THE FOUNTAIN-HEAD OF ALL BLESSINGS; OR, THE GREAT STORE-HOUSE OPENED.
This subject was the substance of three Sermons. The first was an action-sermon, preached immediately before the celebration of the sacrament of the Lord's Supper at Dunfermline, August 10, 1740. To which is annexed a discourse at the service of the first table. The other two sermons were delivered at the same place, sometime after the sacrament.
"All things are of God." 2 Corinthians 5:8. [The Second Sermon on this Text.]
THE FOUNTAIN-HEAD OF ALL BLESSINGS; OR, THE GREAT STORE-HOUSE OPENED.
This subject was the substance of three Sermons. The first was an action-sermon, preached immediately before the celebration of the sacrament of the Lord's Supper at Dunfermline, August 10, 1740. To which is annexed a discourse at the service of the first table. The other two sermons were delivered at the same place, sometime after the sacrament.
"All things are of God." 2 Corinthians 5:8. [The Second Sermon on this Text.]
My friends, here is a short, but very substantial and comprehensive text, God, and all things are in it. If our thirst were great this day, here we may drink our fill, not only at the streams, the word and sacrament, and the good things, the great things held forth therein, for all things are here; but also at the fountainhead of all things that we want, by beholding and believing that "all things are of God." The nearer we come to the fountain this day, the better and the sweeter; and the surer will our communion be: for streams may fail us, and take a different turn; ministers may fail us, and be but dry breasts without milk; frames may fail us and that which hath a sweet flow, may soon have a sad ebb; yea, flesh and heart, and all things may fail us: but there is a fountain of light, and life, and comfort, and of all good things here, that is always full, and never empty, that is constantly flowing, and never ebbing, that never changes, but is perpetually the same. And could we fix the heart and eye of faith upon this fountain of all things, we might have a fall communion this day, or a communion with fullness, notwithstanding of emptiness.
Though you were saying, I want a pardon, I want a blessing, I want a frame, I want all things I should have: yet faith may say, that is no matter; I have what is better than all these things, I have the fountain here present, the God in whom I live, move, and have my being; in whom, and from whom I have all: "Having nothing, I possess all things;" for, "All things are of God." If this be a feast-day, here is ample provision; here is a stream-feast, all things in Christ: here is a fountain-feast, "All things are of God." If the stream be let out, then here is enough for sense, all things: yea, though these streams should be dry, yet here is enough for faith and hope; "All things are of God."
The verse immediately preceding shows us what view we are to have of the all things here spoken of; for we are told there, that "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." So that the all things here intended, are these that relate to the new creation in Christ Jesus. The context immediately following shows us, what view we are to have of this God viz., as a reconciled God in Christ; for the words are, "All things are of God who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ; and hath committed to us the ministry of reconciliation, to wit, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them, and hath committed to us the word of reconciliation." Hence the text in this view affords us the following doctrine:
Observation: "That all things relating to the new creation in Christ Jesus, are of God, as a reconciled God in him."
This is a great point of saving knowledge, as you see from Christ's words to his Father concerning his disciples, "Now they have known, that all things whatsoever thou hast given me, are of thee," (John 17:7). To this agrees that word, "The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand," (John 3:35). Whatever blessings then we share of out of Christ's hand, are given first out of the Father's hand; for, "All things are of God." See also to this purpose, "By grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God." It is of God: "Not of works, lest any man should boast: for we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained, that we should walk in them," (Eph. 2:8-10). Where it is evident, that all things relating to the new creation in Christ Jesus are of God; "All things are of God."
The method we would lay down, for the prosecuting of this observation, through divine aid, shall be the following:
I. We would instance some of these "all things," relating to the new creation, that are of God.
II. Inquire how all these things are of God?
III. Whence it is that "all things are of God?"
IV. Make application of the whole subject.
I. We would instance some of these "all things" relating to the new creation, in Christ Jesus that are of God. "If any man be in Christ Jesus, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new," (v. 17). Who makes them so? Why, God says of himself, "Behold I make all things new," (Rev. 21:5); and here it is said of him, "All things are of God," namely, all the new things here spoken of; particularly,
1. The new birth is of God; and therefore they that are born again, are said to be born of God, (1 John 3:9; 5:1). They are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God," (John 1:13). They are born of the Spirit, (John 3:5-6; 8). And hence, to the same purpose,
2. The new heart is of God; "A new heart will I give you, and a new Spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh," (Ezek. 36:26). If you get a believing heart this day, it will be of God; if you get a humble heart, a praying heart, a loving heart, a tender heart, a fixed heart, it must be of God.
3. The new life is of God, who is the fountain of life, and who saith unto us, when we are in our blood, Live, (Ezek. 16:6). The spiritual life, hid with Christ in God, is of God. Why, the life of justification in Christ, is of God; "It is God that juatifieth, who is he that shall condemn?" The life of sanctification and holiness is of God; "I am the Lord that sanctifieth you."
4. The new light is of God; "The God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined into our hearts, to give us the light of the knowledge of his glory in the face of Jesus Christ," (2 Cor. 4:6). God is the Father of all lights, natural and spiritual; "Every good and perfect gift cometh down from the Father of Lights," (Jam. 1:17).
5. The new liberty is of God; "The Lord looseth the prisoners," (Ps. 146:7), "and where the Spirit of God is, there is liberty," (2 Cor. 3:17). If any bonds be loosed here this day, God must get the glory of it: and the soul that is loosed from the bonds and fetters of darkness, doubts, fears, and unbelieving jealousy, so as to be at liberty to serve the Lord with freedom, ought to say, "Thou halt loosed my bonds."
6. The new garment is of God: it is he that clothed us with the garments of salvation, and covers us with the robe of righteousness, (Isa. 61:10). It is of God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, speaking in the plural number, that says to the spouse of Christ, "We will make thee borders of gold, with studs of silver," (Song 2:11) The robe of imputed righteousness is of God's making; He by whom Christ is made sin for us, by him we are made the righteousness of God in him, (2 Cor. 5:21). The robe of imparted grace and holiness is of God's making; "The king's daughter is all glorious within, her clothing is of wrought gold," (Ps. 45:13); wrought by the finger of God, whose workmanship the new creature is.
