Sidor som bilder
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

faith ; but few, with their fails filled with a direct and fresh wind of assurance.

Fifthly, There is enough in Christ to help thy unbelief : Lord, said this poor man, help my unbelief. He is an excel. lent physician, and knows how to relieve and cure thee : Go to him, and groan out thy complaint ; tell him, thy heart is pained and troubled with this disease ; thou shalt find hiin a faithful, skilful, and merciful Saviour.

Sixthly, It is but a little while, before this, with all other diseases bred by it in thy foul, shall be perfectly healed; fanctification is a eute begun; glorification is a cure performed and completed : The former hath destroyed the dominion, the latter will deftroy the existence of it in thy foul: When you come to heaven, and never till then, will you find yourselves well, and at ease in every part.

And thus much of the second point.

There are fome general observations arising from both parts of my text considered together, viz. the thankful acknowledgment of his faith, and the sorrowful sense of his unbelief. It shall suffice, for a conclusion to this meditation, only to note them; and they are these ;

First, That the deepest sense of fin must not exclude an humble and thankful acknowledgment of the grace of God in his people. It is the fault of moft, to hide their sins; and the fault of fome, to hide their graces.

Secondly, Acceptance of our persons and duties, is a pure act of grace : There is no duty performed in a perfect act of faith ; all is mixed with unbelief in fome degree, the honey and the comb are mixed together, Cant. ii. 8. No duty as it comes from us is

pure. Thirdly, Justly may we suspect that faith for a false faith, which boasts of its own strength, but never mourns in the sense of unbelief. Where there are no conflicts with firi, there can be no found evidence of fincerity.

Fourthly, Believers muft not wonder to find strange vicissitudes and alterations in the state of their souls : Sometimes a clear, and sometimes a cloudy day: Sometimes they have their fongs in the night, and sometimes their bitter lamentations. If you ask, why is it thus ? the answer is, there are within you contrary principles struggling in your souls; and it is no wonder at all to find peace and trouble, hope and fear, light and darkness taking their turns, and sharing your time bctwixt them.



PSAL. xl. 8. I delight to do thy will O my God; yea, thy

law is within



Asting my eye upon this precious text, I find it perplex-

ed and darkned with variety, yea, contrariety of expofitions. The Jews and Socinians generally refer all to David, denying Christ to be the person here spoken of. Others refer the whole Psalm to Christ; but the best expositors refer it partly to David, and partly to Christ, that this paragraph in which my text lies, refers to Christ, is plain from the apostle's allegation of it in Heb. x. 5, 6, 7. In this and the two former verses there lie three great points of truth, which you may take up in this order.

First, The insufficiency and rejection of all legal facrifices, as things of no virtue in themselves to satisfy God, or fave men, ver. 6. These thou would not ; i. e. thou never didst appoint them to be the means of salvation, farther than they signified and pointed at me, and now must vanish when I come in a body of flesh ; according to that, Col. ii. 17.

Secondly, The introduction of a complete and fufficient means of redemption, vér. 7. Lo, I come.

Thirdly, The suitableness and agreeableness of this work of redemption to the heart and will of Jesus Christ, ver. 8. “I de“ light to do thy will, O my God; yea, thy law is within my " heart;” or, as it is in the Hebrew, in the midst of my bowels. :

In the words we are to note two things; viz. ist, The rise and spring of man's redemption. 2dly, The acceptablenefs and suitableness of it to the heart of Christ.

is, The rise and first spring of man's redemption, the will and pleasure of God. So it pleased the Lord to appoint and order it, that a remnant of poor loft sinners should be saved.

The execution and accomplishment of this good pleasure of God, was that


which by agreement and consent was com-. mitted to the Son, and is here called a law, or command laid upon him; and, answerably, the death of Christ is represented as an act of obedience, Phil. ii. 8. and respected God's com-, mand for it; John X.,18. “ This commandment have I receive

66 ed from my Father ;” referring to the covenant of redemption which was betwixt them from everlasting : And this was the rise and first spring of our redemption by Christ.

2dly, You have here the gratefulness and suitableness of this work to the heart of Christ I delight to do it ; it is in my heart : Lo, I come.

The Hebrew words note not simple consent or willingness, but the highest,pleasure and complacency that can be; a work which ravishes his soul with the delights of it, I delight to do thy will; and that other expression, Thy law is within my heart, or bowels, hath as deep a sense and fignification as the former; it notes the greatest care, sollicitude, and intention of mind, in keeping the most precious treasure that was committed to him ! for so the phrase is used in Prov. iv. 21. and so did our Redeemer esteem and reckon this work, which was by the Father demandated and committed to him. Hence the note is, Doct. That the will of God to redeem finners by the incar

nation and death of Jesus Christ, was most grateful and

pleasing to the very heart of Christ. It is faid, Prov. viii. 31. When he was folacing himself in the sweetest enjoyment of his Father, whilft he lay in that blessed bosom of delights, yet the very prospect of this work gave him pleasure, Then were his delights with the fons of men. And when he was come into the world, and had endured ma

abuses and injuries, and was even now come to the most difficult part of the work; yet, how am I traitned, or pained, (faith he) till it be accomplished, Luke xii. 50.

