תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

Yea, the world itself expecteth more from you

than others. When men talk of great matters, and profess, as every Christian doth, to look for the greatest matters of eternity, and to live for no lower things than everlasting fellowship with God and angels, no wonder then if the world do look for extraordinary matters from you. If you tell them of reaching heaven, they will look to see you winged like angels, and not creeping on earth like worms. If you say that you are more than men, they look you

should shew it by doing more than men can do ; even by denying yourselves and forgiving injuries, and loving your enemies, and blessing those that curse you, and contemning this world, and having your conversation in heaven. 0, sirs, believe it, it is not small or common things that will satisfy the expectations of God or men, of ministers, or of the world themselves, concerning you!

(8.) Yea, moreover, God himself doth make his boast of you, and call out the world to observe your excellency: he sets you up as the light of the world,' to be beheld by others. He calls you, in his word, ' his peculiar treasure above all people;'

a peculiar people, purified, and zealous of good works. He called you' a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, that ye should shew forth the praises of him that hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: ye are as lively stones, built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifice, acceptable to God, by Jesus Christ.' You are • born again, not of corruptible seed, but of

6

incorruptible,' and are ‘made meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.' God hath ‘delivered

you

from the power of darkness, and translated you into the kingdom of his dear Son, in whom you have redemption through his blood, the remission of sins.'— The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ.'- All things shall work together for your good.'—'He that spared not his own Son, but gave him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things ? Nothing but the illuminated soul can discern' the riches of the glory of God's inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power.' • When we were dead in sins, he hath quickened us together with Christ, and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus; that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness towards us through Jesus Christ. He hath brought us nigh that were far off, so that ' by one Spirit we have access to the Father by Christ; and are now no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens of the saints, and of the household of God.'-'We are members of the body of Christ; we are come to Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first-born, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all,

and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant.'

Brethren, shall the Lord speak all this, and more than this, in the Scripture, of your glory, and will you not prove yourselves glorious, and study to make good this precious word? Doth he say, ' The righteous is more excellent than his neighbour,' and will you not study to shew yourselves more excellent indeed? Shall all these high things be spoken of you, and will you live so far below them all ? What a heinous wrong is this to God! He sticks not in boasting of you, to call you ‘his jewels;' and tells the world he will make them one day discern the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God, and him that serveth him not. He tells the world, that his coming in judgment will be ' to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in them that believe.' It is openly professed by the Apostle John, “We know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.' He challengeth any' to condemn you, or lay any thing to your charge,' professing that it is he that justifieth you;' casting the saints into admiration by his love—What shall we say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” He challengeth tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, or nakedness, peril or sword, to separate you if they can from the love of God.' He challengeth death and life, angels, principalities, and powers, things present, and things to come, height and depth, or any other creature, to separate you,' if they are able, ' from the love of God in Christ

[ocr errors]

Jesus our Lord.' Shall the Lord of heaven thus make his boast of you to all the world, and will you not make good his boasting? Yea, I must tell

you, he will see that it be made good to a word !—and if you be not careful of it yourselves, and it be not made good in you, then you are not the people that God thus boasteth of. He tells the greatest persecutors to their faces, that the meek, the humble, • little ones' of his flock, ‘have their angels beholding the face of God in heaven;' and that, at the great and dreadful day of judgment, they shall be set at his right hand' as his sheep, with a 'Come ye blessed, inherit the kingdom,' when others are set at his left hand as goats, with a ‘Go, ye cursed, into everlasting fire.' He tells the world, that'he that receiveth' a converted man, that is become as ' a little child, receiveth Christ himself:' and that, 'whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in him, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.'

0, sirs! must God be thus wonderfully tender of you, and will you not now be very tender of his interest and your duty ? Shall he thus difference you from all the rest of the world, and will you not study to declare the difference? The ungodly even gnash the teeth at ministers, and Scriptures, and Christ himself, for making such a difference between them and you; and will you not let them see that it is not without cause? I intreat you, I require you, in the name of God, see that you answer these high commendations, and shew us that God hath not boasted of you beyond your worth.

(9.) Consider this as the highest motive of all ! God doth not only magnify you and boast of you; but also he hath made you the living images of his blessed self, his Son Jesus Christ, his Spirit and his holy word; and so he hath exposed himself, his Son, his Spirit and his word, to be censured by the world, according to your lives.

The express image of the Father's person is the Son. The Son is declared to the world by the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost hath indited the holy Scriptures, which, therefore, bear the image of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. This holy word, both ‘ law and promise,' is 'written on your hearts, and put into your inner parts,' by the same Sp . So that as God hath imprinted His holy nature in the Scriptures, so hath He made this word the seal, to imprint again His image on your hearts. And you know that common eyes can better discern the image in the wax than on the seal. Though I know that the hardness of the wax, or something lying between, or the imperfect application, may cause an imperfection in the image on the wax, when yet the image on the seal is perfect. And, therefore, the world hath no just cause to censure God, or Christ, or the Spirit, or the word, to be imperfect, because that you are so; but yet they will do it, and their temptation is great. O sirs, how would your prince take it of you, or how would your poorest friend take it of you, if you should hang forth a deformed picture of them, to the view of all that shall pass by: and should represent them as blind, or leprous, or lame, wanting a leg, or an arm, or an

« הקודםהמשך »