In a word, All things relating to the new creation in Christ, are of God. The new eye is of God, who opens the eyes of the understanding. The new ear is of God, who opens the ear to discipline, and seals instruction. The new tongue and language is of God, who creates the fruit of the lips. The new food for immortal souls is of God's giving; "My Father giveth you the true bread." The new appetite and desire after Christ is of God, who draws it out after him; "No man can come to me, except the Father, which hath sent me, draw him." The new will is of God, who maketh willing in the day of his power. The new hope is of God, in opposition to the old hope of our life upon our doing so and so. The hew hope of life, upon the doing, dying, and rising of Christ, is of God, who hath begotten us again to a lively hope, by the resurrection of Christ from the dead. The new walk is of God, who says, "I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes." The new strength is of God, who giveth power to the faint, and to him that hath no might he increaseth strength. All our new ability and sufficiency is of him; "We are not sufficient of ourselves, to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God." All things relating to the new creation are of God. The new heaven and the new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness, is of God, who maketh all things new. The new covenant is of God, who says, "I have made a covenant with my chosen." The new-covenant feast is of God: "In this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto all his people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined," (Isa. 25:6).
II. The second general head proposed was, To show how all these things are of God.
1. "All things are of God," as the contriver and wilier of them. The old creation was a great contrivance; but the new creation is not only a great, but a good, and yet a more glorious contrivance. It could never have been devised but in the breast of infinite Wisdom. All proceeds from an act of God's sovereign will: "Of his own will begat he us, by the word of truth," (Jam. 1:18) and, "By this will we are sanctified, through the body of Christ, once for all," (Heb. 10:10) Hence all the promises of the new covenant are so many I wills. "I will be your God; I will take away the heart of stone; I will put my Spirit within you," (Ezek. 36:25-30), &c.
2. "All things are of God," not only as the contriver, wilier, and promiser of them, but also as the Creator, worker, and effecter of them. Who creates the clean heart; who creates the fruit of the lips; who creates the new heavens, and the new earth; who makes the faculties of the soul like a new heaven, in point of spirituality; and the members of the body like a new earth, in point of instrumentality for service? Who, but God the Lord doth all these things? (Isa. 45:7). Who turneth men, who are like beasts, into saints? "Behold, I will do a new thing: the beasts of the field shall honour me, the dragon and the owl. This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise," (Isa. 43:19-21). Hence our Lord saith, "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work," (John 5:17).
3. "All things are of God," as the disposer, director, and manager; as he upholdeth all things by the word of his power, (Heb. 1:3), "Fear not, for I am with thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness," (Isa. 41:10); so he orders and disposes all things in the new creation, according to his sovereign pleasure; partly, by preserving and maintaining all things that he hath wrought; partly, by advancing, building up, and furthering his work; and partly, by restoring and repairing all things relating to the new creation, that fall under a decay: "Thy visitation hath preserved my spirit," saith Job. "The builder of all things is God," saith the apostle. "He restoreth my soul," saith David. "They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine," (Hosea 14:7).
He allots to everyone such a share of all things that are of him in the new creation, as he sees fit to grant. As he hath mercy on whom he will have mercy, so the vessels of mercy are sometimes very empty, sometimes half-full, and sometimes overflow with communications: "Even so, Father, for so it seemeth good in thy sight." "All things are of God." How comes it, that the praying vessel of mercy, the praying soul is like a dry vessel, not a drop can fall from it; and, at other times, able to pour out a prayer, to pour out water like a flood before the Lord? Why, the reason is, "All things are of God," as the disposer. How comes it, that there is such an ebbing of grace in the believer at times, and such a flowing of the raging, roaring tide of corruption, as grace cannot be seen; and such an ebb of corruption, at other times, and flowing of grace, like an overwhelming flood, that sin and corruption seem to be drowned, and cannot be seen? Why, it must be resolved ultimately into divine unaccountable sovereignty: "Be still, and know that I am God," (Ps. 46:10). All things are of him, as the wise disposer.
4. "All things are of God, as the perfecter and completer thereof: for, as he is a rock, and his work is perfect, so he will not leave the new creation-work unperfected: "Being confident of this very thing, that he that hath begun the good work, will perform it, [perfect or finish it, as in the margin] until the day of Jesus Christ," (Phil. 1:6); that as it is already complete in Christ the head, (Col. 2:10), so it may be complete in all the members of his body, who are to be presented at last a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, (Eph. 5:27).
In a word, all things, relating to the new creation, are of God, in Christ; of the purpose and decree of God, of the will and pleasure of God, of the word and promise of God, of the Spirit and power of God, of the grace and mercy of God, of the work and operation of God; and, if there be any good or great work among us this day, or at this occasion, it must be of God, as the worker; and therefore, let us imitate David, "I will cry unto God most high, unto God that performeth all things for me;" (Ps. 57:2), and acknowledge, with the apostle, "It is God that worketh in us both to will and to do, of his good pleasure;" (Phil. 2:13), that he may get the praise that the church ascribes to him, "Lord, thou hast wrought all works in us and for us," (Isa. 26:12).
III. The third thing proposed was, To give the reasons why "all things are of God, that relate to the new creation." I offer these four grounds of the doctrine.
1. "All things are of God," because he is God, and it is his will to be the Author of all things, "Thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created," (Rev. 4:11). Being God, he is the fountain of all things and beings; the fountain of life: as without him nothing was made that was made; so, without him no new creation can take place; neither men nor angels can create: "In the beginning God created heaven and earth, and all things in them;" and he only could do it, because he is God, and there is none else. And if all things be made new, a new heaven and a new earth, a new heart and a new life, a new faith and a new hope, he only can do it, because he is God, and there is none else. The work here is greater; for, when he made the world, there was nothing to resist him; but all the powers of earth and hell oppose this new work.
2. "All things are of God," relating to the new creation, because he therein designs the glory of his perfections. He that is the beginning, is the end of all things; and all things are of him, because they are to him; "For of him, and through him, and to him are all things," (Rom. 11:36). Of him, as the efficient; through him, as the disposing; and to him, as the final cause. And, particularly, the new creation of all things in Christ Jesus is for the manifestation of his glory: "Thy people shall be all righteous, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified," (Isa. 60:22). "That they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified," (Isa. 63:1). And again, as in the forecited text, "This people have I formed for myself, they shall shew forth my praise." He makes them to himself a peculiar people, to show forth the praise of him that called them out of darkness into his marvelous light. Yea, they will never be so active in showing forth his glory, as he is active in glorifying himself, in showing forth his own glory herein; therefore, "Sing, O ye heavens, for the Lord hath done it; shout, ye lower parts of the earth; for the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel," (Isa. 44:23). He hath designed, in all things, the glory of all his perfections.
3. "All things are of God," relating to the new creation, because all things relating to redemption and reconciliation, which is the ground upon which the new creation stands, are of God. Here is a special ground why all these things are of God, that relate to the new creation; why, the new creation is in Christ the Redeemer, and all things relating to this Redeemer, and redemption through him, are of God.
