Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

him in the gospel-offers. And now the red, black, and pale horses, mentioned Rev. vi. 4, 5, 8, seem to be ready to begin their march, to avenge the affronts offered to the white horse; though the Popish and malignant riders mean not so, but to banish the white horse out of the land. What shall we do in this case ? get in under Christ's shadow, that is the only safe retreat in such a case : Mic. v. 5," And this man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land.” This should be our work this day; we should sit down under his shadow, believing in him, and depending upon him, Cant. ii. 3. When public calamity comes upon a land, every person will run to that place where they expect the greatest safety; but run where they will for shelter, if they run not to Christ, their shelters will fall down about their ears at length: Isa. xxviii. 17, And the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the water shall overflow the hiding-place.” But the way of safety is to run to Jesus Christ : Prov. xviii. 10, “ The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runneth into it, and is safe." You must sit down under bis shadow, by closing with him in the offers of the gospel, taking him for all, and instead of all, for time and eternity: giving yourselves away to him, renouncing the devil, the world, and the flesli, embarking in his interests and cause at this day, whoever be against it. This is a loud knock Christ is giving to gospel-despisers to open to him, after the slighting of many a still small voice, whereby he lets them know, that if they will not open to him as a Lord and Saviour, he will arise on them as a Judge with a vengeance, whether they will or not. Come, then, ye despisers of Christ, and sit down under his shadow, before the scorching heat of the weary land burn you up.

We must sit still under his shadow, by cleaving to him, and depending upon him : Isa. xxx. 7, “ For the Egyptian shall help in vain, and to no purpose; therefore have I cried concerning this, Their strength is to sit still.” Though the scourge reach all, the greatest safety will be there. Cleave to him and his cause, come what will come ; for if you go off his way to seek safety, you cast yourselves out of his promised protection. Piety will be the best policy in the worst of times : Prov. x. 9, “ He that walketh uprightly, walketh surely; but he that perverteth his way, shall be known.” And depend on him by believing his promises, both for your personal case, and the church's case; for whoever be in the field, victory is in his hand alone, and he gives it to whom he will; he does what he will in the armies of heaven and earth ; whom he will he strengthens, whom he will he weakens, for he is the Lord of hosts; and he hath engaged that at length it shall be ill

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

with his enemies, and well with his friends : Isa. liv. 17, " No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment, thou shalt condemn; this is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.”—But again,

We must lie down under his shadow, in holy resignation, to suffer whatsoever he may call us to, Isa. li. 23. The dispensations of the day call aloud to us to prepare for suffering ; if the malignant party prevail, doubt not but their little finger will be heavier than their father's loins. Our Lord has given many love-tokens to the generation, which have been lightly esteemed; howbeit, there are many that profess love to him and his truths; and it would seem, he will try what tokens we have to bestow on him and his cause. It is likely he will have a portion of some one's goods, relations, liberty, yea, and of their blood too, ere all be done; and it is to be feared, the tokens of his displeasure draw so deep, that many will give up with him on this account. But if you be wise, lie down under his shadow ; for a thoroy bed under Christ's shadow will at the last prove more easy than the beds of ivory on which his enemies may stretch themselves for a little; Job xx. 5, “ The triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite is but for a moment." The hour and power of darkness will not last; and though God should suffer that party to carry all before them a while, there is no ground to doubt but God will be even with them, for all their enmity, and opposition to his work; yes, and render home their father's opposition to it into their bosom, and give them blood to drink, for the blood their fathers shed in fields, and on scaffolds, when they have filled up the measure of their iniquity by what they may now do: Rev. xvi. 5, 6, " And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, aud wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink, for they are worthy.”

But we must also stand up under Christ's shadow, and act for him. Certainly, as the quarrel is now stated betwixt Christ and his enemies in Britain and Ireland, he calls his people now to act for him and bis cause. If they have a standard to be displayed for Popery and slavery, God has given us a standard to be displayed for religion and liberty: Psalm 1x. 4, " Thou has given a banner to them that feared thee, that it might be displayed because of the truth.” And people are called, by this dispensation, to put themselves in a posture to defend their religion and liberties, their Protestant King, country and families, and not to leave themselves a

[ocr errors]

naked prey for murderers. And in such a time, people consulting their own ease, more than the honour of God, the welfare of his cause, and their neighbour's safety, may easily slip themselves in under Meroz's curse, which, when incurred, will not be got so easily off persons: Judges v. 23,“ Curse ye Meroz, (said the angel of the Lord), carse ye bitterly the inbabitants thereof; because they came not to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty."

Never was the cause more clear in Britain. The word, to spirit the soldiery under the enemies' standard, should be, The great red dragon, Rev. xii. 3, and the motto corresponding with this, as in Psalm ii. 3, “Let us break their bands, and cast their cords from us.” This is the design of the attempt, and, I am persuaded, is looked upon so by Him that sitteth in the heavens. What else is the design of the Papists and malignants this day? Our holy religion must go, and idolatry and superstition come in its room; wo and our families must be murdered, or renounce our religion, though denying of Christ will never altogether please them, for they will especially nevor trust Scotch Presbyterians, so that that would be the way

to die a double death. Our Protestant King must go, and a Papist ascend the throne, and the covenanted work of Reformation be rooted out, unless that people act for their defence against the Antichristian party. I know no mids this day, but that every one must be on Christ's side, or on Antichrist's. This canse will bear no neutrality : Matth. xii. 30, “ He that is not with me, is against me; and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth abroad.”

