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CLI. Job xix. 25-27. I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth. And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another.
CHRIST A LIVING REDEEMER.
THE trials of the saints have not only been eminently conducive to their own good, but also productive of the best effects to the church at large. It is in afflictive circumstances that their graces have shone most bright; and under them they have made the most glorious confessions, which will be recorded with admiration as long as the world shall stand. Of all the calamities which Job endured, there was none more pungent than the uncharitable censures of his friends, which tended to rob him of his only consolation. But he rose superior to them all; and when he could not convince his friends by argument, he made his appeal to God, and wished it to be written for the vindication of himself, and the encouragement of others to the latest posterity. We shall point out I. The substance of his confession
That Christ is the person spoken of, the very terms here used sufficiently declare
Job speaks of him as then actually "living"
[Doubtless Job was no stranger to the promise made to Adam respecting "the seed of the woman that should bruise the serpent's head;" or to those so often repeated to Abraham, of a "seed, in whom all the nations of the earth should be blessed." The father of the faithful had anticipated the advent of that promised seed, and had rejoiced exceedingly in seeing, though at the distance of two thousand years, the day in which he should exist. But Job seems not only to equal, but even to surpass that most distinguished "Friend of God;" for he saw Christ as actually living; and understood that, which, when spoken by our Lord, so much confounded the Jewish doctors," Before Abraham was, I am b." Yes, Job beheld him in his pre-existent state, seventeen or eighteen hundred years before he became incarnate; he beheld him as having life in himself, and as being the same yesterday, today, and for ever.]
a John viii. 56.
b Ib. 58.
John i. 4. Heb. xiii. 8.
He even declares him to be "God".
[The same person whom he calls "his Redeemer," he afterwards calls" God." And in this he is supported by numberless other testimonies of holy writ. The Evangelical prophet tells us that the very same person who was "a child born, and a son given, was also the Mighty God ;" and the New Testament assures us that He was "Emmanuel, God with us, even God manifest in the flesh." Job was accused of ignorance by his friends; but it is to be feared that they had not by any means such exalted views of Christ as he here exhibits.]
This holy man yet further confesses Christ as "his Redeemer
[The word Goel imports the nearest of kin, in whom the right of redeeming any estate that had been sold was vested'. Behold then the depths of divine truths which had been revealed to Job! He sees his God incarnate; and himself as
a member of Christ's body, even of his flesh and of his bones &." He sees Christ redeeming his soul from death and hell; redeeming him at no less a price than his own blood; or to use the words of an apostle, he sees "God purchasing the church with his own blood h."]
Nor does he view him only as incarnate, or as dying for the redemption of man, but as coming again to judge the world
[The words used by Job might be applied to the incarnation and resurrection of Christ; but they seem rather to designate his appearance in the last day to judge the world. This office is "committed to Christ because he is the Son of man;" and when he shall execute it," he will come from heaven in like manner as he ascended up to heaven:" He will not indeed any longer be seen in a state of weakness and humiliation, but "in all the glory of his Father and his holy angels:" nevertheless He will then appear " as a lamb that has been slain ;" and will summon all those who pierced him to his tribunal.]
But that which gives inexpressible dignity to this confession, is, the full assurance it expresses of his rising from the grave in that day to behold and enjoy Christ
[He does not seem to have had any hope of restoration to temporal prosperity; but speaks in the most confident manner of his resurrection to eternal happiness. The destruction of his mortal frame by worms was not in his eyes any bar to its
d Isai. ix. 6. Matt. i. 23. 1 Tim. iii. 16. Heb. ii. 11, 14, 15. Eph. v. 30.
f Lev. XXV. 25. h Acts xx. 28.
renovation in the last day. He knew that what was sown in corruption, weakness, and dishonour, should be raised in incorruption, power, and glory; that his vile body should be changed like unto Christ's glorious body; and that when his earthly tabernacle should be dissolved, he had an house, not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. He knew that, having awaked up after his Redeemer's likeness, he should behold him, not as now through a glass darkly, but face to face, and dwell for ever in his presence where is fulness of joy'. This re-union of his soul and body, together with the beatific vision of his glorified Redeemer, was the one object of his most earnest desires, and most assured hopes. And he was determined, notwithstanding all the accusations of his friends, to maintain "this rejoicing of his hope firm unto the end."]
