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an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things, changing the truth of God into a lie, and worshipping and serving the creature more than the Creator." Or contrast him with the fool that saith in his heart, there is no God; or with the man of the world, earthly, sensual, devilish, whose heart is where his treasure is; or with the nominal professor, who saith with his lips Lord, Lord, and makes a dull and cold and formal subscription with his hand to truths which he virtually denies in thought, word, and action; or with the lukewarm and unstable, who are neither hot nor cold, wavering to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine. The worshipper in the Spirit has nothing in common with such characters. Where they hear no sound, the voice of God is in his ears. Where they see no handwriting, the scroll and the record of the Divine law are fixed indelibly before his eyes. Where they walk as in a vain shadow, he is conscious of a rod and staff which comfort him, and feels those everlasting arms which are spread out for the support and stay of those who have placed their foundations upon the Rock of ages.
The worshipper in the spirit seeks all from God, refers all to him, enjoys all with him, bears all by him. Is his lot a happy one, as men count happiness? He gives God the glory, and uses his blessings as not abusing them; as a loan from the Lord, not as a property of his own. Is he afflicted? Like Hezekiah, he spreads his letter before his God; and none of these things move him, for the hope of the joy that is set before him. Is he debarred from coming into the house of the Lord, and deprived of the privilege of taking sweet counsel with them that make their common supplications with one accord to the Throne of Grace? He sets up his altar in his closet, and prays to his Father which is in secret, and worships there in unseen but not unaccepted devotion, him
whom the heaven of heavens cannot contain, much less a house that man has builded. Whatever he is, whereever he is, however employed, his life is a life of prayer; his days are those of a pilgrim seeking another and better country; his wishes are formed in submission to God's will, and in acquiescence to his sovereign disposal of events; his thoughts are ascending heavenward; his actions are done under a deep sense of accountability; his heart, although disciplined into the patient waiting for Christ, is longing to be with him, which is far better.
My brethren, is it thus with you? Are you like-minded with such a worshipper in spirit? Is there within you an evidence of the indwelling grace of God renewing your changed hearts; purifying your affections day by day; lessening that weight of corruption which cleaves so intimately to our fallen nature, and making you abundantly fruitful in every good word and work? If so, may he who has begun this good work, go on unto the end! otherwise, may he send his angel of mercy to stir the waters, that you may wash and be clean! May he break the heart of stone, that you may be converted and live!
II. I turn, secondly, to the next clause of the text: We are the circumcision which...... rejoice in Christ Jesus."
Such a test of true discipleship must sound strangely in the ears of those to whom Christ is not pre-cious. They who see no beauty in him that they should desire him, can know little of the "joy of their Lord." They cannot understand or feel what it is to "rejoice in Christ Jesus."
Is there one here who is in this unhappy case; who goes into God's house as his people goeth, and sits and kneels before him a seeming worshipper, but knowing nothing of that holy joy with which the heart of the believer overflows when he thinks on his Master's manifold mercies? My brother, let me be
seech you to ask of one of those men of God whose humble walk and spiritual deportment, and whose happy yet chastened cheerfulness denote them to have tasted of that peace which passeth all understanding, what the Apostle means when he speaks of rejoicing in Christ Jesus. He will tell you that these are not vain words, but a precious reality; not an unintelligible and vague sentiment, but an actual and heartfelt and palpable truth. He will tell you that this rejoicing springs from so deeply-rooted a source, that it is independent of all the ordinary contingencies of life; that it makes all these light afflictions, which are but for a moment, to vanish before it; that it causes those who sow in tears to reap in joy; that it turns that heaviness which may endure for a night into that abiding and solid joy which cometh in the morning. Is there not a cause, he will ask in his turn, for the glorying of those that seek the Lord, and draw water with joy out of the wells of salvation?
Yes, brethren, of all the believer's privileges, there is none so dear to him as his power of rejoicing in Christ Jesus. Nay, not only that he is able, but that he is bidden to use this enjoyment. "Rejoice in the Lord alway; and again I say, Rejoice." And well may he obey the bidding. He has felt the bitterness of a state of sin, and well may he rejoice in Him who has gratuitously freed him from a condition of such utter ruin. He has cried out with St. Paul, "O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?"— and gladly will he unite with the same Apostle in his exclamation of praise, I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord."
