« PreviousContinue »
call Jesus, Lord, but by the Spirit of God;" so no man can call God, Father, but by the Spirit of adoption ; under the influence whereof, when you speak to God, and say, Father, Father; it is not in a rash and precipitant manner, as thousands will say, “Our Father which art in heaven,” who know not what they are saying, but take his name in vain: but you, believer, when you call God, Father, it is with reverence you speak it; it is with some holy filial fear you speak it out: it is with some holy boldness, upon the ground of the blood of Christ, you say it; and it is with humble blushing, as unworthy to be put among the children : you can hardly speak this language, but in the manner the returning prodigal did; saying, Father, I have sinned. Well, have you win to call Christ's Father yours, or would you fain be at it?
fáin be at it? And is this the privilege you value above all things, and esteem above all enjoyments in the world, to have the Father with you; even to have the gracious presence of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and fellowship with the Father and the Son ? Christ then is saying to
Christ then is saying to you, however black and vile in your own eyes,
“ Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away" come to my table, and put honour upon my Father and me, before the world, and be not ashamed of me before men.
Would you have a meeting with God? Then come, come to me in this ordinance, and you shall not meet with me alone, but with my Father also; for, “ I am not alone, because the Father is with me.”
AT THE SERVICE OF THE FIRST TABLE. Now, my friends, you are come to commemorate the death and sufferings of Christ, and therein his redeeming love to you, together with the love of the Father
that sent him, and was with him in that work. When Christ came on this errand, the Father came along with him, and accompanied him with his presence. In all Christ's sufferings, from first to last, the Father was with him supporting him. The first of Christ's sufferings in the flesh, was in his circumcision according to the law on the eighth day; the last of his sufferings was in his crucifixion.
In the beginning of his sufferings, namely, his circumcision, the Father was with him, may I say, giving him the covenant of circumcision. It is said, in another sense, indeed, of Abraham, that God gave him the covenant of circumcision, Acts vii. 8.; for, to him it was a seal of the righteousness of faith, and of the covenant of grace: but to Christ he gave the covenant of circumcision as a seal of the covenant of works, he was to fulfil in our room; for, thereby it was seal. ed, that he became a debtor to the whole law; “ I testify to every man that is circumcised, that he is become a debtor to the whole law,” Gal. v. 3. The apostle's meaning in that word, when it is applied to any other than Christ, is, If you be circumcised, or do any duty injoined by the law, and think to be justified thereby, Christ shall profit you nothing; you are fallen from grace, and plunged yourself into the gulf of a covenant of works; for, when you take hold but of one link of the chain of that covenant of works, or do
any thing in hope of justification by your doing, you draw the whole chain after you, which is impossible; you bring yourself under an obligation to fulfil the law, both in its precept and penalty, and so bring the curse of the law upon yourself. But circumcision was indeed to Christ, a seal of the coyenant of works, cr a sign that he was become a debtor to do the whole, and to pay
the whole debt of obedience to the precept, and satisfaction to the penalty of the law. Here was, indeed, the mystery of Christ's first sufferings, wherein the Father was with him, giving him the covenant of circumcision, sealing him to be the surety and debtpayer
in our room. In the last of his sufferings, upon the cross, the Father was with him, even when he was crying out, “ My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me ?” Yet then the Father was with him, supporting and enabling him to pay out the last farthing of the debt, that was owing to the law; and thus he magnified the law, and made it honourable. And we are now remembering that love of God in Christ.
“ The same night in which he was betrayed, he took bread,” &c. Christ's flesh is meat indeed; it is just the full payment of all our debt, that we owed to law and justice, that is represented by this broken bread; “I am the bread of life:-my Father gives you that bread,” &c.
