« AnteriorContinuar »
bone, and flesh of his flesh. what is this ! Christian doft thou know and believe all this, and thy heart not burn, within thee, in love to Christ? O! then, what a heart haft thou ? What art thou, by nature, but finful dust, a loathsome finner, viler than the vileft creaturé, cast out to the loathing of thy person in the day of thy nativity! O that ever the Lord of glory should unite himself to such a lump of vileness! take such a wretch into his very bofom! Be astonished, 0 heavens and earth, at this ! this is the great mystery which the angels stooped down to look into: Such an honour as this, could never have entered into the heart of man. It would have seem. ed a rude blasphemy in us, to once have thought, or spoken of such a thing, had not Christ made first the motion thereof : Yet how long didst thou make this Lord of glory wait upon thy undetermined will, before he gained thy consent ? Might he not justly have spurned thee into hell, upon thy first refufal, and never have made thee such another offer? Wilt thou not fay, Lord, what am I, and what is my father's house, that fo great a King should stoop so far beneath himself, to such a worm as I am! That Itrength should unite itself to weakness, infinite glory to such basenels! O grace, grace, for ever to be admired!
Infer. 3. Is Jesus Christ the Lord of glory? Then let no man count himself dishonoured by suffering the viles indignities for his fake : The Lord of glory puts glory upon the very suffering you undergo in this world for him. “ Mofes esteemed the re
proches of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt,”. Heb. xi. 26. he cast a kingdom at his heels, to be crowned with reproaches, for the name of Christ. The diadem of Egypt was nøt half so glorious, as self-denial for Christ. This Lord of glory freely degraded himself for thee, wilt thou stand hesitating with him upon terms? It is certainly your honour to be difhonoured for Christ
, Acts v. 41. to you it is given, in behalf of Chrift, not only to believe, but also to suffer for his fake, Pbil. i. 29. The gift of suffering is there matched with the gift of faith; it is given as an honorarium, a badge of honour to suffer for the Lord of glory. As all have not the honour to wear the crown of glory in heaven, fo few have the honour to wear the chain of Christ upon earth. * Thuanus reports of Ludovicus Marlacus, a knight of France, that, being led to suffer with other martyrs, who were bound, and he unbound, because a
Y y 2
* Cur me non quoque torque donas, et infignis hujus ordinis milidem creas ? Thuanus,
person of honour; he cried out, " Why don't you honour
me with a chain, tov; and create me a knight of that no
ble order ?” My brethren, count it all joy when ye fail inta divers temptations, James i. 2. (i.c.) trials by sufferings. David thought it an honour to be vile for God, and that is a true observation, that disgrace itself is glorious when endured for the Lord of glory
Infer. 4. Is Christ the Lord of glory? How glorious, then, soall the saints one day be, when they shall be made like this glorious Lord, and partake of bis glory in heaven? John xvii. 22, “ The glory which thou gavest me, I have given them :" Yea, the vile bodies of believers shall be made like to the glorious body of Christ, Phil. iii. 21. What glory, then, will be communicated to their souls ? True, his essential glory is incommu. nicable ; but there is a glory which Christ will communicate to his people. “When he comes to judge the world, he will come “ to be glorified in his faints, and to be admired in all them “ that believe," 2 Thes. i. 10. Thus he seemeth to account his social glory, which shall result from his faints, a great part of his own glory : As we have now fellowship with him in his sufferings, so we shall have a fellowship, or communion with him, in his glory : When he shall appear, then shall we, also, appear with him in glory; then the poorest believer shall be more glorious thao Solomon, in all his royalty. It was a pious faying of Luther, that he had rather be Chriftianus rufticus, quam Ethnicus Alexander ; a Christian clown, than a Pagan emperor. The righteous is more excellent than his neighbour, though he live next door to a graceless pobleman: But it doth not yet appear what they shall be. The day will come, it certainly will come, for the Lord hath spoken it, when they shall shine forth as the fun in the kingdom of their Father,
Infer. 5. How hath the devil blindfolded, and deluded them that. are frighted off from Christ
, by the fears of being dishonoured by bim? Many persons have half a mind to religion, but when they consider the generality of its professors to be perfons of the lowest, and meanclt rank in the world, and that reproaches and sufferings attend that way; they shrink back as men athamed, und as Salvian faith, Mali effe coguntur, neviles habeantur ; they chuse rather to remain wicked, than to become vile : But ta them that believe, Christ is an honour ; as the word, which we translate precious, might be rendered, 1 Pet. ii. 7.' Till God opens mens eyes thus, they will put evil for good, and good for evil. But dear bought honours, for which men stake their fouls, and everlasting happiness ! Paul was not of your mind,
yet for birth he was an Hebrew of the Hebrews; for dignity, and esteem, a Pharisee ; for moral accomplishments, touching the law, blameless : Yet all this he trampled under his feet, counting it all but drofs, and dung, in comparison of Jesus Chrift. Moses had more honour, to lay down for Christ, than you; yet it was do temptation to him, to conceal or deny the faith of Christ. Noble Galeacius would not be with-held from Chrift by the fplendor and glory of Italy; but o how doth the glory of this world dazzle, and blind the
many: can ‘ye believe (faith Christ) who receive honour one of ano. " ther?” John v. 44. Saints and finners, upon this account, are wonders one to the other, It is the wonder of the world, to see Christians glorying in reproaches; they wonder that the saints rup not with them into the fame excess of riot; and it is a wonder to believers, how fuch poor toys, and empty titles (rather than titles of honour) should keep the world, as it doth, from Jesus Christ, and their everlasting happiness in him.
