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bone, and flesh of his flesh. O what is this! Christian dost thou know and believe all this, and thy heart not burn, within thee, in love to Christ? O! then, what a heart hast thou? "What art thou, by nature, but sinful dust, a loathsome sinner, viler than the vilest creature", cast out to the loathing of thy person in the day of thy nativity! O that ever the Lord of glory should unite himself to such a lump of vileness! take such H wretch into his very bosom! Be astonished, O heavens and earth, at this! this is the great mystery which the angels stooped down to look into: Such an honour as this, could never have entered into the heart of man. It would have seemed a rude blasphemy in us, to once have thought, or spoken of such a thing, had not Christ made first the motion thereof: Yet how long didst thou make this Lord of glory wait upon thy undetermined will, before he gained thy consent? flight he not justly have spurned thee into hell, upon thy first refusal, and never have made thee such another offer? Wilt thou not say, Lord, what am I, and what is my sather's house, that so great a King should stoop so sar beneath himself, to such a worm as I am! That strength should unite itself to weakness, insinite glory to such baseness! 0 grace, grace, for ever to be admired!
Infer, 3. Is Jesus Christ the Lord of glory? Then let no man count himself dishonoured by suffering the vilest indignities for his fake: The Lord of glory puts glory upon the very suffering you undergo in this world for him. "Moses esteemed the re"proathes of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt," Heb. xi. 26. he cast a kingdom at his heels, to be crowned with reproaches, for the name of Christ. The diadem of Egypt was n0t half so glorious, as self-denial for Christ. This Lord of glory freely degraded himself for thee, wilt thou stand hesitating with him upon terms? It is certainly your honour to be dishonoured for Christ, Acts V. 41. to you it is given, in behalf 06 Christ, not only to believe, but also to suffer for his lake, Phil, i. 29. The gift of suffering is there matched with the gift of saith; it is given as an honorarium, a badge of honour to suffer for the Lord of glory. As all have not the honour to wear the crown of glory in heaven, so few have the honour to wear the chain of Christ upon earth. * Thuanus reports of L-idovicus Marsacus, a knight of France, that, being led to suffer with other martyrs, who were bound, and he unbound, because a
* Cur me non quoque torque donas, et inf.gnis hujus ordinis viiliiem creas? Thuanus.
person of honour; he cried out, "Why don't you honour f me with a chain, too, and create me a knight of that no"ble order?" My brethren, count it all joy when ye sall into divers temptations, James i. 2. si. e-J trials by sufferings. David thought it an honour to be vile for God, and that is a true observation, that disgrace itself is glorious when endured for the Lord of glory.
Infer. 4. Is Christ the Lord of glory? Ho-w glorious, Jhen, shall the saints one day be, -wken they shall he made like this ghripus Lord, and partake of his glory in heaven? John xvii. 22, "The glory which thou gavest me, I have given them :" Yea, the vile bodies of believers shall be made like to the glorious body of Christ, Phil. iii. 21. What glory, then, will be communicated to their fouls? True, his essential glory is incommunicable; but there is a glory which Christ will communicate to h;s people. "When he comes to judge the world, he will come ** to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them '* that believe," 2 Thes. i. 10. Thus he seemeth to account his social glory, which shall result from his saints, a great part of his own glory : As we have now fellowship with him in his sufferings, so we shall have a fellowship, or communion with, him, in his glory: When he shall appear, then shall we, also, appear with him in glory; then the poorest believer shall be more glorious than Solomon, in all his royalty. It was a pious saying of Luther, that he had rather be Chrifiianus rujlicus, quant Ethnicus Alexander; a Christian clown, than a Pagan emperor. The righteous is more excellent than his neighbour, though he live next door to a graceless nobleman: But it doth not yet appear what they shall be. The day will come, it certainly will come, for the Lord hath spoken it, when they shall shine forth as the fun in the kingdom of their Father.
Infer. 5. Ho-w hath the devil blindfolded, and deluded them that are frighted off from Christ, by the fears of being dishonoured by him? Many persons have half a mind to religion, but when they consider the generality pf its professors to be persons of the lowest, and meanest rank in the world, and that reproaches and sufferings attend that way; they shrink back as men alhamed, and as Salviaa saith, Mali ejse coguntur, neviles habeantur; they chuse rather to remain wicked, than to become vile: But ta them that believe, Christ is an honour; -as the word, which we tranflate precious, might be rendered, 1 Pet. ii. 7. Till God opens mens eyes thus, they will put evil for good, and good for evjl. But 0 dear bought honours, for which men stake th«ir souls, and everlasting happiness! Paul was not of ycur mind.
yet for birth he was an Hebrew of the Hebrews; for dignity, and esteem, a Pharisee; for moral accomplishments, touching the law, blameless: Yet all this he trampled under his feet, counting it all but dross, and dung, in companion of Jesus
i Christ. Moses had more honour, to lay down for Christ, than you; yet it was no temptation to him, to conceal or deny the faith of Christ. Noble Galeacius would not be with-held from Christ by the splendor and glory of Italy; but 0 how doth the . glory of this world dazzle, and blind the eyes of many: "How "can ye believe (saith Christ) who receive honour one of ano"ther ?" John v. 44. Saints and sinners, upon this account, are wonders one to the other, It is the wonder of the world, to fee Christians glorying in reproaches; they wonder that the saints run not with them into the same excess of riot; and it is a wonder to believers, how such poor toys, and empty titles (rather than titles of honour) should keep the world, as it doth, from Jesus Christ, and their everlasting happiness in him.
