Page images



[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

of conveying it to the People. . See Exod. SERM.
xix. 20, &c. In the Body of which, as all
other Things were provided for which tendo
ed to the Good of Mankind, or the Worship
of God; fo particular Instruments were give
en for expounding the Word, which was
made the peculiar Office of the Priests and
Levites, Levit. x. xi. Deut. xvii. 9, 10.
xxiv, 8. xxxiii. 10. And when these fail-
ed in their Duty, God raised up

those extra

. ordinary Messengers of his Word, the Prophets, by whom, as the holy Penman tells us, he at sundry Times, and in divers Manners, Spake in Time past unto the Fathers, Heb. i. 1. And when these again could not prevail, God saw there was Occasion for a more powerful Preacher ; and therefore the Fullness of Time being come, the Son of GOD himself must descend from Heaven, and become the Minister of his own Word. But oh! the Depth of the Riches of the Wisdom and Knowledge of GOD! Behold the Son of GOD, first to qualify himself for the Of. fice he had undertaken, clothed himself in Flesh and Blood, and so became the Son of Man. And thus in the Likeness of Man, he gave the World his new Law, the Precepts of the Gospel; for the Promulgation of which VOL. I.

Y :


[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

SER M. he provided, just before his Ascension, by

appointing his Apostles to go and teach it to
all Nations, Matt. xxviii. 19. These in 0.
bedience to his Word, dispersed themselves
all over the World, and by Virtue of their
Preaching it was, and of others sent by them,
that as many as were ordained to Life, be-
lieved, Acts xxxiii. 48. Insomuch that
though some, through the peculiar Grace of
God, were, by the secret Whisperings of the
Holy Spirit, first inwardly moved to receive
the Word; yet Man was still, by the same
Grace of God, the constant Instrument of
conveying it to them. Thus when the Æ-
thiopian Eunuch was reading Esaias's Pros:
phecy with a Desire to understand it, Philip
was sent to him by the Spirit to expound it,
Asts viii. 27, &c. whereas the same Spirit,
that had disposed him to read it, could doubt-
less have enlightened him to understand it,
had not the Wisdom of God thought the
Evangelist a properer Minister for that Of-
fice. Thus again, in the wonderful Conver-
fion of St. Paul, though the Lord Jefus him-
self vouchsafed to call him, yet he sent him
to Ananias to know what he should do, Acts ix.
And though an Angel was sent from Heaven,
to testify to Cornelius his Acceptance with

[ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

GOD; yet he had no Commission to instruct S ER M.
him in the Faith ; but Simon Peter must be
Sent for to perform that Office, Atts x. But
I need not tire you with Instances of this Na-
ture: I shall only just observe to you once
for all, that as this Institution ever has been
the constant Method of God's conveying his
Word to us; fo the Apostle assures it ever
will be, till the Confummation of all Things.
For he gave some Apostles, and some Prophets,
and some Evangelists, and some Pastors and
Teachers, for the perfecting (or rather for the
fitting out) of the Saints to the Work of the
Ministry, for the edifying of the Body of
Christ: till we all come in the Unity of the
Faith, and of the Knowledge of the Son of
GOD, unto the Measure of the Stature of the
Fullness of Christ, Ephes. iv. il, 12, 13.

Having thus proved the Fact, viz. that
GOD, in communicating to us his Mind, and
in revealing his Word, makes Use of the
Ministry of Man like unto ourselves; I shall
now proceed to thew that this is an unspeak-
able Favour.

Had Man indeed retained his Innocence and Integrity ; to have conversed with God would have been his greatest Happiness. His whole Nature would have been conformable


[ocr errors]

SERM. to the Divine Will, and his chief Delight to

imitate the Perfections of his Creator. This
must consequently have rendered the Presence
of the Deity a desirable Blessing, since it is
natural to covet the Presence of those we
love and imitate. So that God himself
would have been the Messenger of his own
Laws, and at once have encouraged and
quickened our Obedience.

But this, to our
Grief and Shame, is only reflecting upon a
Happiness, once in our Power, but now for-
feited and loft: The Case is otherwise, and
Man is fallen: Who no sooner became con-
scious of Disobedience and Guilt, but he
found his whole Nature alienated from his
original Purity, and transformed from the I-
mage of his Maker.

The natural Conse. quence of which must be, that Man, thus deformed, must fhun the Presence of a perfect and glorious Deity ; thus conscious of Guilt and Shame, muft avoid the Wrath of an angry Judge. And therefore when our first Parents became sensible of their Nakedness, no wonder that they endeavoured to hide themselves from the Presence of the Lord, Gen. iii. 8. Nor is it at all difficult to account, wly the same Dread of the Divine Majesty that first seized Adam, should still


[ocr errors]


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

company it.

hold Possession of his Posterity ; since we SERM. can't but know, that so long as the Guilt is transmitted down, the Horror of it must ac

And Sense of this therefore it was, that filled Jacob with Admiration, that, after he had seen GOD Face to Face, his Life should be preserved, Gen. xxxii.


To this also it was owing that Hagar, Gen. xvi. 13. and Gideon, Judg. vi. 22, 23. and Manoab, Judg. xxxiii. 22. were each of them under Apprehensions of Death, upon seeing the Lord. Nor need we be surprized that the Children of Israel, when they had heard the Voice of the Lord, intreated that the Word might not be spoken to them, after that Manner, any more, Exod. xx, 19. compared with Heb. xii. 19. when the Author of the Epistle to the Hebrews tells us, that even Mofes (whom the Lord favoured so much as to speak to him Face to Face, as a Man speaketh to his Friend, Exod. xxxiii. 11.) yet found the Sight so terrible, that he said, I exceedingly fear and quake, Heb. xii. 19,21. If then God's communicating his Will either by himself or an Angel, be thus dreadful and astonishing ; how much ought we to adore his Goodness for making Use of the Ministry of Man! For did he not vouchsafe to give

[ocr errors]


« PreviousContinue »