« PreviousContinue »
half of my goods 1 give to the poor : and if I have taken any thing from any man, by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.”
(3.) It is remarkable for victory; victories over hearts, victories over corruptions, victories over Satan. Osirs, do any of you remember the day when, though one would have given you all the world, you could not get heart to follow the Lord in duties and worship; yet, lo ! quickly you had it to say, “ Or ever I was aware, my soul made me like the chariots of Amminadib." When though you were frighted with legions of devils, and legions of lusts, and great regiments of corruptions within you, or ever you was aware, you was made to believe and lay hold on Christ, and so, by faith, to turn to flight the armies of the aliens, and say, “ Through God I shall do valiantly: Thanks be to God who giveth the victory.” 1 Cor. xv. 57.
(4.) It is remarkable for discoveries ; such discoveries of God, as makes the soul to say with Job, “ Now mine eye seeth thee; wherefore I abhor myself.” Such discoveries of sin and self, as makes one say with Asaph, “ So foolish was I and ignorant, I was as a beast before thee.-Truth, Lord, I am a dog ;" I am a devil, a monster. Such discoveries of the world and the vanity thereof, as makes it appear nothing. Pleasures, and honours, and crowns, and sceptres, all vanishing nothings. Such discoveries of spiritual and eternal things, as make them appear in their excellency, and makes the man to give transient thoughts to transient things, and permanent thoughts to permanent things. But especially such discoveries of Christ by the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, in the knowledge of Christ, as makes him to be seen and admired in his infinite worth and excellency, so as all things appear worthless in compari. son of him. The man sells his all for this pearl of great price. He is seen in his fulness and sufficiency, as he in whom dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily: in his fulness of merit and Spirit, beauty and bounty, majesty and mercy, grace and glory. He is seen in his wonderful meetness and fitness for glorifying all the perfections of God, and for answering all the needs, straits and wants of the soul. The work of redemption is seen in him to be a work worthy of God's glorious excellencies, and suiting to the soul's lost condition, which is made to go into this method of salvation with wonder and admiration. O sirs, have you ever seen the King in his heauty, and beheld King Solomon with the crown upon his head ? Have ever the beams of his glory shined in upon your heart, according to 2 Cor. iv. 6. God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, bath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ ?"
Some may think, O! what is that the man is talking of ? A sight and discovery of Christ's glory! That must be some wild enthusiastic notion ; for our part, we never saw any glory beyond that of the sun, moon, and stars. O poor soul! saw you never any greater glory than that? I tell you, there is an infinitely great-' er beauty to be seen ; and if you say you believe the Bible, you must own it. Is not that word in the Bible, " All we beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord are charged into the same image ; even as by the Spirit of the Lord ?" 2 Cor. iii. 18. Is not that word in your Bible, " The word was made flesh; and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth?” John i. 14.
But may some think, What do you talk of seeing Christ! Is he not at the right-hand of God in heaven ? It is true, we do not speak of seeing him with the bodily eye;
“ The heavens must retain him, till the time of the restitution of all things.” It is not by any light like that of visionaries, nor light within like that of the Quakers; but we see the God-man by the eye of faith, and spiritual understanding, in the glass of the word. We see-a God in Christ, reconciling the world to himself. We see his grace, his glory, his beauty ; though yet we cannot express what we see, we cannot explain to the world what we see : words cannot represent the beauty and glory that is in Christ, or the sweetness and comfort that is felt in him, when discovered. They that see him, can say no more but that they see bim
all grace, all glory, all beauty, altogether lovely: and it is no fancy or imagination of him. It is no imaginary idea of Christ as man; * but it is, according to seripture, an intellectual apprehension of him as God-man : witness Paul's experience, Gal. i. 16. “ He revealed his Son in me;" and David's experience, Psal. Ixiii. 2. “O to see thy power and thy glory, as I have seen it in the sanctuary!" In a word, it is just such a discovery of Christ as he was pleased to give of himself to Zaccheus here, ver. 10. " This day, said Christ, is salvation come to this house. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” It is a view of Christ as the Seeker, the Saviour, and Salvation, of the poor lost sinner. So much concerning the day of effectual calling.
