« AnteriorContinuar »
were his, had tasted of the first resurrection of the soul from sin; even so by the same power, he would also raise up the dead bodies from out the graves in the second resurrection. So that as his mighty voice should then raise up our dead bodies from the graves, and the dead should hear this voice and arise, so here is the excellency of his power, that a dead soul in this life (although it be dead and seem to be rotten in sin) yet shall it hear the voice of Christ and live.
Let us then examine ourselves, whether as yet we have attained to this first resurrection, whether we have as yet heard the voice of Christ, like unto a shrill trumpet, awakening up our dead souls unto newness of life, and then blessed and holy are we, if we have attained to this first resurrection, for on such the second death shall have no power. The natural man he laugheth at us when we speak of these things; they are foolishness unto him, because they are spiritually discerned. And no marvel, since they are asleep and dead in sin, that they think so. For here is the first work, which is done in this spiritual first resurrection of a dead soul, a voice cometh with a mighty power, and awakens us to live. But, may some say, yet have I but small or no sense of this life, I find no kind of sense for mine assurance, I feel not that I am awakened, this resurrection to my sense is not yet wrought. But I ask thee, canst thou hear the voice of Christ in the word, is it joyful unto thee, hast thou any life in Christ, by a touch from Christ? (for when we are awakened by the voice of his word from senseless security, this is a touch of Christ,) then I say this virtue of Christ toucheth us, when it forceth us to do things against nature, repugnant to nature, above the reach of nature. It is the nature of the Gospel to awaken thee by this mighty voice, to affright and tame thy proud heart, and cause thee to be humble in thine own eyes, when Christ therein toucheth thee. Whatsoever then thy sense be, look for thy comfort, if this power of Christ by his mighty voice in the word, hath made sin grievous unto thee, that thou wouldest gladly do better, and art grieved for what thou canst not do; look if thou hast a delight in good duties, in love to God's children, a delight in the sabbath, a delight in prayer, a delight to pour out thy soul unto God when thou art alone, to wait upon God. A dead man can do none of these things, they are most assured tokens of life. But yet remember that because we are as prisoners in this life, we cannot go without shackles, many afflictions, crosses, imperfections, and troubles will annoy us, keeping us that we shall be neither able to walk apace, nor as we would; yet courage, let us see if our pulse beat, if there be any kind of sense, any motion, any touch of Christ by the voice of the word, any life conveyed from him unto thy dead soul; and then be cheerful, how weak, senseless, and miserable soever thou art in thine own eyes, be thou sure, that Christ hath touched thee, and thou art alive in him; thy spark, in his good time, he will turn into a mighty flame, and thou shalt have thy desires; the second death shall have no power over thee. But in the meantime (as I have said) we must be content to walk on with shackles through this valley of tears, yea, and in much weakness, until the happy day of deliverance, that our God bring us home, and wipe away all tears from our eyes. The time is spent. Now let us pray. O eternal and everliving God, &c. &c.
Galat. CRAP. IV. VEB. 4.
But when the fulness of time was come, God sent forth his Son made of a woman, made under the law. That he might redeem them which were under the law ; that we might receive the adoption of the sons.
The apostle, in the former words which 1 have read, yieldeth a reason (I mean in the words before my text) why now at the coming of the Gospel, the ceremonies of the law were to be abolished, which had endured so long a time. Because (as he showeth) the Gospel all this while was under nonage, as a child under tutory, who although for a time he be kept under, yet when the time is spent, and he of ripe years, he then can no more be under tutory. So (saith he) it is with the Gospel, although all this while it hath been under tutory, when the ceremonies of the law, like tutors, did guide us, yet now when the fulness of time was come, there must be a change, a new course must be taken, all things being become new, old things must be abolished, God's* worship must not now be guided, as before, with ceremonies, darkly, partly, obscurely, typically, but fully, plainly, and evidently, all shadows being removed. Now he saith, there shall be quite another form, as God himself, the author of all, is a Spirit, so the Spirit now under the Gospel shall speak spirituallyb, plainly, evidently, and profitably, that even little children shall understand. All things he therefore showeth unto them, are by the Gospel abolished, which were before in use and ceremonial, nothing now remaining in place of them but things spiritual
* 2 Cor. chap. 5. ver. 17.
b John, chap. 4. ver. 24.
from above, which must serve to be our guide, to assure and confirm the heart, to strengthen the affection more than ever. Bare and naked ceremonies, he telleth them, served for children, which were not able otherwise to go, but now is the time of reformation, when dark things are made clear and evident, and therefore they must not return again to darkness.
By fulness of time, therefore, he meaneth a ripe and full age, than which it is not possible to detain any thing under tutory any longer, when the course of time declareth the date to be outspent, when, as here he declareth by his fulness of age, the work of redemption to be fully wrought, and a full deliverance thereby, to be purchased to the Church before loaded with ceremonies. And here we may behold a great difference betwixt the Fathers and us, and what great advantage we have of them, that we have Christ now under the Gospel in fulness, and see him (as it were) clearly face to face, being transformed into the same image0, from glory to glory, &c. They only, under the dark shadows and types of the law, saw him afar off darkly and obscurely.
To this purpose is that speech of our blessed Saviour, thatd amongst the sons of men was there not a greater prophet than John the Baptist, and yet that the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he; this is the great prerogative of our estate. For our Saviour meaneth, that although John was a great prophet, yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he, that is, that the mysteries of the heavenly kingdom under the Gospel, are plainer and clearer delivered and manifested by the least minister thereof than John could. And therefore in respect of the prerogative of the Gospel, and clear manifestation of it, by the law but obscurely shadowed, the least minister under the Gospel is greater than John Baptist. He pointed only at Christ, saying, behold" the Lamb of God. But those
c 2 Cor. chap. 3. ver. i8. c John, chap. I. ver. 19.
'Matt. chap. 11. ver. 11.
who followed him do as it were deliver the Lord Jesus, and we possess him fully, and feed upon him: he saw only a beginning, but (as the apostle saith) of his fulness have we all received, where now in the fulness of time, let us first consider, with our apostle here, what Christ the Son did for our deliverance.
I. In the person of the mediator.
II. In the end of the work.
A strange thing it is, that the Son of God, the second person in the Trinity, should be holden of the law by impossibility, and to free us must needs undergo the same. A wonderful thing it is, I say, to see him under the law, who is Lord of the law; to see the lawgiver in our nature then under the law. Again, if we consider the end of this work, it was to free us, that he might stand in our room, to acquit us. So that whatsoever is upon our head, he beareth the burden of all, and all to redeem those who were under the law, that of enemies we might be made friends, and receive the adoption of sons; and here he cometh to be our Emanuel'.
I. In that nature of the Mediator, God and man, whereby he purchaseth our peace; and overcometh death and hell for us.
II. In that in one person he is God with us, by an unspeakable and inseparable conjunction.
For the first then of his office, the work which he performeth is strange, being an high eternal priest for ever, like unto Melchisedeck, whereg as he is most strange in himself, so is he most wonderful in that which he undertook and did. For the second person of the Trinity, the wisdom of the Father, unto the unity of his Deity (not making two persons which were horrible to imagine) assumed our nature. A strange thing to our vile nature to subsist in the glorious second person of God. If then it be so that our human nature dwelleth with the glory of the Godhead, herein may we behold our dignity, who have this adoption
'Isaiah, chap. 7. ver. 14. tHeb. chap. 6. ver. 20.