« ForrigeFortsæt »
ever be able to put asunder. Oh, 1 blessed time, when this holy union is my beloved, it is a blessed truth to perfected, is consummated, when the be able to meditate upon, that in con- whole church is brought up into its sequence of this gift of the church glorious state, according to the pattern of God to Christ before the world, to which it was predestinated, and time cannot, by any possibility, undo which was shewn to the Son by the what eternity hath established, and to Father in the eternal settlements. I see, that even on this decree stands say when they are brought home to our everlasting security, by reason of eternal glory, then the world shall the firm, immaculate, unchangeable know at length, in spite of themselves, purpose and gist of God!
that God hath loved his church; but But again, let us observe why the it will be at the very brink of destrucchurch was so given to Christ? What tion; yea, when they are about to was the purpose of God respecting it ? fall into hell itself, they shall be obliged We see this purpose in the words im. to confess that these are they on whom mediately following the text, for says God hath fixed his love in Christ Jesus, Christ, “Him that cometh unto me, and whom he will delight to honour I will in no wise cast out ; for I came for ever and ever. down from heaven, not to do mine Now, beloved, let us ask ourselves own will, but the will of Him that again another question. Why hath sent me. And this is the Father's God determined thus to glorify the will who hath sent me, that of all church? Why hath he thus given them which he hath given me I should lose to Jesus? If the church are to be glonothing, but should raise it up again rified, and if that was the purpose why on the last day. And this is the will God gave them to Jesus, still there is of Him that sent me, that every one a further
behind this, and that who seeth the Son and believeth on is, that Jesus himself may be glorified him, may have everlasting life, and I in them; for says he “ All mine are will raise him up at the last day." thine, and thine are mine; and I am We read to the same purpose when in glorified in them.” But how is Jesus his last prayer, our Saviour prays that glorified in the glorification of his the church might be one in him, “I in church? Beloved brethren, he is. them and they in me, that they may be Jesus is glorified in his office. What made perfect in
is Jesus? He it is said is the good know that thou hast sent me, and hast shepherd, he is the shepherd of his loved them as thou hast loved me." sheep. But he could not be the good Oh, when will the world know this shepherd, if he did not keep those sheep great truth, that God hath loved the that were entrusted to his keeping. church in Christ with an everlasting What, should he lose but one of those love? Oh, it will not be in this pre- which the Father hath given him, would sent imperfect state of existence. Now he not at once lose his title? Would they do not know it-now they cannot he not lose the glory which belongs to bear to be told it-now they spurn the a faithful fulfilment of his office? Therepeople of God from them that have fore you observe in the seventeenth the mark of Christ Jesus and his chapter of John's Gospel, when, as blessed spirit upon them—now they the good shepherd, he comes home at hate those whom God loveth, and they the end of the day, and gives an acwill not know that they are the fa. count of all the sheep which the Fa. vourites of God our Heavenly Father; ther hath given into his hands, having but they shall see it; yea, at that lost one, mark, what is the excuse
he then makes ?
pray to be glorified? Is it not that that thou gavest me I have kept, and God may be glorified. You rememnone of them is lost, but the son of ber the moment that Judas left the perdition; that the Scripture might be supper. Now,” said Jesus, " is the fulfilled.” Here was his reason. The Son of man glorified, and God is gloScriptures were fulfilled in the loss of rified in him.” Immediately after he Judas, God having determined that so turns his eyes toward heaven, and it should be ; he was but a wolf in says, Father, the hour is come ; sheep's clothing, otherwise never would glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may he have been lost out of the hands of glorify thee." So that this was the Jesus. And when he shall come in main end and intention of Christ's the latter days, when he shall have coming into the world; this was the gathered his elect people into one, grand reason of his taking the church when the last sheep shall be gathered out of the Father's hand, that he into the fold, then, beloved brethren, might thereby gain glory to the Fahe will have again to give in his ac- ther, and so this was the great end of count as the good shepherd. And God's giving the church to Christ, that what, then, shall his language be ? all might be to the praise of his glory. “ Behold, I and the children whom This, beloved, being so, how is God God hath given me, and of all those glorified in the glorification of his thou hast given me I have lost not church? Then, indeed, it will be seen one.” Thus, then, will Jesus be glo- how his grace has been surpassingly rified. Then will he be proved to be great, then it will be seen how un. the good and faithful shepherd in changeable, how immutable his love, keeping that which God hath com- how great his condescension, to come mitting to his trust.
down from heaven and become God But, again, will not Jesus be glori- manifest in the flesh for sinners, in fied in another way by the glorifica- order that he might raise them up, in tion of his church? Yes, beloved, order that he might bring them up to Jesus will be glorified in the persons sit with himself on a throne of glory. of his people. What image will the And how great also was his wisdom persons of his people then bear? What in enabling them to resist, successdo they now through grace? Is it not fully, the wiles of the world, of the his own image? Is not his image en- flesh, and of the devil ; and, finally, stamped on his people ? So that when to be more than conquerors through Jesus looks upon his own when they Christ, who hath loved them. Be. are assembled around the throne- loved, God will have all the glory in when he sees his whole family, he this, and therefore we see it is for the shall see them all like him ; and in praise and glory of his grace; it is looking at his own, he will be, as it likewise to the praise and glory of his were, looking in a glass in which he wisdom ; it is for the praise and glory shall see his own true image reflected, of his love that he first gave the church and thus will he be glorified.
to Christ, so that Christ says to him, But, again, beloved, further than “ All that the Father giveth me shall this, the end and object of all this is, come to me.” that God himself may be glorified. But, again, there is one more view This, I say, is the object of God's of these words which I would bring choice of the church from eternity.
