Imatges de pÓgina

inconceivable glory which mortals cannot make words of.-Consider,

(2.) The act," they saw." This seeing imports something more than in ver. 10, for it is evident that the first part of the verse relates to that seeing, ver. 10. And so the sense requires something more to be in this. Accordingly, they are different words in the original; this here signifies to contemplate and fixedly behold; from it our word gaze seems to be derived. It might be read, "They beheld God;" importing, not a transient glance, but a fixed view: John i. 14, " And the word was made flesh, and dwelt among us; and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth;" which is still more admirable condescension, and accordingly it is emphatically expressed.

Now, consider this as following upon the solemn transaction of the covenant made by sacrifice.-It holds out to us, (1.) That the great end of the covenant, next to the divine glory, is the happiness of the covenanters in seeing and enjoying God. There it is completed. And beyond this the creature cannot go.-(2.) That not the sight of an absolute God, but of a God in Christ, is the covenanters happiness. None can see God in mercy but they, for there is no other way but that of the covenant; and their happy sight is no thing other than a sight of God in Christ. In Christ, all the lines of our hope meet for time and eternity. Observe,

2. A blessed feast of which they were partakers: “They did eat and drink."-Here consider,

(1.) What they did, “they did eat and drink" upon the mount. They feasted upon the remains of the sacrifices of the peace-offerings, ver. 5. And this in token of their hearty satisfaction with the covenant now made, their ready acceptance of the benefits of it, and their communion with God in pursuance of it. Thus the believers feeding on Christ and gospel-dainties is expressed in scripture: Psalm xxii. 25, 26, "My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation; I will pay my vows before them that fear him; the meek shall eat, and be satisfied." Thus they were admitted to a holy familiarity with God, to eat and drink in his presence: "They saw him, and they did eat and drink."-Consider,

(2.) How they did it, with holy joy and comfort. This is implied in the connection, or opposition betwixt the parts of the text. They were so far from being slain with the sight, that they were not faithlessly frightened at it; but with a holy composure of spirit, they did eat and drink. What they saw was not like a cloudy sky to damp them, but as a clear one to refresh thein. Holy reverence is necessary, but faithless fears in solemn approaches to God, are displeasing to him, and hurtful to our own souls, for they hinder us

from eating. Happy they who can believe and fear.-From this subject, we may take the following DOCTRINES, viz.

DOCTRINE I. That a sight of God in Christ, and a holy familiarity with him, with all safety, is the privilege of God's covenant-people, especially in these solemn approaches to which he calls them.

II. That it is a wonder of grace that sinful creatures, in their solemn approaches to God, see God, and are familiar with him, and yet come off safe.

We begin with

DOCTRINE I. That a sight of God in Christ, and a holy familiarity with him, with all safety, is the privilege of God's covenant-people, especially in these solemn approaches to which he calls them.

In handling this doctrine, we shall,

I. Shew what is that sight of God in Christ, which is the privilege of his people in their solemn approaches to him.

II. What is that holy familiarity which is their privilege in their solemn approaches to him. And then,

III. Improve the subject.

We are then,

I. To show what is that sight of God in Christ, which is the privilege of his people in their solemn approaches to him.-There is a twofold solemn approach of God's people to him.-There is a right approach,

1. When God calls them up to the mount of myrrh, where our Lord abides till the day break, Song iv. 6; when he calls them to come up to the hill of God in Immanuel's land, where stands the King's palace, namely heaven. This call comes to the believing soul at death. Then, as Rev. iv. 1, there is a door opened in heaven to the heaven-born soul, which is now, as it were, wrestling in a mire of corrupt flesh and blood in the body, and the voice is heard, Come up hither. This will be a solemn approach when the soul of the meanest believer shall go up thither, attended with a company of holy angels, and, like Lazarus, be carried by them into Abraham's bosom, Luke xvi. 22.-It will come to both souls and bodies of believers at the last day: Psalm 1. 5, "Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice." And then God's covenant-people, who dwell in the dust, shall awake from their sleep, come out of the lowly darksome house of the grave, and enter into the King's palace, Psalm lxv.-Then they shall see God in Christ to the completing their happiness for ever. Then they shall be like him, for they shall see him as he is. 1 John iii. 2. We know little now of this sight in glory, 1 Cor. ii, 9; but it vastly transcends all sights got of him here.-There it

will be immediate, they shall see him face to face, 1 Cor. xiii. 12.— Perfectly transforming, 1 John i. 2.-Everlasting, without interruption, without intermission. They shall be ever with the Lord. But on this we insist not. There is a right approach,

2. When God calls them to come up to the mount of ordinances, to meet him at the sacred feast, as the nobles of Israel in the text, and as we at this time are called, to feast on the great sacrifice in the sacrament. This is a solemn approach. Now, what is the sight of God in Christ which is the privilege here? As to this we ob


(1.) That it is a believing sight of God in their nature, John i. 14, (above). The nobles saw the Son of God in human shape, with their bodily eyes. But the great design of it was to shew the privilege of the saints by faith. O glorious sight! to see God in our nature, the divine nature, in the person of the Son, united to our nature? O high privilege! to sit at his table, and under the teaching of his Spirit, to spell the glorious name Immanuel, God with us. 0 the sweetness of every letter and syllable! God the fountain of all holiness and happiness, we, the sink of all sin and misery: yet God with us. The personal union, the foundation of the mystical union; and so an holy God and sinful creatures are united through Christ. We observe,

(2.) That it is a sight of this God in the place of his special residence; on the mount to which they were invited, where he stood, as it were, on a pavement of sapphire. It is their privilege to see him on the mount of ordinances, at his table, the glorious place of his feet, Isa, xxv. 6, 7. O the high privilege of the saints! We were all born under a sentence of death, to see the Lord no more in the land of the living, and (as in Haman's case, Esth. vii. 8.) as the word goes out of the King's mouth, our face is covered. Some live all their days in this case, come to communion-tables, and go away in it. But the believer laying hold on the covenant, Christ draws off the face-covering, and then, with open face beholding, as in a glass, the glory of the Lord, they are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. They see the bread, the Lord.

