Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

be hurt by either of them : he may | truly, “That which first overcame bring them into trouble, but he will man, is the last thing he overcomes.” preserve them from the evil of it, and Some sins, comparatively, may die make it really good for them; and all, before us; but this hath life in it because he is still with them in it. sensibly as long as we. It is as the Thus he was with Noah in the ark, heart of all, the first living and the with Joseph in prison, with Israel in last dying; and it hath this advanthe midst of the sea, with Job upon tage, that whereas other sins are the dunghill, with David upon the fomented by one another, this feeds mountains, with the three children in even on virtues and graces as a moth the fiery furnace, with Daniel in the that breeds in them and consumes lions' den, with Jeremiah in the dun- them, even in the finest of them, if it geon, with Jonah in the whale's belly, be not carefully looked to. This and with the Apostles in the common hydra, as one head of it is cut off, prison : and being always with them, another rises up. It will secretly how wonderfully did he preserve them, cleave to the best actions, and prey altering often the very course of nature, upon them. And therefore is there rather than any thing should hurt them so much need that we continually who set him always before them !- watch, and fight, and pray against it, BEVERIDGE.

and be restless in the pursuit of real He hath scattered the proud, 8c. It and deep humiliation, daily seeking is undoubtedly the secret pride and to advance further in it; to be noselfishness of our hearts that obstruct thing, and to desire to be nothing; much of the bounty of God's hand in not only to bear, but to love, our own the measure of our graces, and the abasement, and the things that prosweet embraces of his love, which we cure and help it, to take pleasure in should otherwise find. The more we them, so far as may be without sin : let go of ourselves, still the

should

yea, even in respect of our sinful we receive of himself. O foolish we, feelings, when they are discovered, who refuse so blessed an exchange! to love the bringing low of ourselves

Of all the evils of our corrupt na- by them, while we hate and grieve ture, there is none more connatural for the sin of them. or universal than pride, the grand And, above all, it is requisite to wickedness, self-exalting in our own watch ourselves in our best things, and others' opinion. Though I will that self get not in, or, if it break in not contest what was the first step in or steal in at any time, that it be prethat complicated first sin, yet cer- sently found out and cast out again ; tainly this of pride was one, and a to have that established within us, to main ingredient in it; that which do all for God, to intend him and his unbelief going before, and disobedi- glory in all, and to be willing to adence following after, were both ser vance his glory were it by our own vantsto; and ever since it cleaves disgrace; not to make raising or pleasclosely to our nature. Augustin says ! ing thyself the rule of exercising thy

more

parts and graces, when thou art called still more upon it; and this is the sweet to use and bring them forth, but the intercourse between God and the humgood of thy brethren, and in that the ble soul.--LEIGHTON. glory of thy Lord. Now this is indeed

HYMN. to be severed from self and united to him, to have self-love turned into the My spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. love of God. And this is his own Sweeter sounds than music knows work; it is above all other hands : Charm me in Emmanuel's name ;

All her hopes my spirit owes therefore, the main combat against

To his birth, and cross, and shame. pride, and the conquest of it, and the

When he came, the angels sung gaining of humility, is certainly by

“Glory be to God on high ;" prayer. God bestows himself most

Lord, unloose my falt'ring tongue, upon those who are most abundant in

Who should louder sing than I? prayer ; and those to whom he shows

Did the Lord a man become himself most are certainly the most

That he might the Law fulfil, humble.-LEIGHTON.

Bleed and suffer in my room ; He hath filled the hungry with good

And canst thou, my tongue, be still ! things, and the rich he hath sent empty

Oh! my Saviour, shield, and siin, away. “He giveth grace to the

Lord and .naster, brother, friend, lowly,”—pours it out plentifully upon

Every precious name in one

May I love thee to the end ! humble hearts. His sweet dews and

Newtox. showers of grace slide off the mountains of pride, and fall on the low valleys of humble hearts, and make them

CLV. pleasant and fertile.

The swelling heart, puffed up with a fancy of fulness, CHAP. I. 57—80. hath no room for grace. It is lifted up, is not hallowed and fitted to receive The nativity and circumcision of John. and contain the graces that descend The prophecy of Zacharias, both of Christ, from above. And again ; as the hum- and of John. ble heart is most capacious, and, as

57 Now Elisabeth's full time being emptied and hollowed, can hold

came that she should be demost, so it is the most thankful, acknowledges all as received, while the livered ; and she brought forth proud cries out that all is his own. a son. The return of glory that is due to 58 And her neighbours and grace comes most freely and plentifully her cousins heard how the from an humble heart : God delights Lord had shewed great mercy to enrich it with grace, and it delights

rejoiced to return him glory. The more he upon her; and they

with her. bestows on it, the more it desires to

pass, that I; doth so, the more readily he bestows on the eighth day they came

to circumcise the child; and horn of salvation for us in they called him Zacharias, after the house of his servant David ; the name of his father.

70 • As he spake by the 60 And his inother answered mouth of his holy prophets, and said, “Not so ; but he shall which have been since the be called John.

world began : 61 And they said unto her, 71 That we should be saved There is none of thy kindred from our enemies, and from the that is called by this name.

hand of all that hate us ; 62 And they made signs to 72 'To perform the mercy his father, how he would have promised to our fathers, and to him called.

remember his holy covenant ; 63 And he asked for a writ 75 « The oath which he sware ing table, and wrote, saying, to our father Abraham, His name is Johın. And they 74 That he would grant unto marvelled all.

us, that we being delivered out 64 * And his mouth was of the hand of our enemies opened immediately, and his might * serve him without fear, tongue loosed, and he spake, 75 ” In holiness and rightand praised God.

eousness before him, all the 65 And fear came all days of our life. that dwelt round about them : 76. And thou, child, shalt be and all these sayings were called the prophet of the Highpoised abroad throughout all est : for * thou shalt go before 'the hill country of Judæa.

the face of the Lord to prepare 66 And all they that heard his ways : them m laid them up in their 77 To give knowledge of hearts, saying, What manner salvation unto his people by of child shall this be! And the remission of their sins, the hand of the Lord was with 78 Through the tender merhim.

cy of our God; whereby the 67 And his father Zacharias "dayspring from on high hath "was filled with the Holy Ghost, visited us, and porphesied, saying,

79 To give light to them 68 | Blessed be the Lord God that sit in darkness and in the of Israel; for 'he hath visited shadow of death, to guide our and redeemed his people,

feet into the

way

of

peace. 69" And hath raised up an 80 Aud“ the child grew, and

on

11

Lev. xil. 8.-h ver. 13.

zeh.

2 Thes. ii. 13. 2 Tim. i. ix.

waxed strong in spirit, and

In this condition, lost, poor, base, d was in the deserts till the day yea cursed, the Lord Christ, the Son

of God, found our nature. And in of his shewing unto Israel.

infinite condescension and compassion, f ver. 14.-, Gen. xvii. 12. i ver. 13.-k ver. 20. Or, things.- ver. 39.-m ch, ii. sanctifying a portion of it to himself, 19, 51,-n Gen. xxx. 2. Psalm lxxx. 17; & lxxxix. 21. Acts xi. 21.- Joel ii. 28.-pl Kings i, 48. Psalm xli. 13. he took it to be his own; in a holy & lxxii. 18; & cvi. 48.-9 Fx. iii. 16; * iv. 31. Psalm exi. 9. ch. vii. 16.- Psalm cxxxii, 17-śJer. xxiii. 5, 6; ineffable subsistence in his own person. & xxx. 10. Dan. ix. 24. Acts iii. 21. Rom. i. 2.-/ lrv. Xxvi. 42. Psalm xcviii. 3; & cv. 8, 9; & cvi. 45 xvi. 60, ver. 54.-u Gen. xii. 3; & xvii. 4; & xxii. 16, 17.

And herein again, the same nature, so Heb. vi. 13, 17.-r Rom. vi. 18, 22. Heb. ix. 14.-y Jer. xxxii. 39, 40. Eph. iv. 24.

depressed unto the utmost misery, is Titos ii. 12. 1 Peter i. 15. 2 Peter i. 4.-zls xl. 3. Mal. iii. 1; & ix.5. Mat. xi. 10 ver. 17.-a Mark i. 4. ch. iii.

exalted above the whole creation of 3, [Or, for. ll Or, bowels of the mercy. || Or, sunrising, or, branch. Nüm. xxiv. 17. Is. xi. 1. Zech, iji. 8; & vi. God. For, in that nature, God hath 12. Mal. iv. 2.-bls. ix. 2; & xlii. 7; & xlix. 9. Mat. iv. xvi. Acts xxvi 18.--cch. ii. 40-d Mat. iii. l; & xi. 7 set him at his own right hand in the

