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to complain of disappointments; but though they are unpleasant meat, they are excellent sauce to an after meal, to make it go down more sweetly than otherwise it would. Amen.
Galashiels, Saturday, July 28, 1722.
SUITABLE IMPROVEMENT OF CHRIST THE APPLE TREE.
SONG OF SOLOMON ii. 3.
I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.
THAT this song is literally, although in a continued allegory, meant of Christ and his church, and that it is not all meant of Solomon and Pharaoh's daughter; does the more convincingly appear from the description of the bridegroom as a potent king, chap. i. 12, and yet a shepherd, v. 7. and from the description of the bride as a queen, and yet a keeper of the vineyards, v. 9. and of kids, v. 8.
The words of the text are the words of the spouse, and the scope of them is to recommend Christ, and that from her own experience. And indeed Christians who have experience of religion in their own souls are fittest to recommend Christ to others. In the words we have an account,
1. Of an application which she made to him, in her own distressed case. I sat down, says she, under his shadow with great delight. In these three things are to be considered, 1. A suitable help in Christ, for her case discovered to her, his shadow. She was like a weary traveller out of breath, with the many difficulties, with which she had to grapple like scorchings by the heat of the sun, that was much in need of rest and refreshment. And she beholds him like an apple tree casting a broad shadow under which she might get ease. 2. The actual use which she made of Christ for that end. I sat under, or in his shadow. By this expression is meant the exercise of faith in Christ, as is clear from Psalm xxxvi. 7. "How excellent is thy loving kindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings." Faith is that grace, which by means of the promise discovers Christ's shadow suitable for a weary soul, and by which the soul comes under his shadow and special protection, and interposeth Christ himself between it and the VOL. III.
heat that is like to burn it up. 3. The manner in which she was carried to this exercise, with great delight, or great desire. Delight and desire are near a-kin, but the word here used, signifies rather eager desire, than delight. The original text runs precisely thus, both for the order and literal signification of the words. In his shadow I eagerly desired and sat down. The sense is, she was carried with full sail of desire to that shadow, and sat down in it, like one running from the scorching heat of the sun under a shade, or as the hart panting for water brooks goes to them to drink.
2. We have the result of this her application to Christ by faith. His fruit was sweet to my taste. She had comfortable experience of his goodness. She needed not take the recommendation of Christ and religion as a matter of hearsay. She herself felt, tasted, and fed. If any should say, there was nothing desirable or pleasant in religion, she could give them the lie, from what her own soul felt. If any should say the way of believing is a dry sapless way, commend me to a way more solid and rational; she could contradict them from the experience of her own soul, and it is vain to dispute against sense and feeling. She found in that way a fulness to her soul, a suitable fulness, a shadow that was good lodging, and fruit that was both meat and drink.
Doctrine I.-The way of relief for poor sinners, under all scorchings to which they are exposed, is to sit down in, and by faith to repose themselves under Christ's shadow.
In prosecuting this doctrine, I shall,
I. Show what need sinners have of a shadow to cover them.
II, Show how Christ became a shadow for poor sinners in this
III. Show what it is to sit under Christ's shadow. We are then, I. To show what need sinners have of a shadow to cover them. A shadow is a defence against the scorching heat of the sun, of which they well know the need who travel in hot countries. This is that notion of a shadow that is aimed at in the text. Compare chap. i. 6. And thus it is applied to our Lord Jesus Christ by Isaiah. "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." In another place he 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."
Here then lies the need of the shadow to poor sinners. The world is turned a hot country all over to the sons of fallen Adam, witness the spiritual blackness upon all faces, Amos ix. 7. Adam's fall has
changed the temperature of the air which we breathe.
the sun of the world, whose influences were enlightening, cheering, comforting and warming to innocent men, is become a consuming fire to the workers of iniquity. He now darts his rays directly down upon the head of the sinner, so that the whole head is sick and heart faint. It is become so hot, that if a shadow had not been provided, this world had all been burnt up ere now. But there was a shadow timely interposed. “And a man, says Isaiah, shall be as a hiding from the wind, and a covert from the tempest, as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land."
