SERM. XI. a peculiar people, 1 Pet. ii. 9. The offers of Chrift, indeed, are large, and general; but the application of Chrift is but too few, Ifa. liii. 1. The greater cause have they, to whom Christ comes, to lie with their mouths in the dust, astonished, and overwhelmed with the fenfe of fo peculiar and distinguishing a mercy.

Eightly, Jefus Chrift is a fuitable mercy, fitted, in every refpect, to all our needs and wants, 1 Cor. i. 20. wherein the admirable wisdom of God is illuftriously displayed; "Ye are "complete in him," (faith the apoftle) Col. ii. 20. Are we enemics? He is reconciliation: Are we fold to fin and Satan? He is redemption: Are we condemned by the law? He is the Lord our righteousness: Hath fin polluted us? He is a fountain opened for fin, and for uncleannefs: Are we loft, by departing from God? he is the way to the Father. Reft is not fo fuitable to the weary, nor bread to the hungry, as Chrift is to the fenfible finner

[ocr errors]

Ninthly, Chrift is an astonishing and wonderful merey; his Name is called wonderful, lia. ix. 6. and as his name is, fo is he, a wonderful Chrift: His Perfon is a wonder. 1 Tim. iii. 16. "Great is the mystery of godlinefs, God manifested in the "flefh:"

[ocr errors]

His abafement wonderful, Phil. ii. 6. His love is a wonderful love; his redemption full of wonders; angels defire to look into it. He is, and will be admired by angels and faints to all eternity.


Tenthly, Jefus Chrift is an incomparable, and matchless mercy ; "as the apple-tree among the trees of the wood, fo is my be"loved among the fons," (faith the enamoured fpouse) Cant. ii. 3. Draw the comparifon how you will, betwixt Chrift and all other enjoyments, you will find none, in heaven or earth, to equal him He is more than all externals, as the light of the fun is more than that of a candle: Nay, even the worst of Christ is better than the best of the world; his reproaches are better than the world's pleasures, Heb. xi. 25. He is more than all Spirituals, as the fountain is more than the ftream. He is more than juftification, as the caufe is more than the effect; more than fanctification, as the perfon himfelf is more than the image, or picture. He is more than all peace, all comfort, all joys, as the tree is more than the fruit. Nay, draw the comparison betwixt Chrift and things external, and you will find him better than they; for what is heaven without Chrift? Pfal. lxxiii. 25. "Whom have I in heaven but thee?" If Christ should say to the faints take heaven among you, but as for me I will withdraw myself from you; the faints would weep, even in heaven itself,

= and fay, Lord, heaven will be no more heaven to us, except thou be there; who art by far the better half of heaven.

Eleventhly, Chrift is an unfearchable mercy; who can fully express his wonderful name? Prov. xxx. 4. Who can tell over his unfearchable riches? Eph. iii. 8. Hence it is, that fouls never tire in the ftudy or love of Chrift, because new wonders are eternally rifing out of him: He is a deep which no line of any created understanding, angelical or human, can fathom. Twelfthly, and lafily, Chrift is an everlasting mercy; "the "fame yesterday, to day, and for ever," Heb. xiii. 8. All other enjoyments are perishable, time-eaten things; time, like a moth, will fret them out: But the riches of Christ are durable fiches, Prov. viii. 18. The graces of Chrift are durable graces, Joho iv. 14. All the creatures are flowers, that appear and fade in their month; but this Rofe of Sharon, this Lilly of the Valley never withers. Thus you fee the mercy performed, with its defirable properties.

Thirdly, The last thing to be opened, is the manner of God's performing his mercy to his people; which the Lord did, 1. Really, and truly, as he had promifed him.

2. Exactly agreeable to the promises and predictions of him. First, Really, and truly: as he had promised, fo he made good the promife. Acts ii. 36. "Let all the houfe of Ifrael know af"furedly, that God hath made the fame Jefus, whom ye cruci fied, both Lord and Chrift."


