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THE PRESENT TESTIMONY.

ETC., ETC.

NO. I.

FELLOWSHIP WITH CHRIST,

PART IV.

In the three articles which preceded this, we have looked at that which the Holy Ghost teaches us, in Scripture, as to the provision, made by God, for meeting all the evil of our old former selves; of ourselves looked at in fallen_nature, and according to our descent from Adam. In Christ there was Life, and Christ's work was such, that by it God could meet (meet and set aside) all the consequences of that which He finds to be in us by nature. Crucified together with Christ; dead together with Christ; buried together with Christ, are three most precious benefits to us of the humiliation of the Lord. What an epitaph, worthy for the God of all grace to put over Saul the persecutor, and such like, when, through grace, they believe, "Crucified, dead and buried together with Christ.” Other remedy, other refuge was, is, can there be none for a lost son or daughter of Adam than is here presented. But God thought not to meet. us in our evil only, and to deliver us from its awful con-sequences and results; — the love that looked upon us. when we were in our sins (and when we were children of wrath looked upon us and thought to interpose between us and the fruits of our sins, by the work of Christ), that love had a length and a breadth about it which could not measure itself out fully in the limits of our misery, - but having loved us, in spite of what we were, and fully met all the evil at its own cost, that

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love has taken an arena for itself which is vast enough for it to show its full measure in. The Son of God associated Himself, as Son of Man, with all the circumstances of our misery, was put to shame in our stead upon the cross; died in our stead thereon and was buried. This was His downward path; obedient unto death, the death of the cross. “ He died for our sins, according to the Scriptures; and — He was buried ”s (1 Cor. xv. 3, 4). But He, also “rose again from the dead," etc., and, as we shall see, has associated us with Him in all the stages of His upward course of honour and blessing. He, associating Himself with us, had to suffer for us: He, associating us with Himself, in that which followed His suffering for us (as substituted for us), — how rich are the blessings which are ours in Ilim! These we will now turn to consider.

1.- Quickened together with Christ." But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ" (Eph. ii. 4, 5).

And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with Christ” (Col. ii. 13).

Observe, first, what we were, as set forth in these two contexts. Dead in trespasses and sins;- having walked in time past according to the course of this world, — which is characterised thus; as being according to the prince of the power of the air,-the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience, — among whom also we all had our conversation in times past, in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. Observe it. Death in trespasses and sins; a walk according to the age of this world (at enmity with God and the Father); an age energised by Satan, whose sway is over rebels; the habitual bearing characterised by lusts of the flesh, desires of the flesh and of the mind; children of wrath: these were our spots where grace found us, if we can credit Paul's letter to the Ephe

Eph. ii, 5, and Col. ii. 13.

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sians. And the picture is not more favourably drawn when he writes to the Colossians, whether Jew or Gentile be looked at. But, where no answer could be found in such a state of things, when it was looked at in the presence of God,

there God showed an answer in Himself: He was rich in mercy and in power too. If the object which He looked upon was the very contrast of all that He loved and delighted in in Christ Jesus, He could yet show compassion and mercy, — mercy and compassion to what was in contrast with Himself and with His own moral beauty as expressed in Christ Jesus. He could save the sinner; yet, in the very act which justified Him in doing so, He would give the perfect expression of His own power, and of His mercy toward the sinner, and yet of His hatred against the sin. His Son, His only begotten Son, as Son of Man, should take the place penally due to the sinner, and bear the perfect judgment due to sin in His own body on the tree. Substituted for the sinner, - He (the just one in place and instead of the many unjust) bore sin in His own body on the tree. His doing so was the expression of His perfect sympathy with the divine and heavenly counsel of His Father's mercy, - He became obedient unto death, the death of the cross. The judgment is past; gone right through by Him, all alone — all that God thought, felt, knew, to be due to sin in His presence. He who passed through those sorrows (which were justly due to us, but would have sunk us into hell for eternity), is now alive again. For, if Divine justice perfectly expressed its bearings against me and my sin and sinfulness when Christ stood to be judged in my stead, --Divine

The judgment was perfect, even to this extent, that it was shown on the cross that sin could not come into the light of God's presence. The sins of man, who is but of yesterday, whose breath is in His nostrils, could not be borne, by imputation even, by the perfect servant of God, the Son of Man, — and He enjoy the light of God's countenance : “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?" proves the eternal impossibility of God and sin, as it were, meeting. But that Infinite One that was there, drank the cup of wrath due to us; and the very wrath that came, through grace, on Him, only gave the occasion for His perfect ness to display itself. Forsaken of God He would not did not

justice had also to express itself, if it would be clear, as to both the personal and the essential glory of Him who could do such a work — God raised Him up from the dead and gave Him glory, that our faith and hope might be in God. He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come; and hath put all things under His feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the Church, which is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all (Eph. i. 20—23); God hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus cvery knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phil. ii. 9–11).

The head of all principality and power (Col. ii. 10). Yes, so it is: He who was the Man of sorrows is now seated at the right hand of the Majesty on high, crowned with honor and glory; and,

as Lord of all and appointed Judge of quick and dead, He knows how to call a poor sinner, a Saul of Tarsus, or, a John of Bedford, and to set before him and in him the contrast betweenAs it is appointed unto

So Christ was once ofmen once to die, but after fered to bear the sins of that the judgment.

many: and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time, with

out sin, unto salvation. He knows, right well, how to set His own wondrous

- forsake God : but, as Psalm xxii. shows us, He vindicated God's dealings with Him; saying that they were all justified, the place He had in grace taken being considered. When the Infinite God's wrath against the finite creature's sin had been fully told out, how should God but express His thoughts as to Him (Jehovah's fellow) who for mercy's sake had stood and borne the wrath, - and, in vindicating God's righteousness and mercy, had been obedient unto death, even the death upon

the cross

- and given His life a ransom for us ?

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