« PreviousContinue »
him whitherfoever he ^oes! his eriernies being unto him but as briars and thorns entering the lists with a confuming sire. When he whets his glittering fword, and his hand takes hold on judgement, he •' renders vengeance unto his enemies, and 3 reward unto all them that hate him."
7. His up coming to his breaking work is irrefistible. Who can stay his hand, or stop him in his march? When Red feas and Jordans of wrath and vengeance were in his way, this Breaker did break through them ; when the armies of earth and hell were in his way, he " trode them in his anger, and trampled them in his fury, arid stained all his raiment with their blood." And hence it follows,
8. That the up-coming of the Breaker is with much awful majtsty, and astonifhing greatnefs. When he came up upon the sield of this world, he struck terror amongst the powers of hell. When they faw the divine majesty and greatnefs that was about him, they cried, " What have we to do with thee Jefus, thou Son of the most high God, art thou come to torment us before our time?" When he comes Up to plead the controverfies of Zion, the proud and wicked of the earth, that carried it with a high hand against his church and people, they would then be content to creep into the clefts of the rocks, and caves of the earth, " for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty," If. ii. 19. And when is it that they are thus struck with terror? It is when the Lord comes up to his breaking work, as you fec in the clofe of that verfe, when he arifeth terribly to shake the earth. So much for thefecond thing, namely, the up-coming of the Breaker.
HI. The third thing in the method was, to inquire what "lay be implied in his coming up before them?
But before I go on to this, you may readily ask, to whom is it that he comes up?
1 anfwer, 1. As the Shepherd of Ifrael, he comes up to the sheep of his pasture, to preferve or deliver them from wolves ot foxes, that would tear them.
2. He comes up as a Captain to his foldiers, to head and lead them on against the armies of the aliens ; for he is given for a" Leader and Commander to the people."
3. He comes up as a King to his fubjects, or on the head of his armies, to rule and defend, to restrain and conquer all his and their enemies ; as in the clofe of the verfe, their KingjIjall past before them, and Jehovah on the hi ad of them. Thus you fee the Breaker comes up to his fheep, his foldiers, and fubjects; and whoever they be that arc not of that number, Jfr'
the Preaker comes up against them, for they are not on the
Now to come to the question, what is imported in his coming up to them?
ift, It imports, that he has them and their cafe deeply at heart, that he is heartily engaged in their quarrel; otherwise how would he come up to thi-m as a Breaker. Many that bear the name of shepherds of the flock now a»days they have the cafe of Christ's fheep, his little ones, fo little at heart, that they are very eafy what come of thtm, if they get patrons and the great ones of the world ple.tsed. But however little account they make of them, and their rights and privileges, yet the great Shepherd has them fo near at heart, that he has declared, that it were better for fuch that *• a millstone were hanged about their necks, and they cast into the midst of the fea, than that they fliould ossend or hurt one of thefe little ones." At the coming up of the Breaker, the weight of this wo will be felt, however little account fome may make of it now, while they are tearing the flock of Christ in pieces, and forcing them to fend up many a heavy complaint to heaven.
idly, His coming up to them implies, that their passage is hard and dissicult, that their way is lined with many hardfhips, enemies, and dissssiculties; otherwife why would he come up as ^ Breaker to them? Some think that there is an allufion here to the custom of fending pioneers before the army, to level the way, and to make rough places plain, that the march of the army may not be retarded. Sirs, the way to heaven is an up the-hill way; it is a thorny and rough way, where we may lay our account with many dissssiculties and trials: "In the world (fays Christ) ye fhall have tribulation." It is not a peradventure, but a fhall be. Rev. vii. 14. *.* Thefe are they who came out of great tribulation." But here is your comfort, the Breaker has gone up before us; he has rolled the infuperable mountains of law and julfice, tin and wrath, out of the way; aud he has left nothing behind to impede our march to glory, but " a few light afllictions which are but for a moment,'' and fhall (through his over-ruling providence) "work for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight ot
3i//y, His coming up to them implies- his authority and right to rule and govern them, as a captain-general has power and authority in the army. I remember what the Lord faid unto Joshua, chap. v. 14. when appearing in the form of a man. Jofhua afks him, "Art thou for us, or for our adverfaries .'" Nay, fays he, " But as Captain of the host of the 'ord am 1 now tome.'' So here, the Breaker is come up to
them; hem; it implies, that he is a head of government unto them, and so it is implied in the close of the verse, their King Jbalt bass before them, and the Lord on the head of them. God ha* et his Christ as his " King upon his holy hill of Zion;" he lath given him to be " Head over all things to the church;" uid his name is, The King Of Kings, And Lord Of I.okds: wd accordingly they acknowledge his authority, saying, "The Lord is our King, the Lord is our Judge,'' cite. 6,thly,\t implies not only authority,but strength and ability to support it. The Breaker that goes up before them it the mighty, yea, the almighty God : his name is Jehovah that i* on the head of them: he rioes in the heavens by his great name Jah, for the help of his Israel, and in his excellency on the Iky: This is he that " weighs the mountains in scales, and the hills in. a balance; who metc-s out the heavens witli • span, and comprehendeth the dull of the earth in a n <asure.M Oh! who is able to Hand before this mighty Breaker thai is com- up before them?
