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Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.—Ver. 18.
THE heathens thought that man had not a power over his life, but a power over his actions—Quod vivamus, Deorum munus est; quod bene vivamus, nostrum. But the Psalmist acknowledgeth God in both: ‘Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy law;’ that he could not live nor keep the word without God’s grace. This latter he amplifieth in this verse, that he was so far from keeping it, that he could not so much as know it savingly and practically without divine grace: ‘Lord, open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.’ Here is—
1. A request, ‘open thou mine eyes.’
2. The reason, from the end, benefit, and fruit of it, ‘that I may,’ or then I shall, ‘behold wondrous things out of thy law.’
In which reason is intimated the necessity of divine illumination, and then the profit of it.
1. The necessity, that I may behold, &c.—i.e., otherwise I cannot.
2. The profit, then I shall behold wondrous things out of thy law.
Doct. 1. That we need that God should open our eyes, if we would have a right understanding of his word.
1. What is meant by opening the eyes.164
2. The necessity of such a work in order to a right understanding of the word of God.
First, What is meant by opening the eyes. Before I come to the particular explication of the terms, let me premise two observations.
1. The saints do not complain of the obscurity of the law, but of their own blindness. The Psalmist doth not say, ‘Lord, make a plainer law,’ but, ‘Lord, open mine eyes.’ Blind men might as well complain of God that he doth not make a sun whereby they might see. The word is ‘A light that shineth in a dark place,’ 2 Peter i. 19. There is no want of light in the scripture, but there is a veil of darkness upon our hearts; so that if in this clear light we cannot see, the defect is not in the word, but in ourselves.
2. The light which they beg is not anything besides the word. When God is said to enlighten us, it is not that we should expect new revelations, but that we may see the wonders in his word, or get a clear sight of what is already revealed. Those that vent their own dreams under the name of the Spirit and divine light, they do not give you mysteria, but monstra, portentous opinions; not show you the wondrous things of God’s law, but the prodigies of their own brain; unhappy abortives, that die as soon as they come to light: Isa. viii. 20, ‘To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.’ The light which we have is not without the word, but by the word.
Now to the phrase. The Hebrew signifieth ‘unveil mine eyes.’ There is a double work—negative and positive: there is a taking away the veil, and an infusion of light. Paul’s cure of his natural blindness is a fit emblem of our cure of spiritual blindness: Acts ix. 18, ‘Immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales, and he received sight forthwith.’ First the scales fall from our eyes, and then we receive sight.
1. There is a taking away the veil before we can have a true discerning of the mysteries that are revealed in the word of God: 2 Cor. iii. 14, 15, the apostle, speaking of the Jews, saith, ‘But their minds were blinded; for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away, in the reading of the Old Testament; which veil is done away in Christ: but even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their hearts.’ Now this veil is diverse.
[1.] The veil of ignorance. Though man hath reason, and is capable of understanding the sense and importance of the words that are used about the mysteries of godliness, yea, and the matter too, yet he gets not the saving knowledge of them by his natural abilities. There is a grammatical knowledge and a spiritual knowledge; a man may know things grammatically and literally that is ignorant of them spiritually; as a child may read the letters and words that doth not conceive of the sense. So a man may know what is said concerning God and Christ, and sin and grace, the vanity of the creature, the excellency of heaven, and have yet no saving knowledge of these things; and therefore the scripture useth the expression that they oversee in seeing; as Acts xxviii. 26, ‘Hearing, ye shall hear, and not understand; seeing, ye shall see, and not perceive.’ Though truths are never so plainly delivered, never so powerfully pressed, and though they are capable to understand 165the words, yet they do not take the truth into their hearts, so as to profit by it. So Deut. xxix. 2-4, ‘Ye have seen,’ yet ‘ye have not an heart to see.’ Most will declaim against the vanity of the creature and evil of sin; but they do not see with an affective heart-piercing light; they have on them the veil of spiritual ignorance.
[2.] The veil of carnal knowledge and wisdom, that puffeth up, 1 Cor. viii. 1, 2, by which, seeing not, we think we see. This is a great hindrance to the entertaining of the word. So Christ telleth the Pharisees, who were conceited of their own knowledge, John ix. 39, ‘For judgment am I come into this world, that they which see not might see, and they which see might be made blind.’ The Pharisees were the rabbis of the age, the most seeing and learned men of that time. Carnal men are puffed up with a conceit of their own abilities, and so are obstructed by them from profiting by the gospel.
