« PoprzedniaDalej »
makes her a beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth,” &c.
8thly, See when it is that a church loses her beauty and glory, and makes defection. Why, it is when Christ loses his favour among her ministers and profeffors : And when this Plant of renown is rejected, God rejects that church, and gives her to the spoil. Sirs, Christ has been long preached in Scotland, but folk have not entertained him by faith, and therefore the Lord, at this day, is threatening to take his Christ altogether away from among us.
9thly, See hence how a person may know whether matters be right or wrong, whether he be thriving and prospering in grace, or if he be decaying and going backward. Why, it is ay right with the foul, in whom and with whom Civift is in the ascendant. Is the Plant of renown rising or going back with you? If he be riling, then, (1.) He will be raised up in your esteem, as with David, Pfal. Ixxiii. 25. and Paul, Philip. üi. 8. 9. (2.) In your affe&ion and love, “ Whom having not feen, we love,” &c. “ Lord (says Peter), thou knowest all things, thou knowest I love thee,” &c. (3.) He will be raifed up in our meditation ; every thought will be a captive to his obedience, and our “meditations of him will be sweet, and our souls satisfied as with marrow and fatness, when you remember him, and meditate upon him," &c. (4.) He will be raised up in your talk and walk, they will have a favour of the Plant of renown, and the chat and common talk of the world will be taffeless, like the white of an egg, to you. But, V, a talking of Christ, and of his truths, and of the concerns of his glory, will go well down with you. - (5.) He will be raised up in your religious worship, both public and private, when you go to prayer, when you go to hear the word, or when you go to a communion table, nothing will please but Chrilt himself. “ () that I knew where I might find him. One thing have I defired, and that will I seek after,” &c. (6.) He will be raised up in your wishes and endeavours for the advancement of his kingdom and glory, in as far as your power can go. And whenever his cause comes upon the field, or the cry is made, “Who is on the Lord's fide?" You will ay study, in your sphere, to take that fide where you think Christ stands, and contend and witness for him, his truths, his ways, and worship, according to your
10tbly, May be by way of lamentation. If Christ be the Plant of renown, raised up by his eternal Father, may it not be for matter of lamentation that the Plant of renown is in so
little request among us at this day, aud that there is such a
plucking away of the glory of this blessed Plant. Some :plucking away the glory of his supreme Deity, as you were
hearing, and studying to reduce him among the rank of created and dependent beings: Some plucking at his sovereignty and supremacy, as the alone Head and King of his church ; enading laws inconfiftent with, and directly opposite unto these laws that he has given in his word: Some plucking at the “ liberty wherewith he has made his people free,” by violent intrusions of ministers upon congregations, contrary to scripture pattern, and the covenanted sworn principles of the church of Scotland, inserted in her books of difcipline.
O Sirs, if the Plant of renown were flourishing in the land, there would not be so many unfavoury plants allowed to grow or come up in his vineyard, as there are at this day. The plant of Popish idolatry is connived at, and on the grow. ing hand, both through Scotland, England, and Ireland. The plant of prelacy, error, and fuperftition, tolerate, contrary to folemn covenant engagements, which the land lies under ;
the plant of unfound professors of divinity, poisoning our E
fountains of learning, and seminaries for the holy ministry ; the plant of Jax erroneous minifters and preachers, are growing up apace, and filling the land every day. The plant of old malignancy against the power of religion and a covenanted reformation is growing up, especially among a set of pretended Presbyterians, falsely so called. The plant of profanity is flourishing apace, men abandoning themselves unto wickedness, and giving themselves loose reins in drinking, swearing, rioting, whoredom, drunkenness, Sabbath-breaking, and all manner of abominations, burlesquing the scriptures, ridiculing the worship of God, and breaking their profane jests upon the sacred things of God. The plant of ecclefiaftical tyranny, which seemed to be nipt a little these two years bygone, is sprouting again as fast as ever, notwithstanding the great cries of a pretended reformation that we heard among a great many ministers and professors in the established church; witness the proceedings of the last Assembly, in the case of Dennie and Traquair, and the entertainment of the petition of the parish of Stow. I say, all these, and many other things that inight be infifted upon, evidently declare that the Plant of renown is not raised up among us, but rather that his flavour and favour is gone away, in a great measure, from amongst magistrates and ministers, from judicatories and assemblies for worship, and from among the gencrality of profeflors and inhabitants of the land. Yea, many come that length, that, like the Gadarenes, they would be well content that Chrift were quite departed out of our coasts, that they might with freedom enjoy their swinish lults ; and indeed he seems to be taking his leave of us. But 0, what will follow upon his departure? “Wo, wo, also unto them, when I depart from them." See what comes of the vineyard of the Lord of hosts, If.v. from the beginning, when he departs he takes away the hedge, &c.
Ithly, Is in a word of exhortation. Is it so that Christ is a Plant of renown raised up by JEHOVAH? Then let all that bear the name of Christ, especially you who have been entertained at his table, and tasted of his special love and goodness, study to answer God's design, in railing up for us this Plant of renown.
