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likened unto chaff and tares, briers and thorns, that are “ nigh unto a curse, whose end is to be burned.”

2. It imports, that the saints, the truly godly in a land, are excellent and valuable persons ; for the substance of a land lies in the things that are most valuable and excellent in it. This was David's verdict and character of the faints, Pfal. xvi. 3." My delight is with the saints, the excellent ones of the earth.” And his son Solomon was of the same judgement, Prov. xii. 26. “ The righteous is more excellent than his neighbour." Yea, we have the testimony of one wiser than Solo. mon, even Christ, the effential Wisdom of the Father, Rev. iii. 4. " Thou haft a few names, even in Sardis, which have not defiled their garments; and they thall walk with me in white : for they are worthy." Yea, so worthy and excellent, that it is declared, Heb. xi. 38. that “the world was not wor. thy of them.”

3. The holy feed shall be the substance thereof, it implies, that the faints of God they are his inheritance and portion in a land : “ The Lord's portion is his people : Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.” He has a peculiar right and property in them beyond the rest of mankind : they are so much his, that they are not their own; and therefore have not power to dispose of themselves, but for his glory : “ Ye are not your own, ye are bought with a price : therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." : 4. It implies, that as they are his portion and property ; so he has a great deal of pleasure in them, even as a man takes a delight and pleasure in that which is his substance. Such pleasure he has in them, that he dwells and walks in them; they are his pleasant garden, his crown, his diadem, his bride, his love, his dove, his undefiled, his Hephzibah, and Beulah: and as fuch, he has a great deal of care about them; for “his eyes run to and fro through the earth, to fhew himself strong in their behalf.” As a man's eye and heart is upon his substance; so the Lord's heart and eye is upon his people, his holy feed; such a high value and efteem hath he for them..

5. It implies, that there is something in and about the god. ly that is not to be found among other men. The wicked, when laid in God's balance, like Belshazzar, they are found wanting solidity; hence God's verdict of them is, “ Mean men are vanity, and great men are a lie ; when laid in the balance, they are altogether lighter than vanity;", but the holy feed are the substance, they bear weight; and no won. der, for they are the living, while others are “dead in trespasses and fins ;” they are the only seeing persons, while others are blind : “ The god of this world hath blinded the minds of . VOL. II. • Bb

them

them which believe not.” They are wise, but the reft of the world are fools; they have oil in their vessels, but others are cmpty.

6. It implies, that the remnant of truly godly in a land are the riches thereof; for a man's riches is his substance. “The precious fons of Zion" are compared unto fine gold: and though the world do not see it, yet their “ clothing is of wrought gold; and the grace of God in them, and about them, is “gold tried in the fire;" gold, better than the gold of Ophir. On the same account they are called jewels: Mal. iii. 17. “They shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels." Whatever be the outward poverty of a house, a church, or land ; yet it is really rich, if there be any of God's jewels there. Alas! they are but thin sown in our day; though, blessed be God, there is a remnant, .

7. It implies, that the truly godly are the stay and support of the land where they live. But this leads me to,

V. The fifth thing in the method, in what respect are the truly godly the stay, strength, and support of a land or church? for so some read the words ; being, as I said, an allusion unto the trees that grew on either side of the way to the temple, whereby the earth of the cast-up-way was supported from moul. dering away; and with allusion to this, it is said, the holy feed fall be the support or strength thereof. Now, in answer to this, how the godly are the support of a land, or church ? I answer in the few particulars following. . It is for the sake of the holy seed, the godly remnant in a Jand, that ruining judgements are deferred or removed : If. i. g. « Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small remnani, we should have been as Sodom, ard we should have been like unto Gomorrah.” Had there been but ten righteous persons in Sodom, it had been spared ; and when God has a mind to let loose his hand against a finful people, he first pulls down these pillars, removes them out of the way, and then goes on to judgement; for he can do nothing till they be out of the way, Gen. xix. 22. II. lvii. 1. “ The righteous are taken away from the evil to come.” .

2. It is for the sake of the holy feed, that both temporal and spiritual mercies are conferred upon a sinful people. `For Jacob's saķe Laban's flock increases, and for Joseph's fake, å blessing falls upon Potiphar's house and substance. And for the sake of the holy feed that are to be raised in a place, the gospel is sent to, or continued among, a people ; it is upon their account that the Lord keeps his vineyard, and waters it every moment. And when once the holy seed is gather

ed ed in, and brought home to glory, then the Lord pulls down the hedges, and lays his vineyard of a vigible church waste and desolate, and forbids the clouds to rain any more upon it. And doth not this say, that they are the strength or stay of a church or land?

3. The holy feed is the strength of a land, or its support, as they employ their moyen at a throne of grace on behalf of a people among whom they dwell, that God may not destroy them. Thus Moses interposed with God for Ísrael, Psal. cvi. 23. Abraham interposes for Abimelech and his house, Gen. xx. 17.; and Samuel for the children of Israel, 1 Sam. xii. 23. “ God forbid that I should fin' against the Lord, in cealing to pray for you.” James tells us, that "the effectual fervent prayer of the righteous availeth much." Sirs, if there were not a remnant of wrestlers in our Israel, the flood-gates of fiery wrath would very soon be opened against the generation.