And here I shall give instances why the Redeemer himself is of God. It is true, the Redeemer, Christ Jesus, is God, being the eternal Son, co-equal with the Father: yet, as Redeemer, he is of God; he took not this honor to himself, but was chosen and called of God unto it; and so he is a Redeemer of God's calling and electing, (Isa. 42:1). Everything he hath, as Redeemer, is of God. As his divine Sonship is of God the Father, by eternal, ineffable generation, so his human nature is of God, by special, wonderful donation. Therefore Christ says, "A body hast thou given me," i.e., a human nature. His divine person, in the constitution thereof, as God-man Mediator, is of God: therefore God says, "A virgin shall bring forth a Son, and his name shall be called Immanuel, God with us." His mission is of God; for, "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." His saving offices are of God, who says, "I have found David my servant; with mine holy oil have I anointed him; I have laid help upon One that is mighty." And that our help might be laid upon him, our sin and guilt was laid upon him; and this imputation of our sin to him is of God: "The Lord hath laid upon him the iniquity of us all. He hath made him to be sin for us." His ability to execute these offices is of God; for, "Him hath God the Father sealed;" and he opens up his sealed commission: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised," (Luke 4:18; Isa. 61:1). His furniture and fullness is of God; for, "It pleased the Father, that in him should all fulness dwell;" and he says, "I have put my Spirit upon him, and he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles." His fittedness for us, and our necessities, is of God; for, "Of God he is made unto us righteousness, sanctification, and redemption." His work of doing and suffering is of God; and his warrant to do and suffer for us is of God: "He is the man of God's right hand, whom he made strong for himself and who could say, "I have power to lay down my life for my sheep, and power to take it up again: this commandment have I received of my Father." His approbation in this work is of God, who says, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased;" and Christ says, "Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it up again." His satisfactory sacrifice that he offered to justice is of God; for, "It pleased the Lord to bruise him. He spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all; and the sacrifice was of a sweet-smelling savour unto God." His being a ransom for us is of God, who says, "I have found a ransom; therefore deliver his soul from going down to the pit." His being a propitiation for us is of God, for he hath set him forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood. His death, which we commemorate this day is of God whose holy hand overruled the wicked hands of men in crucifying him at Jerusalem: for, "Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, says the apostle, "and by wicked hands have crucified and slain;" and they did whatsoever his hand and his counsel determined before to be done. His resurrection from the dead is of God; "Ye killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, whereof we are witnesses," (Acts 3:15). He did not suffer his holy One to see corruption. His exaltation and glorification is of God; for, "Because he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, therefore God hath highly exalted him, &c.; and, "By him we believe in God who raised him from the dead, and gave him glory," (1 Pet. 1:21)—His blessed tongue, by which he pleads for us in heaven, and speaks into our hearts on earth is of God; for Christ says, "The Lord hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I may speak a word in season to the weary." And he hath made him a Priest forever.—His headship over the church is of God: for "He hath given him to be Head over all things to the church." His Lordship is of God; therefore saith the apostle, "Let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ."—His universal dominion is of God; "All power in heaven and in earth is given unto me," says Christ. His principality and Saviourship is of God, "Who hath exalted him with his right-hand to be a Prince and Saviour to give repentance to Israel, and remission of sin." And, as his coming in the flesh is of God; so his coming in the clouds of heaven, his coming to judgment is of God; "Because he hath appointed a day, in which he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he hath ordained," (Acts 17:31). And till that awful day come, his coming in the Spirit from time to time is of God; "I will pray the Father, says Christ, and he shall give you another Comforter, that shall abide with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth," (John 14:16). See also "I will send him unto you from the Father," (John 15:26). All his usefulness to us is of God who says to him, "I will give thee for a covenant of the people, a light to the Gentiles, to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison-house, (Isa. 42:6-7); and to be my salvation to the end of the earth," (Isa. 40:6). His gifts and graces for our use are of God; "He hath received them for men, even for the rebellious."—In a word, all things that he hath are of God; "The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand." Why then, "All things are of God: all things that are in Christ are of God. O what a precious Christ is this! O what of God is in this Christ! He is the Christ of God the Son of God, the Sent of God, the Sealed of God, the Gift of God, the Word of God, the Wisdom of God, the Power of God, the Lamb of God, the Image of God, the centre of all the perfections of God; "My faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him, and in my name shall his horn be exalted." Surely then all things relating to the new creation in Christ are of God, because all things relating to redemption and reconciliation in Christ, which is the foundation of that new creation are of God.
4. Another reason of the doctrine is, All things are of God, relating to the new creation in Christ, because he is a reconciled God in Christ; so say the words following the text, "All things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation, to wit, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself." Now all things are of him, and from him, as he is, and because he is a reconciled God in Christ: if he were not so, we could expect nothing, we could have no ground of hope; but because he is reconciled in Christ, pacified and appeased in him; therefore we have ground of faith and hope for all things contained in the covenant of reconciliation in Christ, who, having fulfilled the condition of that covenant hath paid the price of them all to his infinite satisfaction; and therefore is ready to give out all things we need freely to us, upon the ground of that righteousness, through which his grace reigns to eternal life. And hence, in the context here, God as a reconciled God in Christ is represented to us.
(1.) As a giving God: giving to us the word of reconciliation, that we may give it to you; and that you may take it upon his word, that he is a reconciled God.
(2.) He is represented also as a pardoning God; not imputing our trespasses to us, but imputing our sin to Christ, and his righteousness to us, that he might be sin for us, and we the righteousness of God in him.
(3.) He is represented as a praying God; praying us to be reconciled to him, because he is reconciled and well-pleased in Christ; "As though God did beseech you by us, we pray you, in Christ's stead be ye reconciled unto God." And,
(4.) He is represented as a God powerfully effecting this reconciliation, and ready to make us yield to this treaty of peace: for whereas it is said, "He hath committed to us the word of reconciliation;" (v. 20) in the margin it is put in us. He hath put it in us, that by us he may put it in you, even in your heart, and cause your heart to yield to the word of reconciliation.
