« AnteriorContinua »
adversary. Under the terror of this alarm, turn your eyes towards Jerusalem, and your thoughts upon the operations of the Captain of Salvation in the place of skulls. There, "through death he destroyed him who had the power "of death, that is the devil, and delivered the children, "who through fear of death were all their life-time subject "to bondage." Then hear the sounding of his bowels in Patmos, where he restored to vigour a believer who lay half-dead at his feet. "Fear not, I am the Fast and the Last; "I am the Living One who was dead, and behold I am "alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and "of death."-5thly, Under the policy which appears to stand in the way of the kingdom of heaven in the latter day. This kingdom, which the God of heaven,hath set up in the earth, and over which he hath appointed the Lord our Righteousness to reign, we expect will be more populous, more extensive, more glorious, and more spiritual and heavenly, than we behold it at present. Promises of its increase and prosperity have been the hope and joy of his subjects in the days of their tribulation; and the prayers and intercessions of many generations, together with your own, for the performance of these promises, are in the censer within the vail, and still unanswered by the throne. But the policy of this world stands in opposition to the increase and glory of the kingdom, and appears discouraging and formidable. Though principalities and powers were spoiled by the Son of God upon the cross, these adversaries have still a great interest in the earth. "Woe to the "inhabiters of the earth and of the sea, for the devil is "come down unto you, having great wrath!"* Through the ambition and lusts of men, he has raised thrones of idolatry, delusion, and blasphemy, and in these fixed antichrists, who are the blackness of the power of darkness, and the express images of himself; and, by working on the hopes and fears of the children of disobedience, holds the world in servile subjection to his representatives. But, as we have already observed, the triumph of the Son of God over principalities and powers upon his cross is a triumph also over all the works of the devil, and further an assurance to our faith of the destruction of the works, which this adversary has erected against the increase and glory
*Rev. xii. 12.
of his kingdom in the latter day. As surely as there is pow er in his hand, and truth in his word, and vengeance in his heart, the throne of the Man of sin shall be overturned, the kingdom of the Arabian Impostor dissolved, and the einpire of Paganism broken in pieces; and when the hour of these vindictive operations shall come, this glorious universal conqueror will find arms and armies to do his work. "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse, "and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, "and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His "eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many "crowns; and he had a name written that no man knew but "himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in "blood, and his name is called, The Word of God. And "the armies which were in heaven followed him upon "white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean"And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it "he should smite the nations; and he shall rule them with "a rod of iron, and he treadeth the wine-press of the fierce"ness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his "vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS. "AND LORD of LORDS.—And I saw the beast, and the kings "of the earth and their armies gathered together, to make "war against him who sat on the horse, and against his "army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false "prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which "he deceived them who had received the mark of the beast, "and them who worshipped his image: these both were cast "alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And "the remnant were slain with the sword of him who sat "upon the horse, which sword proceedeth cut of his "mouth, and all the fowls were filled with their flesh." "Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered, let them also "who hate him flee before him. As smoke is driven away, "drive them away; as wax melteth before the fire, let the "wicked perish at the presence of God." "Alleluia! for "the Lord God omnipotent reigneth!"
EXHORTATIONS. Unbelieving hearers have no spiritual apprehensions of the person, offices, operations, and glory of the Son of God in our nature; and upon them the tes
*Rev. xix. 11, 16, 19, 20, 21.
timony of God concerning him, recorded in Scripture, and declared in the ministry of reconciliation, makes no spiritual impressions. But we are commanded, notwithstanding, to declare unto you this testimony, to exhort you to read, and to hear, and to believe it, and, in believing, to assure you of salvation through Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. Knowing the certain and fearful consequences of continuing and dying in unbelief, we would persuade you to believe from considerations of your sin; your misery; your privilege; your duty; and your interest now and forever.-1st, Your sin. You do not deny yourselves to be sinners, nor that the whole world are become guilty before God. "All have sinned, and come short of the glo"ry of God." Oh that men would consider these words! What can we say of the principalities and powers in everlasting chains, under darkness? Scripture says, They sinned; and Scripture says, You have sinned, sinned in your representative, and sinned in your own persons.-2dly, Your misery. The origin of our misery is in the fall of our nature, and the weight of it is felt by the whole creation. Alienated from the life of God, and enemies in your minds by wicked works, you are under his wrath and curse, liable to every misery in this life, and in that which is to come, and unable to deliver yourselves from any.Sdly, Your privilege. Angels who sinned are in chains, without hope of atonement, redemption, and reconciliation. Men who sinned are under a dispensation of goodness, forbearance, and long-suffering, of hope, and of means of recovery and salvation. The Son of God stepped over angelical, and descended into human nature.— the ransom which he gave for a part of our nature is sufficient for the whole, and the testimony of God concerning this ransom, which is received by many, is declared unto all.-4thly, Your duty. "This is the work of God, that "ye believe on him whom he hath sent;" and "this is his "commandment, that we should believe on the name of "his Son Jesus Christ." The testimony declared in the ministry of reconciliation concerning the person and offices of his Son, and concerning his operations and glory in our nature, is the power of God, through faith unto salvation; and, in the day of believing it, which is a day of his power, he exerts and glorifies his power in believers, by fulfilling all the good pleasure of
his goodness, and the work of faith with power.-5thly, Your interest now and for ever. Receiving the witness of God, which he hath testified of his Son, we enter immediately into a state of reconciliation, liberty, and honour, while the glory of eternal life that hope laid up for us in heaven, is sure in reversion. "Now the God of our Lord "Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, grant unto you the "Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him. "The eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that "ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the "riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints. And "what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward "who believe, according to the working of his mighty "power, which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead." Amen.
THE PURCHASE OF REDEMPTION FINISHED BY THE DEATH OF THE SON OF GOD.
JOHN xix. 30.
Then Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished.
MEN who have not contracted hardness of heart feel themselves affected very sensibly by the last words of their friends. Under the anguish of disease, and amidst the sorrows of death, words which are pronounced, and but half pronounced, interest the feelings, and melt the heart of every hearer. A friend who will soon speak no more is heard with emotion and tenderness, and the last word fixes itself in the memory so firmly, that it is seldom ever afterwards displaced or forgotten.
The last words of saints interest the feelings of the pious, and strengthen the faith of the believing heart. Of these Scripture furnishes some tender memorials, and, by words spoken in the face of death, shews us that the fear of our last enemy is not invincible. "Israel said unto Jo"seph, Behold I die, but God shall be with you, and bring "you again unto the land of your fathers." "Joseph said "unto his brethren, I die, and God will surely visit you, and "bring you out of this land, unto the land which he sware to "Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob." "Now these be the "last words of David:-Although my house be not so with "God, yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, "ordered in all things and sure; for this is all my salvation, "and all my desire, although he make it not to grow." "And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, "and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their "charge."