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many times. And so in regard of ordinances : two sorts of ordinances are brought before Christ, God's ordinance and man's ordinance; and man's ordinance, in the eye of the world, is the elder brother, and God's ordinance the younger brother; and both these are brought before Christ for a blessing, and the ordinance of man is set at the right hand of Christ by the world; but the Lord Christ, he crosses hands, and he lays the blessing upon the younger brother in this respect. And so two men are brought before him, a proud pharisee and a poor broken-hearted sinner; the pharisee comes unto the right hand of Christ, and thinks for to carry the blessing; but the Lord Christ crosses hands, and lays the right hand blessing upon the poor broken-hearted sinner, and passes by the proud pharisee. The Lord Christ doth not bless as the world blesseth.
Again, as he doth not bless as the world blesseth, so he doth not bless always as professors bless. Professors, they do ordinarily bless men according unto their outward privileges, gospel and church privileges: O! says the woman unto Christ, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and blessed are the paps that gave
thee suck." Christ crosses hands. Nay, but, says Christ, “ Blessed are those that hear the word of God, and keep it, and do my commandments.” You bless according to outward privileges; I do not go that way of blessing, says Christ: he does not bless as professors bless always.
Thirdly, He does not bless as godly men bless always; as gracious men bless, not always. For, you that are godly, you pronounce such a man blessed, as hath much grace, and hath assurance of the love of God in Christ; and one that hath strong and great parts, and able to carry away whole sermons word for word, and of strong memory and large gifts, that are head and shoulders above their fellows. But the Lord Jesus Christ does not always bless thus; “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” says
he. 66 Blessed are those that mourn.” He does not say, Blessed are those that rejoice; or, Blessed are those that have the assurance of God's love; or, Blessed are those that are strong in grace: No, but dost thou know a poor weak christian, a mourning soul like a dove of the valleys, says the Lord, I bless him.
Thus I say, the Lord Jesus Christ, our great High Priest,
he does not bless as we bless, he does not bless as the world blesses, he does not bless always as professors bless, he does not bless always as godly men bless, and therefore no wonder that his blessing is hidden. Children when they are very young are often blessed by their parents, and they do not mind it or take notice of it; children of two or three years old : and so it is with many a gracious soul blessed by Jesus Christ, they do not take notice of their Father's blessing. But the Lord Christ doth always bless his people; only, there are several times special seasons that he gives out his blessing : let me tell
of those times a little, that so ye may come for his blessing while his hand is in as it were; so that you may be crowned with spiritual blessings in and from Jesus Christ.
First, When Christ our High Priest doth see that a man is weak in grace or weak in gifts, and hath some work or service for him to do, some employment to call him forth unto; then the Lord Christ doth bless him. There are two times especially, as I remember, that the Lord speaks those words concerning man, “ Increase and multiply.” Once in the beginning, when he had made man and woman; and once in the ixth of Genesis, when he had brought Noah out of the ark. Why does he rather choose for to speak those words, Increase and multiply, at these two times especially, rather than at any other time? In the beginning there was but a little stock of mankind, and the Lord had a design upon man to make use of him in the world, and therefore in the beginning, says he, Increase and multiply: but afterward that the flood had swept away man, Noah and his family being preserved, when he came out of the ark, the Lord having yet a further design upon man to use him, he reneweth those words again, Increase and multiply. So when the Lord Christ sees that a man's heart is upright and sincere with him, and he hath some work and service for him to do, then the Lord comes forth and blesses him: O soul, increase and multiply, increase in thy gifts and graces, and multiply. That is one.
Again, As the Lord doth bless weak gifts and graces when he intends to use them ; so also when as he hath made use of a man, when a man hath done the work of God, and done it to purpose, then the Lord blesses that man. Melchisedec, a great type of Christ, here when Abraham had been upon a great service, slaying kings, and rescued Lot, then Melchi
sedec the high priest comes forth and blesses him. So when the Lord Jesus Christ our great High Priest, sees that a poor soul hath been upon his work, upon his service, and hath done his work faithfully, then he comes forth and blesses that soul: O soul, live for ever.
Again, As he does bless at this time, when a man hath done his work; so also when a man is willing for to leave all his relations and natural engagements for to follow him to cleave close unto him, and to his ways, and ordinances. The Lord blessed Abraham, “Thou shalt be blessed ; in blessing I will bless thee, and thou shalt be blessed." Upon what occasion ? “ Abraham,” says he, “get thee out of thy country, and go to a land and place that I will shew thee.” And Abraham did so, Abraham pulled up his tent, and went after the Lord, and left his own relations, and thereupon the Lord fell
upon him and blessed him. So when the Lord Christ our High Priest sees a soul willing even to trample upon his relations for to follow him, willing to leave all natural engagements for to be his servant; then the Lord Christ comes out, and says he, This soul do I bless : In blessing I will bless thee, and I will bless thee exceedingly. That is a third time.
Fourthly, The Lord Christ, our High Priest, does bless when the world curses, a special time of Christ's blessing is when the world curses. When Rabshekah reviled, blasphemed, and cursed, then God blessed. When Balak hired Balaam for to curse the people of Israel, then the Lord blessed them by the mouth of Balaam himself. And ye see what Christ says to this purpose in that same vth chapter of Matthew, at the 10th verse, “ Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake.” But when are they blessed ? “ Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake. Blessed are ye when men shall persecute you.” Aye but, suppose it does not come to a bodily persecution, men may not be thrown in prison, or brought to the stake. Says he, Blessed are ye when men shall revile,” persecute you with the tongue, “and say all manner of evil against you for my sake.” When the world says of such a poor soul, that he is an hypocrite, a dissembler; and speaks all manner of evil that can be devised against a poor soul for the name of
Christ, that is the very time, that Christ comes for to bless that soul, then doth Christ bless; it is a blessed season.
In the fifth place, The Lord Christ does also bless, when his people do graciously enjoy the ordinances purely and evangelically administered. It is said concerning Zion, there commanded he his blessing for ever, “ Blessed are the people that hear the joyful sound; they shall walk in the light of his countenance," Ps. lxxxix. 15. It is written of the priests in the times of the old testament, that when the people, the congregation were come together, they blessed them; when the people were come together for the enjoyment of ordinances according to God's own appointment, then the priests blessed them. And did their high priest bless them then ? and shall not our High Priest do it now? Did their high priest bless them when they sat under Mosaical ordinances ? and shall not our High Priest bless the people that sit under evangelical and gospel ordinances, purely and evangelically administered? The people then might make account of the greatest blessing; and so you may do also of the blessing of Jesus Christ when thus you do enjoy ordinances. Only there is this difference : (other differences there are, but this only I shall speak of :) Then the priest did bless the people when the congregation was dismissed; but now, the Lord Jesus Christ, our great High Priest, he is blessing of the congregation all the while; he is going up and down in the congregation all the while that the word is preached and ordinances administered, and he is blessing poor souls as they sit longing after him, and sighing towards him; he is blessing of them all the while. Thus he does bless, and though you do not always perceive it, yet he doth bless his people. And that is the fourth thing
But yet you will say, fifthly, How does all this conduce unto our comfort and unto our holiness?
Much every way.
First for comfort, beloved, Is it not a comfortable thing to be blessed by Jesus Christ? Children counted it a great matter to be blessed by their parents. When as Jacob had gotten the blessing from Esau; Esau goes and sits down and mourns, he could not be comforted because the blessing was gone: and Jacob, though he were thrust out of doors, yet because he had gotten the blessing, he went away cheerful ;
and it was but an Isaac's blessing. But behold a greater than Isaac is here ! Oh! was it such a matter to have an Isaac's blessing? what is it then to be blessed by Jesus Christ? Beloved ! when as Christ doth bless, he turns all our curses into blessings, and our miseries into mercies. When God curses, he turns our table into a snare: and when Christ blesseth, he turns our snare into a table, quite contrary. Jacob pronounced a curse upon his two sons, Simeon and Levi (you know upon what occasion) they should be divided and scattered in Israel: afterward the tribe of Levi stands up at the commandment of God to execute justice and judgment, and the Lord blessed them : and how did he bless them? they were to be the preachers unto all the tribes; and so that they might be preachers unto all the tribes, they were to be scattered into all the tribes, and so Jacob's curse was turned into a blessing to them.
Is it not a comfortable thing, for a man to have all his cursers, to be blessers ? It is a comfortable thing, for all a man’s curses to become blessings: but now I say, it is a comfortable thing, for all a man's cursers, to be blessers to him. When the Lord Christ blesses, he will make men's cursers whether they will or no, (in the day of their visitation at least) for to bless. Ye know that Balaam would have cursed Israel, but the Lord had blessed them. Balaam got upon a high mountain, and from thence he would have cursed Israel, but it would not be. Then he gets upon another high mountain, and from thence he would have cursed Israel, but it would not be. Then he gets upon another high mountain: thinking that would have done it, and from thence he would have cursed Israel, but that would not do it. Oh! says he, “ The Lord hath seen no iniquity in Israel,” and therefore he blesses them : the curse is turned into a blessing; so there are many that deal thus by the people of God in these days: they get upon such an high mountain, such a great and high means, and they think to curse the people of God from thence, butit will not be. Then they get upon another mountain, another means, thinking from thence to curse the people of God, but it will not be. Then they get upon another high mountain or hill, and think then to curse the people of God, and do them mischief, but it will not do it. Why? for the Lord Christ sees no iniquity, the Lord Christ hath blessed them :