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in knowledge, in faith, in humility, in love, in of God, and that that mind might be in them patience, in holiness. In all these things, and in which was also in Christ Jesus. This growth all other things which belong to the constitution does, moreover, comprehend increase in the of the new creature, there should be advancement knowledge of Christ, and in the love and the and growth.
faith of him. Conversion is a great matter. Yet we shall When seeking after growth into the likeness of err sorely if we stop short at conversion. The Christ, let believers remember the headship of beginning of Christianity in the soul must not be Christ. "Grow up into him which is the head. ' confounded with the perfection of it.
Much has Christ is the head of every man; that is to say, no doubt been done, when a sinner is converted; every believer is a member of Christ-is one of so much, indeed, that heaven rejoices over it; the members of that mystical body of which but much still remains to be done. The seed has Christ is the head. In virtue of this connection, been sown, but the tree of righteousness has yet the people of God grow; by this connection their to arise; the babe has been born, but the period advancement and ultimate maturity are provided of weakness and experience is not yet passed, and for. It is in this way that they have that union the day of manhood is to come. There is strong with Christ of which we spoke before, and from ground to suspect the genuineness of conversion which their spiritual growth proceeds. when it is rested on as in itself enough, and as What are the means by which the growth of sufficiently securing the salvation of the soul. Christians is promoted? Although the body The conversion that is real must be distinguished could not grow separately from the head, yet from a transitory excitement in the mind; it lays the necessity for food is not thereby superseded. the foundation of a great and permanent change Food would be useless, if the body were alone, that progressively advances to completion, and it and divided from the head, because then the body includes the implanting of graces in the soul, would be inanimate; but it is of most important which in due time must arrive at a blessed ma- and essential service to the body that has life. turity.
The members of Christ must have food; the Let us attend to the description of this growth, means of nourishment must be ministered to the which is given in the words before us. It is a new creature. Wherewithal, then, is the child growth in all things, as we have seen. It is of God to be nourished? With the word—with also a growing up into him, which is the head, the truth-with the truth spoken in love. even Christ.' The believer must grow up into The truth about God, and about sin; about Christ. What kind of growing is this? Look- Christ, and about salvation, is the meat of the ing to the context, it is apparent that it is a believer. The truth, which consists of the sure growing which springs out of union to Christ. sayings of Jehovah; of his threatenings, his proSpiritual life, in its first communication, and in mises, his declarations, and his commandments; its continued supplies, is from Christ. “Without the truth which is couched in words carrying the me ye can do nothing. Without me ye cannot attestation, “ Thus saith the Lord,' is what the live, nor can ye grow. “Abide in me, and I in renewed soul hungers after, and what oftentimes you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, fills it as with marrow and with fatness. The except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, ex- truth, in a sense still higher and more wonderful cept ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the -in that sense in which it must be taken where branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him, Christ says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without the life '—is the bread with which the citizens of me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in Zion are satisfied and strengthened. "I am the me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; bread of life. The bread of God is he which and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto and they are burned. Farther, this is a growing the world.' into the likeness of Christ. When the likeness It is required that the truth be spoken in love. of Christ is realized, and Christ's image is com- Mutual affection needs to be assiduously cultipleted in the soul, the growing is at an end, and vated at the very time when truth is laid hold maturity and perfection are reached. What was of, clung to, asserted, and propagated. Love of the great desire of Paul in reference to his spirit. the brethren ought ever to be conjoined with ual children—for what did he labour, and travail, love of the truth. Alas, how often have they and pray? Was it not that Christ might be been dissevered. In order to derive full benefit formed in them? In other words, that they from the truth, a loving spirit requires to be might be conformed unto the image of the Son I cherished. A harsh, censorious frame, will not fail to mar its benignant influence, and to arrest | It is the doctrine which comes from Christ, and the believer's growth. There is a peculiar effi- relates to Christ. Let us have this dwelling in us. cacy connected with love-with an affectionate Let us be filled with it. The idea here expressed and charitable consideration for others—whereby is not merely that we should know it, but that it disposes the minds both of those who entertain we should have it among our thoughts, and that it, and of those who are the objects of it, for it should be influentially present to our minds. receiving the truth and experiencing the full The idea is both knowledge of, and meditation advantage which the truth is intended to convey. upon, the doctrines exhibiting Christ in the lovingThe latent energies of the truth come out more kindness of his mission into our sinful world, in fully at the gentle call of love.
the mystery of his person, in the adaptation of his offices, in the value of his atonement, in the freeness and all-sufficiency of his grace, and in
the perfection of that example which he set us THIRD DAY.-MORNING.
that we should walk in his steps.
