Page images

obliterated and defaced by the fall, published to Israel from the mouth of God upon Mount Sinai, and written upon tables of stone, and laid up in the ark for the use of Israel. This, I fay, is the law here intended. The ceremonial and judicial law were things peculiar unto the Jews, or commonwealth of Uriel; but the moral law had a being so soon as man was created, and is binding upon all nations. For the breach of this law man was condemned, and all his posterity laid under the curse: and therefore this must be the law which Christ, '-■- oar Surety, came to magnify and make honourable. And concerning it, I offer,

idlj, That *he moral law is nothing etfe but a transcript of the original holiness and purity of God's nature. God's essential holiness and righteousness was too bright and dazzling 1 pattern for man, even in a state of innocency; and therefore he transcribes a copy of it, and pictures it out upon the heart of man, that he might make it the rule of his obedience in heart and in life, requiring him to be holy as he is holy.

$Hj, The law being a copy or emanation ©f God?s holiness and righteousness, it mult be dearer to him than heaven and earth, or the whole frame of nature. Hence is that of Christ, Mattb. v. 17. 18. "Think not that 1 am come to destroy the law and the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. Verily I fay unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or tittle shall in no ways pass from the law, till >H be fulfilled." Sirs, whatever mean or low thoughts we nay have of the law, through the blindness of our minds, yet I can assure you, that it is such a sacred thing with God, that he will sooner unhinge the frame of nature, and reduce >t to its original nothing, than suffer it to be trampled upon by sinners, without shewing a suitable resentment.

Afhb/t This law was given to our first parents under the form of a covenant; a promise of life being made to them, upon condition of their yielding a perfect obedience; and a threatening of death added, in case of disobedience, "In the day thou eatest, thou shalt surely die." In this covenant Adam Hood as the public head and representative of all his posterity: had he continued in his obedience to the law of that covenant, eternal life had been conferred on him, and all his poiterity, by virtue of the promise of God; the sum and substance of that covenant being, as the apostle tells us, " the wan who doth these things shall live by them."

5'^/y, Man being left to the freedom of his own will, through the flattering hisses of the old serpent, " did break the iaw of God," and so forfeited his title to life by virtue of

Vol. III. 'lib that. that covenant; and brought himself, and all his posterity, under the curse or penalty of death temporal, spiritual, and eternal, Rom. v. 12- " By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned."

6tblj, The law being broken and violated by fin, the honour of the law, and the authority of God, the great Lawgiver, are, as it were, laid in the dust, and trampled under foot, by the rebellious and disobedient sinner. When man sinned, he, upon the matter, denied that the law was holy, just, and good; and, at the fame time, disowned God for a sovereign, saying, with proud Pharaoh, " Who is the Lord, that I should obey him . I myself am Lord, and will come no more unto thee." In a word, every sin, every transgression of the law, is a breaking God's bands, and a casting his cords from us, and a saying practically, * Let the Almighty depart from us, for we desire not the knowledge of his ways.' And what an insufferable affront and indignity is this, for worm man to offer unto the " high and lofty One that inhabits eternity r" and what a wonder is it, that " indignation and wrath, tribulation, and anguish," does not pursue every sinner through eternity?

"]tbly, The law being violated, and the Lawgiver affronted, in such a way as has been hinted, the salvation of sinners by the law, and the works of it, becomes utterly impossible, unless the honour of the law, and of the great Lawgiver, be repaired and restored some how or other. It is among the irreversible decrees of heaven, that "in his fight no flesh living shall be justified,'* unless the holiness of the law be vindicated by a perfect obedience to its precept, and a complete satisfaction be given unto justice for the injuries done to the honour of the great Lord and Lawgiver: without this, *' he will by no means acquit the guilty." Thus matters stood with Adam before the first promise of Christ, and thus matters stand with all his posterity, until we fly to him, who is "the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth."

II. The second thing was to inquire, Who he is that undertakes to magnify the law, and make it honourable, as our Surety?

I answer, it is none other than Messiah the Prince, of whom you were hearing from Daniel ix. 24. the eternal Son of God, who voluntarily offered himself as a Surety and Saviour of lost sinners, aud who gave bond from eternity to his Father, that, in the fulness of time, he would not only assume our nature, but repair the honour of the law, and satisfy justice to

the the foil, saying, as Psal. xl. 7.8. "Lo I come, in the volume of the book it is written of me: I delight to do thy will, O my God; yea, thy law is within my heart." Now, this is the person who magnifies the law and makes ic honourable; and concerning this glorious person we find many great things said in this chapter. As,

1. That he is his Father's servant, as ver. 1. "Behold my fenrant whom I uphold." He is essentially considered " in *he form of God, and thinks it not robbery to be equal with God," and yet " he made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and, as a servant, he had both his work, and his wages appointed him by his Father. His work was, to redeem the lost sinners of Adam's family, by his obedience unto death; and his wages or reward was, his own and his Father's glory > and our salvation: and for tbk "joy that was set before him, he endured the cross, deipifing the fhanae," thinking his thirty-three years service but a little time, for the love he bore to his Father's honour and our salvation, alluding to Jacob's service for Rachel.

a. We are here told of him, that he is his Father's elect, v«. 1. " Behold my servant whom I uphold," mine elect, 'bat is, my chosen one, according to that, Psal. lxxxix. 19. "I have laid help upon one that is mighty; I have exalted one chosen out of the people." He was elected by his «ther,and we are elected in him j Eph. i. 4. " He hath chosen "« in him, before the foundation of the world." Oh, Sirs I letGod's elect, or chosen redeemer, be our choice also. The reason why his Father chose him, and set him up from everlasting, was, none other was fit for the undertaking, none other was capable to bear the weight of that service, but he alone.

