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11. The correspondeur dealings of Chat with them
[Though in many instances our Lord displays his sovereignty in stopping the progress of most grievous sinners, while he suffers persons of more amiable deportment to wander further from him, yet all are to expect that he will deal with them in a perfect correspondence with their character.
He came from heaven in human flesh, and still comes in the preaching of his gospel, to "seek" and save "that which was lost." And if any, who have been "driven away" by the force of temptation or persecution, are desirous to put themselves under his care, he will gladly bring them to his fold," and protect them from every inward or outward foe.k
As for those who are already in his fold, he will administer to all their wants, "binding up" the broken-hearted,' and "renewing the strength" of those who are ready to faint. By the efficacy of his word, and the consolations of his Spirit, he will turn their sorrows into joy:" and his grace shall be sufficient for them under all the trials they may be called to endure."
Willing as he is to pardon the very chief of sinners on their repentance, he will awfully punish the impenitent. The proud and self-sufficient, who despise his offers of mercy, shall surely feel his awful displeasure. He will "destroy" them as enemies both to himself and his flock: and, in order to their destruction, he will "feed them with judgment," giving them up to follow their own delusions, till they shall have completed the measure of their iniquities, and fattened themselves for the sword of his indignation.P Yes; to eternity shall they eat of the fruit of their own ways, and feel the judgments which they would not deprecate."]
1. Let us put ourselves under the care of this good Shepherd
i Acts ix. 1-6. Mark x 21, 22. Ver.
1 Isai lxi. 1, 3.
r Isai. l. 10, 11.
[The more we consider our state the more shall we see, that we are straying, or, at best, diseased sheep. But here is our comfort, that we have a tender and faithful Shepherd that will forgive our wanderings, and supply our wants. Let us then return to him, if we are afar off; or, if he have brought us to his fold, let us rely upon his care and faithfulness."]
2. Let us imitate him to the u most of our power
n Isai. xxxv. 1, 2, 10.
a Prov. i. 31.
t 1 Pet. ii. 25.
11-15. with John x.
[Doubtless it is in the first place the duty of ministers to follow the steps of this great Shepherd, because his flock is more immediately committed to their care. But it is also the duty of every one in his place and station to exert himself to the utmost to enlarge and edify the flock of Christ. And, if we were more diligent in our respective spheres, how many might be reduced from their wanderings, or strengthened in their difficulties, or comforted in their troubles! We know not how useful a word in season might prove. "Let us then, as the elect of God, put on bowels of mercies," and shew our relation to Christ by our conformity to his image.]
* If this were the subject of a Visitation or Ordination Sermon, this thought should be prosecuted at some length, in reference to the whole preceding part of the chapter.
CLXXV. THE COMPASSION OF CHRIST TOWARDS
Matt. xii. 18-21. Behold, my servant whom I have chosen; my beloved in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my Spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not strive nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed shall he' not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory. And in him shall the Gentiles trust.
ONE might gather almost as complete a character of Christ from the prophecies as from the gospels themselves
Not only the great incidents relating to his life and death were foretold, but his spirit and conduct were most minutely delineated—
He had just withdrawn himself from the Pharisees who sought to destroy him
And had strongly enjoined his attendants not to make known his miracles
This conduct appeared strange to those, who were expecting him to erect a temporal kingdom
But the Evangelist declares that these very thing's had been made the subject of prophecy many hundred years
The passage quoted by him from Isaiah is recorded, not with literal exactness, but according to its true import-It declares
I. The commission given to Christ
Christ was the Father's ambassador to our ruined world
[However, in his divine nature, Christ was equal to the Father, yet, in his mediatorial capacity, he was the Father's
The office assigned him was to shew judgment, that is, the way of righteousness and salvation both to Jews and Gentiles
And for this he was qualified by an immeasurable commu nication of the Spirit to him"-]
In this view the Father exceedingly delighted in him [The Father doubtless regarded him as his beloved for his.
