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we can, whilst on earth, enjoy no religious comforts except those which are the result of self-deception, and we are totally unprepared and indisposed to join in the employments of the world of purity. Favour me then with your attention, whilst I show you what is meant by that fellowship with God, which is enjoyed by every Christian, and which is enjoyed by none but the Christian.

In order to have precise views of this subject, we must begin by inquiring, what is meant by the word fellowship? This inquiry is so much the more ne, cessary, because there are many Christians who suppose that fellowship with God is an act, rather than a settled state and confirmed habit of the soul; who suppose that fellowship with God consists in high joys and raptures, which in truth are often the fruit of it, but which nevertheless are not absolutely essential to it, and may be separated from it. What then is meant by fellowship, in its most extensive senses?

1. To have fellowship with others originally signifies, to possess something in common with others; to have something in state, relation, and enjoyments, of which we and others mutually partake: thus we have a fellowship of nature with all the human spe. cies; we have fellowship with the angels in our intellectual powers, and with the beasts in our bodily faculties. Thus the apostle says in the words immediately preceding the text, “ That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us;" that is, that ye may be admitted to a community of blessings, privileges, and promises. Thus Paul exhorts us, “ Have no

, fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness;". that is, let there be nothing in common to these

works and your conduct. This is the first sense in which fellowship is used; but,

2. This word is often taken in a much wider sense, to denote the intercourse and communication which we have with one another, by giving and receiving favours, by business, by conversation, or in similar manners. Thus the word is used, (Acts ii. 42.) "They. continued steadfastly in the apostle's doctrine and fellowship;" that is, in Christian intercourse with them. And so in a variety of other places.

Now from these observations we immediately perceive what is the nature of that fellowship with God which is essential to the Christian character. It evidently must include these two things:

I. The possession of certain things in common with God; and,

II. An intimate intercourse with him.

1. Fellowship with God implies, that there are certain things common between God and the believer. In vain do we flatter ourselves that our "fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ," unless, according to our measure and degree, we have attributes, aims, wills, affections, and interests, similar to those of God.

1. Believers have fellowship with God, by having all the divine attributes enstamped upon their souls; by being moulded into a resemblance of the divine. nature; by having the divine image, which was lost by the apostacy of Adam, re-impressed upon them by the Spirit of God. This is real fellowship: this is that fellowship which the angels and glorified spirits enjoy in heaven; where, seeing God as he is, they become like unto him; where, receiving the influxes of his glory, they are assimilated to him. And



this is that communion which in their measure saints enjoy upon earth: a resemblance of Deity is drawn upon their hearts; a resemblance which, though infinitely far from being full and perfect, is yet true and real: lineament answers to lineament, feature corresponds to feature; and they can see God, not only in the works of his hands, not only in the word that he has inspired, but also in their own souls, where his likeness is portrayed : according to the expression of the apostle, “ Christ, the express image of the Father's person,

is formed in them ;" an infant Christ who has all the features, though not the size and perfection of the original. With respect to the communicable attributes of God, there is a real likeness of participation; the soul of the believer is a mirror which receives the impression, and reflects the form of the divine righteousness, purity, truth, wisdom, mercy; and, in general, of all those perfections of which creatures may in some measure partake. With respect to the incommunicable attributes of God, those which are peculiar and appropriate to him, there cannot be this likeness of participation, but there is a likeness of correspondency; such a likeness as is formed by the seal

the seal upon the wax, where there is a resemblance, although the parts which in the one are elevated, in the other are depressed. Thus, though believers do not partake of the attribute of all-sufficiency, yet they nevertheless, have communion with this attribute by having that frame which is the proper impression of it; by an unreserved dependence, an entire going out of themselves and living upon God; by a wish and an endeavour to diminish, to shrivel, to decrease, that “God may be all in all;" to vanish, that his glory might shine the brighter.

Thus also, though believers do not partake of the attributes of sovereignty and supremacy, yet they nevertheless have communion with these attributes by having that frame which is the proper impression of them; by an entire subjection and a total self-dedication; by being enabled to consecrate themselves to God, and to exclaim from the very centre of their souls, “Lord, I yield myself to thee! thou art my owner! possess thine own right! I give myself up

I entirely to thee!" The case is the same with the other incommunicable attributes of God. $Believers, then, hold communion with God by having a real participation of his communicable, and a real impression of his incommunicable attributes.

2. Believers hold communion with God by having a common aim with him, and thereby becoming, in the apostolic phrase, fellow-workers with him.” What are the aims, the ends which God proposes to himself? His own glory, and the happiness of his creatures. What are the aims, the ends which believers propose to themselves ? The glory of God, and the happiness of man. Once they could act solely from selfish ends and motives; but enlightened from above, so as to perceive the infinite interval between the self-sufficient Jehovah and worms of the dust, between the fountain of excellence and this corrupted mortal; penetrated with admiration of his matchless perfections, and attracted • by gratitude for his boundless love, they have now no wish more fervent, no aim more constant, than that God may be glorified and worthily exalted by all the works of his hands. And in consistence with this ultimate aim at the glory of God, they desire, they labour to do good to the family of God, to advance the felicity of their fellow-men, to save them from

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those miseries which sin hath brought into the world, to save them from eternal despair!

3. Believers hold communion with God by having a common will with him. By nature we are disinclined to the directing and disposing will of God; we desire to be our own rulers and to regulate our own affairs; our hearts rise against the unlimited authority and sovereignty of the Lord. But the grace which has renewed believers, has given them different views; and though the remains of corruption sometimes make them murmur or struggle, yet in the general bent of their minds and course of their lives, they acquiesce in the will of God; and they are ne

1 ver so happy as when they can rest in the divine will with full complacency, with perfect approbation : the habitual language of their souls is, • Worthy art thou, O Lord, to rule! command me what thou willest ; dispose of me as thou willest: thy will be done ! !

4. Believers hold communion with God because they have common affections with him. God has the chief place in their hearts, and it is therefore impossible that their affections should run in a different channel : the same holy objects which God loves, are loved by Christians; the same sinful courses which God hates, are hated by Christians : not conformed to the world, they are united to God by the powerful ties of love, which causes their affections to mingle together, and cements the communion between them.

5. Finally: believers hold communion with God because they have common interests with him. The interests of God are considered by Christians, as those of a Father, a Benefactor, a tender Friend, and are, therefore, most dear to their souls. Does the cause of God flourish, and do his interests advance

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