Obrazy na stronie

body of the church, this rule is to be observed, that, where the Lord is mentioned thus, in relation to a mixed people, all the privileges that flow from such a relation of God; to that people, are but common privileges : I mean, common to all that visible church. Thus the privilege of bringing out of the land of Egypt was a com. mon privilege ; common to all the people, good and bad aniong them; even as our deliverance from Romish Babylon, in the Reformation, &c. But though God be called the God of a church or people, collectively, and they called his people, which infers many excellent pri. vileges, though common to them all, as in the forecited Rom. ix. 4.; yet he is not their God in the same respect as he is the God of these that are believers and true If. raelites amongst them. As, “ They are not all Ifrael, that are of Israel;" fo, the true Israel have distinguished favours and privileges conferred on them beyond others: he is their God, and they are his people, in a peculiar manner; and they are poffefsed of saving privileges. Ifrael, or the church in general, hath a right to Christ, but true Israelites have a right in him; by their being made to take possession of the general right that all the reft have, by the fæderal relation to him as his people. Israel was a people in covenant with God; he choosed them for his people, and they choosed him by profession for their God; and happy Ifraelites they were, that did fo in reality. They had his truth, for their security; his mercy, for their comfort ; his wisdom, for their counsellor ; his Spirit, for their guide ; his angels, for their guardians and ministring fpirits.

My people; it is, (1.) A title of peculiarity, importing a separation from other people; that they are not the people of the world, but chosen out of the world; they are not their own people, but bought with a price. (1.) A title of propriety, importing God's intereft in then ; being à people of his choice, his purchase, his promise, his conquest, his love, and his care. (3.) A title of dignity, importing their high privilege; his peopie are his pleasure, his treasure, his heritage, his flock, his witness, his crown, his glory, &c. (4.) A title of divinity, God's people; importing their profefied or real


ji. 15.

participation of the divine nature and image ; a people formed by himself to fhew forth his praise.

My people; they were so fæderally, by virtue of the covenant God made with their fathers. God said to Moses, when sent to deliver them, “I am the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob.” Now, he calls them His people, because they were come of these, of whom he declared himself to be their God, and the God of their feed; and with whom he had before entered into covenant, saying, “ I am thy God;" namely, in Chrift, the Mediator of the covenant, who was to descend of them, according to the fleth. Indeed, it is only through Chrilt that we can be God's people; for all the promises are made to Chrilt, and thro' him to us.

The promise made to Abraham was of the Mefliah; " In thy feed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed."

And it is said, “Out of Egypt have I called my Son," Holea xi. 1. There the prophet feels only to mean God's people, whom he delivered out of Egypt; but yet we see, Mat.

it is applied particularly to Christ, because it was only through him, and for his fake, that this deli. verance was both promised and wrought. We are not then of the number of God's people, if we be not in Christ; take away Christ and the gofpel, and you take away your title to be God's people.

My people; how? They were his by virtue of the old relation to their fathers. There was a long time between his saying, “ I will be thy God, and the God of thy feed,” and the time that he said, to Mofes, “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” It was at least the space of four hundred years: yet, by virtue of that covenant, he calls them that were come of them, after so long a time, any people. Hence, many years after a covenant is made, the covenant ftands. When God hath mani. felted his covenant of grace to a people, receiving them to be his; and they have thereupon entered into a covenant of duty with him, avouching him to be their God, and promising, through grace, subjection to him, though it were four hundred years old, yea, though it were four thousand years, it stands; and they who succeed are bound by that covenant. There are personal cove


X 3

high God.


nants, and national covenants. In baptism, and the Lord's supper, there is a personal covenanting to be the Lord's; and to fight against the devil, the world, and the flesh. But besides, there are national covenants, wherein we in these lands have devoted curselves to the Lord, and avowed ourselves to be his people. In which practice we were warranted by many fcripture precedents; such as, Joshua xxiv. 14, -18. 2 Kings xvii. 11. 2 Chron, xv. &c. Never was any action dune mure sedately and advisedly than this covenanting work was done, that is nou so much buried, forgotten, and Mighted. The binding obligation thereof upon us is plain ; if we have the benefit of that religion to which our forefathers swore an hundred years ago, then we must be heirs of the oath they came under to the most

