Page images
PDF
EPUB

blood, he will remember them; and that the hands that lied innocent blood, are an abomination unto him ; and that they who thirst after blood, shall have blood to drink.” . is · 12. He is crying to all liars and backbiters, calumniators, who murder the reputation of their neighbours; and a spirit: of lying and calumny is gone abroad at this day: I say, the voice of the Angel unto you is, “ What shall be given unto thee? or what shall be done unto thee, O thou false, tongue? Sharp arrows of the mighty, with coals of juniper.". .1 · 13. He is crying to all fornicators; adulterers, and unclean: persons, that he himself will judge them, and they shall not inherit the kingdom of God," or of Christ. ". ..

14. He is faying to all drunkards, epicures, and sensual persons, that make their belly their God, that their “end is destruction; that in the hand of the Lord there is a cup, the wine is red, and full of mixture, and all the wicked of the carth shall wring out the dregs thereof, and drink them."

To conclude, he is saying to all obstinate, and impenitent, and rebellious finners, that will not obey. his voice, or turn at his reproof,“ The wicked shall be turned vinto hell, and all the nations that forget God;" and that if they turn not, he is whetting his glittering. Tword, and preparing for them the in. ftruments of death." And, Oh! when he whets his sword, and his hand takes hold on judgement, he will render vengeance to his enemies, and a reward to all them that hate him.

If, after all that has been said, any profane mocker fhould laugh and flout at the warnings given them, and laugh at the shakings of God's spear, as if this were not the word of the Lord that we have delivered to them'; I fhall only fay, that the bands of mockers shall be made'ftrong. We fee fuch a set of men in the days of Jeremiah, chap. v. 12. 13. But fee what is the voice of the Angel to these men in the following verses,' 14. 15. &c. Thus I have done with the second thing upon this exhortation, and told you what appears to be the voice of the Angel to the present generation. ..

Exod. xxiii. 21.-Obey his voice : for my name is in him..

THE TENTH SERMON ON THIS TEXT...

THE third thing was, to inquire what is imported in obey. T ing the voice of the Angel. .Unto this I answer,

1. Negatively, it does not confilt in a bare hearing of the sound of words, when a chapter is read, or a sermon preached,

Alas!

Alas! this is all that many know of the voice of Christ in the dispensation of the gospel ; they hear the minister's voice, and the words they utter, but know no more about the matter ; as is evid. nc from the great ignorance of not a few, which casts up when they are catechised about the common prin. ciples of religion, which they are hearing every day. Neither doth it conlist in a hearing the word with some transient pleasure, like Ezekiel's hearers, whose “ voice was unto them as a very lovely song," while yet, though the affections were tickled, yet their hearts were never touched. Nor is it to hear and do something, like Herod; or to take up a profesion of religion while the power of it is neglected; it is not a crying, Lord, Lord, like these, Matth. vii. 22...

Quest. What then is it to obey the voice of the Angel, Jesus Christ? . . . . . .

Answ. 1. It implies a knowledge and uptaking of Christ and of his voice : “ My sheep (says Chrift) they know my voice.” There is something of a divine light, life, and power, in the yoice of Christ, that the soul is made to feel to its experience, whereby it can diftinguish betwixt his voice, and the voice of a stranger : “ It is the voice of my beloved,” says the spouse; I know it to be his, and not another's.

2. It implies a diligent atttention of mind unto what the Lord speaks, either by his word or his providence. “Speak, Lord (will the soul fay), for thy servant heareth." This is what the Lord requires of us, If. Iv. 2. 3. “Hearken diligently unto me.-Incline your ear :-hear, and your souls shall live." While Lydia hearkened diligently unto the voice of the Angel in the ministry of Paul, the Lord opened her heart. Sirs, do you know what it is to have your minds and hearts so arrested in hearing of the word, that your car and mind is as it were tied to the minister's mouth in hearing? Alas! there are many hearers whose minds are in the ends of the earth when hearing of the word of the kingdom. .

3. It implics a belief and persuasion of what the Angel fpeaks to be the voice of God. It is said of the Theffalonians, that they " received the word, not as the word of men, but as it is indeed the word of God.” The man he looks above and beyond the earthen vessel through which the word is con. veyed, and hears God himself, whole voice is full of majetty and power. Sirs, as long as the devil can persuade you, that your ministers are only speaking their own thoughts and con, ceptions, he is easy how much or how frequently you hcar the word, for he knows well, that until you hear the word preach ed as the voice of Christ, your heating will do no service unto your souls, or no hurt unto hi, kingdom. You know that

[ocr errors]

while Samuel did mistake the voice of the Lord, as if it had been the voice of Eli, he ran the wrong way; fo while men come and hear the word preached, and fancy that it is only the voice of word of a man like themselves, they will fün the wrong way; it will never have any impression upon heart of life, to turn them from fini unto God: but whenever the voice of Clirist is taken up in the word of providence, they run ditectly to the Lord himself, saying, as Ifrael did, Jer. iii. “ Bekold we come unto thet, for thou art the Lord our God. In vain is falvation expected from the hills, and from the multitude of mountains : in the Lord God alone is the falvation of bis people."