[3.] The veil of prejudice and corrupt affections. The passions of the mind, love and fear, desire and anger, hinder us from judging aright in the things of God. Our hearts are overcast with strong affections to the world, and so cannot clearly judge either of practical truths or of the controversies of the age. Not of practical truths: When Christ had taught that they ‘could not serve God and mammon,’ it is said, Luke xvi. 14, ‘And the Pharisees, that were covetous, derided him.’ Holy mortifying truths are unpleasing to a carnal ear, though they be represented with never so much evidence. How will men distinguish themselves out of their duty! They shift, and stretch, and turn and wind hither and thither, and prove truth to be no truth, rather than part with their lusts. So present truths, as the apostle calls them, 2 Peter i. 12, when the dust of interest is raised, are not discerned. The orthodoxy of the world is usually an age too short: 2 Cor. iv. 4, ‘The god of this world hath blinded their eyes.’
[4.] The veil of carnal sense: 2 Peter i. 9, ‘He that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off.’ There are so many mists and clouds in the lower world, that men cannot outsee time, and without the prospective of faith have a sight of eternity. Nature is short sighted, so inured to present things that we receive no light concerning things to come. These are the scales that are upon our eyes.
2. There is an infusion of light, without which men of excellent wit and sharp understanding in other things are stark blind in the things of God. What this light is will appear by the degrees of knowledge and the uses of this light.
[1.] The degrees of knowledge.
(1.) In some there is a simple nescience, both of terms or notions, and things, as in those that have not a revelation, or have not regarded it when the revelation is made. As the Gentiles, that have not a revelation: Eph. iv. 18, ‘Having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart.’ Or rude and ignorant Christians, that have not the advantage of education, so as to understand the notions in which the doctrine of God is propounded: Isa. xxviii. 9, 10, ‘Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts: for precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, 166line upon line, line upon line, here a little and there a little.’ So sottish and brutish are some, that a man had need teach them as he teacheth little children, letter after letter, and line after line, little good done.
(2.) In others there is a grammatical knowledge but not a spiritual, a repeating things by rote, a talking of all that a Christian enjoyeth.
(3.) Besides the grammatical knowledge, there is a dogmatical knowledge, when the truths of the word are not only understood, but begin to settle into an opinion that we bustle for in the world. An opinionative receiving of the truth is different from a saving receiving of the truth. Many are orthodox, or have so much judgment and knowledge as to hold the truth strictly, but the heart is not possessed with the life and power of it. Those are intended in Rom. ii. 20, ‘An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which have the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law.’ And such are described 2 Tim. iii. 8, ‘Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.’ It is not to be imagined that this is always in design, though many times carnal men swim with the stream, and take up with the opinions that are current in their age; but also out of conviction of judgment; there is somewhat of conscience in it. A sound judgment is a different thing from a sound heart. The truths of God have great evidence with them; and therefore a rational man, being helped with some common work of the Spirit, may close with them, though they have no experience of the power and prevailing influence of them.
(4.) Besides this dogmatical knowledge, by which we see round about the compass of truths revealed in the word, there is a gracious illumination when men are taught so as drawn to God, John vi. 44, 45, and they do so understand Christ’s doctrine as to apply and make a right use of it; such a knowledge as is called not only sight, but taste: 1 Peter ii. 3, ‘If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious;’ and a feeling of what we understand: Phil. i. 9, ‘And this I pray, that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and in all judgment.’ This sense and experimental knowledge is that which the saints seek after.
[2.] The uses of this spiritual illumination.
(1.) To give us a clear sight of the truths of God.
(2.) An applicative sight.
(3.) An affective sight.
(4.) A transforming sight.
(5.) Such a sense of the truth as is prevalent over lusts and interests.
(1.) A clear sight of the truths of God. Others have but an hear say knowledge, gathered out of books and sermons, and the common report which is made of Christ; but he that is divinely enlightened drinks of the fountain, and so his draught is more fresh and sweet. They do not talk of things by rote after others, but it is written upon their hearts: Heb. viii. 10, ‘I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts;’ and so groweth more intimate and satisfactory, and moving upon them.
