« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
is consumed away, that it cannot be seen, and his bones, that were not seen, stick out. The flesh, with all its wisdom and glory, is subdued and put out of sight for hope and help; and all the strength of its unrighteous» ness, denoted by its bones, now manifestly appears. Yea, his soul draweth near unto the grave, and his life to the destroyers. He is almost overwhelmed with despair, and seems ready to perish for his sins. This is the first work of the divine Spirit, inducing the conviction of sin by his pointed application of the just and holy law. And the same is described, under the several images of helpless solitude, piercing hunger and thirst, miserable darkness and bondage, the shadow of death, horrible confinement and sickness, fearful tempests and agitations upon mighty waters, and other concomitant circumstances, in the cviith Psalm.
When the soul is thus mercifully, though painfully, brought low in itself; then the Holy Spirit exhibits the means of salvation. The circumcising knife of the law, in the hands of the divine Agent, is spiritually the introduction to the new covenant of grace and peace through Jesus Christ. And now the Benoni becomes a Benjamin.
Then there is, or appears, with him, or over him, the ANGEL-INTERPRETER, the advocate, or paraclete, one among a thousand, one exalted above his brethren, to show unto man his uprightness, or how God can be just, and yet the justifier of him, that believeth in Jesus. And he [the Angel-interpreter] is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit, I have found a ransom  a propitiation.-This is the second
branch of the Spirit's office thus to take of the things of Jesus, and show, or enforce, them to the soul.
The great result is the renewal of the believer. His flesh (like Naaman's at his baptism in Jordan, which also preached this great truth) shall be fresher than a child's; he shall receive the kingdom of God as a child, or new-born babe : he shall be returned to the days of his youth, or be more holy in God's sight than before the fall. He shall pray unto God, and he will be favourable unto him, and he shall see his face with joy; for he will render unto man his righteousnes; i. e. either pronounce him righteous, or transfer his righteousness to him. He looketh upon men, and (if any) say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not; He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light; or, in the light [in Christ, who is the light of life] his life shall be seen. Lo, all these things GOD WORKETH WÝ D'YÐ, in three gradations, or concussions, with man, to bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living.*
# Job xxxiii. 14-30. The symbols, in Lev. ix. preach the same truth in another form. It would exceed the compass of a note to go through the whole chapter; but the serious reader will probably not be displeased with a few hints on its spiritual sense and meaning. V. 1. On the eighth day, so called because a day of grace and acceptance, in which believers, through the sacrifice of Christ for sin, enter into a new state or condition with God; the people were to present themselves before the Lord. V. 9. And they were to come through faith in the strength of Christ to save, and to lay no foundation for acceptance but in his blood poured forth. V. 10, 11. Putting off also the old man, with his affections and lusts: V. 14. And obtaining the washing of regeneration to the praise of God's glory. V. When believers are thus atoned for,
This is God's work of regeneration; and this is a very antient description of its mode, its effects, and its experience. The New Testament is full of this important truth, as well as the Old, in all the distinctions between flesh and spirit, the new man and the old, the outward and the inner man, the sheep and the goats, the darkness and the light, life and death, nature and grace, and, in a word, between almost every thing which concerns the life of redemption in the soul of man, and the death of sin which is opposite to it. Without this true μerava, or change of mind, no sinner born of Adam can either obtain salvation, or be capable of enjoying it.
By this description in Job, by other testimonies in the word of God, and by the concurrent experience of the redeemed, this great business, the greatest which the soul can know, is not begun or carried on, by carnal reasoning or moral suasion, but by a divine power, inserting a new life descending from Christ, and increased and supported by communion with him. Thus the Apostle: I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of
and renewed, and justified; they ascribe all authority and power over them to Jehovah; v. 19. and to him alone, wholly disclaiming themselves: v. 20. And this they do sincerely and from their very breasts: v. 21. testifying it openly and on every side before the world. V. 22. And then they feel the blessing of their great High-Priest upon their souls; which ends, v. 23. in the vision and enjoyment of the divine glory, and, v. 24. in their final acceptance by Jehovah. This is a slight sketch of the gospel, as contained in Exodus and Leviticus, which books, to the gracious mind duly instructed in the mysteries of the kingdom and in the holy tongue which reveals them, speak none other things than the evangelists in their gospels.
the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Nor is this of private interpretation, or a circumstance peculiar to the apostle alone; but the common privilege and experience of all who, like him, are horn of God. It is the portion of the whole generation of God's children, who, like other children, have one family-likeness and common life, and who derive from him, their Father in Christ, that life and likeness, by which they resemble him and each other. They are the sons of God, because they are born again of him, who is God, and who is not ashamed, great and glorious as he is, to call and to own them for his children. This general assembly of the first born [i. e. God's own born] will be an innumerable family when collected together, according to that remarkable prophecy concerning Christ: Thy people shall be willing [or free-willingness itself] in the day of thy power, in, or with, the beauties of holiness: From the womb of the morning, thou hast the dew of thy youth; or, as Bishop Lowth has rendered it, more than the dew from the womb of the morning is the dew of thy progeny.*
Ps. cx. 3. "It was the opinion of the antient Jews, that the resurrection would be effected by means of a certain dew, of a plastic power, from heaven, as it is written in the Jerusalem Talmud and Jelcudi." Manasse Ben Israel in Humphreys's Diss. upon Athenag. p. 15. Possibly the notion is founded upon Isaiah xxvi. 19. Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise: awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust; for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. See Hos. xiv. 6. and Pocock in Port. Mos. p. 117. The spiritual sense of the image, in the above passage of the Psalm, is very beautiful, and testifies, that as the dew is to herbs, so is Christ to his people, and that more than the drops of dew from the womb of the morning is the number of his chosen. In reality, the
The effects of this regeneration are produced by the Holy Spirit, as well as regeneration itself. He worketh both to will and to do of his good pleasure. The cause, the action, and the effect, are all of him. As that, which is born of the flesh, is flesh, gross, sensual, and unclean; so that, which is born of this Spirit, is spirit, refined, pure, and heavenly. The one is entirely sinful, and born in sin: the other is strictly holy, being born, or new-created, in righteousness and true holiness of HIM, who is absolutely perfect and holy. They live indeed together in one individual man while here below; but they are absolutely contrary to each other. Rom. vii.
Each of these natures hath also its distinct and peculiar understanding. The mind of the flesh is what is usually called rational, but which the scripture terms sensual, because it is occupied, and can only be occupied to purpose, in sensible and material things. Hence it is not only corrupt through the fall, but dark and doubtful, even upon the substances obvious to the senses, aud much more so upon affairs intellectual or divine. The mind of the spirit, as renewed of God and actuated by him, is spiritual, and is now the only faculty by which spiritual things can be truly known or discerned. These
the only true phoenix, so much talked of by the antients, is found verified in every real Christian: : out of the death of sin in him rises up the life of righteousness; and from the death of the body springs the resurrection to life eternal.
As to the sleep of the soul, it is an opinion very contrary to the Scriptures, which represent men as going out of or putting off the body; but this would be absurd, if the soul lay down and slept in it; and the separation of body and sonl, in that case, would also be impossible.