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throughout them: it is I will, and he shall; nothing here depends on the creature. There is therefore an absolute certainty in them. It might not be amiss to consider them as a prophecy concerning the church, down to the very close of time. She shall be stable. She shall be immovably rooted in Christ. She shall strike her roots, so as to spread abroad, and greatly increase in numbers, beauty, honor, perfection, glory and excellency. Her roots like those of the trees of the forests of Lebanon, shall be strong and lasting, filled with perpetual sap, by which their strength will be continually increased. Thus the church will be as Lebanon, full of fragrancy and odour. We will sum up the outline and substance of what is contained in this verse, and hath been delivered as agreeable with the same .Here is in it a promise, or prophecy, call it which you please, concerning the church of Christ in the last days. The Lord will be as the dew unto her; she will be well nourished and cared for. The effect of this will be clear and evident, in her open form, revivification, and fruitfulness.
will grow up glorious and divinely beautiful, even to outward observance and view. Her purity will be like the lily; so will her growth also. She will be tall, and of a comely proportion, of excellent appearance, and upright stature, looking and aspiring heaven-ward. She will be full of life and spirituality. She will be strong in the
Lord and the power of his might. She will be fruitful in promoting her Lord's interest and truths, in publishing his gospel, and holding forth and abiding by his own institutions. She will not be moved from any of them; no, not in the least degree. Now for the text. Let what hath been spoken be compared with it, and then judge ye, if the outline given be not in substance agreeable with the same, I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall blossom, he shall grow as the lily: and strike, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. Beloved, I have endeavoured to express the whole of it according to the best of my capacity, and I hope in the Lord for his blessing on the same, that it may be of some use and advantage to you. Whilst I have most assuredly directed myself and you, to consider them as very particularly descriptive of the glorious perfection of the church in a future period, when the Lord shall be her everlasting light, and her God her glory; yet, I have not omitted to intersperse here and there, observations to this effect, that we may, the Lord being our teacher, receive into our minds, such supports and consolations, as in our own particular cases we may require. The enlargement of the true church of Christ, is most distinctly hinted at and foretold, under these expressions, He shall cast forth his roots as Lebanon. The mouth of the Lord hath spoken it, therefore it must
come to pass, and be completely accomplished. And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him. Dan. vii. 27. The ground of all this we have, in the 13th and 14th verses of the same chapter; the prophet says, I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. It is good for us to meditate on what the Lord God hath revealed in the Scriptures of truth. It is most blessed for us to enjoy communion with him in the belief of the same. And even as it respects the accomplishment of the prophecies, it is good for a man to hope, and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord. It is in divine dispensations in a providential way, the Lord fulfils the prophecies. We are best employed, when agreeably to the sphere and station the Lord hath been pleased to place us in, we fill up the same, so as to glorify God according to the ability it hath pleased the Divine Majesty to bestow upon us. The Lord look
upon us, whose hearts he hath drawn towards himself, and so fix divine truth upon our minds, that we may see the glory of the same, and at all times and places, in all seasons, and upon all occasions, be under the influence and mighty authority of the same. May the Lord Jesus Christ be to us, as the dew unto Israel. May he cause us to grow as the lily; to cast forth our roots as Lebanon. May it be given unto us to mix faith with his word of promise; to receive the same thereby into our hearts; to grow into him in all things: so that we may be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might.
Blessed Lord! grant that it may be thus with us, for thy great Name's sake, Amen.
HOSEA XIV, v. 6.
His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon.
THE words of the present text are a continuation of the former; in the first part of them which has been sermonized, the Lord spake of the growth and strength of his
church in time to
come, as growing in excellency as the lily, as casting forth its roots as Lebanon; so as to be strong and immoveable, and not to give place to mutation and decay; the consequence of which must be, the branches of the church could not but spread abroad, and this must be the enlargement of the cause and interest of the Lord Jesus Christ in the world. If we read the former verse and this together, we shall the more clearly see the connexion of them; let this therefore be done. I will be as the dew uuto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon. All which flows from the Lord's free love to his beloved ones: I will love them freely. In the former verse, we have the effect of the Lord's free love to his people; he was unto them as the dew: he poured out his Spirit on his church; this produced a sudden and glorious change, so that it sprang forth, and grew just as a watered lily doth, and by its taking root in Christ, it became established in him, and became in a good and flourishing condition, so as to cast forth its roots like Lebanon, and to be strong in the grace which is in Christ Jesus, and in such circumstances, as not to be easily overturned with every blast of wind, or cunning craftiness of men, who might lie in wait to deceive; so in the present verse, the effects of the same love, expressed by the Lord to his Israel