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tions? And is he not still a lovely High-priest, now that he is passed into the heavens, and appears in the presence of God for us?
(3.) As a King, on account of his gift of the Spirit, and the government which he exercises over the world and the church. The nations of men are not only involved in guilt, but . deeply polluted by sin. This is the account the scripture every where gives us of our deplorable condition. And, indeed, we need only consult the history of mankind in former ages, or attend to our oWn observation and experience, to be convinced of it. Now, in this corrupt state of man, when the nations were at enmity with God, and, consequently, incapable of eternal lise, the divine Redeemer appeared, and made effectual provision for our being fanctisied and reconciled to God. He purchased, and sent the Holy Spirit, as a fountain opened to all nations, for sin, and for un-, cleanness: "He was made a curse for us, that we
might receive the promise of the Spirit through ** faith (£)." And what an invaluable blessing is this to mankind? Nothing, indeed, can be of greater consequence to us, in our present state of depravity and guilt. How insinitely worthy, then, is He to be the' desire of all nations, who gave himself for us, that he might thus redeem us from all iniquity, and purify to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works; who, for our fakes, spoiled principalities and powers, and, making a show of them openly, triumphed over them on his cross; who, in sine, conquered death and the grave, and rendered the victory fo extensive, that every believer may triumph over them in the Words of the apostle; "O Death, where is f thy sting? O Grave, where is thy victory? Thanks "be to God, who giveth us the victory through our .** Lord Jesus Christ."
It now remains to make fome practical improvement of what has been faid. And,
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'! (i) Gal. Si. 13, 14.
1. Is Christ the desire of all nations? Hence, we may learn, that he is the true and promised Messiah. Was it foretold concerning the Messiah, that to him mould the Gentiles seek; that the gathering of the people should be to him; and that nations which knew him not, should be blessed with the knowledge of him? All this was remarkably accomplished in our Lord Jesus Christ, who is eminently the desire of the nations. This is he that should come; and the nations look for no other.
2. How incomparably happy must that nation be, which enjoys Christ in the power and purity of gospel ordinances? If Christ, represented under a vail of legal ceremonies* made Canaan the glorious land, as we sind it is called once and again, by way of distinction (d); what a glorious place must that country be, the inhabitants of which behold him, as it were, unvailed in the brightness of the gospel? O that we knew our happiness, and the day of our mercisul visitation; for, what many prophets and saints of old desired to see and hear, we enjoy. Let us therefore be thanksul for our privileges, and caresul to improve them; lest the gospel, by the righteous judgment of God, be taken away, and our abused seasons of grace be brought to a speedy termination.
3. How vile and provoking a sin must it be in any nation, upon whom the light of the gospel shines, to reject Jesus Christ, and, in effect, to say with those in the book of Job, "Depart from us, we desire not "the knowledge of thy ways?" How base and ungratesul to disregard his worship, to despise his messengers, and declare, by our actions, that " we will ** not have this man to reign over us!" In the primitive days of Christianity, this was the conduct of the Jews. They put away Christ from among them, and, by that means, judged themselves unworthy of eternal lise. But, how soon did vengeance overtake them! Let us beware, lest, by our unbelief and contempt of the gospel, we, in like manner,
(V) Dan, xi.
provoke the Lord to depart from us, and even to make us desolate; a land not inhabited: And wo, wo, will be to us indeed, if the Lord depart from us.
4. What reason have we to pity and lament the blindness and misery of the Jews, and other nations, in their obstinate insidelity? The Jews are the most inexcusable of all the unbelieving nations; and God has remarkably punished them above all people, by a long continued, and general dispersion among the kingdoms of the earth: So that they are, as it were, set up a spectacle to the nations; a standing monument of the terrible judgment of God.
And now, to conclude, let us therefore, without wavering, hold sast the prosession os our saith: and may the God of all grace, grant that we may continue grounded, and settled in it, that when Christ, the desire of the nations, shall appear, we may have .considence, and not be ashamed at his coming.
THE FULNESS OF CHRIST ILLUSTRATES.
COLoS5. i. 19.
For it pleased the Father, thai in him jhould all fulness divelL
THE apostle, from the 12th verse of this chap* ter, having mentioned several of the great and glorious privileges we' enjoy by the gospel, in the irth verse, and downwards, gives a sublime character and description of the blessed Redeemer, by whom they were procured.
It deserves your particular attention, that this apostle, in many of his epistles, when he is insisting on this subject, sinds his foul under such a constraining power of divine love, that he delights to dwell on the heavenly theme: his heart is enlarged in the high praises of his Redeemer; and as we take plealure in speaking of those whom we love and esteem, it was impossible for him to suppress or conceal the emotions of his love, while describing the beauty and excellence of its object. Here you may observe, the apostle labours, as it were, under the weight of. his subject. The expressions he makes use of, are lively and strong. He seems, however, to be sensible, that they come insinitely short of the dignity of
I the the perfon whom he attempts to describe. He calls him the image of the invisible God; the sirst-born of every creature, by whom all things were created, that are in heaven and in earth, visible- and invisible; and therefore, he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
And having thus described our Redeemer as equal to the Father, he next shews what he is as Mediator. He is the Head of his mystical body, the Church; the Beginning, the First-born from the dead, the First who rose from the dead by his own power, and rose to an immortal lise, never to die any more,- that in all things he might have the pre-eminence. Then follow th; words of the text; " For it pleased the
Father, that in him should all sulness dwell."
We may consider these words as expressive of our Saviour's qualisications for that important charge, the Head of the Church; and of the Father's reafon for. advancing him to that eminent dignity and power. Or, we may view them in a fomewhat more extended sense; as the foundation of his all-sufficiency as Mediator, his being able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by him.
By the sulness that dwells in Christ, we are not to understand: his persections, as he is God; for those are essential to- him, and not communicated at the Father's pleasure; neither that sulness of which the apostle speaks (a), whereby his mystical bodyi the Church, is gradually completed; for sulness can only be faid to dwell in Christ in this fense, when all who belong to the election of grace are gathered unto him. But we ate here to understand, that sulness of grace and truth, as the evangelist John calls it, which he, as Head of his Church in general, and of every believer in particular, is' constantly communicating to his servants, and. out of which they are daily receiving, and grace for grace. This sulness is skM in die tfex't Co dwell in Christ)..' '•': :v '.