Page images
PDF
EPUB

much in love with worse employment than what he was said to loathe. Oh let the knowledge of Christ dwell in us richly.

Let us see that our knowledge of Christ is not a powerless, barren, ineffectual knowledge. Oh, that, in its passage from our understanding to our lips, it might powerfully melt, sweeten, and relish our hearts! Remember, brethren, a holy calling never saved any man, without a holy heart; if our tongues only be sanctified, our whole man must be condemned. Oh let the keepers of the vineyard look to, and keep their own vineyard ! we have a heaven to win or lose, as well as others.

Let us take heed that we withhold not our knowledge of Christ in unrighteousness from the people. Oh that our lips may disperse knowledge and feed many. Remember, I beseech you, the relations wherein you stand, and the obligations resulting thence: remember the great Shepherd gave himself for, and gave you to the flock. Your time, your gifts, are not yours, but God's Remember the pinching wants of souls who are perish ing for want of Christ ! Did Christ not think it too much to sweat blood, yea, to die for them ? and shal. we think it much to watch, study, preach, pray, and do what we can for their salvation? Oh let the same mind be in you which was also in Christ.

As to the people that sit under the doctrine of Christ daily, and have the light of his knowledge shining round about them : take heed ye do not reject and despise this light. This may be done by neglecting the means of knowledge. Surely, if you thus reject knowledge, God will reject you. Hos. 4 : 6. It is a despising of the richest gift that ever Christ gave to the church; and how. ever it be a contempt and slight that begins low, and seems only to vent itself upon foibles, such as the arti. ficial tones and gestures of speakers, yet, believe it, it is a daring sin, that flies higher than you are aware : "He that despiseth you, despiseth me; and he that despiseth me, despiseth Him that sent me.” Luke, 10 : 16. You despise the knowledge of Christ when you despise the directions and loving constraints of that knowledge; when you refuse to be guided by your knowledge. Your light and your lusts contest and struggle within you; oh it is sad when your lusts master your light ! You sin not as the heathen sin, who know not God; but when you sin, you wound your own consciences and offer violence to your own convictions. And what sad work will this make in your souls! How soon will it lay your consciences waste !

Take heed also that you rest not satisfied with that knowledge of Christ you have attained, but go on to perfection. It is the pride and ignorance of many professors, when they have got a few raw and indigested notions, to swell with self-conceit of their excellent attainments. And it is the sin, even of the best of saints, when they see how deep the knowledge of Christ lies, and what pains they must take to dig for it, to throw by the shovel of duty, and cry, Dig we cannot. To your work, christians, to your work. Let not your candle go out: devote yourselves to this study; cherish the blessed communications of light and grace from on high; and count all things but dross in comparison with that excellency which is in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

CHAPTER II.

CHRIST IN HIS ESSENTIAL AND PRIMEVAL GLORY.

" Then I ras by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his

delight, rejoicing always before him.Prov. 8:30.

These words are a part of that excellent commendation of Wisdom, by which in this book Solomon intends two things: first, grace or holiness; "Wisdom is the principal thing,” Prov. 4:7; secondly, Jesus Christ the fountain of that grace : and, as the former is renowned for its excellency, Job, 28 : 14, 15, so is the latter, in this context, wherein the Spirit of God describes the most blessed state of Jesus Christ, the Wisdom of the Father, from those eternal delights he had with his Father before his assumption of our nature : " Then was I by him, as one brought up with him : and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him.” That eternity was wholly swallowed up in unspeakable delights and pleasures. The Father and Son delighted one in another (from which delights the Spirit is not here excluded) without cominunicating their joy to any other; for no creature then existed, sare in the mind of God. Verse 30.

" Then was I by him, as one brought up with him :" in his very bosom. "The only-begotten Son " le in the bosom of the Father," John, 1:18; an expression of the greatest dearness and intimacy, as if he had said, wrapt up in the very soul of his Father--embosomed in God.

"I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him.” These delights of the Father and the Son one in the other, knew not a moment's interruption or diminu

was

tion. Thus did these great and glorious persons mutually communicate their fullest pleasure and delight, each into the heart of the other : they lay, as it were, embosomed in one another, entertaining themselves with delights and pleasures ineffable and inconceivable. Hence we observe, The state of Jesus Christ before his incarnation was that

of the highest and most unspeakable delight and pleasure in the enjoyment of his Father.

As he was in the bosom of the Father,” John, 1 : 18, the posture of dearest love, John, 13 : 23; so in Isaiah, 42:1, the Father calls him " Mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth ;" and he is said, in this state, to be rich, 2 Cor. 8 : 9; and to be "equal with God," and "in the form of God;" Phil. 2:6; that is, to have all the glory and ensigns of the majesty of God; and the riches which the apostle speaks of, was no less than all that God the Father hath ; " All that the Father hath is mine," John, 16 : 15; and what he now hath in his exalted state is the same that he had before his humiliation. John, 17:5. Now to portray (as we are able) the unspeakable felicity of that original state of Christ :

I. Let us consider that state negatively, by removing from it all the degrees of debasement and sorrow involved in his incarnation.

1. He was not then abased to the condition of a creature, which was a low step indeed; for by this, saith the apostle," he made himself of no reputation," Phil. 2: 7; it emptied him of his glory. For God to be made man, is such an abasement as none can express; but not only to appear in true flesh, but also "in the likeness of sinful flesh,” Rom. 8:3, oh, what is this !

2. Christ was not under the law in this state. It was no disparagement to Adam in the state of innocency, or to angels in their state of glory, to be under law to God; but it was an inconceivable abasement to the ab

solute independent Being to come under law; yea, not only under the obedience, but also under the malediction and curse of the law : " But when the fullness of time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law.” Gal. 4 : 4.

3. In this state he was not liable to any of those sorrowful consequences and attendants of that frail and fee. ble state of humanity which he afterwards assumed. There was no sorrowing or sighing in that bosom where he lay, though afterwards he became "a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief." Isa. 53: 3. "A man of sorrows," as if he had been constituted and made up of pure and unmixed sorrows; every day conversing with griefs, as with his intimate companions and acquaintance. He was never pinched with poverty and want while he continued in that bosom, as he was afterwards, when he said, " The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” Matt. 8: 20. Ah! blessed Jesus! thou neededst not to have wanted a place to lay thy head, hadst thou not left that bosom for He never underwent reproach and shame in that bosom: there was nothing but glory and honor reflected upon him by his Father, though afterwards " he was despised and rejected of men.” Isaiah, 53 : 3. His Father never looked upon him without smiles and love, delight and joy, though afterwards he became a reproach of men, and despised of the people. Psa. 22 : 6. While he lay in that bosom of peace and love, he never knew what it was to be assaulted with temptations, to be besieged by unclean spirits, as he did afterwards: "Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.” Matt. 4:1. It was for our sakes that he submitted to those exercises of spirit, to be "in all points tempted like as we are," Heb. 4 : 15, that he might be unto us "a merciful and faithful High Priest.”

my sake.

« PreviousContinue »