« AnteriorContinua »
the condition in which man was originally placed.
II. Observe THE END which the God of all grace KEEPS IN VIEW-it is to "BRING MANY SONS UNTO GLORY." When of old, He detached from the nations of the earth a people for his name, he destined them to possess the land of Canaan. This promised country, into which he engaged to bring them, excited the departure of the Israelites from Egypt, and encouraged them in all their wanderings in the wilderness. It was a state in which they expected rest, peace, abundance; "a land flowing with milk and honey; a land "wherein there was no scarceness; a land on which "the Lord's eye was from the beginning even to the "end of the year." But this was only "a shadow of "good things to come;" an emblem of that "better," that "heavenly country," towards which "the seed of "Abraham by faith" are travelling; where "remains "a rest for the people of God;" where "they shall "enter into peace;" where "they shall hunger no "more, neither thirst any more, neither shall the sun
light on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb, that is "in the midst of the throne, shall feed them, and shall "lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God. "shall wipe away all tears from their eyes."
This future blessedness of the righteous is very commonly in the scriptures expressed by "GLORY." It is a state of perfection, of magnificence, of splendour, of honour. It will contain every kind of excellency, and every kind of excellency displayed. The place will be glorious; the company will be glorious ;
our bodies will be glorious; glorious will be our work, our pleasures, our reward, our praise. We shall have fellowship with the dignified Redeemer; "we shall be "glorified together;" "for when He who is our life "shall appear, we shall also appear with him in glory." We are reminded of the character under which we shall obtain this happiness; it is for "sons," not en. emies, not strangers. Such the people of God naturally are; but by regeneration and adoption he gives them the quality, and the claims of children; and on this relation the inheritance depends; "if children, "then heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ."
Nor will the possessors of it be few in number. The heavenly inheritance is not like the earthly Canaan, confined to the Jew only; Gentiles also participate. The middle wall of partition is broken down, and the gospel reveals a common salvation, and opens a passage to heaven from all the diversities of human condition; and remember "MANY SONS" are on their way "to glory." Do not diminish their number by uncharitable exclusions, or reduce it by gloomy suspicions"Wot ye not what the Scripture saith of Elias, how "he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, "Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged "down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they "seek my life. But what saith the answer of God "unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand "men who have not bowed the knee to the image of "Baal." He has always his hidden ones; many more than you are aware of, "know his name, and love his "salvation;" and though his followers may appear a small flock, when viewed in comparison with the un
godly who surround them; when they shall "come "from the east, and from the west," and shall be gathered together from "all nations, and kindred, and "people, and tongues ;" they will be found "a great multitude, which no man can number." Such is the purpose of grace which He is accomplishing; and,
III. Observe the MEANS by which he executes his design-He constitutes Jesus Christ "THE CAPTAIN ' OF THEIR SALVATION." God does nothing immediately with man. He carries on all his transactions with us through a Mediator. The restoration of his people, including their redemption, conversion, perseverance, and future glory, is committed to Him; and with Him we have immediately to do in all the concerns of faith, holiness, and consolation. When God would bring the Israelites into the land of promise, he placed them under the guidance of Joshua; when he would bring innumerable myriads of perishing sinners to glory, he puts them under the conduct of the Lord Jesus Christ. Hence they are so often said to be given to him by the Father; they are given to him, not that he may receive benefit from them, but that they may receive benefit from him. As so many captives, they are given him to ransom as their Redeemer; as so many sheep, for him to feed as their Shepherd; as so many scholars, for him to educate as their Teacher; ás so many soldiers, for him to lead along to victory and triumphs, as "the Captain of their salvation."
For the term by which He is here held forth, carries with it an implication, that there are difficulties to be encountered in the way to glory, and obstacles to
be overcome; that the christian life is a warfare; and that as soon as we turn our "faces Zionward," we must expect to fight. With this accord the language of the Scripture, and the experience of every good man. And, my dear hearers, if you think otherwise, you are deceived; you may go asleep to hell, but you cannot go asleep to heaven. It is exertion, opposition, contention, every step of the way. Did they who have gone before you find religion an easy thing; What was their language? "Lord, how are they in"creased that trouble me! many there be that rise up "against me; many there be which say of my soul, "there is no help for him in God." "We wrestle "not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, "against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of "this world, against spiritual wickedness in high pla"ces." There are some here this morning, who are compelled to use the same language. Yes, "without
are fightings, and within are fears." Your enemies are numerous and powerful, and compared with them you feel yourselves to be nothing. But you are not without encouragement; your "Redeemer is mighty" -Jesus is "the Captain of your salvation," "He "teaches" your "hands to war," and your "fingers "to fight." He arrays you in "the whole armour "of God." He issues orders, and regulates all your motions. He goes before, and animates you by his own example. He replenishes your strength; treads down your enemies before you; makes you more than conquerors; and gives you a crown of life. Whence, "O worm Jacob," are you so courageous? How can you thresh the mountains?" The way is distressing;
the country through which you travel is formidable. How will you be able to reach the land that is to be given you a very far off? far off?" Jesus Christ is every thing "I need; he is given for a leader, and a commander "to the people. I place myself under his care; he "will go where I go; engage the foes I engage; he "will leave me in no situation; his skill is infinite, his
power is almighty; he has led thousands, not one “failing; on him I lean; because he lives, I shall live "also; if I have not struck a blow, I may strike with "confidence; or if I have fallen through a blow re"ceived, I can say, Rejoice not against me, O mine. enemy, though I fall I shall arise, though I sit in "darkness, the Lord will be a light unto me."
A Friend and Helper so divine,
Does my weak courage raise;
The Jews always expected that the Messiah would be "the Captain of their salvation:" they looked for him in no other character. But Mistaking the nature of this salvation, they grossly erred with regard to the nature of his work. They conceived of him as a temporal prince, who should rush forth with his "sword
upon his thigh," "conquering and to conquer ;' subduing the nations of the earth, and giving "his 'people the heritage of the heathen." To their carnal minds the manner of his victory was a paradox. They could not conceive how he could overcome by dying, or by a cross reach a throne; "we have heard "out of the law that Christ abideth forever: and how sayest thou, the Son of man must be lifted up?"