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sprang from something good as well as evil water upon you, and ye shall be clean : from in the Apostle; and was therefore a mixed all your filthiness, and from all your idola, action: a sin of infirmity. Besides, we know will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I that our Saviour was accustomed to teach by give you, and a new spirit will I put within facts and imagery; to pass from the body to you: and I will take away the stony heart the mind; to ascend from particular hints to out of your flesh, and I will give you an general truths; and to express more than is heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit immediately perceived, in order that it ght within you, and cause you to walk in my be discovered by repeated meditation, or il- statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments
, lustrated by subsequent events.
and do them." We do not indeed mean to We deemed these few words necessary to intimate that real Christians are entirely justify ourselves from the deserved reproach freed from all sin here—for then, who could of those who, as they call it, are always spirit- lay claim to the character ? Unmixed purity ualizing the Scriptures, and building import- is the privilege of heaven. There alone ant doctrines on historical circumstances, till shall we be " presented faultless before the the word of God becomes contemptible to the presence of his glory with exceeding joy." wise, and unintelligible to the simple; and The greatest saints have now their infirmiseems to have no real and determinate sense ties; and groan, being burdened. But let us left. It is high time that this trifling and remember that though this work is completed mischievous mode of teaching should be dis in eternity, it is begun in time: that the true countenanced and laid aside.
Christian is the subject of a glorious change, Let us hasten to consider, with all the se- not only as to his actions, but also as to his dis riousness the subject requires, THAT PURIFI- positions ; that he is saved from the love of CATION, WITHOUT WHICH ALL OUR HOPE OF every sin, and the dominion of every sin; AN INTEREST IN CHRIST IS VAIN. “ If I wash that there is no sin unknown which he does thee not, thou hast no part with me.” Of not wish to discover; and no sin discovered this exclusion from Christ, Let us examine which he does not resolve to destroy; and no THE CONDITION——THE DREADFULNESS—and sin which he resolves to destroy, but he
strives and labours to destroy—“ plucking I. THE CONDITION_“If I wash thee not.” out even a right eye, or cutting off even a It reminds us that sin is of a defiling qua- right hand; denying all ungodliness, and lity. When God looked down from heaven worldly lusts, and living soberly, righteously, upon the children of men, it is said, they were and godly, in the present world.” “altogether become filthy." Hence, we read But how are we thus cleansed from our inof “the filthiness of flesh and spirit.” This iquities, and who has the honour of our delievil hath defiled all our powers and all our verance ? He is the grand purifier: bis actions; all we possess and all we enjoy; name is called Jesus, because he saves his and while it pollutes us, it causes us also to people from their sins. “ If I wash thee not." pollute others.
The work is his, and whatever means are Man may palliate the evil of sin, but in the used, they derive both their being and their view of the Supreme Judge it is unspeakably efficacy from him. There is no other fountvile and hateful—“ He is of purer eyes than ain opened for sin and uncleanness than his to behold iniquity.” And when the sinner dying wounds supplied. His “ blood," says himself is convinced of sin, he sees it in the the Apostle, “ cleanseth us from all sin. same light. As a discovery of the guilt of " He loved us,” says the Church, “and washsin awakens his fear, so a perception of the ed us from our sins in his own blood.” impurity of it excites his aversion and disgust. Let us not look to him for justification only, He sees, he feels that he is unclean, and de- but remember that he is “ made of God unto servedly excluded from communion with all us sanctification," also; that he delivers us not holy beings. He cries, “Behold, I am vile! only from the curse, but the pollution of sin; wherefore I abhor myself
, repenting in dust that he rescues us not only from the burden and ashes." He " loathes himself for all his of condemnation, but the bondage of corrupabominations ;” nor will he be perfectly re- tion; and not only gives us the title to hea. conciled to himself while any of the hateful ven, but produces in us the meetness for itdefilement is found within him.
He is all in all.” To induce you to seek Now this enables us to determine what our after this state, consider, Saviour means by washing us. It is the II. THE DREADFULNESS of the exclusion sanctification of our nature. It is what the “Thou hast no part with me.”
