« PreviousContinue »
LOSS AND RESTORATION
IMAGE OF GOD IN MAN:
BEING THE SUBSTANCE OF
TWO SERMONS, PREACHED AT PROVIDENCE CHAPEL,
ON SUNDAY, DECEMBER 28, 1800.
AND, AS WE HAVE BORNE THE IMAGE OF THE EARTHY, WE SHALL ALS()
BEAR THE IMAGE OF THE HEAVENLY. I COR. XV, 49.
LOSS AND RESTORATION,
John v. 17.
"But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I
We have an account in this chapter of a pool called Bethesda, or the House of Mercy, having five porches, which I suppose were a sort of alcoves, archedover, to screen the poorimpotent folks from the inclemency of the weather. These five porches may be emblematical of the different points of light in which the elect of God may be considered. 1. They were from all eternity in the purpose of God; 2. and, as chosen in Christ Jesus, they may be considered as in him, according to Jude, “ preserved in Jesus Christ, and called,” Jude 1. 3. They are like wise in the promise of God; “ A seed shall serve him, and it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation:” “The chil
dren of the promise are counted for the seed.” 4. They are in the covenant of grace; “ I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant: his seed will I make to endure for ever, and build up his throne to all generations.” And, 5. They must all be brought into a state of grace, and to be the household of faith. But, as considered in themselves, they are impotent folks, through the fall, and have many infirmities about them, though they are sheltered from eternal ruin and destruction,
The means of God's appointment for the conversion of these sinners, such as preaching the pure gospel, attended with God's grace and a holy experience of it in the hearts of the preachers, and this attended with the Holy Spirit, is often in the scriptures compared to rivers, springs, and pools, of water; but, unless the Angel of the covenant, by his Spirit's operations, gives life, power, and efficacy, to the means, none are healed of their spiritual diseases, the excellency of the power being of God, and not of men; and without faith there is no stepping into the power and enjoyment of these things. Among these impotent folk lay one poor man who had had an infirmity thirty and eight years. The omniscient Saviour, knowing that he had been long in that case, asked him if he would be made whole. The poor man, having no hopes but in the pool, complained in answer to our Lord's question, that when the waters were troubled he had no man to put him in, but another