Billeder på siden

comprise the whole creation of God. And, in speaking of "things," we shall consider,

First, spiritual things; which are also of two sorts: temporal, and eternal.

First, temporal, or such as in this life we are made partakers of. And this may be reduced to two heads; for they are all of them either grace or gifts, and Christ is Lord of them all.

1. Grace; pardon of sin, the regenerating of the person of a dead sinner, preservation in a condition of acceptance with God, and holy obedience to the end, adoption, with all the privileges that flow from it. All the stores of this grace and mercy that are in heaven for sinners, are given into his hand, and resigned up to his sovereign disposal, Col. i, 19; "It pleased the Father "that in him, should all fulness dwell." All the grace, and mercy that are in the heart of God as a father to bestow upon his children, are all given into the hand of Christ, and are his, or part of his inheritance. In particular,

(1.) All pardoning grace for the acceptance of our persons, and the forgiveness of our sins; he is the Lord of it, Acts v, 31. He is made a Prince and a Savior to give repentance and the forgiveness of sins; nor doth any one receive it but out of his stores. And what is the dominion of ten thousand worlds, in comparison of this inheritance? Surely he shall be my God and King who hath all forgiveness at his disposal.


(2.) All regenerating, quickening, sanctifying, assisting, persevering grace is his; John v, 21. He quickeneth whom he will; he walks among dead souls, and says to whom he pleaseth, Live; and he sanctifieth by his Spirit whom he pleaseth. All the living waters of saving grace are committed to him, and he invites men unto them freely, Cant. v, 1; Isa. Iv, 1; John iv, 14;

[ocr errors]

Rev. xxi. All grace actually assisting us in any duty, is his also, for without him we can do nothing; John xv, 5; it is he alone that gives out suitable help at the time of need, Heb. iv, 16; and all the gracious privileges whereof we are made partakers in our adoption are his also, John i, 12. No man was ever quickened, purified, or strengthened, but by him; nor can one dream of any grace to be obtained but out of his treasures, his unsearchable riches, and exceeding excellency; which being communicated by him to all the subjects of his kingdom, make every one of them richer than all the potentates of the earth who have no interest in him.

$14. The special foundation of all this trust is in an eminent manner expressed, Isa. liii, 10-12. His suffering and purchase make it just and righteous that he should enjoy this part of his inheritance.

The Father says unto him, "Seest thou these poor "wretched creatures, that lie perishing in their blood, "and under the curse? They had once my image glo"riously enstamped upon them, and were every way "meet for my service; but behold the misery that is "come upon them by their sin and rebellion: sentence ❝is gone forth against them upon their sin; and they "want nothing to shut them up under everlasting ruin, "but the execution of it. Wilt thou undertake to be "their Savior and Deliverer, to save them from their "sins, and the wrath to come? Wilt thou make thy "soul an offering for their sins; and lay down thy life "a ransom for them? Hast thou love enough to wash "them in thine own blood, in a nature to be taken of "them, being obedient therein unto death, even the "death of the cross?" Whereunto he replies: "I am "content to do thy will, and will undertake this work, "and that with joy and delight. Lo, I come for that

"purpose, my delight is with the sons of men, Psal. xl, 8; "Prov. viii, 3. What they have taken, I will pay. "What is due from them, let it be required at my "hand. I am ready to undergo wrath and curse for "them, and to pour out my soul unto death.” “It "shall be" (saith the Father) "as thou hast spoken, "and thou shalt see of the travail of thy soul, and be "satisfied. And I will give thee for a covenant and a "leader unto them, and thou shalt be the captain of "their salvation. To this end take into thy power and "disposal all the treasures of heaven, all mercy and "grace, to give out to them for whom thou hast under"taken. Behold, here are unsearchable hidden treas"ures, not of many generations, but laid up from eter"nity; take all these riches into thy power, and at thy "disposal shall they be for ever."

$15. 2. All gifts that are bestowed on any of the sons of men, whereby they are differenced from, or made useful to others, belong also to the inheritance and kingdom of Christ. These are either natural or spiritual.

(1.) Natural gifts are special endowments on the persons or minds of men, in relation to things appertaining to this life; as wisdom, learning, skill in arts and sciences. I call them "natural," in respect of the objects about which they are exercised, which are (TM1⁄2 Balina) things of this life, as also in respect of their end and use. They are not always so, as to their rise and spring; but may be immediately infused, as wisdom was into Solomon, for civil government; and skill for all manner of mechanical operations, into Bezaleel, Exod. xxxi, 2, 3, 6. But how far these gifts are educed in an ordinary course of Providence, out of their hidden seeds and principles in nature, in a just connexion of causes and effects, and so fall under

[ocr errors]

a certain law of acquisition, or what there may be of the interposition of the Spirit of God, in an especial manner, immediately conferring them on any, falls not under our present consideration. Nor yet can we insist on their use, which is such, that they are the great instrument in the hand of God, for the preservation of human society, and to keep the course of man's life and pilgrimage from being wholly brutish. I design only to shew, that even they also belong, though more remotely, to the lordship of Jesus Christ.

The very use of men's reason, and their natural faculties, as to any good end or purpose, is continued to them upon the account of his interposition, bringing the world thereby under a dispensation of patience and forbearance.

He is endued with power and authority to use them in whatsoever hand they lie, whether of his friends or enemies, to the especial ends of his glory, in doing good to his church. And, indeed, in the efficacy of his Spirit and power upon these gifts of the mind, exciting, disposing, and enabling men to various actings and operations by them; controlling, overruling, entangling each other, and themselves in whom they are, his wisdom and care, in reference to the government, chastisement, and deliverance of his church, are most conspicuous.

(2.) Spiritual gifts, which principally come under that denomination, are of two sorts; extraordinary and ordinary. The former are immediate endowments, exceeding the whole system of nature, in the exercise whereof they are mere instruments of him who bestows them. Such, of old, were the gifts of miracles, tongues, healing, prediction, and infallible inspiration, given out by the Lord Christ to such as he was pleased to use in his gospel service, in an extraordinary man

[ocr errors]

ner. The latter sort are furniture of the mind, enabling men to comprehend spiritual things, and the management of them for spiritual ends and purposes. Such are wisdom, knowledge, prudence, utterance, aptness to teach; in general, abilities to manage the things of Christ and the gospel to their own proper ends. And as they are the spring and foundation of office, so they are the great and only means of the church's edification. And there is no member but hath its gift; which is the talent given, or rather lent, to trade with. Now, of all these, Christ is the only Lord; they belong to his kingdom, Psal. lxviii, 18; when he ascended on high, he took, or received gifts for men; he took them into his own power and disposal, being given him of his Father, as Peter declares, Acts ii, 33; adding, that he received the Spirit, by whom all these gifts are wrought. And this investiture, with power over all gifts, he makes the ground of that apostle's mission, Matt. xxviii, 18; this he had as a fruit of his suffering, as a part of his purchase, and it is a choice part of his lordship and kingdom.

$16. The end also, why all these gifts are given into his power and disposal, is evident.

1. The propagation of his gospel, and consequently the setting up of his kingdom in the world, depends upon them. These are the arms that he furnished his messengers with, when he sent them forth to subdue the world to himself; and by these they prevailed. By that Spirit of wisdom and knowledge, prayer and utterance, wherewith they were endowed, attended when needful, with the extraordinary gifts before-mentioned, did they accomplish the amazing work committed to their charge. Now, the Lord Christ having a right to a kingdom and inheritance given him, which was actually under the possession of his adversary, it was ne

« ForrigeFortsæt »