« السابقةمتابعة »
divine nature become a means of support unto us, as considered in the person of the Son of God. And this is,
1. A great encouragement unto believing. The Lord Christ, as the wisdom of God, inviting sinners to come in unto him, and to be made partakers of him, lays down all bis divine excellencies as a motive thereunto, Prov. viii. 14, 15. &c. For on the account of them, he assures us that we may find rest, sa. tisfaction, and an abundant reward in him. And the like invi. tation doth he give to poor sinners, Isa. xlv. 22. “ Look unto me, and be saved, all the ends of the carth; for I am God, and there is none else.” They may justly expect salvation in him who is God, and in whom all divine attributes are proposed to their benefit; as they find who come unto him, ver. 24, 25. The consideration hereof prevents all the fears, and answers all the doubts of them that look up unto him.
2. An instruction how to consider the properties of God by faith for our advantage; that is, as engaged in the person of the Son of God for our good. Absolutely considered they may fill us with dread and terror, as they did them of old, who concluded when they thought they had seen God, or heard his voice, that they should die. Considered as his properties, who is our Redeemer, they are always relieving and comforting, Isa. liv. 4, 5.
II. The whole old creation, even the most glorious parts of it, hastening unto its period, at least of our present interest in it, and use of it, calls upon us not to fix our hearts on the small perishing shares which we have therein, especially since we have him who is omnipotent and eternal for our inheritance. The figure or fashion of this world, that lovely appearance which it hath at present unto us, the apostle tells us, is passing away; it is hastening unto its period, it is a fading dying thing, that can yield us no true satisfaction.
III. The Lord Christ the Mediator, the head and spouse of the church, is infinitely exalted above all creatures whatever, in that he is God over all, omnipotent and eternal.
IV. The whole world, the heavens and earth, being made by the Lord Christ, and being to be dissolved by him, is wholly at his disposal, to be ordered for the good of them that do believe. -And therefore,
V. There is no just cause of fear unto believers, from any thing in heaven or earth, seeing they are all of the making, and at the disposal of Jesus Christ.
VI. Whatever our changes may be, inward or outward, yet Christ changing not, our eternal condition is secured, and relief provided against all present troubles and miseries.-The immu. tability and eternity of Christ is the spring of our consolation and security in every condition,
The sum of all is, that,
VII. Such is the trailty of the nature of man, and such the perishing condition of all created things, that none can ever obtain the least stable consolation, but what ariseth from an interest in the omnipotency, sovereignty and eternity of the Lord Christ.-This, I say, is that which the words insisted on as they are used in the Psalm do instruct us in ; and this therefore we may a little farther improve.
This is that which we are instructed in by the ministry of John Baptist, Isa. xl. 6—. 6 The voice cried, All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field : the grass withereth and the flower fadeth, because the Spirit of God bloweth upon it; surely the people is grass; the grass withereth, the flower fadeth, but the word of our God shall stand for ever." All is grass, fading grass ; though it bloom and appear goodly for a little season, yet there is no continuance, no consistency in it. Every wind that passeth over it, causeth it to wither: this is the best of flesh ; of all that in and by ourselves, we are, we do, we enjoy or hope for. The crown of the pride of man, and his glorious beauty, is but a fading flower, Isa. xxviii. 1. What joy, what peace, what rest can be taken in things that are dying away in our hands, that perish before every breath of wind that passeth over them? Where then shallthis poor creature, so frail in itself, in its actings, in its enjoyments, seek for rest, consolation and satisfaction ? in this alone, that the word of the Lord abideth forever; in the eternally abiding word of God; that is, the Lord Jesus Christ as preached in the gospel: so Peter applies these words, 1 Pet. i. 25. By an interest in him alone, his eternity and unchangeableness, may relief be obtained against the consideration of this perishing dying state and condition of all things. Thus the Psalmist tells us, that “ verily every man living in his best estate is altogether vanity," Psal. xxxix. 5. and thence takes the conclu. sion now insisted on, ver. 7. “ and now Lord, seeing it is thus :" seeing this is the condition of mankind, what is thence to be looked after? what is to be expected ? nothing at all, not the least of use or comfort. “ What wait I for? my hope is in thee;" from thee alone as a God eternal, pardoning and saving, do I look for relief.
Man indeed in this condition seeks oftentimes for satisfaction from himself, froin what he is, and doth, and enjoys; and what he shall leave after him; comforting himself against his own frailty, with an eternity that he fancieth to himself in his posterity, and their enjoyment of his goods and inheritance. So the Psalmist tells us, Psal. xlix. 11. 6. Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever, and their dwelling-places unto all generations; and they call their lands after their own
they of GodPeter appliceternity sideration Les lie Pop
names.” They see indeed « that all men die, wise men and fools,” ver. 10. and cannot but from thence observe their own frailty. Wherefore they are resolved to make provision against it; they will perpetuate their posterity and their inheritance. This they make use of to relieve them in their inmost imaginations. But what censure doth the Holy Ghost pass upon this contrivance, ver. 12. “ Nevertheless,” saith he, notwithstanding all these imaginations, « man being in honour abideth not, he is like the beasts that perish;" which he farther proves, ver. 17– 20. shewing fully that he himself is no way concerned in the imaginary perpetuity of his possessions ; which as they are all of them perishing things, so himself dies and fades away, while he is in the contemplation of their endurance. And the truth proposed may be farther evidenced by the ensuing considerations,
1. Man was made for eternity. He was not called out of nothing to return unto it again. When he once is, he is forever; not as to his present state, that is frail and changeable; but as to his existence in one condition or other. God inade him for his eternal glory, and gave him therefore a subsistence without end. Had he been created to continue a day, a month, an year, a thou. sand years, things commensurate unto that space of time might have afforded him satisfaction. But he is made forever.
