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GOSPEL HUMILIATION, grounded on Faith's
View of DIVINE PACIFICATION.*
EZEK. xvi. 63.
That thou mayeft remember and be confounded, and never
FTER great convictions of fin, and great denuncia. tions of judgments againft Ifrael, in the preceding part of the chapter, the Lord here, in the clofe, remembers mercy in the midft of wrath, and ends all his fad and heavy words with a fweet nevertheless, ver. 60. And, indeed, mercy muft begin on God's fide: "Nevertheless, I will remember my covenant with thee, in the days of thy youth; and I will eftablifh unto thee an everlafting covenant." And what will be the effect of this, we fee in ver. 61. "Then fhalt thou remember thy ways, and be afhamed." It is worthy our obfervation, that when God fays, "I will remember my covenant," then he adds, "Thou fhalt remember thy fins." Hence it is evident, that never a good thought, never a penitent thought would have come into our hearts, had not fome thoughts
* This fermon, was preached before the Affociate Prefbytery, on Tuesday, Auguft 28th. 1739. being a Faft-day, appointed to be ob ferved by them, in the parish of Kinrofs.
of peace and good-will come into God's heart. When he remembers his covenant of mercy for us, fo as not to remember our fins against us, then we remember our fins against ourselves with fhame.
And in the latter part of the verse he adds, "When thou shalt receive thy fifters, thine elder and thy younger:" that is, when the Gentile nations, fome of them greater than thou art, and fome leffer, both ancient and modern, fhall be received into church-communion, and owned as members of the church of God; "And I will give them to thee for daughters:" they fhall be my gift unto thee as daughters; they fhall be nurfed up and educated by that gofpel, that word of the Lord that fhall come forth from Zion, from the Jews; infomuch, that Jerufalem below may, in fome fenfe, be called the mother; and Jerufalem, which is above, which is free, fhall be acknowledged to be the mother of us all, Gal. iv. 26. They fhall be thy daughters, but not by thy covenant;' that is, thy covenant of duties, or which thou turnedft to a covenant of works; not by that old covenant, which was violated; but by that covenant, which promifed to write the law in the heart, and to put the fear of God into the inward part. Now, when thou fhalt receive them, and when Jews and Gentiles fhall be united in Chrift, the covenant-head, "Thou shalt be afhamed of thine own evil ways." Thou shalt bluth to look a Gentile in the face, remembering how much worse than the Gentiles thou wat in the day of thy apoftacy.
He farther fignifies his gracious purpose, verfe 62. “I will establish my covenant with thee." He had before faid, "I willestablish unto thee an everlasting covenant," ver.60. This covenant is God's covenant: it is of his making with his Son Jefus Chrift: "I have made a covenant with my Chofen and it is elablished in him unto us; and therefore may be faid to be established with us. As if he had faid, As I will eftablish it with him, unto thee; fo I will re-establish it in him, with thee. And then the effect of that re-establishment of it fhall be, "Thou fhalt know that I am the Lord;" that I am JEHOVAH, a God of power, and faithful to my promife. It had often been faid in wrath," You fhall know that I am the Lord ;"
you fhall know it to your coft: but here it is faid in mercy, "You fhall know that I am the Lord;" you fhall know it to your comfort. And it is one of the most precious promifes of the covenant, " They fhall all know the Lord:" by a juftifying knowledge; fo as to be delivered from the rule of fin, and from the punishment threatened in the law: by a fanctifying knowledge; fo as to be delivered from the rule of fin, and to be fitted for gofpel-fervice and obedience: by an evangelical knowledge; a knowledge of God in Chrift, which is the beginning of eternal life; "This is life eternal, to know thee, the only true God, and Jefus Chrift, whom thou haft fent:" and likewife by a humbling knowledge; and here is the humbling effect of it defcribed in the words of the text, "That thou mayeft remember and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more, because of thy fhame, when I am pacified towards thee for all that thou haft done, faith the Lord God."
Here you may obferve both the nature of true Humiliation, and the ground of it.
1. The nature and properties of true humiliation, Thou shalt remember and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more, because of thy fhame.
