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evident delight than he did; nor could I have considered him with a more sympathetic regard, if he had been a long-known Christian of the good old sort, grown up into my affections in the course of many years."
Happy world, if all were Christians! Or, at least, happy Christians, if they showed more of this fraternal affection to each other in the world? None can deny, that so it ought to be. O that every one, who names the name of Christ, and believes himself to be a member of his undivided body, would pray for faith and charity to put the whole into being!
Blessed Lord! Fountain of life and love, send forth the Spirit of thy Son into my heart and into the hearts of all my brethren; that, waving all mean and selfish distinctions, we may first love thee above all things, and then each other for thy sake with a pure heart fervently. Subdue animosities, and all the separating corruptions of the flesh, and let us consider ourselves as brethren, fellow heirs of the grace of life, persons who shall pass an eternity together, yea, as parts of each other, and members, holy Jesus, of thy body, thy flesh, and thy bones. Even so, let it be, for thy glory and for our present and eternal consolation through thy grace: Amen.
An honorable title indeed, taken from the Redeemer
himself! The disciples of the Lord Jesus were first called by this name at Antioch; but the sense of the name belonged to the children of God from the beginning of the world. As the word CHRIST signifies ANOINTED, i. e. by the Holy Spirit; so the word Christians denotes properly those, and those only, who are anointed by the same Spirit, and thereby follow him in the regeneration. Thus the patriarchs were called anointed, because of their relation to the Messiah, (which is the Hebrew word for Christ:) touch not mine ANOINTED, and do my prophets no harm.† They were Christians, through faith in their Saviour, by the unction of the HOLY ONE; and none others have, in truth and reality, a right to the name. This oil of gladness first
This was about the year of our Lord 44: before this time, the disciples were styled, in contempt, Nazarenes and Galilæans. And to show to us, that our Lord considers the reproach of the world as the truest honor; he made himself known to Paul at his conversion, by the despised name of Jesus of Nazareth. The Jews, therefore, in contemning Christ, and hating his people, have only brought upon themselves, in this instance, the fulfilment of that prophecy, which declared, that they should leave their name [the name of Jew] for a curse unto God's chosen, and that the Lord God would slay them, and call his servants by ANOTHER name. Isa. lxv. 15.
+ Psalm cv. 15.
descends upón Christ, and then from him, the head and high-priest of the great profession, to the meanest and lowest of his true members, or to the last of them who shall come into the world, even to those who, in these respects, may be styled, in prophetic figure, the skirts of his clothing.*
It appears from hence, that it is no such slight or common thing, as too many suppose, to be a Christian. If we consider the Author: it is the gift of God, and the action of God himself, upon that person, who is possessed of the truth implied by the name. If we consider the blessing: it is an oil most holy, as was declared in the type, by which the redeemed are consecrated; and never yet was thrown away upon men continuing ungodly and profane.† Those, who live under the dominion of sin, prove demonstrably, that it hath never yet been poured upon them. Wherever it is poured forth, it makes holy, and keeps holy. It is an oil of consecration, which devotes the soul to God, brings the soul by faith into the presence of God, enjoins him to walk continually as in that presence, admits him to communion and love with the Father and Son, enables him to live in the sense of the gracious privileges con
* Psalm cxxxiii. 2.
+ This was signified by the precept; upon man's flesh it shall not be poured, Exod. xxx. 32. The corrupt flesh or nature of man is not the object of this unction; for flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, because in the flesh dwelleth no good thing; but the new man, who is created anew in Christ Jesus, or is born again of the Spirit, is the only subject of this divine anointing, and is thereby made the priest consecrated to God, and capable of union and communion with him.
ferred upon him, renews the mind into the image of Christ, causes it to rejoice in the holy and righteous will of Jehovah, and inspires a gracious longing and waiting for the purity as well as peace of the kingdom of glory. If something of this, at least, be not found in a man; or if, where supposed to be found, there be no strong desire for an increase of it; let such an one beware, lest, instead of being anointed with the Spirit of Christ, and being sealed with the seal of God in his forehead, he bear the mark only of the beast, and be found among those that are deceived.† If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his: that is, he is not a Christian, and hath no right to the name.
He, who is anointed by the Spirit of Christ, or, what is the same, is a Christian indeed, hath the mind or understanding of Christ, discerns the truth of God in his word, apprehends the great analogy or proportion of faith which runs through the scriptures, tastes the sweet savour of the gospel, that hidden manna, which none can know but he that eats it, and rejects, as nauseous and vile, every false or adulterated principle, and all the perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, who are destitute both of the truth and its power.
As the real Christian hath an understanding which is true, and which fixes his judgement upon all essential truth; so his will and affections are correspondent with it. He loves the things of God, and the people of God, without narrowness of spirit; because the love of God is shed abroad in his heart by that Holy One, who made
* Rev. ix. 4.
+ Rev. xix. 20.
him a Christian. If God love any person or thing; how can he, who is of God, venture or be inclined to do otherwise?
The life of Christ also is manifested in the mortal body of every true Christian, subduing the corruptions of that body, and thereby delivering the soul from a multitude of snares and inquietudes. I (says the apostle, respecting the body, with its affections and lusts) I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live [i. e. as to my soul;] yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.* He found the second Adam, the Lord from heaven, not like Adam the first, a mere natural man, but the Lord of life itself, and therefore a quickening Spirit: and he proved his interest in him, by living upon him, (not upon himself, or his own poor corrupted nature) and by receiving out of his fulness, from moment to moment, grace for grace. This is the life and spirit, the wisdom and strength, the happiness and holiness, of the Christian: and all the rest is nothing but a fair show in the FLESH, if it pretend to religion; or a foul show, if it follow the world.
The sum, then, of this matter is, that the holy unction, which makes a Christian, is the gift of God, and that the persons, who receive this grace, are devoted by it to God for ever, are renewed in the spirit of their minds, and from henceforth walk in the ways of truth and holiness, through the power and wisdom of that holy,
* Gal. ii. 20.