« ZurückWeiter »
having saving uptakings of the gospel, Paul mentions “ the eyes of their underftanding being enlightened," Eph. i. 18. Whether as to the law or the gospel, this promise, illustrated by such other scriptures, feems to insinuate, that faith is properly and immediately feated in the understanding.
In the enjoyment of this promise, the eyes of finners shall be opened as to themselves: they fall see their natural and practical guilt, their original and actual sin, their total depravity, universal cor. ruption, and absolute disconformity to the image of God: they shall see the true demerit of their cha. racters, as guilty sinners; rendering them obnoxious to the divine displeasure, exposing them, soul and body, for time and eternity, to the wrath of Cod : they shall fee, not only that they are un. worthy of any favour, but that they justly deserve every frowa : shall fee, that they cannot deliver or rescue their own souls, cannot better their coverant state, cannot appease 'the divine wrath, nor acquire and procure the divine abfolution; and fee, that they are fpiritually, as well as legally dead; and that, as they have destroyed, so, they can do nothing but destroy themselves. This much seems implied in what Paul saw of himself, after the grace of this promise took hold of his heart; " When “ the commandment came, 'sin revived and I died," Rom. vii. 9.
Under the influence of this promise, their eyes Mall likeways be opened, with respect unto God, They shall lee God as absolute, and shall see him as gracicus: as absolute, finners shall see him, in the demands, penalty, threatenings and curses of the law; see him as angry with them, speaking words of terror to them, pouring wrath upon them, and pointing the sword of justice against them; because of their breach of his law, and disconformity toit, in
heart and life: they shall see him to be of such infinite perfection, excellence,-moral excellence, and glory, that he cannot but be angry with sinners, as luch; and angry with them every day; por du otherways than act as a. coniuming fire to the workers of iniquity.
Was this the whole, their feeing God could only wound, distress, distract, and drive thein to hopelesness and despair: for none, in this fente, can see God, and live. But the promise carries in it, their feeing him also as gracious. Accord
ingly, under the influence of it, finners shall see · God as reconciling the world unto himself, in Je
sus Christ, not imputing to them their trespaises; as not only merciful, but just, in justifying even the ungodly who believe ; as accessable by finners, the chief not excepted; and placable to ward them in the way of his appointment by the gospel : they shall see him, as calling, warranting, encouraging, commanding them, whatever they have been, done, deserved, to return to him; as revealing, exhibiting and offering peace and pardon, life and falvation, grace and glory, to the hearers of the gospel; and declaring his willingness they should be saved, his unwillingness they should perish: they shall see him as particularly exalted in the dispensation of eternal life to finners, and wonderfully glorified in their enjoyment of it: they shall see hiin, as using every argument for prevailing with men to believe, and to make their calling and election süre : and, to crowa all, they thall see him as exhibiting his free, gracious, ab. solute promise, “ to work in them the whole good “ pleasure of his goodness, and the work of taith “ with power,” 2 Thess. i. 11.
SE CT. III. Another blessing here promised, is, " They " thall fear.” As the blessing represented in the preceding section respects the finner's understanding, so this has a regard to his affections, the proper seat of fear. Uoder the influence of this promise, finners shall be made anxious and thoughtful about salvation ; Thall dread the consequence of abiding in their natural state; shall be apprehensive of perishing under the load of divine wrath ; shall become restless, as long as they are far from God, and his righteousness; shall not be easy at a distance from Jesus Christ, the only ordinance of heaven for saving finners ; Mall forebode a peculiar degree of milery, in the event of dying in their fins, after all the means, toward their recovery, they have enjoyed; fhall despair of help from themselves, or other creatures; and may labour under fome degree of uncertainty, that ever the Lord will interpose ia their behalf, or come for their salvation. According to the degrees of this legal fear, they shall read of no threatening, in the whole book of God, and shall heai of no terror, in the application of scripture doctrine, without considering the whole as addresfed to them. It is in this way that the arrows of the Almighty drink up their spirits; that the terrors of the Lord make them afraid ; that they feel the sentence of death in themselves; that their consciences are wounded, their peace broken, their false hopes overturned, the foundations of their former rest entirely fapped, and all their wounds made to wear an incurable aspect. Thus far finners my fear, thus far numbers have feared, without guiog farther, without being saved.
But But, where the Lord has gracious designs upon the soul, he leaves them not in this lurch, ---forsakes them not in this labyrinth ; but makes an evangelical and saving exercise to follow this of a common and legal kind; and makes that law:work conducive toward their future experience of gospel grace. Wherefore, under the influence of this promise, they shall be made to fear in a filial, as well as in a legal manner; they shall be put among the children of God, as a necessary pre-requisite to their having, and exercising the temper of children; shall, in consequence of their union to Jesus Christ, have interest in God as their father, and in all the privileges and blessings-marising from that relation, connected with it, and inseparable from it. They shall belong to his family, not only as creatures, but as renewed and redeemed creatures; not only, as he is the great Parent of mankind, but as he is a God of grace, and Father in Christ. This endearing relation, as to their enjoyment of the fruits and effects of it, commences ar conver- . fion, and continues to eternity : “ Ye are all the os children of God (says the apostle to the Galatirs ans) by faith in Christ Jelus,” Gal. iii. 26 and, to the Romans, he speaks “ of the glorious liberty " of the children of God,” Ron viii. 21. Besides this translation into the family of God by conversi- on, they shall, under the influence of this proinise, be animated with the Spirit,--the living Spirit of Jesus Christ, as equally necessary toward the suitable exercise of this holy fear. For, when the Lor! promises the effect, it implies his promising sikeways the cause from whence such effect can only flow : " And because ye are fons (lays the apostle, “ to the believers at Galatia) God hath fent forth “ the Spirit of his Son into your heart,” Gail. iv.
6. Moreover, under the influence of this promise,
that fear; “ For he that trusteth to his own heart, · " is a fool,” Prov. xxviii. 26.
The last blessing mentioned in this promise is, that they “ Mall trust in the Lord.”- Upon gospel principles, the object of the finner's trust must be a God in Chrift; a God revealing himself to men, in the person of Christ, “who is the brightness of “his glory, and the express image of his person,” Heb. i. 3. in so much, that “ he who hath feen " the Son, hath seen the Father.” John xiv. g.