Take this in the following particulars, with which I conclude. (1.) Sit down, and rest your weary fouls, under the shadow of this renowned Plant, after the example of the spouse, Cant. ii. " I sat down under his shadow with great delight.” When you find no rest in the world, by reason of temptations, amictions, and the working of indwelling corruption, and when you are crying, “O tell me where he maketh his flocks to rest,” let your recourse be ay to the Plant of renown, for to him “ shall the Gentiles seek, and his rest Thall be glorious.” (2.) I invite you to come and behold the glory and beauty of the Plant of renown: “O look unto him, and be saved, all ye ends of the earth.” God the Father thinks so meikle of this Plant of his own raising, that he invites the whole world to behold him as the delight of his very foul, Ifi xlii. 1. ^ Behold my Servant whom I uphold, mine Elect in whom my soul delighteth." It is by beholding of his glory, that the work of fanctification, and conformity to the divine image, and the life of religion is maintained and kept up, 2 Cor. iv. last. “! All we beholding, as in a glass, the glory of the Lord, are changed into the fame image. (3.) Come and feed upon the fruit of this Plant of renown; “ For his flesh is meat indeed, and his blood is drink indeed.” You have been at his table, and perhaps got a meal there, but, Sirs, you would be continually feeding upon him. You fee, in the close of the verse, this Plant is raised up to be food to the hungry; ' “ I will raise him up for them, and they shall hunger 110 more," or be consumed with hunger no more ; and therefore be ay feeding upon his fruits, for they
“ sweet to the taste, and make the lips of them that are alleep, to speak, like the best wine that goeth down sweetly, &c. (4.) Whenever you find yourselves wounded by temptation, or corruption, or the world, come to the Plant of re
nown for healing, for his “leaves are for the healing of the nations." You have a sweet promise to this purpose, Mal. iv: 2. “ To you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall," &c. (5.) Let me exhort you, in your sphere, ministers and private Christians, and I would fain take home the exhortation to myself. O let us all join iffue with the Father of Christ, in studying to raise up this Plant of renown, and to make him more and more renowned, this will be the ambition, and resolution, and endeavour, of all that know him. Psal. xlv. at the close, says the church there, “ I will make thy name to be remembered in all generations, therefore shall the people praise thee, O Lord, for ever and ever.” 'Let us (that are ministers) preach and proclaim his righteousness and renown, and the glory of his person, in the great congregation. And you that are the people) O ftudy to commend him by your walk and talk, and the holiness of your conversation, upon all occasions; and, when his cause and interest in the land is in such a finking condition, let us take a lift of it. Let us lie at a throne of grace, pleading, that he would not forsake the land ; but that he would yet return, and be “the glory in the midit of us,” Zech. ii. 5.
GOD'S DOVES FLYING TO HIS WINDOWS.
Is. lx. 8..Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as doves to
their windows ?
a promise of the continuance of the church upon earth to the uttermost ages of time: “ As for me, this is my covenant,” &c. Here, in the beginning of this chapter, we have a promise concerning the enlargement of the church under the Ljew Testament, unto the uttermoft ends of the earth :
“ And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. Lift up thine eyes sound about, and fee; all they gather themselves together, they come to thee, thy sons Thall come from far, and thy daughters Thall be nursed at thy side." We are likewise told, how the church shall be affected with this increase of her num. bers and enlargement of her borders. (1.) She will be in a transport of joy upon this account; ver. 5. “ Thou shalt see and flow together,” &c. (2.) There will be a mixture of fear with this joy; “ Thine heart shall fear,'' as though it were a thing unlawful to join with the Gentiles, &c. (3.) She shall be enlarged with love, so as to leave room for all the Gentile converts. (4.) She shall be struck with surprise and wonder, saying, Who are these that fly? &c.
Ver. 3. 4.
Where four things are considerable. 1. We have a sweet fight that the Old Testament church gets of the state of matters under the New Testament, upon the revelation of Christ in the gospel among the Gentiles. Why, she fees poor souls upon the wing, in great multitudes, flying to a Saviour; and a sweeter fight cannot be seen upon earth, &c. 2. Notice the manner of their flight; they fly as a cloud, and as doves : Of which more particularly afterward, when we come to prosecute the doctrine. 3. Notice the term or object of their flight; they fly to the windows for their relief. Like the windows of the ark of Noah, whereat the dove entered, when she could find no place for tire sole of her foot, because of the deluge. 4. Notice the pleasant surprise that the prophet or the Old Testament church is put into at this fight. This is implied in the manner of the speech, (Who are these?) She is striken with a pleafant astonishment, to see the finners of Gentiles, "aliens to the commonwealth of Israel, strangers to the covenant of promise," flocking in to Christ; Chrilt preach. ed unto the Gentiles, and the Gentiles believing in Chrift, being a branch of the great mystery of godliness, 1 Tim. iii, and last.
Ors. That the flight of finners to a Saviour is a sweet and
surprising fight. Who are these that fly as a cloud? &c. The method, through divine afsiftance shall be,
1. To speak a little of this flight of the finner to Chrift, and thew what it imports.
II. I would speak a little of the manner of their flight: They fly as a cloud, and as doves. What may be couched in thele metaphors.
III. Speak a little of these windows to which they iy.