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most desirable things in it are the name of nothing : Prov. xxiii. 5, “ Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not ? for riches certainly make themselves wings, they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.” The terrible things of it are but frightful names, 2 Cor. vi. 9, 10; but here is a name " that is above every name,” Phil. ii. 9. I shall mention only three instances.-His name is,
(1.) Jesus, a Saviour : Matth. i. 21, “ His name shall be called Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins.” How sweet must this name be to a sensible lost sinner! in the world we hear of Adam the destroyer, who ruined himself and all his posterity; of sinners, his children, self-destroyers, Hos. xiii. 9; of Abaddon, the
; great destroyer, who goes about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. But to all these we may comfortably oppose Jesus the Saviour ; stronger than Adam, saving those that he destroyed ; stronger than sinners, helping those that have destroyed themselves; stronger than Satan, whom he spoils of his prey : Isa. xlix. 25, “ Thus saith the Lord, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered; for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children.”—His name is,
(2.) Messiah, or Christ, the anointed of the Father, pointing at his three offices. For under the Old Testament, prophets, priests, and kings were anointed ; it signified their call to the office : so that in this name we see him in all his offices, called to the Mediatory office by the Father, and fully furnished for it; and so there is enough in him for all our needs, to be drawn forth by faith in his
And we have it in Greek, as well as in Hebrew, shewing that the Gentiles, as well as the Jews have access to him : John i. 41, “ We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ."--His name is,
(3.) Immanuel, God with us, Matth. i. 23. If we press this name by faith, the såp of it will come forth to the believer in three things. -There is,
1st, God in our nature : John i. 14, “ And the word was made flesh.” God made man; Satan having withdrawn man from his allegiance, the whole human nature was corrupted, and set at ennity with God. But, behold in Christ the divine and human natures united, heaveu and earth joined together in him, uuder the shade of which sinners may, with comfort and confidence, approach to God. There is,
2dly, God reconciled to us in Christ : John i. 14, “ And dwelt among us ;" (Gr. tabernacled.) Christ is the tabernacle of meeting, wherein God and sinners meet in peace : Rev. xxi. 3, “ Behold, the
tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God." There the weapons fall out of the hand of justice, and there the arms of mercy embrace the sinner. When the sinner comes there, he is out of the dark and black region, where death, wrath, and the curse reign; he comes into a place of light, the light of the Lord's countenance, that shines on sinners in the face of Jesus, our Immanuel. O what a blessed shade is here ! -There is,
3dly, God on our side: Psalm xlvi. 7, “ The Lord of hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge.” Under this shade, believers may bid defiance to all their enemies, the united powers of earth and hell : Rom. viii. 31, “ If God be for us, who can be against us." This is the best shade the Lord's people can betake themselves to in a time of confusion and danger. Before the wars of Canaan began, the Lord brought Joshua under it, Josh. v. 13, 14. And if people could be got awakened out of their sleep upon these pillows which their enemies have laid under their heads, the directing them to this shadow by the word would be both reckoned sweet and seasonable, as Exod. ix. 20. This was the shadow Isaiah directed the people to, when the news came that the malignant Ephraimites, and the idolatrous Syrians, were confederated to war against Judah, and to set up a king of their own stamp over Judah : Isa. vii. 2–6, “ And it was told the house of David, saying, Syria is confederate with Ephraim; and his heart was moved, and the hearts of his people, as the trees of the wood are moved with the wind. Then said the Lord unto Isaiah, Go forth now to meet Ahaz, thou, and Shear-jashub thy son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller's field, and say unto him, take heed, and be quiet, fear not, neither be faint-hearted, for the two tails of these smoking firebrands, for the fierce anger of Rezin with Syria, and of the Son of Remaliah. Because Syria, Ephraim, and the Son of Remaliah, have taken evil counsel against thee, saying let us go up against Judah, and vex it, and let us make a breach therein for us, and set a king in the midst of it, even the son of Tabeal.” The prophet labours to draw them to this shadow, as a complete defence against the scorching heat of these two smoking firebrands; for he says, Isa. viii.
“ Take counsel together, and it shall come to nought, speak the word, and it shall not stand, for God is with us,” (Heb. Immanuel is with us.)
2. His natures afford a broad shade to the traveller in the weary land; he is both God and man. Jesus, he is man, and as such he has a sympathy, as one that has had experience of the troubles
his people meet with in the weary land : Heb. iv. 15, “ For we have not an high priest, which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” As he is God, he is able to give them all protection in all cases and all conditions. However low they be, his power, being infinite, is able to raise them up. So that, however unequally they be matched with devils and men, they may say, as 2 Kings vi. 16, “Fear not, for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.” When Christ sent out his apostles into the world, and knew that they would be opposed by the authority of the great ones, by the power, the learning, the prejudice, and superstitions of the world, over against all these he sets these emphatio words, “ Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world,” Matth. xxviii. 20.
3. His offices are a shade to the traveller in a weary land. These are suited to all the cases his people can possibly be in, in the weary land.
He is a Prophet, to teach them, to lead and guide them: Isa. lv. 4, "Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a Leader and Commander to the people." If darkness arise, he is light to them that sit in darkness. There is no case so perplexed, but he can resolve it; and faith can begin where sight ends; and his direction will ever be ready to his own in the time of need: It shall be given them in that hour, what they shall speak,” Matth. x. 19.
He is a Priest to purge away sin, and manage his people's cause in the court of heaven. If guilt sting the conscience, and make a sick soul, his blood removes the sting : it purges the conscience from dead works, Heb. ix. 14: it heals all their wounds : Isa. xxxiii. 24, “ And the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick : the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity.” If they have a petition to present before the Lord, while Jesus lives, they know of a .proper hand in the court of heaven, into which they can put it. For he makes intercession for us; he is our Advocate with the Fatber. This is no small comfort in the weary land.
He is a King, to protect and defend them, to conquer and restrain all his and their enemies. If Satan be too strong and subtle for them, yet Jesus is stronger than he, and can outwit him, and even outshoot him in his own bow. His grace is sufficient against the greatest temptations. If the world, the men or things of the world, be too hard for them, Jesus has overcome both. And though they may be ready to cry out for fear of these, that one day they will perish by their hands, yet their great Captain being on their head they shall surely come off victorious at last, saying, “ Thanks be to
God, who giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
4. His purchase affords shelter in the weary land. The price he paid was his own precious blood; the purchase then must needs be great, seeing the price was of infinite value. He has purchased for his people all that is necessary to make them happy. What Adam lost, Christ has purchased again, and that with advantage ; so that all their losses are made up in him. Would you have the inventory of Christ's purchase ? you have it, 1 Cor. iii. 22,-“ Whether Paul or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come, all are yours.” The best things for their enjoyment in time or through eternity. The worst things, through him, work for your good. What a refreshing shade, then, is this in the worst of times !
5. His relations afford shelter in a weary land. He stands in many near relations to his people: he is the foundation on which they are built, and therefore, as the house built on the rock stands unshaken, so he will support them under all pressures. He is their Father, and will allow them their provision, he will afford them protection, an inheritance, and every thing that children may expect from a father. He is their Husband, and therefore will be their defence : yea, their Head, and therefore he will guide them, and every way tenderly care for them, as the head does for the several members of the body.
6. His covenant and promises afford shelter in a weary land. The covenant is offensive and defensive, therefore the believer has common friends and enemies with the Lord bimself: Zech. ii. 8. He that toucheth his people toucheth the apple of his eye. Hence, said Jesus, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me ?" Who would not venture to sea in that ship in which Christ himself, his interest, and his glory, are embarked ; for though the ship in that case be beset with waves, it will not sink. Cæsar, when embarking on board a ship to pursue his enemy, to encourage the pilot, who was afraid of the storm, cried out, You have Cæsar and his fortune embarked with
you. How much more may the Christian not be afraid in the greatest storm, when Christ, his interest, and his honour, are with him. There are promises in the covenant suited to every case. The Lord has secured to his people protection and provision in the worst of times : “He shall dwell on high, his place of defence shall be the munition of rocks; bread shall be given him, his water shall be sure."
He has secured them against apostacy : John X. 29, “ No man (says he) shall pluck them out of my Father's hand.” He has promised strength to the weak and fearful, Isa. xl. 29—31 ;
he hath promised his presence to be with them for ever, Heb. xiii.
It remains that, as was proposed,
1. That it is a black mark of a soul, that has no more to look for as a portion but the world; when they take so well with the world's entertainment, that they never seek after Christ. The world is not the
weary land to them, and so they care not for Christ. Are there not many who would desire no better portion than the world, if they could get it kept? They could well renounce their pretensions to Canaan, if they could get their tents to stand always on this side Jordan : they would never desire a better heaven than their lordships, their farms, or what else they can work for with their own hands. While these things prosper with them, they have nothing to make the world a weary land to them ; the country's disease never wearies them; and if they be crossed in one worldly thing, they do not go to Christ to get comfort under it, but to some other worldly thing. This speaks, that they are at home in the world, and are not travelling towards Zion. Others may be pilgrims in it, but they are not; they are just where they would be, and have no other choice, Psalm iv. 6. It shews also that they would never look near Cbrist, if death did not make sure of their being turned out of the earth. They have no love to Christ for himself, they could fend well enough without him, if he would but let them alone in the world.
2. See here the mystery of the Christian life. Why do true Christians so condemn the world ? It is a weary land to all such. What keeps them all under the tribulation of the world, while others faint, so that they have had a joy in tribulation, took joyfully the spoiling of their goods, yea, and even death itself? Why, under the shadow of the great Rock, they got meat to eat the world knew not of.
3. See the transcendent excellence of Christ. What a precious one must he be in whom there is enough to balance all the miseries of the weary land! There are some of these that nothing under the sun can balance; what avails all the riches and honours under