Page images

hills, or the multitude of mountains." The soul, in bea lieving, sees all other refuges fail him; and so his eyes come only to be set on Christ.

3. This act of faith, here called a looking unto the Lord Jesus Christ, it has in it a view of his sufficiency. This is in faith, an apprehending of the ability of the Lord Jesus to save, as well as his authority, that he cometh in his Father's name, importing his authority to save; and faith looks upon him as well qualified to save to the uttermost.

· 4. In this act of faith, this looking unto Jesus, there is not only a view of his sufficiency, but there is a hope of being helped by him. Where there is no hope, there is no looking to the Lord Jesus Christ : but this look of faith, saith that the door is cast open; and by this looking we are to understand the soul's rolling itself upon the Lord Jesus Christ, and taking rest in him; " Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” It is the soul's flight unto Christ, as a city of refuge.” And,

5. This looking to Christ, iinports, the soul's waiting upon him, in the midst of all difficulties ! " I will wait on the Lord, who hideth his face from the house of Jacob."

2dly, There is the resolution of this act; " I will look AGAIN, toward thy holy temple.” This resolution imports the four following things.

i. It imports, that Jonah had looked formerly to God's holy temple. He had looked before to Jesus Christ, when in a distressed situation, and had found benefit and advantage in doing so; and therefore resolves to look again to him; “ They looked unto him, and were lightened," Psalın xxxiv. 5.

2. It imports, that this is the best way, the only way; * 1 will look again toward God's holy temple.” The child of God, when in perplexity, can find relief and comfort from no other quarter, but by looking to a God in Christ. This is the course the Spirit of God directs to; “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth,” Isa. xlv. 22.

3. It imports, that this way is as safe a way as ever it was; “I will look again.” As if Jonah had said, though I have offended God, by disobeying the heavenly message; yet I know that he is pacified and reconciled in Christ; and therefore, “I will look again toward his holy temple,” as the only safe way for me to get his anger turned away.

4. It imports, that he is persuaded that he was never right since he looked any other airt : and since he ran away from God, by disobedience to his call; “ I will look again.” Yea, “ I will go, and return to my first husband; for then it was better with me than now."

3dly, The third thing was the object of the act ; " I. will look toward thy HOLY TEMPLE.” The temple was a type of Christ. There was the sanctuary: there was the altar; there was the sacrifices offered; these were so many symbols of the presence of God, all typical of our Lord Jesus Christ. So that “ I will look again" imports these six things.

1. That wherever God goes, there faith goes; where the fulness of God goes, there faith will go.—God had gone out of the first Adam, and all his natural seed; God is in the second Adam, and faith must follow God. Faith pursues after the fulness of God, wherever that dwells; and it is in Christ that all the fulness of the God-head dwells.

2. It imports, that faith's acting upon God is not upon God immediately, but in and by the intervention of means; and, particularly, by the great mean, Jesus Christ. It is God in Christ that faith looks unto. It cannot have access to an absolute God; it dare not face an absolute God; but we may come to God by Jesus Christ, and look to God in his holy temple.

3. Faith, considered as looking towards God's holy temple, imports, that faith has its eye upon the holiness and purity of the Lord Jesus Christ; and upon this ground, expects admittance into the presence of God. Our Lord Jesus Christ was holy, harmless, and undefiled. He was heard in that he feared : He was heard for his purity, as it may be read. The holiness of God is in him; and faith looks to the holiness of Christ, and expects to be heard through his purity and holiness." Yet will I look again toward thy holy temple.

H h 4

4. Faith, as exercised in looking to God's holy tema ple, it imports, that in the act of believing, it consults the honour of God's holiness: “ Yet will I look again toward thy holy temple ;-There does beauty shine;" there does the holiness of God shine; there does all the attributes of God shine: and faith expects salvation from God, through Jesus Christ ; " I will look again toward God's holy temple.”

5. Faith, in looking to God's holy temple, it views Christ as the consecrated way to God: "I will look again toward thy holy temple.”

It is God's way; God's consécrated way. I hope to win near to God through this way: it is the way consecrated through the vail of the Redeemer's flesh. “ I will look again toward thy holy temple.”

6. This act of faith, as it is a looking to God's holy temple, imports, The bold approach of faith unto God, through Jesus Christ. “ We have boldness to enter into the holiest of all, by the blood of Jesus." However guilty and filthy of ourselves, here is a foundation of boldness. This boldness of faith is expressed in God's face, in the words of the text : " Yet will I look again towards thy holy temple.” Thus I have given you some view of the import of faith as it is a looking; a looking again; and a looking unto God's holy temple.

