« AnteriorContinuar »
edge of it is presented. As it can
comes from God, it suits the are spiritually discerned--but he heart which is conformed to that is spiritual judgeth" all him and bears his image. All things. For want of a spirithe words of Christ are pleasing tual taste, he has no relish for and agreeable to the taste of the spiritual objects--they are foolheart, where he is formed the ishness to him and for want of hope of glory. This is plain a spiritual discernment he canand easy to conceive, and is not know them, any more than the great thing effected by the he can see sounds, or hear col change of heart in regeneration. ors. This is further illustrated It lays a foundation in the heart in the preceding 9th verse. to relish divine manifestations “ But, as it is written; eye hath to be pleased with the truth-to not seen, nor ear heard, neither see things as they are, that is to have entered into the heart of see them, and be affected to man, the things which God hath wards them, in the same light, prepared for them that love and with the same affections, ac. him." This, though it may cording to our capacity, as God have an ultimate reference to doth; to see and acknowledge the unutterable glories of the our own characters in the light heavenly world, yet, from what of God's law, and apprehend the immediately follows, it evidentbeauty, wisdom and propriety of Iy has a primary and special rethe gospel, as a glorious dis ference to the light and enjoypensation of God's grace-a safe ment Christians have in the and all-sufficient remedy to the present state, from foretastes of sinner in his guilty, lost and glory, and the earnests of their ruined state. This is Godliness. future inheritance ; for the AThis is to know the gospel.-postle adds, “God hath revealWe must have that light and ed them unto us by his spirit.” discernment by which we can And in the 12th verse, realize our guilt and wretched: we have received not the spirit ness, in order to realize the glad of the world, but the spirit of tidings of the gospel, and the God, that we might know the joyful sound of mercy. A sin things that are freely given us ner who is in carnal security of God.” blind to his own character and Nor is it any objection to this state, and insensible of his guilt construction, that the blessings and danger, sees no wisdom, of Christ are incomprehensible, nor glory in the gospel--feels and therefore, cannot be the obno need of the salvation of Christ jects of our knowledge, when and knows nothing about it; for we compare this with another he has no spiritual discernment. passage in Ephesians iii. 17. and This is expressly declared in onwards. “ That ye being root, 1 Cor. ii. 14. in which, as in ed and grounded in love, may many other parts of scripture, be able to comprehend with all knowledge is used to express saints, what is the breadth and scriptural discernment. * But length, and depth and heighth; the natural man receiveth not and to know the love of Christi the things of the spirit, for they which passeth knowledge, that ye are foolishness to him, neither I might be filled with all the ful
ness of God."
reasoning and intellectual powe terious expressions, and can be ers. The difference appears to understood, only by a spiritu- be as great as that between the al discernment. The Apostle evidence of hearing and seeing. speaks of our comprehending What I receive from the inforthe measure of that which is mation of another, respecting infinite, of knowing that which any person or place, I may bepasses knowledge, and of our lieve and assent to; but if I have being filled with the fulness of myself seen the person, or been God. But this is parallel with to the piece, I have greater evithe forecited passage, eye hath dence from my own observation, not seen, &c. The meaning of than I could have by informawhich is, that those things in tion. I not only believe it, but which the Christian's enjoy- | I know it, with all the certainty ments consist, are of such a na- with which I can know any ture, so spiritual and refined, natural object. And çan I enthat they are not the objects of tertain a doubt, while the object our senses--neither are they at- is before my eyes? Would it tainable by our natural under- be rational for me to be so unstandings, and the exertion of believing as to scruple my senour natural powers. Eye hath ses, and seek after some greater not seen them, nor ear heard evidence ? Where shall it be them, nor the heart of man con- found ? And if we can obtain ceived of them, but God hath such a knowledge of natural obrevealed them to us by his spirit. i jects, as will" exclude every
3. A true knowledge of the doubt, is it not reasonable to gospel, implies an established suppose that God hath given us persuasion and certainty of the the means of knowing, with at things known. This is a natu- least an equal certainty, spiriral and inseparable consequence tual objects, which are of infiof a true spiritual discernment. nitely greater importance to us? It tends to establish the Chris- It surely is, or there could be no tian in the truth ; and the Apos- meaning in that spiritual knowltle speaks of this establishment edge, of which the scriptures so as an essential mark of the much speak. It is true, this is Christian character. Col. i. 23. the knowledge of faith, but that “ If ye continue in the faith, is as certain as the knowledge of grounded and settled, and be sense--and indeed more so. not moved away from the hope Can we have higher evidence of the gospel which ye have than the divine testimony-the heard, and which was preached truth of God in the declaration to every creature which is un- of his word ? And cannot our der heaven." The internal evi- internal and spiritual sense of dence, the Christian hath of his spiritual objects, be as discernreligion, is more weighty, powing, as keen and accurate as our: erful and conclusive, and tends natural senses are of natural obmore olish and confirm ? This is the his faith, than every argument tion the Bible gives us of the from without; and all the con- | matter. « He that believetha viction he could otherwise cb- hath the witness in himself.”_ tain by the improvement of his | Hc has that experience of the
power of divine grace upon his spiritual discernment? Is this own heart, which gives him full true liberality? Is this the exconviction. He sees such beau. ercise of the Christian spirit ? ty in God's word, such divine Is this a gospel faith? Is this wisdom and glory in the whole, to be fully persuaded in one's and every part of the gospel mind, and settled and grounded plan, that he knows it to be in the truth? With as much from God. Our Saviour told propriety and with infinitely less the Jews, “ My doctrine is not hazard, might the Christian mine, but his that sent me. If give up the evidence of his naany man will do his will, he tural senses and if, while in shall know of the doctrine whetho the act of tasting honey, a by er it be of God, or whether I stander should say, it is vinegar, speak of myself.” He shall and another, it is gall, he should know of the doctrine-he shall liberally acknowledge, and say, not be in doubt, or hesitation it may be you are right-it may about it; at a loss whether to be vinegar, or it may be gall ; I believe or disbelieve it, but he am not certain it is honey, and shall know. If the mind be but we may all be right. Would rightly disposed toward God, not such a man be viewed an he will at once embrace the idiot? And is the religious libgospel, and is prepared to be erality I have described less ri. established, grounded and settled diculous? It is vastly more so, in the truth. “ I am the good and it is simply owing to the Shepherd, and know my sheep, want of a spiritual discernment, and am known of mine-they that it is not viewed in this light, know his voice-a stranger will This knowledge, of which I they not follow, but flee from have treated, will correct the him, for they know not the voice errors and mistakes of mankind of strangers.
respecting the proper objects of If these ideas be just, (and I happiness, if they will impartialconsider them supported by the ly view themselves in the glass Bible) they may teach us what which the gospel holds before to think of that boasted liberali. them, and submit their reason, ty of sentiment, which, by nrany, judgment and choice to the direcis extolled as the glory of the tion of the unerring wisdom of age. This seems to consit, not God's word. But alas! how widely so much in a man's believing his different do they appear-how own sentiments as every one's contrary to each other in their else, or his being so unsettled nature and tendency when bro't and undetermined in his own into a comparative view! The religious faith, that he can be men of the world manifest a lieve that another, who thinks temper and disposition of heart, entirely contrary to him in every wholly dissimilar, and contrary point, and perhaps denies the to that which characterizes the essential, fundamental truths of children of God, and in the exthe gospel, may yet be as right ercise of which their comfort as he, and so embrace him as a and enjoyment consist. Alas ! good Christian-both journey they are blinded by their preju . ing to heaven, tho' by different dices, not oniy to their own charpouts. Is this the effect of a
acter, but to the only proper ob
ject of happiness and the way of love and service of God, in the obtaining it. A deceived heart least deprive us of the enjoyhath turned them aside, and ment of created good? And hence they call evil good, and is it the same to walk in the good evil; put darkness for light, light of God's countenance, as and light for darkness; bitter for to walk in the bitterness of spirsweet, and sweet for bitter; mis. it, in sorrow, and melancholy ery for happiness, and happiness sadness ? No. The very re. for misery. They are strange. verse of all this is truth. God. ly and unreasonably disaffected liness is profitable unto all towards the true character of things, having the promise of the blessed. God, and hence all the life that now is, and of that his ways are displeasing to which is to come. Godliness them ; and hence too their pre- with contentment is great gain.” judices are extended, and car Instead of diminishing, it vastly ried through to every part of increases our enjoyment. The that