in them and amongst them does that evil predominate, which has led some persons to doubt if there be a moral governor of the universe at all.
But the word of God directs us to contemplate mankind in two classes only, the people of the world, and the Church of God; and this is the voice of the Church concerning the matter, "We know that we
are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness:" that is, if you wish to see the goodness of God, look to the church; if to understand the evil that is in the earth, look to those who are not in the Church of God; behold the moral governor whom you seek for in his people; understand the covenant he has made with them; look for God and his operations not where he is not, but where he is; for he is far from the wicked, but in his people he dwells and walks (2 Cor. vi. 16).
Mark, then, the difference between the church and the world in the word of God: of the world, that is, of those who are not regenerate believers, and who belong not to Christ through faith, it is written, that "their father is the devil, and the works of their father they will do; they are children of the devil-children of wrath—children of disobedience-a seed of evil-doers-enemies in their minds by wicked works -in the carnal mind which is enmity against God-reprobate-dead in trespasses and in sins-aliens, strangers, foreigners from the commonwealth of Israel-strangers from the covenant of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world-of the night and darkness— under the will of the flesh-brought into captivity under the law of sin and of death--under condemnation, condemned already—under the curse-vessels fitted for destruction." But of the members of the church of God, it is written that they are "the saints and faithful in Christ Jesus-the faithful brethren in Christ-holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling-the sons of God-partakers of the divine nature the elect of God, holy and beloved-sacred and called with a holy calling-beloved of God, called to be saints-called out of darkness into God's marvellous light--God's own elect-called according to his purpose-chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, and predestinated unto the adoption of children-elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit-called unto the fellowship of the Son of God, Christ Jesus our Lord-called unto the grace of Christ-called unto his kingdom and glory-sanctified in Christ Jesus, and called to be saints—a spiritual house-a chosen generation—a holy, a royal priesthood—a holy nation a peculiar people—children of the light and of the day—children and heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ—a habitation of God through the Spirit-friends of Christ-branches in Christ--built upon Christ as their chief corner-stone, knit in him, joined to him, rooted, grounded, growing up in him—his members- his body, flesh, and bones-his spouse-the fulness of him that filleth all in all." And what more? They are reconciled, pardoned, made righteous, and admitted with acceptance to the throne of grace; they live a new life; their life is
hid with Christ in God; they are freely justified; their sins are freely forgiven and cancelled, and cast into the depths of the sea, blotted out of remembrance, done away with, obliterated, forgotten, and no more to be found or even inquired after: there is no condemnation against them :-God justifies them; the Son preserves, upholds, and sustains them; and the Spirit anoints, seals, and confirms them; and there is laid up for them an exceeding weight of glory, which they shall obtain in that day when the Lord of glory comes in power, to be admired in his saints.
Here, then, make inquiries for God, if you would attain to some understanding of his goodness: seek not for proofs of it in the stately heavens, the glittering firmament, and the voluble earth; neither lose yourself in speculations on the stupendous chemistry and dynamics of the primal artificer; for the greater the wonders to be discovered in the volume of nature, the greater is the disappointment in encountering the many indications of disorder and disease in the moral world. made the heavens and the earth; and when he saw that all which he had created and made was very good, he rested from all his work, and sanctified the seventh day, and blessed the Sabbath of his creation. But the moral machine had not then been put in motion: it had been made, but it had not begun to work; and man, who was created in righteousness, and who walked with God, speedily rebelled and fell under the curse; and then it was necessary that there should be another creation and another Sabbath, that a greater work should be done than when "the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them." But how should this be? for God had made man upright (Eccles. vii. 29), and the heavens and the earth were very good; and if a work like this had failed, what more could be done? None but the Almighty could have suggested the remedy; none but he whose thoughts are as far above ours as the heavens are above the earth, could have contrived the restoration of the ruin which seemed inevitable. The Son of God, the Word, who in the beginning was with God and was God, undertook by eternal appointment to become flesh, and to tabernacle among men, and to begin that new creation which attests that the Father is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works. Whilst he was upon earth, he was engaged in walking before God with a perfect heart, and in preparing for the Creator the offering of one righteous man, the only one that had ever appeared in the world. When the incarnate Redeemer was slain with wicked hands, and hanged on the tree, the long-expected, the necessary sacrifice was offered up,-the whole work was done: "It is finished," said the Son of God, and died.
They took him to the grave as an executed malefactor; but he rose again, the Prince of life and the Lord of glory, exalted by the Spirit of holiness above the law of death and the power of corruption. And then, indeed, was the first sheaf of the spiritual harvest waved before Jehovah; and the second Adam, the Lord our righteousness, stood forth to bear up all the pillars of the earth which were out of course, to amend the mischief which the evil one had introduced, and to "repair the desolations of many generations." When this work of redemption was complete, there was a new Sabbath: the first had been instituted to commemorate the wisdom made manifest in the visible creation; to sanctify the worship of Elohim, who had made heaven and earth, and who had finished the work by bringing the first Adam on the scene: the second Sabbath, the Lord's Day, was to commemorate the work of Jehovah in the resurrection or completeness of the second Adam. "The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam a quickening spirit. The first man is of the earth earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven" (1 Cor. xv.).
This, then, is the work which claims our attention: the work of the Lord's day, the resurrection of the second Adam, and the fruits of his resurrection. And this is the God whose ways are for our observance, even the God who raised up the Head of the church from the grave, and who in him by grace raises up his people from their death in trespasses and in sins, governs them by the judicature of his Spirit, imparts unto them the secret of his covenant, and anoints them with holy oil to know and propagate the truth. For every new-born Christian is an increment to the evolving plan of the new creation; and the Holy Ghost is continually adding to the work, and perfecting that kingdom which cannot be moved. The kingdom of God is within believers; but it is invisible to the world; for no unregenerate eye can behold the resurrection of the soul, neither can the unregenerate ear hear the voice of the Son of God, calling with a vivifying voice to the chosen children to come forth out of their graves, and bidding them to take their place amongst the kings and priests of the heavenly empire.
Finally, then, the church is that alone which exhibits the goodness of God. "In Judah is God known, and his name is great in Israel:" and here it is that we are to trace his goodness; and here are we to study his intentions and purposes in the design of creation. Let us leave "the things that are seen" to the philosophers: let them measure the abyss of space, and register the stars; let them ponder on vapours consolidated into worlds, or on a long series of preAdamic revolutions of the globe, the ruinous records of countless ages.