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things of the kingdom of heaven. The things which concern God's only begotten Son, and which concern all the wisdom, grace, love, and power, the holy God will exercise in the greatest work he ever set his hand to; surely they are good things. When the psalmist saith it is a good matter, his meaning is, it is the best matter in the world.
2. They are a good matter to believers, because they have received the Spirit whereby they are able to discern the excellency of them. As to others, it is said, He shall grow up as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he has no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him;' Isa. liii. 2. Can we see no goodness, no excellency in Christ, in the grace of Christ, in his ways, in his people, why he should be desired? Believers can; 1 Cor. ii. 7-10. The Spirit of God discovers to them the excellent things of Christ, whereby they find them to be good; when as to strangers from Christ they seem absurd, and foolish things, and no way to be desired. Men of carnal wisdom, that have attained to the highest pitch of reason, and ability in the world, they can see neither form nor comeliness in Christ, nor the things of Christ: but, when God opens the things of Christ by the Spirit, then they see that there is a goodness, and an excellency in them.
By way of use. Seeing the things of Christ are good things in themselves, and believers discern their goodness, and their excellency; we may do well then to inquire, whether the things of Christ are good things to us? Then they are good things to us, when we desire them above all other things whatsoever. Phil. iii. 8. 'I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.' He could make use of those things he had; but in comparison, his heart did really esteem them all as loss and dung, when they stood in competition with Christ. And pray let us consider, how the psalmist hath here stated it; saith he, My heart indites, and my tongue professes. It is easy to profess, that the things of Christ are good things, and that we esteem all other things as loss and dung; but do our hearts so esteem them? otherwise we come short of what is here intended by the psalmist. Do our hearts really value the good things of Christ? Things concerning the glory of
his person; his love to his church; the excellency of his kingdom, and his rule; the things here treated of? The glory of his person, 'Fairer than the children of men ;' the glory of his kingdom, 'in thy majesty, ride prosperously; thy throne O God is for ever and ever:' and his love to his church, 'Hearken, O daughter, and consider and incline thine ear, forget also thine own people, and thy father's house, so shall the king greatly desire thy beauty.' Do we value these things, I say, in our very hearts, so as to esteem all other things as loss and dung, that we could freely forego them? Do we find satisfaction in the things of Christ, with and without all other things? With other things? It is the will of God, while he intrusts us with other things, that we should use them to his glory. But is our satisfaction in the good things of Christ so high, that we can be satisfied without other things? Truly I hope the Lord will help us, that if we come to lose all things for the good things of Christ (and how soon we may come to such a time we know not), we may do it cheerfully and willingly. This I can say, that the nearer some have been to the losing of all things, even life itself, the better Christ hath been unto them. And I would pray for you, that if God should reserve us for such a time, as to deprive us of all other things, that this may grow upon our hearts, that the things of Christ are better than ever you apprehended. This will carry us through all our darkness and trouble; to be satisfied with them, in the want of other things. And take it for your comfort, though you may tremble now at the parting with a hair of your head, as if it was the garment from your back; yet, if you are sincere believers, when you come to part with all, you will do it cheerfully. Christ will come in, and enable you so to do. Examine therefore yourselves, whether you do not only give a naked assent to the gospel, and the things of Christ; or whether you find a goodness in them, a suitableness and satisfaction in them; that it is a good matter unto you.
Secondly, Observe from the words, that it is the duty of believers to be making things concerning Jesus Christ. Things that I have made touching the king.' Now, to be making things concerning Jesus Christ, is to meditate upon them, to have firm and fixed meditations upon Christ, and upon the glory of his excellencies: this is it that here is
called, 'The things I have made,' composed, framed in my mind. He did not make pictures of Christ, or frame such and such images of him; but he meditated upon Christ. It is called 'beholding the glory of the Lord in a glass,' in 2 Cor. iii. 18. What is the glory of the Lord? Why, it is the glory of his person; the glory of his kingdom; the glory of his love. Where are these to be seen? They are all represented in the glass; what glass? the glass of the gospel. The gospel hath a reflection upon it, of all these glories of Christ, and makes a representation of them unto us. What is our work and business? Why, it is to behold this glory, that is, to contemplate upon it by faith, to meditate upon it, which is here called making things touching the king.' This is also called Christ's dwelling in us,' Eph. iii. 17. and 'the word of Christ dwelling richly in us,' Col. iii. 16. which is, when the soul abounds in thoughts of Christ. I have had more advantage by private thoughts of Christ, than by any thing in this world; and I think, when a soul hath satisfying and exalting thoughts of Christ himself, his person, and his glory, it is the way whereby Christ dwells in such a soul. If I have observed any thing by experience, it is this, a man may take the measure of his growth, and decay in grace, according to his thoughts and meditations upon the person of Christ, and the glory of Christ's kingdom, and of his love. A heart that is inclined to converse with Christ, as he is represented in the gospel, is a thriving heart; and if estranged from it, and backward to it, it is under deadness and decays.
