« VorigeDoorgaan »
will bring the blind by a way they knew not, I will lead them in paths, which they have not known." "I will never leave thee, I will never forsake thee; I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children."
4thly, Because he is to give an account of them to his Father, who gave them to him. The day comes, when Christ will" deliver up the kingdom to the Father, that God may be all in all." When the present administration of Christ, as Mediator, comes to an end, Christ will "gather all his elect together," and say, "Here am I, and the children whom thou hast given me." Now, that he may make a faithful account of them, he will break up their way before them.
5thly, Christ breaks up their way, because they cannot break up their own way; "While we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died.". Believers are a feeble folk, insufficient of themselves to think or do any thing of themselves: Now, the Lord loves "to perfect strength in their weakness," and out of weakness to make strong, for "he is a strength to the poor, and a strength to the needy, in their distress."
6thly, He breaks their way, and comes up before them, because they trust in him as their Leader and Commander; and he will not betray their trust: no, he will answer the expectation of the poor: "This poor man cried, and the Lord heard. They looked unto him, and were lightened."
7thly, He comes up before them as a mighty Breaker, that he" may still the enemy and the avenger;" that he may get amends of Satan for disturbing the creation of God, disordering his works, striking at his Father's image, and making an attempt upon man, whom he had planted as his viceroy in this lower world. Therefore, immediately after the fall, the Lord tells that enemy, that he would bruise his head, break him, and all his works in pieces, and so avenge our quarrel upon that usurping enemy; "The day of vengeance," says he, is in mine heart, and the. year of my redeemed is come."
8thly, He comes up as a Breaker in their quarrel, because of the near and dear relation that he has come under unto them. He is their Redeemer, and will he not come up in the quarrel of his ransomed ones? He is their everlasting Father, and will he not come up before his children, his seed that the Lord hath given him? "Like as a Father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him." He is their Shepherd, and will he not break the way to his flock to follow him? Yes, surely, for he leads " Joseph as a flock :-He shall gather the lambs with his arm, he will carry them in his bosom; and shall gently lead those that are with young." He is their Husband and Bridegroom, and will he not take the way through all opposition of hell for his beloved bride,
whom he has betrothed to himself for ever! He is their King, Captain, and General, and will he not appear in the quarrel of his soldiers, and head them in their march to glory? Yea, their King shall pass before them. Thus much for opening the words in a doctrinal way.
CHRIST, AS THE BREAKER, OPENING ALL PASSES TO
GLORY, THAT WERE IMPASSABLE,
The breaker is come up before them; they have broken up, and have passed
through the gate, and are gone out by it; and their king shall pass before them, and the Lord (or Jehovah) on the head of them.-Micah 11. 13.
THE SECOND SERMON ON THIS TEXT.
V. Having discussed the doctrinal part in a former discourse, I now proceed to the Application.
And the first use shall be of Information.
'1. Whence it is that the true church of Christ is “terrible as an army with banners.” Why, the Breaker is in the midst of her, and comes up before her. When Jehovah is on her head, she cannot miss to be a terror to the gates of hell, and all its auxiliaries. You have a passage to this purpose, in Psal. Ixxvj. 1, 2, compared with verses 3, 5, 6, 7: “ In Judah is God known; his name is great in Israel. In Salem also is his tabernacle, and his dwelling-place in Zion. There brake he the arrows of the bow, the shield and the sword, and the battle. Selah. The stout-hearted are spoiled, they have slept their sleep; and none of the men of might have found their hands: At thy rebuke, O God of Jacob, both the chariot and horse are cast into a dead sleep. Thou, even thou, art'to be feared; and who may stand in thy sight when once thou art angry?"
2dly, See hence whence it is, that God's Jerusalem proves a burdensome stone, and they that hurt her, do it to their own cost in the issue. Why, the Breaker comes up, and appears in the quarrel, in his own time. Some bold strokes are given at this day at the carved work of God's temple, invasions made upon the fundamental rights and privileges of the church, and of God's people particularly, in choosing their own pastors; patrons and corrupt clergymen, and their followers, are peeling and spoiling the spouse of Christ, and taking away
“ her veil from her.” But wait a little, till the Breaker come up, till Jehovah enter the field, and then we will see breach for breach. I read you a word for this, Is. xli. 11–13, 16: “ Behold, all they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded ; they shall be as nothing, and they that strive with thee shall perish. Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even them that contended with thee; i they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of naught. For l the Lord 'thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not, I will help thee."
