« PreviousContinue »
“ is mighty, he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy.” Who would not be a real christian, one of Chrift's sheep, in preference to the highest happiness this world can raise its favorites to? Consider the preferableness of the poorest and mean. eß believer, to the greatest, highest and most dignified firiner.
Thirdly, how awful and melancholy is the fituation of thofe who have no interest in the care, protection and love of this good shepherd ? Are there not many who have the greateft realon to be assured that this is their true state? Pray, my dear hearers, consider the danger and terribleness of your situation. You run the risks every moment of finking into the horrible pit of eternal destruction. Your life is a vapour, and you live by the mere forbearance and sufferance of that God, who is angry with you every day. Consider what you will do if death should arrest you while you are in this condition. The thought is painful and dreadful, and it had been good for you you had never been born.
· Wherefore, awake, arise, flee to the arms of the good shepherd; escape for your lives to the city of refuge, to the hope fet before you in the gospel, ere it be forever too late. Re. member the Lord will shake this earth to pieces, and the ele. ments will melt with fervent heat. “Wherefore give all dili
gence to make your calling and election fare."
Marks of Christ's Flock.
Ilaiah, xl. 11. He fall feed his flock like a shepherd, be Mall
gather the lambs with his arms, and carry them in his bosom, and foall gently lead those that are with young.
THE descriptions of Jehovah contained in this chapter, are inimitably grand and majestic. They have never been equalled by any pencil, and it is impossible they should be exceeded. How inimitable is the following painting -With what bold strokes, with what energy and life, with what force of expression, does it exhibit and display the exceeding greateness and incomparable majesty of the Most High.. " Who 6 hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and “ meted out heaven with a span, comprehended the dust of u the earth in a measure, weighed the mountains in scales and “ the hills in a balance !-- Behold the nations are as a drop of a “ bucket, and are counted as the small duft of the balance : “ behold he taketh up the islės as a very little thing. And
Labanon is not sufficient to burn, and the beasts thereof
“ sufficient for a burnt offering. All nations before him ate. " as nothing, and they are counted to him less than nothing " and vanity.” If this language does not describe divinity, self-existent and independent ; inconceiveable omnipotence, and ineffable glory, it is absolutely impolible, it should be ! painted in any language whatever.
This chapter is, in the New Testament, immediately and djrectly applied to Jesus Christ. In the third verfe we have these expressions. “ The voice of him that crieth in the “ wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord, make Itraight “ in the desert an highway for our God ;” even that God whose picture has been drawn in glowing colours and with a daring pencil. Now this is applied to John the Baptist as the forerunner of Christ in all the Evangelists. For that he was Christ's forerunner is allowed ; therefore the God fo il. lustriously delincated in the language already quoted, is none other than the Lord Jesus ; of consequence Jesus Christ is true, essential and uncreated God. So exprefs an application, of what is here spoken, to Christ, one would be ready to think fully sufficient to determine the controversy respecting his proper
Godhead, with all those who believed in divine revela. tion; and divine authority alone can decide in a matter of this nature.
The chapter opens with the most joyful tidings, that there is peace on earth and good will towards the children of men. « Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, faith the Lord of hosts." And the prophet has orders to proclaim this consolation in the most public manner. “O thou, that bringest good tidings to “ Zion, get ye up into the high mountain," a place from whence thou mayest be extensively heared. “O thou that « bringest good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up thy voice with “ strength, lift it up, be not afraid ; say unto the cities of Ju“ dah, behold your God. For the Lord God will come with
" a strong hand, and his arm will rule for him.” This God will come and become flesh and dwell among us; he will come and take on him the form of a fervant ; he will affume hu. manity and his arm will rule for him ; he travelleth in the greatness of his strength through the work of redemption ; his reward is with him and his work before him. His divinity supports hin under the safferings of his humanity; the former gives infinite virtue and efficacy to the latter. His reward shall be glorious, “ For seeing the travel of his foul he shall 6 be satisfied. For the joy that was set before him, he endu. $red the cross, despised the shame, and is set down at the 6 right hand of the throce of God."
This fame person who is drawn in all the majesty of the Sovereign Jehovah is exhibited to our view in the text in one of the most harmless, gentle and inviting characters. “ He « Ihall feed his flock like a shepherd, he shall gather the lambs “ with his arms, and carry them in his bofom, and shall gen“ tly lead those that are with young.” Remarkable it is that the blessed Jesus is represented in the scriptures to his people under every figure and image that expresses friendship, kind. ness, condescenfion, care, tenderness and love. What a group of them is before us; tho' his arm is strong and he is the mighty God, he condescends in all the carefulness of friendship to provide for his people. Yea, the public, the weak and the young are the objects of his peculiar attention. The infants, the children of his church, feem above all others to attract his most affectionate care. He gathers them in his tender arms and carries them in his warm and compassionate bosom.
Many doctrines of high and useful importanee arise from this subject, but the only one we can consider at present is, the nature and character of Christ's flock upon earth.
That Christ Jesus has a church, a Aock in the world, will be readily granted by all the believers of divine revelation This flock confits of believing parents and their feed, who are often stiled sheep and lambs. He has had fuch a number in every age since the fall, and will have such a number throughout all future generations. They are his flock in an eminent manner, and distinguished from the world, ever fince Cain departed from it, and went out from the presence of the Lord. Till this unhappy period, which seemed like a second apostacy, Adam and Eve, and their children, belonged to the church. And the short history we have of the flock of Christ before the flood, tho'a long term of more than fixteen hundred years, evidently holds forth, that the children of the antideluvian saints pertained to the same. Why are the children. of Seth, Enos, Enoch, Methulalah &c. fo particularly mentioned, but that the sons and daughters born unto them appertained to the church ? After the deluge, when Ham and his fon were guilty of an outragious wickedness, fell under the curse of their father and their God, another apostacy from religion took place, and they and their posterity were loft ; yet the church dill continued in the other sons of Noah and their children, till the calling of Abraham, to whom was revealed a new and more clear dispensation of the covenant of grace. And did Abraham revive and set up the church a new, and were not his infant offspring also admitted into it? So throughout the whole Mosaic economy and Jewish dispen. fation, children pertained to the church, and were ever refpected as lambs of the flock. So our Lord himself, after whose death the church was to be extended to the gentile nations, commanded little children to be brought unto him and deciared of such is the kingdom of God. The apostles also taught that the children of the saints are holy, and to be distinguished from the unclean pofterity of the feathen tribes, and that the promises made to believers extended likewise to their chil. dren.