Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

4. Let us long for that day which will put an end to our sinfulness, weakness, and imperfection, when we shall see him as he is, without any danger of sinning or suffering, which is far better, Phil. i. 23. It would be a token for good that we had seen the Lord, if we were now longing for that blessed day.

Lastly, Let us apply ourselves to the duties which a gracious God calls for at our hands.—And,

1. Is there any among us who have been admitted to an holy familiarity with God? Song i. 4. Then,-Wonder at the freeness of grace, and be thankful that ever the like of you should have come so far forward; 2 Sam. vii. 18, "Who am I, O Lord God! and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto ?"-Double your watch, and walk very softly, being careful to keep your nearness, Song iii. 5; Isa. xxxviii. 15.—If there be any special errand to the throne for yourselves, or for the church of God, as no doubt there is, strike in with this golden opportunity, and lay it before the Lord, Exod, xxiv. 8, 9.-Beware of being proud of your attainments. There is a hazard here; but when you see your peacock-feathers, remember they are borrowed, and look to your black feet, 2 Cor. xii. 7.-Lay your account with a storm, and be on your guard. If you have got a larger meal than others, it is not unlike you have more to do than they. But accept that kindly, and bless God who is beforehand with you, laying in the provision before he lays on the burden.

2. Is there any among us who have seen the God of Israel? Then walk as becomes those who have beheld his glory. Blessed are your eyes, for they see. But here some may say, Alas! this sight has been withheld from my eyes. In answer to such, I observe, that some saying this, no doubt speak true; others belie the working of God's grace towards them. Therefore we must put it to the trial; for one may get a sight of Christ, and not know that it is he, John xx. 14; Luke xxiv. 16. I ask you, then, what effect on you has the sight which you have got this day ?-Has this day's sight humbled you more, made you more vile and loathsome in your own eyes, filled you with shame and blushing, and self-loathing? It is a sign you have seen the Lord, Job xlii. 5, 6.-Has it weaned you more from the world, sunk the value of all created excellency with you, made you see through the bulky vanity of the world, that you are resolved you shall feed no more on these husks? Matth. xiii. 45, 46. Rev. xii. 1.-Has it made the body of sin and death heavier than it used to be ?-May be some of you think, ye have been undone at this communion with an ill heart, that drew a vail between Christ and you; and now ye are crying, Rom. vii. 24, "O wretched man

-

that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" O to be quit of this burden at any rate! O to be beyond a sinning condition! welcome grim death, so that it would take off the burden. Truly, if it be so, it has been so thin a vail, that you have got a sight of Christ through it, Isa. vi. 5; Luke ii. 29, 30.-Has it kindled a superlative love in your own heart to this unseen Lord? Do ye love him more than all persons and things else? Psalm lxxiii. 25. If it be so, ye have seen him, Luke xxiv. 32. Sick of love, argues a blink of the face of the lovely one received. Therefore, bless God, and be thankful. It is bastard humility to belie the grace of God. Walk so as the world may take notice that you have seen what they never saw, and have been where their ungracious feet never carried them. And show this in personal and relative holiness, Acts iv. 13. Commend the way of God to others. Tell them it is good to be on the mount. Speak good of God's house, and give it your testimony, before despisers of Christ and ordinances; especially before poor discouraged sinners, those who desert ordinances, alleging God not to be found in them.-Finally, quench not the Spirit, cherish his motions, and follow on to know the Lord.

3. Ye who have made this solemn approach, but really have not seen the Lord, set ye about your proper duty.-Search out, mourn over the cause of this, and quickly flee to the blood of Christ for its removal. You have not seen the Lord; and is there not a cause ? yes, sure he has a quarrel with you, and therefore has withdrawn himself. Seek it out. The fault has been either in your state, that you are yet in the gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity. This is a fundamental mistake. Or it has been in your frame. Either you have not been at pains to prepare, or have sat down on your preparation; or some idol of jealousy has been nourished :-or it has been in your faithless management. Wonder ye in a special manner, that ye have come off safe, and that upon you the Lord has not laid his hand. Do not fret that you are come off with nothing; but, O bless him that you are come off at all!

Lastly, Go back to the throne with all speed. Though the communion-table be drawn here, it is not yet drawn to you in heaven; Joel iii. 21,"For I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed; for the Lord dwelleth in Zion." Follow on to know the Lord. Be not like the mixed multitude, who, disappointed of the milk and honey of Canaan, would needs go back to the onions and the garlic in Egypt. If you do so, his soul will abhor you: Heb. x. 38, "If any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him." Say not, I will never see the Lord now: for, wherefore has he spared you, but that you might have occasion to have your marred work amend

ed? And if ye wait on long, wonder not, it is a mercy ye have ac-
cess to wait on. Lay down the resolution in Lam. iii. 49, 50,
"Mine
eye trickleth down, and ceaseth not, without intermission, till the
Lord look down, and behold from heaven;" and in Isa. viii. 17, I
will wait upon the Lord that hideth his face from the house of Jacob,
and I will look for him."

66

Amen.

[ocr errors]

GOD NOT ASHAMED TO BE CALLED HIS PEOPLE'S GOD.*

SERMON X.

