Ephesians 2:5
The apostle teaches that, in virtue of the union between Christ and his people, his death was their death, his life their life, his exaltation their exaltation. It is the familiar doctrine of Romans 6:4, "Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." These words indicate a bond of connection between the spiritual life of the believer and the resurrection of Christ. The new life is, in fact, a participation in the risen life of the Savior.

I. QUICKENED TOGETHER WITH CHRIST.

1. Consider the nature of this quickening. It implies a previous identification with Christ in his death. "We are buried with Christ by baptism into death." We have, in fact, died unto sin exactly as Christ died unto sin; for "in that he died, he died unto sin once" (Romans 6:10). Christ died unto sin when he underwent death as the wages of sin and exhausted all the woe that sin entails as its punishment. He died for sin that he might become dead to sin; the parties having become dead to each other, taking their own path henceforth, never to meet or cross each other unto eternity again. And we are dead unto sin in precisely the same sense in which Christ is dead unto sin; for the apostle says, "Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin," because we are exempted from all its curse on the ground of its curse being already executed. How can this be, as we never suffered the curse of sin? Because we have been baptized into Christ. Mere water-baptism cannot accomplish this blessed result. It is the Holy Spirit who is the Baptist, for he engrafts us into Christ and makes us one body with him (1 Corinthians 12:12, 13). We are united to Christ by faith.

2. Consider the effects of this quickening. This new position involves our seeing what the dead can never see. When we are quickened by the Spirit of God:

(1) We see God: "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God." We see him as a Father, because we have seen Christ, for "he that hath seen me hath seen the Father." We see a Father's power, love, and compassion.

(2) We see Christ in his person and in his work, as a sufficient Savior, as a willing Savior, as a loving Savior, with a work accomplished on the ground of which we shall be accepted and saved.

(3) We see the sin that is in ourselves and the sin that is in the world. The dead see nothing. "They have no speculation in their eyes." Men of the world do not see sin as sin, but often as a source of profit or amusement. "Fools make a mock at sin." But the quickened sinner sees the sin of the world as he sees the sin of his own heart, and mourns over it.

(4) He sees heaven and hell. The eye of man sees many stars in the sky on a dark night, but there are many blank spaces in which no twinkling glories can be seen. Men of the world see heaven and hell as blank spaces, or, at best, as dim and shadowy. But the quickened see them as supreme and transcendent realities. They see heaven as the home of Jesus and the saints; they see hell as the place prepared for the devil and his angels.

(5) He sees the world in its true character. How different the view of the same city from two opposite standpoints! Not more different is the view of the world from the standpoint of eternity, for the saint sees it as a doomed world at enmity with God, and is thus led to place his citizenship on high, "setting his affections on things above, not on things on the earth" (Colossians 3:2).

II. RAISED TOGETHER WITH CHRIST. For as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also should walk in newness of life. The connection between the believer's life and the Redeemer's resurrection is one not merely of certainty and similarity, but of participation, and thus we come to know the power of his resurrection (Philippians 3:10). There was a change in Christ's own relation to God established by his resurrection; "for in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God" - in an entirely new relation to God, which shall endure forever, for when he shall appear the second time, it will be without sin unto salvation. Formerly he was condemned, now is he justified in the Spirit; he liveth now to God with no curse to bear, no sacrifice to offer, no suffering to endure, no service to achieve; and therefore the God of peace, in token of the acceptance of the Surety, brings again from the dead that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant. So likewise we are to count ourselves "alive unto God through Jesus Christ," in that same relation of irreversible acceptance into which Jesus has entered. The apostle here not only represents believers as ideally raised in Christ, but as actually raised just as Christ actually came forth from his sepulcher, leaving his grave-clothes behind him. Similarly we are not to be as "the living among the dead;" we are to cast from us our grave-clothes, which only impede the free movements of our spiritual life.

III. THE SESSION WITH CHRIST IN THE HEAVENLY PLACES. We are enthroned with Christ. Christ is already represented as "set at God's own right hand in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 1:20). We sit there representatively, because our Head is there, and therefore we are, though still on earth as to our practical calling and life, citizens of heaven (Philippians 3:20). We are guided by the laws of heaven; our hearts are cheered by the hope which, as an anchor, is fastened within the veil, and we now by faith enter the holiest of all by the blood of Jesus. We are even now" kings and priests"(Revelation 1:6). We are justified in regarding our future glorification as only a continuation of our present spiritual life. The guarantee of both is alike in Christ. Meanwhile, though representatively in heaven, we are personally and actually here. Sin is here; we are to watch and fight against it; but "our life is hid with Christ in God," only hereafter to be manifested in full glory. - T.C.







Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ (by grace ye are saved) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
I. First, then, the text shows YOU THE MISERY FROM WHICH YOU MUST BE RESCUED. "Even when we were dead in sins." Every individual, descended from Adam, having a polluted nature, and living in this world, is "dead in sins." This is an awfully emphatic expression — "dead in sins." A more wretched state can scarcely be conceived, except that of "the angels who kept not their first estate," and whom God has "reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day." But I need not tell you that it is a metaphorical expression, because it declares that a living man is "dead." Not dead naturally. He is not dead as to natural actions; he can eat, and drink, and sleep. Nor as to rational actions; he can reason, and judge, and consider. Nor as to civil actions; he can "buy and sell and get gain." Nor as to moral actions; he can be kind, he can read and pray and hear the Word and meditate upon it; he can listen to the voice of God's judgments; he can call his ways to remembrance; he can humble himself before the God of his mercies. So far went Ahab and Herod, yet continued spiritually dead. Let me try to describe this death. It consists of two parts.

1. The sinner living in enmity to God is condemned to death.

2. The symptoms of spiritual death are manifest upon him. Sin has separated the soul from God, so that man cannot commune with God, and God cannot commune with man; "your iniquities," says the prophet, "have separated between you and your God."

II. In the second place, THE AGENT AND THE MEANS OF DELIVERANCE are here presented. "God hath quickened us together with Christ." Your case, my brethren, is too desperate for the arm of man to reach. No expedients, which human might and human wisdom can afford, can remedy your misery. "God hath quickened us together with Christ."

III. Thirdly, THE FELICITY TO WHICH THIS DELIVERANCE WILL RAISE YOU, is also here presented. "And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." Here you see that a regenerate sinner is a living saint. Before, the man was dead; now, he lives. Before, as death locks up the senses and all the powers and faculties of the soul, so did a state of sin to the performance and enjoyment of anything that is really good; but now, when a change takes place, grace unlocks and opens all, and so enlarges the soul that it brings every faculty into operation as that of a living man. And do you ask me, what is this life? A life of justification; when no charge can be brought against the sinner. A life of sanctification; where holiness is the element of being. A life of dignity; where Christ is the companion forever.

IV. But, fourthly, you have here THE SOURCE FROM WHENCE YOU MUST EXPECT THIS LIFE. "God who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us." Mark how language labours for expression: "rich mercy" and "great love." Inexhaustibly rich mercy; inexpressibly great love.

V. But there is one more point to be noticed: THE END TO BE SECURED by this wonderful manifestation of His mercy. "That in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace, in His kindness towards us through Jesus Christ." This expression, "the ages to come," sometimes refers to any future period; but it has especial reference to two.

1. To the times of the gospel. Brethren, these are "the ages" which were "to come." This is "the acceptable year;" this is "the day of the Lord;" this is "the accepted time;" this is "the day of salvation." The days since Christ was born and suffered are the most blessed and happy days that ever shone upon our fallen world. No days have been like them.

2. The phrase refers also to the last great day. Then will be the full and wondrous exhibition of the scheme of mercy, at which the world may wonder.

(James Sherman).

I. THE FREE LOVE AND UNDESERVED GRACE OF GOD, AS THE SOLE ORIGIN AND MOVING CAUSE OF OUR DELIVERANCE.

II. SEE, THEN, HOW THE PURPOSE OF GOD'S LOVE HAS BEEN EFFECTED. See the Divine precision — the exact adaptation of the means to the end — the finished perfection in the result.

III. But we are led on a step higher at verse 6 — WE ARE INTRODUCED INTO "HEAVENLY PLACES." What, then, is the peculiar significance of the expression in that sixth verse — "raised up together, and made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." Five times over in the course of the Epistle, you meet with the phrase "heavenly places," or (literally) "the heavenlies." Thus, in Ephesians 1:20, we are told .that after God raised Jesus from the dead, He set Him at His own right hand in the "heavenly places." It was not enough that He should rise out of the grave, however necessary might be His resurrection as one intermediate link in the process. So long as He remained on earth (as He did for forty days), He had not entered on the fulness of His joy. A crowning proof was awanting, and that was not furnished until the hour of His enthronement in the "heavenly places." Then was Jesus in all the glory of His acceptance, in the fulness of His honour! Into "the places" of reward, and enjoyment, and unfading glory, He entered, and there lives an "everlasting sign" that the work for which He visited the earthly places has been perfectly fulfilled. But Jesus is not alone in these "heavenly places." Every true believer is there in Him. "Seated together with Christ," therefore, ought we not now to be made partakers with Him, in some measure, of heavenly blessings? to he sharers here, in some degree, of the joy that fills His heart? Let us see, then, what some of those things are which are now making glad the heart of Christ in heaven, and look at them, that we may ask of God to enter more fully into the power and experience of them.

1. One great joy of His heart in heaven must be in His own deliverance, and in the certainty of the deliverance of His people with Him from the curse of hell, in His having so satisfied the everlasting demands of Divine justice and truth, that the law has now no more any claims against Him, or those for whom He died! And ought not we to share with Him in that joy, by tasting something of the rest, the satisfaction, the quietness and assurance of knowing that in Him we "are justified from all things," and freed from the curse?

2. Another joy of His heart in heaven must be, in seeing the guilt of countless multitudes of human beings (though the sins of each of them be more in number than the sand) daily met ,and taken away by an atonement, whose efficacy is inexhaustible to the close of time. And ought not we to rejoice before Him in that which is the cause of our cleansing in His sight, and continually to make use of it for bringing us and keeping us near to Himself, and for renewing in us the joy of our salvation?

3. Another cause of joy to Christ in heaven is the manifestation of the glory of all the attributes of God, and the vindication of the holiness of His name in a work which has "magnified His law and made it honourable." And should not we who are in Him be enabled to "sing" at once of "mercy and of judgment," to "give thanks at the remembrance of His holiness," as the very bulwark of our safety; and even in the midst of all that is terrible in the execution of His righteous judgments, be preserved in holy calms, as those that are at home with God, dwelling "in the secret place of the Most High," and "under the shadow of the Almighty."

4. Another joy of His elevation to the heavenly places must be in the overthrow of Satan's kingdom, and in the certain prospect of the everlasting fall of every foe. And should not we, who are yet in the midst of the conflict, be encouraged in Him to anticipate certain victory, and be assured that we too shall be made more than conquerors through Him that loved us?

(J. S. Muir.)

I. THE CAUSE OF SALVATION. God's rich, free, sovereign grace. No other source of salvation to guilty man.

1. There is no power in man to save himself. A dead body cannot walk; nor can a dead soul move by its own will.

2. There is nothing to attract love in a dead, corrupting carcase, and there is nothing to attract God's love in a dead, corrupting soul.

II. THE MEANS OF SALVATION. Christ's death. We must here dwell on the contrast, and at the same time the union, between Christ and the sinner, as mutually interchanging their condition each with the other; the sinner transferring through God's grace, or rather God transferring through His grace, and the sinner embracing with gratitude by faith the blessed transfer, of all his guilt, misery and curse to Jesus; and Jesus transferring, God the Father imputing, and the sinner by faith with joyful gratitude receiving, all the riches of Christ's righteousness, redemption, and salvation, put down to his account as a guilty sinner.