Infer. 6. If Christ be the Lord of glory, how careful sould all be who profess him, that they do not disbonour Jesus Chrift, whose name is called upon by them? Christ is a glory to you, be not you a shame and dishononr to him. How careful had Christians need bc, to draw every line, and action of their lives exactly: The more glorious Christ is, the more circumspect and watchful ye had need to be. How lovely would Jesus Christ appear to the world, if the lives of Christians did adorn the doctrine of God their Saviour, in all things! Remember you represent the Lord of glory to the world; it is not your honour only, but the honour of Christ which is engaged, and concerned in your actions. O let not the carelesaess, or scandals of your life, make Jefus Christ ashamed to be called your Lord. When lsrael had grievously revolted from God, he bids Moses rise and get down froin thence ; for (faith he), thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of Egypt, have corrupted themselves, Deut. ix, 12. as the Lord were ashamed to own them for his people any longer. It was a cutting questian, James ii. 7. apt to startle the consciences of thole loose professors; “Do they not blafpheme that worthy name by which " ye are called ?" Your duty is, to adorn the gospel by your conversations, Titus ii. 10. The words signify to deck, trim, or adorn the gospel, é make it trim, neat, and lovely, to the eyes of beholders. When there is such a beautiful harmony, and lovely proportion betwixt Christ's doctrine and your prac. tices, as there is in the works of creation, whereia the comeliness and elegancy of the world much coolifts, (for to this the
apostle's word here alludes) then do we walk suitably to the Lord of glory. lofer.
7 What delight foould Christians take in their daily converse with Jesus Christ in the way of duty ? * Your converses in prayer, hearing, and meditation, are with the Lord of glory: The greatest peers in the kingdom, account it more honour to be in the presence of a king, bare-headed, or upon the knee at court, than to have thousaods standing bare to them in the country. When you are called to the duties of communion with Chrift, you are called to the greatest honour, dignified with the nobleft privilege creatures are capable of in this world: Had you but a tense of that honour God puts upon you by this means, you would not need so much pressing and striving, to bring a dead and backward heart into the special presence of Jesus Chrift. When he faith, Seek ye my face, your hearts Mould echo to his calls; Thy face, Lord, will we seek. But, alas ! the glory of Christ is much hid, and veiled, by ignorance, and unbe lief, from the eyes of his own people ; it is but feldom the best of laints, by the eye of faith, do see the king io bis glory.
Infer. 8. If Christ be so glorious, how Jould believers long to be with him, and behold him in bis glory above ? Most med need patience to die, a believer Mould need patience to live. Paul thought it well worth enduring the pangs of death, to get a fight of Jesus Christ in his glory, Phil. i. 23. “ The Lord direct
your hearts into the love of God, and patient waiting for “ Chrilt,” (faith the apostle) 2 Theff. iii. 5. intimating, that the saints have great need of patience, to enable them to endure the Nate of distance and separation from Christ, so long as they must endure it in this world. The Spirit and the bride fay, come, and let him that heareth, suy, come, and let him that is a thirst come : even so, come Lord Jesus, and be thou as a swift roe upon the mountains of feparation.
Blefjed be God for Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.
Suppose (faith Mr. Rutherford) there were no letter of command, yet there is a suitableness becwixt the law engraven on the heart, and the spiritual matter cominanded. There is an heaven in the bosom of prayer, though there were not a granting of the suit. Rutherford's Treatise of the Covenant, la
Opening the sixth Motive to come to CHRIST, contain
ed in the fixth and last Title of CHRIST.
LUKE ii. 25. - Waiting for the [Consolation] of Israel. SEveral glorious titles of Christ have been already spoken to,
out of each of which, much comfort Aows to believers : lt is comfortable to a wounded foul, to eye him as a physician; comfortable to a condemned and unworthy foul, to look upon him under the notion of mercy: The loveliness, the desirableness, and the glory of Christ, are all fo many springs of consolation. But now I am to Thew you, from this scripture, that the faints have not only much consolation from Christ, but that Christ himself is the very consolation of believers : He is pure comfort wrapped up in flesh and blood.
In this context, you have an account of Simeon's prophecy concerning Christ; and in this text, a description of the person, and quality of Simeon himself, who is described two ways.
1. By his practice.
His practice was heavenly, and holy; he was a just and devout man: The principle from which his righteousness and holiness did flow, was his faith in Chrift; "he waited for the consolation « of Israel.” In which words by way of periphrafis, we have,
1. A description of Christ, the consolation of Ifrael.
First, That the confolation of Israel is a phrafe defcriptive of Jesus Christ, is beyond all doubt, if you consult ver. 26. where he, (i, e) Simeon is fatisfied by receiving Christ into his arms, the confolation for which he had so long waited.
Secondly, * And that waiting for Christ is a phrase describing the believers of those times that preceded the incarnation of Christ, is past doubt; they all waited for that blessed day: But it was Simeon's lot to fall just upon that happy point of time, wherein the prophecies and promises of his incarnation were fulfilled. Simeon, and others that waited with him, were sensible, that the time of the promise was come, which could not buc
* It is a phrase, common and well known among the Jews at that time, by which the coming of Christ was lignisied. Ludov. Capell.