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nor any contentious Person shall be found there, for there is no such Custom among the Churches of Chrift, Isa. xxxv. 8,9. Prov. xxvi. 13. I Cor. xi. 16. But the Redeemed shall walk there. And thus the Ransomed of the Lord having received the Breathing Winds, (the Holy Spirit) shall be enabled to mount up upon the Wings of Faith, from the dry Bone Valley of the Shadow of Death, and “return to Sion with Songs and everlasting Joy upon their Heads, they shall obtain, Joy and Gladness, and Sorrow and Sighing shall flee away,” Ija, xxxv.
The Lord by his Spirit doth and will call and qualify Ministers“ to preach good Tidings unto the Meek. He'll send them to bind up the Broken-hearted, to proclaim Liberty to the Captives, and the opening of the Prison to them that were bound (in Unbelief); To publish the acceptable. Year of the Lord; crying, Behold! now is the accepted Time, now is the Day of the Salvation of our God, to comfort all that mourn in Sion; to give unto them Beauty for Afhes, the Oil of Joy instead of Mourning, the Garment of Praise for the Spirit of Heaviness; that they might be called Trees of Righteousness, the Planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified,” Isa. Ixi. 1, 2, 3. Thus Christ allures his Church, his Bride, bringing her up out of the Wilderness of Sin and Unbelief, and causeth her to lean on him her Beloved, Cant. viii.5. For God will make his People willing in the Day of his Power; he will put his Fear before their Eyes, and write his Law in their Hearts; and they thall be his People, and he will be their God, Jer. xxxi. 33. Here we may observe how incessantly God works to prepare his intended Bride, and makes her ready. . God the Father draws, God the Son receives, and God the Holy Ghost sanctifies the Soul; for these Titles, Father, Son, and Spirit, signify,
not the Manner of Existing in the Deity, but the Manner of Acting in the Oeconomy of Man's Salvation : and thus the mysterious Espousals of Christ and his Church is consummated, never to be put asunder. God having loved her once, he will love her to the End, John xiii. 1. Having betrothed her to himself for ever, Hof. ii. 19. And promised to love her, and he declares that he hath loved her with an everlasting Love: “ therefore with Loving-kindness (faith he) have I drawn thee unto me) Jer. xxxi. 3. Every Bride (every faithful Soul) being united to Christ in Spirit receives the Word sowed into an honest and good Heart, that is, in Sincerity, and brings forch Fruit unto God, some Thirty, fome Sixty, and some an Hundred Fold, Mark iv. 20. Such are like Trees planted by the Water-fide, that bring forth Fruit in due Season : whose Leaf shall not wither, but flourish for ever, Pfal. i. 3. Saint Paul was careful to espouse the Church as a chaste Virgin to Christ, who was raised from the Dead, that they might bring forth Fruit unto God, Rom. vii. 4. Implying that unless the Church as a chalte Virgin is married to Christ, not to the Law, there is no Acceptance, and that Union is effected by the genuine Ope. ration of the Holy Ghost, whose Anointing abides in Believers for ever, i John ii. 20, 27.
Without this, I say, they can in no Wife bring forth Fruit unto God. Hear what the Lord faith to the House of Israel, under the Similitude of a Vineyard which he had planted : “ And he looked that it should bring forth Grapes, and it brought forth wild Grapes,” Ifa. v. 2. And why? Because they went about to establish their own Righteoufness; to encompass themselves with Sparks of their own kindling, therefore (without the Righteousness of Christ) they must lie down in Sorrow, Isa. 1. 11.
Christ being the true Vine, and the Church the Branches, therefore without him she can bear no good Fruit, she can do nothing, Jobn xv. 5. But now, she being in Chrift, she is truitful in every good work, and increasing in the Knowledge of God, Col. i. 10. And whereas, in Chrift, there is no Difference of Male and Female, &c. but his Church collected out of every Nation, Tongue and People, which he has redeemed unto God by his Blood, for to reign with him for ever, Rev. v. 9, 10. Thus he compares them; “ As the Lily among Thorns (faith Chrift) fo is my Love among the Daughters. And as the Apple-tree among the Trees of the Wood, so is my Beloved among the Sons," Cant. ii. 2, 3. “ Behold! (the Beauty and Glory of the Church) ye Despisers, and wonder, and perish. For God works a Work, yea in the Hearts of his Chosen, in your Days, which you in no wise believe, though a Man declares it unto you,” Aits xiii. 41.
