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Likewise reckon ye yourselves to be dead indeed unto sins but alive unto God through Jesus Christ....Rom. vi. 11.
There is a death in sin which we are all naturally under. There is a death For sin; this our dear Saviour (we can never think of it too much, nor mention it too often) suffered for on the tree. And there is a death unto sin, which every believing member of Jesus partakes of, by virtue of union to him. For when Jesus died: for sin on the cross, all his members were mystically considered in hím, and dying in him, as their covenant head and representative, unto sin. And, by communion with Jesus, the same Spirit which raised up Jesus the head, dwells in the mortal bodies of his believing members, quickening them to newness of life. From hence the apostle would have such reckon, infer, or conclude themselves “to be dead indeed unto sin.” And on the same account, and for the same reason, “ alive unto God, through Jesus Christ.”
Now, believer, how dost thou reckon, reason, and conclude of thy spiritual estate? because thou dost not find all sin dead in thee, but feelest the motions of sin stirring and raging for the mastery over thee, dost thou from hence judge of thy state, and conclude thou hast not the faith of God's elect? Alas! this will distress thy soul, weaken thy confidence of faith, administer life and vigour to thy sing and lusts, and bring death upon thy spiritual life of comfort, love, and holiness. The word of God is the only rule of our faith; by that we are to determine of our state. Though sin be alive in thee, yet thou art to reckon thyself dead to that, so as to have nothing to do with it." Though thou groanest under “a body of death,” yet thou art to conclude thyself “ alive unto God through Jesus Christ." Reckon thyself dead to that sin of sins, UNBELIEF. This is the life of all other sins. Be deaf to its reasonings, dead to its pleas. Both dishonor thy Lord, and rob thy soul of its comfort.
Here is the mystery of faith. This is to be held in a pure conscience. There is a freedom from sin; of access to God with boldness, Here is the victory of saints. Here is the triumph of truth against all our enemies, to the death of sin and the life of holiness. Hence, through the Spirit of truth springs our daily comfort, continued growth in grace, in the knowledge of Jesus, and in personal holiness of life and conversation.
Do we not know that solemn word, So from the grave did Christ arise,
No more let sin and satan reign
Over our mortal flesh again;
For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God
by the death of his Son, much more being reconciled, we . shall be saved by his life.n.Rom. v. 10.
NEAR twenty years ago, upon hearing a certain preacher vehemently assert, “that souls might be justified by faith in Jesus, and yet afterwards burn in hell," my soul was brought into great darkness, perplexity, and distress. Glory to my dear Lord,' by this very text he again restored light, peace, and joy to my soul, and clearly taught and comfortably established me in the scriptural doctrine of the certain perseverance of all God's saints to eternal glory. I record this to the praise of our dear Lord, and to the comfort of his people.
"If when we were enemies :”....to whom? Our worst foe, satan? No: but to our best friend, God: the God of our salvation ; to Jesus our God and Saviour; to God the Spirit our sanctifier; to the gospel of his grace, and word of our salvation. O, what a precious word is this! reconciled to God." God in Christ was reconciled to us. O, what love and grace ever dwelt in his heart to us enemies, traitors, and rebels against him! this he manifested in reconciling us to himself. How? "By the death of his Son." O, my fellow sinners! at every step let higher wonder rise in your hearts and mine. The cross of Jesus, what hath it done for us! Jesus dying on the cross ! 0, what hath it effected in Us ! Here we view, believe, and know the love God hath to'us. This belief slays the enmity of our rebellious hearts ; bows our stubborn wills, and attracts our alienated affections. We'throw down our arms, embrace our reconciled God, desire for ever to cease all hostility against him. «Much more being reconciled” to God's purposes, providence, and grace ; his way of salvation by his Son Jesus, submitting to his righteousness for justification, to his sceptre to be governed, to his Spirit to be led, and to his gospel to be saved and ruled. What then ? Being
g thus reconciled, may we not be cast off at last, and burn in hell for ever? Yes, if Jesus can die, perish, and be annihilated; but not otherwise. For, “how much more shall we be saved by his life !". By faith we receive the atonement of his death. This is the life of our souls. By his life of intercession for us, we are as safe and as sure of glory, 'as though we were already seated in the heavenly mansions : unless Christ shed his blood in vain, God reconciles us to himself in vain; our faith is vain ; the work of God's Spirit is in vain; and all the promises of God are in vain, and of no effect. But all this is utterly impossible. God's purpose according to election shall stand, not of works, but of him who calleth....Rom ix. 11.
