Images de page




And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind; and e covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place; as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.

HERE is a beautiful description of some personage; every line gives pleasure, and every word fills the heart with delight. Here is security for the wretched; protection for the hopeless; refreshment for the perishing, and a comforting rest to the fainting traveller. Any one who reads this delineation, or beholds the picture presented to his view, it calms, sooths, chears, and sheds into his mind, a flow of sweet contemplation. The thought naturally arises, what can be the design of this amiable historic print? Attend, and it shall be explained, to afford sweetness to the understanding of the philosophic mind, and ecstacy to the chris

tian's heart.

All uncypherings must be in the simple stile. No man ever viewed a house of paintings, but wished his director to be plain in his explications. Established custom, cannot, with any face of decency, deny me this indulgence.

Admit me to begin with St. Paul, who in the days of his ministry, from his conversion to his martyrdom under Nero, that

bloody emperor, in bonds, prisons, or liberty, his wonderful exultation and happiness was in a man called Christ Jesus, and even this man had been crucified. Yet this ancient saint, however contemned in modern times, his whole determination was to know nothing but this strange and humiliating object, the cross of Christ. From this resolution, originates many surprising accounts of the Redeemer of men. This same saint, was a great reader and admirer of the prophet Isaiah. Hence he quotes him, and alludes to him in innumerable instances.

This prophet Isaiah, had predicted a multitude of things, which had all been fulfilled in the person, sufferings, and cross of Christ, and that with such plainness, that in after times, unbelievers affirmed they were so far from being a prescience of fu ture events, they were only a simple narration of things past.

Thus much learned pains have been expended on the picture in our text. We readily grant this prediction, in a primary aspect, referred to Hezekiah and his reign. God bringing forth this ruler, in the extreme idolatry and degeneracy of Judah, awakened a certain astonishment. "Behold, a king shall reign right"eousness, and princes shall rule in judgment." Such a declaration from the mouth of a prophet, amidst the numerous reigns of kings, princes, and rulers which they had known, exceeded credibility, and overwhelmed them in astonishment. Let us for a moment, apply the prediction to king Hezekiah, who arose soon after it was delivered. "A king shall arise and reign in righte "ousness." Such a magistrate had been so long unknown to the nation, unknown to their fathers and themselves, that the prophet was believed with much hesitation. When the event took place, what pleasurable streams of happiness, civil and religious, flowed throughout all the land of Judea? "Judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream."

[ocr errors]

A good government, well administered, is a hiding place from the wind; a security to oppressed innocence; a guard against

blasting reproach; a fence against the infectious breath of envy; and an opposing rock to the dashings of the furious whirlwind of violence. It is a covert from the tempest, so that the storms of desolation pass over, and injury is not felt.

The good ruler is a refreshment and consolation to his people. "He is as rivers of water in a dry place," cooling, cherishing, strengthening and comforting. "He is as the shadow of a great "rock in a weary land." Here the poor traveller finds an umbrage from the scorching heat of a burning sun. He obtains his property, the security of all his civil rights, and the enjoyment of all the blessings of consciencé.

Now, if a good government, if the man Hezekiah, could be so much as this to the people of Judak, how much more applicable is the prophecy to the man Christ Jesus, and the blessings which flow from him to his church, and to the faithful subjects of his kingdom? When the greatest evils befal men, evils of a spiritual and everlasting nature, the winds of divine wrath, the storms of guilt, and the tempest of almighty vengeance gather around them, and begin to beat upon them, what can be a hiding place or a covert, but the man of the gospel? He is to the guilty soul, a strong tower, into which he may run and be safe. He will prove to the penitent and miserable wretch who believes, not only water, but a river of water to quench his thirst; not merely as the shade of a tree through which sun and rains can penetrate, but he will be the covert of a great rock, through which neither scorching beams, nor stormy winds can make their way.

Wherefore, Christ Jesus, in all the perfection of his mediation, as I conceive, is here drawn before us in this grand picture. Of whom can it, with such strict propriety be said, as the mediator between God and sinners?" He is a man, who shall be a hiding "place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest, as rivers "of waters in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land."

[ocr errors]

In conformity to this description, and almost in similar language, the Psalmist speaks of the blessed Jesus. "The Lord is

[ocr errors]

my shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in

green pastures; he leadeth me beside the till waters. He "restoreth my soul; he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness "for his name's sake."

While we attend to the lines of this precious picture drawn by the prophet, we shall only touch upon some of the properties of our glorious Redeemer, as held forth to view in these strong figures.

We here observe,

First, Christ is called a man.

Had he not become man, he could have been of no saving benefit to mankind. In his divine nature, he could not suffer, make atonement for sin, or set an example of holy conversation before his people. As God, it be came necessary to assume human nature, to be born of a woman, to be made under the law, that he might undergo all those sufferings proper to make satisfaction for iniquity. "For verily," says the Apostle, "he took not on him the nature of angels, but " he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things "it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might "be a merciful and faithful high priest in all things pertaining to "God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people; for in "that he himself suffered, being tempted, he is able to succour "them that are tempted." He is stiled man, and the son of man, by way of eminent distinction, because he bore the wrath of heaven, and became a Mediator between an offended God and offending sinners. As God, he was of sufficient dignity to ap proach our Maker; as man, he was well qualified, in point of condescension, that access might be had to him, by those who were fallen and guilty. By this wonderful union of his divine and human nature, the former gave infinite worth and value to the sacrifice made in the latter. As it was the altar that sanctified


the gift, and not the gift the altar-so the divinity was the altar in Christ, which renders effectually propitious the sacrifice that was offered upon it. The humanity could have been of no avail without the divinity, neither could the divinity have answered the end without humanity; for it was incapable of humiliation or suffering. But both natures conjoined in one person, was a plan of infinite wisdom: the one, that it suffered and the other, that it might render the sufferings worthy. Thus divine justice was satisfied, a broken law honored, sin atoned for, and a way opened for guilty offenders to eternal life and glory. This was the glorious man Christ Jesus, who performed these wonders for our salvation. As Satan triumphed over man, so Christ, in fashion as a man, vanquished Satan and the powers of death and sin; led captivity captive, and made way for the bringing many sons to glory.

Secondly, We observe this man Christ Jesus, is an hiding "place from the wind." An hiding place is a security from dangers of every kind. Thus the prophets of old, when Ahad, that wicked king, was enraged against them, and Jezebel had raised a fire of persecution to destroy them, were hid by fifty in a cave, that they might be in safety from the storms of tyrannic fury. David retreated into an hiding place, that he might be secured from the anger of Saul; therefore he dwelt in a cave, in the wilderness of Engedi.

Thus persons, who by faith repair to Christ Jesus, and take sanctuary in his atoning merits and righteousness, retreat to a safe assylum from all their bitter foes, and are hid from the wrath due to sin. To these shall be fulfilled what is spoken by the prophet respecting Israel. "When the iniquity of Israel shall be (( sought for, there shall be none; and the sins of Judab, they "shall not be found." Christ Jesus, is an hiding place indeed, when by him our sins shall be covered, and our iniquities remembered no more. He averts Jehovah's wrath, and the fiery indignation of a violated law. When he shall descend to judg

« PrécédentContinuer »