Page images
PDF
EPUB

that aren in the establinf grace; yea, pt of the gofpels cur

10. See hence, that we in this land and generation, cannot miss a sharp stroke from the Lord. Why, the works of the devil are prevailing in our day ; error, ignorance, unbelief, pride, fulness of bread, idleness, Atheism, fecurity, curfing, swearing, Sabbath-breaking, contempt of the gospel, barrenness under the means of grace; yea, we are come that length, that even in the established church, and in the courts of Christ that are constitute in his name, iniquity is established by a law, whereby the avowed enemies of the interest of Christ have their hand and power set up, and the poor members of Christ oppreffved and cast out, as though they were the dross and off-scourings of the earth. Sirs, there seems to be a formed design and con{piracy among the prophets in our day, to crush and suppress all that have the least Thew of serious religion and godliness. Now, I say, when the works of the devil so much prevail, and men are (as it were) avowing the devil's works, and defending them, have we not reason to think that the Lord will visit for these things, and that he will some way or other be “ avenged on such a nation as this?” When finners will maintain and support the works of the devil among them, in opposition to the manifestation of the Son of God in the gospel ; when they turn a deaf ear, and pull away the shoulder, and refuse obedience unto his laws; then commonly he manifefteth himself in a way of some awful providence, he puts on his terrible majesty, and clothes himself with vengeance, to destroy these rebels, Matth. xxii. Matth. xxiii, at the close, their house was left unto them defolate, and they and their temple, city, and nation, utterly deitroyed, because they would not receive the Son of God, manifested first in the flesh, and then in the ministry of his apoftles.

11. See one great reason why believers breathe so much after manifestations of the Lord : “ O that I knew where I might find him! O to see thy power and glory, as I have seen thee in the sanctuary ! O when wilt thou come unto me?" Why, here is one great reason for it, because by the manifestation of Christ, the works of the devil in their souls are destroyed. Sin, ignorance, unbelief, pride, enmity, and the other parts of a body of sin, they get a wound by Christ's appearing and manifesting himself : all these locuits of hell are either killed, or obliged, like wild beasts, to creep into their holes, and disappear, when the Sun of righteousness begins to shine. And to this I may join another inference, namely, It lets us fee why believers do weary so much in the Lord's absence, and cry for his presence. Why, while he is absent, the “enemy comes in like a flood,” the works of

the the devil get up their head, and this is the burden of the poor soul.

12. From this doctrine we may see how much it is our common to keep up the memorials of a Redeemer's death, and why the truly godly love to flock to a sacrament. Why, by the death of Chrilt especially, a dead stroke was given unto the kingdom of Satan and his works, and therefore they love to shew forth his death till he come again; and because in this ordinance the Lord frequently manifests himself unto the souls of his people, so as he doth not manifest hiinself unto the world. By viewing him, and his death and blood in that ordinance, they get fresh courage to fight their way through the wilderness, knowing that is through death Christ has destroyed him that had the power of death."

Use second may be of Trial, whether the Son of God was ever savingly manifested to thy soul. Sirs, here is a touchfone to try your manifestations, whether they be genuine : why, whenever Chrift is manifested in a saving way, the tendency of it is to destroy the devil's works; for, for this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Hence is that inteftine war that the believer finds in his breast after he comes once to know the Lord. “What wilt thou see in the Shulamite ? as it were the company of two armies. The flesh lufteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.” Omany a heavy groan goes up to heaven from the heart of the believer, when he finds the works of the devil prevailing in his foul ? “ O wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from the body of sin and death!”

1. If ever the Son of God was manifested in thy foul, if ever the “ light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ, shined into thy heart," thou wilt be ay clear for pulling down the works of the devil, and for building up the works of the Son of God. Here I might tell you of several works of the devil that you will study to pull down, and some works of Christ that ye will study to build up.

, You will pull down self-righteousness, and put on the righteousness of Christ. Self-righteousness is one of the main works of the devil. Indeed it is hard to convince a man that is obeying the law as well as he can for his life and acceptance before God, that he is working the devil's work: no, you will sooner faften a conviction upon publicans and hariots than upon him, because he thinks he has the law of God on his fide ; and then, when he is obeying the law, he thinks he is doing God a service, and working the works of God. But, Sirs, allow me to tell you, that, if you be obeying the law for life, righteousness, justification, or acceptance before God, you are working the devil's work; for you are making a Christ of your obedience, ye are juftling Christ out of his. room, who was " made fin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." And as long as a man is doing fo, he is affronting the Son of God in his priestly office, rejecting the righteousness and satisfaction of Christ, and putring his own filthy rags in the room thereof, as the Jews did, Rom. x. 3. “ They went about to establish their own righteousness, and would not submit unto the righteousness of Christ.” That man or woman, in whom Christ has been la. vingly manifefred, casts away his or her own righteousness as filthy rags, and cries, “ Surely in the Lord have I righteous. nefs; in him will I be justified, and in him alone will I glory:" or with Paul, Phil. iii. 8. 9. “ Yea, doubtless, I count all things but loss and dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.”

