« AnteriorContinuar »
spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus. receive the impression of truth, and Brethren, again we call upon you to the elements of mercy? Peace we cherish this high and holy emotion, set before you, and as the ambassaand pray you now to remember the dors of Christ, we pray you, in grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and Christ's stead, be ye reconciled unto to give thanks to God for this un- God. Oh, brethren, without excepspeakable gift.
tion let us one and all come around And then, my hearers, with regard the cross of our departed Redeemer, to those of you who have no part in and cling to it, resolved that if we Christ, and as yet possess only that perish, there we will die ; and yet, peace which is given by the world- confident that the blood which spake do you not here perceive how impor- from Calvary is yet speaking from tant and solemn are the lessons which the Shekinah and the throne, and is are impressed on you? You have saying “ Peace, peace, I give unto not what is substantial, but what is you." Believe, and this peace is empty—you have not what is benefi- yours: and he who spake in the cial, but what is pernicious--you have upper room, where he celebrated the not what is immutable, and will en- Passover with his disciples just before dure for ever, but you have what is be went to be crowned with thorns, changeable and perishing. And you and to agonize upon the cross-he shall perish with what you have, if will send down the Spirit of his truth you turn not for a subject of repose, to whisper “peace be unto you." And and for a source of confidence to Him when he shall come the second time who died upon the cross. And let without a sin offering unto salvation, every worldling depart from the and you shall gaze upon the splensanctuary this night with this in re- dours of his glorified and unveiled membrance—that if he have not the majesty, he will greet you even then peace of Christ, and possess but what by saying, “ Peace I give unto you." is given him by the world, that, as And truly, that peace none shall take God is true, he must everlastingly away, for it shall be perfected amid lose his soul. And is there one that the glories of the skies. May the can dwell with devouring fire? Or peace of God, which passeth all unis there one that can dwell with ever- derstanding, now keep your hearts lasting burnings? Is there one whose and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen. heart is not ready and anxious to
AT MARGARET STREET CHAPEL, CAVENDISH SQUARE, SEPTEMBER 3, 1831.
Ephesians, vi. 13, 14, 17.-" Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand thereforeand take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
The subject we have to consider sets bent on his destruction ? Yes, there the Christian before us as armed, not is one weapon, and but one, which for defence, but for assuult. The he may employ, a weapon of heavenly Apostle has represented him as sur-origin—" Take the sword of the Spirounded by powerful and exasperated rit, which is the word of God." foes, armed with the most deadly It is always with reluctance, my weapons, and bent on his destruction. brethren, that I enter into any reHe has warned him that he would marks which are purely critical, from need to stand with his loins girded this place. Men are not to be saved up—with all his strength collected, by criticism ; and the great business as it were for the contest—with a to be transacted here is, the salvation breast-plate to protect the vital parts; of men ; it is the business which both his feet ever shod in readiness for any l you and I ought ever to keep in view. enterprize, with a shield ever raised We do not stand here to entertain to turn the poisoned darts of a distant you, or even to correct your opinion; enemy-and a helmet to preserve his but we “watch for your souls, as head safe and erect amongst the thou- those that must give an account.” sand weapons directed against him. Yet there are cases in which it is neAnd after all this preparation we cessary, in some measure to be crimight be tempted to ask, Is the Chris- tical in order to be plain : and I cantian to be a passive spectator of the not think so ill of my hearers as to deadly assaults which are thus di- imagine them either incompetent or rected against him? Is he to be in- indisposed to comprehend whatever tent only on securing his defence, and the preacher may be at the trouble to to attempt nothing of an offensive, explain in this way. As it is the or of an aggressive nature? Is he to glory of our Church that all her sons have no weapon to wield against those may, and ought to be in possession who contend against him, and are of the Scriptures in their mother
tongue; so it is assuredly one part | GoD (that is, the Holy Scriptures.) of the duty of their teachers to give for a sword, but that he should take all possible assistance to the under the Spirit for a sword, and that the standing of them, which an acquaint- | latter clause is explanatory of the ance with the original and gram nature of the Spirit as thus presented matical considerations may suggest. to us. The exhortation is therefore I have one observation of this cha- to be read in this way: “Take the racter to offer on the words before us. Spirit in place of a sword, which
