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and heavy laden,-those who feel sin a grievous burden, and long to be delivered from it, will listen to the Saviour's invitations; they will take Christ at his word; they will go to Him, assured that He does not mock men with unmeaning invitations, but that He will do unto them as He has said. I do not, however, mean to say that any human being, if left to himself, will act thus. No: such as have heard and learned of the Father, -such as have been taught and drawn of the Spirit, will come unto Christ, and will not be cast out. May a knowledge of this fact, urge all my hearers to pray earnestly, that God, for his dear Son's sake, will work in them the desire to seek the Lord, and give them the power to carry that desire into effect. Now when a man comes unto Christ, as I said before, a change takes place in his state: he is then in Christ Jesus, and consequently set free from condemnation; for there is no condemnation to them that are in Him. And is not this an acceptable change? The criminal who is lying under sentence of death, and expecting in a few brief hours to find the thread of his mortal existence rudely snapped, would hail a free pardon with unbounded delight, even were he sent forth to society a pennyless outcast. How great, then, ought to be the delight of one, who with the heart has believed unto righteousness, when he not only finds himself delivered from the curse of God, but enriched with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus, and privileged to expect from Him grace as his day, and strength according to his need! Verily, he ought to rejoice with a joy unspeakable, and full of glory; for he has left the desolate wilderness behind him, and has the garden of Eden before him ; so that sorrow and sighing may well flee away, and thanksgiving and the voice of melody replace them.
But a state of grace is more than a change of state : it is a change of character likewise; for he that is in
Christ Jesus is a new creature;- -a being created anew unto good works;-a being, in whom old things have passed away, and all things have become new. It is important to note this in an age of profession like the present;
for persons are far too much inclined to compound in their spiritual concerns, and to substitute attendance on ordinances, and activity in the cause of charitable institutions, for vital and personal religion. I grant that these are duties,-privileges, I should have said,—which will never be neglected by those who are under the influence of the constraining love of Christ: yet they are not the sum of vital religion. In a state of grace, therefore, man is no longer what he was. Contemplate him in any point of view, and it will be evident, that old things have passed away, and that all things have become new. Was he a grasping, covetous being, who made
his idol? He is now a faithful steward of God, ready to give, willing to distribute. Was he immersed in the vanities and follies of the world? He is now crucified unto the world, and the world unto him; and lives in it, as one who is not of it. Was he a drunkard, a churl, or a companion of fools ? He is so no longer : his delight is now in the saints, and in the excellent of the earth; and he can say with the Psalmist, “ I will not know a wicked person.” He bridleth his tongue; and employs it in blessing God, rather than in cursing those who are made in the image of God. He is not drunken with wine wherein is excess ;—for he knows that wine is a mocker: he would indeed be willing to drink no wine, if by so doing he could take a stumblingblock out of the way of any.
Now, my brethren, it is for you to apply these sayings to your own consciences. I hold a mirror to you: it is for you to trace there, if you can, your own image and likeness. And if you cannot, do not, I beseech you, remain satisfied with your present condition. The pre
sent moment is the seedtime; and as you sow, you must reap. Sow, therefore, unto the Spirit, and in due season you shall reap a harvest of glory, and honor, and immortality.
But it becomes us now to consider, what man is in a state of glory. And what mortal can answer this inquiry, when even an inspired Apostle has said, “It does not yet appear what we shall be?” Paul was caught up into the third heavens; but his lips were sealed respecting all that he saw there. And since God has ordained, that man shall walk by faith, and not by sight, it becomes us to obey, and not to attempt to draw aside the veil which hides the holy of holies from our view. Something, however, we may say of man in glory,— something of his privileges, of his employments, of his society, and of his blessedness. In this world, though a child of God, and a joint heir with Christ, he was still of the church militant; longing for unalloyed rest, and yet called to much labor. But when in glory, man rests from all his labor; and the weary soul is privileged to enjoy a full, unalloyed, and perfect rest from every thing which is adverse to perfect bliss. Here, his employment was to serve the Lord; and in heaven, he shall serve Him still serve Him with that alacrity and delight which the vision of Christ as He is may well be expected to excite. Here, the saints were his associates; but in heaven, the glorious Jehovah, his Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier,—the innumerable company of angels that throng heaven's hallowed courts,—the glorious company of the Apostles,—the noble army of martyrs,—the goodly fellowship of the prophets,—and all the blessed company of the faithful will receive him into intimate and happy fellowship,-a fellowship unalloyed by any of the infirmities of flesh, and as pure as it is endless. Here, too, though a believer has joy, it is but the foretaste and earnest : in glory, he reaps the harvest,—the fulness of joy. Mark well the expression, “The fulness of joy.” In earth, every thing is capable of augmentation. A man may be holy, and happy, and joyful: yet he can conceive something more excellent still. In glory, it is not so. There he has the fulness of joy: his cup is filled up; and he has nothing further to hope for,-nothing further to desire. And are not your hearts, my brethren, ready to exclaim after this recital, “It is good for us to be there?” Doubtless, it is your wish to be there; but this has been the wish of many who, after all, came short of glory. Give diligence, therefore, to make your calling and election sure: thus shall hope cheer your path in life, and glory rest upon you in eternity. .
Such, then, is man in a state of nature, grace, and glory; and I would have each of you put this question to his own soul, “What am I at this moment? Am I still of the world, walking after the flesh, and cumbering the ground?” Conscience no doubt will whisper to some now before me, Thou art.” And can you who are thus convicted of your own conscience forget or disregard its testimony? You may forget it, but God will not: and when all things are brought to light, that testimony will condemn you, if you die in your sins. But, I trust, this will not be the case : I trust you will not despise the riches of divine goodness. Though you are fallen, wretched, worthless, God has loved you, loved you with a love that passeth knowledge, --so loved you, , that He spared not his own Son, but freely gave Him up for you, and for all. I beseech you, then, not by the terrors of the Lord,—not by the horrors of that second death which awaits the unbeliever, but by the love of Him who died on the tree, and by the mercies of that God who has borne so long with you, that you will redeem the time that remains. The moments of all are numbered; for there is an appointed time for man on earth; and as a tale that is told draws nearer to its close, as each word passes from the lips of the speaker, so each moment, as it flits away, brings death and the judgment nearer. To some, the former may be at hand. Let this, then, be to us the accepted time and day of salvation : so shall we see beauty, even in death; and be content, when we awake in the likeness of the Redeemer.
But, peradventure, some in answer to the question, “What am I ?” may feel their hearts respond,“ a sinner: yet a sinner saved,-a sinner washed in the blood of the Lamb, and sanctified by the Spirit of our God.” Is it presumption to speak thus? No: a man may have the witness in himself; and yet esteem himself less than the least of all the saints. And whilst he feels the Spirit of God bearing witness with his spirit, and attesting his adoption into God's family, he will be careful to vindicate his sonship, not by words, but by the silent eloquence of godly living
I commend this course to all the children of grace amongst you. Show yourselves to be the epistles of Christ by a life of faith, and by a patient continuance in well-doing; and when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.