« IndietroContinua »
and bring ruin upon the land. Men are adive this day, as if they were weary of their mercy; wearied of Christ, of the gofpel, and of the privileges thereof; weary of his faints. Men seem to be upon a plot to ruin a covenanted work of reformation. Now, when others are active this way, thould not we be active ?
4. Another exhortation. If it be so that the holy feed is the substance and strength of a land; then beware of touching them to do them hurt; do not malign, traduce, oppose, or oppress them; and beware of joining in a confederacy with those who are casting out these who are rich in faith, for these who are rich in this world, though they be ftrangers to the power of God and godliness. Value and prize them as the stock and fubftance of the land,
Motive (1.) Consider that Christ hath given a strict charge unto all anent them, not to do them injury; they that touch them, touch the apple of his eye; Matth. xviii. 10.“ Cake heed that ye
despise not one of these little ones ; for I say unto you, that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.”
(2.) Consider whose they are ; they are the children of a King, and therefore it is lese-majesty to hurt them. -- Objed. They are but factious and turbulent persons. Answ. Take care that you do not wound a real saint, under the notion of a hypocrite; and take care that you do not reckon all hypocrites, who do not run in the same way with yourselves.
(3.) You will pay for it, for the injuries you do them : " Their Redeemer is strong, the Lord of hosts is his name.” It is dangerous meddling with them that have great friends and allies : so here, God is their Father, angels their ministering spirits, heaven their inheritance ; and therefore beware of hurting them.
I conclude with a few advices to faints, the substance of the land.
1. Bless God that made a difference between you and others. By nature you are children of wrath, as well as others, &c.
2. Beware of despising others, yet in a natural state : “ Remember the rock whence you were hewn, and the hole of the pit whence you were digged.” Study to be of Agur's temper, Prov. xxx. 2. 3. “ Surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of a mian. I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the holy.”
3. Lastly, Let God's holy seed keep at the greatest distance from fin.
“ Be blameless and harmless, the fons of God without rebuke, in the mids of a crooked and perverse genera
tion, among whom ye shine as lights in the world." The least
flaw in your conversation will soon be ripped up, and made to : ring through the world.
THE FIRST PROMISE ACCOMPLISHED;
THE HEAD OF THE SERPENT BRUISED BY THE
SEED OF THE WOMAN.
PREACHED ON OCCASION OF THE CELEBRATION OF THE SA
CRAMENT OF THE LORD'S SUPPER AT SOUTH QUEENS-
JOHN iii. 8- For this purpose the Son of God was manifefted,
that he might destroy the works of the devil.
O gain time, I shall entirely abstract at present from the
, what follows, and consider them just as they lie before us, in regard they make one complete and entire sentence as they stand. And they are the same in substance with the first gospel that ever was preached in the world, Gen. iii. 15. “The seed of the woman shall bruise the head of the serpent :” only, with this difference, that what was delivered to our first pae rents, in a way of promise and prophecy, is here delivered to us in a way of history, as a thing now done and accomplished. And, in this respect, there is more said in these few words, than all the prophets under the Old Testament could say. They could only tell the world, that Christ was to be manifelted in the fulness of time ; but now, says our apostle John here, this is not a thing to be done ; no, but it is done, it is a thing accomplished, it is now over and past; the Messiah is come,
and has bruised the head of the serpent: For this purpose was the Son of God manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. O! should not such glad tidings of great joy make every one of us who hear it join issue with the angels at his birth, and cry, “ Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, , peace, good-will towards men ?” or, with the church, Pfal. cxvii. « Hosanna to the Son of David : blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord to save us ?"
The words in the general are a declaration of the great deSigns of the appearance of the Son of God in this lower world in the nature of man, namely, to be avenged on the grand enemy of mankind, and to overturn his usurped em. pire as the god of this world : “ For this purpose was the Son of God manifested,” &c. Where we may notice these two or three things.
1. The great champion who takes the field, and appears in the quarrel of fallen man; and he is no less a personage than the Son of God. I remember the church, If. lxiii. 1, when the hears tell of a Saviour coming to rescue a lost world of mankind-linners, she cries, “Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength ?” Here you have a pointed and positive answer to this inquiry; it is none other than the Son of God. But 0! “ who shall declare his generation ?” or who can frame to pronounce his great and glorious name ; for it is a name above every name,
at which every knee muft bow, and every tongue confess that he is the Lord,” the Son of God. This is he who, under the Old Testament, was known fometimes by the name of the “ seed of the woman, the seed of Abrahami, the Shiloh, the man of God's right hand, Immanuel, the branch of righteousness, the plant of renown, the messenger of the covenant, the sun of righteousness, the ruler of Israel, whose goings forth are of old, from everlasting; and who, in the New Testament, is called the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of man, the sent of God, the Mediator, the Redeemer” of lost finners. O Sirs, let “his name be as ointment poured forth" unto you; for “the virgins love him.”
