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drink." Exod. xxiv. 9, 10, 11. They had many feasts under the law, consisting of meats and drinks; for the law was a shadow of good things to come. Heb. x. 1. But the entertainment, that I have invited you to this day, consists not in meats and drinks; but as the apostle speaketh, the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. Romans xiv. 17. Nay, all the fields with all the cattle upon a thousand hills, and all the vintages or olive yards, yea, the whole creation cannot spread a table with such provisions, as are in my text. It has been, and still may be, so far as I know, the custom at some great men's houses, or king's palaces, to present the guests with a bill of fare, before the provision is served up at table. This bill of fare, which I would give you, consists of five things: 1. The lamb slain, or the fatted calf killed. 2. A spoiled leviathan, that old serpent, the devil. 3. The old man, with his deeds crucified. 4. Death abolished, and the power of the grave conquered. 5. and lastly, The oil and wine of the kingdom.
1. The Lamb slain, or the fatted calf killed; in other words, a crucified Christ, a slain Christ for the sins of God's elect: this is God's standing dish, (if I may so say) to feed and feast the saints in time, and throughout the endless ages of eternity; not one soul ever reached beaven, but fed upon this royal provision here, and they will need no other when they come there: the sacrifices of old were an early appointment of God, to teach and lead them unto Christ, the Lamb of God; in all probability, the first that was offered up was in Eden's garden; sacrifices began there, there our first parents were taught the doctrine of atonement by Christ, being clothed with his righteousness, when God clothed them with the skins of beasts, Gen. iii. 21. But from Abel's time these were more in
use, and the ceremonial law was full of them; the morning lamb, the red heifer, the yearly sacrifices, all pointed unto this Lamb, this fatted calf, in my text; the Lord was full of the fat of beasts; Isa. i. 11; these he appointed for a time; but to this man would he look, Isa. lxvi. 2; the great Mediator and High Priest, that had somewhat to offer. Let go this doctrine of the substitution of Christ in the room of his people, and his death being a proper atonement for sin, and the glory of our Bible is lost, and the worship of the Old Testament a mere fable and idle shew, to please children; but it was not so, Christ was preached in them, and held forth in them; these were shadows of good things to come, but the body is of Christ, Col. ii. 17; the law came by Moses, but grace and truth by Jesus Christ. John i. 17. O let us value the Old Testament, because it is full of the slain Lamb of God, and our provision laid in and under the shadows of the law, under that dispensation; but now we feed and feast upon him without those types. Gospel ministers dare not, cannot feed their people with any other food, than this slain Lamb, or fatted calf killed. The chaff and husks of morality will not go dowu with a hungry soul, that has a spiritual appetite. Paul did not feed his hearers with these; he did not give them a lecture out of Seneca, or Plato, or the heathen philosophers, but preached up Christ crucified; for I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified;" Cor. ii. 2. They then fed and feasted on this slain Lamb of God. Let us keep the feast, saith the same apostle; but upon what? why, upon Christ our passover Lamb, sacrificed for us; 1 Cor. v. 7; exposed unto the wrath of God, for us, for our sins. The lamb roasted with fire, was the type of this Lamb, bearing the wrath of God for us all. The saints of old fed and feasted upon this slain Lamb,
held out in types, shadows, promises, and prophesies; your first parents, by faith, fed upon this Lamb of God; this was to all the saints of old, a feast of fat things, and of marrow unto their souls. God was to have the best brought unto his altar, the fat was the Lord's; and the Lord spreadeth his table with the best for his guests now; he saith unto his people, eat the fat and drink the sweet; Neh. viii. 10; and all the saints of old did eat of this spiritual meat, of this Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, Rev. xiii. 8. To think, and say, and write, as some do, that we may get to heaven without faith in Christ, as a sacrifice for sin is false; if any such are here, sirs, you never can, none ever did, or ever will; you must eat his flesh and drink his blood, to be saved by him, or you are lost for ever. It is not Christ as an example, but Christ as a sacrifice, that must save us from sin; for Christ has once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, to bring us to God; 1 Pet. iii. 18; and he made his soul an offering for sin. Isa. liii. 10. Faith feeds now on this, and you shall feed to all eternity upon this provision; the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, Rev. vii. 17; this provision will be for ever new to the saints above; Christ is now, and will be then, to his people, all in all. Col. iii. 11.
