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common experience of the children of God, but especially of those who are beginning their christian life, that when they fall into sin, or feel their hearts averse to duty, a consciousness of guilt arises which destroys their peace, and proves a grievous hindrance to them. The fear of being under the displeasure of God, alienates their affections from him; makes them unwilling to pray, and therefore religion no longer affords them pleasure; they become dissatisfied with its restraints; and thus, while they are waiting for a better disposition and state of mind with which they may come with acceptance before God, unbelief is gaining ground, and imperceptibly causing them to depart farther and farther from God. This is, because they lose sight of the blood of Christ, or make not that use of it which they are privileged to do. For Christ is the appointed means, not only of our obtaining reconciliation with God at first, but of securing his favor and walking with him in love. Through him we have access by faith, unto the grace wherein we stand.* Such is the everlasting efficacy of his blood. It was necessary that he should shed it but once: and now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin, by the sacrifice of himself: but by that one oblation he obtained eternal redemption for us; and by that one offering, has perfected for ever, them that are sanctified. His blood is called a fountain opened forsin and for uncleanness, to sig
Rom. 1, 2
nify, that as a fountain sends forth fresh streams for daily and hourly purification, so the blood of Christ is intended for the continual application of sinners to it. The purpose of these constant applications to the blood of Christ, is not indeed altogether the same as that of our first act of coming to him, for that was to obtain the favor of God, and the repeal of the curse which had gone out against us; whereas these daily repeated acts of faith on his blood are more as memorials before God, and chiefly for the preservation of our own peace:-thus, our Lord said to Peter, He that is washed necdeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit.* It is also described as a way or road to God; by which we may learn, that it is not like the drawbridge which is taken up after you have passed over, but it remains fixed and open to all like the king's highway. It is one of his attributes, Jesus Christ ihe same yesterday, to-day, and forever. Besides the perpetual value which the blood of Christ hath in the sight of God, he is himself pleading the merit of it at his Father's throne, and on the ground of that, makes unceasing intercession for his people. We are therefore encouraged to come boldly to the throne of grace, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for us; to draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience. Let us then be careful, dear brethren, when we fall into
* John xüi, 10.
+ Heb. xiii, 8.
Heb. x, 22.
sin, never to remain at a distance from God, in a sullen and slavish despondency, as we are apt to do; for conscious guilt will never remedy itself, but rather revive the ancient enmity against God. On the contrary, though our guilt be dark and threatening, and corruptions rage, let us in spite of ourselves, flee without a moment's delay, to the Lord Jesus Christ. What else can we do? Lord to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. Without me ye can do nothing. Think not that ye will be rejected for all your iniquities—his death and intercession secure your pardon.
II. To walk in Christ, is to live in dependence on his grace. “It hath pleased the Father, that in him should all fulness dwell;"* and it is also his pleasure, that the spiritual life of his children should be maintained, by receiving out of that fulness, grace for grace. But we are slow to learn the practical use of these privileges, as is evident from the general unsteadiness of our walk. Tottering in our steps, and wandering in our course, are evident signs that we lean too little on the arm of another. The surprise, and confusion we are thrown into on the unexpected arrival of some trial, are proofs that we walk too much in dependence on our own wisdom, without considering ourselves as under the guidance of anoth
If the Prophet's servant had seen the chariots of fire round about the mountain, he would not have been su terrified. And this is more evident still from that solicitude and anxiety, those fears, suspicions and surmises about things to come, both temporal and spiritual, which form so-large a part of our woes.
* Cal. i, 19
Now it is our duty and our privilege to feel, and to be in the habit of feeling, that we have no wisdom nor strength of our own, but are in such a state of weakness that if left to ourselves, we sink quickly to sin and hell. We should never suppose that we are alone steering our own way across the ocean of life, but keep it always in mind that the Lord is at the helm. Nor should these thoughts consist of the mere general assent of the mind to the truth of God's assisting the righteous, but they should be the convictions of faith in that new covenant of grace which provides the great Mediator to be to us in the stead of our own wisdom and strength. To walk in Christ, is to remember always that we have thus, in the person of Christ, all the powers of the God-head, and all the sympathies of the manhood interested about us, and attached to us; that Christ being with us as God, it is the infinite strength of the Almighty that defends-unerring wisdom that guides—and everlasting love that comforts us. That as man, we have in him one that is experimentally acquainted with our sorrows, trials, and temptations, and disposed to sympathize with us. To walk in Christ, is so to acknowledge him in these relations as to place an unbounded confidence in him. If it be the pressure
present affliction, whether tempo
ral or spiritual, that is our trial, we should assure ourselves that it is permitted, or appointed by him—-regulated by him in its duration and degree, and that it shall eventually forward our sanctification; and that in the meantime grace shall be given us to bear it patiently. If it be future difficulties—foreseen anxiety about our being faithful in such and such circumstances that is the cause of distress, and our creative fancy is ever inventing something or other to terrify us—all such disquieting fears are to be removed by leaving these difficulties with Christ; as the sheep looks to the shepherd for food, the wife to the husband for protection. How happy the life thus spent in dependance on Jesus!" As the little child enjoys itself without a thought in its mind about his maintenance, for it knows that this is its
parent's care, so the believer is privileged to enjoy a perfect serenity by simply trusting to his Divine Lord; Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by, prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God; and the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. It is this life of faith that is spoken of in the Canticles, when the Church is described as going up from the wilderness leaning on her beloved; and this was the life of the holy Paul, and the secret cause of his eminence in holiness. I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which
* Phil. iv, 6, 7,