« ZurückWeiter »
cure your blindness; he only hath the key of the house of David; he openeth, and no man shutteth. Oh that I might persuade you to set yourselves in his way, under the ordinances, and cry to him, "Lord, that my eyes may be opened." Three things are exceedingly encouraging to you so to do:
God the Father hath put him into this office for the cure of such as you are : "I will give thee for a light to the gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.” Isa. 49:6. This may furnish you with an argument to plead for a cure. Why do you not go to God, and say, "Lord, didst thou give Jesus Christ a commission to open the blind eyes ? Behold me,
Lord; such a one am I, a poor, dark, ignorant soul. Didst thou give him to be thy salvation to the ends of the earth? Are no place nor people excluded from the benefit of that light; and shall I still remain in the shadow of death? Oh that unto me he might be a saving light also !"
It is encouraging to think, that Jesus Christ has actually opened the eyes of them that were as dark and ignorant as you are. He has revealed to babes those things that have been hid from the wise and prudent. Matt. 11 : 25. "The law of the Lord is perfect, making wise the simple.” Psa. 19 : 7. And if you look among those whom Christ hath enlightened, you will not find
many wise after the flesh, many mighty or noble; but the foolish, weak, base, and despised;" these are they on whom he hath glorified the riches of his grace. 1 Cor. 1: 26, 27.
And is it not yet further encouraging to you that hitherto he hath mercifully continued you under the means of light ? Why is not the light of the Gospel prit out? Why are times and seasons of grace continued to you if God have no further design of good to your soul? Be not therefore discouraged, but wait on the Lord in the use of means, that you may be healed.
If you ask, WHAT CAN WE DO to put ourselves into the way of the Spirit, in order to such a cure ? I say, though you cannot make the Gospel effectual, yet the Spirit of God can make the means you are capable of using effectual. And it is certain that your inability to do what is above your power, in no way excuses you from doing what is within your power. Let me therefore advise,
That you diligently attend upon an able, faithful, and searching ministry. Neglect no opportunity God affords you ; for how know you but that may be the time of mercy to your soul?
Satisfy not yourselves with hearing, but consider what you hear. Allow time to reflect upon what God has spoken to you.
is there in man more excellent, or more appropriate to the reasonable nature, than its reflective and self-considering power ? There is little hope of any good to be done upon your soul, till you begin to go alone and reflect : here all conversion begins. I know, a severer task can hardly be imposed upon a carnal heart. It is a hard thing to bring a man and himself together upon this subject; but this must be, if ever the Lord do your souls good. "Commune with your own hearts.' Psa. 4 : 4.
Labor to see, and ingenuously confess the insufficiency of all your other knowledge to do you good. What if you had never so much skill and knowledge in other mysteries ? What if you be never so well acquainted with the letter of the Scripture ? What if you angelical illumination ? This can never save thy soul. No, all thy knowledge avails nothing till the Lord show thee, by special light, the deplorable sight, of thy own heart, and a saving sight of Jesus Christ, thy only remedy.
4. Since then there is a common light, and special saving light, which none but Christ can give, it is the concern of every one of you to try what your light is. "We know (saith the apostle, 1 Cor. 8 : 1) that we all
have knowledge.” O but what, and whence is it? Is it the light of life springing from Jesus Christ, that bright and morning star, or only such as the devils and damned have ?
These lights differ in their very kind and nature. The one is heavenly, supernatural, and spiritual; the other earthly and natural, the effect of a better constitution or education. James, 3 : 15, 17.
