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Being thus conformed to Christ in the three items of his death, burial, and resurrection, we have now the witness of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are the children of God, and we become one of the new creation in Christ Jesus. But we must not only be thus conformed to him in these three, but must, as we have seen, go yet further, and be conformed to him in his ascension. ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things. which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also

appear with bim in glory." Then follows an exhortation from the apostle, to mortify their members which are upon earth, which should be carefully read and remembered by all who wish to preserve their conformnity to Christ, and attain to a glorious personal conformity to him in the resurrection.

Now, in order to preserve our conformity to him here, we must grow in grace, or favour, and the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. When we first enter the Christian kingdom ; have been “born of water and of the Spirit;" " believed and been baptized;" had our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience by faith in the blood of Christ, and our bodies washed in the water of purification; when by faith in Jesus Christ we become the children of God, by being baptized into Christ and putting him on; in short, when we have been made like Christ in his death, burial, and resurrection; we must,“ as new born BABES, desire the șincere MILK of the WORD, that we may grow thereby," and when we have been sufficiently fed with that, and had our senses exercised to discern good and evil," we must then be fed with “strong meat.” It may be inquired, what is this milk, and what this meat ? “When for the time [length of time you have been disciples) ye ought to be teachers [have knowledge enough, and your minds suffciently disciplined] ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the Oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat." To ascertain more fully what is the milk of the word, notice the character of the disciples fed with milk. “Every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness; for

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he is a babe." "Leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance (reformation) from dead works, and of faith toward God, and of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.” “Strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern good and evil.(Heb. v. 12–14; vi. 1, 2). From these and other passages, we can ascertain what is the milk, and what the meat of the word, and that the difference between them is as great as that between the two aliments in nature from which these figures are drawn. We know what milk and meat are in the kingdom of nature, and that after birth into that kingdom, it would be most preposterous to give the babe meat, strong meat," instead of milk! Instead of growing it would pine away and die ! Milk of the word consists in the learning and practising of those principles, precepts, commands, &c., by the constant “ use" of which “ the senses are exercised to discern good and evil.” And when the senses become thus exercised, the Christian must partake of those other portions of the word which contain the " strong meat.” But how are they to be thus fed ? The ELDERS which are among you I exhort,

FEED the FLOCK of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof." (See 1 Peter v. 1-4). Paul" sent to Ephesus and called the ELDERS of the church;" and in his pathetic and beautiful exhortation to them, among other things, he says: “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the FLOCK, over which the Holy Spirit hath made you overseers, to FEED the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” Every congregation should have its elders or bishops, who, with all the necessary qualifications, as detailed by Paul in his letters to Timothy and Titus, should be “teachers," or "APT to teach," that they may know whom to feed with milk, and whom to feed with strong meat. For this purpose there must be enough of them in every congregation to be well acquainted with the situation of every member; for, otherwise, how will they know what kind of food to minister? Hence there was a plurality of elders in all the apostolic churches. Such anomalies as metropolitan bishops, archbishops, diocesan bishops, one “pastor" 10 three or four churches, or a weekly

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declaimer to one church, dubbed “pastor" or "elder," was never known by them, or anticipated only so far as a part of corrupted Christianity, or “mystery Babylon!" It is one of the great misfortunes of the sectarian churches of the present day, that so far from being fed, first with the “ sincere milk," and then the “strong meat” of the word, they are fed indiscriminately with a mixture of the “ blue skimmed milk of human opinious," "swine flesh,” abrogated Jewish rites and ceremonies, Pagan philosophy, metaphysics, human wisdom, frothy declamation, &c. The duties of an elder in the apostolic churches were numerous and great, and would be as much or more so now were they attended to as they ought to be. The primitive elders or bishops gave themselves entirely to the work, and were supported by the congregations. Hence they were admonished to take the oversight of the flock “not for filthy lucre's sake.” To preserve our conformity to Christ here, so that we may be personally conforined to him in the resurrection, OBEDIENCE must be had to all things he has commanded. “He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him." Jesus must be obeyed in all his precepts and institutions. We must observe that order of worship and course of conduct which the apostles prescribed for the first Christians, and which are of perpetual obligation, as long as the Christian institution shall last. We “are not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some is," but meet as they did, every Lord's day, to commemorate the death of the Lord, by partaking at his table of the bread and wine, the emblems of his broken body and blood shedding; his body first whole, then broken for us, and afterwards his bluod shed when his side was pierced with the Roman spear. In the congregation we must "continue steadfast in the apostles' doctrine, (teaching] fellowship, [contribution] breaking of bread, (Lord's supper) and prayers.” In the family and at home, night and morning, must the Bible be read, or our “lamps trimmed” or replenished with the holy oil of God's word, and the incense of prayer arise to the Lord from the family altar. We must endeavour to be faithful in all the relations we sustain to the Lord and one another : those sustained by husbands to wives, and wives to husbands; children to parents, and parents to children ; masters to servants, and servants to masters; those who

