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of Christ in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Colos. ii. 2, 3.)
But before I enter upon it, just let me beg all before whom I speak to pause, and consider with me how infinitely suited an Almighty Saviour of such in ́conceivable fulness must be, to answer all the wants and circumstances of a nature like ours, which by sin, both original and actual, is universally needy, and wretchedly poor, in every individual of the children of the Adam-fall apostacy. Surely if there be one here present, who is sensible of his emptiness and bankruptcy before God, there can be nothing farther necessary, to make him rich indeed, than to be made equally sensible of the infinite provision that there is in those unsearchable riches of our most glorious Christ, to impart of his fulness, “and grace for grace.” And the encouraging language of Christ is, "I will cause those that love me to inherit substance, and I will fill their treasures." (Prov. viii. 21.)
Let not this important point however be overlooked, as we enter upon the subject of Christ's fulness and our emptiness; that to have a true spiritual sense and apprehension of both, must be from divine teaching. We can neither know our misery, nor Christ's riches, in a way of personal discernment, but by an unction from the Lord. It will be our mercy therefore, as well preacher, as hearer, to sit alike at the feet of Jesus, while we contemplate his unsearchable riches, spiritually to apprehend the things themselves, and "to hear the gracious words which proceed out of his mouth." For you will bear with me while I say, that the unsearchable riches of Christ, are not only so infinite in themselves, as not to be wholly discoverable because they are unsearchable, but not one of them spiritually considered, can be known, by all the powers of nature. And for this plain reason. The things themselves are super
natural; and can only be learnt supernaturally, and tanght supernaturally. (Isa. liv. 13. John vi. 45.) Hence therefore, it will be our mercy if this day the Lord brings both him that is about to speak, and those that hear, under his own divine teaching, that
we may know the things which are freely given unto us of God: not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth,comparing spiritual things with spiritual." (1 Cor. ii. 12, 13.)
One word more before we begin the discourse on Christ's unsearchable riches: and let me hope this one word more, by way of preparation, under the Lord, for a right apprehension of this important subject, will be as kindly accepted as it is kindly meant. I trust that that class of hearers, which I have now in view, in this previous admonition, will not take in offence what is intended affectionately. And it is earnestly to caution against a mere hearsay belief, in being satisfied with a rational knowledge of these things, while destitute of spiritual enjoyment. It is not the clearest conviction to be assured that in Christ there are unsearchable riches, if we are not benefited thereby. The richest feast will not satisfy hunger if not partaken of. The warmest garment will not screen from the cold unless put on. Neither will the natural consent of the understanding minister to any good in the view of Christ and his infinite fulness, until the glorious truth of the things themselves is known spiritually, received spiritually, and lived on spiritually, by spiritual communion with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. The Lord the Spirit give to all his people a true scriptural apprehension, both of the person and the unsearchable riches of Christ, that as in him "dwelleth all the fulness of the GODHEAD bodily, we may see ourselves complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power! Amen."
I begin the subject as I proposed, in tracing the account here given in the text to its source: for in order to have a right apprehension of the unsearchable riches of Christ, we must first have a right apprehension from the same scriptural testimony, and under the same divine teaching, of Christ's person. And his own inherent self-existing, eternal and essential power and GODHEAD, can be the only certainty of his possessing unsearchable riches. It is from hence we must enter upon our subject and prove their reality. From this point therefore I would commence, and I beseech you to hear me patiently.
If we take the both Testaments of holy Scripture on this momentous point into one subject, as one complete whole, we may safely mark this down as the sublime contents: Jehovah's design in the creation of worlds, and the forming a church, had his own glory in view for the manifestation thereof, as the first and ultimate end of all. This is expressed in many Scriptures: let a few suffice in proof. "The Lord hath made all things for himself, yea, even the wicked for the day of evil." (Prov. xvi. 4.) "This people have I formed for myself, they shall shew forth my praise." (Isa. xliii. 21.) "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honour, and power; for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created." (Rev. iv. 11.) And the apostle closeth up a long and beautiful chapter npon this sovereignty and good pleasure of Jehovah, in those sublime words: "For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor ? or who hath first given to him and it shall be recompensed unto him again? for of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen." (Rom xi. 34, &c.)
Passing on warily, and with profound veneration, over the sacred inclosure of holy Scripture on this
enquiry, we may next observe what evidently appears in Jehovah's display of wisdom for his own glory, that he was graciously pleased to accomplish this by the manifestation of himself in his trinity of persons, in and by the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord here testified, that his glory should be made known by the riches of his grace; and so displayed, that "in the ages to come, he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace, in his kindness towards us, through Chr is Jesus." (Eph ii. 7.)
In the accomplishment of this vast purpose, the time-state of the church was opened in the works of creation; and while "the heavens" at their being made, “ declared the glory of God, and the firmament shewed his handy work," at the formation of man there appears to have been a council of the Holy Three in One, when “God said, let us make man in our image, after our likeness." (Gen. i. 26.) So that here the first footsteps of Jehovah in his trinity of persons are traceable, in the carrying on "the eternal purposes which Jehovah purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Eph. iii. 11.) And thus the creation of our first earthly father was made in the likeness of his image who is the image of the invisible God; and as it is said elsewere, "the first man is of the earth earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven." (1 Cor. xv. 47.):
But as the infinite subject opened more and more in the sacred word of inspiration, those footsteps of Jehovah in his trinity of persons became plainer developed; and all the ministrations of divine worship, both by sacrifice and offering under the law and the gospel, all pointed to the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ the visible Jehovah; and the whole manifestly declared what the apostle expressed in that comprehensive Scripture," that in the dispensation of the fulness of times, Jehovah might gather
together in one, all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth, even in him." (Eph. i. 10.) Here at once was displayed in the glory and greatness of his person, somewhat for the mind to lean upon in forming conceptions, though not of the immense extent to which it reacheth, included in what the apostle calls "the unsearchable riches of Christ."
And what becomes the culminating point to crown all, and which the sacred inclosure of holy Scripture opens and unfolds to us is this; that in the person of Christ, the church hath a double relationship to secure her personal interest in all those unsearchable riches of Christ; namely, in that he is not only her glorious head and husband from all eternity, but also hath been and is, her Saviour and surety, to redeem her from all the iniquities of the Adam-fall transgression into which she hath been involved in the present time-state of her warfare. Here it is in the miseries of our fallen state, that the most ample opportunity is afforded for the manifestation of the riches of grace. grace. And the thousand and ten thousand cases which daily occur, from the church's passing through this waste and howling wilderness, affording continual scope for the Lord's tenderness and sympathy to his people; that the person of our most glorious Christ comes home endeared to the heart of every individual of his mystical body so that we can and do say, as the church of old did to the Lord, "thou art more glorious and excellent than the mountains of prey." (Ps. lxxvi. 4.)
I come now to shew, after contemplating the infinite greatness of his person, how those immense riches, which from their very nature, like himself are unsearchable, are made over to his people, and become
suitable to all and to every state of his whole body
the church, as their several and diversified circum
stances shall require.
But although I have proposed to give some short