As all things are of him, so this among the rest, that he makes sinners to believe the gospel of his grace, kills the natural enmity this way, and actually makes up the peace. It is he who inclines the hearts of sinners, to hearken to the offers of Christ, to believe the word of reconciliation, and so be at peace with God, and reconciled to him, who, being reconciled to us in Christ, gives out all things needful through him. And why is it that sinners get so little from him, that hath all things to give out through Christ, but because we cannot believe, that he is a reconciled God in Christ? We take him to be no friend, but an enemy; and therefore can have no confidence in him: but, O sirs, we might come good speed at his hand this day, if we could believe him to be a reconciled God in Christ. Whatever good cause he hath to be angry at us, and to give us nothing; yet he is well-pleased in, and hath no cause to be angry at Christ, in whom he hath all good things to give. Thus you see why all things needful to make us up this day and forever, are of God.
IV. The fourth head proposed was, To offer some inferences for application. Is it so, that all things relating to the new creation in Christ Jesus are of God? Then,
1. Hence we may see the substance of the sacramental supper, which we have here before us, both as to the matter and Maker of it. The matter of it is all things. Christ and all good things with him, called a feast of fat things. The Maker and Master of the feast is God; "All things are of God," as a reconciled God in Christ; all things that relate to the, new creation, the new covenant that stands fast in Christ, are of God. Here is the sum and substance of the sacramental feast.
2. Hence see, that we are equally obliged to the whole glorious Trinity, for all things that belong to the new creation in Christ Jesus; for, "All things are of God;" all things are of God the Father, in the Son, by the Holy Ghost. Think not diminutively of the Father's love and grace, besides that of the Son of God, our Saviour: for the Father sent him, the Father sealed him, the Father anointed him with the Holy Ghost for that great work. Christ is the ordinance of God for our recovery from the pit of sin and misery. "All things are of God."
3. Hence see, if "all things be of God," then nothing is of man. Let all boasting be excluded, and "Let him that glorieth, glory in the Lord:" for, not only all our temporal outward blessings are of God, our life, and health, and liberty, and comforts; as the very heathens could say,
O Melibæe, Deus nobis hæc otia fecit;
[God has given us this tranquility (leisure)]
but also all our spiritual blessings are of God, so as the Christian should say, My new life is of God, my righteousness is of God, my strength is of God, my faith and hope is of God. Let Arminian doctrine be doomed and disclaimed by all that would have God glorified, and their souls saved. Let the doctrine of man's freewill and natural powers fall before the ark of God, the doctrine of God's free grace, and of his divine power; for "All things are of God." Let none assume a deity to themselves, as if they were gods; but come down and lie in the dust: "Let the haughtiness of man be brought down, and the loftiness of man laid low, that the Lord alone may be exalted," (Isa. 47:1). O that he would stain the pride of man!
4. Hence see a strong motive to the use of means. Indeed, the language of proud nature, upon hearing that "All things are of God," is, Then we may ramble at our pleasure, and need use no means, for God must do all: but, though all is of him, in point of power; yet there is something incumbent upon us, in point of means; and the language of Scripture bears this as the greatest encouragement to use the means, that the blessing of them depends on God. This you see in outward affairs of life. What encouragement hath the laboring man to plough and sow the ground? Why, God hath promised seedtime and harvest, and he usually gives it; and, if man had not that encouragement, he needed not put to his hand: so, in spirituals, we are called to work out the work of our salvation with fear and trembling. Why? what encouragement have we, since nothing is of us? The encouragement follows, "It is God that worketh in you, both to will and to do, of his good pleasure," (Phil. 2:13). And, indeed, if the willing power and the doing power were not of God, you could have no heart or hope in the use of the means; but because it is of him, therefore up and be doing. Thus, the witnessing work for Reformation at this day, it must be of God; for it is he that buildeth the temple, and shall bear the glory; therefore we should put to our hand and build with hope. Thus, if believing work and communicating work were not of God, we would have no ground of hope this day: but, that "All things are of God," is the greatest encouragement. As the work is of God, we are to stand still and see the salvation of God, as was said to Israel at the Red Sea: and, therefore in point of means, we are to speak to ourselves, and to the people, that they go forward. Though there was a Red Sea in the way, and insuperable difficulties to surmount, let us go forward and see the work of God, the salvation of God in Christ Jesus.
5. Hence see an evidence of faith, by which we may try and examine ourselves, before we go to the Lord's Table. One sure mark may be as probative and evidential as twenty. Try then if your faith be founded upon the saving knowledge of this; that "All things are of God." Do you know that all things relating to the new covenant, and the new creation, are of God? This is such a point of saving knowledge, that it is observed in Christ's prayer to the Father, as a high attainment and a special character of his people; "Now, they have known, that all things whatsoever thou hast given me, are of thee:" (John 17:7) q.d. They are otherwise taught than the blasphemous Jews, who thought of my person, that I was but a man, the carpenter's son: and, of my miraculous works, that they were of the devil, as if I had been in compact with him: but, "They have known, that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee;" that they are neither of men nor of devils, but of God.
Now, examine if ever you have got this view, namely, the knowledge and faith of this, that Christ is wholly the Christ of God; that his commission and authority is of God, he being sent of the Father: that all his offices and powers are of God: that all the gifts of the Spirit, all his graces and comforts, which God gave him without measure, were all from God, contrived by his wisdom, appointed by his will, and designed by his grace for his own glory, in our salvation.
What gives you satisfaction in believing and relying upon Christ? Is it that sure and good bottom, that all that Christ is and hath, is of God; that all that he hath said, is of God; that all that he hath done, is of God; that all that he doing, is of God; that all that he will do, is of God; that his whole mediation, and all his mediatorial actings are of God; and that therefore you may well venture your soul and salvation upon him? Hath this given confidence to your faith of justification, through his righteousness, because it is the righteousness of God; and to your faith of sanctification, through his grace, because it is the grace of God; and to your faith of washing in his blood, because it is the blood of God? This is true faith indeed, built upon the foundation of God's laying in Zion.
