Imatges de pÓgina

Sirs, allow me to tell you, that, if you be obeying the law for life, righteousness, juftification, or acceptance before God, you are working the devil's work; for you are making a Christ of your obedience, ye are juftling Chrift out of his. room, who was "made fin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." And as long as a man is doing fo, he is affronting the Son of God in his priestly office, rejecting the righteousness and satisfaction of Chrift, and putting his own filthy rags in the room thereof, as the Jews did, Rom. x. 3. "They went about to establish their own righte oufnefs, and would not fubmit unto the righteousness of Chrift." That man or woman, in whom Chrift has been favingly manifefted, cafts away his or her own righteousness as filthy rags, and cries, "Surely in the Lord have I righteoufnefs; in him will I be juftified, and in him alone will I glory:" or with Paul, Phil. iii. 8. 9. "Yea, doubtlefs, I count all things but lofs and dung, that I may win Chrift, and be found in him, not having mine own righteoufnefs, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Chrift, the righteousness which is of God by faith."

adly, You will be much employed in pulling down the image of the firft Adam, and in fetting up the image of the fecond Adam in your fouls. By nature we bear the image of the first Adam, which lies in the darkness of the mind, rebellion of the will, and carnality of the affections. Now, if ever the Son of God was favingly manifested in thy soul, it will be thy great care and exercife to have this deftroyed. And, indeed, here is the main exercise of the Chriftian: he groans under remaining darkness of mind, and is ay striving to have more of the knowledge of God, and of his mind and will; he breathes after the "excellency of the knowledge of Christ," and is ay "following on to know the Lord," &c. he groans under the rebellion that is in his will, and remaining enmity, and strives to have his will in every thing brought up to the will of God, both of precept, providence, and grace: he groans under the carnality of his affections, and is ay ftriving to have them brought off from the vanities of this world, and "fet upon things above, where Chrift is at the right hand of God." Thus the man is never at reft while he finds any thing of the hue of hell about him; his constant care and concern is, to be "changed from glory to glory."

3dly, You will be clear for pulling down the wisdom of the flesh, and for fetting up the wifdom of God above it. I remember, Gal. i. 16. the apostle Paul tells us, that "fo foon as it pleafed God to reveal his Son in him, he confulted not with flesh and blood;" i. e. he would no more make carnal


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wifdom and policy the rule and measure of his actions, but he
ftudied "in fimplicity and godly fincerity, and not in fleshly
wifdom, to have his converfation in the world." Sirs, car-
nal wifdom and policy is the very thing that is ruining the
church of Scotland at this day. What but carnal wisdom and
policy has brought us to make acts and laws in the church of
Chrift that are quite ruining and destructive of the true church
of Christ, and which have no manner of foundation in the
word of God? I mean particularly the late act of affembly,
whereby the "precious fons of Zion, comparable unto fine
gold," are caft out from the privilege of electing ministers;
and the "men of this world, whofe portion is in this life, and
have their belly filled with the hid treasures" thereof, are mostly
taken into their room. The precious pearls of Chriftian pri-
vileges are by acts of affembly caft before the fwine of this
world, who will turn about, and perfecute and rent the church
whenever an opportunity is put into their hand in providence.
This, I am very fure, is one of the devil's works established in
the church of Scotland; and, if ever the Son of God was sa-
vingly manifefted in thy foul, it will be a grief of heart to you
to hear it told in Gath and Afhkelon, and that the daughters of
the uncircumcifed are triumphing to hear tell of it; I fay, it will
be matter of forrow and mourning to you.

2. If ever the Son of God was manifested favingly unto thy
foul, the union of the two natures in the perfon of Chrift will
be the wonder of thy foul. Hence Paul, "Without controverfy,
great is the mystery of godlinefs, God manifefted in the fleth."
And it will be matter of praife when you think, that God, in
the perfon of the Son, is wearing the nature of man, and that
in thy nature he has done every thing neceffary for our re-

3. It will be your great design, in attending ordinances, to have new manifeftations of his glory, as David, Pfal. xxvii. 4. Pfal. lxxxiv. Pfal. lxiii. &c.

4. You will be concerned to manifeft his glory to others, according to your sphere and ftation; as the spouse to the daughters of Jerufalem; and as Paul, his great intention was, to "make known the favour of his name in the world,” &c.

The last inference is this, Is it fo, that the Son of God was manifefted? See hence noble encouragement to all honeft minifters and Chriftians to make a ftand against the defections of the day we live in; particularly against thefe violent ways. that are taken to fettle Chriftian congregations with a fet of lax, little-worth minifters; and that act of affembly, whereby the rights of the Lord's people are violently wrefted from


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them, and given into the hands of men difaffected to the vernment both of church and state. Why, this method is a plain work of the devil, to defeat the great defigns of the gofpel; and therefore we may run all hazards in oppofing them. Though men may discountenance and caft us out, yet the Son of God will own us in oppofition to them; for, for this purpose was the Son of God manifefted, that he might deftroy the works of the devil.




PSAL. xxiii. 4.-Yea, though I walk through the valley of the fa dow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me, thy rod and thy faff they comfort me.

HE words which I have read are large and copious; and therefore to gain time, I fhall entirely wave any preamble, drawn either from the connection, or from the pennan, occafion, or principal parts of the pfalm, and come close to the words themfelves.

In general, we may take them up as the language of a victorious and triumphant faith, viewing the countenance of a reconciled God in Chrift, trampling upon all the imaginary evils of a prefent world, yea, death itself, as things" not worthy to be compared with the glory to be revealed." Yea, though I walk through the valley of the fhadow of death, I grill


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Where we may notice the particulars fol

fear no evil, &c.

1. The prefent condition of the believer while in this world; he is confidered under the notion of a traveller, for he is walking toward his journey's end. 2. We have the supposed danger that may caft up in his way or walk; he may come to the valley of the fhadow of death; that is, he may meet with troubles in his way, that carry the fhew or appearance of the greatest dangers, yea, even of death in them. 3. We have the courage wherewith faith infpires the believer, upon this fuppofed event of being obliged to walk through the valley of the fhadow of death; I will fear no evil, fays faith. 4. We have the ground, of this courage and confidence, which is expreffed two ways (1.) More generally, Thou art with me. (2.) More particularly, Thy rod and thy faff they comfort me. And thus we have the words refolved into their feveral parts. I fhall not stay at prefent upon any critical explication; what is needful will


From them I notice the following doctrines.

OBSERVE, I. "That believers are not refidenters in this world, but travelling through it to their own home." Hence David here speaks of his prefent condition under the notion of a traveller walking through a valley.


OBS. 2. "That believers in their journey must lay their account with melancholy, yea, death-like difpenfations, trials that portend death and ruin." Hence David fuppofes that he may walk through the valley of the fhadow of death.

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OBS. 3. "That true faith infpires the foul with an undaunted courage to encounter all imaginable dangers in the way." See with what a heroic fpirit David here expreffes himself, under the influence of the Spirit of faith, I will fear no evil.


OBS. 4. "That which gives fo much courage to the believer is, that by faith he takes up a reconciled God as prefent with him in the midft of his greatest troubles." I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.

OBS. 5. "The confideration of God's paftoral care and providence toward his people is very comfortable in the midst of trouble." For in this fenfe fome underftand the words, being, they think, an allufion unto a fhepherd, who with his rod and staff protects and defends his flock against wolves and fuch ravenous beasts.

OBS. 6. "The faithfulness of a promifing God is a comfortable rod or staff in the hand of faith, to bear up the believer in his travels through the wildernefs." In this fenfe others VOL. II. G g


take the words; for by the rod and ftaff they understand the divine promife, and the faithfulnefs of the Promifer, to which faith leans with confidence, in oppofition to all ftaggerings through unbelief. Thus, you fee, the words caft up a large field of matter, which it is not poffible for me to overtake at prefent.

The doctrine I infift upon at prefent is the third in order,



DOCT. "That true faith is a courageous grace; it infpires the foul with a holy and undaunted boldness amidst the greatest of dangers. Or, you may take it thus: "That true faith is a noble antidote againft intimidating fears in a time of trouble." This you fee plain in the words. David here, being under the influence of the fpirit of faith, cries out with a holy fortitude of fpirit, Yea though I walk through the valley of the fhadow of death, I will fear no evil, &c.

The method I propofe is,


I. To notice fome of these evils that are ready to intimidate the fpirits of the Lord's people, when they look on them with the eye of fenfe and reafon.

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II. Give fome account of faith, and prove that it inspires the foul with courage and boldnefs amidst all thefe evils. . III. Give fome account of that Chriftian fortitude and boldnefs that is the fruit of faith.

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IV. Inquire into the influence of faith upon this boldness and fortitude of fpirit, and how it prevents intimidating fears amidst these evils.

V. Make fome improvement of the whole by way of appli


I. The first thing in the method is, to notice fome of these evils that are ready to intimidate and difcourage the hearts of the Lord's people in a time of danger.

1. then, Sometimes their fpirits are ready to be stricken with fear of their own weakness and infufficiency for the work that the Lord is calling them to engage with, whether it be falvation, or ftation and generation work. Jer. i. there the Lord tells the prophet, ver. 5. "Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee; and before thou cameft forth out of the womb, I fanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations." By this hint, Jeremiah is made to understand that the Lord was about to fend him a very dangerous errand. Well, the prophet, through a fenfe of his inability in himself to manage fuch a hard work, cries out, ver. 6. "Ah, Lord God,


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