« EelmineJätka »
Prostrate, then, yourselves in contrition before the throne of mercy. Ask of God that gift of his Holy Spirit which he has promised to all that seek it. Be once in earnest, and you will soon perceive the unnumbered diseases and infirmities of your soul. The aid of the Holy Ghost will then appear to you the most desirable and suitable of all blessings. What you now despise or disregard, you will then value above all price, and seek with intense solicitude. Nor shall you seek it in vain. It is the gracious office of the Holy Spirit to help your infirmities, He will condescend to teach you and to guide you in the ways of repentance, justification, holiness, obedience, and joy; he will be to you a comforter and sanctifier, will intercede in your heart here, and prepare you for eternal glory hereafter.
2 PETER, I. 4. Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and
precious promises; that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. in
The manner in which the privileges of the Christian are connected with the possession of holiness in every part of the Bible, is very remarkable. The corrupt heart of man sometimes attempts to separate the two, but the Sacred Scriptures constantly exhibit them in union with each other. The plan of salvation is altogether holy in its design and in its tendency. The death of Christ was a most solemn display of the justice and righteousness and purity of God. Repentance implies a hatred and renunciation of all sin. Faith is a spiritual and holy prin.ciple. The blessed Spirit of God is the author and source of sanctification. The commands
of God are holy, just, and good. His threatenings are designed to guard us against transgression, and to evince his abhorrence of iniquity. His promises also, as we learn in the text, are given us with the express intention of rescuing us from the corruption of the world, and making us partakers of a divine nature. This latter point is the more remarkable, because it might at first sight be thought, that the promises of God were rather calculated to promote our consolation than our obedience. But these are in fact inseparable. In communicating joy, they increase our willing subjection to the divine precepts. This will appear as we consider the passage to which our attention is now to be directed. In doing this, we shall point out,
1. The excellency of the divine promises.
We will consider,
I. THE EXCELLENCY OF THE DIVINE PROMISES.
The promises of Scripture are generally declarations which God has made of his intention to bestow blessings upon his faithful people. Under the Old Testament dispensation, to which the Apostle refers, the promises mainly related to the future advent of the Messiah. All other blessings pointed to this, or were included in it. The promises, collectively taken, were frequently spoken of as centering in Christ. To the Israelites pertained the promises. Our Lord came to confirm the promises made unto the fathers. To Abraham and his seed were the pro- . mises made. In each of these, as well as in numerous other instances, the coming of Christ, and the blessings connected with his advent, are chiefly, if not exclusively, intended. St. Peter, in our text, has an especial regard to those gracious engagements, which assured the church of the divine mercy through the advent of the Messiah, and the sacrifice and atonement he should make for sin, to those Scriptures which predicted the establishment and general diffusion of his Gospel, and described the full pardon which would flow from his sufferings and death, the larger effusion of the Holy Spirit ; the abundant measures of light, liberty, confidence, peace, holiness, and joy which would follow his resurrection; and the final extension, glory, and permanence of his kingdom. These promises were in part fulfilled by the coming of Jesus Christ, and the descent of the Holy Spirit. They included, as our Apostle speaks in the verse preceding the text, all things pertaining to life and godliness, every blessing needful for our spiritual and eternal felicity--for enabling us to act suitably to our relation and obligations to God in our passage through life, and for our attaining endless happiness in heaven ;-all the
pardon, strength, and consolation, all the instructions, motives, and encouragements, all the means, principles, and assistances which a truly godly life can require ; in a word, all the blessings of that better covenant established on better promises, which the Messiah was to introduce, and with the expectation of which the prophets had repeatedly consoled the church. . .
This Covenant is, in fact, one comprehensive promise, and contains all the provisions of God's grace, which the separate promises, whether of the old dispensation or the new, scattered throughout the Scriptures, amplify and confirm. The terms of it are these : After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts and write it in their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for they shall all know nte from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more, I will make an everlasting covenant with them that I - will not turn away from them to do them good; .but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me, Jer. xxxi, 33, 34.; xxxii. 40; Heb. viji. 6–12. So that illumination, pardon, holiness, and union with God; that is, all imaginable mercies and benefits, are