The sense which has been often Spirit may be designated as the word, imposed on the passage, and which, the rema of GOD. at first sight, it might seem natural This sense, which a strict adheto suggest, is, that the Christian is rence to the rules of grammar rehere exhorted to take the word of quires, is strongly confirmed by the God (that is, the Holy Scriptures) construction of the whole passage. for a sword; which he must use under | It is only natural that we adopt the the influence and direction of the Holy same interpretation in this clause as Spirit: as it has been expounded by | in the preceding ones: and as we unan able commentator, that “an exact derstand the Apostle to mean, by exand comprehensive acquaintance with horting us to put on “ the breastthe various doctrines, precepts, pro- | plate of righteousness," that we should mises, and warnings of Scripture, I put on righteousness for a breastand a readiness of recollecting and plate--and by taking “the sword of adducing pertinent texts on every faith," that we take faith for a sword emergency, will drive the tempter to -and by taking “ the helmet of sala distance, and procure a final vic-vation,” that we take salvation for a tory over him." Now to this senti-helmet; so consistency of interprement every Christian must subscribe ; | tation seems to require, that we should but there are two fatal objections to understand by taking “the sword of drawing it from the words of the | the Spirit,” that we are to take the text. In the first place, the relative Spirit for a sword. It would be utwhich_" which is the word of God," terly opposed to all consistency to does not refer to the word sword, but interpret “the helmet of salvation" to the word Spirit ; with which, and in one way, and, in the same verse, not with the former word, it agrees to interpret “ the sword of the Spirit" in gender. So that we must read it in in another. I conclude then, that, as this way: “Take the sword of the Spi- “ the helmet of salvation" cannot rit, which (Spirit) is the word of God.” mean the helmet which salvation uses And secondly, another fatal objection | (which would be nonsense), but must would be, that the term translated mean that salvation is itself the helword in this passage of Scripture, is met; therefore, neither does "the never employed throughout the whole | sword of the Spirit" mean, as it is of the inspired writings to designate commonly interpreted, the sword the written word; nor can it be ho- which the Spirit uses, but that the nestly so rendered. It is not the logos, Spirit is itself the sword which the but the rema of God; which is an Christian is to take. appellative, not of the written word, Although it is with some relucbut of the Spirit. The obvious sense, tance I have spent so much time on I conceive, which the grammatical a mere criticism, it would seem it construction requires, is, not that the could hardly be avoided in order to Christian should take the word of the application of the passage: but it is so commonly considered as having nothing: as I hear, so I judge." And reference to the Holy Scriptures ex-again, “ Howbeit, when He the Spirit clusively, that it would scarcely have of truth is come, he will guide you into been fair to have given a different all truth.” Christ therefore is the application without stating my rea- word, inasmuch as he is the truth of sons for it. There is, however, one God. The Spirit is the word inasother difficulty in the text to be solved, much as he is the guide into the truth for which I must make a further de- of God. Whatever may be known of mand upon your patience. In what God by us, is to be seen in Christ the sense are we to understand the ex- eternal word: whatever is spoken or pression, “ the word of God," as at- declared of God is by the Spirit as tributed to the Spirit? Why is the the word. The one implies the truth Holy Ghost called “the word of exhibited, made apparent to us—the God?" It is important to remark, other the truth acted. The subsisthat where Christ is called the word tence of God is upheld and sustained of God,” it is always by a different in Christ: that subsistence is brought word in the original from that which into a realized form by the Holy we find in the text. It is the same | Ghost the word. It is the property word which is used of Christ which of the Son of God, to give the Godwe find used also to designate Scrip | head person within the limits of the ture, and as, I conceive, for the same creature, so that the creature may reason, Christ is called the Logos, or know what God is: it is the property the word of God, because he is the of the Holy Ghost, to give it life and full expression of Deity, the mani-being. If we would know what the festation of God. He is, as the term Father's will and word is, we must means, the intelligible word of God; examine what Christ said and did : he is Godhead revealed, having been if we would give life to that will and manifested in order that Godhead word, it is by the Holy Ghost acting