« AnteriorContinua »
that the “scales may fall from your eyes;" and that, being “ brought from darkness unto light, you may be turned from the power of Satan unto God!") 2. To those who are come to God's holy mountain
[You find that the promises of the Gospel have not disappointed you. If you are not "satisfied with the plenteousness of God's house,” it is not because the provisions are withheld from you, but because you want a better appetite for them. “ Be not straitened in yourselves;" and be sure you never shall be straitened in your God: “
open your mouth wide, and he will fill it." Above all things remember to feed continually on “the body and blood of your beloved Lord; for his flesh is meat indeed, and his blood is drink indeed!.” And soon you shall be called to the banquet above, where
your Lord shall gird himself and come forth to serve you." Then shall these promises receive their full accomplishment; and you shall possess that “fulness of joy which is at God's right hand for evermore."]
| John vi. 54, 55.
DCCCXCIII. CHRIST'S ADVENT A GROUND OF JOY. Isai. xxv. 9. It shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God;
we have waited for him, and he will save us : this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.
IF the benefits of Christianity were duly estimated by us, there would be no bounds to our attachment to it, or our delight in it. What an assemblage of images have we in the verses immediately preceding my text, to display the excellence of our holy religion! In truth, the human mind is scarcely capable of combining such a variety of ideas as are here presented to us, so as to reduce them to one common focus, and at one view to comprehend them all. But the common result of all will doubtless be that which is declared in my text. The whole Church of God, and every individual member of it, will be impressed alike with wonder and admiration at a discovery of our redeeming God, and will exclaim, “ This is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him; we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation !”
Let us, then, consider this,
The time spoken of in Scripture as “ that day" sometimes refers to one period, and sometimes to another; and frequently comprehends several distinct periods, in which the things predicted shall receive a partial and progressive accomplishment. In the passage before us, the prophet may be considered as comprehending in his view, 1. The apostolic age
[For many hundred years had the Jews been waiting for the Messiah's advent: and at that precise time, when Jesus came, were they “ expecting him, as the consolation of Israel,” and “ looking for redemption in Jerusalem.” And no sooner was he born into the world, than an angel appeared to certain shepherds, to announce his advent; saying, “Behold, we bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people: for unto you is born, this day, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lorda." As for the joy which these tidings excited, we may judge of it, not only from the exultation of the shepherds, but from the expressions of that aged saint, who, on taking the infant Saviour in his arms, exclaimed, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation !") 2. The millennial period
[The Church is now expecting a second advent of our Lord, when he shall take to him his great power, and reign over the face of the whole earth. We verily believe that the time is near at hand, when “ all kings shall bow down before him, and all nations shall serve him," and “ all the kingdoms of the world become his undivided empire.” And oh! what joy will his advent diffuse throughout the whole intelligent creation, both of Jews and Gentiles! Of that time the Prophet Isaiah speaks, when he says, “ Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her: for thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream. And when ye see this, your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall flourish like a herb.” And in the book of Revelation, the same event is thus announced : “ I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings; saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready."
a Luke ii. 10, 11.
b Luke ii. 25—30.
c Isai. lxvi. 10–14.
But there will be yet a further accomplishment of our text at,] 3. The day of judgment
[All that are in the graves are waiting for the Saviour's advent: and when we consign any saint to the silent tomb, we do it in an assured expectation that, at the appointed hour, he shall rise again to “meet the Lord in the air.” The very spirits that are before the throne of God are also waiting for that blessed day, when, by their re-union with the body, their bliss shall be complete, and their felicity entire. To that period we may conceive the Apostle refers, when he says, “The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our bodye.” At all events, we are sure that it is that period which “ the grace of God
teaches us to be “ looking for, even for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ?." How will every saint, even from Adam to that very hour, then say, “Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him ; this is the Lord; we have waited for him: we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation!” Then, indeed, will “ death be swallowed up in victory, and all tears be wiped from off all faces," and the Saviour's advent be celebrated in this universal song.]
