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of the soul in a very intense degree towards God; one flame
She doth not (as Mr. Durham speaks) lay by diligence, as if all were done ; but is of-new taken up with as great care to retain and improve this mercy, as before she was follicitous to obtain it. Whether a believer want or have, whether he be seeking or enjoying, there is still matter of exercise for him in his condition.
3. Deep abasements, and ġreat humblings, use to follow the eminent appearances of God to the souls of men. « Lord, 66 (said that disciple) how is it that thou wilt manifeft thyself to 6 us, and not unto the world ?” John xiv. 22. When God sealed the covenant to Abraham, to be a God to him, at this Abraham fell upon his face, Gen. xvii. 1, 2, 3. Never doth a foul lie lower in the dust, and abhor itself, than when the Lord makes the most fignal manifestations of his grace and love to it.
4. Increafed ftrength follows the sealings of the Spirit. New powers enter into the foul, and a fensible improvement of its abilities for duty : “Or ever I was aware (faith the spouse) “ my soul made me as the chariots of Amminadib,” Cant vi. 12.
Now the wheels of the soul being oiled with the joy and comfort of the Spirit, run nimbly in the ways of obedience. The joy of the Lord is your strength. '
5. Sealings of the Spirit inflame the desires of the soul after heaven, and make it long to go home. Nothing makes death so undesirable to the saints, as the doubts and fears that hang upon their fpirits, about their condition. Were their evin dences for heaven clear, and their doubts resolved, they would, as the apostle fpeaks, “ desire to be diffolved, and to be with
“ Christ,” Phil. i. 23. If once the great questicn of our interest in Christ be thoroughly decided, and all be clear betwixt us and our God, we shall find life the matter of patience, and death the object of desire.
Sixthly, and lastly, Improved mortification to the world, flows naturally from the sealings and assurances of the love of God to our souls. It is with our fouls, after such a view of heaven, and a sealing interest therein, as it is with him that hath been gazing upon that glorious creature the fun, when he comes to cast his eyes again upon the earth, all things seem dark and cloudy to him ; he fees 110 beauty in any of those things, because of that excellent lustre which he lately beheld. “ We know (faith the apostle) that if our earthly house of “ this' tabernacle were diffolved, we have a building of God; “ an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens :" There is assurance or sealing. “For in this we grone earnestly, “ desiring to be cloathed upon with our house which is from “ heaven :" There is the natural effect of it, 2 Cor. v. 1, 2.
Uses. The point speaks to three forts of persons, viz. I. To those that have not yet been sealed. 2. To those that once had, but now want, this comfort. 3. To those that enjoy the comforts of it.
First, To those that yet want this mercy, who have not been formerly fealed by any assurance of their title to Christ, but all their days have been clogged with fears, and doubt of their condition. To such my counsel is,
1. That you be not quiet under these uncertainties, but pant after the assurance of peace and pardon. Şay unto Chrift; as the fpoufe did, Cant. viii. 6. “ Set me as a seal upon thy * heart, as a feal upon thine arm :" Pant after it, as David did, Psalm xxxv. 3. « Say unto my soul, I am thy salvation."
How can you look upon such precious promises, and not dare to taste them? How can you hear others speak of their satisfaction, peace, and assurance, and be quiet until you have also attained it? What is it that hinders this mercy, that it cannot come home to your souls ? Is it your neglect of duty ? O ftir up yourselves to take hold of God! Is it want of a thorough search and examination of your state? O let not thine eyes find rest, till that be fully done. Is it some special guilt upon thy soul, that grieves the Spirit of God? Be restless till it be removed. I know this mercy is not at your command, do what you can do, but yet I also know, when God bestows it, he usually doth it in these ways of our duty.
Secondly, To those that once had, but now want this blessing,
who say as Job xxix. 2, 3. “O that it were with me as
First, Remember, i. e. Ponder, consider, compare time with
Secondly, Repent ; mourn over these your linful relapses; sure you may challenge the first place among all the mourners in the world. Your lofs is great. O better to have lost the light of your eyes, than this sweet light of God's countenance. Your sin hath separated betwixt you and your God. O mourn over it.
Thirdly, Reform; Do your first works again. O Christian; consider thy heart is funk deeper into the world than it was wont to be, thy duties are fewer; and thy zeal and affection to God much abated. Return, return; O backsliding soul, and labour to recover thy first love to Christ whatever pains it coft thee.
Loftly, To those that do enjoy these choice and invaluable mercies, the fealings of the Spirit.. . . .
First, Take heed that you grieve not the good Spirit of God; k by whom ye are sealed to the day of redemption;" Eph. iv. 30. He hath comforted you ; do not you grieve him: The Spi: rit is a tender delicate thing you may quickly deprive yours selves of his joy, and peace.
