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him.” (4.) He will be raised up in your talk and walk, they will have a savour of the Plant of renown, and the chat and common talk of the world will be tasteless, like the white of an egg, to you. But, talking of Christ, and of his truths, and of the concerns of his glory, will be highly agreeable to you. (5.) He will be raised up in your religious worship, both public and private, when you go to prayer, when you go to hear the word, or when you go to a communion table, nothing will please but Christ himself.” “O that I knew
I where I might find him.-One thing have I desired, and that will I seek after, that all the days of my life I may dwell in the house of the Lord.” (6.) He will be raised up in your wishes and endeavours for the advancement of his kingdom and glory, in as far as your power can go. And whenever his cause comes upon the field, or the
is made, Who is on the Lord's side ?" You will always study, in your sphere, to take that side where you think Christ stands, and contend and witness for him, his truths, his ways, and worship, according to your power.
10thly, May be by way of lamentation. If Christ be the Plant of renown, raised up by his eternal Father, may it not be for matter of lamentation that the Plant of renown is in so little request among us at this day, and that there is such a plucking away of the glory of this blessed Plant. Some plucking away the glory of his supreme Deity, as you were hearing, and studying to reduce him to the rank of created and dependant beings: some plucking at his sovereignty and supremacy, as the alone Head and King of his church; enacting laws inconsistent with, and directly opposite to those laws that he has given in his word: some plucking at the “ liberty wherewith he has made his people free,” by violent intrusions of ministers upon congregations, contrary to scriplure pattern, and the covenanted sworn principles of the church of Scotland, inserted in her books of discipline.
O sirs, if the Plant of renown were flourishing in the land, there would not be so many unsavoury plants allowed to grow or come up in his vineyard, as there are at this day. The plant of Popish idolatry is connived at, and on the growing hand, both through Scotland, England, and Ireland. The Plant of prelacy, error, and superstitition, tolerated, contrary to solemn covenant engagements, which the land lies under; the plant of unsound professors of divinity, poisoning our fountains of learning, and seminaries for the holy ministry; the plant of lax erroneous ministers and preachers, are growing up apace, and filling the land every day. The plant of old malignancy against the power of religion and a covenanted reformation is growing up, especially among a set of pretended
Presbyterians, falsely so called. The plant of profanity is flourishing apace, men abandoning themselves to wickedness, and giving themselves loose reins in drinking, swearing, rioting, whoredom, drunkenness, Sabbath-breaking, and all manner of abominations, burlesquing the scriptures, ridiculing the worship of God, and breaking their profane jests upon the sacred things of God. The plant of ecclesiastical. tyranny, which seemed to be nipped a little these two years by-gone, is sprouting again as fast as ever, notwithstanding the great cries of a pretended reformation that we heard among a great many ministers and professors in the established church; witness the proceedings of the last Assembly, in the case of Dennie and Traquair, and the entertainment of the petition of the parish of Stow. I say, all these, and many other things that might be insisted upon, evidently declare that the Plant of renown is not raised up among us, but rather that his flavour and savour is gone away, in a great measure, from amongst magistrates and ministers, from judicatories and assemblies for worship, and from among the generality of professors and inhabitants of the land. Yea, many come that length, that, like the Gadarenes, they would be well content that Christ were quite departed out of our coasts, that they might with freedom enjoy their swinish lusts; and, indeed, he seems to be taking his leave of us. But 0, what will follow upon his departure? “Wo, wo, also unto them, when I depart from them.” See what comes of the vineyard of the Lord of hosts, Is. v. (from the beginning,) when he departs he takes away the hedge, &c.
11thly, Is in a word of exhortation. Is it so that Christ is a Plant of renown raised up by Jehovah? Then let all that bear the name of Christ, especially you who have been entertained at his table, and tasted of his special love and goodness, study to answer God's design, in raising up for us this Plant of renown.
Take this in the following particulars, with which I conclude. (1.) Sit down, and rest your weary souls, under the shadow of this renowned Plant, after the example of the spouse, Cant. ii. : “ I sat down under his shadow with great delight.” When you find no rest in the world, by reason of temptations, afflictions, and the working of indwelling corruption, and when you are crying, “O tell me where he maketh his flocks to rest,” let your recourse be always to the Plant of renown, for to him “shall the Gentiles seek, and his rest shall be glorious.” (2.) I invite you to come and behold the glory and beauty of the Plant of renown: 0 " look unto him, and be saved, all ye ends of the earth.” God the Father thinks so much of this Plant of his own raising, that he invites
the whole world to behold him as the delight of his very soul, Is. xlii
. 1: “Behold my Servant whom I uphold, mine Elect in whom my soul delighteth.” It is by beholding of his glory, that the work of sanctification, and conformity to the divine image, and the life of religion is maintained and kept up, 2 Cor. iii. 18: “ All we beholding, as in a glass, the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image. (3.) Come and feed
upon the fruit of this Plant of renown ; “ For his flesh is meat indeed, and his blood is drink indeed." You have been at his table, and perhaps got a meal there; but, sirs, you should be continually feeding upon him. You see, in the close of the verse, this Plant is raised up to be food to the hungry; “ I will raise him up for them, and they shall hunger no more," or be consumed with hunger no more; and therefore be always feeding upon his fruits, for they are “sweet to the taste, and make the lips of them that are asleep, to speak, like the best wine that goeth down sweetly.” (4.) Whenever you find yourselves wounded by temptation, or corruption, or the world, come to the Plant of renown for healing, for his "leaves are for the healing of the nations.” You have a sweet promise to this purpose, Mal. iv. 2: "To you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall," &c. (5.) Let me exhort you, in your sphere, ministers and private Christians, and I would fain take home the exhortation to myself. O let us all join issue with the Father of Christ, in studying to raise up this Plant of renown, and to make him more and more renowned : this will be the ambition, and resolution, and endeavour, of all that know him. Psal. xlv. (at the close,) says the church there, “I will make thy name to be remembered in all generations, therefore shall the people praise thee, O Lord, for ever and ever." Let us (that are ministers) preach and proclaim his righteousness and renown, and the glory of his person, in the great congregation. And you that are the peo
( ple,) O study to command him by your walk and talk, and the holiness of your conversation, upon all occasions; and, when his cause and interest in the land are in such a sinking condition, let us take a lift of it. Let us lie at a throne of grace, pleading, that God would not forsake the land; but that he would yet return, and be “the glory in the midst of us," Zech. ii. 5.
