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THE sermon I am now about to bring before you, you will observe from the title-page, is addressed to the mourners in Zion, and them only. It is the church, the regenerated church, against whom the Lord declares his displeasure by reason of sin; the natural man knows nothing of it, neither regards it: and even the church, though chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, knew nothing of their natural depravity, until, by regeneration, they are awakened from their spiritual death in trespasses and sins, to an apprehension of their totally guilty state before God. But when they are brought to feel the galling weight of sin, and cry out under it, most sweetly the Lord Jesus is revealed, as in this Scripture, "to comfort all that mourn in Zion."
There is another very essential point to be considered, for the scriptural and spiritual apprehension of this lovely and allcheering view of the Lord's comforting his people, under all their own discouraging circumstances of their guilt before God; namely, that the Lord himself, and he alone, is the sole Comforter. Jehovah, in his Trinity of persons, hath reserved this divine act to himself; "I, even I, am he that comforteth you." God the Father, when revealed in his everlasting love; and God the Son, in his incommunicable work of his finished salvation; and God the Holy Ghost, in his manifestation of the whole to the mournful soul when bowed down under a sense of sin; these then become the sole source of "joy and peace in believing, abounding in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost." To substitute aught beside, or to mingle aught with these, is virtually to give the lie to the Holy Ghost; and to contradict that Scripture in which the Lord hath said, "For by grace are ye saved, through iaith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast." (Eph. ii. 8, 9.) I cannot hesitate to say, and am too well assured of the truth of what I say to entertain the least doubt of
its reality, that this self-complacency is the idolatry of multitudes of the present day, who are supposed to belong to gospel churches. (Ezek. xiv. 1-6.)
Great and glorious Lord! help thy sons and daughters of Zion, which are before thee, to realize this day the presence of the Holy Three in One, in the united consolations of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, in the person of Jesus Christ. Thou Almighty Jehovah the Spirit, whose divine acts of grace are manifested in the convincing our souls of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment; let the lightning down of thy glorious arm be felt in this our assembly! Suffer no secret, no presumptuous sins to remain uncovered! Be thou to us the Spirit of judgment, and the Spirit of burning! Make way in our souls for the full, complete, and cordial reception of the Lord Jesus! Let no comfort but Jesus be ours! And do thou, O Almighty God our Father! give us in him an everlasting consolation, and a good hope through grace! Jesus will fulfil his own blessed words to our souls this day; he will comfort all that mourn in Zion; he will have a suited mercy for every case of his people; he will open blind eyes, unstop deaf hears, heal the backslider, and cause the tongue of the dumb to speak plainly! Lord! let it be a season of refreshing, as our several wants may be, for all thy people! Amen.
ALL MOURNERS IN ZION COMFORTED BY THE LORD.
ISAIAH LXI. 2
"To comfort all that mourn.”
THE HE great and glorious truths of the gospel are at one and the same moment the most sublime and the most simple. Considered as the revelation from God, in his trinity of persons, for the recovery of his church from their Adam-fall transgression; who, but must exclaim in the words of the apostle, "great is the mystery of godliness! But when, through divine teaching, the sinner is enabled to realize the saving truths in his mind and conscience; the whole appears so plain and palpable, that like the prophet's vision "he that runs may read it." And what endears it to the affection of the Lord's people, when, by regeneration, they are brought spiritually into a capability of discerning divine things, is the gracious plan by which the holy Three in One hath been pleased to accomplish the salvation of his people; namely, in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Marvellous work, indeed, of grace! but yet as endearing as it is wonderful, that One of the sacred persons in the GODHEAD should assume into union with himself an holy portion of our nature, and thereby become the visible Jehovah. Yea, more than this, not only assume a portion of our nature, but be made in the likeness of sinful flesh; and in that nature not only redeem the church from all iniquity, but
take a fellow-feeling in all her interests, and so sympathize with every individual of his mystical body, as " to bear their sins and carry their sorrows."
A beautiful illustration is given in a comprehensive manner, of one feature of his character in the words of the text, "to comfort all that mourn." I do admire that little word in the middle of the sentence, all that mourn. Yes! Jesus hath a complete knowledge of all the persons of his people; and as he knows their persons, so he knows their circumstances, their wants, their exercises, their sorrows; yea, Jesus not only knows them, but appoints them: and as they are measured out in love and wisdom, so the final issue of them he hath appointed also for good; he saith himself, "for I know the thoughts that I think towards you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end." (Jer. xxix. 11.) And it is astonishing if you look into the Scriptures throughout, how infinitely accommodating the Lord hath varied his expressions, so as that his exercised family shall see every case and every situation included. The tenderness of the Father is adopted, to shew that "as the father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him." (Ps. ciii. 13.) And no less the mother, "as one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you." (Isa. lxvi. 13.) Nay, the Lord takes one of the most affecting images of nature, to shew the extensiveness of his care and watchfulness of his people; and in the instance of an infant at the breast, declares, what we should shudder at as impossible, that a woman might forget her sucking child, so as to have no compassion on the son of her womb; "Yet, saith the Lord, will I never forget thee." (Isaiah xlix. 15.) And yet still beyond all these, the Lord declares that so much are his people part of himself, and so much interest doth he take in them, that "whoso touchéth them, toucheth the apple