The Father is said to It was for the praise of the glory of give the church to Christ. · But let us his grace. Why does Jesus himself remember here, that the Father never
gave the church away, so as to be ab- But in the next place, observe fur. solutely and completely out of his ther, he says, “All that the Father hands. When the Father gave the giveth me shall come unto me." Obchurch to Christ, he did not give them serve, then, beloved brethren, here is to Christ so absolutely, but that he no doubtful issue. All shall come. held them fast in his own hands, so There can be no doubt whatever, bethat we may say that the church has cause he that speaks the word is posalways been secure in the hands of the sessed now of the power to put that Father and of the Son together. Hence word into effect. But some will say, Jesus says, in the tenth chapter of perhaps, And what is there so great in John, “My sheep hear my voice, and this, that all shall come ? Beloved I know them, and they follow me: brethren, to bring a sinner to Christ and I give unto them eternal life; and requires the same exercise of Almighty they shall never perish, neither shall and sovereign power, as it did at first any pluck them out of my hand. My to create the world and bring it out of Father which gave them me is greater nothing. Think not it is a small matthan all; and none is able to pluck ter to bring a sinner to Jesus. . Conthem out of my Father's hand. I and sider the state in which you are by my Father are one." Here, then, we reason of sin--consider the total corhave the church of Christ in the hands ruption of your nature-consider what of Christ and of the Father.
you are in the flesh, how that in your And so likewise, beloved brethren, flesh dwelleth no good thing, and “he there is one thing more I will call to that is born of the flesh is flesh;” yea, your attention, which is this, the care it is corrupt flesh also, and that none which Jesus takes of those whom God of its propensities tend heavenward, the Father hath put into his hands. but all tend to the ground from whence We see, in the seventeenth chapter of we were first taken out. Beloved John, when he comes to give an ac
brethren, what are we but dust and count of them, he says, “ Holy Father, ashes, yea, sinful dust and ashes ? keep through thine own name those we are under the bondage of Satanwhom thou hast given me, for they we are under the corruption of sinare thine.” And then he says again, we are the children of wrath, even as “Whilst I was with them in the world others, until we come to the blessed I kept them in thy name and now knowledge of Jesus Christ, by the come I unto thee.” Now, he says, I power of his Spirit. There is no good am no more in this world, and, there. thing in us; there is no power; nay, fore, having kept them, as it were, there is no will whereby we may come until he could keep them no longer, to God in Christ Jesus.
There are for he was now about to die; therefore, two texts which show both the one in consequence of his care over their and the other. “No man,” says he, persons he gives them over again into can come unto me, except the Fathose very hands from which he re- ther, who hath sent me, draw him." ceived them, in order that they might And again he says, concerning the be kept safe and secure from all harm. will, “Ye will not come unto me Oh, then, the blessed view of this that ye might have life.” What, then, truth, that Jesus Christ so keeps his shall we say, when both these powers people, whom the Father hath given are corrupt? What can we, poor sinto him, that he will suffer them to pass ful mortals, do? Therefore we deinto no other hands but those of the pend on the drawing of God's Holy Father, from whom he received them. Spirit; we depend on the teaching of God our Father; for it is said, con- never know any thing but Aesh. Man, cerning all God's elect, that “all thy in his unconverted state, is incapable children shall be taught of the LORD ; of rising above that state; and so in and great shall be the peace of thy converted people, the flesh that still children." And Jesus himself hath remains in them is incapable of rising taught us, that “ It is the Spirit that higher than itself; therefore, a man who worketh in us to will and to do of his has a true and spiritual faith, it comes own good pleasure."
