« السابقةمتابعة »
(might he say) is the Alpha and Omega of my life, the beginning and the end of it'; the author and finisher of it; Christ is the principle of my life, from whom I live ; Christ is the end of my life, to whom I live; Christ is the pattern of my life, according to whose example I live ; Christ is the giver of my life, the maintainer of my life, the restorer of my life; after decays, he restores my soul, and makes me to walk in the paths of righteousness for his name's fake. Christ is the food of my life; I should die, if he did not feed me with his flech and blood, which is living bread and water to me; Christ is the medicine of my life ; it is by renewed touches of the hem of his garment, and renewed applications to him, that my soul is healed; for there is healing under the wings of this sun of righteousness. Christ is the All of my life; for to me to live is Christ; he is my light, my strength, my righteousness: It is the glory of the believer, to acknowledge Christ the Alpha and the Omega, and the ALL of his spiritual life. 3. Sometimes it is designed from the Spirit, and so it is called a living in the Spirit, Gal. v. 25. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. It is a living in the light, and leading of the Spirit; Thy Spirit is good, lead me to the land of uprightness. It is a living in the graces and fruits of the Spirit, which are defcribed, Gal. v. 22. and a bringing forth these fruits of the Spirit. It is a living in the strength and power of the Spirit, which is therefore called a law,
The law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus bath made me free from the law of fin and death. The power of the Spirit hath the force of a law within the man, insomuch that when he walks in the Spirit, he does not fulfil the lusts of the flesh, he L4
sets the power of the Spirit against the power of fin. It is a living in the comforts of the Spirit, and joys of the Holy Ghost; and when he thus lives, the joy of the Lord is his strength. It is a walking in the liberty of the Spirit ; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty : When a man hath this life, then he hath liberty to hear, read, pray, believe, mourn, and liberty to serve the Lord, Truly I am thy servant, thou haft loofed my bonds. In a word, it is a living in the love of the Spirit, and in a constant dependance on the Spirit. 4. Sometimes it is designed from these námes that fignify other special qualities and properties of it: And here, I might bring in a multitude of scriptures. It is called a holy life, Be ye koly as I am boly: It is called a bumble life, walk bumbly with thy God; a beavenly life, our conversation is in heaven; the man is heavenly in his thoughts, and spiritually minded; heavenly in his speech, defiring to edify those that are about him; heavenly in his affections, which are set upon things above, his desire and delight being set upon heavenly things ; heavenly in his hope, Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appear. ing of the great God; heavenly in his trade, trading daily to the heavenly country, by faith, prayer, and drawing bills of exchange upon Christ, as it were, for all that he stands in need of. It is called an upright life, No good thing will be with-bold from bim that walketh uprightly. A well-ordered life, To him that orders his conversation, &c. It is called 'à circumfpet life, See that ye walk circum. Spectly. It is called a gospel life, Let your conversa. tion be as it becometh the gospel, that is, as it becomes a gospel-state, gospel-principles, gospel-roles, and gospel-patterns, gospel-motives,' and gospel-ends ;
and under the influence of gospel-grace, adorning the doctrine of God our Saviour. But, omitting all these, I only instance in one sçripture, wherein this living unto God is described in such a manner as includes all other properties of it, yea, and comprehends all the duties of obedience we are called to, Tit. ii. 11, 12. The grace of God hath appeared unto all men, teaching us, that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we jould live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world; where you see, this living unto God comprehends all these duties of pi. ety towards God, fobriety towards ourselves, and righteousness towards our neighbour, which we are obliged to by the law as a rule of life and holiness, and all under the influence of the grace of God re'vealed in the gospel, teaching us these things efficaciously: For the law teacheth them only preceptively; but it is the gospel that teacheth them effectively, working in us both to will and to do. O that we knew this life more than we do.
The third thing here was, What is imported in its being called a life in general? Indeed this living to God, is the only life that deserves the name of life. In vegetative life, the trees of the field do excel men; for from little plants, they turn to stately oaks.' In fenhtive life, the beasts of the field do excel man, for they go beyond him in these natural faculties; as the dog in smelling, the eagle in seeing, the hart in hearing, and other creatures in other senses. In rational life, many heathen philosophers may excel the Christian. So that it is not the vegetative life, whereby plants excel us; nor the fenfitive life, whereby beasts excels us; nor the rational life, which reprobates have as well as we; but the SPIRITUAL divine life, that deserves the name, without which, our life is but a death. However, this fpiritual life, or living to God, may be called life, because it hath all these things in it spiritually, which natural life hath in it naturally; as, 1. Life hath motion in it; and so here, this spiritual life imports motion; where-ever the spirit of life comes, There is a motion among the dry bones. Now, there are some duties he moves in, such as prayer, Be. hold be prayeth, who never prayed to purpose before: he moves in the duties of hearing, reading, examination, and mortification. Now, there are some graces that move .in him: Faith begins to move, saying, I believe, Lord belp my unbelief : Hope begins to move, He is begotten to a new and lively hope : Love begins to move, perhaps in fighs and groans for want of love. Now he moves, and the term he moves from, is sin, Satan, and the world, and self, and self-righteousness; and the term he moves to, is God and Christ, and heaven, and heavenly things. So far as this divine life takes place, so far all the faculties of the foul move towards God; the understanding to see him, the will to serve him, the affections to embrace him, and all the members of the body to be employed for him. The eye is lift up to heaven in prayer and supplication; the ear is open to receive instruction; the mouth enlarged to sing his praises ; the tongue will be no more the trumpeter of idle communication; the hand and heart will be instruments of devotion; the knees will be bowed to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; the feet will delight to carry the man to the house of the Lord's all is in motion for God, fo far as this life takes place. You may here see, by the way, whether you have or want this life, which is a living to God,
Tho' Tho' I fee an image lively representing a man, hava ing eyes, ears, mouth, nose, hands and feet, yet I know it hath no life in it, because it hath no motion; so if we see a professor without practice, we may say he is an idol, he is no Christian, but the image of a Christian. It is true, a hypocrite may have all these external motions, like a painted puppet, that may by some engine be made to dance, and move up and down, but from no vital principle of life.. 2. Life hath breath in it, James ii. last. The body without breath is dead, as it may be rendered ; fo in this life there is breath. If a man's breath be held in a little while, the person cannot live; so the believer would die, if he had not breath in a spiritual sense. What is the air he breathes in? It is just the Spirit of God; Awake, O north-wind, come thou foutb, &c. What is the breath that is put within "him? It is the Spirit of God; the Holy Ghost is that to the believer, which breath is to the body, yea, which the foul is to the body. God breathed into Adam the breath of life; and he breathes on the believer, saying, Receive ye the Holy Ghoft; I will put my Spirit within you. What lungs does he breathe with? It is faith, We receive the promise of the Spirit by faith. And what things does he breathe af. ter? Indeed the earthly man breathes after earthly things, saying, Who will few us any good? But the heavenly man breatheth after heavenly things, Lord, lift ihcu up the light of thy countenance upon me. Many people have a stinking breath; it hath the smell of earth, yea, the smell' of hell; fome breathe out blafphemies, and oaths, some breathe out cruelty and wrath; but the man that hath this life, and lives unto God, his breath is a sweet breath so far as he lives unto God, his breath smells of