We find, in fcripture, that Levi is said to pay tithes to Melchizedec; and yet Levi was not born at this time; but it was Abraham that paid tithes, and Levi being to come of Abraham, therefore he is faid to pay them. Therefore, when our fathers swore to this Covenant, wę swore as well as they; and we are obliged to stand to it, though it were never so many years after. This generation is now making light of Scotland's Love. nant with God; and are so far renouncing their relation to him, as his people by folemn Covenant. But fee how God speaks in fcripture of his people, and their posterity after them ; it is said, Pfalin Ixvi. 6. that God did turn the flods into dry land, and they went thro'the flood on fort; then, there did We rejoice in bim. Huw could this be, that they did rejoice in him, then and tbere, fince they were not then come into the world? Why, because they got deliverance at that time ; other. wise they had been de trayed, and had not then exilied. Even thus, when this land was delivered from Popery, at the Reformation; and, by folemn Covenant, got the true reformed religion, we being partakers of the benefits, are bound to perform that which they promised to da for it. Thus the prophet Hofea, chap. xii. 4. speaking of the wrestling of Jacob with God at Bethel, says, “ He met with him in Bethel, and there he fpake with many yers before they were born. Here the


وی با

» tho'


prophet shews, that they were degenerate from their believing progenitors; and that they had turned BETHEL to BETHAVEN, the house of God, to the house of vanity.

Thus people are charged in scripture with the breach of covenant that their fathers made.

What did we receive from our forefathers? Much light was conveyed from them ; but what are we tranfmitting to our posterity, but darkness and defection ? Is it any wonder then we are broken to pieces, because of a broken Covenant? The children of Ifrael made a covenant with the Gibeonites ; and though it was obtained by fraud, yet when after four hundred years, that it might have been thought forgotten, for breaking of it they were plagued of God with a great famine; and God's wrath could not be appealed, till seven of Saul's fons were hanged for the hand they had in it. How then may we suppose, will God avenge the violation of a lawful oath made with himself in this land ? If but a parent bind and oblige his children to do fo and fo, we count it justice to do it, and great injustice and ini. quity if it be not done, when parents are dead and gone; is not their feed and heirs bound by their right, promise, or covenant as well as they were? What continual change and confufion would there be in the world, if persons themselves were only to be tied by their own personal bonds? How much more iniquity is it for men to deny their obligation by Covenant to God, made by their forefathers in their name. And, indeed, Scotland is more obliged than other nations; for God was never more with any than with them; nor any more with him than they. Many arrows hath God to shoot against such a nation, if we be a nation: many arrows hath he shot. As the Israelites, when they made the golden calf and worshipped it, it is remarked by one, that “ never a plague came upon them after, but there was “an ounce of the golden calf in it.” God could not forget that, it was such a hein us fin: and so we may say, many a plague hath God sent these years bygone, and many more terrible ones feema.coming; but never a plague hath yet befallen us, but there has been an ounce of this great fin of covenant-breaking in it : for

X 4


God hath a just controversy with the land for our cove. nant-breaking and perjury. Mean-time, however light we make of our folemn Covenant, yet this is one of the grounds of our claim to him as his people. It is also one of the grounds of his continuing to lay claim to us, who own these Covenants, and to call us his people: My people.

[ocr errors]

IỊ. The second thing in the words is, the miserable condition they were in; I have feen the affliction of my people wbich are in Egypt. I have seen it to be a great affliction: and the greatness of it may appear in the fol. lowing particulars.

Į. They dealt craftily with them when they in. creased: for the king of Egypt and his councillors said, " Come, and let us work wisely with them.” Their af. fliction was devised by the king and his council. Their whole wit and policy was employed to affiet God's peo. ple, and the wisdom of Egypt was not small; though it was not true wisdom, yet it was great, like that of the old ferpent. The afflictions of God's people are great, when the wisdom and policy of men and devils are em. ployed against them.

2. The greatness of their afliction appears from the manner how they were enflayed; they were employed in mire and clay, by the side of the river Nile, and making of tile for building houses for the king, and erecting their pyramids. They were not employed in curious work, but in the coarsest of work, in making bricks ; and their tasks were doubled upon them; they beheved to do twice as much work as they did before. Taik. masters were fet over their head, by whom they were beaten, if they fulfilled, not their talk. And yet, being denied straw, one part of them must wander about feeking straw, and another making tile.

3. The greatness of their affliction appears in that it lasted long; for it feenis to have begun shortly after the death of Jofeph and his brethren, when there arose another king who knew not Joseph : and though their trouble was not all that time in extremity, yet it was a growing trouble, till they came at laft,

« PoprzedniaDalej »