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own difciples, when only weak in faith, before he rofe again. But when thefe natural men, like them, have fully felt the power of his refurrection, they will then own that this doctrine is from God, and fay with the Samaritans, "Now we believe not because ❝ of thy saying," for we ourselves have experienced it in our hearts.
And O that all unbelievers, all letter-learned masters of Ifrael, who now look upon the doctrine of the power of Chrift's refurrection, or our new-birth, as an idle tale, and condemn the preachers of it as enthufiafts and madmen, did but thus feel the power of it in their fouls, they would no longer afk, how this thing could be? But they would be convinced of it as much as Thomas was, when he faw the Lord's Chrift; and like him, when Jefus bid him reach out his hands, and thrust them into his fide, in a holy confufion they would cry out, "My Lord, and my "God!"
But how fhall an unbeliever, how fhall the formal Chriftian come thus to "know Chrift, and the power " of his refurrection?" God, who cannot lie, has told us, "I am the refurrection and the life, who"foever liveth and believeth in me, though he were "dead, yet fhall he live." Again fays the apostle, "By faith we are faved, and that not of ourfelves, it "is the gift of God."
This, this is the way, walk in it. Believe and you fhall live in Chrift, and Chrift in you; you fhall be one with Chrift, and Chrift one with you. But without this, your outward goodness and profeffions will avail you nothing.
But then, by this faith we are not to understand a dead fpeculative faith, a faith in the head; but a living principle wrought in the heart by the powerful operations of the Holy Ghoft, a faith that will enable us to overcome the world and forfake all in affection for Jefus Chrift. For thus fpeaks our bleffed Mafter,
"Unless a man forfake all that he hath, he cannot "be my difciple."
And fo the apostle, in the words immediately following the text, fays, "being made conformable to "his death;" thereby implying, that we cannot know the power of Chrift's refurrection unless we are made conformable to him in his death.
This we have fhadowed out by the cuftom of baptizing by immersion in the primitive church, and (which is alfo recommended by our own) their put. ing the infants under the water, fignified their obligation to die unto fin; as their taking them out of the water, fignified their rifing again to newness of life. To which the apoftle plainly alludes, when he fays, "we are buried with him in baptism."
If we can reconcile light and darkness, heaven and hell, then we may hope to know the power of Chriff's refurrection without dying to ourselves and the world. But till we can do this, we might as well expect that Chrift will have concord with Belial.
For there is fuch a contrariety between the fpirit of this world, and the spirit of Jefus Chrift, that he who will be at friendship with the one, muft be at enmity with the other: "We cannot ferve God and "mammon."
This may, indeed, feem a hard faying; and many, with the young man in the gofpel, may be tempted to go away forrowful: but wherefore fhould this offend them? For what is all that is in the world, the luff of the eye, the luft of the flesh, and the pride of life. but vanity and vexation of spirit.
God is love; and therefore,, could our own wills, or the world, have made us happy, he never would have fent his own dear Son Jefus Chrift to die and rife again, to deliver us from the power of them. But beczule they only torment and cannot fatisfy, therefore God bids us to renounce them.
Had any one perfuaded profane Efau not to lofe
fo glorious a privilege, merely for the fake of gratifying a prefent corrupt inclination, when he faw him about to fell his birth-right for a little red pottage, would not one think that man to have been Esau's friend! And just thus ftands the cafe between God and us. By the death and refurrection of Jefus Chrift, we are new-born to an heavenly inheritance amongst all them which are fanctified; but our own corrupt wills would tempt us to fell this glorious birth right for the vanities of the world, which, like, Efau's red pottage, may please us for a while, but will foon be taken away from us. God knows this, and therefore rather bids us renounce them for a season, than for the fhort enjoyment of them lofe the privilege of that glorious birth-right, to which, by knowing the power of the refurrection of Jefus Chrift, we are entitled.
O the depth of the riches and excellency of Chriftianity! Well might the great St. Paul count all things but dung and drofs for the excellency of the knowledge of it. Well might he defire fo ardently to know Jefus, and the power of his refurrection. For even on this fide eternity it raifes us above the world, and makes us to fit in heavenly places in Chrift Jefus.
Well might that glorious company of worthies, recorded in the holy fcriptures, fupported with a deep fense of their heavenly calling, defpife the pleasures and profits of this life, and wander about in sheep fkins, and goat fkins, in dens and caves of the earth, being deftitute, afflicted, tormented.
And O that we were all like-minded! that we felt the power of Chrift's refurection as they did! How fhould we then count all things as dung and drofs for the excellency of the knowledge of Chrift Jefus our Lord! How fhould we then recover our primitive dignity, trample the earth under our feet,
aud with our fouls be continually gasping after
And what hinders but we may be thus minded? Is Jefus Chrift, our great High Prieft, altered from what he was? No, he is the fame yefterday, to day and for ever. And though he is exalted to the righthand of God, yet he is not afhamed to call us brethren. The power of his refurrection is as great now as formerly, and the Holy Spirit which was affured to us by his refurrection, as ready and able to quicken us who are dead in trefpaffes, and fins, as any faint that ever lived. Let us but cry, and that inftantly, to him that is mighty and able to fave; let us, in fincerity and truth, without fecretly keeping back the leaft part, renounce ourfeives and the world; then we fhall be Chriftians indeed. And though the world may caft us out and feparate from our company, yet Jefus Chrift will walk with, and abide in us And at the general refurrection of the laft day, when the voice bf the archangel and trump of God fhall bid the fea and the graves to give up their dead, and all nations hail appear before him, then will he confefs us before his Father and the holy angels, and we shall receive that invitation which he fhall then pronounce to all who love and fear him, "Come, ye bleffed children "of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world."
"Grant this, O Father, for thy dear Son's fake, * Jefus Chrift our Lord; to whom, with thee and the "Holy Gholl," &c.
THE INDWELLING OF THE SPIRIT, THE COMMON PRIVILEGE OF ALL BELIEVERS.
JOHN vii. 37, 38, 39
In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jefus flood, and cried, faying, If any man thirft, let him come unto me and drink. He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath faid, out of his belly fball flow river's " of living water. But this fpake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him fhould receive.
OTHING has rendered the cross of Chrift of lefs effect; nothing has been a greater fiumbling-block and rock of offence to weak minds, than a fuppofition, now current among us, that moit of what is contained in the gospel of Jefus Chrift, was defigned only for our Lord's firft and immediate followers, and confequently calculated but for one or two hundred years. Accordingly, many now read the life, fufferings, death, and refurrection of Jefus Chrift, in the fame manner as Cæfar's Commentaries, or the conquefts of Alexander are read: as things rather intended to afford matter for fpeculation, than to be acted over again in and by us.
As this is true of the doctrines of the gofpel in general, fo it is of the operation of God's Spirit upon the hearts of believers in particular; for we no iconer mention the neceflity of our receiving the Holy