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pel preachers and professors suffered a hotter persecution of the tongue, than in this apoftate age, wherein, if some ministers fall foul upon the fins and errors of the times, the very naming thereof is enough to offend, though yet the nation be finking under the weight thereof. Never was a gospel ministry more contemptible than in our day: Satan hath used many instruments, and most of them have had their effect, to bring the disea pensers of gospel-ordinances into contempt: and it is still more lamentable, that 'many have had a finful hand in bringing their own ministry under a reproach, and laying stumbling-blocks in the way of the success of the gospel, and marring the edification of fouls, by fad compliances with the public defections of the day, and errors of the age.
It is a day wherein the gospel of Christ is contemned. The tiine has been, when some have thought it worth croiling the feas to enjoy the everlasting gospel : but now, that it is became so plenty and cheap, many are loth to cross the streets to hear it upon a week-day, unless they have some other errand, perhaps to compliment a neighbour with their prelence, at a baptism or a marriage. How much are we fouring upon the gofpel, and loathing the honey-comb!
It is also a day wherein some of the friends of Christ are openly bantered, and lampooned, and gazed upon as signs and wonders; and wherein many facred truths are publicly defamed and ridiculed; and heart-enemies to revealed religion, and to the gospel in its purity, in the mean time, taking occasion utterly to run down the gospel. What am I saying! In the name of the great God, I defy all the powers of earth and hell to run it down: they may sooner run down the flowing tide, or the sun rifing in his strength, than run down the least of the dietates of eternal truth; « Not one jot or title thereof shall fall to the ground.” Dagon shall fall before the ark; and the rod of Aaron shall swallow up the rods of the magicians. .
It is likewise a day wherein providence is shaking both church and state; and particularly the ark must needs Thake, when they who carry it are stricken at with axes
and hammers, and many are knocking at all the four corners of it at once, namely, the doctrine, worship, discipline, and government, to get it broken to pieces, while. open enemies, (viz. cursed Popery and abjured Prelacy) are making inroads upon all corners of the land, in the public view of the church: she, in the mean time, unthoughtful of her danger, feems to be doing nothing, but, by intestine broils, cutting off her right-hand with her left.
In a word, it is a day wherein that word seems to be made out, that there shall be scoilers, walking after their own lufts : ‘drunkards, whoremongers, atheists, blafphe. mers, debauchees, and profane fcoffers of the age, now have their day; it is now their hour, and the power of darkness. This is matter of lamentation, and deep lamentation. But, however, God will have his day ere long; and it will be a glorious day when Christ will appear, in all the glory and grandeur of the upper world, to the everlasting terror and confusion of all his adverfaries, and to the eternal joy and honour of all his friends, who, though now they are for signs and wonders, by way of reproach, will then be for signs and wonders by way of renown; when Christ will present them llame. less unto his Father, saying, “ Behold, I and the chil: “dren whom thou hast given me, who, as they have suf6fered with me in my reproach in time, must now reign 16 with me in my glory through eternity," !
O Sirs, let us seek, above all things, to be on Christ's fide, on the side of truth now, and on the right-hand road to heaven, whatever rubs we may meet with by the way, fo as we may come to be on the right-hand of the throne, in the day of the manifestation of the fons of God.
May the Lord bless what hath been said ; and to his
name be praise.
.: SÉR MON VII. *
The VANITY of EARTHLY Things and 1. WORLDLY Enjoyments.
EccLEs. i. 2: Tenim of penities, fait tibe Preacber : sarity of venities, st
THE words of a king are commonly reckoned very it witty ; the words of a wise king, speaking by ex. perience, deserves special consideration, and much more the words of a wise king, speaking by divine inspiration, deserve the greatest regard, attention, and credit: all these do here concur. The words of our text are the words of Solomon, king of Israel; the words of the wi. seft of mere men; the words of one who fpoke from bis own experience ; and, moreover, who spoke by the in. fpiration of God,
The sum of the discourse stands in these two particu, lars. I. That the chief good, and chief happiness of the sons of men, is not to be had in the creature, or in any worldly thing. And, 2. That it is only to be found in God in Chrift, and in the true knowledge of him, and gospel.conformity of heart and life unto him; which he ex, presseth by fearing God and keeping his commandments; which presupposes a gospel.state of union to Christ by faith, and communion with him in his merit, for the justification of our persons; and of his Spirit, for the sanctification of our hearts and lives.
The first verse gives us an account of the penman of this book. Where we have a threefold description of him; from his present office, his pedigree, and his royal dignity,
· 1. He
* This Sermon was preached at Broomhall, January 1723.
1. He is called the Preacher; and commentators ob, ferve, that it comes from a word that fignifies to gather ;'* intimating, that now he was a penitent soul, gathered in from his wanderings, gathered home to his duty, and come at length to himself; and that now he was a preach. ing foul, gathering in straying souls to God: seeing he himself was reduced, here was his penitential sermon, his recantation sermon; wherein, from the bottom of his soul, he sadly laments his own folly, in promising himself satisfaction, in the things of this world, and in the forbidden pleasures of sense : which now he finds more bitter than death. And hence two things should be learned,
(1.) We should be persuaded here of Solomon's re. pentance after his fall. Those who think he fell totally and finally, are not only refuted by this, but by all the arguments which prove the perseverance of the saints, which are many and impregnable: and also by other ar, guments, which concern Solomon himself, viz. the name that he gets, Jedidiah, 2 Sam. xii. 25. which signifies, * Beloved of the Lord.” Now, whom God loves, he loves to the end. And more especially the testimony of Christ, that all the prophets are in heaven, Luke xiii. 28. Now, Solomon was a prophet, seeing the whole scriptures were penned by no others than prophets and apo. itles, 2 Pet. i. 19, 20. Eph, ii. 20.
(2.) We should hence learn to accept of this book with the greater regard. The fun never shines more gloriously, than when it breaks out of some dark cloud ; nor yet the graces of God's Spirit, than when broken forth out of the clouds of sins and temptations, into re. pentance. And thus it was with David also, Psalm li.
2. The penman of this book here is called, The Son of David. And his calling himself the Son of David, teaches us, That he looked upon it as his great honour, not only that he was the son of a Prince, but the fon of so good a man, a man after God's own heart; and that he looked upon it as a great aggravation of his fin, that he had such a father, who had given him such good education, and put up many prayers for him. Again,
his calling himself the son of David, faith, that he looked upon this as an encouragement to his repentance, and a ground of his hope of mercy, seeing though David fell into sin, by which he should have been warned not to fin, yet David repented; and therein he took example from him, and found mercy as he did.-But there is more here. His calling him?elf the son of David, inti. mates his faith, that as he was the son of the promise; he was the fon of David, concerning whom God had said, that though he would punish his iniquities with the rod, yet he would not break his covenant with him, Pfal. Ixxxix. 32, 33, 34. It was comfortable to Solomon, that he was the son of David, both for the sake of the covenant and the promise made to David and his feed after him, 2 Chron. vii. 17, 18.--In a word, he calls himself the son of David, to procure the more reverence, that he was a prophet, the son of a prophet; and it should procure the more reverend acceptance of the doctrine of this book, for the penman's fake: for, though it is little matter what the pen be, whether it be the pen of a goose, or a fwan, or a raven; yet when God makes use of such an instrument, fo richly adorned, it challenges from us, the more due respect.
3. The penman of this book is here called, “ King of Ifrael.” This intimates, that his fin was greatly aggravated, seeing God had raised him to a throne, and yet he had so ill requited him : his dignity also, in being king of Jerusalem, the holy city, where God's temple was, made the ill example of his fin, and the influence it would have upon others, the more dangerous. It intimates also, that being such a one as king in Jerusa. lem, what he preached and wrote, was to be the more regarded ; for, “ Where the word of a king is, there is power.” He thought it no disparagement to him, though he was a king, to be a preacher. If men of honour would lay out themselves to do good, what a vast deal of good night they do! Solomon looked as great in the pulpit, preaching the vanity of the world; as in his throne of ivory, ruling the people. .
Here we may learn, that God uses instruments of all forts in penning the scriptures; Kings, as David and