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often throws them out to those that he esteems as dogs and swine ; but this is the peculiar blessing of his dear children. This is what flesh and blood cannot impart, and what all the devils in hell cannot work the least degree of, in any heart; it is God alone can bestow it. This was the special benefit which Christ died to procure for his elect, the most excellent token of his everlasting love ; the chief fruit of his great labors, and the most precious purchase of his blood.
By this, above all other things, do men glorify God. By this, above all other things, do the saints shine as lights in the world, and are blessings to mankind. And this, above all things, tends to their own comfort; from hence arises that “ peace which passeth all understanding," and that “ joy which is unspeakable, and full of glory." And this is that which will most certainly issue in the eternal salvation of those that have it. · It is impossible that the soul wherein it is. should sink and perish. It is an immortal seed....it is eternal life begun; and therefore they that have it can never die. It is the dawning of the light of glory....it is the daystar risen in the heart, that is a sure forerunner of that sun's rising which will bring on an everlasting day. This is that water which Christ gives, which is in him that drinks it " a well of water springing up into everlasting life;" John iv. 14. It is something from heaven, is of a heavenly nature, and tends to heaven. And those that have it, however they may now wan. der in a wilderness, or be tossed to and fro on a tempestuous océan, shall certainly arrive in heaven at last, where this heave enly spark shall be increased and perfected, and the souls of the saints all be transformed into a bright and pure flame, and they shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Fath
The Excellency of Christ.
REVELATIONS V. 5, 8.
AND ONE OF THE ELDERS SAITH UNTO ME, WEEP NOT : BE
HOLD THE LION OF THE TRIBE OF JUDAH, THE ROOT OF DAVID, HATH PREVAILED TO OPEN THE BOOK, AND TO LOOSE THE SEVEN SEALS THEREOF. AND I BEHELD, AND LO, IN THE MIDST OF THE THRONE, AND OF THE FOUR BEASTS, AND IN THE MIDST OF THE ELDERS, STOOD A LAMB AS IT HAD BEEN SLAIN........
THE visions and revelations that the Apostle John had of the future events of God's providence are here introduced with a vision of the book of God's decrees, by which those events were foreordained; which is represented in the 1 st verse of this chapter, as a book in the right hand of him that sat on the throne, " written within and on the back side, and sealed with seven seals." Books in the form in which they were wont of old to be made, were broad leaves of parchment or paper, or something of that nature, joined together at one edge, and so rolled up together, and then sealed, or some way fastened together, to prevent their unfolding and opening. Hence we read of the roll of a book, Jer, xxxvi. 2. It to have been such a book that John had the vision of here ; and therefore it is said to be written within and on the back side,” i, e. on the inside pages, and also on one of the outside pages, viz. that that was rolled in, in the rolling of the book up together. And it is said to be “ sealed with seven seals,” to signify that what was written in it was perfectly hidden and
secret ; or that God's decrees of future events are sealed, and shut up from all possibility of being discovered by creatures, till God is pleased to make them known. We find that seven is often used in scripture as the number of perfection, to signify the superlative or most perfect degree of any thing; which probably came from that, that on the seventh day God beheld the works of the creation finished, and rested and rejoiced in them, as being complete and perfect.
When John saw this book, he tells us, he “ saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon." And that he wept much, because “no man was found worthy to open the book, neither to look thereon.” And then he tells us how his tears were dried up, viz. that “one of the elders said unto him, Weep not; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah hath prevailed," &c, as in the text. Though no man nor angel, nor any mere creature, was found either able to loose the seals, or worthy to be admitted to the privilege of reading the book; yet this was declared, for the comfort of this beloved disciple, that Christ was found both able and worthy. And we have an account in the succeeding chapters how he actually did it, opening the seals in order, first one, and then another, revealing what God had decreed should come to pass hereafter. And we have an account in this chapter, of his coming and taking the book out of the right hand of him that sat on the throne, and of the joyful praises that were sung to him in heaven and earth on that occasion.
Many things might be observed in the words of the text; but it is to my present purpose only to take notice of the two distinct appellations here given to Christ.
1. He is called a Lion. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah. He seems to be called the Lion of the tribe of Judah, in allusion to what Jacob said in his blessing of the tribes on his death bed; who, when he came to bless Judah, compares him to a lion, Gen. xlix. 9. “Judah is a lion's whelp ; from the
prey, my son, thou art gone up: He stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion ; who shall rouse him up ?” And also to the standard of the camp of Judah in the wilderness, on which was displayed a lion, according to the ancient tradition of the Jews. It is much on account of the valiant acts of David, that the tribe of Judah, of which David was,
is in Jacob's prophetical blessing compared to a lion ; but more especially with an eye to Jesus Christ, who also was of that tribe, and was descended of David, and is in our text called “the root of David ;” and therefore Christ is here called “the lion of the tribe of Judah."
2. He is called a Lamb. John was told of a lion that had prevailed to open the book, and probably expected to see a lion in his vision ; but while he is expecting, behold a Lamb appears to open the book, an exceeding diverse kind of creature from a lion. A lion is a devourer, 'one that is wont to make terrible slaughter of others ; and no creature more easily falls a prey to him than a lamb. And Christ is here represented not only as a lamb, a creature very liable to be slain, but a “ Lamb as he had been slain,” that is, with the marks of its deadly wounds appearing on it.
That which I would observe from the words, for the subject of my present discourse, is this, viz.
“There is an admirable conjunction of diverse excellencies in Jesus Christ.
The lion and the lamb, though very diverse kinds of creatures, yet have each their peculiar excellencies. The lion excels in strength, and in the majesty of his voice: The lamb excels in meekness and patience, besides the excellent nature of the creature as good for food, and yielding that which is fit for our cloathing, and being suitable to be offered in sacrifice to God.
But we see that Christ is in the text compared to both ; because the diverse excellencies of both wonderfully meet in him.
In handling this subject, I would, First, Shew wherein there is an admirable conjunction of diverse excellencies in Christ.
Secondly, How this admirable conjunction of excellencies appears in Christ's acts.
And then make application.
First, I would shew wherein there is an admirable conjunction of diverse excellencies in Jesus Christ. Which appears in three things.
1. There is a conjunction of such excellencies in Christ, as, in our manner of conceiving, are very diverse one from another.
II. There is in him a conjunction of such really diverse excellencies, as otherwise would have seemed to us utterly incompatible in the same subject.
III. Such diverse excellencies are exercised in him towards men, that otherwise would have seemed impossible to be exercised towards the same object.
1. There is a conjunction of such cxcellencies in Christ, as, in our manner of conceiving, are very diverse one from another. Such are the various divine perfections and excellencies that Christ is possessed of.
Christ is a divine person, or one that is God; and therefore has all the attributes of God. The difference there is, between these, is chiefly relative, and in our manner of conceiving of them. And those that in this sense are most diverse, do meet in the person of Christ.
I shall mention two instances. 1. There do meet in Jesus Christ infinite highness and infinite condescension. Christ, as he is God, is infinitely great and high above all. He is higher than the kings of the earth : For he is King of kings and Lord of lords. He is higher than the heavens, and higher than the highest angels of heaven. So great is he, that all men, all kings and princes, are as worms of the dust before him ; all nations are as the drop of the bucket, and the light dust of the balance ; yea, and angels themselves are as nothing before him. He is so high, that he is infinitely above any need of us; above our reach, that we cannot be profitable to him ; and above our conceptions, that we cannot comprehend him. Prov. xxx. 4, “ What is his
name, or what is his son's name, if thou canst tell?" Our under