Page images
PDF
EPUB

2. You will be frequently casting your eyes on the promised land that lies beyond the wilderness, and longing with the church to be there : Cant. ii. 17. “ Until the day break, and the shadows flee away : turn, my beloved, and be thou like a roe, or a young hart upon the mountains of fpices.”

Use fourth shall be of Exbortation, to follow the example of the church of God here, in coming up from the wilderness towards the promised land of glory above ; or, as the apostle Words it, Col. iii. 1. 2. “ If ye be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ fitteth at the right hand of God. Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth.” By way of motive, I offer these consideram tions.

1. Consider what the wilderness of this world is, from which you are called to come up. Beside what was said of it in the doctrinal part, I shall add these things following, to wean your hearts and affections from it.

1/1, This world is but the reprobate dog's portion : Psal. xvii. 14. “ The men of the world, which have their portion in this life, and whose belly,” &c. It was a common saying of Luther's, that the whole Turkish empire was but a crumb cast unto a dog.' Now, why should we cast in our lot among the dogs, who profess to be of the church of God, and the spouse. of Christ ?

2dly, This world is groaning under the curse of God: “Curfed is the ground for thy fake," said the Lord to our first parents, immediately after they had finned. And under the weight of this curse “ the whole creation groaneth, and travelleth in pain even until now." Oh who would be content to fit down where the curse of God dwells ?

3dly, Consider, that the wilderness of this world has been a shambles, defiled with blood, with the blood of Christ, and with the blood of an innumerable company of martyrs, from which it has never been purged as yet; it may be called “Golgotha, the place of a scull; and Aceldama, a field of blood.” This earth has been stained, and this land, and this city in particular, have been stained with the blood of Christ mystical; and it is to be feared that the guilt of that blood is crying to heaven, like the blood of Abel, against the land, and against the place. Now, I say, is not this sufficient to wean your hearts from the wilderness of this world, that is a field of blood, a place of butchering and daughter of Christ personal and mystical ? The men of the world, who take up with it as their home, they are just like the poffefled man we read of in the gospel, lodging among tombs and fepulchres.

em Sthly, Come we his devoteden of that lion be at hom

4thly, Consider that the wilderness of this world is just the gallery where the devil, the god of this world, that Apollyori, walks up and down, “ seeking whom he may devour.” Job i. says God, “Whence comest thou Satan? Í come (says Satan) from going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.” Some think that the devil uttered these words with an air of haughtiness and pride, as if he made his vaunt before God, that he was the prince of this world, and that the kingdoms of it and their glory were his; so that the mean. ing of the devil's answer is, as if he had said, Why, says he, where should I be, but travelling in circuit through my own territories ? Now, why should we not come up from the de. vil's quarters and territories? Who loves to be at home in the devil's quarters, in the very den of that lion and leopard, but only they that are his devoted flaves and vafsals ?

5thly, Come up from the wilderness; for it is but a mere empty shadow, and all the glory of it is but a piece of moonshine. Why should we set our hearts upon that which is not, and which perisheth in the very using? You have seen bells of water blown up by children, sparkling with a variety of beau. teous colours, but which juft perish in a moment. And what is the whole visible creation that we now see, but just a great bell blown up by the breath of the Almighty ? “ By the word of the Lord were the heavens made : and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.” It makes a gay and glorious appearance ; but, alas ! it is all imaginary, a mere (hadow, a vapour, which appears for a little, and then vanishes. Now, who would be content with such an imaginary thing as this? · 6thly, Come up from the wilderness of this world; for it is condemned to be burnt. It was a piece of madness in Lot to linger in Sodom, when he was told it was to be consumed with fire and brimstone. The same madness poffefses those that will not come up from the wilderness into a place of safety, when God has told them in his infallible word, that “ the day of the Lord comech as a thief in the night, in the which the heavens shall pas away with a great noise, and be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat; the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burnt up.". Now, I say, put all these things together, and see if there be not weight in them to wean your hearts from this world, and to engage you to follow the practice of the spouse, and come up from the wilderness.

2. Consider, that there is a better country beyond the wild derness of this world. Heb. xi. it is said of the worthies, that 66 they defired a better country, that is an heavenly" It is a

better better kingdom than the kingdoms of this world, even“ an everlasting kingdom ;" a better inheritance, even "an inheritance. that is incorruptible, and undefiled, which fadeth not away ;" a better city, even " a city that hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God;" a better house than our coitages of clay in the wilderness, even a house of “ many manlions, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”

But, more particularly, to encourage you to come up from the wilderness unto this better country, consider,

s, That there are better joys and pleasures to be had there than in the wilderness. This world is but at best a Bachim, a valley of tears, a house of mourning ; but the land atar oft, that lies on the other side of the wilderness, is a state of pleasure, of continual joy and pleasure, where “the ransomed of the Lord shall have songs, and everlasting joy upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and fighing thall ever flee away." The joys and pleasures of this world, they do not satisfy : “ He that loveth Gilver, shall not be satisfied with silver;' hence, in the midst of their íufficiency, the covetous worldling is in wants; and in the midst of their laughter, their heart is sorrowful. But now the joys of the land of glory, they are full joys : Psal. xvi. 11. "In thy presence is fulness of joy, at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” The joys of the wilderness, they are tranfient : hence « the triuniphing of the wicked is mort. They take the timbrel and harp, and rejoice at the sound of the organ. They spend their days in wealth” and ease, but “in a moment they go down to the grave." But the joys of the land of glo. ry (as you heard just now) are everlasting, and shall run paral, lel with the endless ages of eternity

2dly, There are better riches in ihe land afar off, than these that the wilderness of this world affords. As for the riches of this world, the moth and ruft corrupt them, thieves break through and steal them ; Solomon who was master of more of this world's riches than any man else, he pronounces them all vanity and vexation of spirit. But now the riches of that better country beyond the wilderness are far better, in respect of plenty; for the riches of that land are unsearchable, Epi.. ii. 8. : better in respect of value; for the gold of that land is better than the gold of Ophir ; it is “ gold tried in the fire, yea, the gold and silver cannot equal it:" it is better in re, {pect of perpetuity; the riches of this world they make thenHelves wings and fly away, but the riches of glory they are due rable and everlasting ; hence Christ exhorts to provide for ours, selyes “ bags that do not wax old.” 3dly, The honours of that better country are better than VOL. II.

the

[ocr errors]

the honours of this world. What is it to fway a fceptre on carth, in respect of.“ ruling the nations with a rod of iron ?" What is it to fit upon an earthly throne, in respect of fring on the same throne with the Son of God? Rev. iii. at the close. What is it to be an heir of an opulent estate, or of a kingdom upon earth, in respect of being “ heirs of God, and joint heirs with Jesus Christ, of an inheritance that is incor. ruptible, and undefiled ?" &c.

4thly, We invite you to come up to a far more peaceable land than is the wilderness of this world. O Sirs, you and I may know to our experience, that this is a fighting world, it is a place of strife ; and some may lay with Jeremiah, “ Wo is me, my mother, that thou halt born me a man of strife, and a man of contention to the whole earth. Without are fightings, and within are fears. Deep calleth unto deep, at the noise of thy water-spouts." We must “ run with the footmen, contend with horses," and then go down to the “ swellings of Jordan.” But, Oh Sirs, come up from the wilderness : for the land beyond it is a land of peace and quiet, and everlasting rest; and this rest remaineth for the people of God, where wars and jars, and contentions and strifes, shall come to an eternal end: “ They shall enter into peace : they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness."

5thly, That land beyond the wilderness is a far more pure and holy land than this wilderness is. This world cannot be your reit, for it is polluted; the inhabitants of it are of polluted lips, lives, and hearts; and it is hard for a man to keep his garments clean, as he is travelling through it to eternity. But that land of glory beyond the wilderness, it is the holy land, in the most proper sense ; for " there can in no wife enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie.” All the inhabitants are such as have ” washed their hands in innocence, washed their garments, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” · 6thly, That land that lies beyond the wilderness is a far more durable land than this is. This world is subject to innumerable vicissitudes and sorrows; a fertile land may be turried unto barrenness, a peaceable land may soon be turned unto, confusion ; the “ confused noise of the warrior, and garments rolled in blood," may be seen and heard in it; and ere it be long, the whole visible frame of natcire will be unhinged, &c. But now heaven is an abiding couritry, an abiding city ; it

hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” The city of the new Jerusalem is built foursquare, to shew the stability of ir; it faderh not away, and the inhabitat.ts of it fall go no more out,

&c.

[ocr errors]

&c. Oh then, be persuaded to come up from the wilderness to this better country, the proper country of the saints.

3. Consider, by way of motive, what a lightsome way is opened from the wilderness to that better country that is above; and let this invite you to come up. The way to heaven, after the breach of the firft covenant, was blocked up by the law and justice of God; the offended majesty of heaven had rolled mountains of fiery vengeance in man's way to heaven; the Cherubim with his “ flaming sword, turning every way,” rendered it altogether impassable. But O thanks to the glorious Emmanuel, who as the “ breaker has gone up before us;" he has rolled these mountains out of the way, he has opened up the passage from the wilderness to Canaan by his death and blood; yea, he as our King, Captain, and General, has gone before us, JEHOVAH is on the head of the tra vellers to glory. And therefore be encouraged to come up from the wilderness, set your faces toward Zion. And to en. courage you, I will give you a few qualities of the way you have to travel.

1A, It is a new way, Heb. x. 20. Adam's way in in nocence by the works of the law is abolithed; but here, by the gospel, there is a new way opened ; a way that is calculate, not for a righteous or innocent person, but for a fin. ner, a loft finner; and Chrift“ calls not the righteous, but lof finners” of Adam's family, to take this way. And then it is new, because it never waxes ftale, will never be out of requeft.

2dly, The way to that better land is a living way, not only because it leads to everlasting life, but a living Christ is the way: and so soon as ever a finner sets the foot of faith on this way, he begins to live a life of justification, a life of fanctification, a life of confolation ; for " he that hath the Son, hath life ; and whoever believes in” the name of Chrift, “ though he were dead, yet fhall he live, and Mall ne. , ver come into condemnation."

3dly, The way to glory is confecrated for us ; the great God has opened and devoted this way for the travellers to glory. The revelation of it is to us, and the revelation from him to walk in it is to us. Oh then, let as come up from the wilderness, fince God had a view to your falmation in opening it.

4thly, The way is a free way; it is free to all comers; it is like the king's high-way, that every man has a privilege to walk in: “ Whofoever will, let him come and take the water of life freely." And then it is free, in regard that the traveller has bis charges borne, and every thing needful for carrying him on

« PreviousContinue »