صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

whose waters are for healing ; a tree of life, whose leaves are for healing"; a sun of righteousness, whose wings are for healing. No sickness, no death, is too hard for him; he hath raised dead men from the bed, from the bier', from the grave ", from dry bones. No man's doubts or fears, no man's sins or temptations should keep him from coming, with a lively faith, with godly sorrow, with unfeigned repentance, unto Christ for mercy. Of all sinners, they who feel most need of him, are most welcome to him; and whosoever so come, he will in no wise cast them out. (John vi. 37)

[ocr errors]

Lastly, as a Shepherd, he feedeth his people, not only with his holy word, but with his own most precious body and blood. In the law, the passover, after it had been sacrificed unto God, was to be eaten in a feast by them that offered it; (Deut. xvi. 2, 5, 6, 7) conformably whereunto, Christ having been sacrificed for us, is, in his last supper, as a perpetual feast, fed on by us. As no man might eat P of the legal sacrifice in his legal uncleanness, no more can we be welcome unto the Lord's table, if we come thither in impenitency and spiritual defilement. "Christ, our passover, is sacrificed for us; therefore we must keep the feast, not with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the leavened bread of sincerity and truth." (1 Cor. v. 8) We come unto the Lord's table for fellowship with Christ in his sufferings, that being made conformable unto his death, we also may be dead unto sin, as the apostle speaks.' We come thither to exercise that faith in Christ crucified, which, the scripture assureth us, doth purify the heart, and work by love. We come, as to receive the seals of the sure mercies of David unto us, so to renew our covenant of obedience and service unto him, to dedicate and offer up ourselves as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable unto God. Lastly, We come to the Lord's table, to profess our unfeigned love and thankfulness unto Christ for the unspeakable benefits of his passion; and " this is love," saith the apostle, that we keep his commandments ;" this is thankfulness', that we

Zach. xiii. 1.

v. 40, 41, 42.


[ocr errors]


k Mark

h Rev. xxii. 2.
Luke vii. 14, 15.
• Psalm xxiii. 1, 5.

i Mal. iv. 2.

9 Phil. iii. 10.

Rom. vi. 11.

Gal. v. 6.

u Rom. xii. 1.

* 1 John v. 3.

y Psalm 1. 23.

n Ezek. xxxvii. 4, 10. Num. ix. 6.

m John xi. 43, 44. P Levit. vii. 20. • Acts xv. 9.

order our conversation aright, as becometh the gospel of Christ', adorning the doctrine of God our Saviour with lives suitable to the strict and severe precepts of his word for "herein," saith Christ, "is my Father glorified, in that you bring forth much fruit." That we may, in this manner, bring glory unto God, and testify our fellowship with Christ in his sufferings; that we may thus evidence the sincerity of our love and thankfulness unto him, for the unspeakable benefits of his death and passion; " The God of peace, who brought again from the dead the Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the Sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make us perfect in every good work to do his will, working in us that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ."-To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

. Phil. i. 27.

Tit. ii. 10, 14.

b John xv. 8.





Upon the Twenty-eighth of March, 1669.

PHILLIP. iii. 8.

Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.

[ocr errors]

OUR blessed Saviour compareth the kingdom of heaven to a 'hid treasure",' and a pearl of great price,' which a wise merchant, having found, sold all that he had, to buy it. This hidden treasure is our life, which is hid with Christ in God": this pearl of great price is that, which the apostle calls the unsearchable riches of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.'d St. Paul, unto whom the Lord from heaven did reveal this treasure and pearl, hath, in this chapter, discovered himself to be one of those wise merchants, who parted with all for this inestimable purchase. He looked on himself before as a rich man' in things pertaining unto God. Great dignity;-of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews. Great strictness of religion;-a Pharisee", separated from the ways of the world.—

a Matth. xiii. 45, 46.

b Col. iii. 3.

e Eph. iii. 8. Vid. Aug. contra 2 Ep. Pelag. lib. 3. c. 7. de Grat. et lib. Arbit. c. 12. d Phil. iii. 9. e Gal. i. 11. f 2 Cor. xi. Phil. iii. 5. g Vid. Nicet. Choniat. Thesaur. Orthodox. 1. c. 40.-Baron. Apparat. Sect. 8, 9, 10.-Drus. de 3 sectis Judæor. 1. 2. Ad voces N. T. p. 131. Scultet. Exercit. Evang. 1. 1. c. 24, 25, 26. Camero. To. 3. in Matt. 20. 3.-Buxtorf. Lexic. Rab. p. 1851. h Acts xxxvi.