He shall glorify me..John xvi, 14,
'The gospel of Jesus is suited to our indigent state and distressed circumstances ;. but we are averse to receive the truth in the love of it, because of our lofținess of Spirit and pride of heart. A system that tends to exalt and glorify us in our own eyes and in the sight of others, we are naturally very fond of. This notion sticks close to us, we do not easily part with it. To imagine ourselves possest of some inherent good dispositions and amiable tempers, which put us upon more respectable terms in the sight of God, and gain his favor, this we are apt to mistake for the work of the Spirit upon the heart, But as this notion leads from the faith and hope of the gospel, opposeth the glory of Jesus, lays another foundation than that which God bath laid, and tends to plume the creature with pride and vanity, we are taught to reject it as a spirit of Antichrist and delusion. This God severely reproves his church of old for; “Thou didst trust in thine, own beauty and playedst the harlot, because of thy renown.".... Ezek. xvi. 15. But the blessed Spirit, who effects the marriage, union between the Lamb and his bride, doth nothing upon the heart that it should trust in, so as to attract the affections from Jesus, or to produce incontinency of behaviour to our rightful Lord. No: "the Spirit shall glorify, not himself as the agent, not yourselves as the subject of his operations, bụt he shall glorify me,” saith Jesus, in your sight, heart, and affections. He shall bear witness to my per, son and offices of the relation I stand in to you; that justification is solely by my righteousness, atonement for your sins by my own sacrifice, and pardon of them by my blood : that I am your priest, 'ever before the throne, representing your persons, and pleading your cause. So shall you find peace in me, live daily upon me, and rejoice only in me.
Thus by this work of the Spirit, Christ alone is exalted and glori. fied ; our hearts comforted in truth, and sanctified in love, to the honor and service of our heavenly King. Thus, to them that believe, Jesus is precious; because we see the Father's love centre in him, and diffusing itself through his pierced heart to ours, by the Holy Ghost given to us. Hence we become alive in our spirits and affections to God, and dead to self-seeking, self-righteous, self-glorying views. We die daily to carnal lusts and corrupt affections, which we know tend to dishonor our dear Lord, are contrary to his will, degrade our souls, and rob us of sweet, heart-felt communion with him. The more Jesus is thus glorified, and we abide in him, so much the more are we enabled to bring forth the fruits of the Spirit to the praise and glory of him. “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”....Rom. viii. 14.