adly, You will be much employed in pulling down the image of the first Adam, and in setting up the image of the second Adam in your souls. By nature we bear the image of the first Adam, which lies in the darkness of the mind, rebellion of the will, and carnality of the affections. Now, if ever the Son of God was savingly manifested in thy soul, it will be thy great care and exercile to have this destroyed. And, indeed, here is the main exercise of the Christian : he groans under remaining darkness of mind, and is ay striving to have more of the knowledge of God, and of his mind and will; he breathes after the sexcellency of the knowledge of Christ,” and is ay “ following on to know the Lord,” &c. he groans under the rebellion that is in his will, and remaining enmity, and strives to have his will in every thing brought up to the will of God, both of precept, providence, and grace: he groans under the car. nality of his affections, and is ay striving to have them brought off from the vanities of this world, and " set upon things above, where Christ is at the right hand of God.” Thus the man is never at rest while he finds any thing of the hue of hell about him ; his constant care and concern is, to be “ changed from glory to glory.”

3dly, You will be clear for pulling down the wisdom of the fleih, and for setting up the wifdom of God above it. I remember, Gal. i. 16. the apostle Paul tells us, that “so soon as it pleased God to reveal his Son in him, he consulted not with flesh and blood;" 3. 6. he would no more make carnal

wisdom

wisdom and policy the rule and measure of his actions, but he ftudied “ in simplicity and godly sincerity, and not in fleshly wisdom, to have his conversation in the world.” Sirs, car. nal wisdom and policy is the very thing that is ruining the church of Scotland at this day. What but carnal wisdom and policy has brought us to make acts and laws in the church of Christ that are quite ruining and destructive of the true church of Christ, and which have no manner of foundation in the word of God? I mean particularly the late act of assembly, whereby the “precious Tons of Zion, comparable unto fine gold," are cast out from the privilege of electing ministers ; and the “ men of this world, whose portion is in this life, and have their belly filled with the hid treasures” thereof, are mostly taken into their room. The precious pearls of Christian privileges are by acts of assembly cast before the swine of this world, who will turn about, and persecute and rent the church whenever an opportunity is put into their hand in providence. This, I am very sure, is one of the devil's works established in the church of Scotland ; and, if ever the Son of God was savingly manifested in thy soul, it will be a grief of heart to you to hear it told in Gath and Ashkelon, and that the daughters of the uncircumcised are triumphing to hear tell of it ; I say, it will be matter of sorrow and mourning to you.

2. If ever the Son of God was manifested savingly unto thy foul, the union of the two natures in the person of Christ will be the wonder of thy soul. Hence Paul, “Without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness, God manifested in the fleth." And it will be matter of praise when you think, that God, in the person of the Son, is wearing the nature of man, and that in thy nature he has done every thing necessary for our redemption.

3. It will be your great design, in attending ordinances, to have new manifestations of his glory, as David, Psal. xxvii. 4. Pfal. Ixxxiv. Pfal. lxii. &c.

4. You will be concerned to manifest his glory to others, according to your sphere and station; as the spouse to the daughters of Jerusalem ; and as Paul, bis great intention was, to “ make known the favour of his name in the world,” &c.

The last inference is this, Is.it so, that the Son of God was manifested ? See hence noble encouragement to all honest ministers and Christians to make a stand against the defections of the day we live in; particularly against these violent ways that are taken to settle Christian congregations with a set of lax, little-worth ministers; and that act of assembly, whereby · the rights of the Lord's people are violently wreited from

them, them, and given into the hands of men disaffected to the go vernment both of church and state. Why, this method is a plain work of the devil, to defeat the great designs of the gospel; and therefore we may run all hazards in opposing them. Though men may discountenance and cast us out, yet the Son of God will own us in opposition to them; for, for this purpose was the Son of God manifejted, that he might destroy the works of the devila

COURAGEOUS FAITH.

A SÉR MON,

PREACHED AFTER THE CELEBRATION OF THE SACRAMENT OF

THE LORD'S SUPPER AT SOUTH QUEENSFERRY, ON MONDAY, AUGUST 13. 1733.

Psal. xxiii 4.-Yea, though I walk through the valley of the fa

dow of death, I will fear no evil : for thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

alm", or from eve any pred

THE words which I have read are large and copious; and

1 therefore to gain time, I shall entirely wave any preamble, drawn either from the connection, or from the pennian, occasion, or principal parts of the psalm, and come close to the words themselves.

In general, we may take them up as the language of a victorious and triumphant faith, viewing the countenance of a re. conciled God in Christ, trampling upon all the imaginary evils of a present world, yea, death itself, as things “ not worthy to be compared with the glory to be revealed.” Pea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I grill

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »