Abbildungen der Seite
[ocr errors]

falls out in our communion with Christ; when private and public means fail, and the soul hath nothing left but waiting silently and walking humbly, Christ appears, that his so doing may be evidently of grace. Let us not at any time give over in this condition. When all ways are past, the summer and harvest are gone without relief, when neither bed nor watchmen can assist, let us wait a little, and we shall see the salvation of God. Christ honours his immediate absolute actings sometimes; though ordinarily he crowns his ordinances. Christ often manifests himself immediately, and out of ordinances, to them that wait for him in them; that he will do so to them that despise them, I know not. Though he will meet men unexpectedly in his way, yet he will not meet them at all out of it. Let us wait as he hath appointed ; let him appear as he pleaseth, How she deals with him when found, is nextly declared ;

She held him, and would not let him go,' &c. They are all expressions of the greatest joy and delight imaginable. The sum is, having at length come once more to an enjoyment of sweet communion with Christ, the soul lays fast hold on him by faith (kpateīv, “to hold fast,' is an act of faith), refuses to part with him any more in vehemency of love, tries to keep him in ordinances, in the house of its mother, the church of God, and so uses all means for the confirming of the mutual love between Christ and her: all the expressions, all the allusions used, evidencing delight to the utmost capacity of the soul. Should I pursue all the instances and testimonies that are given hereunto in that one book of the Song of Solomon, I must enter upon an exposition of the greatest part of it, which is not my present business. Let the hearts of the saints that are acquainted with these things, be allowed to make the close.

What is it they long for, they rejoice in? What is it that satisfies them to the utmost, and gives sweet complacency to their spirits in every

condition? What is it whose loss they fear, whose absence they cannot bear? Is it not this their beloved, and he alone?

This also they farther manifest by their delight in every thing that peculiarly belongs to Christ, as his, in this world. This is an evidence of delight, when for his sake whom we delight in, we also delight in every thing that belongs to



him. Christ's great interest in this world, lies in his people, and his ordinances ; his household, and their provision. Now in both these do the saints exceedingly delight for his sake. Take an instance in both kinds in one man, viz. David, Psal. xvi. 3. in the saints and the excellent, or the noble of the earth; is all my delight; my delight in them. Christ says of his church, that she is Hephzibah; Isa. Ixii. 'my delight in her;' here says David of the same, Hephzibam, 'my delight in them.' As Christ delights in his saints, so do they in one another on his account. Here, says David, is all my delight. Whatever contentment he took in any other persons, it was nothing in comparison of the delight he took in them. Hence mention is made, of laying down our lives for the brethren,' or any common cause wherein the interest of the community of the brethren does lie. : 2dly. For the ordinances, consider the same person; Psal. xlii. lxxxiv. and xlviii. are such plentiful testimonies throughout, as we need no farther inquiring; nor shall I go forth to a new discourse on this particular.

And this is the first mutual consequential act of conjugal affection in this communion between Christ and believers. He delights in them and they delight in him; he delights in their prosperity, hath pleasure in it; they delight in his honour and glory, and in his presence with them : for his sake they delight in his servants (though by the world contemned) as the most excellent in the world; and in his ordinances, as the wisdom of God, which are foolishness to the world. '


Other consequential affections; 1. On the part of Christ. He values his

saints. Evidences of that valuation. 1. His incarnation. 2. Exinanition. 2 Cor, viii. 9. Phil. ii. 6, 7. 3. Obedience as a servant. 4. In his death. His valuation of them in comparison of others. Believers' estimation of Christ. 1. They value him above all other things and persons. 2. Above their own lives. 3. All spiritual excellencies. The sum of all on the part of Christ. The sum on the part of believers. The third conjugal affection on the part of Christ, pity or compassion, wherein manifested. Suffering and supply, fruits of compassion. Several ways whereby Christ relieves the saints under temptations. His compassion in their afflictions. Chastity the third conjugal affection in the saints. The fourth on the part of Christ, bounty; on the part of the saints, duty. Christ values his saints, values believers; which is the second branch of that conjugal affection he bears towards them, having taken them into the relation whereof we speak. I shall not need to insist long on the demonstration hereof; heaven and earth are full of evidences of it. Some few considerations will give life to the assertion. Consider them then,

1. Absolutely; 2. In respect of others : and you will see what a valuation he puts upon them.

1. All that ever he did or doth, all that ever he underwent, or suffered as mediator, was for their sakes. Now these things were so great and grievous that had he not esteemed them above all that can be expressed, he had never engaged to their performance and undergoing. Take a few instances.

