Page images
PDF
EPUB

it as a servitude, that they should be any way useful unto man, a rebel against their great Lord and Creator ; hence is that of the apostle, Rom. viii. 20-22. It is just the pleasure and diversion of the devil, to see that order, and beauty and harmony, that God placed in the creation at first, disturbed. i

3. By fin he brings about the ruin of poor souls, which is as great a pleasure and diversion to the wicked spirit, as it is for a lion to tear and devour his prey when he is hungry, Toile luftrate this to you, I will tell you of some things the devil does to you when he gets you to fin, which are just the work and fport of the devil...

11, He takes away our sight. The god of this world blinds all his vocaries by lin; so that, though the man is as it were just upon the mouth of hell, yet does not know it. Like the Philistines, he puts out our eyes, and then makes a sport of us. .

2dly, By fin he takes away our beauty. Man, before fin entered, shined with the beauties of holiness; but now by fin we are become hell-hued, black like the Ethiopian, by lying among the devil's pots; and this is the work and sport of hell.

3dly, He takes away our clothing, he leaves us stark nakeda Man, before fin entered, was clothed with a robe of perfect law. righteousness; but when through fin we fell into the hand of the devil, he fiript us of that ornament; hence Laodicea is faid to be “ wrecched, miserable, blind, poor, and uaked," without a rag to cover her.

Athly, He takes away our strength and ability for any good work; fo that we are not sufficient to conceive a good thoughts though it could purchase heavert. “ When we were without ftrength, in due time. Christ died for the ungodly."

Sthly, He takes away our peace with God, and confidence, towards him ; as you see in our first parents immediately after the fall, they fted from the presence of God as an enemy; the Almighty became a terror to them, that they durit not look him in the face.

6thly, He takes away peace with conscience, God's deputy in the bosom. The devil has a continual hell in his breast, through his.guilty conscience; only it is some pleasure and easë to him, to see men and women through sin feeling his own smart, and crying with Cain,“ My fin is greater than can be forgiven.”.

7thly, He takes away our life ; for every tin is a thrust given to the life of the soul. And the devil, who murdered himself, and who is a murderer from the beginning, he just takes pleaore to set men and women a-work to murder both loul and

body

body at once, every fin being a draught of the poison of the old
ferpent put in the man's hand.
· Sthly, He takes away our title to God and glory, and
makes us children of wrath, and heirs of hell and the curse
with himself. These are some things that the devil works by
fin, which are just his pastime and recreation. To all which
I add, -

4. In the fourth place, that another work of the devil by fin is, to establish his own kingdom and empire, in opposition unto God's governmenr. And indeed, by the first Gin, he drew all mankind under his dominion. He takes God's viceroy in this lower world (man, I'mean), whom God had “ made a little lower than the angels, and crowned with glory and dignity;"' he not only makes him his drudge and vafsal, but he arms him against God his' righteous Lord, and makes him « fay to the Almighty, Depart from us, for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways.” And thus you see what are the works of the devil. All these works Christ came to destroy. "But now I go on to,

III. The third thing, which was the manifestation of the Son of God, in order to his destroying these works of the devil. There is fomething in this phraseology of the text that is exceeding fig. nificant and emphatic ; he was manifested to destroy the works of the devil ; importing, that the devil and his works do as it were disappear at the very light or appearance of the Son of God, as darkness disappears and evanishes at the manifestation of the light of the fun. The devil and his works can no more stand at the approach of Christ, than darkness can stand before the fun when shining in the heavens in his strength. Now, to clear this, I will tell you of several gradual manifestations of the Son of God, every one of which is a stroke given unto the devil and his works.

1. He was manifested initially in the first promise, Gen. mi. 15. “ 'The feed of the woman shall bruise the head of the serpent;" which, as I said before, is the very fame in substance with this of his being manifested to destroy the works of the devil. This first promise contained a manifestation of Christ; and therein were three things manifested concerning the Son of God. As, (1.) That he should be clothed with man's na.' ture, and be born of a woman., (2.) That he should have his human nature bruised by the serpent and his feed : “ Thou thalt bruise his heel.” (3.) That the head of the serpent, or the power of Satan and his usurped kingdom, should get a morcal wound by the sufferings of the human nature of Christ. Here was the first nianifestation of the Son of God.

To

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

To the fame purpose, was that manifestation of him made to Abraham, “ In thy feed shall all the nations of the earth be bleffed :"and upon this manifestation did the patriarchs feed for the space of about two thousand years ; and all the following manifestations of Christ, they were but further and gradual openings of the mysteries of the grace and love of God contain, ed in these two promises.

2. He was manifested typically to the children of Israel in the Mosaic economy. The tabernacle; the temple, the passover, the manna, the rock that followed them, the facrifia ces and ceremonies of that dispensation, what else were they but the “ shadows of good things to come ?” The apostle calls them the “ rudiments of the world," whereby they were let in to the knowledge of Christ, in his person, natures, and offices. And,

3. To this there was added a prophetical manifestation of the Son of God. The prophets, what were they but so many heralds or harbingers sent before this great King to tell that he was a-coming? Jacob on his death-bed prophesied of him under the name of Shiloh, to whom the gathering of the people should be : Mofes prophesied of him as the great prophet that God should raise up like to himself, &c. : David prophefied of him under the name of the Son of man, whom God would make strong for himself, and the King whom he would fet on his holy hill of Zion; Isaiah speaks of him as the branch that should spring out of the root of Jeffe, that should stand for an enGgn to the Gentiles, and a root springing out of a dry ground : Jeremiah, as the Lord our righteousness : Ezekiel, as the plant of renown · Daniel calls him the Memah : Malachi as the messenger of the covenant, that should come unto his temple. Thus, I say, all the prophets prophesied of him : “ To him bore all the prophets witness.""!

