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not have mercy on them, and he that formed them will show them no favour.* My people is foolish, they have not known me, they are sottish children, and they have no understanding : they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.t Declare this in the house of Jacob, and publish it in the house of Judah, saying, hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding, which have

and see not, which have ears and hear not. Fear ye not me, saith the Lord; will ye not tremble at my presence? I the being of God; his power, holiness, and justice; that the scriptures are the word of God; that Christ is the Son of God and that time is short and uncertain. They will be convinced of the vanity of the world ; of the blessed opportunity they had in the world; and how much it is men's wisdom to improve their time. We read of the rich man, who was so sottishly blind in this world, that in hell he lift up his eyes, and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.* With many men, alas! the first time they open their eyes is in hell.


3. Consider how much wilfulness there is in your ignorance. Sinners are ready wholly to excuse themselves in their blindness; whereas, as observed already, the blindness that naturally possesses the hearts of men, is not a merely negative thing; but they are blinded by the deceitfulness of sin. There is a perverseness in their blindness. There is not a mere absence of light, but a malignant opposition to the light; as God says, they know not, neither will they understand, they walk on in darkness.|| Christ observes, that every one that doeth evil, hateth the light, neither cometh to the light. And that this is their condemnation that light is come into the world, yet men loved darkness rather than light. And I may appeal to your own consciences, whether you have not wilfully rejected the many instructions you have bad: and refused to hearken ? Whether you have not neglected your bible? Whether you have not been a very negligent hearer of the word preached, and neglected other proper means of knowledge? Whether you have not neglected to cry to God for that wisdom which you need? Yea, have you not resisted the means of knowledge? Have you not resisted and quenched the motions of the spirit, which at times you have had ?' And taken a course to make yourself more and more stupid, by stilling the convictions of your own conscience, and doing contrary to the light thereof; whereby you have done those things that have tended to sear your conscience, and make yourself more and more senseless and sottish ?

4. Consider what is the course that God will take to teach those who will not be taught by the instructions of his word. He will teach them by briers and thorns, and by the flames of hell. Though natural men will remain to all eternity ignorant of the excellency and loveliness of God's nature, and so will have no spiritual knowledge ; yet God in another world will make them thoroughly to understand many things, which senseless unawakened sinners are sottishly ignorant of in this world. Their eyes in many respects shall be thoroughly opened in hell. Their judgments will be rectified. They shall be of the same judgment with the godly. They shall be convinced of the reality of those things which they would not be convinced of here; as * Isai. xxvii. 10. † Jer. iv. 22. IJer. v. 20, 21, 22. Heb. iii, 13,

# Psal. lxxii. 5. 1 John iii. 19, 20.

God will make all men to know the truth of those great things which he speaks of in his word, one way or another; for he will vindicate his own truth. He has undertaken to convince all men. 'They who will not be convinced in this world, by the gentle and gracious methods which God uses with them now, shall be convinced hereafter by severe means. If they will not be convinced for salvation they shall be convinced by damnation. God will make them know that he is the Lord. And he will make them know that he bears rule. Consume them in wrath, that they may not be ; and let them know that God ruleth in Jacob, unto the ends of the earth.t Let them be confounded and troubled for ever: yea, let them be pul to shame and perish. That men may

know that thou, whose name is Jehovah, art the most high over ali the earth. I

What great care we had need all have, that we be not deceived in matters of religion. If our hearts are all paturally possessed with such an extreme brutish ignorance and blindness in things of religion, and we are exceedingly prone to delusion: then surely great care ought to be taken to avoid it. For that we are naturally prone to delusion, shows our danger : but the greater our danger of any calamity is, the greater had our watchfulness need to be.-Let us therefore be hence warned to take heed that we be not deceived about our duty; about our own hearts; about our ways ; about our state ; and about our opportunities. Thousands are deceived in these things, and thousands perish by that means. Multitudes fall on our right hand and on our left, and are ruined eternally by their delusion in these things.

How foolish a thing it is for men to lean to their own understanding, and trust their own hearts. If we are so blind, then our own wisdom is not to be depended on; and that advice of the wise man is most reasonable; trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not to thine own understanding. And he that trusteth in his own heart, is a fool.ll-They therefore are fools, who trust to their own wisdom, and will question the mysterious doctrines of religion ; because they cannot see through them, and will not trust to the infinite wisdom of God.

