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· [What more reasonable than that we should be his who bought us?
And what so delightful as to be ever glorifying God?
This constitutes the felicity of the perfected saints and angels
We should never be unhappy here if we abounded more in this duty
Let us know, then, and enjoy our inestimable privilegeTo have honoured God here, will be our crown hereafter
XV. OUR LORD'S CONDESCENSION TO SINNERS.
Rev. iii. 20. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and sup with him, and he with me.
THE ways of man are often made a standard whereby to judge of God
Hence many foolishly " think him to be such an one as themselves” —
But “ his thoughts and ways are infinitely above ours''
This is remarkably manifest in the passage before usIt is usual for inferiors to wait on their superiors
The greater their inferiority, the more patience is ex. pected of them
But here the God of Heaven waits upon his sinful creatures
The declaration is made even to the lukewarm Laodi. ceans
It unfolds to our view
He represents himself as coming to them to be their guest
But we must understand his words in a spiritual senseThe hearts of natural men are shut agailist Christ
[Mankind have their hearts full of vile lusts and passionsThey utterly exclude Christ from his rightful habitationThey bar the door against him by prejudice and unbelief-] He however condescends to seek adnittance into them
[He “knocks" in various ways" at the door” of their hearts
He intreats, promises, threatens, and expostulates by his word
He awakens attention by the secret energy of his SpiritHe calls also by alarming dispensations of his providence-] But the generality disregard bis voice.
[They are asleep, and even “ dead in trespasses and sins"
If awakened, they endeavour to lull themselves asleep again
If they cannot do this, they rest in frivolous excuses?
[He might well depart at their first refusal-
[Well might he call us to “behold” it with wonder How wonderful, that the Creator should so condescend to a creature!
How wonderful, that the Judge should become suitor to the criminal!
How wonderful, that the self-sufficient God should seek in such a way to bless those who are inexpressibiy vile and helpless
This must excite our admiration to all eternity-]
The adorable goodness expressed in it will appear fur. ther by considering II. The mercies he desires to impart to them
He requirus nothing of sinners but what he will enable them to perforin
[He looks for no worthiness or merit in themHe only desires that they “hear his voice, and open to him”
He will himself “ unstop their ears,” and “ incline their hearts”—
If indeed they obstinately persist in rejecting him, they cut themselves off from any hope in his mercy-]
Upon their yielding to his solicitations, he will bless them
[The metaphor of a guest is still kept upIt is a common metaphor in scriptured
• Cant. v. 2, 3. b Acts xiii. 18.
Rom. x. 21. d John xiv. 23.
The “supping” implies the most familiar intercourse with the soul
This our Lord will vouchsafe to those who open their hearts to him
He will delight himself in the exercise of their gracese-
Nor will he withhold these mercies on account of their past conduct
[He will with equal readiness become the guest of all- .. No unworthiness or past obduracy shall hinder him- , . He has declared this in the most express terms&He has proved it in the most remarkable instances
There is a cloud of living witnesses ready to attest it-] We shall conclude with an ADDDESS to
1. Those who are living in a careless state
[You are yet strangers to the heavenly guestBut this arises only from your own negligence and supineness
Christ has been long knocking at the door of your hearts
Every vile lust has been admitted, whilst he has stood without
May you never have that threatening fulfilled to you!
[What a mercy is it that you have heard the Saviour's voice!
Let it be your daily endeavour to open your hearts to him- .
Guard against unbelief, which above all bars the door against him
Let the sins which are offensive to him be put away
Then shall the fact which so offended the Jews be realized in you!
Thus shall you enjoy the most endearing fellowship with Jesus
And you shall ere long“ sup with him” in a better placem-]
e Cant. iv. 16.'
i Zech. ix. 17. &“If any man." See also Isai. lv. 1. Rev. xxii. 17. li 2 Chron. xxxiii. 9, 12, 13. 1 Tim. i. 13. 16. i Prov. i. 24-31. k Isai. Įv, 6. ! | Luke xix. 7.
m Rev. xix. 9.
XVI. THE ENDS FOR WHICH THE HOLY SPIRIT IS
GIVEN TO US.
all be clemise you. within yol'i will givand cause,
Ezek. xxxvi. 25—27. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon
you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: und I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
THE promises of the Old Testament frequently refer to different and distant periods
In these periods they receive different degrees of accomplishment
The promise before us was partly fulfilled in the deliverance of the Jews from idolatry after their return from captivity in Babylon
It had a further accomplishment on the day of Pentecost
Its final completion will take place at the millenium
This appears by its connexion with the foregoing verse
In the mean time it is daily fulfilled to the Church of God• It may lead us to consider the ends for which God gives us his Spirit
He sends down his Spirit 1. To cleanse from sin The heart of man is full of " filthiness and of idols”
[There is nothing so worthless, but it is idolized by us; nothing so filthy, but it is harboured and indulged
The idols indeed are not set up in our houses, but in our hearts
And if the filthiness appear not in open enormities, yet are our flesh and our spirit contaminated with it throughout
Hence God pronounces the whole race of man to be “ filthy and abominable"
Nor indeed can any words sufficiently represent our deformityb-]
. Ezek. xiv. s.
• Jer, xyii. 9.
To cleanse us from these God imparts his Holy Spirit
[The Spirit of God is here compared to “clean water"He is often spoken of in Scripture under this metaphor
His sprinkling of this water on us is in allusion to the sprinklings of the ceremonial law - It was by sprinkling, that holy persons and vessels were sanctified
It is for the same end that God sends his Holy Spirit upon us
The blood of Christ alone can cleanse from the guilt of sindBut the Spirit cleanses from the love and power of it
Nor does the operation of the Spirit supercede the atonement
It rather presupposes an affiance in the blood of Christ
Though the operations of Christ's blood and spirit are distinct, yet they are never divided
The one is ás necessary in its place, and as effectual, as the other-]
By his Spirit he cleanses the soul “ from all its filthi. ness and all its idols”
[The corruption of the heart is not indeed utterly extinguished
But the love of sin is taken away, and its power is broken
St. Paul ascribes this effect to the Spirit in the strongest terms ]
In order to effect this permanently, God sends his Spirit II. To renew the heart
A change must be radical, in order to be effectuals
The heart, by nature, is hard and insensible as a 66 stone”
[The soul is altogether “ dead in trespasses and sins”— The understanding is blind, the will obstinate, the conscience seared
A dead body is insensible of its own corruption
So is the soul insensible of its state, because it is spiritually dead-]
God therefore takes away this “stony heart out of the flesh”© John vii. 38, 39.
di John i. 7. e The purifying of the Levites well illustrates this. They were cleansed by the sprinkling of water on them; yet not so cleansed but that they needed to offer an atonement. The atonement and the sprinkling jointly produced the full effect. See Numb. viii. 6,7,8,12.
pi John v. 6. & Eph. y. 25-27. h Matt. xii. 33.