II. We are now to show how Christ became a shadow for poor sinners in this case. And here three things deserve our consideration,
1. He was fitted to afford a shadow from that heat, by his assuming our nature, in that he being God was incarnate and became man. "The word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father full of grace and truth." His human nature united to his divine in his person, was a vail to the rays of his majesty, through which sinners might behold it and not die. "We have now boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus. By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us through the vail, that is to say, his flesh." Hereby, as Job saith in another case. "He holdeth back the face of his throne, and spreadeth his cloud upon it." And hence our Lord Jesus Christ was typified by the cloud spread over Israel in the day time in the wilderness, by which they were preserved from the scorching heat of the sun. The man Christ is fitted to mediate betwixt us and an offended God, for he is Immanuel, God with us, God in our nature. Good news to poor sinners in this weary land. There is a root sprung out of the dry ground, and it is become a tree of life; the name of it is the tree of life; and it casts a shadow, a defence, for guilty creatures under it, from the heat of wrath from heaven.
2. He actually affords a shadow for needy sinners by virtue of his complete satisfaction to law and justice. "For being found in fashion as a man he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name. Neither is their salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved." Hence Christ crucified is the sum of the desires of the soul savingly enlightened. "For I determined, says Paul, not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ and him crucified."
Reckoning that in him is all that is necessary to begin, to carry on, and to complete their salvation; and that being under his shadow, they have all within the compass of it which they need to make them completely happy. "For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him which is the head of all principality and power." How a crucified Jesus actually affords such a shadow to those that come under his shadow, will be cleared by three things.
1. He received all the scorching beams of wrath on himself, that so he might keep them from his people. "For he hath made him sin who knew no sin, to be sin for us; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." Why is the man under the shadow safe, but because the thick branches of the tree which make the shadow, do receive scorching beams of the hot shining sun which otherwise would reach him? The beams of wrath which should have scorched all the elect world, were contracted in the covenant betwixt the Father and the second Adam as in a burning glass, and so pointed directly against his head and concentred in him. "The Lord laid on him the iniquity of us all. to bruise him, he hath put him to grief." terpose between him and them. "He trode the wine press alone, and of the people there was none with him." But they fell immediately in all their force upon him. "God spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all." So that he did not only like
Jonah faint, but died outright under them.
Yea, it pleased the Lord
There was nothing to in
2. He exhausted them. He drank the cup of wrath from the brim to the bottom. So that there was no more revenging wrath to fall on him. "For Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him." Nor on any under his shadow, for an assurance of which we have the oath of God. "For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee." And upon this our Lord Christ bids his people come away with him, for that now the storm is blown over on him, the sky is clear, and it is safe travelling for guilty creatures to the throne of God, Song ii. 10, 11.
3. And now through him, the comfortable influences of heaven are bestowed and conveyed to those under his shadow, through him as the channel of conveyance, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ." The debt is paid, he has got up the bond. The sun beats no more upon the tree with its great heat,
but shines upon it fair and sweet and will do so for ever; and thereby they under its shadow receive quieting, reviving, enlightening, and fructifying influences. "They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon."
3. He is by divine appointment made a public shadow for all the inhabitants of the weary land; so that it is lawful for them and every one of them to come in by faith and take shelter under it, whatever they are or have been. "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up. That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." There is heaven's deed constituting a crucified Christ the ordinance of God for salvation to sinners; to whom they may look and be saved, and that is their warrant. And the proclamation is issued out concerning it and registered in the book of God. Unto you, 0 men, I call, and my voice is unto the sons of men. Alas! it would be small comfort to poor scorched sinners, if Christ were only private shadow, like that which men have in their gardens, to which poor travellers have no access, it being within high walls and locked doors. No, as Christ is not the rose of the garden, but the rose of the field, which any person may pluck who will have it; so he is the apple tree among the trees of the wood, under the shadow of which whosoever will may sit down. "And the Spirit and the bride, say come; and let him that heareth say, come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." Though in the meantime it is a sad truth, that such is the natural aversion of sinners to Christ, that till they be so scorched, as that not another tree in all the wood can shelter them, they will not come in under his shadow. We now proceed, III. To shew what it is to sit down under Christ's shadow. It is the soul fleeing to Jesus Christ for a refuge, coming unto him on the call of the gospel, and receiving him and uniting with him by believing on his name. And this notion of faith bears,
1. The soul being sensibly scorched and uneasy in itself. Though all may, yet none will come under Christ's shadow, but sensible sin"The full soul loatheth an honey comb: but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet." They to whom the world is not a weary land, will not value the shadow of this great rock. The method of sovereign grace for bringing sinners under Christ's shadow is to make the fiery law shine full upon them and scorch them. It shines on them in its holy commands, set home on their