The manifeftation of Chrift in the flesh, was no phantafm, or delufion, but a moft evident and palpable truth. 1 Johni. 1. "That which we have heard, which we have feen with our eyes, "which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled." A truth fo certain, that the affertors of it appealed to the very enemies of Chrift for the certainty thereof, Acts ii. 22. Yea, not only the facred, but prophane writers, witnefs to it; not on ly the evangelifts and apoftles, but even the heathen writers of thofe times, both roman and jewish, as Suetonius, Tacitus, Plinias the younger, and Jofephus the jewish antiquary, do all ac knowledge it.

Secondly, As God did really, and truly perform Chrift the promised mercy, fo he performed this promifed mercy exactly, agreeable to the promises, types, and predictions made of him to the fathers, even the moft minute circumftances thereof. This is a great truth for our faith to be established in: Let us therefore caft our eyes, both upon the promises, and performances of God, with respect to Chrift, the mercy of mercies. See how he


s t

SERM. XI. was reprefented to the fathers, long before his manifestation in the flesh; and what an one he appeared to be when he was really exhibited in it..

"To a

First, As to his perfon and qualifications, as it was foretold, fo it was fulfilled. His original was faid to be unfearchable, and eternal, Micah v. 2. and fo he affirmed himself to be, Rev. i. 11. "I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last." John vi. 31, 32. "Before Abraham was, I am." His two natures, united into one perfon, were plainly foretold, Zech. xiii. 7. The man my Fellow; and fuch a one God performed, Rom ix. 5. His immaculate purity and holiness were foretold Dan. ix. 24. "noint the moft Holy;" fome render it, the great Saint, the Prince of Saints; and fuch a one he was indeed, when he lived in this world. John viii. 46, “Which of you convinceth me of "fin?" His Offices were foretold, the prophetical Office predicted, Deut. xviii. 15. and fulfilled in him, John i. 18. His priestly Office foretold, Plal. cx. 4. fulfilled, Heb. ix. 14. his kingly Office foretold, Micah v. 2. and in him fulfilled; his very ene mies being judges, Matth. xxvii. 37.

Secondly, As to his birth, the time, place, and manner thereof were foretold to the fathers, and exactly performed, to a tittle.

First, The time prefixed, more generally in Jacob's prophecy, Gen. xliv. 10, When the Scepter fhould depart from Judah, as, indeed, it did in Herod the Idumean: More particulary in Daniel's feventy weeks, from the decree of Darius, Dan. ix. 24. anfwering exactly to the time of his birth; fo cogent, and full of proof, that Porphyry, the great enemy of Chriftiaus, had no other evasion, but that this prophecy was devised after the event: Which yet the Jews (as bitter enemies to Christ, as himself) will by no means allow to be true.. And, lastly, the time of his birth was exactly pointed at in Haggai's prophecy, Hag. ii. 7, 9. compared with Mal. iii 1. He must come whilft the fecond temple ftood; at that time was a general expectation of him, John i. 19. and at that very time he came, Luke ii. 38.

Secondly, The place of his birth was foretold to be Bethlehem Ephrata, Micah v. 2. and fo it was Mat. ii. 5, 6. to be brought up in Nazareth, Zech, vi. 12. "Behold the man whofe name is "the branch." The word is Netzer, whence is the word Nazarite. And there, indeed, was our Lord brought up, Mat. ii. 23.

Thirdly, His parent was to be a virgin, Ifa, vii. 14. punctually fulfilled, Mat. i. 20, 21, 22, 23.


Fourthly, His ftock, or tribe, was foretold to be Judah, Gen. xlix. 10. and it is evident (faith the apostle)" that our Lord fprang out of Judah," Heb. vii. 14.



Fifthly, His harbinger, or forerunner, was foreteld, Mal. iv. 5, 6. fulfilled in John the Baptift, Luke i. 16, 17.

Sixthly, The obfcurity, and meannefs of his birth were predicted, Ifa. liii. 2. Zech. ix. 9. to which the event answered, Luke ii. 12.

Thirdly, His doctrine, and miracles were foretold, Ifa. xvi. 1, 2. Ib. xxxv. 4, 5. the accomplishment whereof in Chrift, is evident in the hiftory of all the evangelifts.


