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of my own but sin, and that the Lord Jesus died to take my condemnation, and rose because of my justification, I simply believe God, and, believing, I have lifesalvation-I am a member of the body, which is the temple of the Holy Ghost.
This is the unfettered Gospel, beloved--the Gospel which the Holy Ghost loves to own and use, along with the entrance of which into a sinner's mind, He, too, as I have said, delights to enter, furnishing it with rest and peace, with joy and assurance. Said Jesus, “ He shall not speak of Himself; He shall receive of mine and show it unto you." May God grant that you may now understand. Saith the Spirit in the Word“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.”
"And Sarah was an hundred and seven and twenty years old: these were the years of the life of Sarah. And Sarah in Kirjatbarba ; the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan: and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her. And Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spake unto the sons of Heth, saying, I am a stranger and a sojourner with you: give me a posession of a burying-place with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight.”—GEN. xxiii. 1-4.
It was sin which brought in death. Beloved, never think lightly of sin. It was sin which crucified the Lord Jesus ; nothing brings out the exceeding vileness and heinousness of sin like the cross of Christ. The cross is a glass wherein we see everything in its true light; it shows us our own wretchedness and degradation, also our redemption and salvation in Jesus.
But if by sin came death, by Christ is the resurrection from the dead. See this attitude of Abraham ! “ He stood up from before (or out of) his dead." See him burying his dead out of his sight,-calmly laying down in the tomb all that remained of one who was very dear to him—laying her down, ah, yes ! in this early age, in the sure and certain hope of resurrection to eternal life. No ordinary grief to Abraham was Sarah's death; for in truth Sarah was no ordinary woman. She stands out in a marked manner to our view. Once in years gone by her beauty had been a
snare to him in the presence of kings. Of her was born the promised seed. Of her was one who was greater than Isaac. But Abraham believed in her resurrection from among the dead. Thus early we trace glorious gospel doctrines, shining forth brightly amid much that was dark and shadowy.
Abraham may be said to be a representative man. There are, in fact, seven representative men in the foreground of Scripture, who doubtless were all ordained by God to unfold gradually, amidst Old Testament shadows, the glorious truths so fully revealed in our own time.
The first of such men is Abel. Abel brought an offering unto God, and on the ground of that offering he was accepted. But what was his offering? It was an offering of blood. Thus early, in past ages, is the blood presented. It was on the ground of a slain lamb that Abel, sinful as he was, was well-pleasing before the Lord, or, as the word is, was “accepted;" or rather it was on the ground of what was typified, which was Christ. Do you see it, beloved ? do ye see Abel presenting the blood? and himself accepted because of the blood ? Such must be the attitude of every believing, trusting sinner; he must bring Christ. All upon His blood; whether antediluvian, or postdiluvian, Mosaic, Christian, or millennial,- all ages root as to salvation on the blood, or are built on it as upon an unchanging rock; whether in the kingdom or in the glory, all, all rest on His blood. To know Christ crucified for us is the beginning of all saving truth, the foundation of all rest, hence our merit before God; it is the first marked object shown to us in Scripture. Sings Rutherford of Jesus, who bought us with His blood
" I stand upon His merit,
That merit, dear people, must be and is the standing place of every saint.
The next representative man we meet is Enoch. Enoch is not so much a type of acceptance through the blood, but of life and immortality brought to light through the Gospel. Enoch “was not, for God took
He did not die, but was simply changed into a better and greater life than any he had known before. On being changed, he possessed a life never more to change, never more to die. This was significant. For life, our life in Christ, is eternal; no death to the believer, but life and immortality. Thus, says Paul, whether we wake or sleep, we shall live, together with Him. The life he meant is not moral life; that we now have, but life from the dead, or changed. That is, if we die, we shall be raised, raised in the likeness of the Lord Jesus, or if we remain and are alive at His coming, we shall be, as was Enoch, changed. This is our hope. The Jew looked for a Messiah who would come to reign; we look for Jesus, who will change our vile bodies, and fashion them like unto His own body of glory. We live in faith, not for ourselves so much as for Israel and the world, of a coming Messiah, the son of David, to reign on earth; but we of this dispensation, who believe in a rejected Jesus, look for Him from heaven, to take us to Himself. Meanwhile He is the object of our faith and of adoring worship. Ah, yes ! we ought, each of us, to say, “I love to take my place with a crucified Jesus, outside the camp. I love to stand with Him in the rejection. I love to share His scorn, His sufferings, and to know that He is now a glorified man in heaven, that as Son He will come again, and that when He shall appear in the regeneration, they who have been with Him in His rejection shall appear with Him, and sit down with Him on His throne, dwelling and reigning together with Him. Beloved, do you not see where he puts such ? “With me on my throne.” And
us ?—Not so much to be reigned over, but as kings and priests to reign with Him!
But for this we must be raised or changed; one or the other, not both. For these ends Christ is the resurrection, or the raiser up of the dead; and the life,the changer of the living. So said Jesus to Martha : “I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die," i.e., he that believeth and is alive when I come, he shall never die. Thus also Paul, “We shall not all sleep, but we shall be changed.” Enoch did not sleep, but was changed.
But another truth foreshadowed in Enoch. Enoch was taken away before the flood came, intimating, as we believe, that believers in Jesus will be safely taken away before the great tribulation, before the terrible vials of God's wrath are poured out. Thus the Lord Jesus, when He comes for His disciples, as promised in John xiv. 1, 3, will take out of a world which has rejected Him all that is precious ; but when subsequently, as we believe, He appears as Messiah, He will take out of His kingdom all that offends. For these ends He will, we think and believe, come, specifically and perhaps privately as Head, our glorious Head, to take away His members; and next appear publicly to visit the Sodom of this world with its threatened destruction. And then throughout a millennium of years, blessedly as King of peace He will reign.
Again we look on past ages, and our eye rests upon Noah. Here is a third representative character. Noah, unlike Enoch, was not taken away before the wrath to
Yet he was saved, was brought through the overwhelming flood; so doubtless will it be with Israel in the latter day. After the flood Noah appears as a new forefather, the head and source of a fresh generation. So also will it be with Israel, who, according to Isa. Ixi.,