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FROM HOLY SCRIPTURE.
GEN, i. 26.
« And God said, Let us make man in our own image, after our likeness."
What a blessed us is here! And what a blessed opening of the Bible with such an express revelation of the holy Trinity! And as the word of God thus opens with such a testimony of our holy faith, so is it no less blessed to behold the same glorious truth carried on through every part of it. «Behold the man is become as one of us.” (Gen. üi. 22.)
“Let us go down.” (Gen. xi. 7.).“ Whom shall I send and who will go for us?.” (Isa. vi. 8.) In proof of the Holy Three, all manifested in this Scripture, see the first verse for the person of Christ, with John xii. 41. The eighth verse for the person of God the Father, compared with John xvii. 3. 1 John iv. 9. And for the person of God the Holy Ghost, compare the ninth and tenth verses with Acts xxviii. 25, 26. Oh! the blessedness of this mighty us! "I in them (said' Jesus, speaking of his people, and they in me; that they all may be one in us !” (John xvii. 21, 23.)
2. “ But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord." (Gen. vi. 8.) This is the first time that we meet with the word grace in the Bible, and Noah hath this distinguishing honour, concerning whom it is first spoken. Oh! the blessedness of finding grace in the eyes of the Lord!“ And such honour have all his saints !” Hence in after ages it is said of Moses by the Lord, “I know thee by name, and thou hast also found my sight.” (Exod. xxxiii. 12.) Hence Mary also “found favour (that is grace) with God.” (Luke i. 30.) And hence the ordinary salutation of che church,“ Grace, mercy, and peace, be with thee!” (Rom. i. 7.) Oh! the unspeakable grace of God, and the gift by grace !” (Rom. v. 15.)
3. “ Abraham the Hebrew.” (Gen. xiv. 13.) There is more in the name Hebrew than merely to signify a nation. The Holy Ghost hath put his divine emphasis upon it, both in the instance of the great Father of the faithful, and his descendant Joseph! (Gen. xxxix. 14.) But to enter by grace into the right apprehension of the name, we must observe what the Holy Ghost said of Shem, in whom and with whom Christ, the blessing of blessings, was given. “Blessed be the Lord God of Shem.” (Gen. ix. 26.) “Shem also the father of all the children of Eber.” (Gen x. 21.) Oh! precious Scriptures, thus blended and explained by each other! (1 Cor. ii. 10. to the end.)
4. “For the Lord's portion is his people: Jacob
the lot of his inheritance. (Deut xxxii. 9.) It is well worthy remark, that there are but three words in the Bible to express the right which the Lord hath in his people, and his people in him: and they are all brought forward in this verse of Scripture-portion, lot, and inheritance. It is a blessed thing, when a child of God hath learnt, under the teaching of the Holy Ghost, to say,“ The Lord is my portion.” (Psalm cxix. 57. Lament iii. 24.) But it is a much greater t hing when the Lord condescends to say, as in this verse, “ The Lord's portion is his people.” This is the cause, the other is the effect. Now God lives upon his portion, as a man lives upon his. If it be asked how? the answer is direct. As the glory of God is the first and last design of all things, the glory which is reflected back from the church in the innumerable objects of his love in Christ, in their holiness, and happiness, and glory in Christ, which Jehovah hath given them, is all“ to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the Beloved.” (Ephes. i. 6.) So that this is the Lord's portion and his inheritance. Let it be only added to this view, to make it completely blessed, that all the persons of the GODHEAD are thus spoken of as taking part in it. God the Father hath chosen his people for his inheritance in Christ. God the Son hath redeemed them as his own inheritance, when lost by his blood. And God the Holy Ghost giveth the earnest of this inheritance in the hearts of his people. (2 Cor. i. 22.) Oh! blessed security in a blessed covenant God!
5. “For their vine is of the vine of Sodom.” (Deut. xxii. 32.) The margin renders it worse than the vine of Sodom. And the prophet in the name of the Lord, so reproves the church : “ As I live, saith the Lord God, Sodom, thy sister, hath not done, she nor her daughters, as thou hast done—thou and thy daughters. Thou hast committed more abominations than they." (Ezek. xvi. 48–52.) How astonishing is the election of grace!
The Lord's own testimony is, that no nation equalled Israel in abomination, and yet the charter of grace runs in these words : “ Jacob have I loved; but Esau have I hated.” (Rom. ix. 13.) Bow we down before this great God in silent adoration, who cannot do wrong, but “ who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will!” (Eph. i. 11.)
6. "I shall be satisfied, when I awake with thy likeness,” (Psm. xvii. 15.) What likeness?: Not from Christ's likeness in us; though that is most blessed. No, nor our being like him; though that is yet more blessed still : but neither alone would satisfy; for both together is not Christ. Nothing short of Christ himself can satisfy the regenerated soul. And therefore the full satisfaction, when awakening from the sleep of death and the grave, is the full knowledge and enjoyment of beholding Christ as he is in his own personal glory: in the contemplation of which the soul is swallowed up and lost in beholding his holiness, and from thence finds unspeakable joy and glory. Hence Jesus' own words as the supreme pinnacle to which his church is brought, at the final consummation of all things : “Father! I will that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am, that they may
my glory which thou hast given me.” (John xvii. 24.)
7. “The hoary head is a crown of glory if it be found in the way of righteousness." (Prov. xvii. 31.) The hoary head and the renewed heart are beautiful when blended; but a white head, and a black heart, are awful companions. Hence that Scripture ; “ the child shall die an hundred years old ; but the sinner being an hundred years old is accursed !” (Isa. Ixv. 20.)
8. “Where I heard a language that I understood not.” (Psm. Ixxxi. 5.) Our God! our Lord Jesus is here blessedly speaking in the person of his people Israel. It is Israel of whom he speaks. In no other sense could it be said, that he heard a language which he understood not. And yet it is the Lord Jesus that is here speaking : because it was Israel's God, and not Israel himself, which ordained the law in Joseph for a testimony, who removed his shoulder from the burden of making the pots in Egypt, and to whom Israel called in trouble, and who delivered Israel, verses 4 to 7. What a sweet Scripture! to shew how highly the Lord takes part in the concerns of his people, that when speaking for them he speaks as in his own person !
9. “Free among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, whom thou rememberest no more !” (Psalm Lxxxvüi. 5.) What striking expressions the Holy Ghost makes use of, when at any time speaking of the uncircumcised as contrasted with the Lord's people!
- They are free men, that is, citizens by heirship, with them that go down to the pit: heirs of darkness and when slain by death, lie in the grave. (Psa. xlix. 14. Ezek. xxxii. 18, to the end.) Whereas on the contrary, while such are said to be remembered no more, and
go to their own 'place, the righteous are had in everlasting remembrance. (Psalm cxii. 6. with Acts i. 25.) Reader! of what city is your freedom ? Is it that city ? (Psa, xlvi. 4.—Heb. xi. 16.)
10. “Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious.” (Isa. xlix. 5.) In the margin, the words are rendered, that " Israel may be gathered unto him! and I may be glorious :"or by way of question, shall not Israel be gathered unto him ? Yes! he shall. In every sense, the passage is most blessed, in proof of the certainty of Christ's personal glory in redemption-work, which is subject to no peradventures, nor uncertainties. Israel shall be gathered, and the Lord Jesus shall be glorified. See with it the dying patriarch's prophecy. (Gen. xlix. 10. compared with John xi.49–52.)
11. "Look unto Abraham your father and un'o Sarah that bare you, for I called him alone and blessed hm.” (Isa. li. 2.) Called him alone, that is, electing grace manifested to him alone from the multitude of idolaters like himself which were then around him—to intimate the triumphs of distinguishing grace, which from the rock causeth the Lord's