Fourthly, His death for us was foretold by the prophets, Dan. ix. 26. "The Meffiah fhall be cut off, but not for himself :” liii. 5. "He was wounded for our tran greffions." And fo he was, John xi. 50. The very kind, and manner of his death, was prefigured in the brazen ferpent, his type; and answered in his death upon the cross, John iii. 14.

Fifthly, His Burial in the tomb of a rich man, was foretold, Ifa. liii. 9. and accomplished moft exactly, Mat. xxvii. 59, 60.

Sixthly, His refurrection from the dead was typed out in Jonah, and fulfilled in Chrift's abode three days and nights in the grave, Mat. xii. 49.

Seventhly, The wonderful fpreading of the gospel in the world, even to the Ifles of the Gentiles, was prophefied of, Ifa. xlix. 6. to the truth whereof we are not only the witneffes, but the happy inftances and examples of it. Thus the promised Inercy was performed.

Infer. 1. If Christ be the mercy of mercies, the medium of conveying all other mercies, from God to men: then, in vain, do men expect, and hope for mercy of God, out of Jefus Chrift.


I know many poor finners comfort themfelves with this, when they come upon a bed of ficknefs; I am finful, but God is merciful and it is very true, God is merciful; plenteous in mercy; his mercy is great above the heavens; mercy pleaseth him: and all this they that are in Chrift fhall find experimentally, to their comfort and falvation. But what is all this to thee, if thou art Christlefs? There is not one drop of faving mercy that comes in any other channel than Chrift, to the foul of any man.

But muft I then expect no mercy out of Chrift? This is a hard cafe; very uncomfortable doctrine. Yes, thou mayest be a Christless, and covenantlefs foul, and yet have variety of temporal mercies, as Ifhmael had, Gen. xvii. 20, 21. God may give thee the fatnefs of the earth, riches, honours, pleasures,


SERM. XI. a numerous and prosperous pofterity; will that content thee? Yes, yes, if I may have heaven too: No, no, neither heaven, nor pardon, nor any other ipiritual, or eternal mercy, may be expected out of Christ, Jude, ver. 21. O deceive not yourfelves in this point; there are two bars betwixt you and all spiritual mercies, viz. the guilt of fin, and the filth of fin: and nothing, but your own union with Chrift, can remove these, and so open the paffage for spiritual mercies to your fouls.

Why, but I will repent of fin, ftrive to obey the commands of God, make reftitution for the wrongs I have done, cry to God for mercy, bind my foul with vows, and strong refolutions against fin, for time to come: will not all this lay a groundwork for hope of mercy to my foul? No, no, this will not, this cannot do it.

First, All your ferrows, tears, and mournings for fin, cannot obtain mercy: could you fhed as many tears for any one fin that ever you committed, as all the children of Adam have fhed upon any account whatsoever, fince the creation of the world; they will not purchase the pardon of that one fin: for the law accepts no fhort payment; it requires plenary fatisfaction, and will not discharge any foul without it: nor can it acknowledge, or own your fouls to be fuch. The repentance of a soul finds, through Chrift, acceptance with God, but out of him 'tis nothing.

Secondly, All your frivings to obey the commands of God, and live more strictly for time to come, will not obtain mercy. Mat. v, 20. "Except your righteoufnefs fhall exceed the righte "oufnefs of the Scribes and Pharifces, ye fhall in no cafe enter "into the kingdom of heaven."

Thirdly, Your reftitution, and reparation of wrongs you have done, cannot obtain mercy: Judas reftored, and yet was damned. Man is repaired, but God is not. Remiffion is the act of God, 'tis he must loose your confciences from the bond of guilt, or they can never be loofed,

Fourthly, All your cries to God for mercy, will not prevail for mercy, if you be out of Christ, Mat. vii. 22. Job xxvii, 29, A righteous judge will not reverfe the juft fentence of the law, though the prifoner at the bar fall upon his knees, and cry, Mercy, mercy,

Fifthly, Your vows and engagements to God for time to come, cannot obtain mercy; for they being made in your own ftrength, 'tis impoffible you should keep them; and if you could, yet it is impoffible they thould obtain remiffion and mercy: hould you never fin more for time to come, yet how fhall God

« VorigeDoorgaan »