« ForrigeFortsæt »
fice for the sips of men ; John i. 29. Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world. 1 Pet. i. 18, 19. You were redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, as of a Lamb, without blemish, and without spot. It was a Lamb, that was ordained for the constapt daily sacrifice amongst the Jews morning and evening, to typify the constant and everlasting influence of the atonement made by the death of Christ; Heb. x. 11, 12. It was a Lamb which was sacrificed at the passover, ando on which the families of Israel feasted, to commemorate tlieir redeinption from the slavery of Egypt, and to typisy Christ wllo is our passoçer, who was sacrificed for us, and for whose sake the destroying angel spares all that trust in him ; 1 Cor. v. 7.
But will a Lamb discover such dreadful wrath ? Has the Lamb of God such indignation in him? Can the meck, the compassionate, the merciful Son of God put on such terrible forins and appearances ? Are his tender mercies vanished quite away, and will be renounce the kind aspect, and the gentle language of a Lamb, for ever?
To this I answer, that the various glories and offices of our blessed Lord require a variety of buman metaphors and emblems to represent them. He was a Lamb, full of gentleness, meekness, and compassion, to invite aud encourage sinful perishing creatures to accept of divine mercy : But he has now to deal with obstinate and rebellious criminals, who renounce bis Father's mercy, and resist all the gentle methods of his own grace and salvation : And he is sent by the Father to punish those rebellions, but he is named the Lamb of God still, to put the rebels in mind, what gentleness and compassions they have affronted and abused, and to make it appear, that their guilt is utterly inexcusable. Let us remember, Christ is now a Lamb raised to the throne in heaven, and furoished and armed, with seven eyes, cand seven horns; Rev. 4, 5, 6. with perfect ķpowledge and perafect power, to govern the world, to vindicate bis own honour, zand to avenge himself upon his impenitent and obstinate enemies. allere the Lamb will assume the name of the Lion of the tribe of Judah also, and he must act in different characters according to the persons he bas to deal with.
The second general question which we are to consider is, 'How comes the wrath of cliat great day to be so terrible" i answer, in goneral, because it is not only the wrath of God, but of the Lamb: It is the wrath that is manifested for thie affionts of divine authority, and the abuse of divine mercy : It is wrath that is awakened by the contempt of the laws of God, written in the books of nature and scripture, and for the contempt of liis love, revealed in the gospel by Jesus Christ. It is proper to observe here, that the wrath of God, and the wrath of the Lamh, are not to be conceived as exactly the same, for it is the
berath of the Son of God, in his human nature'exalteit, as well .as the displeasure of God the Father : It is the righteous am holy resentinent of the man Jesus, awakened and let luose against rebellious creatures, that have broken all the rules of his father's government, and have refused all the proposals of his Father's grace: It is the wrath of the highest, the greatest, and the best of creatures, joined to the wrath of an offended Creiator*. But let us enter a little into particulars :
1. It is righteous wrath, and just and deserved vengeance, that arises from the clearest discoveries of the love of God neglected, and the sweetest messages of divine grace refused. All the former discoveries of the love of God to men, both in nature and providence, as well as by divine revelation, whether made by men or by angels, whether in the days of the patriarchs, or in the days of Moses, and the Jews, were far inferior to the grace wbich was revealed by Jesus Christ; and therefore vio'sin of rejecting it is greater in proportion, and the punistiinent will be more severe. If the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward, -How shall we escape, if we negleet so greut salvation as this, which began to be spoken by our Lord, Heb, ji. 2-4.
15511,1"}? LA Moses had many true discoveries of grace made to him, and intrusted with bim for sinful men : But ihe scripture saith; John i. 17. The law came by Moses, and grace and truth came by Jesus Christ; that is, in such super-abundance, as though grace and truth liad never appeared in the world before: The forgiving mercy of God, under the veil of ceremonies and sacrifices, and the mediation of Cbrist, under the type of the highpriest, was but a dark and imperfect discovery, in comparison of the free, the large, the full forgiveness, which is brought to 'as by the gospel of Christ. Learn this doctrine at large from Heb. x. 1-14. This is amazing mercy, astonishing grace, and the despisers of it will deserve to perish with double destruction, for they wiok their eyes against clearer light, and reject the offers of more abounding love.