SERMON XLII. .
GOD'S DOVES FLYING TO HIS WINDOWS.
Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as doves to their windows!-Is. LX. 8.
In the last verse of the preceding chapter, God had made a promise of the continuance of the church upon earth to the uttermost
ages of time: “ As for me, this is my covenant," &c. Here, in the beginning of this chapter, we have a promise concerning the enlargement of the church under the New Testament, to the uttermost ends of the earth: Ver. 3, 4: “And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to. the brightness of thy rising. Lift up thine eyes round about, and see; all they gather themselves together, they come to. thee, thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side.” We are likewise told, how the church shall be affected with this increase of her numbers and enlargement of her borders. (1.) She will be in a transport of joy upon this account; ver. 5: “ Thou shalt see and flow together," &c. (2.) There will be a mixture of fear with this joy ; “ Thine heart shall fear,” as though it were a thing unlawful to join with the Gentiles, &c. (3.) She shall be enlarged with love, so as to leave room for all the Gentile converts. (4.) She shall be struck with surprise and wonder, saying, Who are these that fly as a cloud, und as doves to their windows?
Where four things are worthy of consideration. 1. We have a sweet sight that the Old Testament church gets of the state of matters under the New Testament, upon the revelation of Christ in the gospel among the Gentiles. Why, she sees poor souls upon the wing, in great multitudes, flying to a Saviour; and a sweeter sight cannot be seen upon earth. 2. Notice the manner of their flight; they fly as a cloud or as dodes : Of which more particularly afterward, when we come to prosecute the doctrine. 3. Notice the term or object of their flight; they fly to the windows for their relief. Like the windows of the ark of Noah, at which the dove entered, when she could find no place for the sole of her foot, because of the deluge. 4. Notice the pleasant surprise that the prophet of the Old Testament church is put into at this sight. This is implied in the manner of the speech, (Who are these?) She is struck with a pleasant astonishment, to see the sinners of Gentiles, “ aliens to the commonwealth of Israel, strangers to the covenant of promise," flocking in to Christ; Christ
preached to the Gentiles, and the Gentiles believing in Christ, being a branch of the great mystery of godliness, 1 Tim. iii. 16.
Obs. That the flight of sinners to a Saviour is a sweet and surprising sight. Who are these that fly as a cloud ? and as doves to their windows ?
The method, through divine assistance shall be,
I. To speak a little of this flight of the sinner to Christ, and show what it imports.
II. I would speak a little of the manner of their flight: They fly as a cloud, and as doves. What may be couched in
III. Speak a little of these windows to which they fly.
1. The first thing is, to speak a little of the flight of a sinner to Christ, the Saviour.
1st, Then, This flight supposes that some spiritual life and sensation is given to the sinner; for there can be no flying without life. The sinnér is by nature dead in sin, legally dead, and spiritually dead; Eph. j. 1 : “ You hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” The Spirit of life that is in Christ Jesus enters into the dead soul, and quickens, and gives it at least a (sense of its condition, otherwise there can be no flying to Christ.
2dly. This flight supposes or implies an apprehension and fear of danger from a pursuing enemy. The poor soul is made to see danger from the broken law, danger from the sword of justice, the avenger of blood; upon which he falls to trembling, like the jailer, (saying,] " Sirs, what must I do to be saved ?"
3dly, This flight of the soul to Christ implies a renunciation of relief from those lying refuges, in which it had formerly been trusting. The man, in flying to Christ, renounces an empty profession, his common gifts, his common graces, his gospel advances, his law works, his own holiness and righteousness, his tears and prayers; his righteousness cannot profit him, therefore he cries out, “ Ashur shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses, neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, Ye are our gods; for in thee the fatherless findeth mercy,” Hos. xii. 3. In vain is salvation hoped for from the hills, and from the multitude of mountains; truly in the Lord our God is the salvation of his people."
4thly, It implies a discovery and uptaking of Christ and of his salvation, as he is held out in the gospel. A beam of divine light shines into the heart, “ even the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face (or person) of Jesus