« ForrigeFortsæt »
Spirit, revealing the things of Christ to their souls, that many of the confessors and martyrs in the primitive ages and in later times, have not only joyfully parted with all their possessions and their comforts in this life, but have followed the call of God through prisons and deaths of a most dreadful kind, through racks and fires and many torments, for the sake of the love of Jesus ; and perhaps there may be some in our day who have had 80 lively and strong a sensation of the love of Christ let in upon their souls, that they could not only be content to be absent from all their carnal delights for ever, but even from their intellectual and inore spiritual entertainments, if they might be for ever placed in such a situation to Jesus Christ, as to feel the everlasting beains of his love let out upon theid, and to rejoice in hiin with perpetual delight. As he is the nearest image of God the Father, they can love nothing beneath God equal to their love of bin, nor delight in any thing beneath God equal to their delight in Jesus Christ: Indeed their love and their joy are so wrapped up in the great and blessed God as he appears in Christ Jesus, that they do not usually divide their affections in this matter, but love God supremely for ever, as revealing himself in bis most perfect love in Christ Jesus unto their souls. How near this may approach to the glorified love of the saints in heaven, or what difference there is between the holy ones above and the saiate below in this respect, may be hard to say.
Sect. VIII. “ Foretastes of heaven in the transcendent love of the saints to each other.” I might here ask soine ad. vanced saints, “ Have you never seen or heard of a fellow-christian growing into sucli a near resemblance to the blessed Jesus, in all the virtues and graces of the Spirit, that you would willingly part will all the attainments and honours that you have already arrived at, which make you never so eminent in the world or in the church, as to be made so near a conformist to the image of the blessed Jesus as this fellow-christian has seemed to be ?
“Have you never seen or read of the glories and graces of the Son of Gorl exemplified in some of the saints in so high a degree, and at the same tine been so divested of self, and so wortified to a narrow self love, as to be satisfied with the lowest and the meanest supports of life, and the meanest station in the church of Christ here on earth, if you might but be favoured to partake of that transcendent likeness to the holy Jesus, as you would fainiinitate and possess ? “ Have you never had a view of all the virtues and
graces of the saiuts, derived from one eternal fountain the blessed God, and flowing through the mediation of Jesus his Son in so glorious a manuer, that you have longed for the day when you shall be amongst them, and receive your share of this blessedness? Have you never found yourself so united to thein in one heart
and one soul, that you have wished them all the same blessings that you wished to yourself, and that without the least shadow of grudging or envy, if every one of them were partakers as much as you ? There is no envy among the heavenly inhabitants; por doth St. Paul receive the less because Cephas or Apollos has a large share. Every vessel has its capacity enJarged to a proper extent by the God of nature and grace, and every vessel is completely filled, and feels itself for ever full and for ever happy ; then there cannot be found the shadow of envy amongst them.
Now to sum up the view of these things in short; who is there that enjoys these blessed evidences of an interest in the inheritance on high, who is there that has any such foretastes of the felicity above, but must join with the whole creation in groaning for that great day when all the children of God shall appear in the splendour of their adoption, and every thing in nature and grace among them shall attain the proper end for which it was at first designed? And whensoever any such christian hears some of the last words in the bible pronounced by our Lord Jesus ; surely I come quickly, he must immediately join the universal echo of the saints with unspeakable delight, Even so come, O Lord Jesus ; Rev. xxii. 20.
Job xiv. 13, 14, 15.
keep me secret until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldst appoint me a set time and remember me! If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will 1 wait till my change come." Thou shali call, and I will answer thee : thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands.
BEFORE we attempt to make any improvement of these words of Job for our present edification, it is vecessary that we scarch out the true meaning of them. There are two general senses of these three verses which are given by some of the most considerable interpreters of scriptures and they are exceeding different from each other. The first is this, Some suppose Job under the extremity of his anguish to long after death here, as be does in some other parts of this book, and to desire that God would cut him off from the land of the living, and hide him in the grave, or at least take bim away from the present stage of action, and conceal hiin in some retired and solitary place, dark as the grave is, till all the days which might be designed for his pain and sorrow were finished : And that God would appoint him a time for his restoration to health and happiness again in this world, and raise bim to the possession of it, by calling him out of that dark and solitary place of retreat ; and then Job would answer him, and appear with pleasure at such a call of providence.”
