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CHRIST CONSIDERED AS THE NAIL FASTENED IN A SURE PLACE, BEARING ALL THE GLORY OF HIS
And they shall hang upon him all the glory of his Father's house, 'the off
spring and the issue, all vessels of small quantity: from the vessels of cups, even to all the vessels of flagons. Is. xx11. 24.
THE SIXTH SERMON ON THIS TEXT.
You may ask me first, When, or in what cases are we to trust the glorious Manager? I answer, in general, there is no case unseasonable: “ Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your hearts before him.” More particularly,
1st, When you are in any concern about the salvation of your souls, roll this weight upon the nail fastened in a sure place. Are you in any doubt or fear about your eternal state? Put it out of doubt, by committing this to him, who
came to seek and save that which was lost," saying with David, " Into thy hands do I commit my spirit, O thou JehoVAH, God of truth, who hast redeemed me.” The direct actings of faith on Christ, is the surest and shortest way of securing “ the one thing needsul,” for '" none perish that trust in him.”
2dly, When pressed with manifold charges of guilt, from the devil, from the law, from conscience; in that case trust in the Manager, " for his blood cleanses from all sin." 66 We have redemption through his blood;" and under this covering you may say, “Who can lay any thing to my charge ?" It is the voice of the great Manager to the offspring and issue,” “ I, even I, ain he that blotteth out thine iniquities for mine own name's sake."
3dly, When indwelling sin is molesting you with its [irruptions,] trust him that he may destroy the works of the devil in thy heart, that he will, according to his promise, “ subdue your iniquities,” Mic. vii. 19; Rom. vi. 14: “Sin shall not have dominion over you."
4thly, When Satan is molesting you with his fiery darts, act faith upon him; fear nothing from that enemy, whose head he has already bruised; and, in this case, improve his atoning blood, for it is said of saints in former ages, that
they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb.'_ When you are afraid of falling or stumbling, take hold of the Manager, for “he keeps the feet of his saints, and holds up their
goings.”—When called to any work or duty that is above your strength, remember that he is “ the strength of Israel.” Be strong in
“the grace that is in Christ Jesus,” for “he sendeth none a warfare upon their own charges." —When engaged either in personal or public covenanting work, do all in the name and strength of the great Manager, and with an eye to the sacrifice of his death for acceptance: Psal. I. 5: "Gather my saints together unto me; even those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.”—When the world is reeling and staggering, seas roaring, tempests of personal or public trouble blowing, then trust the Manager; for “ he doth whatever he pleaseth in the heavens above, in the earth, in the seas, and in all deep places." Study to see all things in his hand, and all things working together for good to them that love him; and then you will sing, as Is, xii. 2, “ Behold, God is my salvation: I will trust, and not be afraid.” Or, Psal. xcvii. 1: “ The Lord reigneth, let the earth rejoice,” &c.-When Jacob is brought low, and men pointing at the true church of Christ, and saying, “ This is Zion whom no man careth for;" in that case, look to the Manager, for “it is he that builds up Jerusalem, and gathers the dispersed of Israel into one." 6 What shall one answer the messengers of the nation? The Lord hath founded Zion, and the poor of his people shall trust in it.” — When there is a famine of bread trust him; for he that “feedeth the ravens,” will not starve the offspring and issue of the family: Psal. xxxvii. 3: “ Trust in the Lord, and do good, so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed." there a great scarcity of the word, the bread of life, and few faithful hands to dispense it? Trust him, for the stars are in his right hand; he gives apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, for edifying of his body; and it is his promise, “ I will give them pastors, according to mine heart." Are the sheep and the shepherds scattered? Well, trust him, for he that hath scattered Israel will gather them again: “ He shall gather the lambs with his arms, and carry them in his bosom," &c,
Thus you see there is no case in which the offspring and issue are not to hang by faith upon the blessed Manager, as a nail fastened in a sure place.
I conclude this exhortation with two or three advices: (1.) Be much in studying your own weakness and insufficiency for work or warfare, that you may be denied to your own strength; for it is the poor that "commit themselves to him.” (2.) Be well acquainted with his name, I mean, the glory of his person; for it is “they that know his name that will put their trust in him.” (3.
) Study to know the near
relation he stands under to you, both by his human nature, and by his offices as Mediator, Redeemer, Prophet, Priest, and King, Head and Husband, for the knowledge of these [inspires] trust and confidence. A wife trusts in her husband, a child in his parent, the members trust their head. (4.) Be well acquainted with the great and precious promises of the covenant of grace, and how the condition of them all is fulfilled to your hand by Christ, as a second Adam, in his fulfilling the do and die of the covenant of works. Legal conceptions of the covenant of grace, as if our faith, love, obedience, repentance, were the condition of the covenant, [perplexes faith in the free actings of it on Christ and the covenant of grace. We must come without money or price to take hold of the covenant, and to apply the blessings of it, because Christ has already paid the money and price that justice demanded. (5.) Pray much for the Spirit of faith; and, under the conduct of the Spirit, habituate yourselves to a frequent acting of faith, that so the life you live in the flesh may be “ by faith on the Son of God.”
I come now to offer a word to believers, under the notion of vessels hanging upon the nail which God has fastened in a · sure place. And here I might, (1.) Offer a word to the vessels of cups. (2.) To the vessels of flagons, or believers of a higher stature. (3.) A word to both in common.