I apprehend there can be no doubt that the measure of this rejoicing will be in proportion to the estimate at which we value salvation. To whom much is forgiven, the same loveth much. Our sense of obligations to our benefactor will
depend upon our sense of benefits received. The more galling the bondage from which the captive is rescued, the more lively his gratitude towards his deliverer. The more trackless the desert in which the pilgrim wanders, the greater his debt towards the friendly hand which furnishes him with a clue of escape. Intolerable would be the yoke of sin, had there not been one who has trodden the wine-press alone, and himself borne our iniquities. Hopeless would be our journeying through the wilderness of the world, had not a star in the east arisen to guide us to our home. Take away the atonement, and man would go on his way as one who labours and is heavy laden, bowed even to the ground with the grievous burthen of sin. But now that the cross has been lifted up, the sacrifice once offered, the required ransom paid, what shall stop those who are of the true circumcision from rejoicing in Christ Jesus? What shall prevent those who have been redeemed by the precious blood of the Lamb, from singing the praises of their Divine Redeemer? What shall rob them of their joy in believing? Shall the world? No, brethren; for this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Shall temptations from without or from within? No, brethren; for the grace of their Master is sufficient for them. Shall the remaining corruptions which beset us in the flesh? Not so; for there will be many a prayer for a more abundant ministration of the power of the Spirit to lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees. Shall business, or pleasure, or cares, or passions, or earthly joys, or the trials and afflictions of life? Nay, in all these things they are more than conquerors through Christ who loved them. Amidst them all they may hold on their course, happy in the badge of their profession, glorying in the name of their Redeemer, rejoicing in Christ Jesus.
How different is this joyful exultation in the completeness of our Saviour's sacrifice, from that lifeless and inadequate feeling of obligation that low estimate of the price at which souls were redeemed, which too often chills our services, and debases our worship! How different the languid and half-reluctant acknowledgment which falls from the lips of the formalist or the self-righteous, from that burst of lively gratitude, that unequivocal language of heartfelt joy, which flows unrestrained from the mouth of the penitent and believing Christian. He cannot be silent if he would-for out of the abundance of his heart his mouth must speak. Neither would he be silent, for it is a part of his joy to tell of the things which his Saviour has done for his soul, that others may come and partake of the same grace. He pities those whose pride, or whose blindness, or whose prejudice, or whose error is robbing them of so dear a blessing; and, like Paul, he earnestly longs that his brethren mayfulfil his joy, being like minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind." He prays that they may be brought into that happy fellowship with the Son of God, which is to himself the source of his rejoicing in Christ Jesus.
Try yourselves again, brethren, by this test. Have you joy, as well as hope, in believing? Is the very name of Christ Jesus dear to you? Is your rejoicing in him such as indicates your belief that there is salvation in none other? Is your heart full of the theme of Divine love— of the graciousness of the Gospelof the fitness of its free mercies to your case-of its power to satisfy the largest desires which the soul of man can conceive? God grant that there may be an inward witness within the breast of each, responding, in the words of holy Mary, "My spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour."
III. The last test of a true member of Christ's church on which the Apostle dwells, is not less significant than those which have been hitherto considered-" We are the circumcision which......have no confidence in the flesh."
The man of the world naturally has confidence in the flesh. He flies to his own gods and idols for their help. Either he makes gold his confidence, and trusts in uncertain riches; or he looks no further than to his own exertions, or relies on his earthly friends for their countenance and succour. He has but one resource, whether in temporal or spiritual things; he leans alike in both on an arm of flesh. Does he need comfort under the distresses of life, when some right hand or right eye is taken away? when the wife of his bosom, or the child of his hopes and of his ambition is cut off as the flower? looks to the creature for consolations which come from God alone
he seeks for distractions-he courts forgetfulness he throws himself into the lap of pleasure, or he hurries from business to business, or from one worldly friend to another, until he is constrained to exclaim, in the bitterness of his heart, "Miserable comforters are ye all!" Does he feel some inward misgiv ings as to the safety of his soul in futurity, and ask himself what answer he shall give in the day of his visitation? He trusts in his own goodness or repentance to recommend him to the Divine favour. Some proud answer rises to his lips-"God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are!" Some vague and undefined notions of mercy lull his fears-his present resolutions, his promises for the future, his redeeming virtues, his peculiar temptations, his innate passions, and all those other wretched subterfuges by which Satan cheats the deceived heart of man to its ruin, rise into his mind in palliation; and he stands before his Judge in
all the nakedness of his natural destitution-a creature putting his confidence in the flesh.
