Page images
PDF
EPUB

the love, the kindness, the goodness, and sweetness, that the Lord Jesus Christ scattered up and down among the precious sons and daughters of Zion, besides all temporal favours. There is not a saint who receives so much as a cup of cold water, but Christ rewards it abundantly into the bosom of the giver.

By all which you may well judge, that certainly the Lord Jesus is very rich, for if he were not, he could never hold out in scattering rich rewards among so many millions, and for so many thousand years, as he has done.

And so much for the proof of the point, that the Lord Jesus is very rich,

II. We come now, in the second place, to discover to you the grounds and reasons why the Lord Jesus Christ is held forth in the word to be so very rich. And they are these that follow;—'

1. To encourage poor sinners to look after him, and to be willing to match with him.

Poverty hinders many a match. The Lord did foresee from eternity, that fallen man would never look after Christ, if there were not something to be gotten by Christ; the Lord has therefore in his wisdom and goodness to fallen man, thus presented him as one exceeding rich, that so poor sinners might fall in love with him, and be willing to give up themselves to him. Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors, as princes' guards do at princes' gates and doors. Now the arguments to draw out the soul thus to wait upon the Lord, lie in the next words; For whoso findeth me, findeih life, and shall obtain favour of the Lord. The Hebrew runs thus, For finding me he shall find lives, and shall draw forth the favour of the Lord. Divine favour is, as it were, a jewel locked up; but by finding Christ, by getting Christ, the soul gets this jewel that is more worth than a world; yea, by gaining him, the soul gains lives; to wit, a life of grace, and a life of glory; and what would the soul have more?

2. A second ground of this, is, because he is ordained by the Father to convey all riches of grace to his chosen and beloved ones.

Of his fulness have all we received, grace for grace. And this we receive by divine ordination. Labour not, says Christ, for the meat which perisheth, but for that which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you, for him hath God the Father sealed: John vi. 27. God the Father has sealed Christ; he has designed Christ; he has set Christ apart for this very work, that he might give grace unto us. God has ordained to convey all fulness of light to the air by the sun, and therefore has put a greater fulness of light into the sun. God has ordained all fulness of nourishment to the branches by the roots, and therefore has put a fulness of juice into the roots. So the Lord has ordained that all the riches of grace, of peace, of glory, that believers shall enjoy here and in heaven, they shall have from the Sun of righteousness, from this blessed root, the Lord Jesus Christ; and therefore the Father hath filled this Sun with light, this root with heavenly juice, because he is by divine ordination to convey all spiritual and glorious riches into the hearts of his chosen and beloved ones.

3. A third ground is, to take away all excuse from ungodly and wicked men, and that they may be found speechless in the day of vengeance, when the Lord shall come to reckon with them.

'' Ah sinners, how will you that have turned your backs upon Christ who is thus rich, be able to answer it in the day when God shall reason the case with you? when God shall say, 'Sinners, has it not been often told you that Christ is rich in mercy, and rich in goodness, and rich in grace, rich in pardons, rich in loves, and rich in glory, rich in spirituals, rich in temporals, and rich in eternals? and yet you have slighted this Christ; you have turned your backs upon this Christ; you have preferred your lusts, and the world, and the service of the devil, above this Christ, t) how dumb, how speechless will sinners be, when the Lord shall thus plead with them! O how will their countenances be changed, their thoughts troubled, and their joints loosed, their consciences enraged, and their souls terrified, when they shall see what a rich match they have refused, and thereupon how justly they are for ever accursed! i

4. It is upon this accpunt, that he may be a complete

Redeemer to us, and that nothing may hinder our souls closing with the Lord Jesus Christ.

We stand in need of one who is rich; rich in grace to pardon us, rich in power to support us, rich in goodness to relieve us, and rich in glory 'to crown us. There is none but such a Christ can serve our turn. We stand in need of one that is rich, that is generally rich; one that is rich in money to pay all our debts. We have run much upon the score with God, and none can pay this score but Christ. Our sins are debts that none can pay but Christ. It is not our tears, but his blood: it is not our sighs, but his sufferings, that can satisfy for our sins. We are much in debt to God for the ground we tread on, the air we breathe, the beds we lie on, the bread we eat, the clothes we wear; and none can pay this debt but Christ. Angels and saints may pity us, but they cannot discharge the least debt for us. Christ must pay all, or we are prisoners for ever. We stand in need of one that is rich in goodness. We are a needy people, and are still in want. Christ must be still giving, or we shall be still languishing; if he shut his hand we perish and return to dust. Our temporal wants are many, our spiritual wants are more; and if Christ do not supply them, who will? who can? Nay our wants are so many and so great, that Christ himself could not supply them, were he not very, very rich.

