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without a fpurn, beauty without a blot, and perfection without the smallest flaw. What, but Divine Wisdom, could have formed fuch a grand defign? what, but Divine Love, could have execute fuch a coftly plan? God manifefted! manifested in the flesh manifefted in the likeness of finful flesh! manifefted in the character of a fubje&t; under authority as a fon; in waiting as a fervant! However low this grace of our Lord Jefus Christ in the view of naughty mortals, it is celebrated in the highest strains of angelic praife, heavenly wonder, and feraphic joy. Though fmall and despifed, without form and comelinefs, in the eyes of unbelievers, and partly too in the eyes, of militant faints themselves; the Jerufalem above is filled with ceafelefs hofannahs unto this fon of David; as once humbled, though now exalted; once obedient, though now obeyed; wounded, though now healed; dead, though now alive; entombed, though now enthroned. As the circumstance of his former humiliation gives peculiar life to the whole confort within the vale; it fhould excite the wonder, as well as command the attention, of the churches below, and encourage the travellers of hope to effay the exercife of humble patient waiting for God. What a diftinguishing grace does it give to this path of the faints, that it was trode before them by the King of faints? In the exercise of believing patience, holy obedience, may they not trade the prints of their Redeemer's feet, as the Divine Forerunner? may they not see the way all along paved by himfelf? And what encouragement is afforded to the enemies of Jefus Christ, to fall in with the gospel design of faving finners; fince, in order to win, gather and ranfom their fouls, he humbled himself; and to them sends this word
word of falvation, for their improvement; in the way, for the ends, to the praise of Divine Grace?
Did Jefus Chrift, the New Teftament Jacob, cry? then all the true Ifrael of God will be praying and wrestling perfons. Wherever the fame fpirit directs, wherever the fame motives prevail, wherever the fame practice appears, though mixed with numberless, nameless, imperfections and discouragements, there is reafon to conclude, you belong to Christ's family, make a part of his little flock. Do ye find it a relief, under preffures, afflictions, and temptations, to retire from fociety, and pour out your hearts to God? without fuch opportunity of retirement, for that purpose, are your hearts as bottles like to burft, and your feelings too big for mortality to endure? Is any place a palace to you, where liberty to draw near to the Lord's feat, and to fill your mouths with arguments, is commanded and enjoyed? have you fecret, fenfible, unutterable uneafinefs, when your closed lips are not opened, your languid hearts not enlarged; but when lifelefsnefs and formality are written upon all your praying feafons? Is it your ambition to have your chains broken, your fetters knocked off, and your fouls taken out of prifon, that you may glorify the name of the Lord? or, is the felt or feared want of fuch concern, matter of exercise and bitterness to you? Then it would feem you were animated with the Spirit of Chrift. And therefore, whatever arguings against yourselves prevail, you are furely Galileans, your fpeech bewrayeth you.
Nor are your privileges lefs diftinguishing, than your character; fince our Lord cried, and cried for you, in the days of his humiliation. Had he not cried, our crying would have been in vain, our prayers ineffectual, and all our expectations as the giving up of the ghoft. But did the Redeemer
cry? were fuch petitions offered up by the bleffed Immanuel? and did the hearer of prayer himself become a fupplicant? Then all hail, my praying friends! it is the fureft earnest, your cry is heard, and your tears are come up before God. Nor is this all, for our dear Lord continues to act in the capacity of an Interceffor within the vail, until all the ends of his cries and groans are fully reached, in the final falvation of your fouls. However diftant in respect of comfortable enjoyment from the Lord as your God, the Redeemer abides in the divine Presence, and abides for your behoof. Put honour therefore upon him, by prefenting his cry to the Father, as your plea for accefs and acceptance. Put honour upon him, by committing your wants, weaknesses and requefts, into his hand, who has fo much to fay with the hearer of prayer; nay, who in his Divine Nature, is the hearer of prayer himself. Nor give place to difcouragement, fince you have fuch a noble, generous, and prevalent friend at the court of heaven.
Prayerless perfons, however, have no pretenfions to the character and privileges of Chriftians. You who can be whole days and nights, without bowing a knee at the throne of grace; who can ly down, and rife up, without praying to the God of your life, the length of your days, and the rock of your falvation; who can find and take time for every thing else but devotion; who prefer any employment to that of prayer, any fociety to that of folitude, any enjoyment to that of fecret intercourse with heaven; who can make public, or at most family prayer fuffice, without ftudying clofet devotion; who can enter your families, your fhops, your barns, your folds, and even your churches, day after day, as prayerlefs as the grovelling little animals that follow you; and who, whatever fashion
fashion you may make of prayer, enter not at all into the fpirit of it, know nothing beyond the external performance, fkim on the furface of that important duty: What are you? are you young and gay? are you rich and wealthy? are you wife and penetrating? are you admired and efteemed? It matters not, though you had all the beauties, the grandeurs, and the advantages, the creation itself can give; you are prayerlefs wretches, graceless perfons, Christless fouls; you have no interest in the Redeemer's cry, no part in his interceffion, and, for any thing appears, fhall have no lot in the inheritance of the faints in light. Roufe, awake, up, O fleepers! arife, fhake off these guilty, thefe deadly, thefe accurfed flumbers; cry, now cry unto God, as a God in Chrift, that ye perish not; if not interested in the merit of Immanuel's cry, if not followers of him in his prayerful character, you fhall not only cry and not be heard, but shall roar under the load of unmendable, unbearable despair, in that place where horror, everlasting horror and anguish, reign and dwell.
CHA P. II.
Of the Meffiah's paffive obedience, or his being in "the horrible pit and miry clay."
S a common perfon, our Lord lived, died, and rofe again; as reprefenting others, he humbled himself; and in the fame capacity he was exalted by the Father; fo that believers may look upon
upon him in both points of view, with diftinguifhing pleasure; and confider themselves as particularly interested in what he was, did, fuffered, enjoyed, and procured, as Man-Mediator. Nor are his fufferings inexpreffive of the trials to which his members may be expofed, under which they may groan in the house of their pilgrimage; for as they all will be made conform to him in his glory, it is no more than reasonable, they fhould be like him in his low condition.
In these low circumftances, however, our Lord can only be confidered as Man-Mediator. To fuppofe the contrary, would argue the grossest blafphemy, the higheft impiety; because, in his divine nature, he neither fuffered, nor was capable of it; in that view he was, is, and continues the independent Jehovah, infinitely happy, infinitely removed from every circumftance fubverfive of perfection in happincfs. None of thefe paffions or connections, which to mortals are the fource of their infelicities, are, or can poffibly be known by him, who is the immortal, the everlasting God. So that when infpired writers reprefent him in fuch humbled circumftances, we must consider him only as the Man Chrift Jefus. In which capacity, indeed, though he was abfolutely divefted of these paffions which are the teeming womb of forrow and distress to mere men; yet his connections were fuch, as laid him under inevitable obligations to go through the hottest furnace of trial ever mortal trode, and through fuch a furnace, as no man but himself was ever capable of treading. He was connected with the Law-giver by covenant, and with law-breakers by fubftitution; and thence expofed, juftly expofed, to all the Law-giver could demand, and to all the law-breaker fhould undergo.
The horrible pit and the miry clay are only dif