READER.—Blessed be the Lord God heavenly places, far above all princiof Israel, for he hath visited and re- palities, and powers, and might and deemed his people, &c. Our nature, in dominion, and every name that is the original constitution of it, in the named not only in this world, but also personsof our first parents, was crowned in that which is to come. with honour and dignity. The image Those who engage this nature in the of God wherein it was made, and the service of sensual lusts and pleasures, dominion over the lower world where

who think that its felicity and utmost with it was intrusted, made it the seat capacities consist in their satisfaction, of excellency, of beauty, and of glory. with the accomplishment of other But of them all it was at once divested earthly temporal desires, are satisfied and made naked by sin, and laid gro. with it in its state of apostasy from velling in the dust from whence it was God. But those who have received taken. And all its internal faculties the light of faith and grace, so as were invaded by deformed lusts, every rightly to understand the being and thing that might render the whole end of that nature whereof they are unlike to God, whose image it had lost. partakers, cannot but rejoice in its deHence it became the contempt of an- liverance from the utmost debasement gels, the dominion of Satan, who being into that glorious exaltation which it the enemy of the creation, never had hath received in the person of Christ. anything or place to reign in but the --OWEN. debased nature of man. Nothing was As he spake by the mouth of his holy now more vile and base ; its glory was prophets, 8c. It is said of our Lord utterly departed. It had both lost its Jesus Christ, that, beginning at Moses peculiar nearness unto God, which was and all the prophets, he declared unto its honour, and was fallen into the his disciples in all the Scriptures, the greatest distance from him of all crea- things concerning himself; Luke xxiv. tures, the devils excepted, which was 27. It is therefore manifest that its ignominy and shame. And in this Moses, and the prophets, and all the state, as to any thing in itself, it was Scriptures, do give testimony to him left to perish eternally.

and his glory. This is the line of life

and light which runs through the whole again restored, at least to some part of Old Testament; without the conduct the human race, and this image again thereof, we can understand nothing stamped upon them; which image aright therein : and the neglect hereof when fully completed and for ever conis that which makes many as blind in firmed, will certainly constitute a great reading the books of it as are the Jews, part of that happiness which we now the same veil being upon their minds. hope for and aspire after. Then, we -OWEN.

trust, we shall attain to a more full That we being delivered out of the conformity and resemblance to our hand of our enemies might serve him beloved head. The Father of mercies without fear, 8c. We are delivered has made choice of us that we may be from the cruel servitude of sin and the holy; the Son of God, blessed for ever, prince of darkness, not to licentious- has once for all shed his blood upon ness and libertinism, but to true liberty. | earth, in order to purify us, and he "If the Son shall make you free, ye daily pours out his spirit from heaven shall be free indeed;" John viii. 36. upon us for the same purpose.Delivered from the power of our ene- LEIGHTON. mies,-.to what end ? to serve him Whereby the dayspring from on high without fear, that terror which we hath visited us, to give light, &c.—That should be subject to if we were not light which frees the soul, and rescues delivered ; and to serve him all the it from the very kingdom of darkness, days of our lives. And that all, if must be somewhat beyond that which many hundred times longer than it is, nature can attain to. All the light of yet were too little for him. It is not philosophy, natural and moral, is not such a servitude as that of Egypt from sufficient; yea, the very knowledge of which we are delivered; that ended to the law, severed from Christ, serves each one with his life; but the misery not so to enlighten and renew the soul from which we are redeemed begins as to free it from darkness or ignorance. but in the fulness of it when life ends St. Paul, writing to Jews who knew and endures for ever.-LEIGHTON. the law and were instructed in it before

In holiness and righteousness before their conversion, calls those times him.--Nor is the true and genuine wherein Christ was unknown to them, beauty of the soul anything distinct the “ times of their ignorance. from its purity and sanctity. This is Though the stars shine ever so bright, the true image of its great Creator; and the moon with them in its full, that golden crown which unbappily yet they do not altogether make it day; dropped off the head of man when he still it is night till the sun appear. fell, so that, with the greatest justice Therefore the Hebrew doctors, upon we may lament and say, "Woe unto that word of Solomon's, “Vanity of us that we have sinned.” And it is vanities, all is vanity,” say,“

“Vain the general design and intention of the law until Messiah come.Of him true religion, in all its mysteries and Zacharias says, “ The dayspring from all its precepts, that this crown may be on high hath visited us, to give light

[ocr errors]

even

« AnteriorContinuar »