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2dly, His coming up to them implies, that their passage is hard and difficult, that their way is lined with many hardships, enemies, and difficulties; otherwise why would he come up as a Breaker to them? Some think that there is an allusion here to the custom of sending pioneers before the army, to level the way, and to make rough places plain, that the march of the army may not be retarded. Sirs, the way to heaven is an up the hill way; it is a thorny and rough way, where we may lay our account with many difficulties and trials: “ În the world," says Christ, " ye shall have tribuTation." It is not a peradventure, but a shall be, Rev. vii. 14: “ These are they who came out of great tribulation.” But here is your comfort, the Breaker has gone up before us; he has rolled the insuperable mountains of law and justice, sin and wrath, out of the way; and he has left nothing behind to impede our march to glory, but “ a few light afilictions which are but for a moment," and shall (through his overruling providence) “work for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."
3dly, His coming up to them implies his authority and right to rule and govern them, as a captain-general has power and authority in the army. I remember what the Lord said to Joshua, chap. v. 14, when appearing in the form of a man. Joshua asks him, “ Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?” Nay, says he, “ But as Captain of the host of the Lord am I now come.” So here, the Breaker is come up to them; it implies, that he is a head of government to them, and so it is implied in the close of the verse, their King shall pass before them, and the Lord on the head of them. God has set his Christ as his “ King upon his holy hill of Zion;" he has given him to be “ Head over all things to the church;” and his name is, The King of KixGS, AND LORD OF LORDS:' and, accordingly, they acknowledge his authority, saying, 6 The Lord is our King, the Lord is our Judge, the Lord is our Lawgiver; he will save us."
4thly, It implies not only authority, but strength and ability to support it. The Breaker that goes up before them is the mighty, yea, the almighty God: bis name is Jehovan that is on the head of them: hé rides in the heavens by his great name Jay, for the help of his Israel, and in his excellency on the sky. This is he that "weighs the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance; who metes out the heavens with a span, and comprehendeth the dust of the earth in a measure." Oh! who is able to stand before this mighty Breaker that is come up before them?
5thly, It implies their ignorance and inability to break up their own way.
There are two things in which believers are
exceedingly defective, while on their journey towards Immanuel's land.
1. They are ignorant of the way, as Thomas said, John xiv. 5: “How can we know the way,?" It is a way which lay hid in God, and which none was able to discover, unless Christ had done it. The Breaker is that Lion of the tribe of Judah, that breaks open the seven seals of the book of God's councils concerning our redemption. He breaks the seals of the book doctrinally, by revealing the will of God, and bringing life and immortality to light: and practically, by the powerful working of his Spirit, giving us an understanding to know him, that he is the way, the truth, and the life; and in this way, the wayfaring men, though fools, should walk and not err, when the Breaker goes up before them.
2. Inability is another thing incident to the saints while on their way. They want strength to walk in the way, when it is revealed. Well, but the Breaker goes up before them, and " he gives power to the faint, and increaseth strength to them that have no might."
6thly, The Breaker is gone up before them; it implies, that he has paved the road, and travelled the way before them, as their Leader and Commander. And there are three things especially, in which Christ goes before his people.
1. In obedience. 2. In suffering. 3. In going through death to glory.
1. He goes before us in obedience, for he himself was made under the law. Although, as to his own person, he was above the law, being the great Lawgiver, yet he submitted to obey it: as a Surety, he submitted to obey it as a covenant; and as a pattern of holiness and obedience, he submitted to 'it as a rule. Hence he calls us to learn of him, and to take bis yoke upon us, particularly the yoke of obedience to the law? for, says he, my “yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” A green yoke is galling and uneasy to the cattle, till it be well worn and used. Well,' says Christ, the yoke of my law, I have made easy, by using or wearing it before you.
I have fulfilled it as a covenant, and obeyed it as a rule, that it may not be uneasy.'
2. He goes before us in suffering. “Christ,” says the apostle Peter, “has suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow his steps. 1 Pet. ii. 21, and chap. iv. 1: “Forasmuch as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind;" namely, that ye may follow him in the same road of suffering. Hence also is that of the apostle, Heb. xii. 2, 3: “ Looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith; who, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame."
u Consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds."
3. The Breaker comes up before us through death, and by entering into glory as our Forerunner. Death, the king of terrors, sometimes looks with such an awful aspect, that the very thoughts of its approach, is enough to overwhelm us with fear and terror; and the apostle tells us of sone, “who, through fear of death, are all their lifetime subject to bondage.” Well, but how may a poor soul be delivered from the fear of death? Why, here is the antidote; the Breaker has come up before us through " the valley of the shadow of death;" he has broken the strength, and pulled out the sting of that formidable all conquering monarch, by his death and resurrection from the dead. He has shown us, that death is not the end of our course, but a passage into a happy immortality. Hence he promises, that whosoever believes in him, * though he were dead, yet shall he live.” And again, he shall not so be devoured of death and the grave, but " he will raise him up at the last day.” Thus the apostle argues at large, 1 Cor. xv. 12—21. Christ has gone before us through death, ver. 20, and become the “ first fruits of them that sleep.” Had Christ passed into heaven before he died, as Enoch and Elias, we had wanted the great pledge and evidence of a future immortality. But Christ, as the great Captain of our salvation, suffered, died, and then entered into his glory; to assure us, that in this road we are to follow him, that we may be with him.
7thly, The Breuker is come up before them ; it implies his routing and discomfiting all those enemies that stood in the way of our salvation.
The principal enemies that the believer has to grapple with are these: 1. Satan; 2. Sin; 3. The world; and, 4. Death. Now, the Breaker, by going up before us, routed and broke the strength of all these enemies.
1. As for Satan, he has bruised his head, and through death destroyed him.
2. As for the world, he has vanquished both its smiling and frownings : " Be ye of good comfort,” says he, “ I have overcome the world."
3. As for sin, he has a tinished transgression, and made an end of sin : condemned sin in the flesh.” By his sacrifice on the cross, he condemned it as an arch-traitor against Heaven.
4. As for death, he entered the territories of the grave, and spoiled it of its power and strength: “O death, I will be thy plague; O grave, I will be thy destr ction." These enemies made an attempt upon the Son of God, but they were all
foiled in the enterprise.-The Breaker that went up before us has broken and shattered them, so that we have no cause to fear them. We see by what Christ has done, that these enemies are not invincible; that their power is not uncontrollable; they were conquered by him as our Head and Representative in our cause and quarrel; and therefore we may, by faith, take up and divide the spoils, saying, “ Thanks be unto God, which always causeth us io triumph in Christ;" for what was done by the Head, in his own person, shall shortly be done in all the members.
But farther, I say, that Christ, by engaging with these enemies, has quite maimed and disarmed them, and taken away their right to hurt any of his friends and followers. , By the breach of the covenant of works, these enemies have a lawright over all the children of men: the curse of the broken law gave
Satan a law-right to rule, the world to vex, sin to enslave, death to destroy us, and give us up to hell. All this was contained in that hand-writing which was against us, and contrary to us.” But now, Christ
the cross tore and cancelled that hand-writing, by satisfying justice, and becoming a curse for us; and ever since, the devil has no law-right to tempt or molest; the world has no law-right to trouble or molest; sin has no legal dominion, nor death any right to sting or frighten any member of Christ. The inroads which these enemies make upon the believer, are nothing else, if duly considered, but illegal invasions and usurpations; and a believer in Christ, viewing the death and satisfaction of Christ, by which he cancelled that hand-writing, whenever any of these enemies attack him, he may
warrant. ably look them in the face, and say, Where is your warrant in law to trouble or molest me? Your law-right fell to the ground, when my Head and Surety tore the hand-writing that was against me. And you know, whatever power or strength an enemy may have, yet it weakens and dispirits him exceedingly when his law-right is challenged, and he cannot show it; because, in this case, his actions are but vicious [intrusions,] and he may be treated as a thief and robber. So, then, learn to deal with your enemies upon a law-ground, upon the footing of the death and satisfaction of Jesus Christ; this would both inspire you with courage in your resistance, and dispirit them in their attacks.
8thly, The Breaker is gone up before them; it implies, the way to heaven is patent, and that there is no legal bar or impediment to stop or hinder their passage to the land of glory, whither the Breaker is gone up. Christ has come up to uş, as a Surety and Representative, and by his obedience to the death, has given complete satisfaction to the law and justice
of God, and so has cleared the way of all legal impediments, arising from the breach of the first covenant. Hence it is, that believers, through the death and resurrection of Christ, are put in a capacity to challenge all adversaries and accusations, saying, as Rom. viii. 33, 34: “ Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth, who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” As if the apostle had said, The Breaker is come up before us ; and, therefore, what have we to fear from hell or earth, if the great Judge be satisfied ?
9thly, The Breaker is come up before them ; it implics, that whatever dangers, or difficulties, or opposition, be in their way, yet they are in absolute safety under his guidance. When their king passeth before them, and Jehovah on the head of them, what have they to fear? For when he arises, all their enemies are scattered. Hence it is, that the Lord so frequently checks the unbelieving fears of his people, upon account of those dangers and enemies they are threatened with in their way, Is. xli. 10: “Fear thou not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God: I will help thee, yea, I will strengthen thee, yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” Accordingly, when faith views the presence of a reconciled God in Christ, it contemns and despises the most threatening dangers, Psal. xxiii. 4: “ Yea, though I pass through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me."
IV. The fourth thing was, to inquire into the grounds and reasons of this dispensation, why does Christ break up the way to his people? why does he come up upon the field in their quarrel?
Answ. 1st, Because they were given to him of the Father, as a heritage or possession, Psal. ii., John xvii: "Thine they were, and thou gavest them me.” Now, Christ makes very much of his Father's gift, they are beloved of him for his Father's sake; and for the sake of his Father who gave him them, he will break up the way before them.
2dly, Because they are the purchase of his blood; he has bought them from the hand of justice, at a dear rate. The blessed Breaker was broken in their quarrel, “ He was wounded for their transgressions, and bruised for their iniquity;" and therefore it is no wonder that he comes up in their cause, and opens the way to them through the armies of hell.
3dly, Because his faithfulness is engaged to lead them in their way through all the difficulties of their pilgrimage, "I