« הקודםהמשך »
the healing of the nations ?” what thinkest thou of entering into these ivory palaces of glory, with joy and triumph, on every Gide, the house of many manlons, the house of Christ's Father, “whose builder and maker is God ?” thou shalt be satisfied then, to the full, with the fatness of his house, and drink of the rivers of his pleasures. What thinkest thou of beco. ming a pillar in the temple of God, where thou Thale go no more out, and having Christ's name, his Father's name, and the name of the city of our God written on thee for ever? what thinkelt thou of being for ever freed and delivered of all these burdens under which thou groanest? of all these fiery darts whereby thou art now harafied ? of all these oppressing fears and challenges ? of all these tears, sorrows, and aftica tions, which make thee to go through the world, with a bow. ed down back, hanging thy sharp upon the willows ?” what thinkeft thou of these eternal things, that are shortly to be poffeffed ? of an eternal God, an eternal life, an eternal light, eternal love, eternal rest, eternal vision and fruition, etcinal likeness and conformity to the Lord, that are abiding thee? what thinkest thou of the “crown of glory that fadech not away ?" what thinkeft thou of " a kingdom that shall never be moved: an inheritance that is incorruptible, and undeliled, and that fadeth not away?" what thinkest thou of having these twilight blinks of glory through the vail, turned into an eternal day of glory? for there the Sun of righteousness ihall never set, never, never be eclipsed. O Sirs, all this, and ten thousand, thousand, thousand times more than I can tell you, is prepared for you on the other fide of death: and after all, have we not reason to sing and say, as in the text, Lord, what is man that thou takest knowledge of him? or what the son of man, that thou makest fuch account of him?
IV. The fourth thing in the method was, to fhew, That it is truly wonderful and surprising, that God, the great God, bould have such a regard to man, that he should take fuch knowledge, and make such great account of him.
I need not stay upon this, after what has been said; only in a few words. (..) 'Tis surprising, if we conlider God's infinite and amazing greatness and glory. Oh! who can think or speak of him in a suitable manner? He that thews such a regard to man, is the high and lofty One that inhabits eternity, and dwells in the high and holy place, to which no man can approach : he that dwells in light that is inaccellible, and full of glory.” He whole "throne is high and lifted up,'above all the thrones of heaven and earth: He before whom angels and archangels are standing, with their "faces and their feet covered with their wings,” crying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God of hosts :" he who " stretched out the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth :” he who “weighs the mountains in fcales, and the hills in a balance, takes up the waters of the ocean in the hollow of his hand, and doth whatsoever he pleaseth in the armies of heaven, and among the inhabitants of th earth.” O! is it not surprising and wonderful, that this great and infinite Jehovah, who hath all being, life, light, glory, and perfection, inherent in himself, and stood in no need of man nor angels, that he Mould take such knowledge of man, or the son of man? Lord, What is man?
(2.) It is surprising, if we consider what man is, what a poor inconsiderable, contemptible creature he is, both as a creature, and as a Gnner, of which I fpake in the entry upon the first head, in answer to that question, What is man? &c.
(3.) It is surprising and wonderful, because it cannot be conceived or expressed, it runs beyond all thought and all words;
Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive,” of the kindness and conde. scension of God to man: so much is clearly imported in the psalmist's way of speaking, of the goodness of God in the text; Lord, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him? Hence are these or the like expressions of wonder and amazement, “How excellent is thy loving-kindness, () God! How great is thy goodness which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee? Oh the heighth, the depth, and breadth, and length, of the love of God, which pafleth knowledge !” These expressions, they are just a posing and putting our finite minds to an eternal stand : and therefore we must itop, for what can wt say more?
V. The fifth thing was the Application. And because I have been als alung practical in the doctrinal part, therefore I Thall conclude with a few inferences.
Ist, See hence the tolly of all such as are taken up in admiring any created excellency, either to be found in them fe ves, or others of the human race, without running up to the fountain head, an infinite God, from whom all being, beauty, glory, and excellency doth flow. The spirit of God speaks of it as a piece of brutiin folly, for man to look at the creature, without tracing it and all its excellency to God, as its original : PUI. xcix. 8. “ Understand, ye brutish among the people ; and, ye fools, when will ye be wile? he that piccoled the ear, thall he not hear ? he that formed the ey", thall he not fee ???
" He that tcacheth man knowicage," ihall not he know? These are questions that
may confound all the atheistical fools in the world, who say in their hearts or practice, “ There is no god ;” and at the same time discover to us, that man is but a poor dependent creature, deriving all his powers in foul and body from an infinite God: hence is that challenge, li ii. at the close, “Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his noftrils; for wherein is he to be accounted of?” This challenge, together with the words in my text, are enough to Itain the pride of all gloriation in man ; Lord, what is man, for whertin is he to be accounted oj? Especially when balanced with the excellency of his glorious Creator, he just evanishes into nothing. You heard upon the first head of doctrine, what man is in general, as a creature and as a sinner. Now let us take a view of him in his best excellencies and qualifications, and see what they will amount to in God's reckoning, or compared with the infinite excellency of his infinite Creator? What account is to be made of his being before God? why, he is nots for 'tis God only whose name is, I AM. What account is to be made of man in his pedigree, which some, like the princes of Zoan, boast of? why, he is the “ degenerate plant of a strange vine." What account is to be made of his riches ? why, these take, the wings of the morning, and fly away, and cannot “ profit man in the day of wrath.". What account is to be made of his honours ? they cannot “descend to the grave after him.”. What account is to be made of all his projects and schemes ? why, that day “ his breath departs, his thoughts perith," and are all disconcerted and daihed in pieces. What account is to be made of his beauty ? it is quickly turned into rotterness and deformity: The wisdom of man before God is but folly; his knowledge specious ignorance, his strength and power is but impotency. What is his life in the world, but a vapour which ihe wind of fickness and death blows away, out of time into eternity ? upon the whole, then, may we not well cry, Lord, what is man, and wherein is he to be accounted of? Lcc. us cease from truiting in man; for “ cursed is the man, that truíteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart de. parteth from the Lord: but bleffed is the man, that trulteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is,” Jer. xvii. 5. 6.
