Imágenes de páginas

“ make thee mad," but when his Corinthian converts. concurred in the same sentiment.

* But,' says the apostle, * Both the ardour that gives 'occasion to such imputations, and the wisdom which ‘regulates its effects, spring from regard to the glory • of God, and affectionate longing after your souls: “ For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we

thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all “ dead; and that he died for all, that they which live, s should not henceforth live unto themselves, but un" to him which died for them and rose again. Where. “ fore henceforth know we no man after the flesh; "yca, though we have known Christ after the flesh; “ yet now henceforth know we him no more." Even the brethren or nearest friends of Christ himself, according to the flesh, might not be regarded by the apostles, in dispensing instructions, reproofs, cen• sures, or encouragements; but they were constrained by love to him who had died for them, to do all things with unbiassed impartiality. In like manner, no ties of blood, friendship, or even gratitude, must influence the servant of Christ, in the discharge of his pastoral office. In this respect even relations, benefactors, and patrons, must be disregarded, if we'would approve ourselves to be indeed the genuine successors of the apostles in the sacred ministry. “Therefore,” saith St. Paul, “ if any man be in Christ he is a new “ creature; old things are passed away; behold all

things are become new; and all things are of God “ who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ."

The text suggests the following subjects to our consideration.

1. The apostle's description of a real Christian; “If any man be in Christ.

II. The change, which every real Christian has experienced, “ He is a new creature.'

III. The effects of this change, “Old things are passed away; behold all things are become new." I. Then we consider the apostle's description of a

real Christian, “ If any man be in Christ.This expression may appear singular to many who are called Christians, but it is the uniform language of the new Testament: and“ if any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God.” New terms im. perceptibly introduce new doctrines; nor has any subtility of Satan or his servants better succeeded, in "privily bringing in damnable heresies,” than that of modernizing the language of divinity.

" There is therefore now no condemnation to them " that are in Christ Jesus.“I knew a man in Christ " fourteen years ago.” " He was also in Christ be. “fore me.” Of whom are ye in ChristJesus, who " of God is made unto us, wisdom and righteousness, “ and sanctification, and redemption."'* "might be made the righteousness of God in him.Many of the epistles also are addressed “to the saints " in Christ Jesus," " or to the church-in God the

Father, and in the Lord Jesus Christ.”—Which accords to the language of the prophet, “ Israel shall

be saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation.” Surely shall one say, In the Lord have I righteous

" That we


Rom. viii, 1, xyi. 7. I Cor. i. 30. 2 Cor. xii. 2!

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ness and strength.” In the LORD shall all the “ seed of Israel be justified and shall glory."*

The apostle John also employs similar expressions; Ind now, little children, abide in him.

1. We “ are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ.+ But the words of our Lord himself are most decisive; “ He that cateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, “ dwelleth in me and I in bimț.” Accordingly when we administer the Lord's supper, that outward sign of this inward life of faith in a crucified Saviour, we pray ' that we may so eat the flesh of Christ, and drink his 'blood;—that we may dwell in him and he in us.'— " Neither,” saith our divine Redeemer, when inter. ceding for his disciples, “ pray

I for these alone, but " for them also which shall believe on me through " their word; that they all may be one, as thou, Fa“ther, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be " one in us."

But we must explain this language and shew its propriety and energy; lest it should be thought, that the whole argument rests upon our translation of the original particles. St. Paul says, ,

“ The wages of sin “ is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through,or in “ Christ Jesus our Lord:” And St. John, " This is the record that God hath given to us eter“ nal life, and this life is in his Son: he that hath the “Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son of God " hath not life.”. The salvation of Christ is complcted, as far as his mediatory work is concerned: but

* Is. xlv. 17. 24, 25. § John xvii. 20-23.

† 1 John ii. 28. v. 20. John vi. 56.

Rom. vi. 23. 1 John F. Il, 12.

who are they that shall eventually be “ saved from “ wrath by him?” To this question the scripture an. swers with the most decided precision; "they that re“ceive him,” “they that believe in him,” “they that

“ " are found in him.-Union with Christ is necessary in order to communion with him: he saves all those, and those only, who thus stand related to him.

According to the illustrations of scripture, the believer is in Christ, as the stone is in the building, God is preparing a spiritual temple, in which he may dwell and be glorified for ever. The person of Christ is the precious Foundation and Corner-stone of this temple, and believers “come to him, and as living stones “are built up a spiritual house," "and habitation of "God through the Spirit*.” But this emblem, taken from things wholly inanimate, only represents our dependence on Christ, and consecration to God through him: we therefore learn more fully the nature of this mystical union, by the parable of the vine and its branches. Mere nominal Christians continue unfruitful; and at length are taken away, withered, and gathered to be burned: but true believers are vitally united to him, and abide in him by the quickening and fructifying influences of the Holy Spirit.† Yet even this illustration falls short of fully elucidating the subject; nay, the nearest of all relative unions does not entirely answer to it; for believers are in Christ, as the members are in the human body. He is the Head of the church, and every Christian is a part of his mys. tical body, bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh,

• 1 Pet. ii. 4-8. Eph. ii. 20-22.

of John xv. l

and the Holy Spirit dwells in all believers, as the life and soul of this mystical body. They live spiritually by virtue of this union with their Head; they are placed under his guidance and authority; have one common interest, and fill up their stations in the church for the benefit of the whole. * According to the remarkable words of the apostle, “ I am crucified " with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ " liveth in me.”_" Your life is hid with Christ in

. “ God; when Christ, who is our Life, shall appear, " then shall

with him in glory.”+ There is, however, another way of illustrating the subject, which may help us to explain the way in which sinners attain to so high an honour, and so blessed a distinction. The believer is in Christ, as Noah was in the ark. “By faith Noah being warned s of God was moved with fear, and prepared an ark." I He believed the sure testimony of God, both respecting the deluge and the appointed method of preservation; he feared the impending judgment, and revered the justice and power of God; and thus he was moved to follow his directions. To prepare the ark was a vast undertaking: his labour and expence must have been exceedingly great, and his perseverance, amidst the scorn and hatred of an unbelieving world, most exemplary.--But when the deluge came, he was found in the ark, and preserved to be the progenitor of a new race of men; and even of the promised Re


Cor. xii. 12-31.

# Heb. xi. 7.

+ Gal. ii. 20. Col. üi. 3, 4. 1 Pet. iii. 20.

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