Page images


made them white in the blood of the Lamb." The Holy One of Israel will not touch an offering, but what comes through the hands of the holy Jesus. Alas! many if they get some victory over a lust, some steps walked cleanly, they will go even forward to God with them, because they know not God. Bullocks offered on the altar at Bethel were abominable, when turtles were accepted on the altar at Jerusalem.

3. The exercise of godliness consists in an habitual and actual mortification of Insts. They that are Christ's, have crucified the flesh, with the affections and lusts.

4. In resisting temptations from the devil. Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.

5. In keeping ourselves unspotted from the world, the things of the world, and the men of the world.

6. In rightly managing the cross, and extracting the sweet of it. Lastly, In the proper management of divine trials. The length of the preceding part of the discourse, prevents me from illustrating these particulars. I can only add for the use of what hath been said,

1. It may strike terror on the profane world, who are exercised to nothing but wickedness. "An heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children." Many will not so much as meddle with the bodily exercise of religion, but soul and body, both are devoted to the service of the devil. Your exercise is coming when you will neither rest day nor night. "For if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly, and the sinner appear." 2. It may strike terror on formal hypocrites, who know nothing of religion but bodily exercise, as if they were serving an idol that had eyes, but saw not; ears, but heard not: or they were mere lumps of spiritless clay, and the soul were for no use in the body, but to keep it a while from rotting. Ah sirs! if this be religion that we have been speaking of, then there is little religion in the world. Some that have been of long standing in a profession, may even begin again. Consider where you are and in what this will


3. It may fill the faces of sleeping Christians with shame. These things have been their exercise, but they are not much engaged that way now. Arise, and go to your work again. God will awaken you at length, it may be in a very terrible manner; that though you may be saved, yet it may be so as by fire.

Lastly, Let me exhort all to godliness, and to the exercise of godliness. It is the most pleasant life, even a heaven on earth.

"For wisdom's ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace." It is the most profitable exercise: "for godliness is profitable unto all things, having the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come." Go to Christ for it, for the residue of the Spirit is with him. He hath the seven Spirits of God for dead souls. Amen.

Ettrick, August 29, 1714.

[Sabbath after the Sacrament.]


PSALM XlV. 10,

Hearken O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father's house.

THIS Psalm is a marriage song. It celebrates the marriage of king Jesus, with the daughter of Zion, the church of believers; and has no respect to Solomon's marriage with Pharoah's daughter, as many have thought. For the royal Bridegroom is here represented as a mighty warrior, vers. 3, 4, 5; whereas Solomon was no ways such, but eminently a man of peace. Besides, how can what is said, ver. 6, any way agree to Solomon. The apostle expressly determines that it is said to Christ, Heb. i. 8. The first part of the psalm is directed to Christ. The second part, which begins with the text, is directed to his spouse. The scope of these words is not to solicit the bride's consent. She is supposed to be gained already, and espoused to king Jesus, vers. 9, 13. But the design of the text is to shew Christ's espoused bride, how she may be most acceptable, and best please her husband, ver. 11. If it be asked, Who is the speaker? Not to insist upon the various conjectures about it, I think the same person who saith to the Son, ver. 6, "Thy throne O God, is for ever and ever," in the text speaks to the spouse; that is, God the Father, Heb. i. 8, compared with ver. 5.

These words then, are the Father's advice to the newly espoused bride, how she may please her husband, his Son. And in them is to be considered,

1. The appellation given to the soul espoused to Christ: Daughter. Here is the name which believers receive. The person that natu

becomes a child of God.

rally was a child of the devil, on the espousals with the Son of God, Christ's Father accounts the soul espoused to his Son, his daughter. Though he brings home a spouse out of an ill house, and has nothing with her, yet his Father welcomes her into his family, and gives her no worse word than daughter.

2. The advice. Many consider the last clause only as the advice; and the first only as a preface to it, to stir up the spouse to take the advice. But the pointing in the Hebrew, plainly shews there are two purposes in this verse, and the connecting of them with it, also confirms it, which otherwise would be redundant. So there are two parts of this advice; or two advices here to the spouse, how she is to please her husband.

1. She must be very obsequious to her husband, and in all things to follow him as his own shadow. This is proposed in these words, hearken and consider. Hebrew, hear and look; namely, to thy husband. Let thine ear and eye be upon him, to hear and receive his orders, that you may obey them. Thus God said to Abraham, “in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice." You must look to him to observe his motions and countenance, that you may suit yourself to him in all things. This is what a dutiful wife owes to her husband. While one is a single woman, she is mistress of herself, but when once espoused to her husband, she is no more so. "Her desire must be to her husband, and he shall rule over her." Her husband's will must be hers. Her ear must be to him, and her eye upon him, that she may please him well in all things lawful, and suit herself to his desires. So while you were not espoused to Christ, you took your own will; but it is not your duty to determine for yourself, but to hear and obey what he determines you to do. Your eye was upon your own inclinations to gratify them, but now it must be upon your husband to suit yourself to his desires. "Behold," says the psalmist, "as the eyes of servants look unto the hands of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress, so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God, until that he have mercy upon us."