Infer. 6. If Christ be the Lord of glory, how caresulshould all be -who profess htm, that they do not dishonour Jesus Christ, 'whofe name is called upon by them? Christ is a glory to you, be not you a shame and dishonour to him. How careful had Christians need be, to draw every line, and action of their lives exactly: The more glorious Christ is, the more circumspect and watchful ye had need to be. How lovely would Jesus Christ appear to the world, if the lives of Christians did adorn the doctrine of God their Saviour, in all things! Remember you represent the Lord of glory to the world; it is not your honour only, but the honour of Christ which is engaged, and concerned in your actions, O let not the carelessness, or scandals of your life, make Jesus Christ ashamed to be called your Lord. When Israel had grievously revolted from God, he bids Moses rife and get down from thence; for (saith he) thy people, which thou haft brought forth out of Egypt, have corrupted themselves, Deut. ix. 12. as the Lord were ashamed to own them for his people any longer. It was a cutting question, James ii. 7. apt to startle the consciences of thole loose professors; "Do they not blaspheme that worthy name by which "' ye are called?" Your duty is, to adorn the gospel by your conversations, Titus ii. 10. The words signify to deck, trim, or adorn the gospel, t, make it trim, neat, and lovely, to the eyes of beholders. When there is such a beautiful harmony, and lovely proportion betwixt Christ'6 doctrine and your practices, as there is in the works of creation, wherein the comeliness and elegancy of the world much consists, (for to this the apostle's word here alludes) then do we walk suitably to the Lord of glory.
loser. 7. What delight Jhould Christians take in their daily cmverse -with J:fus Christ in the way of duty? * Your converses in prayer, hearing, and meditation, are with the Lord of glory: The greatest peers in the kingdom, account it more honour 10 be in the presence of a king, bare-headed, or upon the knee at court, than to have thousands standing bare to them in the country. When you are called to the duties of communion with Christ, you are called to the greatest honour, dignified with the noblest privilege creatures are capable of in this world: Had you but a sense of that honour God purs upon you by this means, you would not need so much pressing and striving, to bring a dead and backward heart into the special presence ot Jesus Christ. When he saith, Seek ye my sace, your hearts should echo ro his calls; Thy sace, Lord, will we seek. But, alas! the glory of Christ is much hid, and veiled, by ignorance, and unbelief, from the eyes of his own people; it is but seldom the best of taints, by the eye of saith, do fee the king in his glory.
Infer. 8. If Christ be so glorious, how should believers long to be with him, and behold him in his glory above? Most men need patience to die, a believer should need patience to live. Paul thought it well worth enduring the pangs of death, to get a sight of Jesus Christ in his glory, Phil. i. 23. " The Lord direct "your hearts into the love of God, and patient waiting for "Christ," (saith the apostle) ^ Thess. iii. 5. intimating, that the saints have great need of patience, to enable them to endure the state of distance and separation from Christ, so long as they must endure it in this world. The Spirit and the bride fay, come, and let him that heareth, fay, come, and let him that is a thir;l ceme: even so, come Lord Jesus, and be thou as a Jwift roc upon the mountains of separation.
Blessed be God for Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.
.*Suppose (saith Mr. Rutherford) there were no letter of command, yet there is a suitableness betwixt the law engraven on the heart, and the spiritual matter commanded. There is an heaven in the bosom of prayer, though there were not a granting of the suitRuthersord's Treatise of the Covenant, / t :.
Opening the sixth Motive to come to Christ, contained in the sixth and last Title of Christ.
Luke ii. 25. Waiting for tht [Consolation'] of Israel.
SEveral glorious titles of Christ have been already spoken to, out of each of which, much comfort flows to believers: It is comfortable to a wounded soul, to eye him as a phyfician; comfortable to a condemned and unworthy foul, to look upoa him under the notion of mercy: The loveliness, the desirableness, aud the glory of Chriil, are all so many springs of consolation. But now I am to shew you, from this scripture, that the saints have not only much consolation from Christ, but that Christ himlelf is the very consolation of believers: He is pure comfort wrapped up in flesti and blood.
In this context, you have an account of Simeon's prophecy concerning Christ; and in this text, a description of the person, and quality of Simeon himself, who is described two ways.
1. By his pratlice. . ,
2. By his principle.
His practice was heavenly, and holy; he was zjust and devout man: The principle from which his righteousness and holiness 'did flow, was hi* saith in Christ; "he waited for the consolation "of Israel." In which words by way of periphrafis, we have, '1. A description of Christ, the consolation of Israel.
2. The description of a believer, one that waited for Christ.
First, That the consolation of Israel is a phrase descriptive of Jesus Christ, is beyond all doubt, if you consult ver. 26. where be, (i. e.J Simeon is satisfied by receiving Christ into his arms, the consolation for which he had so long waited.
Secondly, * And that waiting for Christ is a phrase describing the believers of thole times that preceded the incarnation of Christ, is past doubt; they all waited for that blessed day: But it was Simeon's lot to sall just upon that happy point of tim«, wherein the prophecies and promises of his incarnation were fulfilled. Simeon, and others that waited with him, were sensible, that the time of the promise was come, which could not but
* It is a phrase, common and well known among the Jews at that time, by which the coming of Christ was signified. Ludov. Capell.