'Touching the king.' The psalmist hath respect unto Christ as a king. Hence,
Thirdly, Observe that there is a peculiar glory in the kingly office of Jesus Christ, that we should daily exercise our thoughts about. The comfort, joy, and refreshment of believers in this world, lies in the kingly power of Christ. What a view is there taken of him, in Isa. lxiii. 1. Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? This that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save;' and which refers us to but one part of his kingly office, viz. to the power he will put forth in destroying his enemies. It is generally thought that Edom,
under the Old Testament, shadows forth Rome under the New this is a glorious description of Christ going forth in the greatness of his power, when the year of his redeemed is come, and the day of vengeance is in his heart. How dreadful will it be to the world! how glorious in the eyes of believers! when we shall see him glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength, till he hath destroyed all his stubborn adversaries.
There is a peculiar glory in the kingdom of Christ, that we ought much for our relief to meditate upon. If we could behold the internal, and external workings of Christ; what he hath done, what he will do, how that certainly he will save every believer, how that certainly he will destroy every enemy, how infallible in his grace, and never failing in his vengeance; we should then see a peculiar glory in his kingdom.
Fourthly, Observe, that when a heart is full of love to Christ, it will run over; then men will be speaking of Christ, and of his glory. 'We believe,' saith the apostle, 'and therefore we speak ;' 2 Cor. iv. 13. If we do believe, we shall speak: and, saith the apostle, Acts iv. 20. When they said, Speak no more in this name,' saith he, 'We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard ;' we cannot but speak them. On the contrary, there is sad evidence, how little there is of love in the hearts of men towards Christ. Alas! look about to the multitudes of them that are called Christians, when do you hear a word of him? When do you meet with a heart overflowing with love to Christ? Some speak of him to blaspheme him; some to the reproach of him; but for a natural readiness to speak for him, where do we find it? Yet if the heart be filled, it will boil over. There are some that pass for professors; you shall very seldom.hear a word of Christ from them. If a man would make himself a reproach in the world, he cannot better do it, than by owning Christ and his Spirit before men.
Fifthly, and lastly, That profession alone is acceptable to God, and useful in the church, which proceeds from the fulness of the heart. It is to no purpose to have our tongue as the pen of a ready writer, if our hearts be not full. It must come from the boiling or meditation of our hearts, if our profession be good and acceptable.
This is the preface of the song.
Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever.-Psal. xlv. 2.
I HAVE given you an account of the general design and scope of this psalm already; and spoken something from the title of it, To the chief musician,' &c. And opened the first verse, and spoken something to that also; which is the preface to the whole psalm.
I shall now speak something to you from the second
Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever.'
You know who it is that is intended in these words, namely, our Lord Jesus Christ,' the King the Messiah; and this is a description of him, which the psalmist gives in prophecy.
There are three parts of the verse:
I. A description of Christ's person; Thou art fairer than the children of men.'
II. An account of his endowments, that were bestowed upon him, to enable him to his work; 'grace is poured into thy lips.'
III. God's acceptance and approbation of him in his work; Therefore God hath blessed thee for ever.'
I. Here is a description of Christ's person; 'Thou art fairer than the children of men.'
You may consider it, 1. Absolutely, that Christ is fair. 2. Comparatively, that he is fairer than the children
1. Absolutely, Christ is fair. He ascribes beauty to him. There is mention of the beauty of God in Psal. xxvii. 4. To behold the beauty of the Lord: that may concern his worship. But it is directly spoken of God himself, in Zech. ix. 17. How great is his goodness, and how
This sermon was preached at Stadham, June 14, 1674.