4. They are the Arength of a land, in as much as they are instruments to check the progress of Gin and defection among a people, by teftifying against it. When a flood of sin and backsiding is running down, God's remnant, his holy feed, rise up and bear witness for the Lord by their walk, by their testimony, or sufferings ; and this way stop the progress of fin, which would pull down divine judgements upon a land. Indeed the wicked inhabitants of a land do not see this, they do not consider it, and therefore they do their utmost to rid themselves of those that disturb their sinful quiet ; but whether they think of it or not, yet it is a cer. tain truth, that God's remnant, by checking the progress of sing, they prevent these judgements which would certainly break out to the ruin of a finful people. And thus they are the strength and support of a land.

5. The holy feed are the Atrength and support of a land in this respect, that, through their zeal for God and his cause, God's anger is sometimes diverted from a wrath-deserving people. Thus we are told, that “ Phinehas stood up, and executed judgement ; and so the plague of God was stayed," Pral. cvi. 30. And, Numb. XXV. 11. says the Lord there, “ Phinehas hath turned my wrath away from the children of Israel ( while he was zealous for my fakę among them), that I consumed them not.” And, ver. 13. he is faid by his żeal to make atonement for them by that act Not that any thing done by a sinful man could really expiate the guilt of sin; but his killing of Zimri and Cozbi was a fulf Hing of the law, that required such criminals to be put to death ; and a public vindication of the holiness and equity of God, whereby public wrath was di

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verted. Josiah's zeal, in reforming and destroying idolatry, whereby the land was so universally defiled, had great influence in keeping off the judgements of God from the land while he lived. So by Joshua's zeal in the affair of Achan, the anger of the Lord was turned away from the camp of Israel. Thus you see, that God's holy seed are the strength and support of a land. . ..

VI. The last thing in the method was the Application. And the first use shall be of Information.

1. From this doctrine we may easily guess when this world is to come to an end; or when a land or nation is near unto destruction. Why, when the holy seed of the Mediator Christ are gathered out of the world, then the end is come, the substance of the world is gone out of it, and therefore it must be committed to the flames. Or, when God's remnant are worn out of a land, and there remains nothing but briers and thorns, it is nigh unto a curse, and its end is to be burned.

2. See hence, that the world are much mistaken about the truly godly, and quite out of their measures when they despise or persecute them. Why, they are the substance of the land, and who but fools will endeavour to throw away and destroy their strength and substance ? when they do so, they are just like a company of madmen pulling down the pillars of a house, and bringing it down about their ears. And upon this very account the Lord says, Hof. ix. 7. “ The prophets are fools, and the spiritual men are mad.” Why, what was their madness and folly? They persecuted, opposed, and ensnared the holy feed that was among them; and therefore it is added, ver. 8.“ The prophet is the snare of a fowler in all his ways." They that despise, flight, or oppress God's people in a land, however contenrptible as to outward circumstances, they slight their own mercy..

. 3. See hence, that the truly godly are no enemies either to church or state, though frequently they be thus branded. Ahab tells the prophet that he troubled Ifrael. The Jews said of the apostles, they turned the world upside down, and they were counted the off-scourings of all things, and the filth of the earth. It is true indeed, the holy feed of Christ, whatever they are, they are the innocent occasions of divisions and distractions , and so was Christ himself, Matth. x. 34. 35. • Think not that I am come to send peace on earth; I came not to send peace, but a {word. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against the mother-in-law.”

And

And yet, for all that, neither Christ or his feed, though they be the innocent occafions, yet they are not at all the cause of these broils, divisions, and confusions, which fall out in the world, and in the visible church; no, not at all; the proper causes of these evils are the lusts and corruptions of men, which rise and swell against the truth of Christ, and the holi. ness of his members. Christ and his holy feed, are no more to be blamed for divisions, and confusions, and perfecutions, that arise, than the poor sheep are to be blamed for increasing the wolves, or the dove for provoking the hawk to pursue it. The quarrels of the ungodly corrupt world with the holy seed of Christ, are but like that of Cain with Abel, “ he flew his brother, because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous," i John jii. 12. ;

4. If the holy seed be the strength and stay of a nation; then hence I infer, that the ungodly crew, the seed of the old ser. pent, are the weakness of a nation, and the real cause of its ruin ; it is they that pull down the vengeance of God upon a land. It is true indeed, the provocations of sons and daughters go near his heart; “ You only have I known of all the fai milies of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.” But God will soon agree again with his own children, after he has chastised them, he will take them in his arms, and say, as he did to Ephraim, “ He is my dear son, he is a pleasant child: for since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still: therefore my bowels are troubled for him; I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the Lord." But, Sirs, “ God is angry with the wicked every day: There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked. The wrath of God abides upon them;" and therefore they must be the weakness of a land or church, because they are continually pulling down the wrath of God upon it'; being “ cursed in their basket and store, in the city and field."

5. If the truly godly be the substance of a land; hence I infer the excellency of Christ, who is the substance of that fubftance. All the excellency that is in the saints is derived from him; he is their light, their life, their strength, their wisdom, righteousness, fanctification, and redemption ; and, in one word, he is all in all unto them; and therefore he himself must be exceeding precious, above all thought, expression, and imagie nation. Olet all our adoration and admiration terminate upon him, saying with those, Rev. v. 12. “ Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing."

6. Are the holy feed the substance of the land ? see hence, what yaft odds there is between God's judgement, and the

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