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on him, and what he is to them, and on what he hath done for them; and by his obedience unto death, even the death of the cross. He saying, I am like a green fir tree, implies, that it is out of his infinite fulness, all the wants of his people are to be supplied: all the graces of his people are to be maintained: all the blessings of the Father's everlasting love, are to be continued and all the benefits of his great salvation are to be imparted. I am like a green fir tree. able to save to the uttermost. To raise up the church above and beyond all discouragements, To bestow all the blessings of life everlasting in the enjoyment and continuation of them, for ever and ever. Thus I have given a two-fold explanation of the words, according to what I proposed, and also some additions to the same. And now I come to these words, From me is thy fruit found. These are the words of Christ; they seem to be spoken by him for the encouragement of his church. They most certainly carry in them the idea, the church was looking to herself, and within herself, for that which alone is to be found in the Lord Jesus Christ. This is securing the whole glory of all contained in this chapter to him, whose name is exalted above all blessing and praise. All the vast designs of God, in Christ, God-man, and as they were to shine forth in his headship and mediatorship, fully proves it hath
pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell. So that all the grace spoken of, in, and throughout the whole of this chapter, in the full and free pardon of all the backslidings of the church, in the Lord's being unto her as dew unto Israel; in her growth, beauty, and establishment; in her increase, and flourishing state and condition even to her revival, growth, and scent, as the wine of Lebanon, is the grace of the Holy Three, manifested in the person of Christ, and flowing forth upon the church of God, from the inexhaustible fulness of the Lord Jesus. He is the green fir tree: he says, From me is thy fruit found. It is as he looks upon us, and holds communion with us, that he produces all those fruits and effects of grace, in our souls which we are favoured with; so that the church may well say, now and evermore, in each and every one of her individuals, All my springs are in thee. May the Lord bless what hath been delivered, if he please. Amen.
HOSEA XIV, v. 9.
Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein.
WE have had the Lord God of Israel, speaking to his backsliding Israel, in the chapter of which we are now come to the close. He has been calling upon them to return to him, which hath been expressed in words supremely glorious, and altogether suited to the sovereignty and greatness of his own grace, and their peculiar cases. The Lord's answer to their requests hath been given. From the fifth to the eighth verse inclusive, the Lord is pleased in the greatness and exuberancy of his grace, to speak out most divinely unto his pardoned ones, declaring what he would be to his church, and how it should grow, increase, branch forth, be beautiful, and of sweet perfume: a shelter and protection to all who should come into it, and take their places therein. An account is also given of the blessed
effects which would be produced in poor backsliding Ephraim, in consequence of the fulfilment of these exceeding great and precious promises. Ephraim shall say, what have I to do any more with idols? This was so acceptable to the Lord, that he is pleased to say, I have heard him; I have observed him; upon which he condescends to declare himself to Ephraim thus: I am like a green fir tree, which considered as tall, comely, and glorious, may be symbolical of Christ. And no doubt but it is very emphatically expressed of him, and may direct to the person and salvation of our Lord Jesus Christ. A green fir tree may serve to denote the protection Christ is to all poor sinners, who fly and take shelter in him. Our Lord is pleased to add this to comfort Ephraim, From me is thy fruit found. These words are very comfortable to such of the Lord's beloved ones, as are mourning and complaining on account of their barrenness and spiritual unfruitfulness. In me, says Jesus, is thy fruit found. No fruit can be produced in us, but by the life which Christ is pleased to impart and communicate. There must be union unto Christ and his church, before there can be any commupion with him. It is only such who are one with Christ, who partake of the spirit of Christ. The bond of union between Christ and his church, is founded on the Father's everlasting love. Christ, in union with his church, as the head thereof, re
presented them in election. So also in the foreviews of their fall in Adam, Christ their head, undertook, with the divine Father, to raise them up, above, and beyond the whole of it, by his open incarnation, obedience, and death. Haying accomplished this, he is pleased to send his Holy Spirit into their hearts, to form them by regeneration for his praise. Thus he makes known himself unto them, and most graciously holds communion with them. Some glimpses of these things have been taken, as we have gone over the foregoing verses. We are now brought to the close of the chapter; it ends with this, which is solemnly important and impressive, concerning the spiritual, practical, and experimental use of the preceding snbject. Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the Lord are. right, and the just shall shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein. These words contain a promise; as so considered they are the Lord's they contain a declaration, in which a prophetic hint is given, concerning who those are who shall make a wise use, and prudent account of the Lord's most gracious dealings and conduct towards his people; and who those are who will not. In order to speak out all that I apprehend to be the full meaning of them, I will cast the substance of the same into the following partieulars: