Page images
PDF
EPUB

as Elihu speaks, Job xxxiii, 17. To this purpose, see Job.x, 11, 12; 1 Sam. ii, 4, 5; and the virgin in ber song, Luke i, 51. Whatsoever men bear themselves big upon and begio to glory in, they call the band of God to crush it, raising an idol of jealousy in his sight. All high things have their day: The day of the Lord shall be on all the cedars of Lebanon, and he alone be exalted; Isa. ii, 13, 17. If ever this was the case in any time, we may see it legibly in ours, in great letters. This is the very result of his ways, staining the pride of all glory, defeating witty counsels, making counsellors mad, throwing down all plumes and trampling them in the mire, that no party or persons in the kingdom can set up for any triumph of courage, or wit, or any other excellency, but somewhat shall be clearly seen to meet and dash it in pieces, that no flesh may glory before him. And this, to souls that love God, is the main happiness of the times, and that wherein they will chiefly rejoice.

The particular here spoken of is eminently suited to this end, the choice and calling of persons to the dignity of Christians; Not many wise, not many mighty, or noble, but the mean things, the foolish things, and the most insignificant, things that are not, non-entities, very nothings, to anoul things that seem most to be something. Thus it was in the first times; and though afterwards, by means of these meaner persons, greater were caught and drawn unto Christ, philosophers and kings, yet still it remains true in all times, that predominantly the choice is of the meaper sort; God testifying how little he esteems those things which men account great. Those endowments of wit and eloqueuce which men admire in some, alas ! how poor are they with him! He respecteth not any who are wise in heart: they are nothing, and less than nothing in his eyes. He is the author of all these. Will he esteem thy riches ? No, not gold, nor all the forces of strength. Even wise men admire how little it is that men know, how small a matter lies under the sound of those popular wonders, a learned man, a great scholar, a great statęsman: how much more doth the all-wise God meanly account of these! He often discovers even to the world, their mean

He befools them. So valor, or birth, or worldly
Div.
No. IX.

Y

ness.

[ocr errors]

greatuess, 'these he gives," and gives as things "lie makes 110 great reckoning of, to 'such as shall never see Iris face; and calls to the inheritance of glory poor despised creatures, who are looked on as the offscouring and refusé of the world : 'these are raised from the dunghill and set with princes, made the sons and daughters of God, entitled each of them to a crown that fadeth not. O the wonder !

Now they are not puffed up with this, but the more assurance they have, and the clearer their view is of tlie state they are called to, the more humble they are ; still laying these together, What was I in myself? and, What am I in Christ

?' And in comparing these, they are swalJowed up with amazement at that love which made this change; and for this very end doth the apostle express thus their estate, are of him in Christ Jesus.'

This is a new being, a creation; for, in relation to this being, we are nothing in our state of nature; and then considering, that, in comparison with others, the meanest are often chosen and made partakers of this being, such as have nothing naturally great of nobility, or morality, or high' intellectuals, the most nothings are often closen and made partakers of this being, to illustrate the power of him who makes them exist. In kings, somewhat may be observed of this in their choice of favorites, and raising men who are not of highest deserving, as affecting to show their freedom in choice and their power in making out of nothing, and so they love to have them called their crea. tures. But these are but shadows: both are poor tures, both are easily thrown down. But God dotli 'indeed show in his choice, his freedom and power in bis new creatures. He draws them out of the lowest bottom of nothing, and raises them to the most excellent kind of being that creatures are capable of, to be the sons of God, and so heirs, joint heirs with Christ Jesus."

Ye are of him in Christ Jesus. This must be'tákén'ih an eminent sense. All tlie créatures are of God; but man, even in his first creation, for the dignity of his being and the slow way of forming him, was accounted to be of God, in a peculiar manner; formed to his own likeness, and therefore called the son of God, called his offspring. But

or creain n this new being, much more are we so: we are of him as his children, partakers of the divine nature, and that so fastened, that it abidetb.And the inedium of this excellent and permanent being, is primarily to be considered; for in him it becomes so, It is both high and firm, being in the esseutial Son, as the foundation of it; therefore here expressed, as bearing the whole weight of this happy fabric.

Of him ye are in Christ Jesus. The life which belierers derive from God, is through him. He is that eternal Word, by wbich all things were made in their first creation, and do still subsist. And he is made the basis of the second creation in a wonderful way, becoming himself a creature; and so the root of the new progeny is from Heaven, the sons of God: so it follows in both these scriptures. Jolin i, 12, 14; The Word was made flesh, and so, they, that receive him are made the sons of God; and so, Heb. ii, 10, 11, amply and excellently is that mystery unfolded. The first frame of man, at least the excellency and beauty of it, was broken by bis fall; therefore, a new niodel is framed of a selected number, to be a new world, more firm than the former, united unto God so closely, as never to be severed again, Man, though he was made holy and god-like, continued not in that honor. Now God himself becomes a man to make all sure: that is the foundation of an indissoluble union, Man is kvit to God in the person of Christ so closely, that there is no possibi. lity of dividing them any more; and this union of our wature in his persoy, is made the ground of the union of our persons with God. We find our own flesh catch hold in Christ of a man, and in that man may find God, and are made one with him by faith in Christ. And tbis all the powers of hell cannot dissolve. Our life none can cut off from his, any more than a man can cut a beam from off the sun, , We are and subsist of God in Christ. This is an unknown. mystery, but, were it known, it would prove a depth of rich inexhaustible consolation. The world doth not know what Christians are. This is po wonder; for truly they know not themselves, or but very little. How would it elevate their spirits, but not in pride! O nothing is more humbling than this, as ibe apostle here implies! But it would raise then above the world, and suit their desires and their actions to their condition, having all under foot that the world accounts great, walking as heirs of heaven, led and moved by the Spirit of Christ in them; thinking, when solicited to any base way, How doth this become the sous of God ? Shall one who lives in Cbrist, degrade him so much as to borrow comfort or pleasure from any sin, for the killing and destructiớn whereof he laid down his precious life?

O my brethren, that this divine ambition were kindled in your breasts, to partake of this bigh and happy being, and leave all your pursuits to follow this, restless till you be in Christ! For solid abiding rest, sure I am, ont of him there is none. And then, being in him, remember where

you

are and what you are. Walk in Christ, and live like him, as one with him indeed. Let his thoughts and desites be yours. What was his work, yea, whát bis refreshment, his meat and drink? To do his Father's will. 0 wlien shall we find ourselves so minded, as the apostle's word is, the same mind in us that was in Christ?

Who of God is made unto us wisdom. Known unto God are all his works from the beginning. It was not an accidental after-device in God, for in him there can be no such thing, but it was his great fore-thought project, out of the ruins of man's first estate, to raise a fairer and firmer fabric, new from the very foundation. And in the new foundation lies the model, and excellency, and stability of the whole structure. This is the choicest of all his works, wherein he chiefly glories; his master-piece, which great angels admire, and this is it, who of God is made unto us wisdom. And this is one letter of his name. He is called Wonderful, who is here spoken of; so all is wonderful in this work : wonderful, first, that he should be made any thing, the Maker of all things hitself made something which before he was not; then, made to us—that he should be made any thing to our interest and advantage, who are a company of traitors; and made ünto us of God, the God against whom we rebelled, and continued naturally enemies ! The purpose was bred in the Father's own breast, to give out his Son from thence

to recover us and bring us back. O astonishing depth of love !, Then, made unto us what? Rather, what not? We are made up in him for ever rich and happy, he being made all unto us, all we need, or can desire, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. Without him, we are undone, forlorn castiffs, masses of misery, as you say, baving nothing either in us or on us, nothing but poverty and wretchedpess, blindness and nakedness, altogether ignorant of the way to happiness, yea, ignorant of our very misery; a west of fools, natural fools, children of folly, as they who are renewed by and provided with this wisdom, are called children of wisdom) guilty, filthy, condemned slaves.

This is the goodly posture we are in out of Christ; yet who is sensible of it ? How few can be brought to serious thoughts about it! Nay, are not the most, in the midst of this misery, yet full of high conceits of their worth, wit, freedom ?-as frantic bedlamites, lying naked and filthy in their chains, yet dream they are great and wise persons, commanding and ordering all about them; fancying possibly, that they are kings, a stick in their hands a sceptre, and their iron chains of gold. This is a pleasing madness for the time : yet who does not pity it that looks on? 1 , Methinks I see one of this sort, when I see one evidently destitute of Christ, bearing himself big upon the fancy of his parts, and birth, and riches, or stoutness ; see such, upon any cross word, swelling against others, threatening high, and protesting they will be slaves to none; Dot knowing that, even while they speak thus, they are wretched cailiffs, under the hardest and basest kind of slavery. Inquire, my brethren, if ever you had a right and clear view of your natural misery; otherwise you are, it is likely, still in it, and though you profess to believe in Christ, are not yet gone out of yourselves to him, and not knowing your great need of him, do certainly make little esteem and little use of him. You are full, und reign without him; all is well and in quiet; but it is owing to the strong man's yet possessing the house, and keeping you his captives as quiet as he can,

you look not out or cry for a deliverer. He is

that

« EelmineJätka »