2. He is sensible of his condition. Many indeed endeavour to cast off the thoughts of it: they would fain hope that they shall be no longer than they are here. In that case they could find enough as they suppose to satisfy thein in the things that are like themselves. But this will not be, they find a witness in themselves to the contrary, somewhat that assures them of an after-reckoning; and that the things which they do now, will be called over in another world. Besides, the conviction of the word, with them that enjoy it, puts the matter out of question. They cannot evade the testimony it gives unto their eternal subsistence.
3. Hence men are exposed to double trouble and perplexity, First, That whereas their eternal subsistence, as to the enjoyment of good or bad, depends upon their present life, that that is frail, fading, perishing. They are here now, but when a few days are come and gone, they must go to the place from whence they shall not return. They find their subsistence divided into two very unequal parts, a few days and eternity, and the latter to be regulated by the former. This fills them with anxiety, and makes them sometimes weary of life, sometimes hate it, always most solicitous about it, and to bewail the frailty of it. Secondly, That no perishing thing will afford them relief or support in this condition. How should it? They and these are parting every moment, and that for eternity. There is no comfort in a
perpetual taking leave of things that are beloved. Such is the life of man as unto all earthly enjoyments. It is but a parting with what a man hath ; and the longer a man is about it, the more trouble he hath with it. The things of this creation will not continue our lives here, because of our frailty; they will not accompany us into eternity, because of their own frailty; we change and they change, we are vanity and they are no better.
4. An interest in the omnipotence, sovereignty and eternity of the Lord Christ, will yield a soul relief and satisfaction in this condition. There is that in them, which is suited to relieve us under our present frailty, and to give 'satisfaction to our future eternity. For,
1. What we have not in ourselves, by an interest in Christ we have in another. In him we have stability and unchangeableness : for what he is in himself he is unto us, and for us. All our concerns are wrapped up and secured in him. He is ours, and though we in our own persons change, yet he changeth not, nor our interest in him which is our life, our all. Though we die, yet he dieth not; and because he liveth, we shall live also. Though all other things perish and pass away, that we here make use of, yet he abideth a blessed and satisfying portion unto a believing soul. For as we are his, so all his is ours; only laid up in him, and kept for us in him. So that under all discouragements that may befal us from our own frailty and misery, and the perishing condition of outward things, we have sweet relief tendered us in this, that we have all good things treasured up for us in him. And faith knows how to make use of all that is in Christ to the comfort and support of the soul.
2. When our frailty and changeableness have had their utmost effect upon us; when they have done their worst upon us, they only bring us to the full enjoyment of what the Lord Christ is unto us, that is an exceeding great reward, and a full satisfaction unto eternity. Then shall we live forever in that which we now live upon, being present with him, beholding his glory, and made partakers of it, so that both here, and hereafter, there is relief, comfort and satisfaction for believers laid up in the excel. lencies of the person of Jesus Christ. And this should teach
1. The misery of those who have no interest in him, and have therefore nothing to relieve themselves against the evils of any condition. All their hopes are in this life, and from the enjoyments of it. When these are once past, they will be eternally and in all things miserable; miserable beyond our expression or their apprehension. And what is this life? a vapour that appeareth for a little while. What are the enjoyments of this life? dying perishing things, and unto them, fuel to lust and
so to liell. Suppose they live twenty, thirty, forty, sixty years, yet every day they fear, or ought to fear, that it will be their last. Some die oft every day from the first to last, of the utmost extent of the life of man; so that every day may be the last to any one, and whose then will be all their treasures of earthly things? And the relief which men have against the tormenting fears that the frailty of their condition doth expose them unto, is no whit better than their troubles. It is sinful security, which gives the fulness of their misery an advantage to surprise them, and themselves an advantage to aggravate that misery, by the increase of their sin. In the mean time spes sibi quisque, • every one's hope is in himself alone,' which makes it perpetually like the giving up of the ghost. Surely the contentment that dying man can take in dying things, is very contemptible. We must not stay to discover the miseries of the life of man, and the weakness of the comforts and joys of it. But whatever they be, what becomes of them, when they have serious thoughts of their present frailty and future eternity ? This following eternity is like Pharaoh's lean kine, which immediately devours all the fat pleasures of this present life, and yet continues as lean and miserable as ever. The eternal misery of men will not be in the least eased, yea, it will be greatened by the enjoyments of this life, when once it hath devoured them. And this is the portion of them that have no interest in the eternity and immutability of the Son of God. Their present frailty makes them continually fear eternity; and their fear of eternity imbitters all things that they should use for the relief of their frailty; and that security which they provide against, both increaseth their misery, by sin here, and suffering hereafter.
2. This also will teach us how to use these earthly things; how dying persons should use dying creatures. That is, to use them for our present service and necessity, but not as those that look after rest or satisfaction in them, which they will not afford us. Use the world, but live on Christ.
3. Not to despond under a sense of our present frailty; we see what blessed relief is provided against our fainting on that account.
whey should us and their represent fraient
Ver. 18.-The next verse contains the last testimony produced by the apostle for the confirmation of the pre-eminence of the Lord Christ above angels, in the words ensuing. VER. 13.- Ilgos tiva de tar afgedwo signxe roti: Kalx ex di&um pcs,
έως αν θα τες εχθρες σου υποποδιων των ποδων σε. There is no difference about the reading of these words. As they are here expressed by the apostle, so are they in the trans