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a blessing. "It is good to draw near to God."
But I ought not to omit one comfort more—Goo forbid that I should, though
1 am so apt to overlook it in my own heart and life, yet I would not overlook it in my judgment—I cannot—I would not in my speech, nor would I in my spirit—and that is, the bright and beamy prospect that is before the child of God. This state of being is the worst of his existence. If he has spent the happiest moment that God can make him spend on earth—if God smile on him, and take him up into the porch of heaven, and give him to look into the porch of heaven, yet compared with what shall be, it is the worst part of his existence. Every step that he takes is a progress towards the perfection of his being. This is what cheered David, " I fear no evil; for thou art with me though I pass through the valley of the shadow of death." It was this that made Job rejoice, as he said, "I know that my Redeemer liveth." It was this that made Paul write in the fulness of his heart, "Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."—
2 Cor. iv. 17,18.
Now the Lord in his tender mercy and boundless grace lay this subject powerfully and effectually upon our hearts. Many of you I doubt not are knowing something of the path of affliction—many of you, I doubt not, are treading the path of the vale of tears. Perhaps you have never opened your heart nor told your sorrows to any one upon earth; at least, you can say, there are things in my sorrow that I could not unfold to any one upon earth. God loves your secret. He loves you to tell him what you
cannot tell any one besides; anil for this reason, that you may know what is in his heart, and what is in his mind; not only what is in his word, but that you may see what is in his heart towards you. Oh, happy travellers! strangers and pilgrims upon earth often-times learning in a way the most painful to your nature—instructed quite in a way opposed to your flesh and your blood, yet travelling on in the best way—the right way—the narrow way—the way turned up by the footsteps of the flock, and soon to end in pastures ever verdant, meadows ever green, where the sun shall go down no more for ever.
Oh, my dear hearers, when I think how many there are amongst those that hear me of whom we have too much cause to say, in their present state, in their present condition, Woe! Woe !—" for there is no rest, saith my God, to the wicked: they are like the troubled sea whose waters castup mire and dirt;" you, who may cajole your consciences, and lull them to sleep with Satan's lullaby, that you attend a preached Gospel, and calm and quiet your fears, and hope all will be well, till some sudden stroke come upon you, and then you shiver to the very root—let me not deceive your souls, I think of the day of judgment—I think of the day of separation—I think of the awful day of decision, when the Lord will put on his right hand his sheep, and on his left hand the goats—when the foolish virgins shall be severed from the wise—when they that are unconverted, unholy, shall be found wofully deceiving their souls. Is there a state more solemn than another—I would not think of the heathen, I would not think of the Hindoo, I would not think of the Mahomedan—but I would think of that man, of that woman who comes and sits under the sound of the Gospel and assents to it, and in a sense consents to it, and yet lives in the world and lives in sin, and dies in the world and dies in sin; and yet because they have some good notions, something of an accurate creed, will knock and say, "Lord, Lord, did I not attend thy preached word, did not I many things i" Awful answer. "I never knew you, depart from me ye workers of iniquity." Oh, solemn, solemn thing to deceive others, but most solemn to be deceived oneself—to go to eternity with a lie in one's mouth—to go with a lamp in one's hand self-deceived, and therefore deceiving! May the Lord show you that while you reject the Gospel, yon reject the only source of comfort, and that the reason wherefore you reject it is to be found in your self-deception, in your love of sin, that God alone can give you a heart to believe in Him; and if it be so, oh, that you may be led to pray this day for that Holy Spirit, for which no one ever asked and asked in vain.
And you that are the people of God, called of his grace, remember, if you are God's people, God will make you to know that you are his people; and if you ask how? He will treat you as his people; and if you ask how he will treat you as his people? He will try all the work in your hearts; he will make the gold to be known as gold, and he will show you that it is not all gold that glitters. Affliction is his crucible: do not then turn away from affliction, it may at times try us sore;—when faith is weak it does—it must—but do not turn away from it. I look upon it in my sober judgment as the most costly period of a man's life; and while we pray, as we ought, for support and comfort, yet most of all should we pray that the great end may be answered, which God has in view, that is, our profit, that we may be made partakers of his holiness: Comfort is not to be desired for its own sake. The churches when they walked in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, they walked in the fear of the Lord. The more we are brought
to the mind of God, the more we shall be brought to this, I desire to be found in the way of comfort, that my heart may be surrendered up to God—that knowing that comfort which winneth from earth—experiencing that peace which detacheth from sin, I may live nearer and nearer to that God who is the source of all happiness and joy.
Let no careless livers dream of comfort. It is but a dream. You know you have no solid comfort. You may appear to be excited—you may appear as if you were happy, but you are not happy. Happiness and carelessness never were united and never can be. A prayerful close walk with God is as much united to happiness as the light is united to the sun from whence it comes; and therefore be assured of this, that many there are who complain of their lack of happiness, and I would say as Cecil did, talk not of happiness—you have a sin that yoa indulge—there is an Achan in the camp that God will have out of the camp, and until he be brought out of the camp, you shall never know solid peace or happiness. You do not—you can not. May the Lord say this of all your hearts—show you that all fulness is in Christ—take you off from selfpower—take you off from self-deceit— take you off from self-resolution—disclesc to you Christ in the fulness of his blood—in the fulness of his righteousness—in the fulness of his grace, and in the tenderness of his heart. One look of love from him will send thee out of this chapel, and thou wilt go and cast forth thy Achan and say. Now will I return unto my first husband, for then was it better with me than now.
Oh, that this may be in your heart and my heart. Pray for me that what I have been preaching I may be living —and what I may be living on, I may be living out, to the praise and honour of Him who is the source of all happiness and glory.
DELIVERED BY THE REV. DR. HOLLOWAY,
AT FItZROT CHAPEL, JULY 31, 1831.
ColoBsians, i. 19.—" Fbr it pleated the Father thai in him should all fulness dwell.'
Thb person here alluded to, in whom it hath pleased the Father that all fulness should dwell, is Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God—the brightness of his Father's glory, and the express image of his person—the Creator of all things both in heaven and in earth. This truth is vindicated by the Apostle in a few verses preceding the text, beginning at the fifteenth, "Who is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature: for by him were all things created that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, ordominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by him, and for him. And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that in all things he might have the pre-eminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell." From hence, then, it appears, you observe, that thrones, and dominions, and principalities, and powers, as well as the world which we occupy, have all been created for the honour and for the glory of Jehovah Jesus. And it has pleased the Father, you may observe further, that there should dwell in him a fulness and ability to reign over, and to govern all these thrones, principalities, and powers, and to make them all subservient to the great purposes of his wisdom and the councils of his will.
There may be, for any thing that we know, millions of other worlds inhabited besides the one which we occupy; but of this we can say nothing.
We find in the Scriptures that there is a particular account given only of two creations: the creation of the world which now is, and we see a record given also of a new creation. Now, concerning this new creation, it is written, that the Lord hath declared, I will create all things new, there shall be a new heaven and a new earth; and all the heirs of that inheritance, you will observe, are made subjects of this new creation, in the world that itoic is, because being created anew in Christ Jesus, they are thereby made members of this new creation. And in the fulness of time, when God shall have accomplished the number of his elect, and not till then, will beam forth his glory in all the perfections of a divine workmanship—he will accomplish that which he has designed by the creation of the world which we inhabit.
As it regards the world that now is, we find it is recorded in the Scriptures, that when God created the world he instituted the first man as the lord of the creation, and in that creation, he put his life in his own hand. I mean by that, that he vested all his hopes of future happiness, and the happiness of his posterity, and all his expectations entirely in his own keeping; and you know that Adam by sin marred that glory and ruined the world. Now as God has declared that he will not give his glory to another, it is in no wise unreasonable to suppose that the issue, the period which God hath appointed for the exhibition of his glory through the creation of this world, looks beyond the boundaries of time, beyond the revolution of things that now are; because if God designed only to display his glory in this world, then his design has jbeen marred, his purpose has been frustrated, and to suppose that God was not able to execute or accomplish that which he designed, is derogatory to Jehovah; indeed, God will then cease to be God, when it can be found that there is one superior to himself to countervail the designs and purposes of his mind. It appears to me, therefore, that the creation of this world was designed as the channel of communication, as a kind of conduit through which the Lord is forwarding the grand design he has before him, and is day by day hastening that design, and when it comes to its full maturity, he will by the perfection of the new world, cause his glory to beam forth in all the- fulness of his eternal designs. For the development of that secret we must wait, as it is written, "What ye know not* now ye shall know hereafter." Nevertheless, it is through the creation of this world that God is still conducting the grand design that is before him, and gathering together, as it were, all the materials by which he will exhibit his majesty and his glory in future times.
