Abbildungen der Seite

herd, that he may keep them from injury: but the good shepherd never leaveth his sheep in time of danger, but always remains with them to strengthen and defend them.

These things may happen to us in some future time; we may be beset in the same manner. Then the preachers will shut their mouths and provide for their safety by fleeing away; the sheep shall be dispersed; one will be carried this way, and another that; God grant that some of them may stand valiantly in defence of the gospel, and spend their blood, if the case so require, in delivering their sheep! Thus Christ hath described the hirelings in their true colours ; who thus saith; "lam the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine." He speaketh here of the peculiar duty that belongs to himself: I know my sheep, saith he, and they likewise know me. Christ knoweth us to be his sheep, and we know him to be our shepherd.

He knoweth us to be weak and" diseased; but even those that are he doth not cast off, but taketh care of them, and healeth them; though they be so diseased that all the world think they are not his sheep; and indeed this is the knowledge of the world But Christ doth not know them after this manner; neither doth he greatly regard what manner of sheep they are, but considereth whether they belong to his fold. Those therefore are true shepherds, who, following Christ, know their sheep, and protect them from danger.

My Father knoweth me, saith Christ, but the world knoweth me not. Therefore, when the hour shall come that I shall die an ignominious death upon the cross, all with one voice will cry out, was this the Son of God 1 he must needs be a condemned man, and given up to satan both soul and body. But my Father will say after this sort; this is my well beloved Son, the King and Saviour of mankind. If I were in the midst of hell, or in the jaws of satan, I should come out again, for the Father will not forsake me. Likewise I know my sheep, and they know me: they are certain that I am a good shepherd; therefore they come to me for succour. They cleave to me, knowing that they are subject to manifold infirmities and diseases; and knowing that I would have such resort to me.

"Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice ; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd." Some, in explaining this passage, say, before the latter days, the whole world shall become christians; this is a falsehood forged by satan, that he might darken sound doctrine; that we might not rightly understand it. Beware therefore of this delusion. As soon as the gospel was published, it was preached to the Jews; and they were the sheepfold. But he saith that he hath other sheep also, which are not of this fold, which he must gather together; whereby he showeth that the gospel must be preached to the Gentiles, that they also may believe in Christ; that of the Jews and Gentiles may be made one church. This was performed by the apostles, who preached the gospel to the Gentiles, and brought them to the true faith.

Thus there is one body, one church, one faith, one hope, one love, and one baptism; which continueth at this day, and shall continue to the end of the world. Therefore do not believe that all men shall have faith in Christ; for the cross must always be borne by us; the greater part being of the class that persecute christians. The gospel must be continually preached, that always some may be brought to christianity. Thus we close, having given a compendious exposition of the text.


John, chap. VI. From the 44th to the 51st verses, inclusive.

44 No man can come to me, except the Father, which has sent rne, draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man, therefore, that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.

46 Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.

47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He thatbelieveth on me hath everlasting life.

48 I am that bread of life.

49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.

50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof and not die.

51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If any man eat of this bread he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

The sole object of this text is, to teach us the nature of Christian faith, and to stimulate us to the exercise of it: and, indeed, the general tenor of the Gospel of John, goes but little farther than to instruct us, how we must believe on the Lord Jesus. Christ; and that such a faith as is grounded on the true promise of God made to Christ, will save us; as the text under consideration plainly declares. Those, therefore, who teach any other way or means to obtain righteousness, are here considered as ignorant of the true way. For whatsoever is the invention of men, can. avail them nothing towards obtaining salvation. Although a man may exercise the duties of godliness, although his external works may appear holy before men, yet he will not be able to attain unto heaven, unless God, through his word, proffer him his divine grace, and enlighten his understanding, that he may walk in the way of life.

Now the way of life, is the Lord Jesus Christ; and he that seeketh another way, as those most certainly do, who trust in their own works, erreth from the right and true way; for Paul saith, Gal. ii. "If righteousness be by the law," (that is, by the works of the law,) "then Christ died without a cause." Therefore, I say, a man must be, as it were, bruised and broken by the Gospel; he must be humbled from the bottom of his heart; he must feel himself weak and frail, and wholly unable to do any thing of himself. He must fall prostrate before God, and cry, Help me, O omnipotent God, merciful Father, I am not able to help myself! Help, O Lord Christ, mine own help is nothing!

Christ, in Lukexx. 18. speaking of the chief corner stone, which was rejected of the builders, saith: "Whosoever shall fall upon that stone, shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder." Now this stone is Christ; therefore, we must either fall upon him through a sense of our imbecility and weakness, and so be broken, or he will fall upon us in his righteous judgement, and we shall be crushed under the weight of our own sins.

Christ saith in the text, "No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day." The conclusion therefore is, that he whom the Father draweth not, and who cometh not to the Son, shall surely perish ; for he is the only name given unto us whereby we can be saved; and without him there is no salvation : if he help not, our case is most miserable. Of him Peter also speaketh in the Acts of the Apostles, chap. iv." This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other : for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." Where then is the doctrine of those divines and schoolmen, who have taught, that by many works we must attain unto righteousness 1 How is the doctrine of that great master, Aristotle, confounded, who taught that reason instructeth men to do the best things, and is always ready to direct them in the right way! For this doctrine Christ doth here disprove; and doth positively assert, that unless the Father draw us to him, we shall perish forever. Hence all men must confess their imbecility and slowness to good things; for if any man persuade himself that he is able to do any good work by his own strength, truly he accuseth Christ of falsehood; and with great arrogance, presumeth to come to heaven, although he is not drawn of the Father.

The word of God, wherever it is soundly preached, casteth down whatsoever things are high and great; it maketh mountains even with vallies, and overthroweth all hills; as the prophet Esaias saith, "that all hearts hearing the word may despair of themselves, otherwise they cannot come unto Christ." The works of God are such, that while they kill, they make alive; while they condemn they save ; as Hannah, the mother of Samuel, singeth 01 the Lord: "The Lord killeth and maketh alive; bringeth down to the grave, and setteth up again. The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich; bringeth low, and heaveth up on high." / . .

Wherefore, if a man be so stricken of God in his heart, that he acknowledged himself such a one as ought for his sins to be condemned, he surely is that very man whom God by his word has stricken, and by this stroke hath fastened upon him the bond of his divine grace, whereby he draweth him, that he may provide for his soul, and take care of him. At first, he could find within himself no help nor support, neither did he desire any; but now he hath found the special consolation and promise of God, which is this: "He that asketh receiveth, he that

« ZurückWeiter »