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stripping and abusing the nature of man by the fatal introduction of sin, are represented as wounds given by a thief, who meets him on the road, and leaves him naked and halfdead upon the earth. This is the intention of that parable, which describes the fall and salvation of man, as the relieving and curing of a wounded traveller.
The support of man's spiritual life is like the support of his natural: and the sacrament of the Lord's Supper (which some of late have taken great pains to undervalue and misinterpret) is built upon this similitude.
Man is sent into the world to earn his bread by his labour, and some think he is sent for nothing else; but this is only a shadow of his proper errand, which is, to work out his own salvation with fear and trembling : and for this work he has need of sustenance, as much as for the daily labours of his life. Therefore God has provided a supply of a spiritual kind, signified outwardly by the figures of bread and wine, the commemorative sacrifice of the death of Christ, and the instituted means of conveying the benefits of it to the souls of men. Beasts killed in sacrifice were fed upon by the offerers; and Christ's death being a sacrifice, he is fed upon in faith by those who thus
commemorate his death ; and the consequence is the strengthening and refreshing of their souls: if not, this absurdity should follow from the parallel, that eating the flesh of sacrifices was a mere ceremony which contributed nothing to the nourishment of the body. What can be more express than the doctrine of our Saviour himself upon this subject ? My flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.--He that eateth me, even he shall live by me; that is, shall live with a new and divine life, as really as his body lives and is nourished by his daily bread. Unless these words do signify, that a real principle of life and strength is derived to us from the body of Christ, whereof we partake, there can be no certainty in language, and every doctrine of the scripture may be thrown into doubt and obscurity. Without faith, as it hath already been argued in the proper place, the language of the scripture never was nor ever will be admitted in its true sense: but with it, it is clear enough to every reader.
This first head of my subject is so copious, that I must conclude here, and defer what remains to the next Lecture.
The former Lecture would not allow me room to explain the figures which the scripture hath borrowed from the natural world and the objects of common life; though I determined to select such of them only as might be thought most important and instructive: and even now, the subject is so copious, that I must leave many which I should be glad to treat of.
From the consideration of the heavens, the elements, and the seasons, we descended to man, whose bodily life is a pattern and shadow of his spiritual life, and is applied to illustrate it in many instances.
From his natural, we must now go forward to his social, civil, or political life, as a citizen, subject, and member of society ; together with his worldly condition, relations, offices, and occupations.
The spiritual state, or kingdom of heaven, is represented to us under the emblem of an earthly kingdom, in which God is the Supreme Governor and Judge, ruling all his creatures with infinite power, and according to the laws of justice, goodness, and mercy.
The church is a spiritual kingdom under Christ its head; and its ministers are ambassadors, commissioned to treat with the world, and propose terms of reconciliation from God, with whom they are by nature at enmity. St. Paul, having occasion to speak of his commission under Jesus Christ, saith, For whom I am an ambassador in bonds. This was a strange case; and he mentions it as such; because the persons of ambassadors were accounted sacred, and it was against the law of nations to do any violence to them : but the world, while it keeps good faith with itself, keeps
, none with God.
Our blessed Saviour, as Pilate truly entitled him upon the Cross, was the King of the Jews, though not after the form and authority of worldly kingdoms; and as such had a claim to the allegiance of his subjects. Their rebellious treatment of him and his ambassadors is represented in the parable of the marriage of the king's son ; *
whose invitation they rejected, and abused his servants. In consequence of this, his armies were sent out, to do execution upon them as murderers, and burn up their city : all of which was fulfilled upon the apostate Jews, and their city Jerusalem: and having rejected him, they are to this day without a king, without laws, without a country.
There is another parable of the same kind, which admits of a more general application, and comes home to ourselves. Christ ascending into heaven, there to receive all power, and return invested with it to the general judgment, is signified under the person of a nobleman who went into a far country, to receive for himself a kingdom and to return.—But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over
Thus insolently and ungratefully doth a wicked world treat the authority of Christ in his absence : but he shall return; and then the authority they will not admit for their good, will be turned to their destruction.-Those mine enemies which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither and slay them before me. Not all the powers upon earth can hinder the execution of this command;-bring them hither,
* Luke xix. 12.