Imatges de pÓgina
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exhilarates all who behold it: and, when it shines on the earth that has been refreshed with gentle showers, it causes the grass, and every herb; to spring forth almost visibly before our eyes. And is it not thus with all who submit themselves to Christ? do not new prospects open to them, and, with their more enlarged views, are they not revived with proportionable consolations are they not gladdened with the light of his countenance are they not sometimes almost overwhelmed with the glory of his countenance, or transported with joy unspeakable? yes; to them there is an unclouded sky, except as far as sin prevails: if they were as perfectly obedient to the will of Christ as the saints in heaven are, they would have a very heaven upon earth. If they have any intermission of their joy, it is not owing to any strictness in his laws, or any defect in his administration, but to their own indwelling lusts and corruptions.

What an astonishing effect too does the light of his countenance produce with respect to fruitfulness in good works! let the soul, watered with the tears of penitence, and softened with contrition, once feel the genial influence of his rays, and there will be an instantaneous change in its whole deportment: “it will revive as the corn, and grow as the vine; and the scent thereof will be as the wine of Lebanon.” Every holy affection will be called forth into exercise; and every fruit of righteousness abound to the glory of God.

Such are the effects which the psalmist elsewhere ascribes to Christ's government; and such, in all ages, have invariably resulted from it.] INFER

1. How earnestly should we desire the universal esta. blishment of Christ's kingdom!

[Little do men consider the import of that petition, “ Thy kingdom come.” In uttering this prayer, we desire that our, whole souls, and the souls of all mankind, may be subjected to Christ. And truly this event would restore the golden age of paradise. Ungodly men indeed would persuade us, that an unlimited submission to Christ would be an occasion of melancholy, and a source of misery. But, if once they were to experience the effects of his government upon their own souls, they would learn, that obedience to him is the truest happiness of man. Let us then take upon us his light and easy yokę, as the only, and the certain means of finding rest ụnto our souls.]

2. What madness is it to continue in rebellion against Christ!

Hos. xiv. 7.

b Ps. lxxii. 2-7.

i Acts ii. 41-47.

[It is not at our option whether Christ shall be our ruler or not; for “ God has set him upon his holy hill of Zion,” and in due season, will" put all his enemies under his feet.” If we will not bow before the sceptre of his grace, he will“ break us in pieces with a rod of iron.” Shall we then provoke him to wrath, when we have so much to dread from his displeasure? let us rather “ kiss the sun, lest he be angry, and we perish from the way.?' Thus shall we now enjoy the felicity of his chosen; and, in the day that all his enemies shall be slain before him, we shall be made partners of his throne for evermore.]

k Ps. ii. 1-12,

CLXVIII. THE SECURITY OF THOSE WHO BELIEVE

IN CHRIST.

1 Pet. ii. 6. It is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in

Sion a chief corner-stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth in iim shall not be confounded.

THE scriptures universally speak the same language with respect to Christ; in every part he is represented as the only Saviour, and the all-sufficient help of sinful manIn this respect the Old Testament prepares us for what is contained in the New, and the New-reflects light upon the Old; and thus they mutually illustrate and confirm each other. This observation naturally arises from the frequent appeals made by the apostles to the prophetic writings; and particularly from the manner in which St. Peter introduces the passage before us: he seems to intimate not only that the prophet had been inspired to declare the same truth, but that this prophecy had been given of God on purpose to prepare the way for the more direct injunctions of the Gospel --His words declare to us. I. The excellency of Christ

Christ is often spoken of as a foundation, because he supports the spiritual temple of God; but here he is represented as a corner-stone laid by the hands of God himself

[The excellency of the chief corner-stone, which lies also at the foundation, consists in this, that while it supports the building, it also connects the different parts of it together Now Christ has united together, not only Jews and Gentiles, but men and angels, in one spiritual building: and while they all derive their strength from him, they all feel, through him, an union with each other. For this purpose “God laid" him in Sion from the beginning; he laid him, I say, in types and prophecies, and declarations, and promises; and he requires all both in heaven and earth to honour him as the one source of their strength, and the one bond of their union-] · In this view he is “elect and precious” in the eyes of God

[God has appointed him to execute this office from all eternity, and determined that there shall be “ no other name whereby any shall be saved”-And, as qualified for it, as discharging it in every respect, and as saving man in perfect consistency with the honour of the divine perfections, God esteems him “precious;" He declares that “in this his beloved Son He is well pleased;" and He acquiesces fully in the salvation of all who shall approve of this appointment]

Nor will he be less precious in our eyes, if we consider II. The security of those who “ believe in him”

