Spiritual Victories Through the Light of Salvation by Church, J. (John)
LIGHT OF SALVATION***
Transcribed from the 1810 Ann Kemmish edition by David Price, email email@example.com
SPIRITUAL VICTORIES, THROUGH THE _Light of Salvation_.
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BEING THE SUBSTANCE OF A
Preached on SUNDAY, March the 11th, 1810,
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BY J. CHURCH, Minster of the Gospel.
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_PUBLISHED BY REQUEST_.
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“O House of Jacob, come ye, let us walk in the Light of the Lord.”
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_SOUTHWARK_: Printed by ANN KEMMISH, King-Street, Borough.
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_TO those Friends who requested the Publication of this Sermon_—_I have only to say_, _I have endeavored to recollect a considerable part of it_; _many ideas I have omitted_, _and others I have introduced_, _as I had not the least intention of making this public_, _nor should I but for your very pressing solicitation_. _I would remark by way of Preface_, _that the success of Sermons_, _in point of usefulness_, _depends upon the operations of God the divine Spirit_; _and these influences are entirely sovereign_. _That although this Sermon was blest to you in the hearing_, _it may not be so to you in the reading_—_nevertheless_, _as the friends of immortal truth_—_you being in the possession of that love_ (_which rejoiceth in the truth_) _will also rejoice in every attempt to exalt the Person of Jesus as the truth_; _to comfort and establish Believers in the truth_, _and to encourage all the heralds of truth_, _to be faithful unto death_. _I have sent forth the truth in a very plain style_; _to you who know her excellencies she will shine with unfading charms_; _while you adore the God of all grace_—_and I subscribe myself_,
_Your willing Servant in the cause of truth_, _J. CHURCH_.
JUDGES viith Chap. 20th Verse.
“_And the three companies blew the trumpets_, _and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands_, _and their trumpets in their right_, _to blow withal_; _and they cried_, _The Sword of the Lord and of Gideon_!”
THE history of the church of God, in all ages past, as recorded in the Scriptures, is intended by the Spirit to exhibit many things of vast importance to us, on whom the ends of the world are come.
FIRST.—The rebellion, ingratitude, and idolatry of the Israelites, give us an awful proof of human depravity, and teach an humbling lesson to the spiritual Israel, who have the same sinful nature, are prone to the same sins, and would often fall into them and their consequences, but for the grace of God.
SECONDLY.—The patience and long-suffering of God, particularly marked out in this history—he bare long with them; his mercy was extended, prolonged, and manifested to them, notwithstanding all their provocations, in forgetting his deliverances of them in times past, and practising the same sins he had before resented.
THIRDLY.—His disapprobation of their conduct, and the means he took to testify it, are set before us. Our God is never at a loss for means to accomplish his wise and holy purposes of justice or mercy, as is evident from the history before us. The blessed Spirit operating upon the souls of his people, often by his influence reproves their consciences of sin, as it is so opposite to the purity of that divine nature, or holy principle he has blessed them with. Sin, committed by a believer, is a transgression of the law, or dictates of faith; for there is no sin, condemned under the first covenant, but what, under the covenant of grace, is pointed out in more odious colours.—Hence the idolatry, rebellion, and ingratitude of the believer, are seen and lamented by him as a child of God; and as God the Spirit communicates light to his understanding, to discover it as sinful, he perpetually testifies that his sins are more sinful than those who know not God.
FOURTHLY.—The inseparable connection between sin and sorrow, is felt by all, both elect and non-elect. By nations, families, and individuals, the moral and penal evils of the Fall, will be, must be, and are felt by all. The non-elect feel it in many awful forms, as transgressors, in the curse of the ground, in the calamities of war, in all the dreadful horrors of a guilty conscience, and in the wrath of a sin-avenging God. Nations feel it universally; this is evident by the calamities which befell the land of Canaan—so the 6th Chapter begins: “And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian.” Their sin was resented in this form, by the Lord—the prevailing of their enemies, which forced them to hide in dens, caves, mountains, and strong holds—their enemies destroyed the increase of their country, and reduced them almost to a famine; “and Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites” and people of Arabia.
FIFTHLY.—The tender mercy of God the Saviour appears as remarkable in their deliverance; in the remembrance of his covenant of old, with their fore-fathers; his good hand was seen in bringing them out of trouble, although they had brought these troubles on themselves—what a solemn, but gracious proof; “O! Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself! but in me is thine help.” And what encouragement does this give to poor backsliders to return to Jesus, their first husband; for although they have brought these troubles on themselves, yet Jesus is ready to deliver them! What a striking account does the pious Nehemiah give of the conduct of the Israelites, and the goodness of God to man—9th chap. 28th verse; “But after they had rest, they did evil again before thee, therefore thou leftest them in the hands of their enemies, so that they had dominion over them; yet when they cried unto thee thou heardest them from heaven; and many times thou didst deliver them, according to thy tender mercies.”
SIXTHLY.—I remark again, that our God has ever manifested himself a God, hearing prayer: the children of Israel cried unto the Lord, and the Lord sent a prophet to them; and after reproving them, we have an account of a deliverer, raised up by the Lord himself. What encouragement does this give to us in all our trials, without and within, whether in body, soul, circumstances, family, or nation. God has even condescended to hear the cries of many who had no grace, yet, led by the light of nature to call on him in trouble; and will he turn a deaf ear to his saints in trouble? surely not. Believer, the remedy’s before thee—PRAY.
