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66 and gave him to be the head over all " things to the church, which is his body, e che fulness of him that filleth all in all." When Christ ascended up on high, leading captivitý čaptive; he then received gifts for men, even for the rebellious, that the Lord' God might dwell among them. And now' all power is committed to him, both in heaven and on earth: He: not only appears in the presence of God as our great High Priest, to plead the merit of his facrifice, and to bless his people ; but he fits at the Father's right hand, enthroned in glory, as "the
King whom God hath set upon his holy 6 hill of Zion;" from whence he fends forth his angels as “ ministering spirits,” to minister unto the heirs of promife during their continuance in this house of their pilgrim. age, till they arrive at his Father's house in heaven, where they shall be advanced to fit with him upon his throne, and possess fulness of joy, and pleasures for ever. more.
AND now, my dear bretliren, in the review of these five particulars, to which the
Apostle directs our attention in proof and commendation of the grace which he celebrates, what improvement doch it become us to make of the subject?
Doch not the grace of our Lord Jefus Chrif call for our humble and thankful admiration? The original and essential riches of the Redeemer,-the poverty to which he voluntarily submitted, -the character of those for whose fake he became poor,- the riches he imparts unto them, - and the means by which he doth it;-are all so wonderful when separately considered, and kindle fuch a blaze of glory when combined and brought together, that angels themselves are dazzled with its fplendor; and, through all eternity, will contemplate, with increasing wonder: and delight, what neither they, nor we, shall ever be able fully to comprehend.
You must further be fenfible, that this. grace of our Lord Jesus Christ doth likewise invite, and should even constrain, our imitation.
It was for this purpose that the Apostle introduced it into the subject with which my text is immediately connected. He is recommending love to the brethren,
and in particular that instance of charity which consisteth in supplying the wants of the
poor : and the argument or motive with which he presseth his exhortation, is the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, though he was rich, yet for their fake became poor, that they through his poverty might be rich. And here, did your time permit, I might take occasion to show, that the gospel of Christ is so far from relaxing the obligations of those who receive it, to the practice of social duties, that, on the contrary, it strengthens thefe obligations, and carries the duties themselves to a sublimer height of selfdenial, than the most refined moralift ever thought of, or perhaps would choose to adopt for the measure of his own conduct. I need only quote one passage of Scripture in proof of what I have said, where love to the brethren appears plainly to be raised by gospel-grace even above the standard of the original law itself. The law faith, “ Thou « shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” But what faith the gospel ? You may read it; I John iii. 16. “ Hereby perceive we the love , 66 of God, because he laid down his life for
« us." To which it is immediately added, as a practical inference, “ We ought.”—The expression is emphatical, and imports, that it is not left to our choice, but is strictly due as a debt ;.“ We ought to lay down our lives ce for the brethren." Such is the love that the gofpel recommends. From whence. ic appears, that the purest and most sublime morality flows from faith in Christ as its native source, and will rise in exact
proportion to the knowledge of his grace.
But do we know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ!This question demands a serious and deliberate answer.
It is too evident, that many who bear the title of Christians are grossly ignorant even of the doctrines of grace, and need to be taught " the first principles of the oracles o of God.” But besides these, we have just cause to fear, that not a few are to be found among us, who, though they have acqui. red a theory of Christian doctrine, and can talk of the great truths of the gospel with propriety and fluency; yet they cannot be faid to know that grace whereof they are able to discourse to others.
The knowledge which the Apoftle speaks of, is different from that which may be acquired by study, or inere human in îtruction, It is of a kind altogether peculiar to the real saint: It is produced by the Spirit accompanying the word, taking of the things of Christ, and not only show. ing them unto him, but writing them upon the “ fleshly tables of his heart," and thereby transforming him into the divine image Let me then ask you, or rather let me intreat you to ask your own hearts, as in the presence of God, Whether or not you ever were convinced of your need of this grace, your abfolute need of it to save you from the wrath to come? Did
you ever see yourselves, by the light of God's word, to be wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked; under a righteous sentence of condemnation, and unable, as of yourselves, to do any thing that could be effectual for your own recovery? Under this conviction of
lost and helpless eftate by nature, were your eyes opened to see the neceflity and suitableness of the Lord Jesus Christ, the per