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OF GREAT DARKNESS
WHICH FELL ON ABRAHAM,
MORE OR LESS, IN THE SOUL EXERCISES OF ALL
BEING THE SUBSTANCE OF A SERMON, FROM GEN. XV. 12.
Now to Abraham and his as of many,
seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, but as of one; And to thy seed, which is Christ. Gal. iii. 16.
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son. Rom. viii. 29.
In the prosecution of these Village Sermons, and endeavouring to proceed in a regular order, so as under divine teaching to declare unto you the whole counsel of God; I have in the several preceding discourses dwelt on those things which are essential to salvation. What effects have followed, or may hereafter follow, is with the Lord. (Isa. lv. 10, 11.)
The subject I am now about to give in before you, considered in all its bearings, is of the most spiritual nature, and more or less, is, or ought to be, in the practical exercise of the whole redeemed and regenerated family.
I do not mean, in this preface, even to give the outlines of it, the Lord will do this, and fill in all the essential parts of it, as we go along. I only detain you therefore, that we may bend the knee of prayer together, before we begin the Sermon in supplication to the Father of glory, to give both to preacher and hearer the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of our most glorious Christ: that we may "know the things which are freely given unto us of God!"
Vouchsafe, Lord! thy presence, thine anointings, thine unction: that we may discover our conformity to our most glorious Christ, in such soul exercises as shall prove our fellowship with him, and our interest in him; that being partakers in the vast concerns of his finished and incommunicable salvation, we may be partakers in the triumphs of his resurrection, and be found in him to his infinite glory, and our infinite happiness, here and for ever. Amen.
THE HORROR OF GREAT DARKNESS WHICH
GEN. XV. 12.
And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him.
Ir is of essential consequence, to be cherished and kept alive from day to day, in the mind of the redeemed and regenerated child of God, that our relationship in Christ was prior to all our connections with Adam. God the Holy Ghost is most plain and explicit on this fundamental truth. By his servant Paul he saith, that the church "was chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world ;" and not only chosen, but "to be holy and without blame before him in love." (Eph. i. 4.) So that the church had an uncreated holiness in her glorious head, which no attainments in nature could possibly resemble. And as this holiness is in Christ, and beyond all the powers of created nature to acquire, so is it beyond all the powers of nature to injure or defile. And to heighten this unspeakable mercy still more, the Lord gave the church a nature holiness in Adam, which, by the Adam-fall transgression, was soon lost, and misery introduced in its stead. Here was opened the first divine volume, both of "the mystery of godliness, and the mystery of iniquity.".
But we must not stop here. By cherishing and keeping alive in our remembrance, our oneness with Christ, and our unfading, and imperishable holiness in Christ, we trace our mercies to their source, and
discover that no cause, but that one glorious cause, could have given rise to the inconceivable blessedness of the church in Christ, namely, the everlasting, unchanging, and eternal love of Jehovah, in his trinity of persons to the church," according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Eph. iii. 11.)
Neither is this all. For another most sweet and inexpressibly blessed consequence results from this view, namely, that as this choice, this love, this giving uncreated holiness to the church, began before all worlds, and will continue when all worlds are done away, so the gracious effects of it run through all time, overthrow all opposition, which men, or devils, may seem to cast up against it, and like a golden thread pass through all the events in the departments of nature, providence, and grace, and connect all in one, the eternity that is past, and that which is to come. It is indeed, as a mighty river which sweeps all before it, and during this operation, "the streams thereof make glad the city of God:" it is a love which passeth all knowledge. It hath no breaks, no interruptions, no changes! "I have loved thee with an everlasting love!" (Jeremiah xxxi. 3.)
And to add no more by way of introduction. By being enabled, through grace, to have always in remembrance, what we are, and what we always were, in our uncreated holiness in Christ, during the hot and fiery trials we sustain from corruption within, the world without, and all hell up in arms around, when like Abram, an "horror of great darkness falls upon us ;" oh! what a relief to the soul, to know our safety in Christ! Very blessed are the words of the prophet to this amount, when he said, "therefore will I look unto the Lord. I will wait for the God of my salvation my God will hear me ! Rejoice not against
me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me." (Micah vii. 7, 8.)
I cannot pass away, from the view of these unspeakable blessings, without first calling upon the spiritual part of the congregation to observe, with me, what a door is hereby opened for precious communion, day by day, and hour by hour, with the almighty Author and Giver of those distinguishing blessings-Jehovah, in his trinity of persons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. All have concurred in the divine donation, and therefore to each and to all should be given unceasing praise. It was, and is, the Father, that chose the church, and gave uncreated holiness to the church in Christ: it was, and is, the Son, whose almighty power and GODHEAD upholds the church in his holiness for ever. And it was, and is, the Holy Ghost, whose GODHEAD becomes the eternal source of all spiritual and eternal life and communion to every individual of Christ's mystical body, both with the Father and the Son, in grace here, and glory hereafter. And what can the imagination form, equally blessed, as the going forth of the souls of the Lord's people, daily and hourly, in acts of lively faith, and love, and adoration, and praise to each and to all? Are these to be among the chief felicities of heaven; when in open vision we see God in Christ, and know even as we are known? And shall it not be our delight now? Lord! give grace to thy chosen to be much alive in the knowledge of this fellowship, with all the persons in the GODHEAD, "that our joy may be fulfilled."
I said, in the beginning of this discourse, that it is of essential consequence to be cherished, and kept alive in the mind of the redeemed and regenerated child of God, that our relationship to Christ, and our