Page images
PDF
EPUB

and do them.” Where you see that the form and fashion of: the church of the New Testament, among the Gentile nations, is reckoned by God such a sacred thing, and of so great importance, that the prophet, and confequently all ministers of Christ, are commanded expressly to thew the form and fashion of it, from the pattern described in the mount of divine reve. lation; and not only so, but to write it in a book, that they may keep the whole form thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and do them. I do not know if, in any nation under heaven, this precept has been more literally and expressly obeyed and fulfilled. The form of doctrine, and of sound words, is drawn out of the scriptures, in the Confession of Faith; the form of worship, in the directory for the public worThip of God through the three kingdoms; the form of church government, the ordination of minister3, and books of discipline, all drawn out of the scriptures of truth, and written or print. ed in a book, and the whole land brought under the bond of a solemn covenant to observe and do accordingly, which covenant we that are ministers are about to renew this day. And seeing this is the case, what shall we think of the doctrine of Mr George Whitefield, who lately traversed up and down the land with so great applause and diffeminate his latitudinarian principles, as if the church of Christ had no form of go. vernment established by Christ, and therefore non-effential, and a matter of indifference whether the church of Christ be of the Episcopal, Presbyterian, or Popish form, providing that people were acquainted with the essentials of Christianity, and were good men in the main ? All this poisonous doctrine he hath propagate under the specious pretence of advancing a catholic love and communion among good men of all denominations. Who does net, see this to be a battery raised against the covenanted form of doctrine, discipline, worship, and government of the church of Christ in the three kingdoms, and par. ticularly the last, viz. the Presbyterian form of government ? which yet is so clearly founded upon the word of God, that when the articles of government, and the scriptures that supa port them, were read to him (Mr Whitefield) by a company of ministers here present, he had not a mouth to object against any one of them. And yet how lamentable is it to fce such a number of profeffied Presbyterian ministers, and others, Llown away from their covenanted Presbyterian principles, into the latitudinarian and sectarian camp, by the bicach of an English prieit, whom they took into full church coinmunion with them? No wonder though they were left to adopt that awful delusion that has followed upon his miniItrations in this land, agreeable unto the threatening denoun

ced

ced against those who do not receive the truth in the love of it, 2 Theff. ii. 10-12. It is true, they who have been left to adopt his ministrations, and to partake of that delusive influ. ence that has attended it, they cry it up as an excellent work of the Spirit of God; but some of us have not wanted oppor. tunity to know the contrary, that instead of being a spirit of truth and love, it is a fpirit of malignancy and enmity against the truth, and covenanted cause of God in this land, and that it in spires the convicts and subjects of it with an inveterate prejudice against those who bear up the testimony of Jesus, and do not ftrike sail unto the corrupt established church, and the course of defection she is carrying on in opposition to folemn covenant's for reformation. The walls and ramparts of Presbyterian church-government have endured many a blast of the wind of hell in this land, and no wonder, because it is founded upon a rock; and I make no doubt but it shall Itand this effort of the gates of hell also. The form of the house of God, I say, is glorious, as is the form of every work of his hand. And therefore let us ftill “walk about Zion, and go round about her, and mark her towers and bulwarks, that we may tell it," in a way of testimony and folemn covenanting, “unto the generations following; for this God," who has set up the towers and walls of his church among us, “is our God in covenant for ever and ever, and he will be our guide even unto death," Plal. xlviii. at the close.

3. The door or entry of the house is glorious. And if you ak, What is the door of the church visible or invifible ? I answer, Christ answers the question, John x. 9. “ I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture." This is the gate of God, by it the just shall enter in ; and by it the finner may enter in, and become just : no sooner doth he enter this door by faith, but he is clothed with the garment of salvation, and covered with the best robe of the imputed righteousness of Chrift; yea, becomes the righteousness of God in him, he being "the end of the law for righteousness unto every one that believeth."

4. The pillars of the house are glorious: Prov. ix. 1. “ Wirdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pil. lars.” These pillars are the perfections of the divine nature, as they are displayed and manifested in Christ, his wisdom, power, holiness, justice, mercy, love, and faithfulness; all which do, with a pleasant harmony, combine to support the fabric of the house of mercy, which God has said shall be built op for ever. 5. The ordinances of the house are glorious ; there Christ

and

and his family do meet, and have fellowship one with another. David, Pfal. Ixxxiv. cries out, “How amiable are thy taber, nacles, O Lord of hosts! One day in thy courts is better than a thousand: I had rather be a door-keeper in thy house, than dwell in the tents of fin.” And when he was, through the fury of Saul, and other persecuting enemies, driven to the wilderness of Júdea, and so deprived of access to these galle. ries of the King of glory, where he used to enjoy communion with him, how doth his heart and flesh cry out after the living God? Pral. Ixiji. and Psal. xlii. And they that have David's experience of fellowship with God in his ordinances, will be ready to say with him, “ I love the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth.”

Not to multiply particulars, all the offspring of the house are glorious : " The King's daughter is all glorious within ; her clothing is of wrought gold.” The servants of the house are giorious in the eye of the church : “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace!”

Thus I have given you a short hint concerning this house and its glory; neither time nor strength will allow me to go on to the other particulars proposed in the prosecution of the doctrine, and therefore must refer them till God shall give another occasion; and because the great work of the day is before us, therefore I shut up at present with two or three inferences from the text and doctrine.

1. See hence what happy and privileged persons believers are, who are the offspring and issue of this family, being born

God, and having a name and a place in his house, even an everlasting name which shall never be cut off. O, says Davich “ Blessed are they that dwell in thy house, for they are . ftill praising thee, Happy art thou, O Israel : who is likejun.

to thee, O people saved by the 'Lord !” Only let it be remembered, there is a great difference between a free-born son, and a fervant in the house, who is working for his lawful wages; for the son abideth in the house for ever, but the servant at term day is turned to the door. There is a difference between a coming into the house for a while, and a being planted there by regeneration ; for “ they that are planted in the house of the Lord, shall flourish in the courts of our God," &c. They are the trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, in whom he will be glorified...

2. See what a dangerous risk they run who do injury to this house; instead of building the house of God, do their utmost to pull it down, and raze it to the foundauion. There are a generation of men in our day, who turn the house of Christ's

Father Father into a den of thieves, who plunder the house of its vae luable furniture, and spoil the offspring and issue of the house of their valuable privileges. They call themselves the servants of the house, and yet, contrary to the laws of the house, they beat and cast out their fellow-servants, for no other cause but for contending and witnessing against them in giving away the rights of the church, and of the Lord's little ones, unto the world's great ones, particularly in the important affair of electing ministers, that are to have the charge of souls. In a word, truth falleth in the streets, equity cannot enter, error in doc, trine is patronized, the keys of discipline perverted; they go to, as with axes and hammers, to break down the carved work of reformation, which, by the authority and oath of God, we are bound to maintain, preserve, and defend. Well, but shall they always trample on the divine authority, and break God's covenant, and escape ? No, they shall not, says God, Ezek. xvii. 18. Jerusalem will yet be a burdensome stone; and the head-stone of the corner, which they reject, will in the event fall heavy upon their heads, and grind them to powder, Zech. xii. 1-3. Psal. i. 1-4. Dan. ii. 44. 45. &c. .

3. If Chrift be the sole manager of his Father's house, and doth all the glory of it hang upon him ? then it ill becomes any crowned head to wear the jewel of supremacy in and over the church, which is the house of the living God, fave he only whom God hath anointed King over his holy hill of Zion. The Pope, or Antichrift, pretended to this supremacy; and when King Henry VIII. of England renounced the Pope's jurisdiction, he took that jewel of the crown of Christ, and set it in his own crown, and got himself proclaimed head in all causes, not only civil, but ecclefiaftic, and the oath of supremacy imposed in consequence thereof upon the subjedls of England, and there it stands to this day. This supreniacy, at the restoration of King Charles, was extended to Scotland, and an absolute power granted to the king, to mould the church of Christ according to his pleasure. Upon which, contrary to the oath of God, lying upon himself and the whole land, the whole covenanted work of reformation from 1638, and the obligation of our solemn covenants for reformation, were rescinded by acts of parliament, some of which are not to this day abrogate. Our forefathers witnessed against these things, and many of them sealed their testimony with their blood. Their testimony, for Scotland's reformation and solemn covenants, has never been fairly adopted by the church of Scotland, since the deliverance God wrought for us at the Revolution ; but, on the contrary, a conspiracy has been found among the prophets of our lfrael, for burying that testimony, and our folemn covenants for reformation, in utter filence and oblivion. However, God, who takes the wise in their own craftiness, and turns the counsel of the froward headlong, has, in his over-ruling providence, raised up that testimony, and a judicatory upon the footing of the covenant. ed reformation, who are this day met together, on design to revive and renew our covenant-allegiance unto the exalted King of Zion, after the example of our worthy forefathers, and the precedents thereof which stand upon record in scripture, particularly, Deut. xxix. 10-16. Neh. ix. 38. But these things I cannot in hift upon at present.

mony,

I fhall only add another inference from the text, though I have not yet infitted on the doctrinal part from which it flows. Is it so, that all the glory of the house of God, the offspring, issue, and all the veffels of the house, hang upon Christ, as upon a nail fastened in a sure place. This ferves to shew where the stress of our covenanting in a way of duty doth lie, namely, upon the great Manager : for without him, we can do nothing, and without faith in him and a single dependence upon him, it is impossible to please God; he is the strength of Israel, and the horn of salvation, upon whom all our engagements to duty must hang. And therefore let us fet about this work with the eye of faith fixed upon him, as the glory of our strength, saying with David, “ We will go in the strength of the Lord God, making mention of his righteousness, even of his only." But neither time nor strength allows me to go farther at present. The Lord bless what has been said.

The author not having time or strength to overtake the main purposes of the text in his first discourse, and confidering, that, through the divine blessing, his other discourses on that subject may be edifying to the body of Christ, he consented to their being transcribed also from his notes for the press.

Stirling, April 27,
1744.

E. E.

« PreviousContinue »