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Saviour for this go forth upon the prayer, and hand it up perfumed with the incense of His own merits to Him who sitteth on the throne; and the descending of the Spirit on the believer's heart, will make sure that regenerating process, whereby he who is saved from the punishment of sin, will also most certainly be saved from its power. The man, who, in the faith of God's testimony, reckons himself a partaker of Christ's death and resurrection, is not reckoning beyond his warrant. But he who so reckons upon Christ hath received Christ; and the mighty vantage ground upon which he stands is, that he can now plead the declaration of God Himself, that as He hath given His own Son He will also with Him freely give all things; and the most precious of these, are the heart and the power to serve Him.
It is thus that, through the door of reconciliation, you enter on the path of new obedience; and stil we come back again to this, that the very reckoning of my text, is the thing which gives its first prosperous outset to the work of sanctification. It is this which brings home to the believer's heart, the malignity of sin—it is this which opens to him the gate of heaven ; and, disclosing to his view the glories of that upper region, teaches him that it is indeed a land of sacredness—it is this which inclines his footsteps along the path to immortality, which the death of Christ and it alone has rendered accessible—it is this which conforms his character to that of the celestial spirits who are there before Him-For the will of Christ, whom he now loves, is, that he should be like unto Him; and the grate
ful wish and grateful endeavour of the disciple, draw forth from his labouring bosom that prayer of faith, which is sure to rise with acceptance, and is sure to be answered with power.
To conclude, I shall be pleased, if, as the fruit of all these explanations, I have succeeded in making palpable to any understanding, the great secret of what that is which constitutes the principle of evangelical obedience. The constant aim and tendency of nature is towards a legal obedience; and, in the prosecution of this, it is sure to land either in a spiritless formality, or in a state of fatigue and dissatisfaction and despondency, which, without the faith of the gospel, is utterly interminable. To believe in Christ, is the way to be holy here, as well as the way to be happy hereafter. A sense of peace with God through Him, when it enters the bosom, is the sure harbinger of purity there; and what you have plainly to do, that you may attain to the character of heaven, is to take up the reckoning of my text--even that the death by sin is conclusively gone through ; and that, the life by God being promised through Jesus Christ, the gate of heaven now stands open for your approaches through the way of holiness which leads to it. You have perhaps been practising at the work of reformation by other methods; and this is a method that may have been still untried by you. Try it now; and what can be more inviting, than to begin an enterprise with such an encouragement of friendship and of patronage upon your side? The man who sets out on the track of legalism, proposes to win this friendship by his obedience and to secure his patronage. But the man who sets out evangelically, counts on the friendship and the patronage as already his, and avails himself of all the aids and facilities that are abundantly offered to him. Make the experiment, my brethren.
Take it up as a settled point, that in Christ your condemnation is done away—that in Him your right to everlasting life is purchased and secured for you—that all the signals of honest and welcome invitation are now lifted up; and, floating in the eye even of the worst of sinners, are cheering him forward to the land of uprightness—and that every influence is provided, to help his movement from the character of that earth whence he is so soon to make an everlasting departure, to the character of that now open and accessible heaven whither he is asked to bend his footsteps. Enter upon this undertaking on the footing that your reconciliation is secured, and not on the footing that your reconciliation is yet to win. On the one footing you will fight all your days, at a distance from hope, and at an utterly impracticable distance from that heaven after which you are toiling so fruitlessly. Just make the attempt then on the other footing; and see whether all old things will not be done away, and all things will not become new.
ROMANS, vi, 12. “ Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that
should obey it in the lusts thereof."
Some would substitute here, in place of mortal, which signifies liable to death, the idea of our bodies being already dead in Christ; or in Him being already put to death for sin—which would just be urging us to strive against sin, and on the consideration too that I have in your hearing so repeatedly insisted upon. Let not that hateful enemy again reign over us, who already brought us to the borders of execution. And here, I may revert for a moment to the thought, that sin, by the death of Christ in our stead, hath been plucked of its sting—that our Saviour received it in His own body, and there is no more power in our cruel adversary to inflict its mortal poison upon us—and that he is not only disarmed of his right to condemn us, but furthermore disarmed of all right and ability to tyrannise over us. In virtue of the defeat that he has gotten, he will not obtain the dominion over our hearts and wills unless we let him. If we let him not; we shall find that our resistance, backed as it is by the plea of a Saviour already crucified, and by the power of a Saviour now exalted, is greatly too much for him. We who have been baptized into Christ, are somewhat in the same circumstances with regard to our old oppressor sin that the children of Israel, after being baptized into Moses in the Red sea, were, in reference to the power and tyranny of Egypt. Their enemy was engulphed in that abyss, over which they found an open and a shielded way; and, placed conclusively beyond the reach of his dominion, it was now their part: to exchange the mastery of Pharaoh for the mastery of God; and those who did not acquit themselves of this their part, but rebelled against Heaven, and sighed in their hearts after the flesh-pots of Egypt, were cut off in the wilderness. And these things are recorded for our admonition, on whom the latter ends of the world have come. If truly baptized into Christ, we have, with Him our Deliverer, passed athwart that mighty chasm which had been else impassable; and it was in the act of opening up and traversing this deep, that he who had the power of death was overthrown; and .we, now placed beyond the reach of his inflictions, are to exchange the tyranny of sin for the rightful command and mastery of Him, who hath borne us across from the confines of the enemy; and unless we let him, he is stript of all power of ascendancy over us—being no more able to subjugate our hearts to the influence of moral evil, than he is able to subjugate our persons to its penalty. Now, if he offer to reign, let us but resist, and he will flee from us—whereas, if with so many aids and securities around us, and standing on the vantage ground of a safety that has thus been obtained and thus been guaranteed, we shall still find our inclinations towards this malignant destroyer, we shall share in the fate of the rebellious Hebrews, we shall