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would it be to see the whole society of Christian people living in harmony and peace, and pursuing with undissembled love the same path to their common and everlasting home! How much would it accredit religion in the world, if those who are otherwise strangers to its moral and spiritual excellence were constrained to acknowledge its value from the uniform excellency of its effects! But the motives suggested by St. Paul are, in this passage, of a different kind. He had been encouraging the church at Philippi by many observations, intended to give elevation to their character and confidence to their hope ; and he is himself so delighted with the subject, that he deduces his chief arguments from the privileges of the Christian's state. If there be any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfil ye my joy, that ye be like minded. A slight examination of these several clauses will show how they bear upon the question.

(1.) If there be any consolation in Christ.-By the use of the word if, the apostle does not mean to intimate a doubt upon the subject; on the contrary, he intends to convey with peculiar emphasis, the idea that there is consolation in

Christ; and the same remark is to be applied to the clauses which follow: he speaks to the Philippians as to persons who frequently stood in need of consolation, and who knew where to find it. “ You are not without experience, he seems to say, of the Christian calling, and to that experience, therefore, I appeal. When the light of the gospel first shone into your minds and displayed to you the depravity of your hearts and the displeasure of Almighty God, to whom could you flee as to a refuge from despair? to whom could you go for the blessing of peace, and reconciliation, and eternal life, but to Him who died for your sins and redeemed you to God by His blood? What comfort did it afford you in that season of sorrow, to find in the Friend of sinners the Physician of the soul ? to discover in Christ the pledge of pardon, and through Him to behold the smiles of a reconciled God? What peace could the world have given to a wounded spirit? What voice could have soothed your anxiety, but that which could alone proclaim, Thy sins are forgiven?*

If there be any consolation in Christ ; "and to whom but to Christ can you still fly as a re

* Luke vii. 48.

mised you

fuge from distress? If persecution comes upon you, what is your hope, if not in Him who had forewarned you of tribulation, and hath pro

His support? When pain harasses this mortal body, how consoling is the thought, that neither death nor life shall separate you from Him;* and that all your trials He also endured! How are you enabled even now, in looking at the High Priest of your profession, to abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost!t In what light can you contemplate the Saviour of the world, without finding in Him abundant consolation ? It is held forth to you in all the circumstances of His incarnation, and suffering, and resurrection, and ascension ; thus He manifested His love; thus He displayed His power; and thus for the everlasting comfort of His people, He has proved Himself mighty to save. Who is he that condemneth? it is Christ that died; yea, rather that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. I If then there be any consolation in Christ, any refuge in distress, any support in tribulation, any hope for the future, dismiss from your minds every feeling which could interfere with such distinguished blessings; while the heart is torn with dissensions, there can be no enjoyment of this comfort from above: the spirit of Christ Jesus is a spirit of unity and love, and to those alone who possess it will He reveal Himself with His consolatory influence.”

* Rom. viii. 38. + lbid. xv. 13. | Ibid. viii. 34.

(2.) If, the apostle proceeds, there be any comfort of love. He seems to allude to the sweet counsel and fellowship which are to be found among those who are living together in the bonds of Christian harmony. It is an appeal to their own experience as Christians, and the Christian heart will readily answer that appeal. If the voice of sympathy be ever welcome, when it comes from men, who, feeling that they are fellow pilgrims with ourselves, are subjected to the same trials, partakers of the same hope, and travelling to the same rest; if ever it be pleasant to pour forth to them, without reserve, all the fulness of our hearts, to receive and to administer mutual help in the rough and thorny way in which, as Christians, we are called to walk : how powerful is the motive here suggested for our being of one accord, of one mind! Where the love of debate has taken possession of us, where we dwell rather upon subjects on which we differ than upon those on which we concur, there

can be no perception of that comfort of love to which the apostle so forcibly adverts; it is incapable of existing with a disposition so hostile to our interests, and so subversive of our happiness.

(3.) The mention of this motive leads the apostle naturally to refer further to the fountain from which it flows-If there be any fellowship of the Spirit.

The fellowship of the Holy Ghost is one part of the apostolical benediction upon all who believe. It is this which forms the distinguishing feature of the communion of saints. There is a stream of light, and life, and peace, and joy, and love, which flows from the fulness of the eternal Spirit unto the hearts of them who belong to the fold of Christ. They are quickened by His power, refreshed by His grace, and sanctified by His operations. Hence there is a common bond of union : thus there is created a holy fellowship between the members of the Christian church, such being the intimacy of their relation, that they form not merely one family, but constitute one body, inhabited and governed by the Spirit of God. “ By this fellowship then of the Spirit, the apostle seems to say, I intreat you to cherish the same prin

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