* Here let it be observed, that when the boly scripture, speaks of the wraih and indignation of tbe blessed God," we are not to understand it, as thougb God was subject to such passions or affections of nature, as we feel fermentjog or working within ourselves, when our anger rises: But because the justice, or tectoral wisdom of God, jaclioes him to bring natural evri, pain, or sorrow upon those, are abstinately guilty of moral evil or sin, and up treat 1. tbem, as anger or wrath inclives men in treat those that have offended them, and therefore the scripture speaking after the maoger of med, calls it the "wrath and indignation of God." And it is hard to say, wheiter or do the wrath of
912e that is, of the nman Christ Jesus, in whom Godhead d wells, be any thing
the calm, dispassionate, rectoral windo in of the human nature of Christ, inclioing bim to pupish rebellious and impeniteat singers, in conformity to the will of God big Paiber, or ia concurreace with the godhead which dwells ió bim.
2. It is wrath that is awakened by the most precious and most expensive methods of salvation slighted and under-valued, Well may God say to christian nations, especially to Great Bris tain, who sits under the daily sound of this gospel? What could I have done more for you, than I have done ? Is. v. 4. “ I bave sent my own Son, the Son of my bosom, the Son of my eternal love, to take flesha and blood upon him, that he might be able to die in your stead, who were guilty rebels, and deserved to die : I have given him up to the insults and injuries of men, to the temptations, the buffetings and rage of devils, to the stroke of the sword of my justice, to the cursed death of the cross for you ; here is heaven and salvation purchased for man with the dearest and most valuable life in all the creation, with the richest blood that ever ran in the veins of a creature, with the life and blood of the Son of God, and yet you refused to receive and accept of this Salvation procured at so immense a price. I cal. led you to partake of this invaluable blessing freely, without money, and without price, and yet you slighted all these offers of mercy; what remains but that my wrath should kindle agaiost you in the hottest degree, and fill your souls with exquisite anguish and misery? You have refused to accept of a covenant wbich was sealed with the blood of my own Son, which was confirmed by the miraculous operations of my own Spirit; you have valued your sinful pleasures, and the trifles of ihis vain world, above the blood of my Son, and the life of your souls : It is divinely proper, that divine vengeance should be your portion, who bave rejected such rich treasures of divine love." lieb. x. 2831. He that despised Moses's law, died without mercy under two or three witnesses ; of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, where with he was sanctified an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, vengeance belongeth unto me, I will repay, saith the Lord.
3. It is wrath that must avenge the affronts and injuries done to the prime minister of God's government, and the chief messenger of his mercy. All the patriarchs, and the prophets, and angels themselves, were but servants to bring messages of divine grace to men : And some of them, in awful forms and appearances represented the authority of God too : But the Son of God is the prime minister of his government, and the poblest ambassador of his grace, and the chiet deputy or vicegerent in his Father's kingdom. See Heb. i. 1, 2. Ps. ii. 6, 9, 12. His Father's glory and grandeur, compassion and love, are most sublimely exhibited in the face of Christ his Son, and God will not bave his bighest and fairest image disgraced and affronted, without peculiar and signal vengeance.
The great God will vindicate the honours of liis Son Jesus, in the infinite destruction of a rebellious and unbelieving world : And the Son bimself hath wrath and just resentiment; he will vidicate bis own authority, and bis commission of grace. He hath a rod of iron put into his hands, as well as a sceptre of mercy, and with his rod will he break to pieces rebellious nations. Rev. ü. 27. It is not fit, that the first minister of the empire of the King of heaveli, and the brightest image of his inajesty, and of his love, should appear always in the character of a lamb, a meek and unresenting creature. Ile will put on the lion, when his commission of grace is ended ; Ile is ihe Lion of the tribe of Judah ; Rev. v. 5. and will rend the caul of the heart of those unrepenting sinners, who have resisted his authority, and abused bis love.
