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Lovely and glorious in the vengeance he taketh, and will finally execute upon the stubborn enemies of himself and his people.
Lovely in the pardon he hath purchased and doth dispense, in the reconciliation he hath established, in the grace he communicates, in the consolations he doth administer, in the peace and joy he gives his saints, in his assured preservation of them unto glory.
What shall I say? there is no end of his excellencies, and desirableness; "he is altogether lovely, this is our beloved, and this is our friend, o daughters of Jerusalem.'
All solid wisdom laid up in Christ. True wisdom wherein it consists. Know
ledge of God, in Christ only to be obtained. What of God may be known by his works. Some properties of God not discovered but in Christ only ; love, mercy; others not fully but in him ; us vindictive justice, patience, wisdom, all-sufficiency. No property of God savingly known but in Christ. What is required to a saving knowledge of the properties of God. No true knowledge of ourselves but in Christ. Knowledge of ourselves wherein it consisteth. Knowledge of sin how to be had in Christ. Also, of righteousness, and of judgment. The wisdom of walking with God hid in Christ. What is required thersunto. Other pretenders to the title of wisdom, ex
amined and rejected. Christ alone exalted. A SECOND consideration of the excellencies of Christ serving to endear the hearts of them who stand with him in the relation insisted on, arises from that which in the mistaken арprehension of it, is the great darling of men, and in its true notion the great aim of the saints, which is wisdom and knowledge. Let it be evinced that all true and solid knowledge is laid up in, and is only to be attained from and by, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the hearts of men, if they are but true to themselves, and their most predominate principles, 'must needs be engaged to him. This is the great design of all men taken off from professed slavery to the world, and the pursuit of sensual, licentious courses, that they may be wise: and what ways the generality of men engage in for the compassing of that end, shall be afterward considered. To the glory and honour of our dear Lord Jesus Christ, and the establishment of our hearts in communion with him, the de
sign of this digression, is to evince, that all wisdom is laid up in him, and that from him alone it is to be obtained.
1 Cor. i. 24. the Holy Ghost tells us that Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God:' not the essential wisdom of God, as he is his eternal Son of the Father, upon which account he is called 'wisdom' in the Proverbs, chap. viii. 20—23. but as he is crucified ; ver. 23. As he is crucified, so he is the wisdom of God; that is, all that wisdom, which God layeth forth for the discovery and manifestation of himself, and for the saving of sinners, which makes foolish all the wisdom of the world; that is, all in Christ crucified, held out in him, by him, and to be obtained only from him. And thereby in him do we see the glory of God; 2 Cor. iii. 18. For he is not only said to be the 'wisdom of God, but also to be made wisdom to us;' 1 Cor. i. 30. he is made not by creation but ordination and appointment, wisdom unto us; not only by teaching us wisdom (by a metonomy of the effect for the cause), as he is the great prophet of his church, but also because by the knowing of him, we become acquainted with the wisdom of God, which is our wisdom; which is a metonomy of the adjunct. This however verily promised, is thus only to be had. The sum of what is contended for, is asserted in terms, Col. ii. 3. ' in him dwell all treasures of wisdom and knowledge.'
There are two things that might seem to have some.colour in claiming a title and interest in this business. 1. Civil wisdom'and prudence, for the management of affairs. 2. Ability of learning and literature; but God rejecteth both these as of no use at all to the end and intent of true wisdom indeed. There is in the world that which is called 'understanding, but it comes to nothing. There is that which is called 'wisdom,' but it is turned into folly; 1 Cor. i. 19, 20, • God brings to nothing the understanding of the prudent, and makes foolish the wisdom of the world.' And if there be neither wisdom nor knowledge (as doubtless there is not) without the knowledge of God, Jer. viii. 9. it is all shut up in the Lord Jesus Christ; 'nó man hath seen God at any time, the only-begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father he hath revealed him.' He is not seen at another time, John v. 37. nor known upon any other account, but only the revelation of the Son. He hath manifested him
from his own bosom: and therefore, ver. 9. it is said that he is the true light that lighteneth every man that cometh into the world. The true light which hath it in himself, and none hath
any but from him, and all have it who come unto him. He who doth not so, is in darkness.
1. The sum of all true wisdom and knowledge, may be reduced to these three heads:
(1.) The knowledge of God, his nature, and his properties.
(2.) The knowledge of ourselves in reference to the will of God concerning us.
(3.) Skill to walk in communion with God.
The knowledge of the works of God, and the chief end of all, doth necessarily attend these. In these three is summed up all true wisdom and knowledge ; and not any of them is to any purpose to be obtained, or is manifested, but only in and by the Lord Christ.
God, by the work of the creation, by the creation itself, did reveal himself in many of his properties, unto his creatures capable of his knowledge; his power, his goodness, his wisdom, his all-sufficiency, are thereby known: this the apostle asserts, Rom. i. 19-21. ver. 19. he calls it tò ywotòv TOū Jeoő; ver. 20. that is, his eternal power and Godhead; and ver. 21. a knowing of God; and all this by the creation. But yet there are some properties of God, which all the works of creation cannot in any measure reveal, or make known; as his patience, longsuffering, and forbearance. For all things being made bgood, there could be no place for the exercise of any of these properties, or manifestation of them. The whole fabric of heaven and earth considered in itself, as at first created, will not discover any such thing as patience and forbearance in God; which yet are eminent properties of his nature, as himself proclaims and declares, Exod. xxxiv. 6, 7.