The word of Christ is the commandments of • Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all
Christ. The moral law is prescribed to every one wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs; scribed to him again by his Redeemer.
of us by our Creator. The Christian has it presinging with grace in your hearts to the Lord.'
re-delivers the commandments of God to all his Col. iii. 16.
people. He calls them his commandments; If CHRIST's sheep love Christ's voice. They listen ye love me, keep my commandments. The law gladly when he speaks to them. They treasure loses its terrors when it comes from the mouth up in their hearts his gracious sayings. They do of Christ. By him, no curse is added to it. He so at least when their souls are prospering. It enforces it only with the motive of love. Dwellis their interest to do it. It is their duty too. ing in his followers, it rejoices their hearts. It is, We are told of Mary, the sister of Lazarus, that in their view, more to be desired than gold, yea, she sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. This than much fine gold; it is sweeter also than she did while her bustling sister was cumbered honey, and the honey-comb. with her serving, and doing her best to entertain If the word of Christ dwell in us richly, we the Saviour well. Was it that Mary reverenced shall have wisdom. The highest wisdom—all Jesus less than Martha reverenced him? No, saving knowledge—is embraced in it; and it is she reverenced him more, and by her conduct she able to make us wise unto salvation. We ought paid him higher honour. Martha’s conduct be- therefore, to have it dwelling in us in all wisdom spoke her regard for him as a guest to be received in all the variety and fulness of its exhibitions with hospitality and distinction; Mary's told of of truth, and of its revelations of the counsel of strong faith in him as a divine teacher, whose God. It will be to us an ever-flowing fountain golden sayings were all so precious in her esteem, of knowledge divine—a source of constant instructhat, casting every other care aside, she set her- tion in the ways of the Lord, and in the wonders self to hear and store up in her mind the whole of the kingdom of grace. of them. She sought the word of Christ. She An exercise is prescribed to us. “Teaching desired it to dwell in her, and that not in stinted and admonishing one another. For this we shall degree, but “richly.' Let us seek to be like be prepared, if Christ's word be in us richly. Mary. Let us embrace the word of Christ, and when we ourselves are taught, we shall be able give it entertainment in our hearts. What is the to teach; and when Christ's gracious word has a word of Christ ? The word of God is the word fixed and commanding place in our minds, we of Christ. Christ is God. The Spirit of Christ shall possess, and be in a situation to use, that was he who inspired the sacred penmen, when standard of faith and conduct, without which they wrote of the things of God, and announced the duty of mutual admonition cannot possibly the revelation of his will. For this reason the be discharged. The mutual teaching, which is scriptures are appropriately termed the word of enjoined upon us, is a provision for our advanceChrist. They are also the word of Christ in ment in knowledge. It is a process of spiritvirtue of the fact that the manifestation of Christ ual barter where there cannot be loss on either is the main object for which they are given. side, but must be gain and increase of store to “They are they which testify of me.' "To him all. It makes us no poorer to impart the disgive all the prophets witness.'
coveries which the word and Spirit of the Lord The word of Christ is the doctrine of Christ. I have vouchsafed to us; and our treasure is en
larged, when the lessons our brethren have clause of the verse. It is as if the apostle had learned are communicated to us in return. The said; · As Moses, when he met with God, was admonishing of each other will advance us in changed by the impartation of a dazzling splenholiness. The errors of our conversation, which dour to his face, so believers, when they view the we ourselves may not observe, do more readily | Lord Jesus, are changed into the same image: arrest the notice of our fellow-disciples; and sin- they are assimilated to the object of their faith, ful habits might grow upon us unperceived, were and they shine like him, and are glorious.' The we liable to no check from our brethren in the other circumstance is alluded to in the first gospel. When Peter failed in acting with the clause by the way of contrast. There the apostle straight-forwardness and Christian honesty that substantially says, “When the Israelites of old became him, he was seasonably admonished by held their intercourse with Moses, a vail hid the Paul, who withstood him to the face. We owe glory of his face from their eyes; but in our case, it to our brethren to tell them of their faults, and when we commune with the glorious Immanuel, they owe a similar service to us. Just because we do it with open face, no vail intervening, and we are friends, and not enemies, we ought to thus we behold the glory of the Lord.' speak to each other plainly and faithfully, and not Two topics for our meditation offer themselves keep back the truth.
in this verse.
The first is a discovery made, and If the word of Christ dwell in us as it ought, the second a change produced. we shall be prepared and disposed for the praises The apostle intimates that Christians do, 'with of God. We shall be inspired with gratitude. open face, behold as in a glass the glory of the
The wonders of love and grace, disclosed by the Lord;' and he thereby tells of a discovery made word, must awaken sentiments which will be to them. expressed in songs of thanksgiving. But, when Consider the nature of the discovery. It is we celebrate God's praises, let us beware of mere the glory of the Lord that they see.
