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could merit its destruction, and as the end of his death cannot be frustrated, and as he rose again from the dead free from the imputed guilt' of it, and sits in heaven to-day without sin so much as imputed to him.
Use. Let the saints then take courage, and renew the battle vigorously with the old man; for the victory will undoubtedly fall to their side. And as for you that are still for keeping the old man's head and heart hale; as ye do interpretatively desire none of Christ's cross, it is an argument ye have as little saving interest in it.
DOCTRINE V. In the meantime, till the old man be destroyed quite and clean by virtue of the cross of Christ, by virtue of the same cross the believer shall not be a servant to the old man more. That is the present piece of freedom from it the believer has.
1. The believer has heartily given up with him for a master. Some time he said, as Exod. xxi. 5. “ I love my master,- I will not go out free.” But now he hates him mortally, and would fain be altogether free at any rate, Rom. vii. 24. “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death ?” The very being in the house with the old man is a burden.
2. He will get no work, but forced work, off his hand more, Rom. vii. 15. “For that which I do, I allow not,” &c. He will not yield his members to the old man voluntarily, as before, chap. vi. 13. “Neither yield ye your members as instrunients of unrighteousness unto sin." "He will never get work with whole good will at his hand more, but half will at most.
Use. This writes death to such as have given their hand to Christ at his table, and are ready to go back into the service of their lusts. If from henceforth ye enter not into a struggling life against sin, ye have not felt the virtue of Christ's cross.
DOCTRINE VI. ult. Believers should go out against the old man in acts of holiness, in the faith that he is a crucified man; i. e. Believe your old man is crucified with Christ, and in this belief bestir yourself against him in the use of appointed means. If you believe it not, how can your hands be strong, having all to do yourself alone? But believe it firmly, and it will make you as a giant refreshed with wine.
WORM JACOB THRASHING THE MOUNTAINS.
A Sermon preached on a sacramental occasion.
Isaiah xli. 14, 15. Worm Jacob,—thou shalt thrash the mountains, and beat them small,
and shalt make the hills as chaf.
RELIGION is a mystery, and the truly religious are 'a mystery too. They are a mystery to the world, 1 John iii. 1, " The world knoweth us not;" yea to themselves, ver. 2, “ It doth not yet appear what we shall be.” That is a matter not of sight and feeling, but of faith. There are many odd connexions, which folk would think contradiotions and impossibilities, in their character. See a cluster of them, 2 Cor. vi. 9, 10," As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live: as chastened, and not killed; as sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things." That is a strange connexion, an old man and a new man in one man: but none more strange and surprising than this in the text: A worm thrashing the mountains; and that not ridiculously, without effect; but most efficaciously, beating them small. In these words we have two things.
1. What the church and people of God are. They are named by him who misnames none, " Worm Jacob." Their name from their nature is a worm; they are poor, weak, despised creatures, ready to be crushed by the foot of every passer by: yet worm Jacob;" believing, praying, wrestling worm as he was.
2. What they shall certainly and infallibly do, “Thrash the mountains, and beat them small,” &c. I find interpreters generally understand by the “mountains” the great and lofty potentates of the earth, setting themselves against the church. And no doubt these were in the prophet's view; but the view was not confined to them only. God's bringing down the Babylonian monarchy at their prayers, and the victories afterward of the Maccabees over their enemies, cannot reasonably be supposed to complete the intent of this prophecy. We must needs look to the kingdom of Christ for it; of which there is plainly an account, vers. 17, 18, 19. Compare Dan. ii. 34, 35. And we must carry on our view, all along to the end of time, Rev. ii. 26, 27; the rather that it is the manner of the prophet, to wrap up in one expression, temporal, spiritual, and eter
nal deliverance; the deliverance from Babylon, which was temporal, being the first and nearest in view, Is. xxvi. 19, “ Thy dead men shall live," &c.; but not terminating it. Here then we may consider, (1.) What
worm Jacob” has to encounter or yoke with, mountains," and “hills," whose weight is sufficient to crush millions of him; difficulties quite disproportionable to his strength, as a mountain to that of a worm.
(2.) The success of this so very unequal match. The mountains shall not crush the worm ; but the worm shall thrash the mountains, as one does a sheaf of corn with repeated strokes. They did not in those days thresh their corn with flails, as we do; but tread it out with the feet of men or beasts, or else by drawing a kind of cart, drag, or sledge, over and over it, called in the text “a thrashing instrument.” I do not find the word here denoting the action of the worm, and rendered “thrashing," applied at all to that drag: but as it formally signifies “to tread out," as rendered Hos. x. 11, “Ephraim is as an heifer that is taught, and loveth to tread out the corn;" as appears from Is. xxv. 10, “For in this mountain shall the hand of the Lord rest, and Moab shall be trodden down under him, even as straw is trodden down for the dunghill.” So it is applied to a self-moving creature, man, Micah iv. 13, “ Arise and thrash, O daughter of Zion;" or "beast," Jer. 1. 11. Here lies the mystery then, uniting the two notions of the self-mover and the instrument, that the worm shall tread out the mountains, as one would do a molehill. And if ye say, Alas! such a treader! what weight has it? I will make (says the Lord) the feet or belly of the worm like a new-shod thrashing drag for them, that shall tread out the highest and rockiest of them all to purpose.
