Sidor som bilder

ourselves unto God as those who are FRUIT IS UNTO HOLINES8. All that alive from the dead. “I beseech you,” | arises out of it is beautiful and pure. says Paul-and those to whom he We may take an illustration from wrote did it-“I beseech you, there the converse-" Their vine is of the fore, brethren, by the mercies of God, vine of Sodom, and of the fields of that ye present your bodies a living | Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, of gall, their clusters are bitter : which is your reasonable service.” This their wine is the poison of dragons, is the junction when a man's security and the cruel venom of asps.” This is becomes plain and incontestable—when the effect of the principles of wicked a man's happiness becomes elevated, men. This is ugliness and bitterness, intellectual, and strong-when he is and the mischief of their conduct and devoted to God-when he has to say, their actions : and as opposed to these, I am no longer my own, I am God's there are the fruits of righteousness. when he asks what is the will of God Not half so beautiful to the eye, so -when he looks up to heaven ex- pleasant to the mind are the citron, the claiming, what wilt thou have me to melon, the clusters of the grape, or the do?-looks to his word, and then finds fairest fruit that ever bloomed even in out what are the paths of duty, and Eden itself, as those lovely principles what are the points of obligation, and of grace and holiness which arise out conscientiously attends to them. I of the power of the gospel in the mind

This moral revolution in your in of man. They are called the “ fruits ward principles may take place with of the Spirit.” They are, “ Love"out any change whatever in your out what is so beautiful, so tranquil, so ward circumstances. You may be the pure, so sparkling, so brilliant, so crysvery same persons, in the same places, | tal, as celestial love, shining in a man's doing the same things in the one case, nature, glistening in a man's eye-love irrespective of God and his will, hav- to God, and to his fellow men "Love, ing no regard for his authority; and in joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, the other case, doing the very same goodness, faith,”-that is, an habitual things, and being spontaneously and recognition of the divine Providencepowerfully moved by the energy of his “ meekness, temperance." These are grace. O to be servants of God, and the fruits. to persist in his service to the end of Allow me to add, that no principles life. For, as we do not live unto our- but those of the gospel will produce selves, so do we neither die unto our- living, blooming, beautiful fruits. selves; but whether living or dying There may be dry, dull, shrivelled mowe are the Lord's.

ralities without grace, but no fruits in If you awake, and arise, in order the scriptural sense of that expression. to effect this-if what I am saying Let me call upon you to cultivate your shall become fact, and not statement hearts and minds--to attend to your if it be exemplified in you, there will own condition—to aim after these be resistance, there will be opposition. fruits, that they may be brought to You must do it with might, and de ripeness and maturity. “They shall cision, and steadfastness, against your still bring forth fruit in old age; they remaining corruptions, against the shall be fat and flourishing; to show temptations of the devil, and the frowns that the Lord is upright : he is my or blandishments of the world. There rock, and there is no unrighteousness are the strongest reasons why you in him.” If you have the fruit of holi. should do so; and nothing will yieldness upon you-if these clusters shine you satisfaction at the last, unless you and brighten around your persons, and receive Christ's righteousness, be made are there for moral ornament and spiri. free from sin, and become the servants tual decoration-what is to be done with of the living God. You brought no- you? Are you in that state fit for perthing into the world, and you will dition? Can you in that condition be carry nothing out of it: you will leave sent down into hell? What could you every thing behind, except your moral do there? On the other hand, are you principles, except your religious state not prepared for entering into, and as you stand before God.

shining among the immortalities of Then, if we are his servants, the heaven." So it is said, “ The fruit is

[ocr errors]

