Page images

cheerfully and faithfully to serve him. But in order to this, let them be exceedingly careful to live in the constant exercise of faith, daily looking unto Jesus for divine support, for fresh fupplies of wisdom to direct, and of grace to enable them to walk worthy of their high and holy calling. Let them live in the spirit of holy watchfulness, self denial, and carnest prayer, and in the constant exercise of every grace of - the Spirit of God. Daily putting on the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, and in the exercise of patience and resignation to the will of God ; so that whatsoever trials they may meet with, they may ftill say, "The cup which my heavenly Father liath given nje shall I not drink it."

In order to be confirmed in this liberty, let them look for, and never rest till they obtain, the abiding witness of the Spirii, so that they may be fully satisfied that the work is done ; without this they will be subject to evil reasoning, and especially in the hour of temptation, when they may expect that divine copsolation will be somewhat abated, as no temptation is in itself joyous but grievous. But let no one judge of the measure of grace he experiences by the degree of sensible comfort he feels ; but rather by the degree of power which he enjoys, whereby he is enabled to do and suffer the will of God; or, in other words, by the spirit and temper of his own mind towards God and man. If he live in the Spirii, and constantly copy the example of Jesus ,let him not be discouraged, but let him remember the words of his Lord : “Ye now have forrow; but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your júy 110 man shall take from you." The temptation shall soon pass away, and an abiding peace shall follow upon it.

Let all who are brought into this liberty follow on to know the Lord, ever remembering, that they are called to graw up in all things into Christ their living head: so ibat they may be changed into the same image, from glory 10 glory ; well knowing that he is able to save them to the uttermost, and to do exceeding abundantly for them above all they ask or think : and the more they receive, the more the mind is prepared to receive fill higher degrees of that grace which makes the foul meet tor the enjoyment of God in his elernal kingdom ; so will he in due time say unto each of them ; Come up hither, and take thy feat with me ; and they shall be for ever with the Lord.







Isaiah 62. 11. Behold, the Lord hath proclaimeil to the end of the world, say ye to the daughter of Zion, behold thy salvation cometh ; behold his reward is with him,


ANY of the ancient prophets were favoured of God

to see, that in the fulness of time the Redeemer of Ifráel' would appear in the world, would finish transgression, make an end of sin, and bring in everlasting righteouiness ; that life and immortality would then be brought to light by the gofpel, and multitudes both of Jews and Gentiles, should see the light of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

But of all the ancient prophers who were favoured with these delightfut prospects, Isaiah evidently had the preeminence; being in a very peculiar manner divinely illuminated; so that he seems to have fully understood the mystery of man's redemption, and the gracious designs of God in sending Christ into the world : he foretold the birth, the fufferings and death of our blessed Redeemer; he clearly described the nature of gospel falvation, and the holy, happy, and prof perous state of ihe church of God in those glorious days, when the gospel was to be fully preached to Jews and Gentiles without distinction:

In the chapter before us, the prophet expresses the most lively and vehement desires, after the full accomplishment of the gracious designs of the blessed God. "For Zion's sake, faith he, will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake


I will not reft, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth," How evidently does it appear that his whole loul was engaged in the work of God, ieeing that it was the fixed purpose of his mind to give the Lord no rest, till he should look in inercy upon the desolations of the Jewish church, and so pour out his spirit from on high that it might become a praise in the earth; or that it might be brought into such a flourish, ing state, as he very beautitully expresses it, that the righteousnels thereof might go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereot as a lamp which burneth. He shews us here, what inanner of spirit the ministers of Christ should be of : How much they ought to have the prosperity of the church of God at heart ; how fervently they ought to pray, and how diligently they ought to labour, for the accomplishment of the gracious purposes of God, in the salvation of a loft and ruined world.

In the remaining part of the chapter the prophet describes the holy, happy, and flourishing state of the gospel church; but as it would take up too much time to go through the whole, I haften to the words of the text.