Never was the cause more favourable ; for while our intruders and enemies cannot appear in the field but as rebels and traitors, laying themselves open to all the pains of treason and rebellion, we have, mercy

of God, the law on our side. No doubt, masses will be said at Rome for them, and in other parts of the Pope's territory; but the prayers of all the Protestant churches abroad will be for us and our righteous cause ; and the prayers of all the godly in the land will also be in onr favour. It is true, indeed, our God is angry with us; but sure I am, he is not well-pleased with them, he never was nor will be pleased with the cause they have in hand; and therefore, seeing the cause is the Lord's, we may be sure that “ though he cause grief, yet he will have compassion;" and when ho has done his work with his furnace on Mount Zion, he will bring off his cause and people victorious at length, Isa. liv. 17. And we have ground to hope, that if the noise of enemies go on, it will raise up at length a ghost upon the Popish and malignant interest in

by the

[ocr errors]

these nations, that shall affright them, and rain it more than ever ; I mean, the ghost of the buried covenants.*

THE SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED.

SERMON XXIII.

ISA. xxxii. 2,

And a man shall be- as the shadow of a great rock in a weary

land.

Haying, in the preceding discourse, offered several reasons why this world is to the saints a weary land, I go on now farther to observe, that the world is to them a weary land : For,

6. An ill way makes a weary land to travellers. There is much ill way in the world, that wearieg sore them that are travelling Zion-ward. It is true, the way of holiness is a good way, in so far sus it leads to the heavenly Jerusalem ; and though it be strewed with thorns and briars, it is better to walk in it, than in the way to destruction strewed

with roses.

But an uneasy way we call an ill way; and such is the way through the weary land of the world. It is all up-hill, which scars the most part of the world. The way to hell is down the hill, but the way to heaven is up the hill: Psalm xxiv. 3, “ Who shall ascend into the hill of God ?" They that would sit at ease, and sleep through the world, are not meet for heaven; the way will try people's strength, and an easy way to heaven no man shall find. There are strong lusts, and temptations, and troubles, which people have to climb over. But under Christ's shadow, the traveller will recover his breath again, and be invigorated for new difficulties, till he come to the top of the hill : Isa. xl. 29, “He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might, he increaseth strength.” Ver. 31, “They that wait upon the Lord

* The intelligent reader, who is acquainted with the bistory of Britain, has only to be reminded, that the period when this discourse was delivered was very eventful. An unnatural rebellion was then breaking out, cherished by a Popish faction both at home and abroad, which in its progress threatened to overturn our religion and liberties. On this occasion, the worthy author, as a sound patriot for his country's welfare, as a genuine son of Zion, and a faithful watchman upon her walls, could not fail to sound a suitable alarm. From the deep sense he had of the impending danger, from a clear conviction of indispensable duty, and possessing a natural warmth of temper, the strong expressions made use of by him in this and other parts of his discourses, are easily to be accounted for.

shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." It is a narrow way:

“ Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, that leadeth unto life,” Matth. vii. 14. Multitudes walk in the broad way, and there they get room enough; but in the narrow way there are few travellers, and they that are on it must take good heed to their feet, or they are apt to catch a fall. And considering how rash we naturally are, and how weak-headed and false-hearted we are, and how narrow the road is, and how loose the ground about it is, it is no wonder, that with the Psalmist we complain of broken bones, Psalm li. 8. These make a weary way. But under Christ's shadow there is light for the blind, strength for them that go even on, and medicine to cure them that are bruised by their falls, if they intend not to lie still, but to get up and walk on.

It is a hard and rugged way, and therefore they must have legharness, as soldiers have, to preserve their feet from stones and roughness in the way of their march : Eph. vi. 15, " And their feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” There are many difficulties to go through that will need resolution and undaunted courage. The spies saw such difficulties in the way to Canaan, that they brought up an ill report of the land. But Caleb and Joshua had another spirit, that fitted them to face all these difficulties, Numb. xiv. 24. The fearful are not for heaven, Rev. xxi. 8. But under Christ's shadow there is sweet refreshment in the hardest piece of the way, and nothing is too hard for them whom he bears up: Phil. iv. 13, “I can do all things through Christ that strengtheneth me.”

It is a way wherein many snares are laid. The snares of the orld make it a weary land. The way is beset with thorns, and lies through thickets, where on every side there is something to catch a man. There are shares in every lot, in every condition, in the most innocent things in the world ; and there is need of great caution to get through them. How often are men in the snare ere ever they are aware ! Like the poor bird they find the snare laid where they were not looking for it. But under Christ's shadow, there is a shelter where they may be safe. It is he that leads them through the wilderness to that place where they will be in no more hazard. Yea, casting themselves by faith on him, they are in no danger from any quarter whatever.-It may be further observed,

7. That the country-disease often makes it a weary land ; and that, in the world, is sin. No sooner do any set their foot in that land, than are they infected with it: Psalm li. 5, “Behold I was

« AnteriorContinua »