Imagens das páginas

heart and life: they fhall fee him to be of fuch infinite perfection, excellence,moral excellence, and glory, that he cannot but be angry with finners, as fuch; and angry with them every day; nor do otherways than act as a coniuining fire to the workers of iniquity.


Was this the whole, their feeing God could only wound, diftrefs, diftract, and drive them to hopelesness and despair: for none, in this fenfe, can fee God, and five. But the promife carries in it, their feeing him alfo as gracious. Accordingly, under the influence of it, finners fhall fee God as reconciling the world unto himself, in Jefus Chrift, not imputing to them their trefpaf fes; as not only merciful, but juft, in justifying even the ungodly who believe; as acceffable by finners, the chief not excepted; and placable toward them in the way of his appointment by the gofpel: they fhall fee him, as calling, warranting, encouraging, commanding them, whatever they have been, done, deferved, to return to him; as revealing, exhibiting and offering peace and pardon, life and falvation, grace and glory, to the hearers of the gofpel; and declaring his willingness they should be faved, his unwillingness they should perifh they fhall fee him as particularly exalted in the difpenfation of eternal life to finners, and wonderfully glorified in their enjoyment of it: they fhall fee him, as ufing every argument for prevailing with men to believe, and to make their calling and election fure: and, to crown all, they Thall fee him as exhibiting his free, gracious, abfolute promise, "to work in them the whole good "pleasure of his goodnefs, and the work of faith with power," 2 Theff. i.. 11.

E'S 5



[ocr errors]

Е с

Another bleffing here promised, is, "They "thall fear." As the bleffing reprefented in the preceding fection refpects the finner's understanding, fo this has a regard to his affections, the proper feat of fear. Under the influence of this promife, finners fhall be made anxious and thoughtful about falvation; fhall dread the confequence of abiding in their natural ftate; fhall be apprehensive of perishing under the load of divine wrath; fhall become restless, as long as they are far from God, and his righteoufnefs; fhall not be eafy at a distance from Jefus Chrift, the only ordinance of heaven for faving finners; fhall forebode a peculiar degree of mifery, in the event of dying in their fins, after all the means, toward their recovery, they have enjoyed; fhall defpair of help from themselves, or other creatures; and may labour under fome degree of uncertainty, that ever the Lord will interpofe in their behalf, or come for their falvation. According to the degrees of this legal fear, they fhall read of no threatening, in the whole book of God, and shall hear of no terror, in the application of fcripture doctrine, without confidering the whole as addref fed to them. It is in this way that the arrows of the Almighty drink up their fpirits; that the terrors of the Lord make them afraid; that they feel the fentence of death in themfelves; that their confciences are wounded, their peace broken, their falfe hopes overturned, the foundations of their former reft entirely fapped, and all their wounds made to wear an incurable afpect. Thus far finners my fear, thus far numbers have feared, without going farther, without being faved.


[ocr errors]

But, where the Lord has gracious defigns upon the foul, he leaves them not in this lurch, forfakes them not in this labyrinth; but makes an evangelical and faving exercife to follow this of a common and legal kind; and makes that law-work conducive toward their future experience of gofpel grace. Wherefore, under the influence of this promise, they fhall be made to fear in a filial, as well as in a legal manner; they fhall be put among the children of God, as a neceffary pre-requifite to their having, and exercifing the temper of children; fhall, in confequence of their union to Jefus Chrift, have interest in God as their Father, and in all the privileges and bleffings-arifing from that relation, connected with it, and infeparable from it. They fhall belong to his family, not only as creatures, but as renewed and redeemed creatures; not only, as he is the great Parent of mankind, but as he is a God of grace, and Father in Chrift. This endearing relation, as to their enjoyment of the fruits and effects of it, commences at converfion, and continues to eternity: "Ye are all the children of God (fays the apoftle to the Galatians) by faith in Chrift Jefus," Gal. iii. 26. and, to the Romans, he speaks" of the glorious liberty "of the children of God," Rom viii. 21. Befides this tranflation into the family of God by converfion, they fhall, under the influence of this promife, be animated with the Spirit,-the living Spirit of Jefus Chrift, as equally neceffary toward the fuitable exercise of this holy fear. For, when the Lord promifes the effect, it implies his promifing likeways the caufe from whence fuch effect can only flow: "And because ye are fons (fays the apoftle, "to the believers at Galatia) God hath fent forth the Spirit of his Son into your heart," Gal. iv.

6. Moreover, under the influence of this promife, they fhall have a holy and confcientious refpect to the authority and law of God: "Then fhall I not "be afhamed (fays the pfalmift) when I have a re"fpect unto all thy commandments," Pfal. cxix. 6. They fhall, from a principle of love to God, be tender of offending him, at any time, in any way, to any degree. They fhall be as cautious of incurring fatherly difpleafure, or fubjecting themselves to the difcipline of the new covenant, as, under the influence of legal fear, they were of falling under the divine wrath, and bearing the penalty of the covenant of works: they fhall entertain a holy jealoufy and fufpicion of themselves; and, convinced of the deceitfulness and defperate wickednefs of their own hearts, ftudy a habitual watchfulness against backfliding from the Lord, in heart or way: they fhall thence be particularly concerned, that the Lord would "hold up their goings in his “paths, that their footsteps flip not," Pfal. xvii 5. Thus, by Solomon, the holy Ghost represents the man as "happy, that feareth alway," Prov. xxviii. 14. and the man as wretched, who is a ftranger to that fear; "For he that trufteth to his own heart, "is a fool," Prov. xxviii. 26.


The laft bleffing mentioned in this promife is, that they "fhall truft in the Lord."-Upon gospel principles, the object of the finner's truft must be a God in Chrift; a God revealing himself to men, in the perfon of Chrift, "who is the brightness of "his glory, and the exprefs image of his perfon,' Heb. i. 3. in fo much, that "he who hath feen "the Son, hath feen the Father." John xiv. 9.—

I must be a God revealing himself in the doctrine ,of Chrift; which thews the divine perfections, and the harmony of them, in the falvation of finners;revealing himself in the obedience of Chrift, as in which the divine law, however holy, however extenfive, was magnified and made honourable;and in the death of Chrift, as what Juflice requir ed, and with which Juftice was fatisfied. Tite object of their truft, is a God well pleafed with finners through Jefus Chrift; pleated with their perfons, as reprefented by him; and pleased with their performances, as flowing from vital union with him, and influence derived from him; and a God, glorified in the falvation of finners, through the mediation of Chrift; a God, providing, allowing, difpenfing, commanding their falvation in that channel, and doing fo, without the leaft difhonour to any of his perfections, Juftice and Truth themfelves not excepted. David calls pardoned finncı S to "give.thanks at the remembrance of God's ho"linefs;" Pfal. xxx. 4.-and the apostle speaks of God's being "just, and the justifier of him which "believeth in Jefus," Rom. iii 26. None doubts, that mercy and goodness fhine in the difpenfation of grace and glory to finners; but, as the object of their truft, the, feemingly jarring, attributes of the Divine Nature, are all reconciled and celebrated in the fame difpenfation.-The righteoufnefs of Jefus Chrift, called in fcripture the righteoufnefs of God, is particularly comprehended in this object of trust; our Lord's righteoufnefs, being the price of redemption, the condition of falvation, is to be leaned unto, by all who need fuch bieffings, and have no pertonal righteoufnefs, by which to procure them:

This is the name where with he fhall be called, "The Lord our righteoufnefs," Jer. xxiii. 6. And (fays the apoftle, fpeaking of Jefus Chrift)


« AnteriorContinuar »