Page images

such, and to be willing to bestow himself upon such nothings, 0 how should this work them to spend their days in admiring and contemplating his kindness and goodness!

I have read a story of an elephant, who being fallen down, and unable to help himself or get up again, by reason of the inflexibleness of his legs, a forester coming by, helped him up; wherewith the elephant, by the very instinct of nature, was so affected, that he followed this man, would do any thing for him, and never left him till his dying day. The application is easy.

VI. The next use that we shall make of this point, is this —if Christ be so rich as hath been discovered to you, then prize d above all.

As the people prized David above themselves, saying, Thou art worth ten thousand of us, so should saints lift up Jesus Christ above themselves, and above every thing below himself. He that lifts not Christ up above all, has no interest in Christ at all. He who sets not Christ abo»e all, is not a disciple of Christ. If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple, Luke xiv. 26. Surely they do not truly love Christ who love any thing more than Christ. It was a notable saying of Jerome, ' If my father should hang upon me, my brethren should press round about me, and my mother should stand before me; I would throw down my father, I would break through my brethren, and I would trample upon my mother, to come to Christ.'— Other saints have lifted up Christ above all their lands, relations, and lives, as you may see in Heb. xi. and so did a multitude of the martyrs under the ten persecutions. As Pharaoh set up Joseph above all, and made him governor of the land; and as Darius set up Daniel over all, so yon must prize Christ, and setup Christ above all.

Remember a few things, that this may the better stick upon your hearts.

I. Christ highly prized, will be Christ greatly delighted in. Every soul delights in Christ, as he prizes Cbrist, and no otherwise. The reason of reasons why Christ is no more delighted in, is because he is no more prized among the sons of men. As the apple-tree among the trees of the wood, so is my well-beloved among the sons. I sat down under'his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was pleasant to my taste, Cant. ii. 5. The seeing of this object delights the eye of a believer, the hearing of this object delights the ear of a believer, the enjoying, the possessing of this object, delights the heart of a believer. I sat down under his shadow with great delight. The appletree is delightful for its shadow; so is Christ. He is a shadow to poor souls when they are scorched with troubles without and terrors within. A man, that is Christ, shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and as a covert from the tempest; as rivers of waters in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land, Isa. xxxii. 2. The apple-tree is delightful for pleasantness of fruit; so is the Lord Jesus for those pleasant fruits of righteousness and holiness that grow upon him.

And the apple-tree is delightful for varieties; so is Christ, for there are all varieties of excellencies in him. It hath pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell.

We delight in persons and things, as we prize them, and no otherwise. Jonathan highly prized David, and delighted in him accordingly. Jacob highly prized Rachel, and delighted in her answerably. You will delight in Christ as you prize him. If you prize him but little, you will delight in him but little.

2. Remember this—a Christ highly prized, will be a Christ gloriously obeyed. Every man obeys Christ, as he prizes Christ, and no otherwise. The higher price any soul sets upon Christ, the more noble will that soul be in his obedience to Christ. If Christ were more prized in the world, he would be more obeyed in the world. A soul that highly prizes Christ, is better at obeying, than at disputing any command of Christ. If Christ will command such a soul to step over the world's crown to take up his cross, the soul will do it, as you may see in Moses, Heb. xi. 24—26: he sets a higher price upon Christ's cross, than upon Pharaoh's crown. When Christ's cross and the world's crown stood in competition, upon a bare command of God, Moses steps over the world's crown to take up Christ's cross: he chose rather to suffer affliction

VO. XI. I. z

with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. And so Abraham, upon a bare command of God, leaves his country, and his near and dear relations; he wholly resigns up himself to God; he puts his hand into God's, and is willing that God should lead him whither he pleases, and do with him what he pleases.

I remember an excellent saying of Luther, ' I had rather,' says he, 'fall with Christ, than stand with Caesar.' And indeed every gracious soul that highly prizes Christ, will rather choose to fall with Christ, than to neglect his obedience to Christ. By obeying Christ, we gain more honour than we can give; by kissing the Son, we even command him, and make him ours.

3. Christians, remember this—all the causes of prizing persons and things, are eminently and only in Christ, which bespeaks you all to set a very, very high price upon the Lord Jesus. You prize some for their beauty; why, the Lord Jesus Christ is the fairest among the children of men. My beloved is white and ruddy, the chief est, or. the standard bearer, among ten thousand. You prize others for their strength; why, the Lord Jesus Christ has in him everlasting strength. Trust in the Lord for ever, for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength; he is the _rock of ages. You prize others for bearing their father's image; why, the Lord Jesus bears the image of his Father. He is the brightness of his Father's glory, and the express image of his person, Heb. i. 3. You prize others for their wisdom and knowledge; such a one is a very wise man, you say, and therefore you prize him; and such a one is a very knowing man, and therefore you prize him; why, all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are in Christ. In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, Col. ii. 3. The truth is, all those perfections and excellencies that are in all angels and men, all centre in Christ, are all epitomized in Christ. All the angels in ,heaven have but some of those perfections that are in Christ. All wisdom, and all power, and all goodness, and all mercy, and all love, is in no glorified creature, no, not in all glorified creatures put together. But now in Christ all these perfections and excellencies meet, as all water meets in the sea, and as all light meets in the sun. Others you prize for their usefulness; the more useful persons and things are, the more you prize and value them; the Lord Jesus Christ is of universal use to his people; why, he is the right eye of his people, without which they cannot see; and the right hand of his people, without which they cannot do. He is of singular use to all his people. He is of use to weak saints, to strengthen them; and he is of use to doubting saints, to resolve them; and he is of use to dull saints, to quicken them; and he is of use to falling saints, to support them; and he is of use to wandering saints, to recover them. In prosperity, he is of use to keep his saints humble and watchful, spotless and fruitful; and in adversity he is of use to keep them contented and cheerful. All which should very much engage our hearts to prize this Christ.

Again, we prize things as they suit us; why, Christ is not only a good, but a suitable good. Christ is light to enlighten us, and he is life to enliven us; he is riches to supply us, and he is raiment to clothe us; he is a staff to support us, and he is a sword to defend us; he is bread to nourish us, and he is water to refresh us, and wine to cheer us; and what would we have more?

4. Yet, once more, that this may stick upon us, let us consider, that where we are highly prized, there we highly prize. Why, the Lord Jesus Christ does exceedingly prize every believing soul, yea, even such poor weak saints, as many swelled souls slight and despise as persons of no worth, because they want that light and knowledge, and those parts and gifts, that others have. Well, Christians, remember this, Christ prizes you as the apple of his eye, Zech. ii. 8. He prizes you as his jewels, TN. iii. 17. He prizes you as his portion. The Lord's portion is his people, Deut. xxxii. 9. He prizes you as his glory, Isa. xlvi. 13. He prizes you as his ornaments, Ezek. vii. 20. He prizes you as his throne, Jer. xiv. 21. He prizes you as his diadem, Isa. lxii. 3. He prizes you as his friends, John xiv. He prizes you as his brethren, Heb. ii. 11, 12. He prizes you as his bride, Isa. lxii. 5. He prizes you above his Father's bosom, for he leaves that to do you service, John xvi. xxviii. Yea, he prizes you above his very life; he lays down his life to save your souls, John x. Now 0 who would not highly prize such a Christ, who sets such an invaluable price upon such worthless souls?

5. Consider, that your high prizing of Christ will work you to value the least things of Christ above the greatest worldly good. It will make you value the least nod of Christ, the least love-token from Christ, the least good look from Christ, the least good word from Christ, the least truth of Christ, above all the honours, treasures, pleasures, and glories of this word. The law of thy mouth is better than thousands of gold and silver, Psal. cxix. 72. Luther would not take all the world for one leaf of the bible. And O that a serious consideration of these things might work all your hearts to a high prizing of the Lord Jesus!

VII. The next use that we shall make of this point, if this—if Christ be so rich, then trust in Christ.

Who will not trust a rich man? Every one strives to trust a rich man. The rich hath many friends. Why, the Lord Jesus Christ is very rich; will you be persuaded to trust him? O trust him with your best treasures, with your choicest jewels, with your names, souls, estates, relations. The apostle was excellent at this; I know says he, whom I have believed, that he is able to keep that which

I have committed unto him, until that day, 2 Tim. i. 12. I have committed my soul to him, and my life to him, and my name to him, and all my mercies and enjoyments to him. The child cannot better secure any precious thing it has, than by putting it into the father's hands to keep. Our mercies are always safest and surest, when they are out of our hands, when they are in the hands of God. We trust as we love, and we trust where we love; where we love much, we trust much; much trust speaks out much love; if you love Christ much, surely you will trust him much. That was a notable and bold expression of Luther, 'Let him that died for my soul, see to the salvation of it.' I have committed my soul to him, I have given it up into his hands, who is my life, who is my love; and let him look after it; let him take care of it; in securing of that, he secures his own glory. O that Christians would trust in this rich Christ for a supply of necessaries. Is Christ so rich, and will you not take his word that he will

« PreviousContinue »