View the Difference Christ puts between you and Believers. O how beautiful does a full. blown Lily appear among Thorns? and how pleasant is an Apple-tree in full Blossom among the I rees of the Wood? and is not the Fruit thereof sweet to the Taste ? “ The Fruit of the Righteous is a Tree of Life,” Prov. xi. 30. Because when this Fruit, by divine Direction, drops into an honest and good Heart, it converts and brings true Wisdom into that Soul for ever; for
happy is the Man that findeth Wisdom, and retaineth her; for she is a Tree of Life to them that lay hold upon her,” Prov. iii. 13, 18. Therefore “he that winneth Souls is said to be wise," Prov. xi. 30. Having received true Wisdom and spiritual Understanding, Col. i. .9. “ Also they that be wise, (having been taught of God) shall shine as the Brightness of the Firmament; and they that turn
many to Righteousness, as the Stars for ever and ever," Dan. xii. 3. For the Words of the Wife are as Goads, and as Nails fastened in a sure Place, in the Hearts of the Godly, by the Masters of the Assemblies, viz. Ministers given them for that Purpose by Christ himself, the Shepherd and Bishop of our Souls, Ecclef. xii. 11. For their Words being seasoned with Salt, minister Grace unto their Hearers, Epb. iv. 29.
FOrasmuch, O Lord, as thy Israel of old were saved
by going through the Red Sea, baving no other Way to escape from their Enemies; give us, we pray thee, a full Convi&tion of our Misery by Nature, that the condemning Power of thy boly Law might force us likewise to escape for our Lives through the Red Sea of tby Son's atoning Blood; and also to aɛt Faith in the Veracity of thine infallible Word, wherein thou halt
graciously promised to drown our Sins in ihe Depth of the Sea, Mic. vii. 19.
Persecutors will be punished. The Righteous
love Peace, in Order to enjoy their Lord. They build their Hope on Christ the Rock, a Jure Foundation.
CHRisT gives them the Dews of Heaven.
Y and by the Ungodly, who are compared to
Thorns that grieve God's Lilies, (his Church on Earth) mall be gathered from out of God's L2
Kingdom, with all other Things that do offend, with the Devil and his Angels, and be cast into Hell, the unquenchable Fire; there. shall be wailing and gnaihing of Teeth.
of Teeth. And then hall God's Lilies, the Righteous, shine forth as the Sun in the Kingdom of their Father. He that hath Ears to hear, let him hear, what God will do in the Harvest of the World, unto all persecuting, scoffing, offensive Thorns ; God the Son will then fay to his Angels or Reapers, “ Grub up those offensive Thorns, which have wounded me so often in my Church on Earth; and gather the Tares from among my Wheat, and bind them in Bundles, and cast both 'Thorns and Tares into Hell-Fire,” Ifa. xxxiii. 12. Matt. xiii. 30, 40, 41, 42, 43. and Matt. viii. 12. And there you shall all lie down, pent up as Sheep, whilst Death, viz. the second Death fhall gnash upon you with his Teeth ; nay, feed on you like a voracious Lion, Psal. xlix. 14. And there you'll bewail your Folly, and say one to another, (mark the Language of condemned Souls, ye Perfecutors in Gillingham, and refrain) “ We Fools, accounted the Lives of Professors Madness, and their End to be without Honour, who defended the Truth on God's Behalf, (like Lot in Scdom) and thereby lost their worldly Goods; how are they numbered with the Juft, and their Lot among the Saints p" Wisd. v. 4, 5. How are the Righteous Souls whom we held in Derision, now had in everlasting Remembrance ? Psal. cxii. 6. are rejected with Shame, and reprobated with everlasting Contempt, Dan. xii. 2." Burning alive in this Lake of Fire and Brimitone, Rev. xix. 20. How are we tormented in this Flame, in everlasting Despair! where the Worm, the Guilt of Conscience dieth not, and the Fire is not quenched ? Mark ix. 43, 44. Now we see the Devil chat deceived us,