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mercies of God, that ye present yourselves living sacrifices to him, holy and acceptable, which is your reasonable service.” If you do not, every mercy you have received, and the very means of instruction you have now had, must appear against you at the day of judgment.
But, if your hearts are now seriously affected with what you have heard : if you feel yourselves to be guilty and helpless creatures : if you earnestly desire the pardon of your sins, through the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to have your minds renewed, and made like the mind that was in him,—these things should encourage you to pray to Christ, to depend upon his grace, and to rejoice in the fulness of his salvation. We shall be extremely glad to find that this is the case with many among you; for we know that “ he who begins a good work in you, will perform it until the day of Christ.”
“Now to Him who is able to keep us from falling, and to present us faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy ; to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever." Amen.
Phil. 11. 5.
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.
W HOEVER takes a view of Christianity, as dis
played in the precepts and example of Christ, its great Founder, must acknowledge it to be a very lovely religion; admirably calculated to promote the happiness of man in the present world, as well as to secure his eternal salvation in the next.
" It is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners”—to save them “ from their sins:"_not only to deliver them from the wrath to come, which is the wages of sin, but also to restore in them the holy image of God, which they had lost by their fall in Adam. He came, not only to restrain the practice of sin, but to purify the fountain of the heart, from whence the streams of sinful practice proceed.
To effect these great designs, he became a sacrifice for sin; he was made sin for us; He died for our sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God. He procured for us, and sent down to us, the Holy Spirit, the great sanctifier of the church. And having given to the world the purest precepts that were ever delivered, he gave infinite force to them by a perfect example of purity, in his own temper and walk, and has left us this example for our imitation.
Al true Christians are followers of Christ; they must walk even as he walked; and, in order to this, they
must possess the same holy temper; or, as it is expressed in the text, “the same mind” must be in them which was in Christ Jesus. This mind, or disposition, is the subject of the present discourse. May the good Spirit of God explain it to us, and produce it in us !
We might express the whole in a single word. LOVE is the mind of Christ; for “ God is love." The whole law is fulfilled in love : love to God, and love to man. This filled the heart of the great Redeemer, actuated him in the whole of his obedience and sufferings, supported him under them, and rendered them acceptable, meritorious, and efficacious, to the salvation of the church. This is the mind that was in Christ; this his prevailing disposition; and the principal part of our holiness consists in being like him, and living under the daily influence of love to God and love to man. But it is necessary to be more particular, and to consider the Christian temper in its several branches. We begin with,
1. HUMILITY. This deserves the first place, both because it is that grace in Christ to which the 'text refers; and because it is, in every believer, the root of all other graces. Wonderful, indeed, was the humility of the Son of God, “who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross !" Behold here the greatest example of humility that the world ever saw, or ever will see; and this example is proposed to our imitation. And what argument can be so forcible? for shall the glorious Saviour be humble, and the miserable sinner be proud? How preposterous ! How absurd !
Pride is natural to apostate man. It was a principal ingredient in the sin of Adam; and every child of his is born proud. Adam got it from the Devil; and we get it from Adam. And yet, it is truly said, “ Pride was not made for man;" it ill becomes him : for a sinner to be proud, is the most monstrous thing in the world. Nothing is so hateful to God; and, if we are born of God, nothing will be so hateful to us. Now Faith lays the axe at the root of pride. Faith beholds the majesty and holiness of God; and shrinks, as it were, into nothing before him. The proud man swells by comparing himself with other sinners; but the Christian compares himself, his conduct, and then his heart, with the most pure, holy, spiritual law of God : this prevents selfrighteous boasting, and shows that even his best duties are tinged with sin. He was “alive without the law once; but now the commandment is come, sin revives, and he dies.” This experience will force him to the cross; he will gladly renounce his own works and righteousness, and supremely desire to be “ found in Christ.”
Let but the Christian think of three things, and it will promote his humility :—what he was,—what he is,and what he shall be. He was a poor, blind, naked, filthy rebel ; an enemy to God, and an heir of Hell. He is by grace, a pardoned sinner, and an adopted child; but, O! what imperfection in all his graces! what defects in all his duties! what strength in his corruptions; what a disproportion between his obligations and his returns to God! between his professions and his practice! between his privileges and his enjoyments! So that he can cordially unite with a better man than himself in saying, “ I am the chief of sinners, and less than the least of all saints.” Let him also consider what he shall be :—He shall be "with Christ;" he shall be “like Christ;" he shall wear a crown of glory; he shall possess a heavenly inheritance; he shall be a king and a priest to God. Amazing prospects ! Animating, yet humbling hopes! He will then, with David, sit down and say, “Who am I, O Lord God, that thou hast brought me hitherto! and, as if this were a small thing in thy sight, thou hast spoken of thy servant's house for a great while yet to come ! and, is this the manner of men, O Lord ! and what more can David say unto thee ?”
2. PIÉTY, or, “ the fear of God,” or “ godliness," was an eminent branch of the mind that was in the man Christ Jesus. These terms are nearly of the same import, and denote the habitual, prevailing frame of the mind, in its regard to the blessed God. It is the character of the natural man that he is “ungodly;" 6 there is no fear of God before his eyes;" he lives “ without God in the world ;" he is "alienated from the life of God;" "he says to the Almighty, Depart from me!" The very reverse of all this is the temper of the Christian, as it was also of his Master. We learn from the Gospel, and more abundantly from the Psalms, what a spirit of devotion continually animated the human nature of Christ! What reverential fear, what supreme affection, what lively zeal, what fervent prayer! A portion of the same spirit pervades the heart of every real Christian. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” and “the whole of man" -his great duty, his first interest, his chief delight. And this divine principle is implanted in every believer. “I will put my fear in their heart," is the grand covenant-promise; and it is fulfilled to every elect soul, when called by grace. The new-born soul turns naturally to God, as flowers to the sun, or the needle to the pole; and though it may be disturbed or diverted for a time, the heavenly principle within abides and prevails, and the Christian is constrained to say, “Return to thy rest, O my soul, for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee.”
The spirit of piety will render those acts of religion, which were intolerably burdensome to the unconverted man, natural and pleasant. Religion is no longer his medicine, but his food; not his task, but his delight. And the fear of God will certainly produce a reverence