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CHRIST THE RESURRECTION, AND THE LIFE*.'
BEING THE SUBSTANCE OF THREE DISCOURSES,
PREACHED AT THE CELEBRATION OF THE SACRAMENT OF
THE LORD'S SUPPER AT BURNTISLAND, OCT. 1738.
JOHN xi. 25.-Jefus faid unto her, I am the refurrection, and the life.
THE FIRST SERMON ON THIS TEXT.
HOPE there are a goodly number here, who are come up to the paffover from afar, and are uttering the very lan guage of thefe Greeks you were hearing of, "Sir, we would fee Jefus ;" this is the one thing we defire, to behold the beauty of Jefus, and if we mifs this, we mifs our errand. Well, Sirs, these words that I have read, I set them up before you as a glafs wherein you may fee Jefus ; for every title and name he takes to himself is a glass wherein you may fee him; and if you can but get the of faith fet to this glass, you will fee Jefus, and fee him unto your fouls unfpeakable advantage: "We all with open face, beholding as in a glafs the glory of the Lord, are changed into the fame image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord," 2 Cor. iii. ult. What is that glafs the apostle speaks of, through which we may fee Jefus, who cannot now be seen with the bodily eye, for the heavens must contain him until the time of the reftitution of all things? Why, it is juft his own word and record concerning himfelf; and here is a part of it, here is a word, a great word, and a comfortable word, look through it, and you fhall fee him whof: name is Wonderful; he fays to you as directly as he said to Martha, I am the refurrection, and
*Pardon want of accuracy of ftile; for the author had scarce time to revife the following notes of his discourses: but because the wisdom of words makes the gospel of none effect, he allows them to go as they are. Truth is fweeteft in her fimpleft dress.
the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet fhall he
I cannot stand upon the context. The words are a part of that conference between Chrift and Martha concerning her brother Lazarus his refurrection from the dead. Martha, when he heard that Chrift was near at hand, the ran out of the town to meet him, and came unto him with this melancholy complaint in her mouth, "Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died;" there was weakness in this way of fpeaking, as if the power of Chrift, to fave her brother from death, had been confined to Chrift's bodily prefence: Chrift can cure in the abfence of his human nature, as well as when he is prefent. We read of a poor woman that had a bloody iffue, the wanted to be at Chrift, but she had a crowd to pafs through before fhe could win at him, to get a touch of him; but he went through them all, and the steals a cure from Chrift. It is true, we cannot get fuch a touch of him with the hand of the body, now that he is afcended, as the got; but yet he may be touched by faith, as. really as this woman touched the hem of his garment. And what if I fhould tell you, Sirs, that Chrift is as really prefent here, as to his divine nature, as he was in his human nature, when he was upon the earth: Chrift tells Nicodemus, John iii. 13. "No man hath afcended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man, which is in heaven." And Christ fays alfo in Matth. xviii. 20. and Exod. xx. 24. “Whereever his name is recorded, he is there." And we are met here upon this occafion to record the name of Christ in word and facrament; and he is as really prefent with us now, as he was with Martha; do not then fall into the fame mistake that Martha did, who thought that Chrift could not fave her brother, unless his human nature was prefent; our Jefus, who is now in heaven at the right hand of God, is "able to fave unto the uttermoft, all that come unto God by him, feeing he ever liveth to make interceffion for them;" and O that this company were coming to a God in Chrift this night, it would make a heartfome facrament to-morrow.-Chrift, he drops a word for the encouragement of Martha's faith, he fays, "Thy brother fhall rife again," without telling her when. A promife from Chrift is the fuel of faith; as fire cannot burn without fuel, fo no more can faith live or act without a promife. Martha, the confeffeth her faith as to the general refurrection at the last day, the fays, "I know that he fhall rise again in the refurrrection at the laft day." Well, Chrift, from that general truth, leads her faith to fix upon himself as the fountain-cause of the refurrection of the dead in general, and of her brother
Lazarus in particular, I am the refurrection, and the life; he that believeth in me, &c.
Where briefly we have these two or three things. 1. We have one of the glorious titles of Chrift that thould recommend him to dead finners, I am the refurrection, and the life. 2. We have the duty incumbent upon all who would have benefit by Chrift, who is the refurrection and the life, and that is, to "believe in him." 3. We have the glorious advantage that shall redound to all that fhall believe in him, "Though he were dead, yet shall he live."
As to the first of these, and indeed it is only the first of them I have in my view at prefent, there is a twofold title by which Chrift reveals himself unto Martha, firft the refurrection, and then the life; but they are fo fib to one another, that it is impoffible to form a juft idea of the firft without the laft; for what is refurrection but a recovery of the perfon back from the state of the dead to the state of the living? fo that the refurrection and the life are but one complex title. And it is comfortable to think, that this title has a glorious relation to us dead finners of Adam's family; all the names and offices of Chrift are relative; he is a Prophet to us, he is a Priest to us, and he is a King to us; he is "made of God unto us wisdom, righteousness, fanctification, and redemption :" fo when he is faid to be the refurrection and the life, he is that to us; for unto us this fon is given, unto us this child is born, whose name is the refurrection and the life. Therefore, Sirs, let us fee if we can faften the hand of an applying faith upon Chrift to ourselves, feeing he is so fib to us, and his very name points to every man and woman in this company, I am the refurrection, and the life. The words themselves are the doctrine.