We shall endeavour to IMPROVE this subject by considering
II. The lessons to be learned from it
Whatsoever was written aforetime was written for our learning and this confession in particular suggests to us that
1. A full assurance of hope is attainable in this world
[Job's assurance seems to have been remarkably strong: he not only calls Jesus his Redeemer, but proclaims his confident expectation of dwelling with him for ever: he speaks of this, not as a thing which he surmised, or hoped, but as what he knew" for certain. Now was this a privilege peculiar to Job? Had not Paul also the same delightful confidence, when he said "I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day ";" and again, when he professed that " henceforth there was laid up for him a crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous Judge should give him "?" And has not the same apostle bidden us all to shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end? Why then should we rest satisfied without attaining this blessed hope? Would it not serve as an anchor of the soul both sure and stedfast P, amidst all the storms and billows of this tempestuous world? Would it not be an effectual antidote to the poisonous breath of calumny, which will ever strive to blast the fairest characters? Will not the testimony of a good conscience fill us with joy even when we are loaded with the bitterest accusations? Shall we not say with St. Paul,
Paul, "It is a small matter with me to be judged of you or of man's judgment, yea, I judge not mine own self, but he that judgeth me is the Lord?" Seek then to "know your election of God;" strive to make it sure and evident to yourselves; and be continually "living a life of faith on the Son of God," that you may be able to say, "He has loved me, and given himself for me "."]
2. A clear knowledge of Christ in his person and offices is the best groundwork of an assured hope
[Though Job had been too ready to boast of his integrity, it was not on that that he founded his hopes of immortality and glory. He knew himself to be under the curse of God's broken law; and that Christ as his Redeemer, was his "deliverer from that curse, having himself been made a curse for him." And what other foundations of hope can we have? Are we holier than Job, who notwithstanding all his holiness exclaimed, "Behold, I am vile?" Have we not at least as much reason as he to "abhor ourselves and repent in dust and ashes"?" How then shall we pretend to be just before God? Let this be firmly settled in our minds, that we must flee to Christ for redemption, before we can know him to be our Redeemer: we must be united to him by faith, before we can claim him as our nearest kinsman: we must behold his glory now as it is exhibited in the glass of the gospel, if we would behold it with joy in the great day of his appearing. Let us then seek to know Christ as he is revealed in the word: let us" search the scriptures, which testify of him," and pray for the illuminating influences of that Spirit, whose office is, to "glorify Christ, by taking of the things that are his, and shewing them unto us.' Let us be ashamed that lived before there was any written record of Christ in the world, should know more of Christ than we, who live in the meridian splendor of gospel light. And, whatever we have attained, let us seek daily to "grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."]
3. There is no state, however afflictive, wherein an assurance founded on the knowledge of Christ will not support and comfort us
[It is worthy of observation, that from the instant Job uttered these words he was enabled to suppress, in a considerable measure, his bitter murmurings and complaints. And what greater support can any man need than to know that he has Christ for his redeeming God, and that after a few more conflicts he shall enjoy him for ever*? We do not indeed expect
' 1 Cor. iv. 3. t Gal. ii. 20.
2 Thess. i. 4. 2 Pet. i. 10. " Job xlii. 6.
* 1 Thess. iv. 17, 18.
that a person shall always be so elevated by these considerations, as to soar above all sense of his afflictions. But sometimes even this may be enjoyed; and at all times we may hope to "possess our souls in patience, till patience have its perfect work and we be perfect and entire, lacking nothing." Let the sons and daughters of affliction then have recourse to this remedy: let them labour to attain a thankful sense that they have been translated out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God's dear Son; and then they need not fear but that they shall be strengthened unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness". Let them seek an evidence that they are Christ's: let them beg the Holy Spirit to witness to their spirit that they are children of God; and then their trials, however grievous at the time, shall only serve as a boisterous wind, to waft them more speedily to their desired harbour.]
Col. i. 11, 12.
CHRIST SUPERSEDING THE LEGAL SACRIFICES.
Heb. x. 5-10. When he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me. In burnt-offerings, and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure: Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me) to do thy will, O God. Above, when he said, Sacrifice, and offering, and burnt-offerings, and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein (which are offered by the law), Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified, through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
THERE is not any important truth contained in the New Testament, which was not before revealed in the Old. But we have an advantage over the Jews, in that the obscurity, which was cast over the language of prophecy, is removed by the interpretations of men divinely inspired to explain the sacred oracles. Hence we are enabled to see, what the Jews could never comprehend, though plainly and repeatedly declared to them, God's determination to abrogate the Mosaic œconomy, in order to make way for the Christian dispensation. This was declared by David, while the law was yet in full force: and the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews both quotes