(2.) An applicative sight; not only knowledge, but prudence: Prov. viii. 12, ‘I, Wisdom, dwell with Prudence.’ Wisdom is the know ledge of principles; prudence is an ability to apply them to our comfort and use, that we may know It for our good, Job v. 28. Many are right in generals; but the Spirit doth not only reveal the truths of the gospel, but applieth those truths to awaken the conscience that was asleep in sin. Many men that are unrenewed may be stored with general truths concerning the misery of man, redemption by Christ, the privileges of a Christian; but they do not reflect the light of these truths upon themselves, so as to consider their own case; and so it serveth rather for matter of opinion and discourse than for life and conversation; it is not directive.
(3.) An affective sight: Prov. ii. 10, ‘When wisdom entereth upon thy heart,’ which is the seat of affections, it stirs up in the soul answer able motions to every truth; whereas when truths rest in empty barren notions, without feeling and an answerable touch upon the heart, the knowledge of them is like a winter’s sun, that shineth, but warmeth not; the misery of man is not affective, and doctrines of redemption by Christ are apprehended without any joy and relish.
(4.) A transforming sight: 2 Cor. iii. 18, ‘We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.’ It is a light that is both directive and persuasive. A man may hear the gospel νομικῶς, when it is only known as a rule, not as a means to convey the Spirit; whereas a believer hears the law εὐαγγελικῶς. The apostle preferreth the gospel above the law in the afore-mentioned place, for comfortableness, perspicuity, efficacy, &c.
(5.) It is a light that prevaileth over our lusts and interest, such a light as hath fire in it to destroy lusts: 1 John ii. 3, 4, ‘He that saith I know him, and doth not keep his commandments, is a liar.’ A true knowledge and sight of God is able to bridle lusts and purify the conscience. Therefore it is said, ‘He that doth evil hath not seen God,’ 3 John 11; hath not a true sight, whatever speculations he may have about the nature of God. Other light doth not check and control vicious desires; reason is not restored to its dominion: Rom. i. 18, the reputed wise men of the world ‘held the truth in unrighteousness.’ Truth may talk its fill, but can do nothing; as a man that is bound hand and foot may rave and evaporate his passions,’ but cannot relieve himself from the oppressor or the force that he is under.
Secondly, Reasons that show the necessity of this work.
1. Spiritual blindness is natural to us, as that man that was blind from his birth, John ix. 1. We are not all born blind in body, but all in mind. By tasting the tree of knowledge, all Adam’s sons have lost their knowledge. Satan hath brought a greater shame upon us than Nahash the Ammonite would have brought upon the men of Jabesh-Gilead in putting out their right eyes. The eye of the soul is put out, so as we cannot see the light that shineth in the word. By the fall we lost the true and perfect light of reason, but retain the pride of reason. It is no small part of our blindness that we cannot endure to hear of it: Rev. iii. 17, ‘Thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing: and knowest not that thou art 168wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.’ Man desireth to be thought sinful rather than weak, and will sooner own a wickedness in morals than a weakness in intellectuals. Men are dishonest out of choice, and therefore think there is more of liberty and bravery in it; but to be simple argueth imperfection; Job xi. 12, ‘Vain man would be accounted wise, though man be born like a wild-ass’s colt;’ not only for untamedness and affectation of liberty, but for rudeness and grossness of conceit; yet man would be accounted wise. The Pharisees took it ill that Christ charged them with blindness: John ix. 40, ‘Are we blind also?’ We all affect the reputation of wisdom, more than the reality; that is the reason why we are so touchy in point of error; we can easier brook a sin reproved than an error taxed. Till we have spiritual eye-salve, we do not know it, and will not hear of this blindness, Rev. iii. 17. It is a degree of spiritual knowledge to know that we know nothing.
2. Observe how much spiritual blindness is worse than bodily. Those that are under bodily blindness are glad of a remedy, glad of a guide.
[1.] Glad of a remedy. How feelingly doth that man speak, Mark x. 51, ‘What wouldst thou have me to do? Lord, that mine eyes may be opened.’ Those that are blind spiritually are not for a remedy; not only ignorant, but unteachable; and so their blindness groweth upon them; to their natural, there is an adventitious blindness. If we cannot keep out the light, we rage against it.
