« PreviousContinue »
his arm brought him salvation." Those who are under the law are under the curse; they make flesh their arm, of whom the prophet Jeremiah saith, xvii. 5, “Cursed be the man that maketh flesh his arm." It is with the arm of the Lord that he showeth strength as a Creator, as a Redeemer, and as the Conqueror of death, and him that had the power of death.
Thirdly, The LORD scattereth the proud, in the imagination of their hearts. Isaiah ü. 12, “The day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up, and he shall be brought low." Chapter xiii. 11, “And I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible." Jeremiah l. 31, 32, “ Behold I am against thee, O thou most proud, saith the God of hosts : And the most proud shall stumble and fall, and none shall raise him up." James iv. 6, “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble.” The imagination of the proud heart shall be scattered like the wind blown bubble, in the midst of their vain conceits they shall be scattered, but in the meek and lowly Saviour they shall be gathered, when every high and lofty imagi. nation shall be brought low, and the LORD alone exalted.
The spirit of God spake by the lips of Mary. The strength of the LORD exemplified in his mighty arm should never be forgotten, it should be the unceasing theme of our praise and thanksgiving. While contemplating this arm of the LORD, we feel ourselves strong in the God of our salvation, and in the power of his might. Before this arm of the LORD all opposition is pros. trated; he hath destroyed death and him that had the power of death ; he hath overcome the world, he is greater than our hearts. He that believeth this will not make haste. He will quietly wait and patiently hope for the salvation of our God. Almighty God increase our faith, confirm our hope, and build us up in love.
Luke i. 52-55.
First, God hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. iSamuel ii. 7, “The LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich; he bringeth low, and lifteth up."
Secondly, He hath filled the hungry with good things. Hence, our Saviour saith, Matthew v. 6, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled." John vi. 35, « Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life, he that cometh to me shall never hunger.” Revelations vii. 16, “ They shall hunger no more.” But
suppose the enemies of God should hunger ? Romans xii. 20, “ Therefore, if thine enemy hunger feed him.” Thirdly, The rich he hath sent empty away. Undoubtedly
, the rich, the spiritually rich, are not able to appreciate the value of the bread of life. They would not know how much they were indebted to God for his goodness, while they did not feel the want of a Redeemer.
Fourthly, He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy. Isaiah xxx. 18, “And therefore will the LORD wait that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you." Jeremiah xxxi. 4, 20, “Again, I will build thee, O virgin of Israel. Is Ephraim my dear son ? Is he a pleasant child ? For since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still, I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the LORD."
Fifthly, All these declarations are in perfect conformity with the promises made to Abraham and to his seed forever. God doeth in heaven and in earth, as in his sight seemeth good. He bringeth down the mighty, they are low; but he exalteth them of low degree. He brings down, that he may bring up, he killeth, that he may make alive; and the hungry are not left to make provision for themselves. It is God himself, saith Mary, that filleth the hungry, and that too with good things ; and it is sufficient that they are hungry, for then they will relish the bread of God, which
giveth life unto the world. But, as the whole need not a physi. cian, so the full must be sent away until they become hungry. When they are hungry, they will be proper subjects of God's mercy; and although they may not remember God's mercy, God cannot forget his most splendid attribute.
Lastly, The mercy of God is boundless. It is that mercy which was spoken of to the fathers, which embraces all the nations, all the families of the earth,
Luke i. 68-70.
NDER the influence of the holy Spirit, Zacharias saith, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, for he hath visited and redeemed his people. Thus we hear the holy Spirit again pronouncing, that the LORD God of Israel is the Redeemer. It was clothed in the garments of humanity, that the God of Israel visited and redeemed his people.
Secondly, In this nature, in the house of his servant David, is raised up to us an horn of salvation. The horn is emblematick of power. Moses speaking of Joseph says, his horns are like the horns of an unicorn. But the horn is not only emblematick of power, but of glorious power. God, says the prophet Habakkuk, came from Paran, and his brightness was as the light, and he had horns coming out of his head, and there was the hiding of his power.
Thirdly, But this glorious display of power is a manifestation of salvation. Psalm cxxxii. 17, “There will I make the horn of David to bud. I have ordained a lamp for mine anointed by redemption”-God manifested in the flesh is our Redeemer. Romans xi. 26, “And so all Israel shall be saved, as it is written, there shall come out of Zion the deliverer,and shallturn away ungodliness from Jacob.” Thus the sacred oracles testify of Christ Jesus both as the Ransom and the Ransomer. He gave himself a ransom for all.
Fourthly, God hath spoken by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began. Jeremiah xxxi. 10, “ He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him as a
shepherd doth his flock." The fundamental principle of the re ligion of God in both dispensations is the unity and oneness of God; and therefore the divine and human nature are no more to be considered two Gods, than the body and soul are to be considered two men. For this reason we cannot acknowledge a God out of Christ, we can acknowledge no God beside the Saviour. All God's dealings with the children of men lead to, and will finally terminate in salvation ; for this truth was taught by all God's holy prophets, and the gospel of God our Saviour is not yea and nay. ! No one can be considered a believer, who does not believe this truth. Those who believe the gospel of God our Saviour will love God in their hearts, and will consequently take pleasure in hearing his words and in doing his will, and they will manifest the cheerfulness of their obedience both by word and by deed, to the utmost of their power. They will delight in adorning the doctrine of God our Saviour.
Luke i. 71-75.
we should be saved from our enemics, and from the hand of all that hate us. Psalm cvi. 10, “And he saved them from the hand of him that hated them; and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy."
Secondly, To perform the mercy promised to our fathers. Acts iii. 25, “ Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindred of the earth be blessed."
Thirdly, To remember his holy covenant ; the oath which he sware to our father Abraham. Genesis xxii. 16, “By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven.”
Fourthly, That he would grant unto us, that we, being delivered out of the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear. Hebrews ix. 14, “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who, through the eternal Spirit, offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works, to serve the living God."
Pifthly, In serving God without fear, we shall serve him in holiness and righteousness all the days of our lives. Jeremiah xxxii. 39, “And I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for the good of them, and of their children after theni.” Ephesians iv. 24, “And that ye put on the new man, which, after God, is created in righteousness and true holiness." 1 Peter, i. 15, “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation.” The evil spirit, which is emphatically styled your adversary, and which is seeking to devour, would assuredly effectuate his purpose, had not the seed of the woman bruised his head. God mercifully bound himself by covenant to bruise the head of this serpent. God hath covenanted that his ransomed shall serve him, that they shall serve him for ever. But the service of God is a service of love. By faith the believer begins his heaven below. The just, the justified live by faith; faith is the evidence of things not seen, and the substance of things hoped for. God is not served, but by faith; as it re spects the creature, whatever is not of faith, is sin; and this we know, that perfect love casteth out fear. We, said the first christians, have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear. The religion grounded on fear, cannot be the religion of God. But there is a filial fear of offending so good, so gracious a Redeemer; and this feur is only experienced by real believers. May we, my beloved friends, be blessed with a large portion of this holy fear.
LUKE i. 76–79.
Fisrt, And thou child shalt be called the prophet of the highest. Isaiah xl. 3, “The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a high way for our God.” Malachi iii. I, “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me.” Mat. thew xi. 10, « For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send VOL. II. 31