« PreviousContinue »
the beams of the Sun of righteousness, or with the fire of the Spirit ? Why, it is melted enough when it runs into the gospel-mould. There are some, as I have noticed on a former occasion, that have, as it were, too much of the fire ; these are they that apprehend themselves such great finners, that they dare not come to Christ: There are others that have, as it were, too little of the fire; these are they that only think they are not so good as they ought to be, and therefore they should not come to Chrilt: There are others that have nothing of the fire at all, and these are they that think they are good enough already, and they need not come to Christ: but then only is the foul suffici.. ently melted, when it runs into the mould. What is the gospel-mould ? It is even Christ ; and when the melted foul runs into this mould, there does it get the right Shape and form, and there only. As it is not the melting of the metal that gives it a shape, fashion, or form, but the mould that gives it the form ; so never expect to have any good form, any good shape, any good qualifications, till your fouls run into this mould. It is the very design of the Spirit's coming, to induce people to relinquish their own fancied goodness, and oblige them to come to Christ for all. Try then, if ever you was gathered to Shiloh, by this, namely, whether your soul, in a day of divine power, was made to run in to him like melted lead into a mould, closing with, and cleaving to him by a particular application. But how the foul acts here, by a particular appropriation and fiducial persuasion, upon the divine word, under divine conduct, I have formerly described *; there. fore I proceed to another mark.
3. If ever you was gathered to Shiloh, then the gathering place will be very precious to you; I mean the promised Shiloh, Christ himself, 1 Peter ii. 6, 7.There he is held forth as the chief corner-stone, to which all the stones of the spiritual building are gathered tcgether, and unite ; and to all such as are gathered to
* See this interesting point of doctrine copioudy handled, Vol. III, page 277---33. 107, 108. 117, 118.
hini, it is declared, He is precious : and the word fignifies, He is HONOURABLE ; he is an honour to them, and they put honour upon him, and entertain him honourably, in a suitableness to his high quality, as he is God-man; and particularly, as he is the Shiloh, that is, the Messias, the Sent of God, the Father's extraordinary Ambassador. Some efteem Christ, but not according to his grandeur and glory; and therefore, it is evident, they are not gathered to him as the Shiloh, the Sent of God; but they that are gathered to him, they receive, esteem, and entertain him, according to his dignity. If a subject shall receive, or entertain his prince, or the king's extraordinary ambassador, no otherwise than he would do his country neighbour, this would be interpreted a contempt : so, if Christ be not received, esteemed, and entertained according to his grandeur, diguity, and state, he counts it a contempt, rather than a due reception or estimation of him. If Chirift' be not esteemed as a King, he is but disregarded; if he be not honoured as the Father's Amballador-extraordinary, he is but despised : for, as Shiloh, he hath Heaven's fealed commission ; Him bath God the Fatber sealed. The unbelieving Jews were content to receive and esteem Christ as a great prophet, as the Mahometans do; but they would not receive and entertain him according to his greatness, grandeur, and glory, which he was invested with: therefore they were challenged as rejecters and despisers of him, Acts
“ He came to his own, but his own received him not;" for they did not receive him as the Son of God, and the Sent of God; whereas, it is said of the believing Jews, who received Christ, That they beheld his glory, as the glory of the only begotten of the Father: that is, they so received him in all his glory, grandeur, majesty, and splendour, that they elteemed honourably of him.-Hence, says Christ, John xvii. 8. “ They have known that I came out from thee, and have believed that thou didt send me.” If you be gathered unto Shiloh, then you esteem honourably of him, as he is the gloricus Shiloh, the Sent of God. Is Christ thus precious to you, and honourable ?
4. If you be gathered unto Shiloh, then you will be cloathed with him, for he is sent to be a robe of righteousness ; and all that are gathered to him, do put on that mantle, and gather in under that cover; and in that cloathing do they stand perfectly righteous in the fight of God; being accepted as righteous in his fight, only for the righteousness of Christ. Hence, it is given as a mark of the true church and children of God, that are gathered to Christ, that they are cloathed with the Sun, Rev. xii. I. It is indeed called a great wonder ; for the mystery of free and perfect justification, and of being cloathed with a perfect righteousness, is such a mystery, that natural men cannot conceive it, nor believe it, though a man should declare it to them, as the apostle speaks, Acts xiii. 41. Yea, the believer himself cannot believe it, without holy wondering, and joyful trembling, Jer. xxxiii. 8, 9. This wonder is said to be of a Woman in heaven ; that is, the church militant, and every particular believer under a gospel dispensation, wherein there is a full revelation of this righteousness. Now, here it is said also, she was cloathed with the Sun; that is, with Christ, the Sun of righteousness; the Woman being married to Christ, as the Lord lier righteousness, she is, as it were, gathered in to the Sun in the firma. ment, and so cioathed with the perfect righteousness of Christ; that however black and dark the is in herself ; yet, in point of justification, this Sun, wherewith she is cloathed, makes her shine in a perfect righteousness, as gloriously in God's eyes, as the bodily fun shines glo. riously in our eyes, when it shines in its meridian fplendor. The believer is not only fair as the maon, in the fight of men, in point of sanctification; which moon, may be indeed, and is full of spots, and very changeable ; but clear as the sun, in the sight of God, in point of justification; the Sun of righteousness with which he is clothed, being perfectly glorious. But, perhaps, some may fay, If this be an evidence of one that he is cloathed with the Sun of righteousness, how shall I examine myself by this, or know that I am thus cloathed? Why, you may examine it by what follows. If you be cloathed with the Sun, then you have
got you have
got the moon under your feet, and upon your head a crown of twelve stars. Have you got the moon under your feet? What is that, may you say? I find some understand two things by it; the one is, the moon of your own righteousness, and the other is the moon of the world. As to the former then, if you be gathered to Christ, and cloathed with the Sun of righteousness, then
got the moon of your own righteousness under your feet; that is, you will make no account of your own righteousuess of sanctification before God, in comparison of the garment of Christ's righteousness, which is the Sun that you are so gloriously cloathed with. Nay, when your own righteousness, or graces, put in for any share of justification before God, you will in this respect, trample them under your feet as a menstruous cloth, as the prophet Isaiah did, chap. lxiv. 6. “ All our righteousness are as filthy rags.” Yea, when it claims to be a righteousness, before an infinitely holy and just God, you will trample it under your feet as dung, as the apostle Paul did, Phil. iii. 8. “ Yea, doubtless, I count all things but lofs, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ; yea, I do count them but dung, that I may win Chrift, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, that is after the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness of God by faith.” This he speaks not only of his Pharifaical righteousness before his conversion, but his righteousness of sanctification after his conversion. The man that is cloathed with the Sun of righteousness, accounts his own righteousness a contemptible nothing, in comparison of Christ's righteousness. It is not gain, but loss, because, as Chrysostom, one of the Fathers, says, " When “ the sun shines, it is but loss to fit by a candle-light :” Why? because his righteousness is God's righteousnefs. God is the worker of it; and in comparison thereof, our best righteousness, whereof we are the workers, even with divine aslistance, is but dung, to be trampled upon, when it competes with the other, or would have any share in the matter of our justification before God. If you be clothed with the Sun then, and be thus gathered to Shiloh, you have got
this moon under your feet; and whatever light of fanctification you have, it will flow from your justification, as the light of the moon does come from the fun ; and as the moon gives light in the dark night, so will the moon of your fanctification give light to other men, walking in the dark night of this world : Your light will fo shine before men, that they seeing your good works, may glorify God. And here is a mystery in the believer's life ; he shines like the moon, in point of sanctification, doing all the good works he can, that he may glorify God, and edify his neighbour in the world; and yet he keeps this moon of his own works and righteousness under his feet, and tramples upon it, in the matter of justification, because, in that respect, his only cloathing is the Sun of righteousness --Again, as to the other fenfe, if you be cloathed with the Sun, and gathered to Shiloh, then you will have the moon of this world under your feet; the profits, honours, and pleafures of the world, which being changeable and unconftant, as the moon, the believer hath it under his feet; because, being cloathed with the glorious Sun of righteousness, and thereby discerning the glory of God and Christ, and heavenly things, he cannot but despise and undervalue all earthly things, when coming in competition with heavenly; as Moses did, Heb. ix. 25, 26. when he vilified all the glory and grandeur of Pharaoh's court, “ Choosing rather to suffer affliction, with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season ; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt.” You that had never the moon of this world under your feet, but have the world in your heart, and nothing but the world, surely you are not gathered unto Shiloh ; for they that are gathered to him, they are gathered out of the world, and set apart from the rest of the world ; “ They are not of the world, but chosen out of the world.” Hence, they that are gathered to Shiloh, are brought from their old worldly companions: there are sinful gatherings, wicked clubs and cabals, that will be hateful to them; of which their heart will say, as Jacob faid of Simeon and Levi, Gen. xlix. 6.“O my soul, come not thou intotheir secret; to their