2. We have the grand enemy this renowned champion had in his eye, and that is the devil, the old ferpent, the head of the apostatę angels , he and his confederated spirits, who had commenced a rebellion against God, their great Lord and Creator, for which they were tumbled out of the glories of heaven, into the depths of hell, and laid under chains of darkness, in which they were reserved unto the judgement of the great day. Sirs, here is matter of surprise and wonder, Our guil.
ty consciences would have been ready to tell us, upon hearing of the coming of the Son of God unto this lower world, that his errand would have been to be avenged upon rebel man, who had renounced his allegiance unto God, and joined against him in a covenant with hell, and in an agreement with death : we might have expected to have heard him faying, “ Ah, I will ease me of these mine adversaries, and be avenged on mine enemies" of Adam's family. But O, to the eternal surprise of heaven and earth, he takes the field, not against fallen man, but against fallen angels, who had ruined man, by drawing him into the fame condemnation with themselves.
may notice the way and manner how the Son of God takes the field against these enemies. He does not make his attacks upon him in a secret and clandestine manner, he does not lay a secret ambush, or steal a dint of the enemy unawares; no, but he acts in an open and fair way, he is inanifefied. He proclaimed war against him in paradise, and gives the enemy four thousand years to prepare himself for battle, before he actually takes the field against him in person ; fo that the enemy cannot say he wanted warning, or was taken in a surprise. Every prophet raised up under the Old Tettament was a herald sent before the renowned Captain of salvation, to give devils and men warning of his approach ; they
proclaimed the acceptable year of the Lord" to loft man, but “the day of vengeance” upon fallen angels, and all the wicked world, who keep by them.
4. We have the stated ground and defign of the war.commenced against this enemy; it was to destroy his works : For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. The grand plot of hell was to ruin the works of God, to disturb the creation, to deface the image of God, and to set up his empire in these lower regions : being cast out of heaven, he would set up his throne upon earth, and reign without controul as the god of this world But now, the purpose of the Son of God was to counteract the enemy, to sap and overturn the foundation of his usurped kingdom, and to set up and eftablish his own and his father's authority among the sons of men : For this purpose ike Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
The text itself is a distinct doctrine, viz. 'Tkat tbe Son of God was manifested for this purpose, to destroy the works of the dea vil.
The method I design, through divine assistance, is, · I. To offer some things with relation to this renowned
champion, champion, the Son of God, who espouses the quarrel of fallen
II. Of the grand enemy, the devil, against whom the combat and war is carried on.
III. Of the manifestation of the Son of God.
IV. Of the works of the devil, and how they are destroyed by the Son of God.
1. The first thing is, to speak a little of our renowned champion, the Son of God. Sirs, our great work, who are ministers of the gospel, is to raise his glory, and to bear his name among the Gentiles, that sinners through the knowledge of him may be brought to break their covenant with hell, and put their trust under the shadow of his wings. Only, before I proceed, I would advertise you, Sirs, that, by the fall of Adam, the whole tribe of marikind are become the captives and prison. ers of this mighty enemy, the devil, here mentioned in the text. Immediately upon the breach of the first covenant, which denounced death against the soul that fnned, a handwriting was given out by divine justice, whereby we were delivered over unto the power of the devil, as God's great jailor and executioner; and accordingly, the devil, having a legal right and power, he carries away all mankind as his flaves and captives, tying us faft to his service with the chains of our own lusts. Hence is that description of finners in their natural ftate, Eph. ii. 2. 3. where we are told, that they "walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience. Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past, in the lusts of our fleth, fulfilling the defires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others." Now, Sirs, there is your condition and mine, while in a natural state. Every man by nature is the devil's lawful captive; he comes into the world wearing the devil's livery of original fin, and he is led about in the devil's service in the chains of his own luits and depraved nature. I remember there is a strange and surpriling question put, Is. xlix. 24. “Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered ?" Angels and men could not answer this question, till the renowned champion in the text, the Son of God, appears and resolves it : and you see what was his answer to that stunning and confounding question, ver. 25. “ Thus faith the Lord JEHOVAH,” in the person of his eternal Son, " Even the captives of the