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gttker wiih a promise of safety, "Whosoever helieveth (hall not perifk, hut shall have ever)ailing life," John in. 16. 9- Hie great God commands you toenterintoth? Ark, 1 John jiii. 23. u This is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ."
(I conclude with a word to believers who hare fled into the irk. (t.) By way of comfort.
i. Gad is with you in the Ark, "Far God is in Christ," .1 Cor. v. 10. and he will never leave you, Heb. xii. 5.
J. " Your life is hid with Christ in God," Col. iii. 3. " BeOtise I live, ye (hall hve also," John xiv. 19.
3. You are freed from condemnation. The law cannot tsrse you -, though man may, yet God will not curse you, Rom. tiii. i.
s 4/ The waters of affliction stall not overwhelm you, If. jinii. j. 3.; the wives they may dast, but they will turn into I foam like the waves of the sea.
j 5- Death and the grave cannot harm you, " For you are ransomed from the power of both," Hos. xiii. 14. (?•) A word ot counsel to you that are in the Ark. J. Bless God that provided the Ark. a. Bless God that brought you into it.
3. Rejoice and glory in the Lord, triumph in him.
4. Live upon Chrilt, and the provision you find in the Ark. . S> Walk worthy of the Lord, unto all well-pleasing, Col.
THE PLANT OF RENOWN.
"ZEK. xxxiv. ly.—And I -will raise up for them a Plant of Renown.
THB lraST SLRMON ON THIS TEXT.
if wt cast our eyes back upon the foregoing part of this chapter, we slult find a very melancholy scene casting UP i we (hall find the slock and heritage of God scattered, r°bbed, and peeled, by the civil and ecclesiastical rulers that Tere in beiiig at that d.iy ; a day much like to the day wherein
in we live; the ruin of the church of Christ, in all ages and periods of the world, has been owing to corhbinations betwixt corrupt churchmen and corrupt statefmen. And fo you will sind it in the preceding part of this chapter; there is a high charge brought in against the fhepherds of Ifrael, and a terrible and awful threatening denounced by the great and chief Shepherd against them, for the bad treatment that the flock of Christ had met with in their hands. However the sheep of Christ may be fleeced, fcattered, and fpoiled, yet the Lotd looks on them: And many great and precious promifes ate made for their encouragement in that evil day ; you may read them at your own leifure, for I must not stay upon them just now: But among all the rest of the promifes that are made, Christ is the Chief, Christ is the To-look of the church, whatever trouble she be in. In the 7th chaper of Ifaiah, the church had a trembling heart, God's Israel was fhaken as ever you faw the leaves of the wood shaken by the wind, by reafon of two kings combining against them : well, the Lord tells them, a virgin shall conceive and bear a fon, and shall call his name Immanuel: But might the church fay, what is that to us? wh.it encouragement doth this assord in the prefent diftrefs? Why, the Messiah is to come of the tribe of Judah, and the family of David ; and therefore that tribe and family must be preferved, in order to the accomplishment of that promife. Whatever distance of time, fuppofe hundreds or thoufands ot years may intervene before the actual coming of the Messiah, yet the promife of his coming, as it is the gtound of your faith for eternal falvation, fo it is a fecurity for the prefent, '.hat the enemy shall not prevail to the total ruin of Judah, and the royal family of David. In all the distreffes of the church, Chrift is always prefented to her in the promife, as the object of her faith, and the ground of her confolation i ami accordingly they looked 10 him in the promifes, and were lightened, and their faces were not assiamed. He is here promised under the notion of David; he is promifed under the notion of God's Servant ; and in the words of the text, he is promifed as a renowned Plant, that wa» to rife in the fulnefs of time: And blessed be God he has fprung up, and is in heaven already, and Las overtopt all his enemies, and all his enemies lhall be his footstool.
Here then you have a comfortable promife of the Messiah; where again you may notice, ift, The Promifef, (I), 1 will rai]c up, &c. It is a great (1) indeed, it is Jehovah in the perfon of the Father, it was he that in a peculiar manner sent liiin; "God fo loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whofoever be!ieveth in htm- should not perith,
but buhave everlasting life. In the fulnefs of time he fent forth his Son " made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of fons." God promifed to fend him, and accordingly he has actually fulsilled his promife. Again, idly, We may notice the blessing promifed, and that is, a Plant of rewain: Christ gets a great many metaphorical names and defcriptions in fcripture; fometimes he is called a Rofe, fometimes he is called a Sun, and fometimes he is called a Door, fometimes he is called the Tree of life ; fometimes he is called one thing, and fometimes another, and he is content to be called any thing to make himfelf known to us ; and here he is called a Plant, and a renowned Plant; but more of this afterwards. But then, ^tlly, We have the production of this Plant, I will raife him tip. Hell will endeavour to keep him down, the devil and his angels will endeavour to fmother him when he fets his head above ground. So we sind Satan fends Hered, and Herod fends the bloody dragoons to murder him when he came into the world. But let hell do its utmost, as it hath done in all ages, and is doing this day to fmother that Plant, up it will be; I -will raife him up ; and therefore he fhall profper. But then again,, qtbly, We may notice here for whom, or for what end, for whofe ufe and benesit it is; / will rafe up (for them) a Plant of renown. Who thefe are, you will fee by casting your eye on the former part of the chapter, it is for the Lord's flock, his oppressed heritage, that are born down by wicked rulers, civil and ecclesiastic, J will raife up for them a Plant of renowna and he will be their Deliverer.
