Imatges de pÓgina

doth surrender up the Divine glory, and take the subordinate place of the Son of Man, exercising with his church for ever the function of King and Priest over the created world. And then the inversion of the eternal order is at an end; and the eternal order is in existence.

God is all in all, Christ is Head over all; the church are his ministers, manifesting under him the fulness of the Spirit; and the whole creation is the world, which God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost do thus govern in peace and blessedness for ever.

Some may feel that I am prolix, and sometimes indefinite in opening these subjects. The reason is, that I feel the sacredness of the ground, and I tread it with a slow and solemn pace. I feel the awfulness of the scene which opens at every footstep, and I stay to survey it, and to expatiate over its fulness and perfection of beauty. I am not like a measurer taking the dimensions of it, but like an heir considering the magnificence and vastness of that which I am called to inherit. Besides, I feel that my faculties are not equal to the whole undertaking; and therefore when I cannot speak definitely, I am content to speak indefinitely, and rather to venture by slow approaches, than at once to rush into so great a matter. Every one must take his own method of expressing his own mind upon these subjects. That which I prefer is, by coming, and coming, to it again, and doing my endeavour by successive efforts, and waiting upon the Spirit, and catching every favourable moment, and entering in at every door which the Revealer may open. And I am not careful though I should repeat myself often, and though at one time I should give clearer light than at another, and though one thing should seem to take away from or make alteration upon another. For I am not casting a work of art, but digging in the earth, and bringing up ore, some richer, and some poorer, according as I find it in the mine. Let others found it if they please. My work is that of a laborious drudge, hewing the rocks, and bringing to light the hidden things of God, by means of the revelation of Jesus Christ, opened by the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, who leadeth us into all the truth, and sheweth us things to come.

It remains, that we add a few words upon the exhorta

tion of the promisc, after having thus largely spoken of its substance. We have set forth the wonderful grace which is here promised to us in the day of the Lord's appearing; and we would now use the same for application unto all the children of men, that they may gird themselves to the battle, enter the fight, and overcome. And, first, I would propound the example of the Lord Jesus Christ, who' laid aside his glory, and entered in weakness that field of combat; for which the first qualification is, that we should be likewise weak, yea, and utterly empty of all strength in ourselves. For it is a combat wherein God, not man, is to be glorified; and therefore when Christ became man, he must become a weak and empty man, in order that the glory of the victory may be due unto Godhead, and not unto the manhood. They understand nothing of this matter, who will maintain that his manhood must be in itself and of itself, other and better than our own. That way of it was tried already in Adam, and it came to nought. Another way of it, which is the way of weakness, made strong by faith in God, is now in the progress of trial; and for the trial Christ presents himself, who was not made a creature. If a creature he had been made, and found himself mortal, he must have been answerable for the guilt of so making himself. But he is the Creator," and therefore may take what form of being it liketh hiɩn, ́ that which is best for the glory of God to take. And seeing the point which God hath been making good, is that He is gracious to the fallen, and forgiving to the sinful, and strengthening to the weak, if they will but trust in him, the Son of God, who came to realise this lesson, became poor, and weak, and suffering, was made sin, though without sin, and brought under the weight of all burdens, and smitten with all strokes, and had no resource nor help, nor maintenance, but what he obtained through the exercise of faith in his Father, and in our Father, in his God, and in our God. He stood in the battle as a common man; and if there was one post harder than another, that was the post he was called upon to maintain: yea the whole tide of battle rolled against this single man; and single-handed he had to encounter the fiercest shock; and this with no weapons, but the weapons of our warfare, weakness and faith, which in his hand ever proved effectual

