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Jehovah, the admiration of angels, the envy of devils, and the glory of the universe !!!
It remains now to apply the subject; and we infer that,
1. There is a great difference between saints and sinners. This is evident from the names ascribed to them expressive of their natures. The one are called sheep, and the other goats: they have the titles of godly and ungodly, holy and unholy, and righteous and wicked. Here the saints are called God's jewels, or God's choice goods; while sinners are but lumber. These different names and situations are accompanied with corresponding privileges and danger. Great are the privileges of the saints who are Christ's and interested in all spiritual blessings : while the sinner is in the gall of bitterness and bond of iniquity.
2. This difference should appear in the lives of believers. If they are sheep, they should be gentle and patient; they should be docile, hear the shepherd's voice, and follow him. If they are godly, their conversation should be in heaven, and whether they eat or drink, they should do all to the glory of God. If they are favourites of heaven, they should be transformed from this world in the renewing of their mind; and where their treasure is, there should their hearts be. If they are expectants of glory, their souls should not be drenched in earthly objects; but “ being risen with Christ, they should seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right-hand of God.” If jewels, they should shine, and “ be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the
midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whoma they shine, as lights in the world, holding forth the word of life."
3. However great that difference be in itself, or however discernible through the power of Divine grace,
may be in the lives of believers, they have no reason for pride or self-gloriation. Christ found them lying among the pots, and the foulest of the foul. • Their father was an Amorite, and their mother was an Hittite: none eye pitied them or had compassion upon them: they were cast out in the open field to the loathing of their persons, and when Christ passed by, and saw them in their blood, he said, Live.” He beautified them as the dove whose wings are covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold. Nay more, they were not only in this dreadful situation when Christ found and delivered them, but every degree of grace and holiness, every proper thought and action, are owing to a continued influx of seasonable supply from his fulness. The saint can no more in his own strength preserve or increase grace, than he could procure or implant it. Sensible of this, he glories only in the Lord.
4. The love of Christ is truly amazing. He loved his people from all eternity. In the fulness of time he took upon him their nature, and died to purchase his jewels. They are costly articles to him indeed, for they “ are not redeemed with corruptible things, such as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ.” He endured the wrath of God, and the severest sufferings, that his jewels might be brought from the hole of the pit, and exquisitely polished. In
all that he did, he had no motive to excite him, but BECAUSE HE LOVED Us.” There was much to prevent and obstruct his benevolent undertaking; but he surmounted every obstacle, that he might be able to say with propriety, “ They shall be mine in that day when I make up my jewels.
5. Believers have the highest reason to love Christ, Love should beget love. We should love him who first and thus loved us. We love him too little at the best, and the love of many waxes cold. Every mean of grace should be improved to inflame our love, and especially the great ordinance of the supper immediately to be dispensed. At his table the Lord signally makes up his jewels, and his people should go forward to it with gratitude and love. Their hearts should be filled with earnest desires that, at his table, they may be polished for future service, in a new and higher degree while continued in this world, and for death when he shall call them hence. It is highly probable that this may be the last opportunity to some of commemorating the dying love of the Redeemer in this solemn ordinance. We would need to rise from his table, in some measure, armed with the same spirit with which Christ rose from the first celebration of the supper,-he rose, went out, and met death. Whether you may live longer or shorter, at his table you should seek a powerful intimation from himself, that you shall be his in the day when he makes up his jewels. This would cheer and animate your hearts under every affliction, and fortify your minds against all desponding fears. It would deliver
from an undue love of life, and prepare
you to meet the king of terrors unappalled. You should have some evidences and good hope that you are his jewels before you take your seat at his table. Look within. Survey your lives. Collect your evidences. Look upwards. Cry for the Spirit to breathe upon these slain that they may live. Seek him to bear witness with your spirits that you are the jewels of the Lord. Have you already got some polish? Apply for more. Pray that you may be sealed, and kept safely and secretly till that day when the Lord makes up his jewels.
6. The saints may well be resigned under the sharpest afflictions. The design of these is to polish and make them up. The hotter the furnace, the more admirable a sight is the saint while in it, and the more beautiful an object when brought out. Tried saints are a pleasing sight to angels. They behold them with pleasure and wonder. They learn from them the manifold wisdom of God, and the astonishing power of his grace, which is invincible indeed! If saints themselves know not now what God is doing, they shall know hereafter.
7. We shall only further infer, that sinners are God's lumber. If a man apprehend that any valuable article has fallen by among his lumber, he tosses it about, if perhaps that valuable article might be found: and when sure that there is nothing valuable among it, he gives up all future care about it, and reckons it rather cumbersome than advantageous; and if he is about to move to another place, he commonly commits it to the flames.
God tosses about his lumber seeking out his jewels. Nations undergo revolutions, that Zion may be saved, and termed “ sought out, and not forsaken." He overturns, overturns, overturns, till he come whose right it is. Families are moved from place to place, that certain individuals in them may be brought to the Gospel and saved. In every tossing a secret unerring hand casts the lumber to such a place that the jewels may be found. When these are all made up,
the vast mass of lumber will be cast into the fire that cannot be quenched. Sinners, be wise. You have now the best privileges. “ If you are wise, you are wise for yourselves; but if ye scorn, ye alone shall bear it.” If you continue to misimprove, God will cast you, with the rest of his lumber, into hell fire. Oh that you were wise, and would lay these things to heart, that the Lord's language concerning you also may be, “ And they shall be mine in that day when I make
up my jewels !"