Page images

gave to the Samaritans, as you may read,ver.30.39,42. She was the blefied infrunient of drawing many there to the Lord Jesus.


IV. The Fourth general lead proposed, was, T. give the Rcafons of the Doctrine, whence it is, that saving discoveries of Chrilt makes perfons to condemn and debase themselves to the lowest, and commend and exalt Christ to tlie highelt; or, what influence a saving discovery of Christ bath upon this fell-debasing and Chrill-exalting exercise ? I thall consider the reasons of this two-fold effect j intly, because they neceflarily go together, and are iniluenced by the same means : they are like the two scales of a balance, that which makes the one scale fall and go down, makes the other rite and go up; fo that discovery of Christ which brings down lelf to the duft, does at the fame time set up Christ upon the throne. When the haughtiness of man is brought low, then the Lord alone is exalted, Isa. ii. 11.

1. The first reason then, why the saving discoveries of Christ do humble self to the lowest, and exalt Christ to the highest, is from the special light wherein Christ is feen. They that see the glory of Christ with the one eye, they fee, at the same time, their own unworthine's with the other. The fame light that discovers the holinefs of God, discovers the vileness of man. The same light that discovers the fulness of Christ, discovers the emptiness of the creature. That light that discovers his infinite merit, discovers the infinite guilt and demerit. of fin. When the righteousness of Christ is seen, the unrighteousness of the finner is seen at the same time, and in the same light; and hence, no wonder then, while the poor foul is astonished with the view of God's glory in the face of Christ, he is also astonished with the view and apprehenfion of his own baseness and brutishness; and has the meanest thougifs of himself, when he has the highest thoughts of Christ. The more a man converses with Christ, the more he converses with himself; and the light that discovers Christ, discovers the foul to it felf; and therefore the discoveries of Christ cannot but tend to debase seif, and exalt Christ.

2. When


2. When Christ is discovered, then the love of God to the loul is discovered, and this fills it with humble wonder. O! how astonishing a thing is it, that God's love is manifefied to che fo full of sin and wickedness! This debases the foul in its own fight, because it knows itself to be fo unworthy of his love; this works lumility: but yet unworthy as it is, the love of God is manifested to it; this quickens love in the foul, and love excites praifc. O! how shall I manifest love to him that hath manifested love to the like of me! Thus the love of Christ confirains both to the debafing of self and exalting Chriít.

3. The third reafon is, from the special work of the Spirit: there is a speciality in the work of the Spirit upon the foul to whom Christ is favingly discovered ; Lord, lays Judas, not Iscariot, how is it that thou wilt pianififi ibi felf to us, and not to the world? John xiv.22. God manifests his love to the world, in outward respects; but to his own, in his privy.chamber. It is the work and oflice of the Spirit to set home the love of God upon the hearts of his people; and to every one of them alone, as it were : he takes them aside, that they may have fome private conversation with Christ; such as this woman had, when Christ was the only preacher, and the was the only hearer. O but the view of this dis stinguished grace raises in the foul both David's note, “What am I, and what is my father's house, that thou haft brought me hitherto?" And Mary's note at the same time, “ My soul doth niagnify the Lord.”

4. The influence that the discovery of Christ hath upon the self-debasing and Christ-exalting exercise, flows from the spiritual end and design of these saving discove. ries and manifestations of Christ; this is God's great end in discovering Christ, iCor. i. 29, 30, 31. “Of God, he is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.” For what end? “ That no flesh should glory in his fight; at that he that glorieth might glory in the Lord:” That is, that self may be condemned and debased, and Christ alone may be commended and exalted. And this is the great end of the Spirit's work: when he comes to tefily of Christ; what is his defign? Why, says Chrift, John xvi. 9. 14. " He will convince the world of fin; and


he shall glorify me;" that is, he will humble the sinner, on the one hand, and exalt the Saviour, on the other; and fo lead the finner to condemn himself, and to commend Christ.

5. It arises from the special power and eficacy that is in laving discoveries of Christ, for working all saving effects; why, Bebolding his glory, we are changed into the Same image, 2 Cor. iii. 18.; and changed, as in other respects, so in this particular, that self is pulled down, and Christ set up: we are changed from pride, to humility; from felf-love, to self-loathing; from self-indulgence, to felf-abhorrence; and from felf-seeking, and self-exalting, to a Christ-exalting disposition and exercise. All the graces of the Spirit issue from a faving discovery of Chrift, and cone in that way to a lively exercise; 6. We behold. ing his glory, as the glory of the only begotten of the l'ather, full of grace and truth: of his fulness have we all received, and grace for grace," John i. 14. 16.

. We cannot see his fulness, without sharing of his fulness; yea, to see his fulness is to share of it: this is the strength of that for which we have in John iii. 2. We shall be like bim, for we shall fee bim as be is; fo here, bebolding bis glory, bis fulness of grace and truth, we receive out of his fulness. Now, the more of Christ's fulness and Spirit, that one hath, the more will he have of Christ's ends before him; which is a debasing of the creature, and a glorifying of God, that he may be all in all.

6. This exercise doth arise from the divine fplendor of the discovery; for, when Christ discovers his face, then the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ, is difcovered, 2 Cor. iv. 6. When Chrilt is seen, then the glory of God's perfections, and the splendor of his attributes, is seen. Now, every thing in. Ged dashes the sinful man that fees it, and makes him nothing in his own eyes; and, at the same time, makes Christ, in whom that divine glory fines, to be all in all to the man; fo that he cannot but set Christ above all, and give him, in all things, the pre-eminence. see the reafons whence it is, that saving discoveries of Christ make the subjects thereof, to condemn and debase themselves to the lowest, and to commend and exalt


Thus you

Christ to the highest, as the woman of Samaria here does; Come see a man that told me all things that ever I did; Is 100 tbis the Christ?

V. The fifth thing proposed, was, To make fome application of the whole. And this we shall eflay in an uie. of information, examination, and exhortation..

Ist, We shall improve this subject in an use of information, by deducing the following inferences. Is it so then, that saving discoveries of Christ have this effect, to make one, at the same time, to condemn and debase him. self, and to commend and exalt Christ, saying, Come see a man wbich told me all things that ever I did; Is not this the Christ? From this text and doctrine we may fee and learn the following lessons.

1. Hence fee why pride and self-conceit, felf-righteoulness and self-justification prevail so much in the world, and in the visible church; and what makes people, notwithstanding all that ever they did, yet to be vainly puft up, instead of condemning and debasing themselves : why, because they have never got a faving discovery of Christ; Christ hath never touched their heart, and told them all that ever they did: they are strangers to the power of the word. It is very strange how wicked men will justify themselves, as those, John viii. 48. “Say we not well, that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?" Here was the greatest blasphemy imaginable, to say this of Christ; yet they justify it, Say we not well in this? Christless men will justify their ill words, and base works and evil actions.-What say you, Sabbath-breaker? Why, was it not well done, say you ? it is but a work of necessity, a needful business. ---What say you, drunkard? Why, it was but a hearty bottle with my friends; and was it not well done?-What fay you, whoremonger? Why, it was but a trick of youth; and what is the matter of that ?--What say you, swearer? Why, it was neither banning nor fwearing that I intended; it was but a single word, and a word in passion. What say you, scold and railer? Why, say you, I think they deserved all that I said to them; I am sure I loosed my tongue upon such a man, and gave him his holy-day's name;


and was it not well done, and well said ? ----Indeed, you will hardly get a finner at ali; if you will take every person's excuse, and every body's judgment of themselves, they will jullify all that ever they did; or, at least, make it but a maiter of moon-fhine. A common strumpet, such as this woman was formerly, may think nothing of all her bałe ard lewd behaviour. The most notorious finner goes lightly under the burden of his fin, without any lell-condemnation or fell-debafement, till Christ and they meet together; and until he show them, by 'one glance, all things that ever they did.

2. Hence fee, the greatest of sinners may conceive hose of mercy at the liand of our merciful Lord Jesus, from such instances as this ; yet, let 1104 wicked finners indulge themselves in fin, and presume that God will not notice their lewdnels, and secret as well as open wickedness; for the time is coming, wherein Christ will, either in a way of mercy or judgment, tell you all things that ever you did. Pfal. 1. 21. “Thole things thou hast done, and I kept silence: thou thoughtli that I was altogether such an one as thyself: 'but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes. Consider this, ye that forget God, leit he tear you in pieces, when there is none to deliver.” If this remarkable instance of grace, to such a base woman, be abused by you to licentiousness, and your opening a door of prefumption to yourself, expecting mercy in a continued courie of wickedness, you are under a terrible delusion; for, “ God will wound the head of his encmies, and the hairy scalp of him that goes on in his trespasses.” But, if you would enter in at the door of hope that is opened to you, in such examples as this, O leek, that, in a merciful way, le may discover

your fins to you, fo as, to make you know, at the fame time, that lie is the Christ, the anointed of God, to fave you from your fin.

3. Hence fee, that the word preached doth then only do saving good, when it comes close home to the heart, and when Christ is seen there : for here, fee how the word of Christ came home with power upon this woman's heart, be told me; be told me all things that ever

« PreviousContinue »