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(James i. 17, 18.) “ And as the Father raiseth up
the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom He will!” (John v. 21.) And all the spiritual gifts the people of God are blessed with in life, the holy Scriptures are express to declare, that “all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.” (1 Cor. xii. 11.) Hence, therefore it is evident, and very blessed is it to see, and know it; that to the Lord alone, in his trinity of persons, it belongs,“ to prepare the way of the people.”
But thirdly; the text proceeds,“ Cast up, cast up the highway." Here is a beautiful allusion to the gospel, which, through the whole Scriptures of the prophets is uniformly called an highway. Hence we read: An highway shall be there and a way, and it shall be called the way of holiness." Yes; for our text adds, the people that walk therein shall be called, " The holy people.” But the same Scripture adds; “ the unclean shall not pass over it.” (Isaiah xxxv. 8.) No unregenerate, no unrenewed sinner can pass over it: for our Lord himself makes this the unalterable qualification for an entrance into his kingdom. (John iii. 3, 5.) But do not overlook in all this casting up the highway, the same Almighty power must be exerted as in the former: the work is the Lord's. “ It is not in man that walketh to direct his steps !" He that saith : “Go through, go through the gates;" saith also “Cast up, cast up the highway !”
the highway !! And it is the same Lord that enableth his people to do both: “ who worketh in them, both to will, and to do, of his good pleasure.”
The fourth clause in this divine Scripture, to" gather out the stones,” should seem to have an allusion to the city of refuge, (Deut. iv. 41.) (though I do not presume to say as much) which Moses, with an eye to Christ, was directed to appoint for the manslayer to flee to, and finding shelter there, he was safe from the avenger of blood. And we are told that once in every year the magistrates appointed a day for the stones, which might have fallen in the road by rain or other causes, to be removed by men appointed for that purpose, so that the poor fugitive might find no obstructions in his flight. And they appointed, that at every opening which lay in the way to this city of refuge, the word miklat, which signifies refuge, should bemarked as a directing post,pointing to the direct path. “Beautiful on the mountains (saith the prophet) are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace, that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation, that saith unto Zion, thy God reigneth !” (Isaiah lii. 7.) And what was this miklat of the magistrates in Israel, but pointing to the same in our most glorious Christ! Was not, and is not, wbat
my text saith, " to gather out the stones," graciously illustrated by the several means of grace in leading to Christ!
But we must not stop here, for the Scriptựre of my text doth not. The fifth beauty (to mark them in the order in which they are placed) next commands a standard to be lifted up for the people. And here we behold Christ the Almighty standard, and the whole persons in the GODHEAD the Lifter up. .
Hence we find one Scripture thus stating it: “And behold in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people ; to it shall the Gentiles seek, and his rest shall be glorious.” (Isa xi. 10.) “ Behold! I have given him for a Witness to the people; a leader and commander to the people." (Isa. lv. 4.) “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit Jehovah shall lift up a standard against him.” (Isa. lix. 19.) And is not our most glorious Christ Jehovah's standard in his trinity of persons for war with sin, Satan, death, hell, and the grave ? And is He not the sure, signal of victory for all, and to all, his redeemed, from the united love of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost?
The next portion to be noticed is a brief summary of the whole gospel. “Behold the Lord hath proclaimed unto the end of the world; say ye to the daughter of Zion; Behold! thy salvation cometh: behold! his reward with him, and his work before him." Here we have a beautiful portrait of His Almighty person, and a short but complete drawing of his Almighty work, by whom alone all is wrought. His reward with him, and his work before him. Yes; for it was his own arm which brought salvation ; and of the people there was none with him. (Isa. Ixii. 3.5.) And the apostle very blessedly echoes to the language of the prophet, when speaking of our most glorious Christ he saith, “Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of man: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil. xii. 5-11. Heb. xii. 2.) There is not a doctrine of the gospel more fully and more plainly revealed in Scripture than of this incommunicable work of our most glorious Christ; and yet scarce one so little understood, or brought into daily practical enjoyment. And hence the leanness of soul with which, in the present day the church of God is marked. For though all the properties of salvation prove that no arm but the arm of God could have
been in it; no power less than an infinite power could have undertaken it; no merit less than an intinite merit have given dignity and efficacy to it; yet, such is the unhumbled pride of man, that we are for ever attempting to add somewhat of our own; and, according to those supposed attainments, we feel more or less satisfaction in the work of Christ. Upon all such occasions, it would be well for the church to hear, and have in spiritual enjoyment, these words of Christ: “Behold, the Lord hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, behold thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.” His is the work. His is the reward. His is the sole glory. And his people are simply receivers, and no more, of his finish.ed salvation! · Now follow the blissful consequences. Jesus, being the Author and Finisher of faith, and the sole Cause in the efficiency of salvation, the prophet proceeds to give a statement of the effects among his people. “ And they shall call them, (saith the prophet) The holy people: The redeemed of the Lord : and thou shalt be called, Sought out; a city not forsaken." Here, without running over a large tract of ground in the holy Scripture, to the confirmation of these divine truths, it will be sufficient for our present purpose to observe, from those most precious words, that in them we behold the gracious footsteps of the Holy Three in One in the several acts of grace here mentioned. The Lord's people shall be called the holy people! Yes! for God the Father, “ of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, chose them in Christ before the foundation of the world, that they should be holy and without blame before him in love." (Ephes. i. 4, and iii. 15.) But they are to be called also, “ The redeemed of the Lord.” Yes: for though they were chosen in Christ to be holy in him before the world, and without all doubt were so ; yet as their nature had been involved in the Adam-fall transgression of this time state, they were in themselves sinners; and Christ“ redeemed them by his blood.” (Ephes. i. 7.) Thus each glorious person in the GODHEAD, the Father and the Son, took equal part in grace concerning them. And when this Scripture adds, speakto the church herself, “And thou shalt be called Sought out!” here we see the outlines of God the éternal Spirit, in his Almighty Sovereign work, in “calling sinners from darkness to light, and from the power of sin and Satan, to the living God." Hence the Lord Jesus, in allusion to his Spirits work in the hearts of his people, saith, “ I am sought of them that asked not for me, I am found of them that sought me not.” (Isaiah lxv. 1.) And in allusion to the same Almighty power, the Lord Jesus elsewhere saith, that his Spirit shall bring home all his chosen. “For thus saith the Lord God, Behold I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered, in the cloudy and dark day." (Ezek. xxxiv. 11, 12.) And lastly, to close all, this beautiful Scripture ends those blissful words and the chapter together, in saying, they shall be called also, “A city not forsaken !” Thus using a similitude to that of a city impregnable to the enemy; so the church of Christ is so garrisoned by her Lord's presence, that no foes can approach to hurt her. Hence the Lord himself sings bis love-song to her in one of the Psalms. “ Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem! praise thy God, o Zion. For he hath strengthened the bars of thy gates: he hath blessed thy children within thee !" (Psalm clxvii. 12, 13.) And the Holy Ghost, by Paul,