All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, (says the great 강서오피 Apostle) and is profitable for doctrine—to declare and confirm the truth—for reproof—to convince men of sin and confute errors—for correction—to reform the life, upon conviction—and for instruction in righteousness, in the obedience of God our Saviour, as the only justifying righteousness of his Church. Every part of the sacred writings has an importance, a dignity, and a spirituality, becoming their divine author—and they are designed by God the Holy Ghost, to exhibit the glorious character of God our Father, as engaged in a covenant of redemption with his dear Son—Likewise, to hold forth the precious Person and finished work of God our Redeemer, as the only foundation and joy of poor guilty men, convinced p. 6of sin, and seeking his salvation. They likewise maintain the nature and necessity of a divine change, through the operation of God the Spirit upon the souls of his elect, to make known to them the suitableness of Jesus and his salvation; to persuade the mind of its interest in him; and to witness to their renewed consciences they belong to God.—These, with many other grand truths, are everywhere set forth in God’s most holy word; sometimes in very plain and clear language, so that he who runs may read; at other times the same truths are couched in Parables, Allegories, and dark Sayings: this shews what a pleasing variety there is in God’s most holy word, to entertain an enlightened mind. As God, our Covenant Father, has made nothing in vain, so he has revealed nothing in vain; his peculiar wisdom is seen even in giving names, or causing such and such names to be given to various characters, either in allusion to some circumstance attending their birth, or prophetical of what they were to be—or, as holding forth something of importance, either to themselves or to others.
It is not from a desire of singularity, nor an affectation of novelty, that I have read this text; but would proceed with caution and humility.
I apprehend the first design of the text is to point out the Genealogies of the tribes of Israel, and is supposed to have been wrote by Ezra, and put into p. 7their hands, soon after the return from Babylon, as the captivity for seventy years, had thrown every thing in confusion.—The second design is to shew the Pedigree of the Messiah, that it might appear that our dear Lord was, according to the prophecies that went before him, the Son of David, the Son of Joseph, the Son of Adam—this the Evangelists, in the New Testament, have shewn. There still appears one more worthy our observation; that the first thirteen Names in this Chapter have a signification in them, as they are Hebrew Names, and appear to be expressive of a Work of Grace in its commencement, carrying on, and completion, in the happy departure of the soul to glory. I pretend to no learning myself, of course must be indebted to Hebrew scholars for the translation of them—to God the divine Spirit, I am entirely indebted for the knowledge of the great things these Names express. On each I shall write but little, as it would swell this Sermon to a volume if I were to write all that I apprehend; I will only give the out-lines, and hope the reader will be entertained, and, above all, instructed, comforted, and built up on his most holy faith.
The Names, as they stand before us, are thus in their signification: Adam, Earth—Seth, Foundation—Enosh, Weakness—Kenan, Mourning—Mahalaleel, Illumination of God—Jared, Reigning—Enoch, dedicated—Methuselah, sending forth Death.—Lamech, cutting down—Noah, Rest, or Consolation—p. 8Shem, a Name—Ham, Warmth—Japheth, Enlargement. There is a beautiful gradation in them, and we shall consider them in order, and enlarge particularly on some.
Adam. This word signifies Earth; some read it red Earth, to shew our original—formed of the dust of the earth, and in consequence of sin, to dust we must return! This is an humbling thought to proud mortals. Adam was a striking figure of our blessed Jesus, in many instances; at present we only view him in his origin. God displayed his sovereignty in creating man, and setting him up as the head of all mankind. He viewed him as the figure in which our blessed Jesus should hereafter appear. He viewed all the elect in him, ordained the fall through him, for the grand purpose of displaying the riches of his grace, and the exaltation of our nature, through its union to Jesus: so the elect, as fallen in Adam, and actual transgressors, are become earthly, sensual, and devilish! Almighty grace appears, in its sovereignty, passing by fallen angels, and raising such earthly creatures as we are! Here, believer, admire and adore the God who loved your nature so well as to chuse it, and redeem it, and afterwards, by the gracious inhabitation of God the Spirit, to make it his holy, living temple.—This leads me to notice the name
Seth. This word is rendered by some put—p. 9by others, appointed—by others it signifies foundation. Consider the word in either sense it still seems expressive that God’s elect, though fallen in Adam, are put, or appointed to be partakers of covenant grace in their hearts. God would lay a foundation in the divine operations of the Spirit, for every good word and work; 강서오피 the new man is the foundation of every good desire—this new man is formed at once; it is not done by piece-meal, but it is done the moment the divine Spirit takes up his abode in the soul; the train of graces always follows the blessed Spirit of all grace, in the temples of the souls of his elect; his train fills the temple. This new man is the image of Christ; this is that which is born of God, and sinneth not, neither can it commit sin—it is Spirit, it is the kingdom of God within us, that does not come by observation, it chiefly consists in light, life, and love: and this new man, though often hid from its possessor, and always opposed, from a body of sin and death, yet it shall reign, through righteousness, to everlasting life—a troop may overcome, but it shall overcome at last.—We shall now trace it in its various operations and blessed effects; this leads us to the Name of
Enos, signifying Weakness. This is one of the sad effects of the Fall; but an experimental acquaintance with it is an evidence of grace—a branch of that knowledge God has promised to give his p. 10people—all thy children shall be taught of God. Our blessed Jesus is revealed in the Word as the strength of his saints; and has promised we shall say for ourselves, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength—this can be of no use to a sinner till he is first convinced of his criminality and weakness; we learn the former much sooner than the latter—we soon find our criminality, and feel wretched in consequence, but we do not soon learn our strength is perfect weakness. We soon believe we have violated the Law, but we are some time learning to cease from our vain labour and rest alone in Jesus; to work we generally go, with all our might, quite forgetting that it is written, to him that worketh not, but believeth, is the reward reckoned. We strive to keep the Law; I can truly say I did: I began first with the fourth commandment; then I vowed to set a watch over my thoughts, but, alas! I found Sin and Satan too strong for me: in the next place I saw the law was spiritual, and cursed me for every sinful thought! this threw down my Babel building. I strove to pacify my conscience with many prayers, and to please God with vows; to conquer sin by my own arm; by watchfulness, by reading more prayers, performing my duty with greater diligence. I read the Whole Duty of Man; on my knees I said over all the prayers in it—still sin overturned the whole of my performances; God still appeared angry; the Law cursed me, and the fears of death, the prospect of future judgment, and p. 11the horrid idea of standing at the bar of God, overcame me, till I wished I never had been born. I can truly say that I envied the brute creation; begged of God to annihilate me; my heart rose in awful rebellion against him in all his dealing. Often have I said, in the language of Dr. Watts’s Songs for Children,
And must the crimes that I have done
Be read and publish’d there;
Be all expos’d before the Sun,
While men and angels hear!
Lord! at thy feet asham’d I lie—
Upward I dare not look;
Pardon my sins before I die,
And blot them from thy book.