IV, The fourth thing proposed was, To give the reasons why the Lord calls them to come down, and that with haste, in the day when he calls effectually; "Zaccheus, make haste, and come down." And,
1st, Why be calls them to come down. He doth $o, for the six following reasons, amongst others.
1. We are called to come down, because it is God's great end, in the dispensation of the gospel of his grace, that self may be abased, and Christ may be exalted. See Isa. ij. 11, 17. “ The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of man shall be bowed down; and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day, And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of man shall be made low, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day." The high and lofty One, who inhabits eternity, cannot bear with high and lofty men, who inhabit houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust. Men must come down either in a way of judgment or mercy, that the Lord alone may be exalted.
2. The Lord calls men to come down, because, while they ascend too bigh, they are in a dangerous state. Before they be effectually called down, they are in danger
* This important distinction is elaborately handled, and satisfyingly cleared up by our Author, in his treatise intitled, Faith no Fancy; or, A Treatise of Mental Images. VOL, IX.
of falling down and destroying themselves. If they come not down at God's call, and with his help, they will be brought down with shame and disgrace; for, “ God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble :" whereas, they that come down, and humble themselves under his mighty hand, they shall be exalted, i Pet. v.9.
3. He calls us to come down, because the farther down we come, in a state of due humiliation and abase. ment, the higher shall we be set up in a way of exaltation and advancement. As it was with the glorious head of the body, the church, his humiliation to the lowest, made way for his exaltation to the highest honour; “ No man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven; even the Son of man, which is in heaven," John iii. 13. Where, by the bye, we may observe what a wonderful person our Redeemer is. ' In one respect he was never out of heaven : for, when he was on earth, he calls himself the Son of man, which is in heaven; and yet, in another respect he both descended from heaven, and ascended to heaven: and both this low descent, and high ascent, were necessary for him as our Surety ; “ Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?" John xxii. 26. And indeed, in some conformity to him, all that ascend, must in some respect descend; and the lower they come down, the higher will they be rais
4. They are called to come down, that so Christ may have a footstool on which he may mount his throne, and that free grace may be exalted in their salvation. While men are proud and lofty, and standing upon their altitudes and eminences, boasting of their own strength, glorying in their own abilities, resting on their own righteousness, and building their hope and confidence in their own excellency, industry, endowments, natural or acquired, Christ is put out of his throne, and free grace, reigning through his righteousness, cannot be exalted. But when once a man begins to come down, he is content to be, as it were, a steppingstone for Christ to be mounted up: satisfied to be a debtor to free grace reigning through the blood of Christ to all eternity. “Where is boasting then? It is excluded. It is excluded !.“ By what law? Of works? Nay, but by the law of faith, Rom. iii. 27.-Christ is made-wisdom, and righteousness," and all, “ that no flesh might glory in his presence : but that he that glorieth, might glory in the Lord.”
5. They are called to come down, that they may be valley ground for receiving the seed of the word, and being fruitful, which they cannot be, while they remain on their heights, no more than the tops of high rocks can be expected to prove a fruitful soil. “Christ is the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys," Song ij. 1. He loves to deck and beautify the low valleys, and make them fruitful and fragrant with his présence.
6. They are called to come down, that they may meet with Christ, and be housed with him, who loves to dwell and be housed with the humble; “ For thus saith the high and lofty One, that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is holy, I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit; to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones,” Isa. Ivii. 15. This was the reason why Christ called on Zaccheus to come down, that he might meet with Christ, and that Christ and he may be housed together :
“ Make haste, says he, and come down; for today I must sup at thy house.” And this comprehends many more reasons, why, in a day of effectual calling, they are called to come down. Why they must come down to get a better look of Christ, than they can have by climbing upon a tree. They must come down to embrace Christ, and receive him in their arms.
Down to entertain him in their house and in their heart. Down to worship at his feet, of whom the Father has said, “ And let all the angels of God worship.bim.” They must come down to tread in his steps, and keep the same ground. And, in a word, they must come down to walk with him, Micah vi.,8.“ Walk humbly with thy God.”. Or, as it is in the Hebrew, Humble thyself to walk with God.' Proud man scoms to walk with a meek and lowly Je