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the Lord God of hofts in the valley of vifion." Men, even our fpiritual men, at this day are ftricken with such a fit of madnefs, that they are cafting out the very fubftance of the land, and treading God's jewels under their feet, and giving them to be trodden upon, in matters that pertain to their eternal falvation, by malignant lords and lairds, up and down the land; while the holy feed, the facra plebs, as they were called in the primitive times, are caft out as the drofs and off-fcourings of all things. But here is matter of comfort; however you may be defpifed by men that fhould take a care of you; yet here, I fay, you have God's verdict, the holy feed, in his reckoning, is the very fubftance of the land. There are thefe few words of comfort I offer unto you.
1. The holy feed fhall be preferved in a winnowing day. The winds of errour, profanity, tyranny, perfecution, are beginning to blow, and, it is like, they may blow harder yet before all be done; the Lord seems to be coming with his fan in his hand to purge his floor, and to distinguish between the chaff and the wheat. Now, here is comfort; the holy feed, which is the fubftance, fhall not be blown away with these winds the wife husbandman will let no more wind enter his barn-door, than ferves for cleanfing his feed from the chaff, or the light corn; fo here, If. xxvii. 8. "In measure when it fhooteth forth, he will debate with it; he stayeth his rough wind in the day of the eaft-wind."
2. The holy feed fhall not ay be trodden upon. Indeed he may yoke the threshers to thresh his holy feed; and he may make the wheel of the cart to pafs over it; but he will not ay be bruifing it: If xxviii. 28. 29. "He will not ever be threshing it, nor break it with the wheel of his cart, nor bruise it with his horfemen. This cometh forth from the Lord of hofts, who is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working." Up the heart, for "the Lord will not contend for ever, neither will he be always wroth: for the fpirit fhould fail before him, and the fouls which he hath made."
3. The holy feed will fow the land; for it is "the substance thereof, and a bleffing is in it." I will give you a fcripture to feed your faith and meditation upon, as to this matter, Pfal. xxii. 30. 31. "A feed fhall serve him, it fhall be accounted to the Lord for a generation. They fhall come, and fhall declare his righteoufnefs unto a people that fhall be born, that he hath done this." God, like a wife hufbandman, is keeping a feed of honeft minifters and Chriftians in this time of common defection; and I would fain hope, that it is not for nought, but that he may fow his field again.
4. The holy feed fhall be watered, and flourish, and fprout
forth like a tree that has loft its leaves in a winter storm, it reverts in the spring: "I will be as the dew unto Ifrael; and he fhall grow as the lily, and caft forth his roots as Lebanon. His branches fhall spread, and his beauty fhall be as the olivetree, and his fmell as Lebanon." The vineyard of red wine is watered every moment, when others are dry and withered like the mountains of Gilboa: Pfal. Ixxii. 16. "There shall be an handful of corn in the earth upon the top of the mountains; the fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon, and they of the city fhall flourish like grafs of the earth." God's work will get up again, in fpite of all the fpeat of malignancy that is running against it at this day."
5. The holy feed thall rejoice. When the Lord turns back their captivity, it will be like ftreams from the fouth: "Weeping endures for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." And they that laugh at your calamity will hang their heads, If. lxv. 13. 14. "Behold, my fervants fhall eat, but ye shall be hungry; behold, my fervants fhall drink, but ye fhall be thirsty behold, my fervants fhall rejoice, but ye fhall be afhamed behold, my fervants fhall fing for joy of heart, but ye fhall cry for forrow of heart, and fhall howl for vexation of fpirit."
6. Another word of encouragement I give you under your hard treatment at this day, is, that you meet with no worse measures than Christ, and the cloud of witneffes, met with before you. Are you despised and rejected of men? fo was he, If. liii. 3. The ftone was rejected by the builders; and so his followers, Heb. xi. 35. 36.
The laft ufe fhall be of Exhortation. Is it fo, that the holy feed of believers are the substance and ftrength of a land? then,
1. Let this serve to commend holiness unto all hearing me; efpecially to you who have been at a communion-table, making an open profeffion of being the holy feed, before God, angels, and men. Sirs, if you have any kindness for the land. you live in, as you would avert impending judgements, or recover us from that current of defection we are running into, study to be holy yourselves, "in all manner of conversation," and to promote and advance holiness among others; for it is the holy feed, that is the fubftance.
2. Another word of exhortation I offer to you, is, to trust, and hope, and wait upon the Lord, in this dark and cloudy day: What time I am afraid, I will truft in thee. Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his fervant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him truft in the name of the Lord, and ftay upon his God." Sirs,
there is no standing in this fhaking and trying day, but by faith: "We walk by faith, and not by fight." And to encourage your trust,
1, Confider his near relation to you as your Goel, your kinfman Who will not trust such a near friend? &c. 2dly, Confider how he has avenged your quarrel upon the old ferpent, &c.
3dly, You are commanded to trust in him at all times,
4thly, It is pleafing to the Lord to be trusted; it is the work of God; it is like the fucking a mother's breast by the infant, when gorged with milk, &c.