[2.] Glad of a guide; as Elymas the sorcerer, when he was stricken blind, looked about for somebody to lead him by the hand, Acts xiii. 11. But the blind world cannot endure to be directed, or ‘the blind lead the blind, and both fall into the ditch.’ He that prophesieth of strong wine is the teacher of this people, saith the prophet. Men love those that gratify their lusts and humours: let one come soundly, and declare the counsel and will of God to them, he is distasted.
3. We cannot help ourselves out of this misery without God’s help. Our incapacity is best understood by opening that noted place, 1 Cor. ii. 14, ‘The natural man receiveth not the things that are of God, for they are folly to him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.’ Let us a little open that place: ἄνθρωπος ψύχικος, ‘the soully man,’ that is, a man considered in his pure naturals. Jude 19; ψυχικοι, πνεῦμα μή ἔχοντες, ‘sensual, having not the Spirit.’ However, he useth the best word by which a natural man can be described; he doth not say σάρκικοι, not only those that are brutish and depraved by vicious habits, but take nature in its excellency, soul-light in its highest splendour and perfection, though the man be not absolutely given up to vile affections. Well, it is said of him that he neither doth nor can receive the things of God, οὐ δέχεται, and οὐ δύναται γνῶναι. The τὰ τοῦ πνεύματος, ‘the things of the Spirit,’ are such truths as depend upon mere revelation, and are above the reach and knowledge of nature. There are τὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ, ‘things of God,’ that may be known by a natural light: Rom. i. 19, ‘That which may be known of God, is manifest in them, for God hath showed it unto them;’ but τὰ τοῦ πνεύματος, things revealed in the word, though a natural man be able to understand the phrases 169and sentences, and be able to discourse of them, yet he wanteth faith, and a spiritual sense and relish of them; they are folly to him. It noteth the utter contempt of spiritual things by a carnal heart, who looketh upon redemption by Christ crucified, with the consequent benefits, as things frivolous and vain. Paul at Athens was accounted ‘a babbler,’ Acts xvii. 18. The same disposition is still in natural men; for though these truths, by the prescription and consent of many ages, have now obtained veneration and credit, yet carefully to observe them, to live to the tenor of them, whatever hazards and inconveniences we are exposed to in the world, is still counted foolish. Mark, for greater emphasis, it is μωρία, folly, as carnal wisdom is ἔχθρα, ‘enmity against God.’ Rom. viii. 7. ‘Neither can he know them.’ It is out of sloth and opposition and moral impotency; as it is said, Rom. viii. 7, ‘The carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be.’ Reason is a short and defective light, not only actually ignorant, but unable to conceive of them. It is not only through negligence he doth not, but through weakness he cannot. Take mere nature in itself, and, like plants neglected, it soon runs wild; as the nations barbarous and not polished with arts and civility have more of the beast than the man in them: Jude 10, ‘But what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.’ Suppose they use the spectacles of art, and the natural light of reason be helped by industry and learning, yet how erroneous in things of religion: Rom. i. 21, ‘When they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish hearts were darkened,’ &c. The most civil nations were ‘most foolish in matters of worship; and many placed fevers, and human passions, and every paltry thing, among the gods. The Scythians worshipped thunder, the Persians the sun; the most stupid and blockish nations seemed most wise in the choice of their gods; others were given up to more gross superstitions. All the arts in the world could not fully repair the ruins of the fall. The heathens invented logic for polishing reason; grammar and rhetoric for language; for government, and as a help to human society, laws; for bodily necessities, physic; for mollifying and charming the passions, so far as concerned human conversation, ethics; for families and private societies, economics: but for the soul and religious concernments, how blind and foolish were they! Nay, go higher. Suppose, besides the spectacles of art, nature be furnished with the glass of the word; yet John i. 5, ‘The light shined in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not.’ We see how great scholars are defective in the most useful and practical points. Nicodemus, a teacher in Israel, was ignorant of regeneration, John iii. 10. They always err in one point or another. And in these things of moment, if they get an opinion and a dogmatical faith, and have an exact model and frame of truth, yet as long as they are carnal and unregenerate, how much doth a plain godly Christian exceed them in lively affection and serious practice! And whilst they are disputing of the natures and offices of Christ, and the nature of justification and sanctification, others enjoy what they speak of, and have a greater relish and savour and power of these truths upon their hearts. For ever it was a truth, and ever will be, Rom. viii. 5, ‘They that are after the flesh, do mind the things of 170the flesh; and they that are after the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.’ Nature can go no farther than itself, than a fleshly inclination moveth it. They have not this transforming light, and that sense of religion which is prevalent over lusts and worldly interests.