But was peculiarly pleased with him as having undertaken the work of man's redemption
In him he saw, as it were, all his own perfections glorified, and the thrones of apostate angels occupied by sinners of the human race
Hence in triumphant exultation he declares his acquiescence in him, and calls every human being to "behold" him-]
The prophet further specifics
H. The manner in which he should execute it
He was to accomplish his work
[There was to be nothing in him ostentatious, contentious, or clamorous
Together with firmness and fidelity, he exercised continued gentleness and meeknessa
Would to God that many who bear a similar commission would learn of him to execute it in a similar way!-]
[The terms here used seem to be proverbial
The former metaphor is taken from reeds, which were used as musical instruments by shepherds, and which, when bruised, could no longer emit any melodious sound
The smoking flax alludes to the wick of a lamp which, when the flame is extinct, produces an offensive smell
Both these metaphors fitly represent the state of a soul bruised under a sense of sin, and lamenting that its grace is nearly extinguished while whole clouds of corruption are arising from it
a John iii. 34. Isai. xi. 2, 3.
aa His conduct, as related in the context, strongly illustrates this.
But Jesus, instead of despising its low estate, will rather fan the spark into a flame, and cause the worthless reed to send forth melody that shall delight the ears of God himself—]
[However gentle his exertions, he shall never ultimately
As his forbearance towards his enemies gave them a momentary appearance of triumph, so he sometimes delays his aid even to his most favoured people
But he will at last prevail, and make his grace victorious in their souls-]
To this description of the Saviour the prophet naturally subjoins
III.. Our duty towards him
Blessed be God, our duty is our highest privilege- ` We are commanded to trust in him
1. For instruction
[Jesus is both qualified and commissioned to enlighten the Gentiles
Nor are there any so weak and ignorant but that he can make them wise to salvation
Let us then, "not lean to our own understanding," but seek to be "taught of him"]
2. For acceptance
[It is not merely in his individual capacity, but as the head of the elect world, that he is so pleasing to his heavenly Father
We therefore, if we believe on him, may be certain of acceptance through him—
Yea, God will not behold a spot in the most polluted soul, if it be only washed in his blood, and clothed in his righteousness]
3. For victory
[None have need to despond on account of their own weakness and corruptions
The "grace of Christ is sufficient," and shall prove so to all who trust in him
"Wherever he has begun the good work he will carry it on unto the end"]
b Luke i. 78, 79. and ii. 32.
d Eph. iv. 20, 21.
f Eph. v. 27. Jude 24.
e Matt. xi. 25.
e Eph i. 6, 10.
g Phil. i. 6. Rom. viii. $7.
APPLICA ΓΙΟ Ν
1. The text is addressed to all the sinners of the Gentiles
[How gracious is God in thus inviting sinners to “behold" his Son!
And how powerful the recommendation that is thus enforced by the example of God himself!
But can any thing be a stronger reproof to those, who, instead of choosing Christ, and being well pleased with him, have uniformly despised and rejected him?—
Say then, ye ungrateful world, whom will ye condemn; yourselves, or God?
Still however, the invitation is addressed to you," Behold Son"
O that ye may behold him now to your joy, and not hereafter to your confusion!-]
2. But the words are more eminently suited to the weak and desponding
[More consolatory declarations could not have been desired by man, or given by God
The lowest possible state of grace is here described in most appropriate terms
And an assurance given that it shall prove victorious in the issue
Let the desponding soul then learn to "trust" in JesusAnd even in the midst of conflicts sing, "Thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ”—]
CLXXVI. CHRIST A SUITABLE AND ALL-SUFFICIENT
Isai. xxv. 4. Thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.
IT is generally thought that no great comfort can arise from meditating upon God: and this is true, as far as it respects those who are determined to live in sin: but to those who desire to serve and enjoy God, there cannot be a richer source of consolation: a view of his attributes, as displayed in the works of his providence and grace, would soon elevate our minds, and turn our fears and sorrows into "thanksgiving and the voice of melody" We find the prophet breaking forth into rapture, Lord, thou art my God; I will exalt thee; I will praise