I'wo things call our thoughts to stay upon them in this point.

First, The decency of it, why it ought to be so. Secondly, The reasons of it, whence it came to be so. First, Why it ought to be a pleasant and grateful thing to Christ to take a body of flesh, and lay it down by death again for the redemption of sinners.

1. It became Christ to go about this work with chearfulness and delight, that thereby he might give his death the nature and formality of a facrifice.

In all sacrifices you shall find that God had still a regard, a special respect, to the will of the offerer. · See Exod. xxxv.

5. 21. and Lev. i. 3. the voluntariness and chearfulness with which it is given, is of great regard with God.

2. It ought to be fo, in regard of the unity of Christ's will, with the Father's. The work of our redemption is called the


pleasure of the Lord, Ifa. liii. 1o. and what was the Father's pleasure, could not be disp.easing to him who is one with the Father. It is impossible their wills can clash, whose nature is one.

3. This was necessary to magnify and commend the love of Jesus Christ to us, for whom he gave himself. That he came into the world to die for us, is a mercy of the first magnitude, but that he came in love to our souls, and underwent all his sufferings with such willingness for our fakes, this heightens it above all apprehension. O, this is the most taking, the moft ravishing, the most astonifhing confideration of all : “ He loved me, and


himself for me,” Gal. ii. 20. “ He loved us, " and washed us from our sins in his own blood," Rev. i. 5i Here love is in its highest exaltation.

4. It was necessary to be so, for the regulating of all our obedience to God according to this pattern, that seeing and setting this great example of obedience before us, we might never grudge nor grumble at any duty or suffering that God should call us to ; « You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Chrift; “ how, that though he was rich, yet for our fakes he became “ poor,” saith the apostle, when he would press the Corinthia ans to their duty, 2 Cor. viii. 9. And when he would effec. tually urge the Philippians to their duty, this is the argument; “ Let this mind be in you, which also was in Christ Jesus," Phil. ii. 5. So that it became and behoved Christ thus to undertake this great service.

Secondly, Next let us confider and examine whence it came to be so pleasant and acceptable to Jesus Christ, to come into the world and die for poor finners.

And we shall find although the sufferings of Christ were exceeding sharp, and the cup of God's wrath unspeakably bitter, yet that which made it pleasant and desirable to Jesus Chrift, was the prospect he had of the sweet results and issues of his sufferings, Ifa. lii 10, 11, “ He shall fee of the travail of his “ foul and shall be satisfied,” (i, e.) he shall have great content and pleasure from the iffues and fruits of his sufferings, as Psal. cxxviii. 2. “Thou shalt,eat the labour of thy hands," (i. e.) the fruit of thy labours. So here, “ He fhall see the « travail of his foul," (i. ey) the fruit and effects of his tra: vail ; and to see this thall be tohiin the reward and recompence of all his fufferings. Now, among the sweet results of the sufferings of Christ there are especially these three, which he foresaw with fingular content and delectation.

First, That in his sufferings there would be made a glorious

[ocr errors][merged small]

@isplay åód manifeftation of the divine attributes ; ģea, such a glorious display of them, as was never made before to angels or to men, nor ever shall be any more in this world. For though,

1. The wisdom of God had made itself visible to me in the creation of the world, yet there it shone but in a faint and languishing beam, compared with this. Here dwine wisdom put itself as it were into a visible form, and represented itself to the life. See i Cor. i. 24. ad Eph. iii. 10. Behold, in the death of Christ, the wisdom of God in its highest exaltation and glory : O the manifold wisdom of God! Ở the depth of his uoleårchable wisdom ! which I touched in some particulars before.

Behold here the wisdom of God, raising more glory to himself by Occasion of the breach of the law, than could ever have risen to him from the most punctual observation of its commands, or the most rigorous execution of its threatenings; from the occasion of the fall, which was oor undoing, raisiog us to à får better eftate, and with a much better fecurity to enjoy it, than that from which we fell. Yea, behold and wonder, God by the death of Chrilt recovering his elect from all the danger and mischief of fin, and yet mákiog the way and mapper of their recovery the fairelt glass to represent the horror and evil of fin to them, that ever was thewo them iôn this world. Ob, the triumph of divine wisdom.

2. Though the love of God had appeared before in our credtion, protection, and provision, yet nothing to what it doth iä our redemption by the death of Christ. Lo, here is the love of God in its strength and glory, i John iv. 10. “ Herein is “ love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent ** his son to be the propitiation for our fins.” Herein is lové, j. e. Here is the highest expression of God's love to the creature; not only that ever was, but that ever can be made; for in love only God acted to the uttermont whatever his power hath dotie, it can do more ; bur for his love, it can go no higher, he hath no greater thing to give than his Christ. It is true, in giving us a being, and that in the poblest rank and order of creatures on earth, bereid was love. Io feeding oś all our life fong by his assiduous tender providence, herén is love. Ta protecting us voder his wings from innumerable dangers and mif chiefs, herein is love : much love; and yet fet all this by his re. deemiog love in Christ, and it seems nothing. When we have Iaid all,“ herein is the love of God, that he fent his Son," &c. VOL. vit.


[ocr errors]
« FöregåendeFortsätt »