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exalted Christ as a Prince and a Saviour, to bestow those blessings on his people. And God the Holy Ghost, by the washing of regeneration, brings the people into a spiritual life and capability of receiving them. (Titus iii. 4-7.) And God the Son comforts all that mourn in Zion, with them, when under a sense of sin. Hence, if the Lord be your Teacher, you will perceive that it is not the living among the people of Zion; not making the same profession as the people of God; not having the form without the power of godliness; not an head knowledge, so as to have the clearest apprehension by reason and argument, of the glorious truths of the gospel. Those words of Christ define real vital godliness from nominal, and spiritual from what is merely natural; and become an everlasting barrier against all spurious doctrines of men: "except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John iii. 3.)
Again. True mourners in Zion are such as have known and felt the plague of their own heart, and are out of love with themselves, and in love with Jesus Christ. The Holy Ghost, by the prophet, hath described them very graciously. "I will pour out upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications; and they shall look upon him whom they have pierced; and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his first-born." (Zech. xii. 10.) Here is an infallible mark; and such we may venture to assert on the authority of Scripture, more or less, is in the character of every true son and daughter of Zion. Self-loathing, self-abhorrence, self-renouncing are the sure features of mourners in Zion; and where these are, there will be, in exact proportion, a soul longing, a soul desiring, and a soul hungering for Jesus Christ.
Once more. True mourners in Zion not only lament over their own sins, but over the sins of the Lord's people; and they are marked by the Lord, as such, with peculiar tokens of his favour. "And the Lord said unto the man clothed with linen, which had the writer's inkhorn by his side, Go through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh, and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. And to the others he said, in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city and smite; let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity; slay utterly, old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any upon whom is the mark.” (Ezek. ix. 3—6.) But what shall be said of those (for they are the Lord's people also) who are “at ease in Zion, and trust in the mountain of Samaria, which are named chief of the nations to whom the house of Israel came?" (Amos vi. 1.) And who are they, among the Lord's people, but the backslider; the pharisee, that is bolstering himself in his own righteousness, making a yea and nay gospel; that (as the Lord describes them by the prophet) "say, Stand by thyself; come not near me; for I am holier than thou! These are, saith the Lord, a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day.” (Isaiah Ixv. 5.) But what · a gracious Scripture is that to the Lord's people concerning such, while they remain under their delusion, and despise the true mourners in Zion: "Hear the word of the Lord, ye that tremble at his word; your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name sake, said, Let the Lord be glorified! but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed.” (Isaiah lxvi. 6.)
These are among the more prominent features of character to distinguish the mourners in Zion, and such as the Lord in the text promiseth to comfort. I
have only sketched what, more or less, marks all; no doubt, did it come within the limits of a sermon, I might have enlarged the subject by drawing out some other descriptions, all which denote "the spots of God's children;" but these are enough to shew how grace and the new birth mark" the precious from the the vile." Those outlines are such as no natural man ever knew; indeed they are such as the unrenewed man cannot know. Mourners in Zion have one family feature. "They shall come with weeping and with supplications will I lead them; I will cause them to walk by the rivers of water, in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble; for I am a Father to Israel, and Ephraim is my first-born." (Jer. xxxi. 9.) Brethren! it will be your province, as it ought to be your pleasure, to see how far you correspond with this Scripture standard.
I have but one object more in view to bring before you, and which, indeed, is the highest and most important of all, but which in the outlines of it may be brought within little compass, namely, to speak of Him and his infinite greatness, fulness, and suitability, who alone is all-sufficient, and who graciously promiseth" to comfort all that mourn in Zion."
When we take into one view who this Almighty One is, and what he is, that he is one in essence and being with the Father and with the Holy Ghost; one in will, purpose, decree, and pleasure, in all the gracious designs of the Holy Trinity relating to the church; that by virtue of assuming our nature into union with his divine, he is the visible Jehovah, and "in him dwelleth all the fulness of the GODHEAD bodily;" that by reason of this relationship with his church, one and the same interest belongs to both; that his glory more than our happiness is the first and pre-disposing cause of all we indeed obtain in him and through him unspeakable blessedness; but his is to wear the
crown of redemption, in bringing "many sons unto glory." When these things are taken into one comprehensive view, surely there is that in it which is enough to make every mourner in Zion glad. Jesus is all, and hath all, that can be needed in time and in eternity for his people; and every case he knows, and makes his own.
I stay not from general statement to make application to particular cases; the extensiveness of the language in the text renders it unnecessary; for if Jesus comforts all that mourn, then are all included, and not one can be overlooked.
Vouchsafe, Almighty Lord! at this time to give to them that are here present of thy mourners, a blessed realizing in their own souls of the precious truth of this divine Scripture. And this part of thy church now before thee so satisfy with thy goodness, as to leave behind them all their sorrows, living out of themselves, and from henceforth living in thee whose church is thy body, "and the fulness of him that filleth all in all." Amen.