(3.) The degree and pitch of the worm's success against those mountains : it shall beat them small, till they be like dust, as the word is used, Deut. ix. 21; or like chaff: so that they shall be blown away with the wind, and no vestige of them remain. (4.) The insurance of this success of the worm.
Who could insure it, but the mighty God ? He has done it. Jesus Christ, Jehovah, the most high God, and worm Jacob's Kinsman-redeemer, hath, by his word of promise, engaged his almighty power on the side of the worm against the mountains. Let not then the worm fear or doubt the success. A worm, seconded by Jesus Christ, will be an overmatch for all the mountains and hills setting up their heads from earth or hell.
DOCTRINE. The mystery of grace carried on by Jesus Christ in his church and people, is like a worm's thrashing the mountains, infallibly to issue in its thrashing them away quite and clean. Briefly, worm Jacob shall thrash the mountains, and thrash them away quite and clean.
Here we shall consider,
I. The character of the subject wherein this mystery of grace is carried on by Jesus Christ.
II. The mystery of grace carried on in them by Jesus.
III. I shall account for this mystery, worm Jacob thrashing the mountains of difficulties in his way, and thrashing them away quite and clean.
I. First, I shall consider the character of the subject wherein this mystery of grace is carried on by Jesus Christ. It is in worm Jacob, denoting the church in general, and every believer or true member thereof in particular : for of these the church consists, as in the text, ver. 14. without the supplement, “ Fear not, thou worm Jacob, ye men of Israel.” One would think, that one designed to be a thrasher of the mountains should be a party of a signally great and swelling character, a hero, a giant, or if there were any thing could carry the character higher : but, on the contrary, it is very low, surprisingly low, worm, worm Jacob. This character points at these five things especially, in the case of the people of God. It points them out as,
1. Weak creatures, really weak for the encounters they must make, as a worm for a mountain. God himself gives them this name of extreme weakness : therefore they must be so in very deed. They have weak heads, hearts, hands, for the work they are called to. Not only does the first grace find them really weak, but the after supplies of grace also, Heb. xi. 34. “Out of weakness made strong."
2. Humbled souls, truly sensible of their own weakness. By nature they were swelling vipers, but by grace they are humbled worms. And,
1st, Habitually humbled, in respect of their state, as the creeping worm, whose nature it is to go on its belly. So the humble and the gracious are equivalent terms, Psal. xxxiv. 2, 3. “My soul shall make her boast in the Lord : the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. () magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.” There is a law-work, followed with gospel-grace, wrought on them; issuing in a thorough humiliation, breaking down their natural self-conceit, tumbling down their towering ima
ginations about themselves which they had in their state of blindness, bringing them, in their own eyes, from the consistence of mountains to that of worms; and convincing them, they are, have, and can do, nothing, Luke xv. 17; 2 Cor. 5. 4, 5.
2dly, Actually humbled, in respect of their frame. As the worm still retains its creeping gait, at the mountain, as in the valley; so God's people, at difficulties to be happily surmounted, still keep up the sense of their own utter emptiness, and weakness for them, 2 Cor. iii. 5, “ Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.” If the worm Jacob begin to swell again, he will be so unwieldy that he will thrash no mountains till he fall anew, 1 Cor. xv. 10; 2 Cor. xii. 11.
3. Despised creatures. As the lofty mountains overtop the crawling worm, so doth the carnal world contemn worm Jacob, Psal. xxii. 6, “ But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people;" and cxxiii. 4, “Our soul is exceedingly filled with the scorning of those that are at ease, and with the contempt of the proud.” Though they may value worm Jacob for his gifts which he has in common with themselves, they will never value him for his grace, that leaves him still as a worm in their sight. What of religion lies beyond the reach of the natural man, they despise ; the Christian entertainment on words and promises, they despise, as we do the dust the worms lick up; the Christian way of doing in faith, they despise, as we do the crawling of the worni : Like Sanballat, when he mocked the Jews, saying, “ What do these feeble Jews ? will they fortify themselves ? will they sacrifice? will they make an end in a day? will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burnt ?” Neh. iv. 2, 3.
4. Yet united to Jesus Christ. Though a worm, yet worm Jacob. Our Lord Jesus himself is of the worm family, Psal. xxii. 6, viz, worm Jacob, Psal. xxiv. 6, “This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, 0 Jacob.” Compare Is. xlix. 3. “Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.” This intimates an union between him and them as his worm brethren, Heb. ii. 11. Being lowered and humbled to the condition of the worm, they are knit to and built on him by faith, Luke vi. 48.
5. Lastly, Daring adventurers, daring wrestlers. Worm Jacob ventured on him that formed the mountains, and wrestled with him, and prevailed too, Gen. xxxii. 24; Hos. xii. 4. What wonder to tind him then venturing on the mountains themselves ? He must have the blessing, and must be forward whatever mountains be in the way, I proceed to, II. The Second thing to be considered, namely, the mystery of