Secondly, Be humble under this advancement and dignity. If your hearts once begin to swell look out for humbling dis: pensations quickly, 2 Cor. xii. 7. This treasure is always kept in the vessel of a contrite and humble heart. .
Thirdly, Keep close to duty; yea, tack one duty to another by intermediate ejaculations. If care of duty be once remitted; you are not far from a sad change of your condition..
Fourthly, Improve all ordinances; especially this great sealing ordinance; for your farther confirmation and establishment. Ad your faith to the uttermost of its ability, upon Christ crucified; and comfort will flow in : The more the direct acts of faith are exercised, the more powerful and sweet its reflex acts are like to be.
JOHN i. 29. Behill the Lamb of God, which taketh away
the fins of the world... THE scope of this chapter, is to prove the divinity and
eternal Godhead of Jesus Christ. One of thofe arguments by which this great article of faith is confimred and prov. ed is the testimony of John. This testimony of John is the more remarkable, because it was before prophefied of him, that when the Messiah should come, this meffenger fhould go before his face, to prepare the way for him, Mal. iii. I.
Now, among all the testimonies that ever John gave of Chrift, none ever was, or could be more full and clear than this in the text: “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the fins of 66 the world !"
In which words are remarkable, 1. The preface to his testimony. 2. The testimony itself.
First, The preface or introduction to John's teftimony ; Behold! there is a double ufe in scripture of this word: fome
times it is used by way of indication, and sometimes by way . of excitation. In the first, it points out the person ; in the Jast, it raifes our affections to him. In this place it hath both thefe ufes.
Behold the Lamb of God! q. d. This is the great expectatiIron and hope of all ages. This person whom you behold, is « the desire of all nations. Lo this, is God manifest in the flesh. « This is the great facrifice, the Lamb of God : Never did human eyes behold such an object before.'
Secondly, The testimony itself: Which must be considered two ways; as it respects.' 1. The truth and reality ;. 2. The virtue and dignity of Christ its object. · First, John's testimony respects the truth and reality of the object : This is o aspetos, the Lamb of God; the very antitype to which all legal sacrifices had respect, and from which they derived all their value and virtue ; grace and truth came by Jesus Christ, as he had said before, ver. 17. The paschal lamb and the lamb for daily facrifice, were but the types and shadows of this Lamb of Gord.
ford, brew word away; Bearing the rem
Secondly, His testimony respects the virtue and dignity of Christ and his blood. He taketh away the fin of the world. The Greek word, cceperv, (as De Dieu, a learned critic, observes) answers both the Hebrew words, INDO, Ifa. lii. and ligni. fy not only to bear, but to bear away ; Potando expiat, expiando aufert, efficitque ut remittatur. By bearing fin, he expiates it; by expiating, takes it away, or procures the remission of it, The expression seems to allude to the scape-goat, mentioned Lev. xvi. 22. Thus Christ really and wholly takes away the fin of the world; i. e. the sin of all believers in the world, for whom he was sacrificed ? as Drusius well expounds it, con, çurring with the stream of sound expositors..
So that this is a very full testimony which John gives to Christ, and it is given with great affection, and admiration of him : Behold! yea, admire in beholding the Lamb of God, which taketh away the fin of the world. Behold him with affec- i tions suitable to such an object; Ecce perfona a Deo ordinata, . in viftimam ad expiandum peccata. Grotius. Behold the perfon appointed by God, for a sacrifice to expiate sin! Now, tho? this scripture be very fruitful in practical observations, yet it is not my purpose, ai this time, to note or profecute any of them except this one, which rises from the prefatory particle, or that note of admiration, with which John's testimony of Christ is ushered in ; Behold the Lamb of God!. And the note thence will be this: Doct. That Jesus Chrift, the Lamb of God, is to be beheld
with admiration and affection suitable to such an ohject. Christ is beheld by men three ways: - First, Çarually, with an eye of flesh : So men saw him in the days of his flesh, and despised him, Isa. liii. 2. Carnal eyes faw no beauty in him, that he should be desired,
Secondly, Fiducially, by the eye of faith : believing, is seeing Christ, John vi. 40. Faith is to the saints instead of eyes: By it they make Christ present, tho' the heavens have received him out of our carnal light, · Thirdly, Beatifically, by the glorified eye: fo the spirits of just men made perfect do, by their mental eye, see him in glo. sy; and all the saints, after the resurrection, shall, with these coporeal eyes, see their Redeemer, according to Job xix. 26, 27, · The fight of Christ by faith (which is all the light of him that any man now hath, or can have in this world) as it is much more excellent than the first; for “ blessed are they that have © not seen, and yet believe,” John xx. 29. foitis much inferior