Do you know and believe, that all things whatsoever the Father gave to Christ, are of God still; that not only they were of God's giving, but are still the things of God? This is what the Spirit shows, when he comes to glorify Christ: "He shall glorify me; for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. All things that the Father hath, are mine; therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you," (John 16:14-15). All things that the Father hath are his and all spiritual blessing are given by the Father to the Son for us, and the Son entrusts the Spirit to convey them to us, and so to glorify Christ, by showing that all his things are of the Father. And, as it is remarkable here how Christ gives his Father the glory of all things that are given him, declaring that they are of God; so the true and saving knowledge of Christ leads the soul natively to God, and to give God the glory of all things that Christ hath. And, indeed, the knowledge of Christ would not save us, if it did not lead us to the knowledge of God himself: therefore, says Christ, as Mediator, "I am the way," not the end; "No man cometh to the Father but by me." You must not terminate the knowledge of Christ, in Christ himself, but use it as a medium and way to bring you to the Father; for, "By him we believe in God, who raised him from the dead, and gave him glory, that our faith and hope might be in God," (1 Pet. 1:21); for, "All things are of God." And hence, the faith of Christ, which is beyond all mistake and delusion, is such a faith of Christ as terminates in God, in the enjoyment of God, in the love of God, the fear of God, the worship and service of God, the honor and glory of God in Christ. Thus by your faith of this doctrine,
6. Hence see an open door of faith and hope to sinners and saints. I am come to tell you this day, that as all things you have already, as creatures, are of God, as a creating God; your life is of God, your breath is of God, your being is of God, in whom you live, and move, and have your being: so all things you want and need to have, as new creatures, are of God, as a redeeming God, a promising and giving God, in Christ Jesus. God hath set up a ladder between heaven and earth, between him and us. Christ, the God-man, is the true Jacob's-ladder, by which we may ascend up to God. By the gospel of God, this ladder is discovered to you: and now this day God is showing himself at the top of the ladder, proclaiming that all things are of him, and saying, "Behold, I make all things new."
Here is an open door of faith and hope to you, man, woman, who are destitute of all things, and by nature cursed in the want of all things, because of your want of God, of whom all things are. Here you may see not only the foundation of all the good things you need and want, that are of God; but also the channel through which, and the reason why you may hope and expect to have them; because all things are of him, as a reconciled God in Christ. If you look upon God as an enemy, you will expect no good thing from him; and, indeed, the first look that a sinner brought to Christ gets of God, is of God in the law, as a sin-revenging God. And, as you are a sinner and transgressor of God's laws, you are doomed to death and wrath, and have nothing to look for from God, but destruction and damnation. But, if you see this, and be crying out, "What shall I do to be saved," who am such a vile and guilty sinner beyond all sinners? Then view him in the gospel-glass upon the top of the ladder of mercy, on a throne of grace, as reconciled by Jesus Christ to you. You, by your sin, have provoked him; but Christ, by his righteousness, hath reconciled him to you: and the word of reconciliation is committed unto us, and we must execute our commission, by preaching the gospel to every creature, and proclaiming him to be a reconciled God in Christ to you, O sinner; and, O sirs, if this moment you could believe that God is in Christ,, reconciling the world to himself, and reconciling you to himself, you would no longer doubt, that he is ready to give you all things that you want. Life and pardon, grace and glory, and all good things are of God, and ready to be given to you upon the price paid for them by the Son of God. You cannot think, perhaps, that there is anything to be expected from God for such a sinner as you are; but think again, whether anything, yea, all things good and great may be expected from God, because of such a righteousness as Christ's is, and because of such a Beloved as Christ is, and such a love as the Father bears to him; for all things relating to the new creation, and the new covenant in Christ Jesus, are exhibited to you, in the gospel, only in him.
Here then is good news and glad tidings to all people that hear this gospel that all things, relating to the new heaven and the new earth, are of God. Good news to the hardened, unconvinced sinner; conviction is of God, who promiseth to send his Spirit to convince the world of sin. Good news to you that are not yet regenerated; regeneration is of God, who, of his own will begets us, by the word of truth. O sirs, cast yourselves down at the footstool of sovereign grace, reigning through the righteousness of Christ to eternal life. Here is good news to you, guilty sinner; justification is of God in Christ: He is the God that justifies the ungodly, and hath set forth Christ to be the propitiation through faith in his blood. Here is good news to the polluted sinner; purification and sanctification is of God in Christ: "The God of peace can sanctify you wholly. I am the Lord that sanctifieth you. Good news to miserable wretched sinners: redemption is of God in Christ, who of God is made to you wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. Good news to the weak and impotent soul, that can do nothing; for power and ability is of God in Christ, who says, "He giveth power to the faint, and to him that hath no might he increaseth strength." Good news to the weary and restless; soul-rest is of God in Christ, who says, "Come to me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Good news to the unbelieving soul, plagued with an evil heart of unbelief that faith is of God: it is the gift of God in Christ, who is the author and finisher of it. Good news to the impenitent and hard-hearted sinner that sees the stony heart will not break, the new heart, and the heart of flesh is of God: the penitent heart is of God, who exalted Christ to be a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance to Israel, and remission of sins. Here is good news to the soul diseased and overrun with all spiritual maladies; health and healing is of God in Christ, whose name is Jehovah-Rophi, "I am the Lord that healeth thee." Good news to the black deformed soul, all blackened, as it were, with the smoke of hell; beauty is of God, who says, "Though ye have lien among the pots, ye shall be as the wings of a dove, covered over with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold." Good news is here to the tempted soul, tossed with the horrid suggestions of Satan: the way to escape is of God in Christ, the God of peace that shall bruise Satan under your feet. Good news to the harassed, distressed, and oppressed soul, sighing under some heavy burden; relief is of God, who is a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in a time of trouble: your time of need is his time of pity, who is the burden-bearer; "Cast thy burden on the Lord, and he will sustain thee."
Let the disconsolate conceive hope in him: for consolation is of God; he is the God of all consolation. Let the poor and needy conceive hope; for your sufficiency is of God; your supply is of God. Let the naked and starving soul conceive hope; for food and raiment is of God, who feeds the ravens, and clothes the lilies, and how much more will he feed and clothe you, O ye of little faith! As all things are of him, so the bread of life and the garment of salvation also. O let the bound and fettered soul have hope in him; for, liberty is of God; "The Lord looseth the prisoners:" and God hath anointed Christ with the Spirit, to proclaim liberty to the captives. Let the bewildered soul here, that hath lost its way in this dark and cloudy time, conceive hope in him; for light and leading is of God, who hath promised to lead the blind in a way they know not, and in paths which they have not trode.
May not the barren and fruitless souls conceive hope here? Fruitfulness is of God, who hath said, "Instead of the thorn, shall come up the fir tree; and instead of the brier, shall come up the myrtle-tree; and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off." May not the withered soul conceive hope here? For a blessed watering is of God, who says, he will pour waters on the thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground. O! let the backsliding and back-falling soul conceive hope here; for recovery and restoration is of God, who says, "I will heal their backslidings. I have seen his ways, and will heal him, and restore comforts to him and his mourners." O! let even the graceless souls, that have any sense of their graceless state, see a door of hope here; for grace is of God, who is the God of all grace. Let dead sinners, dead souls, dead hearts here, in the name of the living God, rise and hear the good news that life is of God, who is the God that quickens the dead, and calls the things that are not, as though they were. "All things are of God."
