Sivut kuvina

again ? That cannot be, for he nailed it to his cross, and his cross was buried with him ; but will never rise more, seeing Christ dieth no more. Where is the face-covering that was upon the condemned man? Christ has destroyed it, Isa. xxv. 7. Where is death, that stood before the sinner with a grim face, and an open mouth, ready to de. vour him ? Christ has swallowed it up in victory, ver. 8. Glory, glory, glory to him, that thus loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood !

The second benefit flowing from the same spring of union with Christ, and coming by the way of justification, is Peace ; peace with God, and peace of conscience, according to the measure of the sense the justified have of their peace with God, Rom. v. 1. “ Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God." Chap. xiv. 27. “ For the kingdom of Gode is not meat and drink, but righteousness and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." Whereas God was their enemy before, now he is reconciled to them in Christ; they are in a covenant of peace with him ; and as Abraham was, so they are the friends of God. He is well-pleased with them in his beloved Son. His word, which spoke terror to them formerly, now speaks peace, if they rightly take up its language. And there is love in all his dispensations towards them, which makes all work together for their good. Their consciences are purged of that guilt and filthiness that sometimes lay upon them: His conscience-purifying blood streams through their souls, by virtue of their union with him, Heb. ix. 14. • How much more shall the blood of Christ-purge your conscience from dead works, to serve the living God ?" The bonds laid on their consciences, by the Spirit of God, acting as the spirit of bondage, are taken off, never more to be laid on by that hand, Rom. vii. 15. « For

ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear." Hereby the conscience is quieted, as soon as the soul becomes conscious of the application of that blood ; which falls out sooner or later, according to the measure of faith, and as the only wise God sees meet to time it. Unbelievers may have troubled consciences, which they may get quieted again; but, alas ! their consciences become peaceable, ere they become pure; so their peace is but the seed of greater horror and confusion. Care.

lessness may give ease for a while to a sick conscience ; men neglecting its wounds, they close again of their own accord, before the filthy matter is purged out. Many bury their guilt in the grave of an ill memory; conscience smarts a little ; at length the man forgets his sin, and there is an end of it. But that is only an ease before death. Business, or the affairs of life, often give ease in this case.

When Cain is banished from the presence of the Lord, he falls a-building of cities. When the evil spirit came upon Saul, he calls not for his Bible, nor for the priests to converse with him about his case ; but for music, to play it away. So many when their consciencesbe. gin to be uneasy, they fill their heads and hands with business, to divert themselves, and to regain ease at any rate. Yea; some will sin, over the belly of their convictions ; and so some get ease to their consciences, as Hazael gave to his master, by stifling him. Again, the performing of duties may give some ease to a disquieted conscience; and this is all that legal professors have recourse to, for quieting of their consciences. When conscience is wounded, they will pray, confess, mourn, and resolve to do so no more ; and so they become whole again, witha out any application of the blood of Christ by faith. But they, whose consciences are rightly quieted, come for peace and purging to the blood of sprinkling. Sin is a sweet morsel, that makes God's elect sick souls, ere they get it vomited up. It leaves a sting behind it, which, some one time or other, will create them no little pain.

Elihu shews us both the case and cure, Job xxxiii. Behold the case one may be in, whom God has thoughts of love to! He darteth convictions into his conscience, and makes them stick so fast, that he cannot rid himself of them, ver. 16. “ He openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instructions.” His very body sickens, ver, 19. “ He is chastened also, with pain upon his bed ; and the multitude of his bones with strong pain.” He loseth his stomach, ver. 20. « His life abhoreth bread, and his soul dainty meat." His body pines away, so that there is nothing on him but skin and bone, ver. 21. 66 His flesh is consumed away, that it cannot be seen ; and his bones, that were not seen, stick out." Though he is not prepared for death, he has no hopes of life, ver. 22. “ His

soul draweth near unto the grave, and” (which is the height of his misery) « his life to the destroyers." He is looking every moment, when devils, these destroyers, (Rom. ix. 11.) these murderers, or man-slayers, (John viii. 44.) will come and carry away his soul to hell : 0 dreadful case ! yet there is hope. God designs to keep back his soul from the pit, although he bring him forward to the brink of it, ver. 18. Now, see how the sick man is cured: The physician's art cannot prevail here; the disease lies more inward, than that his medicines can reach it. It is soul-trouble that has brought the body into this disorder; and, therefore, the remedies must be applied to the sick man's soul and conscience. The physician for this case must be a spiritual physician ; the remedies must be spiritual ; a righteousness, a ransom, or atonement. Upon the application of these, the soul is cured, the conscience is quieted, and the body recovers, ver. 23, 24, 25, 26. “ If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man his uprightness; then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit, I have found a ransom. His flesh shall be fresher than a child's; he shall return to the days of his youth. He shall pray unto God, and he shall be favourable unto him, and he shall see his face with joy.” The proper physician for this patient is a messenger, an interpreter, ver. 23. that is, as some expositors, not without ground, understand it, the great Physician Jesus Christ, whom Job had called his Redeemer, chap. xix. 25. He is a messenger, the messenger of the covenant of peace, Mal. ii. 1. who comes seasonably to the sick man. He is an interpreter, the great interpreter of God's counsels of love to sinners, John i. 28. One among a thousand, even the chief among ten thousand, Cant. v. 10. One chosen out of the people, Psal. Ixxxix. 29. One to whom the Lord hath given the tongue of the learned, to speak a word in season to him that is weary, Isa. I. 4, 5, 6. It is he that is with him, by his Spirit, now, to convince him of righteousness; as he was with him before, to convince him of sin and judgment, John xvi. 8. His work now is to shew unto him his uprightness, or his righteousness; i e. the interpreter Christ his righteousness; which is

