Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

fplendor, worth, and duration, but to jewels and precious stones: they shall be mine, Says Christ", when I make up my jewels: and may signify the beauty and glory of the churches of Christ, and the members of them; whose cheeks are comely with rows of jewels,and their necks with chains of gold; as they are adorned with the graces of the Spirit, and arrayed with the robe of Christ's righteoufnefs, and the garments of his salvation; when they are as richly decked as the bridegroom, with his ornaments, and the bride with her jewels. The colour of the beryl is the colour of the sea, or a sea-green ; and the word for it, Tarshish, is used for the sea itself; and may lead to think of the fluctuating state of the churches of Christ in this world'; which is as a tempestuous fea, and they as Mhips upon it, tossed with tempests, and not comforted; Christ is their pilot, faith the cable, and hope the anchor, sure and stedfast; and through the skill, ability, and guidance of the pilot, they are brought at last, through many storms and tempests, to the desired haven.

3. The four wheels had one likeness, ver. 10. and chap. i. 16. Gospel-churches confift of one and the fame sort of persons; who are enlightened by the Spirit of God to see their loft state by nature , are directed to Christ alone for salvation, and obtain like precious faith for nature, though not to the fame degree ; and whose experiences are similar : for as face answers to face in water", so do the hearts and experiences of God's people answer to each other: for though the Spirit of God may take a different course with some than with others; some have more of, and are held longer under, the terrors of the law; whilst others are drawn with the cords of love, almost at once; they may have different promiles applied, and different providences may be fanctified to them; yet the fum and fubftance, and tendency of their experience are the same, to debase the creature, exal Christ, and magnify the riches of God's grace. Gospel-churches bare the same faith, the fame doctrine of faith; for there is but one faith delivered to the saints; they have the same ordinances, baprisin and the Lord's supper; and the fame officers, bishops and deacons ; they have the same power and authority to choose their own officers, as the first church did Matthias in the room of Judas, and deacons, when they became neceffary: they have the fame power to receive and exclude members ; they are independent of others, and call no mar master on earth; they have the same form of government, under Christ their Head, Lord and Master, whom they own and profess to be their King, Lawgiver, and Saviour, and no other. They have pastors over them under Christ, whom they not only honour and esteem, but yield subjection to, when ruling well, according to the laws and institutions of Christ. 1. They are said to be a wheel in the middle of a wheel, ver. 1o. and chap. i. 16. not inclusively, as if one wheel was included in the other; for then they would

not i Cant. i. 10.

m Prov. xxvii. 19.

* Mal. iii. 17.

not be alike, but one would be leffer than another, but they were puť in shan crofs and tranfverfe way before described, fo that they seemed but one wheel, one globe or sphere; that is, one catholic church, built on the fame foundation of the apostles and prophers; and which grows up into an holy temple in the Lord, and is built as one habication for God, Father, Son, and Spirit.

5. The rings, circles, and circumferences of these wheels deferve some notice: as for their rings, it is said, chap. i. 18. they were so bigb that they were dreadful; and their rings were full of eyes round about them four. (1.) These were very high, and so must in proportion be very large; and which may signify the visibility and extensiveness of the churches of Christ under the gospel-dispensation, especially in the latter day. The churches of Christ are like a city upon an high hill, which cannot be hid, but is seen at a great distance. They are built upon a rock, that is exceeding high ; and in the latter day they will be exalted above the high mountains and hills, the kingdoms and states of this world; and will be so enlarged when the nation of the Jews, and the fulness of the Gentiles are brought in, that there will be want of room for the members to dwell in them, Ifai. ii. 2. and chap. xlix. 20. ( 2.) They are said to be very dreadful, as the church militant is to her enemies, terrible as an army with banners"; having Christ as a general at the head of it, with a large number of good soldiers of his under him, and accoutred with the whole armour of God, in rank and file, and colours flying; and as the church will be in her elevated state, when her Dain witnesses are risen, and shall ascend to heaven; that is, come into a glorious and happy state in the light of their enemies, and seven thousand men of name Dain, and the remnant affrighted. Or the word may be here rendered reverent; they were both reverend and reverent; respectable, in high esteem, as the church will be in the latter day, even to great personages; kings will be nursing fatbers io ber, and queens nursing motkers; and they will bow down towards ber, and lick the dust of ber feet, Ilai. xlix. 23. and reverent; or there was fear, or they bad fear in them'; the fear of God is in his churches; he is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints; and the true members thereof serve him with reverence and godly fear. (3). These rings were full of eyes round about ; the same is said of the wheels, that is, of the rings of them, ver.:12. This thews that the members of gospel-churches are such who have the eyes of their understanding enlightened by the Spirit of God, to fee the exceeding linfulness of lin, and the demerit of it; to behold the preciousness, excellency, suitableness, and fulness of Christ, as a Saviour; to look to him for life and salvation, for righteousness and strength, and every supply of grace ; and that they have an insight

into, * Cant. vi. 4, 10.

• So Dr Lightfoot's Prospect of the Temple, &c. p. 2055. PON77879 & timor illis erat, Cocceius; fo Starckius...

inco, and knowledge of the truths of the gospel, which are unseen' and unknown to natural and carnal men; being led into them by the Spirit of truch, and having that anointing which teacherh all 'things necessary to salvation : and they are full of eyes, to watch over themselves and others; over themselves, chat they walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, as becomes the gospel of Christ they profess; and over others, looking diligently, EKIXOTENTES, acting the part of a bishop or overseer, as every member of a church in this respect fould : left any man fail of the grace of God; come short of it, drop or deny any doctrine of grace: left any root of bitterness, immorality or heresy, Springing up, trouble some of the members, and thereby many be defiled a wich bad principles, or with bad practices.

