Page images

when they would express the impossibility of a thing,
"You may as soon take off a christian from Christ.”
2. If Christ hath sanctified or consecrated himself for
us, what a horrid evil it is, to use Christ or his blood
as a common and unsanctified thing. Yet so some do, as
the apostle speaks, Heb. 10: 29. The apostate is said to
"tread under foot the Son of God,” and to “count his
blood an unholy (or common) thing.” But wo to them
that do so; they shall be counted worthy of something
worse than “dying without mercy,” as the apostle there
And as this is the sin of the apostate, so it is also the
sin of all those that without faith approach, and so pro-
fane the table of the Lord, unbelievingly and unworthily
handling those awful things. Such “eat and drink judg-
ment to themselves, not discerning the Lord's body.”
1 Cor. 11:29. Whereas the body of Christ was a thing
of the deepest sanctification that ever God created,
sanctified, as the text tells us, to a far more excellent
and glorious purpose than ever any creature in heaven
or earth was sanctified. It was therefore the great sin
of those Corinthians, not to discern it, and not to behave
themselves towards it, when they saw and handled the
signs of it, as became so holy a thing. And as it was
their great sin, so God declared his just indignation
against it, in those sore strokes inflicted for it. As they
discerned not the Lord’s body, so neither did the Lord
discern them from others in the judgments that were in-
flicted. And, as one well observes, God drew the model
and platform of their punishment from the structure and
proportion of their sin. And truly, if the moral and spi-
ritual seeds and originals of many of our outward afflic-
tions and sicknesses were but duly sisted out, possibly we
might find a great part of them in this sin. Oh then,
when you draw nigh to God in that ordinance, take
heed to sanctify his name, by a spiritual discerning of



[ocr errors]

this most holy and most deeply sanctified body of the
Lord; sanctified beyond all creatures, angels or men,
not only in respect of the Spirit which filled him, with-
out measure, with inherent holiness, but also in respect
of its dedication to such a service as this, it being set
apart by him to such holy, solemn ends and uses.
And let it, for ever, be a warning to such as have lifted
up their hands to Christ in a holy profession, that they
never lift up their heel against him afterwards by apos-
tasy. The apostate treads on God's dear Son, and God
will tread upon him for it. “Thou hast trodden down
all that err from thy statutes.” Psa. 119 : 118.
3. What a choice pattern of love to saints have we here
before us 1 Calling all that are in Christ to an imitation
of him, even to give up ourselves to their service, as
Christ did; not in the same kind, for so none can give
himself for them, but as we are capable. You see here
how his heart was affected towards them, that he would
sanctify himself as a sacrifice for them. See to what a
height of duty the apostle improves this example of
Christ; “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because
he laid down his life for us; and we ought also to lay
down our lives for the brethren.” 1 John, 3:16. Some
christians came up fairly to this pattern in primitive
times; Priscilla and Aquila laid down their necks for
Paul, Rom. 16:4; that is, eminently hazarded their lives
for him; and he himself could “ rejoice, if he were of.
fered up upon the sacrifice and service of their faith.”
Phil. 2: 17. And in the next times, what was more
known, even to the enemies of christianity, than their
fervent love one to another 1 Ecce quam mutuo se diligunt,
et mori volunt pro alterutris: See how they love one an-
other, and are willing to die one for another!
But alas! the primitive spirit is almost lost in this
degenerate age: instead of laying down life, how few
will lay down twelve-pence for them " I remember it is

the observation of a late worthy, upon Matt. 5:44, that he is persuaded there is hardly that man to be found this day alive, that fully understands and fully believes that scripture. Oh, did men think that what they do for Christ’s followers is done for Christ himself, it would produce other effects than are yet visible. 4. If Christ sanctified himself, that we might be sanctified by (or in) the truth; then it will follow, that true sanctification is the best evidence of our interest in his blood. In vain (as to you) did he sanctify himself unless you be sanctified. Holy souls only can claim the benefit of the great Sacrifice. Oh try then, whether true holiness, which is only to be judged by its conformity to its pattern, “As he that called you is holy, so be ye holy,” 1 Pet. 1: 15, and which is, and acts, according to its measure, like God's holiness, be found in you. God is universally holy in all his ways; and “his works are holy,” Psa. 145:17; whatever he doeth, is still done as becomes a holy God: he is not only holy in all things, but at all times unchangeably holy. Beye therefore holy in all things, and at all times too, if ever you expect the benefit of Christ's sanctifying himself to die for you. Oh brethren, let not the feet of your conversation be as the feet of a lame man, which are unequal. Prov. 26: 7. Be not sometimes hot, and sometimes cold; at one time careful, at another time careless; one day in a spiritual rapture, and the next in a fleshly frolic: but be ye holy “in all manner of conversation,” 1 Pet. 1: 15, in every crook and turning of your lives; and let your holiness hold out to the end. God is eremplarily holy, and Jesus Christ is the great pattern of holiness. Be ye examples of holiness too, unto all that are about you. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works.” Matt. 5 : 16. As wicked men infect one another by their examples, and diffuse their poison and malignity wherever

they come; so do ye disseminate godliness in all places and companies; and let those that frequently converse with you, especially those of your own families, receive a deeper dye and tincture of heavenliness every time they come nigh you. God delights in nothing but holiness, and holy ones; he hath set all his pleasure in the saints. Be ye holy herein, as God is holy. Indeed, there is this difference between God’s choice and yours; he chooses not men because they are holy, but that they may be so; you are to choose them for your delightful companions, that God hath chosen and made holy. “Let all your delights be in the saints, even them that excel in virtue.” Psa. 16:3. God abhors and hates all unholiness ; do ye so likewise, that ye may be like your Father which is in heaven. And when the Spirit of holiness bestows this upon you, a sweeter evidence you cannot have, that Christ was sanctified for you. Holy ones may confidently lay the hand of their faith on the head of this great sacrifice, and say, “ Christ our passover is sacrificed for us.”


“And one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” 1 Tim. 2 : 5.

Great and long preparations bespeak the solemnity and greatness of the work for which they are designed. A man that had seen the heaps of gold, silver, and brass which David amassed in his time for the building of the temple, might easily conclude before one stone of it was laid, that it would be a magnificent structure. But lo, here is a design of God as far transcending that as the

substance doth the shadow. For, indeed, that glorious
temple was but the type and figure of Jesus Christ,
John, 2:19, 21, and a weak adumbration of that living,
spiritual temple which he was to build, that the great
God might dwell and walk in it. 2 Cor. 6: 16. The pre-
parations for that temple were for a few years, but the
consultations and preparations for this were from eter-
mity. Prov. 8:31. And as there were preparations for
this work before the world began; so it will be a matter
of eternal admiration and praise when this world shall
be dissolved. What this astonishing glorious work is,
this text informs you; it is the work of mediation be-
tween God and man; and you have here a description
of Jesus the Mediator.
1. He is described by his work or office: Meritno, a
Mediator, a middle person. The word imports a fit and
equal person, who comes between two persons that are
at variance, to compose the difference and make peace.
Such a person is Christ; a day's man, to lay his hand
upon both.
2. He is described by the singularity of his mediation,
one Mediator, and but one. There are many mediators
of reconciliation among men, but there is one only Me-
diator of reconciliation between God and man; and it is
as needless and impious to make more mediators than
one, as to make more gods than one. “There is one
God, and one Mediator between God and men.”
3. He is described by the nature and quality of his
person, the man Christ Jesus. He is described by his
human nature in this place, not only because in this na-
ture he paid the ransom spoken of in the words imme-
diately following; but especially for the drawing of
sinners to him, as one who clothed himself in their
own flesh; and, for encouraging the faith of believers,
by reminding them that he tenderly regards all their
wants and miseries, and that they may safely trust him


« PreviousContinue »