Page images
PDF
EPUB

1

3. It is comfortable as it imports the fullest enjoyment of God's presence. As God cannot be a Father without a Son; so it imports communion with the Father and the Son : “ Truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son, Jesus Christ,” 1 John i. 3. And as the Spirit naturally proceeds froin the Father and the Son; so it imports also communion with the Father and the Son, by the Spirit; and consequently, that plurality of the divine presence our Lord speaks of John xiv. 23. “ We will come, and make our abode with him."

4. It is comfortable, as it imports the surest énjoyment of the divine presence. We may enjoy benefits from God, and yet not enjoy himself; we may have common influences and gifts of the Spirit, and yet be cast-aways. Yea, the disciples of Christ may see and enjoy him, and yet not be sure that they enjoy the Father's presence and favour; nor can they reckon the enjoyment of Christ sure work, unless they have the Father manifested to them, as appears from Philip's words to Christ, John xiv. 8. “ Shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us : intimating, that while their faith looked only to Christ, as man, present with them, they were still uncertain and unsatisfied: therefore, as Christ pointed ont their duty of looking so to hiin, as to see the Father in him ; so it is remarkable, I think, in this chapter, where out text lies, that after Christ spoke so much to them of the Father, then they began to say, verse 30. “ Now we are sure ; now we believe.” It is a sure enjoyment of God, to see the Father in the Son, or to see that God is well-pleased in him. Without this, our faith itself does not assure us of freedom

from the Father's wrath : but viewing the Father in him, is sure work.

5. It is comfortable, as it imports the clearest enjoyment of God, yea, both clear in itself, and clearing to the mind and conscience. Our Lord's octrine here in the context concerning the Father, nade the disciples say, ver. 29. “ Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb.". Notwithstanding all that Christ had said of himself, and of the Holy Ghost, whom he

was to send, yet their minds were in the mist, as it were, till they beard him speak more directly and distinctly of the Father : and then, though they were too confident of their faith, as appears by the check that Christ' here gives them, yet they profess they were further illuminated than before; “Lo now speakest thou plainly.” Indeed, the mind is clear when it views the Father in Christ; for then we see Christ truly and clearly, when we see God the Father in him. The conscience also is cleared, when it views the Father in Christ, and comes to the Father in the Son : for then it is justified in the court of the last resort ; “ It is God that justifies (even God the Father); who then shall condemn ?" Rom. viii. 33, 34.

6. It is comfortable, as it imports the steadiest enjoyment of God; for, baving the Father with us, and our fellowship with the Father, we can win no farther in our motion. While we believe in Christ, we are on the way to the Father, John xiv. 6. “ I am the way;" but when we come to the Father, and get the Father with us, then we are just at the end of our way, the end of our faith, the end of our journey, as it were, and are fixed in the centre of rest. When

you come to ordinances, must you rest there ? No: you come to Christ in them, as the church said, Song iii. 4. “ I went a little further, and I found him whom my soul loveth.” Well, but when you come to Christ as the way, may you rest there ? Nay; you must go yet a little further, and come to God in him, or to the Father by him;

By him we believe in God, who raised him from the dead, and gave him glory, that our faith and hope might be in God," 1 Pet. i. 21. A man never stands firm and steady till then.

7. It is comfortable, as it imports the needfullest enjoyment of God; or, such a divine presence as answers all the needs of the soul, and all the defects of a lonely case. Why, the heavenly Father being present, they enjoy all the privileges of these who are the children of such a Father. Do they need divine pity? The Father is with them for this end; “ As a father pities bis children, so the Lord pities them that fear him.” Do they

his eye.

need divine sympathy? The Father is with them for that end; and, in all their afflictions he was afflicted. He that toucheth them, toucheth the apple of his eye. Do they need provision ? The Father is with them to provide for his children. . Do they need instruction ? This is a father's work; and for this end the Father is with them to teach them to profit, and guide them with

eye. Do they need kindly chastisement ? This is a father's work : and as a father chastiseth his children whom he loveth, and then backs the chastisements with embracements : see how God the Father doth both; Jer, xxxi. 18. “ I have surely beard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus, Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised; as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke,” &c. There is chastisement. Verse 20.

Verse 20. “Is Ephraim my dear son? Is he a pleasant child ? For, since I spake against him, 1 do earnestly remember him still: there. fore my bowels are troubled for him; I will surely, have mercy upon him, saith the Lord” There is the embracement. Whatever they need of divine fatherly care to be taken about them, his being with them as the Father, answers and supplies all their needs, according to his riches and glory, by Christ Jesus.