In taking one more view of this history, we must admire the conduct of God in over-turning all the schemes of men, their wisdom, counsel, and power: that in providence as well as in grace, his wisdom, power, and faithfulness, might be clearly seen and adored by his people. His wisdom in the permission of the Fall, and its awful consequences, seems to go before, and make way for the displays of his love, mercy, power, and faithfulness. This is seen in his dispensations, generally, and particularly in grace & providence. How often has infinite wisdom permitted heavy troubles to come on the Church, to wean her from the creature—to shew her the value of Jesus, as a deliverer—and to lead her to him by many intreaties; that while we feel our strength perfect weakness, we may the more clearly discover the good hand of our God, in our support and deliverance, and give him the glory due to his name for it. The principal end God has in view in all his dispensations, is his own glory—this is the first cause and last grand end of all things—“for of him, and through him, and to him, are all things.” Had the victory we are considering been gained by well disciplined men, led on by wise, noble, valiant generals, who had often been successful in war—had this been the case, the creature would have been extolled, and God nearly forgotten. But this victory was a display of the power of Jehovah—his hand clearly seen, his mercy displayed, and all the honor given to him to whom it is due. The means, the feeble means the Lord made use of were simply, a weak un-armed man, with only three hundred men, led by him, with lamps, trumpets, and pitchers—to carnal reason a very unlikely method to conquer two hundred thousand Midianites, well skilled in the art of war. But this was God’s method, and we have a right to submit our wisdom to God’s plan; “for my thoughts are not as your thoughts, nor my ways as your ways, saith the Lord; for as the heavens are high above the earth, so are my ways above your ways.” And this victory, through such feeble means, is a confirmation of this truth—the angel Jehovah Jesus, appeared to Gideon as he was threshing wheat, in a secret place, to hide it from the enemy; and assured him, that however mean himself and family were, he should deliver Israel from their present servitude. Gideon, astonished at such an appearance, such a salutation, and such a declaration, began to ask, “How this could be?” The blessed Jesus tells him, “Surely I will be with thee.” Gideon, like the rest of God’s people, could not give God the credit of God, nor take him at his word—he could not honor him by believing on him, and prays, “If I have found grace in thy sight, shew me a sign that thou talkest with me.”—As believers in Jesus, we are called to walk by faith, and not by sight, as seeing him who is invisible, or out of sight—depending on his word, oath, and faithfulness, as the word of a covenant God, who cannot lie: this is honoring Jesus—yet God condescended to give Gideon the request of his lips; and to confirm his faith, he, with a rod, touched the rock, and caused fire to come out of it, and, consume the slain Kid and unleavened cakes, all moistened with the broth, which Gideon, at his command, had put thereon. Gideon was fearful and apprehensive of immediate death, as he had seen an angel; but the Lord kindly assured him that he was in no danger.—How strange and groundless the fears of God’s people—frequently they take covenant-love dispensations as tokens of wrath; forgetting it is written, “I will no more be wroth with thee, nor forsake thee.”—We are seldom satisfied with the wise and gracious conduct of our God; when we have no sign or clear evidences we murmur—when we have we often fear they are not of a right kind. Well may saints be called children, seeing they possess the weakness of them.
After this, Gideon built an altar, and called it Jehovah Shalom—believing what the Lord had declared, “that he would send peace to Israel.” It is worthy of observation, that the people of God only rear up altars to the Lord, as they believe in him—there is no praying or praising but by faith in Jesus; this leads the soul out to God, and “without faith it is impossible to please God.” Gideon then testified his zeal for the service of God, and in God’s strength he threw down the altar of Baal, and cut down the grove that was by it. This shews the effect of faith in Jesus; it is a faith which worketh by love to God’s service, and produces a zeal for his glory. This alarms Satan, who stirs up persecution against all who love the Redeemer’s cause, as in the instance of Gideon—his fellow-citizens sought his life, for opposing their idolatry; but Joash, his father, remonstrated with them, that it did not become the people of God to plead for Baal; and that if Baal was truly God, he ought to exert his power in punishing those who had broken down his altar; and he called his son Jerubbaal, that is, let Baal contend with himself (if he can).
Understanding the Midianites had crossed Jordan, Westward, and were encamped in the valley of Jezreel, at no great distance—filled with the Spirit of God, as a spirit of courage, Gideon sounded a trumpet, and assembled his friends, to the number of thirty-two thousand men. But, alas! what was this little army to meet and encounter with two hundred thousand! Perhaps his heart might fail him once more—he begs another, even a double sign. We must never forget that God has said “Open thy mouth wide; ask great things;”—the Lord graciously answers him, and by bedewing a fleece of wool, while the adjacent ground was dry—and again bedewing the ground, while the fleece of wool was dry, the Lord confirmed his doubtful mind. Thus assured of victory Gideon marched his forces directly towards the Midianites. What the army thought we know not, in their march, knowing their fewness and the vast army of the other—but every natural gift is of the Holy-Ghost, as the God of nature and providence, as well as every spiritual one; and all the wisdom and courage of warriors are the work of God the Spirit, and no man has any of these gifts inherent in himself, they are the peculiar gifts of God, to answer his holy purposes. And now Gideon’s faith is put to a double trial. If God gives his people grace, he tries that grace, especially the grace of faith. At the well of Harod God ordered him to warn his army, that every one who was timorous should return home, and there returned home twenty-two thousand! so that Gideon was left but with ten thousand. God was wisely securing the honor of this victory to himself—hence he assigns this reason, “lest Israel vaunt themselves and say, Not the Lord, but mine hand hath done this:” and so it is in our salvation—God has wisely permitted man to become as weak as he was wicked, that he might take occasion to honor the riches of his grace, in saving those who could not save themselves: and how often is this seen in his providential dealings, when brought into circumstances of sore trial, and every door shut up? then it is that the Lord’s hand is more clearly seen, and the glory redounds to him. His glory is great in our salvation—this made the ancients say, “When the bricks are doubled, then comes Moses;” that is, “Man’s greatest extremity is God’s opportunity.”
Gideon’s faith is tried again: “The people are yet too many for me,” saith the Lord.—He was then ordered to cause all of his people to drink out of the river, without using any vessel. On this trial only three hundred lapped the water, putting their hands to their mouths; the rest bowed on their knees to drink water. This was emblematic of their spirits and minds—some, apparently careless of their country, took their ease at the water-side—the three hundred, set upon the battle, (which they saw God’s hand was in), they only lapped the little out of their hands they had hastily caught up. What an emblem of the different characters that compose the visible church of Jesus—some who only have a name to live, and are dead! who are taking their ease in Zion, and resting beside the waters of creature comforts; while the humble and zealous believer is using the world as a traveller at an Inn, knowing that he is but a stranger and a pilgrim here below; and that as he is engaged in a warfare, it will not be for God’s glory to load himself with thick clay. The Lord then says, “By the three hundred men that lapped will I save Israel.”—These three hundred were ordered to provide victuals for some days; and each a trumpet, a lamp, and a pitcher. We hear nothing of arms; but, just before the victory, Gideon and Phurah his servant, went into the Midianitish camp, at night, as directed of God. Here, for the confirmation of his faith, and once more, to assure him of success, he heard a soldier in the host tell his comrade of a strange dream he had, of a barley cake rolling from the hill, and over-turning his tent. The other explained the dream, and said, “This is no other than the Sword of Gideon, the son of Joash, a man of Israel, for into his hand hath God delivered the Midianites.”—Doubtless the Midianites had heard before that the God of Israel had raised up one to oppose them; but they were not intimidated with that, perhaps only laughed at the weakness of the Israelites, in placing any dependence on their God—as Satan and the world, pharisees, and hypocrites, laughing at believers, walking by faith, and not by sight; it will be the believer’s turn to laugh another day, when their enemies shall gnaw their tongues in anguish, and say, We fools counted their lives madness, and their end without honor.
