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cordial joy and affection, as Ananias did the converted persecutor, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus "hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy "sight." Thus you will manifest the excellency of your principles, and be honoured as instruments in promoting that cause for which the divine Saviour came into the world and shed his blood upon the cross; and all men will know that you are his true disciples.
2 CORINTHIANS V. 17.
If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
THE dangers to which the church at Corinth was exposed, from plausible false teachers, obliged the apostle to use such methods of re-establishing his authority, as he apprehended might be misunderstood and censured: he therefore says, "Whether "we be beside ourselves it is to God, or whether
we be sober it is for your cause."-The zealous servants of God have constantly been slighted and despised, as "beside themselves;" nay, the Son of God, the perfection of wisdom and excellency, was involved in the same charge, even from his friends and relations as well as from his enemies.1 The apostle therefore would not be greatly disquieted when Festus said, " Paul thou art beside "thyself, much learning doth make thee mad," nor even when his Corinthian converts concurred in the same sentiment.
But,' says the apostle, 'Both the ardour that 'gives occasion to such imputations, and the wisdom which regulates its effects, spring from re'gard to the glory of God, and affectionate longing
2 Kings ix. 11. Jer. xxix. 26, 27. Hos. ix. 7.
after your your souls: "For the love of Christ con"straineth us; because we thus judge, that if one 'died for all then were all dead; and that he died
for all, that they which live should not hence'forth live unto themselves, but unto him which 'died for them and rose again. Wherefore hence'forth know we no man after the flesh, yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet 6 now henceforth know we him no more." Even the brethren or nearest friends of Christ himself, according to the flesh, might not be regarded by the apostles in dispensing instructions, reproofs, censures, or encouragements; but they were constrained, by love to him who had died for them, to do all things with unbiassed impartiality. In like manner, no ties of blood, friendship, or even gratitude, must influence the servant of Christ, in the discharge of his pastoral office. In this respect even relations, benefactors, and patrons must be disregarded, if we would approve ourselves to be indeed the genuine successors of the apostles in the sacred ministry. "Therefore," saith St. Paul, "if any man be in Christ he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are "become new and all things are of God who hath "reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ."
The text suggests the following subjects to our consideration,
I. The apostle's description of a real Christian; "If any man be in Christ :"
II. The change which every real Christian has experienced ; He is a new creature :"
III. The effects of this change; "Old things are "passed away; behold, all things are become new."
I. We consider the apostle's description of a real Christian: "If any man be in Christ."
This expression may appear singular to many who are called Christians, but it is the uniform language of the New Testament: and, "if any
man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God." New terms imperceptibly introduce new doctrines; nor has any subtilty of Satan or his servants better succeeded, in "privily bringing in damnable "heresies," than that of modernizing the language of divinity.
"There is therefore now no condemnation to "them that are in Christ Jesus." "I knew a man "in Christ fourteen years ago." "He was also "in Christ before me." "Of whom are ye in "Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wis
dom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and "redemption." "That we might be made the "righteousness of God in him." Many of the epistles also are addressed "to the saints in Christ "Jesus," "or to the church-in God the Father, "and in the Lord Jesus Christ." Which accords to the language of the prophet, "Israel shall be "saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation." Surely shall one say, In the LORD have I righ"teousness and strength." "In the LORD shall "all the seed of Israel be justified and shall glory.".
The apostle John also employs similar expressions: "And now, little children, abide in him :" "We are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus
1 Rom. viii. 1. xvi. 7. 1 Cor. i. 30. 2 Cor. xii. 2.
Is. xlv. 17, 24, 25.
"Christ." But the words of our Lord himself are most decisive: "He that eateth my flesh and "drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me and I in "him." Accordingly when we administer the Lord's supper, that outward sign of this inward life of faith in a crucified Saviour, we pray that we may so eat the flesh of Christ, and drink his 'blood;-that we may dwell in him and he in us.' "Neither," saith our divine Redeemer, when interceding for his disciples, "pray I for these alone, "but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us."3
But we must explain this language, and shew its propriety and energy; lest it should be thought, that the whole argument rests upon our translation of the original particles. St. Paul says, "The
wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is "eternal life through," or in "Christ Jesus our "Lord:" and St. John, "This is the record that "God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is "in his Son: he that hath the Son hath life, and "he that hath not the Son of God hath not life."4 The salvation of Christ is completed as far as his mediatory work is concerned: but who are they that shall eventually be "saved from wrath by "him?" To this question the scripture answers with the most decided precision, "they that re"ceive him," "they that believe in him," "they "that are found in him."-Union with Christ is
2 John vi. 56.
1 John ii. 28. v. 20.
3 John xvii. 20-23.
Rom. vi. 23. 1 John v. 11, 12.