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on earth, even in Him." (Ephes. i. 6-10.). And, secondly, that. as in the glorious person of our most glorious Christ, all salvation is founded; so all temporal, spiritual, and eternal blessings are in Him. Thirdly, that the discovery of these things is beyond the grasp of all natural attainments : for the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness. unto him ; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things.” (1 Cor. ii. 14, 15.) Hence the Lord Jesus is represented as thanking the Father that “ He had hid these things from the wise and prudent, and revealed them unto babes." (Matt. xi. 25.) Brethren! hear what I am going to say to you! If the Lord be
Teacher, and the Lord hath brought you, in any measure, acqainted with yourself, and the plague of your own heart; and if, in the knowledge of Christ's person you have made discovery, under divine teaching, of what is contained in his humiliation, and the accomplishment of salvation to his church by that marvellous act of grace, with your own personal interest in both; you have learnt what all human learning in natural powers cannot attain, neither empires purchase. All these things are brought home to the mind and conscience and understanding ; lived upon and trusted in ; they fill the soul with “joy and peace in believing, abounding in hope through the power
of the Holy Ghost.” (Rom. xv. 13.)
My text is a short but comprehensive expression of those two great hinges of the gospel on which turn all the glorious blessings of salvation. For the
person of Christ, and the salvation in Christ, form the whole principles of revelation. “In his humiliation his judgment was taken away.” The infinite greatness of the person of Christ. gave an infinite value and efficacy to all he said or did or suffered. “And who shall declare his generation ?” This surpasseth all the ability of the whole creation of God, men, or angels, to answer. It is best answered by another Scripture. “Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fist: who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son's name, if thou canst tell?” (Prov. xxx. 4.)
I am come forth this morning to call your attention to this most sublime and mysterious subject, proposed to us in the words of the text. I say, to call your attention to it, but not to attempt an explanation of it. For this belongs not to any human province. God himself, in his trinity of persons, can only be the Preacher. He that made the eye, and he that teacheth man knowledge, can only give a spiritual apprehension herein.
It will be your mercy, and mine, if the Lord shall give unto us “the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him."
I need not tell you, who are well acquainted with your Bibles, that the words of my text are part of the sermon Philip preached to the Æthiopian in the desert. This man had been to Jerusalem to worship, and was returning as ignorant of the Lord Jesus Christ as when he had first left his own country. He was reading in his chariot the book of the prophet Esaias, and the very chapter whence the words of the text were taken: “I pray thee, (said he to Philip) of whom speaketh the prophet this? Is it of himself, or of some other man? Then Philip opened his mouth and began at the same Scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.” A very short, but a very sweet sermon. And the Lord the Spirit, which sent Philip to preach Jesus to the Æthiopian, gave the Æthiopian grace to hear and to understand. He found Jesus in the wilderness, though he had not found him at Jerusalem
Instantly he was baptized into the faith of Cbrist, “and went on his way rejoicing.”
” Very many blessed instructions, by the way, meet us in this account. Ordinances are of divine appointment, and are precious gifts from our most gracious God; and often followed in the use of them by bis blessing. But the Lord is not confined to the means; for frequently, as in this instance, the Lord works without them to the end intended. It will be our wisdom always when able to use them ; but not to rest in them. Many a child of God hath found Christ in the desert, when missing him at his house of prayer. And many on beds of sickness have found the power of the Lord present to heal their souls, when langour and disease have fastened their bodies to the bed of suffering. And I would farther notice, by the way, the very great grace of the Lord in sending a special messenger after this Æthiopian into the desert; though the Lord suffered him to depart from Jerusalem unedified by going there. Here mark how the Lord is unremittingly watching over his people, and “searching them out in all places whither they are scattered, in the cloudy and dark day." Sweetly our most glorious Christ thus promiseth in one Scripture, and confirms it in another. For he saith : “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” (John vi. 37.) It matters not where they are, or how they are. If in godless families; if in distant lands; if in the most hopeless, desperate state that sin and Satan can make them ; when the kour cometh for their deliverance, means shall be productive of the end ; and when this is made to: correspond “they shall come which were ready to perish.” (Isaiah xxvii. 13.).
But while noticing these things, having met them in our way, it was not, with an eye to them at present,
that I have called your attention to this Scripture of
into this continent of the unsearchable riches of Christ, yet there is a sweet promise for the encouragement of the humble which seek the Lord in the Lord's strength. . “The meek will he guide in judgment, and the meek will he. teach his way.” (Psalm xxv. 9.) Under these impressions, and animated with this hope, I shall now proceed to the consideration of the two great doctrines in the text. First, of His person in whose“ humiliation his judgment was taken away." And, secondly, from the total incompetency of all created intelligence “to declare his generation," how fully and completely the salvation he wrought in his humiliation hath secured the everlasting happiness of his people. I beg it may be understood, that in the accomplishment of both these purposes which I have in view, 1 shall advance most cautiously over the sacred subject, taking my stand wholly on Scripture ground, and while I would wait, with reverence and godly fear, for the guidance of Him whose Almighty province alone it is “to guide into all truth,” I would pray also, that both your minds and my own may be enabled to spiritualize the divine subject to the divine glory and our soul's joy; that what is brought before us may not be “in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth : comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” (1 Cor. ii. 13.)
But before we enter upon it, I would caution every truly redeemed and regenerated child of God, in whose heart the Lord hath put his fear, (Jer. xxxii. 40.) (and it can be only such, who are made capable of en
tering into the least apprehension of the sublime subject before us;) I say, that I would caution all such humble souls that they be not discouraged, nor shrink from it on account of its greatness and mystery. It is to the humble the Lord hath engaged to make himself known. The promise of our most glorious Christis absolute, and can never fail: "For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance.” (Matt. xiii. 12.) Now, many of you have what at one time you never thought of, when
you living in the pursuits of the world, ignorant of the plague of your own heart, and a stranger to God and to yourselves. Look back, and consider what you then were ; and compare that state with what you now are. Perhaps there are some present, that a few months, or a few years since, had any one told you, that your views of divine things would be alive at this time, you would scarce have understood what they meant. If then you are savingly quickened into a new and spiritual life, if it be only in the desire of your soul for Christ and salvation; will you not feel constrained to say: “ What hath God wrought ?" Hope then, my brother of every degree, that the Lord which hath taught you so much will teach you more. And let us enter together upon this soul-warming subject, which is now before us, with a full assurance of faith; that as Paul said for himself, so you may for yourself, that “ He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil i. 6.)
I begin with the Scripture statement of our most glorious Lord's humiliation, during which“ his judgment was taken away." And, in order to have the clearest apprehension which our present unripe faculties are capable of sustaining, of a doctrine so infinitely sublime and mysterious, we must first behold him on Scripture ground, as proclaimed to the church,