the only righteousness arising from the paying of a ransom, and upon which a sinner is delivered from going down to the pit, ver. 24. And thus Christ is said to declare God's name, Psal. xxii. 22. and to preach righteousness, Psal. xl. 9. The phrase is remarkable ; it is not to shew unto the man, but unto man his righteousness; which not obscurely intimates, that he is more than a man, who shews, or declareth this righteousness : Compare Amos iv. 13. “ He that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind, and declareth unto man what is his thought.” There seems to be in it a sweet allusion to the first declaration of this righteousness unto man, or, as the word is, unto Adam, after the fall ;, while he lay under terror from apprehensions of the wrath of God; which declaration was made by the Messenger, the Interpreter, namely, the eternal Word of the Son of God, called, The voice of the Lord God, Gen. ïïi. 8. and by him appearing, probably, in human shape. Now, while, by his Spirit, he is the Preacher of righteousness to the man, it is supposed the man lays hold on the offered righteousness; whereupon the ransom is applied to him, and he is delivered from going down to the pit; for God hath a ransom for him. This is intimated to him ; God saith, Deliver him, ver. 24. Hereupon his conscience, being purged by the blood of atonement, is pacified, and sweetly quieted : “ He shall pray unto God and see his face with joy,” which before he beheld with horror, ver. 26. That is New Testament language, “ Having an HighPriest over the house of God,” he shall “ draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith ; having his heart sprinkled from an evil conscience,” Heb. x. 21, 22. But then, what becomes of the body, the weak and weary flesh? Why, “ His fesh shall be fresher than a child's ; be shall return to the days of his youth," ver. 25. all his bones” (which were chastened with strong pain, ver, 19.) “ shall say, Lord, who is like unto thee ?"

A third benefit, flowing from union with Christ, is Adoption. Believers, being united to Christ, become childl'en of God, and members of the family of heaven. By their union with him, who is the Son of God by nature, they become the sons of God by grace, John i. 12. As when

6 Yea,

Psal. xxxv. 10.

a branch is cut off from one tree, and grafted in the branch of another; the ingrafted branch, by means of its union with the adopting branch, (as some not unfitly have called it,) is made a branch of the same stock with that into which it is ingrafted : So sinners, being ingrafted into Jesus Christ; whose name is the Branch, his Father is their Father; his God their God, John xx. 17. And thus they, who are by nature children of the devil, become the children of God. They have the Spirit of adoption, Rom. viii. 15. namely, the Spirit of his Son, which bring them to God, as children to a father ; to pour out their complaints in his bosom, and to seek necessary supply, Gal. iv. 6., “ Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” Under all their weaknesses, they have fatherly pity and compassion shewn them, Psalm ciï. 13. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.” Although they were but foundlings, found in a desart land; yet now that to them belongs the adoption, he keeps them as the apple of his eye, Deut. xxxii. 10. Whosoever pursue them, they have a refuge, Prov. xiv. 26. “ His children shall have a place of refuge.”

In a time of common calamity, they have chambers for protection, where they may be hid, until the indignation be overpast, Isaiah xxvi. 20. And he is not only their refuge for protection, but their portion for provision, in that refuge, Psalm cxlii. 5. 6 Thou art my refuge and my portion, in the land of the living." They are provided for, for eternity, Heb. xi. 16. « He hath prepar. ed for them a city.” And what he sees they have need of for time, they shall not want, Mat. vi. 31, 32. 66 Take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? Or; What shall we drink? Or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed ? For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things." Seasonable correction is likewise their privilege as sons ; so they are not suffered to pass with their faults, as happens to others who are not children, but servants of the family, and will be turned out of doors for their miscarriages at length, Heb. xii. 7. “ If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons, for what son is he whom the Father chasteneth not ?" They are heirs of, and shall inherit the promises, Heb. vi. 12. Nay, they are

« EdellinenJatka »