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ed his efforts to disciple nations, placed his whole confidence on the same foundation, and said, “I know in whom I have believed, and he will keep what I commit unto him safe unto that day. To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." May the Lord give us the like support in the like circumstances ! But what is this support? What is implied in this confession and testimony?
1. What is meant here by a Redeemer, and how does it appear that we need, and that we have a Redeemer ?
II. What is that knowledge that Job had, and which, as I shall show
you, we may have of this Redeemer, and of a title to future felicity and glory with him.
III. Let us observe the confidence and comfort which this knowledge affords in a time of affliction and trial, and at a dying hour.
1. We are to inquire, What is meant by a Redeemer here, and how it appears that we need, and that we have a Redeemer?
1. On this point, I must observe that the Hebrew word saa, here rendered Redeemer, was primarily used of the nearest kinsman, to whom, under the law of Moses, and according to ancient custom, the right of redemption belonged by virtue of kindred or relationship. If my hearers will be at the pains to read the 3d and 4th chapters of the book of Ruth, they will be fully satisfied on this head. And they may learn partly from these chapters, and partly from sundry passages of the books of Moses, and of other books of the Old Testament, that this kinsman's office was fourfold. 1st. If his relation had sold or mortgaged his estate, and was now dead, it was his kinsman's office to redeem, if he were able, by a price paid, the sold or mortgaged inheritance of his deceased relative. “ If thy brother be waxen poor, (says Moses, Lev. xxv. 25.) and have sold away his possession, and if any of his kin come to redeem it, then shall he redeem what his brother sold.” 2. If his relation were not dead, but in a state of slavery or bondage, it was his duty to redeem him out of this state by price or by power, Psalm lxxiv. 2. and Isaiah xlviii. 20. 3. If his relation's adversary had waylaid and slain him, it belonged to him to avenge his death, whence he was called the avenger of blood, Numb. xxxv. 12. And, 4. If this kinsman's relative had died without issue, it was his place to preserve his name and honour, by marrying his widow, and raising him up seed, Deut. XXV. 5. Now, in divers respects similar to these, and admirably illustrated by them, we all need redemption.
2. Our inheritance, I mean that which God gave man at his first creation, has been forfeited and lost. This was threefold; 1st. The inheritance of the soul, the favour of God, his image, and communion with him, an inheritance of inestimable value, and yielding the purest and most satisfying enjoyment. Now this, it is well known, our first parents forfeited and lost for themselves and for all their descendants. By nature," as St. Paul assures us,
we are all children of wrath.” We have been stripped of the image of God, and the image of the beast and of the devil appears upon us.
And being alienated from the life of God, through the ignorance which is in us, we are shut out from intercourse and fellowship with him, and left dead in trespasses and sins. 2. The inheritance of the body has been forfeited and lost also. When God created man, he gave him the garden of Eden, earth, and all the blessings of this temporal life, as his inheritance, considered as dwelling in an animal body. But man by the fall, having forfeited these, was turned out of paradise, the earth was cursed to him, and his short life upon it was rendered a scene of toil, vanity, and dissatisfaction ; and, by and by, death was commissioned to put him out of possession of all, and give him back to the dust out of which he was taken. 3. God, in all probability, had provided for his new-made and highly favoured creature, man, a better world than this, even in its paradisiacal state. He had intended, had man continued in his innocency and allegiance to his Maker, after a proper time of trial, to have translated him, as he afterwards translated Enoch and Elijah, to the heavenly state, without obliging him to taste death. In that case, man would not have been unclothed, as St. Paul's phrase is, but clothed
that the earthly and natural might have been swallowed up of the heavenly and spiritual body. But this is also lost. So far from being entitled to eternal life by nature, as we have sinned, and come short of the glory of God, we deserve eternal death, and are, in fact, obnoxious to it. For the wages, the proper wages of sin, that which is strictly deserved by it, and due to it, is death, whereas eternul life is the gift, the unmerited gift of God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. So that our first parents forfeited all for themselves, and for their posterity, and we are reduced to such a state of poverty, as to have absolutely no inheritance left for soul or body, in this world or another.