8. It is comfortable, as it imports the sweetest enjoyment of God's presence : for, when the Father is with them, they drink at the fountain-head, where the water is sweetest, as it is said, Dulcius ex ipso fonte hibuntur aquæ. God the Father, who is the fountain of the Trinity, in respect of the priority of order in subsistence, he is the fountain of living waters : the fountain-head of our salvation and consolation. And however sweet the streams are, yet it is sweetest drinking at the fountain : by enjoying the fountain, we enjoy all that can issue from it. And hence the enjoyment of God in Christ is never more sweet, than when the heart leaps out at the mouth with an ABBA, Father, Rom. viii. 15. Gal. iv. 6. Then may the soul well say, “I am not alone, for the Father is with me." Thus you see the special comfort included in the presence of God, as represented by the first person, - The Father is with me."

[ocr errors]

IV. The Fourth general Head was, To offer some grounds and reasons why God was thus present with Christ; and why he is present with his people, espcially in their sufferings and lonely circumstances. And,

1st, Why was God the Father with Christ, in his work of doing and suffering ?

1. The Father was with him, because he was both his Son and his Sent. As he was his Son, he had a necessary, natural right to his presence; for, “ He and his Father are one." As he was his Sent, his sent servant, his sent ambassador, he had a necessary foederal right to his presence, by virtue of the covenant God the Father made with him, Psalm lxxxix. 3. “I have made a covenant with my chosen.” And hence he says, “ He that hath sent me is with me."

2. The Father was with him, because he did always what was pleasing to him ; “He that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone ; for 1 do always these things that please him," John viii. 29. He was a Son and Servant, that never did a thing displeasing to God ; nay, he never did an action but what was pleasing to him.

3. The Father was with him, because he loved him from everlasting, being the Son of his bosom, his dear Son and his eternal delight, Prov. viii. 30. “I was daily his delight:" and therefore he says of him, “ Behold my Servant, whom I uphold; mine Elect, in whom my soul delighteth," Isa. xlii. 1.

4. The Father was with him, because he loved a company, a world of mankind sinners, elect according to the foreknowledge of God; for whose sake he sent him on the errand of their redemption “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son: and he sent him, that the world through him might be saved,” John iii. 16, 17. This saving work was what bred in the Father's bosom, where Christ lay ; whence he was sent upon this Jove-errand; and therefore the Father was with him in the work.

5. The Father was with him, because he was with the Father. From all eternity he was always with the Father; “ The Word was with God,” John i. 1. And when the Word was made flesh, and assumed our natrue, he was always with the Father in his thoughtsý

[ocr errors]

and words, and walk. He was always with God ; and therefore God was constantly with him ; “ I have set, the Lord always before me: because he is at my right, hand, I shall not be moved,” Psalm xvi. 8.

6. The Father was with him, still upholding him in his doing and suffering work, because his glory was concerned in that work, and Christ was to glorify him on earth; therefore he said to him, Isa. xlix. 3. - Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.” And accordingly Christ could say, John xvii. 4. “Fa. ther, I have glorified thee on the earth : I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” This God glorifying work, of suffering to the satisfaction of jus. tice, behoved to be the work of God; though Christ only was the sufferer, yet the Three-one God behoved to be the supporter of him: tbatis, beside the divine nature of the Son, the super-eminent presence of God the Father, and the super-eminent unction of the Holy Ghost; that the glory of the work might redound to the whole blessed Trinity, which is one God, who could not give the glory of this work to another; “I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light to the Gentiles, &c. I'am the Lord, that is my name, and my glory will I not give to another,” Isaiah xlii. 6, 7, 8. Thus Christ brought glory to God in the highest; and therefore God was with him, that God might have the glory of the work. not alone, because the Father is with me."

2dly, Why will God be present with his PEOPLE, especially in their suffering and lonely circumstances ? In general, because he was with CHRIST, therefore he will be with them, and allow them his gracious presence, More particularly,

1. I'ne Father is with them, because of his relation to them, and theirs to him, in and through Christ. He is their Father, and they are his children; and will such an indulgent, merciful Father, from whom all other fathers derive their paternal affection, will be leave them alone and deny them his presence, and forsake his children? Nay, Zion may say, through unbelief, “ The Lord hath forsaken me, and my God hath forgotten

66 I am

« PreviousContinue »