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Quest.-Those that are not Christ's, are not the things theirs that they have, because they are not Christ's ? have not wicked men a title to what they have ?
I answer, They have; and it is rigour in fome, that say wicked men are usurpers of what they have ; they have a title, both a civil title, and a title before God. God gave Tyrus to Nebuchadonesfärg as a reward ; and God gives wicked men, a title to what they have, and they shall never be called to account at the day of judgement, for poffesling of what they had, but for abusing that possession; and therefore, properly, they are not usurpers in regard of possession, but they shallrender an account of the abuse of that bounty.
It is in this, as it is in the king's carriage to a traitor : when a king gives a traitor his life, he gives him meat and drink that . may, maintain his life, by the same right that he gives him his life. God will have wicked men to live so long, to do so much service to the church; for all are not extremely wicked that are not Christ's members, that go to hell, but there are many of excellent parts and endowments that God hath appointed to do him great service, though they have an evil eye, and intend not his service, but to raise themselves in the world; yet God intends their service for much purpose, and he gives them encouragement in the world, as he will not be behind with the worst men. If they do him service, they fhall have their reward in that kind, Pfal. lxii. 12. If it be in policy of state, they, shall have it in that, and they shall have commendation and applause of men, if they look for that: and if he give them not heaven, they cannot complain, for they cared not for that, they did it not 'with an eye for that. Now, if God use the labour, and the industry, and the parts, and endowments of wicked men, for excellent purposes, he will give them their reward in outward things : " Verily you have your reward,” faith Christ, Matth. vi. 2. when he gives them life, he gives them outward liberties, and therefore they are no usurpers in that respect ; yet those have not fo full a title as a christian hath, to what they have
Now to come more directly to the second branch, and to shew how we are Christ's. I have unfolded that point upon another text, and therefore I will but touch it here, because there are many that did not hear the unfolding of that text, “ My beloved is mine, and I am his." Cant. vi. 3.
1. Not to speak of creation, he made all things; but we are Christ's by his redemption and purchase-- he purchased his church with his own blood," Ads xx. 28.
And, secondly, we are Christ's by fpiritual marriage ; for we are his, and Christ is ours; in all sweet relations he is ours; he hath purchased us to be his, in all the fweet terms of relation : name what you will, we are Christ's, we are his subjects, as he is a king; we are his servants, as he is a Lord; we are his scholars, as he is a prophet ;'we are his spouse, as he is a husband; we are his members, as he is a head. You cannot name any degree of subjection, if it be a sweet subjection and subordinátion, but we are that to Christ, and Christ is that to ús, lo that Chrift is ours, and we are Chrift's, in all the sweet relations that can be ; we are his members, we are his spouse, we are his children ; for he is “the everlasting Father,” Ifa. ix. 6. He is all that can be to us, and we are all that can be to him who is lovely and good; we are Christ's, and therefore all things are ours, because we are Christ's; fo that we fee from this, that Christ comes in between God and us. ..God is a pure and holy God, a consuming fire, and we as chaff and dust, and there fore Christ comes between ; you are Christ's.
Becaufe God is a consuming fire of himfelf; there must be a mediator, to come between, who is a friend to both sides, tó us as man, to him as God; so must be a means of conveying all things from God; all things come originally from the fountain of all, God; they are God's, and in God you know the three perfons meet in one nature, in God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, but still the holy God in three persóns doth not convey immediately good things to us, but by the mediation of Christ, mediator. “ AH things are ours, and therefore we are Christ's, and Christ is God's;" for God will have it thuś since the fall, that having lost all, we should recover all again, by the
fecond Adam, who should be a public person, a mediator between him and us,; and so through Christ we should have access and entrance to the Father by him, and that by him we should have boldnefs, and that God again downward might do all things with due satisfaction to his justice, because we are as stubble, and God a consuming Gre ; were not Christ in the middle, what intercourse could there be between the Lord and us? no other than between the fire, and the stubble, majesty on his side, and G g 2
misery misery and fin on ours; there must be a mediator, to bring these two contraries together. And therefore all is ours, because we are Christ's, and Christ is God's; fo all come downward through Christ, from God to us; God doth all in Christ to us, he chooseth us in Christ, and sanctifies us in Chrift; he bestows all fpiritual blessings on us in Christ ; as members of Christ, he conveys all through Christ. To Christ first, he hath put fulness in him, 6 and of his fulness we receive grace for grace ;" for Christ is complete, and in him we are complete.