But perhaps, some may say, What ground have I to expect these things? Though they be of God, yet perhaps not for me. Why, because he is a reconciled God in Christ. But what ground have I to think that he is reconciled to me? If the word of reconciliation be sent to you, upon that ground you may believe that he is reconciled to you. Now, he hath committed to us the word of reconciliation, and charged us to preach the gospel of reconciliation to every creature, to every soul among you; and he that hath obliged us to proclaim to you how he is reconciled in Christ and hath all things to give in and through him, he obliges you to believe, that he is reconciled to you. He commands you to believe in the name of his Son Christ. This is his commandment, that through him you believe him to be a reconciled God to you; and if he were not so, he would not send this word of reconciliation to you, and pray you to be reconciled to him, who is reconciled to you. It is to you sinners, to you rebels that this word of reconciliation comes; and therefore, you may be quite sure, that as "All things are of God, as a reconciled God in Christ," so the good news is to you. He hath all things ready for you that you need.
Question: But how can this be, seeing he hath not a secret purpose of reconciliation to All and therefore, perhaps, not to Me?
Answer: Oh! what a malicious devil is tempting thy unbelieving heart to look to what God designs, before you look to what he declares; to look to his purpose, before you look to his promise! How can you see his purpose, but in the glass of his promise? How can you know his heart, but by his word? But in the glass of his promise you may see his purpose of grace to you; for, "The promise is to you;" and in his word of reconciliation you may see his reconciled heart toward you; for, "To you is the word of salvation sent: to you is the word of reconciliation sent. And if thou, man, woman, can't believe that this kind word is to thee, and thee in particular, then, thou shalt see that this kind heart is towards thee, and thee particularly.
Question: But is not God appearing at this day, as an angry God? How shall we conceive him to be reconciled, and believe his word of reconciliation, when we are compassed with so many tokens of his anger and indignation?
Answer: God is, out of Christ, reconciled to none of Adam's race: but God is in Christ reconciling the world to himself. Out of Christ his anger will burn to the lowest hell. And why is he appearing in anger at this day, but because men will not believe that he is reconciled in Christ? He is angry at your unbelief, and the unbelief of the generation, who, through an evil heart of unbelief, depart from the living God, and from his truths and cause: therefore, his anger burns against it, because they reject the word of reconciliation: but as, in Christ, he says, "Fury is not in me;" so the only way of escaping his wrath is, to conceive right and kindly thoughts of God, as a God in Christ; believing in Jesus, and beholding with wonder, that he is a kind God to him and us, giving all things to us; for "All things are of him." Nothing displeases God so much, as that we will not believe his kindness manifested in his word to us, but by unbelief, make him a liar, and so ourselves blasphemers of him.
Well then, sirs, before you adventure to come to a communion-table, let me exhort you to come to the Christ of God; for, as "All things are of God," so, in the name of this great and glorious God, I come to offer you the best of all things that are of God; and, I hope, you shall not think the worse of him that he is the Christ of God, and the best thing that God hath to give you; nay, shall it not recommend him to your heart, that as, in his person, he is the Son of God; so, in his office, he is the Sent of God, and that his righteousness is the righteousness of God; that his blood is the blood of God; that his wisdom is the wisdom of God; and his power is the power of God; and that all things he hath are the things of God; and that he is made of God all things that you want for time and eternity, even wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption? If Christ, and all things that he hath, as our Redeemer, were not of God, he could not be profitable to us for bringing us to God; we could not see God in him, we could not meet with God in him, we could not have communion with God in him: but he, being wholly of God, when we come to him, we come to God in him. O sirs, by receiving him the profit is infinitely great; you receive God himself the eternal God: and, by rejecting him, the peril is infinitely great; you reject the eternal God. By coming to Jesus, and receiving him, you shall have all that God hath to give; for God hath given him all that he hath. As Abraham's servant said, in courting a wife for Isaac, "My master hath a son, and unto him hath he given all that he hath," (Gen. 24:36); so may not we, as servants of God, court a bride for our Master, by telling you, that he is his only begotten Son, and to him hath he given all that he hath? For, "The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand;" even all things that can make you happy in life and death, and through eternity. O! will you go with this man, this God-man? Is there no heart here saying, It is a bargain? None to say, Content, we will go? All things are ready, in Christ's hand, to be given you. Pardon and grace, and "All things are ready, come to the marriage." The marriage-supper is also ready for you, if the marriage-consent be given.
God cannot but make you welcome to come to Christ, and to give him your heart, to whom he hath given his all. O then come, not only for your own salvation's sake, but also for the sake of God's glory. The dishonors you have done to God by your sin are not so great as the honor you put upon God by coming to Christ, believing that all things whatsoever the Father hath given him are of God.
In short, my dear friends, I cannot use a stronger argument, to excite you to come to Jesus by faith, than this, which yet you may reckon a strange argument, namely, that as "All things are of God," so all things relating to faith, and coming to Jesus, are of God. The object of faith is of God; Jesus Christ is the Christ of God. The grace of faith and the act of faith is of God; for, "Faith is the gift of God." The call to faith and believing is of God; for, "This is his commandment that ye believe in his Son Jesus Christ." The will to believe is of God, who worketh in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure; and who says, "Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power." And, indeed, you can have no encouragement to believe, if this believing were not of God; nor would there be any faith here today, if it were not of God, the giver and the worker of it by his Spirit; "This is the work of God, that ye should believe on him whom he hath sent," (John 6:29). Men naturally magnify their own works, even when they are most serious about eternal happiness, saying, "What shall we do that we may inherit eternal life?" But, O sirs, will none here be content that God magnify his work, and be content to inherit eternal life by his word? Now, this is the work of God that ye believe on Christ. It is the work of God both as it is of his approbation, and as it is of his operation.
The work that Christ had to do for us, sirs, was the Father's work: and was it the worse or the better that his work was the work of God? Of God's approbation, and of God's operation, who says, "Behold my servant, whom I uphold," in that service? And would it ever have been done by him, if it had not been the work of God? Even so, "This is the work of God, that you believe:" is it the worse for you, that it is wholly the work of God? Would there be any hope that ever it should be done, if it were not so?
