Thomas Scott.

Theological works : published at different times, and now collected into volumes (Volume 2) online

. (page 1 of 36)
Online LibraryThomas ScottTheological works : published at different times, and now collected into volumes (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 36)
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, /^3iOh< LE.MOX AND
9R I9»8 I I




ERMON I. — Luke ii. 13, 14. jind suddenly there was
•mth the angel a multitude of the heavenly host., praising
God, and saying; Glory to God in the highest, and o?i earth
peace, good will towards men - » - 9

SERMON II.— .1 Samuel vii. 12. Then Samuel took a stone,
and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name
of it Ebenezer, saying, Hitherto hath the Lord helped us 36

SERMON III.— John i. 29. Behold the Lamb of God,
which taketh away the sin oj the world - -63

SERMON IV. — I Corinthians xv. 20. A''ow is Christ risen
from the dead - - - - - 90

SERMON V. — Isaiah xxxii. 15. Until the Spirit be pour-
ed upon us from on high - ■ ■ 115

SERMON VI. — Acts xi. 18. Then hath God also to the
Gentiles granted repentance unto life - - 127


SERMON VII. — Psalm li. 4. Against thee, thee only, have
I sinned - - ^ - - 1 66

SERMON VIII.— Luke xv. 6. Rejoice loith me, for I
have found my sheep which Hvas lost - - 194

SERMON IX. — Luke xi. 13. If ye then, being evil, know
how to give good gijts unto your chikb'en; how much
more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to
them that ask him? ... - 225


SERMON I. — Isaiah v. 4. Wliat could have been done
more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? Where-
fore when I looked, that it should bring forth grapes,
brought it forth wild grapes? - - - 259

SERMON II. — Jeremiah xiv. 7. O Lord, though ourini-
guities testify against us, do thou it for thy 7iame^s sake ^ 304

SERMON III. — Isaiah ix. 13. For the people turneth not
unto him that smiteth them; neither do they seek the Lord
of Hosts - - - 333


SERMON I. — Psalm cvi. 43, 44. Many titnes did he deli-
ver them, but they provoked him with their counsel, and
were brought low for thtir iniquity. J\''evertheless he re-
garded their affliction, when he heard their cry » 371

SERMON II. — Ezekiel xx. 23. A^evertheless I withdrew
7nine hand, and wrought for my naine's sake, that it
should not be polluted in the sight of the heathen 393

SERMON III.— Psalm cxvi. 2. Because he hath inclined
his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as
Hive - -_-. 436



SIGNS and DUTIES of the TIMES, he. - 469

The Doctrines of ELECTION and FINAL PERSE-
VERANCE stated from Scripture, and shewn consist-
ent with exhortatory and practical Preaching, and con-
ducive to Holiness of life.

SERMON John vi. 37 — 40. Jll that the Father giveth

me shall come unto me: and him that cometh unto me., J
ivill in no wise cast out. For I came down froin heaven,
not to de mine oivn will., but the tvill of him that sent me.
And this is the Father's will which hath sent me., that of all
which he hath given me I should lose nothing., but should
raise it up. again at the last day. And this is the will of
him that sent me., that every one which seeth the Son,
and believeth on him., may have everlasting life; and I
will raise him up at the last day. - - 521


Luke, ii. 13, 14.

And suddenly there was with the mrgel a multitude
of the Jieavenly liost^ praising God, and saying ;
Glory to God in the highest y and on earth peace,

good-xvill towards men.


T. Paul, having said, " Without controversy,
*' [^reat is the mystery of godliness; God was mani-
" lest in the flesh," adds among other things, that he
" was seen of angels." These heavenly worshippers
Sav/ the Lord of glory, their Creator and Sovereign,
clothed with human flesh, and laid as an infant in a
manger ; they saw him tempted by the devil in the
wilderness, and ministered to him when he had over-
come the enemy ; they were spectators of his transfi-
guration on the mount, and of his agony in the gar-
den ; they beheld him expire on the cross ; they at-
tended his glorious resurrection and ascension ; and
when he was exalted in human nature to the mediato-
rial throne, they did him homage, and joined the re-
deemed in singing, " Worthy is the Lamb that was

• Preached on Christmas D?)', 17^.

