« PoprzedniaDalej »
cousness in them that perish, because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved."
Secondly, There is no possibility of reconciling scripture testimonies, except we discriminate between the salvation believed, and the salvation consequent upon believing. The first, is like that all-sufficient Redeemer, by whom it was wrought out and completely finished; it is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever, enduring eternally, eternally abiding; yea, although we believe not, Christ Jesus remaineth faithful. If, like Peter, we should deny the LORD, whose purchase we are, still he will never deny himself; such is the character of the first salvation, of the salvation believed. But the second salvation, or the salvation consequent on believing this truth, is an operation of, or upon the mind of man; and this salvation is ever fluctuating, ever unstable, like the being with whom it is found.
ZECHARIAH ii. 10, 11.
First, To whom doth the Spirit speak? To the daughter of Zion; in other words, to the people of God dwelling in Jerusalem.
Secondly, Why is the daughter of Zion called upon to sing and rejoice? For the coming of the LORD. The people of God are described as looking out from the beginning with eager anxiety for the predicted Messiah; every faithful, every believing soul, waited for the consolation of Israel.
Thirdly, An additional reason is urged, why the daughter of Zion should rejoice and sing. Because I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the LORD. When God was manifested in the flesh, when the Redeemer assumed the body prepared for him, then was this prophecy fulfilled. The divine Nature, dwelling in the human nature, is God the LORD dwelling in the midst of the human family.
Fourthly, There is yet another reason why the daughter of Zion should rejoice and sing; for many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day. How many? We will consult the prophet Isaiah. His reponses to all our questions are full and unequivocal. Chapter ii. "And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established in the top of the mountain, and shall be exalted above the hills: and all nations shall flow unto it. And then will the LORD of hosts dwell in the midst of them, and all people shall know, that the Messiah is indeed the sent of God."
MATTHEW V. 3—7.
First, “BLESSED are the poor in spirit." What is it to be poor in spirit? and who are those who are poor in spirit? Among men, those are denominated poor, who are destitute of what this world calleth good. But the words that Jesus spake, they are spirit, and they are life; they do not, upon this occasion, take cognizance of a man's standing in society, nor of the state of his finances. Blessed are the poor in spirit. Commentators inform us, that the poor in spirit are those who are sensible of their lost, undone state, of their manifold transgressions. The poor in spirit then, are those who have no riches spiritually, they labour under great dejection, and they are ready to say with the wise man, Proverbs xiv. 13, "Even in laughter my heart is sorrowful, and the end of mirth is heaviness." They do not say with the Laodiceans, in the Revelations, iii. 17, "I am rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing: and thou knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." Such are the poor in spirit.
Secondly, What is the kingdom of heaven? Luke xvii. 21, "Neither shall they say, Lo here! or lo there! for, behold the kingdom of God is within you." John i. 26, "John answered, and said, I baptize you with water: but there standeth one among VOL. III.
you whom you know not." Jesus Christ himself is emphatically the kingdom of God; and it is hard for those who fancy themselves opulent to enter into this kingdom; it is with extreme reluctance that they deny themselves, and putting on the LORD Jesus, are found clothed in his righteousness. Yet it pleased the divine Nature that in him all fulness should dwell.
Thirdly, How does the kingdom of God become the property of the poor in spirit? By the love of God, and the gift of God. For God so loved the world that he gave them his Son. If you say that the Son was given only to those who love the Father, we will inquire of the oracles of God, and the spirit of truth shall determine. 1 John iv. 10, "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." And if you still ask, but for the sins of how many was he the propitiation? The same beloved disciple replies, chapter i. 2, "But he is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." Fourthly, "Blessed are they that mourn." Who are they that mourn? Jeremiah iv. 28, "For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black: because I have spoken it." Chapter xii. 4, "How long shall the earth mourn, and the herbs of every field wither, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein?" Matthew xxiv. 30, "And then shall appear the sign of the son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn."
Fifthly, The blessing. "And they shall be comforted." Isaiah xl. 1, 2, "Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned, for she hath received of the LORD's hand double for all her sins." And chapter li. 3, "For the LORD shall yet comfort Zion; he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody." Chapter Ixi. 2, 3, "To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn: To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness."
Sixthly, By whom is this blessing to be communicated? Who is to speak comfort to the human mourner? Undoubtedly the
spirit of truth, who is to take of the things of Jesus, and show them to the sorrowing soul. This spirit of truth is the comforter, the Holy Ghost. John xiv. 16, "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth."
Seventhly, "Blessed are the meek." And who, I pray, are the meek? There are who are called meek. Moses is said to be the meekest of men. Numbers xii. 3, “Now the man Moses was very meek above all the men which were upon the face of the earth." Yet he was prevented from inheriting the earth, by the prevalence of his passions; he could not enter the promised land, because he spoke unadvisedly with his lips at the waters of strife. In his wrath he slew the Egyptian, and in great wrath he break the tables which were inscribed by the finger of Deity. Well, then, if we cannot find among the sons of men, descending from Adam, by ordinary generation, an individual sufficiently meek to inherit the earth, let us see if we cannot find this meekness in perfection in the character of the God man. Zechariah ix. 9, "Rejoice, greatly, O daughter of Zion, shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: Behold, thy king cometh unto thee; he is just, and having salvation: lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt, the foal of an ass." Matthew xi. 29, "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest to your souls." We pronounce, therefore, that it is Christ Jesus, and Christ Jesus only, who is truly and perfectly meek; and it is Christ Jesus, and Christ Jesus only, who shall inherit the earth.
But, eighthly, What is the earth which this meek Saviour shall inherit? Not the inanimate earth on which we tread. It is the nations of the earth. Ask of me, and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Every thing was made for, and by the Redeemer; he is the heir of all things; children are the heritage of the LORD; and it is a glorious truth that the people are joint heirs with the Redeemer, to whatever the Redeemer is. Romans viii. 17, "And if children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ."
Ninthly, "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled." Hunger and thirst after what righteousness? Doubtless the righteousness of God, the
righteousness described by Daniel, ix. 24, "To make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness." And by the Apostle Paul, Romans i. 17, "For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith." The righteousness performed by him, in whom dwelt all the fulness of the God-head. The righteousness distinguished from the righteousness of the creature. Romans x. 3, "For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God." This righteousness is called the righteousness of faith. Romans iv. 13, "For the promise that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith; because it is the evidence of things not seen." This righteousness is called the law of righteousness, as contrasted with the righteousness after which the Jews sought. Romans ix. 31, "But Israel which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness." In the prophecy of Jeremiah, xxxiii. 6, the whole system is summed up-" Behold, I will bring it health and cure; and I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth."
Tenthly, "Those who hunger and thirst after this righteousness, shall be filled." By hunger and thirst, we are led to the contemplation of the human and divine Nature. Bread is given to the hungry, and water to the thirsty. Christ is the bread, the Spirit is the water. John vi. 33," For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world." John vii. 38, 39, "He that believeth on me, as the scriptures hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believed on him should receive." Every one taught of God hath this Spirit, which teacheth him to appropriate to himself the righteousness of the Redeemer, who is said to be the head of every man; while those, of a contrary description, are wells without water. 2 Peter ii. 17, "These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved forever." But they who hunger and thirst after this righteousness, shall be filled. Isaiah lv. 1, "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price."