And how will the wrath of the Lamb of God penetrate the soul of sioners with intense anguish, when the meek and coinpassionate Jesus shall be commissioned and constrained to speak the language of resentment and divine indignation ?
“ Did you not bear of me, sinners, in yonder world, which lies weltering in flames ? Did you not read of me in the gospel of my grace ? Did you not learn my character and my salvation in the ministrations of my word? Were you not told, that I was appointed to be the Saviour of a lost world, and a minister of divine mercy to men ? And was there not abundant evidence of it by miracles and prophecies ? Were you not told, that I was exalted, after my sufferings, to the right-hand of God, on purpose to “ bestow repentance and remission of sins ? Acts v. 31. And were you not informed also, that I had a rod of iron given me, to dash rebels to death ? Ps. ii. 9. What is the reason you never came to me, or submitted to my government, or accepted of my grace? Did you never hear of the threatenings that stood, like drawn swords, against those who wilfully refuse this mercy ? Did you
think these were mere bugbears, mere sounding words, to fright children with, and harmless thunder, that would never blast you? Did you think these flashes of wrath in my word, were such sort of lightnings as you might safely play with, and flame that would never burn? What punishments, think you, do you deserve, first, for the abuse of my authority, and then for the wilful and obstinate refusal of my grace ? Is it not divinely fit and proper my wrath should awake against such heinous cri. minals? Where is any proper object for my resentment, if you are not made objects of it? Take them, angels, bind them hand and foot, and cast them into outer darkness ; let them be thrown headlong into the prison of hell, where fire and brimstone burn unquenchably, where light, and peace, and hope can never come. Let then be crushed with the rod of iron, which the
Fatlier hath put into my hands, as the first minister of his kingdom, as the avenger of his despised grace?"
4. It is a wrath that is excited by a final and utter rejection of the last proposals of divine love. When wercy was offered to men by the blessed God at first, the discoveries were more dark and imperfect, there were still further discoveries to be made in following ages : Therefore the crime ard guilt of sinners, in thosc former days, was much less than the crime and guilt of those who reject this last proposal of mercy. There is no further edition of the covenant of grace, for those who refuse this offer. Those who neglect Christ, as he is set forth in the gospel, to be a sacrifice for sin, there remains no more sacrifice for them, but a certain fearful expectation of vengeance, and fiery indignation, which shall consume the adversary; Heb. x. 26, 28.
All the former dispensations of grace are contained eminently, and completed in this dispensation of the gospel. God can send no greater messenger than his own Son, and he concludes and finishes the whole scene and period of grace with the gospel of Christ. There remains nothing but wrath to the uttermost for those who have abused this last offer of mercy. . This was exemplified in the destruction of Jerusalem and the Jews, a little after they had put Christ to death, and rejected the salvation which he proposed ; and this wrath will be more terribly glorified in the final destruction of every sinner that wilfully rejects the glad tidings of this salvation.
5. It is such wrath as arises from the patience of a God tired and worn out by the boldest iviquities of men, and by a final perseverance in their rebellions. It is the character and glory of God, to be long-suffering, and slow to anger. Exod. xxxiv, 6. The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth ; and Jesus bis Son, is the minister of this his patience, and the intercessor for this delay of judgment and vengeance. He is represented as interceding one year after another for the reprieve of obstinate sioners, and at bis intercession, God the Father waits to be gracious : But God will not wait and delay; and keep silence for ever, nor will Jesus for ever plead ; Ps. I. 1, 3, 21, 22. Consider this, ye that forget God, lest he tear you in pirces, and there be none to deliver. God will say then to obstinate sinners, as he did to the Jews of old ; Jer. xv. 6. I will stretch out my hand ugainst thee, and destroy thee ; I am weary of repenting : And even the abused patience of Jesus the Saviour, shall turn into fury, when the day of recompence shall come, and the day of vengeance which is in his heart ; Is. Ixüi. I, 4.
O let each of us consider, “ How long have I made the grace of God wait on me? How many messages of peace and pardon have neglected? How many years bave I delayed to