Christ,” and you are even “dead to sin, and alive unto God, through Jesus Christ our Lord;” yet remember, you have still an animal nature about you, the seat of various senses, appetites, and passions, and that this will infallibly lead you astray and betray you into sin, if not watched over, and kept under continual restraint. You have, therefore, still daily need to “ deny yourself, to keep the body under and bring it into subjection, lest” after all these attainments, “ you should become a cast-away.” And take care you do not rest in, or place any dependence upon any thing done for you at any particular time or place: but remembering you are every moment pleasing or displeasing to God, according to the whole of your inward tempers and outward behaviour,” giving daily proof, as of your justification, so also of your sanctification, by your unblameable and edifying conduct and conversation. And how much soever you testify in words concerning the great things the Lord hath done for you, testify still more in deeds, persuaded that ex. ample speaks louder than any thing, and will be believed sooner than
any other testimony you can bear. Thus be ye the “ salt of the earth, and the light of the world.” Yea, “ let your light shine before men, that they seeing your good works, may glorify your Father, who is in heaven.” Now, “ may the God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever.” Amen.
ON SUNDAY, AUGUST 31, 1800, AT THE CHAPEL IN GREAT QUEEN
STREET, AND AT THE NEW CHAPEL,
Oh, that my words were now written! Oh, that they were printed
in a book! That they were graven with an iron pen, and lead, in the rock for ever! For I know that my Redeeiner liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth. And though, after my skin, worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed. within me. Job xix. 23-27.
1. Such is the language in which a holy and eminently useful man of God of old professed his faith in the Redeemer, and his expectation of eternal life through him, at a time when his heart and Aesh were failing, and his temporal life, to all appearance, was hastening to a final period ! Such is the way in which he obtained comfort equal to his day, when all outward comforts failed, and he lay oppressed with a complication of external miseries, such as, perhaps, never exercised the faith or patience of any other man! And knowing that mankind in general are exposed to troubles innumerable in the present world, and that there is no support under them equal to that which this faith and hope afford; such is the earnest and forcible manner in which he expressed his desire, that this should be held forth to all nations and ages.
2. It is true, when he says, '“ Oh, that my words were now written! Oh, that they were printed in a book! That they were graven with an iron pen, and lead, in the rock for ever!” Some think that he speaks, with a reference to all his foregoing discourses with his friends, which, they suppose, he was so far from disowning or being ashamed of, that he was desirous that all ages should know them, that they might judge between him and them. But inasmuch as he had certainly uttered, in the dark hour of trial, some unadvised words, which would neither be to his own credit, nor the edification of others, and which had therefore better be forgotten; it is much more probable that he spoke thus, not with a reference to his discourses in general, but to this famous confession of his faith in particular. As if he had said, “ If I have heretofore, once and again, spoken rashly, I now speak deliberately, and that which I desire may be published to all the world, and preserved for generations to come, for the direction and comfort of millions ; and therefore that it may be written, and even printed, that is, drawn out in large and legible characters, that he who runs may read, (for what we call printing, is well known to be an invention of modern date,) and that it may not be left on loose papers, which might be scattered and lost; but put into a book; nay, and lest that also should perish, that it may be engraven, like an inscription on a monument, with an iron pen, in lead, or on the rock for ever. Let the engraver use all his art to make the writing durable as well as legible.
3. It is well observed by a judicious Annotator, that lead here may mean, first, the writing-pen, tool, or instrument, which might be either iron or lead. For though lead be of itself too soft, yet there was an art of tempering it with other metals to such a degree of hardness, that it would pierce into a rock; as they also tempered brass, so as to make bows and swords of it. Or, secondly, it may mean the writing-table, for the ancients, as is well known, wrote divers things on lead ; or thirdly, it may be put for the writing-ink, so to speak, for they were wont sometimes, after engraving the letters on stone with an iron tool, to fill up the cuts or furrows made in the stone, with lead, to make the letters or words more visible and legible.
4. “ For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth. And though, after my skin, worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.” Well might Job desire that these words should be written, printed,