4thly, The fourth thing is the circumstances how faith looks towards God's holy temple; and that is with a notwithstanding or a yet. Notwithstanding all that is come and gone ; notwithstanding all difficulties I have undergone; notwithstanding I concluded I was a cast away; yet faith surmounts all difficulties. « Yet will I look toward God's holy temple."

III. The third thing in the general method was, to notice what are the discouragements that faith has to grapple with, as imported in the yet of the text. Faith is a grace that has to surmount many difficulties; yea, all difficulties. Now, if it be enquired, what are these difficulties? I confine myself to the context. And here I shall observe three grand difficulties that were in Jonah's way of believing, and giving this look to God's holy temple. And many difficulties there are in the

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

way of many of the Lord's people, if not in them all. They are these : 1. Egregious and great guilt may be in the way: 2. Strong and powerful corruptions ; 3. Angry providences, and dreadful dispenations, may be in the way.

ist, There may be great guilt in the way of believing, that yet faith must surmount in looking towards God's holy temple. This is exemplified in Jonah's case here. Was there not great guilt lying upon his conscience ?

1. There was the plain command of God to go and preach unto Nineveh, and tell them, " Yet forty days and Nineveh shall be destroyed.” But he obstinately rebelled against the command of God.

2. His guilt behoved to be great, in regard God hereby was to prevent the ruin of Nineveh ; yet he would not go to deliver God's message to them.

3. The excuses that Jonah made, or the inducements that hindered him from executing this commission, were most unworthy of a prophet of God. He was displeased that God should shew mercy unto the Ninevites.

4. His sin and guilt was greatly aggravated, from what mercy God had shewn unto him. He had given him grace; he had dignified him to be a prophet: he had given many things that aggravated his guilt exceedingly. And now, what shall become of the man ? Why, faith surmounts these; “ Yet will I look again toward thy holy temple.” How does faith get this great guilt surmounted? Why it looks to the mercy of God; it sees God to be the Lord God, pardoning iniquity, merciful and gracious, in the temple? It sees pardon and remission of sins in this temple; it sees all the promises, yea, and amen in Christ Jesus: it takes up the promise, “ 1, even I, am he that blotteth out thine iniquities, and I will be merciful to thy unrighteousness." Faith getting a view of God's temple, or of the Christ of God, sees the bowels of mercy that are with God : and, sees God a promising God, and so wins off this difficulty of grievous guilt that lies upon the conscience.

2dly, Another difficulty is, strong corruption. This was the case with Jonah; he not only lay under great guilt, but his corruption was strong. ; his enmity against the will of God was strong. 1. Observe, Jonah sinned against a great deal of light : his corruption overcame his conversion. 2. Jonah covered the light from them in this case. 3. Jonah by reason of the power of corruption was hardened. He could not pray, and call upon bis God; no, his heart was alienated from the duty of prayer, until he was thrown into the belly of the whale. 4. By reason of these things, he was brought to the brink of ruin.

Well, when there is such powerful corruption, what can the soul do? Can Jonah expect that God will work a miracle for him that was rebelling against God? With what face can he look towards God, when God was pursuing him with wrath and indignation ? But faith gets up its head, and surmounts these difficulties How? by looking to God's holy temple: "Yet will I look again toward thy holy temple." Why, what is to be seen there, suitable to the power of corruption ? Why, faith sees Christ, the power of God, is not only able to take away the guilt of sin ; but also able to take away the power of sin. It sees Christ to be the power of God: "I will look to thy holy temple.” In this temple faith sees the promise of God, not only with reference to the pardon of sin, but with reference also to the taking away of the power of sin. “Sin shall not have dominion over you.

3dly, There is another great difficulty in the way of believing, which needs a looking with a notwithstanding or a “ Yet will I look again;" and that is, angry providences, dreadful dispensations. Ob! was not this the case with Jonah? Yes, truly. He was under terrible dispensations of providences : for, he was now quite deprived of the comfortable presence of God: The comforter that should relieve his soul, was far from him; and at the same time, God was pursuing him for his disobedience. Every one that reads the history here, may see what terrible dispensations he was brought under. God, for his disobedience, pursues him and all that were about him. I remember, that the mariners that were with Jonah, they are said to belong to Nineveh ; and

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »