Imatges de pÓgina
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

their life. Augels are ministering spirits to them during their life, Heb. i. 14. ; and at their death they carry their souls into heaven, Luke xvi. 22. Yea himself is ever with them, in life and in death. USE. Then, sinners, take him for your everlasting Father. Come out of Satan's family: "Come out from among them, and be ye separate. Forget your father's house, and your own people." He is presented and given to you the Everlasting Father; receive him. And,

1. Ye that are fatherless. The father of your flesh is dead and gone; ye have the fewer to care for you, and see to your welfare. Here is an everlasting Father for you.

2. Ye that see yourselves in a helpless case, like orphans in the world. Created props and pillars have been taken from you, one after another; and ye see yourselves fram'd sted*. Here is a Father for you, Hos. xiv. 3, "In thee the fatherless findeth mercy.

3 All of you will find yourselves in such a case as none in the world will be able to relieve. Choose him now for your Father, who will be everlasting.

MOTIVE 1. He is your Father by creation, let him be your Father by choice. He has the first and best right to you; if one is to serve, will he not rather choose to serve his father than another?

MOTIVE 2. There are blessed privileges of this state. As,

(1.) You will have access to him with holy boldness, Eph iii. 12. He will be well pleased with your voice, Cant. ii. 14.

(2.) Special immunities and freedoms, as king's children; freedom from the law as a covenant of works; free from the curse; free from the hurt of everything.

(3.) Fatherly love and pity, Psalm ciii. 13. He will distinguish between weakness and wickedness. He corrects with a fatherly reluctancy; Lam. iii. 33, "He doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men."

(4.) Protection; Prov. xiv. 26, "In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence; and his children shall have a place of refuge." Provision both for soul and body, and seasonable correction.

(5.) An inheritance and portion, according to the Father's quality. Rom. viii. 17, "Heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ."

MOTIVE 3. Lastly, If ye take him not for your Father, ye cannot escape him as your wrathful judge.

* i. e. In the situation of strangers.


ISAIAH ix. 6,

His name shall be called the Prince of Peace.

THIS is the last syllable of the name of our glorious Redeemer. It consists of two letters. (1.) He is a Prince, an eminent one. (2.) Peace. He is the Prince of Peace. As the Father of eternity is the everlasting Father; so the Prince of Peace is the peaceful Prince.

DOCT. Jesus Christ presented and given to us of the Father, is the peaceful Prince.

Of Christ's principality we have already spoken; we are now to consider him as the peaceful Prince. And in prosecuting this doctrine, I shall only show in what respects Christ is the peaceful Prince; and then make some practical improvement.

In what respects is Christ the peaceful Prince? And,

First, More generally, we take it up in these three particulars. He is the peaceful Prince,

1. In respect of disposition. He is a prince of the most peaceful disposition; Matth. xi. 29, "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart." Peace is woven into his nature. Though he is the mighty One, who is of such power as to frown a sinner to destruction; yet his great power is tempered with the greatest meekness and peacefulness. The prince of this world is the roaring lion; the Prince of heaven, the Lamb, John i. 29, even on his throne, Rev. v. 6.

2. In respect of action and operation. Peace is his work he pursued all along, and doth still pursue; Eph. ii. 14, "For he is our peace." He is the great peace-maker. Adam's sin and the sin of his posterity set all at red war, and kept them so: but Christ the second Adam travels for peace. "Blessed are the peace-makers," and he is blessed for ever on his peace-making, Phil. ii. 8, 9.

3. In respect of the state of his kingdom; Rom. xiv. 17, "The kingdom of God is peace." Peace in the language of the Holy Ghost in the Old Testament is prosperity; so a peaceful prince is a prosperous one. Thus Solomon was a type of him, who had a reign of the greatest peace and prosperity, Psalm 1xxii. 7. His subjects may enjoy peace whoever want it.

Secondly, More particularly. And,

1st, He is the peaceful Prince, peaceful of disposition, in the following respects.

1. He bears long with his enemies, he is long-suffering, 2 Pet. iii. 9. Many calls he gives them which they neglect; but he calls them still; many affronts they do to him, yet his deserved wrath is held in; and still he waits, if so be they may be brought to repentance, Rom. ii. 4. There must be a mighty inclination to peace where it

is so.

2. He bears much at the hands of his friends, but never casts them off, John xiii. 2. O the weakness, witlessness, and folly that hangs about them! O the ingratitude, untenderness, and backslidings they fall into! They reflect dishonour many times on him by their way; but they experience him to be the Prince of peace, Psalm 1xxviii. 38.

3. He is easy of access, for poor sinners. The worst of sinners may have access to him if they will; John vi. 37, "Him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out." Papists make mediators to him; but there needs none to him; whoever comes to him is welcome. And there needs none to God but him. Whatever is their business in the court of heaven, he will readily do it for them.

4. He is ready to forgive, Psalm lxxxvi. 5. His offending friends are readily pardoned, and restored to wonted favour; his rebellious enemies are readily pardoned on their submission, and received into the number of his friends. His peacefulness is such, that peace is his delight.

5. He is very familiar with his true subjects. He treats all his servants, not as servants, but as friends; and communicates to them his secrets; John xv. 15, "Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father, I have made known unto you." Love and good-will shines forth in his counte


6. The afflicting of his people, is as it were against the grain with him; Lam. iii. 33, "He doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men." There is a necessity for it, for which he is obliged to do it; 1 Pet. i. 6, "Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season (if need be) ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations." The apostle distinguisheth between men's correcting and his in Heb. xii. 10, "They verily for a few days chastened us, after their own pleasure: but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness." And in it he carries along the pity of a father, Psalm ciii. 13, 14, and so is afflicted in their affliction, Isa. lxiii. 9.

7. Lastly, He bore his own sufferings with the utmost peaceableness, meekness and patience. The angels sang at his birth, Peace on earth; and the earth never saw such a pattern of peace. In his

[ocr errors]

life, which was a continued suffering, he never shewed the least discomposure. In his death, he prayed for his enemies.

2dly, He is the peaceful Prince, peaceful in action and operation. He acted for peace, as never another did. He brought about such peace as had never been known, if he had not taken it in hand. And here we may consider,

1. What peace is effected by this Prince of peace.

(1.) Peace with God; Isa. liii. 5, "The chastisement of our peace was upon him." Sinners were at war with God, and God with them; and there could be no peace betwixt the parties, till the Prince of peace turned to be Mediator of the peace. The war went on, sinners doing as they could against God, and God in a state of war with the sinner, blocking up all commerce with heaven of a saving sort, &c. But he steps in, lays hands on both, and makes up the peace.

(2.) Peace among men. Men's peace with God being lost, the peace among themselves was broken too. See the case of mankind by nature in this point; Tit. iii. 3, "For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another." But Christ brings them together in him again, to love and charity one to another, Isa. xi. 6. And wherever he makes peace with God for a man, he implants love to men in that man's heart. Particularly, he made peace between Jews and Gentiles, Eph. ii. 14.

(3.) Peace within men, peace of conscience; Rom. xiv. 17, “The kingdom of God is righteousness and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." Sin by itself breaks the peace within one's own breast. The guilt of it is like a thorn in the flesh, that till it be plucked out ceases not to gall; the reign of it is like a tyrant in the house, that enslaves, and keeps in disturbance all therein. Christ the Prince of peace, by his blood and Spirit, only can restore the true peace within.

2. What is his work about the peace, that threefold peace?

(1.) He purchased it by his precious blood, Eph. ii. 14, 15. There is a peace the wicked have, that is a stolen and usurped peace, known by this mark that it is a peace in sin, James iii. 17. But the peace of the Prince of peace is a dear-bought peace. It cost him to be denied to his own peace, and swim through a red sea of suffering for it; Isa. liii. 5, "The chastisement of our peace was upon him."

(2.) He makes the peace by his own efficacy. The covenant of grace is the covenant of peace, and he is the Mediator of it. He travels betwixt God and the rebel sinner, till the reconciliation is made. He does by his Spirit bring the sinner into the covenant of

peace, and by his intercession obtains peace with God for him. He by the same Spirit unites men to himself by faith, and to one another in love. And by his blood sprinkled on the soul, he removes the guilt of sin, and plucks out the thorn; and by his sanctifying Spirit breaks the power of turbulent lusts, and so creates peace, Isa. lvii. 19.

(3.) He maintains the peace made; Isa. xxvi. 3, "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee." He is the believer's resident at the court of Heaven, that takes up emergent differences, and hinders matters to come to a total rupture betwixt God and them any more. And it is by the efficacy of his blood and Spirit that peace within men, and love among men who are his, are continued.

(4.) He restores the peace, when at any time it is brangled; Isa. lvii. 18, "I have seen his ways and will heal him; I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him, and to his mourners." While believers are in this world, they are upon a sea; and in that sea they often meet with storms. Sometimes the storm blows from above, sometimes from without, sometimes from within; sometimes fightings without, and fears within; yea sometimes all three blow together. But the Prince of peace again clears the sky above, Job xxxiii. 23, 24. He "stills the tumult of the people," Psalm lxv. 7, and quells all disturbance within, Isa. Ivii. 19.

(5.) Lastly, He perfects the peace. It is begun now, but he will not leave it imperfect; Psalm cxxxviii. 8, "The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me." He began Israel's peace in bringing them out of Egypt, and perfected it in bringing them to Canaan; so he begins his people's peace in their conversion, and perfects it in glorification. Their peace now is liable to a great mixture of disturbance; but he will render it perfect at length, without the least trouble, Rev. xxi. 4.

3dly, He is the peaceful Prince, in the peaceful state of his kingdom, in the prosperity attending it. He is the true Solomon (peaceful); and no king of Israel had such a peaceable and prosperous reign as Solomon; that his kingdom might be a type of Christ's, the Prince of peace, as David's was a type of it in the wars thereof. And,

1. Every one of his subjects is, by his wise management, put in a state of peace; Micah iv. 4, "They shall sit every man under his vine, and under his fig-tree, and none shall make them afraid." He has procured them peace with God, among themselves, and within themselves; what then should discompose them? It is true, in the world they must have tribulation; but in their prince they have

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinua »