« PreviousContinue »
believers drop anchor. This is that blessed object, on whom they take the dead gripe, or last grasp, when their eye. strings and heart-strings are breaking. When you see the blood of Christ flowing forth, how can-faith bé filent in thy soul? When he bids thee, as it were, to put thy finger into his fide, shews thee his hands, and his feet there ; it will cry out in thy foul, My Lord! and my God! !
Secondly, The flowing spring of repentance is here. If there be
any fire that can'melt, or hammer that can break a hard heart, here it is ; Zech. xii. 10. “ They shall look upon me, “ whom they have pierced, and mourn." Nothing lays a gracious foul lower in itself, than to see how low Christ was laid in his humiliation for it. Here the evil of fin is also represented in the clearest glass,
of man saw it in. The sufferings of the Son of God discover the evil of fin, more than the everlasting torments of the damned can do. So that, if there be but one drop of spiritual forrow in the heart of a Christian ; here, methinks, it should be seen dropping from the eye of faith.
Thirdiy, The most attractive object of love is here. Put all created beauties, excellencies, and perfections together; and what are they but blackness and deformity, compared with the lovely Jesus? My beloved (faith the enamoured spouse) is white and ruddy, Cant. v. 10. Behold him at the table, in his perfect innocency, and unparalleled sufferings! This is He is who was rich, but for our fakes became poor ; that
we, “through his poverty, might be rich,” 2 Cor. viii. This is he that parted with his honour first, and his life next; yea, he parted with his honour in his incarnation, that he might be capable to part with his life for our redemption.
Behold here the degrees of his sufferings, and by them meafure the degrees of his love. Behold in his death, as in the deluge, all the fountains beneath, and the windows of heaven above, opened; the wrath of God, the cruelty of men, the fury of hell, breaking in together upon him, and his soul furrounded with forrow; and how can this be represented, and thy soul not astonished at this amazing, matchless love of Chrift? Surely one flame doth not more naturally produce another, than the love of Christ; thus represented to a gracious foul, doth produce love to Christ, and that in the most intense degree.
Use i. How naturally doth this doctrine shame and humble the best hearts, for their sinful discomposures, vanity, and deadness; for the rovings and wanderings of their hearts, even
when they come near the Lord in such a solemni ordinance as this is ?
The holiest man upon earth may lay his hand upon his · breast, and fay, “Lord, how unsuitable is this heart of mine, ' to fuch an object of faith, as is here presented to me? Doth
such a temper of spirit suit thine awful presence ? Should
the represented agonies and sufferings of Christ for me, be • beheld with a spirit no more concerned, pierced, and wound, • ed for fin? O how can I look upon him whom I have pierą
ced, and not mourn, and be in bitterness for him, as for an
only son, a first-born! O the stupifying and benumbing • power of fin! the efficacy of unbelief!
It was charged upon the Israelites, as the great aggravation of their sin, that they “provoked God at the sea, even at'the “ red sea,” Pfal. cvi. 7. the place where their miraculous falvation was wrought. But, Lord Jesus ! my hard heart pro. vokes thee in an higher degree, even at the red sea of thy pre cious invaluable blood, by which my eternal salvation was wrought. O my God! what a heart have I ? Did the blood of Christ run out fo freely and abundantly for me ; and cannot I shed one tear for my fins, that pierced him ? O let me afever be friends with my own heart, till it love Christ better, and hate sin more.
Use 2. This scripture hath also an awakening voice, to all that come nigh to God in any of his ordinances, especially in this ordinance. O Chriftians! bethink yourselves where you are, and what you are doing : Know you not, that the King comes in to see the guefts? Yea, you do know, that God is in this place; an awful Majeft. beholds you ! “ All the churches « fhall know, that I am he that fearcheth the heart and the reins, “ and will give to every one as his work shall be," Rev. ii. 2;.
Thy business, Christian, is not with men, but with God; and the folemneft business that ever thy thoughts were converfant about. Thou are here to recognize the sufferings of thy Redeemer; to take the seals and pledges of thy salvation from the hand of his Spirit : Imagine the fame thing, which is now to be done fpiritually, and by the ministry of faith, were but to be performed visibly and audibly, by the ministry of thy senses.
Suppose Jesus Christ did personally shew himself at this table, and were pleased to make himself known in breaking of bread, as once he did to the disciples. Suppose thou faweit him ar pear at this table as he doth now appear' in heaven, as Lamb that had been pain : Imagine thou heardst bine say, · Believer, this precious blood of mine was thed for
« thee: There be millions of men and women in the world, ' naturally as good as thee, that shall have no interest in it,
or benefit by it: But for thee, it was shed, and for the re( mission of thy fins; my blood was the only thing in the
world that was equal to the desert of thy sins, and it hath I made full satisfaction to God for them all: Thy sins, which
are many, are therefore forgiven thee : My blood hath purchased the eternal inheritance of glory for thee; and this
day I am come to deliver the seals and pledges thereof into « thine hand. Take then the seals of eternal falvation this day, take thine own Christ with all that he is, and hath
i o in thine arms.
Whatever I have suffered, done, or procur( ed for any of my faints; I have suffered, done, and procur
ed the same for thee.”
Why, all this is here to be done, as really and truly, tho' in a more spiritual way, at this table. And shall not fuch business as this is, fully fix and engage thy heart? What then shall dc it?
Awake, faith; awake, repentance; awake, love ; yea, let all the powers of my soul be thoroughly awakened this day to attend the Lord.
Μ Ε DI Τ Α Τ Ι Ο Ν,
Jer. xii. 2. Thou art near in their mouth, and far from their
HIS fcripture gives us the character and description of an hypocrite: And he is here described two ways; viz. 1. By what he hath.
2. By what he hath not. First, The hypocrite is described by what he hath: Hehath God in his mouth “ Thou art near in their mouth ;" i.ca They profess with a full mouth, that they are thy people, faith Piscator; or, they speak much about the law (as another explains it); God, and his temple, religion, with its rites, are much talked of among them; they have him in their prayers and duties; and this is all that the hypocrite hath of God; re.
ligion only fanctifies his tongues that seems to be dedicated to God; but it penetrates no farther. And therefore,
Secondly, He is described by that he hath not, or by what he wants : And (or, but) thou art far from their reins ; i. è. They feel not the power and influences of that name, which they fó often invocate and talk of, going down to their very reins, and affecting their very hearts. So we must understand this metaphorical expreffion here, as the opposition directs : For the reins, having so great and sensible a sympathy with the heart, (which is the seat of the affections and passions,) upon that account, it is usual in scripture; to put the reins for those intimate and secret affections, thoughts, and passions of the heart, with which they have so near cognation; and so sensible a sympathy. When the heart is under great confternation, the loins or reins are seized also. As Dan. v. 6. Then the king's countenance was changed, and his thoughts
troubled him, and the joints of his loins were loosed.” Ori the contrary, when the heart is filled with delight and gladness, the reins are said to rejoice ; Prov. xxiii. 16. “Yea, my * reins shall rejoice, when thy lips speak right:" Totus læti. tia difiliam ; " 'I fall even leap for joy." So then, when the prophet saith, “ God is far from the reins of the hypocrite ;" the meaning is; he feels not the heart-affecting influence and power of religion upon his heart and affections, as God's people do. And hence the note will be, Doct. That God comes nearer to the hearts and reins of his
people in their duties; than he doth to åny hypocritical, or
formal profesor. By God's neatness, we understand not his omnipresence (that neither comes nor goes) nor his love to his people (that àbides) ; but the sensible, sweet manifestations, and outlets of it to their souls. So in Psal. cxlv. 18. “ The Lord is nigh un« tò all that call upon him; unto all that call upon him in * truth."
Note, the restriction and limitation of this glorious privi. lege; it is the peculiar enjoymerit of fincere and upright-hearted worshippers. Others may have communion with duties; but not with God in them.
But that God comes nigh, very nigh, to upright hearts in their duties, is a truth as fenfibly manifest to spiritual perions, as that they are nigh the fire, when they feel the comfortabla <heat of it refreshing them in a cold season, when they are ale VOL. VIII:
most starved and benumbed with cold. Three things make this evident.
First, Sincere fouls are sensible of God's accesses to them in their duties, they feel his approaches to their spirits ; Lam. ii. 57. “ Thou drewest near in the day that I called upon
thee'; “ thou saidft, Fear not.” And what a surprize was that to the church; Cant. ii. 8. “It is the voice of my beloved ; behold, “ he cometh,” &c. Certainly there is a felt presence of God, which no words can make another to understand; they feel that fountain flowing abundantly into the dry pits, the heart fills apace, the empty thoughts swell with a fulness of spiritual things, which strive for vent.
Secondly, They are sensible of God's receffes, and withdrawment from their fpirits; they feel how the ebb follows the food, and þow the waters abate. So you find it in Cant.
6. “I opened to my beloved, but my beloved had with“ drawn himself, and was gone ; my soul failed when he “ spake: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called, “ but he gave me no answer.” The Hebrew is very pathetical; He was gone, was gone. A sad change of the frame of her heart quickly followed.
Thirdly, The Lord's nearness to the hearts and reins of his people in their duties, is evident to them from the effects that it leaves upon their Spirits. For look, as it is with the earth and plants, with respect to the approach or remove of the sun in the spring and autumn ; so it is here as Christ speaks, Luke " When
ye see the fig-tree, and all the trees, shoot “ forth, ye know that summer is nigh at band.” An approaching sun renews the face of the earth, and makes nature smile. The trees bud and bloffom, the fishes rise, the birds fing; it is a kind of resurrection to nature from the dead. So it is when the Lord comes near the hearts and reins of men in duty: For then they find that, Dr. Preston,
First, A real taste of the joy of the Lord
is here given to men, the fulness whereof is in Whendying, faid, heaven; hence called, 2 Cor. i. 22. “The Isballchange my « earnest of his Spirit.” And 1 Pet. i. 8. my place, not Glorified joy, or a short falvation. Oh! what company.
is this ! what is this ! Certainly it is something that hath no affinity with flesh, or gross corporeal pleasures ; but is of another nature, something which transcends all that ever was felt or tasted in this world, since we were fift. converfant among sensible objects,