Vol. it, }5


" slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom,
" and strengdi, and honour, and glory, and bless-
*' ing.*" For when the Father " bringcth in the First-
*' begotten into the world, he saitii. And let all the
*' angels of God worship him.-j-" Finally they will be
attendant and ministering servants, when Christ slwll
come to raise the dead and judge the world.

In taking occasion from the present festival to dis-
course on a subject, with which we should be con-
versant at every season of the year, I shall,

I. Make some remarks on the event celebra-
ted by the heavenly host.

II. Explain their song of exalted praise and

III. Endeavour to bring the matter home to
ourselves by some practical deductions.

And may the Lord himself direct and bless our
meditations ; that we may be animated and assisted,
in " keeping a day unto the Lord," after a holy and
heavenly manner ; and not in conformity to the con-
rupt and carnal fashion of those, who turn a Chris-
tian solemnity into a bacchanalian carnival !

I. Let us reflect on the event, which was celebra-
ted by the heavenly host.

A poor woman named Mary, of the family of Da-
vid, espoused to a carpenter residing at Nazareth, a
place branded with infamy, came with her husband to
Bethlehem, in obedience to a decree of Caesar Augus-
tus : and there being " no roorayor them in the inn,"
which was occupied by superior people, they were

* Rev. V. 9—14. t Heb. i. 6.'


lodged in a stable. In this situation !Mary was deli-
vered of a son, whom she wrapped in swaddling
clothes, and laid in a manger. — Nothing at first sight
appears remarkable in this event, except the extremely
mean and inconvenient accommodation made for the
poor woman and her infant ; and the unfeeling neglect
shewn to a person in her circumstances by the inhabi-
tants of Bethlehem. Indeed the affair seems scarcely
to have been noticed in that city ; and we do not find
that it was heard of at Jerusalem, till the child was
presented at the temple according to the law of Moses ;
when a few persons of eminent piety were made ac-
quainted with it. The rulers, scribes, and priests in
general knew nothing of these transactions ; till wise
men from the east came to enquire after the new-born
King, and to do him homage. Then indeed a consi-
derable degree of attention was excited ; and the tyrant
Herod caused the infants about Bethlehem to be cruelly
murdered, in hopes of destroying one, whom he dread-
ed as the rival of his authority. Soon after, however,
the report seems to have been forgotten. The child
born at Bethlehem was brought up at Nazareth witii
Joseph the carpenter, and doubtless earned his bread at
that laborious trade ; till at length he entered on his
publick ministry, which he closed by an ignominious
death upon a cross. Thus " he grew up before the
" Lord as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry
" ground ; he had no form or comeliness ; and when
*' the people saw him, there was no beauty that they
*' should desire him : he was despised and rejected of
*' men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.*"

* Isa. Mil. 2, 3.

12 SEUMON" 1.

And if the Jews knew little of the infant at Bcthlelicu!,
and the carpenter's son at Nazareth ; the gentile rulers,
conquerors, and philosophers were entirely unacquaint-
ed with him. All over the earth, which he came to
bless, he was disregarded or despised: yet angels wit-
nessed and celebrated his birth with admiring songs of
praise !

These blessed spirits, free from guilt, and perfect in
holiness, want not a Saviour. " They excel in
•' strength, and do the Lord's commandments, heark-
*' ening to the voice of his words.*" Their capacities
for wisdom and understanding are very great ; their
judgment and taste, for what is beautiful and glorious,
are exactly conformable to those of the holy God
"whom they adore : and the hope of being at length
made like them, and equal to them, should excite a
noble ambition and emulation in every human heiirt.
But the event which had taken place at Bethlehem,
and which we this day commemorate, appeared to
them of the greatest possible importance, and worthy
to be celebrated with their most rapturous adorations.

In the infant laid in a manger they recognized the
" Seed of the woman," the spotless offspring of a
virgin-mother, who was to come and " bruise the
*' Serpent's head :" and " the Seed of Abraham, in
*' whom all nations should be blessed." They knew,
that Mary was come to Bethlehem, according to the
purpose of God, that the ancient prophecy might be
fulfilled. " But thou, Bethlehem-Ephratah, though
** thou be little among the thousands of Judah ; yet
*' out of thee shall he come forth unto me, that is to

♦ Ps. cUi. 20.