III. THE EFFECTS OF SALVATION. "Hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." Believers become the children of God, and sharers in His inheritance. Your children, you would say, are your heirs; they are to possess your property. Men make their eldest son the heir of their properties. The law which subverts that of primogeniture, which divides estates. and necessitates that property be divided among all the members of a family, soon reduces the family to beggary, for our poor earthly properties are easily exhausted. But the children of the King of kings are all heirs of eternal glory. The rays of the sun are undiminished in their bright effulgence, the lustre of that luminary is not dimmed, although the beams of His glorious orb have been diffused throughout the world from the first moment of the morning when God set him in the firmament of the heavens to rule the day; he still pours forth from his redundant fountain floods of unexhausted and exhaustless light, and every creature that basks beneath his beams enjoys the fulness of their power too much to leave him room to grudge the world beside. But what is all the glory of the orb of day compared with that of Him whose fiat struck that orb but as a spark from solid darkness? and what is the inheritance of him who is an heir of God and a joint heir with Christ? (John 17:22.) Christ's inheritance. Christ's glory is their inheritance and their glory, and there is not one whose glory is diminished by the fulness of glory that all enjoy.

(P. J. McGhee, M. A.)

I. Celebrate first a great solemnity, and descend into the CHARNEL HOUSE of our poor humanity. According to the teaching of the sacred Scripture, men are dead, spiritually dead. Certain vain men would make it out that men are only a little disordered and bruised by the Fall, wounded in a few delicate members, but not mortally injured. However, the Word of God is very express upon the matter, and declares our race to be not wounded, not hurt merely, but slain outright, and left as dead in trespasses and sin. There are those who fancy that fallen human nature is only in a sort of syncope or fainting fit, and only needs a process of reviving to set it right. You have only, by education and by other manipulations, to set its life floods in motion, and to excite within it some degree of action, and then life will speedily be developed. There is much good in every man, they say, and you have only to bring it out by training and example. This fiction is exactly opposite to the teaching of sacred Scripture. Within these truthful pages we read of no fainting fit, no temporary paralysis, but death is the name for nature's condition, and quickening is its great necessity. Man is not partly dead, like the half-drowned mariner, in whom some spark of life may yet remain, if it be but fondly tendered, and wisely nurtured. There is not a spark of spiritual life left in man — manhood is to all spiritual things an absolute corpse. Step with me, then, into the sepulchre house, and what do you observe of yonder bodies which are slumbering there? They are quite unconscious! Whatever goes on around them neither occasions them joy nor causes them grief. The dead in their graves may be marched over by triumphant armies, but they shout not with them that triumph. It is thus with men spiritually dead; they are unaffected by spiritual things. A dying Saviour, whose groans might move the very adamant, and make the rocks dissolve, they can hear of all unmoved. Even the all-present Spirit is undiscerned by them, and His power unrecognized. Angels, holy men, godly exercises, devout aspirations, all these are beyond and above their world. Observe that corpse; you may strike it, you may bruise it, but it will not cry out; you may pile burdens upon it, but it is not weary; you may shut it up in darkness, but it feels not the gloom. So the unconverted man is laden with the load of his sin, but he is not weary of it; he is shut up in the prison of God's justice, but he pants not for liberty; he is under the curse of God, but that curse causes no commotion in his spirit, because he is dead.

II. We now change the subject for something more pleasant, and observe a MIRACLE, or dead men made alive. The great object of the gospel of Christ is to create men anew in Christ Jesus. It aims at resurrection, and accomplishes it. The gospel did not come into this world merely to restrain the passions or educate the principles of men, but to infuse into them a new life which, as fallen men, they did not possess.

1. In this idea of quickening, there is a mystery. What is that invisible something which quickens a man? Who can track life to its hidden fountain? In the language of the text, you trace it to God, you believe your new life to be of Divine implantation. You are a believer in the supernatural; you believe that God has visited you as He has not visited other men, and has breathed into you life. You believe rightly, but you cannot explain it. He is the great worker, but how He works is not revealed to us.

2. It is a great mystery then, but while it is a mystery it is a great reality. We know and do testify, and we have a right to be believed, for we trust we have not forfeited our characters, we know and do testify that we are now possessors of a life which we knew nothing of some years ago, that we have come to exist in a new world, and that the appearance of all things outside of us is totally changed from what it used to be.

3. This life brings with it the exercise of renewed faculties. The man who begins to live unto God has powers now which he never had before: the power really to pray, the power heartily to praise, the power actually to commune with God, the power to see God, to talk with God, the power to receive tidings from the invisible world, and the power to send messages up through the veil which hides the unseen up to the very throne of God.

III. I must pass on very briefly to the third point. The text indicates a SYMPATHY: "He hath quickened us together with Christ." What does that mean? It means that the life which lives in a saved man is the same life which dwells in Christ. To put it simply — when Elisha had been buried for some years, we read that they threw a man who was dead into the tomb where the bones of Elisha were, and no sooner did the corpse touch the prophet's bones than it lived at once. Yonder is the cross of Christ, and no sooner does the soul touch the crucified Saviour than it lives at once, for the Father hath given to Him to have life in Himself, and life to communicate to others. We are quickened together with Christ in three senses:

1. Representatively. Christ represents us before the eternal throne; He is the second Adam to His people. Christ is accepted, believers are accepted.

2. Next, we live by union with Christ. So long as the head is alive the members have life.

3. Then we also live together with Christ as to likeness. We are quickened together with Christ, that is, in the same manner. Now, Christ's quickening was in this wise. He was dead through the law, but the law has no more dominion over Him now that He lives again. So you, Christian, you are cursed by the old law of Sinai, but it has no power to curse you now, for you are risen m Christ. You are not under the law; its terrors and threatenings have nought to do with you. Christ's life is a life unto God. Such is yours. He does not quicken us with the inward life, and then leave us to perish; grace is a living, incorruptible seed, which liveth and abideth forever.

IV. And this brings us to the last word, which was A SONG. We have not time to sing it, we will just write the score before your eyes, and ask you to sing it at your leisure, your hearts making melody to God. Brethren and sisters, if you have indeed been thus made alive as others are not, you have first of all, in the language of the text, to praise the great love of God, great beyond all precedent.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. The progress of a sinner's salvation.

1. God loves him, though dead in sins.

2. He quickens him.

3. He raises him up.

(1)Spiritually here (Colossians 3:1, etc.).

(2)Corporally hereafter (Romans 8:11).

4. He sets him in heavenly places.

(1)By faith now.

(2)In fact hereafter.

II. Why the blessings of God's chosen are said to be in and with Christ. Because they are first in Him as Head, and from Him communicated to them as members, viz., their election, justification, sanctification, etc.

III. Why the Scripture speaks of what is yet to be done for God's people as done already. From the certainty of their accomplishment. To encourage the faith and hope of His. "God hath spoken in His holiness," etc. (Psalm 55:6, etc.). Believers may look backward and forward, and see themselves surrounded with mercies. How different their end from what they deserve! Woe to them that think of going to heaven without Christ.

(H. Foster, M. A.)

1. Man's misery commends God's mercy (Ezekiel 16:8, 4, 5; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Titus 3:8; 1 John 4:10; Romans 5:10).(1) If we would see the love of God, we must get a true knowledge and sense of our natural condition. Dead men, in whom there is not by nature the least spark of spiritual and heavenly life: our natural life being but a shadow of life: it is but a goodly vizor drawn over a dead and rotten corpse. The consideration of this will work true humility.(2) This also is a ground of hope that God will never leave us; for that mercy of God which when we were dead put life in us and quickened us, will now much more help us and comfort us in all our miseries (Isaiah 49:15; Romans 5:10).

