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“ Jesus, thy blood and righteousness,
HOW THOSE MAY BE KNOWN WHO WEAR IT HONOURABLY.
Names, among the Hebrews, were often given to individuals in order to point out some peculiar circumstances of their birth, or the intentions of their parents respecting them, of which many instances may be noticed in Holy Scripture history
When the heavenly messenger appeared to Joseph to announce the birth of the Messiah, be said, “ Thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” What a great salvation !
And “ The Son of God was manifested that he might destroy the works of the devil," and recover, out of satan's snare, those who were “ taken captive by him at his will." What a great deliverance !
It must, therefore, be expected that every man who names himself after Christ, and professes to be a follower of him, “ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” For Paul reminds Titus of “the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." And Peter tells the scattered saints in Pontus and other places, “ But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people, that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles : that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” Hence it is evident that christians are not to have the honoured name of the Holy Saviour in vain, but are expected to imitate him in loving righteousness and hating iniquity.
Not that they are taught to trust on their own reformed conduct or “good works” for acceptance with God. No: but only and alone on the Lord Jesus, through the virtue of whose obedience unto death they have obtained “the garments of salvation." “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us, wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption." “And ye are complete in him.”
Now all those who are “ covered with the robe of righteousness" wrought out for them by the Redeemer's obedience unto death, with which they have been invested and adorned by the Holy Spirit, may be known and known well from the rest of mankind. There are certain unmistakeable characteristics about thein by which they are soon distinguished; some of which I would now point out.
KNOWLEDGE. Ignorance is darknesss, and leads to death-Knowledge is light, and leads to life. God is light: when we leave him we wander into darkness—when we return to him we draw near to light.
One of the first things necessary to be done for man was to shed light upon his dark path. Hence it was that “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son." Jesus Christ was the light of the world. He shed a flood of light upon the pathway of mortals, “and hath brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel." How much he has told of
the value of our souls, the state of our hearts, the practice of our lives—of sin, of death, the grave, the resurrection, the final judgment, and heaven, and hell—of God, and his justice, mercy, and grace,-of pardon, regeneration, and glory! And all this light is found, gathered up, and preserved in one holy volume, which, like the bush in the desert of Horeb, is incombustible and unconsumed, maugre all the efforts of wicked men to put out that light.
Yes: yet it burns and blazes a beacon to the bad, a glory to the good. And yet it will burn on till, like its emblem in the heavens, there shall be nothing in our dark world hid from the light and heat thereof!
Now "he that doeth truth cometh to the light.” He seeks after wisdom as after hidden treasure, and taking hold of the word of God, he devoutly exclaims, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path;" and, looking upward, he prays with reverential fear and hope for divine illumination that God would reveal the truth to him by his Holy Spirit. " Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightnesss." Every man who thus seeks divine light, and follows it as his guiding star, is led onward into the bright regions of light and life, for "then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord; his going forth is prepared as the morning." He is “taught of God,” by his Word and by his Spirit; and obtains knowledge of himself and his Saviour, and of all the great matters appertaining to “ righteousness and true holiness."
This, then, is one characteristic feature of a honourable professor ; he is “renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him."
HUMILITY. Pride was the sin of satan. Pride is a ruling sin in man. But how weak and wicked is pride!
"By that sin fell the angels, how can man then,
Though th' image of his Maker, hope to win by't.” God abhors pride. He has punished it in angels --he has punished it in men, and he always will punish it wherever he finds it, for it swells up
the creature against the authority of the Creator. On the other hand, humility becomes every created being whether in heaven or on earth. Hence the highest orders of angelic spirits are represented as hiding their faces behind their wings and bowing with bumble reverence before the GREAT SUPREME! Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly : How much less in them that dwell in houses of clay,