In the case lip adoration. God is not imposed upon. He of Israel, the glory was that of Moses; here, it is looks to the heart. And, if he find no love to that of Christ. There, it was the glory of the him, no joy in him, there, our psalms, and hymns, servant; here, it is the glory of the Son. There, and spiritual songs, will be an abomination before it was outward, natural glory, radiating from the him. Wherefore, let us have grace in our hearts. face of a sinful man; here, it is spiritual glory, Let there be the melody of feeling as well as of belonging to him who is the brightness of the sound. Let our music and our praise be the glory of God. We have here the glory of the true and honest indications of the presence and life of Jesus. This consists in the holiness by working of Christ's word within us, and of the which his life was signalised. Every action he graces of faith, and love, and peace, and joy in performed, every word he spake, and every the Holy Ghost, richly abiding in our souls! thought of his heart, betokened that it was he of
whom in the volume of the book it is written, ‘I delight to do thy will, O God.' During the six
thousand years to which the existence of the Third Day.-EVENING.
human family nearly extends, he is the only and • But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass med generations, who never, by thought, word,
the single Man, out of the myriads of its unsumthe glory of the Lord, are changed into the same
or deed, so much as once broke the law of God. image, from glory to glory, even as by the we have here the glory of the death of Jesus. Spirit of the Lord,' 2 Cor. iii. 18.
The glory of his death? Yea, the glory of his There were two circumstances in the history of death, and of his cross. To the unenlightened ancient Israel, that were present to the mind of eye nought but disgrace and shame are discernithe apostle, when he wrote these words. One ble there. And doubtless by disgrace and shame was the effect produced upon the face of Moses his death was attended. But there was a glory by his converse with Jehovah in the mount. in it which overcame them. His departing cry, • The skin of his face shone;' glory had been It is finished, dispersed the clouds, and the communicated to it, and was reflected from it. glory of his cross stood revealed. We have also The other circumstance was the interposing of a the glory of his person. He is God, and he is vail between the people and the face of Moses, man. He is the Word made flesh. And we when they and he spake together.
have the glory of his mission. He came from The first of these circumstances is pointed at God into a world by which God's authority had in the way of analogy or comparison in the second been renounced, and in which a proud and ungrateful rebellion was in open and rampant pro- ple Christ set us that we should walk in his gress; yet he came not to condemn the world, steps. nor to execute vengeance, but that the world Mark how the change proceeds. It is 'from through him might be saved. We have, finally, glory to glory. It is not instantaneous.
No, it the glory of his work. He is Prophet, Priest, takes the lifetime of the Christian to complete it. and King. He calls men out of darkness; he It is like the change through which the unhewn makes intercession for them ever; he delivers marble passes, till it is formed into a graceful them from slavery, and he vanquishes death and and majestic statue. Part after part progreshell for their salvation.
sively appears, the noble countenance, the powerNotice the preparation for the discovery of ful limb, and all the rest, until the faithful and the glory of the Lord. It is with open face' admired copy of the honoured original is before that believers behold it. The expression points us. Thus does the change into Christ's image to the removal of a vail, whereby the glory would go forward; it advances from feature to feature, be hid. The vail that was put between Moses from part to part, “from glory to glory.' and the people was an emblem and type (see ver. The means by which the change is produced 14-17) of a spiritual vail which interposes, in are the display of the glory of the first instance, between all men and Christ. was the face of Moses made to shine. And thus This vail consists of unbelief and carnal-minded are sinners transformed into the image of Christ. ness. It consists of unbelief: and so the prophet Let us steadfastly, therefore, behold his glory. complained of it as hindering the people from But means are not erough. There must be seeing the glory of Christ, when he cried, Who an agent too. The agent is the Spirit. The hath believed our report ?' The vail of unbelief, change is brought about by the Spirit of the Lord. said Isaiah, is on the hearts of all, and therefore Let us pray for the Spirit. Let us earnestly He is despised and rejected of men; and they see seek after his precious illuminations. no beauty in him that they should desire him. It consists of carnal-mindedness. For the carnal mind knoweth not the things of God; neither can it know them, because they are spiritually dis
Fourth Day:-MORNING. cerned. And when Paul had in vain set the glory of the Lord before a number of his country
I hare esteemed the words of his mouth more men, his solution of the failure was, the heart
than my necessary food,' Job xxiii. 12. of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are Happy is the man who, surveying his past life
, dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed.' can truly declare thus! Yea, happy is be It is indispensable that the vail be removed. As although in the midst of trouble like Job, and ills the bandage must be taken from the eyes of a man shculd have befallen him like those that came that has been blindfolded, before he can see the upon that exemplary patriarch. He will not light of the sun, so must this vail be taken away, perish among the waters of adversity: he will be that the glory of the Lord may be beheld. God unscathed in the furnace of trial, as were the only can remove it. God will, God does, remove three children of old; he will be safe, as Daniel it from the hearts of all his own.