might be understood and compre- and energizing within us. “ He shall hended by us. Now the distinction take of the things of Christ, and which one of the most exact dealers shall show them unto you,” says our in definitions has drawn between the Lord. word logos, attributed to Christ, and Having thus given what appears the word rema, the term attributed to me the true explication of this to the Spirit, is this that whereas difficult text, let me now endeavour the former signifies the intelligible to point out more particularly the word, the latter signifies the articu bearing of the Apostle's exhortation late sound of the word—the one the to us. Although we may consider meaning, the other the utterance of the whole of it as having especial the meaning. Christ, then, is the reference to the period of distress to word of God, inasmuch as God is which the church shall be exposed seen in him, and expressed by him: just previously to her deliverance, The Spirit is the word of God, in- still it may be considered as having asmuch as God speaks by the Spirit, a more general reference to the whole and testifies of himself by the Spirit. period of the church's suffering. I Christ is the expression of God's per- would therefore notice these words fect image, as the Apostle calls him under their more general aspect. in the Epistle to the Hebrews: it is The exhortation to take the sword the Spirit who acts and energizes to of the Spirit, in the first place, is obthe display of that image; as it is viously a call to activity in the service written, “ I can of mine own self do I of God. The Spirit is to be used by every believer. To some of us it | with. It is not enough that the Chrismight, perhaps, seem enough that tian should bear with meekness the when the Christian is represented as reproach, or the scorn, or the enmity the object of such great assault, when of the world around him ; but he must he is set as a mark to be spoken return good for evil, blessing for against, as an object of enmity in the cursing, striving to repay the ill which world-when he is told that every | he receives by dispensing to his eneeffort will be made to draw him aside mies the blessings he himself enby subtilty, or to bear him down by joys. Such fruits must not cease even force-we might suppose it were in the extremity of the evil day: enough if he should stand his ground even when the hand of persecution is as a valiant defender of the truth, | the strongest and most pressing on and prove himself imperious to all the people of God-even then are the weapons which men and Satan they to wield this weapon of offence, may direct against him; it might and by the sword of the Spirit, aim seem he had enough to attend to in to subdue souls to Christ. And often, managing his own defence, and that my brethren, in ancient days, the the most which could be expected sword of the Spirit so used was found from him, would be to make good mightily to prevail. There are not his ground in the difficult circum-wanting many instances where in the stances in which he is placed. And very last extremity it was found effisuch, in point of fact, is the estimate cacious in the work of conversion. which the world in general forms of It was scarcely uncommon in the the Christian's duty. It is his going early days of the church for the perforth from this fixed post, it is his secutor who had led the Christian going beyond the defensive mode of martyr to the stake to feel the power warfare, and taking up an offensive of this spiritual weapon, even while position, that chiefly brings on him his victim was burning, and, by a the opposition and hatred of the bold confession of the truth, himself world. Especially in these days of to become the next victim to the fagfalse liberality, man might think got. Even in this more literal sense what he pleases; and however, ex- the blood of martyrs became the seed traordinary his sentiments might ap- of the church. If then, even in these pear, he would not only be allowed, extreme circumstances, the believer buteven be commended and applauded is not to be altogether occupied in a in standing up in their defence, if only selfish attention to his own concerns, he would be content to hold them for much less is he to be so while the himself, and let other persons follow church as yet enjoys rest. the kind of religion which they ap- We cannot, I think, my brethren, prove. If he would cast away his contemplate the state of things around sword, and use his defensive armour us in this land, and especially in this only, no one would care: but this city, without recognizing the loud dethe exhortation before us forbids. mand there is upon us now for the “ Take the sword of the Spirit.” It use of this spiritual weapon. Nor is obviously a call for an aggressive can we look around us, I think, witheffort. It is not enough that a Chris- out the conviction of the heavy retian should repel an assault upon the sponsibility which lies at our door as truth ; but he must strive to bring a Christian people in neglecting to the truth to bear as a sharp weapon use this weapon. Do we not know against the arrow which he meets that within an hour's walk of us,