Imatges de pÓgina
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say, Song ii. 16,“ My beloved is mine, and I am his;" or, with Thomas, cry, "My Lord, and my God." They havo him by the surest tenor of an indissoluble union; John vi. 56, “ He that eateth my flesh," says Jesus, "and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him," A wicked man may have many poor mys, Dan. iv. 30, compare chap. ii. 47. But they cannot call God theirs; and besides, they want a thousand things more than what they have. But what want can they have who want Jesus, who is all in all ?

(2.) Christ gives them all good with himself: Rom. viii. 32, “ He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things ?" Psalm lxxxiv. 11, “ For the Lord God is a sun and shield ; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly." Having a right to himself, they may write their names upon, and claim a title to, all that are his. They are rich, seeing they are married to Jesus, the heir of all things. No sooner does the soul close with Christ, than they get this right; and though they get not all presently in hand, yet they have all in hope; a hope of which they will never be ashamed.—The words import,

4. The soul's satisfaction upon that communication. In what measure the soul opens its mouth to Christ, in that measure Christ communicates of his fulness; for this is the standing rule, “ According to thy faith, so be it unto thee.” And in what measure Christ communicates of himself to the soul, so the soul has that satisfaction. Accordingly the soul rests in Christ, and having enough in him, never goes out, as it was wont, to beg at the world's door : John iv. 14, “ Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him, shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water, springing up to everlasting life.” “It is enough,” said Jacob, “ Joseph is yet alive.” When all the cisterns are dried up, the believer has enough. He can rejoice in the Lord, and joy in the God of his salvation, Hab. iii. 17. He can say also with Paul, Phil. iv. 18, “ But I have all, and abound.” I am full; and no wonder, for the soul having Christ, has,

(1.) A fulness of merit to look to: 1 John i. 7, “The blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanseth us from all sin.” When the soul looks within itself, it sees a fulness of guilt, debt, misery, and poverty. It sees heart, lips, life, and duties, all full of sin; sins which tears of blood and rivers of oil cannot wash away. But, looking to Christ, it sees a fountain opened for sin and for uncleanness, Zech. xiii. 1. The rock struck by the rod of justice, and the waters gushing out, and following them through the wilderness, a sea to overwhelm all their guilt! Mic. vii. 19, “He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.”—The soul sees,

(2.) A fulness of spirit in Christ to take away the power of sin. He hath the seven Spirits of God, Rev. iii. 1. When they look within themselves, they see a very scanty measure of the Spirit. When they look above them to the Head, they see it there without measure poured out upon their Head, to that very end that it may go down to the skirts of his garments, even to every member of his mystical body.The soul sees,

(3.) A fulness of grace in him, lodged in him as the common storehouse of all the saints : John i. 16, " And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.” If they want wisdom, or righteousness, or sanctification, they have it in him : 1 Cor. i. 30, “ But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.” They have all in him; and seeing God treats with them no other way but as in him, they are complete in him, “ For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, who is the Head of all principality and power.”—I come now,

III. To conclude with some short improvement. And this only in a use of exhortation.

I would exhort you, then, to come to Christ with enlarged desires, that your souls may be filled. I direct you to one who can give your souls full satisfaction. Open your mouths wide, 0 communicants ! Open your mouths wide, one and all of you, make enlarged demands from Christ the Saviour.—To prevail with you in complying with this exhortation, I offer you the following motives :

Mot. 1. Yo have many times opened yonr mouths wide to the world, and your lusts, but were you to this day ever filled ? 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 towards heaven." Have you not enlarged your desires as hell? If there had been any satisfaction which you could have got out of Christ, have you not squeezed so hard as that you would certainly have pressed it out? But you have never got it, and never shall get it there. Come, then, to Christ, and try him.

Mot. 2. Has not the world and your lusts ofttimes rewarded your love with hatred? When you have been hammering for satisfaction at these things, have you not struck fire instead of water, out of these barren rocks, and lain down in sorrow? 01 if you had bestowed that strength of affection and desire on Christ, wbich you have on these things, ye had never been so rewarded.

Mor. 3. If Christ fills you not, you shall never be filled. Many have sucked at these breasts which you are on, but never one came speed; as little shall you; Eccl. ii. 12, " And I turned myself to behold wisdom, and madness, and folly : for what can the man do that cometh after the king ? even that which has been already done ?" There was a sign of emptiness hung out at the creature's door in paradise, the tree of knowledge of good and evil. And has that vanity which sin subjected them to since filled up that emptiness? No, no. Ah! you shall as soon grasp your arms full of shadows and dreams, as fill your souls without Christ.