Gideon was now encouraged, divided his army into three companies, and ordered them to imitate him in all he did—16th verse; “And he divided the three hundred into companies,” one hundred in each company, partly to make the better figure; a shew of an army, with right and left wing, and partly that they might fall upon the camp of Midian in different parts—and he put a trumpet in every man’s hand—they that returned of the trumpeters having left their trumpets behind, so that there was a sufficient number of trumpets for three hundred men; and these were put into their hands, that when they blew together the noise would be very great, and it would seem, by the noise, like a great army, and so terrify their enemies. “With empty pitchers, and lamps within the pitchers:” the pitchers were of earth, and so very easily broken, and made a great noise in clashing together one against another; and these were empty of water, or otherwise would not have been fit to put lamps into—and the lamps put into them were not of oil, for then when the pitchers were broken the oil would have run out—but were a kind of torches, made of rosin, wax, pitch, and such like things; and these were put in the pitchers to preserve them from the wind, and conceal them from the enemy till just as they came upon them, and then they held them out—which, in a dark night, would make a terrible blaze, as before this they were of use to light them down the hill to the camp. Gideon stood forward first, and as he acted so were they to act; and as they were acting so they were to exclaim, “The Sword of the Lord and of Gideon!” or, for the Lord and for Gideon. The name Jehovah, these heathens might often have heard as the God of Israel, and would now sound dreadful to them; and the name of Gideon also:—this was the reason why Gideon is added, and not out of arrogance and vanity, but put after the name of the Lord, as being only an instrument the Lord thought fit to make use of; but all the glory belonged to the Lord.
Verse 19.—So Gideon, and the three hundred men that were with him, which was one of the three companies his army was divided into, came unto the out-side of the camp, in the beginning of the middle watch, (the second watch). In early times the Jews divided their nights into three watches; Gideon choose the middle—had he come the first, all might not have been in bed—had he come the last, some might have been rising; but he took this time, a little after midnight in the dead of the night, when the whole army was fast asleep—and the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands, to blow withal—and they cried, The Sword of the Lord, and of Gideon! The noise, and the blaze of light were very surprising to the host of Midian, just awaking out of their sleep, perhaps—an awful emblem of the surprise a soul experiences, when it leaves the body without a hope, and without a God!—a greater emblem of that period, when the midnight cry shall be made—when the arch-angels trumpet shall wake the dead!—shake the vast creation when the blaze of a burning world, and the sword of vindictive justice shall be seen.—“The host of Midian ran, and cried, and fled.”—Such shall the terror be in that dread moment. See this finely represented by the excellent Admiral Kempenfelt, who was drowned in the Royal George, and who composed some excellent verses on the Last Day. I will only mention these two verses, as suitable to this subject, and will be acceptable to the believer, while it is a terror to those Midianites who will experience the horrors of that day.—
Hark! ’tis the trump of God Sounds thro’ the worlds abroad— Time is no more! Horrors invest the skies! Graves burst and myriads rise! Nature, in agonies, Yields up her store.
Chang’d in a moment’s space! See the affrighted race Shrink and despair! Now they attempt to flee— Curse immortality? And view their misery Dreadfully near!
But while the Midianites fled, the Israelites stood every man in his place;—so it will be at the final consummation of all things. Clothed in the righteousness of Jesus, we shall stand in our lot, and see a burning world, and the misery of the damned. But while Jesus descends as our salvation we shall glorify, and for ever admire him.—This will surely be thy experience and thy privilege, O believer, as sure as ever the Holy Spirit has brought you, in time, to believe on him, to seek him, rejoice in him, and live to his praise.
To close the history of Gideon—we find, that the Midianites in the dark, and in their terror, took their friends for their foes, and killed one another—one hundred and twenty thousand Midianites were slain; fifteen thousand got over Jordan with Zebah and Zalmunna, their kings.—Gideon pursued them at their heels. His men being faint he desired the elders of Penuel and Succoth, as he passed, to give them victuals; but they, accounting him a fool to pursue such an army with such an handful of men, refused his troops refreshment, which he, afterwards, justly resented.—After his victories the Israelites offered him the government of their country, which he as piously declined, and told them the Lord, alone, was their rightful sovereign.—Thus was Midian conquered in such a manner that they lifted up their heads no more, to threaten or overcome the Israelites.—After judging Israel seventy years, Gideon dies, leaving behind him seventy sons, all of whom were basely murdered by Abimelech.
We cannot close this history of pious, valiant, honored Gideon, without taking a view of the grand design of God the Holy Ghost, in this, as well as in many more instances of renowned warriors, pious judges, and noble deliverers.—I humbly conceive in the history of Gideon is sweetly exhibited the adorable Redeemer, as the Christ of God, as the Deliverer of his saints, as the Saviour of sinners, as the Judge of Israel, and the glorious leader of his people. His poverty and meanness, set forth the abasement and humiliation of him who was rich, yet, for our sakes, became poor, in every sense of the word. Gideon’s call to his work, sets forth Christ’s call to save sinners, which he willingly accepted for the sake of his Israel. Hence the Father, in the Covenant, is represented as saying, “I have called thee in righteousness; thou art my servant, in whom I will be glorified.” So the Redeemer says, “Now the Lord God, and his Spirit hath sent me—the Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the Gospel.” The miraculous confirmation of Gideon’s call, leads us to remark the miracles of our blessed Jesus, as proofs of his Divinity, and to confirm his Messiahship as the sent of the Father; not forgetting the Father’s testimony at his baptism and transfiguration. The zeal Gideon shewed for the service of God, reminds us of him who once said, “The zeal of thy house hath eaten me up;” and who drove the buyers and sellers out of his Father’s house.—By a few weak, unarmed men, Gideon did wonders. What a type of him who, by a few poor illiterate preachers, sounding the Gospel trumpet, and displaying the light and fire from their earthen vessels, foiled sin and Satan, and the lying and delusive systems of Scribes, Pharisees, and idolatrous Priests, in the Jewish and Gentile world.—As Gideon invited others to share in his victories, so does our glorious Immanuel, Christ; having obtained peace by the blood of his cross, and wrought out a complete obedience, he invites his friends, and bids them an hearty welcome, with an “Eat, O friends.”—Gideon mildly pacified the unreasonable Ephraimites—and how mildly does our Jesus often pacify our rebellious spirits, when he overcomes us with sweet discoveries of his covenant love, tender mercy, covenant faithfulness, and finished work.—Gideon resented the cruelty of the men of Penuel, for refusing his men refreshment—he, tore flesh, killed their chief men, and destroyed their tower—a striking emblem how Christ will deal with mystical Babylon, and with all who deny his poor people help in time of need—(see the 25th Matthew) “When I was hungry ye gave me no meat—and these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal.”—After his victories he arrives to great honor; and our Jesus is highly exalted. Gideon judges Israel; and all judgment is committed to Jesus.—Gideon asks a present of those for whom he had done so much; and Jesus says, “My son, give me thine heart!”—and by Paul, “I beseech you by the mercies you have received, to dedicate yourselves to God, which is your reasonable service.”