$thly7 It implies their ignorance and inability to break up their own way. There are two things wherein believers arc exceedingly defective, while on their journey towards I.r.maDuel's land.
t. They are ignorant of the way, as Thomas said, John siv. j. « How can we know the way ?'* It is a way which lay hid in God, and which none was able to discover, unless Christ had done it. The Breaker is that Lion of the tribe of Judah, that breaks open the seven seals of the book of God'a councils anent our redemption He breaks the seals of tlie book doctrinally, by revealing the will of God, and bringing We and immortality to light: and practically, by the powerful working of his Spirit, giving us an understanding t > know him, that he is the way, the truth, and the life; and in this way, the wayfaring men, though fools, should walk and not err, when the Breaker goes up before them.
2- Inability is another thing incident to the saints while on their way. They want strength to walk in the way, when it is revealed. Well, but the Breaker ^oes up before them, and he " gives power to the faint, and increases strength to them that have no might."
Gthly, The Breaker is gone up before them; it implies, that he has paved tiie road, and travelled the way before them, as their Leader and Commander. And there are three things especially, whereiii Christ goes before his people.'
1. In obedience. 2. In suffering. 3. In going through death into glory.
1. He goes before us in obedience, for he himself was made under the law. Although, as to his own person, he was above the law, being the great Lawgiver, yet he submitted to obey it: as a Surety, he submitted to obey it as a covenant; and as 1 pattern of holiness and obedience, he submitted to it as a rule. Hence he calls us to learn of him, and to take his yoke upon us, particularly the yoke of obedience unto the law? for, fays he, my " yoke is easy, and my burden is light." A green yoke is galling and uneasy to the cattle, till it be wall worn and used. Well, says Christ, ' The yoke of my law, 1 have made it easy, by using or wearing it before you, I hare fulfilled it as a covenant, and obeyed it as a rule, that it may net be uneasy.'
i. He goes before us in suffering. "Christ (says the apostle Peter) has suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow his steps," 1 Pet. ii. 21. and chap. iv. t. "Forasmuch as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the fame mind," viz. that ye may follow him in the same road of suffering. Hence also is that of the apofHe, Heb. xii. 2. 3. "Looking unto Jesus the Author and Finilher of our faith; who, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame. Consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye & wearied and faint in your minds."
3. The Breaker conies up before us through death, and by entering into glory as our Forerunner. Death, the king of terrors, sometimes looks with such an awful aspect, that the very thoughts of its approaching, is enough to overwhelm ot with fear and terror ; and the apostle tells us of some, " who, through fear of death, are all their lifetime subject to bondage." Well, but how may a poor soul be delivered from the fear of death? Why, here is the antidote; the Breaker has come up before us, through the valley of the shadow of death; hehas broken the strength, and pulled out the stingos thatforrnidableall-conquering monarch, by his death and resurrection sro«' the dead. He has shewed us,, that death is not the end of our course, but a passage into a happy immortality. Hence he promises, that whosoever believes in him, *' though he were dead, yet shall he live." And again, he shall not so be devoural of death and the grave, but " he will raise him up at the last day." Thus the apollle argues at large, 1 Cor. s'<12—21. Christ has gone before us through death, ver. 2°' and-become the " first fruits of them that sleep." Had Christ passed into heaven before he died, as Enoch and Elias, vc had wanted the great pledge and evidence of a future irnmot
taliry. But Christ, as the great Captain of our salvation, he suffered, he died, and then entered into his glory; to allure is, that in this road we are to follow him, that we may be with him.
"Jtbly, The Breaker is come up before them; it implies his 'outing and discomfiting all these enemies that stood in the way of our salvation.
The principal enemies the believer has to grapple with are hefe, 1. Satan; 2. Sin; 3. The world; and, 4. death. Now, 4e Breaker, by going up before us, routed and broke the Irength of all these enemies.
1. As for Satan, he has bruised his head, and through death iestroyed him.
a. As for the world, he has vanquished both its smiling and frowning things: "Be of good comfort (fays lie), I have over»me the world."
3. As for sin, he has " finished transgression, and made aa :nd of sin: and condemned sin in the flesh." By his sacriice on the cross, he condemned it as an arch-traitor against leaven.
4- As for death, he entered the territories of the grave, and polled it of its power and strength: " O death, I will be thy plague; O grave, I will be tliy destruction." These enemies Bade an attempt upon the Son of God, but they were all toiled in the enterprize: The Breaker that went up before us has broken and shattered them, so that we have no cause to fear them. We see by what Christ hath done, that these enemies are not invincible; that their power is not incontroulable; they were conquered by him as our Head and Representative in our cause and quarrel; and therefore we may, by faith, take up and divide the spoils, saying, "Thanks b« into God, which always cause thus to triumph in Christ;" tor what was done by the Head, in his own person, shall shortly he done in all the members.
But further, I fay, that Christ, by his engaging with these derates, has quite maimed and disarmed them, and taken a*ay their right to hurt any of his friends and followers. By we breach of the covenant of works, these enemies have a J2'.v.nght over all the children of men: the curse of the broken law gave Satan a law-right to rule, the world to vex, sin ■".enslave, death to destroy us, and give us up to hell: All "Was contained in that " hand-writing which was against ^s> andcontrary to us.'' But now, I fay, Christ upon the cross ,ore and cancelled that hand-writing, by satisfying justice, and doming a curse for us; and ever since, the devil has no