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mility. Let that divine veil be spread over all your honours, that as you are the fairest images of Christ, ye may be dressed like him too ; for he who is the highest Son of God, is also the holiest of the sons of men ; he who is personally united to the godhead, and is one with his Creator, is the humblest of cvery creature.
HYMN FOR SERMON VIII.
A Hopeful Youth falling Short of Heaven.
THUS far 'tis well: You read, you, If you will let your Saviour go, pray,
To hold your riches fast ; You hear God's holy word,
Or hunt for empty joys below, You bearkep what your parents say, You'll lose your beaven at last. And learn to serve the Lord.
The rich young man whom Jesus lov'd Yourfriends are pleas'd to see yourways, Should warn you to forbear ! Your practice they approve :
His love of earthly treasures prov'd Jesus bimself would give you praise, A fatal golden snare. And look with eyes of love.
See, gracious God, dear Saviour, see But if you quit the paths of truth, How youth is prone to fall : To follow foolish fires,
Teach them to part with all for thee, And give a loose to giddy youtb,
And love thee more than all. With all its wild desires.
The Hidden Life of a Christian.
COL. iii. 3.-For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
THE FIRST PART,
DEATH and life are two words of a solemn and important sound. They carry so much of force and moment in them, as must awaken mankind to attention; and therefore the Spirit of God often uses them as metaphors, to express things unseen and spiritual, and to describe the state both of saints and sinners : So that all who are alive on the face of the earth, in the language of scripture, are said to be dead too, but in different senses. Those who are in a state of nature, and under the power of sin, unpardoned and unsanctified, are dead in trespasses and sins; yet they live the life of brutes in the lusts of the flesh, or the life of devils in the lusts of the mind; Eph. ii. 1, 2. Those who are recovered from the fall, and brought into a state of grace by the gospel of Christ, are said to be dead also; that is, they are dead to sin; Rom. vi. 11. and they are crucified, and so dead to the world; Gal. vi. 14. The delights of sin are hateful to them, so that they allure them not to forsake their God; and the lawful enjoyments of life are so far tasteless to the saints, in comparison of the things of heaven, that they have much less influence, than once they had, to tempt them away from God, and from the practice of holiness.
It is in this sense the christian Colossians are said to be dead in my text. But they have another, a new life, and that of a different kind; such as is mentioned in this verse, and which is hid with Christ in God; and it is this hidden life shall be the chief subject of my discourse.
These latter words of the text afford two plain and easy pro. positions or doctrines.
I. 'That the life of a christian is a hidden life.-II. That it is hid with Christ in God. Let us meditate on them in order.
Doctrine I. A christian's life is a hidden life.--Here we
shall, First, Consider what is this life, which is said to be hidden. And, Secondly, In what respects it is so.
First, What is this life of a christian which is said to be hidden ?
Not the animal life, wherehy he eats, drinks, sleeps, moves and walks ; this is visible enough to all about him. Not the civil life, as he stands in relation to other men in the world, whether as a son, as a father, a master, or a servant, a trader, a labourer, or an officer in the state : For all these are public, and seen of men.
But the hidden life is that whereby he is a christian indeed; his spiritual life, wherein he is devoted to God, and lives to the purposes of heaven and eternity. And this is the same life, which, in other parts of scripture, is called eternal; for the life of grace survives the grave, and is prolonged into glory. The same life of piety and inward pleasure, which begins on earth, is fulfilled in heaven ; and it may be called the spiritual, or the eternal life, according to different respects ; for it is the same continued Jife acting in different stations or places, and running through time and eternity; 1 John v. 11, 12. Eternal life is in the Son, and he that hath the Son, hath this life ; it is begun in him, he is already possessed of it in some degree.
As the life of the child is the same with that of the full-grown man; as the same vital principles and powers run through the several successive stages of infancy, youth and manhood, so the divine life of a saint, begun on on earth, runs through this world, through death, and the separate state of souls ; it appears in fullgrown perfection, in the final heaven, when the whole saint shall stand complete in glory. Thus the spiritual life of a christian is eternal life begun ; and eternal life is the spiritual life made perfect.
If we would describe this life in short, it may be represented thus : It is a life of faith, holiness and peace; a life of faith, or dependance upon God for all that we want ; a life of holiness, rendering back again to God, in a way of honour and service, whatsoever we receive from him in a way of mercy; and a life of peace in the comfortable sense of the favour of God, and our acceptance with him through Jesus Christ. All these begin on earth, and in this sense faith itself, as well as peace and holiness, shall abide in heaven : we shall for ever be dependants, for ever happy and for ever holy.