Others give this sense of the words," that though the pressing and overwhelming sorrows of this good man constrained him to long for death, and he entreated of God that he might be sent to the grave as a hiding-place, and thus be delivered from his present calamities, yet he had some divine glimpse of a resurrection or living again, and he hopes for the happiness of a future state when God should call him out of the grave. He knew that the blessed God would have a desire to restore the work of his own hands to life again, and Joh would answer the call of his God into a resurrection with holy pleasure and joy." Now there are four or five reasons which incline me to prefer this latter sense of the words, and to shew that the comforts and hope which Job aspires to in this place, are only to be derived from a resurrection to final happiness.
Reason I. The express words of the text are, O that thou wouldst hide me in the grave! not in a darksome place like the grave; and where the literal sense of the words is plain and agreeable to the context, there is no need of making metaphors to explain them. There is nothing that can encourage us to suppose that Job had any hope of happiness in this world again, after he was gone down to the grave, and therefore he would not make so unreasonable a petition to the great God. This seems to be too foolish and too hopeless a request for us to put into the mouth of so wise and good a man.
II. He seems to limit the continuance of man in the state of death to the duration of the heavens; verse 12. Man lieth down and riseth not till the heavens be no more: not absolutely for ever does Job desire to be hidden in the grave, but till the dissolution of all these visible things, these heavens and this earth, and the great rising day for the sons of men. These words seem to have a plain aspect towards the resurrection. And especially when he adds, they shall not be wakened nor raised out of their sleep. The brutes when dying are vever said to sleep in scripture, because they shall never rise again ; but this is a frequent word used to signify the death of map both in the Old Testament and in the New, because he only lies down in the grave for a season, as in a bed of sleep, in order to awake and arise hereafter.
III. In other places of this book Job gives us some eminent hints of his hope of a resurrection, especially that divine passage and prophecy, when he spake as one surrouoded with a vision of glory, and filled with the light and joy of faith ; Job xix. 25, 27. I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God; whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold and not another; though my reins be consumed within me. But in many parts of this book the good man lets us know, that he had no manner of hope of any restoration to health and peace in this life ; Job vii
. 6, 7, 8. My days are spent without hope :-my eye shall no more see good : the eye of him that hath seen me shall see me no more : thy eyes are upon me, and I am not. Verse 21. Now shall Í sleep in the dust, and thou shalt seck me in the morning, but I shall not be. Job xvii. 15. Where is now my hope ? As for my hope, who shall see it? He and his hope seemed 10 s go down to the bars of the pit together, and to rest in the dust.
Apd if Job bad no hope of a restoration in this world, then his hopes must point to the resurrection of the dead.
IV. If we turn these yerses here, as well as that noble passage in Job xix. to the more evangelical scose of a resurrection, the truths which are contained in the one, and the other, are all supported by the language of the New Testament: and the express words of both these texts are much more naturally and easily applied to the evangelical sense without any strain and difficultyThe expressions of Job in chapter the xix. I know that my Redeemer liveth, have been rescued by many wise interpreters from that poor and low sense which has been forced upon them, by those who will not allow Job to have any prospect beyond this life : and it has been made to appear to be a bright glimpse of divine light and joy, a ray or vision of the Sun of righteousness breaking between the dark clouds of his pressing sorrow : And that the words of my text demand the same sort of interpretation, will appear further by these short remarks, and this paraphrase upon them. Job had been speaking, verses 7—10, &c. That there is hope of a tree when it is cut down, that it will sprout again visibly, and bring forth boughs ; but when man gives up the ghost, he is no more visible upon earth : Where is he? Job does not deny his future existence, but only intimates that he does not appear in the place where he was; and in the following verses he does not say, a dying man shall never rise, or shall never be awakened out of his sleep, but asserts that he rises not till the dissolution of these heavens and these visible things : And by calling death a sleer, be supposes an awaking time, though it may be distant and far off.
Then he proceeds to long for death, O that thou wouldst hide me in the gruve! that thou wouldst keep me secret till thy wrash be past ! till these times and seasons of sorrow be ended, which seem to be the effect of divine wrath or anger : But then I entreat thou wouldst appoint me a set time for my tarrying in the grave, and remember me in order to raise me again. Then with a sort of surprize of faith and pleasure he adds, if a man die shall he live again ? Shall these dry bones live? And he answers in the language of hope : All the days of that appointed time of thine I will wait till that glorious change shall come. Thou shalt call from heayen, and I will answer thee froin the dust of death. I will appear at thy call and say, Here am I: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thy hands, to raise me again from the dead, whom thou hast made of clay, and fashioned me into life. From the words thus expounded we may draw these several observations, and inake a short reflection upon each of them, as we pass along.
Observation I. This world is a place wherein good men are exposed to great calamities, and they are ready to think the anger or wrath of God appears in them. II. The grave is God's koown hiding-place for his people. III. God has appointed