Imatges de pÓgina

down at the Lord's table, but communicate not believingly. They do the outward work, but it is not in faith; they bring no faith, no sense, no discerning, &c.; and so instead of securing themselves against the day of wrath, do mark themselves out for wrath. Ah! miserable work, for men to turn the food of their souls into poison; so to manage the treaty of peace with God, that they part greater enemies than before! The sin of mock-covenanting, and unworthy communicating, will be a dreadful item in the day of wrath here and hereafter. USE II. Of exhortation.

1st, Ye that are not communicants, ye are in hazard of the day of wrath as well as others, though ye sit not at the table. Will ye by faith embrace the sacrifice exhibited there; receive and sprinkle the blood, the covenant sealed there.

2dly, Communicants, manage this work so as ye may be secured against the day of wrath. All of you, flee into Christ Jesus as the city of refuge; and make sure work, and lay down your measures for time and for eternity.

MOTIVE 1. Consider that there will certainly be a great day of wrath upon the world. "Our God will come." The day is coming when the dead shall be raised, and all shall be sisted before the tribunal. Eternal wrath will then sweep away all that shall be found out of Christ at that day. Where will ye then appear, O slighters and despisers of Christ?


MOT. 2. We have all imaginable grounds to look for a day of wrath against this church and these lands. The plague is begun already as to this poor church; her beauty is defaced; we have all left God, and he has left us in great measure: we have broken off from God, and are broken among ourselves. There is much of the carved work of Zion broken down already and we have all ground to expect a root-stroke to the whole of the covenanted work of reformation. Matters are brought to that pass, that our lands can hardly miss to be a field of blood. The sins of the late times are like the iniquity of Baalpeor, which kindled the anger of the Lord against the congregation of Israel, and brought on a plague among them; and the iniquity of these times has not been suitably mourned over to this day. A spirit of apostasy and declining is on the growing hand amongst all ranks; the cry of our sins is gone up to heaven : and, notwithstanding all the alarming dispensations of the day, there is a visible hardness and stupidity on the generation, and the spirit of prayer is restrained, that we cannot see how we can escape. Prepare then to meet your God; and how will ye do it but in Christ?

I would only say two things.

(1.) Seeing the glorious gospel-light has so shined among us, and that contempt of it and of religion does so appear in the sight of the sun, and a profane spirit does so much rage, it is very like God will have a particular eye for evil on the profane contemners of religion amongst us.

(2.) Seeing there is some ground to think that we shall yet have glorious days, it is like God will shovel out of the way many, that their eyes shall never see it; and that it will make a sad scattering among formal professors, strangers to the life of godliness.

Mor. 3. Consider Christ is now offering himself and the covenant of peace to us. It is time to be going when the Lord is risen up, and is drawing out his armies against us; to tremble when the lion roars. Come then, lest ye "mourn at the last, and say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof? and have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me?"

I close with two or three words of advice to those that resolve so to manage this sacrament, as that they may be secured against the day of wrath.

(1.) Let not the thoughts of wrath prevail to darken your view of the love of Christ in the gospel and in this ordinance. Particularly assure yourselves if ye be willing to be the Lord's, and take him for your God, the white side of the cloud is to you; and that though God were to destroy the whole land from off the face of the earth, if there were but one soul who would take shelter in the covenant of peace, he should be welcome.

(2.) As ye give yourselves to the Lord, so give your families too. Take all yours that way, and lay them over on him, and leave them with him for the evil day.

(3.) Let it be your main concern to get strength to be carried cleanly through; that ye be not led away with the sins and snares of the evil time, and so fall from your stedfastness.

(4.) lastly, Be not peremptory and particular as to what otherwise may be your portion of common calamity; but leave that on the Lord. Only in this be particular, that the sting of the curse must be taken away, and therefore that ye must put yourselves in the bottom of the everlasting covenant, and give yourselves to Christ as the great Steersman through the sea of this world, leaving that to him what weather ye shall meet with in your voyage to Immanuel's land.

Thus I have delivered my message to you from the Lord, as that which I judged is God's mind and call to you at this day. I desire to venture myself for time and eternity on this bottom; and it is my



request to you, that ye will take this method this day for your security against the day of wrath. And if I should never have another occasion of this nature to speak unto you, I would leave it with you, That this, and this only, is the way to be secured against the day of wrath.

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JER. ii. 13,

For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns

that can hold no water.

THIS text is ushered in with a strange preface, wherein the heavens are called to stand amazed, to be filled with horror, and to dry up. Why, what is the matter? the sin and folly of Israel. My people have committed two evils," &c. In which words there is,



First, A general charge against them: they have done "two evils," two ill things. Why, two is not many; yea, but they are two leading ill things, two mother evils. They are two fountain-sins, each of them casting out their thousands, as a fountain doth her waters. They are enough to overwhelm them with sins and sorrows. And the evils are the greater, that they are "my people," in covenant with me, that have done them. It is not the isles of Chittim, nor Kedar; but Israel.