system of truths and duties happiness of a rational being which is built upon the charac- | must be a rational happiness, ter of God as its foundation, and and not the happiness of a brute. is revealed and unfolded to us The practice of religion is the in his word. The pride and ar. most rational employment, and rogancy of their hearts is so therefore affords the only hap, great, that they will not bow to piness which is suited to the the authority, nor submit to the nature, satisfactory to the de. government of God. “ The sires, and corresponding with the wicked, thro' the pride of his dignity of a rational being. In countenance, will not seek after darkness, it gives light-in adGod.; God is not in all his versity, comfort--from evil, it thoughts.” Men of the world derives good—from bitter, ex. have such mistaken views of tracts sweet--in pain, it affords God, of the nature of his service, pleasure, and in the agonies of and the duties he requires of death, inspires a song of tri. them, as to think that in devot umph, in the blessed hope of ing themselves to him, they must eternal life. “ Great peace have abandon their own happiness, they that love thy law, and noth. .. and give up every comfort and ing shall offend them. Thou enjoyment in life. To such wilt keep him in perfect peace dangerous errors, men are ex
whose mind is stayed on thee, posed by spiritual blindness, because he trusteth in thee:"and a carnal taste. But is any
Oh, taste and see that the Lord such idea involved in the sub- is good. Let us give over every ject to which we have now at- other pursuit of happiness, chuse tended? Is it in any measure
the comforts religion affords conveyed or countenanced in the acquaint ourselves with God, infallible instruction of God's and thereby good shall come unword? There we read, “ Bles
ASAPH. sed is the people who know the joyful sound."
Is then the Adam a Figure of Christ. knowledge of the joyful sound THE word figure, as of the gospel destructive of our
used in the scriptures, and happiness and comfort! Do the l in common authors, frequently
signifies some image, or repre- Adam and Christ, we may find, sentation. The holy places, in that in some things, Adam was the temple, were figures of the a striking figure of him;, but in heavenly places, in Christ Jesus; other things he bore no resem. and the figures of the cheru- blance to him, any more than bim, which were carried in the the golden cherubim over the temple, were images or repre- mercy seat, in the temple, resentatioris of the Angels, which sembled, in all things, the living surround the throne of heaven. ones with God in glory, In this sense, Adam was a It may be proper to notice figure of Christ. He was in some things, in the first place, many things an image, or re- in which Adam was unlike to presentation of Christ. And Jesus Christ, and then, other hence the Apostle calls him things in which he was the “the figure of him that was to figure of him. He was unlike come,” and in writing to the him in his person. : Adam was Romans and Corinthians, he en. a mere creature-was but of yės. larges on the resemblance be- terday, frail, dependant and had tween them.
no power of his own. But Christ r. It may be remarked, that is the same yesterday, to-day figures are usually inferior to and forever-is called the migh. the thing, which they are de- ty God, and has all power in signed to represent. The whole heaven and on earth. Though Levitical economy was figurative he became 'man. also, he still of Christ and his dispensation ; retained his divinity. " In him but the priests, sacrifices and dwelleth all the fulness of the temple of that dispensation, were God-head bodily.” “ The first altogether inferior to the Great man, Adain, was of the earth, High Priest, the sacrifice which earthy; the second man was takes away sin, and the temple the Lord from heaven.” Adam of God which is above. So it was the Son of God only by may be found, in contemplating creation, Christ by generation the subject, that Adam was far was the only begotten of the inferior to Christ in those things, Father. · The difference in perin which he was a figure of him. son was very great.
Besides: Figures rarely com- Adam was also different from port in all respects with the ob- Christ, and wholly opposite to ject they are designed to repre- him, in his moral character. sent. There may be a striking Their characters were directly resemblance in some things, and contrary to each other in those none at all in others. A mar- things in which he is to be conble statue, suitably formed, is sidered as the figure of Christ. the figure of a man, but it is the The Apostle is not speaking of figure only of his shape, it is no him as he was before his apostacy, representation of him in its col. but in his apostacy, when he calls or, the materials of which it is him the figure of him which was composed--10 image of his to come. This will appear evident life, inotions, or moral charac- when we come to notice those ter. In all these things it is en- things, in which he was a figure tirely different: So by attends of Christ. Adam was in the act ing to a comparison between of rebellion against the express