Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

united bands of humanity, friendship and religion, form the most powerful obligation to all the useful and amiable offices of fraternal love. And the power of forgiving an injury will be a certain pledge to ourfelves and others of all that shall be attentive, tender and beneficent in the ordinary conduct of our life, and our commerce with fociety.

4. Finally, this fubject is closely connected with piety as well as with morals. The tempers and habits of men give a tincture to the spirit of their Religion. The passions of revenge and hatred have contributed to clothe the Divine nature in those gloomy terrors, in which the superfitions of all ages have more or less invested it. The Deity has appeared in the most dismal forms, where his votaries have been the most unrelenting. Placid manbers, on the other hand, and a benevolent difpofition, naturally represent him in the charms of benignity and love. Our hearts then accord with the promise of our Saviour, and recommend it to our faith. If ye forgive men their trespases, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. Put on therefore, my brethren, the meekness of the blessed Jesus, who on the cross prayed for his mus. derers. Prove yourselves to be the children of your Father who is in heaven, by that spirit of love which is his image. You will hereby illustrate the beauty of Religion in the view of men,-you will augment and extend the happiness of society,—you will cultivate in your own bosoms the rich consolations of piety, and the hopes of eternal life, and you will at once animate your devotions, and increase the happiness which a good man finds in them, by strengthening your faith in the Divine mercy

Do

Do thou, O Most Holy and Gracious God! create and cherish in our hearts, more and more, these heavenly dispositions, for the sake of Christ our Lord! To whom with thee, and the eternal Spirit, be rendered glory everlasting.' Amen.

SE R

SERMON XI.

THE SPIRITUAL DEATH AND LIFE OF

THE BELIEVER.

BY

WILLIAM LINN, D.D. One of the Ministers of the Reformed Dutch Church,

New-York.

Gal. ii. 20. I am crucified with Chrift ; nevertheless I live; yet not I,

but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

To understand thete words it is necessary to attend

1 to their connection. The Apostle, n the former part of the epistle, vindicates himself against the misrepresentations of false teachers in the Galatian church, who alleged that he was no apostle, and that he taught do&trines contrary to Peter and the other apostles. In the 16th verse of this chapter he begins to establish and defend the doctrine of justification by faith, which these

teachers

L

teachers attempted to subvert. They urged the strict observance of the ceremonial law, and particularly of circumcision, as neceffary to falvation. The Apostle, on the other hand, excludes all works, whether of the ceremonial or moral law, from having any influence upon it, and directs to seek righteousness only through faith in Christ. He likewise answers that old and common objection made by adversaries, that if persons be not justified by their obedience to the law, then a door is opened to licentiousness, and Chrilt becomes the minister of fin. This he rejects by pressing holiness, or a strict conformity to the morai law; and left they might say, that this was building again what he had destroyed, he shows, that faith and obedience are always united ; that the same faith which looks to Christ for the pardon of fin, derives from him also strength to subdue it. I through the law, says he in the 19th verse, am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. By being dead to the law, we are not to understand the being freed from it as a rule of life ; but the not putting confidence in obedience to it for justification. That obedience which the law demands has been fulfilled by Christ the Surety of the believer, and accepted in his behalf. He is also dead to the law, as being delivered from the curse of it. But though the law bas neither power to save nor to condemn him, yet he is under obligation to live unto God. His being indebted to Christ is so far from excusing him, that it increases the obligation, and is the most powerful inducement to holiness of life. This the Apostle farther explains and enforces in the text.

I am crucified with Christ.”. Through this crucified one, I die to the law, fin, and the world;—and my death resembles his. Nevertheless, as he rose and lives forevermore, so I live spiritually; having grace here, the earnest of future glory.--Strictly speaking, however, it is not I that live. I am neither the cause nor the promoter of this life ; but Cbrist liveth in me; by his Spirit directing the inclinations of my heart. And the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God. The great instrument of my life is, a firm belief that Jesus, who was crucified, is the Son of God. Here I lay hold upon the hope set before me; and this hope is as an anchor of the foul, both fure an't stedfast.The Apostle speaks in the first person, I, and thus declares his own experience with respect to the doctrine he defends. This was his condition, and is truly the condition of all believers ; though they may not be able, so clearly, to adopt his language, or to use the appropriating words, who loved me, and gave bimself for me.

more,

In discoursing on this subject, 1 shall direct your attention to the leading thoughts ; and therefore, I shall endeavour to show, First, What is implied in being crucihed with Chrift.-Secondly, What we are to understand by Christ living in the believer; and point out the great influence of faith in the divine life. Or, in fewer words, how-How the believer dies, and how he lives.

I. Expressions fimilar to this, of being crucified with Chris, are more than once used in the writings of the Apostle. No one will be so weak as to imagine that Paul was a sharer with Christ in the merit of his sufferings. Such a thought would be horrid and blasphemous. Thus, though he defires to know the fellowship of his sufferings, yet he means only to enjoy the benefit of them, and be conformed to them in his own. Seeing his Lord suffered, he did not repine, but rejoiced in suffering for his fake.

L 2 . Accordingly

« AnteriorContinuar »