Who maketh thee to differ from another?.... 1 Cor. iv. 7. i
• PERHAPS few will reply, in the very words of a haughty Arminian, « I of myself, made myself to differ; since I could resise God and divine pre-determination, but have not. Why then may I not glory in myself?" Yet such' is the language of all our proud hearts by nature, we are so fond of vain-glory. :Awful declaration of out Lord's! « Every idle word that men shall 'speak, they shall give an account of in the day of judgment.” Who then 'can be saved? I humbly conceive these idle words imply proud, self-righteous, self sufficient words, maliciously spoken in contempt of the sovereign distinguishing grace of God, free justification by the righteousness of Jesus, and full: salvation by his finished work ONLY. So Muk iii. 13...“ Your words have been stout against me, saith the Lord.'' The whole of that in Matt. xii. seems to prove this sense, and the context confirms it...." By thy words thou shalt be justified." i. ei By the confession of thy mouth, arising from the belief of thy heart of salvation by grace, through the Son of God, thou shalt be justified: " and by thy words thou shalt be condemned." i. e. Thy' words betray the pride and unbelief of thy heart, in not submitting to the sovereignty of God's grace and free salvation by his beloved Son For this thou shalt be condemned. By' line upon line, and precept upon precept the Holy Ghost testifies of, exalts and glorifies the Lord Jesus, as all our salvation, and beateth down all self-confidences and all self-glorying.' . ..'.;""
Yet we dáre not deny what the Holy Spirit hath done in our hearts. By this we differ from others, and are distinguished from our former selves, when in our natural state of pride. But this is all of the sovereign grace of God. Hence we are made to differ as to our SPEECH. We dare not speak of ourselves but as poor sinners, who never have, nor never could do anything to make ourselves differ in state or in practice. We are made to differ in JUDGMENT. We no longer set our dear Saviour at nought, or soʻlightly esteem the love of God as to think we can gain an interest in Jesus, and procure a title to God's favor by our own works. But we firmly believe “God HATH made us accepted in the beloved, to the praise of the glory of his grace."....Eph. i. 6. Hence our AFFECTIONs are turned to God in Christ by the power of the Spirit; Jesus is the delight of our souls and the glory of our hearts. He is to us the chiefest among ten thousand, and altogether lovely. His love, person, offices,, and work, so enamour our souls and endear him to our hearts, that we are continually longing to KNOW HIM more. Also, our PRACTICE is hereby influenced to hate and forsake the trifling conversation, the vain' amusements, sinful vanities of a wicked' world. “For our fellowship is with the Father and his Son Jesus. Christ.”.... 1 John i. 3.
For all the promises of God in him are yea, und in him, Amen, unto the glory of God by us....2 Cor. i. 20.
THROUGH the workings of our carnal frames, it is natural to us all to seek comfort from legal work, instead of gospel promises. When a poor
sinner is taught by man to believe, “unless he performs the condition, he cannot receive the blessing of the promise :" from this mistaken notion he labours and toils for a season, but finding himself unable to reduce the doctrine to practice, he sits down in dejection, and gives up all hope of mercy in this way. This will always be the case where sincerity is not suffered to give way to self-deceit. But when the sun of righteousness ariseth with glory on the sou), these mists of ignorance flee away. When the freelove of the everlasting covenant is made manifest to a sinner's heart, by the Spirit, he cries out in wonder, and ecstacy, “ This is all my salvation and all my desire.” When by faith he beholds Jesus the surety of the covenant, sees all the promises of life and salvation center in him, Jesus becomes the hope of his soul, and the promise, the joy of his heart.
Blessed be God for a precious Christ, precious promises, and precious faith. What could our God do more? What could he give more to his people than what he hath graciously done for them, and freely given to them? Disciple, wherefore dost thou doubt? Why art thou reading a gloomy lecture over thy fallen state? Why sitting with folded hands and dejected look, because thou feelest the corrupt workings of thy sinful flesh? What have thy legal thoughts brought forth but that black monster, UNBELIEF? This dares to gainsay the truths of God, deny his promises, set the Saviour at nought, and rob him of his glory. What! because thou canst not find nor feel any thing in thyself to deserve God's love, or for which he should make one promise of mercy, wilt thou therefore conclude against the greatness of his love and freeness of his promises ? Yea, but it is for that very reason, because thou hast nothing in thyself but sin and misery, thy God will have all the glory of his own grace in saving thy soul, according to his promise in Christ Jesus. The Lamb, who spilt his blood for sin, who hath righteousness for the naked, and a tongue to plead the cause of the destitute, has all the promises in his hands, to bestow the blessing of them on his needy members. Therefore out of his fulness we receive, and grace for grace. So the Holy Spirit giveth us to believe and come to the inexhaustible fulness of Jesus for our every supply. Here we may fix our faith, and in the assurance of truth be confident we shall want nothing. For this very end is connected with our comfort, “ the glory of God." Therefore every promise of grace here and glory hereafter are sure: YEA and AMEN, so be it: according to God's purpose and grace in Christ Jesus....2 Tim. i. 9.