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straitened till it be accomplished !" He longed to be dipped in the Red sea of his father's wrath. The word signifies that his soul was big or swelled within him with desire. He had not only desire, but delight in his mediatory work: "I delight to do thy will, O my God. Yea, he rejoiced in spirit when the time of his suffering drew near. Now, may faith argue, Did Christ execute his offices with such desire, delight, and joy, in a state of humiliation; and will he not much more do it in a state of exaltation? Yes, surely he will; for he is “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and to-day and for ever."
6. Consider, that both the Father and the Holy Ghost are engaged for the execution of these offices of Christ. The Father is engaged, because he ordained him to these offices, and ordained him with the solemnity of a decree, Psal. ii. and with the solemnity of an oath, Psal. cx., and with the solemnity of a proclamation from heaven, Matth. iii. at the close: " 'This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.” Now, may faith say, was Christ ordained with such solemnity to his mediatory offices by his Father; and will not the Father see to the execution of them with respect to my soul, that puts its trust in him? Again, as the Father, so the Holy Ghost is concerned in the execution of these offices. The Holy Ghost furnished him with gifts and graces for this very end : Is. Ixi. 1: “ The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek, he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound,” &c. Now, will ever the Spirit of the Lord lose his labour? No, no: God has “ put his Spirit upon him, therefore he will bring forth judgment to the Gentiles, and the isles shall wait for his law." Thus you see, that faith has all the security that Heaven can afford for the execution of his offices. Thus, then, come up from the wilderness, leaning upon the beloved.
Quest. 3. How is faith to act upon a God in Christ, who is the ultimate object of faith?
Answ. In these particulars, 1. Let faith view.a God in Christ in a way of appropriation, as its own God. This, we find, has been the way of the saints in all ages and generations; it still lays claim to God in Christ, with its appropriating my, &c. Psal. xvi. 2:“O my soul, thou hast said unto the Lord, Thou art my Lord.” And ver. 5: "'The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance, and of my cup," &c. And Psal. Ixxiii. 26: "My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever." And if you ask, Upon what ground does faith go, in laying claim to a God in
180 THE BELIEVER'S JOURNEY FROM THE WILDERNESS.
thy God; I will be your God, and ye shall be my people.”
of his assuming our nature in the person of his eternal Son, and the covenant-grant and promise through him; “I am the Lord Faith sels to its amen unto the grant, and says, “ This God is
God for ever ;”and it shall be só, because he has said it ; and, “ Has he said it, and will he not do it? hath he spoken
2. Having fixed thy claim unto a God in Christ as thy own God, then proceed to take a view of all his attributes and perfections; for every one of them (as I showed before) is a pillar and strong rock, on which thy faith may lean with the great. est confidence and security, even "though the earth should be removed, though the mountain should be cast into the midst power, and heaven, and among the inha power is through Christ engaged for my preservation, “ He
[SER. Ö, will faith say, my God is a God of infinite “ doth whatever pleaseth him in the armies of
tants of the earth;” and this
it, and shall it not come to pass ?”
of the sea."
me in the
Will hide me as in a pavilion in the evil day." My God in Christ is a God of infinite wisdom; and therefore he will lead
way I know not, and make me wise to salvation. He is a God of infinite justice; and, therefore, having accepted a satisfaction for my sins in the Surety, he is “ faithful and just in forgiving;" he will "blot out mine iniquities as a cloud, and as a thick cloud all my transgressions." He is a God of unspotted holiness; and therefore he will sanctify me according to his covenant; “ i will sprinkle them with clean water, and they shall be clean: from all their filthinesses and from all their idols will I cleanse them.” He is a God of infi. nite bowels and mercy; and therefore he will pity and pardon me, and “hear me when I cry," &c. He is a God of infinite faithfulness; this is the “girdle of his loins and reins;" and therefore he will not suffer his promise to fall, “ his covenant he will not break,”' &c. Thus faith leans and rests on the divine attributes as they are manifested in Christ.
3. Faith leans upon a God in Christ, as one that is infinitely bountiful and liberal; and argues as the apostle does, Rom. viii. 32: “ He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how will he not with him also freely give us all things ?" Faith sees that his treasures can never be diminished, far less can they be spent or exhausted ; and oh how heartily does faith lay claim to these treasures, when it hears him saying, as James i. 5 : “ If any man lack wisdom, let bim ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not: and it shall be given him."
4. Faith views the providence of a God in Christ as calcu. lated and designed for the advancement of his own glory, and
levelled at the good of them that love him ; and this quiets the soul amidst all the reelings and shakings of this lower world. “ The Lord reigneth, let the earth rejoice: let the multitude of isles be glad thereof."
5. Lastly, Faith, acting upon a God in Christ, will see an eternity of happiness beyond time, in the immediate fruition and enjoyment of him ; hence, says Asaph, Psal. Ixxiii. 26,
My flesh and my heart faileth : but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever."
THE TRUE SUBSTANCE AND STRENGTH OF A CHURCH
So the holy sced shall be the substance thereof.—Isa. vi. 13.
In this chapter we have, first, An awful vision of God made to the prophet Isaiah. He got a view of the infinite JEHovah, in the person of his eternal Son; for so Christ himself explains it, John xii. 41: "These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory." Christ had a glory with the Father before his incarnation, yea, before the world was; and Isaiah got a view of this glory. Quest. What did he see ? Answ. ì. He saw his throne, high and lifted up. 2. He saw his temple, his church on earth, filled with the train of his glorious excellencies. 3. He saw the bright attendants that surround his throne, cherubims and seraphims, covering their faces with their wings, because of the dazzling floods of glory that brake out from his presence. 4. He heard some of their anthems, or songs of praise, by which they celebrate the glory of his unspotted holiness; and then wonder that the brightness of that glory should ever shine in this lower world: 0, say they, “ The whole earth is full of his glory,” ver. 3. They are not surprised to see his glory shining in heaven, where sin never entered: but to see the glory of God shining through a veil of flesh, and displayed in this dunghillworld of sin and misery, is what fills them with eternal wonder.
Secondly, We have the effects of this vision. 1. Upon the
* Preached at the administration of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper at Dunfermline, June 10 and 11, 1733,
temple; where, it is likely, Isaiah got the manifestation, ver. 4: “ The posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the earth shook, and the house was filled with smoke.” A cloud was cast over the face of his throne, and the posts and pillars of the temple tremble, as a signal of the destruction of the city and temple; first by the Babylonians, and afterwards by the Romans. 2. Upon this the prophet is struck with consternation at the sight of the divine glory, ver. 5: “ Wo is me, for I am undone, because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips ; for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” 3. We have the silencing of the prophet's fears by the “good and comfortable words” which the angel spake to bim ; and a sign given him of the remission of his sin, as a preparation for his converse with God, ver. 6, 7: “ Then flew one of the sera phims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar. And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips, and thine iniquity is taken-away, and thy sin purged." 4. We have an awful commission given to the prophet. An inquiry is made, by a Trinity, for a man that would bear the commission; the prophet offers himself: ver. 8: “ Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Here am I,” says the prophet, 6 send me.” The prophet is a volunteer in his Master's service, ready to encounter the greatest difficulties in the work ; he knew that if he had God's commission, he should have his countenance and assistance; he “sends none a warfare upon their own charges.” The Lord takes the prophet at his word, and gives him his commission, ver. 9, to the close. Where he gives him to understand three things. (1.) That the generality of the people to whom he was sent, would turn a deaf ear to his message, which would be followed with a judicial stroke of blindness, deadness, and stupidity, ver. 9, 10. (2.) That the consequence of this would be their utter ruin, ver. 11, 12, (3.) That a remnant should be spared as a monument of divine mercy, ver. 13: " But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten ; as a teiltree, and as an oak whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves :" so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof.
Where, in general, you may see, that in the worst of times, in the times of the greatest defection and backsliding, God has a little remnant that keep their garments clean, and that in the midst of the most sweeping and desolating calamities he will take special notice of for good. More particularly, we have four or five things asserted in this verse, with respect to the Lord's remnant,
1. That the remnant will be but small, “ In it shall be a tenth ;” a certain number put for an uncertain : a very small number, in comparison of the 'multitude that shall perish in their unbelief, and be slain in the common calamity. The tenth or tithe was God's proportion under the law, consecrated for his use.
Observe, That, among the multitude of mankind that fall to the devil's share, God's remnant are but a small number; his flock is but a little flock, like the gleanings after the vintage. But yet them he will not want, though he should invade hell to recover them; Is. liii. 12: “ I will divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong.” And this portion, this remnant, shall be consecrated to his service and honour, as the tenth was under the law.
2. It is asserted of this remnant, that they shall return; that is, they shall return from their sins and backslidings, and the common desections and backslidings of the church of Israel; and they excite one another, saying, “Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for he hath broken, and he will bind us up," Hos. vi. 1. And they shall return also from their captivity in Babylon to their native land; and when God turns back their captivity, it will be refreshing like southrunning streams of water.
3. It is asserted of this remnant, that it shall be eaten ; that is, (say some) this remnant, after they return, shall be eaten, consumed, or devoured a second time by the kings of Assyria.
Observe, That God's remnant, when they are delivered out of one trouble, must lay their account with another; when they have run with the footmen, they must contend with horses.
Or, as some, particularly Henry on the place, understands it, shall be eaten, that is, shall be accepted of God as the tithe was, which was meat in God's house. The saving of this remnant shall be meat to the faith and hope of them that wish well to God's kingdom and interest.
4. It is said of this remnant, that it shall be “as a teil, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, even when they cast their leaves." As if he had said, Though they may be stripped of their outward prosperity, and share of the common calamity; yet they shall recover like a tree in the spring, and sprout and flourish again: although they fall, they shall not be utterly cast down; for “ there is hope of a tree, though it be cut down, that it will sprout again,” Job xiv, 7.
5. That this distinguished remnant shall be the stay and