« AnteriorContinuar »
cheerfully and faithfully to fervc him. But in order to this, let them be exceedingly careful to live in the conftant exercife of faiih, daily looking unto Jefus for divine fupport, for frefh fupp.lies of wifilom to diieft, and of grace to enable them to walk worthy of their high and holy calling. Let them live in the fpirit of holy watchfulnefs, felf denial, and earneft prayer, and in the conflant exetcife of every grace of the Spirit of God. Daily putting on the ornament of a meek and quiet fpirit, and in the exerci/e of patience and refignation to the will of God; fo that whatfoever trials they may meet with, they may flill fay, '-'The cup which my heavenly Father hath given me fha.l I not drink it."
In order to be confirmed in this liberty, l.et them look for, and never reft till they obtain, the abiding witnefs of th^ Spirit, fo that they may be fully fatisfied that the work is done ; without this they will be fubjeft to evil reafoning, and efpecially in the hour of temptation, when they may expeft that divine confolation will be fomewhat abated, as no temptation is in itfelf joyous but grievous. But let no one judge of the meafure of grace he experiences by the degree of fenfible comfort he feehi; but rather by the degree of power which he enjoys, whereby he is enabled to do and fuffer the will of God; or, in other words, by the fpirit and temper of his own mind towards God and man. If he live in the Spirit, and conftantly copy the example of Jefns ,lct him not be difcouraged, but let him remember the words ot bis Lord: "Ye now have forrow; but 1 will fee you again, and your heart fhall rejoice, and your joy no man mail take from you." The temptation fhall foon pafs away, and an abiding peace fhall follow upon it.
Let all -who are brought into this liberty follow on to know the Lord, ever remembering, that they are called to grow'up in all things into Chrift their living head: fo that they may be changed into the fame image, from glory to glory; well knowing that he is able to fave them to the uttei moll, and to do exceeding abundantly for them above all thev afk or think: and the more they receive, the more the mind is prepared to receive ftill higher degrees of that grace which makes the foul meet tor the enjoyment of God *n his eternal kingdom; fo will he in due time fay unto each of them ; Come up hither, and take thy feat with me; and they (hill be for ever with the Lord. '*:., THE
it ' .;
Isaiah 62. 11. Behold, the Lord hath proclaimed to the end of the wortd, say ye to the daughter of Zian, behold thy salvation cometh / beA&ldhia reteard is with him,
rANY of the ancient prophets were favoured of God L.io fee, that in the fuiucss ot time the Redeemer of Ifrael would appear in fhe world, would finim transgression, make an end of fin-, and bring in everlaflung righteouinefs ; that liftf and immortality would then be brought to light by the gofpel, and multitudes both of Jews and Gentiles, fhould fee the light of the glory of God i» the face of Jefus Chrift. „ But of all the ancient prophets who were favoured with
thefe delightful prospefts, Ifaiah evidently had the preeminence ; being in a very peculiar manner divinely illuminated; fo that he feems to have fully underftood the rnyftery of man's redemption, and the gracious designs of God in fending Chrift into the world: he foretold the birth, the fufferings and death of our blefled Redeemer; he ckarly defcribed the nature of gofpel falvation, and the holy, happy, and profperous ftate of the church of God in thofe glorious days, when the gofpel was to be fully preached to Jews and Gentiles without diftin&ion.
in the chapter before us, the prophet expresses the mod lively and vehement defires, after the full accomplifement ot the gracious designs of the blefled God. "For Zion's sake, faith he, will I not hold my peace, and for Jerufalem's fake I will not reft, until ihe righteoufnefs thereof go forth a* bfightnel's and'the falvation thereof as a lamp that burneth.'* How evidently does it appear that his whole foul was engaged in the work of God, feeing that it was the fixed purpofe of his mind to give the Lord no rest, till he fhould look in mercy upon the deflations of the Jewifh church, and fo pour out his fpirit from on high that it might become a praife in the earth ; or that it might be brought into fuch a flourifhing flate, as he very beautifully exprefles it, that the righteoufneis thereof might go forth as brightnefs, and the falvation theieof as a lamp which burneth. He fhews us here, what manner of fpirit the minifters of Chrift fhould be of : How much they ought to have the profperity of the church of God at heart ; how fervently they ought to pray, and how diligently they ought to labour, for the accomplifhment of the gracious purpofcs of God, in the falvation of a loft and ruined world. . „
In the remaining part of the chapter the prophet defcribe* the holy, happy, and flourifhing ftate of the gofpef church; but as it would take up too much time to go through the whole, I batten to the words of the text.
In the icth verfe, he fhews us with what fimplicity and clearneis, the minifters ot Chrift ought to preach thegofpel: in what plain, clear, and intelligible terms they ought to exprefs ihemfelves, fo that the molt ignorant among the people may underftand them. "Go through, go through the gates, prepare you the way of the people, call up, caft up the high way, gather out the Hones, hit up a ftandard for the peoplei. As if he had faid, it is the defign ot God, that you fhould Oiake the way of falvaiion plain and familiar to the people, therefore go through, go through the gates yourfelves, till you are fully acquainted with the high road to the city of God, then prepare the way for the people, make it as plain to them, as an high way that is caft up and made eafy, would be to a traveller ; take away the ftones, remove every difficulty out ot tbe way, and fhew the people that the ways of the Lord are equal, that he is ever ready to ailist them by his grace and holy fpirit; fo that they may find his ways to be ways of pleafantnefs and all his paths peace ; the words of the text then follow. "Behold, the Lord hath proclaimed to the end of, the world, fay ye to the daughter .of Zion, behold thy falvai tion cometh. We well know that thefe words were fulfilled when our bleffed Redeemer vifited this world in perfon, when he himself publifhed ihe eofpel of peace, and accom
piisliect the work of man's redemption : that they Were more remarkably fulfilled after the day of Pentecfist, when thousands upon thousands heard, and embraced the glad tidings of salvation ; that they have been fulfilling in the christian church to the present day, and that they remain to be fulfilled in eye- . 17 individual here present, who has pot experienced the truth of them already.
In these words we have the peculiar work of a faithful minister of Christ clearly described. Say ye to the daughter of Zion, that is, to all who are willing . to hear you; behold your salvation or rather behold your Saviour cometh, behold his reward is with him, he does not come empty handed, but lie comes loaded with blessings, having purchased, he now freely offers to ydu present and eternal redemption, and his work, is before him; he is come in these days of his spirit to convert the world, to establish a kingdom that shall never be moved.
In these words, behold thy salvation, or thy saviour cometh, two things are implied. First, Behold thy saviour cometh to finish the work of man's redemption by his meritorious death and passion, and second, behold thy Saviour cometh in the power and grace of his spirit, to communicate to the minds of the people, all the invaluable benefits which he hath purchased for them, and these two particulars include the whole whieli the ministers of Christ are sent by him to proclaim.
Andjirst, Behold thy Saviour cometh to accomplish the work of redemption: this, every minister of Christ should fully and clearly explain; so that he may say to the people who generally attend upon his ministry, as the apostle Paul did to the Galatians. "Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth as crucified before your eyes." That is, I have fully declared to you, ''That God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should hot perish, but have everlasting life." That in consequence of this, "Jesils was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, and the chastisement of our peace was upon him;" for he hath borne the punishment due to our sins in his own body upon the tree.
Here then with the blessed apostle, we are to declare to all who hear us: God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them, "and in Consequence of this," he hath committed unto us, the ministry of reconciliation; and we are ambassadors for Christ, as though U u God God did beseech you by us, we pray you in Chi ist's stead f>£ ye reconciled to God.
Here we see, that gracious God against whom we have so greatly sinned, and who on that account might most justly have punished us; so far from having any such design, that he himself hath not only found out a way to extend his hiercy and love to us, so that his justice may be preserved inviolate, his purity and holiness unspotted, but he also condescends to invite and beseech us to accept of pardoning mercy and grace; that we being blessed with a sense ot his favour may rejoice , in him as the God of our salvation.
Our blessed Redeemer hath opened a fountain, for sin and uncleanness for us, and he calls upon us to arise and wash away our sins in that fountain, calling upon the name of the Lord. God himself is so far from being angry with us, and watching for an opportunity to pour out his vengeance upon our guilty heads, that he haih erected a throne of grace, merely ori our account, and he beholds us from thence, with eyes of infinite pity and love. He does not appear to us from that throne, as he did to the trembling Israelites from mount Sinai, when delivering his holy law to his servant Moses: No, he speaks unto us from mount Sion, and clearly discovers the riches of his mercy and love, and kindly and graciously invites us to accept of all the inestimable benefits of the new covenant. And let it be well observed that it was not the death of Christ, which moved God the father thus to love lost mankind; but on the contrary, God so loved us, that he freely gave his only begotten son to suffer, bleed and die for us men and for pur salvation. Hence we see, that present and eternal salvation freely flows from this fountain. The infinite love of God our heavenly Father who hath redeemed us to himself by the death of his well beloved son.
Second, Every faithful minister must say to the daughter of Zion, behold thy Saviour cometh in the power and grace of his Spirit, in order to communicate to the minds of men, the unsearchable riches of his grace.
And upon due consideration we shall find, that the salvation which he brings, is every way suited to the state of his rubiedcreatures; that he is every way qualified to save and to bltss us, and that he only designs to raise us up from the ruins of the fall, and to make us holy and happy, and heirs of an everlasting kingdom.
First, It is evident from the sacred scriptures that sin hath so blinded the human understanding, that, as the apostle observes.