3- We are told that he is his Father's darling or delight, *«• 1. "Behold my servant whom I uphold, mine elect in *hom my soul delighted).'* Agreeable, to this is that which Christ, under the notion of the wisdom of God, tells us con^nunj; himself, Proy. viii. "I was by him as one brought aP with him, and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always btfote him." Oh, Sirs! let it sill us with wonder and admiration at the love of God to lost sinners, that he should take bu beloved Son, his only Son, the Son of his bosom and de"?bt, and give him to the death for us sinners, that he might repair the honour of the law, at the expence of his blood, "lat so we might be saved in a consistency with the law and justice of God; "this is the Lord's doing," and may justly * " marvellous in our eyes."

4- We are told concerning this person, who magnified the

law as our Surety y that he is qualified by his Father for the work and service of redemption, by the anointing of the our nal Spirit, ver. 1. " I will put my spirit upon him, God, even his God, hath anointed him with the oil of gladness above all his fellows." There is a fulness of the Spirit in him, as the head of the mystical body, that out of his fulness we might receive grace for grace, and because of the savour of this good ointment, his " name is as ointment poured forth."

5. He is one w"hofe commission is very extensive; for we are told in the close of ver. 1. that he shall "bring forth judgement to the Gentiles." The eternal counsels of heaven, here called judgement, wire to be published, not only to the Jews, but even to the Gentiles, who were "aliens to the commonwealth of Israel," for many hundred years. I will not only give him "to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel;" but also to be " a light unto the Gentiles; and to be God's salvation unto the. ends of the earth." Oh! that now, when this prophecy is turned into history, there may be a flocking of the poor Gentiles ioto this "ensign that is set up unto the nations; Christ preached unto the Gentiles" is a part of the incredible " mystery of godliness."

6. We are told of him, that he Was to be a meek and lowly Saviour, and that he would manage and carry on his work without much noise, ver. 1. "He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street."

7. That he was to be very tender and compassionate towards his poor people, particularly the weaklings of his flock, ver. 3. "a bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench;" he will not discourage or despise the least degree or beginnings of faith, love, or obedience; no, "he shall feed his flock like a shepherd, he shall gather the lambs vviih his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young."

8. That he would be victorious and successful in his work, maugre all the opposition that should lie in his way, either from heaven, earth, or hell, ver. 3. 4. "He shall bring forth judgement unto truth. He shall not fail, nor be discouraged, till he have set judgement in the earth."

9. We are told of him, that he would bear his Father's commission, and be sustained in his work by the right hand of his power, ver. 6," 1 the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee." He did not intrude himself into the work of the ministry, or run

unsent. wsent. No, but he was " called of God, as was Aaron,'* sod being called, he was not left alone.

10. We are told of him, that he is the free gift of God unto a lost world, in the close of ver. 6. "and give thee tor a covenant of the people," insomuch, that whosoever believes in him, have a saving interest in the covenant of grace and promise, and in all the sure mercies of David. Whosoever believes in him, and trusts and credits him with his eternal all j whosoever receives him as the unspeakable gift of God, maj travel through the wide covenant, and pick up there whatever he finds for his use, saying, ' This is mine, and that is mine, and all is mine, because Christ is mine, as the free gift of God.'

it. We are told of him, that he would be the light of the world, and particularly a light to the poor Gentiles, who had so long sitten in the regions and lhadow of death, ver. 6. dose, I will giVe him "for a light of the Gentiles," ver. 7. "to open the blind eyes." Christ is the true "Sun of righteousness, the light of the world," and every man has as good a title to make use of him for all the ends of his salvation,- as he has to make use of the light of the sun in the firmament, to which every man is born heir, be he rich or poor, noble or ignoble, faint or sinner. Oh Sirs, take in the light of the Sun of righteousness into your understandings, and you will frad " healing under his wings."

12. We are told of him, that lie would loose the devil's prisoners, ver. 7. He shall " bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison-bouse." Sinners, they are the lawful captives of hell, and the devil has law and justice on his side against all mankind, to detain them in the bonds of iniquity, as God's jailor: Well, but Christ he magnifies the law, and makes it honourable, and the great Judge is " well pleased for his righteousness fake;" and therefore he fays, in a day of power, to the poor prisoners, " Go free." And thus you fee who and what he is, from the context, who is here said to magnify the law.

III. The third thing proposed, was to inquire what is imported in his magnifying the law, and making it honourable.

Answ. There are these few things supposed or implied in the expression.

Firft, As you were hearing, it supposes that the law is oroken, and thereby the greatest indignity done to it, and to him who gave it. Hence sin, which is a transgression of the


« PreviousContinue »