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an union with each other. For this purpose
" God laid” him in Sion from the beginning; he laid him, I say, in types and prophecies, and declarations, and promises; and he requires all both in heaven and earth to honour him as the one source of their strength, and the one bond of their union.]
In this view he is “elect and precious” in the eyes of God
[God has appointed him to execute this office from all eternity, and determined that there shall be " no other name whereby any shall be saved.” And, as qualified for it, as discharging it in every respect, and as saving man in perfect consistency with the honour of the Divine perfections, God esteems him “ precious;" He declares that in this his beloved Son He is well-pleased;" and He acquiesces fully in the salvation of all who shall approve of this appointment.]
Nor will he be less precious in our eyes, if we consider, II. The security of those who “ believe in him”
To believe in him, is, to feel an entire dependence on him ourselves, and to have such an union with him as produces a correspondent union with all the other parts of his spiritual temple. They who thus believe in him shall never be confounded, Here
[Much there is in their experience, which might well confound them, and which nothing but their union with him could enable them to support. How should they endure a sense of guilt, or bear up against their indwelling corruptions ? How should they sustain the fiery trial of persecution, or stand composed in the near prospects of death? These are things which disconcert and confound others; and drive them like a ship from its moorings. But they have "an anchor both sure and steadfast.” They are not agitated, and driven to hasty conclusions, or ill-advised methods of deliverance b. “ Their heart standeth firm, trusting in the Lord.” justified by faith, they have peace with God.” The promise that “ sin shall not have dominion over them," encourages their hope. Their present consolations, and future prospects of reward, soften all their trials, and enable them to "glory in tribulations.” And, knowing in whom they have believed,
a Eph. ii. 14, 20—22.
• Compare the text with the passage from whence it is taken, Isai, xxviii. 16.
the sting of death is taken away, and they are “ delivered from their bondage to the fear of death."] Hereafter
[Terrible indeed must be the apprehensions of an unbeliever, when first dismissed from the body and carried into the presence of a holy God; and at the day of judgment how will he stand appalled! But the believer will go as a child into the presence of his Father, with love, and joy, and confidence. He will not be confounded at the glory of the Divine Majesty, because he is washed in the Redeemer's blood, and clothed in his righteousness. Even Mary Magdalen, or the dying thief, know no terror in the presence of their God, because they are “complete in Christ :" it is on this account that they shall have confidence before him at his coming, and great boldness in the day of judgmento. Nor is this the privilege of a few only, who are strong in faith, but of “ all that believe," whether their faith be strong or weak.] INFER
1. How great is the difference between believers and unbelievers !
[The world perhaps may not in some instances discern much difference; but God, who sees the heart, gives this glorious promise to the one, while there is no such promise in all the sacred oracles to the other. Let us then believe on Christ; and make him “ all our salvation and all our desire."] 2. How unreasonable is the unbelief of sinful men!
[God has laid his Son for a chief corner-stone in Sion, and declared him to be precious to himself in that view: why then should he not be “elect and precious” unto us also ? Have we found a better foundation, or a surer bond of union? Or can we produce one instance wherein any person that believed in him was finally confounded? O let us consider what confusion will probably seize us here, and certainly hereafter, if we continue to reject him. And let us without delay “ flee for refuge to the hope set before us.”]
c 1 John ii. 28. and iv. 17.
CHRIST PRECIOUS TO BELIEVERS. 1 Pet. ii. 7. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious.
THERE is a great difference between the views of natural and spiritual men. This exists even with respect to things temporal; much more in those which are spiritual and eternal. It appears particularly with respect to Christ. Hence St. Peter
represents him as disallowed of some, but chosen by others. This was designed of God, and agreeable to the prophecies; and it justifies the inference drawn from it in the text.
We shall, I. Confirm this saying of the Apostle, that Christ is
precious to believersWe might suppose that Christ would be precious to all men; but he is not so. Nevertheless he is so to all that truly believe.
