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Again, if you ever begin this great work; take those words of the text as a test and criterion of your state, namely, the walking according to the course of this world. Though your not walking in that course will not necessarily prove your sincerity, the walking according to the course of this world will certainly evidence your insincerity: for this passage will then identify you with those who are dead in sins—who are fulfilling the desires of the flesh and the mind, and continue the children of wrath. Let me then once more warn you
all before hand, that to be like the generality of men is to be in a state of death, a state in which ruin is silently working; and that whenever the time may be that you shall serve God, or in whatever place, you will begin to differ widely from the people around you. Singularity is unavoidable; and if it be a cross, it must be taken up. Happy and holy is he who hath part in this spiritual resurrection! no more a slave to custom and public opinion, he begins to act for himself according to the dictates of reason and religion, and rises into the glorious liberty of the children of God!
EPHESIANS i, 4—7.
God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love
wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, in heavenly places in Christ Jesus; that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his
in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
In the dispensation of mercy which God has made for the recovery of mankind, it appears according to his revelation of it, that though each of the persons of the blessed Trivity has been graciously pleased to undertake a distinct and separate part in it, yet all of them are equally glorified by the execution of the plan. The love displayed in it is the love of each person of the Godhead and the success of it in the conversion of a sinner, redounds to the everlasting glory of them all..
Hence, when we behold the Father maintaining the rights of the Deity, and the strictness of his laws, and wearing an aspect of severe justice, we are not to imagine that he was drawn with reluctance to be gracious, or that the salvation of sinners was extorted from him; for it was owing to the great love of the Father that the Son was given to be the Savior of the world: God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son; and God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ.
We must endeavor from these words to shew, first, the nature of that salvation which God works in us; next, the original source of it; and lastly, the final end or purpose of it.
1. The nature of that salvation which God works in us. Having on the preceding sabbath shewn, from the former words of this chapter, into what state we had brought ourselves, let us now see what God has done for us. not suppose that the great salvation which is wrought in the people of God is a name, or a profession, an external washing; or that it consists in saying Lord, Lord; or in being free from vice; or on the other hand, in pronouncing the shibboleth of a party; or in having clear views of the way of grace, but it is a resurrection from the dead. You hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins. God, when we were dead in sins hath quickened us together with Christ, and raised us up together. It is there
fore a great and happy change! and if it is described as experienced by all, the description of it is addressed to all: for what God hath done for any, he is willing to do for all. The change of heart, of which we must sooner or later be the subjects, if we would enter into the kingdom, is likened, we see, to a rising of the dead. Touched by the finger of God, the soul awakes from its sleep, quits its grave of sin and death, and rises into life and libertyspiritual objects assume a new appearance the names of eternal things sound differently—and a new world seems unfolding to the view. The God whom the world forget, and whose judgments are far above out of their sight, is revealed unto us; we look up, and behold! for the first time we practically acknowledge his existence, by seeing that he is one to be leared and loved.
The Savior of sipners, whom the world think of no more than if he had never come to die for them, we acknowledge and embrace as a friend; and his salvation is all our hope, and all our desire.
We are awakened to see that heaven and hell are no dream-that religion, which teaches how to escape the one and obtain the other, is something to be thought of-that the offers of the Gospel must be seized with eagerness; for that the world is passing swiftly away, time is carrying us down the stream, and an unknown eternity is at band! Thus we are quickened into the reasonable life of seeing things as they are; and not carried out into wild fancies about unreal things. When one born blind receives his sight, the visible creation seems to have just started into being, all is so new; and yet all things are so as they were from the begin ning, the change is in him: so when the soul is quickened into spiritual life, we see, and see with wonder, a meaning, and force, and
power in divine things, as if they were all just discovered to mankind: whereas we cannot but acknowledge that the same objects were presented to us before. But the fact is, that till we were quickened by God, we had no sense that could be suitably affected by eternal things. They were spread abroad before us, but we looked at them, as at a picture which is looked at a few minutes and then forgotten; they had no hold upon us--made no impression--they scarcely appeared real-and sometimes doubted whether they had any existence. But we are now quickened to feel those things to be true, which before we only thought to
This capability of being influenced by invisible things is iminediately followed by suitable action. Life discovers itself by motion and activity; and accordingly, as soon as God has quickened the soul, and raised it from the dead, it begins to move and act for God. very active before; but then it was in the service of sin and Satan. We did nothing for God; but now, raised up by his mercy, we deyote ourselves entirely to him--we desire to