2 Επεί ούν το γενόμενον ο κοσμος εστίν ο ξύμπας, και τούτον θεωρών τάχα αν ακούσαι παρ αυτού, ως έμε πεποίηκενα ο θεός. Plotin.
b Gen. i. 31. c Quamvis speciali cura atque indulgentia Dei, populum Israeliticum constat electum, omnesque alias nationes suas vias ingredi, hoc est, secundum propriam permissæ sunt vivere voluntatem, non ita tamen se æterna Creatoris bonitas ab illis hominibus avertit, ut eos ad cognoscendum atque metuendum nullis significationibus admoneret. Prosp. de Vocat. Gent. 2. 4. Cælum et terra, et omnia quæ in eis sunt, ecce vidique, mihi dicunt ut te amen, nec cessant dicere, omnes ut sint inexcusabiles. August. Confessi. lib. 10. cap. 6.
Wherefore, the Lord goes farther; and by the works of his providence, in preserving and ruling the world which he made, discovers and reveals these properties also. For whereas by cursing the earth, and filling all the elements oftentimes with signs of his anger and indignation, he hath, as the apostle tells us, Rom. i. 18. revealed from heaven his wrath against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men;" yet not proceeding immediately to destroy all things, he hath manifested his patience and forbearance to all. This Paul, Acts xiv. 16, 17. tells us, 'he suffered all nations to walk in their own ways, yet he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling their hearts with food and gladness.' A large account of his goodness and wisdom herein, the psalmist gives us, Psal. civ. throughout. By these ways he bare witness to his own goodness and patience; and so it is said, 'he endures with much longsuffering,' &c. Rom.ix. 22. But now here all the world is at a stand; by all this they have but an obscure glimpse of God, and see not so much as his back parts. Moses saw not that until he was put into dthe rock, and that rock was Christ. There are some of the most eminent and glorious properties of God (I mean in the manifestation whereof he will be most glorious, otherwise his properties are not to be compared), that there is not the least glimpse to be attained of, out of the Lord Christ, but only by, and in him; and some that comparatively we have no light of, but in him, and of all the rest no true light, but by him.
[1.] Of the first sort, whereof not the least guess and imagination can enter into the heart of man but only by Christ, are love, and pardoning mercy.
1st, Love; I mean love unto sinners. Without this man is, of all creatures most miserable; and there is not the least glimpse of it that can possibly be discovered but in Christ. The Holy Ghost says, 1 John iv. 8. 16. God is love;' that is, not only of a loving and tender nature; but one that will exercise himself in a dispensation of his love, eternaklove, towards us; one that hath purposes of love for us from of old, and will fulfil them all towards us in due season. But how is this demonstrated, how may we attain an acquaint
d Exod. xxxiji. 22. 1 Cor. x. 4.
ance with it? he tells us, ver. 9. 'in this was manifested the love of God, because God sent his only-begotten Son into the world that we might live through him.' This is the only discovery that God hath made of any such property in his nature, or of any thought of exercising it towards sinners, in that he hath sent Jesus Christ into the world that we might live by him. Where now is the wise, where is the scribe, where is the disputer of this world, with all their wisdom? Their voice must be that of the hypocrites in Sion; Isa, xxxiii. 14, 15. That wisdom which cannot teach me that God is love, shall ever pass for folly. Let men go to the sun, moon, and stars, to showers of rain and fruitful seasons, and answer truly, what by them, they learn hereof. Let them not think themselves wiser or better than those that went before them, who, to a man, got nothing by them, but being left inexcusable.
2dly. Pardoning mercy or grace; without this even his love would be fruitless. What discovery may be made of this by a sinful man, may be seen in the father of us all; who, when he had sinned had no reserve for mercy, but hid himself; Gen. iii. 8. He did it bin 1175 when the wind did but a little blow at the presence of God; and he did it foolishly, thinking to hide himself among trees;' Psal. cxxxix. 7, 8. “The law was given by Moses, grace and truth came by Jesus Christ;' John i. 17. Grace in the truth and substance ; pardoning mercy that comes by Christ alone: that pardoning mercy which is manifested in the gospel, and wherein God will be glorified to all eternity; Eph. i. 6. I mean not that general mercy, that velleity of acceptance which some put their hopes in, that tráfos which, to ascribe unto God is the greatest dishonour that can be done him, shines not with one ray out of Christ; it is wholly treasured up in him, and revealed by him. Pardoning mercy is God's free gracious acceptance of a sinner upon satisfaction made to his justice in the blood of Jesus. Nor is any discovery of it, but as relating to the satisfaction of justice, consistent with the glory of God. It is a mercy of inconceivable con
e "Έστω δή έλεος, λύπη τις επι φαινομένων κακώ φθαρτικό και λυπηρώ του αναξίου τυγzávetv. Arist. 2. Rhet.—Quid autem misericordia, nisi alienæ miseriæ quadam in nostro corde compassio; qua alicui si possumus subvenire compellimur ? August. de Civit. Dei, lib. 9. cap. 5.