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ture, man. Thus it is with the Lord Jesus Christ; through the riches of whose favor the members of his church know all their petitions answered, and all their need supplied. Are they in want of faith? they are taught to ask it of him. "Increase our faith" was the cry of the disciples to Jesus: Luke xvii, 5: comp. 1 Cor. vii, 25. "Peace be to the brethren," said the apostle Paul," and love with faith, from God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ:" Eph. vi, 23. Are they rowful, cast down, and afflicted? To Jesus, as well as to the Father, they are taught to look for consolation. "Now, our Lord Jesus Christ himself," said the same apostle, "and God, even our Father,—comfort your hearts, and establish you in every good word and work :" 2 Thess. ii, 16, 17. Are they attacked by their spiritual enemy, encompassed with many trials, and destitute of all strength in themselves to maintain the conflict?-Let them listen to the words of their Redeemer-" My grace is sufficient:"-" my strength is made perfect in weakness:" 2 Cor. xii, 9: comp. 2 Tim. iv, 17: 2 Pet, ii, 9 Rev. iii, 10.


Very clear in these several particulars, is the testimony of inspiration to the grace or divine favor, bestowed on the true members of the church by its all powerful Head; but there are three principal respects, in which it becomes us more especially to observe the operation of the grace of Jesus Christ; namely, forgiveness, conversion, and sanctification.

That authority over the world to forgive sin, which we have already noticed as claimed and exercised by Jesus, was a power which belonged unalterably to his divine nature; and it is fully brought into exercise now that God hath "exalted him to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sin:" Acts v, 31. "Lord, lay not this sin to their charge," was the petition which the dying Stephen addressed, on behalf of his persecutors, to his glori fied Master: Acts vii, 60. When Paul exhorted the Colossians to put on "bowels of mercies," and to forbear one another in love, he added, "Even as Christ forgave (or freely forgave*) you, so also do ye:" Col. iii. 13. He had himself experienc ed the pardoning love of Christ, and was anxious that others should participate in the same grace : "Howbeit," said he, "for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me, first, Jesus Christ might show forth all long-suffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting:" 1 Tim. i 16. So, also, the apostle Jude commands us to



"keep" ourselves "in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life:" ver. 21: comp. Acts xv, 1.

The efficacy of the grace of our Saviour, for the conversion of sinners, is clearly recognized by the sacred writers. We read that he is exalted to bestow repentance as well as pardon; (Acts v, 31;) and the Greek word, here and in other passages rendered "repentance, properly signifies that complete change of judgment, intention, and feeling, which is more accurately expressed by our word "conversion."* "Unto you first," cried the inspired Peter to his Jewish auditors, "God having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities." Acts iii, 26. The apostle Paul was a memorable`instance of that total transmutation of mind and heart, which is often produced in sinners, by the grace of Jesus Christ; (1 Tim. i, 12—15;) and, long after this change had taken place in him, we find him expressing his earnest desire to know yet more of him, and of "the power of his resurrection;" that so he might "apprehend (or lay hold of) that for which also" he was " apprehended of Christ Jesus:" Phil. iii, 12: comp. John x, 16.

Sanctification, lastly, as well as conversion, is the work of that Spirit which is bestowed on the people of God by the Lord Jesus Christ. "The anointing which ye have received of him," says the apostle John, when speaking of the Lord Jesus, "abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you; but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him... ... . If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him :" 1 John ii, 27-29. Again-" Ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins, and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him, sinneth not:" 1 John iii, 5, 6. The apostle Peter exhorts those who have already tasted that Jesus "is gracious,' to come unto him, "as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God and precious," that they may be "built up, a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ;" (1 Pet. ii, 2-5 ;) and Paul thus commends his 'Thessalonian converts to the same edifying power of Jesus. "And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you; to the end he may establish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God:"


* μετάνοια. Vide Schleusner in voc. 3.

1 Thess. iii, 12, 13. Finally, it is the Lord Jesus who is described as purifying unto himself" a peculiar people, zealous of good works;" (Tit. ii, 14;) and as sanctifying and cleansing his church "with the washing of water by the word, that be might present it to himself, a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it might be holy, and without blemish :" Eph. v, 26, 27.

Thus rich, thus powerful, thus effective for every purpose of forgiveness, conversion, strength, consolation, and sanctification, is the grace of Jesus Christ!

IV. Since it is only through the influence of the Holy Spirit, that men are converted and sanctified, and since the work of conversion and sanctification is plainly attributed to the power of the Son, as well as to that of the Father, it can be no matter of surprise that this Holy Spirit, which is usually described as the Spirit of God, is also called the Spirit of Christ: Rom. viii, 9; 1 Pet. i, 11. It is not, however, in the work of grace alone that we trace the divine operations of the Spirit of our Redeemer for Jesus Christ, in his reign, is also the author of those especial endowments, which are usually denominated spiritual gifts. It was Jesus who bestowed upon his disciples power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness, and all manner of disease;" (Matt. x, 1;) and we have already ascertained, on the plain evidence of Scripture, that, as all the miracles of the earliest Christian teachers were wrought in the name of Jesus, so it was by him, in union with the Father, that these wonderful changes in the order of nature were actually effected. We find that it was "Christ who wrought by the apostle Paul, "to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed, through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum," he "fully preached the Gospel of Christ:" Rom. xv, 18, 19.


Christ is the " power" and the "wisdom of God;" (1 Cor. i, 24;) "in him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge;" (Col. ii, 3 ;) "by him," his servants are “enriched in all utterance, and in all knowledge;" (1 Cor. i, 5;) and thus it is evident that Jesus Christ, who wrought the miracles of his apostles, was also the inspirer of their ministry. Such a doctrine may, indeed, be correctly deduced, not only from the frequent confessions of the apostle Paul, who traced all his own spiritual powers to the will and influence of the Son of God; but also from the history of the great day of Pentecost, as it is recorded in the book of Acts; for it is indisputable, that the celestial influence, by which the disciples were then enabled

"to speak with other tongues," and to prophesy in the name of the Lord, was shed forth upon them by the glorified Messiah: Acts ii, 33. Thus, also, when the Lord Jesus was instructing his apostles in what manner they were to conduct themselves during those turbulent times which, after his own ascension, were so soon to overtake them, he said, "Settle it, therefore, in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer, for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist:" Luke xxi, 14, 15.

Whatsoever, indeed, were the offices which the servants of Christ were called upon to bear in the early Christian church, (and these offices were manifold) it was from Christ that they received their appointment; it was from Christ that they derived the powers which enabled them to fulfil it. "He that descended," says the apostle, "is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things; and he gave some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ....."from whom the whole body fitly joined together, and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body, unto the edifying of itself in love:" Eph. iv, 10-16.

V. Although the reign of Jesus Christ is of a strictly spiritual nature, yet, in order to the accomplishment of those ends to which the economy of grace is directed, we learn from Scripture, that outward circumstances are placed under his control, and are regulated by his providence. From various passages in the book of Acts, and in the Epistles, it clearly appears that the external movements and situations, as well as the spiritual callings, of the early disciples, depended on the will of Jesus. He assigned to the apostles, for example, not only their peculiar gifts, but their respective fields of labour. Thus, we read, that when Paul and Silas essayed to go into Bithynia, the Spirit of Jesus suffered them not: Acts xvi, 7. (Griesbach's text.) It was the will of Christ that their labours should be directed to another district. Paul, indeed, was well aware that all his travels were ordered by the providence, and were subject to the direction, of Jesus. "I will come to you shortly," said he to the Corinthians, "if the Lord will;" (1 Cor. iv, 19; comp. v, 4, 5. 17;) and again, "I trust to tarry awhile with you, if the Lord permit;" (1 Cor. xvi, 7; comp. v, 10; xv, 57, 58;) in both which passages it is clear, from the context, that by the title "Lord," he designated the Lord

Jesus. To the Philippians the same apostle says, "But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you.... but I trust in the Lord that I also myself shall come shortly:" Phil. ii, 19. 24. Lastly, to the Thessalonians he thus expresses himself, "Now God himself, and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way to you :" 1 Thess. iii, 11.

Additional light is thrown upon this point of our subject by the messages of Christ, in the Revelation, to the angels of the seven Asiatic churches; for there are various parts of these divine communications which afford an evidence, that, even in matters of an external nature, these Christian communities were subject to the retributive government, and depended on the protecting providence, of the Messiah: see Rev. ii, 5. 16. 22, 23, 24; iii, 3. 9, 10. But, although the providence of Jesus Christ, in his reign of glory, may be ever especially directed to the edification and government of his peculiar people, yet it is far indeed from being confined within the limits of the church itself. That it is yet infinitely more extensive may be fairly deduced from the doctrine advanced in the Epistle to the Hebrews, that it is the Son of God who " upholdeth all things by the word of his power,"* (Heb. i, 3;) and, in the Epistle to the Colossians, Paul declares that "by (or in) him all things consist:"| Col. i, 17. There is nothing in the apostle's context which imposes any limit on the meaning of these comprehensive expressions; on the contrary, they are, in both instances, introduced in immediate connexion with the declaration, that by the Son of God the worlds were created. It must, therefore, I think, be allowed, that, within a very short compass, they contain a sublime description of that divine nature which maintains all things, visible and invisible, in their right order which fills, supports, and animates, created things -which controls and regulates the universe of God.

VI. Since Jesus Christ, in his reign, rules over the church, and over all the creatures of God-since he exercises, over the souls of men, a moral and spiritual government-since he converts and pardons the sinner, and sanctifies the believersince he dispenses those personal endowments by the use of which the church is edified-and since he regulates not only the church, but even the universe, by his providence,-it appears to follow, as a necessary consequence, that he is a proper object of prayer, glorification, and all devout affiance and allegiance. Now, the inference, which I thus venture to de

* φέρων τε τὰ πάντα τῷ ῥήματι τῆς δυνάμεως αὑτοῦ. † τὰ πάντα ἐν αὐτῷ συνέστηκε.

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