« IndietroContinua »
V. The true substance and strength of a church and na-
Page IX. The wrath of man bounded by the power of God. PsAL. lxxvi. 10.---Surely the wrath of man fall praise
thee : the remainder of wrath salt thou restrain. 281 X. The name of God glorified in Christ. Exod. xxiii. 21.-Beware of him, and obey his voice,
provoke him not : for he will not pardon your transgreffions : for my name is in him.
293 XI. The tabernacle of David ruined by man, and reared
up by the mighty God. Amos ix. 11.-In that day will I raise up the tabernacle
of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof, and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as
in the days of old. XII. The annals of redeeming love, with the Redeemer's
vengeance upon the grand enemy of the redeemed. Isa. lxiii. 4.--For the day of vengeance is in mine heart,
and the year of my redeemed is come. XIII. The sovereignty of Zion's King. Psal. ii. 6.-Yet have I set my King upon my holy hill of Zion.
515 XIV. Christ the refurrection and the life. JOHN xi. 25.-- Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life.
426 THE GOVERNMENT UPON CHRIST'S SHOULDER.
PREACHED ON SABBATH-EVENING AFTER THE SACRAMENT
AT STIRLING, JUNE 4. 1732.
İsa. ix. 6.-For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and
the government shall be upon his fboulder : and his name fhall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of peace.
THE great design of God, in his whole works of creation
and providence, is to manifest and make known the glory
of his power, wisdom, goodness, and greatness to the children of men : hence is that of David, Pfal. xix. from the begining, “The heavens declare the glory of God: and the firmament Theweth his handy-work. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.” And if it be asked, What the great design of God is in the scriptures ? I answer, It is just to bring a loft world to the knowledge of a Saviour, “ who is the brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image of his person.” All the prophecies, promises, histories, and doctrines of the word, do point us to him, as the needle in the mariners compass points to the pole-ftar : “ To him bore all the prophets witness.” And when apostles under the New Testament were sent unto all nations, with the filver trumpet of the everlasting gospel in their mouths, what w the great theme of their sermons ? It was just :o make Christ
the nations ; he was the Alpha and Omega of their whole ministry; it is Christ, says Paul to the Coloflians, “ whom we preach;" and, writing to the Corinthians, he declares, that "he desired to know nothing among them, but Christ, and him crucified.” In fhort, Sirs, our preaching, and your hearing, is in vain, unless we bring you in to the know
ledge of Christ, and an acquaintance with him; he is "the foundation God hath laid in Zion, and another foundation can no man lay.” Our design in preaching, and yours in hearing, should be to make you truly gracious and religious; but how shall ever a man be acquainted with the power of godliness, if he be a stranger to him who is the great mystery of it, even « God manifested in the flesh ?" How shall we ever fulfil the law as a covenant, but by acquaintance with him, who is “the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth ?" How shall we ever fulfil it as a rule, but by faith in him, who is “ the glory of our strength ?”. And how thall we ever come to God, from whence we are separate, but by him who is "the way, the new and living way," and without whom there is no coming to the Father? So that all the lines of religion meet in him as their centre. That I may commend him to you, I have read this text of fcripture, which is as full of Christ, as any that we meet with in the scriptures of truth ; and the more of Christ be in any text, the more marrow and fatness, the more favour and sweetness, will be in it to the soul that knows him. Unto us a child is born, unto us a fon is given, and the government shall be upon his faculder, &c.
The prophet, in the close of the preceding chapter, having fpoken of dark and dismal days of trouble and distress, comes in the beginning of this, to comfort and encourage the hearts of true believers, with the great and good things which were a-coming in the days of the great Messiah ; and there are three great New Testament blessings he condescends upon.
1. Great light should spring up to a lost world : ver. 2.“ The people that walked in darkness, have seen a great light : they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” This world, particularly of the Gentile nations, before the coming of Christ, was a dungeon of darkness, it was a valley of the shadow of death, for want of the gospellight; for “where no vision is, the people perish.” But by the coming of Christ whose “ goings forth were prepared as the morning," in the dispensation of the everlasting gospel,” life and immortality are brought to light;" on which account we in this land may join issue with Zacharias in his song, Luke i. 78. 79. “Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the day-spring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that fit in darkness, and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” Oh that there were a suitable prizing of gospel-light, among those who have it in the external difpenfation of it! but, alas! is not that word of Christ too applicable to many, " Light is come into the world,
and men have loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil ?”
2. A second great New Testament blessing the prophet speaks of, is joy in the Lord: ver. 3.“ Thou haft multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before thee, according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil." The holy nation of the New Testament church would be multiplied upon the promulgation of the gospel-light, so that Christ should have the "dew of his youth,” by the flowings in of the nations” unto the bosom of the church; but yet the carnal joy of Israel should not be thereby increased, like that of the Jews, when they sat under their vines, and under their fig trees, eating the milk and honey of the land of Canaan; yet there should be abundance of spiritual joy in the Lord, which would put more gladness in the hearts of true converts, than the joy of the harvest, or of them that divide the fpoil. Observe, That the joy of faith, which terminates in the person, righteousness, fulness of Christ, and the favour of God through him, infinitely exceeds all the carnal mirth and jollity of a transient world, which is but “ like the crackling of thorns under a pot;" the joy of faith is a "joy unspeakable, and full of glory."
3. Spiritual liberty and freedom is the third New Testament blessing that would follow the great Meffiah : ver. 4. 5." For thou hast broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian. For every
battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood, but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire." As Gideon was an instrument, in the hand of God, for breaking the heavy yoke of oppression that Midian had wreathed about the neck of Israel of old; fo Christ, upon his coming like a mighty champion, should travel in the greatness of his strength, to deliver poor finners from the hands of all their enemies, fin, Satan, the world, and the curse of a broken law, unto which they were in bondage. But yet let it be observed, that there is a great disparity betwixt Gideon's way
of Tescuing Israel, and Christ's way of delivering his people from their spiritual bondage ; for Gideon at that time delivered Ilrael by the force of carnal arms, “ with the confused noise of the warrior, and garments rolled in blood;" but the weapons of Christ's kingdom are not such ; no, they
are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong-holds.” Christ's kingdom is to be reared, and spiritual liberty brought about, by burning and fuel of fire, or "by the Spirit of judgement, and the Spirit of burning," chap. iv. 4. that is, by the power of the Spirit of Christ coming along with the dispenfa