The history of the Old Testament affords abundant proof of this
[Abraham rejoiced to see his day, though at a distance *. Job delighted in the thoughts of death as introducing him to his presence b. Moses esteemed reproach for his sake David regarded nothing in earth or heaven in comparison of him". Isaiah exulted in the prospect of his incarnation. All the prophets contemplated him as the Messiah, the Saviour of the world.] The New Testament Scriptures confirm it
[The Virgin, while he was yet in her womb, sang his praises. The angels congratulated the shepherds on his incarnation - The just and devout Simeon after seeing him, could depart in peace _ John Baptist, as the bridegroom's friend, rejoiced in his voice - How precious was he to that Mary who was a sinnerk — St. Paul counted all as dung for the knowledge of him, was willing to be bound, or to die for him, and knew no comfort like the expectation of being with him The glorified saints and angels incessantly adore him m_
--] The experience of living saints accords with that of those who have gone before". The world even wonders at them on account of their attachment to him. II. Account for the fact, and shew why he is so
a John viii. 56. b Job xix. 25–27. c Heb. xi. 26. d Ps. lxxiii. 25. e Isai. ix. 6.
i Luke i. 47. 8 Luke ü. 10.
h Luke ii. 29, 30. i John iii. 29. k Luke vii. 38. 1 Phil. iii. 8. Acts xxi. 13. 1 Thess. iv. 18.
m Rev. v. 12, 13. This and all the foregoing passages should be cited in whole or in part.
n There are many to whom he is tipii, preciousness itself; who account him as the pearl of great price, desire to know more of him, grieve that they cannot love him more, welcome every thing that leads to him, and despise all in comparison of him.
precious to themThey have reason enough for their attachment : They love him for his own excellence
[He is infinitely above all created beauty or goodness. Shall they then regard these qualities in the creature, and not in him? Whosoever views him by faith cannot but admire and adore him.]
They love him for his suitableness to their necessities
[There is in Christ all which believers can want; nor can they find any other capable of supplying their need: hence they delight in him as their “all in all."]
They love him for the benefits they receive from him
[They have received from him pardon, peace, strength, &c. Can they do otherwise than account him precious ?]
We may rather wonder why all do not feel the same attachment. III. Shew why this regard for him is found in them
exclusivelyThere certainly exists no reason on his part; he is good to all. But unbelievers cannot love him: 1. Because they have no views of his excellency
[The god of this world has blinded them that they cannot see him
How then should they esteem him, whose excellency they know not? They must of necessity be indifferent to him, as men are to things of little value.] 2. Because they feel no need of him
(Christ is valuable only as a remedy P; nor can any man desire him as a physician, a fountain, a refuge, unless he feel some disease, some thirst, some danger.] APPLICATION
[All, who have any spiritual discernment, feel a love to Christ: he is beloved of the Father, of angels, and of saints. None but devils and unbelievers despise him; and shall any, who do not account him precious, be objects of his regard? Surely his final decision will correspond with that declaration 9.Let all then believe in him, that he may become precious to them; nor let any be dejected because they cannot delight in him as they wish. The more we love him, the more shall we lament the coldness of our love. In a little time all the powers of our souls shall act without controul. Then shall we glory in him with unrestrained and unabated ardour.]
o 2 Cor. iv. 4.
p Isai. xxxii. 2.
9 1 Sam. ii. 30.
THE DIFFERENT STATES OF BELIEVERS AND UNBELIEVERS.
1 Pet. ii. 7-10. Unto you therefore which believe he is pre
cious : but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient : whereunto also they were appointed. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light : which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
THERE is a great and manifest difference put between men in respect to the advantages they enjoy, and the endowments they possess. Some are born to great possessions, while others from their birth experience nothing but penury and want. Some are blessed with a strength of intellect, that qualifies them for the deepest researches ; while others are so limited in their capacities, that they can scarcely comprehend the plainest and simplest things. A still greater difference obtains in respect to the opportunities which men have for spiritual instruction. As of old, the light of divine truth was confined to one single nation, so, at this present moment, there is but a small part of the world who hear any thing of Christ, and a very small part indeed to whom the