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perfect; but in another he is imperfect. Though perfectly justified, he is imperfectly sanctified ; and his aspiration is that he may be perfectly sanctified. The slave emancipated from the tyranny of his master will not be satisfied as long as one link of the olden chain remains about his limbs; so, in the same manner, if you be delivered from the curse by Christ's atonement, you will not be satisfied till you are delivered from all its defilement and its degradation by Christ's Spirit, and so made perfect for heaven.
A child educated for a destiny nobler than its birth is placed in a school that will prepare it for its approaching elevation; and a Christian, the instant he is pardoned, is brought under the educational process of Heaven, that he may be fitted for that moral destiny of which he is the heir by God's grace. Hence we see the meaning of affliction. It is a part of God's educational process. What are bitter and scalding tears ? God's plan of washing the eye from its dimness, that it may see more brightly the everlasting sunshine of heaven. What is the chamber of sorrow? A class-room in Christ's holy school. What is that bitter bereavement that covers a whole home with mourning? It is God dimming the glare of this world's splendour, that you may see more clearly the brightness and the beauty of that better home that never can be dimmed or shaded. And what is our own death when it comes ? Simply the laying down all the traces of imperfection, of sin, and sorrow; and our transference and ascent to that better and brighter land, to that glorious cathedral whose high altar is the Son of God, whose roof is the infinite majesty of the Eternal, whose stones are living stones ; where service never ceases, and where song is
never silent, and in which there is no need of the sun,
Where angels walk and seraphs are the wardens;
PAUL'S INTEREST IN HIS FLOCK-CHRIST'S FULNESS AND PER
FECTION - PHILOSOPHY-GEOLOGY-CHRISTIAN LIBERTY - THE SABBATH-VOLUNTARY HUMILITY-TOUCH NOT.
Paul here exhorts his Colossian converts to hold fast their faith in Christ, a faith which had been given them by the grace and inspiration of the Spirit of God, and tells them that so anxious was he that they should not fail nor falter in this, or in Christian consistency and character, that he had in his own heart great conflictliterally, “a great agony”—for them, and for the Christians at Laodicea, and for many Christians of whose temptations he had heard, but whose face he had not seen. He tells them also that his most fervent prayer was, first, that their hearts might be comforted—Christianity being a spring of comfort for the sad as well as a source of holiness to the sinful—that those hearts might not be dislocated each from the other, but, on the contrary, might, like harp-strings, be in perfect harmony, knit together, and sounding harmoniously the key-note, love, and that they might rise unto all the riches of full assurance-language wonderfully expressive, and denoting that he wished them not only to believe in Christ for salvation, but to be fully, and without doubt or suspicion, persuaded and assured that he was theirs, and that they were eternally and unchangeably his. And in order that they might have no reason to go elsewhere for what was found in Christ, he says that in him “are hid all the treasures of wisdom.” Why, then, we too may ask, go to the springs, the tainted springs, of philosophy, or tradition, or learning, for that which is found in infinite fulness in Christ ?—why go to the broken cisterns of science seeking for that which is found in the open and inexhaustible Fountain ? In relation to all that concerns the soul, its nutriment, its education for eternity, we shall find in Christ all that heart can desire, and all that the soul can need.
Then he says, “I announce to you this grand factnamely, that in Christ are all the treasures of wisdom, in order that no one may beguile you with enticing words ;” that is, that by no fascination of human speech or eloquence you may be drawn aside from what is the root and source of all true grace and of all real comfort, Jesus Christ. He tells them also, “You must not suppose that my absence in the least suspends or cools my sympathy with you ; for though I am absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ.” What a deep sympathy between this preacher and his flock ; what an anxiety on his part that they should be all that the gospel was meant through grace to make them; his first thought and his last thought, absent or present with them, was that they might have full assurance, and hold fast Christ, and not slip off the grand foundation under the attractions of philosophy so called, or the seductions of error.
He combines all figures, figures that in themselves are heterogeneous, figures mixed, if I may so call them, but necessary to explain the fulness of his meaning ; rooted in Christ as a tree is rooted in the soil ; built up in him as an edifice rests all its stones upon the foundation; stablished in the faith, as something long unsettled finds at last its resting-place and its complete attraction and repose ; that you may be thus as you have been taught; and that you may abound in all these graces, increasing in them with thanksgiving.
“The true faith is not to be changed, although the prelates and doctors of the Church should begin to strike out a new one; because, as we have received, so we must persevere. The Romanists, therefore, in vain thrust upon us their novel opinions; it is sufficient to answer, We have not so received from the apostles.
“We must not persevere in every doctrine received from our elders; but if they have received Christ, then we must abide in the same doctrine ; but should they have imbibed the poison of Antichrist, we are not bound to do the same. In vain, therefore, they also heap their old errors upon us : we say with Cyprian, “In things which regard religion it does not behove us to follow the custom of men, but the truth of God.'
“ The gospel is to be received with the greater reverence, because that being received, Jesus Christ is received. The doctrines of men, however true, bring nothing else to the mind than knowledge : but the doctrine of the gospel brings salvation, nay, the Saviour himself.
“He is a Christian in vain, nay, to his great loss, who resolves not to direct both his faith and his life by the rule of Christ : for it is to mock Christ, if he is not