They difler most apparently in their effects and operations. The light that comes in a special way from Christ, is humbling and self-abasing ; by it a man sees the vileness of his own nature and practice, which begets selfloathing ; but natural light, on the contrary, puffs up, exalts, and makes the heart swell with self-conceit. 1 Cor. 8 : 1. The light of Christ is practical and operative, still urging the soul, yet lovingly constraining it to obedience. No sooner did it shine into Paul's heart, but presently he asks, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do ?” Acis, 9 :6. It brought forth fruit in the Colossians from the first day-it came to them, Col. 1:6; but the other spends itself in intellectual dreams, and is detained in unrighteousness. Rom. 1: 18. The light of Christ powerfully transforms its subjects, changing the man "into the same image, from glory to glory.” 2 Cor. 3:18. But common light leaves the heart as dead, as carnal and sensual, as if no light at all were in it. In a word, all saving light endears Jesus Christ to the soul; and as it could not value him before it saw him, so when once he appears to the soul in his own light, he is appreciated and endeared unspeakably: then its language is, "None but Christ; all is but dross that I may win Christ : none in heaven but him, nor in earth desirable in comparison of him." But no such effect flows from natural, common knowledge.
These lights differ in their results. Natural, common knowledge vanishes, as the apostle speaks. 1 Cor. 13:8.
It is but a Mayflower, and dies in its month. "Doth not their excellency that is in them go away?” Job, 4 : 21. But this that springs from Christ is perfected, not destroyed by death: it "springs up into everlasting life.” The soul in which it is subjected, carries it away with it into glory. This light is life eternal. John, 17: 3. Now turn in, and compare yourselves with these rules; let not false light deceive you.
5. Lastly, How ought they to love, serve, and honor Jesus Christ, whom he hath enlightened with the saving knowledge of himself! Oh that with hands and hearts lifted
up to heaven, ye would adore the free grace of Jesus Christ to your souls! How many round about you have their eyes closed, and their hearts shut up! How many are in darkness, and likely to remain so till they come to the blackness of darkness, which is reserved for them. Oh what a pleasant thing is it for your eyes to see the light of this world! But what is it for the eye of
your mind to see God in Christ ? to see such ravishing sights as the objects of faith ? and to have such a pledge as this given you of the blessed visions of glory? for in this light you shall see light. Bless God, and boast not: rejoice in your light, but be not proud of it ; and beware ye sin not against the best and highest light in the world. If God were so incensed against the heathen for disobeying the light of nature, what is it in you to sin with eyes clearly illuminated with the purest light that shines in this world! You know, God charges it upon Solomon, 1 Kings, 11 : 9, that he turned from the way of obedience after the Lord had appeared to him twice, Jesus Christ intended, when he opened your eyes, that your eyes should direct your feet. Light is a special belp to obedience, and obedience is a singular help to increase your light.
NATURE AND NECESSITY OF THE PRIESTHOOD OF CHRIST.
It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these ; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.”—Hebrews, 9 : 23.
Salvation, as to the actual dispensation of it, is revealed by Christ as a Prophet, procured by him as a Priest, applied by him as a King. In vain it is revealed, if not purchased; in vain revealed and purchased, if not applied. How it is revealed, both to us, and in us, by our great Prophet, has been shown. And now, from the prophetical office, we pass on to the priestly office of Jesus Christ, who as our Priest, purchased our salvation. In this office is contained the grand relief for a soul distressed by the guilt of sin. When all other reliefs have been tried, it is the blood of this great Sacrifice, sprinkled by faith upon the trembling conscience, that must cool, refresh, and sweetly compose and settle it. Now, seeing so great a weight hangs upon this office, the apostle industriously confirms and commends it in this Epistle, and more especially in this ninth chapter ; showing how it was prefigured to the world by the typical blood of the sacrifices, but infinitely excels them all : and as in many other most weighty respects, so principally in this, that the blood of these sacrifices did but purify the types or patterns of the heavenly things; but the blood of this Sacrifice purified or consecrated the heavenly things themselves, signified by those types. These words contain an argument to prove
the necessity of the offering of Christ, the great Sacrifice, drawn from the proportion betwixt the types and the things typi. fied. If the sanctuary, mercy-seat, and all things pertaining to the service of the tabernacle, were to be consecrated by blood; those earthly, but sacred types, by the