I cannot pass by this history without enlarging a little more, which I shall do, God leading me, only to make a few remarks, in a spiritual way, upon that part which I first read as a text; and I hope, without any injustice to the subject, or straining it, or putting a sense on it, that was never intended, there can be no impropriety in my leading the minds of my hearers from the lesser to a greater subject; and I must give it as my most decided opinion, that the greatest part of the Old Testament circumstances were really designed to hold forth something of Jesus, and the salvation of the Gospel. To exhibit from the text the Person and Work of the Son of God—to point out the qualifications and work of Gospel ministers, with an application of the text to the whole body of God’s elect, in the present state of things, is my design. The Person of Jesus, as God-Man Mediator, and the Redemption of men, by him, was exhibited to the Old Testament saints, by many figures; these, the excellent Milton stiles Religious Rights of Sacrifices; informing men, by types and shadows, of that destined Seed to bruise the Serpent—by what means he shall atchieve deliverance.—Our blessed Lord owns many of the shadows: the Apostle, or rather the Holy-Ghost by the Apostle, applies many others; the Brazen Serpent, Solomon’s Temple, the Prophet Jonah in the Whale’s belly, the Smitten Rock, the Vail of the Temple, the divided Waves of the Sea, the Cloud by Day and the Pillar of Fire by Night, with a vast many other emblems. Nor can I see why our blessed Jesus should not be pointed out to the faith and hope of God’s saints, by the lamp and pitcher, while he, at the same time sounded the trumpet of free grace and eternal mercy, which was “a savour of life unto some, and of death unto others.” May not the pitcher be an emblem of his earthen nature, and the lamp within, of his divinity—and by virtue of union of the two natures, our God is manifest in the flesh—married our nature, conferred an honor upon poor sinners that he never conferred on the angels. This was Job’s triumph, “in my flesh shall I see God.” He took part of the children’s flesh and blood; he was truly human—bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh. God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, without the intervention of a human father, but by the miraculous impregnation of the Holy-Ghost; so that his human nature appears to be the joint work of the Trinity—the Father provides it—“a body hast thou prepared me,”—the Son assumed it—“he took on him the form of a servant;”—the Spirit formed it—“that holy thing that shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God—thus the word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” The lamp within the pitcher may be an emblem of his Godhead, as the light of life—he wrapped up his divinity in his manhood—here it was he concealed his glory: well may the Prophet exclaim, “Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel the Saviour.” What a mystery! a child born—“the everlasting Father, the mighty God.” How great is the mystery of godliness! Angels are amazed, saints admire, and sinners triumph—a God in every perfection, a Man in every faculty—God-Man—the fœderal head—the representative of his Church—the second Adam—a public person—that as Adam the first, was the head of all, as sinners, so Jesus should be the head of all his elect. How striking is the language of Milton, when he represents the Almighty Father thus addressing his eternal Son—
Be thou, in Adam’s room, the head of all mankind, Tho’ Adam’s son; as in him perish all men, So, in thee, as from a second root shall be restor’d As many as are restor’d—without thee none.
This divinity often blazed through his humanity, in the miracles he wrought, which were done by his own eternal power and Godhead—the words he spoke, the tidings he foretold, but particularly his transfiguration on the Mount, when the light of his divinity shone so luminous, that his whole body, and even his raiment appeared like the sun in a case of chrystal. Peter calls it an excellent glory—St. John says we beheld his glory—the Evangelists say of those with him on Mount Tabor—and when they were awake, they saw his glory. The lamp may be a fine emblem of Jesus, as the light of life; this is peculiar to him as God, and as God-Man. The light is the most striking emblem of God Jesus; it is the life and beauty of every thing else—it hath a kind of omnipotency in it—a peculiar brightness and purity. He is the light of reason to all—he is the light of grace in the covenant—the light of truth in the word—the light of life in the souls of the elect, and the light of heaven in glory—the Lamb is the light thereof; the Lord is thine everlasting light, and thy God thy glory: this is the lamp of salvation, the light of the Gentiles and the glory of his true Israel—such Jesus is, and such his grace. O! may he shine on you!—this will engage your hearts to love, admire, adore, and praise his name for ever and ever.—As all the fulness of the Godhead dwells in Jesus, so all the blessings of an everlasting covenant is treasured up in him—all that we can possibly stand in need of, for time and eternity—blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus; for God giveth not the Spirit by measure to him—all the fulness of blessings are in him, for his dear people’s use; hence, says one, “Out of his fulness have we all received, and grace for grace.” These gifts could only flow to us through his obedience and death—the gift of the Spirit—access to God—spiritual knowledge and eternal glory. Not that the Redeemer is to be considered as purchasing these blessings; they were all given as the free, unmerited gift, of God—but it was necessary that Jesus should obey and suffer, that these gifts should flow to us in a way of justice and holiness, while the mercy and compassion of God was displayed. Hence he says, “If I go not away the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart I will send him unto you—it is therefore expedient for you that I go away;” as it was necessary that the pitchers should be broken, that the blaze of light might appear—First, to overturn the enemies of Israel—Secondly, to deliver the people from their oppression—so, by the sufferings and death of the human nature of Christ, he overturned the kingdom of Satan, took away his power, and delivered his people from the law, the guilt of sin, and the powers of darkness—he, by his death, slew death, and him who had the power of death; and who hoped he should be the executioner of the penal sentence of the law, was disappointed—in seeing the great Deliverance that was brought about in such a wonderful way, he was foiled and spoiled, the curse of the law falling on Christ—enduring the curse which we had deserved—standing in our place, he fulfilled the law for us, by his holy life—made an atonement by his awful, though glorious death—sanctified the grave by his burial—and rose for the justification of all that believe in him. Here was the overcoming the sharpness of death, and the opening the kingdom of heaven to all believers; and upon his ascension to heaven, and sitting on the right hand of the Father, he obtained the gift of the Holy-Ghost, which was shed abroad on the Apostles; and all spiritual good for poor sinners. Thus, through the breaking the earthen pitcher, a light is made manifest; all covenant blessings flow to us, in a way honorable to God, and safe to man—and now we rejoice, that by him all that believe are justified from all things; and that the blood of Jesus cleanseth us from all sin. But can we forget the trumpet of his voice of love and mercy, which he so often sounded during his public ministry? With what declarations of blessedness did he begin his sermon on the Mount—what sweet invitations did he give to poor condemned, sin-burthened souls, in these words, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden.—If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink.—Behold the man—look unto me—Come ye to the waters.—All things are ready, come unto the marriage.—Behold the Lamb of God.” This is the inviting voice of the trumpet of the Gospel, as preached by the Lord Jesus—and though so melodious to a poor sinner; what solemn awful sounds were sometimes heard from his gracious and holy lips!—and how great the truth afterwards declared, that the ministry of Jesus is a savour of life unto life, or of death unto death. Hence, he said, “Wo unto you, Scribes, Pharisees, Hypocrites! Except your righteousness exceed the Pharisees, ye cannot be saved!—Except you repent, you shall likewise perish!—and because you say, we see, your sin remaineth.—For judgment am I come into this world, that those who see not might see; and those who boast of their light might be made blind.”