These words exactly suited my case; in these things I have, and do feel my native weakness—in keeping the Law, in pleasing God with human performances, in pacifying conscience with mere vows, in conquering sin, in my own strength, and in keeping up my own animal spirits, under desertion, darkness, guilt, and trouble. O! what a mercy it is to have a burden-bearer! if it was not for this I must sink! and what a privilege to be taught how to cast our burthen on him who careth for us. Under the conviction of our native weakness, the character of Jesus, as the strength of our hearts, is exceeding precious; while we daily learn by constant experience, p. 12that as fallen sinners we are weak as we are wicked; the blessed Spirit convincing us of this, always produces the next name,
Kenan, Mourning. This generally stands connected with deep-rooted spiritual convictions of our state, as fallen, depraved, guilty, and helpless. We mourn on various accounts; sometimes because of our depravity, our guilt, and weakness; that do what we can, we are no better—still God is angry with us; the rebellion we feel, which must be God-provoking. We are grieved we ever sinned against him, because it has exposed us to his wrath. All this mourning comes from a legal spirit; but there is a godly mourning, or a mourning after God—this comes from every sweet view we have of Jesus, as held forth in the Gospel; as the Saviour, Surety, Righteousness, and atoning Sacrifice—the soul is following after him—we want the happy enjoyment of him in our souls. With pleasure we listen to the Gospel, which exhibits his charms; the soul is filled with longing desires after him—a moving in the mind towards him—a venturing near to him—a longing for the day of his espousals—to read its part and lot in him. I am sure that the above was my case; I ran to the house of God, in hopes that every sermon I was going to hear, would be the time, and O how grieved was I when I had to return, and my beloved had not appeared in the way and manner I expected him. I find through all p. 13my pilgrimage, that the Lord always works in his own time and way. This, however, was mourning after him; this is certainly some small proof of love. Sometimes I longed to see my part and lot in him, from a principle of fear; sometimes from a principle of love, the going out of affection to him; hearing so much of him, and having an inward spiritual perception of his suitableness and glory. Two passages of scripture often did me good; the one says, By faith Noah was moved with fear, prepared himself an Ark: the other says, Whom having not seen we love; and though now we see him not, yet, believing, we rejoice.—But as I must be brief, I will mention the next Patriarch’s name,
Mahalaleel. This signifies the Descending, or the Illumination of God—and follows the other name with great propriety. It is written, Seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you; you shall find Christ the pearl of great price.—While the prison doors of unbelief and sin, horrors and gloomy fears are opened, the Lord Jesus descends to those who look 강서오피 for him, wait for him and expect him, for there shall be a reward, and thine expectation shall not be cut off; the blessed Spirit that has once operated upon the mind, as a reprover, convincer, and begotten the soul to an hope, will answer to his lovely character, the Comforter. If he communicates life to feel after God, to desire Christ above all, to keep up a constant hoping-for p. 14a smile from God, he will never, no, never disappoint it. Take courage, then, ye fearing characters, look to his word and faithfulness, who has said, Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? He is faithful that promised, who also will perform it—If we believe not, he abideth faithful, he cannot deny himself, nor of course his people, who are part of himself. This kept up my mind in looking for a deliverance. Sometimes I vowed I would give it up altogether, but God would not, did not give me up. Sometimes my heart fainted within me, lest I should never see the Lord in the land of the living, especially after waiting long, and praying much. I well understood that text in the Proverbs, Hope deferred makes the heart (full of expectation) sick. When I could get out to hear the Word, I ran to Providence Chapel; heard the Word greedily, and kept watching for something that might be said, as a voice to me, or some sweet sight of a smiling God; but I returned again and again, sadly disappointed; and being under a legal spirit, began to quarrel with myself, and said, Ah! God has not appeared propitious yet, because I am such a sinner: Oh, if I was more diligent, more watchful and less sinful, then, indeed, I might rest assured he would shew my sins forgiven, and smile upon me. Thus I wanted, fool-like, to take a price in my hand, to set wisdom. Sometimes my rebellious heart would quarrel with God himself; when I had been remarkably devout, then my expectations p. 15were great, and I was still disappointed; so that I have often been led to see that God acts from no motive, but in himself; all his operations of providence and grace, are to display his sovereignty—it is not of him that willeth, nor him that runneth, for I did both; all must be solved here, Even so Father, it seemeth good in thy sight. Not but we are still to be found in the use of means, for he purposed from everlasting to save his people; he promised the same in his word; all is made sure to us; yet he will be enquired of to do these things for his people. However, we are to subscribe with the hand, to the God of Jacob, or, in New Testament language, to set to our seal he is true. This work, or spiritual building, must go on; I will work and who shall let it? God begins it with a view to carry it on, and who can frustrate the designs of Jehovah to Sion’s mourners? To Sinners, weak, worthless, and mourning, God has sent his dear Son: here is God descending, and the Holy Spirit bearing an internal clear testimony to the soul, that it is born of God; leading us to see him, and sweetly persuading the soul to say, Father!—while he shines into the heart, and gives us the light of the knowledge of his glory. This is illumination indeed! His glory is seen in pardoning sin, displaying his free grace, and exalting a precious Jesus! The knowledge of this we get under the Word, but the light of the knowledge is the clear shining of it in our own personal experience; by the witness of the Spirit—an p. 16holy joy in God—solid peace in the conscience—access to the throne of God—a full persuasion of our interest in the love and covenant God of our salvation: this is scriptural, experimental, heart-felt religion; this is God descending, and such appearances are always attended with divine illumination—in his light we see light; in his light we saw darkness before—now we see God as our God; and God is light—we see Jesus, and can exclaim, The Lord is my light.—All this is manifested to us by the teachings, the clear persuasions of God the Spirit; thus we see the religion that comes from God always leads to God again. The light of the hypocrite makes him proud, puffs him up; but this leads us out of self, to admire, enjoy, and adore the glorious undivided Trinity in Unity, the center of our happiness, the source of our joy: this is the nature of true joy in the Lord, whether experienced at our first conversion, or in all our after renewings—all joy which does not center in God, will go out; it is the lamp of the foolish Virgins, that will expire. On this part of the subject I would say a few words on the way the Lord led me. It must ever be remembered by us, that the Holy Spirit is a Sovereign in all his dispensaries; so his sovereignty is particularly discerned in the manner of his operations upon his people—the way in which they are called—the more gentle leadings, and the awful storms that others experience; with the manner of introducing the soul into the liberty of the sons of God, appears p. 17to manifest that the Almighty Minister in the Church does as he please—for there are diversities of operations, but it is the same Spirit.—I find the Work of the Spirit is the same in its nature and tendency, on all God’s elect. But there is a material difference in the way in which this Work is begun and carried on: Paul and Lydia were in possessions of this Work, yet the way they were brought into it was very different—the grand end was answered, namely, in bringing them to Jesus. This is the covenant Work of the Spirit upon all—many are driven by fearful horrors; others are led on very gradually—I must confess the latter was my case, yet I have often wished it had been the former, because, then I think the deliverance would have been the more conspicuous; but my convictions were gentle, and my deliverance was gradual; not that I was without fears, horrors, or terrible ideas—I saw God was angry with me for sin; I tried to please him, but in vain—the Law came home to my heart, and much bondage, legal striving, and awful rebellion did I feel; the fears of death and dread of hell I was seldom free from for years together. I have often thought my case was very singular. It is said in the Book of Psalms, The entrance of thy Word givith Light. Now I know the first time I ever felt or saw the light, was at the age of fifteen. Being naturally an enemy to God’s Saints, Word, and Ministers, and living in an enemy’s house, that enmity, through native blindness, p. 18was increased. Being apprenticed in the neighbourhood of Providence Chapel, I heard much of, and joined in the ridicule against Mr. Huntington. One evening going of an errand, the Chapel being opened, I thought I would go in to hear what the babbler had to say, that I might have a little sport the next day. As soon as the text was read, the words came home to my mind in such a way as I cannot describe, only by the idea of a candle brought a light into a dark room! This overcame me, melted my heart, and I went out of the Chapel a few minutes after. From that moment I was led to feel my need of a Saviour. This light was attended afterwards with love, with desire, hopes, and a turning my feet to God’s testimonies. I loved the people, minister, and word I before hated—I now saw with new eyes; I had many convictions before, but no desires after an interest in the Saviour—they were doubtless from God, though they were legal, but from this period I believe they were spiritual. My mind was set to seek the Lord—great pleasure I found in the ways of the Lord. I now had clearer convictions than ever of my ruined state, and they were attended with eager desires after a sense of my part and lot in Christ. Sometimes I thought I should be favored with it—othertimes not. The next very clear entrance of light was more visionary on the mind—I was hearing a minister on the Sufferings of Christ but felt an unusual indifference to all that he said. When the p. 19Sermon was ended the grand Hymn was gave out,
When I survey the wond’rous cross,
On which the Prince of Glory died—