unto holiness, and the end everlasting of things visible—then he is one of the

persons whom the Apostle Peter deTHE END. Every thing is as the scribes as “blind- not seeing afar off” end is. If it were so that the path -making his calculations just for the of religion were one dark, full of thorns, small circumference of his present of hinderances and difficulties, and being, and not making his calculations that the end were glory, every wise for the whole course and career of his man would walk in it. But it is a way | existence. Is not this man a fool? O of pleasantness and a path of peace. brethren, let there come into your calOn the other hand, if the way of irre culations not only the life that now is, ligion and vice were a way of gladness, but the glory that is to be revealed. of heyday and joyousness, without Be you ready to say, I aspire after interruption and without a cloud, the everlasting life I desire to be free. O, end being despair and death, none but the desire of spiritual freedom is the a fool -I repeat it-none but a fool, first ray of actual emancipation upon deliberately captivated and led away by the soul. If you call out upon Christ foolishness, would choose to walk in he will make you free, and you shall it. It is not, however, so : there is a be free indeed ; and your fruit shall be conscience resisting-an inward, trou- unto holiness, and the end everlasting bled, insecure mind, at every step of life. O that you were charmed with the progression. But the end of the the loveliness, the dignity, the sanctity, way of religion is everlasting life-life the tranquilness, and the pleasantness in its highest perfection-life in its re- of a life devoted to God. Depend on splendency-life in its power and per- it, brethren-and our experience day petuity-life in the midst of loving and by day, and year by year, confirms it glorified friends in the presence of more and more-that the vanity, the Deity for ever. This is the end. vexation, the poverty, the troubles of

I only add, that that man, be he man are found as he prizes this world, who he may, who is making his calcu. and the world only. His everlasting lations only for the life that now is- blessedness is found in the freedom he may be moral and honest, but he which is through Christ-in the fruit may be covetous and a worldling, hav- which is unto holiness in the end ing his affections centered in the midst which is everlasting life.

A Sermon


2 Cor. iii. 6.-" The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

It is a solemn consideration to those tion for the faithful minister-comfort, who preach the gospel, and should be because he knows that the result of a solemn consideration to those who his preaching, however unfavourable hear it, that it can neither be preached in relation to man, is yet approved by nor heard without an important and God; that while teaching with fidelity determinate effect. It may, not un- and sincerity he is always a sweet saaptly, be compared to a potent me- vour to Christ-humiliation, because dicine, the result of which must either the consequences of his ministry may, be to restore health, or to destroy life. ' in some instances, be diametrically “ We are unto God,” declares St. opposed to his desires and his prayers. Paul, “a sweet savour of Christ, in But he is not the only person who them that are saved, and in them that has an interest in this. Here also ought perish: to the one we are the savour to be an impressive and awful admoof death unto death; and to the other nition to the hearers : they, too, ought the savour of life unto life.” Here, to consider that the very ministry that then, is at once comfort and humilia- is acceptable to God, and approved by him, may be ot themselves the “sa. | Would he enjoin an obedience which, vour of death unto death." How far from its very nature, could not be a the peculiar manner in which the prompt and cheerful obedience? Now, preacher may be led to develope the these are questions that can only be mysteries of the gospel, can be instru- answered from scripture: and conmental to the one result or to the other, sulting, therefore, that infallible source must necessarily be known only to of information, we find that it pleased God: but the idea of the bare possi. God to institute, for the guidance of bility was enough to make even the his chosen people, a law which, at the Apostle ask, “Who is sufficient for time of its institution, was not inthese things?" Well, therefore, may tended to be permanent, and therefore we echo his question who cannot hope was not made perfect. The reason of to share in the unspeakable blessing of this is sufficiently obvious. All the his inspiration from above.

types, and figures, and rites, and ceThe reason of this awful difference remonies of the Mosaic law, had relain the effect of that gospel which was tion to the divine promise of a deliverer, preached by Paul-and which we, fol- and tended to cherish and support the lowing his steps, would also desire to interest and anxiety which already preach-in its very nature is composed prevailed as to the fulfilment of that of two parts—the letter and the spirit; promise. Every victim slain by the the results of which, when one is con priests in the temple, was a lively sidered apart from the other, are es-symbol of that Lamb which should sentially different : “the letter killeth, hereafter be slain as the atonement for but the spirit giveth life.” It shall, the sin of the world. But when the therefore, be the object of the present Lamb of God had been actually offered, discourse to point out, and to illustrate, the office of the high priest became the difference between the letter and absolutely nugatory and superfluous. the spirit of the New Testament–to“ But Christ being come an High show in what sense the one killeth, Priest of good things to come, by a and the other giveth life. May we be greater and more perfect tabernacle, enabled, by divine grace, to contem not made by hands, that is to say, not plate the subject with an attention and of this building ; neither by the blood concern, in some degree proportionate of goats and calves, but by his own to the high and important interests blood he entered at once into the holy which it involves; that ourselves may place, having obtained eternal redempbe led, by the teaching of the spirit, to tion for us." Christ thus became the find in the gospel “the savour of life High Priest of his people, as well as unto life.”

