Page images

their strength will give out, and their courage and patience fail.

I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up; and to his Spirit who is able to keep you from error; and to the only wise God and our Saviour, who is able to keep you from falling, and to present you, faultless, before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy. To whom be glory and majesty, dominion and power, for ever and ever. Amen.

REVELATION, ch. XIV. ver. 12, 13, 14.

"Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven, saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them. And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.

THE saints are a distinct order of beings in the creation of God. There are angels elect and fallen, then human kind, and under these the brutes. Mankind are divided into two great classes, sinners and saints. Now, all saints are sinners, but all sinners are not saints, nor ever will be. The elect angels are called saints, because they are holy: The Lord came with ten thousands of saints. Deut. 33. 2. Behold the Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints. Jude 14. but they

are neither holy nor saints in the sense that they who are sanctified in Christ Jesus are.

As the saints are distinct from angels, so tho' partaking still of a sinful nature, do they stand distinguished from sinners while amongst them: and among the ungodly the name saint has ever been a term of derision and contempt, when applied to living men; yet superstition pays the utmost reverence to it when 'tis bestowed on the dead though the most worthless characters that ever lived. Neither is this a name peculiar to some who excel others in holiness, as the Papists canonize, or put into the number of their saints men, who, in their view, have been most religious, that is, devoted to all their mummery and fooleries:-nor to particular times, or states of the church, as Protestants make a vain distinction, calling Paul, Peter, and John, Saints but the Old Testament saints are left without this title; when it might, with equal propriety, be said, St. Moses, St. David or St. Isaiah; and since the apostles days, St. Luther, St. Calvin, or St. Bunyan. For David speaks of the saints as a name of persons familiar to him, and it is the name of modern Christians given them in the text. They form a part of the old creation, being the offspring of the first man who is of the earth earthy, and the whole of the new, since we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works,

[ocr errors]

which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Eph. 2. 10. Eph. 2. 10. Again, there is a whole nation called holy, who yet as a nation, were not saints, for there never was a more profane race: Thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God. Deut. 7. 6. And there were the priests, holy by office, but not saints. They, the priests, shall be holy unto their God-for the offerings of the Lord made by fire, and the bread of their God, they do offer therefore they shall be holy. Levit, 21. 6. And there are persons sanctified by religious connection, tho' unbelieving themselves: The unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy, 1 Cor. 7. 14. So then again, there are persons holy by birth, yet not saints. "Now they are holy.

[ocr errors]

Since then there are holy angels who in the peculiar sense are not saints; and there are persons holy by choice as a nation, by office, by religious connection, and by birth, and yet not saints ;since there are also fallen spirits, who never can be holy-and fallen men who never will be saints.— How are they who are the saints in the text entitled to this privilege ?

Paul when he writes to the Romans, thus addresses them To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints. ch. 1. 7; and to the Corinthians, thus--Unto the church of


[ocr errors]


God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints 1 Cor. 1. 2. They are said to be beloved of God, which love Jeremiah thus speaks of. The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, yea I have loved thee with an everlasting love: 31. 3 So there was no beginning to this love, and this is according to the new covenant which includes both Gentiles as well as Jews. For it is the love of God in Christ.They are then said to be sanctified in Christ Jesus: so their saintship is to be derived from him and to be found in him, whatever this sanctifying means. They are next said to be called saints. Which is not an universal call to the world but only to such as God has chosen, as Paul well states when he appeals to the Corinthians, ye see your calling brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called : But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things that are mighty. 1 Cor. 1. 26. So that they are the objects of his choice who are called to this privilege. But choice not only includes a liberty of will in him who chooses; but a preference given to the chosen over others from whom they are selected: and as we have seen God was not influenced by any natural endowments, for he chose the foolish, the weak, the base, neither may it be supposed that

« PreviousContinue »