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For to die is common to all men, but to loose the bonds of death, and by his own power to rise again, that properly belongeth to Jesus Christ the only begotten Son of God, the only author of life. Moreover, it was necessary that he should rise again with glory, that the sayings of David and other prophets of God might be fulfilled, which told before that neither his body should see corruption, nor his soul be left in hell. As for us, we neither had been justified, nor had had any hope left to rise again had not he risen again, as Paul doth in divers places plainly shew. For if he had remained in the prison of death, in the grave, and been holden in corruption, as all men beside, how could we have hoped for safety by him, which saved not himself? it was meet therefore and needful for the part that he had in hand, and for the chief stay of our safeguard, that Christ should first deliver himself from death, and afterwards assure us of safety by his uprising again.
(To be continued.)
"Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these we might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust."2 Peter i. 4.
By believing the promises we are made partakers of the godly nature, and we overcome our corruptions and lusts. Consonant to which is that of the Apostle
Paul, "Know ye not, that as many as are baptized into Christ, are baptized into his death?" Rom. vi. 3. As many as are baptized into Christ for reconciliation with God must needs be baptized into his death; they must be dead to sin, as he was. We cannot be baptized into him for reconciliation or justification, but we must be baptized likewise for mortification of the flesh, and for resurrection to newness of life. To wind up all in a word, he that hath the strongest faith, that believes in the greatest degree the promises of pardon and remission, he hath the holiest heart, the most mortified life. Sanctification and mortification arise from that root of justification. The blood of Christ hath not only a power to wash us from the guilt of sin, but also to cleanse and purge us from the power and stain of sin; and therefore I say, the best way to get a great degree of sanctification; the best way to get a greater measure of the graces of the Spirit; the best way to mortify our sinful lusts; the best way to watch over our special sins, is to labour to grow in faith, in the belief of those promises of the gospel of Christ. And this should be well observed by those who are a little legally biassed, or led to mortify sin only by vows, promises, shunning occasions, removing temptations, strictness and severity in duties, fear of hell and judgments, scarce rising so high for their mortification as Christ. Now these in themselves are but empty, weak means of prevailing against sin, like the mighty sails of a ship without wind or tide. No question but the shunning of occasions, strictness and severity in duties, watchfulness, &c. dwell in their place and order, like oars in a boat, which though it
be carried with the tide, if well managed, yet may help it to go on the faster; however, it is Christ crucified which is the power of it all; it is Christ lifted up, as Moses lifted up the serpent, which strikes more soundness into the wounded beholder, than any other way; though many there are, who have toiled all their time for power over corruptions, and like Peter have caught but little or nothing, because Jesus Christ was not in their company.-Old Author.
THERE is, in the present day, a sort of religion that is even fashionable, and in high favor with the world. But it is a religion of appearance only, and not of reality. The Apostle Paul declares, that though he had all kinds of spiritual gifts, and performed all kinds of self-denials and benevolent actions, yet if he possessed not that true charity which, springing from the love of God in Christ Jesus, flows down in streams of mercy and good-will to man, he was nothing, and should be profited nothing. A person under the influence of such a religion as this, which the Apostle pronounces to be worthless, is yet, however, a more estimable and enlightened character in the sight of man at least, than those who are under the influence
of that fash
The first has
ionable religion which I now speak of. a hope-though a false and delusive one-that he is pleasing God, and meriting his favour; the last have no hope beyond that which is confined to earth-no
higher object in view than to please man, and exalt self in man's sight. O what an ignoble object for an immortal creature! who will soon be stript of every
false confidence the world can give, and who will have to appear there where the opinions of men will have lost all their power to praise or condemn, and where the fascinations of time and sense will have passed away for ever. Surely it is the duty of every professor of godliness to eschew earnestly all tendency to this kind of spurious religion; and whilst he examines himself with heartfelt anxiety as to what are the constraining motives of his conduct, to pray the great Searcher of hearts to search him and try him, and see if there be any wicked or false way in him, and lead him in the way everlasting.
LECTURES ON THE CHURCH SERVICE.
PSALM LXV. 4.
"We shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house."
"And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us."-The prayers that follow are deprecation-i. e. prayers against certain evils which destroy our peace and threaten our ruin. The connexion of this with the former petition, and forgive us our trespasses, may remind us that the daily supply of food to eat and raiment to put on is not
more needful to our bodily comforts than daily forgiveness is to that of our souls. And in fact, to a child of God the one without the other would be no better than the flesh in the mouth of the Israelites, and the heavy wrath of God along with it. A child that loves and respects his father as he ought would take but small comfort in having enough and to spare in his father's house, if he felt that his father's countenance was full of wrath against him from day to day, and especially if he felt that that wrath was nothing more than what he justly deserved. So it is here, daily trespasses draw down the wrath of him who is a holy God as well as a most merciful Father. Under that wrath no child of God can live contentedly, hence he prays against this evil which brings down this misery.
Forgive us our trespasses.' -In St. Matthew debts. St. Luke sins. Sin which is a trespass, or transgression of the law, brings us in as debtors to God, owing him satisfaction to his justice for our transgressing his law, which sentences all to eternal death and damnation. This debt is that which we pray God would forgive us; a debt which if not paid we are eternally undone, and the payment we can only escape by the free grace and mercy of God forgiving it.
Consider the greatness and multitude of those debts. This is represented in the parable (St. Matth, xviii.) 10,000 talents. 1st. Original sin. We were born debtors, our original sin and guilt obligeth us to punishment; and although we did not personally contract the debt, yet as being the wretched heirs of fallen Adam the debt has legally become ours. And