Page images
PDF
EPUB

THE SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED*.

SERMON XLUC

Isa. lxi. I - The Lord hath anointed me to preach goodtidingi to the meek.

Having gone through the doctrinal part of this subject, by offering what was intended on.the several heads of methodwhich we laid down,. we shall now, as was proposed,

IV. Make some practical.improvement; and this^ in uses of information}—trial,—and exhortation.

We are, in the first place, to improve this subject in an use of information.

r. Hence you mayleam what is the great cause of slighting the gospel, of that coldrise entertainment which it gets amongst most of its hearers, that little relish which there is for the great truths of the gospel ; why so sew do comply with the gracious calls which it affords. People may attribute tribute this to what causes they will, but the true cause is the want of this meekness and poverty of spirit. Instead of this, there are pride and self-conceit, unsubdued and unmortisied. I may branch these out into several particulars, as opposed to this meekness. There is,

(1.) No due sense of spiritual wants: Prov. xxvii.7. "The sull foul loatheth the honeycomb." Most men are sick of a Laodicean disease, saying. in their practice as they said in their hearts, that "they are rich and increased in goods, and stand in need of nothing," Rev. iii.17. They are not mourning under their want of light, of lise, and of holiness. They reign as kings with what they have, though, as with King Saul, <God is departed from them. Hence they do not value that treasure which is hid in the sield of the gospel.

(2.) Men have no true sight and sense of their own sinsulness. They see not the sinsulness of their nature, of their hearts, lips, and lives, but are like Sampson, without his two eyes: Matth. ix. 12. "They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick." They are pining away in their sins; their sickness has not yet taken them by the heart; their wounds are not lanced; the law has not had its effect upon them, and therefore the gospel is not relished.

(3.) Their eyes are vailed, so that they see not {heir misery by sin, and as being without Christ; Hof.vii.o. "Strangers have devoured his strength, and he knoweth it not; yea, gray hairs are here and there upon him, yet he knoweth not;—and they do not return to the Lord their God, nor .seek him for all this." Did they fee the clouds of wrath which are hanging above their heads, the quick approaches which death with its sting is making to^ wards them, their separation from God, and from

all all the privileges of the covenant, they could not be at ease. The gospel-tidings would be to them as lise from ihe dead.

(4.) They are strangers to their utter inabilityto help themselves.. They are like Sampson, in another cafe, who knew not that his strength was; departed from him We may see how corrupt nature changes itself into various shapes on thispoint. If you urge men to ply the work of their salvation, Alas! say they, we can do nothing; they thus make it a covert for their floth. Urge' them with the necessity of reformation and repentance, they say, It is time enough, they will attend to this asterwards; as if it were in thepower of their hand -to do this business at anytime: they thus make it a covert for their delays, . and still have no relish for the gospel.

(5.) They do not seel their need of Christ: Rev. iii. 17. "They need his blood and Spirit,. but they are not duly sensible of. their need." Their own works are big in their own eyes, and ap-. pear to them sufficient in order to obtain God'ssavour. Their natural and acquired abilities are. also with them sufficient in order to their sanctisication; they are by no means shaken out of them-' selves; therefore the offer of the gospel is but .an offer of food to the sull foul, and so is loathed. v

(6.) They see not their own unworthiness of a Saviour's help; they come to the market of grace with their money in their hand. They look on themselves as worthy of what Christ mould do for them, Luke, vii. 4.. Though they be perhaps so sar humbled as to fee they must have, mercy and help from the Lord, yet they look On their reformation and duties as what cannot but recommend them to Christ beyond many others. .-. 'They

[ocr errors]

They cannot sec how the Lord can reject those who come so sar a length as they do. Hence the doctrine of free grace is but tastekss to them.

{7.) They have no anxiety for the supply of their soul-wants. They want grace and holiness, but they can be easy without them. Like foolish virgins, they sleep on at ease, while they have no oil for their lamps: Prov. vi. 16. "Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep." Their desires are keen aster the world, but weak, saint, and languishing aster spiritual good things. They have no hunger and thirst after them. Hence they value not the gospel, nor the fountain of living waters.

(8.) They are not content with Christ but on terms of their own making. They are like those who seek to buy a commodity which yet they can be without. If they can get it -at their own price, they will take it; if not, they can want it. There are right-eye sins, yet they will by no means part with them. They are not pleased with the covenant, some things are in it which they must have out; there are some things out which they must have in, else they will not come into it. Hence they care not for the gospel, or that covenant which it reveals.

2. Hence learn, that flight the gospel-call who will, the meek, the poor in spirit will gladly receive it. They who are shaken out of themselves by the law, will be glad to creep under that shelter which is held forth in the gospel. These souls will seast sweetly on what is tasteless to others, what others tread under seet and despise. The hungry are glad cf that for which the sull soul has no appetite; and just so it is in this case.— This subject informs us,

3. Of the dignity and honour of the work of

the

the ministry. With Paul, we would not be ashamed to magnify that office which is conversant about those tilings which are most necessary for the world, which bring the highest honour to God, and the greatest good to mankind. It is true, it is often a despised office in the world; but wisdom is justisied of her children. God had but one Son, and he made him a minister, a preacher of the gospel. He is the chief shepherd and bishop of souls, and therefore the ofsice of the ministry will be esteemed by all those who have a-' true esteem for Christ.—It informs us,

4. Of that good-will which the Father and the Son jointly bear to sinners j since the Father puthis own Son into this work, and the Son readily engaged in it. Do they not by this say, "Whywill ye die?" It was good-will to men in its utmost height, that ever such tidings were to be carried, and that ever such a messenger was employed.—It informs us,

5. How acceptable meekness and poverty of spirit are unto the Lord, who has put a peculiar article in Christ's commission for such. As to. others, he is to humble and bring them down; as to these, he is to refresh and revive them with good news.—It informs us,

6. As to the goodness and weight of the good tidings of the gospel, which are brought to us by such a hand. Surely the weight of the matter' must be great, when such a messenger was sent to publish it.—We are informed,

7. As to the danger of flighting these tidings, though men be employed in carrying them; for they speak in the name of the great Messenger, preach in the name, and by the authority of, the great Preacher. So he that "despiseth them, despiseth him that sent them:" Heb. ii. 3. "How

shalL

« PreviousContinue »