The doctrine that naturally arifes from this- sirst claufe of the verfe is in fhort this,
"That Christ is a Plant of renown, of God's raising up, for the benesit and advantage of his people, or for their comfort and relief in all their distresses; he is a renowned Plant of God's raising up."
Now, in difcoursing this doctrine, if time and strength would allow, I might,
I. Premife a few things concerning this blessed Plant.
II. I might inquire why he is called a Plant of renown?
III. Speak a little to the raising up of this Plant.
IV. Shew you for whom he is raifed up. And*,
V. Shew for what end he is raifed up. And then, lastly, Apply.
Vol. III. X x I. A,
I. As to the first of these, namely,'to premise a few things concerning this blefled Plant.;
1st, I would have you to know, what is here attributed and ascribed to Christ, is not to be understood absolutely of him as God, but—officially, as he is Mediator and Redeemer. Considering him absolutely as God, this cannot be properly said of him that he was raised up ; for he is God co-equal and co-essential with the Father: but viewing him as Mediator, he is a Plant, as it were, of God's training. You will sec from the context, all that is said of Christ has a respect to him as Mediator, that he was to be God's Servant, to do h:s work; in that consideration, he is here called a Plant, and a Plant of renown: Hence Zacharias, when speaking of him, has a phrase much to the same purpose; "He hath raised up a Horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David."
Again, idly, Another thing I would have you to remark is, that this Plant is but small and little in the eyes of a blind world. He was little looked upon when he sprung up in his incarnation, and when he was here in a state of humiliation: Men looked upon him as a root sprung up ,out of a dry ground, they saw no comeliness in him why he should be desired; and to this dny, though he be in a state of exaltation at the light hand of God, yet he is little thought of, and looked upon by the generality of mankind, and the hearers of the gospel; "He is despised and rejected of men."
But then, 3<//y, Another thing I would have you to remark is, that however contemptible this Plant os renown is in the eyes of a blind world, yet he is the tallest plant in all God'* Lebanon: There is not the like of him in it; he is fairer than the children of men, and he is as the apple-tree among the trees of the wood ; if ever you saw him, ye will be ready to say so too, " Whom have I in heaven but thee ? and there is none upon the earth that I desire besides ihee."
Ag.in, dth/y, Another thing I remark is, that this blessed Plant of renown was cut down in his death, and sprung up gloriously in his resurrection. The sword of divine justice hewed down this plant upon Mount Calvary, but within three days h< sprung up again more glorious, and more beautiful and amiable than ever, and he was "declared to be the Son of (Jod with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by his resurrection fiom the dead."
Lisily, I would h,ive you to remark, that all the little plants in the gardc.i are ingrafted in this Plant of renown; " I am the vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him, the fame bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. I am like a green fir-tree, from me is thy fruit found." If you be not ingrafted, Sirs,, in this Plant, you will never grow, and all the trees that are not planted in him. are all but weeds. There is'a time coming when all the weeds will be plucked np: And therefore take heed that you be ingrafted in him by a faith of God's operation. So much for the Jirst thing I proposed.
II. The second thing was to shew, that he is a renowned Plant: He is renowned in heaven, and he is renowned on earth, and will be so; "For his name shall endure for ever," Pfal. lxxii. 17.
0 he is renowned! for what, fay you, is he renowned?
1 might here enter upon a very large field j I shall only (ell you, that he is renowned in his person. There was never the' like of him; the two natures God arid man are joined together in one in him. Did you ever fee that? If you have not seen that, you have not seen the mystery of godliness: He is the most renowned Person in heaven; but he is Immanuel, "God manifested in the flesh." Then he is renowned for his pedigree,'« Who (hall declare his generation ?" Considering him as God, his eternal generation from the Father cannot be told: We can tell you he is the only begotten of the Father, but we cannot tell you the manner of his generation; it is a secret that God has drawn a veil upon, and it is dangerous to venture into a search of it; and they that have attempted it, have commonly bogged into Arian, Arminian, and Sabellian errors. Considering him as man, he is sprung of a race of ancient kings, a famous catalogue of them you read of in Matth. i. And who can declare his generation even as man? For he was born of a virgin, and conceived by the overshadowing power of the Highest. Then he is renowned for his name; he hath a name above every name that can be named, whether in this world, or in that which is to come. He is renowned for his wisdom; for all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are in him. He is renowned for his power; for he is not only the wisdom of God, but the power of God; he is the Man of God's right-hand, even the Son of man, whom he hath made strong for himself. He is renowned for his veracity and fidelity; for " faithfulness is the girdle of his reins, and righteousness the girdle of his loins." Have you got a word from him ? depend upon it, it is a sicker word, it does not fail; the word of the Lord endures for ever, when heaven and earth (hall pass away. He is renowned for his righteousness; for he has brought in an everlasting righteousness, whereby the law is magnified and made honourable, and by the imputation