(3) It is a sight of the glory of the place of his feet, ver. 10. It is a promise relating to gospel-days: Isa. lx. 13, "The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir-tree, the pine-tree, and the box together, to beautify the face of my sanctuary; and I will make the place of my feet glorious." The ark in the temple, and gospel-ordinances in the gospel-church. It is their privilege to see a glory there, where the world see none; to see a majesty in the sacrament, VOL. X.


a spiritual glory and heavenly lustre in the bread and wine at the Lord's table, as sacred symbols of the body and blood of Christ, 1 Cor. xi. 29. This glory and majesty in the ordinances, must be discerned by faith; and because it is beyond the stretch of the natural eye, therefore carnal wisdom in Rome, and the church of England, has gone about to supply its place with a great deal of external pomp, that may work upon the senses, defacing the simplicity of the institution. But after all, to a spiritual discerner, the external glory is as far below the spiritual glory, as artificial painting would in the eyes of the nobles have been below the natural clearness of the body of heaven.

(4.) It is a sight of God as reconciled in Christ. They saw God, and did eat and drink as in the house of their friend. This is the sight to be seen in the gospel-glass, 2 Cor. v. 18-20. A refreshful sight to a soul pained with the sting of guilt. Christ has died, and his blood has quenched the fire of God's wrath against the sinner; so that when on the mount he looks to the Lord, he sees as it were a clear sky under his feet: a sure token, that the storm is blown over, that there is peace from heaven, and an offended God is reconciled to us through his own Son.

(5) It is a sight of God as their God. They saw the God of Israel. Here lay the surpassing sweetness of their sight. Such a sight got Thomas, when his faith got up above his unbelief: John xx. 28, "My Lord, and my God." And for this sight is the sacrament especially appointed, that the child of God may say, "I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me," Gal. ii. 20. The nature of the ordinance leads to it, which brings the word preached in the general to every believing communicant in particular: "This is my body broken for you."

Lastly, It is a sight of transcendent glory in him. Nothing is described but what was under his feet. For, search the universe, there is no person, no thing like him. Even what was under his feet, is described to have been a sapphire stone. But the best things on earth are not sufficient to set forth the glory even of this, and therefore it is added, " as if it were the body of heaven in his clearness." They who see him, see that of which they can never see the like. We are now,

II. To shew what is that holy familiarity which is the privilege of God's people in their solemn approaches to him.-It is a believing, holy, humble freedom before their Lord! Eph. iii. 12, "In whom we have boldness and access, with confidence, by the faith of him." In the sight before us, the sense of their own unworthiness, and a sight of his glory, did not mar their faith, nor put them in an

unbelieving frame. They did eat and drink; neither did the familiarity of faith mar their holy fear, or make them forget their distance: compare v. 1, where they were commanded to worship afar off, which no doubt they did. I will mention some instances of familiarity allowed them,

1. They were allowed to come forward to God, when others must stand back, Isa. Ivi. 6, 7; when others must abide at the foot of the hill, (and it is at their peril if they venture forward), believers may come up to the mount, and are welcome. They have a token from the Master himself: Song v. 1, "Eat, O friends! drink, yea drink abundantly, O beloved!"

2. They were allowed to feast on the sacrifice set before them. Christ the sacrifice typically slain, and believers are allowed to feast on this sacrifice, to eat his flesh and drink his blood; to make a believing application of a whole Christ to their own souls for their spiritual nourishment: "Take, eat, this is my body, broken for you." You know what it is to feed your eyes on some pleasant object that is your own. The covetous man can feed his eyes on his bags of money. So believers are allowed to feed their eyes on Christ; beholding, and delighting in Christ; solacing themselves with his sweetness, and the sweetness of every part of the mystery of Christ.

3. They were allowed to converse with God freely, as one at the table of his friend. The peace being made by accepting of the covenant, the nobles were, and all believers are, set down to the feast in token of their communion with him: 1 John i. 3, " And truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ." The believer has liberty to tell the Lord all his mind, Eph. iii. 12, (quoted above); to unbosom himself to a gracious God, and point particularly at what he would have, what he would be quit of. "What is thy petition?" says the King at the feast.

4. They were allowed to be in his secrets, to see what others have no access to. They saw God. Believers are allowed to see the glory of his person, John i. 14, (above.) The glory of his covenant: Psalm XXV. 14, "The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him, and he will shew them his covenant."-The glory of his redeeming, his everlasting love to them: Jer. xxxi. 3, "I have loved thee with an everlasting love."-The hidden glory of his word; Luke xxiv. 32, "And they said one to another, Did not our hearts burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?" Hence,

Lastly, They were allowed to lay all their wants on him. When believers come to the mount, in his light they see light clearly, and at his table they are fed. Christ says to his guests, as Judges xix.

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