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- your confusion.—They were all ashamed of a “ people that could not profit them, nor be an “ help nor profit, but a shame, and also a re“ proach o.”
These warnings, denunciations and punishments had all a further reference. They indeed immediately respected the literal Israel; and declared their guilt in trusting in any arm, save that which had been so remarkably displayed in their deliverance and protection. But as the temporal salvations given to this people prefigured the everlasting salvation of all the spiritual Israel, the means employed by God to deter them from trufting in an arm of flesh, whether their own or that of any other nation, were ultimately and especially designed to declare the fin and danger of carnal confidence in any shape, as opposed to confidence in that falvation 'exhibited in the gospel. Hence we find the language, originally appropriated to the guilt of trusting in man for temporal deliverance, transferred to the New Testament, and used to express the still inore aggravated iniquity of self-righteousness, or trust in external privileges: “ We are the circumcifion, who-re“ joice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in “the flesh P." Nor can we rightly read the language of the Spirit of God, on this subject, in the Old Testament, without understanding it as especially “ written for our admonition,” that we may “ not trust in ourselves, but in him that raia “ feth the dead.”
vi. Some olla. xxx, 1.-5.
p Phil. ii. 3.
ví. Some of the circumstances attending the rebuilding of the temple, after the return of the Jews from their captivity, afford a similar illuftration. The very opposition made by their enemies was overruled for the advancement of this work. They did every thing to instigate the supreme authority against that afilicted handful. But the truth of that declaration was manifested ; “ The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD ; “ and he turneth it whithersoever he will.” For “ he turned the heart of the king of Allyria unto “ them, to Itrengthen their hands in the work of “ the house of the LORD, the God of Israel s." Were foine in danger of " despising the day of “ small things,” because the glory of this building was so far inferior to that of the former? Or, were they ready to conclude, that, because of the many obitacles thrown in their way, it would never be finished ? God sent them a message both , of comfort and of reproof, expressive of the manner in which his work is conducted in every age : “ Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, “ faith the Lord of hosts.”. Concerning Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah, he delivers that gracious declaration, which could only have its full accomplishment in the glorious Antitype : « Who art thoni, O great mountain ? before Ze“ rubbabel a plain, a plain! and he shall bring “ forth the head-stone thereof with shoutings, “ Grace, grace unto it 1."
9 Ezra vi. 22.
: Zech. iv. 6,7.
VII. In proof of the indispensable necessity of divine power for the salvation of finners, may I not appeal to the personal ministry of our Lord ? The great salvation “ began to be spoken” by him. He “ spake as never man spake.” Nothing but truth proceeded from his lips. He “ spake “ the words of God.” What he had “ seen and “ heard, that he testified." His enemies were often silenced, and at times captivated by his discourses. He confirmed his doctrines by the most astonishing miracles, such as they could neither disprove nor deny. Yet " no man received his “ teftimony." He had reason to complain, that he had “ laboured in vain," and that Ifrael was " not gathered.” “ His own received him not." He wept over Jerusalem, saying, “ How often “ would I have gathered thy children together, “ even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her “ wings, and ye would not.”
What was the design of this, but to teach us, that human suasion, even in its highest poflible perfection, is unavailing ? It was the will of God, that the personal ministry of Christ himself should be.attended with comparatively little efficacy ; to illustrate the necessity of divine power, and to put honour on the ministration of the Spirit. Aca cording to the pleasure of the three-one God, all the efficacy of the gospel must immediately proceed from the third Person of the adorable Trinity. It must therefore appear, that the word, is spoken by the human lip of Jesus himself, could
s John iii. 32. 34.
be effectual only in as far as it was accompanied by the power of the Spirit. The effusion of the Holy Ghost was therefore withheld, till the perfonal ministry of Christ was at an end. But when the disciples received “ power from on high," a single sermon, preached by one of them, was attended with far greater success than the whole of Christ's ministry.
Hath God in such a variety of ways declared the inefficacy of means, and the necessity of Almighty power in order to the salvation of man? Let us beware of saying, “ Mine own arm hath “ saved me." It is evident from the whole history of the Church, that it hath still been the defign of God, in working falvation, to ftain the pride of human glory. Why should we stumble at this stone? If it was the pleasure of JEHOVAH, that boasting should be excluded in all the temporal deliverances of his people; can we rationally suppose, that he will admit them to a partnerfhip with himself, either in the accomplishment, or in the glory, of that salvation which is the chief of a!l his works? Would he exclude them from the mere fign, and give them a distinguished co-operation in the thing signified ? Let us view the language of his ancient people, as descriptive of the exercise of all his spiritual Ifrael. Let us transfer to the heavenly Canaan, what they uttered concerning the earthly : “ We got not the “ land in possession by our own sword, neither " did our own arm fave us: but thy right-hand,
6 and thine arm, and the light of thy counte“nance, because thou hadít a favour unto us t."
The Doctrine of Particular Redemption illustrated,
from the First Promise ;- from the Temporal Redemptions of Israel ;- from the Limitation of the legal Oblations ;--from the History of Redemption as accomplished by Christ.
That our Lord did not die for all mankind, but for a certain number whom the Father from eternity gave to him, is evident not only from a great variety of doctrinal testimonies, but from the whole history of the Church.
1. This truth is discernible in the very dawn of revelation. It is distinctly written in the first gospel-promise a. There we have a distinction marked between two different seeds. The one is designed the feed of the woman; the other, the feed of the serpent. As Adam, after the revelation of this promise, called Eve “ the mother of “ all living,” because he in the exercise of faith viewed her as the mother of all those who should be made alive unto God; by the feed of the woVol. II.
??ld/ Pral, xliv. 3.
u Gen, isi, 15.