Obrazy na stronie

lily shall be given. Take it then as follows: "The lily is one of the principal flowers, it consists of six leaves formed in the shape of a bell; the Pistil is in the centre of the flower, and becomes an oblong and three cornered fruit, containing two rows of seed. The root is of a bulbous form. Lilies are very choice flowers, and many spring from one root. They are fragrant, comely, and medicinal, especially the roots of white lilies; they are excellent for softening and ripening swellings. Lilies were so plentiful in the land of Canaan, that some say they heated their ovens with withered ones. In some countries lilies grow to the height of four feet; but their neck is so weak that it can scarce support the head." The church in the Canticles, speaking of Christ, says, My beloved is mine, and I am his; he feedeth among the lilies. chap, ii, 16, It is expressive of Christ feeding his church by his Spirit, and by his word, through the sweet, precious, and consolatory promises of the everlasting gospel. And these are delightful, healing, and fructifying to the souls of men, and will be very specially and particularly so, at the time of the conversion of the Jews, and their restoration to their own land, when they shall enjoy the blessings contained in the subject now before us. The lily is the next in nobility to the rose; it is so glorious and excellent, that our Lord says, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like

unto one of these. To this beautiful, fragrant, and medicinal flower, Christ is compared, he being most truly refreshing, beautiful, and fragrant to his church and people; and his church and people are compared also unto it; and the growth of the church in the latter day, is described by that of the lily, which is of a quick growth, of an erect form, and lifts its head heavenward. And thus under these symbols and metaphors, it pleased the Lord to set forth the glory of his church in the latter day. He, or it, shall blossom as the lily; so it is in the margin, which, as thus expressed, shewed how near it was to the fruit season. As the sudden change produced in the state and condition of the church, was expressed by its growing as the lily; so if we take in the marginal reading, and read the words thus, he shall blossom as the lily, it shews the very near approach of the church, to the time of her bringing forth fruit to the praise and glory of God. The blossoming or budding in our text, was expressive of glory, prosperity, and advancement in the church of Christ. As the flourishing and blossoming of Aaron's rod, expressed the lasting flourishing of the priesthood in his family, and the everlasting prosperity, flourishing, and fruitfulness, success and victory of Christ, in and by the gospel over his, and all the enemies of his church and people. The gospel is the rod of Christ's strength. The prosperity of the outward

and visible state of Christ's church, is here expressed, and compared to the blossoming of flowers and fields, as it is in the very text itself, in these words, He shall grow as the lily, it expresses the immediate influences of the Holy Ghost upon his church, and the immediate effect which followed thereupon. These produce immediate effects unto eternal life, such as cannot but be most clearly seen, and evidenced in the reality of the same. Are not these figures and expressions of the glory of the church of Christ, most noble and impressive? Surely they are. She is for purity and heavenly mindedness like the lily for her spiritual growth, her quick growth in spirituality and visible form likened unto the lily. She is watered and nourished with the dew of heavenly and divine grace. She is increased with every spiritual gift and grace. She is fully possessed of, and inhabited by the Eternal Spirit: thus she is the habitation of God to dwell in. Of her the Lord says, I the Lord do keep it, I will water it every moment: lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day, Hereby many other prophecies will be most divinely accomplished, such as these, which follow: For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice (together) for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and

joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. Isaiah, lxv. 17-19. And the name of the city from that day shall be, the Lord is there. Ezek. xlviii. 35. Thus I have endeavoured to apply the expressions and figures in my text, to the outward visible glory of the church of the living God, in its state of perfection and blessedness in the last days, When it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. Micah. iv. 1, 2. I proceed to my next head, which is this:

[ocr errors]

Thirdly To speak of the establishment of Israel; or, church of Christ, in this flourishing condition. He shall cast forth his roots as Lebanon. Thus the strength of Christ's church, and the fixation and and firmness of the same, will be such as cannot be moved. I will be as the dew unto Israel. He shall blossom; he shall grow as the lily; and cast, or strike forth his roots as Lebanon. Christ and his church are in some Scriptures compared to Lebanon; and this, on account of their spiritual comeliness, and per

petual verdure, for their fragrancy and fruitfulness. It is for such reasons as these, that the stability of the church is here expressed, thus: He shall cast forth his roots as Lebanon. Christ's countenance is said to be as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars. Sol. Song. v. 15. According to Calmet, Mount Lebanon is shaped like a horse shoe, with its opening towards the north; it begins about ten miles from the Mediterranean Sea, northward in Syria, and runs south till almost over against Zidon, then turns eastward on the northern frontiers of Galilee, and lastly, turns northward as far as Laodicea in Syria. In Lebanon, it is said, four mountains rise, as it were, one above another. The first has a fruitful soil, excellent for wines. The second is barren. The third enjoys an almost perpetual spring. The fourth is often, but not always, covered with snow; the vines in the lower parts of it, and the cedars on the top of it, which were antiently very numerous, rendered it extremely beautiful and fragrant. Jerusalem and the Temple, are called Lebanon, because mostly built of the cedars of Lebanon. The houses of Jerusalem high, as to resemble the

were so many and forest of Lebanon. The church in the last days is to grow as the lily, and cast forth, or strike her roots as Lebanon.

It should be observed, the whole of these words are an absolute promise. God's I will, runs

« PoprzedniaDalej »