• After supper he took the cup," &c. The Father's presence with Christ, in his death, was very mysterious. * Behold the blood of the covenant !" wherein God promised to be with Christ, even in the shedding of that blood. There was a twofold presence of the Father, or a twofold egress of the divine power; namely, a power smiting, and a power sustaining him; the power of his wrath, against sin, bruising him; and the power of his mercy, towards sinners, upholding him, and enabling him to suffer that wrath. No mercy, indeed, nor pity was shown to him; “God spared not his own Son. It pleased the Lord to bruise him.”—The power of the Father's wrath bruised him to death, and bruised out his blood, of which justice took a great draught, and drank to satisfaction; yea, to the full and condign satisfaction of justice : and God the Father allows you to pledge him in this cup; and to drink to the satisfaction of your hearts and consciences. But, withal, the power of the Father's mercy, towards us, was present with him, sustaining and supporting the Sufferer, who trode the wine-press alone, and of the people there was none with him ; yea, the Father himself was not with him, either as a sufferer or sym pathizer, but as a sustainer and supporter : he was so far from being a sufferer or sympathizer with him in his sufferings, that he was pleased to bruise bim : and taking pleasure in his sufferings, not as they were a cruciating and tormenting of Christ's human nature, but as they were a satisfaction to divine justice : therefore in that hour of suffering the Father was only with him as a supporter, strengthening him with one hand to bear all the wrath he could lay upon him with the other. God, was then, as it were, holding him with one hand, by his omnipotent power, and with the other hand lashing him with infinite vengeance, or pressing him to death. Two flames met together in Christ upon the cross; the flame of God's infinite love to Christ, and the flame of his infinite wrath against sin, and hatred of it; and both were expressed by Christ, namely, the full assurance of his infinite love, when he cried out,
My God, my God;" and yet the sharp sense and feeling of bis infinite wrath, when he cried, “ Wiy hast thou forsaken me ?” a question not of complaint, but condolement ; for, at the same time, his heart justified his righteous Father, saying, Psalm xxii. 3. * But thou art holy:" and commended his Spirit into his Father's hand, as it is expressed, Psal. xxxi. 5. “ Into thy hand I do commit my Spirit, for thou art he, ( thou Jehovah God of truth, that hast redeemed me." Christ, as the public head of all the redeemed, spoke here in the name of them all, when, after the finishing stroke of justice was laid on, and he had cried, “ It is finished," and when he put his Spirit in his Father's hand. Though he alone was the sufferer, yet he gives his Father the honour of this redemption-work, as his supporter ; “O thou Jehovah God of truth, thou hast redeemed mer" and in me all the company of elect sinners that thou hast given me. Thus the Father was with him.
Now, as the Father was with Christ, and is still with him, so we may hope he is with you, communicants.
If you would know this, enquire how you stand affect· ed to the Father's presence with Christ, and his presence with you.
1. How stand you affected towards his presence with Christ? Doth it gladden your heart to think that Christ was not alone, because the Father was with him? The more your heart is gladdened with a view of this, the more have you of the Father's presence with you; for, what should make you glad on this account, if it be not that you are anointed with the oil of joy and gladness ; I mean with the Spirit of the Father, that rested upon the Son ? O bless God for this mark of his presence ! I hardly know a better token of God's presence; and glad may your heart be on this ground, for the Father gladly anointed with that Spirit; and glad was Christ when this oil was poured out upon him; for thereby he was assured, that the Father was with him. And if you be glad at the heart, to think that the Father was with him, you so far share of the joy and gladness of the Father and the Son, even by that Spirit that proceeds from them both. Again,
2. How stand you affected to the Father's presence with you? Hlow like you his presence in three respects ? Do you love to be with him ? that is, to be in with him, to be one with him, and to be up with him.
I shall explain what I mean. Do you love to be in with him, in point of agreement and reconciliation ? « Two cannot walk together except they be agreed.” Do you love to be in with him in favour with him, and would rather be out with all the world, than not to be in with God? Again Do you love to be one with him in point of union, according to Christ's prayer to the Father, John xyii. 21. “That they may be one in us ?” How do you affect and relish this oneness ?-And again Do you love
with him; I méan, in the mount of communion? If you cannot say with full assurance, “ Truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son;" yet, can you say, Truly this is a privilege I would prefer to thousands of gold and silver? And is-it the desire of your souls, not only to dwell in the higher house, and so to be ever with the Lord; but even to dwell with him here below, saying, “ One thing have I desired of the Lord, and that will I seek after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple ?" Is it your heart's desire to bed and board with bim? To bed with him, by lying in his bosom; and to board with him, by living on his bounty, and feasting upon his love?
O how many sweet ways of being with him are ex