The next reason is, because they must be ‘spiritually discerned;’ that is, to know them inwardly, thoroughly, and with some relish and savour; there must be a higher light, there must be a cognation and proportion between the object and the faculty. Divine things must be seen by a divine light, and spiritual things by a spiritual light. Sense, which is the light of beasts, cannot trace the workings or flights of reason in her contemplations. We cannot see a soul or an angel by the light of a candle; so fleshly wisdom cannot judge of divine things. The object must be not only revealed, but we must have an answerable light; so that when you have done all, you must say, ‘How can I understand without an interpreter?’ Acts viii. 31. And this interpreter must be the Spirit of God—Ejus est interpretari, cujus est condere. To discern, so as to make aright judgment and estimate of things, dependeth upon God’s help.
4. When this blindness is in part cured, yet still we need that God should open our eyes to the very last. We know nothing as we ought to know. David, a regenerate man, and well instructed, prayeth to have his eyes opened; for we need more light every day: Luke xxiv. 45, ‘Then opened he their understandings, that they might understand the scriptures.’ Christ first opened the scriptures, then he opened their understandings.
Use 1. To show us the reason why the word prevaileth so little when it is preached with power and evidence; their eyes are not opened: Isa. liii. 1, ‘Who hath believed our report; and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?’ No teaching will prevail till we are taught of God.
Use 2. What need we have to consult with God, whenever we make use of the word, in reading, hearing, study. In reading, when thou openest the Bible to read, say, ‘Lord, open mine eyes.’ When thou nearest, beg a sight of the truth, and how to apply it for thy comfort. Haec audiunt quasi somniantes, Luther saith of the most—in seeing they see not, in hearing they hear not. There was a fountain by Hagar, but she could not see it: Gen. xxi. 19, ‘God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water, and she went and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad to drink.’ So for study; it is dangerous to set upon the study of divine things in the strength of wit and human helps. Men go forth in the strength of their own parts, or lean upon the judgment of writers, and so are left in darkness and confusion. We would sooner come to the decision of a truth if we would go to God, and desire him to rend the veil of prejudices and interests.
Use 3. Is to press us to seek after this blessing, the opening of the eyes. Magnify the creating power of God: 2 Cor. iv. 6, ‘God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of God in the face of Jesus Christ.’ Make use of Christ: Col. ii. 3, ‘In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge;’ beg it earnestly of him. The apostle prayeth, Eph. i. 17, 18, ‘That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the leather of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him; the eyes of your understanding being en lightened, that ye may know what is the hope of his calling,’ &c. Yea, 171mourn for it in cases of dubious anxiety. John wept when the book of the seven seals was not opened, Rev. v. 4. Mourn over your ignorance; refer all to practice: John vii. 17, ‘If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.’ Wait for light in the use of means, with a simple, docile, sincere, humble mind: Ps. xxv. 9, ‘The meek will he guide in judgment, and the meek will he teach his way.’
Doct. 2. Those whose eyes are opened by God, they see wondrous things in his word, more than ever they thought.
