« EdellinenJatka »
the language of Paul, and say as he did, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors, through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, por depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Once more,
4thly. The life of Christ secures to his people the resurrection of their bodies, and the happiness of the whole man, in the full and everlasting enjoyment of God.
As Adam, by his apostacy, became the source of death to all his natural descendants; so Christ, by his expiatory sufferings, and the glory that followed, is become the fountain of life to all his spiritual offspring; who accordingly are said to be “ begotten again to the live. ly hope of an inheritance that is incorruptible, and un. defiled, and that fadeth not away;" and that by means of his resurrection from the dead. Hence the second Adam is called a quickening Spirit, having the same virtue and efficacy to convey all the fulness of life to those who are new born into the family of God, that the first Adam bad to transmit death to his posterity. It was not the soul of Christ only, but his body also, that was exalted and crowned with honour: in like manner shall the bodies of believers be rescued from the grave, and raised to glory, seeing these were redeemed by Christ as well as their souls. Nay, the bodies of the saints are said expressly to be “the temples of the Holy Ghost;"> and it cannot be supposed, that these temples shall remain always under the ruins of death.
death. He who hououred them with his residence, will certainly rebuild them in due time; as the Apostle reasons, (Rom. viii. 11.) “ If the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you; he that raised up Christ from the dead, shall also quicken your mortal bodies, by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” Then shall that song be sung by all the redeemed company newly raised from the dust, “ Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is now thy sting? O grave, where is now thy victory? The sting of death was sin, and the strength of sin was the law; but thanks be unto God, who bath now given us the victory through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Thus have I endeavoureil to lead you through a very extensive, but surely a pleasant and fruitful field, wherein a variety of objects have occurred, interesting to all, and peculiarly comfortable to the people of God; upon whom I therefore call, in the conclusion of my
discourse, to praise and magnify that compassionate Sa. viour, and faithful High-Priest over the house of God, who ransomed them with his blood; and amidst all the splendours of his exalted state, is not unmindful of his charge upon earth, but continually appears in the presevce of God for them; whose ear is always attentive to the voice of their supplications ; whose mouth is ever open to plead in their behalf; and as if it had not been love enough to die for them, still lives and reigns for them, and even glories in being “the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” To him, with the Father, and quickening Spirit, the one living and true God, be glory and honour, thanksgiving and praise, for ever and ever. Amen.
HOSEA xiv. 8.
Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more
IF we compare the representation here given of Ephraim, with the account we have of him (ch. iv. 17.) we shall discover such a wonderful change, as must excite in us a desire to be acquainted with the cause of it. There it is said, “Ephraim is joined to idols;" Here we behold him throwing them away, with every symptom of contempt and abhorrence. Like a man awakened from a dream, or rather like one who had lost his reason, and was now restored to the right use of it, he saith, What have I to do any more with idols ?-It is my disgrace, no less than my crime, that ever I had any thing to do with such lying vanities; but now I cast them from me with scorn and detestation, and with a determined purpose, that I shall never henceforth return to them any more.
How is this surprising change to be accounted for? When God said, “ Ephraim is joined to idols,” he immediately pronourced that awful decree, “ Let him alone." Hereby a restraint was laid upon every outward instrument. All the creatures were charged, by the highest authority, to give him no disturbance in the course of his idolatry, but to leave him entirely to his own conduct, and the unabated influence of the idols be had chosen. By what means then was his recovery brought about? Had Ephraim the honour to discover the delusion by his own sagacity, and to break the en. chantment by his own strength? We find an answer to these questions, (chap. xiii. 9.) “O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself, but in me is thy help.” Had God said, I am determined to let Ephraim alone, there would have been an end of him at once, though the whole creation had been left at liberty to exert its utmost activity for his help; but it deserves our notice, that though God laid a restraint upon the agency of the creatures, yet he laid no restraint upon bis own, but reserved to himself the full exercise of his essential and unalienable prero. gative, to be the free and sovereign disposer of his grace.
In tbis character he is introduced at the first verse of this chapter, where he issues forth his royal command, and clothes it with power: “O Israel, return unto the Lord thy God, for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity." In order to encourage their hope of acceptance, he teacheth them in the following verses how to pray, and even dictates the very form of surrender they were to make; 6 Take with you words, and turn to the Lord; say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us gracious. ly; so will we render the calves of our lips. Ashur shall not save us, we will not ride upon horses, neither will we say any more to the works of our hands, Ye are our gods; for in thee the fatherless findeth mercy." After which, to remove that distrust and jealousy which necessarily spring from a consciousness of guilt, he goes on to declare his sovereign purpose, expressed in the most comprehensive and absolute terms, of dispensing to them, and conferring upon them, his pardoning mercy and sanctifying grace: “I will heal their backslid- . ing, I will love them freely; for mine anger is turned away from him. I will be as the dew unto Israel," &c.
In consequence whereof, he foretels, in the words of my text, that Ephraim, who, till then, had been joined to idols, should find himself disposed and enabled to say, not with his lips only, but from an effectual principle of new life in his heart, What have I to do with idols any more?
From this view of my text, as it stands connected with other passages in this book that relate to Ephraim, and more especially with the verses immediately preceding, four observations obviously arise, which I propose to illustrate in the following discourse.
1. That a sinner, in his natural state, is joined to idols.
2. That to separate a sinner from idols, is a work that is altogether peculiar to God.
3. That this separation is effected by the discovery and application of pardoning mercy and sanctifying grace. And,
4. That every one who is a partaker of these important benefits will, and must, adopt the words of Ephraim in their most extensive meaning, and say, as he did, What have I to do any more with idols?
I. My first observation is, That a sinner, in bis natural state, is joined to idols.
Herein consisteth the essence of man's apostacy. Something that is not God is the object of his supreme love, and possesseth that place in his heart which is due only to the living and true God; and that thing, by what pame soever it may be distinguished, is properly an idol. Now this world, and the things of the world, its riches and pleasures, and honours, which the apostle John, by a strong and significant figure, calls “the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life;" these are the great rivals of God, which, ever since the fatal a postacy, have usurped the throne in the human heart.