Page images


welfare and happiness, “put ye on the Lord 66 Jesus Christ.” Consider, a moment, how great is the bodily refreshment, when a man, heavy laden, or fatigued with labour, disencumbers, and shakes himself from the dust, and changes his old and stained garments for clean

Immediately he becomes in a great measure at ease from his late toil, and in a manner revived to enter (if need be) on another course: he is prepared to "run anew, and not be weary, “ to walk, and not faint.” Equally great is the refreshment to a man's spirit, when he hath cast off the burden of his iniquity, and hath exchanged his old-accustomed sinful habits, his long-worn prejudices, and natural covering of unrighteousness, wherein he hath been labouring many days and years, for the “ fine linen, “ clean and white,” the purity, and holy and charitable conversation, which adorned his Redeemer in the world. From being heated by intemperance, or vain exertions, and agitated by violent passions, and vexed and harrassed by tormenting anxieties and disappointments, the man who hath put on Christ, is rendered comparatively calm and moderate, and of a sound mind. Still, indeed, He may be sometimes troubled, and perplexed, and afraid, but not overcome, or greatly confounded, or in despair. The life of Jesus, made manifest in his flesh, imparts to him an enduring composure and strength. He is thence enabled to possess his soul in hope and patience, during the hardest imaginable trials, and evermore to experience the truth of that gracious invitation and promise, which Jesus himself delivered, persuading men to seek the relief which He would dispense to them—“Come unto me, all

ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I “ will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, “ and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in “ heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls." (Matthew xi. 28, 29.) According to this, it will evidently behove us, to come unto the Lord Jesus Christ, and to put Him on, for the attainment of spiritual consolation and repose.

However, men will not always do what they ought, even for their own benefit, without being in a manner constrained and compelled to it. Some are of such a slothful and perverse temper, that they will rather remain unadorned, and in their unseemly habits of a corrupt life and conversation, even until death and judgment, than set about properly to order, and refresh themselves, and put on the new and goodly raiment provided for them. Let me, therefore, further prove it a duty, to perform the injunction which has been explained.

Now, a duty surely it is, and a most indis

pensable one, to put on the Lord Jesus Christ; since He hath condescended to do somewhat the like, as concerning us. Shall not we aspire to imitate His excellent goodness, who con. descended for our sake to be “found in fashion

as a man,” being mysteriously “ clothed upon” with our suffering nature ? When he was “born of the Virgin Mary” into the world, then did He so greatly condescend; then did that everlasting Son of the Father, in His own free love and pity, undertake the burden of our manifold infirmities and pains, and bear them about with Him, a number of years, going in and out amongst men. Hence, we are very strongly obliged (unless we would appear shamefully unworthy) to adopt, and constantly exhibit the righteousness and true holiness which belonged to Him. And the more, because, in putting us on, the Lord Christ greatly humbled and abased Himself; He exchanged heaven for earth, He forsook the bliss of His Father's bosom to become a man of sorrows, and to taste the bitterness of death; whereas, in putting Him on, consists our highest glory and salvation : His nature (if we will be clothed upon with it) exalts us, just as our nature, which He assumed, brought Him low. Thus we are bound, yea, and even a necessity is laid upon us, by the marvellous condescension of Jesus Christ for our great and endless benefit, to do obediently, as He hath given commandment by his Apostle. Considering this, you should account it a horrible ingratitude to withstand Him. Also, Christians should reckon themselves equally compelled by a consideration of their special circumstances and prospects; “ Ye are come,” says the Apostle to the Hebrews, “unto the city of the living God, and “ to an innumerable company of angels, to the

general assembly and church of the first-born, “ which are written in heaven, and to God, the “Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made

perfect, and to Jesus the Mediator of the new

covenant.” (Hebrews xii. 22, 23, 24.) May any one so situated-called a citizen of the heavenly Jerusalem, and consequently a member of such an excellent society-refuse to put on the appointed vestment ? Verily not, except he would be cast out with indignation, as a presumptuous, and an unqualified intruder. In order to secure his welcorne there, a man must neither be in his old sins, nor, having laid them aside, in a state of nakedness, or unadorned; but he must have on him the proper robe. He must have diligently watched, and prayed, and endeavoured to procure and array himself therein; or he will surely find, at the last, that he hath been admitted to this high and goodly fellowship, only to be proclaimed unworthy of it, and to be driven away “ with “ everlasting contempt.” “ There shall in no “ wise enter into the Jerusalem which is above, “ to dwell there, any thing that defileth, nei“ther whatsoever worketh abomination, or “ maketh a lie ; but they which are written in “the Lamb's book of life.” (Revelation xxi. 27.) And surely, of the many who profess and call themselves Christians, they alone shall be written in that Book, who, “in much patience, “ in distresses, in labours, by pureness, by long“ suffering, by kindness, by love unfeigned, by “ the word of truth, and by the armour of “ righteousness,” (2 Cor. vi. 7.) have followed after, and in some good measure have attained, even to resemble the Lamb.

Thus, my brethren, have I endeavoured to explain what you should understand by putting on the Lord Jesus Christ; and how comfortable and indispensable it is, for all who name His name, so to do. It only remains, in a few concluding words, to mention the principal way, or means, by which you may best succeed in the attempt.

By no means, then, can one better prepare and enable himself to fulfil the injunction above explained, than by a diligent perusal of the history of Jesus Christ, on the earth. The four

« EelmineJätka »