" be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have beeii
'* from of old, from everlasting. *" They saw " the
*' Desire of all nations,'' actually come ; f and they
celebrated the accomplishment of Isaiah's prediction,
*' Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given;
** and the government shall be upon his shoulder ; and
*' his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor,
" The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The
*' Prince of Peace. |." One of the company therefore
said to the poor shepherds, " Fear not, for behold I
*' bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be
*' to all people : for unto you is born this day, in tl«
** city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ, the Lord."
They could not say, " Unto us a child is born, unto
us a Son is " given :" *' for verily he took not on him
*' the nature of angels, but he took on him the seed of
" Abraham. ^ " He came into the world to be a Sa-
viour : he was the Christ, the promised Messiah, the
anointed Prophet, Priest, and King ; yea, he was
*' The Lord," " The second man is the Lord from
"heaven." " His name is Emmanuel : " for "God
" is in Christ reconciling the world unto himself."

" The Word, who was in the beginning with
" God, and who was God, by whom all things were
" made, and without whom was not any thing made
" that was made," " was now made flesh and dwelt
" among us;" and angels first beheld *^his glory,
" the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father. j| "
They saw him, " who being in the form of God,
" thought it not robbery to be equal with God,"
" make himself of no reputation, take upon him the

• Mic. V. a. t H»g. ii. 7. | Isa. ix. 6. ^ lleb, ii. 14-^16.
i: John; i. 1— 14,


*' form of a servant, and the likeness of man ; that be-
*' ing found in fashion as a man, lie might become
*' obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.*"
With astonishment, they witnessed him, *' by whom
" all things were created that are in heaven, and that
" are in earth, whether they be thrones, or dominions,
*' or principalities, or powers; — for whom all things
"are created; — and by whom all things consist;"
they witnessed this glorious Creator and Lord of all
*' come in the flesh;" that he might be the visible
" Image of the invisible God;" and as Head of the
church, inherit all things, and have *' in all things the
*' pre-eminence : for it pleased the Father that in him
*' should all fulness dwell, t"

Into "these things the angel sdesire to look:"
here they contemplate with fixed attention and un\\ea-
ried admiration ; for they behold " in the church the
** manifold wisdom of God.'' The heavenly host
knew who the infant in the manger was, and for what
ends he came : tliey were ready to adore the Child
born as the mighty God : they recognized their Crea-
tor and Lord, under this disguise ; and with good old
Simeon they viewed him as " the Light of the gen-
" tiles and the Glory of his people Israel. ''

In this humble scene they saw the opening of that
grand design, which had been shadowed forth by the
ceremonies of the law, and of which the prophets from
the beginning had excited the highest expectations :
that design which had been obscurely intimated when
Adam sinned, and grndually unfolding for about four
thousand years. " The great mystery of godliness,

* Phil. ii. 6— S. -j- Col. i. 15—19. Heb. i. 1—3.


^* God manifested in the flesh,'* now actually realized,
called forth the amazement, and enlivened the affec-
tions of these heavenly v^^orshippers ; and dictated
that zealous song of adoring praise, which is the sub-
ject of our present meditation.

II. Then, we proceed to explain the song itself.
*' Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace,
" good-will to m.en." The angels celebrated the
praises of God, and congratulated the happiness of
man, with most fervent love and joy. " To you,"
O ye sons of men, " is born a Saviour, who is Christ,
*' tlie Lord :" we exult in your felicity, " we rejoice
" over one sinner that repenteth :" * how much
' greater then, must be our joy and gladness at the
' nativity of Him who is come to stoop, sufi'er, and
' die, that he may " be exalted as a Prince and Sa-
" viour, to give repentance and remission of sins?'*

It is very affecting to compare the conduct of the
heavenly host, in this respect, with that of men in ge-
neral, who neglect or oppose the message of salvation.,
and despise the glorious Redeemer. But angels
know our real character and condition : while we are
bhnded with pride and prejudice, and are extremely
unwilling to be convinced that we deserve destruction I
or so taken up with " the world, and the things that
** are in the world," that we disregard the important
interests of eternity !