It is far otherwise with the man of God. He relies not on circumcision-not on the ordinances of the law-not on the privileges of his calling-not on the prerogative of communion with a visible church
not on adventitious extraction or formal distinctions-not on any of the externals of a religious profession-not on works done in the flesh-not on any thing, but on Christ himself, and him crucified. To the free mercy of the Father, in Christ Jesus, he trusts for every blessing. On the sufficiency of his Saviour's sacrifice he implicitly rests his hope of acceptance with God. From no other source than the power of the Holy Spirit, does he seek that efficacious grace which shall change his heart, and renew him day by day, and bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. Having felt his ignorance, his sinfulness, his corrupt nature, his enslaved condition, Christ Jesus is made unto him wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption. Nay, such is his jealousy for his Redeemer's honour, that he watches lest in one sense he make any part of his own inward change or Christian feelings his flesh. Repentance is not his flesh-prayer is not his flesh-grace itself is not his fleshhe has no confidence in any thing save only in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Here, then, brethren, let us pause, and bring this whole matter home to our own bosoms and consciences. Are there any here against whom when they repair to the house of God the holy place may testify to the formality of their worship, and the very stones of the temple cry out, Is there not a lie in thy right hand? O let me affectionately remind them of the heavy guilt of those who make the very means of grace which God
vouchsafes to man as a provision of mercy, an occasion of falling. They were the murderers of Christ who bent the knee and bowed the head before him in seeming acknowledgment of his kingly rule, but in real derision of his pretensions. You are not less his enemies, if the only evidence of your friendship with him be found in the mockery of a nominal profession. Consider the purposes to which the house of God is sacred-prayer and praise. Prayer emanates from a sense of want, and a consciousness of dependance. Can there be prayer, for instance, for deliverance from the penalty and power of sin, unless there be a previous feeling that sin is a burthen from which man cannot relieve himself, and that its wages is death? Can there be prayer for the Spirit of God which helpeth our infirmities, from one who feels not that the reed on which he leans is broken, that the foundation on which he builds is sandy, who says with the Laodicean, "I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing?" Praise springs from a sense of mercies received, and benefits conferred. It is the natural language of the captive to his Deliverer-of the ransomed to his Purchaser-of the benefited to his Benefactor-of the forgiven criminal to his pardoning Judge. Praise cannot flow from a heart that has ac knowledged no favour-has known no act of grace-has been warmed by no gratitude -- has been melted by no love. Judge yourselves, then, brethren, whether ye be in the faith. Examine into your own state. Commune with your own hearts, and try their temper and spirit. Call to mind that it is written, "Circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter." In Christ Jesus "neither circumcision. availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature." Gospel tells you, that the temple of the Lord is neither here nor there, but in the heart-within us-where
the Spirit comes in, and takes up his abode, and makes it his rest for ever, for he has a delight therein. O rest not day nor night until this spiritual house be built within you, and you become as lively stones in that glorious church where the stone which the builders refused is the head of the corner.
Lastly, are there any here who answer to the blessed description given of believers in the text-who are worshipping "God in the spirit, and rejoicing in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh ?" See that ye run well the remainder of your race. Be filled with all joy in believing, and greatly rejoice in the Lord; not in a spirit of pride, and self-complacency, and self righteousness; but with a humble walk, and with continued watchfulness, and constant prayer. Use the means of grace as not abusing them. Cease from man-have no confidence in the flesh. Continue unto the end in single dependence on the free forgiveness offered in Christ. Make him your all in all. Keep your eye steadily fixed on the uplifting of his cross-go on rejoicing exclusively in Christ Jesus. And may he give you the fulness of joy, and that perfect peace which passeth all understanding.
Psalm xlv. 1
Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer.
In the first verse of Psalm xlv. the Psalmist says, "My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the King; my tongue [there is no verb in the original] the pen of a ready writer." Our translator supplies the verb " is ;" but would not the original equally allow the substitution of another" asks?" To compare the celerity of speech to that of rapid writing, is not an augmentation, but a diminution: even slow oral delivery would be swifter than CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 337.
the pen of a ready writer, especially in the rude state of writing in those days. But the substitution of "asks" magnifies the idea: "My heart is overflowing with a good matter: I would give expression to my thoughts; let them not be lost: give me the pen of a ready writer, to seize the glowing accents as they issue from my lips."
NOTE ON JER. xvii. 13.
Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer.
I FIND in my common-place book a memorandum, taken from Harmer, in which that annotator illustrates the phrase, "They that depart from me shall be written in the earth," by an extract from Peter de la Valle's remarks upon India: "I beheld children writing their lessons with their fingers on the ground, the pavement being for that purpose strewed with very fine sand. When the pavement was full, they put the writing out; and, if need were, strewed new sand from the little heap they had before them, wherewith to write further." Harmer thinks that Jeremiah must have had this temporary way of writing in his mind, as contrasted with permanent documents; as Psalm lxix. 28, Ezek. xiii. 9. It is a curious illustration of the perpetuity of oriental customs, that children were probably taught writing in the days of Jeremiah, just as Dr. Bell more recently, and De lá Valle long ago, found them taught in India. The only wonder is, that this useful and economical practice was not imported into Europe till the present century.
TYPE AND ALLEGORY.
Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer.
THE Bishop of Peterborough's statement respecting types, in your last