1. A word to weak believers, who are designed vessels of cups.
I only suggest these two or three things to you :---(1.) It is a high privilege to occupy the least room in the house of our God. The prodigal son, when he came to himself, only begged of his father that he might have the place of a hired servant; he was glad to be under his father's roof, and to eat in his father's house, at any rate. (2.) God has service for the least vessel of his house, as well as for the largest. God never made a useless creature, and he does not form any useless vessels; no, every vessel is “ formed by himself, to show forth his praise.” (3.) The least vessel is God's property, and he will not disown, but maintain his property, and own it before men and angels, saying, “ They are mine,” in the day when he makes up his jewels. (4.) The bands, by which you hang upon the nail fastened in a sure place, are as strong as those by which the vessels of flagons are secured ; for he has said as to both, “ They shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hand.” (5.) The weakest measure of
is a pledge of more; for “tó him that hath shall be given.”. What grace you have got is the arles-penny of more a-coming, for “ his goings forth are prepared as the morning," as the break of day is a pledge of more light to follow : “ The path of the just is as the shining light, that
shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” The least measure of grace has glory connected with it, according to the order of the covenant, Psal. Ixxxiv. 11: “ The Lord God is a sun and shield, he will give grace and glory;" first grace, and then glory.
I next offer a word of advice to the vessels of cups, I mean weak believers. Although you are not to envy or grudge at God's bounty or liberality to others, in making them vessels of flagons, yet you may and ought earnestly to dovet more grace than you
have yet received; and therefore we are commanded to “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” In order to which, be humble under a sense of your own weakness and emptiness; for “ he giveth grace to the humble.” Be diligent in the im
” provement of what grace you have received ; for “ the hand of the diligent maketh rich.” Be frequently coming to the Manager of the house for more grace: “ To whom coming, 1 as unto a living stone,-ye also as lively stones, are built up, a spiritual house, a habitation of God through the Spirit.” Improve all the means of God's appointment for your edification, such as the word, sacraments, prayer, Christian conference, that you may “add to your faith, virtue; to virtue, kuowledge; to knowledge, temperance; to temperance, patience; to patience, godliness; to godliness, brotherly kindness ; and to brotherly kindness, charity; for if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that
shall neither be barren, nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 Pet. i. 548.
2. A word to the vessels of flagons, believers of a higher stature. To you I would say, 1st, Be not proud of grace received, but walk humbly with
" Who made thee to differ? and what hast thou that thou hast not received ?" “ His soul that is listed up is not upright in him.” Where true grace is genuine, the more a man receives of it he is always the more humble and empty, as you see in Paul, Eph. iii. 8: “ Less than the least of all saints.” To keep your sails low, consider that the most eminent saints have discovered the greatest weakness, even in the graces in which they most excelled; as we see in the case of Abraham, Moses, David, Peter, and others. They that have the greatest measure of grace, get as much to do with it; strong corruption, strong temptation, and strong trials to grapple with: and the more talents a man receives, the more has he to account for, as to the improvement of them; for “to whom much is given, of them much shall be required.”
2dly, Instead of despising others that are not come your
length, study to be helpful and serviceable to them. The vessels of cups are ordinarily filled out of the flagons; so study to impart and communicate of your grace, of your faith, love, hope, knowledge, and other graces, to those that are weak in grace. The strong children in a family are helpful to the young and weak. Thus it is in the natural body, the strong member is helpful to the weak and infirm ; so ought it to be in the mystical body of Christ. And when you see any fall through weakness, do not triumph over them; but "strengthen the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees; say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong;" “ restore such a one with the spirit of meekness."
3dly, Whatever grace you have received, be not strong or confident in it, like Peter'; but “ be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus," and let the life you live be by faith in the Son of God. Grace received will soon give way in a day of trial and temptation. An innocent Adam, left with the stock in his hand, soon turned bankrupt, and ruined all his posterity. And therefore, I say, do not trust to the life or grace you have in hand, but in the grace and life you have in your head Jesus Christ, the glorious Manager and Steward of his Father's house. Still remember, that all the vessels hang upon him; and therefore let all the weight lie where God has laid it.
3. A word of advice to vessels of all sizes, whether they be vessels of cups, or vessels of flagons. lst, Adore the riches of divine
grace a difference between you and others, for naturally you were as bad as others.
2dly, Let every one possess his vessel in sanctification and honour. Do not debase or defile the vessel of thy soul or body, by prostituting it to the service of sin, Satan, or any abominable lust. You was once living in the miry clay of nature, but God has washed, justified, and sanctified you; and therefore study to keep yourself clean and holy in heart, life, and in all manner of conversation. If you defile yourselves with sin, the Manager of the house will be fair to cast you into a furnace of affliction, or, like Jonah, to plunge you into deep waters, till you acknowledge, "Mine own iniquities correct me, and my backslidings reprove me.”
3dly, When you find any defilement of sin cleaving to you (which you will never miss while in the body,) flee to "the fountain opened for sin and for uncleanness in the house of David.” Be often bathing thy soul in “ the blood of Jesus,"
” which “ cleanseth from all sin.”
4thly, Come to the fountain for supply under all your wants, " that you may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time