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and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. He took not on him the nature of angels, but he took on him the seed of Abraham. He was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death; and, being the brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had, by himself purged our sins, he sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high, being so much better than the angels, as he had by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. Therefore God hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things in earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
Almighty God, enable me, through the mighty power of thy Holy Spirit to believe in Jesus; to love him with all my heart; to trust in him as my atoning sacrifice, my justifying righteousness; my purifying fountain, my hope of glory. Give me a growing delight in thy Holy Word, which reveals these riches of thy grace to sinners. May I prize it as my greatest treasure, and study it as my highest wisdom. Impart to me the spirit of illumination to understand its truths, and to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, that I may be filled with all the fulness of God. Give me more and more of thy quickening grace; stir
ST. PAUL'S EXPERIENCE IN THE CONFLICT BETWEEN
SANCTIFICATION is the gracious work of the Holy Spirit, transforming the soul of the sinner into the likeness of Jesus Christ. Holiness is therefore the beauty, as well as the happiness, of the soul. But while, we remain in the body, we are renewed only in part.
The mortification of sin is fitly compared to crucifixion, which is a painful lingering death;— hence the conflict between the flesh and the spirit will end only with life. So long as we live in the body, sin will not wholly die; therefore the believer finds perpetual need for watchfulness and prayer, and for a constant application to the blood and grace of Jesus.
St. John enforces the two following important truths, which seem at first sight to militate against each other, but when understood by Christian experience, they are found to be in perfect agree
The one is "If we say that we have no
up my languid affections, subdue my inward corruptions, and enable me to persevere in the ways of holiness, till death be swallowed up in victory; and grace be ripened into glory.
"Great God, when I approach thy throne,
This is my stay, and this alone,
That Jesus died for me.
"How can a soul condemn'd to die
"Burden'd with sin's oppressive chain,
"My course I could not safely steer
"And Lord, when I behold thy face,
sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not
The other: "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin, for his seed remaineth in him, and he cannot sin, because he is born of God."
By the first, the Apostle pronounces it selfdeception to suppose that we can attain in this life to a state of sinless perfection. By the second, he declares it to be contrary to the nature of a child of God, to live in the allowed indulgence of any
The Scriptural evidence of our being born of God, and, of his seed remaining in us, does not therefore consist in an absolute freedom from sin whilst in the body, but in our abhorrence of it, in our fighting against it, and in our not living in the habitual practice of it. For, "He that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as God is righteous." Those who are regenerated may be termed just and perfect, yet it is only in comparison of the wicked, who are in bondage under sin; not with any reference to the infinitely holy law of God. They may be also called perfect in another sense, because like infants they have all the parts of a Christian, though not the perfection of those parts. All the seeds of grace are sown in their hearts, but they have not the full growth of them in this life. Their graces are indeed constantly unfolding themselves, and advancing to higher degrees of ripeness, but heaven is the only place where the perfection of holiness can be found; because there, the spirits of just men are made perfect, who,
“having washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, shall serve God, day and night in his temple." Whilst in the body, we we must experience that conflict between the flesh and the spirit, which is the occasion of much joy or pain, in proportion to the strength or weak-i ness of these opposing principles.
The life of the Christian is a daily combat.Those persons are little acquainted with it, who i feel no inward struggling between nature and grace. It is true, that some pious persons are less exercised than others with internal conflicts; but every view which the Scriptures give us of a life of faith, is connected with exertion and opposition both from within and from without. It is called a race-a warfare—a pilgrimage. Hence believers are exhorted to run, that they may obtain the prize; to fight, that they may gain the crown; to persevere, that they may reach their promised rest. "as the soul of the sluggard desireth and hath nothing, so the soul of the diligent shall be made fat." The Christian has been compared to a boat placed upon a rapid river, which, if it be not advancing against the current, must of necessity, be carried down by it. To oppose the stream, would require a power not its own. Just so it is with the believer. He has to contend against a torrent of inward corruptions, known, perhaps, only to God and his own heart; and having lost, through the fall, all spiritual strength, he feels utterly unable of himself to resist them. He therefore looks continually unto Jesus, and being strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man, is enabled to