Secondly, A particular condescension on these evils, these fountain-evils.

1st, Deserting of God: "They have forsaken me," left me, and gone away from me. I am their King and Lord, and they have shaken off their subjection to me; their Head and Husband, and they have run away from me. I am their confederate, who took them into covenant with me; and they have broken the bands, and burst the yoke. I am their God in covenant, whom they have forsaken.

2dly, Taking up with the creature. They have betaken themselves to the creature in my room and stead. They have "hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water." (Heb. for to cut out, &c.) Thus they have made an exchange. They have

*Several sermons, preached at Ettrick in the year 1725.

left me, to go to them; like traiterous subjects, casting off their rightful lord, for an usurper; an unfaithful wife, deserting her husband, for her adulterer; a wretched creature, deserting his God, for an idol. So here,

1. There is something supposed. It is supposed,

(1.) That Israel was no more self-sufficient than any other people under heaven. They were not able to satisfy themselves from themselves; they were as much in need of supply for the satisfaction and rest of their hearts, as ever a thirsty man was of drink to refresh him. And as proud as they were, they behoved to hang on about some door or other for their supply; either God's or the creature's.


(2.) That, in this their necessitous case, God took them home to his house, as one would take in a beggar in rags, and set him down with the children and told them, they should not want, if they would stay with him, Deut. xxxii. 10, "He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness: he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye." He called them his people, took them into the covenant, and set them down at the fountain-head, the well-spring of mercy and goodness.

2. There is something expressly declared. It is so declared,

(1.) That Israel had made a wilful exchange of his condition, cast himself out of God's house, into the devil's common again; "changed his glory, for that which will not profit;" forsaken the God that took him in, and gone back to the empty creature, where he was before.

(2.) That Israel had sinned and played the fool egregiously in making this exchange. And accordingly his sin and folly is here proclaimed. And,

1. Israel was a holy people; but the text proclaims them a sinful people with a witness. Their forsaking him "the fountain of living waters," and betaking themselves to "broken cisterns," are signal evils. There is a heap of evil in each of them. They could not have made a worse choice, to the dishonour of God, and to make his name to be blasphemed among the heathen. So they affronted their God.

2. Israel was a wise people; but the text proclaims them fools with a witness; that were as blind to their own interest, as they were unfaithful to God's honour. Men's wisdom or folly appears in their bargains: let us see what a blind exchange they had made. They had exchanged,

1st, A spring-well, for cisterns. A cistern is a hollow place cut out in the earth, in wood, or stone, for receiving and keeping rain water, or water otherwise put into it; whereas the fountain or

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spring hath the water from itself. God in Christ is the fountain, all-sufficient in himself. All the creatures are but cisterns; if there is no water brought into them from heaven, or from the spring, they are dry. Who then would exchange a fountain living and springing, for a cistern?

2dly, A fountain made ready to their hand, for cisterns that were to be hewed out. Happiness is ready in God for us, and we need only to draw out by faith the waters of consolation. But O what hard work is it to hew out the cisterns of created enjoyment! It is desirable to have comfort ready. Who then will be so foolish, as to exchange a fountain made ready to their hand, for cisterns that require much labour to hew them out?

3dly, One spring-well, sufficient for all their needs, for many cisterns. There is no one cistern that will do one's business; when the man has hewed out one cistern, the water is lacking and unpleasant there, and he must hew out another, and so on. And thus the soul once forsaking God, becomes restless; there is no end of cisterns. It is a great conveniency, to have what we need in one place, and not to be obliged to go here and there for it. Who then would forsake God, the fountain of all blessings, and betake themselves to the creatures, which though tried one after another, cannot supply their wants?

4thly, Fresh and sweet waters of the spring, for the dead unsavoury waters of the cistern, i. e. springing waters, bubbling up through the earth, cool, and fresh, for the standing, stinking waters of the cisterns. Who then will be so foolish, as to forsake the living waters, and betake themselves to the stinking waters of the cisterns?

cisterns, that let

So that when the behold there was

Lastly, A spring-well, for broken and cracked the water through them, and cannot hold it in. man comes to drink at his cistern, for his thirst; a crack in the cistern, and the water is all gone; and there is nothing left but sediment, mud, and mire.

The scope and substance of these words may be taken up in these two doctrines :

DOCTRINE I. Forsaking of God in Christ, and betaking one's self to the creature in his stead, are two ill, signally ill things.

DocT. II. To forsake God in Christ, and take the creature in his stead, is a wretched exchange.

I return to the first of these, viz:-

DocT. I. Forsaking of God in Christ, and betaking one's self to the creature in his stead, are two ill, signally ill things.

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