Mot. 4. Consider that Christ can and will fill your souls, if you will only open your mouths wide, and receive him.-For consider,

(1.) That all fulness is in him : Col. i. 19, “For it hath pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell.” He is the storehouse of all fulness : it dwells in him, it can never be missed there. The fulness of the Godhea, dwelleth in him bodily, Col. ii. 9. Can there be ever any want with him ? - Consider,

(2.) That the fulness that is in him is to be communicated by him: John i. 16, “ And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace." It is lodged there to be communicated from him to poor souls : Zech. xiii. 1,“ In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness." The fulness of Christ is not the fulness of a vessel, but of a fountain that casts forth its waters, and yet hath still enough.-Consider,

(3.) That it belongs to him, and to him alone, to distribute that fulness : John v. 22, “ For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.” He is the great steward of the fulness of God. The keys hang at his girdle. Never any soul was filled, but whom he filled. The Father directs the hungry soul to his Son: Matth. xvii. 5, “ This,” says he, “is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased : hear ye bim.” The Spirit points you to Christ. And Christ is saying to you what Joseph said to his Father and brethren : Gen. xlv. 9–11, “ Haste you, and go up to my father, and say unto him, Thus saith thy son Joseph, God hath made me lord of all Egypt; come down unto me, tarry not. And thou shalt dwell in the land of Goshen, and thou shalt be near unto me, thou and thy children, and thy flocks, and thy herds, and all that thou hast. And there will I nourish thee, (for yet there are five years of famine), lest thou, and thy household, and all that thou hast, come to poverty.”—Consider,

(4.) That you have his word for it, that he will do it : Isa. lv. 1, “ Ho every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that VOL. IX.

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hath no money, come ye, buy and eat, yea, come, buy wine and milk, without money, and without price.” John vi. 37, “ All that the Father hath given me, shall come unto me, and him that cometh unto me, I will in nowise cast out." And you have the testimony of them who have gone before you: Luke i. 52, 53, “ He has exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things.”

Here, however, there may be proposed this objection. Is it possible for a person to find satisfaction in such a course, turning his back on the world and its lusts? Answ. Come and see. The saints have found and do find satisfaction, and this such as has made ihem despise the smiles and frown of the world : Psalm iv. 7, “ Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time when their corn and their wine increased : Heb. xi. 24–26, “ By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. Esteeming the reproaches of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt : for he had respect unto the recompense of reward.” Is there any perfection or sweetness in the creature but what comes from God ? does not the whole creation shine with borrowed light? If so, then God must be more sweet, infinitely more sweet, than all the creatures, even if combined together. And does not the natural constitution of the soul call for the enjoyment of an infinite good ? It must then be the greatest reality.

Still, however, some may press this objection, But will he fill me who am full of sin ? Answ. Christ fills freely, as freely as the rain falls, and the sun shines, without hire, and his fulness will wear out the fulness of sin : Isa. i. 18,“ Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord : though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow: though they be red as crimson, they shall be as wool." Amen,

THE NATURE AND SOURCE OF THE SPIRITUAL LIFE*

SERMON XLIV.

John yi, 57,
He that cateth me, even he shall live by me.

You have been eating the bread of the Lord: who those are who have done this may be already known ; happy are those who

Delivered at Wamphray, Monday, July 2, 1711, immediately after the dispeo:ation of the Lord's supper.

have ate that bread which is the Lord; who these are must be discovered by the effetts. Persons will readily look like tireir meat: they who have ate Christ will look like Christ, seeing this food has a transforming virtue, there will be such a difference betwixt them and others as that mentioned in Dan. i. 15, “ Their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king's meat.” Living bread will make living lively souls : “ He that eateth me, even he shall live by me.”In which words we have,

1. The character and privilege of a believer : “He shall live,” viz. the life of God, from which others are alienated. To his natural life, common with others, by which he is distinguished from things without life, he shall have another of a more sublime nature, by which he shall rise superior to other men who are dead in sin, while they live a natural life : he shall live spiritually and eternally.

2. We have the spring from whence the believer derives this supernatural life of his, in its beginning, progress, and continuation. It is not from himself, he is but a branch, not a root; it is not immediately from God, as Adam's, but from the Mediator, Jesus Christ. The justice and holiness of God refused an intermediate union with the sinful creature, yet there could be no life but as proceeding from God, the prime fountain of all, and there could be no communication of this life without union with him; wherefore it pleased God to unite the human nature to the divine in the person of his Son, and so to make him the Mediator, the mean of the sinner's union and communion with the Father; that he deriving life from his Father, they might again derive it from him. This is the import of the former part of the verse, in which Christ shews how he comes to be living bread. 1. He is fitted for giving life, seeing he lives by the Father, deriving life from the Fountain of life. 2. There is a divine appointment of him by the Father, by which he was ordained and set apart to be life-giving bread to his people.

3. We have the way how this life is derived from Christ to the soul, and this is by eating him, that is, hy faith. It cannot be understood of a corporeal eating, for this eating would not give life : John vi. 63, “It is the Spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing." Our Lord himself determines it to be believing, ver. 35, “ He that cometh to me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” The word here used properly signifies a keen appetite, being the same as in Matth. xxiv. 35, and may denote unto us that greedy appetite which the believer has after Christ, his soul-food, and that there is no hazard of excess

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