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namely, that Abraham saw Christ's day, rejoiced and was glad, prove to you on Scripture ground, and by the testimony of God the Spirit, to that Scripture in the souls of the Lord's people, that nothing short of the same divine assurance, can relieve from the horrors of darkness, which out of Christ must involve the whole Adam-fall transgressors in endless woe for ever. The Lord shine upon his word, and shine in the hearts of his people.
I begin with the first proposition, namely, the cause of horror in the mind of Abraham, and which more or less is in all the spiritual seed of Abraham, when under the conviction of our utterly lost, helpless, and undone estate by nature. Abraham felt all this. Abraham knew it. And until the Lord opened to his contemplation the day of Christ, the patriarch had no resource, no more than any of the posterity of Adam, in any way, to escape the judgment of God. He knew bimself to be a sinner. He had heard of the destruction of the old world by water for the sins of
He beheld the fruits of sin in death all around him. And what had the patriarch to propose to himself from any thing in himself, to "flee from the wrath to come ?” Death stood as the close of every man's life; and what was there that Abraham could figure to himself to escape the common destruction ? More. over the alarm of guilt dreaded somewhat after death. And though the Scriptures of God were not then unfolded, concerning the worm that dieth not, and the fire that is not quenched :" yet conscience made up the account to alarm every sinner. We may therefore safely conclude, that Abraham's feelings were the same as the church's feelings in all ages, and as the Holy Ghost hath described of all. For let it be remembered, it is of the church the Lord speaks, and not the natural man, (1 Cor. ii. 14.) when using such language as we find all over the Bible: 6 The Lord shall give thee a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind: and thy life shall hang in doubt before thee, and thou shalt fear day and night; and shalt have none assurance of thy life. In the moming thou shalt say, would God it were even, and at even thou shalt say, would God it were morning; for the fear of thine heart wherewith thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see. (Deut. xxvii. 66.) When pangs of such dire distress compass the people of God they will know, as Abraham did, what is meant by an“ an horror of great darkness falling upon them.”
But, secondly. Connecting the sight of Christ's day, which Abraham had a distant view of, and beholding him as the Surety of his people, I conceive that Abraham's horror in seeing what sin had induced in the sufferings of Christ, rendered this horror of the mind infinitely greater than the view of his own. To behold the Son of God, who in himself knew no sin, made sin for his people : to contemplate God and man in One person, laden with the iniquity of all his redeemed, yet he himself possessing all divine perfections : himself being made a curse to redeem all his from the curse : destroying death by his own death, yea, the second death with all its tremendous effects, by draining damnation to the very dregs, and bringing “ life and immortality to light” by his gospel: if, I say, the patriarch beheld these things, and in seeing the day of Christ, all these, with every other accompanying salvation were included—surely horrors of great darkness could not but have occupied the patriarch's mind, in the conviction that but for these things the whole church of God must have perished for ever!
I pause here to observe, that while I cannot but conclude from the Scriptures of eternal truth, that more or less, soul exercises like these, are in the lot of all the regenerate and redeemed children of God, I do not mean to say that they are all exercised alike. This were to limit the Holy One of Israel. The dying thief on the cross had no time for the greater contemplation, than a sense of his sin ; and to behold his God and Saviour by his side. The Æthiopian, which at the preaching of Philip found Christ, went on his way rejoicing. And yet who shall say what spirtual conflicts followed ? Paul was three days without sight when the Lord first called him by his
grace. And the jailor at Philippi had a convul. sion of soul as well as the prison an earthquake, when sovereign love brought him to the Lord. He intended self-destruction, as thousands of the Lord's people have done, whom grace hath restrained. The enemy, which tempted Christ to it, hath not failed to tempt his people. (Matt. iv. 6.) I cannot be supposed therefore to say from this horror of great darkness which fell on Abraham that all the Lord's people are equally so. But all certainly have, in this, as well as other instances, one family feature.
One thing more I have promised on this subject; namely, to observe from what the Lord Jesus hath said of Abraham's sight of Christ's day rejoicing and being glad;" so in every instance of Abraham's spiritual seed—nothing but the same view of Christ can bear the child of God up amidst the terrors of great darkness, deep convictions of sin induce in the soul. Until I see by divine teaching, Christ as my Head and Surety; and by divine consolation I am led to believe in him and trust in him cordially and heartily; beholding all my sins transferred to him, and he bearing the whole, and doing away the whole by the sacrifice of himself: the terrors of a guilty conscience can find no relief, no hope, no confidence towards God. “There is no peace saith my God to the wicked!” What shall I add, except to close up this solemn view in prayer to God in Christ; that all the spiritual seed of Abraham máy have given to them the same rich views of our most glorious Christ as he had, to rejoice in him when all other resources of joy fail. 0, Lord! I would say, both for you and for myself, give unto us the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him, that“ we may know him and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death ! »