Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?” Heb. xii. 9. We should distinguish between the body, or the flesh, as it is God's workmanship, and the corruption of the flesh, which is the evil work of that arch apostate the devil. Consider it as the work of God's hands, formed out of the earth, and it is curiously and marvellously made. And the body is now the temple of the Holy Ghost; and as such regard it: “For no man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church." Consider it also in its depravity, as corrupted by the devil, and then in my flesh dwelleth no good thing. But all that is meant, in short, concerning the flesh is comprehended in this text, “ But if ye, through the Spirit, do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” The evil lusting and cravings of sin in the body, called the deeds of it, is what is meant by flesh when it is spoken of in an evil sense. Hence I conclude that every one that sinneth is of the devil; for he that is still in a state of sin, and destitute of grace, is of the devil's lineage, , and does the devil's work. And the remains of indwelling sin in every saint, which is called the old man, is of the devil also, because he opposes all that is good, and wars against God, and against the soul; and therefore is of the devil, and the dovil works in him.

X

THE VIOLENT STORM, AND HEAVENLY CALM.

ISAIAH liv. 11.

"O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted!

behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay thy foundations with sapphires."

In this chapter the Jewish elect, the children of God who passed, under the ministry of Christ, out of the old covenant into the new, are bid to break forth into singing, and cry aloud, though they did not travail with child, but came forth, as it were, at an instant; for although they had been barren, and not borne, yet, being now a gospel church, she is the married wife, and not those who abide in the old covenant, though the Jerusalem that now is had more children than the heavenly Jerusalem. Those that abode by the old covenant are desolate, and had no husband; and a large family of children, without a husband, was no honour to her, but rather a scandal. She is bid to enlarge the place of her tent, to show the church is portable, and to stretch forth the curtains of her habitation. One of the coverings and curtains of the ancient tabernacle was fine twined linen, which I think was typical of the righteousness of the saints, called white liner, clean and white. And the spouse, when adorned with this, says, “I am black, but comely, ( ye daughters of Jerusalem; as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon.” This is the covering robe of the whole church; and blessed is he whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered with it.

She is bid to lengthen her cords of faith, peace, and love, and to strengthen all the stakes that embrace and bind these cords about them. And God promises that she shall break forth on the right hand and on the left, and that her seed should inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities, which had been without God, now to be inhabited by God in his saints. Two things God comforts her against, which lay heavy upon convinced sinners, the shame of their youth, which is grievous when the sins of youth are set before them. “Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions,” says one, Psalm xxv. 7. He comforts the Gentiles against the reproach of their widowhood. The Jews used to call the Gentiles the forsaken and the desolate; but God promises to wipe away this reproach, and to give them better names: “ Thou shalt no more be termed, Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzi-bah, and thy land Beulah: for the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.” The name forsaken is changed for the naine of God's delight; and instead of desolate it is wedded. And so it follows: "For thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is his name: and thy Redeemer the holy One of Israel; the God of the whole earth shall he be called.” But I will come to my text, which is full of comfort to these

poor Gentiles.

“O thou afflicted!” Many are the afflictions of the righteous: 'and these poor Gentiles, upon their receiving the gospel and turning to God from idols, were wretchedly used by those that abode by the old idolatry. These fell violently upon them. The devil stirred up the whole world to make new gods, and to oppose the gospel, and persecute its converts; as it follows: “ The isles saw it, and feared; the ends of the earth were afraid, drew near, and came. They helped every one his neighbour: and every one said to his brother, Be of good courage. So the carpenter encouraged the goldsmith, and he that smootheth with the hammer him that smote the anvil, saying, It is ready for the sodering: and he fastened it with nails, that it should not be moved.” But God encourages Gentile Zion under all this: “ Fear thou not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God.”

“ Behdd, they shall surely gather together, but not by me: whosoever shall gather together against thee, shall fall for thy sake,” Isaiah liv. 15.

Dreadful were the persecutions which these poor creatures endured. But, besides all this, they were sorely afficted within; for, being bred up in idol wor

ver.

ship, and this being deeply engraved on the heart, the word must cut as deep as the root, and pierce and wound dreadfully before this false religion could be cut off at the fibres, and destroyed in all its branches; no less than a mighty power could effect it. Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of sil

So mightily grew the word of God, and prevailed.” Again: when the false gods which they had been led to worship and adore were discovered, by divine revelation, to be nothing but vile creatures, apostate angels, devils, the enemies of God, and the only destroyers of men, this must, when charged home, and these charges seconded by an enlightened conscience, make dreadful work within; especially when the fall of man was discovered, a broken law understood, and sins, by that glass, set in the light of God's countenance. “O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted!"

The holy law of God, when the Almighty applies it in all its purity, holiness, and spirituality, to the conscience of the poor sinner, is a figurative tempest, as Paul calls it, a mount burning with fire, blackness, and darkness, and tempest, Heb. xii. 18. For, as in a tempest the heavens are black with clouds, so, while this storm lasts, there is nothing but cloudy and dark days, Ezek. xxxiv, 12. There is in the soul a gross darkness,

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »