« EelmineJätka »
- Who would not exclaim, thanks be to God, for his unspeakable gift!
4. THIS peace implies the new birth; a renovation of the whole soul, that where sin did abound grace should much more abound. For, if any man. be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away and all things are become new. If that were not the case the sinner could take no comfort or. delight in God; no comfort in the ways of God; whereas they are become ways of pleasantness, and all his paths are peace. He delights himself in the law of God, and in that law doth he meditate day and night. His enmity is taken away, and nailed to the cross. He has his fruit unto holiness and the end eternal life. The whole of his conduct is changed, so is his will, and his affections, seeing he has put off the old with his deeds. Christ is formed in him the hope of glory. Glorious change! a change worthy of him by whom it is made; and it appears to be the workmanship of God created a new in Christ Jesus unto good works which God hath ordained that we should walk in them.
5. This peace implies a divine union or fellowship with God; a privilege of an inestimable kind, and which excels all earthly honour as much as heaven excels earth. This union is set forth under a variety of simple, yet striking emblems in Scripture, as the vine and branches; the head and
members; the foundation and the building fixed upon it; the husband and wife. All of which are very clear and instructive in the great honour which God confers upon his saints. For this our Lord prays, That they, believers, all may be one ; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us-And the glory which thou hast given me, I have given them, that they may be one, as we are one ; I in them, and thou in me, that they may be perfect in one; that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them as thou hast loved me. (a) Thus all believers may truly say, our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. As he has put on our nature; so we are called to put on his, and hence may be said to put on the Lord Jesus, ever to be made partakers of the divine nature. High honour ! glorious eminence! And this honour have all the Saints.
Secondly, the next invaluable blessing expressed in the text is, Good will to men, to men on earth. The word rendered good will *, is very expressive, and contains an assemblage of amiable properties. Perhaps we may come near its meaning in the following observations
1. This good will is strikingly clear in the precious gift of a Saviour; and in this
gift is included every other. For God spared not his own Son, but freely gave him up for us all, and with him freely giveth us all things. He was given to be a sacrifice, a propitiation or covering for our sins. Indeed no less gift would avail ; for sacrifices and burnt offerings God has no pleasure in; but said the Immanuel, a body hast thou prepared me, and in that body he comes to do the will of his Father. In this respect he said, I come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him that sent me, My meat and drink is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work ; and in the issue could say, I have glorified thee on the earth; I have finished the work, which thou gavest me to do. This was the great end which he had in view, in all he did and said, till he bowed his head on the cross, and like a conqueror, exclaimed, It is finished: and gave up the ghost; having bowed his head in obedience to his Father; so that the Godhead might be all in all.
2. This good will appears in the gift of the ever blessed Spirit. In our present fallen nature we are dark, dead and inert; and therefore we need the divine agent to open our eyes, to shine into our inner man; to lead the blind by a way which they know not; to guide us into all truth, that we may be led by a right way to a city of habitation. This spirit of life must also quicken
us; for how can we run our christian race, or fight the battles of our Lord if we have no life in us? We cannot eat the flesh of Christ and drink his blood if we are dead. Nor can we find any real comfort in the ways of God if we are dead; all will be stupidity and heaviness, if we have not the spirit of our God. If we live in the spirit, let us take heed to walk in the spirit, so shall we bring forth the fruit of the spirit. There is in our fallen nature a remarkable dulness, especially in the ways of God; and therefore we need this divine agent to excite us forward in our heavenly journey. Every thing in the divine life calls for exertion; if we consider the old man which is to put off, the new man which is to put on; the world which is to be conquered, Satan, which must be repelled, so that there is no trifling in this warfare. But all will be at a stand without the agency of the ever blessed spirit; seeing we must be strengthened by this ever adorable Helper in the inner man daily. In this the good will of the deity appears, through him who came to seek and save that which was lost.
3. THE preaching of the everlasting gospel is a public declaration of the goodness of God to fallen man. It is indeed glad tidings of great joy to all the fallen race. It is very properly called, the joyful sound; and happy are all the people who know the sweet language thereof; such
will walk in the light of the divine countenance. It calls to every one that thirsteth to come to the waters, and such as are stripped of all may take of the water of life freely. The language of the gospel is, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. It apprizes sinners of danger; bat points them to a remedy. It describes their lost state, but fully informs them, that the son of man came to seek and save that which was lost. In the context, the angels preached the gospel to the shepherds, saying, Fear not ; behold we bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people; for unto you is born, in the city of David, a Saviour which is Christ the Lord.
4, THIS good will is abundantly expressed in all the blessed promises made to us by a gracious God. And all these promises are suitable to our manifold wants; there is not a real want which we have, but there is a promise in opposition to it; so that our wants may be as so many indexes, or hands, pointing to the promised help. Indeed our vanity may desire many things, and our avarice more, which might be hurtful, eternally hurtful for us to have; but such things are not promised us, and therefore we have no right to expect them. The apostle says, My God shall supply all your wants, or necessities, according to his riches in glory