Page images
PDF
EPUB

ور

For it is to be observed that we do not pray. for Divine power to act on us as on inanimate or irrational beings, but that God would grant that we may put away the leaven of malice and “ wickedness." We implore grace whereby we may be instructed and enabled to “ crucify “ the flesh with the affections and lusts.” The act of removal is ours, but both the will and power to do it must come from God. If we are sincere in praying for power to subdue

to subdue corruption, we are daily fighting against it.

But what is our ultimate object in this request? What is the desire of those among us who believe that God gave “His only Son to “ die for our sins and to rise again for our justifi“cation?” It is invariably this, " that we may “ always serve Him in pureness of living and “ truth.” While the leaven of natural corruption remains unsubdued, we cannot “serve" Him. For “the carnal mind is enmity against “ God: it is not subject to the law of God, nei“ ther indeed can be." The love and

power

of sin therefore must be subdued, before we can engage cordially in His service. When this is effected, then we become the servants of God, and our members are made instruments of righteousness unto Him. Then we become “ “ peculiar people, zealous of good works."

“ Pureness of living and truth" in the latter clause of our request are opposed to “malice “ and wickedness" in the former. * It is not only necessary that as Christians we should manifest all outward purity in our lives, but also that there be “truth" or sincerity in the inward

* Prius opponitur Κακια, alterum πονηρια. Ειλικρινεια est fuga impuritatis, a70814 simulationis." Poli Syn. in 1 Cor. v. 8.

a

parts. A whited sepulchre is an abomination in the sight of God. What say our hearts to this request ? Are we anxious to have our souls purged from the leaven of sin, and to become new creatures ? If this be not the desire of our souls, we are unacquainted with the privileges, duties, and obligations of Christianity--we have no part in the great passover, and derive no benefit from the death and resurrection of the Son of God.

We implore sanctifying grace “through the of merits of the same His Son Jesus Christ our “ Lord." He is of God made unto us sanctification as well as justification. He is the meritorious cause of both; and while His resurrection assures us of the all-sufficiency of the latter, faith in His name through the purchased influence of His Spirit puts us in possession of the former. “Beholding as in a glass the glory of “ the Lord, we are changed into the same image, “ from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of " the Lord."

[merged small][ocr errors]

THE SECOND SUNDAY AFTER EASTER.

Almighty God, who hast given thine only Son to be unto us both a sacrifice for sin and also an ensample of godly life; give us grace, that we may always most thankfully receive that His inestimable benefit, and also daily endeavour ourselves to folloro the blessed steps of His most_holy life, through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

F

VOR the confirmation of the faith of Heze

kiah the course of nature was miraculously reversed. (Is. xxxviii. 8.) A similar retrogression in our meditations on the course of the sun of righteousness, as it is marked in the sun-dial of our church's calendar, may be productive of the same effect in our souls. It may tend to confirm our faith, and to establish our hopes. With this view we are led again to contemplate the death of Christ.

Christians are followers of Christ. • They “ follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. (Rev. xiv. 4.) Thereby they are distinguished from all other persons, so that they may easily ascertain their own character and be known by others. To “ follow the Lamb” implies two things, viz. faith in His atonement as the sacrificed “ Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world,” and an imitation of His example who was “holy, harmless, undefiled and “ separate from sinners." These two things, faith and practice, constitute the character of a Christian.

This twofold end for which “ God gave His

only Son” corresponds with a twofold desire which is formed in the bosom of every true believer. And the unison which prevails between the design of Divine mercy as it is revealed in the Scriptures, and the feelings of a penitent sinner, affords irrefragable evidence that the gospel is of God, and that He who made the human soul is the Author of that plan of salvation which is proposed to it. The relation between a curious mould and the figure which is cast in it is not more apparent to the eye, than that which exists between the fallen soul of man and the gospel-salvation is to the conscious mind. The same all-wise Being who formed the soul must have contrived that plan of salvation which is found on trial to be suitable to its multifarious wants and miseries. Thus “he that « believeth hath the witness in himself” concerning “the record which God hath given of “ His Son."

The end for which God gave His only Son was, that He might “ be unto us both a sacri“ fice for sin and also an ensample of Godly “ life.” And the desire of every awakened soul is “most thankfully to receive that. His inesti“mable benefit," and also“ daily to follow the “ blessed steps of His most holy life.”

Our collect for the second Sunday after Easter consists of an introduction and a prayer. The introduction exhibits Christ in a twofold point of view, on which a twofold petition is founded.

Christ is first exhibited as "a sacrifice for sin;" for His atonement must be received before His example can be imitated. A foundation

must be laid by faith in His death, before a superstructure can be raised by a conformity to His life. “ The mercies of God," as they are manifested in redemption, afford the only motives which can induce a sinner to “pre“ sent his body a living sacrifice, holy and ac“ceptable to God,” though such a surrender is undoubtedly “the reasonable service” of all rational creatures.

In order fully to understand the first view which our collect takes of Christ, it will be necessary to have recourse to those sacrifices which were offered under the Old Testament dispensation as typical figures of Him. The rites of sacrificature were enjoined immediately after the fall, because a knowledge of the true sacrifice was immediately necessary to the salvation of fallen man.

That the institution of sacrifice should have been of human invention, is in itself a highly improbable position. For the expectation of appeasing an offended God by the blood of a brute animal can have no foundation in reason, nor in any views which the mind naturally forms of Deity. But we have positive evidence that the institution is Divine. For the first sacrifice which is recorded to have been offered, though doubtless not the first that was offered, was offered by faith (Heb. xi. 4.); and we know that faith must have its warrant in the command and promise of God. The patriarchal sacrifices were acceptable to God; and as willworship cannot please Him, we may be assured that those sacrifices were a compliance with His positive requisition. Moreover, the arbitrary distinction which was established between clean and unclean animals had an immediate relation

« PreviousContinue »