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excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” In the account, which the experienced apostle gives us, we learn that it was necessary for him to suffer the loss of his legal hope, in order to enjoy that hope which was infinitely more valuable. Let us in the next place ask, whether we have sufficient evidence to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the blessed Saviour of sinners will be less kind to some body else, than he was to that persecuting Saul.
The reader will undoubtedly notice, that in every form in which the common doctrine appears, it wears the character of unmercifulness, which character is directly contrary to the character of the merciful Jesus. When the prodigal son left his father's house, his hopes of pleasure intoxicated his youthful mind, his heart palpitated for gratifications which he did not so much as dream would either ruin his fortune or become insipid. But experience taught him late, what early admonition could not impress, and he found himself in a state of wretched dependence, without power or means to retrieve a fortune foolishly spent. In this distressed condition, compelled by hunger, he frames a resolution in which there was great humility indeed, but by no means a just estimation of the mode in which his wants were finally to be supplied. He hoped to be blessed with bread in his father's house, but expected to have it for his just hire. The ground of his hope was by no means supported
by the father, but the blessing was granted in richi abundance, from the fatherly love of which he had been ignorant.
Such are the instances which the scriptures give of the false hopes of God's alienated children, and of his divine mercy as a never failing security after all creature means have failed. The whole of the 107th Psalm is occupied with those instances, with a. sentence of which I close this subject. “ Such as sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction an:) iron, because they rebelled against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of the Most High; therefore, he brought down their heart with labor; they fell down, and there was none to help. Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of darkDess and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder. Oh, that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men."
PARABLE VIII. 5o And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bride.
chamber mourn as loog as the bridegroom is with them! but the days will come when the bridegroom shall be takea from them, and then shall they fast." Mat. ix. 15.
THE Saviour spake these words to the disciples of John, who asked him the reason why his disciples did not fast, as they and the pharisees lasted oft.
In this part of the answer we find matter for the following observations ;
Ist. By bridegroom, I understand Christ himself. 2d. By bride, the heavenly Jerusalem, which is called the bride, the Lamb's wife.
3d. By bride-chamber is intended that pavilion of safety provided by grace.
4th. The children of the bride-chamber are those, who, in their understanding, have travelled on beyond the righteousness of the scribes and pharisees, have even left John, the fore-runner of Jesus, and have, in reality, found him of whom Moses and the prophets did write.
5th. The dear Mediator, the devoted sin offer. ing, points forward to that awful period when he should be taken from all the living, die the death of deaths for man; when a gloom like the shades of night should be distended over all the land ; when the most valiant of the bride-chamber should feel his courage give way, and fall before the dark powers of temptation; when the demonian powers of darkness should seem to riot in sport of the Som of God, mocking the agonies of a sinless consecrated soul made an offering for sin! This was a time: for the disciples of Jesus to fast indeed.
ILLUSTRATION. In the 61st of Isaiah at the 10th verse, the Saviour is represented as being clothed with the garments of salvation, and covered with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments. In the 62d chapter at the 5th verse, he is represented'as rejoicing over his bride, St. John Mn. 29.6He that hath the bride is the bridegroom ; but the friend of the bridegroom which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice."
The bride the Lamb's wife, or the New Jerusalem, is the same as the covenant of gospel mercy, as may be seen from the following scriptures. Gal
, iv. 22, &c. “ For it is written that Abraham had two sons; the one by a bond-maid, the other by a free woman.
But he who was of the bond woman was born after the flesh; but he of the free woman was by promise. Which things are an allegory; for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. For it is written, rejoice, thou barren that , bearest not, break forth and cry thou that travail. est not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband." The apostle here calls Sarah one of the covenants, which he calls Jerusalem which is above, who is both free and the mother of us all. His reference to the words of Isaiah in chap. liv. 1, &c. very clearly corrects the opinion that the prophet spake to the Gentile church of believers, when he said, “Sing, O barren," &c. for it is evident that the apostle appropriates this address to the covenant represented by Sarah. And indeed the prophet himself likewise corrects the common opinion, for he says to this barren, desolate one, “ Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of their habitations : spare not, lengthen thy cords and strengthen thy stakes, for thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles.” If the prophet were addressing the Gentiles, he would not have
told the Gentile church that her seed should inherit the Gentiles. But if he were addressing the gospel covenant in the character of one who was desolate and forsaken, he might with propriety say that her seed, or son, who is Christ, should inherit the Gentiles; which is consistent with the scripture which saith, “ Ask of me and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession."
PARABLE IX. "No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garments
for chat which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the reot is made worse."
Mat. ix. 16. Christ continues his answer to the disciples of John, and in this part of his answer we find matter for the following notes:
1st. That the law, or legal righteousness, which they were endeavoring to acquire, was a garment extremely incomplete, he represented by an old garment, worn to pieces and in need of mending.
2d. That the divine righteousness, whereby he should fulfil the law, in which righteousness alone man could be justified, stood in comparison to the other as new cloth to an old garment.
3d. That as a piece of new cloth put into an old garment would take from the garment, whereby the rent would be made worse ; so those who should use the righteousness of the Lord our righteousness only to patch their own, puixing a little of the righteousness of Christ with a great deal of fasting, humility, and righteousness of their own, would be in a worse situation than when standing