The pointing of the words is emphatical. "Hear O daughter," are two words joined in one, which, according to the propriety of the language, denotes acceleration from a vehemency of affection; so they point out the vehement love of Christ's Father to his Son's spouse his earnestness that she may please her husband-and the readiness of that obedience which she owes to him.

Though hearing and looking are two different acts, yet they are here joined together; denoting that they do both together, hear him, and look to him at once.

This is amplified by the manner in which she should hear him; inclining her ear, as people do that do not hear well, or that would be sure to hear and understand well what is spoken. So it notes the utmost diligence in Christ's spouse, to understand her Lord's mind, and comply with it.

2. She must renounce and leave all others for her husband. This also according to the law of marriage in the text. "Forget also thine own people, and thy Father's house." She must not so much as entertain a secret desire after her Father's house. The more she minds them, the less pleasing will she be. More of this afterwards. DOCTRINE 1. It is the privilege of the soul espoused to Christ, to be a child of the house of heaven, or Christ's spouse is the Father's daughter. This is the believer's privilege, and this is the way by which it is attained. "To them that believe on him, Jesus gives power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe in his name." I shall here only inquire a little what they have by it.

1. That they may call God Father, and that is of more value than a thousand worlds. The most profane wretch may call him Lord, the hypocrite may call him Master; but Father is a kindly name, which only believers may call him. They may at all times cry unto him, "Abba, Father." Abba is the same, read it backward or foreward; and in all the changes of dispensation, God is still the espoused soul's Father. Hypocrites will call him so, but God disowns the relation, and says to them, "Ye are of your father the devil, and the deeds of your father you will do." But he encourages his people to do it, saying, "Wilt thou not from this time, cry unto me, my Father, thou art the guide of my youth."

2. Access to God. They come much nearer to him than others. They may come forward, when others must stand back. "In Christ they have boldness, and access to God with confidence, by the faith of him." God allows them a holy boldness and confidence with him as children, to pour their complaints in his bosom, to tell him all their wants; and never did a father take so much delight in the talking of his children to him, as God doth in hearing his people. 3. Special immunities and freedom. Kings' children have great. immunities. They are free of tribute. But God's children have the greatest. They are free from the law as a covenant of works, which is a yoke wreathed about the necks of all others. Free from the curse, which lies hard and fast on all others. Free from all condemnation, thundered out against others every day. Nay, from the hurt of every thing. 'Nothing," says their husband, "shall by any means hurt you." Death itself, that kills others, shall not hart them, Rom. viii. 35-39.

[blocks in formation]

4. Pity, provision, and protection. The severe avenger of sin pities their infirmities, as a father pitieth his children. He that fights against the wicked as an enemy, will protect them. "In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence, and his children shall have a place of refuge." Come what will, they shall be provided for. Though the Lord make not provision for their lusts, he will see to provide for their necessities. Matth. vi. 30-82.

5. Seasonable correction. "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth." This is a benefit of the covenant, Psal. lxxxix. 30-32 Nothing more true in the way of privilege, than that some may better steal a horse, than others look over the dyke. Some smart more severally for a lustful look, than others for taking their full swing that way; some, more for deadness in prayer, than others for neglecting it altogether. What is the reason? A small fault in a child will be checked, when a greater in another will be overlooked.

6. Perseverence. "The servant abideth not in the house for ever, but the son abideth ever." The term day is coming, when God and such as are not espoused shall part, but they that are, never. If a child wander from his father's house, he must be sought, and brought back again. A servant of the house, may be turned out of doors, as Hagar was; nay, a son of God by nature, may be turned off, as Adam and the fallen angels were; but they that are God's children, by being espoused to his Son, can never, Psalm lxxxix. 30-34.

Lastly, They have a portion according to their Father's quality. "They are heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ." So all is theirs. Grace is theirs, glory is theirs. Their portion will tell out through all eternity. Their Father gives them of his moveables as he sees meet, and these may be removed, but their portion is not of these; they shall receive a kingdom which cannot be moved.

mind to bestow

USE.-EXHORTATION 1. To such as are not espoused to Christ. Let this move you to come into this match, that hitherto have not given yourselves away to Christ in the marriage covenant. While you are so, you are children of the house of hell. Your father the devil has hindered you from this match, having a you upon lusts, which you like better than the Lord. But remember I tell you, if any break not off this match in time, it shall be consummated, so as you and your sins shall never part through the ages of eternity. Sin comes to its perfection in hell, as well as grace in heaven.

2. You that are espoused to Christ, believe that you are children of the house of heaven; believe your privilege, that you may have the free use of it. If the people of God could follow it with

« PreviousContinue »