Page images

Adam, your federal head, and also in your own persons, yoca axe liable to the wrath and displeasure of God, yea, condemned already.

5. Be convinced of the utter insufficiency of all those nail» that you have been formerly trusting to. Perhaps you haves. been trusting to the nail of a general mercy in God. Rut this will not hold ; for God himself has declared, (bathe who "made finners% will have no mercy on. them; that he will byno means clear the guilty," without a satisfaction to his justice9 4ml faith's improvement of that satisfaction set forth in the gos— pel-revelation. Perhaps you an leaning to the nail of gospelchurch-privileges, or receiving the seal of the covenant in baptism, or the Lord's supper. But this nail will give way s *' Unl-fs you be baptized with the Holy Ghost, and eat the ikfli, and drink the blood of the Son of man, you have no life in you." Perhaps you are leaning to the nail of a blazing profession. But, alas! this will fail you, as you fee in the cafe of the foolish virgins, and those Matth. vii. 22. to whom. Christ fays, " Depart from me, 1 never knew you." Perhaps you are leaning your weight upon the nail of some common attainments under the drop of the gospel, such as, a common knowledge, a common faith, a common reformation, a common seal for the public cause of Christ, without an actual taking hold of God's covenant of grace and promise. All these will give way. That knowledge does not humble and sanctify, that faith that is not accompanied with a humble sense of unbelief, that reformation of life that does not begin at the heart, that zeal that is not founded on knowledge, will never abide the trial. Perhaps you are laying your weight upon the law, or the works of it, either in part or in whole ; your morality, civility, delight in duties, or your own good meanings and endeavours. But, alas! this nail will break also: for the law is weak through the flesh, and there is no law given, since the fall of Adam, that can give life, otherwise righteousness would come by the law. The Jews leant d to tins nail, and went about to estabhih their own righteousness, as it were by the works of the law. But what came of it? she nail broke, and they fell under the condemnatory sentence of that law to which they leaned; and their they lie, and will lie till their eyes be opened. Now, I fay, study and be fully persuaded of the utter insufficiency of all these, or other nails you are venturing your salvation upon. 1 he hail Hull sweep away all these refuges of lies.

6. Turn away your eyes from all these, and take a view of the (trength, sufficiency, and excellency of the nail that God has fastened in a sure place. Study the excellency of Christ in Jus person as Immanuel, God man; the validity of his commis

Con as the sent of God; the sufficiency of that righteousness fee has brought in for justifying of the ungodly by his obedience unto the death ; the stability and freedom of the covenant whereoshe is Head, Surety,and Mediator; the prevalency of his ratrrceition, by virtue of which he is able to save to the uttermost all that come to God by him: I fay, be much in viewing and meditating upon these things.

7. With these join earnest and importunate prayers in the name of Christ, that he, who is Father of light, the Author of every good and perfect gift, may fend forth his light and troth, that in his light you may fee light -, that it may be given you, by his word and Spirit, to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, particularly that leading mystery of a God in Out nature, "God manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit," &c. And while you are praying for these things, study to believe, and be confident toward him, that he will hear you, and that "he doth hear you, because these things aTe agreeable tt> his will, Mark xi. 24. I John v. 14.

8. In obedience to the command of God, and in a dependence upon his power, make the mint at resting upon the fail fastened in a sure place: commit your eternal all into the hands of the great Manager of his Father's house, saying, "I believe, Lord, help thou mine unbelief:" I believe that through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, I (hall be saved, as well as others that have taken the fame course: and thus he that believeth entereth into his rest. And in this way wait on the Lord; for ** he that shall come will come, and he will not tarry."

I proceed now to offer a word of exhortation and advice to believers, who are here designed the offspring and iffut of the house, and likewise the vejpls of cups, and ot flagons. I fhaW offer a few advices unto you, suited unto these different characters given you in the text.

first, then, Considering you under the character of the off. faring and the ijsuc of God's family, I have the following advices to offer you.

I. Bless God that ever put you among the children, and gave you the pleasant portion and the goodly heritage. The question that is put, as to this matter, Jer. iii. 19. "How shall this be done i" plainly implies, that~there were such insuperable difficulties in the way of its accomplishment, Vis no created power was capable lo remove. Although a general assembly of angels and archangels had been convened to answer this question, How shall these sinners of Adam's family, being J»cirs of hell and wrath, lawful captives to the god of this world, under sentence of eternal death; how shall they, in a

consistence derations. Consider, then, in the first place, That as God the Father reposes a full trust and confidence in him, and has hung upon him all the glory of his house, so he calls and commands all mankind, particularly the children of the family, to do the like, and to write after his example, ** This is my beloved Son, in whom 1 am well pleased; hear ye him." He hath my enr, let him have yours also. He cries From heaven, " Behold my servant whom I uphold, mine .elect in whom my soul delighteth." And for what end doth he thus commend him, but that we may make him the object of trust and confidence, as he doth? There is not one duty in all the word of God, that is so much, or so frequently inculcate, as that of faith in Christ, or a firm trust in him, for all the esds of his incarnation; yea, this is the great end of the whole.revelation, John xx. ult. " These things are written, that ye may believe in the name of the only begotten Son of God."