Thou hast Apostle calls “ the washing of regeneration, no real interest in me; and thou canst have and the renewing of the Holy Ghost.” As no reasonable expectations from me." There water removes defilement and restores to is something very tremendous in this. Hear purity, so the influences of Divine grace de- how the Apostle Paul speaks of a privilege liver us from sin and make us truly holy from which you are excluded." But what Hence we find it promised in a fulness and things were gain to me, those I counted loss variety of expression, “ I will sprinkle clean for Christ. Yea, doubtless, and I count all
things but loss for the excellency of the know- to the deluge, and have no ark. It matters ledge of Christ Jesus my Lord; for whom I not to whom we belong; if we had part with have suffered the loss of all things, and do a king, he could not help us in our most imcount them but dung, that I may win Christ, portant concerns—the concerns of the soul and be found in him, not having mine own and eternity. He cannot give us the true righteousness, which is of the law, but that riches. He cannot deliver us from the wrath which is through the faith of Christ, the to come. He cannot bless us with all spiritual righteousness which is of God by faith; that blessings in heavenly places. And what can I may know him, and the power of his resur- we do without these? "Neither is there rection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, salvation in any other, for there is no other being made conformable unto his death: if by name given under heaven among men whereany means I might attain unto the resurrec- by we must be saved.” And if we miss saltion of the dead." The Apostle was a good vation, we are lost for ever. “ What is a judge, and you here see that he infinitely man profited, if he should gain the whole preferred union with Christ to every thing world, and lose his own soul; or what shall else. But you say, you are not like-minded; a man give in exchange for his soul ?" you do not thus value him; you prefer a thou- To have no communion with him in whose sand objects to an interest in him—and there- favour is life; to hear him say, I have a favre to you there seems nothing so very dread- mily, but you are no part of it-you are not ful in this threatening.
a child, nor even a servant; to hear him say, But the question is whether your judg. I have a plantation, but you are not in itment be a righteous one. A pearl is not the you are not a cedar, no, nor a shrub; to hear less precious because the swine tramples it him say, I have in reserve for my followers, under foot. A toy is not more valuable than thrones of glory, rivers of pleasure, fulness 1 title to an estate because an infant or an of joy—but as for you-you-have “neither idiot may give it the preference.
part nor lot in the matter, for your heart is And the question also is, whether you will not right in the sight of God”—if this be not 1lways remain in the same opinion. Will dreadful, nothing can be dreadful. the day of judgment, think you, operate no Especially when we add that there is but change in your sentiments ? Will not the one alternative-If you have no part with 2pproach of death after your convictions? Christ and his people, you must have your What! when all those things which now en- portion with hypocrites and unbelievers, with rage and amuse you fail—will you want no the devil and his angels! You have already better portion? If while I am speaking a fixed you destiny; you have chosen the left messenger from the “ king of terrors” should hand; you are already mingling with the seize you, and you were carried to your bed, goats; you are walking the downward road and compelled to look backward upon your —" As for such as turn aside to their crooked life, and forward to your doom-what could ways, the Lord will lead them forth with the succour and relieve you ?-Yea, if conscience workers of iniquity.” Who believes this? were to fill upon you this moment, and the Let us then see whether we cannot establish, terrors of the Almighty troubled you; you III. THE CERTAINTY of this exclusion. would soon find the truth of Solomon's words, There are two ways of proving this. The * The spirit of a man may sustain his in- one is by testimony. “If you receive the witfirmity: but a wounded spirit who can bear?" ness of man, the witness of God is greater.” - And then what advantage could you derive And, says not our Lord and Saviour, “ If I from all your worldly possessions? They wash thee not, thou hast no part with me?" would be all physicians of no value; misera- One declaration from him renders a thing as ble comforters. Your relief could only come certain as a thousand-otherwise I could go on from another quarter—but from that quarter quoting Scripture—and say—“They that are you are forbidden to hope.
