« PreviousContinue »
wisdom of God appear in that long course and series of greae changes in the world, in bringing such order out of confusion, in so frustrating the devil, and so wonderfully turning all his most subtle machinations to his own glory, and the glory of his Son Jesus Christ! And in causing the greatest works of Satan, those in which he has most vaunted himself, to be wholly turned into occasions of so much the more glorious triumph of his Son Jesus Christ ? And how wonderful is the wisdom of God, in bringing all such manifold and various changes and overturnings in the world to such a glorious period at last, and in so directing all the wheels of providence by his skilful hand, that every one of them conspires, as the manifold wheels of a most curious machine, at last to strike out such an excellent issue, such a manifestation of the divine glory, such happiness to his people, and such a glorious and cverlasting kingdom to his Son !
VIII. From what has been said, we may see the stability of God's mercy and faithfulness to his people ; how he never forsakes his inheritance, and remembers his covenant to them through all generations. Now we may see what reason there was for the words of the text, « The moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool; but my righteousness shall endure for ever and ever, and my salvation from generation to generation.” And now we may see abundant reason for that name of God which he reveals to Moses, Exod. iii. 14. " And God said unto Moses, I am that I am ; i. e. I am the same that I was when I entered into covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and ever shall be the same : I shall keep covenant forever : I am selfsufficient, allsufficient, and immutable.
And now we may see the truth of that, Psal. xxxvi. 5, 6. " Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens ; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds. Thy righteousness is like the great mountains ; thy judgments are a great deep.” And if we consider what has been said, we need not wonder that the Psalmist, in the 136th Psal. so often repeats this, For his mercy endureth for ever ; as if he were in an ecstacy at the con
sideration of the perpetuity of God's mercy to his church, and delighted to think of it, and knew not how but continually to express it. Let us with like pleasure and joy celebrate the everlasting duration of God's mercy and faithfulness to his church and people, and let us be comforted by it under the present dark circumstances of the church of God, and all the uproar and confusions that are in the world, and all the threatenings of the church's enemies. And let us take encouragement earnestly to pray for those glorious things which Ged has promised to accomplish for his church.
IX. Hence we may learn how happy a society the church of Christ is. For all this great work is for them. Christ undertook it for their sakes, and for their sakes he carries it on, from the fall of man to the end of the world ; it is because he has loved them with an everlasting love. For their sakes he overturns states and kingdoms. For their sakes he shakes heaven and earth. He gives men for them, and people for their life. Since they have been precious in God's sight, they have been honorable ; and therefore he first gives the blood of his own Son to them, and then, for their sakes, gives the blood of all their enemies, many thousands and millions, all nations that stand in their way, as a sacrifice to their good.
For their sakes he made the world, and for their sakes he will destroy it : For their sakes he built heaven, and for their sakes he makes his angels ministering spirits. Therefore the Apostle says, as he does, 1 Cor. iii. 21, &c. “ All things are yours : Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come ; all are yours.” How blessed is this people who are redeemed from among men, and are the first fruits unto God, and to the Lamb ; who have God in all ages for their protection and help! Deut. xxxiii. 29. “ Happy art thoui, O Israel : Whio is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency ! And thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee, and thou shalt tread upon their high places."
Let who will prevail now, let the enemies of the church exalt themselves as much as they will, these are the people
that shall finally prevail. The last kingdom shall finally be theirs ; the kingdom shall finally be given into their hands, and shall not be left to other people. We have seen what a blessed issue things shall finally be brought to as to them, and what glory they shall arrive at, and remain in possession of, for ever and ever, after all the kingdoms of the world are come to an end, and the earth is removed, and mountains are carried into the depth of the sea, or where the sea was, and this lower earth shall all be dissolved. O happy people, and blessed society! Well may they spend an eternity in praises and hallelujahs to him who hath loved them from eternity, and will love them to eternity.
X. And, lastly, hence all wicked men, all that are in a Christless condition, may see their exceeding misery. You that are such, whoever you are, you are those who shall have no part or lot in this matter. You are never the better for any of those things of which you have heard : Yea, your guilt is but so much the greater, and the misery you are exposed to so much the more dreadful. You are some of that sort against whom God, in the progress of the work, exercises so much manifest wrath ; some of those enemies who are liable to be made Christ's footstool, and to be ruled with a rod of iron, and to be dashed in pieces. You are some of the seed of the serpent, to bruise the head of which is one great design of all this work. Whatever glorious things God accomplishes for his church, if you continue in the state you are now in, they will not be glorious to you. The most glorious times of the church are always the most dismal times to the wicked and impenitent. This we are taught in Isa. Ixvi. 14. .......And so we find, whereever glorious things are foretold concerning the church, there terrible things are foretold concerning the wicked, its enemies. And so it ever has been in fact ; in all remarkable deliverances wrought for the church, there has been also a remarkable execution of wrath on its enemies. So it was when God delivered the children of Israel out of Egypt ; at the same time he remarkably poured out his wrath on Pharaoh and the Egyptians. So
when he brought them into Canaan by Joshua, and gave
them that good land, he remarkably executed wrath upon the Canaanites. So when they were delivered out of their Babylonish captivity, signal vengeance was inflicted on the Babylonians. So when the Gentiles were called, and the elect of God were saved by the preaching of the apostles, Jerusalem and the persecuting Jews were destroyed in a most awful
I might observe the same concerning the glory accomplished to the church in the days of Constantine, at the overthrow of Satan's visible kingdom in the downfall of Antichrist, and at the day of judgment. In all these instances, and especially in the last, there have been, or will be, exhibited most awful tokens of the divine wrath against the wicked. And to this class of men you belong.
You are indeed some of that sort that God will make use of in this affair ; but it will be for the glory of his justice, and not of his mercy. You are some of those enemies of God who are reserved for the triumph of Christ's glorious power in overcoming and punishing them. You are some of that sort that shall be consumed with this accursed world after the day of judgment, when Christ and his church shall triumphantly and gloriously ascend to heaven.
Therefore let all that are in a Christless condition amongst us seriously consider these things, and not be like the foolish people of the old world, who would not take warning, when Noah told them, that the Lord was about to bring a flood of waters upon the earth ; or like the people of Sodom, who would not regard, when Lot told them, that God would destroy that city, and would not flee from the wrath to come, and so were consumed in that terrible destruction.
AND now I would conclude my whole discourse on this subject, in words like those in the last of the Revelation : s6 These sayings are faithful and true, and blessed is he that keepeth these sayings. Behold, Christ cometh quickly, and his reward is with him, to render to every man according as his work shall be. And he that is unjust, shall be unjust still ;
and he that is filthy, shall be filthy still ; and he that is holy, shall be holy still. Bessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may cnter in through the gates into the city : For without, are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. He that testifieth these things, saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen; even so come, Lord Jesus."