In considering the hymn of praise before us, Ave
may perhaps begin to best advantage with the con^
eluding sentence, " Good-will to men." — The bless-
ed angels had witnessed the creation of the earth,
*• when these morning-stars sang together, and all the


" sons of God shouted for joy ;*" for in that august
transaction they saw the immensity of their Creator's
power, wisdom, and goodness. With astonishment
and awe they beheld also the fall of their compeers ;
sndwhen " God spared not the angels that sinned,
** but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into
*' chains of darkness to be reserved unto judgment, t''
they adored his righteous severity against the rebel -
Uous, and his holy abhorrence of sin; and they recei-
ved instruction of inestimable value from the imprcs*
sive solemn scene. They saw too the fall of man ;
and probably expected that vengeance would, with
unabated vehemence, seize in like manner upon him;
not conceiving that a God of infinite purity and justice
could possibly shew mercy and kindness to rebels
and apostates. No doubt they heard the first intima-
tion of favour to our offending parents, mixed with
the solemn denunciation of death, and all the woes
that preceded it : and this must have excited a pe-
culiar attention to so new and interesting a discovery
of the divine perfections.

From that crisis, they had been witnesses and mes.
sengers, both of the Lord's mercy and of his indigna-
tion, towards the human race. Numerous opportu-
nities had been afforded them, in the history of man-
kind, of learning the fatal effects of transgression, and
the power of divine wrath. The deluge ; the tremen-
dous doom of Sodom and Gomorrah ; the desolations of
Egypt; the severities inflicted on the devoted Ca-
naanites; the judgments executed even on offending
Israel, in the wilderness and Canaan, and by the

Job, xxxyiii. 7* -j- 2 Pet. ii. 4>.


Babylonish captivity ; were so many illustrations of
the justice of God, and his holy abhorrence of ini-
quity. But at the same time his patience and bounty
towards sinful men, his gracious interpositions in be-
half of his people, the intimations and predictions of
a Saviour, the promises given to believers, and the
actual salvation of numbers, shewed his good- will td
mankind; and his readiness to pity, help, and re-
lieve them, as far as could consist with the honour ot
his name, and the interest of his universal and ever-
lasting kingdom.

Yet in the infant lying in the manger at Bethle-
hem, the angels had such a discovery of the Lord's
good-will to men, connected with his detestation of
their sins, as had never hitherto attracted their notice
or raised their expectations. They no doubt, before
this, had some general conception of the plan formed
by infinite wisdom and everlasting love : perhaps the
whole had been fully notified to them. Yet when the
stupendous design was thus far accomplished; their
previous admiration of the ineffable condescension,
compassion, and love of the holy and glorious Lord
God towards lost sinners, whose multiplied and hein-
ous crimes had so long called loudly for vengeance,
was far exceeded, and as it were swallowed up in in-
expressible astonishment. Good-will to man ! to
guilty, polluted, ungrateful man ! to idolatrous, im-
pious, and blaspheming man ! This overwhelmed the
blessed angels with amazement, and tuned their
hearts to adoring praises : and these reflections must
have the same effect on all, who have just views of
the majesty and glorious holiness of Gcd, the nature



18 SERMON I. ^

and desert of sin, and the wonderful plan of redemp- ;

tion. — " God commendeth his love to us in that !

*' while we were yet sinners Christ died for us." i

*' Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he !

*' loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for i

" our sins.*" '

This good- will of God to men is mere compassion I

and benevolence, not approbation or complacency. :

The crimes, dispositions, and characters of the crea- \

lures, thus beloved, were unspeakably hateful in his •:

holy eyes : and none of his protestations against sin are

so decided and energetick, as that which principally de- ;

clares his love to sinners. The compassion and tender - |

ness, which induce virtuous and pious persons, at '

great expence, to relieve those pitiable objects whose ^

crimes have rendered them miserable ; in order that an

attempt may be made to rescue them from temporal and ]

eternal ruin, is a very distant imitation of the love :

shewn by our God to sinners, in giving his Son to be

their Saviour, even while he declares them to bedeser^ j

ving of his everlasting wrath and abhorrence. The j

heinousness of our crimes, the contrariety of our dis- .

positions to the divine purity, the great things he hath |

done to make way for our salvation, and the inestima- ;

ble blessings prepared for us, combine to illustrate :

the riches of his mercy and the immensity of his good- '

ness. The love of the Father, in giving his only -be- i

gotten and well-beloved Son ; the love of the Son in ;

most willingly assuming our nature, that he might .

give himself a sacrifice for our sins ; and the love of j

Rom. V. 6—10. 1 John, iv. 10.


the Spirit, in preparing our hearts to receive this sal-
vation, and in making us meet for the heavenly in-
heritance, demand our warmest gratitude and most
fervent praises ; while we give " glory to the Father,
" to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit," into whose
name we were baptized.