O then, poor sinner, that hast nothing about thee but sin, and guilt, and deadness, and disorder, let all thy objections against believing in Jesus be hushed to silence in the view of this truth, that, as "All things are of God," so faith and believing itself is the work of God. You cannot believe, say you, for you have no power, no will, no grace, no sufficiency of yourself. True; but then are you content that God have the glory of this great name of his, that all things are of him, and that your whole salvation, from the beginning to the end, be of him, and that the pride of nature be dashed down forever in the cordial acknowledgment that nothing is of you, and that the God of power and grace be exalted forever in the cordial acknowledgment that all things are of him? Then, a way is paved for your believing in Jesus, and working this work of God, in imitation of Christ, who was content to run his errand at his Father's expenses, and do his great work on God's charges; willing it should be reckoned nothing else, but his Father's work; yea, that it should be wholly the work of God. Upon this condition and consideration, he joyfully set about it, and effectually went through with it; even so, here is the work of God that ye believe in him whom he hath sent. Are you content, however weak and impotent you are, to set about this work at God's charges, and that it be the work of God in you? Are you joyfully content to believe on the Son of God, upon this condition and consideration, that the work is of God, and that the power is of God, and that the will is of God, and that all things relating to this work are of God?
All things relating to the new creation in Christ are of God. This believing is the work of God, as it is a part of the new creation, which you can no more effectuate of yourself, than you can create a world: but, though it be not of you, yet you may fall in with it hopefully and joyfully, because it is of God.
Upon no other terms was Christ called to, or fell in with redeeming work, than you are called this moment to fall in with believing work. He fell in with it upon these terms, that all things relating to that redemption work, and all his redeeming power, should be of God: even so, is there any soul here determined to fall in with this work of believing on the Son of God, upon these terms, that all things relating to this believing work, and all your believing powers be of God? Then, I hope, believing power is at hand. Are you content this moment to open your hart and arms to embrace the Son of God upon these terms, that the heart-opening power be of God? Why, upon these terms only this work of God can be done, and shall be done: therefore, in the name of the great God, of whom are all things, and of whom is this power to believe and embrace Christ, I call you, this moment, to stretch out the withered hand, the withered heart, and all your withered arms to embrace the Son of God; for you have no more to do in this matter, but to know and believe that the work is of God, that the day of power is of Cod, that the word of power is of God, the Spirit of power is of God, that the heart-quickening power is of God; and to be content, this moment, that all things relating to this new creation work be of God, and that God get the glory of this name upon you, in creating you in Christ Jesus for himself, and making all things, new. Why, then, it is to be hoped, the good work is begun, if you are glad to be put down, to be nothing, and that God in Christ be set up to be all in all, and glad to own that, in the whole of this work, from the beginning to the end, nothing is of you, but All things are of God.
The End of the Sermon.
A DISCOURSE AT THE SERVICE OF THE FIRST TABLE.
Now, as all things relating to the new creation are of God; so, here you have an ocular demonstration of it: for, all the good and great things of the new covenant are here represented as in a glass, and we may see them all to be of God. Christ, who is here represented, is the gift of God: his love, that is here commemorated, is the love of God: this table is the Lord's table, the table of God: the provision laid upon it is God's provision; and he that hath provided so far outwardly the signs representing will, we hope, provide inwardly the spiritual blessings represented; "Here is the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt-offering?" Why, the sacrificing knife of justice was, by the law, to be put to your own throat, O sinner: but behold, God will provide himself another sort of a Lamb for a burnt-offering. The name, the old name of our God, is his new name to this day, Jehovah-Jireh, "In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen; the Lord will provide."
"In the same night in which our Lord was betrayed," &c. Behold, my friends, as all things are of God, so this bread is the bread of God, that came down from heaven; look to it through this element: it is the bread of God's giving, who so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son. It is bread of God's breaking and bruising: "It pleased the Lord to bruise him." It is bread of God's sending: "To you is the word of this salvation sent;" to you is this bread of life sent; to you, sinner, it is sent in the word; to you, believer, it is sent in the sacrament anew: "He that eateth this bread shall live for ever."
"After supper he took the cup," &c. "I am the true vine," says Christ. Indeed, he is a bleeding vine; his blood is squeezed into that cup: and as all things here are of God, so this blood is the blood of God; and all things that relate to our salvation vent through this blood, being all the blessings and purchase of this blood. Grace reigns through this righteousness of Jesus to eternal life. Grace does not cease to be the grace of God, because it reigns and runs through the righteousness of Christ; for this righteousness is of God. The blessings of the covenant do not cease to be the blessings of God, because they vent through the blood of Christ; for this blood is also the blood of God.
And now, what blessings do you need or desire? Want you any sacramental grace? Want you grace to believe, grace to love, grace to repent, grace to communicate worthily? All is of God. Do not think to extract them out of your own heart, as if they were of you; but look up to God in Christ for them; for all things are of him. Are you destitute of strength and furniture for any work or warfare? All things relating to this are of God in Christ: therefore you may say, "I will go in the strength of the Lord, making mention of his righteousness, even of his only." Are you destitute of light, life, liberty, comfort, peace, or pardon? Why, now you are at the fountain-head, whence you may draw supply: All things are of God.
But, say you, though all things be of God, what relief does that yield to me, while I find myself destitute of all these good things, and kept empty-handed? Why, is it not good that all things that are of God are put in Christ's hand, and that your stock lies surer there than if it were in your own hand? You know, believer, that you cannot keep it: what you get this moment you are ready to lose it the very next moment: and are you not obliged to God, who puts your all in a hand that can keep that which is committed to him?
What though you should be kept empty all this day? Can you not trust him with your stock all this day? Is it not as well in his hand as in yours? Whenever any comfortable supply is given to you, you are apt to abuse it and dishonor him, by trusting to the grace that he puts in your hand, more than to the grace that is in his hand; whereas you are called to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and not in the grace that is in you: and, lest you thus abuse it, and dishonor him, he keeps you, as it were, at short allowance, and that too very scrimp. But, O sirs, be content, that, as "All things are of God," so all the things of God are in Christ your glorious head and, if you can be glad of this, it shall not be long ere you get what is needful from him, as well as have all your treasure always in him.
