Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

ceffity of these, and cry to God, day and night, for strength to carry you to Christ in the way of faith.

Secondly, As to those that have been longer under the hands of Christ, and yet are still in troubles, and cannot obtain peace, but their wounds bleed ftill, and all they hear in fermons, or do in the way of duty, will not bring them to relt; to such I only add two or three words for a clofc.

First, Consider whether you ever rightly closed with Christ since your first awakening, and whether there be not fome way of sin, in which you still live : if so, no wonder your wounds are kept open, and your souls are strangers to peace.

Secondly, If you be conscious of no fuch Aaw in the foundation, consider how much of this trouble may arise from your conftitution and natural ternper, which being melancholy, will be doubtful and suspicious; you may find it so in other cases of less moment, and be sure Satan will not be wanting to improve it.

Thirdly, Acquaint yourselves more with the nature of true justifying faith ; a mistake in that hath prolonged the troubles of many: if you look for it in no other act but assurance, you may easily overlook it, as it lies, in the mean time, ia your affiance or acceptance. A true and proper conception of saving faith would go far in the cure of many troubled fouls.

Fourthly, Be more thankful to shun sin, than to get yourselves clear of trouble : it is fad to walk in darkness, but worse to lie uoder guilt. Say, Lord, I would rather be grieved myself, than be a grief to thy Spirit. O keep me from lin, how long foever thou keep me under forrow. Wait on God in the way of faith, and in a tender fpirit towards sin, and thy wounds shall be healed at last by thy great Physician.

Thanks be to God for Jesus Chrift. concoronaessaran asiana

sonoraransionaranasan acara

S E RM

RM ON

Containing the Second Motive to enforce the general

Exhortation, from a second Title of Christ.

Luke i. 72. To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and

remember his holy covenant.

HIS scripture is part of Zechariah's prophecy, at the rising of that bright Star John, the harbinger and forerunner of Christ : They are fome of the first words he spake after God had loosed his tongue, which, for a time, was struck dumb for his unbelief. His congue is now unbound, and at liberty to proclaim to all the world, the unspeakable riches of mercy through Jesus Christ, in a song of praise, Wherein note,

The mercy celebrated, viz. redemption by Chrift, ver. 68. The description of Christ by place and property, ver. 69. The faithfulness of God in our redemption this way, ver. 70. The benefit of being so redeemed by Christ, ver. 71.

The exact accomplishment of all the promises made to the fathers in fending Christ, the mercy promised into the world, ver. 72.“ To perform the mercy promised to our fathers,” &c. In these words we find two parts, viz.

1. A mercy freely promiled.
2. The promised mercy faithfully performed.

First, You have a mercy freely promised, viz. by God the Father, from the beginning of the world, and often repeated and confirmed in several succeeding ages, to the fathers, in his covenant-transactions.

This mercy is Jesus Chrift, of whom he speaks in this prophecy; the same which he stiles “ An horn of salvation in the os house of David,” ver. 69.

The mercy of God in fcripture, is put either for, 1. His free favour to the creature.

Or, 2. The effects and fruits of that favour.

It is put for the free and undeserved favour of God to the creature, and this favour of God may respect the creature two ways, either as undeserving, or as ill-deserving.

it respected innocent man, as undeserving for A dam could put no obligation upon his benefactor. It respecteth fallen man, as ill-deserving. Inoocent man could not merit favour, and fallen man did merit wrath : the favour or mercy of God to both is every way free; and that is the first acceptation of the word mercy: but then it is also taken for the effects and fruits of God's favour, and they are either

1. Principal and primary : or, 2. Subordinate and secondary.

Of secondary and subordinate mercies, there are multitudes, both temporal, refpeéting the body, and spiritual, respecting the soul; but the pripcipal and primary mercy is but one, and that is Christ, the first born of mercy; the capital mercy, the com: prehensive root-mercy, from whom are all other mercies; and therefore called by a fingular emphalis in my text, The mercy, liter the mercy of all mercies; without whom no drop of saving

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

mercy can flow to any of the sons of men, and in whom are all the tender bowels of divine mercy yearning upon poor finners. The mercy, and the mercy promised. The first promise of Christ was made to Adam, Gen. iii. 15. and was frequently renewed afterwards, to Abraham, to David, and, as the text Ipeaks, unto the fathers, in their respective generations.

Secondly, We find here also, the promised mercy faithfully
performed: "To perform the mercy promited.”. What mercy
foever the love of God engaged him to promise, the faithfulnels
of God stands engaged for the performance thereof. Chrift,
the promised mercy, is not only performed, truly, but he is also
performed, according to the promise in all the circumstances
thereof, exactly. So he was promised to the fathers, and just so
performed to us their children : Hence the note is,
Doct. That Jesus Christ, the mercy of mercies, was graciously

promised, and faithfully performed by God to his people.
Three things are here to be opened :
First, Why Christ is filed the mercy.
Secondly, What kind of mercy Christ is to his people.
Thirdly, How this mercy was performed.

First, Christ is the mercy, emphatically fo called ; the peerless, invaluable, and matchless mercy: Because he is the prime fruit of the mercy of God to finners. The mercies of God are infinite ; mercy gave the world, and us, our bcing; all our protections, provisions, and comforts, in this world, are the fruits of mercy, the free gifts of divine favour : But Christ is the first and chief; all other mercies, compared with him, are but fruits from that root, and Ireams from that fountain of mercy; the very bowels of divine mercy are in Christ, as in ver. 78. according to the tender mercies, or, as the Greek, the yearning bowels of the mercy of God.

Secondly, Christ is the mercy, because all the mercy of God to finners, is dispensed, and conveyed through Christ to them, Joho i. 16. Col. ii. 3, Eph. iv. 7. Christ is the medium of all divine communications, the channel of grace; through him are both the decursus et recurfus gratiarum; the flows of mercy from God to us, and the returns of praise from us to God. Fond and vain, therefore, are all the expectations of mercy out of Chrift; no drop of saving mercy runs beside this channel.

Thirdly, Christ is the mercy, because all inferior mercies de. rive both their nature, value, fiveetness, and duration from Christ, the fountain mercy of all other mercies.

First, They derive their nature from Christ; for out of him, those things which men call mercies, are rather traps, and snares,

[ocr errors]

than mercies to them, Prov. i. 32. The time will come, when the rich, that are chriftleis, will with, O that we had been poor! And nobles, that are not ennobled by the new birth, O that we had been among the low rank of men ! All these things that pass for valuable mercies, like cyphers, Tignify much when such an important figure as Christ stands before them, else they fig. nify nothing to any man's comfort or benefit.

Secondly, They derive their value, as well as nature, from Chrilt: For how little, I pray you, doth it signify to any man to be rich, honourable, politic, and successful in all his designs in the world, if, after all, he must lie down in hell ?

Thirdly, All other mercies derive their sweetness from Christ, and are but infipid thiogs without him. There is a twofold sweetness in things; one natural, another spiritual: Those that are out of Christ can relish the first, believers only relish both: They have the natural sweetness that is in mercy itself, and a sweetness fupernatural, from Christ and the covenant, the way in which they receive them. Hence it is, that some men taste more spiritual sweetoess in their daily bread, than others do in the Lord's Supper; and the fame mercy, by this means, becomes a feast to soul and body at once.

Fourthly, All mercies have their duration, and perpetuity, from Christ; all christless persons hold their mercies upon the greatest contingencies, and terms of uncertainty; if they be con. tioued during this life, that is all: There is not one drop of mer. cy after death. But the mercies of the saints are continued to eternity; the end of their mercies on earth, is the beginning of their better mercies in heaven. There is a twofold end of mer: cies, one perfective, another defirullive; the death of the faints perfects and completes their mercies, the death of the wicked destroys and cuts off their mercies : For these reasons, Christ is called the mercy.

Secondly, in the next place, let us enquire what manner of mercy Christ is; and we shall find many lovely, and transcendent properties to commend him to our fouls.

First, He is a free, and undelerved mercy, called upon that account, The gift of God, John iv. 1o. And to fhew how free ibis gift was, God gave hiin to us when we were enemies, Rom. v. 8. Needs must that mercy be free, which is given, not only to the undeserving, but to the ill-deferving; the benevolence of God was the fole, impulfive cause of this gift, John M. 16.

Secondly, Christ is a full mercy, replenished with all that answers to the wishes, or wants of sipoers; in hinn, alone, is found whar. ever the justice of an angry God requires for fatisfaction, or the

[ocr errors]

necessities of fouls require for their fapply. Chrift is full of mercy, both extensively, and intensively : in him are all kinds, and forts of mercies; and in him are the highest and most perfect degrees of mercy; “For it pleased the Father, that in him thould “ all fulness dweil," Col. i. 19.

Thirdly, Christ is the seasonable mercy, given by the Father to us in due time, Rom. v. 6. In the fulaess of time, Gal. iv. 4. a feasonable mercy in his exhibition to the world in general, and a feasonable mercy in his application to the foul in particular ; the wisdom of God pitched upon the best time for his incarnation, and it takes the very properest for his application. When a poor foul is distressed, loit, at its wits end, and ready to periih; then comes Christ : All God's works are done in feason, but none more feasonable than this great work of salvation by Christ.

Fourthly, Christ is the necesary mercy, there is an absolute neceility of Jesus Christ; hence in scripture he is called the “ bread of life,” John vi. 48. he is bread to the hungry; he is the water of life,” Joha vii. 37. as cold water to the thirsty foul. He is a ransom for captives, Mat. 8x. 28. a garment to the naked, Rom. xii. ult. Bread is not fo necessary to the hungry, nor water to the thirsty, nor a ransom to the captive, nor a garment to the naked; as Christ is to the soul of a Gina ner : The breath of our noitrils, the life of our fouls, is in Jesus Christ.

Fifthly, Christ is a fountain-mercy, and all other mercies flow from him: A believer may lay with Christ,

springs are in thee;" from his merit, and from his spirit, fow our redemption, justification, fanctification, peace, joy in the Holy Ghost, and blessedness in the world to come: that day shall there be a fountain opened, Zech. xiii. 1.

Sixthly, Christ is a satisfying mercy; he that is full of Chrilt, can feel the want of nothing. “I desire to know aothing, “ but Jesus Christ, and, him crucified,” i Cor. ii. 2. Christ bounds and termicates the vast defires of the foul: He is the very fabbath of the soul. How hungry, empty, and Atraitned, on every side, is the foul of man, in the abundance and fulpels of all outward things, till it come to Christ ? the weary mo. tions of a resless soul, like thole of a river, cannot be at rest till they pour themselves into Christ, the ocean of blessedness.

Seventhly, Christ is a peculiar mercy, intended for, and applied to a remnant among men; fome would extend redemption as large as the world, but the gospel limits it to those, only, that believe; and those believers are, upon that account, called

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

" All my

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »