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3. A sufficient help
[However “needy and distressed” we be, God is able to support and deliver us- -Though we be
worms, yet will he enable us to thresh the mountains”t-And though earth and hell conspire against us, yet will he make us more than conquerors” –Our weakness is no ground of discouragement; for “ his strength shall be perfected in our weakness”u_He has undertaken for us, and he will perform his engagements: and, sooner than not make us triumph over our enemies, he would cause “the very stars in their courses to fight for us, earth to open and swallow up our adversaries-Never has a child of God yet failed for want of his effectual aid; nor shall any one to all eternity: sooner shall heaven and earth pass away than “one of his little ones shall perish”—]
We may IMPROVE this subject by observing
1. How ignorant of God must they be, who are ignorant of themselves!
[To know God aright, we must know him experimentally as an ever present and almighty agent interesting himself in the concerns of his people-We must know his readiness to answer their prayers, together with his wisdom and love, his power and faithfulness in supplying them with seasonable and sufficient aid-But what acquaintance can they have with these things, who are strangers to their own guilt and helplessness? a mere speculative knowledge indeed they may possess (for 'even the devils are not destitute of that) but while they think themselves rich and increased in goods, they are blinded by Satan, and need to "apply to Christ for eye-salve that they may see:"2 yea, because they say, we see, therefore their sin remainetha]
2. What reason have we to be thankful for the gospel of Christ!
[By the creation, we may discern the power, and, by the law, the holiness of God; but it is by the gospel alone that we can behold his love and mercy: it is the gospel only that reveals his glory, as it is seen in the face of Jesus Christ-It is in Christ alone that he is the “ Father of the fatherless, the Husband of the widow,” and “ Comforter of all them that are cast down”b—Let then this gospel be precious to us; let us hear his voice speaking to us in it;o and let it lead us to a more intimate acquaintance with our God and Saviour-]
t Isai. xli. 14, 15. Deut. xxxiii. 25. u 2 Cor xii. 9. Judg. y. 20.
y Matt. xviii. 14. z Rev. jii. 17, 18. a John ix. 41. b Isai. xxxii. 2. “ A man," &c. that is, Christ. c Matt. xi. 28.
3. What consolation is provided for us under all afflictions!
[Affliction doubtless is not, at the present, joyous, but grievous: but what blessed fruits does it often bring forth! How little would any of us have known of God, if we had not been visited with temporal or spiritual troubles! how little conception could we have formed of his
if we had not seen their operation in the day of adversity - Is there a godly person in the universe who must not say, It is good for me to have been afflicted!- Let then the troubled or tempted saint comfort himself with the thought, that God is a sure refuge, and that his trials are only the necessary discipline to prepare him for a richer discovery of the divine perfections, and a sweeter sense of the divine lover So will“ patience have its perfect work; and we shall be perfect and entire, lacking nothing"*_]
* If this were the subject of a Charity Sermon, we might in the place of these inferences substitute an exhortation to admire, to irust in, and to imitate our God; and, under the last branch of the exhortation, we might state the particular circumstances that called for relief, and urge those who have experienced blessings from God to impart them to others with a liberal hand.
CLXXVII. SECURITY AND COMFORT IN CHRIST. Isai. xxxii. 2. A man shall be as an hiding-place from the wind,
and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.
