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S E R M ON S.
INFALLIBLE ANTIDOTES AGAINST UNBE.
LIEVING FEARS. *
Rev. i. 17. 18.-Fear not: I am he that liveth, and
was dead, and behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen : and have the keys of hell and death.
TO-DAY is the feast of the Christian passover.
A communion-table is about to be covered. The great end of perfons fitting down at that table is, that they may fuck the breasts of consolation, and drink abundantly of that blood which flows from the pierced side of a crucified Saviour. Some feed at this table without fear. Others fear so much that they cannot feed. To such poor trembling souls our text speaks good and comfortable words : Fear not, &c.
As the Lord shewed to Daniel, a man greatly beloved, the state of his church till his first coming ; so to John, another beloved disciple, he VOL. I.
* Delivered immediately before the dispensation of the Lord's supper, October 6. 1706.
discloses the state of his church till his second ca ming. Both of them were dignified with a vision of Christ, the Son of God; and on each of them it had almost the same effect. In Daniel there remained no strength, Dan. X. Here we see the vifion had a similar effect on John. He is represented, ver. 17. as a dead man. He was confounded with the glory of the person whom he faw. His eyes were dazzled with the brightness, his strength failed, he could act no more than if he had been dead. - But our Lord revives him. He lays his right hand on him, and trengthens him, that he might be able to stand, hear, and receive his orders. Jesus comforts him. He rebukes his fears : Fear not. There is a fear with which God is well pleased, and a fear of which he does not approve. This last is exceffive fear, which greatly mars us in our duty, makes our hearts faint, and our hands hang down, so as that we have neither heart nor hand for our work. This is incident to the people of God; but Christ does not allow them in it, though he is tender of them under it.
We have next, the grounds of confolation, to dispel this fear, viz. (1.) The Godhead of Christ. He is the first and the last. The first principle of all things, from whom they had their beginning, and the last end of all things: an irrefragablu testimony this of the divinity of Christ. And it shews us that the comfort of believers depends upon this article. (2.) The union of the Godhead and manhood in one person :-where Christ is held forth as God, the living God; who had life from eternity of himself, and gave life to all the crea
As man; in that it is said he died. It is spoken of the same person. It was the living God that died, though not the divine nature. Here
we ever more.
we see proposed, for John's comfort, the death of Christ, God-man. He was made man, and died. (3.) His resurrection: I am alive. He overcame death, and arose the third day. (4.) The eternity of that life to which he was raised up: he lives for
To all this is prefixed a behold! to stir up believers to notice it as the grand fountain of their comfort ; and it is followed with an afleveration, Amen, or verily, to put them out of doubt of it.
Next, we have his Mediatorial fovereignty: He hath the keys of hell and death. The keys are an ensign of government. The key of the house of David is laid upon his shoulder. He opens
and none can fhut, he shuts and none can open, Isa. xxii. 22. None
to death or hell but when he sends them; and none are kept out of hell, and taken to glory, but by him.
From this subject we may observe the following DOCTRINE. That the death and resurrection of
Christ, that eternal life to which he was raised, and his Mediatory sovereignty, are the great grounds of the faints consolation, and sufficient to dispel all their unbelieving fears.
In discoursing upon this subject, I shall, by divine aid,
I. Speak a little, and but a little, to each of these things, to unfold them, so as that the ground of comfort in them may appear.
II. Point out the confolation of the faint to be found in these.
III. Make some practical improvement.
1. To speak a little to each of the things in the
text, to unfold them, so as that the ground of comfort in them may appear.
1. As to his death. On this I offer these few remarks: (1.) His death supposeth-his incarnation, and living as a man in the world, John i. 14. « The word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” This has a respect to the Shechinah, or the divine presence; that was a fire, encompassed with a cloud, which was above the ark in the first temple. Christ's divinity was clouded with his humanity; the form of God, with the form of a fervant, Phil. ii. 6.-8.“ He took upon him our nature.” He was a partaker of flesh and blood, Heb. ii. 14. Thus he became a substantial Mediator between God and man, that fo he might be a Mediator of reconciliation; how he was conceived, born, and lived in the world, the Evangelists fully relate. (2.) His death was vicarious : He died in the room and stead of finners, not indeed of all, but of his own sheep. The Socinians allow that he died for our good, though not in our room; but this places the death of the martyrs and of Christ on the same footing. But the scripture is plain, Matth. xx. 28. “ He came to give his life a ransom for
many." Gal. ii. 13. « Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us. He was made fin for us, and died, the just for the unjust.” There was a real imputation of the fins of the elect unto Christ, and a real translation of the punishment due to us upon him, Ifa. liii. 4.-6. « Surely he hath born our griefs, and carried our forrows : yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like heep have gone astray: we have turned every one