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not to be their Counsellor in the matters of this present life. And,
(1.) In their matters of greater weight, he allows sinners to seek his counsel; and it is their sin that they neglect it, Josh. ix. 14. There is an oracle to be consulted in our temporal, as well as in our spiritual affairs; for the promise reacheth the one as well as the other; Psalm cxii. 5, "A good man-will guide his affairs with discretion."
(2.) In their smallest matters; Prov. iii. 6, "In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." There is nothing so small but the providence of God reaches it, even to the very hairs of the head, Matth. x. 30; and on very small things great matters may depend. Things small in themselves may be very great in their consequences; therefore we have need of a Counsellor in the least. So Christ is a Counsellor for sinners in all their matters, of whatsoever kind. And this is a peculiar excellency of this Counsellor, that he can give counsel in every thing. Men consult divines in their soul's case, physicians in the case of their body, lawyers in the case of their estate, men experienced in their occupation; but Christ is a Counsellor in them all.
Thirdly, How doth Christ give his counsel.
1. He proposeth his counsel in and by his word; Psalm cxix. 24, "Thy testimonies are my counsellors." If ye would have his counsel, ye must go believingly to his word. That is it by which the answer is given to those that consult the holy oracle. And there is no case can happen to one, but in the word there is proper counsel for it. This is a mystery to the formal and profane; but the exercised Christian knows it by experience to be true.
2. He clears it, and opens it, and confirms it by his providence ; Psalm xxxii. 8, "I will instruct thee, and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go; I will guide thee with mine eye." Providence taken by itself, without respect to the word, is a very uncertain light to walk by, as in Jonah's finding the ship going to Tarshish; but when providence is considered in subordination to the word, it is of eminent use for discovering the Lord's mind in particular cases; as in the case of Peter; Acts x. 17, "Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius, had made inquiry for Simon's house, and stood before the gate." And therefore all tender Christians will be serious observers of providence ; Psalm cvii. 43, "Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the loving-kindness of the Lord."
3. He makes it effectual by his Holy Spirit; John xvi. 13, "When he the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all
truth." He shines on the word, and on the work of providence, sets both in a clear light, and enables, as well as determines the believer to follow it. So the counsel of the great counsellor is the light of life, John viii. 12; promised to all Christ's followers. Men following their own wisdom and delusive counsels, cannot expect the Spirit's efficacy; and the word and providence cannot be effectual without the Spirit; but the Spirit makes both effectual to those that wait for Christ's counsel.
USE 1. Then take him for your Counsellor, renouncing all other. And,
1. Renounce your own wisdom, do not lean to your own abilities for the management of yourself; but know your own wisdom to be but weakness and folly; Prov. iii. 5, 6, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." Fallen man lost his spiritual eye-sight, and he can see nothing aright in spirituals till he go to the Counsellor, Rev. iii. 18; and he is apt to go wrong even in other things.
2. Renounce the counsel of the world, and shut your ears to it; Prov. xix. 27, "Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge." Mind it is the character of a happy man, that he "walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners," Psalm i. 1; and the character of one in a natural state; Eph. ii. 2, "to walk according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air." They who make the way of the world their rule, must perish with the world.
3. Take Christ for your Counsellor instead of all other; Prov. xxiii. 26,"My son, give me thine heart; and let thine eyes observe my ways." Give up yourselves wholly to his management; let him be your sole Counsellor, and that for all things; you need a guide, the Father has given him to you for that end; Isa. lv. 4, “Behold, I have given him for a leader unto the people." Close with him as your guide and counsellor.
USE 2. Follow the counsel that he is giving you. Christ is counselling you all in the gospel; even those that will not consult him, and have refused his counsel, he is counselling still. His counsels are two.
1. He is counselling you to believe in himself, John vi. 29; to come to him, to come to his market of free grace, and buy there, without money or price, Rev. iii. 18; Isa. lv. 1; to take him for a Head, and husband, for all.
2. To be holy; to give up with your sinful courses, that will ruin VOL. X.
you; and to betake yourselves to the way of holiness, without which there is no seeing the Lord; Ezek. xviii. 31, "Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed, and make you a new heart, and a new spirit; for why will ye die, O house of Israel??? See both together; Prov. ix. 5, 6, "Come, eat of my bread" saith Wisdom," and drink of the wine which I have mingled. Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding."
USE 3. Lastly, Then make use of Christ as a counsellor, by your consulting him daily, that ye may not walk but by his direction. And,
f. Be habitually tender in labouring to know the mind of God, as to sin and duty, in particular cases; and in your common, as well as in your religious affairs, Isa. xxviii. 26.
2. Be upright and sincere in your consulting him, lying open to the divine determination, Jer. xlii. 20; compare chap. xli. 17.
3. Humbly entertain the divine determination, though it fall to be cross to your inclination. Do not, like Baalam, tempt God, till ye get an answer to your own mind, Numb. xxii.
4. Beware of going cross to duty cleared, and rejecting God's counsel given, 1 Kings xiii.
5. Lastly, Pray much; ejaculatory, and secret; and carefully observe providences, while ye are waiting for the Lord's counsel. The light is from the Lord, if it is strengthening to duty, and overpower corruptions against it.