To believe in him, is, to feel an entire dependence on him ourselves, and to have such an union with him as produces a correspondent union with all the other parts of his spiritual temple - They who thus believe in him shall never be confounded Here

[Much there is in their experience, which might well confound them, and which nothing but their union with him could enable them to support-How should they endure a sense of guilt, or bear up against their indwelling corruptions? How should they sustain the fiery trial of persecution, or stand composed in the near prospects of death. These are things which disconcert and confound others; and drive them like a ship from its anchor~But they have “ an anchor both sure and stedfast”—They are not agitated, and driven to hasty conclusions, or ill-advised methods of deliverance“ Their heart standeth firm, trusting in the Lord”—“ Being justified by faith they have peace with God”—The promise that " Sin shall not have dominion over them” encourages their hope Their present consolations, and future prospects of reward, soften all their trials, and enable them to “glory in tribulations”-And, knowing in whom they have believed, the sting of death is taken away, and they are “ delivered from their bondage to the fear of death"-]

a

Eph. ii. 14, 20, 21, 22.

b Compare the text with the passage from whence it is taken, Isai. xxviij. 16.

Hereafter

[Terrible indeed must be the apprehensions of an unbeliever, when first dismissed from the body and carried into the presence of an holy God—And at the day of judgment, how will he stand appalled!—But the believer will go as a child into the presence of his Father, with love, and joy, and confidence

He will not be confounded at the glory of the divine Majesty, because he is washed in the Redeemer's blood, and clothed in his righteousness-Even Mary Magdalen, or the dying thief, know no terror in the presence of their God, because they are “complete in Christ:" it is on this account that they shall have confidence before him at his coming, and great boldness in the day of judgment-Nor is this the privilege of a few only, who are strong in faith, but of “all that believe," whether their faith be strong or weak-] INFER

1. How great is the difference between believers and unbelievers!

[The world perhaps may not in some instances discern much difference; but God, who sees the heart, gives this glorious promise to the one, while there is no such promise in all the sacred oracles to the other—Let us then believe on Christ; and make him “ all our salvation and all our desire”-] 2. How unreasonable is the unbelief of sinful men!

(God has laid his Son for a chief corner-stone in Sion, and declared him to be precious to himself in that view: why then should he not be si elect and precious” unto us also? Have we found a better foundation, or a surer bond of union? -Or can we produce one instance wherein any person that believed in him was finally confounded?-0 let us consider what confusion will probably seize us here, and certainly hereafter, if we continue to reject him-And let us without delay "flee for refuge to the hope set before us”-]

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el John ii. 28. and iv. 17.

1

CLXIX. THE FELICITY OF GOD'S PEOPLE.

Isai. xxvii. 5. In that day shall the Lord of Hosts be for a

crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty unto the residue of his people.

THE sublime expressions of scripture frequently raise in our minds a pleasing sensation, while yet we entertain but very

confused notions of the truths contained in them VOL. II.

Kk

- It is scarcely possible to read the words of the text without being stiuck with wonder and admiration: but we cannot enter into their full import without a careful attention to the preceding context-Samaria was the ca. pital of the ten tribes: it was situated on a high hill, and surrounded by fertile vallies, which were skirted with other hills: hence it was compared to a crown or chaplet; which, while it adorned the adjacent country, marked its pre-eminence above all the other cities of Israel-But for the pride and intemperance of its inhabitants God de. nounced his judgments against it, declaring that this btautiful cha, Ict should be “a fading flower," and this boasted fortress, a desolation-He foretold that its wealth and beauty should but excite the avidity of its enemies, who, as soon as they came against it, should prevail over it, and greedily devour it, as one would devour a deli. cious piece of fruit which he unexpectedly found hanging on a tree—Then, to mark, as strongly as possible, the contrast between them and his faithful people, he promises that He himself will be to his people a crown of glory that shall never perish, and a diadem of beauty that shall never fade

This was fulfilled in the preservation of the two tribes under Hezekiah from the forces of the Assyrians, after they had destroyed Samaria and carried captive the whole kingdom of Israel—But its full accomplishment must be sought for in the blessings which God vouchsafes to his people under the gospei dispensation—To illustrate it we must observe, that, I. In the most degenerate times God has a remnant of

faithful eople There has been no season when God has not had some faithful adherents

[In the antediluvian world all flesh had corrupted their way, and it seemed as if the very remembrance of God had beer effaced from the minds of his creatures: but yet there was one small family who maintained their stedfastness, and openly acknowledged the true God-Before God separated the Israelites for himself, the world was again reduced to a state similar to that before the deluge: yet even then there were found an Abraham, a Melchizedec, a Job, and perhaps a few

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