In a state of nature the man lived such a sinful and carnal life, that was more properly called death ; but when he becomes a believer, a true christian, he is new created ; 2 Cor. v. 17. new-born ; John iii. 3. raised from the dead, and quickened to a new life ; Eph. ü. 1, 5. which is called being risen with Christ, in the verses before my text; Col. üi. 1. And this very spiritual life, as the effect of our symbolical resurrection with Christ, is the subject of several verses of the 6th chapter to the Romans, whence I cannot but infer the same to be designed here, viz. that the christian who is dead to sin, is risen with Christ, and alive to God; as Rom. vi. 11. All the life that he lived before, with all the shew and bravery of it, with all the bustle and business, the entertainments and delights of it, was but a mere dream, a fancy, the picture of life, a shadow and emptiness, and but little above the brutes that perish. Now he lives a real, a substantial, a divine life, a-kin to God and angels, and quite of a different nature from what the men of this world live.
There is this difference indeed which the scripture makes between the spiritual life and the eternal. The first chiefly respects the operations of the soul, for the life of the body is not immortal here: the second includes soul and body too, for both shall possess immortality hereafter. The first is attended with many difficulties and sorrows; the second is all ease and pleasure. The first is represented as the labour and service : the last, as the great, though unmerited, reward ; Gal. vi. 8. He that soweth to the Spirit, and fulfils the duties of the spiritual life, shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. The one is the life of holiness and inward peace, though mingled with many defects, and surrounded with a thousand disadvantages and trials : the other, is the same life of holiness and peace, having surmounted every difficulty, shining and exulting in full joy and glory.
Secondly, We come to consider, in what respect this life may be called a hidden life.
And here I shall distinguish that part of it, which is more usually called the spiritual life, and is exercised in this world, from that which is more frequently called life eternal, and belongs rather to the world to come: and then I shall make distinct inferences from the consideration of each.
Now let us consider wherein the spiritual life is said to be hidden.
I. The acts and exercises of it are secret and unknown to the public world. The saint is much engaged in the important and hidden concerns of his divine life; and his converse is with God and Christ, who dwell in the world of invisibles.
Who knows the secret transactions between God and the soul of a christian, when he first entered into covenant with God, through Christ the Mediator, and began this happy life? Who can tell the inward workings of his spirit towards Jesus Christ his Lord in the first efforts of his faith, and embraces of our Saviour ? Who was acquainted with the secret sorrows of his soul, when he was first set a mourning for his past sins, and humbled himself in bitterness before God; Or who can express the surprizing delight, and secret satisfaction he felt at heart, when God communicated to him the first lively hope of forgiveness and divine salvation ? O the unknown joys of such an hour which some christians have experienced, when a divine beam of light shone into their souls, and revealed Jesus Christ within them, as St. Paul speaks : when they saw his all-sufficiency of righteousness and grace, to answer their infinite necessities; and when they durst believe in him as their Saviour !
And as the beginnings of this life are hidden from the world, so the exercises and progress of it are a secret too. While the world is following after idols and vanity, the christian, in his retired chamber, breathes after his God and his Redeemer, and gives a loose to his warmest affections, in the pursuit of his Almighty Friend, and his best beloved. While the men of this world are vexing their spirits, and fretting under present disappointments, he dwells in a lonesome corner, mourning for his sins and follies. And at another time, while the children of vanity grow proud in public, and boast of their large possessions, and inheritances, he rejoices in secret, in the hope of glory, and takes divine delight in the fore-thought of his better inheritance among the saints : his conversation is in heaven; Phil. iii. 20.
I might run through all the exercises of the sanctified affections, and the various parts of the divine worship, and of the conduct of a saint among the children of men. With what humble fear does he entertain the mention of the name of God? With what deep self-abasement, and inward adoration? At the presence of sin how is his anger stirred ? and his holy watchfulness when temptations appear? how does he labour and wrestle, fight and strive, lest he be overcome by the secret enemies of his soul? And as his bitterness of heart is unknown to the world, so a stranger intermeddles not with his joy; Prov. xiv. 10. He feeds on the same provision which his Lord Jesus did on earth, for it his meat and his drink to do the will of his Father which is in heaven; This is a feast to the christian, which the world knows not of; Jolin iv. 32, 34.
II. The springs and principles of this life are hidden and unknown to the world; and therefore the world esteems many of the actions of a true christian very strange and unaccountable things, as we shall shew afterward, because they see not the springs of them.
The word of God, or the gospel, with all the hidden treasures of it, is the chief instrument, or means, whereby this divine life is wrought and supported in the soul. The true christian beholds the purity of God in the precepts; he reads grace, heaven, and glory, in the promises; he sees the words of