But we need not wait for any distant seasons; for even now may our text be taken, II. As the language of every individual believer
Yes, now, at this present moment, does the believer thus express himself, 1. In the recollection of what is past
[Long has he waited upon God, that he might obtain mercy to his soul. To “win Christ, and be found in him," has been the supreme object of his desire. For this he has wept, and prayed, and laboured, if by any means he might obtain it. And now, at last, Christ has revealed himself to him, as an able and all-sufficient Saviour. Now, then, with
d Rev. xix. 6, 7. f Tit, ii. 13.
e Rom. viii. 22, 23. 8 ver. 7, 8.
grateful surprise, he exclaims, 'Lo, this is my God, for whom I have waited and prayed! this is my Lord, whom alone, and above all things, I have desired to behold. I once thought the time long; but now I regret not the troubles which I endured whilst seeking after him: had they been ten times as pungent, or had I endured them ten times as long, I should not now repine: one view of him as reconciled to me, and one hour spent in communion with him, is sufficient to repay me for a whole life of sorrow and suspense.' I will appeal to all, whether
any man, who can say, “He hath taken me out of the horrible pit, and out of the miry clay," does not find occasion also to add, “He hath put a new song into my mouth, even thanksgiving to our Godh”?] 2. In the anticipation of what is yet future
[Doubtless he looks forward to many conflicts with sin and Satan: he sees a host of enemies arrayed against him, enemies with whom he would be utterly unable to cope : but he knows in whom he has believed ; and, in dependence on the Saviour, he defies every adversary, saying, “ In the Lord put I my trust: I will not fear what either men or devils can do against mei.” In answer to the remonstrances of a guilty conscience, he replies, “ My Lord will save me:" and, if the number or power of his enemies be urged against him, he answers with confidence, “ This Saviour is my God: and if He be for me, who can be against me?” This is He for whom I have waited; and He will save me.
• In his name I set up my banners;" and in reliance upon Him, I know that no enemy shall prevail against me, or ever pluck me out of his hands.” I give loose therefore to joy: yea, " I will be glad, and rejoice in his salvation k;” and though I“ see my Saviour no otherwise than by faith, I will rejoice in him with joy unspeakable and full of glory."] APPLICATION
What now shall I say, to commend this Saviour to you ? 1. Let your expectations from him be enlarged
[It is not possible for you to expect too much. If your sins were numerous as the sands upon the sea-shore,
you might expect that he would " blot them all out as a morning cloud,"
"cast them behind him into the depths of the sea. If he who has undertaken to save you be “God," what have you to fear? And if he have promised to be “a God unto you," it is not possible that you should ever want. You may stretch your
h Ps. xl. 1-3.
i Ps. xxvii. 1.
k Ps. xx, 5.
requests to the utmost bounds of human language to express, or of human ingenuity to conceive, and they shall fall infinitely short of what you shall surely realize, if he himself be yours. “ All things are yours, if ye be Christ's!."] 2. Let your joy in him abound
(Doubtless, whilst you are in the body, you will have more or less cause for sorrow. But methinks, if you were out of the body, you could scarcely have more ground for joy. Only reflect on him who has undertaken to save you, or on the salvation which he has engaged to bestow upon you; and your whole life will be one continued scene of joyful exultation and of holy triumph. It will be, in short, a very heaven upon earth.]
1 Adopt the language of David, Ps. lxii. 5—8.
TRUST IN GOD RECOMMENDED. Isai. xxvi. 3, 4. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose
mind is stayed on thee; because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.
IT was designed of God that under the Gospel dispensation his people should enjoy a state of very exalted happiness. The Jews had a spirit of bondage, as servants: we have a spirit of adoption, as sons. In conformity with this idea, the prophet, in the preceding chapter, speaks of the Lord as spreading a rich luxurious feast for all nationsa; and, in the chapter before us, records “A song which should be sung” by all the guests. And well indeed may they sing, who are enabled to make such an appeal to God, as that which we have just read: well may they sing, who have the Lord JEHOVAH himself engaged to keep them in perfect peace.
May our hearts be tuned to join in this Divine anthem,while we, I. Shew what blessedness God will confer on his be
lieving people, It is said by the voice of inspiration; “ The faithful man shall abound with blessings :” and again, “ God will bless his people with peace.” a Isai. xxv. 6.
b ver. 1. Prov. xxviii. 20. d Ps. xxix. 11.