The method I propose is,
I. To fhew what is implied in this title Christ takes to him- felf, The refurrection, and the life.
II. I would inquire, of whom he is the refurrection?
III. Of what is he the refurrection?
IV. To what fort of life is he the refurrection?
V. I would inquire how it comes about that he is the refurrection and the life to us?
VI. Why he affumes this title to himfelf? And then,
I. As to the first of thefe, What is implied and imported in this title and defignation, by which Chrift reveals himself to you
1. then, It plainly supposes, that all Adam's race are dead
men and women. Sirs, no fooner did we take the draught of deadly poifon in paradife, but that moment the contagion ran through our first parents fouls, and has run through all of us, their pofterity, ever fince. We are legally dead, "The foul that finneth, shall die;" we are fpiritually dead, under the power and dominion of fin, feparated from God, who is the very fountain of life; and liable every moment both to tempo ral and eternal death. Sirs, death has reigned over all Adam's family; and what a clean fweep has death made of all the ge nerations before us? It has just hurled one generation after another to the grave, and hurled the fouls of innumerable multitudes into hell; and that fame befom of death, that fwept away the generations before us, will juft fweep us away in a fhort time. Sirs, where will you and I be in a little time? Alas! the great reafon why people do not confider this, is because they are fleeping, and do not confider whether their landing fhall be with glorified angels, or reprobate devils, and damned fpirits, where the worm of conscience never dies, and the fire is not quenched. Death is executing his office on every one of us; foul-death has feized u3, in separating us from God; and bodily death will fhortly feparate betwixt foul and body.
2. Christ being the refurrection and the life, it plainly implies that the Son of God was fent into this lower world, to give life unto the dead. He got his commiffion as Mediator from the Father, to quicken the dead; he faid to the Son from eternity, Go and give life to thefe dead finners. Accordingly the Son of God having got his commiflion, he pays them a vifit, and fays to them, Live; he had power to do it, "Thou haft given him power over all flesh, that he fhould give eternal life to as many as thou haft given him," John xvii. 2. And I conceive it was with a view to this, that Chrift fays, John v. 26. “As the Father hath life in himself, fo hath he given to the Son to have life in himself." There is a twofold life the Son of God hath; there is his effential life, confidered as God, for he hath this effentially from eternity: but then he hath a mediatorial life, gifted and bestowed upon him as a fecond Adam; and that life he has a commifion to give to dead finners of Adam's family; he hath "received gifts for men, even for the rebellious;" and this was the leading gift he was to bestow, even everlafting life, and all the appurtenances of it. But again,
3. I am the refurrection, and the life; I think it plainly implies, that our Lord Jefus Chrift hath abrogated the sentence of the law, whereby we were to die; "The wages of fin is death ;” there was the hand-writing that was against us, and was con
trary to us. Well, Chrift came, and, as it were, by nailing it to his cross, he tears this hand-writting, that it might not stand against us before the tribunal of God. Again,
4. I think it likewife implies, that our Lord Jefus Chrift hath recovered all that was loft by the first Adam. The first Adam, by his fin and apoftafy, he became the fountain of wo, death, and mifery, to all his pofterity, that is the heritage we have by our first father Adam; but Christ he came and recovered all that we loft in the first Adam: hence there is a comparison made, Rom. v. between the first Adam and his natural feed, and Chrift the fecond Adam and his fpiritual feed, by whom they are made alive. Again,
5. I think it implies, that Christ himself is rifen from the dead, and has carried the keys of hell and of death away with him, by which he is become victorious over hell and death: Rev. i. 17. 18. "I was dead, but now I am alive :-therefore fear not and I am alive for evermore: and have the keys of hell and of death." And then,
6. In the laft place, I think it plainly implies, that the life of the whole myftical body is in Chrift, Sirs, matters are quite otherwife laid in the second covenant than they were in the firft. Man in the first covenant his life was in his hand, but now his life is in his head: man he got his life in his hand, and fo came of it; he was a mutable creature, though perfectly holy. But bleffed be God, that matters are otherwife in the new covenant; God will not give it in to our hand, but he hath laid it up in the hand of Chrift, and there lies the life of the whole myftical body. It may be there are fome here complaining and faying, I am dead, I am a dry withered tree, my life is gone, and there is no fap nor life in me; I cannot, win to that liveliness in duty I had in fome months, paft. O beware left in this complaint there be not fomething of a tang of the covenant of works, beware that there be not a legal fpirit here: you are diffatisfied, perhaps, that your life is not in your own hand, as in Adam's before he fell; but you would do well to remember, that, fince the fall, God putteth no trust in man, no not in his dearest faints, he will not truft them with their own life, but has affured us, by a folemn record, that "this life is in his Son ;" and the believer, when himself, will acquiefce in it, that his life is laid up in the hand of Chrift, and fay, Lord, I am content that my life be "hid with Chrift in God," although I fhould have nothing of it in mine own hand. Sirs, it is a weighty truth, and it is a truth attefted by the most famous witnefies, the "three that bear record in heaven," 1 John v. 7. God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghoft; therefore we are to fet to our feal to what