2. Man has no power or disposition to save himself.

3. The believer is brought to partake of the life of God.(1) The life of God is nothing but the created gift of grace which frames the whole man to live according to God, or supernatural grace giving life, and bringing forth motions according to God, as the natural life.(2) The power of God alone, with the Word and Sacraments, give this life.(3) The order in which this life is wrought.(a) There is a taking away of sins, for while we live in them we are in death.(b) There is a taking of life in our behalf.(c) A holding out of these things, with the voice of God unto the soul (John 5:25). A receiving of Christ, a forgiving of our sins, and quickening with the Spirit.(4) The property of this life is eternal; it has no ending. Christ being raised, dieth no more, nor a Christian.(5) How may we know that we have this life?(a) Every life seeks its own preservation; as natural life seeks that which is fit for that life, so does this spiritual life that which is fit for itself. As the life is immortal, so it seeks immortal food by which it lives to God; the life of grace is maintained by bread from heaven, from the living God.(b) Every natural life, in the several kinds of it, seeks its preservation of him and by him who is the author of it; children of their parents, etc. So here they that are quickened with the life of God are ever and anon turning to Him as their Father, crying and calling upon Him for supply in all their wants.(c) He who has this spiritual life in any measure is sensible, and ever complaining of spiritual death, and of corrupt nature, the sight of which is most noisome to his sense.(d) Life is active and stirring. If I see an image still without motion, I know for all the eyes, nose, etc., that it has no life in it: so the want of spiritual motion in the soul toward God, and the practice of godliness, argues want of spiritual life.(e) Love to the brethren (1 John 3:14).

(Paul Bayne.)

I. THE PAST ESTATE OF THOSE TO WHOM THE APOSTLE WROTE.

1. Dead in point of law.

2. Dead as under the power of sin.

II. THEIR PRESENT STATE. "Quickened." The mercy of God is exercised still in the same way.

1. He has delivered you from the sentence of condemnation.

2. You have experienced the production of spiritual life by the influences of the Holy Spirit.

III. THE SOURCE OF THIS QUICKENING. Union with Christ.

IV. THE LIGHT IN WHICH THIS SUBJECT PLACES THE LOVE OF GOD.

(Thomas Young.)

An officer during an engagement received a ball which struck him near his waistcoat pocket, where a piece of silver stopped the progress of the nearly spent ball. The coin was slightly marked at the words "Dei gratia. This providential circumstance deeply impressed his mind, and led him to read a tract, which his beloved and pious sister gave him on leaving his native land, entitled The sin and danger of neglecting the Saviour." This text it pleased God to bless to his conversion.

When a man is dead it is hopeless for us to attempt to quicken him. But what we cannot do Christ does. Henry Varley says, "A coachman in a family at the West End of London was taken seriously ill, and a few days afterwards saw him pass into the presence of God. I knew and had visited him before in order to bring to his mind and heart the Saviour of sinners. Again I called at the house, found the door open, and quietly ascended the staircase which led to the room where the sick man lay. There, bent over the prostrate, form of the man, was his eldest son, deeply affected and weeping bitterly. His face was close to that of the father's, and I heard him, in an agony of earnest words, say, Father, "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners." Oh, my father, do trust Jesus! His precious blood cleanses from all sin. Only believe. My father I my father! O God, save my father!' The hot tears and the intense anxiety of that young man I shall never forget. Poor fellow! he literally shouted into the ear that lay close to his lips. I had watched the scene for some minutes almost transfixed at the door. At length, approaching the bed, I observed that the father was dead. Tenderly I raised the young man, and quietly said, 'His spirit has passed away; he cannot hear; you cannot reach him now!' Poor fellow! he had been speaking into the ear of a corpse; the father had been dead some minutes."

When a friend observed to him that we must run deeper and deeper in grace's debt, he replied, "Oh yes; and God is a good creditor; He never seeks back the principal sum, and, indeed, puts up with a poor annual rent"

(Life of Rev. John Brown, of Haddington.)

A physician who was anxious about his soul, asked a believing patient of his, how he should find peace. His patient replied, "Doctor, I felt that I could do nothing, and I have put my case in your hand: I am trusting in you." This is exactly what every poor sinner must do, trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. He saw the simplicity of the way, and soon found peace in Christ.

