« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
THE SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED.
SER MON XLIX.
kin. Ixi. 1. The Lord hath anointed me to preach good
tidings to the meck.
'Aving gone through the doctrinal part of
this subject, by offering what was intended. on the several heads of methodwhich we laid down, we thall now, as was proposed,
IV. Make some practical improvement; and this in uses of information, -- trial,—and exhortation.
We are, in the forft place, to improve this fub. ject in an use of information.
1. Hence you may learn what is the great cause of flighting the gospel, of that coldrife entertainment which it gets amongst most of its hearers, that little relish which there is for the of the gospel ; why so few do comply with the gracious calls which it affords. People may at
great truths kibute this to what caufes they will, but the true cause is the want of this meekness and poverty of fpirit. Instead of this, there are pride and self-conceit, unsubdued and unmortified. I may branch these out into several particulars, as opposed to this meekness. There is,
(1.) No due sense of spiritual wants: Prov. xxvii. 7. “The full foul loatheth the honey-comb." Most men are fick of a Laodicean disease, saying. in their practice as they faid in their hearts, that " they are rich and increased in goods, and stand in need of nothing," Rev. iii. 17. They are not mourning under their want of light, of life, and of holiness. They reign as kings with what they have, though, as with King Saul, God is departed from them. Hence they do not value that treasure which is hid in the field of the gospel.
(2.) Men have no true fight and sense of their own sinfulness. They fee not the sinfulness of their nature, of their hearts, lips, and lives, but are like Sampson, without his two eyes : Matth. ix. 12. “ They that be whole need not a. phyfim. cian, but they that are fick.” They are pining away in their fins; their fickness has not yet taken them by the heart ; their wounds are not lanced; the law has not had its effect upon them, and therefore the gospel is not relished.
(3.) Their eyes are vailed, so that they fee not their misery by sin, and as being without Christ; Hof.vii.9. “Strangers have devoured his strength, and he knoweth it not ; yea, gray
hairs are here and there upon him, yet he knoweth not ;-and they do not return to the Lord their God, nor seek him for all this.” Did they see the clouds of wrath which are hanging above their heads, the quick approaches which death with its fting is making towards them, their separation from God, and from
all the privileges of the covenant, they could not be at ease. The gospel tidings would be to them as life from the dead.
(4.) They are strangers to their utter inability to help themselves., They are like Sampson, in another cafe, who knew not that his strength was departed from him
We may fee how corrupt nature changes itself into various shapes on this point. If you urge men to ply the work of their falvation, Alas! say they, we can do nothing ; they thus make it a covert for their floth. Urge, them with the necessity of reformation and repentance, they say, It is time enough, they will attend to this afterwards ; as if it were in the power of their hand to do this business at any. time: they thus make it a covert for their delays, and still have no relish for the gospel.
(5.) They do not feel their need of Christ :: Rev. iii. 17. « They need his blood and Spirit, but they are not duly fenfible of their need." Their own works are big in their own eyes, and appear to them sufficient in order to obtain God's favour. Their natural and acquired abilities are. also with them sufficient in order to their fancti.. fication; they are by no means fhaken out of them-felves ; therefore the offer of the gospel is but an offer of food to the full soul, and so is loathed.
(6.) They see not their own unworthiness of a Saviour's help; they come to the market of
money in their hand. They look on themselves as worthy of what Christ should do for them, Luke, vii. 4. Though they be perhaps so far-humbled as to fee they must have: mercy and help from the Lord, yet they look on their reformation and duties as what cannot but recommend them to Christ beyond many others.
grace with their
They cannot fec how the Lord can reject those who come so far a length as they do. Hence the doctrine of free grace is but tasteless to them.
(7.) They have no anxiety for the supply of their foul-wants. They want grace and holiness, but they can be easy without them. Like foolish virgins, they sleep on at ease, while they have no oil for their lamps : Prov. vi. 10. “ Yet a little sleep, a little flumber, a little folding of the hands to fleep.” Their desires are keen after the world, but weak, faint, and languishing after spiritual good things. They have no hunger and thirst after them. Hence they value not the gospel, nor the fountain of living waters.
(8.) They are not content with Christ but on terms of their own making. They are like those who seek to buy a commodity which yet they can be without. If they can get it at their own price, they will take it ; if not, they can want it. There are right-eye sins, yet they will by no means part with them. They are not pleased with the covenant, some things are in it which they must have out; there are some things out which they must have in, else they will not come into it. Hence they care not for the gospel, or that covenant which it reveals.
2. Hence learn, that light the gospel-call who will, the meek, the poor in spirit will gladly receive it. They who are shaken out of themselves by the law, will be glad to creep under that shelter which is held forth in the gospel. These souls will feast sweetly on what is tasteless to others, what others tread under feet and despise. The hungry are glad of that for which the full soul has no appetite, and just so it is in this case. This subject informs us, 3. Of the dignity and honour of the work of
the ministry. With Paul, we would not be afhamed to magnify that office which is conversant about those things which are most necefiary for the world, which bring the highest honour to God, and the greatest good to mankind. It is true, it is often a despised office in the world; but wifdom is justified of her children. God had but one Son, and he made him a minister, a preacher of the gospel. He is the chief shepherd and bishop of fouls, and therefore the office of the ministry will be esteemed by all those who have a true esteem for Christ. It informs us,
4. Of that good-will which the Father and the Son jointly bear to finners , since the Father put: his own Son into this work, and the Son readily engaged in it. Do they not by this say, “Why will
ye die ?” It was good will to men in its utmost height, that ever such tidings were to be carried, and that ever such a messenger was em-. ployed. It informs us,
5. How acceptable meckness and poverty of fpirit are unto the Lord, who has put a peculiar article in Christ's commission for such. As to others, he is to humble and bring them down ; as to these, he is toʻrefresh and revive them with good news.--It informs us,
6. As to the goodness and weight of the good tidings of the gospel, which are brought to us by such a hand. Surely the weight of the matter must be great, when such a mefienger was sent to publish it.—We are informed,
7. As to the danger of flighting these tidings, though men be employed in carrying them; for they speak in the name of the great Messenger, preach in the name, and by the authority of, the. great Preacher.
So he that « despiseth them, despiseth him that sent them;" Heb. ii. 3. “ How