In the oth verse, he shews us with what simplicity and clearness, the ministers of Christ ought to preach the gospel : in what plain, clear, and intelligible terms they ought to ex.. press themselves, so that the most ignorant among the people may understand them. : "Go through, go through the gates, prepare you the way of the people, cast up, caft up the high way, gaiher out the flones, lift up a standard for the people, As if he had said, it is the design of God, that you should make the way of salvation plain and familiar to the people, therefore go through, go through the gates yourselves, till you are fully acquainted with the high road to the city of God, then prepare the way for the people, make it as plain to them, as an high way that is caft up and made eafy, would be to a traveller ; take away the stones, remove every difficuliy out of the way, and shew the people that the ways of the Lord are equal, that he is ever ready to assist them by his grace and holy spirit; so that they may find his ways to be ways of plea: faninels and all his paths peace ; the words of the text then follow. "Behold, the Lord hath proclaimed to the end of the world, say ye to the daughter of Zion, behold thy falva tion cometh. We well know that these words were fulfilled when our blessed Redeemer visited this world in person, „When he himself published the gospel of peace, and accom


plished the work of man's redemption : that they were more remarkably fulfilled after the day of Pentecost, when thousands upon thousands heard, and embraced the glad tidings of salvation ; that they have been fulfilling in the christian church to the present day, and that they remain to be fulfilled in every individual here present, who has not experienced the truth of them already.

In these words we have the peculiar work of a faithful minister of Christ clearly described. Say ye to the daughter of Zion, that is, to all who are willing to hear you ; behold your salvation or rather behold your Saviour cometh, behold his reward is with him, he does not come emply handed, but he conies loaded with blessings, having purchased, he now freely offers to you preseilt and eternal redemption, and his work, is before him, he is come in these days of his spirit to convert the world, to establish a kingdom that shall never be inoved.

In these words, behold thy salvation, or thy saviour cometh, two things are implied. First, Behold thy saviour cometh to finish the work of man's redemption by his meritorious death and passion, and second, behold thy Saviour cometh in the power and grace of his spirit, to communicate to the minds of the people, all the invaluable benefits which he hath purchased for them, and these two particulars include the whole which the ministers of Christ are sent by him to proclaim.

And first, Behold thy Saviour cometh to accomplish the work of redemption : this, every minister of Christ should fully and clearly explain; so that he may say to the people twho generally attend upon his ministry, as the apostle Paul dd to the Galatians. "Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth as crucified before your eyes." That is, I have fully declared to you, “That God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.” That in consequence of this, “ Jesus was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, and the chastisement of our peace was upon him," for he hath borne the punishment due to our sins in his own body upon the tree.

Here then with the blessed apostle, we are to declare to all who hear us : God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them,”. and in consequence of this, he hath committed unto us, the ministry of reconciliation; and we are ambassadors for Christ, as though



God did beseech you by us, we pray you in Christ's stead be ye reconciled to God.

Here we see, that gracious God against whom we have so greatly sinned, and who on that account might most justly have punished us ; so far from having any such design, that he himself hath not only found out a way to extend his niercy and love to us, so that his justice may be preserved inviolate, his purity and holiness unspotted, but he also condescends to invite and beseech us to accept of pardoning mercy and grace; that we being blessed with a sense of his favour may rejoice in him as the God of our salvation.

Our blessed Redeemer hath opened a fountain, for sin and uncleanness for us, and he calls upon us to arise and wash away our sins in that fountain, calling upon the name of the Lord. God himself is so far from being angry with ás, and watching for an opportunity to pour out his vengeance upon our guilty heads, that he hath erected a throne of grace, merely on our account, and he beholds us from thence, with eyes of infinite pity and love. He does not appear to us from that throne, as he did to the trenibling Israelites from mount Sinai, when delivering his holy law to his servant Moses: No, he speaks unto us from mount Sion, and clearly discovers the riches of his mercy and love, and kindly and graciously invites us to accept of all the inestimable benefits of the new covenant. And let it be well observed that it was not the death of Christ, which moved God the father thus to love lost mankind; but on the contrary, God so loved us, that he freely gave his only begotten son to suffer, bleed and die for us men and for our salvation. Hence we see, that present and eternal salvation freely flows from this fountain. The infinite love of God our heavenly Father who hath redeemed us to himself by the death of his well beloved son.

Second, Every faithful minister must say to the daughter of Zion, behold thy Saviour cometh in the power and grace of his Spirit, in order to communicate to the minds of men, the unsearchable riches of his grace.

And upon due consideration we shall find, that the salvation which he brings, is every way suited to the state of his rumee. creatures ; that he is every way qualified to save and to bless us, and that he only designs to raise us up from the ruins of the fall, and to make us holy and happy, and heirs of an everlasting kingdom.

First, It is evident from the sacred scriptures that sin hath so blinded the human understanding, that, as the apostle ob


[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »