Page images
PDF
EPUB

If you fee no beauty in Chrift, why you should defire him, it is because the god of this world bath blinded your minds.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Alluring the Hearts of Men to come to CHRIST, by a

fourth Motive contained in another Title of CHRIST.

Haggar ii, 7. —- And the defire of all nations fall come,

HE former chapter is mainly spent, in reproving the ne.

being

to time, had delayed the rebuilding the temple : aod, in the mean time, employed their care and cost in building and adoraing their own houses: but, at last, being perfuaded to set about the work, they meet with this discouragement, that such was the poverty of the present time, that the second structure would no way aniwer the magnificence and splendor of the first. In Solomon's days the nation was wealthy, now drained; so that there would be no proportion betwixt the second and the first. To this grand discouragement, the prophet applies this relief ; that whatsoever should be wanting in external pomp and glory, should be more than recompensed by the presence of Jesus Christ in this second temple. For Christ

, “ 'the desire of all nations," faith he, shall come into it. Which, by the way, may give us this useful note; That the presence of Jesus Chrift gives a mora real and excellent glory to the places of his worship, than any external beauty, or outward ornaments, whatsoever, can testow upon them. Our eyes, like the disciples, are apt to be dazzled with the goodly stones of the temple, and, in the mean time, to peglect and overlook that which gives it the greatest hopour and beauty

But to return. In these words we have both the description of Christ, and an index pointing at the time of his incarnation : he is called, "the desire of all nations ;" and the time of his coming, in the flesh, is plainly intimated to be whilft the second temple should be standing. Where, by the way, we find just caute to admire at, and bemoan the blindness that is happened ta the Jews; who owning the truth of this prophecy, and not able to deny the destruction of the second temple, many hundred years past, will not yet be brought to acknowledge the incarna, rion of the true Messiah, potwithstanding.

[ocr errors]

But to the point. The character, or description of Christ, Itined the desire of all nations, who was to come into the world in the time of the second temple, Mal. iii. 12. apd that, after grievous concussions, and shakings of the world, which were to make way for his coming ; for so our prophet here speaks,“ [ 5. will shake all nations, aod the desire of all nations shall * come,” to which the apostle alludes, in Heb, xii. 26. apply. ing this prophecy to Jesus Christ, here called the “ desire of all “ nacious :" putting the act for the object, desire for the thing defired; as in Ezek. xxiv. 16." The desire of thine eyes,” that is, the defirable wife of thy bosom; so here, the “ desire of “ all nations," that is, Christ, the object of the desires of God's elect, in all nations of the world : a Saviour infinitely desirable in himself, and actually desired by all the people of God, difpersed among all kindreds, tongues, and nations of the world, From whence this pote is,

Doct. That the desires of God's Eleat, in all kingdoms, and am

mong all people of the earth, are, and shall be drawn out after, and fixed upon the Lord Jesus Christ.

[ocr errors]

The merciful God beholding the universal ruins, of the world by fin, hath provided an universal remedy for his own elect, in every part of the earth. Christ is not impropriated to any one kingdom, or pation in the world; but intended to be God's salvation to the ends of the earth; and accordingly, (peaks the apostle, Cal. ii, 11, “ There is neither Greek, por “ Jew, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free; but Christ is all " and in all.” In the explication of this point, two things must be enquired into.

1, Why Christ is called the desire of all pations.

2. Upon what account the people of God, in all nations, defire bim

First, Why he is called the desire of all oations; and what that phrase may import ; and there are divers things that are fuppofed, or included in it.

First, That God the Father hath appointed him as a common remedy, for the fins and miseries of his people, in all parts and quarters of the world. So in the covenant of redemption, betwixt the Father and the Son, the Lord expresseth himself, lla, xlix. 6. and he said, “ It is a light thing that thou shouldest be

my fervant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the " preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the " Gentiles, that thou mayelt be my falvation unto the end of “the earth.” Suitable whereunto, is that prophecy, Ifa. lii15. " He shall sprinkle many nations.” If God had not appointed him for, he could not be desired by all nations.

And, indeed, herein the grace of God doth admirably shine forth in the freeness of it, that even the most barbarous nations are not excluded from the benefit of redemption by Christ. This is what the apostle admires, that Christ should be preached to the Gentiles, 1 Tim. iii. 16. a people that seemed to be loft in the darkness of idolatry; yet even for them, Christ was give en by the Father, “ Ark of me (faith he) and I will give thee the “ Heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the 6* earth for thy possession.”

Secondly, Christ, the desire of all nations, plainly notes the fufficiency that is in him, to supply the wants of the whole world: as the sun in the heavens fuffices all nations, for light, and inAuence, fo doth the Sun of righteousness suffice for the redemption, justification, sanctification, and falvation of the people of God, all over the world ; Ifa. xlv. 22. “ Look unto me, and be

ye faved, all ye ends of the earth.”

Thirdly, it implies the reality that is in godliness. It thews you, that religion is no fancy, as the atheistical world would perfuade us; and this evidently appears, in the uniform effects of it upon the hearts of all men, in all nations of the world, that are truly religious : all their desires, like so many needles touched by one and the same loadstone, move towards Jesus Christ, and all meet together in one and the fame blessed object Chrift, Were it possible for the people of God to come out of all pati. ons, kindreds, and languages in the world, into one place, and there confer, and compare the desires and workings of their hearts; though they never saw each other's faces, nor heard of each other's names; yet, as face anfwers to face in a glass, so would their delires after Christ answer to each other. All hearts work after him in the same manner; what one faith, all say: These are my troubles and burdens, these my wants and miseries ; the same things, my desires and fears: one and the fame Spirit works in all believers throughout the world; which could never be, if religion were but a fancy, as some call it; or a combination, or confederácy, as others call it : fancies are as various as faces; and confederacies presuppose mutual acquaintance and conference.

Fourthly, Christ, the desire of all nations, implies the vast extent his kingdom hath, and shall have in the world, out of every Dation, under heaven, fome fhall be brought to Christ, and to heaven by him; and though the qumber of God's elect, com: pared with the multitudes of the ungodly in all nations, is but a remnant, a little flock; and, in that comparative sense, there are few that shall be saved : yet considered absolutely, and in themselves, they are a vast number, which no man can number, Mat. viii. 11. Many shall come from the East, and from the " West, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Ifaac, and Jacob, “ in the kingdom of heaven.” In order whereunto, the golpel, like the sun in the heavens, circuits the world. It arose in the East, and takes its courle towards the western world: rising, by degrees, upon the remote, idolatrous nations of the earth : out of all which a number is to be saved, even Ethiopia hall stretch

out her hands to God,” Pfal. Ixviii. 31. And this consideration should move us to pray earnestly for the poor Heathens, who yet fit in darkness, and the shadow of death; there is yet hope for them.

Fifthly, It holds forth this, that when God opens the eyes of men to see their fin and danger by it; nothing but Chriit can give them fatisfaction ; it is not the amenity, fertility, riches and pleasures, the inhabitants of any kingdom of the world do enjoy, that can satisfy the desires of their souls : when once God touches their hearts with the sense of sin and mifery : then Christ, and none but Chrift, is desirable, and necessary, in the eyes of such persons. Many kingdoms of the world abound with riches and pleasures ; the providence of God hath carved liberal portions of the good things of this life to many of them, and scarce left any thing to their desires that the world can afford. Yer all this can give no satisfaction, without Jesus Christ, the defire of all nations, the one thing necesiry, when once they come to fee the necessity and excellency of him : then take the world, who will, so they may have Christ, the desire of their souls. Thus we see upon what grounds, and reasons, Christ is filed the des sire of all nations.

Object. But there lies one great objection against this truth, which must be solved; viz. If Christ be the desire of all nations, how comes it to pass, that Jesus Christ finds no entertainment in so many nations of the world, among whom Christianity is hissed at, and Christians not tolerated to live among them? Who see no beauty in him that they should desire himn.

Sol. First, We mult remember, the nations of the world have their times and seasons of conversion; those that once embra. ced Christ, have now lost him, and idols are now fet up, in the places where he once was tweetly worshipped. The sun of the gospel is gone down upon them, and now lines in another Hemisphere, and so the nations of the world are to have their

[merged small][ocr errors]

1

distinct days, and seasons of illumination. The gospel, like
the sea, gaiaeth in one place, what it loseth in another; and in
the times and seasons appointed by the Father, they come fuc-
cefsively to be enlightened in the knowledge of Christ; and then
Thall that promise be fulfilled, Ifa. xlix. 7. “ Thus faith the
“ Lord, the Redeemer of Irael, and his holy One, to him
“ whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth,

to a servant of rulers; kings shall see and arise, prioces also
* shall worship, because of the Lord that is faithful."

Secondly, Let it also be remembred, that altho' Chrift be rejected by the rulers and body of many nations; yet he is the de fire of all the elect of God, dispersed, and scattered among those nations,

In the next place, Secondly, we are to enquire, upon what account Christ becomes the desire of all nations, (i.c.) of all thole, in all the nations of the world, that belong to the election of grace. And the true ground, and reason thereof, is, because Christ, only, hath that in himself, which relieves their 'Wants, and answers to all their need. As,

First, They are all, by nature under condemnation, Rom. v.
16, 18. under the curse of the law; against which, nothing is
found in heaven or earth, able to relieve their consciences, bus
the blood of sprinkling, the pure and perfect righteousness of
the Lord Jesus: and hence it is, that Christ becomes so desir-
able in the eyes of poor finners, all the world over. If any
thing in nature could be found to pacify and purge the consci-
ences of men from guilt and fear, Christ would never be desir-
able in their eyes; but finding no other remedy but the blood
of Jesus, to him, therefore, shall all the ends of the earth look
for righteousness, and for peace.

Secondly, All nations of the world are polluted with the filth
of sin, both in nature and practice, which they Mall see, and
bitterly bewail, when the light of the gospel shall shine amongst
them; and the fame light, by which this shall be discovered,
will, also, discover the only remedy of this evil to lie in the
fpirit of Christ, the only fountain opened to all nations for fance
tification, and cleansing: and this will make the Lord Jesus in-
comparably desirous in their eyes. O how welcome will he be
that cometh unto them, not by blood only, but by water allo!
John i. 5, 6.
Thirdly, When the light of the gospel shall shine upon

the
nations, they shall then fee, that, by reason of the guilt and
filth of fin, they are all barred out of heaven; those doors are
chained up against them, and that none but Chrift can open ata

1

« PreviousContinue »