spiritual teaching that belongs to us now; and therefore we value the salvation of our souls, as we fear our soul's condemnation as we hope for everlasting blessedness, does it become us deeply, diligently, earnestly to search into this question. Have I this wedding garment that will make me meet for the marriage supper of the Lamb— that will make me meet to be the bride, the Lamb's wife? Now in this respect the wedding garment is not the righteousness of Christ imputed to us; that would be no garment that would fit us to sit down there, and although, indeed, without that imputed righteousness we could not stand even in Heaven, for it is a truth, a deep truth, that the righteousness of the highest Archangel is but darkness compared with the brightness of divine glory; that the righteousness of any creature could not be essential righteousness, simply because it is creature-righteousness; so that if we were ever so holy and in ten thousand times ten thousand years were left for one moment to our 'unrenewed strength and holiness, we should be just as sinful in one moment as Satan is now, and we should be as dark in one moment, if the divine lights were withdrawn from us, as the brightest morning the moment the sun's light were withdrawn. So that we must bear in mind that at all times, through eternity, we must have the imputed righteousness of Christ to cover the infirmity of creature-righteousness and creature-holiness, even in Heaven. How beautifully was this taught in the Holiest of all, when the cherubim standing there in the brightness of the firmament, only resplendent with the reflection of the divine glory that was shining upon them, they could not stand upon themselves, they must have their feet in the mercy seat, even they,-to teach us that it is in those mercies that rest upon the covenant of God



in Christ, that the glorified soul of the redeemed shall stand before it.

But still the wedding garment is not that righteousness imputed to us; it is Christ's righteousness imputed to us by which we are made like unto his glorious image in reality, and in truth to the very innermost of our nature. We have the wedding garment

explained to us in the 61st chap. of the prophet Isaiah, where he thankfully exclaims, and with joy expresses not only the knowledge but the joyfulness of the soul that is clothed in this garment. "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God for he hath clothed me with the garment of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with jewels." You will find in the margin decketh himself " as a priest," as a bridegroom putting on his priestly garments for glory and for beauty, and as the bride adorns herself; it is the same; it is the glorious clothing that belongs here to the bridegroom and the bride. I will rejoice in the Lord for he hath covered me with a robe such as the bridegroom wears, a robe such as the bride hath for ornament, and these are the garments of salvation and the robe of righteousness.

Now, what is salvation? It is not mere deliverance from hell; it is the perfection and the glory of our nature; it is the affection of our hearts, purified by grace and brightened into glory. What is righte ousness? It is our whole nature being made right, every thing in its place, and every thing made glorious, beautiful, and holy; it is our whole nature made meet for the service of God,-meet for companionship with Christ. If we would know what all these are, let us look at them as

they are in our blessed Saviour; let us look at them with eyes enlightened by the spirit of God, and with hearts renewed by the same blessed spirit. him as he shows himself to us walking this earth—a dying Let us look at life and a living death: walking this earth in meekness, lowliness of life, laying down his life for us, his hands full of bounty for all men, his heart full of love for the men for whom he died: His life is full of compassion for the ungrateful, the rebellious,—his nights of prayer, -his days of labour,-his earnestness of love,-his endurance of suffering,-his bearing the contradiction of sinners,—the fullness of grace and blessedness in all respects, as he says, "The spirit of the Lord God is upon me because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek, he hath sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to declare liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound." Here is what he was, and here is what he is now-made glorious in heaven, and as he is, says the apostle, so are we in this world. If we be not made saints on earth, we never shall be saints in Heaven; if we be not made like Christ on earth, we never shall be like Christ in Heaven; if we have not learned to lay down our lives for the brethren on earth, we shall never live with him who has laid down his life for us: not upon the cross merely, but from the manger of Bethlehem to the cross we must be, like him, "always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus Christ that the life of Jesus may be made manifest in our body, for we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.'

O, brethren, it becomes us to search our own hearts, to examine our lives, to demand of our souls, of our

[ocr errors]

whole being;-are we making a living reality of that which was a formal ceremony, at our baptism-are we made like unto our saviour Christ; in all things walking in this world as He walked? It becomes us earnestly to ask ourselves; Are we really desirous of being like Jesus? are we earnestly desirous to sit down at the marriage supper of the Lamb, in that Holy City, new Jesusalem, that shall come down from God out of Heaven prepared as a bride adorned for her husband?

If this be our hope then must we purify ourselves even as he is pure. If this be not our hope, and if this be not our aim, and if we are not able to say, "we do lay down our life for the brethren," then our only hope is condemnation; our only dwelling place is where our companionship can only be with the damned; we can have no choice but this: we must choose either Christ or Satan; we must choose the highest attainments in holiness, or sink down to the lowest depths of sin.

May the blessed spirit of God enable us to choose that good part which shall not be taken away from us, to remember the promise that is given to the meek, to the sinful, and to the erring, "Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out," remembering the offered strength and the offered grace that enables us to say "most gladly will I rather glory in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me because he hath said my grace is sufficient for thee, my strength is made perfect in weakness.""

« ElőzőTovább »