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النشر الإلكتروني

for this they must prepare, looking forward to it, as to the attainment of all they can wish and desire. 1. Cor. vii. 29.

How many are the reasons to be assigned for this charge ! The world is in a state of apostacy ; its manners and customs dishonor God; they who treat the world as their portion, are doomed to destruction. You are chosen out of the world ; are redeemed, and called out of it; born from above; made heirs of God; co-heirs with Christ. Be separate. You hope to escape their end; be concerned to avoid their ways; be a peculiar people. Touch not the unclean thing. Think how polluting it is. Remember, pollution is more easily communicated than purity.

Hence, it is enforced by, Secondly, A gracious promise. “ I will receive you, and be to you for a Father, and you shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”

There is no fear of rejection. If your separation from the world is sincere and cordial, he will in nowise cast out. The Spirit and bride say, Come. Though you have been strangers and aliens, you shall become fellow-citizens of the saints, and of the household of God; and have an inheritance among them that are sanctified by faith in Jesus. I will be to you a Father. All children of God, by faith in Christ Jesus. To as many as received him, gave he

power

to become the sons of God; and if children, then heirs, heirs of God, co-heirs with Christ. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him ; for we shall see him as he is.” “You shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." There is no distinction of sex, or other externals, in this case; all are one in Christ Jesus. God himself has said it; who is able to make it good. None can reverse it.

defend

you

from all dangers to which you may be exposed by following him fully; or can support under any sufferings to which you may be exposed ; or indemnify for any losses ; or succeed any endeavours, to glorify him ; and make all work for good. He can swallow up death in victory; make more than conquerors over all foes; raise up at the last day; receive into his heavenly kingdom ; secure the perpetuity of your

He can

bliss. Oh! be not content with being separated in name; show you draw your bliss from a higher source; act in character as the sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty. They who separate not from the world, must have their lot with the world.

CIX.

THE PROMISES A MOTIVE TO PURITY.

2 Cor. vii. 1. Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

Our text refers to an inestimable privilege, and enforces a most extensive duty. They that properly prize the one, cannot disregard the other. But I am afraid it is not all my hearers that duly esteem either. Are you anxious to know that you are interested in the promises ? and are you earnestly desirous of complying with the precepts ? Peter calls the promises exceedingly great and precious. Are they so in your account? more than all riches? more than all enjoyments? Do future things outweigh present ? If they do not occupy so much of your time, are you yet pretty sure that they have more of your heart ? Do your sweetest enjoyments result from the anticipation of them ? Are you indeed concerned to be cleansed from all pollution of flesh and spirit? Are you active in pursuit of this object ? Or, I might ask á previous question, Have you a deep sense of the polluting nature of sin? Any conviction that both flesh and spirit need purifying? And are you concerned not only to avoid impurity, but to perfect holiness in the fear of God ?

I begin with these questions, in hope of exciting the greater attention to both parts of my subject; for we cannot be true Christians if we disregard either. proceed,

First, To notice the great blessedness of them who are interested in the promises of God.

Let us

These promises may refer directly to those mentioned in the three preceding verses, but they are inseparably connected with others relating to spiritual and eternal blessings. For God to receive us into his favor, friendship, and family, is astonishing condescension ; especially when we consider how deeply we had engaged in revolt from him, and deserved to be for ever disowned, cast off, and condemned. Nor, in fact, could we have been released from condemnation, but through the interposition of a Mediator, who, though just himself, was yet condemned for us; gave himself a ransom for us, suffering the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God. He is now exalted as a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance and remission. He is the way, the truth, and the life ; no one comes to the Father but by him. We must be accepted in the Beloved. He is able to save to the uttermost, and will in no wise cast out.

For God to make us his temple, and to dwell among us collectively, or in us individually, is another inestimable privilege which he has promised to bestow. Lev. xxvi. 11, 12. And which the Apostle shows is fulfilled in the highest sense to all believers. 2 Cor. vi. 16, and 1 Cor. iii. 16, 17. vi. 19, 20. Eph. ii. 20—22. As it had been promised to Israel. Exod. xxix. 44. Surely this privilege enforces the following charge.