4. It implies application of the word to a man himself in particular. Oh! fays the man, it is to me that this word of threatening, this word of promise or command, is directed, and the Lord is pointing out me in particular by it, as though he wetè calling me by name and fitname. There are fome hearers that have a dexterity of applying the word unto others; Oh, will they fay, the minifter met with fuch a one, hé fell foul upon such a man or party : but though their own idol be touched, they take no notice of that ; or wheñ á Sariour is revealed and offered, they imagine that this is only to the elect, or to believers. But, Sirs, they that obey the voice of Christ, they take him up as directing his word onto them $ and therefore they bring it home to their own souls in particu. lar, as though they heard Christ saying, as Nathan did unto David, ". Thou art the man." .. - 5. It implies an esteem and approbation of what the Angel speaks : “ Good is the will of the Lord.” The man's will bends and stoops unto the will of the Lord, when intimate to him, either by his word or by his providence, and he loves and approves it as “ worthy of all acceptation.” “O how love I thy law ! it is my meditation all the day. I eftee'm all thy pre. cepts concerning all things to be right.” He efteems the word of promise, and rolls it like a sweet morfel under his tongue, saying, “It is sweeter to me than honey from the honey.comb;" he elteems the word of command, and cries, “I delight in the law of the Lord, after the inward man;" he would have it write ten in his heart, and hid in his inner parts.

6. It implies a regulating of heart and life according to the voice of Christ in his word. The man is not simply a hear. er, but a doer of the word. “ He that doth the will of God, Thall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speirk of myself.” There are many hearers of the gospel, who gather up more of the manna of the word that they make good ule of; they have it in their heads and memories, but it

never either enters into their heart or practice; and so it turns to the worms and vermin of pride and hypocrisy, and so lands in their destruction, not in their edification. But they that hear the voice of Christ in his word by faith, they study to reduce all into practice ; hence it is, that the light of the word within them Thines out in their walk, so as others “ seeing their good works, are made to glorify their Father which is in heaven.” Thus you see what is implied in obeying the voice of the Angel.

The fourth thing upon this use, was to offer some considerations to excite and engage you to hear and obey the voice of the great Angel of God's presence. You see here that the command of God is express and peremptory upon this head, Beware of bim, and obey his voice; which is the very same with that voice three times iflued out from the excellent glory concerning him, when he was yet in a state of humiliation, “ This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.” The frequent repetition of this charge plainly says, that it is a mat. ter of the last confequence and moment unto us, that we indeed obey his voice. To excite you to it,

Consider, 1. Whose voice it is that you are required to obey. You see here that it is the voice of the Angel of God in the preceding verse, “Behold, I send mine Angel before thy face, to lead thee;" &c. Christ is called an Angel, because he is the Sent of God, or the great Ambassador of Heaven, the Messenger of the covenant, who was much sought after by the saints under the Old Testament, Mal. iii. 1. It is not the voice of any created angel, but of the great uncreated Angel, even the Lord and the Prince of angels, for “by inheritance he'has obtained a more excellent name than they." This Angel has a name above every name that can be named, whether in this world, or in that which is to come, and is set down at the right hand of God, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and hath all things put under his feet: and therefore beware of him, and obey bis voice. If you ask further whose voice it is? I answer, It is the voice of the great Melfiah, whom the world was expecting with impatience for the Space of four thousand years. It is the voice of Immanuel, God-man, God with us ; the voice of God speaking in our nature, for “ he took not on him the nature of angels, but the seed of Abraham:" Oh! Thall we not hear the voice of an incarnate God, or of God manifested in the fieth? It is the voice of a Redeemer, O sinner, who has paid a ransom to jus. tice for thee, that thou may not go down to the pit. Oh ! how hard is it that he should pour out his soul unto death, and bear the curse of the law, and the wrath of the Father for us, and VOL. II.,

Z Z

yet not to get a hearing from us? It is the voice of a Mediator who negotiates thy peace with God, 0 sinner, and who has, to effectuate the reconciliation between God and man, · endured the cross, and despised the shame, and is now at the

right hand of God, in the quality of an advocate with the Fa. ther, making intercession for the transgreffor.. Would it not be reckoned strange, if a client, who has a cause of great importance depending before a court, thould refuse to obey the voice of his advocate, who pleads his cause? It is the voice of thy Surety, O finner, who has paid thy debt, and satisfied for all thy crimes, “ He was wounded for thine iniquities, bruised for thy transgreslions," he has paid the round sum under which thou had drowned for ever; and yet shall he not get a hearing? It is the voice of the Shepherd of Israel, that “ leads Joseph like a flock, and who gathers the lambs with his arms, who carries them in his bosom ;" and will not the sheep hear the voice of their Shepherd ? It is the voice of the great Prophet, who reveals the will of God for our falvation. The voice of the great Priest of the New Testament church, who is over the house of God, and hath the keys of the house hanging at his girdle, and who opens, and no man shuts, and shuts, and no man opens. It is the voice of Zion's King; and shall not the children of Zion hear and obey the voice of their King, who "rules in Jacob, and to all the ends of the earth ?” It is the voice of the King of kings, and Lord of lords. It is the voice of the Prince of the kings of the earth. In a word, you see in the context, it is the voice of God, and not of man; the name and nature, the majesty and glory of his eternal Father is in him, Obey his voice, for my name is in him: and in ver. 22. “ Thou fhalt obey his voice, and do all that I speak." He and the Father are one in nature, and have one and the · same voice; and should not this engage you to obey it? . Consider, 2. To whom this voice is directed. You see that

it is directed to men, and to the fons of men, Prov. viii. 4. “ Unto you, O men,” says Christ the effential Wisdom of God, “ do I call, and my voice is to the sons of men.” And what is man that he should ware a word of his mouth upon him? * Man in his belt estate is altogether vanity.” Adam in his best innocence, what was he, but just a piece of red clay, enlivened by the breath of the Almighty, and beautified with his image? But what is man, in his fallen estate ? He is ten thousand times "worse than nothing and vanity." Oh! finner, “ look to the rock whence thou art hewn, and the hole of the pit whence thou wast digged, and thou wilt find thy genealogy derived from hell, a child of the devil, an heir of wrath, dead in trespasses and sins, lying under the curse of a

. broken

« PreviousContinue »