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[What has the world ever done to deserve your regard? And has Jesus ever“ been a wilderness to you," that he should forfeit it?
If you return to the world, and forsake Christ, your state will be worse than ever--]
c Jer. ii. 31.
d Heb. x. 38.2 Pet. ii. 20, 21.
XXXII. THE EXTENT AND GROUNDS OF CHRISTIAN
Rom. xiv. 7–9. None of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth
to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore or die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.
TO exercise Christian forbearance is no small attainment
There is continual need of it in the Christian world
There are many things of an indifferent nature, which we are at liberty either to do or forbear
But all do not see their Christian liberty with equal clcarness
Hence the weak are apt to judge the strong, and the strong to despise the weak
Thus the Jews and Gentiles at Rome disputed respecting the use of certain meats, and the observance of certain days,
The apostle shews, that, though the two parties differed in their conduct, they were equally accepted of God
He grounds his assertion on the idea that both of them acted from a conscientious desire to please and honour GodI. The extent of Christian obedience
If we were to judge from the practice of mankind, we should think that very little was required of us
But we must judge by the unerring standard of God's word
Both the law and the gospel require the obedience of the heart
And in this the Christian labours to approve himself to God 1. He renounces self
[Self is the idol of the unregenerate world They study only to please and exalt self in every part of their life They have no higher view in courting or shunning death
But the Christian sees the sinfulness of thus idolizing self
He therefore endeavours to suppress its workings, and mortify its desires
He determines never to make the indulgence of self his chief
2. He devotes himself to the Lord
[He studies to do his will, and gain his approbation He seeks to glorify his name in every action of life
He considers that he is the Lord's property, both by creation and redemption
He strives therefore to honour him with every faculty of body and soul-]
This is not a mere theory, but a living picture of Christianity
[The apostle lays down an universal rule to this effect He himself conformed to it in an eminent degreeb
Every true Christian, according to his measure, conforms to it; "none of us," &c.-]
Such obedience, however, will not spring from any but evangelical principlesII. The grounds of it
All possible obedience is due from us to God by creation
But God has acquired a new right over us by redemptionChrist has died, risen, and revived
[He died to make atonement for our guiltHe rose for our justification before GodHe revived, and lives to carry on the work-]
He has done this with an express view to reduce us to allegiance
a 1 Cor. x. 31. VOL. I.
b Phil. i. 20.
[He undertook to save men from their sins, and not in them
Paul repeatedly declares this to have been the end of our Lord's death
Peter speaks to the same effect, and our Lord himself also confirms this truth
The same was also the end of his resurrection and ascension
And in all that he is now doing, he keeps the same object in view]
What he has done is therefore the proper ground of our obedience
[We are still as much as ever bound by the laws of our creation
But we should be particularly affected with redeeming love
This should stir us up to the most unreserved obedience The apostle requires such obedience, on this very ground
We shall surely render it, if we have any interest in redemption..] INFER 1. How few real Christians are there in the world!
[If living to ourselves were Christianity, there would be Christians without number
But nothing less than an entire devotedness to God can entitle us to the name
How few then are there to be found!
The text might be reversed in almost every assembly of professing Christians_
Let us judge ourselves by this criterion-
Let us cry to God for his Spirit to renew us in our inward man--] 2. How reasonable is the Christian life!
[Christian obedience is often ridiculed as preciseness, and needless scrupulosity
It is deemed a mark of a weak and enthusiastic mind-
Who can ever estimate the obligation arising from the death of Christ?
Who can sufficiently praise him for what he is now doing for us in heaven?
c 2 Cor. y. 15. Tit. ii. 14. e John xvii. 19.
f Phil. ii. 9-11. h 2 Cor. v. 14.
i Phil. ii. 21.
di Pet. ii. 24.
I Cor. vi. 19, 20. k Rom. xii. 1.
Is it reasonable that we should defeat the ends of all his love?
Ought we not rather to requite it to the utmost of our power?-
Should we account any thing too much to do for him?-Let all then confess the reasonableness of being devoted to ChristLet
every Christian exert himself more and more, disregarding ridicule and contempt]
11. Cor. xv. 58.
XXXIII. THE GREATNESS AND PRECIOUSNESS OF
2 Pet. i. 4. Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and pre
cious promises; that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
COMMENTATORS are not agreed with respect to the connexion of these words
Nor is it of any great importance for us to enter into the difficulties of it
The words themselves, whatever the precise connexion of them may be, are replete with instruction and comfort
We shall take occasion from them to consider 1. The exceeding greatness and preciousness of the pro
mises God, in infinite mercy, has given us many “promises
[Fallen man could not claim any thing at God's hands
We were deserving of nothing but his wrath and indignation
But he was pleased to send his own Son to die for us
* Some connect av with “ glory and virtue" in the preceding verse, and understands it thus; “ by which glorious energy of the gospel are given to us,” &c. Others, understanding the third verse parenthetically, connect di wv with “God and Christ" in ver. 2. and translate the words “ by whom," &c. b Ps. cxliii. 2.
c Ps, cxxx. 3.
And for the sake of Christ has promised us many blessings] These promises are “ exceeding great"
[They offer the pardon of all our sins
They warrant us to expect strength for the performance of all our dutiese
They call us to enjoy the most intimate fellowship with God
They assure us of everlasting happiness and glory
Neither are the wants of the body, or the conveniencies of life overlooked ] No wonder then that they should be "precious”
(We cannot ascertain their full valueBut every true Christian can adopt the language of David-]
But the preciousness of them will further appear, if we consider II. The end for which they are given
God would have us to be partakers of the divine nature
[The divine nature does not import the divine essenceNor does it mean a personal union with God
To partake of the divine nature in these respects was the peculiar honour of Jesus Christ
But the divine nature has respect to the moral perfections of the Deityk
Oi these God would have us to partake abundantly]
[He does not intend merely to save us from destructionHe has laid a plan for our everlasting happinessBut holiness is essential to happiness
We could not enjoy his presence, if we did not bear his image
He has therefore given us promises, in order to make us holy
And the promises, if duly applied, always operate in this manner-]
Thuir suitableness to this end will be manifest, while we contemplate IJI. The flects they invariably produce
d Isai. i. 18.
e 2 Cor. xii. 9.
s 2 Cor. vi. 16. h Matt. vi. 33. 2 Pet. i, 3. 1 Tim. iv. S. k Col. üi. 10.