« 이전계속 »
torted: but these distinctions all cease at death. Here, they are by unerring wisdom as best suited at present to carry on the sacred purposes of the Lord's will: there, this distinction of the body is all over;
of diversity will then have been accomplished.
And at : the resurrection morning (as hath been before observed)
the whole mystical body of Christ in his members will arise all alike glorified in Christ, nothing of their former construction but in identity of person being preserved. But in relation to the spirit, there never hath been nor can be any diversity in Christ's spiritual church. At creation, we read that “ the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground.” Here was the original dust out of which the body was formed. But respecting his spirit, we read in the same scripture, that “ the Lord God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul,” Gen. ii. 7. Hence, where there was no pre-existent matter, but the soul proceeded immediately from the Lord himself, and without any intervening medium; thus all alike flowing from the same Almighty fountain, all of consequences were alike equal. And, as in creation, so in redemption; all were equally redeemed, and with the same price: and all are equally regenerated, and by the same Spirit: all are equally united to the glorious head: all formed with equal capability of happiness: all equally near and dear and equally important to form their respective membership in completing the whole of Christ's mystical body, the church. The view of the subject is most sweet and consolatory.
And while I say thus much in a request of remembrance, concerning the oneness in equality in the Lord's spiritual church, I would yet further beg the little ones, and the weak ones in faith no less to remember, that the whole of what we have both here in grace and hereafter in glory, is all in Christ. It is the Lord's Person, and the Lord's incommunicable work, which is the sole
cause, and the whole sum and substance of all blessed
There is not an atom in any one of Christ's members, neither of what is wrought in them, neither by them, that in the smallest degree contributes to their safety, or to their furtherance in salvation. It is the grossest of all possible mistakes to suppose, that we are more or less in divine favour from any supposed attainments of our own; or from our greater or less degree of apprehension of divine truths: all these are but effects. I will be free to confess, that it will give a greater or less degree of enjoyment in our faith respecting those diviné truths, in proportion as we are enabled in a greater or less degree to receive them; nevertheless, the desire after Christ is as truly an act of faith in Christ, as faith which gives an enjoyment of Christ : for both are alike God's gift. And if the little ones in faith feel this desire, the Lord is as truly glorified in those desires, as he is by others of his people to whom he hath given the faith of enjoyment. If, as our Lord saith, the looks of lust in carnal men is to all intents and purposes actual adultery, shall not the look of faith, when a poor creature desires enjoyment of Christ but cannot obtain it, be construed by the Lord as actual oneness of affection to Christ ? Matt. v. 28.
And now what shall I say more? If the Lord the Spirit be pleased to accompany what is here delivered with the unction of his grace and the savour of Christ, (as far as the things themselves are agreeable to his most holy truths) my new year's salutation of the spiritual church of Christ' will be as kindly received as it is affectionately sent. For myself, (if it be worth a moment's thought after this solemn subject, to speak of it) at my advanced years I can only say, that walking as I now am daily on the confines of time, and on the look-out for eternity, I am in expectation of soon realizing in open vision what I now live upon by faith. . And in thus greeting the church of our most glorious
Christ, on the entrance of another year with this subject, I would with all thankfulness to God, and unfeigned humility of soul desire grace to make use of the apostle's words, and say, " that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you.”: The bread which I eat, and find good for food, I may safely recommend to others: the stream from which I have slaked my thirst, when blessed by the same Almighty Giver, cannot but be found salutary to all who drink of it. The Lord of all spiritual life and health open the new year to his whole spiritual church, and prepare every individual of his whole mystical body, for what he is preparing for them, that " whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord ; whether we live therefore or die, we are the Lord's," Rom. xiv. 8.
DEATH ABOLISHED, AND LIFE AND IMMORTALITY BROUGHT TO
LIGHT THROUGH THE GOSPEL. A TRACT, AFFECTIONATELY
ENTRANCE ON THE NEW YEAR OF OUR LORD GOD, 1824. “ Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our
works, but according to his own purpose and grace which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began ; but is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,” 2 Tim. i. 9, 10.
Verging as I now am on the confines of eternity, and well aware, that every step I take in the present time. state at my advanced age, the world is receding more and more from me and I from the world, I gladly avail myself to catch the passing moment as it flies, that it may bear on its wing at this era my salutation of the church. I esteem it indeed no small mercy that, since the Lord hath spared me to behold the close of the past year, through the same gracious indulgence I am favoured at the opening of the new, to greet the brethren which are in Christ Jesus;" and once again
(peradventure, it may be the last) to send them my annual love-token. of remembrance,“ before I go hence, and be no more seen !" And I persuade myself, that every truly redeemed and regenerated child of God, who with me feel and know “ the plague of their own heart;" and no less also know, “ that all the promises of God in Christ Jesus are yea and amen,” will give me credit when I say, that I rejoice in the blessedness of my situation. So much of my eventful life being over, through the whole of which abounding undeservings in me have only been exceeded by more abounding grace from the Lord ; in the overwhelming view of such goodness in the past, I find the greater confidence to trust the Lord for all that is to come. I can and do say with Paul, and from the same well grounded faith as his was, " I know whom I have believed; and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day,” 2 Tim. i. 12. I am, therefore, as he was when he so expressed himself, “ looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” And I know, as he did, that it is indeed a blessed hope; and it is a sure hope; an“ hope that maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us," Rom. v. 5. And being now almost come within the reach of it, I already anticipate the possession : by faith I bring it near. And like the traveller returning from his journey, and being nearly arrived home, to whose longing eye his habitation, in which are lodged all that is dear to him, begins to open before him, and a thousand tender images of delight arise to his imagination ; so to my spiritual senses, the many glorious things which are spoken of in scripture concerning my eternal home, come in full prospect before me, and fill my soul with a joy unspeakable as I approach the precincts of that blessed city, “ whose builder and maker is God.” The gates of the new Jerusalem already appear in view; they magnify to my apprehension every time I behold them; and the glorified inhabitants, amidst their shouts of praise, seem as if looking over the battlements of heaven, and calling upon their kindred relations here below in the animating language of scripture, " Be ye not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises."
Under these impressions I desire to salute the spiritual church of our most glorious Christ here on earth, while I bless his holy name for that part of it which he hath taken to himself in heaven: for the both are indeed but one and the same ; and though at present in different worlds, yet not differently beloved or differently related. Jesus saith himself, in his love-song to his church,“ my dove, my undefiled is but one ; she is the only one of her mother, she is the choice one of her that bare her," Song vi. 9. And when the purposes are fully answered for which the Lord in his unerring wisdom keeps any of his church here below, he will take the whole home to join the church triumphant above ; for, as the Lord hath said, there shall be then as there is now," one fold and one shepherd,” John x. , 16. In the mean time, with what words can I gratulate the Lord's redeemed and regenerated family who are waiting for the Lord's coming to take them to himself? What shall I say, yea, what can I say, except what the Holy Ghost hath said and left upon record for the perpetual consolation of the church until the Lord come ? Our most glorious Christ hath “ abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”
This is a proclamation indeed, which ought to be made not only at the death of every old year and the opening of every new; but every day, and month, and year, and in every place of public concourse where the