Page images
PDF
EPUB

immediately calls him in the next clause more distinctly the spirit of the Lord, saying• Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is * liberty.' The spirit therefore, here mentioned, is the holy ghost; and the Lord, whose spirit he is, is Christ, in whom the veil is done away, to whom the believer looks, as the end of the law, and whose glory he beholds, as in a glass, when the veil is withdrawn from his face. That spirit is sent by the Lord, Jesus, to invite, to elevate, and to instruct the soul in the reading of the old, and still more of the new testament; and, when the soul turns to that spirit, it beholds in its hallowed pages the glory of Christ. Thus are both Christ and the holy ghost called Lord or Jehovah in the text, the name, Lord, in the new testament, being equivalent to Jehovah in the old : and thus again the deity of both is established.

I have thought it necessary to enter into this detail upon a question of pure doctrine, because without some detail in the examination of evidence it could not be fairly determined. When determined however, the results of the doctrine are any thing, but theoretical: for what does he, who seeks justification and sanctification by the true scriptural method, learn from it? He learns, that he, who justifies him, is God, that he, who sanctifies him, is God, and that consequently the whole deity is engaged to acquit, to renew, and to save him. I have laid help,' (says the eternal God) on one, that is mighty. Hence true believers are authorized to ask that series of triumphant questions, put by saint Paul in his eighth chapter to the Romans-What shall we say to these things ? If God be for us, who can be against us? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? Shall God, that justifieth them?' That were a contradiction, an absurdity. Or again, who

who is he that condemneth them? Is it Christ?' What! He ' that died, yea, rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us? Nay. I am ' persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height,

[ocr errors]

6

nor depth, nor any other thing in creation shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus, our lord.'

It is thus, that in the doctrine of a trinity we have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge, to lay hold upon the hope, set before us: for it teaches us, that, when there was no mån to make our peace with God, and no intercessor to urge a plea in our defence, the lord's own arm brought salvation unto him, and his righteousness, it sustained him. He, with whom nothing is impossible, has undertaken our cause; and the same spirit, who breathed into the nostrils of our first parent the breath of life, is ever ready to renew the gift, which he first imparted. Now the lord,' (says saint Paul in the text,) 'is that spirit; and where - the spirit of the lord is, there is liberty,' freedom from the dominion of evil desires, disengagement of mind from the distracting concerns of time, liberty to approach the father in unrestrained prayer with filial confidence and affection, even the glorious liberty of the children of God.

SERMON XIII.

1 Peter i. 17.

Pass the time of your sojourning here in fear !

THE progress

of our researches has now brought us, my beloved brethren, to perceive with some distinctness, in what the life of a christian consists, from what it originates, and in what it ends. It differs essentially from the life, which we should lead by nature: and therefore it is important for us to know all these points, to which I have just adverted, if we would live, as christians ought to live, or die, as christians desire to die.

The life of a worldling requires no help from any superior power. It is but to act, as our natural inclination or judgment or calcu, lation of prudence and interest would dispose us to act; and we shall follow the life of a worldling without effort or assistance. But the life of a christian is begun, continued, and ended by the spirit, which dwelleth in him. It is only in proportion as he follows the guidance of this spirit, that he lives the life of a christian ; and, when he ceases to be led by that blessed spirit altogether, the christian life is extinct within him. Hence the gift of the holy ghost is the peculiar distinction of the christian system. Other institutions might teach us duty, and promise us reward, as the law of works said to Adam—This do, and live!' But the gift of the holy ghost is that, which alone can enable us to perform the duty, or to attain the reward. Other institutions may declare the remedy for guilt, and point out the sacrificed saviour to our faith, as the law of Moses instituted perpetual victims for the atonement of sin. But the gift of the holy ghost alone is that, which inspires the faith, by which the remedy is apprehended and applied. Hence also the doctrine of a trinity in the Godhead,

« PreviousContinue »