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tian is borne up against all enemies and adversities, and can count them all but as light affliction, lasting for a moment, and ushering in, as well as making more welcome, the exceeding and eternal weight of glory.
"But, say some, may not this supposed assurance induce carelessness of mind and of life?"-Let the answer be in the words of Abp. Leighton, whose learning, judgement, and piety, were of no common form.""Tis a foolish misgrounded fear, and such as argues inexperience of the nature and workings of divine grace, to imagine that the assured hope of salvation will beget unholiness and presumptuous boldness in sin, and therefore that the doctrine of that assurance is a docrine of licentiousness. Our apostle (Peter) we see, is not so sharp-sighted as these men think themselves: he apprehends no such matter, but indeed supposes the contrary as unquestionable: he takes not assured hope and holiness as enemies, but joins them as nearest friends;hope perfectly-and be holy.”*
It is incumbent, then, upon all professors of religion to make full proof of their vocation by their actions among men. Let them SEE their good works, that they may glorify God in the day of visitation. Let genuine faith appear in its genuine fruits. Let Christians live so, as to live down every lie and slander, which an ungodly world would gladly raise upon them; and let them commit their souls in well-doing to him that judgeth righteously, and evince themselves to be God's peculiar people, whom he hath purified unto himself, by being constantly
ZEALOUS OF GOOD WORKS.
* Com. on Peter. c. i. v. 14.
HIDDEN, OR SECRET ONES.
THE people of God are called by this name; partly
because they are hidden in his counsels of grace from common knowledge, and therefore unknown to the world; and partly because of that hidden life, which he hath planted in their souls, which, like the new name written upon the white stone,* cannot be positively or particularly understood but by him that receiveth it.
In the first view, as known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world; so certainly the works, or workmanship, of his new creation were ever perfectly in his sight; and the people of his love, who are the objects of this creation, were foreknown by him according to his own purpose and grace, which was given them in Christ Jesus, before the world began.† Hence Christ is represented by the psalmist as saying to Jehovah; Thine eyes did see my substance yet being imperfect, and in thy book [God's order and appointment] all my members were written [all that compose this substance] which in continuance were fashioned [or, as in the margin, what days they should be fashioned] when as yet there was none
† 2 Tim. i. 9.
• Rev. ii. 17. Iba, my chaotic mass, to human view; confused, like the parts of a building not set up, or the world itself before its complete arrangement,
of them. How precious then are thy friends (or beloved ones) to me! How mighty are the chief of them!*
This holy number (perfect in itself as a mathematical square, and therefore so formed or described in the Revelation,† yet utterly innumerable by the arithmetic of man) is written, or arranged in order as writings usually are, and composed of Gentiles afar off, as well as the nearer Jews. Hence, by an allusion peculiar to the sacred tongue, these Gentiles, as part of the city of God, are called the north, or the sides of the north; not only because the typical Jerusalem stood for the most part on the north side of the temple, but rather perhaps because the great flow of the Gentiles should be from the north to the church of Christ; or, because the state of these Gentiles, when the prophecies were given, was that of darkness, remoteness, or hiddenness, as the north is from the sun; and therefore the word, which signifies both this and the north, was used to describe that state, dark and distant from the Sun of righteousness. Such allusions are very frequent in scripture; and the fact, in this case, seems to justify the application of the name. Thus the church is called, in the same verse, the joy of the whole earth, Mount Zion, the sides [or extreme parts] of the north, and the city of the great King.‡ This was to give an idea of the whole church, Jews and Gentiles, known and unknown, in being and to be. Under the same idea, the prophet Jeremiah was taught
* Ps. cxxxix. 16, 17. Thus the Hebrew of ver. 17. should have been rendered; and thus nearly it is rendered by the lxx.
+ Rev. xxi. 16.
Ps. xlviii. 2. See also Isa, xiv. 13.
to speak of the last dispensation, upon the coming of Christ, that God's people, whether of the house of Judah or the Jews in particular, or of the house of Israel or the redeemed at large, should walk together (having but one faith) and should come together (as to one object) and out of the land of the north (the land of darkness and hiddeness, 11 px) to the land given to them and the fathers, as one common and perpetual inheritance.* For this reason probably, the camp of Dan, who prefigured the Gentiles, and who as such was to judge his people as one of the tribes of Israel, that is, was to have the same truth and salvation among them as the rest of the Israel of God; was appointed, in allusion to the dork and remote state of the Gentiles, or to the secret counsels of God concerning them, to rest on the north-side of the whole camp of the people, and, in their progression, was to be the rereward of all the camps throughout their hosts, bringing up the remnant of the church of God, after Christ should have appeared in the flesh. Hence, to the Jews, Dan was indeed, as a serpent by the way, secretly yet vehemently making his course, and biting the horse-heels, overthrowing the agency of the Jewish œconomy; so that his rider, the Jewish nation, fell backward. The prospect of this event, which was to take place after the coming of Shiloh, who was to bring in the mercy to all people, and to whom their gathering should be, caused the patriarch Jacob to exclaim, I have waited for thy salvation, O Lord!
Jer. iii, 18. See also xxiii. 8,
Gen. xlix. 17,
All this, taken together, may serve to explain, both in doctrine and example, that the people of God are and ever have been a people hidden in his counsels, and brought forth from age to age according to his gracious will and appointment.
In another view, looking from their special designation as heirs of promise to their peculiar experience as partakers of the grace of life, the children of God are hidden and unknown by the world. Their life is a hidden one-hid with Christ in God: and the world knoweth not them, because it knoweth not him.
Christ is their head, and, as such, the author and fountain of this hidden and spiritual life. They live upon him for it and in it. They have nothing of their own, but sin; and upon sin they cannot live, but must oppose and abhor it. In order to conquer the corrupt and inbred life, which they derive from their fallen nature, they draw out of the fulness of their Redeemer grace for grace; and by this mean, and only by this, they grow into his life, and therefore are said, because their Redeemer is divine, to increase with all the increase of God. They are of God, according to his own will, in Christ Jesus, who from the Godhead (aro e) is made unto them wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: and thus they are enabled to obey what is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord; for, in themselves, they find, that they have neither right, nor pretence, to glory at all.
When the sun is low or oblique, the shadow of a man is long and evident, perhaps an hundred fold longer than his real substance, till at length it is swallowed up