« VorigeDoorgaan »
when they would express the impossibility of a thing, "You may as soon take off a christian from Christ.”
2. If Christ hath sanctified or consecrated himself for us, what a horrid evil it is, to use Christ or his blood as a common and unsanctified thing. Yet so some do, as the apostle speaks, Heb. 10 : 29. The apostate is said to "tread under foot the Son of God," and to "count his blood an unholy (or common) thing.” But wo to them that do so; they shall be counted worthy of something worse than "dying without mercy," as the apostle there speaks.
And as this is the sin of the apostate, so it is also the sin of all those that without faith approach, and so profane the table of the Lord, unbelievingly and unworthily handling those awful things. Such "eat and drink judg. ment to themselves, not discerning the Lord's body.” 1 Cor. 11:29. Whereas the body of Christ was a thing of the deepest sanctification that ever God created, sanctified, as the text tells us, to a far more excellent and glorious purpose than ever any creature in heaven or earth was sanctified. It was therefore the great sin of those Corinthians, not to discern it, and not to behave themselves towards it, when they saw and handled the signs of it, as became so holy a thing. And as it was their great sin, so God declared his just indignation against it, in those sore strokes inflicted for it. As they discerned not the Lord's body, so neither did the Lord discern them from others in the judgments that were inAicted. And, as one well observes, God drew the model and platform of their punishment from the structure and proportion of their sin. And truly, if the moral and spiritual seeds and originals of many of our outward afflictions and sicknesses were but duly sisted out, possibly we might find a great part of them in this sin. Oh then, when you draw nigh to God in that ordinance, take heed to sanctify his name, by a spiritual discerning of. this most holy and most deeply sanctified body of the Lord; sanctified beyond all creatures, angels or men, not only in respect of the Spirit which filled him, without measure, with inherent holiness, but also in respect of its dedication to such a service as this, it being set apart by him to such holy, solemn ends and uses.
And let it, for ever, be a warning to such as have lifted up their hands to Christ in a holy profession, that they never lift up their heel against him afterwards by apostasy. The apostate treads on God's dear Son, and God will tread upon him for it. " Thou hast trodden down all that err from thy statutes.” Psa. 119 : 118.
3. What a choice pattern of love to saints have we here before us? Calling all that are in Christ to an imitation of him, even to give up ourselves to their service, as Christ did ; not in the same kind, for so none can give himself for them, but as we are capable. You see here how his heart was affected towards them, that he would sanctify himself as a sacrifice for them. See to what a height of duty the apostle improves this example of Christ; " Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us; and we ought also to lay down our lives for the brethren." 1 John, 3:16. Some christians came up fairly to this pattern in primitive times; Priscilla and Aquila laid down their necks for Paul, Rom. 16:4; that is, eminently hazarded their lives for him; and he himself could "rejoice, if he were offered up upon the sacrifice and service of their faith," Phil. 2: 17. And in the next times, what was more known, even to the enemies of christianity, than their fervent love one to another ? Ecce quam mutuo se diligunt, et mori volunt pro alterutris! See how they love one an. other, and are willing to die one for another!
But alas! the primitive spirit is almost lost in this degenerate age: instead of laying down life, how few will lay down twelve-pence for them? I remember it is
the observation of a late worthy, upon Matt. 5:44, that he is persuaded there is hardly that man to be found this day alive, that fully understands and fully believes that scripture. Oh, did men think that what they do for Christ's followers is done for Christ himself, it would produce other effects than are yet visible.
4. If Christ sanctified himself, that we might be sanctified by (or in the truth; then it will follow, that true sanctification is the best evidence of our interest in his blood. In vain (as to you) did he sanctify himself unless you be sanctified. Holy souls only can claim the benefit of the great Sacrifice. Oh try then, whether true holiness, which is only to be judged by its conformity to its pattern, "As he that called you is holy, so be ye holy," 1 Pet. 1: 15, and which is, and acts, according to its measure, like God's holiness, be found in
you. God is universally holy in all his ways; and "his works are holy," Psa. 145:17; whatever he doeth, is still done as becomes a holy God: he is not only holy in all things, but at all times unchangeably holy. Be ye therefore holy in all things, and at all times too, if ever you expect the benefit of Christ's sanctifying himself to die for you. Oh brethren, let not the feet of your conversation be as the feet of a lame man, which are unequal. Prov. 26 : 7. Be not sometimes hot, and sometimes cold; at one time careful, at another time careless; one day in a spiritual rapture, and the next in a fleshly frolic: but be ye holy "in all manner of conversation,” 1 Pet. 1:15, in every crook and turning of your lives; and let your holiness hold out to the end.
God is exemplarily holy, and Jesus Christ is the great pattern of holiness. Be ye examples of holiness too, unto all that are about you. "Let your light so shine before
men, that they may see your good works.” Matt. 5:16. As wicked men infect one another by their examples, and diffuse their poison and malignity wherever they come; so do ye disseminate godliness in all places and companies; and let those that frequently converse with you, especially those of your own families, receive a deeper dye and tincture of heavenliness every time they come nigh you.
God delights in nothing but holiness, and holy ones; he hath set all his pleasure in the saints. Be ye holy herein, as God is holy. Indeed, there is this difference between God's choice and yours; he chooses not men because they are holy, but that they may be so; you are to choose them for your delightful companions, that God hath chosen and made holy. "Let all your delights be in the saints, even them that excel in virtue.” Psa. 16: 3.
God abhors and hates all unholiness ; do ye so likewise, that ye may be like your Father which is in heaven. And when the Spirit of holiness bestows this upon you, a sweeter evidence you cannot have, that Christ was sanctified for you. Holy ones may confidently lay the hand of their faith on the head of this great sacri. fice, and say, " Christ our passover is sacrificed for us.
OF THE NATURE OF CHRIST'S MEDIATION.
“ And oné Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”
1 Tim. 2:5.
Great and long preparations bespeak the solemnity and greatness of the work for which they are designed. A man that had seen the heaps of gold, silver, and brass which David amassed in his time for thc building of the temple, might easily conclude before one stone of it was laid, that it would be a magnificent structure. But lo, here is a design of God as far transcending that as the substance doth the shadow. For, indeed, that glorious temple was but the type and figure of Jesus Christ, John, 2:19, 21, and a weak adumbration of that living, spiritual temple which he was to build, that the great God might dwell and walk in it. 2 Cor. 6: 16. The
preparations for that temple were for a few years, but the consultations and preparations for this were from eternity. Prov. 8:31. And as there were preparations for this work before the world began; so it will be a matter of eternal admiration and praise when this world shall be dissolved. What this astonishing glorious work is, this text informs you ; it is the work of mediation between God and man; and you have here a description of Jesus the Mediator.
1. He is described by his work or office : Meritns, a Mediator, a middle person. The word imports a fit and equal person, who comes between two persons that are at variance, to compose the difference and make peace. Such a person is Christ; a day's man, to lay his hand
2. He is described by the singularity of his mediation, one Mediator, and but one. There are many mediators of reconciliation among men, but there is one only Mediator of reconciliation between God and man; and it is as needless and impious to make more mediators than one, as to make more gods than one.
e There is one God, and one Mediator between God and nen.”
3. He is described by the nature and quality of his person, the man Christ Jesus. He is described by his human nature in this place, not only because in this nature he paid the ransom spoken of in the words immediately following ; but especially for the drawing of sinners to him, as one who clothed himself in their own flesh; and, for encouraging the faith of believers, by reminding them that he tenderly regards all their wants and miseries, and that they may safely trust him