4. He was manifested personally in the fulness of time, by the affumption of the nature of man: Gal. iv.4.“In the fulness of time God sent forth his Son made of a woman, made under the law.” All the former manifestations of Christ were but like the gradual peepings of the light of the day; but now the Sun of righteousness actually arises on the world, with healing under bis wings. By his doctrine, his miracles, his obedience to the law, and death on the cross, and his refur. rection and ascension again into heaven, he lays the foundation of a new gospel-church within the territories of the god of this world. Of this more afterwards. But by this manifestation of the Son of God, a dead stroke was given unto the kingdom of darkness, and the foundation of a happy eternity laid, by “ finishing transgreslion, making an end of

the dechrist is the day of their story of God to reves

fin, making reconciliation for iniquity, and bringing in an everlasting righteousness” for the justification of finners before God, and giving them a new title to; eternal life, forfeited in the first Adam.

: 5. There is a declarative manifeftation of the Son of God in the dispensation of the gospel. The apostles, and other ministers of Christ, they are sent out as so many heralds to proclaim and intimate to a lost world, that the great Redeemer and Saviour is actually come; and that, having done his work, 66 whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. We preach Christ crucified, and tell you, that “ he that believes in him shall be saved: and he that believeth not fhall be condemned.” · 6. He is manifefted sacramentally. . He not only presents himself to our understandings by the ear in the dispensation of the word, but also to our eyes in the fealing ordinances of baptism and the Lord's supper; and more especially in the Haft; where, by the elemen's of bread and wine, his body and blood are set before us, that we may discern him, and feed upon him as an incarnate God, dying, or pouring out his soul unto the death for our redemption.

7. Christ is manifested in a spiritual and efficacious way and manner in the day of conversion. “ God who comanda ed the light to thine out of darkness, shines into the heart, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ.” “ It pleased God (says Paul) to reveal (or to manifeft) his Son in me." This is called by the prophee, Is. xxv. 7. a “ renting of the vail, and a destroying of the face of the covering ;” because, in the conversion of a finner, the first faving work of the Spirit is to destroy ignorance and unbelief, and to testify of the glory, fulness, suitableness, and excellency of the Lord Jesus to the soul, whereby it is determined to cast off the devil's livery, and to put on Christ for righteousness, and to say to him as a king, “ O Lord, other Lords berides thee have had dominion over me, but by thee only will I make mention of thy name." I might teil you also of the renewed manifestations of Christ to the soul, pofterior unto these at first converfion : for Christ having begun to give the light of the knowledge of his glory unto the foul,“ his goings forth are prepared as the morning;" he is ay refreshing the foul with the other blink of his reconciled countenance, whereby he weakens the interest of Satan in the soul, and changes it gradually “ into the same image, from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

8. There is the public and solemn manifestation of the Son of God at the latt day, spoken of, Rev. i. 7. “ Behold he co

mech

meth with clouds, and every eye shall Tee him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him.”

Thus you see how it is that the Son of God is manifested ; and in every one of these manifestations (or if there be any other that I have not named) he had in view the destruction of Satan and his works. By his manifestation in the first promise, we have reason to think that both Adam and Eve, but especially the last, were converted; and so the foundation of the patriarchal church laid in the midst of Saran's kingdom. By his manifcitation to Abraham, under the name of the promised seed, through whom he engaged to be a God to him, and to his feed, the foundation of the Jewish church was laid; and upon the foundation of this promise the Mosaic economy was founded, and all the prophecies of the proplicts, whereby the church was continued till the days of Christ. By the actual manifestation of the Son of God in the nature of man, and his obedience, death, and resurrection, the foundation of the New Testament church was laid ; and such a stroke given by his after manifestation in preaching of the gospel, accompanied with the power of the Spirit, that the works of the devil fell down apace through the worid, the Heathen oracles Glenced, the idolatrou, and gross abominations which Satan had erected in the world overthrown, and multitudes every where converted unto the faith of Christ, submitting as volunteers unto his sceptre of righteousness, like drops of dew from the womb of the morning. But now I proceed to, * IV. The fourth thing proposed in the method, which was, to speak of the Son of God bis destroying the works of the devii. And here I would, 1. Prove that it is the great business of the Son of God to destroy the works of the devil. 2. Shew how it is that he destroys them. 3. When is it especially that he destroys them. 4. Why,

The first thing is, to prove that it was the great business of the Son of God to destroy the works of the devil. This is evident from the whole current and tenor of the scriptures from the beginning to the end of them, Gen. iii 13. he was io bruise the serpent's head. No sooner did he enter upon his mediatory work, Matth. iv. but he enters the lills with this enemy, and foils' him with the sword of the Spirit. By his death he is said to have spoiled principalities and powers. He threw him out of the souls and bodies of men when upon earth; and, by the preaching of the everlasting gospel, his kingdom falls like the lightning from heaven. And, Rev. xii. we read of a war between Michael and his angels, and the devil and Vol. II.

Еe

[ocr errors]

his

« PreviousContinue »