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possibly desire. Let them prevail with you, during this your day, to confess, and forsake every besetting sin, and to “ draw near with “ a true heart, in full assurance of faith,” (Heb. x. 22.) unto God.
ROMANS xiii. 14.
Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ. It is somewhat remarkable, that the same Apostle, who wrote thus to the Romans, hath written, in his third chapter to the Galatians, “ As many of you as have been baptized into “ Christ, have put on Christ.” However, St. Paul probably did not intend to describe the Galatians, as living more in agreement with the gospel, than the Romans; he merely designed to say-Having been baptized into Christ, you are, of course, professing, or owning yourselves obliged to have put Him on, and to be walking after His example. Such ground he took with them on this point, for argument's sake, and to avoid breaking the thread of his discourse. But, to them at Rome he chose otherwise to write “ Put ye on the Lord Jesus 6 Christ;" since it had not escaped his notice, that many, who had been baptized into Him, were apt to fail of duly performing their obligations.
Now, in both these ways, with an almost equal propriety, may Christians of the present day be addressed. It is, indeed, more common at the present, than it was formerly, to see persons, who have been baptized into Christ, and who yet have not, in any becoming degree, put Him on.
In former times, it behoved no one to enrol himself amongst Christians, who would not follow Christ even unto prison and to death; whereas with us it is an ordinary custom, and rather than not for our worldly advantage, to have been baptized into Him, and to have assumed His name. Hence, they are greatly increased, who, after this good beginning, have scarcely endeavoured, or so much as seriously purposed, to adopt a suitable behaviour and consequently, a minister of Christ at this time, should be most frequent in exhorting to put Him on.
Nevertheless, it may sometimes be of use to address Christians at large, as St. Paul addressed the Galatians, on the supposition that they have put on Christ. Hardly by any other method, can a stronger reproof be inflicted on the negligent. They are made by it to see themselves worse than one may, without giving offence, declare them to be. Also, they are strongly excited to set about reforming their lives, while they seem to be standing fair with their Christian neighbours, and still to be regarded not as men of a decidedly negligent and refuse character.
I design, my brethren, on this opportunity, to explain the meaning of the exhortation in my text, and the strong obligations, which we all are under, to comply with it.
First then; you can hardly be without some apprehension, although perhaps without an adequate one, of the Apostle's meaning. “ Put ye “ on the Lord Jesus Christ,” is a figure of speech, representing to us our heavenly Master's conduct in the light of a garment : it is in fact to say-Let the most holy example of his Saviour Christ be unto every one of you “ as the cloke that he hath upon him, and as “ the girdle that he is alway girded withal.” Now, we are used, before putting on any new garment, to put off our corresponding old one; or, to adopt one of our Lord's parables, spoken by Him on a somewhat different topic, no discreet person, consulting either appearance or utility, will insert a new piece in an old garment; since it is impossible that they should ever firmly be united, and assort well together. Accordingly, the precept before us implies, that we should first discard whatever about us is inconsistent with Christ's example.
“ The old “man"-our sinful nature inherited from Adam, which is corrupt, and full of deceitful lusts must in the outset be put off, or laid aside. In order worthily to embrace the gospel of the Lord Jesus, you must “ renounce the Devil, and “ all his works, the pomps and vanities of this “ wicked world, and all the sinful lusts of the “ flesh :" with a view properly to put on His character, you must “put off anger, wrath, malice, “ blasphemy, evil speaking, inordinate affection, "evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is
idolatry.” (Col. iii. 5, 8, 9.) All these common, but decidedly corrupt, habits are to be cast away, and every other habit is to be chastened, and corrected, and brought within bounds, before you can properly do the thing commanded, or be fit to array yourselves in Christian virtues. Assuredly, Christ will not be worn as a covering over our old sins, nor will His righteousness at all consist with the ungodly manners, which naturally characterize, and adhere to flesh and blood.
Put off therefore (let me urge) all the abovenamed unbecoming habits, preparatory to putting on that which is required. Since you have long ago professed to put them off, take heed to such your profession, and make it good. To adopt the words and method of St. Paul on this point also, “ seeing that ye have put off the old “ man with his deeds," be not still wearing, nor entangled in them. But rend them from