« PreviousContinue »
faith on the Son of God; for "by faith ye stand. He that trusteth in the Lord (hall be as Mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever*"
■2. Cry that the wind rf heaven may awake, and come and blow away the hurtful winds of hell: Cant. iv. ult. " Awake, O north-wind, and come, thou south, blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out." Eztk. xxxvii. .9. "Corr.e from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live." And then the dead and dry bones will stand up as a numerous army to fight the battles of the Lord. And learn to diltinguifh the winds that come from heaven, and these that come from another airth. And particularly remember, that every wind, however specious, that blows against the present truth or testimony, is a hurtful wind. A testimony is listed up for the covenanted doctrine, discipline, worship, and government of the church of Christ, which the greatest enemies are not able to disprove, being so evidently founded on the word of God. Now, every wind that blows against the truth, though it appear like a heavenly wind, yet it must be rejected, as coming from a bad airth; If. viii. 20. "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." .
3. In order to your being preserved from all hurtful winds, hide the word of God in your hearts: Psal. cxix. 11." Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. It is said of the righteous man, " The law of his God is in his heart, none of his steps shall slide." And therefore, take heed to the sure word of prophecy, as unto a light shining in a dark place, for by it vou shall be throughly furnished unto every good work, and .secured against the wind of error, delusion, temptation, profanity, or apostasy from the truth.
4. Hold f<ist what you have received, that no man take your crown. Have you receivtd Christ Jesus the Lord, and been determined to embrace him who is the unspeakable gift of God? hold fast the gripe you have gotten of him, as the spouse did, " I held him, and would not let him go." Have you received any of his love-tokens on this occasion ? lay them up, and hold them salt, for Satan will do his best to spoil and rob you of them. Have you received the testimony of Jesus, and made a profession of your faith? then hold fast the profession of your faith without wavering, stedfast unto the end j be sledfast and immoveable in your profession, particularly in vour profession of the present truth, against which the main bet.s:i of ths present wn.ds are levelled. If a thief or robber enter a house, and be carrying away any part of your furniture •r goods, your present care is to preserve or recover that part ofyour furniture which is in greatest haz ird of bsinj: lost. "God hath given Jacob for a spoil, and Israel to the roobers, even he against whom we have sinned." ['he house of God is in danger of being quite plundered, and spoiled, much cs his valuable furniture is carried off; study then to recover whit is lost, and hold fast what remains of the covenanted doctrine, worship, discipline, and government, of the church of Christ, in this land.
5. K.-ep a strict and watchful eye upon all the enemies of Christ, and of your own salvation. You have enemies both within and without doors. Take heed, in the first place, of an evil heait of unbelief, that it do not turn you away from the living God; for when you are turned away from God, you cast yoursclve's out of his protection, and then you are an easy prey to all your other enemies, and are fair to be driven away like chaff before the wind. "Watch and pray, that ye entei not into temptation." Be not ignorant of Satan's devices, and wiles, who casts himself into every shape in order to catch the prey, and who at this day is transforming himself into an angel of light, by counterfeit convictions, conversions, and raptures of joy, which (it is well known through the land) leave men and women just where they were, if not worse; because, imagining themselves to be in a state of grace, they are proof against all that can be said to the contrary, until God come and sweep away the refuge of lies. >
6. Lastly, Take care what ministers you own and hear as the ambassadors of Christ. This is as neceflary a caveat in our day, as it was in the days of the apostles, 1 John iv. 1. ** Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God : because many false prophets are gone out into the world." And if you ask, How shall wt try them ? Christ answers the question, Matth. vii. 15. 16. " Beware of false prophets, which come to you in flieeps clothing, but inwardly they ate ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits." But, fay you, what are their fruits by which they may be known? /Input. Do you fee any of them filhing up and down for worldly gain? do you fee them strengthening the hands of those that are pulling down the carved work of reformation, and weakening the hands of those that are minting to build it up? do you fee them tormented by a testimony for the Lord's work in the land, and siding with these that are carrying on a course of backsliding? do you see them entering any other way than by the door of the house ? depend upon it, they are not the true prophets of Christ, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. And therefore do not own them as the am
Vol. HI. K bassadors bassadors of Christ; they do not carry Christ's commission; and therefore, though they shall fay, " Lo, here is Christ, or lo, he is there," whatever pretensions they may make to the Spirit of Christ, yet go not after them, because these fruits are not the fruits of the faithful prophets of Christ's fending; and if he never sent them, they cannot profit their hearers, however, perhaps, they may have the art of touching the imagination, or raising passions unto strange and unaccountable effects.
CHRIST CONSIDERED AS THE KAIL FASTENED IN A SURE PLACE, BEARING ALL THE GLORY OF HIS FATHER'S HOUSE.
Preached at Stirling, December 28. 1743, immediately beforo the Renovation of our solemn Covenants, by the Ministers of the Associate Presbytery. And some other Sermons preached afterwards upon the fame subject.
Psal. xx. 5.—In the name of our GsA we will set up our banners.
MY friends, we are met together thi'3 day about a very great and weighty work, namely, renewing of our solemn covenant-engagements to the Lord, which, for a great many years back, have been lying buried in oblivion, by the generality of the inhabitants of the land. Many grave ftonta have been cast upon them, since they were last renewed by authority both civil and ecclesiastical. Their obligation wag rescinded by act os the Scots parliament: they were ignominioully burnt at Edinburgh, by the hand of the public executioner; many have suffered upon scaffolds and gibbets, in the fields and cities, lor asserting the obligation of
tlese covenants, under some reigns before the Revolution $ and, since that period, they have lain much neglected, yea, measures gone into, both by church and slate, inconsistent with a covenanted reformation. However, we, the ministers of the Associate Presbytery, are this clay met together, in order, through grace, torenew these solemn covenants, in a suitableness unto the circumstances wherein we stand in holy providence, and, in the Lord's strength, to essay the rolling away the (tones from the grave, in which they have been so long buried, and co bring them forth again to the light. We that are ministers are only concerned in the work of this day, that we may, like the he-goats, lead the way to the Lord's stock, who, I hope, in due time shall follow.
There arc two things which 1 judge somewhat remarkable, with respect to the work we have in view, namely, the time, and the place of it. i//, As for the time, I judge it pretty remarkable, that this fame time hundred years, the .Solemn League for reformation was sworn by persons of all ranks through the three kingdoms of Scotland, England, and Ireland ; and that, notwithstanding of the strong efforts of hell and earth, since that time, to have them buried in utter silence, yet this day, God, in his adorable providence, 19making these covenant-engagcmcnt3 with him to peep from under the ground, 2dly, I judge the place of their begun resurrection somewhat remarkable, namely, in the town of Stirling, where that faith, sal witness, Mr James Guthrie, minister of the place, was stoned, and otherwise maltreated and abused, by a malignant party, for his faithfnl adherence unto the covenanted reformation, and who also Offered maityrdem in the fame cause, in the Grassmarket of Edinburgh. And although we be stint out of the legal synagogue of the place, have not access to speak in the pulpit of that eminent tight of our Israel, yet, it is worthy of our observation, that God has, in his holy providence, brought a place of worsliip out of the oid quarry, where wemay worship him, even in Stirling, and set about the renovation of our solemn covenant-allegiance Unto the exalted King of Zion.
Perhaps some may fay, as in Neh. iv. *' What will these feeble associates do? will they make an end in a day? will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish, which are burnt V I answer, It is all one with God to work by many or by few ; by the weak things of the world, or by the great and mighty, who appeared for this cause at our reformation. I remember a scripture tr two that has been comfortable to myself since the first beginning of the woik that God has been employing us in for some time past. Or,e you have, Mia ii. 13. " The Breaker is come up before them \ they have broken up, and have passed through the gate, and are ?one nut by it, and their King shall pass before them, and the Lord on the head of them." The other is, Matth. xxviii. ult. bc"g Christ's parting word of promise to his disciples immediately fcrfirc he ascended up on high, " Lo, I am with you al.vayeven
unto the end of the world." In the faith of his faithful word of promise, though our hands be weak and few, we are to set forward in this great work. I he apostles were but twelve poor fishermen, sent out to build the kingdom of Christ, and to encounter hell and earth, principalities and powers, and the rulers of the darkness of this world; and yet the Breaker going up before them, the Jewish œconomy is unhinged, the idolatries of the Gentile nations fallen down, and the po ver of the Roman empire is made to Aoop to the obedience of Christ, the Prince of the kings of the earth. And what do we know, but the .Lord may so far countenance the little mint we are making to own the royal authority of Zion's King, this day, as to determine all the inhabitants of Britain and Ireland, in his own time, to do the fame, and again, like Ethiopia, to stretch out their hands to God, and to return to him, from whom they have fa far departed. His blessing upon this e(say will do it effectually; for " his hand is not shortened, that he cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that he cannot hear."
Is. xxii. 14—And they jhall hang upon him all the glory of his Father's hotje, the offspring and the issue, all vessels of small quantity : from the vejstls of cups, (Veil to all the vessels of flagons.
THE FIRST SERMON ON THIS TEXT.
IN this chapter, from ver. 20. we have an illustrious prophecy of the kingdom and government of the glorious Messiah, under the type of Eliakim's preferment and promotion in the kingdom and government of Judah, as appears by comparing ver. 22. with Rev. iii. 7. where Christ applies this passage to himself. More particularly we have,
1. Iiliakim's call unto his honourable employment, whereby is represented Christ's call unto his mediatory work and office : ver. 20. "And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah. Christ did not run unsent, like many in our day, who intrude themselves into the office of the ministry, Is. xlii. si. Heb. v. 4. 5. he did not take the honour unto himself, but was called of God, as was Aaron.
2. We have the badges of honour bestowed upon him in consequence of his call: ver. 21. 22. " And I will clothe him with thy robe, and strengthen him with thy girdle, and I will com