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therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.”
CHRIST, AS THE BREAKER, OPENING ALL PASSES TO
GLORY, THAT WERE IMPASSABLE.*
The breaker is come up before them; they have broken up, aud have
passed through the gate, and are gone out by it; and their King shall pass before them, and the Lord (or Jehovah) on the head of them.- Micak
THE FIRST SERMON ON THIS TEXT.
WHATEVER literal respect these words may have to the return of the children of Israel, from their Babylonish captivity, through the instrumentality of Cyrus, yet it is generally agreed, not only by Christian, but even by some Jewish interpreters, that they have a principal and ultimate view to the glorious Messiah, and the great work of salvation that he was to accomplish in the fulness of time.
The prophet tells us, in the preceding verse, that Christ, as the great Shepherd of Israel, was to gather together the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and would gather a New Testament church to himself; and, by reason of the multitude of converts that should flock to the ever-blessed Shiloh, the noise and report of their gathering should be heard far and near through the earth. But sense and reason might look on this as a thing altogether impracticable, because of the strong barrier that stood in the way, and the great opposition that would be made by hell and earth, to the rearing and gathering the New Testament church: therefore the prophet here prophesies, that Christ should rid the way, and clear the passage, and make mountains as a plain. In which words we have these three things :
1st, The way of the Lord's ransomed opened up by the great Redeemer, The breaker is come up before them.
2dly, The escape of the ransomed by this way, or the im
* Three sacramental sermons.
provement they make of it by faith. This is held forth in three expressions, They have broken up— They have passed through the gate — They have gone out by it.
3dly, We have the glorious march of the ransomed under the Redeemer's conduct, as their renowned general, Their King shall pass before them, and Jehovah on their head.
1st, I say, we have the passage opened up by the great Redeemer, The breaker is come up before them. Where, again, we háre,
1. The designation given to the glorious Messiah, he is called the Breaker. Cyrus was an instrument in the hand of God, for breaking the Babylonish yoke, and so paving a way for the return of Israel to their native land; and in this he was a type of Christ, by whom the yoke of our spiritual captivity under sin and Satan is broken, and a way paved for coming up to the land of rest and glory that is above, of which the earthly Canaan was a corruptible type. Somè think that in this expression, there is an allusion to the hegoat, or the ram, which in a storm breaks the way to the rest of the flock. Christ is “ given for a leader and commander to the people," and he it is, that opens the passage to glory for us, through the storms and tempests of his Father's wrath, and the rage of men and devils. Whatever allusion there may be in this name, yet it is abundantly plain, that it is Christ that is intended; for he that is called the Breaker in the beginning of the verse, is called their King, and Jehovah, in the close of it; their King shall pass before them, and Jehovah on the head of them : and who can bear this name, or wear the weight and worth of it, but he who
a name above every name.” 2. We have the courageous appearance of the glorious Redeemer in his breaking work. He comes up, he appears upon the field with an undaunted and heroic courage, to encounter enemies and opposition that stood in the way, he sets his face to it, and is not afraid to meet the enemy in the field of battle.
3. We have the party that he heads, or those in whose quarrel this Breaker appears; He comes up before them. This being a relative, leads you back to the preceding verse, where we find them set forth under the notion of a flock of sheep; silly, weak, and timorous creatures, that can do nothing in their own defence; the bark of a dog will make ten thousand of them to run. Such weak, helpless creatures are we, when - Christ appears for our relief, The breaker is come up before them. As for the other particulars in the verse, it is likely we may have occasion to point at them in the sequel of the discourse; at present, I offer this doctrine from the words.
OBSERVE, That as Christ is the Breaker up of our way to glory, so he comes up before us, for our encouragement, as the renowned Captain of salvation.
In discoursing on this doctrine, I shall endeavour, through divine assistance,
I. To inquire upon what account Christ is called the Breaker.
II. Speak of the coming up of this Breaker.
IlI. Inquire into the import of his coming up before his people.
IV. Show why he acts the part of a Breaker.
I. The first thing is, to inquire into the reason of this name, Why is Christ called the Breaker?
Answ. 1. In general he is so called, because of the great opposition he had to break through, in the glorious undertaking of our redemption, both in the purchase and application of it. The eternal Son of God had a spiritual kingdom to rear up in this lower world, among the lost family of Adam; but before he could effect his design, he must break in upon the powers of hell, and overthrow the usurped kingdom of the devil, who, because of the universal empire that he had obtained, is called " The god of this world." Accordingly, the first work that the Son of God undertakes, is, to bruise.or break the head of the serpent, Gen. iii. 15; that is, to destroy his power, or to wrest the government out of his hand; accordingly, when he had finished the work of our redemption upon the cross, he is said to have " spoiled principalities and powers, and made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it."