2. The ground and spring of it, When I am pacified towards thee, for all that thou baft done: when thou shalt fo know the Lord, as to view him to be a reconciled God in Chrift. He had before said, "I will remember my covenant;" and when he puts them in mind of the covenant, then they mind their fin and mifery, their evil ways, and are afhamed. And here, when the covenant is further opened, the humiliation is further enlarged alfo. Why, the clearer evidence that perfons have of God's being reconciled to them, the more grieved and afhamed will they be for offending of him.
I fhall farther explain the words, in discoursing upon the following doctrine.
OBSERV. "True gofpel-humiliation is rooted in the
"believing knowledge and view of divine reconci. "liation: or, Then is a foul truly humbled, when "it apprehends God as truly pacified, and wellpleafed in Chrift Jefus."
To this purpose are thefe and the like words of fcripture, They fhall fear the Lord, and his goodness, in the latter days. Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand;" the kingdom of grace, reigning thro' the righteoufaels of Jefus, declaring God to be pacified in him, it is at hand, it is proclaimed in your ears. Repent, and in order to this, believe the gofpel; the gofpel of reconciliation. "Let the wicked forfake his ways, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord." Why? "He will have mercy; he will abundantly pardon."
The method we would lay down, for profecuting this obfervation, as the Lord fhall be pleafed to affift, fhall be the following.
I. We would fpeak a little of this humiliation. II. Of this reconciliation; or, of God's being pacified. III. Of the connection between them; or the influence which the view and knowledge of God's being pacified, hath upon this humiliation.
IV. Make fome application of the whole.
I. We will touch a little at that humiliation here before us. And, O Sirs, fince we are here met about hu miliation-work, let us look upon it as the subject-matter of a divine promise, "Thou shalt know that I am the Lord, that thou mayeft remember and be confounded.” you had this view, then you would have the more hope of coming speed, and meeting with fuccefs. This view may help you to know that you are not come to do fome great work of yourfelf, as if God were still ftanding upon terms with you, according to the old covenant of works; but that you are come to get all the humbling and healing grace that you need, according to the tenor of the covenant of grace, which is a giving covenant.
But now, I fhall mention four ingredients of this humiliation that is here promifed, and that we are to look for, and pray for, to be brought forth out of the womb of the promife, namely, remembrance, confufion, fhame, and filence.
1. The first ingredient is remembrance; That thou mayft REMEMBER. The very first beginning of true repentance is, God's making a man thoughtful; "I thought upon my ways, and turned my feet to thy teftimonies." Hence we are called to confider our ways. We forget God, and forget our fins against him; but whenever God begins the good work, he makes the man to remember and call to mind his fins: as the prodigal, when he came to himself, confidered matters. This remembrance, I think, includes illumination and conviction. The first part of the phyfic that God gives, is the eye-falve, that they may fee; for, until their eyes. be opened, they will not turn from darkness unto light, Acts xxvi. 18. The firft creature that ever God made in the primitive creation, was light; and the first thing in the new creation, is fpiritual light. The finner, before repentance, is like a man fleeping in a dark pit, in the midst of a great many vipers, afps, and ferpents, and venomous beafts: while he lies in the dark pit, they neither hurt him, nor is he afraid of them himself; but whenever a ray of light comes in at a hole or window, presently they fall upon him, and fting and torment him, and he fees himfelf to be furrounded with them. So here, before repentance, the finner fleeps in the darknefs of ignorance, atheism, error, and unbelief; but whenever a beam of fpiritual light breaks in upon the mind and confcience, by an effectual conviction and illumination, then fin revives, and the finner finds himfelf encompaffed, as it were, with living ferpents, tainted and corrupted with the poifon of afps, deftroyed and defiled with all the trash of hell in his heart.
It is not a bare fpeculation, or notion of our finful ways, that is imported here. We many times, by a bare notion of our fins and mercies, write them, as it were, upon the waters: they are no fooner thought, or spoke of, but they are forgot again; but it is a feeling remembrance, and an abiding remembrance: fuch as that the pfalmift had, when he faid, "My fin is ever before me:" they haunt me like a ghost. The ghost of Uriah is still before me, might he fay; the thoughts of my murder and adultery never go out of my mind. Yea, it is a remembrance of fin, as + L