* Luke xvi. 23. + Psalm lix. 13. Psalm lxxxiii. 17, 18. Prov. iii. 5.

|| Prov. xxviii. 26.

Let us therefore become fools ; be sensible of our own patural blindness and folly. There is a treasure of wisdom contained in that one sentence; If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.* Seeing our own ignorance and blindness, is the first step towards having true knowledge. If any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.t

Let us ask wisdom of God. If we are so blind in ourselves, then knowledge is not to be sought for out of our own stock, but must be sought from some other source. And we have no where else to go for it, but to the fountain of light and wisdom. True wisdom is a precious jewel; and none of our fellow creatures can give it us, nor can we buy it with any price we have to give. It is the sovercign gift of God. The way to obtain it, is to go to him, sensible of our weakness and blindness, and misery on that account. If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God. I

1 Cor. iii. 18.

ti Cor. viii. 2.

Jas, i, 5,





For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the

death of his Son.

The apostle, from the beginning of the epistle, to the beginning of this chapter, had insisted on the doctrine of justification by faith alone. In this chapter he goes on to consider the benefits that are consequent on justification, viz. Peace with God, present happiness, and hope of glory. Peace with God is mentioned in the first verse ; Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ. In the following verses he speaks of present blessedness, and hope of glory. By whom also we have access by faith unto this grace, wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. -And concerning this benefit, the hope of glory, the apostle particularly takes notice of two things, viz. the blessed nature of this hope, and the sure ground of it.

1. He insists on the blessed nature of this hope, in that it enables us to glory in tribulations. This excellent nature of true Christian hope is described in the following words, (ver. 3—5.) And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also, knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience experience, and experience hope ; and hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto us. As if he had said, Through hope of a blessed reward, that will abundantly more than make up for all tribulation, we are enabled to bear tribulation with patience ; patiently bearing, and patiently waiting for the reward. And patience

us ;


works experience; for when we thus bear tribulation with patient waiting for the reward, this brings experience of the earnest of the reward, diz. the earnest of the Spirit, in our feeling the love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost. So that our hope does not make us ashamed: it is not disappointed; for in the midst of our tribulation, we experience those blessed incomes of the Spirit in our souls, that make even a time of tribulation sweet to us; and is such an earnest as abundantly confirms our hope; and so experience works hope.

2. The apostle takes notice of the sure ground there is for this hope ; or the abundant evidence we have, that we shall obtain the glory hoped for, in that peace we have with God, by our justification through Christ's blood. For while we were without strength, in due time Christ died for

even while were ungodly and sinners, enemies to God and Christ. (See ver. 6-10.) The apostle's argument is exceeding clear and strong. If God has done already so great a thing for us, as to give us Christ to die and shed his precious blood for us, which was vastly the greatest thing, we need not doubt but that he will bestow life upon us. It is but a small thing for God actually to bestow eternal life, after it is purchased; to what it is for him to give his own Son to die, in order to purchase it. The giving Christ to purchase it, was virtually all : it included the whole grace of God in salvation. When Christ had purchased salvation at such a dear rate, all the difficulty was got through, all was virtually over and done. It is a small thing, in comparison, for God to bestow salvation, after it has been thus purchased at a full price. Sinners who are justified by the death of Christ, are already virtually saved; the thing is, as it were, done : what remains, is no more than the necessary consequence of what is done. Christ when he died made an end of sin; and when he rose from the dead, he did virtually rise with the elect, he brought them up from death with him, and ascended into heaven with them. And therefore, when this is already done, and we are thus reconciled to God through the death of his Son, we need not fear but that we shall be saved by his life. The love of God appears much more in his giving his Son to die for sinners, than in giving eternal life after Christ's death.

The giving of Christ to die for us is here spoken of as a much greater thing, than the actual bestowment of life; because this is all that has any difficulty in it. When God did this for us, he did it for us, as sinners and enemies. But in actually bestowing salvation on us after we are justified, we are not looked upon as sinners, but as perfectly righteous persons : he beholds no iniquity in us. We are no more enemies, but reconciled. When God gave Christ to die for the elect, he looked on them as they are in themselves ; but in actually bestowing eternal life, he looks on them as they are in Christ.

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