3dly, See hence whence it is that the true church of God at any time falls into the hand of the enemy, though Jehovah be her Head, her Patron, and Protector. Why, the mystery of it lies here, she sins away her Breaker, by not following him in the road that he has broken up to her. Christ has travelled the road, he has shown us the way both as to doctrine, discipline, worship, and government. Now, when a visible church does not follow him, but will needs, like Israel, follow other leaders, and walk after the commandments of men, and manage the affairs of Christ's kingdom, according to the plan of worldly politics, by which the kingdoms of this world are ruled and governed; in that case, she does not follow her King, she practically disowns Jehovah for her Head, and thereupon she is dismantled of her walls of salvation, her chariots and horsemen are gone, and in that casc, the " boar out of the wood doth waste her, and the wild beast of the field devours her.” The church of Christ can never thrive but by treading the footsteps of Christ, the Breaker, who has gone up befave us, hc having « left an example, that we should follow his step
4thly, See hence the most effectual way to stop the course of defection that we have been going into for a considerable tract of time, when religion is very low and languishing; when a corrupt party, or a church are prevailing; when error like a gangrene is prevailing, and the foundations going out of course; what is the best method in that case to stop the enemy that comes in like a flood ? Why, in that case, we should call the mighty Breaker, that he may come back again to us, for whenever he appears, then the enemy that comes in like a flood is driven back, Psal. cxiv. 3, 4: “ The sea flies, Jordan is driven back, the mountains skip like rams,
• See more on this subject in my father's Synoclical sermon, fro Psal. cxviij.: “ The Stone which the Builders refused, the same is become the Head of the Corner.”
and the little hills like lambs." Yea, ver. 7,
66 earth falls to trembling at the presence of the God of Jacob.” Ver. 11: “ He turns the rock into standing water, and the flint into a fountain of waters."
5thly, See hence whence it is that “the righteous holds on his way, and waxes stronger and stronger," notwithstanding of his having to wrestle with the powers of hell, the world, and indwelling corruption. Why, here is the reason of it: the Breaker is gone up before him, he has opened his way, he has Jehovah on his head, as the Captain of his salvation: and hence it is, that "though the archers shoot at him, and grieve him, yet his bow abideth in its strength, and the arms of his hands are made strong, by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob."
Use second of this doctrine is of Trial.
Is it so that the glorious Redeemer is the Breaker up of the
way to glory, and that he comes up as a mighty Champion to fight their battles against the powers of hell and earth? Then, sirs, may we not cry on this occasion, “ Who is on the Lord's side?" 'Are you for this Breaker, or are you against him? The whole race of Adam are divided between Christ and the devil; they must either be of the seed of the woman, or the seed of the serpent ; it will not prove you to be on the Lord's side that you are called Christians; for many
that bear that name were never anointed with his Spirit; and “if any man have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of his.” It will not prove you to be on his side, that you have been admitted to the communion table; for many will plead on the day of accounts, Lord, Lord, we have eaten and drunken in thy presence;" yea, some will be capable to say more, namely, that they have prophesied in his name, and in his name done
many wonderful works;" and yet he will utterly disown them, saying, “ Depart from me, ye that work iniquity; I never knew you.” And therefore you need some other things to distinguish you from others, or to prove that you are on the side of this mighty Breaker, who came up before the armies of Israel.
Quest. How shall I know whether I be on his side, or against him? In answer to this question, I shall go no farther for marks than the text itself.
Ist, Then, I ask you for trial, have you broken up from your natural bondage and captivity ? Every sinner is, by nature, a captive, a prisoner in chains, held fast in the “gall of bitterness, and under the bond of iniquity.” Now, Christ, having purchased liberty with his blood, he comes in a gospel-dispensation, and“ proclaims liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.” Now,
the question that I ask is, Whether has the Lord ever, by the power of his Spirit, determined you to break up, and shake off your spiritual fetters? Has the chain of 'spiritual darkness been broken by the light of the Lord shining into your hearts? Has the chain of enmity been broken by the love of God shed abroad in your hearts by the Holy Ghost? Has the chain of unbelief been broken off, so that now you would give a thousand worlds to be rid of an evil heart of unbelief, that causes you to depart from the living God? Have you broken up from all the unfruitful works of darkness, and been made to say with Ephraim, “What have I to do any more with idols ?"
2dly, I ask for trial, Have you passed through the gate? For they that follow the Breaker, as they break up, so they pass through the gate. And I will tell you of a two-fold gate you have readily passed through, if you be followers of Christ.
1. The law-gate. And, 2. The gospel.gate.
(1.) Many pass through the law-gate of conviction, who yet never pass through the gospel-gate of believing in the Son of God. But I do not think there are any
persons that shall ever pass the gate of the gospel, without passing the gate of the law, “ for the law is our school-master to bring us to Christ.” So then, I ask you, have you passed the lawgate of conviction, terror, and humiliation? Has Christ, the mighty Breaker, taken the hammer of his law, and broken the rock in pieces? Has he made thee even to fall to trembling with the jailer? and made you to cry, “ What must I do to be saved ?" I do not limit the holy One of Israel to any stinted measure of law-work. He acts as a Sovereign, both in dispensing the terrors of his law, and the consolations of the gospel. But this, I think, I may say with safety, that no sinner will ever fly to a Saviour, till he see, that if God mark his iniquity, according to the tenor of his law, he cannot stand before him. But, as I said, many go through this gate of law-terrors and conviction, who never go farther. Cain, Judas, Felix, and many others, are standing witnesses of the truth of this. And therefore,
(2.) The main inquiry is, whether you have really passed the straight and narrow way of believing in the Son of God? Christ is the only gate and door of salvation for a lost sinner, John x. 9; Heb. x. 19, 20; and a believing in him is an entering in at God's door, an entering into God's rest, a state of peace, favour, and fellowship, with God. Now, I say, have you entered in at this door by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ? I remember Christ says, “ Straight is the gate, and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”