2. A spoiled Leviathan, that old serpent, the devil, is another part of this provision; he that first seduced and drew our first parents into sin and rebellion against God, called a murderer from the beginning; John viii. 44; and whose enmity and opposition unto Christ, personal and mystical, were spoken of in the first declaration of grace, the seed of the woman was to bruise the serpent's head, and he was to bruise Christ's heel, Gen. iii. 15; that is, his human nature; or his body, the church, and for this cause, the apostle John
saith, the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil; 1 John iii. 8; not only his works, which are many in us and in the world round about us, but him also; Christ was to destroy the devil, and that in our nature; for this cause he assumed it, to attack him; and he did so openly in it, once and again, in the wilderness, and on the pinnacle of the temple, and on an high mountain, and in many other instances of his life, and at his death; for the children being partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself took part of the same, that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil:" Heb. ii. 14; he has cast him out of the gentile world, as to the manner that he played his tricks formerly; he has also dispossessed him of the bodies of men when on earth; and by his gospel, the rod of his strength, Psal. cx. 2, hath and doth cast him out of the hearts of the elect world, and makes them willing in the day of his power. Satan still, indeed, terrifies and affrights God's children, tempts and distresses them; and sometimes has raised up dreadful persecutions against them; but yet cannot do as he would; he could not tempt or distress a Job, or sift a Peter, but he must have Christ's leave for it first. Christ has spoiled principalities, and powers, and made a show of them openly, Col. ii. 15; he may cast down, but he cannot destroy, nor pluck one soul out of Christ's hands; he may be suffered to put lets in the way of your perseverance, but he cannot hinder your persevering; though, like a lion, a roaring lion, he walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. 1 Pet. v. 8. And is not this food for faith? Do not believers feed upon Christ's victory over him? surely they do; or else way that word, in the Psalms, "Thou breakest the heads of Leviathan in pieces, and gavest him to be meat to the people inhabiting the wilderness?" Psal. lxxiv. 14 The people
in the wilderness are the Lord's people, a chosen, beloved, called people; and many of these are yet in the wilderness; though Satan may have many heads, abundance of policy and power, yet Christ has broken them all; and he has made his people feast upon this conquest of his over him, for them; so that out of this eater, this devourer of mankind, cometh forth meat, and out of this strong one cometh forth sweetness, Judg. xiv. 14, to believers; so that they may rejoice and triumph that Christ has him in his hands, and that he cannot destroy them; he has told them so, I have given them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any be able to pluck them out of my hands. John x. 28. Feeding by faith upon this victory gained over him by Christ, made the apostle, and doth make the saints still say, Who shall separate us? not principalities, nor powers; for Christ has given Satan, and all under him, their death-wound, and will by and by. finally and totally destroy him, that he shall not hurt or trouble any one of his in his holy mountain; for Christ, as the angel of the covenant, now holds him in his chain, and will, by his almighty power, lay hold on this dragon, the old serpent, which is the devil, and lock him up in the bottomless pit for ever and ever, Rev. xx. 3: this is substantial provision for your faith; for greater is he that is in you, and for you, than all that are against you.
3. The old man with his deeds crucified, is another part of this provision, and appertains unto this feast: the body of sin is compared, in scripture. to a man, and to an old man ; this body of sin is above five thousand years standing; well may it be called old and it is a body of sin; there is nothing else in this old man but sin; its deeds are very bad; every inagination of the thoughts of man's heart is evil, Gen. vi. 5; not only now and then, but continually; the old man, the body of sin, has no good motions or desires in it: the saints of
God know this; unconverted men
that if you would reckon right, in the matter of gospel sanctification, and mortification of sin, you must go to the cross of Christ; how many poor souls are burdened from day to day for want of reckoning right this way; they are in good heart, when they find that sin does not trouble them; but when these spiritual enemies that war against the soul begin to trouble them, they are casting away all their hope; alas! they pray hard, and strive hard, but all to no purpose; they thought they had cut off the head of this Goliah, but find he is alive still; sin is afraid of nothing so much as the cross of Christ; all our strength against it, and all our power over it, must come this way; you may cast up your accounts about your sanctification, as merchants do their books, at this time of the year, to know how matters stand; but if ever you have a balance this way for your comfort, and food for your faith, it must come from the old man's being crucified with Christ: thus the great apostle taught the saints, reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin; how so, saith the soul, since it makes me mourn and weep every day? Why, dead unto the condemning power of sin, and unto the dominion power of it, as it gives the law strength to condemn, for the strength of sin is the law; and shall be by and by unto the inbeing of it, when it shall trouble you no more; but alive unto God in our justification, in, by, and through Christ; and alive unto God in our sanctification, as Christ is made of God unto us, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption; aye, and alive unto God in our comforts about it, that we fall not slavish, bondage fear about it. of this you have in Rom. viii. 1, 2, 3; upon this the sanctification of the Spirit is built and secured, and shall be carried on in spite of all your enemies, till you are sanctified in soul, body, and spirit sin's destruction by Christ's death, lays the foundation of our
sanctification in a life of holiness, that shall be wrought up unto a perfection by and by. And now what provision is this, in this feast of ours, for the new creature to lift up its head, and still rejoice, though it is troubled by the body of sin? What conflicts and distress had good Mr. Marshall about this matter, till he was brought to this point; all his Baxterian principles would not do; but here joy and comfort sprang in, as he himself declares in that excellent treatise of his, The Mystery of Gospel Sanctification:" hence those exhortations have a weight in them on our practical holiness, such as, mortify the deeds of the body through the Spirit :" Rom. viii. 13; and “ put off the old man, which is corrupt through the deceitfulness of sin, and put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him ;" Eph. iv. 22; this is health to thy soul, and marrow to thy bones.
4. Death abolished, and the power of the grave conquered, are another part of this provision, that make up this sumptuous feast; upon this also have the saints in all ages fed, and been greatly comforted. Death came in by sin, and is the wages of it; death corporeal, death spiritual, death eternal, all entered at the door of sin: sin gave death its sting, and the law its power; and digged every man's grave; yea, Tophet of old, hell itself, as a servant of Christ in this city used to express it: Christ has taken the sting of death away, which is sin, in every sense of it, and the condemning power of the law, and carried away the pins and bars of the grave, and delivered his people from going down into the pit where there is no water. Christ, and none but he, was able to do it, and he has done it, and effectually too, for all the chosen of God, and every believer here, hath a right to triumph in it; he will swallow up 'death in victory, saith this prophet in the 8th verse of the chapter, where our text is and was
it foretold that he should do it? he hath done it; for now, saith the apostle," grace is made manifest, by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and brought life and imortality to light through the gospel." 2 Tim. i. 10. Death as the wages of sin, and the rottenness of the grave are done away, and all the evil that can be comprised in the word death: death in all forms and shapes,letit come suddenly or more lingeringly, by burning fevers, or wasting consumptions, or wracking pains, there is no penal evil in it to thee, O believer; it is yours in the royal charter of blessings; it is the way to your Father's house; it is the high road to your home; it is your gain; it will free you from all evils, and let you into all your soul has longed to enjoy, in an uninterrupted communion with God, Father, Son, and Spirit, saints, and angels; the Lord will lighten the valley for you, and walk with you through it: how have the martyrs sung in death, in the midst of the fames? Christ came to deliver them, who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage, Heb. ii. 15; he can make that passage easy to you and I, and make us triumph with him of old, that could say, O death, where is thy sting 1 Cor. xv. 55; and, as for the grave, the house appointed for all living, to which we are all hastening, and are another year nearer it than the last, it is called an unclean place, because it is the fruit of sin; but Christ has lain there, and perfumed it for all his people; and though worms must destroy and feed upon the body, Christ keeps the key of the grave to put you in and let you out, and will raise the body gloriously by and by, and fashion it like unto his glorious body; Phil. iii. 22; he will call unto you, "awake, and sing ye that dwell in the dust, for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead;" Isa. xxvi. 19; you will then put on strength, and your beau
tiful garments, and be loosed from all your bands.
(To be concluded in our next.)
A LETTER FROM A SISTER IN THE FAITH.
We live in a day when "iniquity abounds, and the love of many waxeth cold;" when the enemies of our God and of his Christ, are using all their efforts, yea, they spare no pains, trouble, or expense, to propagate their awful heresies; in such a case may we not say, the children of this world, are wiser in their generation, than the children of light? Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind; be sober and hope to the end," holding fast the form of sound wrods" for the time is come when they will not endure sound doctrine;" Now as the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times, some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;" so, beloved, be not thou carried about with divers, and strange doctrines, for it is a good thing, that the heart be established with grace." Again, therefore I say, the times we are living in, are solemn and eventful, "Truth is fallen in our streets, and equity cannot enter;" infidelity and popery are making rapid strides, and no doubt a time of persecution is drawing near, and where it will be made manifest, who is on the Lord's side; moreover when we reflect, on the languishing state of Zion, the very few faithful watchmen upon her walls, who shun not to declare the whole counsel of God, and the few that hold up the arms of their ministers, by contending for the faith once delivered to the saints; I am bold to affirm, that the errors which have crept into the church of the living God, during the last fifty years, and scattered the flock of slaughter, would never have made such inroads among them, had it not been for the compromising system of those, who