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one is benefited by the Saviour's intercession; the other not. The one has received the Holy Ghost; the other not. The one has an experimental acquaintance with the Spirit of truth; the other scarcely “knows whether there be any Holy Ghost, ' or, if he do, he has no delight in any thing that he knows respecting him. The one has the Spirit dwelling in him as a Comforter; the other, instead of experiencing the Spirit's consolations, cannot so much as know or receive them. The one has all the persons of the ever-blessed Trinity interesting themselves in his behalf; the other has God, even the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, for his enemy. The world may ridicule these things as enthusiasm, if they will: but they are the true sayings of God. And I pray God, that these thoughts may be laid to heart by every one here present: for, as God is true, no man shall dwell with God in heaven, who has not first had the Spirit of God dwelling in him on earth 6.] See then here,
1. The importance of consistency
[A man professes to love the Saviour, and rests his pretensions on some internal feelings and conceits of his own, whilst by his life and conversation he dishonours and denies his Lord. But to every such person our Lord will say,
“Why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" Beloved brethren, whatever ye may profess, as to Christian principles, or pretend, as to Christian experience, you shall find that saying verified at the last, “ Without holiness no man shall see the Lord” - Look into the text, I pray you, and see, that our Lord gave these promises on purpose to encourage your obedience. If then you would be partakers of them, treasure them up in your minds, and say, 'How highly are we privileged! How wonderfully are we made to differ from the world around us! Is there no less than a divine Person sent down to dwell in us as our Comforter ? Have we a Comforter, whom none but a chosen few are qualified to receive? And is this marvellous gift bestowed upon us in answer to our Saviour's intercessions ? Shall we not then testify in every possible way our love to him? Has he done such things for us, unasked, and shall we not do for him the things which he commands ? This is the consistency that he requires : and this alone will be accepted as any proof of your love to him.] 2. The benefit of self-devotion
(We suppose that some of you at least are giving up yourselves to the Lord in a way of holy and unreserved
b Rom. viii. 9.
obedience: look up then to heaven, and there you may see the Saviour interceding for you. There too you may see the Holy Spirit of God just ready to come down at the very first intimation of the Father's will, to take possession of your bosom, and to make your soul his habitation. From thence will he come with all his consolations and supports, so that there shall be nothing in the whole universe able to depress you, or to stop your progress in the divine life. With him shall you enjoy the sweetest fellowship, such as no worldly man can have the least idea of; and by him you shall be progressively prepared for the enjoyment of your God in heaven. Only wait on the Saviour in the way of his appointment; and his promises shall be fulfilled to you in all their boundless extent. You have seen how they were accomplished to the Apostles, and in what felicity they issued: and to those who trust in them, not one jot or tittle of them shall ever fail.]
OUR LIFE DEPENDENT ON THE LIFE OF CHRIST.
John xiv. 19. Because I live, ye shall live also. AMONGST the various sources of consolation which our Lord opened to his Disciples, to support them under the disappointment that would be occasioned by his death, a very principal one seems to have been, that they themselves would be greatly benefited by his departure: for that he would send to them his Spirit, who should more than supply the want of his bodily presence; and that he himself would more effectually advance their eternal interests than he could do if he were to continue upon earth. He assures them, that though dead as to the body, he would still live ; and that, “ because he lived, they should live also."
From this declaration of his we shall make two inquiries; 1. What connexion has the life of Christ with his
people's lifeThose who are not altogether ignorant of Christ are yet more apt to think of him as a dying, than as a risen Saviour; whereas his life is not at all less connected with our salvation than his death.
His life is the ground and confirmation of all our hopes
(What do we most wish to be assured of, in reference to Christ? We wish to know that he was indeed the Son of God, and not a common man—that he was sent of God on purpose to redeem a ruined world—and that what he did and suffered for us has been accepted in our behalf. These are points of infinite importance, and that lie at the foundation of all our hopes. But by the resurrection of Christ they are all clearly and satisfactorily ascertained: “By that he was declared to be the Son of God with powera:” by that was the sign, which above all others he himself appealed to in proof of his divine mission, fulfilled b: and by that is the acceptance of his sacrifice made known, since the release of our Surety is an undeniable evidence that our debt is paid.
Hence the testimony borne by the Apostles to the resurrection of Christ, was considered as a complete and sufficient proof of every thing that they asserted respecting him."] It is also a pledge and earnest of all our joys
[Do we feel happiness in the thought of our being made partakers of eternal life, and in the prospect of a speedy possession of it? Behold him risen, him ascended, him seated at the right hand of God: in what capacity enjoys he all this exaltation? As a mere individual ? No: but as the Head and Representative of all his people: in his resurrection, he is “the first-fruits,” of which there remains a whole harvest to be gathered a: in his ascension, he is gone as “our Forerunner," “ to prepare a place for use:” and even enthroned as he is at the right hand of the Majesty on high, he sits not there alone ; for we, though personally on earth, are mystically “made at this very hour, to sit with him in heavenly places in Christ Jesus."