Fifthly, The motion of the wheels; which motion, 1. Was not retrograde ; they went on their four sides, they turned not as they went, ver, 11. neither to the righr, nor left: or they returned not when they went, chap. i. 17. they did not go back, but went straight on ; true members of gospel churches, are such who draw not back to perdition, but go on believing; having put their hand to the plough', having made a profession of Christ, and his gospel, they neither look back, nor draw back, or they would not be fit for the kingdom of heaven; they turn not to the right hand, nor che left; but walk on in Christ, and their profeffion of him, as they have received him, and in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord, which he has appointed to be observed. 2. Their motion is the same with the cherubim, or living creatures; as the one moved, lo che ocher did; the wheels went by the cherubim, by the sides of them, ver. 16,19. Ministers are, or should be, examples to the churches in purity of doctrine and conversacion; and cliurches should walk as they have them for an example, and be followers of them, so far as they are followers of Christ; they are to go by their side, and keep pace with them in faith and practice; when they, the cherubim, . stood, these, the wheels stood; when they were lifted up, these lift up themselves also, ver, 17. fee chap. i. 19, 21. Churches observe the motions of the ministers, and act accordingly; they give the lead in worship, as before observed; when they lift up their hearts with their hands in prayer and praise, the members of churches follow, and join them; when they are in elevated frames of soul in their work, and are warm and lively in their ministrations, generally speaking, the churches are so likewise ; but if they are dull and heavy, motionless and inactive, flothful in business, and not fervent in spirit, the members are so too ; as ministers are, for the most part, the churches be. 3. The wheels followed

ad, which guided and directed them: to the place where the head looked, they followed it, ver. 11. the head or face on each semicircle, the same with those

of

Heb. xii. 15.

· Heb. X. 39. Luke ix, 62.

of the Cherubim ; and so may denote ministers, pastors, guides, and governors of the churches; whose faith they are to follow, considering the end of their conversation; or rather Christ, the head of the church, the Lamb, that is to be followed whithersoever he goes, and in whatsoever he directs ; unless, 4. The Spirit of God is meant, since it is said in chap. i. 20. Whithersoever the Spirit was to go, they went; truly gracious fouls walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit; they are led by him into all truth, as it is in Jesus; and they walk in all the paths of faith and duty, as they are influenced and guided by him in a righe way, to the city of their habitation, to a land of uprightness; for, 5. The spirit of the living creatures was in them, ver. 17. that is, in the wheels, chap. i. 20, 21. the spirit of life which is in Christ, and from Christ, is in his ministers; and the same spirit that is in the ministers, is in the churches; and he is in both a spirit of life, and a spirit of liberty, in the exercise of grace, and performance of duty; for there is out one spirit in all, though in a different measure ; even as faints are by one spirit baptized into one body, the church, and are called in one hope of their calling to the same happiness and glory.

Now these visions of Ezekiel, in this and the first chapter, as they give a glorious and beautiful representation of the state of ministers and churches under the gospel - dispensation; they may be read with pleasure, delight, and profit, when spiritually understood ; yet they are closed with a melancholy scene of things; the cherubim are represented as mounting up from the earth, and the wheels beside them; and the glory of the God of Israel above them all, ready to take their fight, and depart, ver. 19. and chap. xi. 22, 23. which may signify the removal of gospel-ministers from earth to heaven by death, and the breaking up of gospel-churches, and the departure of God from his professing people, of which we have already had fonie instances : and, without pretending to a spirit of prophecy, things will continue to go on in this way, worse and worse, till the kingdom of God will be taken from us, the candlestick be removed out of its place, the glory of God depart, and an Ichabod be wrote on his interest; which will be completed when the witnesses are Nain; and then scarce a cherub will be seen, nor a wheel in motion ; the dead bodies of the witnesses will lie unburied, none daring to thew a decent regard unto them. From what has been said, we may learn,

1. The nature of gospel-churches, the matter of which they consist, the form of them, the work that is done in them, and by them, and their state, condition, and circumstances, under the present dispensation. 2. The necessity there is of an harmony between ministers and churches : it is highly requisite they Thould agree, and act in concert; the wheels should be by the cherubim, and move as they do; they should join and unite to promote the interest of religion, Vol. I.

Qq 1 Cor. xii. 13. Ephes. iv. 4.

or

or things will never go on happily and comfortably. 3. This may instruct and direct us to pray for the Spirit of God to be poured down upon both minifters and churches; that ministers may have a larger measure of it, and that the spirit of the living creatures might be in the wheels; the same, or a like measure of the spirit that is in ministers, might be in the churches; and for this we Mould pray importunately and incessantly; for we shall never have happy times, or halcyon days, until the Spirit be poured down upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest; then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field; and the work of righteousness shall be peace, and the effeet of righteousness quietness and asurance for ever; and my people spall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting-places'.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

The Necessity of Christ's making Satisfaction for Sin, proved and confirmed:

Preached June 19, 1766, to an Assembly of Ministers and Churches, at the

Reverend Mr BURFORD's Meeting-House, in Goodman's - Fields.

HEBREWS II. 10.

For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things,

in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfeet through sufferings.

IN

N the preceding verse we have an account of the low estate and condition

our Lord was brought into in human nature; he was made a little lower than the angels : so he was with respect to his incarnation in general; for whatever may be said for the likeness or equality of an human soul without fin, to an angelic spirit, both being spiritual substances, rational and intelligent, immaterial and immortal; it is certain, that the corporal part of human nature

is

« AnteriorContinuar »