When Paul wrote of "heavenly places" as the lot of Christ's people on earth, it was not to please the imagination or dazzle the fancy with mere spiritual visions — but to show us how near and how available is the source of spiritual and saving strength for daily life. To be "with Christ," therefore, "in the heavenlies," is —

I. TO BE LIVING AT THE SOURCE OF POWER FOR NEW OBEDIENCE, and to draw from thence for support in that service which is true freedom, freedom from slavish fears, from corroding cares, from every inordinate affection which would hinder you in the doing of His will. Brought nigh to God — living in the fellowship of God, through Jesus — you have a well-spring of new motives of action opened for you in His service, and of strength for patient rest in His will. That well-spring is ever full and never failing. These Divine resources are ever near, and ever the same; though your experience of them, alas! may ebb, and flow, and fluctuate.

II. But we come now to notice another view of the position of those who are raised up to sit with Christ. It is to be ARMED FOR CONFLICT. The spirits of evil have still power to tempt and molest. And if these evil influences are to be repelled and quenched, it can only be done from within the citadel of power which is provided in the fellowship of a risen Lord.

III. The "heavenly places" to which all believing ones are raised up on earth to sit with Christ, are (in a peculiar manner) PLACES OF THANKSGIVING. As the cleft of the Rock to which you have fled from the fury of the storm, what else should your place be but one fitted for thanksgiving, — a "tabernacle" to be filled with the "voices of rejoicing and salvation" and praise ever going forth in testimony to Him, whose almighty hand opened the refuge and averted the destruction!

IV. And now, in conclusion, the text POINTS TO THE FUTURE — into "the ages" of eternity — to that great hereafter on whose brink we are ever walking, and which at any moment we may be called to enter.

(J. S. Muir.)

Won by other arms than theirs, it presents the strongest contrast imaginable to the spectacle seen in England's palace on that day when the king demanded of his assembled nobles by what title they held their lands. "What title?" At the rash question a hundred swords, leaped from their scabbards. Advancing on the alarmed monarch, "By these we won, and by these we will keep them!" they replied. How different the scene which heaven presents! All eyes are fixed on Jesus: every look is one of love and gratitude, which are glowing in every bosom, and swelling in every song. Now with golden harps they swell the Saviour's praises; and now descending from their thrones to do Him homage, they cast their crowns in one glittering heap at the feet which were nailed to Calvary's shameful cross.

(T. Guthrie, D. D.)

Ah! brethren, you will not mind my telling out some of the secrets, secrets that bring the tears to my eyes as I reflect upon them. When I speak of the thief, the harlot, the drunkard, the sabbath breaker, the swearer, I may say, "Such were some of you, but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye rejoice in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." How many a man has been going by. the door there, and has said, "I'll go in and hear Old Spurgeon." He came in to make merriment of the preacher, and very little that troubles him. But the man has stood there until the Word goes home to him, and he who was wont to beat his wife, and to make his home a hell, has before long been to see me, and has given me a grip of the hand and said, "God Almighty bless you, sir; there is something in true religion!" "Well, let us hear your tale." We have heard it, and delightful it has been in hundreds of instances, "Very well, send your wife, and let us hear what she says about you." The woman has come, and we have said, "Well, what think you of your husband now, ma'am?" "Oh, sir, such a change I never saw in my life! He is so kind to us; he is like an angel now, and he seemed like a fiend before; oh! that cursed drink, sir! everything went to the public house; and then if I went up to the house of God, he did nothing but abuse me! Oh! to think that now he comes with me on Sunday; and the shop is shut up, sir; and the children who used to be running about without a bit of shoe or stocking, he takes them on his knee, and prays with them so sweetly. Oh! there is such a change!"

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

In old times it was the custom to crown a brave soldier with laurel before all the people. Zeno never went out to fight for his country, but spent his life in a better service, for he tried to teach a nation to be wise and good. At last the people felt that the only way to be great is to do good. They gave to Zeno the laurel crown; but he won for himself a far nobler prize — the respect and love of all who knew him.

(Denton.)

Dr. Preston, when he was dying, used these words, "Blessed be God, though I change my place I shall not change my company; for I have walked with God while living, and now I go to rest with God."

(Baxendale.)

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