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which, whether knowingly or ignorantly, we are taken out of the world, added to a new principle or beginning and put in a way to become stable and lasting partakers of God's mercies through Christ.
For he says, “ No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John vi. 44.) And St. Paul has founded hereupon what may be regarded as the most essential part of his Gospel, or exposition of the way of grace. He tells the Romans in his epistle to them, “ Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if it so be, that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin ; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” (Rom. viii. 9, &c.) I say, this remarkable passage may be regarded as a very direct comment on the forecited declaration by our Saviour ; shewing how the divine authority in three Persons which he proposed to the eleven disciples after his resurrection becomes by power and knowledge the first or highest intrinsic degree in the way of salvation. All our hope of salvation is in Christ, or in the essential part of him, the Spirit just mentioned ; and that Spirit is God in three Persons as before specified. Therefore, when we talk of loving Christ, of building on his merits, mediation, and the like,-we mean in fact, building on the Spirit of God, that is on God in three Persons. The simple and consistent doctrine of salvation by Christ is, that we are saved by our union with him ; and that such union is not formal or titular only, but spiritual and essential, as just declared, and may be made evident. For is it the name or the Spirit of Christ that saves us? If it be the name, we have found a short road to salvation. It is not the
name however, any more than the letter ; but the Spirit: “ for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life;” (Cor. II. iii. 6 ;) as I think, I have shewn.
And hence the scheme of salvation by Jesus Christ, being both God and man, will appear to be not only more consistent with reason, but also more comprehensive and efficient than either hollow advocates or rash opponents of the truth are apt to imagine. For Christ being very God, and God being evidently by his footsteps present with men of all ages and nations, then is the spirit of Christ in all of them as well strangers as disciples-by which, and not by, or for pronouncing, his name only, saying Lord, Lord, when they had none of his spirit, to do as he told them - they shall be quickened again, and rise with him hereafter to endless life and happiness through the mercy of God. “I am found (says he) of them that sought me not.” (Isaiah Ixv. 1.) The spirit of Christ is our new life in short: he is the light of our life, as he says, “I am the resurrection and the life:” (John xi. 25:) and we shall never see the light of the resurrection without his righteous life; as the psalmist tells him, “ With thee is the well of life: and in thy light shall we see light.” (Ps. xxxvi. 9.)
Who then can describe the importance of this first step or degree of salvation, and especially in the Christian spirit by which the church is assimilated to God, as a man's flesh may be assimilated first by the human and next by the divine spirit ? or reciprocally, the divine spirit first by the human spirit, and then by the flesh; as in Christ? The Christian spirit, or spirit of Christ, of which his word affords a lively representation, dwelling in our hearts by faith, is to every one of us the beginning of a new and heavenly existence throughout; as our spirit was the beginning of a new and earthly existence to him. For we cannot have the spirit of Christ without having his flesh also, and without this we have no life in us. (John vi. 53.) “ The flesh profiteth nothing” toward a new life ; but the doctrine toward the spirit first, and thereby toward “the body and blood of Christ, which are verily and indeed taken and received by the faithful in the Lord's supper." The spirit is the living and assimilating principle : “ it is the spirit that quickeneth.” (Ib. 63.) So that we must in order to our endowment with an immortal body, or, as St. Paul expresses it, in order to be “ clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life,” (Cor. II. v. 4,) be previously endowed with an immortal spirit, which is given in the spirit of Christ. Therefore many who have the spirit of Christ, like the prophets of old—“ searching what, or what manner of time the spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow;" (Pet. I. i. 11 ;) many such, I say, will be partakers of his glory without his name, while others having the name of Christ without his spirit shall be clothed with eternal disgrace.
2, Besides this immediate work of God in endless mercy by the Incarnate Word and his Holy Spirit, I alluded to an inferior mean or degree in the Ministration of Angels. And as the apostle asks, “ Are they not all ministering spirits ?” (Heb. i. 14,) one should think they might be, or all at least that be angels of God; being but so many derivations of his Holy Spirit in principle, and uniform in that respect; whatever may be the personal distinctions and perhaps endless variety of their glorious body in practice, demonstration, or effect.
. 3, As we live here in a state of society, and protract by means of our many relations what may be called a corporate existence upon earth, here will be ample room and necessity for the Ministration of Men, --we shall have much to do for each other in the way of promoting the merciful intentions of the Creator toward all men who will come into his terms, and be saved. “ Therefore let us not sleep, as do others (says the apostle); but let us watch and be sober. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ; who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do." (Thess. I. v. 7, &c.) We are reminded by Isaiah, how the carpenter encouraged the goldsmith in their joint undertaking; (Isaiah xli. 7;) and so should we do in ours. For just such a joint concern is the great work of salvation, and such the joy that shall be to all people by Christ our Lord. (Luke ii. 10.) “ For, (says St. Paul,) as the body is one and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ. For by one spirit are we all baptized into one body; whether we be Jews or gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one spirit.” (Cor. I. xii. 12, 13.) . We are, according to the prophet just cited, like the Lord's vineyard: which, if he keep it himself, will still have to blossom and bud, as he says, “ In that day sing ye unto her, a vineyard of red winé. I the Lord do keep it; I will water it every moment, lest any hurt it: I will keep it night and day. He shall cause them that come of Jacob to blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit.” (Isai. xxvii. 2, 3,6.) Which is just what our Lord requires of his servants, “ Ye have not chosen me; (says he to them ;) but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go, and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain.” (John xv. 16.) For still (to continue the comparison) a vineyard will not stand without internal as well as ex. ternal support : but the vines are either twining in each other's branches or leaning on supporters of their own class, to form alleys and arches or festoons of a workman. ship and material beyond the reach of art, and adorned throughout with pendent fruit, the pride of every per. formance. And so it is in the vineyard of mercy and grace: where the cultivator himself orders every shoot indeed with the help of his labourers ; but every shoot at
the same time shall be an advantage to the rest, or no inconvenience at any rate with his permission. Here are vines of various sorts, but of only one nature; of the fruit some will be ripening, some ripe, but all by one sun : and when pressed together it will all make but one juice, with one spirit; or, as it may be said, but one spirit and one body.
The labourers employed in the vineyard being of a different nature or production from the vines and their supporters, may serve to parallel the ministry of angels before mentioned. And so we shall have a thorough comparison for the medium of mercy under divine providence. In conceiving the same, I have followed the consistent example of our Lord; who generally represents bis subjects by tokens from the same class in nature if they happen to be of the same, or from different classes if they happen to be different; as by the fishermen and fishes for angels and men in his parable of the judgment, (Matt. xiii. 47,) by salt of the earth for bis disciples and theirs. (Ib. v. 13.) And I have also every where regularly adhered, as every one must who regards the meaning of divine revelation, to Israel as the stock or foundation of the church ; of that which was to spread and is spreading like the vine which the Lord God brought out of Egypt. (Ps. lxxx. 8.) A mighty and seemingly deplorable revolution for Israel, but in reality the happiest and most honourable that ever was or ever could be for that or any other nation, occurred in the coming of Messiah, “ a light to lighten' the gentiles, and be the glory of God's peculiar people.” (Luke ii. 32.) But still that was not to change the order of providence in this behalf. “ For salvation is of the Jews,” (John iv. 22,) said the word by Messiah, as it said by the prophets before, and still says to those "who wait for the consolation of Israel."
God is not given to change: he will not employ one set of instruments to-day and another to-morrow successively; however others may be employed by him any