the victim for them : and “there being By the term “letter" the apostle a change of the priesthood, there is here primarily intends the Mosaic dis- made of necessity a change also of the pensation, with its two-fold law, the law.” Now, the part of the law which moral and the ceremonial—a law in was abrogated by the offering of Christ, itself holy, just, and good, but yet was that which is here termed the comprehending so many rites, sacri- | letter that killeth ;and in its room was fices, and ordinances, that the observ- substituted the spirit that giveth life.ance became difficult and painful in The law of Moses with its ordinances the extreme. It was even termed by of divine service, with its tabernacle, St. Peter, in a public address to the the shew-bread, and the ark of the Hebrews, “a burden which neither we covenant, and the miraculous budding nor our fathers were able to bear." rod of Aaron, and the tables of the But it may, perhaps, be objected, this covenant, and every other appendage law was of divine institution; it was to its solemn and stately service, was delivered by the Almighty himself, henceforth to be set aside and superspeaking with lightnings and thun- seded by Him, to whom all these had ders, and the voice of words, from related, and in whom they had been Mount Sinai: and would he, who all fulfilled. This position is fully knew the nature and capacities of man, maintained and vindicated by St. Paul institute a law that was not adapted to in the Hebrews, that “if the first both ? Would he require more from covenant had been faultless, then men than they were able to render should no place have been sought for the second :” but, on the other hand, that represents perfect acceptance and that when God speaks of “a new co eternal salvation to be conditional on venant he hath made the first old; our own performances. That there are and that which decayeth and waxeth several passages of the divine oracles old is ready to vanish away."

which, taken by themselves and apart Accordingly“ the letter that killeth" from the context, seem to favour this may here be so used concerning the doctrine, cannot be denied. But if old law; and it is so termed because it scripture alone be the safe interpreter was in itself at no time capable of be- of scripture and we can only hope to stowing or imparting life. It stood arrive at any result by comparing spionly “in meats and drinks and carnal ritual things with spiritual-then will ordinances, imposed on them till the it follow, that the whole tenor and tentime of reformation.” It made no-dency of the Old and New Testament thing perfect-neither the atonement (and more especially the latter) is difor sin, nor the essential qualifications rectly opposed to such a notion. But for a holy life, as pertaining to the why, you will say, why do we call this conscience. “ It could not make him doctrine “the letter that killeth ?” that did the sacrifice holy,” saith St. Because it beguiles man from the only Paul. Did he seek an assurance that path of salvation by leading him to he was delivered from the curse and attempt what is impossible-the espenalty of sin? How could sin be tablishment of a righteousness of his taken away by the blood of bulls or of own, which shall endure the scrutiny goats? How could the dark catalogue of God. Now if ever human being of his transgression be obliterated by could lay claim to self-righteousness it the blood of a carnal victim? The was the apostle Paul; and yet he exvirtue and efficacy of the law lay, from pressly disclaims and discards it: "Not the very commencement, in him whom | having my own righteousness, which it represented and typified. Those, is of the law, but that which is through therefore, who continued, after the death and satisfaction of Christ, to This doctrine again is called “the act as ministers of the ceremonial law, letter that killeth,” because it tends did, in reality, proclaim nothing more directly to overthrow that which God than “the letter that killeth." They has appointed to be the only propitiadirected the very law that condemned tion for sin—the atoning sacrifice of themselves; for it is written, “ Cursed the Lord Jesus. If man could have is every one that continues not in all wrought out his own salvation, there things that are written in the law to would have been no necessity whatever do them.” We do not mean to affirm for that signal act of divine power, by that those who did this ignorantly, which salvation has been effectually and in unbelief, were necessarily con- accomplished. Why should God have demned themselves, or made the means done for man-and that too at such a of condemnation to others. We only price-what man was capable of doing affirm that while they put the sign for for himself. But what the law could the thing signified—the type for the not do—not even in an Abraham, a antitype-the sacrifice which, though Moses, or a David," what the law offered, could not take away sin, for could not do, in that it was weak the one great, costly, and inestimable, through the flesh, God sending his sacrifice they were the blind leading own son in the likeness of sinful flesh, the blind; and it was the mercy of condemned sin in the flesh; that the God if both did not fall into the ditch, righteousness of the law may be fuland there be smothered and suffocated filled in us who walk not after the by the mire of human wisdom and flesh, but after the spirit.” self-righteousness; as they must have You will observe, then, brethren, been, unless they had been extricated that the letter of the law is, Do this by Him who is the mediator established and live the man that doeth them upon better promises.

