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glad that he is God, that his enemies cannot unsettle nor reach his throne; that he rules, and is glorious in all things; that he is self-blessed, and needs nothing: This is the purest and highest kind of rejoicing in him, and is certainly most distant and most free from alteration, and hath, indeed, most of heaven in it.
But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is
made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.
to Jesus Christ; and, next to that, to instruct those that are brought to him in the clearest knowledge, and to keep them in the fresh remembrance of the privileges and happiness they have in him. This the apostles, writing to new converts, are much on, and Paul most abundantly; but no where more excellently and fully than in these words.
As that is a great and much commended oracle, guaíba osaútov
, (K now thyself) so also there can be nothing more comfortable and profitable for a christian than this point, to understand his new being, to know himself as out of himselt in Christ, to study what he is there. Oh! what joy, what humility, what holiness would it work, were we well seen and much conversant in this subject, viewing ourselves in this light, as here the apostle represents a believer to himself, Of him are ye in Christ Jesus, &c.
If we look back a little, we see his aim is to vindicate the doctrine of Christ from contempt in that chief point, which is the greatest comfort and glory; yet lies openest to the world's misprison, the doctrine of the cross, Christ crucified. Him we preach, says he, let men take it as they please; be he a stumbling to the Jews, and foolishness to the Gentiles, yet, to them that believe in both, he is the power of God, and wisdom of God.
As in the person of Christ, glory was wrapt up in meamuess ; so in his sufferings and death, and the doctrine of it, (and in the way of preaching it) they are not drest with human wisdom, or excellency of speech, (this would be as incongruous as that rich gaudy attire they cover the image of the virgin with, and her child lying in a stable) and that all might be suitable, so is it in the persons of these that believe on him. Brethren, you see your calling, &c. and God's purpose in this is, that no flesh should glory before him.
This is the grand disease of flesh, to swell in conceit of any little advantages, real or imagined, forgetting itself and him from whom it receives all, receives its very self, the being it hath, and all superadded good. Now, God is pleased, in justice on some, and great mercy to others, so to order most things in the world, as to allay this tumour; often bringing down high things, and raising low; and 50 attempering and levelling disparities, as to take men off from self-glorying. Proud undertakings, we see, are commonly most disgracefully broken. Nor is there any surer presage of the speedy ruin of any affairs or persons, than presumptuous boasting, This is God's work amongst men, as even natural men have observed, to abase high things, to exalt low things; he goes from one thing to another, pulling down the crest, and blasting the glory of all human excellency, breaking the likeliest projects, and effecting what is least to be expected, withdrawing man from his purpose, to hide pride from his
eyes, as he speaks“. To this purpose", and the virgin in her song Whatsoever men bear themselves big upon, and begin to glory in, they call the hand of God to crush it, raising an idol of jealousy in his sight. All high things have their day, the day of the Lord on all the cedars of Lebanon, and he alone exalted. If ever this was the case in any time, we a Job. xxxiii. 17
b Job. x. 11,
1 Sam. ii, 4, 5. © Luke i. 51, 52.
may.see it is legible in ours, in great letters. This the very result of his ways, staining the pride of all glory, dsfeating witty counsels, making counsellors mad, throwing down all plumes and trampling them in the mire, that no part or persons in the kingdom can set out for any triumph of courage, or wit, or any other excellency, but somewhat shall be clearly seen to meet and dash it in pieces, that no flesh may glory before him : And this to souls that love God, is the main happiness of the times, and that wherein they will chiefly rejoice.
The particular here spoken of is eminently suited to this end, the choice and calling of persons to the dignity of christians, not many wise, &c. but the mean things, &c. and the most insignificant, Things that are not, non-entia, very nothings, to annul things that seem most to be something. Thus it was in the first times; and though afterwards, by means of these meaner persons, greater were caught and drawn into Christ, philosophers and kings, &c. yet still it remains true in all times, that predominantly, the choice is of the meaner sort, God testifying how little he esteems these things that men count great, these endowments of wit and eloquence that men admire in some: Alas ! how poor are they to him; he respecteth not any who are wise in heart; they are nothing, and less than nothing in his eyes: He is the author of all these d. Even wise men admire how little it is that men know, how small a matter lies under the sound of these popular wonders, a learned man, a great scholar, a great statesman: How much more doth the all-wise God meanly account of these; he often discovers, even to the world, their meanness; he betools them. So, valour, or birth, or worldly greatness, these he gives, and gives as things he inakes no great reckoning of, to such as shall never see his face; and calls to the inheritance of glory poor despised creatures, that are looked on as the
d Job. xxxvi. 19.
offscourings and refuse of the world; those are raised from the dunghill and set with princes, made the sons and daughters of God, entitled each of them to a crown that fades not. Oh the wonder!
Now, they are not puffed up with this; but the more assurance they have, and the clearer their view is of the state they are called to, the more humble they are; still laying these together, what was I in myself? and, what am I in Christ? And, in comparing these, they are swallowed up with amazement at that love that made this change; and for this very end doth the apostle express thus their estate, Ye are of him in Christ Jesus, &c.
This is a new being, a creation; for, in relation to this being, we are nothing in our naturals; and then considering that, in relation to others, the meanest are often chosen and made partakers of this being, that having nothing naturally great of nobility or morality, or high intellectuals, the most nothings are often chosen, and made partakers of this being, to illustrate the power of him that makes them exist. In kings, somewhat may be observed of this in their choice of favourites, and raising men that are not of highest deserving, as affecting to shew their freedom in choice, and their power in making out of nothing, and so they love to have them called their creatures; but these are but shadows, both are poor creatures, both are easily thrown down: But God doth indeed shew in his choice his freedom and power in his new creature; he draws them out of the lowest bottom of nothing, and raises them to the most excellent kind of being that creatures are capable of, to be the sons of God, and so heirs, joint heirs with Christ Jesus, &c.
Ye are of him in Christ Jesus, &c. This must be taken in an eminent sense. All the creatures are of God; but man, even in his first creation, for the dignity of his being, and slow way of forming, was accounted to be of God, in a peculiar manner, formed to his own likeness, and therefore called the