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JESUS SAITH UNTO HIM, I AM THE WAY, AND THL
TRUTH, AND THE LIFE. JOHN XIV. 6.
He who would be happy in this world, and in the world to come, must know Jesus Christ, and love him, and keep his Commandments.—By knowing him, I do not mean that we should have personal knowledge of him, as Peter had, when he said, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. It is sufficient for us to know what he is; to receive him with the heart and affections; though it be not possible that we should see him with the eyes of the body. To the eye of faith he is visible enough, for all the purposes of salvation; and so the words of St. Peter imply, where he says—whom having not seen ye love: in whom, though ye now see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. Such joy must every man feel, when his eyes are opened, and Jesus Christ is revealed to him; and no words can reveal him to us more effectually than the words of this text. --Blessed are the eyes which can see him as he is here described ! That
you may be able to do this, I shall make them as plain and easy as I can; and if there be any among you, who
Christ the Way, &c.
433 have not seen liim yet, may God bring such out of darkness into light; that their eyes may not be closed in death, till they have seen the salvation of God!
I proceed to shew you, how truly these three terms, the wuy, the truth, and the life, describe to us the character of Jesus Christ : and first I shall shew, how he is the way.
We are all departed from God : our disobedience drove us from Paradise, to wander about this world ; and nothing but disappointment and misery can attend us, till we find God whom we had lost, and return to him again. We are all gone out of the way: and instead of seeking after God, we are always seeking after something else. We have some vision of happiness before us, to which God is not necessary ; in which he has no share-God is not in all their thoughts, saith the prophet. Here are two very
Here are two very bad circumstances : first, that we are lost, and next, that we have neither power nor inclination to return. sheep, straying in the wilderness, when wolves are abroad, cannot be in a worse case. It was the wolf which first made us wander. Such doctrine as a wolf would give to a sheep, such did the tempter give to man; and in consequence of it, he has been wandering ever since he is in a wilderness where there is no way; no footsteps are to be seen : we may go over the whole world, and find no way that will lead us to God : every way of man carries us farther from him. The way in which he commonly walketh is called at shadow; it is only an image and outward semblance
of life, which, like a shadow, soon departeth. Try all : his ways by this rule, and you will find thein all alike. : When he is in the way to be rich, he is laying up for : some other to gather when he is gone. If he is in the VOL.IV.
way to be happy, his pleasures turn into thorns and vexations. If he is in the way to be great, a short time will put him upon a level with the lowest of mankind. If he is in the way to be wise, his wisdom is a wisdom of words. If he is a discoverer, he brings in a fresh generation of terms; persuading the world that he has new knowledge, because he has new expressions. Thus is man constantly seeking the way, but he is still estranged from it, and inisses his true object. It was therefore intimated of old that a way is prepared, which man can neither make nor find. Jacob's visionary ladder had this use: it foreshewed, that there should be a communication between earth and heaven! a method of descending from heaven, and of ascending from the earth. This our Saviour applies to his own person. He is that ladder by which man is to ascend to God: and to atteinpt it without him, is to think we can step into the clouds. Mao can no more make his own communication with God, than he can make a ladder to heaven. Christ must be our mediator, before he becomes our teacher; and of this we can give you another proof. When man was shut out of paradise, a flaming sword was interposed to keep the way of the tree of life. When man left that seat of bliss, labour and death were before him, and vengeance was behind him. There was no return for him into paradise, without passing the fire of that sword. This is the thing which Christ did for us: he suffered that fire, and survived it ; and ibus he recovered for us the way to paradise: he overcame this sharpness of death, and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers : and from the story of the malefactor upon the cross; we may know, what was true of him, may be true of us all; we may all be with him this day in paradise.
There is no way to the favour of God, or to the knowledge of God; no entrance administred, but by Jesus Christ; who being the only mediator, is also the only teacher, who shews us the way in which we are to walk. This was one great end of his coming : and all the world hath known and confessed, till of very late years, that the way of man is not in himself: it must be revealed to him. And as a way is wanting to all mankind, it is necessary all should understand it. The prophet therefore speaks of it as an highway; such as all may see and understand, if they will walk in it. What can be easier to every capacity, than the rule of example? We have nothing to do but to look at Christ; and all is plain. Learn of me, says he, for I am meek and lowly in 'heart, and ye shall find rest to your souls.-Matth. ii. 29. How short, and how proper ! How suited to our case ! --while the world gives a very different lesson.-.“ Learn of me, , for I am proud and high-spirited, and ye shall find nothing but disquiet and labour of heart." The blessed Apostle repeats a lesson corresponding with that of his Master-Be ye followers of me, even as I am of Christ. How heavy is the hurthen of the world, when compared with the yoke of Christ ! how laborious and difficult is the way of fashion, when compared with the way to heaven! This short, plain rule, of following Christ, would deliver us all.
And as for that other way; that valley of the shadow of death, in which we must all walk, there Christ hath gone before us, and shewed us the path of life: so that we may all say with the Psalmist, yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they shall comfort me. We shall find the way, as sheep are directed across a ford by the shep
herd: and though that ford be as wide and as deep as the Red Sea, it will make no difference: the bondage of Egypt will then be left behind, and, Canaan will be in full view before us ; to which the rod and staff of this great Shepherd will conduct us in safety.
But now let us consider the second capacity in which Christ appears to us; that of the truth.
When we lost our way, we lost the truth at the same time. When Satan shewed a way of knowledge, truth was no longer to be found. The different opinions among men; that vain jangling, as the apostle calls it, is a proof that there is no truth among them. Let any man hear what philosophers have said about God, and he will soon see what human truth is. But the truth of God is this : that the Father sends his Son into the world, that all that believe in Him
be saved. This no philosopher ever thought of. But this is the truth, on which man has depended ever since it was said in paradise, “the seed of the woman " shall bruise the serpent's head.” The great end of revelation was to keep up and explain this truth, which was fulfilled in the person of Christ. Without him neither the law nor the prophets, nor even the world itself, hath any truth in them. What are all the types of the law of Moses? What is that greatest of all, the passover? It is nothing, unless you add to it, Christ our passover is sacrificed for us. The law had a shadow of good things to come; but the body and substance, froin whence that shadow was formed, is of Christ. Take away the blood of Christ, and what is the blood of bulls and of goats ? It cannot take away sin : it cannot do that for which it was commanded to be shod; and so it is nothing. We are told of a redemption from Egypt; but that was a temporary re. demption : nothing will save us but an eternal redemp