shall live in them. But you have the It is, however, in a different sense testimony of your own conscious exthat the words must be applied to perience, that in time past you have ourselves. By “the letter that killeth," not done them; and you have the eviwe are now to understand a doctrine dence of your own full and decided

conviction, that for the time to come human nature to be cherished, nor its you cannot do them-not, at least, in conceit to be fostered, by resting satissuch a manner as to be acquitted by fied with the “letter that killeth.” Do your judge; for all manner of sin, even not flatter yourselves with the hope of deviations in thought and word, as being able to render by your utmost well as in act, are forbidden by the exertions, so effectual and so meritolaw. And who can say, “I have tious an obedience to the divine law, made my heart clean ; I am pure from that you shall be admitted as a joint my sin?" How, then, if you adhere agent with Christ in the great work of to the letter of the law, are you to live, salvation. Nay, more, do all that you if you cannot do this which is the very can, you can never do enough. But condition of life? It would be mere never let your opinion of what you do mockery and delusion if we were to rise blind you to a sense of your own unup in this sacred place, sabbath after profitableness. sabbath, and exhort you to practise this. It is the privilege of the most pious and the other virtue, and to abstain Christians who adorn the church, from this and the other evil, and then that God shall not enter into judgment to tell you that the recompense of so with them, if they serve him in the doing, or so abstaining, would be ever- unity of the spirit, not in the oldness of lasting life. You know, while we speak the letter. But they are no longer to you, you cannot do it: you may under “ the letter that killeth,” but succeed to a certain degree, but you " under the spirit that giveth life.” never can entirely. One may cut down into this we are to examine in the weeds as soon as they appear above second place WHAT IS “ THE SPIRIT the face of the ground; but their roots THAT GIVETH LIFE?" are still hidden beneath the soil, and The word here translated “ giveth they will you know they will-spring life,” is elsewhere rendered “ quickup, and gather vigour and strength, you eneth :” as in the twenty-first verse of scarcely know when or how, not only the fifth chapter of John, where we without your consent, but almost with read, “ As the Father raiseth up the out your consciousness.

dead, and quickeneth them; even so Besides, the religion of the scriptures the Son quickeneth whom he will." does not enjoin perfection in a single in both passages, and in all others point. It is not one virtue only you where it occurs, it obviously means the are to practise it is not one evil habit communication of life, whether bodily from which you are to refrain-it is or spiritual, to those who were not not one holy disposition you are to before possessed of it, to those who cultivate—it is a union and combina- were corporeally or spiritually dead. tion of them all. You must add to Nor is it a merely figurative expression faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to when we say of a worldly person, that knowledge temperance, to temperance he is “ dead in trespasses and sins :" patience, to patience godliness, to god for there is an exact analogy between liness brotherly kindness, and to bro- the bodily and spiritual life; each has therly kindness charity. “ For if these its own proper functions, without things be in you and abound,” says which it cannot be continued; each the Apostle-what then? do they has its peculiar maladies, by which its constitute a claim of acceptance before operation is impeded, and its very exGod? No; they only prove this—that istence brought into peril. One imyou are “neither barren nor unfruitful portant point of difference may indeed in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus be traced between the bodily and the Christ.” What, then, is the legitimate spiritual life; it is this that the man inference but this—that the knowledge in whom bodily life is extinct cannot of our Lord Jesus Christ is, in reality, be re-animated without a miracle, such the source of all those graces and dis- | as we have no warrant nor authority positions which adorn the true be- now for expecting ; but he who is desliever, and cause him to shine forth titute of spiritual life may be made conspicuously among the mere men of sensible of his condition, and be sti. the world, like a city set on a hill, mulated to an effort to be delivered which cannot be hid.

from it. And this is of frequent, we Do not, then, suffer the pride of may say, of daily occurrence. Where

« FöregåendeFortsätt »