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is also the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; by our union with whom we are interested in all the spiritual blessings, of which these earthly ones were the type or figure. Thus, when God took Abraham, it was to make him the great head, not only of a natural but of a spiritual seed. "Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness," so "they which are of faith (Jew and Gentile, for there is no difference) the same are the children of Abraham," and "are blessed with faithful Abraham."1 God's remembrance, therefore, of the covenant which he made with Abraham, and deliverance of his descendants from the oppression of the Egyptians, extend to his spiritual seed, and represent the deliverance which he has wrought out for us from the bondage of sin and Satan. The overthrow likewise of Israel's temporal enemies is a type of his overthrow of our spiritual foes, by Him who for us "spoiled principalities and powers, making a show of them openly, triumphing over them in his
And as they had no share in the victory, as it was not obtained with their sword nor with their bow, but by the hornet which the Lord sent before them; as that land and rest were not of their own procuring; it is in that further respect a most apt emblem of that rest which remaineth for the people of God, which the Lord Jesus Christ hath obtained for us. If the earthly Canaan, the earthly cities, and the earthly vineyards and oliveyards were bestowed graciously and freely; the heavenly land
1 Gal. iii. 6, 7, 8, 9.
2 Col. ii. 15.
of promise, the eternal city which hath foundations, the heavenly Jerusalem, the paradise of God, is as freely bestowed. If, therefore, Joshua had a good ground of appeal to the people on the score of mercies received, deliverances accomplished, inheritances bestowed, and that freely, without money and without price; surely the same appeal can be addressed with still greater force to all believers in Christ Jesus; to all who are by believing made "children of God, and if children then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ." And this appeal may be expected to be effectual in proportion as our experience confirms the truth and certainty of the things on which it is founded. Joshua spoke to the people of what they knew, much of which they had seen with their own eyes; and when I call upon you to serve the Lord on account of the mercies you have received, may you not only know the temporal blessings you have had at his hands, but may you know the certainty of the still more precious ones that belong to your souls! May you not only feel the claims that God has upon you, 'for creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life,' but the still greater claim he has upon you for his inestimable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ; for the means of grace and for the hope of glory;' for his “abundant mercy in begetting you again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled
3 Rom. viii. 17.
and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time."
This then, my brethren, is THE LORD that has this claim upon your services, the same Lord whose claim Joshua asserted, the Lord Jehovah, the triune God, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, the God of our salvation. I speak as unto believers, I address you as Christians. The claim I put forth upon you is that which God has, not in right of creation only, but in right of redemption also. It is an appeal to you as the ransomed of the Lord, as "bought with a price, and therefore bound to glorify God both in your bodies and in your spirits, which are his." 5 It is the appeal to you "by the mercies of God to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service," a service which on the score of those mercies he has every right to claim. Let us then briefly consider some points in the nature of the service which he requires, applying, as we have already done, the words of Joshua to our own case.
First, we observe that he calls upon them to serve him with " FEAR. Now therefore, he says, "fear the Lord." But, why should he say fear? and why connect this, as a consequence, with the representation which he had been making of the Lord, in the whole of which his favours and benefits had been set forth; and in which, therefore, he had been declared 6 Rom. xii. 1.
4 1 Pet. i. 3.
5 1 Cor. vi. 20.
to them as the object of their love? The answer is, that the fear which Joshua calls upon them to exercise towards God is that reverential fear which is perfectly compatible with affection, and which indeed grows naturally out of the consideration of a Being of infinite power, whose infinite power is controlled and directed by infinite love. The regard which a child entertains towards his parent is exactly of this description. It is founded on his appreciation of his parent's power and authority, which power and authority he has never seen exerted but in love. Now, if the people of Israel could thus be called on to serve the Lord with fear, with reverential regard, because of the great power which they had seen exerted under the influence of love in their favour, how much more may Christians be called upon to entertain the same filial reverence and love towards him? If this be a true principle, (which the word of God declares,) "There is mercy with thee, therefore shalt thou be feared," with what peculiar force does the claim to this fear consequent upon mercy received, lie upon the believer! who sees the most stupendous manifestation of love in what God hath done for him, that "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but should have eternal life." "Perfect love (it is true) casteth out fear," that is, such fear as "hath torment."9 There is no disquietude in the believer's mind. He knows that "there is no longer any condemnation to them that 7 Ps. cxxx. 4. Pr. Book version. 8 John iii. 16. 9 1 John iv. 18.
are in Christ Jesus," that he "hath passed from death unto life," that all things are "well ordered and sure, that he may approach God through Jesus Christ in the fullest assurance of acceptance, and call him Abba, Father. But the greater his sense is of this goodness, the more deeply will this reverential feeling be impressed upon him, and the more constantly will it abide with him. He who meditates continually on the great and undeserved mercy of God, will be more likely to be "in the fear of God all the day long,"4 than he who merely looks at the terrors of the Lord. Yes, be assured of this, that the clearer our sense is of God as a God of mercy to ourselves, the more full our individual perception of the grace that we have received, the more reverentially and lowlily shall we walk before him. Many are afraid of allowing believers to realize a full sense of their interest in Christ, as if an assurance of pardon through the blood of Christ could only engender presumption and indifference in our carriage towards God. But it is exactly the reverse; the ransomed and redeemed sinner, in whose heart love and joy are predominant, will walk the most circumspectly, "serving the Lord with all humility of mind," and "walking humbly with his God." We see the manner in which these two apparently contradictory emotions of the mind are united in the account we have of the early Christians "walking in the fear of the Lord, and in
1 Rom. viii. 1.
2 John v. 24.
4 Prov. xxiii. 17.