2dly, See hence the horrid ingratitude of tinners, in waging war against that God, who is so good and so kind unto man. Oh what tongue can exprefs, or what heart can conceive, the monitrous ingratitude of finners, in rejecting his laws, tram pling on his authority, affronting him cvery day to his face? May not the Lord say to us, “Do ye thus requite the Lord, Oh ye foolilh and unwise? Oh my people, what have I done unto thee? and whercin have I wearied thee? testify against For III,
me; was I ever a barren wilderness, or a land of darknefs' unto you
u ? 3dly, Sec hence the way and method that God takes to " lead sinners to repentance : why, he just pursues them with his kindness, and draws them “ with cords of a man, with bands of love ; knoweft thou not, O man, that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance ?" The first thing that melts and thaws the heart of a sinner, in a kindly way, is an uptaking of the love and kindnefs of God to man, especially as it vents through the death and blood of Christ, in the free pardon of fin, and acceptance through Christ. Whenever the foul comes to see that love, that grace, that mercy and bowels, that it has been spurning against, it begins to smite upon its thigh, with Ephraim, saying, “ What have I done?" and with David, “ Against thee, thee only, have I finned, and done this evil in thy fight." And it is this that influences the turning of the foul from sin unto God, with full purpose and endeavour after new obedience; faying, with Job, " That which I see not, teach thou me, if I have done iniquity, I will do no more :" the soul is just killed and melted with a sense and uptaking of the love of God.
4thly, Is God so good and so kind to worm man? then fee hence, what a reasonable command the first command of the law is, " Thou shalt have no other gods before me :” that is, • Thou shalt know and acknowledge me as God, and as thy God, and thalt worship and glorify me accordingly.' Oh! fhall we give any thing, any creature, any luft, any idol, that room in our hearts, that is due unto such a kind Lord ? shall we not say with Ephraim, “What have I to do any more with idols ? O Lord, our God, other lords besides thee have had dominion over us, but by thee only will we make mention of thy name. All people will walk in the name of their God; and we also will walk up and down in the name of the Lord our God. Whom have we in the heavens but him and there fhall be none in all the earth whom we desire besides him?"
5thly, See hence the criminal nature of the fin of unbelief, which is a saying upon the matter, God is not to be trusted, notwithstanding all his kindnesles, pity, and love to man. He calls him a liar : and says there is no good to be got at his hand; that he is a hard master, and his words are no indications of his mind: an evil heart of unbelief turns us away from the living God: why, what way doth it this? It jult acts the part of the false fpies that went up to Canaan, and brings up an ill report of a good God, of a true and faithful God: it fays “ His mercy is clean gone, he will be favourable no more, his promise fails for evermore :" and as Ifrael turned back to
Egypt, Egypt, when they heard the ill report that the false fpies brought of Canaan; so the soul, when it hears the ill report, that unbelief brings up of God, the heart turns away from him. O Sirs ! take heed of an evil heart of unbelief, especially after that you have been at a communion table. There is no. thing that the devil more cherishes and fosters folk in, than in their unbelief: this was the way that he ruined man at first; he made our first parents, first to conceive harsh thoughts of that good God who had been so kind to them, and then quickly he ruins them; and this is the very way that he still goes to work with his posterity; he tells you, that whatever God has done in sending his Son, whatever he has said in his word, whatever experience of his love you have met with, yet you have no ground upon which to trust him, his promise fails, he has forsaken and forgotten. If he once brings you this length, I know not how far God may be provoked to give you up to the will of the roaring lion.
6thly, Is God so kind to man? worm, worthless man? the regard that he lhews to us so surprising and wonderful? then let us discover a regard to him, and to every thing that belongs to him.
I thall instance in a few particulars, wherein we are to dif. cover our regard to him and for him.
1. Let us regard him even in the works of nature; the works of creation in heaven above, and in the earth below. This is a large volume, opened and spread out before all mankind: it was a book in which David was frequently reading, and he took great pleasure to see God there, “Lord my God, how great and manifold are thy works? In wisdom haft thou made them all.” The whole 104th psalm is a lecture upon the works of creation, and the order God has established among the creatures. See also psalm 8th beginning, and psalm 19th beginning, &c.
2. Let us regard him in his works of providence, in the government of the world, and in the government of his church, through all periods of time; and let us regard him in all the dispensations of his providence towards the land we live in, and to our families and ourselves in particular, Psal. cvii. at the close, “ Wholo is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the loving-kindness of the Lord.” When he is trysting us with favourable dispensations, let us obferve this with praise : and when he is trylting us with afflicting dilpensations, let us humble ourselves under his mighty hand, that he may lift us up, &c. Psal. xxviii. 5. “Because they regard not the works of the Lord, nor the operation of his hands, be shall destroy them, and not build them up."