Before the coming of Christ, the special tokens
of the Lord's good- will to men were principally con-
fined to the people of Israel ; and he had suffered all
other nations to walk in their own ways. But in the
child born at Bethlehem the angels saw him, who was
appointed for *' Salvation to the ends of the earth."
The partition-wall was about to be removed; the
good tidings of a Saviour, even Christ the Lord,
were speedily to be proclaimed to all people without
distinction ; and thus a proposal of mercy and every
blessing, " without money and without price," would
be made to persons of all characters and descriptions,
not excepting the vilest. Nay, all men every where
would be commanded to repent : and the ambassadors
of Christ would, in his stead, and as if God besought
them by their mouth, beseech them to be reconciled
to God. The fullest assurances were thus about to
be given, that the loving Saviour would reject none,
on any account whatever, who came to him for life
and godliness; and exceedingly great and precious
promises, together with the institution of sacred or-
dinances as means of grace ^ would concur in encour-
pging sinners of every nation to seek the blessings of
eternal life, without fearing a denial or disappoint-
ment. — All this doubtless and far more was percei-
ved by the heavenly host, when they proclaimed


** Good-will to men," in celebrating the nativity of our
Elnimanucl !

They sang also " Peace on earth." They had
witnessed the fatal effects of the creature's venturing
to oppose the Creator's will, and become his enemies.
They had seen angels, as it were, declare war against
the Almighty; and even when cast out of heaven,
employing all their liberty in carrying on the same
desperate and ruinous hostilities. They beheld man
seduced to join the apostate rebels, and become ene=
miesto God by wicked works ; and then, instigated by
enmity to increasing iniquity. The earth filled with
tears, groans, and miseries ; the universal victory
and triumph of death and the grave, and the subse-
quent doom of impenitent and unreconciled sinners,
were the consequences which angels had witnessed of
man's infatuated contest against his omnipotent Crea-
tor. — They had been spectators likewise of all the
cruel wars, which men in every age had waged against
each other : and of all the dire effects of ambition,
envy, revenge, and insatiable rapacity or cruelty,
from the day when Cain, the first murderer, embru-
ed his hands in his brother's blood. What then must
have been the sentiments and feelings of these benevo-
lent spirits, while witnessing the murders, massa-
cres, battles, sieges, and persecutions, which have
wasted the human species, and increased the miseries
of the world to a degree that exceeds all calculation ?
What did they think of the lavish encomiums, be-
stowed, almost unanimously, on the most skilful,
prosperous, and unfeeling of these butchers of man^
kind ? What estimate did they form of man's heart,


and of the vaunted dignity of human nature, the milk
of human kindness, and the sufficiency of reason to
guide us to virtue and happiness ? Beholding inces-
santly these horrid spectacles, what could holy angels
think of man, but that he was, as it were, a younger
brother of the original murderer, delighting in the
same work, and deeming no other employment so
honourable ? What could they think of the earth, but
that it was in many respects a counterpart of hell ;
and that it would have been so more entirely, had it
not been for the good- will of God 'to men?

I mean not, my brethren, to declaim against the
profession of arms, or to condemn all rulers and na-
tions that engage in war. Some soldiers have been,
and some are, Christians : but their profession is their
cross, and its duties their self-denial ; they would not
willingly engage in any war of ambition, rapacity, or
revenge ; but they readily face danger, and endure
hardship, in defence of their country. The more we
hate war and long for peace, the greater are our obli-
gations to such men, as thus expose themselves to
guard us against injurious assailants ; and the more
fervently we ought to pray for their protection and
success. In^the present state of the world, war is a
necessary evil, and often quite unavoidable : and that
not merely when a nation is directly attacked ; for
there are many other ways, by which the rapacious
and ambitious may render a neighbouring country
incapable of defending its liberties and possessions ;
and these can only be counteracted by vigorous oppo-

Online LibraryThomas ScottTheological works : published at different times, and now collected into volumes (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 36)