Now, then, we"return to make one or two observations with regard to the new creation, because I conceive that here it is his design centres, and it will be in the triumphs of the new creation that he will be glorified. The Scriptures are clear upon this point. God has, with regard to this new creation, vested the life of man not in his own hand; nay, the design of God with regard to the new creation, with regard to the church of Christ, who will inherit that new creation, I say, the design of the mind and purpose of God is, their eternal salvation. He has not, therefore, committed their life into their own keeping; no; he i
has put it in their head, and you see in the verse immediately preceding the text, that of the head, Jesus Christ, it is here written, "He is the head of the body;" and for that reason he has committed all the safety and all the security of life, and the salvation of his church and people into the hands of his dear Son, his co-equal and co-eternal Son Jesus Christ; because there, and there alone, it is safe—he alone has wisdom, and love, and power, to secure the eternal safety of your souls—because the wisdom of Christ, and the love of Christ, and the power of Christ, are the wisdom, and love, and power of the eternal God—because Christ is God. "He is one with the Father, God over all, blessed for ever." "For it pleased the Father, that in him shall all fulness dwell." You see in Him the fulness of ability, and the fulness of ability in every perfection, in order that he might be fully qualified to undertake the management of that world, the materials of which he is now gathering together; and seeing that it was absolutely necessary that he should have a power superior to any created power, it pleased the Father to vest in him that fulness which is sufficient to qualify him to legislate for the world He had redeemed.
Now it will be necessary first of all to inquire, what is meant by this fulness, and from whence it is that Jesus Christ derives this fulness. The fulness that is here mentioned is the fulness of God; and Jesus Christ as man, derives that fulness by virtue of his union [with God, by virtue of his becoming very God and very man in one Christ. From this it is that he derives the fulness, which is, as we shall endeavour to point out to you and prove, the fulness spoken of in the words of the text. It is not a created fulness. It is true, in the human nature of Jesus Christ, there was fulness of love and innocency, and a fulness of grace, which dwelt in him pre-eminently above every thing that is to be found in any angel, or archangel, or any thing createdon the earth. It is true it is said of him, that "he came full of grace." It is said of him, that "the Father anointed him with the oil of gladness above his fellows. It is said that " God gave him the Spirit without measure." But, nevertheless, my brethren, it is not the fulness of the creature, nor the fulness of any created being, that would be sufficient to supply the wants and satiate the desires of the millions of souls that are dependant on him. No, it is the divinity of Christ that constitutes the bulwark of our security. It is deity that lays the foundation—it is deity that brings forth the cap-stone of the building—it is deity which runs through all the length and breadth of that spiritual building, the church of Christ, which constitutes the strength and the glory thereof. I say, my brethren, it is the divinity of Christ which constitutes your security and the final safety of all those whose names are written in the book of life.
I do not conceive there can be a subject more important or suitable to the times in which we live than this, and I shall occupy some few moments in endeavouring to show you, that if Christ be not God, why then you have no security for the salvation of your souls, in order that you may be prepared to resist the poison, the error, and the heresy that are abroad on the earth— that you may be led to see that if you divest Christ of his majesty and his divinity, you divest Christ of the power to save your souls, and you are left poor indeed.
I proceed to point out in the
Fint place, Thai1 The Fulness Of Christ Is An Infinite Fulness, And, Therefore, It Must Be The Fulnes8 Of God.
Secondly—That The Fulness Of Christ Is An Inexhaustirle Ful
Ness, AND, THEREFORE, MUST BE THE FULNES8 OF GoD.
Thirdly—That The Fulness Of Christ Is An Indwelling And EsSential FULNES8, THEREFORE God
Must Dwell In Christ, And Christ Must Be God.
May the Lord, the Spirit, who taketh of the things that are Christ's, and showeththem unto us, enable us plainly and simply, though I trust convincingly, to point out this truth to you— that you may cling to the horns of this altar—that you may find that Christ is your-God—and that, if you separate his Godhead from his manhood, then you make Christ a mere man, and you can expect nothingmore than you might expect from a creature.
We contend, in the First place, That The Fulness Of Christ Is An Infinite Fulness.
You see, in the words of the text, it is termed "all fulness"—" it having pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell"—an infinite fulness—an eternal fulness—a fulness without beginning, and without end, and that must be the fulness of God. Oh, my brethren, let me beseech you, beware of those men as your bitterest enemies, who [would deprive you of the divinity of Christ, because, as I observed to you just now, unless Christ is God, there is no foundation upon which a poor sinner can rest his soul. No, take all the fulness of creation, all the fulness of grace that is to be found in angels and arch-angels—all the fulness which is to be found in the spirits of those who are made perfect, and all the grace that is to be found in the millions of creatures that have inhabited, and will inhabit this lower world, add them all together, and suppose them to be treasured up in him, still that would not be sufficient to meet the cases and exigencies of his church and people. It is the fulness of God in him. It is written> " in him dwelleth all the ful