Now all things come downward from God through Christ, fo from us to God upward, “all is ours, and we are Christ's, and Christ is God's ;" and therefore we have no intercourse with that great God, who is a consuming fire, if we be to deal with him in himself, but through Christ, and therefore we ask all in Christ's name. “Whatsoever you ask the Father in my name," &c. John xiv. 13, 14.-" and do all in the name of Chrift.” Col. iii. 17. For it were presumptuous arrogance, and fruitless, if we should go to God in our own name; but we go in the name of Christ, considering that he is the middle that knits God and us together, and therefore, Lord, we come not to thee in our own name, and in our own worth, and in our own desert, which is none at all, we come to thee in the merits of Christ, in the mediation of Christ, in that love thou beareft him, and that, for his fake, thou bearest to us, that are his members, that is the way of intercourse between God and us, not to think of God absolutely out of Christ, that is a terrible thought, nothing more terrible than to think of God, out of the mediator, but to think of God in Christ, nothing more fweet; for now the nature of God is lovely, coming to us in Christ, and the majesty and justice of God are lovely, coming to us from Chrift.
As the waters of the sea, though they be falt of themselves, when they are strained through the earth are sweet in the rivers, so though the justice of God be a terrible thing, yet when it comes through Christ to be satisfied, it is sweet ; for, Lord, thou wilt not punish the same sin twice ; and the majesty and greatness of God is comfortable, whatsoever is God's is ours, because Christ is ours. God in his greatness, in his justice, in his power, all things being derived, and passing through Christ, are sweet and comfortable to us : and therefore from excellent wisdom, the apostle inferts the mediator between “ all things are yours, and you are Christ's, and Christ is God's.”
« But it is good for me to draw near to God."
IIS psalm is a psalm of Afaph, or a psalm of David, and
committed to Afaph the finger; for Afaph was both a feer, and a singer. Those psalms that David made, were committed to Asaph, so it is thought to be a pfalm of David; and if not of David, yet of Asaph, who was likewise a singer in the house of God.
The pfalm represents to us a man in a spiritual conflict; by a discovery of the cause of it, and a recovery out of the conflict, with a triumphant conclusion afterwards.
He begins abruptly, as a man newly come out of a conflict-“ Truly God is good to Israel ;" as if he had gained this truth in conflicting with his corruptions, (and fatan, who joins with corruption in opposing :) say the flesh. what it can, fay satan what he can, say carnal men what they can, yet, “God is good to Israel."
2. After this conflict, he sets down the discovery, first of his weakness, and then of his doubting of God's providence; and then the cause of it, the prosperity of the wicked, and God's contrary dealing with the godly; then he discovers the danger
he was come to. Ver. 13 Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency," &c. 3. And then the recovery, in verse 17.
" I went into the sanctuary, and there I understood the end of thefe men." The recovery was by going into the fanctuary; not by looking upon the present condition, but upon God's intention, what should become of such men, and there he had satisfaction.
4. Then his victory, and triumph over all, ver. 23. “ Nevertheless I am continually with thee.” It was a suggestion of the flesh that thou wast gone far from me, by reason of the condition of carnal men that flourish in the eye of the world. No: “ Thou art continually with me, and thou holdest me by my right hand;" thou upholdest me, I should fall else. But what, would God do fo for the time to come ?" He will guide me by his counsel," while I live here. And when I am dead, what will he do for me after ? “ He will receive me to glory :" whereupon faith he, “ Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none in earth that I desire besides thee.” Therefore, though for the present my flesh fail, yea, and my heart fail ; yet, “ God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever." We fee here his victory set down ; and he gives a luftre to it, by God's contrary dealing with the wicked—" for, lo! they that are far from thee, shall perish : thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee.” Now, in the words of the text, you have this conclufion upon all this, “ Nevertheless it is good for me to draw near to God."
This is the conclusion upon the former principles; this is, as it were, the judgment upon the former demurs; the sum of all comes to this : Let all things be weighed, and laid together, I a n sure this is true, “ It is good for me to draw near to God.” So he ends where he began, “ God is good to Ifrael,” There. fore because God is good to Ifrael, “ it is good to draw near to God.” So
you fee in what order the words come: they are the words of a man got out of a conflict after he had entered into the fanétuary; and after he had considered the end of wicked' men, at whose prosperity he was troubled, and took scandal.
Before I come to the words, it is not amiss briefly to touch these points, that I am to deliver.
First, God's dearest children are exerçised with Marp spiritual conflicts.