Great learning;-brought up at the feet of Gamaliel', and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the Fathers. Great zeal and fervency, even unto persecution.Great sanctity in his own opinion; "I was alive without the law once'; as touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless." "These things, before he came to the knowledge of Christ, he esteemed very gainful, advantageous, and meritorious to salvation; for he had profited in the Jews' religion above many his equals." But when it pleased God to reveal his Son unto him, he consulted no more with flesh and blood; he set no more value on mere carnal privileges or performances; looked on them as loss and dung; on all his own righteousness, but as a menstruous cloth°; durst put no confidence in any thing of his own P; but in the alone righteousness of Christ Jesus his Lord, in the fellowship of his sufferings, and in the power of his resurrection. He would glory in nothing but the cross of Christ; he would rely on nothing but the grace of Christ; he would lose all, that he might win Christ.

I have chosen these words, to open the excellency of the gospel of Christ, and of the saving knowledge of him thereby; in comparison whereof the apostle esteemed all his other dignities, privileges, righteousness, performances, upon which he had formerly built the hopes of his salvation, to be all but loss and dung.

I begin with the former of these, the excellency of evangelical doctrine, called by the apostle a 'glorious gospel"," a 'ministration" of righteousness which exceeds in glory, a' word of life',' a 'gospel' of salvation ", the riches' of the world, a' treasure, accompanied with the excellency of divine power, a great mystery of godliness; with other the

i Acts xxii. 3. vii. 9.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

k Phil. iii. 6. Aug. cont. 2 Ep. Pelag. 1. e. 9. 1 Rom. m Phil. iii. n Gal. i. 14. • Vide Bernard. Serm. 1. in Festo Omnium Sanct. de verbis Isaiæ Ser. 5. in dedicat. Eccles. Serm. 5. P Præsume non de operatione tua, sed de gratia Christi: Ambros. de Sacram. 1. 5. c. 4.-Quicquid est circa te vel in te, unde possis præsumere, abjice à te, et tota præsumptio tua Deus sit: Aug. in Psalm. 85.-Nihil tuis meritis attribuas: nihil de te præsumas: in virtute tua nihil ponas: in viribus tuis non confidas: in tua audacia fiduciam non habeas : omnia divino dono, et divinæ gratiæ ascribe-Confidentia tua semper sit in Christo: Bernard. de modo bene vivendi, Serm. 3. q Gal. vi. 14. Tim. i. 11. • 2 Cor. u John vi. 63. * Eph. i. 13. * 2 Cor. iv. 7. 1 Tim. iii. 16.

iii. 9.

y Rom. xi. 12.

t Acts v. 20.

like eulogies, setting forth those unsearchable riches of Christ therein, as draw forth the wonder and adoration both of men and angels.

We shall consider the excellency of the gospel, 1. Comparatively: 2. Absolutely. For the former, I shall not put the whole world, nor all the diadems, honours, pleasures, and revenues thereof, into the balance with Christ; he having assured us that it will little profit a man to win them all, and to lose his soul: for though a man could win the whole world, yet within a few years he would lose it again; but the soul, being once lost, is lost for ever, never to be recovered.

But 1. We shall compare the gospel with the state of innocency in paradise. It cannot be denied, but that there were divers things in that state of primitive integrity, wherein Adam excelled any of his sinful offspring. He was made then wholly upright, without any mixture of corruption or infirmity; no evil of sin to defile him, no evil of sorrow to disquiet him: whereas, now, the holiest men are commanded and constrained to cry out, "Forgive us our trespasses, deliver us from evil." He had no war between the flesh and spirit, no inward combat between the law of the members, and the law of the mind; no temptation of lust to entice and draw him away from God: whereas the holiest men are now forced to complain, "O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from this body of death?" He did not, in that state, stand in need of Mediator of reconciliation to restore him to the favour of God, wherein he stood right and entire, by the law of his creation. He had no guilt to fill him with shame or fear, or to drive him away from the presence of the Lord. Yet, in some respect, the grace of the gospel is more excellent than the state of Adam in paradise.

1. Herein is the manifestation of more glorious mercy and wisdom for it was most consonant to the goodness of God, to make reasonable creatures righteous at first; but when they wilfully fell from their created integrity, it was won

a Matth. xvi. 2. Prov. x. 2.

b Vid. Aug. de Civit. Dei, Lib. 14. c. 10, 11. de corrept. et grat. c. 11. Damasc. 1. 2. c. 12. c Eccles. vii. 2. d Matth. vi. 12. Rom. vii. 2. Gemitus sanctorum contra carnales concupiscentias dimicantium. Arg. cont. Julian. Pelag. 1. 6. c. 23.

« السابقةمتابعة »