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govern to the governed, and the governed to them and the laws.” We must endeavour to “stand perfect and complete in all the will of God,” and be found like the saints under the old dispensation, "walking in ALL the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless." The Lord is not pleased with a partial service, nor are we blessed in it, when the whole ca be performed. “ Whosoever shall keep the whole law and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.. We must add unto our begun faith, virtue or courage; to courage, knowledge; to knowledge, temperance; to temperance, patience; to patience, godliness; to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, charity or

Notice particularly what the apostle says of him who has, and him who has not these things. These are the seven Christian graces or accomplishments, essential to Christian perfection, and which, like the seven colours of the rainbow in the bright shining after rain, mingle and harmonize into the perfect Christian character, reflecting in their varied and lovely tints, the resplendent beams of the “Sun of Righteousness."

PERSONAL CONFORMITY TO CHRIST. The Lord Jesus arose from the grave with a body incorruptible and immortal, and which, as he ascended, was changed into one spiritual and glorious. By his resurrection he vanquished death and brought life and incorruptibility to light by the gospel. By actually arising from the dead, and causing this important fact to be published in the gospel, he manifested or exemplified in his own person, that life and incorruption which shall be the glorious lot of all his faithful and obedient followers. John, speaking of him after he had arisen, says, “ which we have looked upon,

and our hands have handled of the WORD OF LIFE (living word); for the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life which was with the Father and which was manifest unto us." And speaking of him in his glorified state, he says: We kuow that when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.' As he now has a spiritual body, so will all have who will be personally conformed to him in the resurrection. “ There is a natural body and there is a spiritual body." “That was not first which was spirituala

but that which was natural.“ The first man (Adam) is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven.” “As we have borne the image of the earthy, we (Christians] shall also bear the image of the heavenly." Our corruption shall put on INCORRUPTION, and our mortal, IMMORTALITY; and then shall our conformity to the personal image of Christ be complete.

What the constitution of a spiritual body will be, as to its anatomical structure, functions, &c., we cannot tell, as revelation has not informed us. But of one thing we are certain—there will be no adaptation of the present earth to the constitution and existence of a spiritual body, whatever that may be. It will be a spiritual body, and that is all the information the apostle gives in reply to the question, " How are the dead raised up ? and with what body do they come ?" But one thing is certain—it will be vastly different from, and superior to, the natural body; as much so as the stalk of corn compared with the grain which produces it. This spiritual body will belong to the new heavens and new earth,” before the existence of which, the present earth will be destroyed with fire after the milleniuin. (See 2 Pet. iii. 5–14; Rev. xx. 2; xxi. 1). Paul has shown us that God has adapted the constitution of every " body,” both celestial and terrestrial to that constitution of nature in which it is placed, and that sphere in which it has to move. (See 1 Cor. xv. 36—49.) The plain meaning of which is, that as God has given to every kind of grain that plant or stalk which is best suited to produce it, and adapted to the climate, soil, &c. of its country; to the sun, moon, stars, their form, constitution, &c., adapted to their spheres ; so will he give to the spiritual body that form of existence which, will be best adapted to the constitution, &c. of the "new. earthin which it will have to exist, and which will be as vastly superior to the present as the spiritual body to the natural. We can, perhaps, form some conception of what that spiritual body will be, from that of our Lord Jesus, as seen after he ascended and was glorified. We know," says John, “that when he shall appear, we shall be like. him; for we shall see him as he is.” John,“in his Spirit," saw him in Patmos, and has given the following grand and awfully glorious description of him, in the language of eastern imagery; " I saw seven golden candlesticks, and in

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