‘Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.’ Law is not taken strictly for the covenant of works, nor for the decalogue as a rule of life; but more generally for the whole word of God, which is full of wonders, or high and heavenly mysteries. In the decalogue or moral law there is wonderful purity, when we get a spiritual sense of it: Ps. cxix. 96, ‘I have seen an end of all perfection; but thy commandments are exceeding broad;’ and Ps. xix. 7, 8, ‘The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple: the statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.’ A wonderful equity: Rom. vii. 12, ‘The law is holy, and the commandment is holy, just, and good.’ A marvellous wisdom: Deut. iv. 6, ‘Keep therefore, and do them; for this is your wisdom and understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ In the whole word of God, the harmony and correspondence between all the parts, how the mystery grew from a dark revelation to clearer, is admirable. In the gospel, every article of faith is a mystery to be wondered at. The person of Christ: 1 Tim. iii. 16, ‘Great is the mystery of godliness, God manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit,’ &c. A virgin conceiveth, the Word is made flesh, the redemption and reconciliation of mankind, are the wonderful works of the Lord’s grace. It is ‘the hidden wisdom of God in a mystery,’ 1 Cor. ii. 7. ‘We speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world to our glory;’ and it is called the ‘mystery hidden from ages,’ Eph. iii. 9. The glory of heaven is admirable: Eph. i. 18, ‘The riches of the glory of the inheritance of the saints in light.’ That a clod of earth should be made an heir of heaven, deserves the highest wonder. All these are mysteries. So the wonderful effects of the word in convincing sinners: 1 Cor. xiv. 25, ‘Thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face, he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth,’ Heb. iv. 12: ‘The word of God is quick and powerful, sharper than a two-edged sword, piercing to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit and joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.’ It is a searching and discovering word: John iv. 29, ‘See a man that hath told me all that ever I did.’ In changing sinners: 1 Peter ii. 9, ‘That ye may show forth the praises of him that hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light,’ Peter’s getting out of prison was nothing to it. In comforting, every grace is a mystery, to depend upon what we see not, to be as a rock in the midst of a storm. ‘Dying, yet we live; as poor, 172yet making many rich.’ 2 Cor. vi. 9, 10. All the operations of the Spirit are wonderful: 1 Peter i. 8, ‘Joy unspeakable and full of glory,’ Phil. iv. 7, ‘Peace that passeth all understanding;’ Rom. viii. 26, ‘Groans that cannot be uttered.’
And now, what divine illumination contributeth to the sight of these wonders?
1. It revealeth the truth of them, which otherwise is incomprehensible to the flesh: Mat. xvi. 17, ‘Flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.’ Without this, no certain knowledge of Christ’s person and office.
2. It more intimately acquainteth us with them: Mat. xiii. 11, ‘To you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God; to others it is not given.’ All God’s works are full of wonder, yet blind men cannot see them, though the sun shineth never so clearly. A beautiful room into which there is but a crevice, when we lay our eye close to it, we see it
Use 1. From hence we may learn, that it is one degree of profit to see so much in the word of God as to admire it; either at the mysteries of godliness or ungodliness, which the word discovereth, ὦ βάθος. They that are most enlightened have most cause to wonder; for then they find truths which exceed all common reason, such as do not come into the minds of others, or, if they do, they seem incredible.
Use 2 is to encourage us to study the word; the wonders of God’s works are many, but the wonders of his word greater. Quot articuli, tot miracula, the Papists say of Aquinas’s Sums; but more truly may it be said of the word of God; all the doctrines of the word are a continued mystery. After man was fallen, it came not into the head of any creature how to satisfy justice, to make up the breach. Oh, the folly of them that despise the word, as curious wits and world lings do, as if it were a mean knowledge in comparison of what may be acquired from Aristotle and Plato or the politicians of the world! If there be in it some rudiments, something common with other writings, yet there are greater things than these: ‘The deep things of God,’ 1 Cor. ii. 11; never such a revelation made to the world. And worldly men, that despise this study of the word, they despise that which angels wonder at, Eph. iii. 10, and ‘desire to pry into,’ 1 Peter i. 12, and make great matters of trifles. The Sun of righteousness, is not he worth the beholding?
Use 3. Let us cease wondering at worldly things, great places, honours, heaps of wealth, fair buildings, as the disciples, Mark xiii. 1, ‘Mas ter, see what manner of stones and buildings are here!’ It is said of Christ, Col. ii. 9, ‘In him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily!’ Fulness of the Godhead! oh, wonderful! The people wondered at that mass of money provided by David to build God a house, 1 Chron. xxix. 7, 8. Oh! but the unsearchable riches of grace, the rare plot of man’s redemption, μέγα μυστήριον, how wonderful! All in and about Christ is rare. His name is Wonderful. All the promises of God are τὰ μέγιστα καὶ τίμια ἐπαγγέλματα, ‘exceeding great and precious promises,’ 2 Peter i. 4; they transcend man’s capacity. It condemneth the stupidness of them that are nothing moved or taken with things so great and wonderful—great in themselves, and should be precious to us.173
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