was, in the lions' den. The instrument of the discovery is the word. It is our duty to be frequently engaged in the It is in the glass, the bright mirror, of the gospel work of self-examination. “Prove your own that we must look for the glory of Christ Jesus selves,' is the injunction of scripture. Sometimes our Lord.
we are specially called of God to do it. In the The other subject, which the verse before us day of his contendings with us, when we are presents for our study, is a change which is said suffering by his rod, we ought to consider our to be produced. We are changed into the same ways.' Well for us, if we can say of Him under image, from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of whose chastisement we are smarting, 'I have the Lord.'
esteemed the words of his mouth more than my Observe wherein the change consists. It is a necessary food! In that case, we may surely change into the same image,' that is, into the believe that he who smites us is our friend, image of Christ which believers behold; it is a that all things, and therefore that affliction, shall transfiguration into the glorious likeness of Im- work for our good, and that a divine purpose manuel. It is a change which is otherwise spoken of love is the spring of our troubles. of as a putting on of the Lord Jesus Christ. It Let us see what is implied in this remarkable is a change resulting in a conformity to the exain- declaration of Job. It is clearly implied that
those wants which are connected with the body did David declare his desires for the word, and are not the only ones that must be provided for, the satisfaction and joy it gave him. “Thy words and that the necessaries of the present life are were found, and I did eat them,' said Jeremiah, not the only blessings that we should seek to and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing obtain. Job believed that he had a soul; he of my heart. And Job says here, I have believed and remembered that the life and wel-esteemed the words of his mouth more than my fare of his soul were worthy of consideration. necessary food.' Job did more. He reckoned his soul to be more Let us learn to prize the word of God. Let precious than his body. He valued the life of us cultivate the feelings with which David, Job, the former more highly than the life of the latter. Jeremiah, and true believers in every age, have In all this Job differed from the generality of regarded it. If the psalmist was right when he mankind, whether of his own day, or of ours. exclaimed, “I rejoice at thy word as one that Most men have little or no practical and influen- findeth great spoil,' we must be grievously in the tial belief in the existence of their own souls. wrong when we set the word at nought. Let They act as if, when the body falls by the stroke us value it for the sake of him from whom it of death, there were no surviving spirit, which comes. We ought to remember that the mouth is then ushered into eternity. They toil for the of the Lord hath spoken it—that the Spirit of body; they toil that it may be clothed and fed, the Lord hath dictated it. Let us value it for its that it may be garnished and gratified. They own intrinsic excellency. The word of God must attend to this world; they are engrossed by be good. It is good. No encomium upon it this world its cares, its joys, its vicissitudes! can be too high. It is better than gold. It is And no more can be said of them. We cannot more precious than rubies. Life is in the word. tell of their efforts for their souls, of their spiri
The word of God is a comprehensive exprestual anxieties, of their religious experience! Or, sion, embracing many oracles or utterances, many at the most, it can only be said, that some feeble words of his mouth. There is a fulness and a and transient notice is occasionally bestowed on variety in scripture, that are never enough to be the affairs of their souls, while it is to their tem- admired. Be the state of the soul what it may, poral interests that they attach the chief concern- there is that in the word that will answer to it. ment, and the one thing needful with them is, | Do we yield to temptation and indulge in sin? that these inay be safe and prosperous!
It has threatenings to alarm us.
Wax we weary, It is also implied that the word of God is and are we fainting in our minds ? And are necessary to our spiritual well being. · Man lukewarmness and sloth stealing over us? It has shall not live by bread alone, but by every word rousing exhortations whereby we may be re-anithat proceedeth out of the mouth of God. There mated. Walk we in the midst of trouble? have is a double life for man—a natural life to which we fightings without, have we fears, have we bread is necessary, and a spiritual life, which it sorrows, within? For such an emergency there needs God's word to sustain. It is interesting to are words of his mouth' in the shape of promark the relish entertained for the word by those mises exceeding great and precious, which are who have become partakers of spiritual life. yea and amen in Jesus Christ our Lord. • The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the statutes of the Lord are
Fourth Day.—EVENING. right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever; the judg
shall be fat and flourishing,' Psal. xcii. 14. ments of the Lord are true and righteous alto- | They shall bring forth fruit,'—they shall glorify gether. More to be desired are they than gold, God by their lives; they shall be obedient to his yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than will; they shall execute his commandments. honey, and the honey-comb. I have longed Who is the man that brings forth fruit? It is after thy precepts.' 'I will delight myself in thy he whom God has graciously planted in his vinecommandments which I have loved.' “The law yard, and whom the heavenly Husbandman has of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands nourished and strengthened. The tree of righteof gold or of silver.' •How sweet are thy words ousness is the planting of the Lord; by him it is unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my bedewed with seasonable grace; he makes his mouth! I love thy commandments above gold, Sun, the Sun of righteousness, to shine upon it; yea, above fine gold! In such strains as these and so it produces fruit.