down from above ; it is implanted in BUT THEN WHAT IS IT TO COME? him by the mighty power of the Spirit Let us explain the words as we find of the living God, sent forth from the them explained for us. To come is no hands of Christ Jesus his Saviour. other than to believe. Hence, in the Now, then, Jesus says "All that the sixth of John, “I am the head of life; Father giveth me shall come.” And, he that cometh to me shall never hun blessed be God, this has been fulfilled, ger ;
and he that believeth on me day after day, even down unto the preshall never thirst." Again, in the sent time. All those that have been seventh of John, “In the last day, given, all these shall come to Christ. that great day of the feast, Jesus stood But how do they come? It is by the and cried, saying, If any man thirst preaching of the Gospel—it is by the let him come unto me and drink. He power of the word in their souls; for, that believeth on me, as the Scripture as the Apostle Paul says to the Ro. hath said, out of his belly shall flow mans, "Faith cometh by hearing, and rivers of living water.” We see, then, hearing by the word of God.” Bein both cases, the word coming'explain- loved brethren, then it is a most sure ed by the word believing—and, beloved and certain truth, that God's elect, brethren, so it is that faith is not of be they scattered wherever they may our own power, but it is the gift of in the midst of this wicked, and sinful, God. Oh! faith is something greater and lost generation, amongst whom we than many are apt to imagine. Faith live, God will find opportunities, God is not the bare believing with the head will find means, God will find minia certain portion of truths which are sters, God will raise a testimony contained in the Divine word; but it which those that are dead shall hear, is the inward power of the soul—it is and hearing shall come forth unto life. the implantation of the Spirit of God Yes, beloved brethren, all must be -it is a firm persuasion concerning brought to him. Our present state, those things which are spoken in indeed, is comparable to the state of God's word--it is giving a firm assent the children of Israel during their -a laying hold on those truths and bondage in Egypt. We find that those testimonies which God hath Pharaoh oppressed them-we find that given us in his word concerning his their task-masters oppressed them Son and concerning salvation by him. and we find that Pharaoh did all that The faith of a natural man is but a he could to prevent their exodus from natural faith; the faith of a spiritual | the land of Egypt, but still how could man is a spiritual faith. In order to he, or all his opposition, stand against have a spiritual faith we must first be the unchangeable and firm purpose of made spiritual men; for in our natu | God? because God had said, at a cerral state we are incapable of any thing tain period of time, that they should above nature. We know, beloved come forth; therefore all Pharaoh's brethren, that things cannot rise above endeavours were vain, and forth they their own level, so that the flesh can must needs come. We see, therefore, that although Pharaoh endeavoured to nothing but sin, yet, blessed be God! compromise the matter, for, after cer- he views us not as sinners, but he tain of the plagues of God had fallen views us as saints ; he views us as on him he would have let part of them righteous—he views us as perfect, go, but still he says, your little ones clothed with the perfection, with the and your cattle must stay behind. But loveliness, and with the holiness of no, the word of God, by the mouth of Christ Jesus, his well-beloved Son. Moses, is this, “We will go with our For see, beloved, how this comes to young and our old, we will go with pass, because the man who comes to our wives and our children, yea, with Christ is, as we know, a believer in our flocks and our herds we will go, Christ; and so in the sixth of John and not a hoof shall remain behind.” we have believing in Jesus set forth Oh! this is the case with the church of under a blessed figure. What is it? God in this present time. There is not “ As the living Father hath sent me, a single member of Christ's mystical and I live by the Father, so he that body but must, in God's appointed eateth me, even he shall live by me.” time, be brought to the knowledge of He that eateth Christ in the same God; and every one of those so put manner as the food enters into the into the hands of Christ, at the set body, and so becomes as it were a part time, must be brought home to the of the body, so, likewise, he who feedspiritual light and life, and become eth on the Lord Jesus Christ becomes heirs of the everlasting kingdom which a part of him, and we are really and God hath prepared for them that love truly united unto Christ, our head, him. “All that the Father giveth me our husband, our sovereign, and our shall come unto me.”
Lord ; we are truly one with him, and But, beloved, let us now speak a he is truly one with us. There is this word concerning the blessed state of blessed union between Christ and his those who do so come. In what state people, and between his people and the are they as viewed before God?. Oh, Lord Jesus Christ. By reason of this we feel in ourselves—when we have union, whatsoever belongs to the Lord once felt the arrows of conviction Jesus Christ belongs to me, therefore I sticking fast within us—we feel—we have his righteousness, therefore I have know-we cry out under the sense of his holiness, therefore I have all things, it, that we are indeed lost and miser- yea, and all things are mine if I am but able sinners! We say, with Paul, “I| Christ's; for, as he says, “We are the know that in my flesh dwelleth no members of his body, of his flesh, and good thing; I know that I am a sin- of his bones.” What more blessed ner; I know that I deserve eternal union can there be ? What can be death; therefore enter not into judg- more sweet than this, to be made so ment with me, O Lord! for in thy completely one with Christ our Lord ? sight shall no man living be justified;" Then, brethren, if the case be thus, if and therefore it is, thật out of the I have this oneness with Christ, God depths we cry, unto Gop in the dis-looks upon me not as I am in myself, tress of our souls we come unto him, but as I am in Christ Jesus. Now, and blessed bė the Lord, he heareth then, who shall dare to say, that alour voice, and he does for us exceeding though in ourselves we are evil and abundantly above all we could ask or sinful, yet, when considered and viewed think. Beloved brethren, though we in Christ we are or ever can be any feel therefore, and know that sin dwell-thing else than righteous or holy. For, eth in us, and that in ourselves we are mark what the word of the Lord says