to the pulling down of all the strongholds of the enemy,to the disarming of all our foes, to the capturing of them, and the leading of them captive. This is what he had to do, and what he did. And it is a damnable doctrine to teach, that he had any advantage over us in the field. They are teachers of error, who say that his flesh was otherwise constituted than ours is. And I pray devoutly that they may be converted. If this be the doctrine they are preaching in this land, and the people will receive it, then the church shall soon become a church abandoned of the Lord. They are very slow of giving forth what they hold: we gather it more from what they oppose. But if they be holding that Christ's flesh was not weak and tempted as ours is, they hold the doctrine of heretics; and if they cleave unto it as their faith, they stand in peril of death. They may talk of atonement, and substitution, and satisfaction how they please; it is all a system of indulgences, if they believe not that Christ came in our flesh, and overcame our temptations in the flesh, and crucified his flesh, and sanctified it as a sacrifice, and presented it holy thus, and in no other way. There are a set of ministers who have been stirred up to fight against this truth; and who are driving the church into the awful guilt of condemning it in our persons who hold it, and in our books which contain it. I hope and pray the church will have grace given her to resist these stirrers of strife, all holy as they seem to be; but if not, then the church will seal her own death-warrant, and die by her own hand. Oh, my mother church! I say unto thee, as David did say to Jonathan, "As the Lord liveth, there is but a step between" thee "and death." That step these evil counsellors would have thee take; because, like the Pharisees of old, they are full of self-sufficiency, and know not the awful thing which they are about to do. God only knows how my heart is rent and torn asunder, and how my bowels are pained, and my zeal stirred up. I will not give place to these men; no, not for a moment. And I call upon every child of God, upon every minister and man who knows the truth in the realm of Scotland, to put on his armour, and contend for the faith once delivered to the saints.

What were the meaning of the Lord's calling upon us

to overcome as he also overcame, if so be that he did not overcome as he would have us to overcome? If the battle was not arrayed against him, as against us it is arrayed, or if he had, in virtue of his Godhead or of his manhood, weapons of offence and defence, which we have not in Him, what is the meaning of asking us to overcome, as he also overcame? The same truth is taught us in all other parts of Scripture. For examples of this, take first, what he saith to the twelve Apostles (Matt. xix. 27-29), upon the occasion of the young rich man, who would not part with his all, to follow him into poverty, and the preaching of the Gospel. "Then answered Peter, and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee: what shall we have therefore? And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands for my name's sake, shall receive an hundred-fold, and shall inherit everlasting life." Here is much the same language as in the promise before us: he assureth these twelve of the royalty over the tribes of Israel; by which I understand, that as Christ himself shall be King of the Jews, the twelve Apostles shall be his twelve viceroys in that dominion; and I believe that after the same manner the most faithful of the martyrs in each several region of the earth, shall in that day of his glorious appearing have a local superintendency, being, as it were, to take advantage of Satan's rehearsal, the legates, envoys, and nuncios from the regal and metropolitan city of the new Jerusalem. Observe also, that these dignities and rewards are bestowed upon us against that day, "when the Son of Man shall sit in the throne of his glory." Which being interpreted according to the foregoing prophecies upon the Son of Man, carries us to the viith chapter of Daniel, where is the full and distinct exhibition of the throne of glory, and the Son of Man's receiving it to sit upon, and with it the kingdoms of all the earth to distribute amongst his saints. Moreover, this same passage of Matthew's Gospel doth exhibit to us the kind of warfare to which he calleth his disciples; not against

depravity and lust, and avarice, and other gross sins, heinous even in the world's eye, but against the strongest and most honourable, yea, and dutiful affections of the heart; not against worthless, lawless, and profligate persons, alike hated of God and man, but against the most near and dear relations, the fastest and closest friends, brethren, sisters, father, mother, wife and children. When in another place he says, we must not only forsake but absolutely hate; that is, hate in the same sense in which God is said to hate Esau, and other wicked persons, though they be his own creatures, made in his image, for whose ransom he hath given his own Son to suffer and die. And like as God surrendereth all natural ties, when his holiness is in question, nor suffereth for a moment a balance in his mind, between affection and holiness; but as he loveth them, and because he loveth them, doth divorce them from all enjoyment of his countenance, and hope of his favour, unless they will kiss the Son, and yield unto him obedience; even so commandeth he us, to count every natural affection hateful, and our very parents our enemies, if they would rise up against Christ. And with respect to the goods of this world, it is not the honours and preferments merely of the world which we are called to be denied unto, but even to give up our houses and our lands, and every thing which we are wont to call our own. Such are the contentions and controversies of which the Christian warfare is made up. Contentions against all that is dear and honourable in the world, controversies with our own heart, with the best and most virtuous feelings of our heart. All these, Christ for his Father's sake forewent, and became motherless and brotherless, houseless and homeless; preferring his Father's pleasure to the eating of his daily bread, and having found his Father faithful to his word, yea far more generous than his word, yielding him not the throne of David his Father, but the throne of God his Father, he crieth unto his followers, when he left treading the same wine-press of tears and sorrows, to be of good cheer, to go on with the heart-crucifying work, and surely to expect the fellowship of his heavenly throne. "These are they who have come out of great tribulation, therefore are they before the throne."

Another beautiful illustration of the promise in the text

« AnteriorContinua »