Now, if Christ and all things be of God, then let nothing vex and torment you, poor believing soul. Let it not vex you, that you find a want of all things in you; but let it ease and please your mind, that all things are of God in Christ. Let it not trouble you, that you cannot communicate as you ought to do; but let it afford relief to your heart, that communicating grace is of God. Let it not grieve you that you want a frame, such as you would have; let it satisfy and please you, that a communion frame is of God, and you must trust him with that, to give it when he pleases. Let it not afflict you, that you have prayers and bills lying before the throne, and never yet answered: O let not your heart be troubled with this; let it suffice, that the answering of them all is of God, as a prayer-hearing God in Christ; as a reconciled God in him, who will take his own time and way to answer them. Let it not disquiet you, believer, that there are some promises you were to hope upon, never yet accomplished: let it suffice you, and quite ease your mind, that they are all Yea and Amen in Christ Jesus, and that the fulfilling them is of God, a promising God in Christ, who, in due time, will do as he hath said. Let it not make you uneasy, that you are guilty, guilty beyond all. You may be grieved indeed for the affronts you have done to your Lord; but be not vexed so as to think there is no hope. I think, Christ is now saying to the soul, oppressed with the sense of guilt, "Let it not vex and torment you, that you have been so unkind to me; I can put up with a thousand affronts you have done me. My soul was once vexed, and exceedingly troubled, even unto death, with your sins and guilt, and you need not be grieved to death with them again: only acknowledge your iniquities, and believe that as all things, so remission of sin and pardon is of God, as a reconciled God in my blood." Again, let it not vex and trouble your heart, that your lusts and corruptions are so strong and masterly, that you have been so many hundred times conquered and captivated by them: but let it give ease to your mind, and pleasure to your soul, that sin-conquering grace is of God, that sin subduing grace is of God, as a reconciled God in Christ, who hath said, "Sin shall not have dominion over you." Let it not perplex you, that you have so many running sores, broken bones, and deadly like diseases about you: let it quiet your mind, and ease your soul that healing is of God, who says, "I am the Lord that healeth thee." O! will you sing with the psalmist, "Bless the Lord, O my soul, who healeth all thy diseases?" (Ps. 103:3) He saith not, who hath healed them all, as if there were no more healing needful; nay, that will never be the song in earth, but in heaven: but the song of faith here, by the way, is of God in Christ as a healer. I find the malady remaining, saith the soul; but I see the remedy, and that healing is of God in Christ: and let it give me present ease, that ther is a Healer, a Saviour here. Fellowship with God in Christ above is betwixt him and saints that are perfectly whole; but all the fellowship here is between the Saviour and the sinner, the Physician and the diseased. Let it not disquiet you, that many burdens seem to be laid upon your back, burden upon burden, pressure upon pressure; the Lord knows what your burdens are: but let it give real ease to your soul, that God hath provided a burden-bearer; "All things, saith Christ, are delivered to me of my Father," (Matt. 11:27-28) even that of burden bearing amongst the rest; therefore, "Come to me, all ye that labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" to your souls; "Cast thy burden on the Lord, and he will sustain thee." Let it not vex you, that you have some difficult work, an intricate affair upon your hand, and you know not how to manage in it: let it content your heart, that strength, and counsel, and direction is of God, who leads the blind in a way they know not. Let it not trouble you, that you have no strength and sufficiency for anything; let it ease and please you, that his grace is to be sufficient for you, and his strength to be perfected in your weakness, and that your sufficiency is of God. Let it not vex or torment you that you are straitened even as to your outward circumstances in the world, and that you have much ado to get food and raiment: let it give ease and comfort to you, that as "All things are of God;" so the ordering of your lot in the world is of him, and that your provision is of him, who clothes the lilies, and feeds the ravens, and who hath said, "Bread shall be given you, and your water shall be sure." O trust in and rely upon him: he that hath given you Christ, the best bargain in the world, will he not give, together with him, all things, which are but like paper, and pack-thread, into the bargain? Without doubt he will. Again, let it not vex and grieve you that you have, perhaps, come under many worldly losses, and that, at such a time, you lost a pleasant child, or such and such a near and dear relation; for, as this was of God, the Orderer and Over-ruler of all things; so he can make up your loss, and show himself better than all things to you, and that it was expedient, that such an earthly comfort should be taken away from you, that perhaps, had much more of your heart than Christ. It was expedient for us that Christ himself should go away, otherwise the Comforter had not come; and much more may not the Lord see it expedient, that such an earthly comfort should be taken away, that there might be room for a better comforter. Let it not trouble you that all things seem to be against you, as Jacob once said when he thought Joseph was lost, and feared that Benjamin also was like to be lost, "All these things are against me." If he had waited a while, he would have heard again, that all these things were for him: and you know, when he heard again of Joseph, "It is enough," says he, "Joseph is yet alive." So you are, perhaps, saying, All things are against me; many ministers are against me; good men and bad men join together against me; presbyteries, synods, and assemblies, are against me; all the kirk-judicatories of the established church of Scotland are against me, and against the way that I am taking, and the cause that I am espousing: the last Assembly hath showed this, with a witness, by deposing all the ministers here, and condemning the whole reformation cause that you are appearing for; and inferior judicatories, since that time, have homologate and approven of their deed: all these things are against me. Why, Joseph, I think, is gone; Jesus, by his Spirit, is withdrawn and away: and, I fear, the little Benjamins will be taken away also; that the little remnant, that is reserved, will be taken away with a flood of opposition and persecution by church and state. What may fall out, the Lord knows; the aspect of affairs is awful indeed: but be not vexed or troubled, believer; let it ease your heart and mind, that "all things are of God," who as the God of providence, over-rules all events: let it suffice you, that Joseph is yet alive, and is governor over all the land of Egypt; that Jesus is alive, and is the Governor among the nations, and the government of Zion is laid upon his shoulders. It is enough to faith that Jesus is alive, and that the Father hath given all things into his hand, even all power in heaven and in earth. In a word, let it not vex you, that, for the present, your soul is dead and lifeless: let it content you, that, as the living God and the living Jesus are still remaining, so life and quickening is of God: life and liveliness will come in due time, if you can believe that God is the God that quickens the dead, and that Christ is the resurrection and the life.
Do you believe that "all things are of God," as a reconciled God in Christ? Then put in a bill now for all things you need. If there be many things that you have to say, and many things that you have to seek, that I have not mentioned, and cannot mention; yet surely they are all wrapped up in this bundle, "All things are of God:" put in a bill, therefore, for anything you want for yourself or others; a bill for your graceless friends and relations, that are but Gallios [Gallio is best known for his impartial judgment of a legal case involving Paul the Apostle in Corinth], caring for none of these things; a bill for God's ancient people the Jews, and for the blinded nations, and the poor negroes, and in behalf of the instruments that God is employing to bring gospel-light among them; a bill for your children, that God may be your God, and the God of your seed; a bill for poor Scotland, that God would yet return and dwell amongst us gloriously; a bill for your several congregations and families, whose circumstances you know: "All things are of God;" and therefore acknowledge him in all things. The more bills, the better; the more things you employ him in, the more honor you will put upon him, as the God of whom are all things, and without whom you can do nothing: and therefore, "In every thing by prayer and supplication, make your requests known to him, with thanksgiving."
Go in peace, believing and rejoicing in this, that all your stock and strength is secure in Christ, who is made of God all things you need in time and eternity.
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