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be edified and built up, and the very women who tarry at home shall divide the spoil,
5. Whenever you find yourself distrefied by the attacks of the enemy, lin, Satan, or the world, be sure to cry to your General for help; for he is on your head, and he pailes on before you. This has been the practice of the followers of the Lamb in all ages of the world, Pfal. xxxiv. 6. “ This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him; and saved him out of all his troubles.” You have the orders of the General for this, “ Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver thee, and thou thalt glorify me.” The cry of one of his soldiers, in din tress by the enemy, goes to his heart, and weakens his relato ment ; how much more, when the whole church of God cry together to heaven, because of the injury done to her by boars and wolves ? He comes up at the cry of his poor people, when oppressed in their civil or spiritual privileges; you inave a lecture to this purpose, Pfal. xviii. 6. “In my diitress I called upon the Lord, when the floods of ungorily men made him afraid)." Well, the General takes the field, and see what awful work follows, ver. 7-9. and downward, when he appeared, “ The earth shook and trembled; the foundations allo of the hills moved, and were thaken, because he was wroth. There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured : coals were kindled by it. He bowed the heavens also, and came down. He rod upon a cherub, and did fly. He thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave his voice. He sent out his arrows, and scattered them; and he shot out lightnings, and discomfited them. He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters.”
6. Lasly, Never let your General's standard fall, if you can hold it up. If the ensign-bearer in time of battle be wounded or killed, and the standard fall to the ground, the soldier that is next at hand will lift it up, and carry it in his room; great care is taken to keep up the standard : so let every ChriItian, in this war, study to keep up the standard. Christ has lift up his standard in Scotland, a standard of pure doctrine, worship, discipline, and government; the enemy is come in like a food, in order to pull down the standard ; some attempte ing to pull down the standard of doctrine, striking at the foundation God hath laid in Zion, by denying the suppreme Deity of the Son of God; others are striking at the Itandard of government, endeavouring to introduce Episcopal, Independent, Eraftian schemes; others attempting to destroy the discipline, by tyrannical usurpation upon the rights of the Lord's people, in choosing their own paitors ; a whole
covenanted work of reformation is struck at. Now, I say, let it be your care and concern, in your station, to lift up his standard, when others are pulling it down. Contend earnesto jy for the faith delivered to the saints, especially for the truths that are most struck at in our day : contend for the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free. And if the Spirit of the Lord has been lifting up the standard in you, and over you, at this occasion, by special manifestations of his love, O study to maintain it, keep up a good correspondence between the Lord and you : and, for this end, beware of unbelief, pride, vanity, carnality, and every thing that may feparate betwixt you and your God; and if at any time the enemy come in like a food, and carry you off your feet, never rest till you get a new light of the standard, and a new reading by faith of the mottoes of the standard. To conclude, whenever you find the enemy rallying his forces, and making a new attempt upon you, improve this promise by faith in prayer, When the enemy small come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord mall lift up a standard against him. « Faithful is he that hath promised; he will also do it."
THE BELIEVER’S JOURNEY FROM THE WILDERNESS OF ,
THIS WORLD TO THE HEAVENLY CANAAN,
BEING TWO SERMONS,
Preached upon a Thanksgiving.day, after the administration
of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper in the Tolbooth Church of Edinburgh, March 6. and in the Tron Church, March 7. 1732; and afterwards enlarged upon in several Sermons at Stirling
Çant. viii. 5.-Who is this that cometh up from the wildernessa
leaning upon her Beloved.? TN, the beginning of this chapter, we find the church, under
the notion of the spouse or bride, breathing after further degrees of familiarity and fellowship with Christ, the glorious Bridegroom of souls, than she had ever yet attained to: “O: that thou wert as my brother, that sucked the breasts of my mather!” Observe, They that know the Lord, will follow
on to know him ; they will forget things that are behind, and reach forth unto things that are before. The spouse, although she had been brought into the banqueting-house, and allowed to fit under his shadow with great delight, yet here we find her pleading for further intimacy, renewed manifestations and discoveries of him. A believer can never be satisfied with any degree of nearness, till he come to be swallowed up in the immediate vision and fruition of him in glory. This request of the spoufe she enforces with several arguments: the tells him, ver. 2. in the close, that she “ would cause him to drink of her spiced wine, and the juice of her pomegranates; that is, she would entertain him with the fruits of his own Spirit, the graces of his own operation, which are the only entertainment he is delighted with, and the best that her mother's house could afford. Obferve, That a believer thinks nothing too good for the entertainment of his blefled Lord ; if he had ten thousand heavens of glory at his disposal, they should be all at his service : they cast their crowns down at his feet. Our blessed Lord's tender heart will not allow him to restrain or keep up himself long from the soul that is panting after nearness to him ; for we find, ver. 3. he grants her suit, and allows her a renewed discovery of his tender love, insomuch that she is made to own, “ His left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me." Upon which, ver. 4. she expresses her care and concern to prevent any further ina terruption of her fellowship and communion with her Lord, either by herself or others; “ I charge. you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love until he please.” The daughters of Jerusalem, particular believers, being supposed to be witneffes of this blessed intimacy between Christ and the spouse, and unto the actings of her faith and love upon him, they are introduced in the words of the text, expressing their wonder and satisfaction at the blessed interview between Chrift and his beloved spouse, even here in a militant state : Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved ?
