Sivut kuvina

them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them who believe on his name," John i, 11, 12. Indeed it is impossible to receive Christ in all the offices which he fills, and the relations which he sustains on the behalf of the church, without the faith of God's elect. To receive Christ as the messenger of the covenant, is to set our seal without reserve to his testimony, and to find our chief delight in him. To receive Christ as the Redeemer, who purchased us with his blood, and restored our lost inheritance, is to fix our sole dependence on the cross, and cheerfully to serve him with our bodies and spirits, which are his. To receive Christ as the Prince of peace, the King of Zion, is at once to lay down the arms of rebellion, to touch the sceptre of his grace, and to triumph in his salvation. Nor is there any thing in all this impracticable. " Say not in thy heart, who shall ascend into heaven (that is to bring Christ down from above), but what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart; that is, the word of faith which we preach ; that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thy heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be sgoed." Here we see, that receiving Christ is, in fact, the same thing as cordially embracing all the tetimonies of divine truth concerning him. To those, who thus believe, he is precious.

3. It is by faith that the regenerate soul feels an intimate union with Christ.

If we have any spiritual life, it is certainly received from our divine Redeemer. As the branches derive their fatness from the root, and members their nourishment from the head; so Christians are fed and supplied, made fruitful and vigorous, by the grace of the Lord Jesus. Faith may be justly called the bond of union between Christ and his church. As a beautiful and instructive representation of this idea, the apostle Peter uses the following figurative language :6. To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God and precious : ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spriritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the Scripture, Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious : and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded." Here is the basis of our hopes, the pledge of our security and defence, the cement of our union, and the sum of all our happiness and glory. Our hopes are not built upon the yielding sand; no, but on the rock of Israel, whose work is perfect. - Other foundation can no man lay, than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” To

build up ourselves on our most holy faith is truly to rest all our expectations with a firm, unshaken reliance on the blessed and adorable Saviour.

Here is the pledge of our security and defence. The words above quoted are in part taken from Isa xxviii, 16. “Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation, a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation : he that believeth shall not make haste.” This foundation cannot be sapped by the silent decay of time, for Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, to day, and for ever. The most violent storms and assaults of enemies can never shake this rock: nor is the Church built upon it in the smallest danger, seeing it is expressly declared, “ The gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” He that believeth has no cause to dread sudden alarms, for he shall not be confounded.

Here is the cement of our union. Christ is a living stone, and his people are lively stones built upon him, and intimately connected with each other. All have their proper places appointed, so as to give beauty, symmetry, and consistency to the whole. “ Neither 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 Father art in me, and I in thee ; that they also may be one in us.” (John xvii, 20, 21.) There is among the faithful a great diversity with respect to talents, graces, and outward circumstances; but they are, without distinction, possessors of this ineffable privilege, “ There is neither Jew nor Greek, cirumcision nor uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free, but Christ is all and in alı."

Here is the sum of all our happiness and glory. God, of old, chose the temple at Jerusalem, saying, “ This is my rest, here will I dwell, for 1 have desired it.” Even that was but a type of the church. Concerning believers it is declared, Ye are the temple of the living God, as God hath said, “I will dwell in them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Now it is faith which gives the soul both union and communion with Christ. To those, therefore, who truly believe, who rest upon, and cleave to him, he is precious. : After thus stating the subject, it would be easy in a copious manner to illustrate it. But all the temporal things, which are beneficial or desirable, can afford but a faint and imperfect representation of the unparalleled excellencies of Christ. Yet it may not be improper briefly to mention a few similitudes, which the Scriptures employ to assist our minds on this most interest

ing subject. A remedy which assuages the anguish of pain, or removes the bürthen of disease after every thing else has been tried in vain, may justly be called a precious remedy. Yet what arë the keenest sufferings of the body, compared with the agonies of a soul pressed down under a load of guilt, and tortured with the stings of remorse? it The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity, but a wounded spirit who can bear 5 Now, as Christ is the great Physician, his grace is the the balm which eases the throbbing breast, and heals the broken heart. Too many, alas! are indifferent to him, because they feel not their disorder. 66 They that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.” But all who have felt the ārrows of conviction fastened in the coitscience, and deep sorrow of evangelical repentance, will know how to prize the remedy which infinite wisdom and covenant love have provided. Those therefore, who truly believe, know by experience, the efficacy of divine grace, and the consolation that is in Christ.

Food is precious to those who are in want. Oh! how do those who have been long exposed to all the extremities of famine, long for some scanty supply of their necessities! We have heard of travellers in sandy deserts, or voyagers wrecked on dreary, inhospitable coasts, who

« EdellinenJatka »