Page images

derfcand the same thing with the gospel-lamp, by which we enter into the kingdom of grace here, and of glory hereafter. Now, says Christ, this shall be taken from you, and then the door of the kingdom of God will be shut up against the Jewish nation, and given unto the Gentiles, which accordingly Wjs done. The Jews were cut oft* for their unbelief, and the gospel church and lamp set up among the nations of the earth. Nowr If God spared not the natural branches, we need to take heed lest he treat us after the fame manner, who are wild olives of the Gentiles by nature, Rom- xi. 21. You have a word to the fame purpose, John xii. 3;. 36. "Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a littls while is tlie light with you: walk while ye have the light, least darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness, knoweth not wbither he goeth. While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light." By all which you fee that we are in hazard of losing the light of the gospel-lamp, and of being lest in darkness, if we do not come unto God's Anointed.

And here I will tell you of several kinds of darkness that will follow upon the removal of the gospel-lamp.

ij?, The darkness of gross ignorance; which is so far from being the mother of devotion, as the Papists teach, that it is the mother of destruction ; M My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge," Hos. iv. 6. If we but look through the world, or through this island, or the land wherein we live, and take a view of these corners of it where the gospel-lamp does not shine, or where another thing is substitute in the room of it, we shall find nothing but gross ignorance of supernatural truths, and the people no better than a company of baptized Heathens.

nils, The darkness not only of unbelief, but of infidelity, follows upon the removal of the gospel-lamp. Unbelief may be, and, alas ! too frequently is, where the gospel-lamp shines z "Who hath believed our report?" But when the gospellamp is taken away because of unbelief, then the people turn Infidels. An unbeliever may come to be a believer, because the object of faith is still revealed and presented unto him by the gospel-lamp; but an Infidel cannot become a believer, because the object of faith is removed; the things that belong to his peace are hid from his eyes and ears. "How shall he believe in him of whom lie has not heard? (as the apostle wgues) j and how shall they hear without a preacher ?" Rom. x. 14. When both lamp and lamp-bearers of God's sending are taken away, how then shall th;y believe ? Men in that case can no more believe, than the eye of the body can see without the light of the sun in the firmament.

yUh The

"i,dly. The darkness of idolatry and superstition in wor» ship, follows upon the removal of the gospel-lamp, as we fee in these lands or nations where the gospel-lamp once was, but are now covered with Popish and Mahometan delusions and abominations.

qthly, As the gospel-lamp removes, so gradually the darkness of error prevails. Deistical errors, rejecting supernatural mysteries in the word; Arian and Socinian errors, derogating from the glory of God's Anointed, either in his person, offices, or satisfaction; Arminian errors, striking at the freedom and sovereignty of the grace of God both in election and effectual calling, and the perseverance of the saints ; legal errors, overturning the doctrine of justification by the righteousness of Christ alone, and foisting in something else in its room, that men may have something to glory in: these and the like errors prevailing in A land where the gospel has been preached in purity, argues a setting, not a rising sun, because the shadows are growing long.

$tt/y, The darkness of a dead, lifeless, blasted, profane, or igncr.nt ministry, prevails upon the withdrawing of the lamp of God's Anointed. Indeed God may leave something in the land called the gospel, and a set of men who call themselves ministers of the gospel. But what sort of a lamp is it that is left, when the true gospel-lamp is taken away? It is the lievil's lamp ; -it is not the narrow way, but a broad-way lamp, to set folk straightway to the bottomless pit. And what sort of ministers or lamp-bearers are left Y Why, they are blind guides leading the blind, and both fall into the ditch together.

6thly, The darkness of a departed God and glory follows upon the removal of the gospcl-lairp. The name of that nation or congregation then becomes lchubod, i. e. "The glory is departed." And then innumerable woes take place: "Wo also unto them, when I depart from them." Utter destruction and desolation takes place : " Behold your house is left unto you desolate," Matth. xxiii. 38. "And now go to; I will tell you what 1 will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down. And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged, but there shall come up briers and thorns: 1 will also command the clouds, that they rain no rain upon it. For the vineyard cf the Lord of bests is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgement, but behold oppression ; for righteousness, but behold aery," If. v. c. 6. 7. Thus you fie what darkness follow, upon the

ot of thegospel-h.Mp for rejecting and refusing to come unto Cod's Anointed. Oh then let me beseech you, as though God did beseech you by me, " be ye reconciled unto God," by receiving him, resting upon him alone for s.ilvation from sin and wrath, as he is offered to you in the gospel.

Oh that I knew how to prevail with you to accept of God's Anointed! Come and let us reason together upon this important matter. Sirs, when you reject God's Anointed, you reject God himself, that God in whom every moment you live, move, and have your being; for God is in Christ his anointed dear; but when you receive him, you receive God to be your God and portion in time and through eternity ; his Father becomes your Father, and his God your God.

