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my discourse. And the second thing to be done, will be, the enquiry, whether similar effects have followed our spiritual sight of Christ as with the prophet? And as the matter is so infinitely sublime in itself, and so infinitely momentous to our welfare; the Lord give grace, both to him that speaks, and to those of the Lord's people that hear, that while lying low in the dust before our God, we may put the shoe off our feet, as Moses did at the bush, "for the place on which we stand, (in beholding such a sight, as Christ's holiness, and our uncleanness) is holy ground."
I begin, according to my proposal, to state the first particular; namely, to offer a few thoughts according to the statement of holy Scripture, concerning the Almighty person of Him, the spiritual sight of whom produceth 'such effects. I am well aware that the whole burden of my preaching is to this amount, all directing to the contemplation of the person of our most glorious Christ. So that, perhaps, some may think this an unnecessary service upon the present occasion. But not so. For you will bear with me while I say, that if there be one among you that thinketh so, very sure I am, that soul hath not beheld Christ as did the prophet. The contemplation of Christ is an eternal contemplation. And when by regeneration, we are brought into a capability of having our spiritual senses brought into life, and to be called forth in the study of the person, and incommunicable salvation of Christ; we are supposed to be daily advancing in an holy familiarity with both; and find all our delight in this one divine science only.
And you should connect with this study of Christ, the consideration that we no less study the knowledge of the Father, and of the Holy Ghost, as we are brought to know Him. Our Lord's own account of this is very blessed and decisive. "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father. If ye had known me, yé
should have known my Father also." (John xiv. 7-9.) There is no studying the divine personality of the GODHEAD but as it is studied in Christ. One of the sacred persons in the Holy Three having, through the
medium of the human nature he hath taken into union with himself, come forth from that invisibility in which Jehovah dwells in the unity of essence, and trinity of persons; here is made known," the mystery of God manifest in the flesh :" and it is only in Him, and through Him, and by Him, we learn to know God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
It will be a very blessed study in our desires after the spiritual knowledge of our most glorious Christ, to trace the subject by the revelation of the word of God from the beginning; yea, while taken by the hand of Scripture, we go back before all time, and learn under divine teaching what God hath taught the church on this sublime subject. For my own part, I do not hesitate to tell you, that I have found, and still do find a blessedness inexpressible as often as I am enabled through grace to go over the sacred ground again. I open the word of God to those parts, when it was all one vast eternity. I contemplate the Holy Three in One," before the mountains were brought forth, or ever the earth and the world were made;" when, as the Scripture sublimely states it, "God was from everlasting to everlasting, and world without end." (Psalm xc. 2.) I stand then, as on the borders of the invisible world, while I contemplate this High and lofty One (in his trinity of persons, as He is afterwards revealed) and in spiritual imagination I run over numberless views connected herewith. Here (I say to myself) in this eternity of being, the Holy Three, as Scripture states, was God, from everlasting to everlasting. Who shall count the millions of ages which had run out, before that event began when Jehovah raised up the world, and formed the church?
And here from this datum I form my conclusions, of the perfect equality in the persons of the GODHEAD, which no after events in time could possibly lesson or do away. That One of the sacred persons in the GODHEAD should assume our nature, for the vast purposes of grace which to our unspeakable joy and happiness he hath done, can have no effect to alter his own eternal power and GODHEAD. Nay, his own eternal power and GODHEAD it was which gave infinity, and value, and excellency to all he said, or did, or accomplished in our nature. But let us for a moment suppose that One of the persons in the GODHEAD had not assumed our nature; yea, let us suppose that Jehovah in his trinity of persons had not been pleased to create worlds, or to form a church; who doth not see, or who will not see, that the Holy Three in One were
the same, resting in their own eternal happiness, holiness, and glory? If then from this eternal ground we gather our views of Christ, and carry such views through all the time state of the church; and from one eternity to another; we shall never be at a loss through "that unction which teacheth all things" (1 John ii. 20.) to have a clear, scriptural, spiritual apprehension of his Almighty person, whom the prophet saw "sitting on his throne, high and lifted up." But if we gather our knowledge of Christ from such views as go no higher than the time state of the church; we shall be as the mere reasoners of natural men are, always confused; and live and die, while in a state of unrenewed nature, totally ignorant of his person, and consequently equally ignorant of his salvation. And however it may subject me to the joint reproof, of professed infidels (with whom this nation swarms) and professed believers, (who are scarce less numerous among men of a yea and nay gospel) I hesitate not to say, that the ignorance of Christ's person as one in the Holy Three of GODHEAD, in his divine
nature from everlasting to everlasting, is the cause of all this evil. It will be a blessed effect of my sermon this day, if the Lord shall be pleased to make it instrumental to any of his people. "They that know thy name, (that is, thy person) will put their trust in thee." (Ps. ix. 10.) Since the Lord was pleased to give me "the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him," I have never for a moment lost sight of my safety in Him. But no man can trust an unknown God!
I come now to the second part I proposed, namely, to enquire, whether such effects have taken place in the circumstances of our spiritual life as with the prophet? The spiritual sight of Christ, on his throne, high and lifted up, becomes the only sure and unerring conviction of deep and lasting sorrow for sin, under the same feelings as the prophet had: "Woe is me! I am undone !" Slight, and superficial views of sin, when the conviction is not wrought of God, will satisfy the mere professors of the gospel. Yea, such men will fancy that they are in a state of progressive holiness. The reason is, they calculate their state by what passeth as they conceive within themselves, and are not looking, as the prophet did, to Christ, until he felt himself, in himself, utterly undone before God. If such gospel professors could but see the fallacy of their pretensions, they would discover that self, and not Christ, or as they mingle, self and partly Christ, forms the basis of their faith: and thus in their supposed progressive improvement they flatly contradict the Lord's own statement concerning his people. "That thou mayest remember, and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more, because of thy shame, when I am pacified toward thee, for all that thou hast done, saith the Lord God." (Ezek. xvi. 63.) The spiritual sight of Christ hath one and the same effect upon every regenerated child of God.
It never fails of producing self-loathing and selfabhorrence; while it gives at the same time, the most exalted views of His glorious person in whom alone is salvation. Beholding Christ, as the surety, and sponsor of his body the church, and being on his throne, as having conquered sin, death, hell, and the grave; the child of God beholds here, as in a mirror, his own helpless, hopeless state, as subject to all these in himself. And feeling the sentence of death in himself, he exclaims as the prophet, "Woe is me! I am undone !" But when, as in the instance of the prophet, he hath passed under the condemnation of the law, being utterly guilty before God; and the Lord hath done by him, as by Isaiah, touched his lips with a live coal from the altar, and taken away his iniquity; he passeth from the reign of sin into the reign of grace; and looks at Christ, as the whole efficiency of salvation: having taken away sin by the sacrifice of himself, and having been made sin for his people who knew no sin, that they might be made the righteousness of God in him.
The Holy Ghost hath drawn a beautiful portrait of the church on this account; in shewing how from a state of unawakened nature yet when quickened by grace the child of God passeth on through the different departments with Christ, until he beholds himself sitting in Christ in glory. "And you hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins, wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience. Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath even as others." Here is a full drawn picture of the church, not only before regeneration but after; in all those instances where the church falls into idolatry and sin, of which the Lord himself