« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
country as this; but he will amply afford it at the close of our journey, and in his own dwelling, beyond the reach of an enemy or distress. Our present business is, to walk on and to press forward, trusting in him for all things, using the lawful means he may put into our power, and then leaving all with resignation to his management and controul. We shall find, that, in this blessed life and walk of faith, we shall get abundantly from him; that he will never leave us to ourselves, nor forsake us to our enemies; that he will water us every moment, and supply us constantly with good; and that, though we may seem to wander in the wilderness in a solitary way, yet we shall find that sweet promise very sure; I will bring the blind by a way that they know not, I will lead them in paths that they have not known ; I will make darkness light be. fore them, and crooked things straight : these things will Įdo unto them, and not forsake them,* saith the LORD. .
Let us remember then the sacred address to two sorts of persons :-To those, who have faith, and therefore fear and obey the Lord; and to others, who reject his counsels and walk by the light of their own understanding. 1. Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God. 2. Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks : walk in the light of your : fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand, ye shaļl lie down in sorrow.
THE testimony of JESUS, is the spirit of prophecy : it is the very spirit and design of all divine revelation, and implies the energy and demonstration of the HOLY SPIRIT, by whom it is imparted.
And, as the thing testified is sanctioned by God the Holy Ghost; so he hath raised up, from age to age, subordinate agents, as personal witnesses to the truth revealed, who should be competent to give à faithful testimony, by knowing, experiencing, enjoying, the thing testified. All their spiritual senses are exercised for this purpose. They have tasted, that the Lord is gracious ; they have heard, and seen with their eyes, that truth or life which was from the beginning; they have been enabled to look upon it with the fullest consideration; and their spiritual hands have handled of the word of life, so as to examine it on all sides, and thereby feel the most convincing proof, that the things are true and real, which God hath testified and which his word records.* And.
. This is, for the most part, the scope and design of the book called the Proverbs, or, as the original word means, the parables, or similitudes; which, under moral ideas and natural objects, relate to the knowledge and experience of the children of God in their passage though the world. Thus, in its proem, to know WISDOM and instruction, and to perceive the words of UNDERSTANDING, is, in New Testament language, to experience Curist and his discipline
in the main points of their testimony, in that which constitutes the essence or substance of it, all these witnesses for God have fellowship and do witness with God, in one uniform temper of mind, and in one admirable consent of tongue. Whatever they may differ about in other respects, in one THING they are universally agreed, that all their salvation proceeds solely and freely from Jesus Christ, through the love and power of the Father and Holy Spirit; and that the whole glory of it, both here and hereafter, must be ascribed to this triune JEHOVAH alone.
Thus, the children of God witness for him in doctrine, or principle. They hold all the grand truths of his
or way of salvation, and to spread before the eyes of the mind the words, or revelation, of the Holy Spirit. And so further; to receide into the heart the discipline of spiritual understanding, righteousness, and the decree or counsel of God, and his ordinances. To give spiritual skill to the simple, to the young man in Christ experience and discernment. Thus, one made wise, or who hath tasted that the Lord is gracious, will hear indeed and gather spiritual learning, and one of true understanding, taught by the Spirit, shall possess the gracious pledges, or wise counsels to spread out or discader the hidden sense of a parable, and its sweet eloquence; the words of the wise, and their ænigmatical representations.--According to the plan of this excellent book, Christ is to be understood generally by wisdom, and the Holy Spirit by understanding : and they are put in opposition to the stranger, or evil spirit, in the strange woman, i. e, in the world and the flesh; whose object is enticement to sin, and whose end is death and hell. Prov. i. 246. and vii. 21. 27. The nine first chapters of the book particularly, if read in this point of view, both illustrate and harmonize with the doctrines and experience laid down in the New Testament, and show, that the children of God have received the same mind and heart-felt enjoyment of divine things, as well before the coming of Christ as afterwards.
revelation, without daring to pervert them by corrupt reasonings and carnal speculations. What their heavenly Father hath said, must be true ; is to them an incontro vertible axiom. They see all the blasphemy and impudence of the devil in every attempt to question it. The Why and the WHEREFORE they implicitly and meekly leave to their blessed Lord; being assured, that he, who is all goodness and wisdom, can say nothing but truth, and do nothing but right. And in this lowly, way, he teacheth them, far above the skill of man, such delightful realities in his word of grace, that, according to his promise, they know of the doctrine that it is indeed of God, and can be of no other; and, in thus knowing it, they receive the blessed pledge of an unalienable portion in all they know.
They have, therefore, power to witness for God in their real experience. Their's is not the testimony of a fine-spun theory, excogitated by a shallow and doubting reason; but the assurance of a matter of fact, of a thing done for them and done in them, which they as perceptibly know and enjoy, as their outward senses can know and enjoy the light and warmth of the sun, shining with meridian splendor through an unclouded sky. And this vital experience cannot be a delusion, or matter of doubt, like the metaphysical reveries of men; because God hath stated the very nature and manner of it in his word, and at the same time promised to confirm it to his believing people by his Spirit. Christians of all ages, of different languages, and of various countries, have known the same thing in the same way, and have substantially agreed in their evidence concerning them. So
that that, to suppose an error here, is both to accuse God of falshood, and to impute an unprofitable deceit to his whole people from the beginning of the world; though, these, of all men, have most abhorred deceit, and, in a striking distinction above all, have been called upon, to attest, and even to die, for the truth. Thus, he that believeth, hath the witness in himself; and, also, hata set to his seal, that God is true.
And, as they own the love and truth of God in their happy experience, so it is their wish and their joy to testify, concerning both him and themselves, in their lives and conversations. They are ashamed, and entitled to shame, when this is not the case. The true believer, walking as such, can chearfully say with the prophet; I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God, for he hath clothed me with t : garments of salvation, he hath covered (or, surrounded) me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself (103decketh as a priest] with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.* In one view, he is in the Bridegroom Christ, who is covered with majesty and glory; or as a priest under Christ before God, to stand up and worship, or to win others to him; and, in another view, he is in the church, as the bride of Christ, betrothed in an everlasting covenant, according to the emphatic promise by Hosea.t And what are these ornaments and jewels ?-Here is an allusion to the peculiar dress of the people of God under the law, and especially to the attire of the high-priest, their represen. tative before the throne. They were to wear frontlets,
Isa. Ixi. 10.
† Hos, ii. 19, 20.