What then is his life but a pledge of ours, or rather an earnest ? since it not only assures to us a future blessedness, but is itself the very commencement of our bliss ?]
But the expression in our text intimates, that the life of Christ is not merely intimately but also inseparably, connected with the life of his people.
Let us proceed therefore to notice, JI. What security it affords them that they shall live-a Rom. i. 4. b Matt. xii. 38, 40.
c Rom. iv, 25. di Cor. xv. 20. e Heb. vi. 20. John xiv. 2. | Eph. ij. 6.
Here let it be considered how our Lord is occupied, and what he has engaged to do for his believing people :
1. He intercedes for them
[As the high-priest, after offering his sacrifice, went within the vail to sprinkle the blood upon the mercy-seat, and to burn incense before it, so did our Lord ascend to heaven on purpose to complete the work he had begun, and to offer continual intercession for us at the right hand of God. Now we are assured that “ him the Father heareth always ;” and consequently the benefits of his intercession cannot but be poured out on all his people. Hence there is peculiar stress Iaid on this act of his, as ensuring to us the benefits of his death 8. His death indeed is represented as making the atonement for our sins, and reconciling us to God; but it is his resurrection to a life of glory in heaven, that completes our justification, and perfects our salvation .] 2. He works effectually in them
[By his Spirit he yet dwells in all his saints': and he has engaged that “his grace shall be sufficient for them,” so that the weakest of them all shall be "enabled to do all things through his strength" communicated to them. It is this which renders them invincible: “their life is hid with Christ in
“ Christ himself is their life;" and therefore, when he shall appear in his glory, they will assuredly appear there with him!] 3. He will come at last, and take them to himself —
[When they shall have fought the good fight of faith, and gained the victory over all their spiritual enemies, they will not be forgotten of him: he will send his angels to bear up their spirits to the realms of bliss; and in due time he will restore also their bodies to life; that, in a re-embodied state, they may inherit the kingdom prepared for them. This assurance he gave to his Disciples in the preceding context m; and when, by that event, death shall be swallowed up in victory, then will the promise in our text be finally accomplished; and their life of grace will be completed in a life of glory.] Behold what ENCOURAGEMENT this subject affords to
1. To believe on Christ
g Heb. vii. 25. Rom. viii. 34.
i See ver. 17, 18. m ver. 3.
[Were Christ unconnected with us in his present state, we might well doubt the expediency of putting our trust in him : but when we are informed that his almighty power is always occupied in forwarding our salvation, we should instantly commit ourselves into his hands, and expect from him all that our necessities can require. Do we, as creatures dead in sin, desire life? or, as persons quickened from the dead, do we desire more life? or, being possessed of life, do we desire an assurance that we shall never lose it? Behold, Jesus, who
came that we might have life, and have it more abundantly,” meets your case with exactly such a promise as you want". Let me then put the question to you, “ Believest thou this ?" O beg of God that he would enable you so to do: say, “Lord, I believe; help thou my unbelief!"j 2. To suffer for him
[Sufferings of some kind you must expect: there is not one of his people but has some cross to bear. You will find too at times that your trials are heavy: but the heavier they are, the more will his power be magnified in you. This thought afforded inexpressible consolation to the Apostle Paul", and made him even “ take pleasure” in his multiplied afflictions P. Your enemies think little respecting Christ as actively engaged in behalf of his people : but in you they shall see his power and grace: and, whilst his death is exhibited in your sufferings, his life shall be manifested in your support. Only take the promise in the text, and you need fear nothing.) 3. To press forward for universal holiness
[You are not called to beat the air, or to engage either in an uncertain or an unproductive contest: you have a living Saviour, that is pledged both to give you the victory, and to reward your conflicts. Will you not then fight? Will you leave a sin unmortified, an enemy unsubdued? Gird you to the combat: put on the whole armour of God: quit yourselves like men: and know assuredly, that "your labour shall not be in vain in the Lord."]
n John x. 10. and xi. 25, 26. o 2 Cor. iv. 8-10.
9 2 Cor. iv, 11.
MDCLXXXIX. OBEDIENCE THE TEST OF OUR LOVE TO CHRIST. John xiv. 21. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth
them, he it is that loveth me : and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father; and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.