THERE is no greater blessing to a nation than a wellordered government–The due administration of justice, together with the protection of our person and property, afford to any people a just ground of joy and thankfulness Such a government did God promise to the Jews under Hezekiah-But a greater than Hezekiah is here – Under the figure of an earthly monarch, Christ is promised-And the text informs us 1. What blessings we enjoy in and through Christ
The metaphors, though four in number, suggest but two ideas 1. Security
[We have very little conception of winds and tempests in this climate-But the wind that rent the mountains before Elijah,a
a and the tempest that desolated the land of Egypt, may serve to shew us how welcome a secure place must be to one who is exposed to such formidable dangers-Yet no storms on earth can fully paint to us the dangers to which we are exposed by reason of sin'But the Lord Jesus Christ affords us perfect security from them all-In him we have a Goshen where no hail can come, a mountain which the wind can never affectThe billows, which shall overwhelm the whole creation besides, shall not be able to destroy us-In Christ we have an ark that can never perish--) 2. Comfort
(We, in this quarter of the globe, know as little of excessive drought and heat, as of overwhelming storms and tempests—But the state of the Israelites in the wilderness, and of Jonah at Ninevehe may aid our conceptions“How delightful was the gourd to him, and how reviving to them were the streams that gushed from the rock!-And does not a soul oppressed with sin or persecution, or fainting with desire after righteousness, experience as much distress as they?-Behold then the preciousness of Christ!-He will be not only as a shade or as water to the weary and thirsting soul, but as • rivers of water” that can never be exhausted, and a 16 shadow of a great rock” through which the beams of the sun can never penetrate~ Many can attest his excellency in these respects---Nor shall any who seek refuge in him be ever disappointed of their hopem]
But as these things are spoken of Christ as "a man,” it will be proper to shew II. How we enjoy them in him as “ a man”
Christ is truly and properly God—But he is God manifest in the fiesh---
And it is to him as incarnate that we stand indebted for these blessings 1. As man, he died for our sins
[To his atonement we owe all our hopes of salvation-If he had not expiated our guilt we could never have obtained mercy-If he had not purchased for us the gift of the Holy Ghost, we never could have mortified our inward corruptions--But through his death we are freed from the apprehensions of wrath; and through his Spirit we are filled with righteousness, and peace, and joyf-Hence our song will
A i Kings xix. II.
b Exod. ix. 23-25.
cPs. xi. 6.
ever be, To him who loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood, be glory and honours--] 2. As man he intercedeth for us in heaven
[As our peate was effected by the death of Christ, so is it maintained by his intercession-Now it is as man that he appears in the presence of God for us; and liveth on purpose to carry on this part of his priestly office-By virtue of this our persons and services find acceptance with God-Pardon is given us for our renewed transgressions, and strength is imparted to surmount our manifold temptations-Hence is our salvation justly ascribed, and that in a very peculiar manner, to his intercession for us--] 3. As man he is our head and representative
[Christ is the second Adam, the Lord from heaven-Our life is now treasured up in him, that it may no longer be ex. posed to the assaults of our great adversaryk-It has pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; and that out of his fulness all should receive, who shall ever be partakers of his grace, or of his glory-Whether we want wisdom to guide us, righteousness to justify us, or sanctification to make us holy, we must look for all of it in and through Christ--As in Adam, our first covenant-head, all died, so in Christ, our new covenanthead, shall all he made alivem4. As man he shall judge the world in the last day
[All judgment is committed to him because he is the Son of man"-And what can tend more to our security and comfort than this? Will he, who shed his blood for us, give up what he has so dearly purchased? Or he who both interceded for us, and supplied our wants, consign us over to perdition?--Will he not rather bear testimony in opposition to our fierce accuser, and own the work he had both wrought for us and in us? -Doubtless, if we should feel a degree of security and comfort in having a very dear friend for our judge on earth, much more may we rejoice in having for our judge in the last day, him, who bought us with his blood and renewed us by his Spiritm]
We do not mean to exclude his Godhead from this great work of redemption-It is that which gives efficacy to all which he did and suffered as inan_But nevertheless it is as man, that is, as the God-man, that we feel our relation to him, and have access unto him as our sympathizing friend
& Rev. i. 5.
Heb. vii. 25.
il Cor. xv. 45. 47.
1. What objects of pity are they who have no interest in Christ!
[They are exposed to all the wrath of a sin-avenging God And where, where will they flee for safety? - Where will they even procure a drop of water in that land of drought and misery, to which they shall be banished:-Alas! there is no prutection but in this city of refuge; there is no water but in this fountain-O that men would consider what they shall do in the day of their visitation!—And flee for refuge to the hope that is now set before them°-]
2. How highly privileged are they who believe in Christ!
[They are not exempt from occasional distress either of soul or body-But they have an almighty friend to whom they can carry their distress—They go to him when heavy laden; and find rest unto their souls—They feel themselves secure in their blood-sprinkled dwellings-But their privileges will not be fully seen till the last day-Then how happy in having a covert from the wrath that overwhelms the ungodly world! Then to have their Saviour both for their witness and their judge!-Let us all cleave to him with full purpose of heart; and desire to know him more and more as our friend and our beloved”-]
o Heb. vi. 18.
CLXXVIII. CHRIST'S COMMISSION. Isai. Ixi. 1—3. The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because
the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable yeur of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.
IMPORTANT as these words evidently are on account of the blessed truths contained in them, they come rec mmended to us with double force from their having been made the subject of our Lord's first discourse after his entrance on his prophetic office— The interpretation of