The victory, of Gideon was a display of the sublime perfections of Deity; and surely we see them more clear, and more glorified in the work of a sinner’s salvation: eternal love is the spring—infinite wisdom lays the plan—almighty power executes it—while mercy, grace, and compassion, justice and holiness, sovereignty and truth, appear glorious. Yes,
Here the whole Deity is known, Nor dares a creature guess Which of the Glories brightest shone, The Justice or the Grace!
Secondly.—May not the pitcher, lamp, and trumpet, be an emblem of Gospel ministers, and their office in the Church of Jesus Christ? We have this treasure in earthen vessels—the Gospel is a treasure, because it exhibits the riches of God and of Christ, in mercy, love, grace, wisdom, and power; which are unsearchable, substantial, and satisfying—the repository, cabinet, or pitcher in which this treasure is, are earthen vessels. Most Divines are of opinion that the Apostle refers to the circumstance we are considering. It is our mercy the Gospel is put into such vessels—an Angel, commissioned from the high throne of God, however lofty his language, however kind his message, yet would not be a proper person to preach to the Church of God—Ministers must be men of like passions with the Church; have the same depraved nature; be taught by the same Spirit; have the same trials in body, soul, and circumstances; or how could they sympathize with the Church? Now, that all the excellency of the power of the word might be of the Holy-Ghost, (which is the grand design of God) he has kindly put this treasure of the Gospel in earthen vessels, brittle shells, baked earth—to shew the frailty of the bodies of the best of men—“Your fathers! where are they?” and “Do the Prophets live for ever?” This is to shew the outward meanness of those instruments the Lord makes use of; but few rich, honorable, or noble, are called to the work; and frequently the most useful have been poor illiterate common mechanics. God is determined to stain the pride of human glory—to this end he has chosen the base, the foolish, the weak, to accomplish the most noble purposes—earthen vessels, that they might not be too much exalted, least, if they fall they should get the more injury. God will have all the glory of a man’s salvation, and the power is to be attributed to him alone, and not to the eloquence or oratory, learning or piety, gift, or even grace of the speaker; they, as earthen vessels, are not to be put too low, least they should be spurned and kicked. God has put an honor on them, and they are to be honored and esteemed for their work’s sake: in the pulpit they are to know none; but aim at the glory of Christ and the good of his people—to keep back nothing that is profitable—to conceal no doctrine—to be ashamed of no ordinance—to connive at no error—to have no man’s person in admiration, but aim at the exaltation of free, rich grace, in the plan of salvation. They are called earthen vessels, to shew the mighty power of God in their support, being so weak in themselves; and the protection and wonderful deliverances of them in times of trouble. Hence the Apostle, personating them, says, “We are troubled on every side;” that is, by every one, saint and sinner; yet not so distressed as to be without hope or comfort—We are perplexed and know not what to do, nor which way to take; but not in despair of the Lord appearing and working salvation for us.—Persecuted, but not forsaken by our God—Cast down we sometimes are as an earthen vessel which may be cast out of man’s hand, in order to be dashed to pieces; but not destroyed—we are still safe in the hands of Christ, and kept by the power of God—and, indeed to what else can all this be ascribed? ’Tis surprising that earthen vessels should bear so much, and not fall or be dashed to pieces; for I think that Ministers have greater trials, greater enemies, greater sins, and of course, greater sorrows, than any other believers. The lamp in the pitcher, may be an emblem of that light which is peculiar to God’s Ministers—not only the common operations of the Spirit upon them, to constitute them believers in Jesus, but the light given them for the use of others—a greater degree of internal knowledge. Hence the exhortation, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works—Ye are the light of the world.” There is a knowledge essential to them as Ministers, and this is not human learning, though that is not to be despised, but it is the influence of the Spirit upon the mind, giving them to see, clearer than others, the plan of salvation, the depravity of human nature, the exceeding sinfulness of sin, the nature of the law, the glories of the Saviour, the danger of a form of godliness, without the power; the temptation, subtilty, and art of the Devil; the vanity of the world; and the dangerous tendency of all errors. These things ought to be well known by us as Ministers, that we may contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints. What the Lord has taught us, experimentally, that we are to declare—as we have heard, so have we seen—of sin, the law, the Saviour, the world, Satan, and error. Hence the Apostle John says, “that which we have heard, which we have seen, and our hands have handled of the word of life; for the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us.—That which we have heard and seen declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us.”—This lamp, or light, is manifest by an ability to speak forth what they see and have been taught. It is given them for the use of the Church. Hence the Apostle says, “A measure of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal;” every Minister of the Gospel, for some purpose in the Church; and it is a sad pity for good men to fall out by the way, seeing God has allotted every man his peculiar work; and one Minister never can do the work of another; yet Satan is always setting brother against brother.—Some are calculated to alarm, some to warn, some to comfort, some to open dark mysteries, some to establish.—Paul was raised up to plant churches, where the Gospel had never been before—Apollos to water, comfort, establish, and build up those who had been planted. Ministers differ in their abilities—some have greater and some less; but these all worketh that self same Spirit, who divideth to his Ministers severally as he will, for the perfecting of the saints, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God.—This is the design of the Gospel Ministry. The breaking of these pitchers, that the light might appear, may be emblematic of the various trials and heart-breaking circumstances they meet with here below; and the more they are broken the clearer they shine—this is true of all believers, as well as Ministers in general.—May not the trumpets be an emblem of their message to God’s saints, which must give a certain sound? How necessary a Minister should be at a point about his own state. Only observe the preaching of those who are not—what legality—what ifs and buts—what a mixture of felt Law and unfelt Gospel—what dealing in terrors of death, hell, and damnation! How dismal the sound—how gloomy the countenance—how awful and tremendous the language in prayer, while in such legal bondage. Hence they sometimes begin with, Most dreadful God!—Most terrible Jehovah! How different the ideas and language of a soul in Gospel liberty—Blessed Lord—Gracious Father—Precious Immanuel—Friend of Sinners—Lord Jesus—My Father—My reconciled covenant, indulgent God. This is very different from the terrific language of those who are under the Law, for the Law always genders to bondage. Such men cannot give a certain sound—it is a sound of pardon, of life, of peace, of holiness, of good-will, and covenant-love, and mercy. We are to preach, and proclaim pardon to rebels, mercy to the miserable, deliverance to captives, peace to those who are convinced of their enmity—the trumpet of God is sounding abroad the language of mercy—salvation through blood; and while this comforts the saints it starves the hypocrite, confounds the Pharisee, and becomes the savor of death to all that hate it.—As the lamp gave light to the Israelites, and the trumpet was understood by them at the same time, it confused and over-turned the host of Midian; and sure I am that a faithful testimony for God and his truth, will never be out of the consciences of men, whether saints or enemies, in heaven and hell. Men cannot endure sound doctrine; they hate the light—they oppose those who preach it; and the worst term of reproach they can now load them with, or cast on them, is that of Antinomian, although those very characters know in their own souls they are not so.—But those Ministers that dare to be faithful to God and truth, are the only men who handle the Law, lawfully, hold it forth in its true spirituality, and point the sinner to look to Jesus as the end of it; and who can look further than the end?—Fear not, O ye Ministers of my God; arise! shine on!—set the trumpet to the mouth—proclaim a free-grace Gospel, and leave all consequences to God. Shine on, ye stars in the hands of your God! Ye are the light of the world—take no notice of the slanders of Legalists, moderate Divines, Arminians, Baxterians, Arians, Deists, and Socinians. By your preaching, praying, and living, shew that one is your master, even Jesus!—Permit me to introduce an Eastern Fable, as it is calculated to illustrate this point: “The Owls and Bats once joined in a petition to Jupiter, against the Sun; humbly shewing, that his beams were so troublesome that they could not fly abroad, for at least twelve hours out of the twenty-four. Jupiter seeing Phœbus shortly after, informed him of the petition he had received, adding, I shall, however, take no notice of the petition; and be it your business to revenge yourself, by shining.” You that preach the Gospel, “go, and do thou likewise:” Suppress no truth—keep back no part of the price, through the fear of men, or to procure the favor of men. Be bold for truth—the blood of souls stains deep! Remember the Apostle’s language, “Woe is me, if I preach not the Gospel—yea, woe is me, if I preach not the Gospel.”
Lastly.—May not the pitcher, lamp, and trumpet, be an emblem of God’s saints, the teachings of the Spirit, and the happy consequence of the same?—The earthen pitcher may be figurative of our bodies—although, through grace, they are the temples of the Holy-Ghost, yet they are of the earth, earthy: the body is called an earthly house, because it is from the earth, is supported by earthly things, has its present abode on the earth, and will quickly return to it—the first man was of the earth, earthy—so are all his descendents—this shews how frail we are, and how little reason to be proud of ourselves, seeing we came from the dust, and must return to it. Man was formed out of the earth—“The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground;”—the word there used signifies Red earth.—Josephus says, that the first man was called Adam, which in the Hebrew tongue signifies Red; because he was made out of Red earth—for such, he says, is the true and virgin earth. Man, in consequence of the Fall, was doomed to return to it again—his sin and fall had such an awful influence, as to make himself and posterity sensual, earthly, and devilish—to mind, affect, and cleave to earthly things—this is bearing the image of the earthy. But it hath pleased God our Saviour to confer an honor upon our nature, by taking it into personal union with his Godhead; and his mysterious assumption of human nature is, indeed, the wonder of heaven. Here was heaven and earth joined together—God and Man—but how this was done we cannot form any idea; even Solomon, with all the wisdom God gave him, declares of Four things, they were too wonderful for him; and this subject was one of them, “The way of a man with a maid;” or, as Mr. Romaine says, it is in the original, “The way of the Almighty in the virgin, when he took part of the children’s flesh and blood.” By earth is meant the people of God, as creatures; hence the promise, “He shall smite earth with his rod:” this is done when the word comes home with power to the heart.—Again, “O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord—Give ear, O heavens, hear, O earth the words of my mouth—I will hear the heavens; they shall hear the earth; and the earth shall hear the corn, the wine, and the oil;”—which is a gracious promise of assurance, taken in these threes declarations, “Yea I have loved thee, I have redeemed thee, I have called thee.” The idea of these bodies being so brittle, makes Infidels, Pharisees, and Hypocrites tremble—but the believer rejoices in the sweet thought, that this house cannot last very long, that it will soon be dissolved or taken down by death; then he will bid a lasting adieu to sin, his greatest grief. What a contrast between the child of God and the man of the world!—while the latter mournfully exclaims on his dying bed, with a wretched old Cardinal, “Farewell, a long farewell to all my greatness!” the believer can look on this world, and say, Farewell, a long farewell to all my littleness.—But this earthen pitcher, these bodies, are the vessels of mercy, afore prepared unto glory, and ordained for it. These earthen pitchers were redeemed from actual as well as original guilt, by our Redeemer, our kinsman. These vessels, although broke to pieces by death, will be raised glorious bodies, fit to hold all the glory our God has in reversion for it—when they will be formed like the glorious body of Jesus—from the loins upward, to the loins downward, of the colour of amber, and be for ever with the Lord. The body will be now for the Lord, and the Lord for the body—the Apostle calls them the temples of the Holy-Ghost, because he has taken possession of their souls—by his gracious inhabitation he has made them new creatures, a new creation, a new, a hidden man of the heart. This was shadowed forth by the light, or lamp in the pitcher. God is light; and this new man is the seed, or child of light: this was not formed by piece-meal, but done at once. When God comes to his temple his train is sure to fill it—his train of divine excellencies—so that when the Spirit takes the sinner’s heart, he brings all his graces with him; and these are called light, marvellous light—Christ formed in the heart the hope of glory, and the salvation of the soul in the pardon of sin, is called a lamp; this is the lamp the wise virgins took, while the foolish ones took the Law—the one went out in obscure darkness, and left them under the curse! while the other shone brighter to perfect day.—The word of God is compared to light—this makes us wise to salvation, as it opens to us what we, as poor sinners want—the knowledge of God reconciled and well pleased with us in Christ—Thus “the entrance of thy word giveth light, it giveth understanding to the simple.” The light of God’s countenance upon the soul is a precious lamp in this pitcher, which is nothing more than the Spirit of God operating as a Comforter, and sweetly assuring the heart of its pardon; while peace is enjoyed, and we can look God in the face with pleasure, and say, My Father!