« AnteriorContinuar »
of his flesh, and of his bones." In one word, a Church composed of true believers, who have taken up the cross of Christ, and hope to follow him from the grave to Victory,—from the Church on earth to join the company of saints hereafter; "and to an innumerable company of angels, and to the spirits of just men made perfect." For contemplate the greatness of that sacrifice which God made,—the greatness of that atonement,—and by it, the redemption which he wrought for the good of mankind.—See him deliver up his own and only-begotten Son into the hands of cruel men to be scourged and put to death! And then again his rising! For on the third day he wrought what man can never conceive :— on the third day he broke the chain of bondage which had so long held us with sin. On the third day he rose from the dead and broke down the middle wall of partition between us, "having abolished in his flesh the enmity even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; so making peace and reconciling us unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby." On the third morning he broke the fetters as Sampson, when after he had slept, "took the door of the gate of the city," and he will re-appear again in glory to judge us at the resurrection of the dead, and if we have neglected obeying the commandments of God, what shall we reap but our own condemnation :—" for it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame." (6 Heb. 4, 5 & 6.)
II. The blessing we receive.
If faithful members of this holy temple, we derive assistance and support from " the Spirit of God that dwelleth in us." That blessed Spirit which is a Comforter to the afflicted, and a balm to the troubled mind. "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever ; even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him, (that is, they who are of the temple of God) for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God they are the sons of God." "For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." (8 Rom. 14 & 15.) It is by the agency of the Holy Spirit that Christians are born anew !— 1 his our Saviour declared to Nicodemus, when he said, " Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God!" But we read elsewhere, (1 John 5 chap. 18 v.) "that whosoever is born of God sinneth not;" this cannot apply to baptized persons only, since it is with regret we observe that such, so little exhibit in their lives, the change which is prayed for, and which the Holy Spirit can impart to them who seek it.
Alas ! alas! how many men's lives contradict their profession, and fall short of showing the fruits of the high privilege which has been given them. From the earliest moment of our lives, our Nature is prone to evil; but by Prayer, and the help of the Holy Spirit, we may arrive sooner or later at that New Birth, which is an earnest conviction of sin, a deep and heartfelt repentance for it, and a firm resolution to be no longer the slave of it, but to be henceforth "delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God," and " alive unto him through Jesus Christ our Lord." The Spirit of Grace will quicken you, and the spark of your spiritual life will gradually ignite into a flame of love to him, and devotedness to his service, its all-powerful influences will nourish and strengthen you; you will be no longer spiritually dead, knowing the form, and not the power of godliness, but you will grow in grace, and in the knowledge of your Redeemer, and "being made free from sin, and become servants to God, have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life!" You will bless God for the change which has been wrought in you, for "if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." (8 Rom. 9th v.)
III. The Sin of defiling the temple of God.
We read in the verse following our text, "If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are."
Christian Reader! have you defiled the temple of God? There are many ways in which you may have done so. Whatever is disapproved of by God mentioned in Holy Writ, is sin; and if not avoided, you will be no longer belonging to the " temple of God," but ready for his "destruction." Therefore, let no man deceive himself. Are you acting worthy of the high privilege which is given you? or are you quenching the Spirit of Grace by non-resistance of evil? Are you bearing in mind the greatness of this privilege, and your equally great responsibility of proving worthy of it; and so a meet partaker of the future joys which it will ultimately afford; always recollecting that solemn account which you must one day give for the use you have made of all the talents entrusted to your charge ?" for to whomsoever much is given, of him will much be required!" Are you governed by the inward and spiritual grace, and preparing for that glorious reception in the eternal world awaiting those whose works have been made manifest, "because it shall be revealed by fire," and whose works shall abide, built on the right foundation, "Jesus Christ and Him crucified," and therefore shall receive a great and precious reward f If so, "all things are yours; whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; and ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's."
A. M. W. Chelmsford, 9th Nov. 1844.
sKiAftcaorr, rro. Chbimstokd.
FAITH AND WORKS.
"By faith, Noah, being warned of God, of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house, by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith."
Uth chap. Hebrews, 7th verse.
We are taught in this chapter, the workings of Providence— the manifestation of the truth—the worthy fruits of faith with the fathers in ancient times, a most eminent list of believers,— and the works that were done by the saints of old. This long list of believers had not the knowledge and privileges which we enjoy. They had not any help, any assistance by the promises of everlasting salvation, which Noah became heir to:—they saw them "afar off," and were persuaded of them, and embraced them; and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. This was their conviction, not being like to men of our day, putting off religious duties to a " more convenient season." Now what is Faith? It is "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen;" and "without faith it is impossible to please God; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." But remember the faith of Noah was attended with a becoming fear: and "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." We read in the 6th chap, of Genesis, that " the earth was filled with violence," and God was determined to destroy all flesh with the earth. But "Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord." Men thought not of the deluge till it carae, and there was none to save them,—then did they see the strength of God, and the power of his might. They vainly imagined they could live in their wickedness for ever; but they ultimately saw their error. The waters increased,—God's anger ceased not, and "the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days." None but Noah and his family, and the beasts and cattle that they took in with them, were saved. But there is a question that arises here. As God is a merciful Father and Friend that wisheth not the death of a sinner, why should he permit Sin to reign at all? Human intelligence cannot answer this. Doubtless unerring Providence has some wise reason best veiled from mortal ken!
For the wrath of God is severe, and those laws which proceed from his wrath must be severe also. Thus was his command to drown all human creatures, and " he repented that he had made man on the earth." He saw that the wickedness of man was great, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." (6th Gen. 5.) So likewise, when our blessed Saviour was on earth. What did he say ?" That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetoustiess, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and defile the man." (7 Mark, 20, 21, 22, & 23.) God, however, has made a promise that he will never drown the world again, as declared in the 9th chap. Gen., "I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth." Thus God has dealt with us in some degree as he did with Noah. "For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee; neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saitb the Lord, that hath mercy on thee." What a comfort this is to us; and what a covenant and token of love for us to receive <