HEB. XI. 16,

Wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

GOD has a peculiar people in the world, though these are few in number. Satan is called the god of this world; and indeed is so, in regard the greater part of the world, even the whole natives of the weary land, are his. But there is a select company, who are in, but not of the world; a people of a peculiar character, who are strangers and pilgrims in the earth; whose heads and hearts are towards the better country.-In the text we have their peculiar privilege, "God is not ashamed to be called their God." More is implied than is here said. God, who is the God of the whole earth, is their God in a peculiar manner, by a special covenant-relation; and he will own it before all the world, however they be despised by the world. They are savingly interested in him, and he is peculiarly interested in them. As they are not ashamed to be called his people, unless it be for this, that they do not look more like him; so he is not ashamed to be called their God. (Greek, to be sirnamed.)

There are two things which make men ashamed to own a relation; one upon the part of their relatives, another upon their own part. But neither are in this case.

1. He is not ashamed on their part, to be called their God. He is not ashamed of them, (as the Greek text bears expressly), as men sometimes are of their relations because of their scandalous character, as our Lord says he will be ashamed of some, so as that he will not own them, Mark viii. 38. The reason of this is intimated in the text, in the particle wherefore, which leads us back to the character of those who are indeed God's people, exemplified in Abra

*Delivered October, 1722.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

ham, Sarah, Isaac, and Jacob, ver. 13-16. The sum of it lies here: That upon the faith of God's promise of a better world, they forsook this world, and went through it even to the grave, as persons not come to the place where they expected and desired to settle. Wherefore, since they forsook this world for God, and trusted him for a better inheritance to themselves, and, upon the faith of his promise, were easy in all their wanderings and hardships, God is not ashamed of them to be called their God: Exod. iii. 6, "I am," said he, “the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." In these steps all the true children of Abraham walk.

2. He is not ashamed on his own part, to be called their God; as men are ashamed, when they have no suitable entertainment to give to those who have left all others for them, and depend entirely upon them. For he has prepared for them a city. These patriarchs dwelt in tents, and went from land to land at God's call; but a city, even the New Jerusalem, heaven itself, was prepared for them by their God; a city suitable to his dignity; a city, the like of which all the world could not have furnished them. He is not ashamed to be called his people's God, whatever hardships they suffer for his sake; for he has enough to make up their losses, ready for them. He would reckon it a stain on his honour, that any of them should be losers at his hand; if he should not fully answer the trust they put in him; if he did not give them as good, nay, better than the best thing which they ever were denied for his sake. From this subject, we observe the following DOCTRINES, Viz:

DOCTRINE I. That however mean and low those be who have forsaken this world for God, looking for a better, God is not ashamed of them, or on their part, to be called their God.

DocT. II. That whatever hardships they may suffer for his sake, he is not ashamed on his part to be called their God, having prepared for them a heavenly city, which will make up for all their losses. These we shall shortly illustrate in their order.

We begin with

DOCTRINE I. That however mean and low those be who have forsaken this world for God, looking for a better, God is not ashamed of them, or on their part, to be called their God.

We shall here,

[blocks in formation]

1. To explain the import of this their privilege. It imports, 1. That he is their God, how mean soever their lot be. Whatever they want, they have him for their God: Heb. viii. 10, “ And I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people." The patriarchs had a wandering life of it in the world, were always pilgrims and strangers, they could never count themselves at home, while in the world. But whatever they wanted, they had a God in Christ for their own God. O! ye who are coming away from Lebanon, forsaking this world for God, breathing and panting for the better world, assure yourselves, he is your God, by this good token, that the heart of man will never in this case loose one foot till it has another fastened, never quit the present world till it be possessed of a God to fill up its room. It will never let go the grip the one hand has of this world, till it has a believing grip of a God in Christ with the other. Hence believing is compared to buying, where the man will not part with his money, till the commodity, which for the time is better to him than money, is made over to him. So, though you were reduced to this, that ye could not tell carnal Israel's tale, Hos. ii. 5, "I will go after my lovers, that give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, mine oil and my drink :" yet ye may tell David's tale, a far better one: Psalm xviii. 2, "The Lord is my rock and my fortress, and my deliverer: my God, my strength, in whom I will trust: my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower."-Here some may propose this

QUESTION, But what can persons make of this in the want of earthly enjoyments? We answer, They may make all of it that is necessary to full satisfaction and contentment of heart, Hab. iii. 17, 18. Full protection, full provision, for time and eternity, there is nothing more can be needed: Psalm cxlii. 5, "I cried unto thee, O Lord I said, thou art my refuge, and my portion in the land of the living."-It imports,

2. That he takes such a pleasure in them, and puts such an honour on them, that though the world should cast out their name as evil, he sirnames himself by them, and brings their name into his. Hundreds of times, the expressions, "The Lord thy God," "The Lord your God," occur in scripture, applied to God with respect to his people. Yea, he bears up their name in his, when they are dead and gone out of the world, since they still live unto him: Matth. xvii. 32, "I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. God is not the God of the dead, but of the living." This is a memorial of them that will last, when the monuments and marble tombs will not keep the memory of the wicked from rotting. -It imports,

« AnteriorContinua »