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fin: The law was added because cf rranigTefEon. I had not known sia (sap Paul}, except lie law had siid Thou (halt Ect caret. And when the law c»r ccmrcandcfent carr.e (says he), CnreTired, and I died." Bat then there is i gospel light, which srrres to discover the remedy. And this I take to be principally understood in the text: / hror trammed a lampjbr mamt Ama&d. I the eternal Jehovah hate appointed the preaching and publication of the gospel as the great mean for bringing lost mankind onto the knowledge of that mighty One on whom 1 have Laid their help. "It hath pleised God by the foolishness cf preaching ro Utc thsia that ndieve. Go ye inio all the world, and p:each the gospel to every creature," Ifcrk Xtl 15.
Now, concerning this lamp of gospel light, which God has ordained, for the glory of his anointed, if rime allowed, I might 1. Premise a few things about it. SL Till you of some great and glorious discoveries that are made by it. 3. Give a few cf i:s properties.
First, 1 would offer you two or three propositions about
1. This lamp was first set op in the purpose of God from eternity, or in the council of peace, when the whole plan of salvation through Christ was bid. "1 was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, rr ever the earth was : before the mountains were fettled: while as yet be had not made the taith, nor the highest part of the world. When he prepared the heavens, 1 was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth; when he appointed the foundations of the earth (fays Christ), I was by him,— rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth, and rr.v delights were with the sons of men," Prav. viii. 13.—31.
2. This lamp was first lighted in this lower world, immediately after the fall in paraditc ; when a dark and cismal night cf wo and misery was spreading itself ever cur first parents, then a gleam of light began to break ou: in the first promise, Gen. iii. 15.: and afterward.- unto Abraham ; " In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed."
3. The lamp of the gospel G-.ene typically and prophetically during all the Old Testament period, before the coming or" Chtist in the flelh. It stone, as u were, under a vail, and only among the Jews. As for the Gentiles, except a few proselyte?, they were alien* aiv.Mlrangers to the covenant ot promise; they fat in dailuci;, and in the regions of the shadow Q£ death.
4. After the coming of Christ in the 8eib, and his resurrect tion and ascension inio heaven, the lamp of gospel light was
brightened, and the light of it was made more general and extensive. The vail of type9, ceremonies, and prophecies, was rent, and by the commandment of the everlasting God, carried unto all nations for the obedience of faith, Christ being given of God for *' a light to enlighten the Gentiles, and for salvation to all the ends of the earth."
c. Ministers of the gospel are, as it were, the lamp bearers. They are commissioned by Christ to preach the gospel, to teach all nations. To them the word of reconciliation is committed; and as the heralds of the great King, they are to lift up their voice like a trumpet, and proclaim the salvation of God to the ends of the earth.
Secondly, I (hall tell you of some discoveries that are made by the light of the gospel-lamp. Only in general, remember that all the discoveries it makes are wholly supernatural; the world by all its wisdom could never have sound them out. Here vain man would be wise, yet he is born as void of gospel wisdom, ai the wild ass's colt. Proud men may, and no doubt will, boast of their natural or acquired wisdom and penetration, as though, by the means of these, they could ransack and unfold the secrets of heaven; and yet even when they are revealed, they cannot know, cannot receive them -, the things of the Spirit of God are foolishness to them; hence is that of Christ, " I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wife and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight," Matth. xi. 25. 26.
I shall only mention a few things among many, that the gospel discovers, which nature's light could never have discovered, and which proud nature cannot receive when revealed.
By the gospel-lamp then, t. We have discovered a Trinity of persons in one God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, three distinct persons, and yet but one God: " There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one," 1 John v. 7. This is such a hard doctrine to human reason, that Arians, Socinians,~and Deists, they will reject the whole scriptures of truth before they entertain it; or if they acknowledge the scriptures, they fall awork to prevent scripture-light, in order to bring Christ down horn his supreme Deity in among the rank of created beings; for between the Creator and a creature there is no middle being: and. if Christ be a creature, I would ask what way any creature can make itself, seeing "without him was not any thing made that was made i" John i. 3. So then, I fay, the gospel-lamp discovers the mystery of the Trinity ; and how
Vol. Us. B each each person acts his part in the glorious work of our redemption.
2. By the light of this lamp we can look back to eternity past, and fee what God was a-doing before the foundations of the world were laid; how a council of peace was held with reference to the rtcovery and salvation of fallen men; how an overture being made, that the Son of God should undertake the work of our redemption, that the different claims of mercy and justice might be fully satisfied in the salvation of fallen man ; and how the Son of God heartily agreed, saying "Lo, I come: I delight to do thy will, O my God. He rejoiced in the habitable parts of the earth, and his delights were with the sons of men." Without the gospel men could never have known this; but the Lion of the tribe of Judah, he opened the book, and disclosed the grand secret, and orders it to be published unto the ends of the earth.
3. The gospel lamp discovers the glorious mystery of the incarnation of the Son of God in the fulness of time. In consequence of this glorious transaction, angels they admire and adore a God in our nature. "When he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he faith, And let all the angels of God worship him," Heb. i. 6.