THESE words in the Hebrew are, God Mighty One. This is the third syllable of the name of our Lord Redeemer; and as this name is given to him as God-man, so this syllable of it natively respects both, as he is God, he is the true God; as he is man, he is the mighty one; the greatest heroes are but weaklings to him.
DOCTRINE. Jesus Christ, the prince presented and given to us of the Father, is and shews himself to be true God, the Mighty One.
In discoursing this doctrine, I shall shew,
I. That Christ is the true God.
II. That the man Christ is the Mighty One.
III. Lastly, Apply.
I. I shall shew, that Christ is the true God. This appears from these following things.
1. That he is the true God, the scripture expressly calls him, and asserts him to be so; John i. 1, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God." Acts xx. 28, "Feed the church of God, "Of which he hath purchased with his own blood." Rom. ix. 5, whom as concerning the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever;" the true God; 1 John v. 20, "This is the true God, and eternal life;" Jehovah or Lord; Mal. iii. 1, "The Lord whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple; even the messenger of the covenant." This name is peculiar to God only; Psalm lxxxiii. 18, "That men may know, that thou whose name alone is Jehovah, art the Most High over all the earth.”
2. The attributes or perfections of God, distinguishing God from all created beings, are in him, and ascribed to him, He is eternal, or from everlasting, Micah v. 2; independent and almighty, Rev. i. 8; everywhere present, John iii. 13; omniscient, John xxi. 17; and unchangeable, Heb. i. 11, 12.
3. The works peculiar to God alone, are done by him, and ascribed to him. He is the creator of all things, John i. 3; and preserver of them in their being, Heb. i. 2, 3. He raiseth the dead by his own power, and at his own pleasure, John v. 21, 26. He is the Saviour of sinners, Hos. i. 7; and there is no Saviour besides God, chap. xiii. 4; yea, whatsoever the Father doth, he doth, John v. 19.
4. Divine worship, which must be given to God only, Matth. iv. 10, is due to him; for the angels are commanded to worship him, Heb. i. 6. Every one is to give the same honour to him, as to the Father, John v. 23. They are blessed that trust in him, by faith resting on him, Psalm ii. 12; while they are cursed that put their trust in man, Jer. xvii. 5. He is the object of prayer, Acts vii. 59; and we are baptised in his name, Matth. xxviii. 19.
5. Lastly, He is equal with the Father, Phil. ii. 6; and one with him, John x. 30. Now, seeing God will not give his glory to another, Isa. xlviii. 11; it follows, that though Christ is a distinct person, yet he is not a distinct God from the Father. And therefore he is, with the Father and Holy Ghost, the one supreme Most High God.
II. I shall shew, that the man Christ is the mighty one.
1st, He doth and has done works that no other could do, John xv. 24. His works proclaim him the mighty one in all respects; mighty in the reach of his wisdom, mighty in treasures, mighty in moyen
and interest, and mighty in battle. And there are four mighty works of Christ to which there is an eye in this his name.
1. His fully answering all the demands of the broken law in the room of the elect, Psalm lxxxix. 19. A work none else could have done; a weight none else could have borne; a vast debt none else could have paid, and cleared. But he did it by his birth, life, and death; and completely, so that he got up the discharge, 1 Tim. iii. 16.
2. His destroying of sin, Gen. iii. 15. The whole sin of the whole elect, he gave a death blow to, at once upon the cross; to the guilt and power of it; so that its utter destruction in them all was as much secured thereby, as Christ's death by his being nailed to the cross; Rom. vi. 6, "Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin." He is now pursuing that blow, in the conversion and sanctification of the elect; driving out sin by degrees from among them; he will give the last stroke at the last day, and then that hellish flood shall be as much dried up as it had never been.
3. His victory over death and the grave; Hos. xiii. 14, "I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death; O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction." Sin entering, death went out over the world a conqueror, armed with a sting that none could pluck out. But Christ encountered death, and dying was the destruction of it, and of the grave its fellow, viz. in respect of all his. The victory will be complete at the last day; 1 Cor. xv. 26," Then the last enemy that shall be destroyed, is death." Isa. xxv. 8, "Then God will swallow up death in victory.
4. Lastly, His victory over the devil, Gen. iii. 15. Satan conquered all mankind in Adam; but here was a man match and more for him. He engaged with the enemy as a tempter, in the wilderness, and he foiled him; as a roaring lion, on the cross, and overcame him, Col. ii. 15; as a violent possessor, in the hearts of the elect, from time to time, and he turns him out, out of one after another, till he shall not have a foot of ground in the elect world. And then he will attack him in his proper possession, viz. the reprobate, standing on the left hand of the Judge, and drive him and them away off the earth into the pit. So may we say; Psalm xcviii. 1, "O sing unto the Lord a new song, for he hath done marvellous things; his right hand and his holy arm hath gotten him the victory."
2dly, He hath all at his command in heaven and earth, whether