IN the personal anointing of Christ's human nature wherewith the Father anointed him above his fellows, there was a wonderful display of his eternal power and Godhead. There was also a soul enriching stock of grace as Mediator to be communicated to all the elect members of his mystical body. The Apostle tells us that these receive of his fullness, and grace for grace. Christ as God is the Fountain of all grace, and as Mediator, the dispenser of all mercies. He is the river head, the foundation of all hope, and as the Psalmist says, "All my springs are in thee," (Ps. 87:7) and therefore "because I live, ye shall live also." (John 14:19) "As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me." (John 15:4)
1. By the fruit in my text I shall consider, firstly, the Word of God. In the Song of Solomon it is said, "His mouth is most sweet." (Chap. 5:16) God's mouth is his revealed mind and will in the Scriptures. "How sweet are thy words to my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" (Ps. 119:103), when applied by the Holy Spirit to my wounded conscience. Much of the sweetness consists in their being so exactly suited to the present state and condition of the soul. They are like "apples of gold in pictures of silver." (Prov. 25:11) The soul of man sinks in fear and misgiving thoughts, and the enemy helps forward the calamity by saying, 'It is not likely the Lord will speak a word of comfort to one so full of misery and guilt.' Under such circumstances a word from Christ becomes sweet and encouraging. If it be a word of promise that we shall not be forgotten of him, it leads us to hope. This increases diligence in secret prayer, and we find in due season, "all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us." (2 Cor. 1:20) What can be more encouraging to a soul dying of the wounds that sin has made in his conscience, than glad tidings and a sweet discovery of the good Physician who heals such wounds with tenderness and skill, and is able and willing to reconcile the poor soul to the Father. It is written "he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised." (Luke 4:18; Isa. 61:1,2) Thus the Word of God becomes sweet to us.
David no doubt thought so when he cried out, "I will never forget thy precepts: for with them thou hast quickened me." (Ps. 119:93) When we meet together to communicate our exercises and trials, how we speak of our trials, troubles, and especial fears and doubts. We sometimes seem ready to give up all, our hope seems removed like a tree, but we go on to tell each other how we persevered in prayer, though it seems very long and no answers came. At last when we were ready quite to give up, the Lord has come in with a suitable word, by which our fears and troubles were dispersed. This we found to be most sweet to our taste. It is written of the Saviour, "The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary." (Isa. 50:4) A word of counsel or comfort brought home to the conscience of a wounded trembling sinner is "as cold water to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country." (Prov. 25:25) Oh how sweet is this to the troubled soul.
Another reason why the words of Christ are so sweet is the Holy Ghost attends them with such enlightening and enlivening power to the heart, as to open the eyes of the understanding, more or less, to comprehend the wonderful love of God to us in Christ Jesus. This is not understood by carnal professors, nor can the natural man however wise in other things, understand this wonderful work of God when he works upon the hearts of his children. it is for want of this quickening influence of the Spirit that so many hear without profit. Yet [they] retain their profession, ever learning, but never able to get at the real power of godliness. These attend constantly and perhaps received the sacrament, and go the whole round of duties, yet without spiritual life. These never have a kid given them to make merry with Luke 15:29) [They] are not aware that they have no sensible communion or fellowship with the Lord and cannot distinguish between the letter and the spirit. And how the letter killeth, if they never go beyond a pretension to believe that. But the Spirit gives spiritual life, light and understanding, and always leads the soul to Christ, the Fountain of life. [The Spirit] guides us into all truth, (John 16:13) and this becomes most sweet to our spiritual taste. It creates a spiritual appetite for the Bread of Life, who nourishes the soul unto eternal life. The Saviour says, "Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." (John 4:14) When these things are applied with a divine power upon the heart, it will make us tell of God's goodness and mercy to us, and we shall say like the disciples of old, "Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?" (Luke 24:32)
This fruit is most sweet to us and encourages us to endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ, believing as he is the Captain of our salvation, we shall through him be more than conquerors.
2. Secondly, the works of Christ are sweet to a true child of God. "Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord; neither are there any works like unto thy works." (Ps. 86:8)
His work of taking upon himself human nature in union with his divine. This is a part of that mystery of which Paul says was hid in God. The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, (John 1:14) and great is this mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh. (1 Tim. 3:16) It becomes sweet to us when, with the eyes of our understanding, we can comprehend the love and mercy which this mystery displayed in our behalf, that it was everlasting, none shall now pluck you out of my hands. (John 10:28)
The union of the two natures in Christ forms a bond of union with his children, which neither men nor devils can break. The sweet fruit of all this is made sweet to our taste by the communion and fellowship which the Father, Son and Holy Ghost bring about through our Intercessor who ever liveth for that purpose. "That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also might have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ." (1 John 1:3)
The work of humiliation. Christ "made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." (Phil. 2:7,8) He utterly emptied himself; he debased himself; [and] made himself subject to our sin, not pleading his spotless innocency. In this humiliation he suffered his judgment to be taken away. "He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth." (Isa. 53:7)
What was the reason of this? The blessed Redeemer was determined to satisfy his Father's infinite justice and holiness, therefore he submitted to the severity of the law for his elect who come to him with broken hearts because of the dreadful sentence of death, temporal, spiritual and eternal lying upon them. How sweet is the taste of this fruit to such a soul. This wonderful work of Christ, "who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed." (1 Pet. 2:24)
The death of Christ is another fruit that is sweet to our taste. It is difficult to persuade men that the law will show no mercy. It is the ministration of death and condemnation. (2 Cor. 3:7,9) The Redeemer must die to satisfy infinite justice. "Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow." (Zech. 13:7) This is the way his death becomes sweet fruit to us. By this means the Lord's hand is turned towards his little ones, and though these are called but few in number, yet, "I will bring the third part through the fire." (Zech. 13:9) I will not send them through, but I will bring them myself, go along with them and be with them, as I was with Shadrach, Meshec, and Abednego. (Dan. 3:24,25) I will refine them as silver is refined, and not as brass or iron, but I will sit with tender care over them, (Mal. 3:3) that nothing shall be lost but dross, and though they shall be often tried, it shall not be like the burning of hay, or stubble, but like precious gold, not a grain shall be lost, but must gained. [They] learn more and more [of] the sweet and precious fruits of Christ's death, and by these various exercises they shall learn to call upon my name, and I will hear them.
The fruit of this shall be sweet, because it will bring about a clear perception of our spiritual adoption, and we shall find a holy boldness to say, "The Lord is my God," and he will reply, "And you are my people." "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16) How sweet is this fruit, when the Spirit discovers to us the unspeakable love of the Father in Christ Jesus. What delight it creates in the soul to think such wretched sinners as we are, are assured the Father loves us and testifies of the same by the sweet sealing of that love upon our hearts, which leaves such an impression of God's love that neither men nor devils can make us to discredit it or mistake it when we are first partakers of this rich fruit. Why should the Saviour step in between us and hell when it seemed all but [lost]? Surely, nothing but unsearchable love redeemed us from everlasting destruction. What mercy, O my friends, and all the fruit of Christ's dying love. "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Rom. 5:8)
The glorious resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is fruit that is sweet to a child of God. For by that he showed his almighty power and Godhead. By that he conquered death, hell and the devil; therefore it is written, "Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth, Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us." (Rom. 8:34)
The Lord by this sets before us the strongest encouragement that a poor sinner can have in his trouble, that his heart may be assured that this heavenly Intercessor is in earnest when he prays that we may believe the Father loves us, as he loved his Son, and that we may all be one (John 17:23, and,
To him be all the glory. Amen.