« VorigeDoorgaan »
wine of Lebanon. That I may open these words distinctly and clearly, I will cast them into the following division:
First. Who those are that are under his shadow, and what is to be understood by their return.
Second. Their revival on their having returned, and being under his shadow. This is described as the growth of corn, which shall be spoken of and explained.
Third. The growth of these is represented by the growth of the vine. This also shall be spoken of.
Fourth. The spiritual fragrancy of these, compared to the wine of Lebanon : what we are to understand by this will be set forth, and the similitude opened. May the Lord be very gracious unto me in going over these divisions. I shall place he Scriptures to each of them.
1. I am to set before you, who those are that are under his shadow, and what is to be understood by their return. They that dwell under his shadow shall return.
We understand the shadow here spoken of, to be a protection, security, and defence, to those who are said to dwell under it, and who are spoken of, as returning to it. But what is the shadow ? Is it Christ, or is it the visible church? This seems to require some consideration. A shadow literally is the representation which any solid body, interposing between the sun, or light,
and another body makes of itself. Christ and God in him, are the shadow and protection of the church. The prophet in an address to the Lord, says, Thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall. Isa. xxv. 4. The same prophet, in a prophecy which has direct reference to our Lord Jesus Christ, says, And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest, as rivers of waters in a dry place, as the shądow of a great rock in a weary land. Chap. xxxij. 2. And the safety of the whole church of the living God, as well now, as at a future period, is most fully expressed by the Psalmist thus, He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm xci. 1. We must therefore conclude that the Lord God himself, in all his persons and perfections, in his everlasting love, and covenant of free and sovereign grace, is the protection of his church. Whilst this is ultimately the truth of every Scripture, yet ļ conceive the church of God is the shadow ineant in my text, to which those who dwell under the shade of the same return. My reasons are as follows: because the ter ms are the very same with those adopted in the two former verses. It is his : they that dwell under his shadow, which is so closely connected withHe shall grow aș the lily, and cast forth his roots
as Lebanon. His brunches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon. They that dwell under his shadow shall return. I say, I cannot see but it must be the church of Christ in the state she will be in, when her glory will be abundantly augmented by the increase of the Gentiles unto her, when it shall be said-Arise, shine ; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people : but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and king's to the brightness of thy rising. Isaiah lx. 1-3. As it therefore respects the church of Christ in its Philadelphian state, it will be a shadow and protection to those of the elect who are then to be called, and admitted into the same. It will reflect its influences far and wide. Those who are under the shadow of it, must be those, who, in a greater or less degree, have been permitted to have a spiritual sense and apprehension of the glory and dignity of the same. Hence the desire to be real and spiritual spectators of the good and blessedness thereof. Hence, under the influences of the Holy Ghost, the heavenly dew of grace, and under his sacred effects úpon their minds, they are sweetly disposed to return unto the Lord, from whom they had revolted; and to his church from which they had been scattered. And there is a word in the text which proves this will be effected by omnipotent grace. They that dwell under his shadow shall return. It is the Lord's will and shall that are to complete the return of those here spoken of. At. the time, the whole of this chapter refers unto, will the following prophecies be fulfilled : And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and
from Elam, and from Shinah, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And he shull set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. See Isa. xi. 10–12.
Thus these poor exiles shall return from the place where they have been scattered, and come together into the true church of Christ, under the spiritual reign of Christ; and there they shall be safe under his most divine care and protection: They that dwell under his shadow shall return. This reminds me of the following Scriptures: And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jeru
salem: When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof, by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning. And the Lord will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defence. And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the day time from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain. Isaiah iv. 3—6. As 1. have considered the church of Christ, in the passage before us, to be the shadow here spoken of, and those who shall return unto her, to be those who have been scattered from her, and explained the same, so I would here admire the grace of God in all this. It is his own grace, which was displayed before all time, to love, and choose, and adopt such into his family, and call them. It is the same love, and remains the same towards them, in every state through which they pass in time. It is out of the same love he calls them, and makes his great salvation known unto them. And before the close of time, by the great acts of his grace, which he will openly display upon his elect amongst Jews and Gentiles, he will cause the whole world to be filled with his glory. He is pleased to express himself upon these subjects thus:--For thus saith the Lord;