« PrécédentContinuer »
our enjoyment of them in and through him; for there can be no rest to divine justice without satis faction, as sings our sublime poet:
To whom thus Michael: Dream not of their fight,
So speaks the poet, and speaks truth. For as soon as ever Christ appeared in the world, what propitious tokens do attend him! The angels sing,
Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, good-will toward men;" and, at his entrance upon his ministry, a voice from the Lord God himself, saying, “ This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” This, with the visible descent of the Holy Ghost, is all expressive of infinite pleasure and delight. The law he magnifies and fulfils, and God is well pleased for his righteousness sake. He dies, and justice is satisfied; man is redeemed, and a gaoldelivery is procůred. At death he says, , “I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth; my flesh also shall rest in hope: for thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine holy One to see corruption.” High justice here, as Milton says, rested apaid, and the Lord's flesh rested in hope; in hope of a glorious resurrection, and of a fulness of joy in heaven, and of pleasures for evermore. At the resurrection of Christ, truth springs out of the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven. Righteousness goes before him, and sets us in the way of his steps, Psalm lxxxv. 11, 13. Herein doth the everlasting love of God appear, in appointing his dear Son to assume our nature, and to be God with us in that nature for ever; and in appointing him to be a sacrifice for us, and in giving him for a covenant to us. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” In this God hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; and in Christ he has displayed all the good pleasure of his will, his eternal mercy, grace, faithfulness, and truth. And here justice rests satisfied, the law honoured, and the lawgiver glorified for evermore. And in this his love and good-will he rests delighted and well pleased; and so it is written, “In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not; and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack. The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love; he will joy over thee with singing,” Zeph. iii. 16, 17. In this God rests for ever, namely, in the displays of his own love; in the salvation of his elect by Christ; and in rejoicing over them to do them good.
But again: upon the holy hill of Zion, as king of saints, and covenant head of the church, he sets his anointed king, crowned with glory and honour, invested with all power in heaven and earth, as mediator, and sole heir of all things. And in gathering souls to him, in making his people willing, in fulfilling the good pleasure of his will in them, and the work of faith with power, and in drawing souls to him, and in revealing Christ in them, is his hand engaged to this day. And this mighty hand made bare rests upon them all; none is able to pluck them out of his hand. And so it is written, “And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation. For in this mountain shall the hand of the Lord rest, and Moab shall be trodden down under him, even as straw is trodden down for the dunghill." Upon this rest the Almighty sets the love of his heart; in this our salvation rests the power of his arm; he rests in his love set upon Zion, and the arm of his power rests on the same, " For the Lord hath
chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.” The rest, therefore, of God is in his own everlasting love toward us in Christ Jesus, and in the power of his grace in our salvation. And to this it is that the prophet points the rebellious Israelites. “ To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.
And it is plain that every soul that God the Father takes in hand to discipline and teach out of the law, it is intended to make them feel their need of this rest which he has provided, as it may be seen in the following passage: “ Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O Lord, and teachest him out of thy law; that thou mayest give him rest from the days of adversity, until the pit be digged for the wicked.” This law-teaching discovers our sins, and the wrath and bondage of the law make sin an intolerable burden; and the dread of hell torments fills our souls with anguish; and this sets us to labour with all our might; and the more we struggle, the tighter we are bound. And it is to souls, who are under the teaching of the law as a schoolmaster, that Jesus Christ calls: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and
shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and
my burden is light,” Matt. xi. 28–30. Here rest is promised freely, “ I will give you rest;" and the invitation is to the burdened sinner, who is labouring under his burden against the rising corruptions of his heart, in order to subdue them, and at keeping the commandments in order to appease the displeasure of God, and to obtain a righteousness which he hopes will recommend him to God's favour, and to work himself up
into a holy frame of heart, which he imagines to obtain by striving, and by which he expects to be made meet for the blessed inheritance. But this is not acting like a pauper upon the throne of grace, nor is it receiving rest as the gift of Christ, which is tendered to us in the above kind invitation. This rest is obtained by believing. Israel of old came short of it through unbelief; while Moses obtained it by faith, though he entered not into the promised land. “Moses,” says God, “ig faithful in all my house; and “My presence,” says God to him, “shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.” And so it is now; this rest is obtained by believing “ For we which have believed, do enter into rest; as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest,” Heb. iv. 3. But it may be asked what we rest from.
The soul finds rest from the intolerable burden of sin in the dying love and in the atoning blood of Christ. We find rest from the galling yoke of precepts, from the irritating power of the law, and