5thly, Confider the advantages of trusting him in an evil day. (1.) Perfect peace: If. xxvi. 3. "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whofe mind is ftayed on thee: because he trufteth in thee." (2.) Joy, filled with joy in believing. See Hab. iii. 16-18. (3.) Provifion in famine: Pfal. xxxvii. 3.
Truft in the Lord, and do good, fo fhalt thou dwell in the land, and verily, thou shalt be fed." (4.) Protection in time of danger, Pfal. xci. 2.-4. &c. (5.) Stability like mount Zion : Pfal. cxxv. 1." They that trust in the Lord shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever." (6.) Increase of grace and the waterings of the Spirit: Jer. xvii. 7. 8. "Bleffed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whofe hope the Lord is. For he fhall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river," &c.
3. Another exhortation to God's holy feed, is, to be much in wrestling at a throne of grace, and in improving your intereft for the land and church wherein we live, that deserved
strokes may be averted. Tokens of God's anger are to be found; his anger hath divided us; his anger has made him to withdraw his Spirit from ordinances and judicatories; the clouds are bound up, the fruits of the earth withered, and famine at the door; Oh wreftle and pray for floods and water to the dry ground.
Motive (1.) You do not know how far you may prevail with a prayer-hearing God. Mofes's prayers prevailed to deliver Ifrael; Afa prays against the Ethiopian army; Jehoshaphat prays against the Ammonites; and he is the fame prayer-hearing God this day as ever.
(2.) Although you should not prevail to avert wrath; yet your prayers will not be loft, they fhall return into your own bofom; you fhall either deliver your own fouls, or God will hide you from the common calamity.
(3) Confider how active finners are to pull down wrath, and
and bring ruin upon the land. Men are active this day, as if they were weary of their mercy; wearied of Chrift, of the gofpel, and of the privileges thereof; weary of his faints. Men feem to be upon a plot to ruin a covenanted work of reformation. Now, when others are active this way, thould not we be active?
4. Another exhortation. If it be fo that the holy feed is the fubftance and ftrength of a land; then beware of touching them to do them hurt; do not malign, traduce, oppofe, or opprefs them; and beware of joining in a confederacy with those who are cafting out these who are rich in faith, for these who are rich in this world, though they, be ftrangers to the power of God and godlinefs. Value and prize them as the stock and fubftance of the land.
Motive (1.) Confider that Chrift hath given a strict charge unto all anent them, not to do them injury; they that touch them, touch the apple of his eye; Matth. xviii. 10." Take heed that ye defpife not one of these little ones; for I fay unto you, that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven."
(2.) Confider whose they are; they are the children of a King, and therefore it is lefe-majefty to hurt them.
Object. They are but factious and turbulent perfons. Anfu. Take care that do not wound a real faint, under the notion of a hypocrite; and take care that you do not reckon all hypocrites, who do not run in the fame way with yourselves.
(3.) You will pay for it, for the injuries you do them: "Their Redeemer is ftrong, the Lord of hofts is his name." It is dangerous meddling with them that have great friends and allies fo here, God is their Father, angels their ministering fpirits, heaven their inheritance; and therefore beware of hurting them.
I conclude with a few advices to faints, the fubftance of the land.
1. Blefs God that made a difference between you and others. By nature you are children of wrath, as well as others, &c.
2. Beware of defpifing others, yet in a natural state: "Remember the rock whence you were hewn, and the hole of the pit whence you were digged." Study to be of Agur's temper, Prov. xxx. 2. 3. "Surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man. I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the holy."
3. Laftly, Let God's holy feed keep at the greatest distance from fin. "Be blamelefs and harmlefs, the fons of God without rebuke, in the mids of a crooked and perverse genera
tion, among whom ye fhine as lights in the world." The leaft flaw in your converfation will foon be ripped up, and made to ring through the world.
THE FIRST PROMISE ACCOMPLISHED;
THE HEAD OF THE SERPENT BRUISED BY THE
PREACHED ON OCCASION OF THE CELEBRATION OF THE SA CRAMENT OF THE LORD'S SUPPER AT SOUTH QUEENSFERRY, SABBATH, AUGUST 12. 1733.
I JOHN iii. 8-For this purpose the Son of God was manifefted, that he might deftroy the works of the devil.
O gain time, I fhall entirely abftract at present from the connection of these words with what went before, or what follows, and confider them just as they lie before us, in regard they make one complete and entire fentence as they ftand. And they are the fame in fubftance with the first gofpel that ever was preached in the world, Gen. iii. 15. "The feed of the woman fhall bruise the head of the ferpent:" only, with this difference, that what was delivered to our firft parents, in a way of promife and prophecy, is here delivered to us in a way of hiftory, as a thing now done and accomplished. And, in this refpect, there is more faid in these few words, than all the prophets under the Old Teftament could fay. They could only tell the world, that Chrift was to be manifested in the fulness of time; but now, fays our apostle John here, this is not a thing to be done; no, but it is done, it is a thing accomplished, it is now over and paft; the Meffiah is come, and