In the words we may notice, 1, The designation given to this world, with reference to the church and people of God; it is but a wilderness, or a weary land, through which they are travelling toward their own home.
2. 'We have the course they are steering while in the wilderness; they are not fitting still in it, or going further into it, as if it were their home; no, they are coming up from the wilderness : their affections are set upon things that are above, and not upon things that are below : they have got a tasting pf the grapes of Ethcol, they have got a view of the land afar
off, and of the King in his beauty, which makes them difrelish this present world, and look and long, not for the things that are seen, but the things that are not seen, and which are eternal.
3. We have the spouse's posture as she comes up from the wilderness; she is leaning. Hebreans observe, that this is a word not elsewhere used in scripture; the seventy interpreters translate it, confirming, or Arengthening herself. It plainly supposes the spouse's weakness and impotency in herself to grapple with difficulties in her way through the wilderness, together with her dependence on the grace and furniture that was laid up for her in Chrift; and that the must needs fag and fail in her journey, without new fupplies and communications of light, life, and strength, from him in whom all fulness dwells.
4. We have the blessed show and prop on which he leans and rests her weary foul, in coming up from the wilderness ; it is upon her beloved, that is, upon Christ, whose love and loveliness had ravished her heart, and drawn out her cordial afa fent and consent to him as the Bridegroom of souls, who had betrothed her to himself in mercy, faithfulness and lovingkindness. It is pleasant here to observe how the heart of God the Father, and the heart of the believer, jump and centre upon Chrift: “This is my beloved Son (says God the Father), in whom I am well pieafed ;" he is be my feryant whom I uphold, mine elect in whom my soul delighteth." And O! says the believer, as he is the Father's beloved, so he is my beloved too: he is just the darling and delight of my soul : " Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none in all the earth that I defire besides thee."
5. We have the influence or impression that this pleasant fight has upon the daughters of Jerusalem, expressed in a way of question, Who is this? This is not a question of ignorance, as though they wanted to be informed who the spouse was; but, (1.) It is a queftion of wonder, They are itruck with a holy amazement at such intimacy and familiarity between parties that are at such infinite distance ; that " the high and Tofty One who inhabits eternity;" fhould admit dust and athes, defiled with fin, “ the abominable thing that his soul hates," into such friendship and fellowhip. (2.) it is not a question of contempt, but of esteem. Although believers, who are the spouse of Christ, be in themselves despicable and polluted ; yet, by virtue of their relation to Christ, they are worthy of the highest efteem, being made beautiful through the comeliness that he puts upon her. (3.) It is a question of approbation and commendation. They hereby express their fatisfaction with her practice, and the exercise of her faith in coning
up from the wilderness leaning on her beloved, as the safeft course the could take for accomplishing her journey to the Canaan that is above, through the dens of lions and mouna tains of leopards. Observe, That it is, and will be, the pleasure and satisfaction of a gracious foul, to see others thriving and profpering in the Lord's way, and in acquaintance with Christ, even though they themselves be outstripped and darkened thereby in the world's view. The words would afford a great varicty of doctrines, but I confine myself unto this one. OBSERV. “ That it is the undoubted duty, and the laudable
practice of believers, truely betrothed to Chrilt, to come up from the wilderness of the world, towards the land of reit and glory that is above staying and leaning their souls upon him as their beloved.” Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upor her beloved ?
The doctrine being clearly founded on the words, I shall not stand on the confirmation of it; but thail, through divine af. fistance, endeavour to speak to it in the following method and order.
I. Give you the characters of the soul espoused or betrothed to Chrift.
II. Speak a little of the world, the place of the believer's refidence, under the notion of a wilderness.
III. What may be the import of the spouse's coming up from the wilderness.
IV. Speak a little of her posture; for she comes up, leaning upon her beloved.
V. Inquire into the grounds and reasons of this doctrine, why the spouse of Christ cometh up from the wilderness, and why she comes leaming on her beloved. And then,
VI. Apply the whole.
1. The first thing is, to give you the chara&ter of a foul truly spoused to Christ. And I thall endeavour to draw the character from the text and context.
1. then, He is one that is ay breathing to more and more néarness to the Lord, and a more intimate fellow hip and ac, quaintance with him. Hence the spouse here, ver. 1. not. withstanding of all the had found, cries out,“ O that thou wert as my brother, that sucked the breasts of my mother! Some make this to be a wish or a prayer of the Old Testament church for the actual incarnation of the Son of God. As if the had said, () that that happy day were come, when thou