(1.) For their sakes was he made aflesh; manifested in the flesh,' Heb. i. 14. “Whereas therefore the children par, took of flesh and blood, even he in like manner partook of

the same :' and the height of this valuation of them the apostle aggravates, ver. 16. · Verily he took not on him the nature of angels, but he took on him the seed of Abraham, he had no such esteem of angels. Whether you take fridaußáveobal‘take,' or to take hold of,' as our translators, and so supply the word 'nature, and refer the whole unto Christ's incarnation, who therein took our nature on him,

a John i. 14. 1 Tim. iii, 16.

[ocr errors]

and not the nature of angels; or for åvalaußáveofal, to 'help,' he did not help nor succour fallen angels; but he did help and bsuccour the seed of Abraham, and so consider it as the fruit of Christ's incarnation, it is all one as to our present business ; his preferring the seed of Abraham before angels, his valuing them above the other is plainly expressed. And observe that he came to help the seed of Abraham, that is, believers; his esteem and valuation is of them only.

(2.) For their sakes he was so made flesh, as that there was an emptying, an examination of himself, and an eclipsing of his glory, and a becoming poor for them, 2 Cor. viji. 9. Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that being rich, for us he became poor.' Being rich in eternal glory with his Father; John xyii.5. he became poor for believers; the same person that was rich, was also poor. That the riches here meant can be none but those of the Deity, is evident by its opposition to the poverty which as man he undertook. This is also more fully expressed, Phil. ii. 6,7

Who being in the form of God, counted it no robbery to be equal to God, but he emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, and being made in the fashion of a man, and found in form as a man,' &c. That the form of God' is here the essence of the Deity, sundry things inevitably evince. As,

[1.] That he was thereind equal to God, that is, his Father. Now nothing but God, is equal to God, not °Christ as he is mediator, in his greatest glory: nothing but that which is infinite, is equal to that which is infinite.

[2.] The form of God is opposed to the form of a servant, and that form of a servant, is called the fashion of a man;' ver. 8. that fashion wherein he was found when he gave himself to death, wherein as a man he poured out his blood and died : uoporiv doúlov daßwv (he took the form of a servant), is expounded in the next words, έν ομοιώματα ανθρώπων γενόuevos, an expression used to set out his incarnation; Rom. viii. 3. God sent him ảv duoibuatı oapkòs åpaprias, in taking true flesh, he was in the likeness of sinful flesh. Now in thus doing, it is said łautòV ÉKÉVWOE, he humbled, emptied himself, made himself of no reputation. In the very taking

b Vide Vind. Evan. cap. 13.

See Vind. Evan, cap. 13.

e Rom. iv, 17. Gal. iii. 7.
e John xiv, 28.

of flesh, there was a condescension, a debasing of the person of the Son of God; it could not be without it. If God humbled himself to behold the things that are in heaven and earth ;' Psal. cxiii. 6. then certainly it was an inconceivable condescension and abasement not only to behold, but take upon him, into personal union, our nature with himself. And though nothing could possibly be taken off from the essential glory of the Deity, yet that person appearing in the fashion of a man, and form of a servant, the glory of it as to the manifestation was eclipsed; and he appeared fquite another thing, than what indeed he was, and had been from eternity. Hence he prays, that his Father would glorify him, with the glory he had with him before the world was ;' John xvii. 3. as to the manifestation of it. And so though the divine nature was not abased, the person was.

(3.) For their sakes he so humbled and emptied himself in taking flesh, as to become therein a servant, in the eyes of the world of no esteem nor account, and a true and real servants unto the Father; for their sakes he humbled himself and became obedient; all that he did and suffered in his life, comes under this consideration; all which may be referred to these three heads: [1.] Fulfilling all righteousness. [2.] Enduring all manner of persecutions, and hardships. [3.] Doing all manner of good to men. He took on him for their sakes a life, and course pointed to, Heb. v. 7,8. a life of prayers, tears, fears, obedience, suffering; and all this with cheerfulness and delight, calling his employment his meat and drink, and still professing that the law of this obedience was in his iheart, that he was content to do this will of God. He that will sorely revenge the least opposition that is or shall be made to him by others, was content to undergo any thing, all things for believers.

(4.) He stays not here, but for the consummation of all that went before, for their sakes he becomes obedient to death, the death of the cross; so he professeth to his Father, John xvii. 19. 'For their sakes I sanctify myself;' I dedicate myself as an offering, as a sacrifice to be killed and slain: This was his aim in all the former, that he might die; he f Isa. liii. 1.

Isa. xlii. 1. 19. John xiv. 51. . h Matt. iii. 15.

i Heb. x. 7, 8.

« ZurückWeiter »