« AnteriorContinuar »
and energy of the Spirit. He brake the power of the strongest lust, and dispelled the most tormenting fear. In their greatest disquietude, he spake peace, and his words conveyed consolation. He did secretly and silently to weary souls something similar to what he did openly to his apostles: He breathed on them, and said, Receive the Holy Ghost. While his words were accompanied with the power of the Spirit in all his characters, he particularly made the weary acquainted with him in that of the Comforter, so suited to their condition. When his disciples were disconsolate he spake much about the Comforter in the fourteenth and some following chapters of John's Gospel-a passage still adapted to strengthen and refresh the dejected. He speaks to the heart. His chief concern is with the heart. When stout, he breaks it: when broken, he heals it: when healed, he comforts it: and when partly comforted, he promises full consolation.
7. It implies that Christ knows and improves the fit season for speaking to the weary. "A word spoken in due season, how good is it!" His servants often mistake the best season, but he knows it with infinite exactness. They would often apply consolation before the heart be sufficiently broken and weary. They would have the burden taken off before it be half heavy, or long enough carried. They would heal the wound before the putrid matter be carried off. In all these cases the consolation would be weak and inefficacious, because unseasonable. The love of Christ as far exceeds the love of his most favoured servants, as his infinite wisdom surpasses
their scanty knowledge. If they who watch for souls often mistake the season, much more do the weary themselves misapprehend it. Often they are for laying down the cross, when Christ sees it necessary for them to take it up, and walk on. They are for being taken from the field of battle, when Christ enjoins them to fight. They ardently desire to drink of living fountains of water within the vail, when Christ sees it requisite for his glory, and their spiritual advantage, that they should take a few draughts more of the waters of Marah. They grasp at comfort in this and the other ordinance, while he designs that they go a little farther. They are short-sighted and impatient. He is wise, and takes care of their best interest.
8. It is also implied in this declaration that Christ makes use of the tongue of the learned in the still small voice of his word and ordinances. He goes forth to the lanes and streets, and thither the weary must repair. The bulk of mankind have no relish for the Lord's word. It does not promise the articles which are their favourite objects; and when they read it, it has no savour or relish. The weary soul applies to it as the great store-house of the blessings he stands in need of, and the alone source of consolation. Applying, he finds it both infinitely suitable and excellent. Reading it under the influences of the Spirit he cries, It is the voice of my beloved, or in allusion to the woman of Samaria, Come, see a book which tells me all I ever did, is it not divine! Christ also speaks with the tongue of the learned in his ordinances. While the greatest part say of the Sab
bath, What a weariness is it-the language of the disconsolate is, How lovely is thy dwelling-place!— There they sit under his shadow with great delight. Unconverted sinners may give outward attendance, but "hearing they do not hear." They hear an outward voice or tongue; but the weary hear Christ addressing themselves. They are like Paul in the midst of his companions on the way to Damascus. These who were with him only heard a sound which they did not understand, and which produced no good effects. He heard a distinct articulate voice, addressed to himself. The weary either hear the same words, or words of the same import. The Lord Jesus powerfully addresses them and says, It is hard for you any longer to kick or oppose me: I am Jesus-a Saviour: I am Jesus of Nazareth-promised of God, and in whom all the prophecies are fulfilled: I come as the Lord's anointed to save yourselves. As Paul when he heard the voice saw a bright shining glory; the Lord shines into their hearts, and they behold his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, and they get a sight of him as altogether lovely. Much passes between Christ and his people in ordinances. They pour out their hearts, and his secret is with them. The world may look upon it as deception; but there is something about Christ's voice which distinguishes it from all others, and his sheep know his voice, and follow him. It now remains,
III. To explain the manner of procedure, when Christ employs the tongue of the learned, and refreshes the weary.
1. He gives them a deep sense of their condition, and makes them feel that they are weary. He kills before he makes alive. Without his interference they would continue dead and secure, dissipated and thoughtless. Drenched in the pleasures, or engrossed about the profits, of this world, they would never think to any purpose about the other. Without his efficacious teaching, they would continue ignorant of God and his law; strangers to themselves and their true condition; and unacquainted with their infinite debt, and approaching reckoning. Without him, like persons in an agreeable delusion, they would sleep on till in hell they should lift up their eyes. From eternity he thought on them in their low estate, and purposed their salvation. His love is immutable. The season of their deliverance approaches. He now undeceives them, and brings them to consideration. The commandment comes. He discovers the evil and danger of sin; and by his Spirit, as a spirit of bondage, makes them to tremble and fear. They have new and unthought-of discoveries. Many questions, which never occurred before, are now habitually and seriously revolved in their minds. They feel themselves as unhappy and restless in their present situation, as they apprehended themselves safe and comfortable in their former condition; and they wonder how they did not sooner discover their danger, and detect their delusion. Their former peace now aggravates their misery and distress. They are sensible that they had kindled a fire, compassed themselves about with sparks, and walked in the light of their own fire; and they are exceedingly astonished
that they have not received this of God's hand, to lie down in everlasting sorrow.
2. He makes a lively and impressing discovery that all others are comforters of no value. Brought to the condition already described, they need comfort, and cannot be without it. Many methods occur to their minds, and they try them all. Instead of giving satisfaction, every trial is a new disappointment, and proves vexation of spirit. They grow worse and worse. All refuge fails, and they have no help of man at all. The Lord allows them to continue seeking consolation at the broken cisterns of the creature, till they learn experimentally that these neither have nor can hold water. Like persons in absolute necessity, though they have been often disappointed, they make a fresh experiment. Hitherto unacquainted with the method of grace, they go about to establish a righteousness of their own, and, as we have seen already, attend to the external performance of many duties. All these courses, instead of atoning for the guilt, or breaking the power of sin, only discover the greatness of the one, and add fresh vigour to the other. Their sin and sorrow seem to keep pace with one another. With anxious and concerned eye they look to this and that duty-this and the other creature for relief: but every one of these makes answer, It is not in me.
3. He persuades them that he is well acquainted with their case, and that if He cannot or will not help them, no other can or will. There is something wrought within them which convinces and persuades them that he perfectly knows their condition. What it is