Pray tell me, What ails you at God's Anointed, that you will not come unto him? Do you reject him because he is an insufficient Saviour? Why, the gospel-lamp discovers the contrary, and that the very reverse is true: "I have laid help upon one that is mighty," fays God. Do you reject him on a pretence that he is unwilling to receive you? The gospel lamp confutes this thought; for you may fee him complaining of sinners, that they will not come unto him; swearing by his life, that he is willing, and has no pleasure in the death of the wicked ; appealing to the heavens and earth, to bear testimony for him against sinners for their folly and obstinacy, " Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, faith the Lord. For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water," Jer. ii. 12. 13. And again, he fays, " Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the Lord hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me," Is. i. 2. Do you stand off from God's Anointed, because you have no claim or right to him? L^t not this be pretended; for you have as good a right to him, and as good a warrant to employ him for your salvation, as any of the faints, either in heaven or earth, ever had, before they actu-.lly believed in him. Ye have a right to him by virtue of the human nature that he wears, whereby he is related to all the human kind. Ye have a right and claim to him by virtue of his office; he is the Saviour of all men that are willing to be saved As every man in Israel had access to the bnzen serpent, which wis a common good to all the camp; so has every liniiv r a right to look unto Christ, and be 1 .vcd. Ye have a right to him by the rtve'.ation, the oil', r, tne gift, and grant, of the gospel; "Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto

you, you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giverh Kfe unto the world," John \\. 32 33. "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given," If. is. 6. And again, " Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters," &C. If. hi. 1. "And the Spirit and the bride fay, Come. And let kim that hearerh fay, Come. And let him that is athirst, come: And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely," Rev. xsii. 17. Do ye stjnd off from God's Anointed for want of power and ability to come to him? Why, God's Anointed in the gospel is reaching forth his saving arm so help every impotent soul, saying, " I give power to the faint, I increase strength to them that hare no might." Do you decline to come to God's Anointed, because you are uncertain if God ordained him for you, or you for him, in his eternal purpose or decree? Why, Sirs, I have often told you, and now I tell you again, that in the matter of believing, you have nothing at all to do with the decrees of God : "Secret things they belong unto the Lord; but things revealed to us, and to oar children." Now, it is among things revealed, that ye should believe in God's Anointed, " This is the work of God, that ye believe in him whom God has sent;" and that moment you believe with the heart, thou mayft read thy name in the Lamb's book of life; and never can or (hall any man find out the decree of God as to himself in another way or method. Oh then come and close immediately with God's anointed Saviour, and the way of salvation through him, whereby you (hall at once both give glory to God in the highest, and secure vour own salvation for ever. But if you continue to reject God's Anointed, and the lamp he has ordained for him, your light (hall be put out i:i obscurity, and you shall lie down in everlasting sorrow with hypocrites and unbelievers. "Behold, all ye thit •kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks ; walk in the light of your hre, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall yc have of mine hand, ye (has! lie down in sorrow," Is. I. ult.

Query, What advice do you give us, in order to our right improvement of the gospel-lamp as to win a saving interest of God's Anointed? Unto this I answer in these particulars.

t/t, Be much in viewing yourselves in the light of the holy kw cf God, whkh requires no less than an absolute and sinless perfection in every r*an and woman sprung of Adam, in order to six a title to life and glory, and which dooms every one to hell and destruction from the presence cf the Lord,

who who cannot produce a personal and perfect obedience thereunto. The language of the law is, " He that doth these thingt stall live by them.:" but " Cursed is every one that continued! not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them."

idly, Consider seriously whether you be capable to produce what the law requires of you. There are three thing* demanded of you by God from the bar of the law, to which, if you cannot give a satisfying answer, sentence mult pass against you. (i.) God will demand of you, Where is that innocent nature you received from me at your creation: for I made yon upright? (2.) Where is that sinless obedience of life which the law requires? Have you done all that the law requires? None of Adam's race can answer these two; for " all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." And therefore, (}.) A third demand follows: What satisfaction do you give unto my justice? To this the sinner, ignorant of the gospel, if ready to answer, " Oh will God be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? will he accept of our first-born for our transgression, or the fruit of our body for the sin of Out fouls i" But will God be pleased with this i No, he no more values all these large proffers, than the cutting off of a dog's neck, or the offering of swines blood upon his altar : Such " sacrifice and offering 1 desire not," says God. Well, seeing the sinner cannot give a satisfactory answer to these questions, seeing his nature is vitiate and corrupted, every thought of his heart is evil, seeing he has broken the law, in thought, word, and deed, times without number, what mult follow on this, according to the tenor of law and justice, but that the sword of justice awake against the criminal, and that tie be hewn in pieces before the Lord, like Agng? Now, I fay, Sit advice unto you is, Oh take a serious view of this state ot slitters between God and you. While you are upon a lawbottom, "indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, unto crery foul of man that doth evil."

Idly, Having thus pondered how matters stand between God and you in the light of the law, I advise you next to take 'helamp of the gospel, and see what relics is provided by God in his Anointed for you in this dismal situation. See it there be not a suitable and sufficient answer to these posing and silencing questions in God's Anointed as a second Adam, a new rorenant-head. When the question is pus, Where is that pare and holy nature that we had from God at our first creation ? view God's Anointed by the lamp of the gospel, and you will hear him answering, Here it is in my person as their public head and representative, and I present their nature to


« PreviousContinue »