Christ's have crucified the flesh, with the afIf our Lord and Saviour was an unimport- fections and lusts.” “ If any man be in Christ, ant character, your exclusion from him would he is a new creature; old things are passed not be so fatal-but the fact is, that every away, behold, all things are become new.” thing you need is found in him, and to be de- If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he rived only from him. Of what worth Christ is none of his." But where shall I end? is to us, is a question, says an old writer, “ Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not which would nonplus all the saints on earth inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deand angels in heaven to answer. One thing ceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor we are certain of-that no being in the uni- adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of Verse can fill his place, and do for us what he themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor is able to do. And therefore, if he will have covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor nothing to do with us, our case is indeed extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of miserable and hopeless. We are wanderers God." The other is reasoning from princi, without a guide: we are dying patients with- ples. Let us view the Saviour, with whom out a physician or a remedy: we are exposed I we hope to have communion for ever-But
Rejoice in the
are not in are “not for
he is pure and holy; his person is pure; his unto a man, but, be assured, the end thereof kingdom is pure---pure are its joys, its ser- are the paths of death?" vices, and its company. If therefore, we are We may, Secondly, congratulate those who not made pure and holy, we have no likeness are made free from sin. You have “an inin him; and were we in a state of union, heritance among them that are sanctified.” such a heterogeneous mass of materials would Yea, you not only share with the saints, but form a body like the image of Nebuchadnez- also with the Saviour : you have part with zar, where the head was indeed of gold, but Christ ! you partake of his safety and his dig. the breast and arms of silver, and the inferior nity. "When he, who is your life, shall apparts of baser metal, down to the feet, which pear, you shall also appear with hini in glory. were part of iron and part of clay. Can this You shall sit with him upon his throne. You be a representation of the Church of the liv- shall enter the joy of your Lord. If children, ing God? If Christ is the head, and Chris- then heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with tians are the body, let us remember that the Christ." head and the body partake of the same na- Can you be poor?-Having nothing, you ture: and that if Christ be the vine, and possess all things. “ For all things are yours; Christians the branches, the vine and the whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the branches partake of the very same qualities. world, or life, or death, or things present, or
What intercourse can there be where no- things to come; all are yours: and ye are thing prevails but a contrariety of inclination Christ's; and Christ is God's." and an opposition of interest?
Can you be miserable ? two walk together except they be agreed ? Lord always; and again I say, rejoice.” If What fellowship hath righteousness with un- “ troubled on every side”-you are not disrighteousness ? and what communion hath tressed :" if "perplexed”-you light with darkness ? and what concord hath despair: if “persecuted”-you Christ with Belial ? or what part hath he that saken:" if " cast down,” you are “ not debelieveth with an infidel ? and what agree-stroyed.” ment hath the temple of God with idols ?" And if you have part with him in his glory,
Indeed without this renovation we should can you be unwilling to share with him in be wholly incapable of deriving happiness his reproach ? If you are to live with him;" from our connexion with him. Our being for cannot you “ die with him?" If you are to ever in his presence would only render us“ reign with him," cannot you also suffer miserable: there would be nothing in the with him?" According to the Apostle, you praises or in the pleasures of that sacred state ought to " rejoice, inasmuch as you are made to fulfil our desires, or to gratify our taste. partakers of Christ's sufferings; that when Dismiss the Bible, or suppose that God had his glory shall be revealed, you may be glad expressed no determination to exclude “every also with exceeding joy." thing that defileth” from the abodes of bless- Thirdly. Are there any here whose de edness: in this view the case would be the sires are awakened, and who are asking, Can same as it is now; the happiness of an unre- I obtain a portion in Christ, and how is it to newed sinner is impossible upon every prin- be obtained? Let me conclude by a word et ciple. Wherever he may be placed, while direction and encouragement. And it is this he has sin in him, he has hell with him. From a deep conviction of your need of him, This train of reflection informs us, First, apply immediately to him.
“ Take with you how exceedingly those misunderstand the words," which he himself has furnished, and Gospel, and
delude their own souls, who ex- say, " Lord, take away all iniquity. Wash pect to be made partakers of Christ," while me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleans they seek not to be sanctified by him. “He me from my sin. Create in me a clean heart
, was manifested to take away our sin. He O God; and renew a right spirit within me. gave himself for us, that he might redeem us Exercise faith upon his power, and say, from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a pe-“ Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me culiar people, zealous of good works.” In this clean.” Be persuaded of his willingness every roal Christian rejoices; the plan meets Believe that he waiteth to be gracious
, and his wants and his wishes. He gladly embraces is exalted to have mercy upon you." the Saviour in all his offices, and while he What were those who are now so happy, glories in his cross, submits to his sceptre. with him? They were once “ far off: ani He seeks after a present salvation from sin, children of wrath, even as others.” Behold
, as well as a future deliverance from wrath; they all rise up and address you: "O taste and the faith which pacifies his conscience, and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the purifies his heart. But to look for comfort man that trusteth in him.” without holiness, is to separate what God has we have seen and heard, declare we unto unalterably joined together. To depend upon you, that ye also may have fellowship with Christ for pardon and acceptance, so as to us, and truly our fellowship is with the Faencourage ourselves in sin, or reconcile our- ther, and with his Son Jesus Christ." selves to it, is “a way which may seem right Above all, hear their Lord and Saviour,
" That which
saying, “ Him that cometh unto me, I will in you rest;" he was enabled to believe his word; no wise cast out!"
he ventured upon his promise, made applica-
Let us observe him-
View him with regard to his understand
ing—and you will find that he has rest. He A CHECK TO PRESUMPTION.
is freed from the jealousies and uneasinesses
which arise from uncertainty of mind with Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left regard to truth. He is no longer the sport
us of entering into his rest, any of you should of delusion : he is no longer like “a wave of seem to come short of it.—Heb. iv. I.
the sea, driven with the wind and tossed," “FAITHFUL are the wounds of a friend." now urged in one direction, and now in anHence, says David, " let the righteous smite other; he no longer flounders in the mud and me; it shall be a kindness : and let him re- mire--he has found rock; he stands upon it; prove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which his goings are established. He “knows shall not break my head: for yet my prayer whom he has believed.” He knows that he also shall be in their calamities."
" has not followed cunningly devised fables." Would you deem a man your enemy be- He knows “the doctrine" he has received cause he told you the truth ? 'especially if the "to be of God.”—He “ has the witness in intelligence was of importance, and your ig- himself.” norance of it would be ruinous ? Would you View him with regard to his conscienceblame a person, who seeing your house to be and you will find that he has rest. He is on fire, would endeavour to wake you from freed from the torment of fear, and the hor. a pleasing dream? Or would you say to one rors of guilt. A crucified Saviour " has rewho checked you on the brink of a precipice deemed us from the curse of the law, being
“Why did you not suffer me to go on? made a curse for us. He bore our sins in his Why did you spoil my reverie ?" Surely own body on the tree. He gave himself for even a blow that saved you from such dread- us an offering and a sacrifice to God, for a ful jeopardy, would be esteemed an instance sweet-smelling savour.” An apprehension of friendship
of this truth “healeth the broken in heart, But all allusions fail when we think of the and bindeth up their wounds." In proportion soul and eternity: Every thing is little and as we realize it by faith, the burden, too trifling compared with the acquisition of end- heavy for us to bear, loosens and falls off; and, less life. Here is a subject which requires, being justified by faith, we have peace with infinitely more than any other, fidelity in the God, through our Lord Jesus Christ.” speaker; and a disposition open to conviction View him with regard to his passions and and fearful of deception, in the hearer. “Let appetites—and you will find he has rest. us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us While pride and envy, and malice, and avaof entering into his rest, any of you should rice, and sensual affections, reigned within, seem to come short of it.”
often striving with each other, and always Let us consider two things. The First re- fighting against the convictions of his judggards THE BLESSING PROMISED. And the Se- ment, the man's breast was nothing but a cond, THE STATE OF MIND IN WHICH WE scene of tumult: he was “like the troubled
sea, when it cannot rest; whose waters cast I. The Gospel is not only a revelation, but up mire and dirt: there is no peace, saith my A PROMISE: and A PROMISE exceeding great God, unto the wicked.” But sanctifying grace and precious. It not only holds forth to our has delivered him from “the bondage of corview, but it proposes to our hope eternal life; ruption,” and from the tyranny of adverse and and whatever is previously necessary to the raging lusts: it has subdued his tempers, and acquisition of it. The promise was early regulated his desires; it has restored order made, and was often renewed with enlarge and self-government—and these have restored ments. Thousands in the successive ages peace. of the world have laid hold of it, and it is View him once more with regard to his "left" for us. Yes, in this blessed book, we "condition and circumstances”-and you will have “ a promise left us of entering into his find that he has rest. He is freed from those
anxieties and disquietudes which devour But what is this rest?-We may view it others who make the world their portion, and as it is begun upon earth, or completed in have no confidence in God. But the world is heaven. Even while the believer is upon not his portion; he has not laid up his treaearth, this rest is not only ensured, but begun. sure on earth. His inheritance is "incorrupt. Hence, says the Apostle, “ We which have ible and undefiled, and fadeth not away, rebelieved do enter into rest." Before he knew served in heaven for him.” He is nobly suthe Saviour, he was a stranger to rest ; but perior to events. Nothing that occurs can Jesus had said, “Come unto me, all ye that materially affect him; he is therefore easy labour and are heavy laden, and I will give and composed. He has also a confidence in
SHOULD CONSIDER IT.
God which wonderfully calms the mind with rested after the toils of the wilderness; and regard to present occurrences. He knows the other from the Sabbath, on which Christhat the God who loves him, reigns over all; tians rest after the perplexities of the week. that all his dispensations are righteous, and Ah! ye glorified saints, you can tell us wise, and kind; that he will not forsake him, what this blessed rest is. You have traversed but "make all things,” however contrary in the wilderness—where you * wandered in a their appearance and tendency, to "work to- solitary way; where you found no city to gether for his good.” Hence he feels a holy dwell in:" where, “ hungry and thirsty, your indifference, a blessed resignation to the will souls fainted in you.” But you have left the of Providence; and committing all his con- desert! you have passed the river Jordan; cerns to his Heavenly Father, he learns “in and have entered the land flowing with whatsoever state he is, therewith to be con- milk and honey”—you are come unto the tent:” according to the language of the Pro- rest which the Lord your God giveth you." phet and the Apostle: “Thou wilt keep him Your week days, your worldly days are in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on now over, and you have begun your Sabbath. thee: because he trusteth in thee." “ Be Here you loved the Sabbath : but here the careful for nothing; but in every thing by Sabbath was soon over, and the things of the prayer and supplication with thanksgiving world again deprived you of the fine feelings let your requests be made known unto God. it produced. You sometimes passed silent And the peace of God, which passeth all un- Sabbaths, and mourned the loss of sanctuary derstanding, shall keep your hearts and minds privileges. You always spent imperfect ones: through Christ Jesus."
you could not do the things that you would; But, excellent as his present condition is, and soon grew weary in the service of Gpd, compared with his former state, it is nothing though not of it. But now your“ strength is compared with his future. With all his ad- perfectly renewed.” You are " for ever with vantages here, a voice perpetually cries in the Lord.” You " serve him day and night his ears,
“ Arise and depart; for this is not in his temple; and shall go no more out”your rest.” However favourable the voyage, you have the keeping of the Sabbath which they are now on the boisterous, treacherous remains for the people of God." ocean; they are looking out for their native Such is the blessing. Let us consider, II. shore; and by-and-by they will enter the har- THE STATE OF MIND IN WHICH WE SHOULD bour—" then are they glad because they are REGARD IT-Let us therefore “fear, lest, a quiet; so he bringeth them into their desired promise being left us of entering into his rest, haven.” At death we are told the righteous any of you should seem to come short of it." and the merciful enter into rest. And this But what is this fear? rest is pure, undisturbed, and everlasting. It is not the fear of the sluggard dismayed
They shall rest from “ their labours.” by difficulties, and crying, There is a lion Though all activity, they shall be incapable in the way, I shall be slain in the streets.” of fatigue and languor, for their powers will Such a man will be sure to come short. The be fully equal to their work. “Repentance fearful are to have “their part in the lake shall be hid from their eyes." Their praying that burneth with fire and brimstone, which days will be all over. It shall never more be is the second death." said to them, “Be patient in tribulation;" or Nor is it the fear of the unbeliever, who “ fight the good fight of faith.” Without were suspects that the promise shall not be accomfightings, and within were fears: but they plished; for there is not the least ground for are for ever ended. Darkness no longer strug- such an apprehension: because "faithful is gles with light; or faith with unbelief. “The he that hath promised, who also will do it." flesh no longer lusteth against the Spirit, nor This fear prevailed in the Jews, and excluded the Spirit against the flesh.” They are deli- them from the land of Canaan. They thought vered from all the temptations which were God had undertaken more than he could perso often ensnaring or distressing them here. form: they asked, “Can he furnish a table in “ There the wicked cease from troubling, and the wilderness ?" they said, “ The people are there the weary are at rest. “And there too strong for us:" and thus despairing, they shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor murmured to return. Let us guard against crying, neither shall there be any more pain, this fear, and be fully persuaded that what for the former things are passed away.” And God has promised he is able to perform; and nothing remains of their trials, but a grateful that, difficult, or even impossible as it may remembrance of the hand that sustained them appear in our eyes to bring a guilty, depraved, under all their difficulties, and delivered them helpless sinner to glory—if he has undertaken from all their grief.
it, he will perfect that which concerneth us. The Apostle therefore, to express heaven, But the fear here enjoined is a fear of cauoften uses the word rest. And it is observa- tion; of vigilance; of scrutiny; a fear which ble that he employs two allusions to enable leads us to examine ourselves; and allows us us to conceive of it the more clearly: the in this awful concern to be satisfied with noone taken from Canaan, in which the Jews thing less than evidence: a fear that induces