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way at one part of the garden, while all the rest was left open."-Vol. ii. pp. 88, 89, 90.
THE BRAND PLUCKED OUT OF THE FIRE.
Zech. iii. 2. Is not this a Brand plucked out of the Fire?
This literally designs Joshua, the high priest, charged by the adversary with unfitness for his sacred office, on account of his past conduct in Babylon. Satan's pretence is the want of holiness in the accused, while he only means to promote his own infernal designs, by preventing Joshua from going on in his work. The devil is rebuked by the Advocate with the Father. When Joshua was in Babylon, he might have been under temptation, and possibly, in some degree, complied, either from interest or fear, in worshipping fire, the Chaldean god. He was there in the furnace of af. fliction: he was there as a sinner deserving hell-fire. Is he not, Satan, a brand plucked from these fires? The justified and sanctified state of this monument of grace is vindicated in the inquiry.
The subject of this fire is the poor sinner, a, brand; a piece of burning wood; not only lifeless, as separated from the tree, but in the fire, and about to be consumod. By sin we are only fit fuel for the fire of Divine wrath, cast forth as an abominable branch.* Satan, by sin, has set the brands on fire. Our own sinful state is fearful, and as dangerous to others as the foxes of Samson were to the fields of the Philistines; and to ourselyss, as those whom the prophet represents as
Isa, div. 16.
“smoking fire-brands," in danger of consuming and being consumed.*
2. The fire is sin; the spark is our own corruption: the enemy has fanned the flame, and the fire has broken out, it has raged, and, in many instances, burned to the lowest hell. We are
We are guilty of ungrateful rebellion against God; and anger against our fellow men, and the unsinning brutes; and our tongues are often “set on fire of hell," as James expresses it. Our various lusts are as fires kindling in our hearts, and only to be extinguished by the waters of the sanctuary: Herod's lust and Balaam's ambition consumed them. Fire gives exquisite pain: the dead “cannot feel, though they are set on fire round about;”+ but the time will come when the worm will gnaw, and the conscience will be recovered to its life, and its fearful stings will be deeply felt,
Fire converts all inflammable matter into its own nature, till the subject is altogether like itself. Sin has changed the mind into enmity itself against God.
The fire consumes every thing on which it preys, our hopes suffer. The godly are often tried in their confidence; they find it difficult to maintain their ground against all they meet with: a sense of past sins, and present imperfections, tries their hopes.
They suffer in their comforts: they are scorched, withered, and dried
ever; he will be favorable no more.”
Their prospects are darkened by the clouds of smoke from this fire of sin: while good men feel this in a de gree, the wicked experience it in the fullest sense'.
Judges xv. 45. Isai. vii. 4. Pro. xxvi. 28. Amos iv. 11. | Isa. xlii. 25.
* Rom. viii. 7.
They have no hope, no comfort, no pleasing prospect. This I have often seen. May I never witness such scenes again!
3. The future punishment of sin is eternal fire. It is the just element of sin; God hath decreed it, and will execute his own sentence to its fullest extent. Is it fit that the offender should be judge of his own cause? Who is so able to judge what is eternally fit to be done, as he who is eternal? “ Fire is the portion of their cup."* Impenitent sinners suffer the vengeance of eternal fire.f It burns to the lowest hell. These are everlasting burnings:S and that fire never can be quenched.
The godly are brands plucked from these fires. Angels sing “Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, good-will towards men.” Saints adore him that loved them, and washed them from their sins in his own blood. Even the wicked
“ The Lord hath done great things for them."
But the Great Advocate gives a public proof and a general declaration of it in the court of heaven; in the church on earth it is recorded; and in the saved sinner's conscience it is confirmed and sealed by the Holy Spirit.
Now should my brand acceptance find,
Deut. xxxü. 29:
* Psa. xi 6. † Jude 7.
$ Isa. xxxiii. 14,
9 Matt. xxv. 41.
THE FRUITFUL BOUGH.
Wooburn, Bucka. VR. EDITOR, My brand, notwithstanding what I said on the subject of its being
plucked from the fire, is still burning; formerly with the fire of sin, now it is a subject of the fiery trials peculiar to God's people: now it is a part of the “burning bush," with Christ in it, and therefo e remains
“JOSEPH is a fruitful bough. The saved sinner is no longer lifeless, black, and wasting away in sin; he is now become “a branch in the true vine; a bough in the tree of life; a graft in the good olive.” The Lord Jesus is the root in his Godhead, the body of the tree in his manhood, and the branches are his members; they are born by his body, and the body is sustained by his Godhead. “Ye are Christ's and Christ is God's." This divine union is explained fully by our Lord in his sermon on the vine;f and it is one great aim, yea, the principal and ultimate object he has in view in his prayer of intercession. St. Paul pursues the same beautiful idea with a varied figure, borrowed from the human body.S
2. This union is the fruit of the covenant. 'The Holy Spirit is promised, whereby they are one with Christ, by the will and determination of the most high contracting powers and persons of the Eternal Three. Every official character and relation of the Lord Jesus exemplies this endeared union; it is seen in his prophetic, priestly, and kingly relations; in his fraternal, Pastoral, and conjugal characters.
Gen. xlix. 22.
† John xv. 1-5. # John syii, 21--23 § Eph. iv. 12--16. Col. j. 18.
3. This union is the consequence of his human nature; as “he is flesh of our flesh, and bone of our bone," he is just the character Job wished for, * “ in God's stead; one formed out of the clay, in whom dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily (or substantially.") As God, he acts for and with God; as man, he acts for and with man; and being both God and man, he suits the relations of both, and is able to bring about the glory of the one in the happiness of the other. To know God fully, is peculiar to Deity; to sympathize with human infirmities is proper to humanity. There must be similarity and suitableness of character to know and treat with both the parties.
4. This union is spiritual. The tree is spiritual, ; the graft is made so by the spirit that gives life to it; and it finds its kindred life in Christ. As soon as the branch comes into contact, the union commences; like two drops of water brought near to each other, they cannot rest until they unite; their mutual influence on each other soon make them one. “ Draw me, and I will run after thee,” says the soul. ' “I, even I (saith Christ) if I am lifted up, will draw all men unto me.” Many were prepared to receive Christ in the days of his flesh, and others immediately as they heard the gospel. They knew that he was such a Savior as they wanted; and found that the gospel just- suited their condition. John was sent to prepare a people for the Lord; and his disciples followed Jesus. The eunuch, and Cornelius, and many others, embraced the gospel; the loadstone had touched them, and they (like the
* Job xxxin.