in bim. We leave sin, having found in Christ the free and irrevocable pardon of it. We hate it, because it is contrary to the holiness of Jesus. We are above the practice of the same, having found that in Christ which everlastingly exceeds all the joys of time and sense. Thus it was with Ephraim; he was under the emanations of the divine favour, the shine of everlasting love, and the manifestations of pardoning mercy. Thus, as I conceive, you have the substance of what was proposed under the first head of this discourse, and I will proceed to my next particular, which is this:

II. To speak of the Lord's hearing Ephraim. The Lord says, I have heard him. I will repeat the former words, and unite them with these, that the connexion may not be dropped. Ephraim shall say, what have I to do any more with idols ? I have heard him, and observed him. The words I am now to explain are these. I have heard him. These are the words of the Lord; they are spoken by Him to Ephraim. They are suited to what he had been speaking. They are expressive of the Lord's being well-pleased with what Ephraim had uttered: What have I to do any more with idols? To which the Lord adds, by the prophet, I have heard him, and observed him. The latter part of these words is not to come into the present head, but into the succeeding one. At present, this is the sentence to be spoken of, I have heard him.

It is very expressive of the attention the Lord Jesus Christ is pleased to pay to the prayer and supplications of his mourning ones. The Psalmist says, the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a. broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. Here we have a full proof of it. Ephraim had bemoaned himself; he had confessed his transgressions unto the Lord; he had spoken out his contrition; he had renounced his former sins; he had rejected every false confidence. Allwhich was the fruit of the Lord's royal grace and mercy, made known by his own declaration of grace, and the bringing it home by power and demonstration to the mind. All which the Lord takes notice of, and says, I have heard him. The eye of the Lord is upon his people. His ear is open to their cry. He views every outgoing of their hearts towards him. He takes notice of every motion of their will and affection to him. We have him in the word of his grace, saying, Thus saith the Lord, I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals. Jer. ii. 2. This is surprising grace, yet we have the warrant of the Lord's own word for believ, ing, that there is not one single outgoing of the mind towards the Lord Jesus Christ, but he most graciously notices the same. Ephraim shall say, what have I to do any more with idols? The Lord hears this, and immediately rejoins, I have heard him. This also implied the Lord would answer Ephraim's prayer. His hearing and hearkening unto the prayers of his people is a token of his gracious acceptation of them, as also of his answer to the same, by granting their request. The words are full of encouragement; and, as they are a prophecy, of the display of the grace of the Eternal Three, through the inedium of the glorious mediation of the Lord Jesus Christ: so when the Lord shall break forth in such displays of grace, in the spiritual reign of Christ, it will fill the world with wonder and admiration. I have here again to repeat it, we are not to exelude ourselves, in our own individual persons and cases from the participation of the grace contained in this chapter, because it most immediately belongs to the Jews in time to come. No; the Scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on Jesus, shall not be ashamed. For in this view of the subject, there is no difference between the believing Jew and the believing Gentile ; for the same Lord over all, is rich unto all that call upon him. We may, through the grace of the Eternal Spirit, derive strength and consolation to our own souls, in believing and receiving into our own minds, the knowledge and right apprehension of the freeness and exceeding riches of


wbieh are spoken of, revealed, and recorded in this chapter. I go on to the next particular:

III. To notice what the Lord adds to his former words, it is this : I have observed him. I will recite afresh the foregoing particulars, which we have been, and still are aiming to cast light upon, by setting forth the same in their order and connexion. Ephraim shall say, what have I to da any more with idols ? First, we have Israel's repentance. Second, we have the Lord's attention to Israel's prayer, I have heard him. We have gone through each of these particulars; we come now to the Third, which is thus expressed : I have observed him. As the former, I have heard him, is most truly applicatory to the Lord's hearing and answering Israel's or Ephraim's prayer, the question is this: to what can the present partition of these words, I have observed him, better apply, than to the providential dealings of God, towards his returning people, and this, as it may have regard to his church, both in grace and as it respects his dealings with them, in their temporal affairs, as well as in their spiritual. If I make a particular separation of these words from the former, I do not see at present any better observance, to arise from the words themselves. I will again go over the outline, that the premises may be the more clear. Ephraim shall

Ephraim shall say, what have I to do any more with idols ? Then the Lord speaks ; he says, I have heard him.

I have heard him. To this he most graciously adds, I have observed him. Now if any division is made, and we swallow not up this sentence with the former, I ask, what better division can we make, than by treating this as the third part of what has been expressed in the words themselves? so that the first part contains Ephraim's confession; the second, God's most gracious notice of the same, I have heard him: and the third, I have observed him. How can I explain this, but of the gracious acts and providences of the Lord exercised on his church and people? I have observed him. The former words were very expressive of his great attention to his Israel, and the voice of Israel's cry: as these are very significant of his remembrance of the same, I have heard him. Here it is, I have observed him, which may inost certainly imply the continual attention the Lord is pleased to exercise in his mind, thoughts, care, and concerns for bis church, and each of the individuals whom he hath loved with an everlasting love. The words most certainly imply the views the Lord took into his own vast mind, concerning the persons, the cases, and every circumstance of his beloved ones. He is well pleased to observe them, under the influences of his grace, and teachings of his Holy Spirit: how they speak, what they speak, and how they are disposed to walk with him, and before him, and triumph in his glorious praise. I have observed him. It refers to these particulars which have been mentioned. The free grace of God in Christ, having, in the influential efficacy of the same, been made known by himself to bis backsliding people, and

« VorigeDoorgaan »