For him to walk among us, showing himself the living God; not a lifeless idol, that stands on the pedestal on which it is placed, which can neither see, nor hear, nor help its worshippers ; but who inspects the whole church, as our Lord walked among the golden candlesticks : or, who attends us as Jehovah did the Israelites, in all their journeys through the wilderness. Deut. xxiii. 14, is another blessing contained in these promises.

For him to be our God, and take us for his people, is a wonderful and most comprehensive promise.

For God himself to be our governor, our guide, our guardian, our. portion, is a wonderful privilege ; for all his perfections to be employed for our good. For God to say, as good Joseph Alleine explains the voice of God in his promises, “ All the persons in the Godhead, and all the attributes of the Godhead, do I, by my covenants make

over to you. I will be yours in all my personal relations, and in all my essential perfections. Mine eternity shall be the date of your happiness ; mine immutability the rock of your rest; mine omnipotence shall be your guard ; mine omnipresence shall be company for you ; mine omniscience shall be your overseer; my mercies shall be your store ; my faithfulness shall be your security; my truth, yea, my oath shall fail, if ever you come off losers by me; my wisdom shall be your counsellor ; my justice shall be the avenger

of

your wrongs; my holiness shall be a fountain of grace to you ; mine all-sufficiency shall be the lot of your inheritance, and mine infinitude the extent of your bliss.” For us to be his people is a wonderful privilege. (Exod. xix. 4—6. Deut. vii. 6, &c.) Applied to Christians, 1 Pet. iii. 9. A chosen people; a people zealous of good works ; a people formed by him, and for him, to show forth his praise. He promises, “I will be a Father unto

you,
and

ye shall be my sons and daughters.” Implying a share in his paternal affection, compassion, provision, protection, instruction, and gentle correction ; and that they are constituted heirs of God, coheirs with Christ, and shall certainly possess an eternal inheritance. All other blessings must be included in these ; and whoever has accepted of God's chief mercy, even of Christ Jesus, in whom all the promises are Yea and Amen, is interested in all his greatest and most precious promises.

Are not they happy who are in such a case ? Whether rich or poor; at present honored or despised by men ; they are blessed in prosperity or adversity; for all things shall work together for good to them. Simpletons call the proud happy, the man that does well for himself. Blessed is the man whose sin is covered; who casts his care on God ; whose hope the Lord is ; whose eternal all is secure; whose life is hid with Christ in God.

But I proceed, SECONDLY, To consider the extensive duty enjoined and enforced. “ Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God."

Nothing in the world is so defiling as sin. All sin is pollution, in the sight of God, angels, and saints. Of all believers

it may be said, “ Ye are washed, ye are cleansed;" yet they need further cleansing daily. The work begun in regeneration is carried on in progressive sanctification. In regeneration, strictly considered, man is passive, but its immediate effect is active conversion; and ever after, the believer is active in working out his own salvation with fear and trembling, through God working in him. Dr. Campbell renders John xiii. 10. “He who hath been bathing, needeth not, save to wash his feet.” A man is but once regenerated, but often converted; for he often strays. “I have strayed like a lost sheep : seek thy servant.” “ Thou, when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”

Sanctification consists of two parts; mortification and vivification ; or putting off the old man, and putting on the new. We need both daily. The text distinguishes filthiness of the flesh, and of the spirit.

Fleshly lusts are polluting. Intemperance turns the man into a beast; makes him worse than most brutes ; as dirty, disgusting, stupid, furious, mischievous as a beast. Impurity or unchastity of all kinds, if it be only in words, or looks, or lewd desires, is polluting. Eph. v. 3—8. Let the children of God beware of all approach to these.

The lusts of the mind are polluting. Wealth, when idolized, is often pursued in mean, dirty ways, on which account it is called filthy lucre. If riches so attained, or abused, make any one shine in the eyes of men, they render him mean in the eyes of God. Though men may bless the covetous, yet the Lord abhors him. So, pride of every kind is loathsome to God; he knoweth the proud afar off ;

he resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble. Pride is especially the likeness of the devil. He that is lifted up with pride, is in danger of falling into the condemnation of the devil. Envy, malice, contention, discord, and revenge, all are things that defile the mind.

If God has brought you up out of a horrible pit, and out of the miry clay, rub off the moral filth that would stain your good conversation. “ You hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sin.” Put off your old, noisome grave-clothes. Ye that love the Lord, hate evil, moral evil;

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