There is no pleasing of God, no way to avert bis w/rath and displeasure, but by trusting the great Manager of his house; without faith in Christ it is impossible to please him, even though you' were capable to perform all the other duties enjoined in the holy law, which yet is impossible thorough the want of faith in the promised Messiah. All the splendid services of Israel were rejected as an abomination, I£. j. io—ii. although commanded in the law. But, on the other hand, the weakest mint at commanded duty, though attended with many infirmities, is accepted of God, if done in faith. And the reason of this is, because faith hangs the whole glory of the foul's acceptance tnpon the naii fastened in a sure place, and not upon any work or duty done by us. The language of it is, " I will go in the strength of the Lord God, and I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only."

Trust the great Manager, for he is " the mighty God," If. ix. 6. Take his own testimony as to this, Rev. i. 8. • I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, faith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighry." He is the man who is God's fellow, neither is it any robbery for him to be equal with God, for he and his Father are ore, the fame in substance, equal in power and glory. Let this engage your trust in him, for this he gives as the ground and reason why he should be the confidence of all the ends of the earth, and of them that are afar off" upon the seas: If. xlv. 22. " Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else."

The gieat Manager is your near Kinsman, bone of your bone, and flesh of your flesh, and has acted the Kinsman's part,


admire the glory of his person as Irumanucl, the glory of bis mediation; for through him it is that your relation to God, as your God and Father, doth come: John xx. 17. " I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God."

3. Let all the offspring and issue of the family give a firm credit to their Father's word, set to their seal unto this word of promise, and believe the record of God concerning the great Manager and Priest over the house of God. It were a thing criminal among men, and an iniquity to be punithed by the judge, for a child to say to the father that begat him, Thou art a liar. But is it not much more criminal for the offspring of God by regeneration, to siy so to him that begat them by the word of truth? And yet this is the way that God is treated by his own children, under their sits of unbelief, despondency, and discontent; for " he that believeth not, hath made God a liar." Alas ! how often do we contradict our crerlasting Father to his face, by saying either with the heart or tongue, "His promise fails for evermore; he hath forgotten to be gracious; his mercy is clean gone .'" Is not this flatly opposite to what he hath declared in his word, that? "his mercy is from everlasting to everlasting; that his grace never faileth v that he is ever mindful of his covenant; his promise he will not break i" O beware of the sin of unbelief, for it is a reproaching and contradicting your Father, "Why fayest thou so, O Jacob? Why speakest thou so, O Israel? Is he not thy Father, that begat thee? Beware of him, and provoke him not; for he will visit these thine iniquities with the rod, and thy transgressions with stripes." Well then, credit your Father's word, far faithfulness is the girdle of his loins, and truth the girdle of his reins. Man may lie, and the son of man may repent, but it is impossible for God to lie. Imitate

'Abraham, the father of the faithful, who "staggered not at the promise through unbelief, but was strong in faith, giving glory to God."

4. Jrft all the offspring and issue of the family trust the blessed Manager, and rest upon him in all cases with assured confidence. Hath God the Father intrusted him with all the glory, all the offspring, and all the vessels of his house; and sliail not all the members of the family, particularly his own offspring and issue, trust him also with every thing that concerns them in time and through eterniiy? This being the leading duty called for from the text and doctrine, allow me to enforce it with some few motives, and then to illustrate it by answering a question or two.

First, I would enforce the duty with a few weighty c'

der.itions. that will put their trust in him." (*.) Study to know tl*e near relation he stands under to you, both by his hotian nature, and by his offices as Mediator, Redeemer, Propher, Priest and rting, Head and HusttAnd, for the knowledge of these breeds trust and confidence. A wife trusts in hef hasband, a child in his parent, the members trust their head. C4.) Be well acquainted with the great and precious promises of the covenant of grace, and how the condition of them alt is fulfilled to your hand by Christ, as a second Adam, i* his fulfilling the dd and die of the coverrant of works. Legal conceptions of the covenant of grace, as if out" faith, love, obedience, repentance, were the condftiou of the covenant, brangles fai'h in the free actings thereof on Christ and the covenant of grace. We must comfe without money or price to take hold »f the covenant, and to apply the Westings thereof, because Christ has already paid the money and price that JHstke dema.-ded. (5.) Pray much for the Spirit of faith; and, under the conduct of the Spirit, habituate yourselves toft frequent acting of fairly that so the life you live in the flesh may be " by faith on the Son of GodV

I eorrtt now to offer a word to believers,, under the notionof vessels ha'ngirg upon the nail whidh God has fastened in a sure place. And here I might, (1.) Offer a word to the vessels of cubs. (2.) To the vefflh tffittgons, or believers 6'f a higher stature, (3.) A word to both in common.

t. A word to weak believer?, who are designed -befseis of cups. I only surest these two or three things unto you. (l.) It is a high privilege to occupy the least room in the house of oUr God. The prodigal son, when Ire nine to himself, only begged os his fAthet that he might have she plscc of a hired servant; he \vts glad to be Under his father's roof, ?.nd to eat in his father's house, at any rate, (a.) God has service for the least vessel of his house, as well as for the largest. God never made an useless creature, aad he does not form any useless vessels; no, every vessel is rbrmcd of himself, to stiew forth his praise. (3*) The least vessel is God's property, and he will not disown, but maintain his property, and own it before men and angels, faying, " They are mine," in the day when he makes up his jewels. (4.) The bands, by which you hang upon the nail fastened in a sure place, are as strong as those by which the vessels of flagons are secured; for he has said as to both, " They shall never perish, neither slioll any p'uck them out of my hand." (5.) The weakest measure of grace is a pledge of mare; for " to him that h tth shall be given." What you have got is the arles-penny

« PreviousContinue »