2. Having broken the head of the serpent, he breaks open his prison, and proclaims freedom and liberty to his prisoners. Had that question been put to all the angels in heaven, and men upon earth, which you have, Is. xlix. 24: “Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or shall the lawful captive be delivered ?" it would have silenced them, and put ihem to an eternal stand. Well, who answers the question? The blessed Breaker, that is come up before us, steps in, ver. 25: “ Thus saith the Lord, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered ; for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I . will save thy children.” O sirs, we had remained eternal captives to Satan, unless the Son of God had undertaken our deliverance, and broken the chains of our captivity, Zech. is.
11: " As for thee, also, by the blood of thy covenant, I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit, wherein there is no water."
3. He is fitly called the Breaker, because he breaks, up a new and living way, by which we have access to God and glory. The old way of the covenant of works was obstructed with so many obstacles, thorns, woes, and curses, that it was become impassable; none of the fallen race of Adam could enter by that road: but our blessed Goel, our kind Kinsman, comes, and by his obedience to death, opens up a new entrance or passage, by which we have access to God; and Christ himself is that way, John xiv. 6: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no man cometh to the Father, but by me.” Of this new way, cast up by the Breaker that is come up before us, the prophet Isaiah speaks, chap. xxxv. 8—10: “ A high-way shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called the way of holiness: the unclean shall not pass over it, but it shall be for those; the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein: no lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there. And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with songs, and everlasting joy upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away."
4. He is called the Breaker, because he breaks through the storms of divine wrath, the rage of men'and devils, in order to accomplish our redemption. The justice of God stood in his way, with a flaming sword, ready to be sheathed in his bowels; the curse of the broken law rolled mountains in his way: the armies of hell were combined to oppose bim in his work, many bulls compassed him, the strong bulls of Bashan surrounded him ; a sea of blood and sufferings presented him upon his undertaking: but such was the love of his heart, that he breaks through, he forces his way, setting bis face as a Nint against all discouragements.
5. He may be called the Breaker, because in a day of power he breaks the enmity of our hearts against him; “pulls down the strong-bolds of iniquity," that Satan has reared up in our hearts, “ bringing every thought into captivity unto his obe. dience.” The hearts of the children of men are, by nature, hard as leviathan's, Job xli. 24; but he breaks it by the ham. mer of his law. The heart is bolted against him with enmity, unbelief, pride, and prejudices, but these bars he breaks in pieces, by the power
of his victorious all-conquering grace. 6. He may be called the Breaker, because those who will not bow to his royal authority, he breaks in pieces: according to what you have, Psal. ii. 9: “ Thou shalt break them
as with a rod of iron, thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.” And Psal. Ixviii. 21: "He will wound the ħead of his enemies, and the hairy scalp of such a one as goeth on still in his trespasses.” Proud Pharaoh refuses to bow to his word and commandment, and the Lord breaks him, and his numerous host, and sinks them like lead in the mighty waters. He has many breaking judgments at hand, by which he can destroy whole nations and kingdoms, when they rebel against him, as we see in the ten plagues of Egypt.
7. He may be called the Breaker, because of the breaking trials that he many times brings upon his own people, and children in this world. “Thou breakest me," says Job (chap.
“ with breach upon breach, and runnest upon me like a giant.” Psal. xliv. 19 : “ Thou hast sore broken us in the place of dragons,” &c. And, indeed, escape who will, they shall not, if they offend him: "You only have I known of all the families of the earth, therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities,” Amos ü. 2. “If his children forsake my laws, and walk not in my judgments, if they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments, I will visit their transgressions with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes," Psal. Ixxxix. 30-32. And O! how breaking is the rod of a father to his own dear children, when they have provoked him by sin! David was so broken with a sense of God's anger against him, Psal. li. 8, that he is made to complain, that his bones were broken : “ Make me to hear joy and gladness, that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.”
8. He may be called the Breaker, because of his breaking judgments and calamities that he brings on a sinful or offending church and nation: such as sword, famine, pestilence, desolation by fire or water, the withdrawing of his Spirit
, the withdrawing of the means of grace. You see how the Lord breaks his barren vineyard, Is. v. 1–7.
II. The second thing was, to speak of the upcoming of Christ as the Breaker. I understand it of his coming up to avenge
the quarrel of his children and people. Like a mighty champion he takes the field, and enters the lists with the powers of hell and earth, in order to avenge the quarrel of his Israel.
You have a description of this renowned Champion, and of his coming up in his church's cause and quarrel, Is. lix. 1618: “And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor. Therefore his arm brought salvation unto him, and his righteousness, it sustained him. For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of ven