And thus I have given you a brief account of the reasons of the point, why the Lord Jesus is held forth by the scripture to be so very rich.

III. We shall now come to the third thing proposed, and that is the excellency of the riches of Christ above all other riches in the world.

I shall briefly run over this third branch, and so come to the application, which is most in my eye and upon my heart. , .

1. The riches of Christ are incomparable riches. Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, that is, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the man that getteth understanding: for the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. , She is more precious than rubies, and all the things thou canst desire, are not to be eomparcd unto her, Prov. iii. 13—15. One grain of grace is far beyond all the gold of Ophir, and all the silver of the Indies, which are but the garbage of the earth. We may say of the riches of this world, compared with the riches of Christ, as Gideon sometimes said of the vintage of Abiezer, The gleanings of Ephraim are better than the vintage of Abiezer. So the gleanings, the smallest gatherings of the riches of Christ, are far better, more excellent, more satisfying, more contenting, more ravishing, than all the riches of this world.

'The whole Turkish empire,' says Luther, ' is but a crust that God throws to a dog.' The wise merchant in Mat. xiii. 45,46, parts with all to gain this pearl of price. The truth is, other riches are but a burden. Abraham was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold. The Hebrew word is, He was very heavy in cattle, in silver, and in gold; to signify, that riches are but heavy burdens. Riches are called thick clay in Hab. ii. 6, which will sooner break the back, than lighten the heart. A little will serve nature, less will serve grace, but nothing will serve men's lusts.

Pheraulus, a poor man on whom Cyrus bestowed so much, that he knew not what to do with his riches, being wearied out with care in keeping them, desired rather to live quietly, though poor, as he had done before, than to possess all those rishes with discontent; therefore he gave away all his wealth, desiring only to enjoy so much as might supply his necessities. Let worldly profossors think seriously of this story, and blush.

2. The riches of Christ are inexhaustible riches; as I have shewed you, Christ can never be drawn dry.

The Spanish ambassador, coming to see the treasury of St. Mark in Venice, which is cried up throughout the word, fell groping whether it had any bottom; and being asked why, he answered, ' In this, among other things, my great master's treasure differs from yours, in that his has no bottom, as I find yours has;' alluding to the mines of Mexico and Potosi. Certainly Christ's treasures have no bottom; all his bags are bottomless; but Scripture, history, and experience, do abundantly testify, that men's bags, purses, coffers, and mines, may be exhausted or drawn dry, but Christ's can never. Millions of thousands live upon Christ, and he feels it not. His purse is always full, though he is always giving. . 3.. The riches of Christ are soul-satisfying riches.

O those riches of grace and goodness that are in Christ! how do they satisfy the souls of sinners! A pardon does not more satisfy a condemned man, nor bread the hungry man, nor drink the thirsty man, nor clothes the naked man, nor health the sick man, than the riches of Christ do satisfy the gracious man. Whosoever drinketh. of this water shall thirst again, but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of living water springing up into everlasting life, John iv. 13, 14. Grace is a perpetually flowing fountain. Grace is compared to water. Water serves to cool men when they are in a burning heat; so grace cools the soul when it has been even scorched and burnt up under the sense of divine wrath and displeasure. Water is cleansing; so is grace. Water is fructifying; so is grace. And water is satisfying; it satisfies the thirsty, and so does grace. Shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. But now earthly riches can never satisfy the soul, but as they said once of Alexander, that had he a body suitable to his mind, he would set one foot upon the sea, and the other upon the land; he would reach the east with one hand, and the west with the other; so doubtless the same frame of spirit is to be found in all the sons of Adam. He that loveth silver, shall not be satisfied with silver, nor he that loveth abundance with increase: This is also vanity, Eccl. v. 10. If a man be hungry, silver cannot feed him; if naked, it cannot clothe him; if cold, it cannot warm him; if sick, it cannot recover him; much less then is it able to satisfy him. But the riches of Christ, are soul-satisfying riches. A soul rich in spirituals, rich in eternals, says, ' I have enough, though I have not this and that temporal good.'

4. The riches of Christ are harmless riches; they are riches that will not hurt the soul, that will not harm the soul. Where is there a soul to be found in all the world, that was ever made worse by spiritual riches? O but earthly riches have cast down many, they have slain many.

« PreviousContinue »