Imatges de pÓgina
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CHAPTER III.

OF THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF FAITH

REVEALED.

Section í. Fallen Man visted. DARK was that hour, in which the world

lày wholly shadowed by the power of the serpent; but the new day dawned; speed ily, in the wind of the day, the voice of one seeking the lost, was heard in the garden that God had planted. Man is found, naked, without covenant righteousness, without truth and fidelity; and therefore, without confidence, feeking to hide himself from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden; undone! 'undone! but a Saviour draws near.

The errand of Christ to our world now was, to reveal himself as the elect head; and to make an establishment here, upon

the foundation of his own truth and righteousness, in his engagement in covenant with the Father. By the name of the seed of the woa inan, he reveals himself as coming forward in the flesh, the mighty antagonist of the ser: pent; and by pronouncing a curse upon the ground; which, in effect, would disorder, ficken, and finally disolve the constitution of nature; he intimates the manner of the solemn warfare; but especially, by palling

Τι

fentence of dissolution upon the human body, in this connection, he reveals the great and eternal purpose of God respecting himfelf; for having offered himself to view as man, or as the feed of the woman, and then

faying to man, dust thou art, and unto dust Jhalt thou return; this was pronouncing the fentence upon himself; and, therefore, it was a declaration of the will of God, and of his own free consent to lay down his life.

Thus the foundation of the everlasting covenant was laid open to view, for an elect establishment in our world; and which is feen immediately to take effect. Adam now ceases to view himself as constituted in the beginning, the father of the world, or the head of the human family; and turns his attenti, on wholly to that which should be of the woman; and he called his wife's name Eve, becaufe me was the mother of all living. Also, unto Adam, and to his wife, did the Lord God make coats of Jkins, and cloathed them; for, from henceforth, their support would not be from a natural fource, but by means of death; and they must now look for cloathing, for protection, life and glory, from the Main ; from the fupernatural, and mysterious source of the shedding of blood.

O the wisdom of God! How far out of fight must this have been, even from the ferpent's piercing eye, that the Creator would fo promptly have consigned over that wonderful creature man, the fairelt woman, yea, and that tender body prepared for himself,

the dust of death? And the heavens and

the earth, this finished work of his hands, with the beauty and glory of the whole system of nature, all to the fiery flame? Thus disarming his enemy of his otherwise almighty power-seizing and binding him with his own acquired forces and turning upon him the terrors of his own dominion, even the keys of hell and of death-yea, kindled into a quenchless flame, turning that very power upon him by which he thought to have reigned for ever, as a chain of eternal

vengeance.

Section 2. Cherubim and flaming Sword.

An establishment being made in our world, by the blood of the everlasting covenant, means must be provided and used to protect it, and carry on the work of redemption; and so, to raile up the building of grace, upon this new foundation,

It is evident, from the nature of the purpose of God in view, that man, now, must not eat of the natural tree of life-this would militate directly against the work of grace it is apparent that should he continue to eat of that tree, and his body thus be rendered indissoluble, his salvation would be impossible.

Wherefore, the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as God, to know good and evil, i.e. having eaten of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, he has thrown off his covenant subjection to the word of God; and,

as God himself, has set up for independence. Man, therefore, may not be trusted upon the ground of his regard to the authority of God's word or commandment, merely, not to eat of the tree of life; but, for safety, he must be put under guard. Here commences the whole wonderful scene of redemptiondiscipline.

Jesus Christ, knowing the will of the Fa. ther, laid down his life of himself; but mere man could never do this, his life must be taken from him ; though, finally, urder the irresistible sword of the spirit, being reduced, as it were, to the last gasp, by the power of sovereign grace,

he is brought to a cheerful fubmiflion to the divine will. So he drove out the man: and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden, cherubims, and a flaming Jword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. In this folemn, determined, and sure manner, by the power of the elect establishment, we see the all-wise, and infinitely gracious sentence of natural diffolution, carrying into execution.

All this being on the common ground, and belonging to the highest interest of the elect world, the mighty angels, cherubim, are here brought forward and employed as the grand guards; and they appear arrayed upon the land, in this ministry io the heirs of salvation,

But behold that flaming fword, united 10 the cherubim, as their glory and strength!This evidently was not their agent, but their principle, or the strength of their eltablish. ftood with them, but they did not wield ititself turned every way. Here, doubtless, we may contemplate the dreadful form, in which Christ united himself to the angelic world; and in which he girded them, and commissianed them as his ministering spirits; and made them, for his Jsrael, chariots of fire and horses of fire.

It was indeed united to them, and it

ment.

Section

3. Sacrifice. The new establishment in view, it will be perceived, is founded in its nature in the inftitution of facrifice; by facrifice I mean the shedding of blood. Yet Cain, faithless Cain, in the view of acceptance with God, chose still to act upon the natural principle. And he brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. But Abel, his brother, brought an offering of the firstlings of his flock, and of the fat thereof.

And the Lord had respect unto Abel, and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and entered into a controversy with his Brother Abel, upon the ground of this distinction; and, therefore, he entered into a controversy with the Lord himself.

Yet, being full of compassion, the Lord condescended to come to an explanation with Cain, and reasoning with him in the most convincing manner, he held out to him the inestimable provision of his infinite grace, saying,

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