—May not the trumpet be a figure of the testimony that all the saints bear to the freeness of divine grace—to the sovereignty, power and faithfulness of a covenant God, in a gracious experience of these things, “Come hither, all ye that fear God, I will tell you what he hath done for my soul.”—This is proclaiming the glory of God—they shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness; they shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power. Thus when we are called out of darkness, and experience the light of the Son of God—we plead our master’s cause—when we are helped to walk consistently with our holy profession, this is the trumpet we sound—God is faithful—By grace are we saved—He hath, from the beginning, chosen us to salvation—We are bought with a price—He hath remembered us when in our low estate—He brought me out of the horrible pit. We likewise give invitations to others—they took knowledge of the men, that they had been with Jesus—“Come, see a man that told me all that ever I did.” If we meet with a soul in trouble, we sound the trumpet, as those did, of old, to the blind man—“And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort; rise! he calleth thee.” We relate what great things he has done to us; and like the Gadarene, “Go, and proclaim how Jesus met with us—cast out the Devil—clothed us and made us wise.” Here Jesus gets the glory of our salvation; so by a close adherence to his Gospel, we bear our testimony against a form of godliness without the power.—Nor can we be easy without letting others know what state they are in that are cleaving to the Law. We must be faithful if we fall into company with the enemies of Jesus, the Deist, the Arian, the Socinian, or any other characters that oppose his Person and Work. We must openly profess his name and salvation—and having a gracious experience of the truth, we are not easy moved by those adversaries, who are ripening themselves for damnation, by opposing the dear Redeemer—this is the case with some thousands this day in Great Britain. What a mercy to have the truth in the heart; for though a child of God may not be able to answer all the sophisticated arguments of the Arian or Socinian, yet he has got the truth in his soul, which none can dispute him out of; and it is for want of this that many, who have for a time appeared to run well, have got into company with such characters, who first stumbled at the Gospel, then fell into the ditch, from whence they very seldom come out.—Here we must sound the trumpet, and tell all such that if they die in that state, where God is they never can come.—What a mercy to have the light of life—to be taught of God—to know the plague of the heart—the vanity of the world—the weakness of our own arm—the value of the atonement—to be built up and established in our souls—and to long for the glorious appearing of the great God our Saviour. Whatsoever maketh manifest is light—God is the Lord, who hath shewed us the light. This is not mere head knowledge; but what is written in the Scriptures of truth is written in our hearts, by the Spirit—“I will put my law in their hearts—they shall all know me, from the least to the greatest, for I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins will I remember no more.” A light to see this truth in the Bible, and the Spirit bearing witness to our souls that this is our privilege and blessing, is an unspeakable mercy; ’tis this disarms death of its sting—’tis this smooths the rugged path of life—sweetens every sorrow—lightens every burthen, and gives a rest to the soul—makes our faces to shine, and comforts the soul in every tribulation—’tis this makes a sick bed easy, and bows the will to God’s—removes the fears of death, and gives an easy passage to glory. Oh, its a blessed thing to have true light to see the Person and Work of Jesus, as our atoning sacrifice, and end of the Law for righteousness: this fills the soul with joy—this inspires the mind with a song of praise through life, and in a dying hour will swell louder, Salvation to God and the Lamb.
But there is one part of this history must not be overlooked—the pitchers were broken before the light could well be seen, or any victory gained. Every man, by nature, is represented as whole; but when the Holy Spirit operates upon the soul, it is broken to pieces, that the light may appear. The language and complaint of Job, is doubtless the experience of every one taught of God—“I was at ease, but he hath taken me by the neck, shaken me to pieces, and set me up for his mark;” and surely if the Prodigal Son had never been broken in pieces, by a sense of want, he would not have longed for his father’s house.—By the light the Israelites got the victory; and it is only by the light of the Spirit we get a victory over the blindness of our hearts—by a discovery of the obedience of Jesus, we get the victory over the Law—the Spirit demonstrating to our hearts, that by him, all that believe are justified from all things from which they could not be justified by the Law of Moses.—By a discovery of the sufferings and death of Jesus, we overcome all our guilt, original and actual—while faith receives the atonement, and hears the glad tidings, “I, even I, am he that blotteth out all thy transgression.” This received, embraced, and relied upon, will overcome all guilt, depravity, and misery—“They overcame by the blood of the Lamb;”—this is a receipt in full of all demands; so that whatever the Law or conscience says, our advocate steps in, and shews his hands and his side—this is enough for us.—By this same light we see in God’s word, the wonderous plan of salvation—the stability of the covenant—the eternity of God’s love—the Person of Jesus, as our representative in heaven for us—with many precious promises, and God’s faithfulness to them. This brings comfort into the mind, overcomes our fear, and bears us up in trouble. When Satan is permitted to harrass the mind, by insinuating the probability of our fall into awful errors, we can answer, it is written, “He shall guide into all truth.” Thus we overcome by the word of our testimony.—But as it was necessary the pitchers should be broken, that the light appear, and our Lord Jesus is called the breaker—so, by his Spirit’s gracious teaching we are broke off from the world—“Come out from among them.”—We are broke from a form of Godliness—from false views of God, and often from the esteem of the world—from trusting in the Law—from our own righteousness—and from carnal professors, who have only a name to live, while they are dead! So we are broke in pieces with a sense of guilt, with groaning under the wrath of God, the fears of death, the curse of the Law, and the bondage we feel. God approves of this, as the effect of the work of his own Spirit—“a broken and a contrite heart, O God thou wilt not despise;”—thou hast sore broken us in the place of Dragons.—When peace is proclaimed to the soul, and we are led to see Jesus as a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. When the matter becomes personal, and we can say, “’Twere you my sins, my cruel sins, his chief tormentors were!”—this lays the sinner low, while his heart is dissolved in tears, and love, and blood—“They shall look on him whom they have pierced, and mourn.”—When our souls are led to reflect on our sins and daily infirmities, with the long-suffering of God to us, the mercy and truth he hath shewn us, the way he hath led us, the great things he has done for us, the deliverances he has wrought, the prayers he has answered, the appearances we have had of his faithfulness and love—these things melt the heart, overcome the soul, lay us in the dust, and create the most delightful thoughts of Jesus, so that we can give him the glory due to his name.