4. By the gospel-lamp we have another mystery opened, even the substitution of the Son of God in the room of the guilty sinner, by which means our iniquities come to be laid upon him. *' The just suffered for the unjust." He is the Tarn caught in the thickets, and sacrificed in the room of the sinner. The sword of justice awakes against the man that is God's fellow, who thinks it no Tobbery to be equal with God. "lie was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and by his stripes we are healed."
5. By the gospel-lamp only we know of a law-fulfilling righteousness brought into this worl , where " there is none righteous, no, not one. Seventy weeks are determined—to finish the transgression and to make an end of sins,—,and to bring in everlasting righteousntss," Dan* ix. 24. "What the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending hit own Son, in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for fin condemned sin in the flesh; diat the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us," Rom. viii. 3. 4. "Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth," Rom. x. 4. "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him," 2 Cor. v. 21. O what a high discovery is this for us, especially considering, that this righteousness of
the surety Christ is brought near to every one in the everlasting gospel, that they may put it on, and improve it for their justification before God !" He;irki-n unto me, ye stout hearted, that are far from righteousness. I bring near my righteousness: it (lull not be far off, ;:nd my salvation (hall not tarry,".Is. xlvi. 12. u.
6- By the gospel-lamp, we shall see great and glorious mysteries in the death and blood of Chrilt. As Samson found a honeycomb in the lion that he had shin, so may we find the gte^t and soul nourishing mysteries of ihe grace, love, mercy, and wisdom of God i» the death and blood of the Lamb of God. Here we m.iy see the justice of God satisfied for the fin of nan, by a sacrifice of infinite valu--, the anger os God turned away, and God declaring himself to be a God of peace through the blood os his et. rnal Son. Here we fee the head of the old serpent bruised, that leviathan slain, and given to be meat to those who inhabit the wilderness of this world. Oil meat indeed, and drink indeed! Here we may fee a new and living way opened and consecrated, that we may enter into the holiest with full assurance of acceptance, Ac.
7- The gospel-larap discovers a mystery in the resurrection of Christ from the dead. There is more of God, and of his infinite power and wisdom, in the resurrection of Christ, than is all Adarh's posterity were raised out of their graves in the twinkling of an eye. Christ is said, by his resurrection, to be "declared to be the Son of God with power," Rom. i. 4. And that power of the Father, whereby he was raised, had an " exceeding greatness" in it, and was a "mighty power," Eph. i. 19. The load of fin and wrath that lay upon the grave of out Surety, would have funk all the angels in heaven, and men Upon earth, to the lowest hell; yet Christ, by his divine power, rises from under this load, and so bears away our iniquities, and leaves them buried in his grave behind him, and death itself swallowed up in victory, &c.
8. The gospel-lamp k-ts us fee a mystery in his ascension into heaven, the most glorious solemnity that ever the inhabitants of the spiritual world law, which made them all cry out, and shout, " God is gone up with a shout, the Lord with the sound of a trumpet," tkc. This world saw little solemnity :n Christ's returning to heaven after he had finished the great work of man's redemption. But, Oh! angels and glorified faints, who were then arrived at heaven, they saw his chariots of ftate attending him. "The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels; the Lord is among them Js ia Sinai, in the holy place. Thou hast ascended on high,
s thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts fo* men," Pfal. lxviii. 17. 18.
9. The gofpel-lamp lets us fee a mystery in' his appearance for us in heaven ; how he appears there as our Reprefentative and High Priest within the vail, with much incenfe ossering up the prayers of all faints, &c.; how he states himfelf as our Advocate with the Father, to plead our caufe, and to agent our bufinefs for us, and to repel all complaints given in against us by the accufer of the brethren. "He is able to fave to the uttermost, feeing he ever liveth to make intercesfion for us," Heb. vii. 25. "And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jefus Christ the righteous." He appears for us before the bar, not as a fuppliant, but as one having authority: " Father (fays the Advocate), I will that they alfo whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am ; that they may behold my glory which thou hast given me," John xvii. 24.
10. By the gofpel-lamp there is a difcovery made of a new and better covenant establifhed in Christ as a fecond Adam, than that which was made with the sirst Adam, even a cover nant of grace and promife; which being consirmed by the death of Christ, is now fet out in its last and best edition, viz. as a testamentary deed. Every thing in and about this covenant is wonderful and mysterious. The Trinity tranfacted in it with Christ as a fecond Adam from eternity: " I have made a covenant with my chofen; I have fworn unto David my fervant," Pfal. lxxxix. 3. The gradual manifestation of this covenant unto us, and the variety of difpenfations that it has undergone under the Old and New Testament, and yet still the fame covenant. The abfolute freedom of this covenant unto us, no conditions or qualisications required on our part to interest us in it, the proper condition of it being already fulsilled in the obedience and death of Christ, it comes out to us abfolutely free, "I will be their God. I will fprinkle them with clean water, and they fhall be clean. I will take away the heart of stone," &c. The way how a finner is brought within the bonds of this covenant is only owing to the gofpel-lamp or light, namely, by faith, not of the operation of man, but of the operation of God in a day of power. He just makes the sinner willing to be faved without money and without price, upon the footing of free grace reigning in and through an imputed righteoufnefs, $cc.
1 j. By the gofpel-lamp we come to know the mystery of regeneration, or the new birth; which fo started and confounded Nicodemus,' a teacher in Ifrael, that he babies and. fpeaks stark nonfenfe, when Christ propofes it to him.