« PoprzedniaDalej »
ple, under that wilderness dispensation. All this is so plainly and so beautifully set forth and explained by the Lord, the Spirit, in Scripture, in various parts, that it would be a superfluous service upon the present occasion to offer more. The Holy Ghost in proof hath indeed largely dwelt upon it in his epistle to the Hebrews; and after recapitulating many of the leading points, he adds: "The Holy Ghost thus signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as yet the first tabernacle was yet standing." But while all these ministered, as they were intended to minister, in preaching Christ to the church; there is such a peculiar beauty in this of the brazen serpent lifted up in the wilderness, to shew that Christ in the after age of the gospel was to be lifted up, "in finishing transgression, making an end of sin, and bringing in an everlasting righte ousness;" as doth merit our most particular attention. It hath indeed in it so much sweetness, so much blessedness, in bringing home our most glorious Christ to the hearts of his redeemed ones, in this endearing and condescending humbleness of character, as evidently proves the love of our most adorable Lord thereby; and that he will be known to the tenderest affections of his people by this service.
For the better apprehension of it, the reader should remember that Christ in his high character of Redeemer and Saviour, was made both a sin and a curse for his people; "that having redeemed us from the the curse of the law; and being made sin for us, who knew no sin, we might be made the righteousness of God in him." (Gal. iii. 13. 2 Cor. v. 21.) Now none of the creatures of God, which the Holy Ghost was pleased to appoint, might represent typically our glorious Lord, under all the various characters he would sustain. The scape goat might be made to represent our Almighty burden bearer, in
having Aaron putting both his hands on the goat, when the Lord shadowed forth thereby, that "the Lord laid on him the iniquity of us all." (Isa. liii. 6.) And the lamb became no unapt figure and shadow of the "Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world." But as there was no creature of God, that was accursed of God but the serpent; if the Holy Ghost will be pleased (as to our great comfort the Lord hath been pleased) that our most glorious Christ shall be represented in the old church, as he was actually set forth in the new; "bearing our sins in his own body on the tree, and being made a curse for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him; then the serpent among all the creatures of God became the only one which could have been a type; and most striking and blessed it certainly is to every redeemed and regenerated child of God, to behold the Lord of life and glory thus lifted up; to the end, that "whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life." Precious, precious Lord Jesus! cause my soul to gaze on thee; to hang on thee; to find faith and confidence in thee; and evermore heartily, cordially, fully, and unceasingly, to behold in thee a complete deliverance from sin and the curse; being made by thy finished salvation, "the righteousness of God in thee."
The next observation which meets us in this delightful subject is the authority by which the man of God lifted up the serpent in the wilderness; and of the same authority in the lifting up of our most glorious Christ in the gospel; by which the church of God now is delivered from perishing, and hath eternal life, as the church of God was then, in looking with faith to the brazen serpent by which they lived. Moses acted but as the minister in that moment of danger in the wilderness. And the ministers of Christ under the gospel do no other now. But it is blessed to
behold the whole Persons in the GODHEAD, all concurring and co-operating in the wonders of salvation. God the Father is said to have given his Son; to have sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world. (John iii. 16. 1 John iv. 14.) God the Son so loved the church as to give himself for the church," an offering and a sacrifice to God, for a sweet smelling savour." (Eph. v. 12.) And God the Holy Ghost it is that lifts up the Lord Jesus in the hearts and consciences of his people, glorifieth his person, and glorifieth his work; “and takes of the things of Christ, and sheweth unto them." (John xvi. 14.)
Neither must we omit one observation more; in that our Lord saith, that as the dying Israelite looked unto the brazen serpent and lived; so looking unto Christ, and believing on him, is everlasting life. And it is our mercy, that the Lord, that provides the remedy, gives power to receive it. Faith is the gift of God. So that when the Lord Jesus saith, as he doth by the prophet: "Look unto me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else;" (Isaiah xlv. 22.) in this precept the promise is blended together. The Lord, that issues the command, gives grace to obey. "It is God that worketh in his people, both to will and to do, of his good pleasure."
And now I commit the whole to the blessing of our most gracious Lord God, with full assurance of faith, that an unction from on high may accompany the perusal to all his people. Surely we have a well founded hope that the Lord will do so! For did God the Holy Ghost, graciously appoint such a service in the camp of Israel then, to prefigure our most glorious Christ, and render it blessed; and will he not as graciously render the perusal of it as profitable to his Israel now? Did the Father of mercies, and God of all comfort, send his own Son" in the likeness of sinful
flesh, and for sin condemned sin in the flesh; that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit; (Rom. viii. 3, 4.) and will he not, "having made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, (mercifully grant) that we might be made the righteousness of God in him?" (2 Cor. v. 21.) And did the Lord of life and glory, in reference to this transaction in the church of old, himself say, "that as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life?" (John iii. 14, 15.) Oh! then surely the thing is certain. There will be, there must be, a savour of the Lord's grace, upon the Lord's dispensations; and as the church of old was then so blessed in looking to the type and shadow; every redeemed and regenerated child of God now will be enabled to look to the substance signified; and in the person of our most glorious Christ find assured salvation; and, with the prophet, say: "In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified and glory." (Isaiah xlv. 21.)
Blessed God! give to all thy church and people grace to be everlastingly refreshed in the unceasing contemplation of our most glorious Christ; both in his almighty person and in his almighty work. Yes! precious, gracious Lord Jesus; as thou art still lifted up in thy blessed gospel, the whole of salvation to thy people; so let my soul rest on thee, as complete in thee; until faith is swallowed up in open vision, and present peace, in the blood of the cross, is followed in everlasting glory. Cause my eyes, my heart, my every spiritual affection, to gaze on thee, "with a joy unspeakable and full of glory, receiving the end of my faith, even the salvation of my soul." Amidst all the wounds of sin, and all the fiery darts of the wicked, here let my soul fix her unceasing
contemplation. And while in thy person, blood, and righteousness, I find a balm of spiritual healing, and an everlasting consolation from the love of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, to my person as I am in Christ, I may pass on through all that yet remains to be filled in, in this wilderness state, until I come to see thee as thou art, and dwell with thee for ever. Amen.
THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IN THE MOUNT
"And after six days, Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart."
"And was transfigured before them; and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light." (Matt. xvii. 1, 2.)
NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS.
WE here enter upon one of the most sublime portions of the word of God; and such as relates to a subject in which the church of God is most highly interested; such indeed as requires continual unction from the Lord, to receive a true spiritual apprehension of it in the mind and understanding; and of consequence such as demands from every redeemed and