—Here the Lord overcomes all our evil with good, and fulfils this promise, “They shall loathe themselves in their own sight, for their iniquities, when I am pacified towards them, saith the Lord.”—Thus the light the Lord has given us appears in the above manner—life, faith, hope, love, repentance, godly sorrow, the fear of God, and Bible humility—these implanted in the mind by the Spirit’s gracious inhabitation, are clearly seen by us at times, and, perhaps, always by others. This light appears conspicuous in ministers and saints in general, by the various trials with which they are exercised. Whatever graces or light the Holy Ghost is pleased to communicate to us is sure to be tried—“the Lord trieth the righteous;” hence Job says, “When he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” Those very afflictions and trials that drive the hypocrite from his profession, make the saint shine brighter. St. Peter encourages believers under their trials, with this—“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trials which are to try you;”—remember they were all ordered in the Covenant, in number, weight, and measure; and while they break you off from an arm of flesh, from the world and self, they try your graces, and make them appear clear to yourself—thus God promises, “And thine age (or spiritual birth) shall be clearer than the noon day; thou shalt shine forth and be as the morning.” Afflictions are not to destroy but to try us, just as silver and gold are tried in the fire, lose their dross, and become purer and brighter. Faith is tried, and becomes more precious than gold which perisheth. Hope of eternal life is tried, and grows more strong and lively, sure and stedfast, amidst the greatest storms. Love to Jesus, his word, ministers, and people, is often tried—by the trial it appears that nothing can separate the saint and his beloved. Patience is tried in afflictions—humility, meekness, and every other grace. But in all times of tribulation, though the outward man, or pitcher decays, yet the inward man is renewed, day by day.—How needful the cross, to keep us humble—dependent—wean us from the world—furnish us with many petitions to God, and make us long for glory. How sweet are those lines of the excellent Watts—
Had but the prison wall been strong And firm, without a flaw, My soul had long in darkness dwelt, And less of glory saw.
Reproach from the world, or church, though it breaks the heart, makes us prize a name and a place in the covenant of redemption. Persecution, for imputed righteousness’ sake, tries our profession and principles, and gives an occasion to rejoice in the honor of suffering for Christ’s sake.—A body of sin and death, called the plague of the heart, tries our hope, and helps us to prize the blood of Jesus more and more.—Pain of body—delays of answer to prayer, try our patience.—False doctrines in the world, try our love; while the devil’s fiery darts of blasphemous thoughts, often try our faith—thus as our earthen vessels break, the light appears; and we often shout victory, through the atonement and righteousness of Jesus, and by the faithfulness of God.—This light appears in the whole of their conduct, as external evidences of an internal work—in their love to, and zeal for the truth as it is in Jesus—in their unfeigned love to the brethren, as they stand manifest in each other’s consciences that they are called by grace—in their just dealings with each other, and the world at large—“the Lord bless thee, O habitation of justice, O mountain of holiness.”—In their integrity, uprightness, affection, and sincerity, at home and abroad, they are to shine as lights, in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.—In allegiance and obedience to the higher powers—knowing the powers that be, are ordained of God. A christian may and ought to be a good subject, under any government—“Fear God, honor the king,” is the command of the Holy-Ghost—that whereas the world speaks against you, as evil doers, they may, by your conversation which they shall behold, glorify God, in the day of visitation. The grace of God makes men good fathers, good masters, good subjects, and honest tradesmen.—Believer, take care that you show to the world and the church, what great things God has done for you, by having your conduct squared according to the precepts of the New Testament, which is to be the rule of your actions; and as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy. Thus the light appears, and you proclaim to all around, that you have been with Jesus, and learned of him. And while the Pharisees condemn you as an Antinomian in principle, shew them that your high principles are heavenly ones, by the effects produced—take the New Testament for your rule of conduct, and then fear not.—This light appears in a steady, uniform, constant attendance on all the ordinances of God’s appointment—prayer, private and public—hearing those ministers that exalt the Saviour in every sermon—a submission to the ordinance of baptism, by immersion, as soon as it appears to them right—an attention to the Lord’s supper, from a principle of love to Jesus—godly conversation with the most experimental christians. Here the light is seen: I mention these things because many of my adversaries have circulated it, far and near, that I am an Antinomian, and deny all practical religion!—When will mankind forbear lying against each other; and those who contend for the Law, keep the ninth commandment as they ought to do? “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.”
Finally.—Soon will the earthen pitcher be broke by death! then the soul enlightened, will enter into perfect day—see as it is seen—know as it is known. The blessed Spirit, in the article of death, will be poured out upon the soul, to fit her for her passage. Hence he is promised, as the early and as the latter rain—a greater light comes into the soul, as it is about to depart into the regions of endless light—in the light of faith the departing soul sees the pardon of sin, the obedience of Jesus its own—sees heaven open—angels ready waiting, and whispering to the saint, The master is come, and calleth for thee! while the saint exclaims, Come, Lord Jesus! come quickly!—thus he enters into rest, while Jesus is his everlasting light, his god and glory.—I close this Sermon, in the language of Dr. Watts’ Description of a Saint’s Life and Death, under the fine emblem of a Summer’s Day and Setting Sun.
Just so the Christian, his race he begins— He melts into tears when he mourns for his sins; And travels his heavenly way. But as he draws nearer to finish his race, Like a fine setting sun, he looks richer in grace, And gives a sure hope at the end of his days, Of rising in brighter array.
Which may God grant to us all.—AMEN.
[Picture: Decorative graphic of cherub carrying a banner saying Finis]
Shortly will be published, (Price 1s) _A Series of Letters on same important Texts of Scripture_. Addressed to several of the Author’s Friends.
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Also may be had of the Author, the Four following Sermons (lately published). Price 6d. each.
1. _The Patience of God_, _and the Sin of Man_.
2. _The Goodness of God and Man contrasted_.
3. _The Believer’s Perseverance founded on the Atonement_.
4. _The Believer’s Estimation of the Name of Jesus_.