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tains and hills between him and you : for, though when he comes, he leaps and skips over them, yet he may, in righteousness hide himself, and withdraw, you know not how long: and it may cost you many a long look, before you see him again on the top of the mountain; yea, it may cost you many a troubled heart, lest he should never come again, and lest his absence should be a perpetual absence : " How long wilt thou forget me, O Lord, for ever?" Psalm xiii. 1. What a sad thought is that, to be forgotten for ever ?
3. Seeing Christ, when he comes, comes speedily, like a roe upon the mountains, then, Owait bis coming without complaining; and wait on him dutifully, in hope of his coming speedily; the bride here sees him coming and skipping.
Quest. How does his speedy coming appear, when the complaint is, “O why tarry the wheels of his cha “ riot? and, how long does he hide himself ?”
Answ. That in his speedy coming, he does not respect our flesh, nor regard the foolishness of Nabal; the flesh indeed it is, when quarrelling at his delay, which is a provoking him to stay away the longer: the most compendious way to enjoy his speedy approach, is not to make baste, but to wait in the use of means; “ He that believeth, maketh not haste.” Our impa. tient haste is our unbelief, which tends to retard his motion ; and yet he comes speedily whenever he comes, and that in three respects, wherein it may be said, the vision does not tarry:
(1.) Because he comes long before we be ready for his coming. If you consider the task he puts hand in his absence; such as, the discovery of the wild beasts, that creep out of their dens and lurking-places in the night of absence; the humbling of the uncircumcised heart, to accept of the punishment of its iniquity; the bearing of the indignation of the Lord, be. cause we have sinned against him; the kindly taking with chastisement, and with the rod of correction, and submission to a sovereign God, his providential and preceptive will. Does he not come speedily, when he comes before that task be done? If he stayed away till
thou didst perfect that work, it would not only be long before he come, but there would be a continual
separation between him and thee. In this respect then he comes speedily.
(2.) He comes speedily, notwithstanding thy complaint; because he never comes out of time when he comes. A physician may come out of time to a sick person; he may come, and find him past cure when he
A friend may come out of time to another friend, so as he cannot help him when he comes.
But when Christ comes, he can make all things as well, as if he had come the first moment he was sought after. It is all one, whether he comes to Lazarus when he is sick, or when he is dead; for, when he comes, he raises him from the dead, and gets the greater glory. Hence,
(3.) He conies speedily, because he comes always in the most acceptable and fit time. A particular consideration of times and circumstances, makes out this from time to time, that he is a present help in trouble ; therefore, we should learn to believe, and not to quarrel his delay. Let us study that faith of the saints, which is conspicuous in the patience of the saints, Rev. xiii. 10.; for, amongst other means, the way of winning to a speedy outgate from under desertion, or any difficulty, is to leave off quarrelling, and to rest satisfied with, and submit to his dealing; and when you put a blank in his hand, saying, “ Thy will be done;" this were the way to a speedy outgate. Here it is to be observed, that the quarreller is ordinarily an idler, and neglecter of duty : therefore, if such were turning their quarrelling to diligence, they would come the better speed. It is the Lord's complaint against complainers, Hosea viii. 5. “ How long will it be ere you attain to innocence ?" We should turn our complaint against ourselves, and not charge God foolishly; this would hasten his coming.
4. The manner of Christ's coming should commend him to you, and make you commend him to others, The bride here commends him who thus comes, and apprehends the excellency of his person. Many would have Christ coming speedily to help and save them, saying, “ Arise, and save us,” Jer. ii. 27. in the time of their trouble; but whenever they have got what they wanted, they have done with him, and with any more correspondence with him. This is the sad temper of many in the visible church; they receive favours from Christ, as Jonathan said to Saul, «Thou sawest it, and did rejoice," 1 Sam. xix. 5. They will take a good turn from Christ, if they can get it; but they will have no more ado with himn. All the favours that such meet with from Christ, that lead them to an estimation of himself, are the saddest of snares and plagues; and therefore to be dreaded; this is a case to be trembled under. But let the favours of Christ commend the person of Christ to you; for so it is with the bride here; “Behold, he cometh, leaping upon the mountains, and skipping upon the hills ! Whereupon she commends him, saying, “ My Beloved is like a roe, or a young hart.”
Ocommend him by your walk and conversation ; by your talk and communication ; commend him by imitating bim, by being like a roe, or a young hind, in following him, whithersoever he goes : whatever mountain of tribulation it be on which he calls you to follow him ; let it be the mountain of persecution or reproach, yet follow him leaping and kipping upon the mountains, that are in the way. You that would be faithful wit. nesses for God and reformation at this day, have mountains on every hand of you: the growing mountains of backsliding and defection in the Judicatories, on the one hand; and the hideous mountains of delusion, and extravagance among Separatists, on the other hand : I know not how you can follow Christ, or imitate him, if you
suffer your feet to rest on any of these mountains; nay,
if you tarry there, you will stay to your hurt, or stumble on the dark mountains; but if you follow Christ, it will be in a way of leaping and skipping joyfully, “ Counting it all joy, when you fall into divers temptations, or tribulations,” in following him: yea,
Rejoicing that you are counted worthy to suffer shame for his sake;" were it even the shame of men's curses and anathemas, their hideous excommunications; for, “ The wrath of man shall praise him." And little do
some men consider what honour they have been putting upon us, and what shame upon themselves, as instruments of putting on our Master's crown of thorns upon our heads; and, “ God forbid that we should not glory in the cross of Christ.” We were never worthy to suffer shame for his sake.
5. The next advice I offer is, o learn, with the church and bride of Christ here, to be still observing his coming; “ Behold he cometh, leaping !" It is not expressed in the preterite, “ He did come” nor in the future, “ He will come:" but in the present tense, “ Behold, he cometh !” intimating, that he is always coming; it is his trade, it is his work, bis daily constant business, even as much as it is the property of the roe, or young hind, to he daily leaping and skipping on the mountains. Though Christ be not still coming sensibly, to comfort you; yet even in his real or seeming absence, he is always coming, either wisely, to try you: or fatherly, to correct you; or mercifully, to humble you ; by the dispensations of his providence, be what they will, he is always coming therein upon some love design; and, “Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even he shall understand the loving-kindness of the Lord.” Therefore, as he is still a comer, be you still an observer of his motions.
6. The sixth advice, to add no more, is, that you remember that his coming is still over some mountain or other, and with a design to move or melt down some mountain between him and you. When he comes, in a smiling way to you, it is to level some mountain of despair, despondency, or discouragement. . And when he comes in any frowning dispensation, it is to level some mountain of pride, presumption, or ingratitude. Our Lord Jesus, when he came in the flesh to the work of our redemption, he came leaping and skipping over the mountains of the wrath of God, and the wrath of men and devils; and, indeed, when he comes in the Spirit, to visit with his salvation, he still comes over mountains of one sort or another; and sometimes over the mountain of wrathful-like dispensations. As to the mountain of man's wrath, it is not a mote in his way, even when they have gone to their uttermost, and made the objects of their wrath as odi. ous as they can, and the mountain of separation between them and us, as high as they can; yet there is no danger, if the mountain of sin and separation betwixt God and you be removed; he can soon make you thresh all the other mountains; yea, beat them small, and make the hills as chaff. However, mind that his coming is still to level some mountain or other. And therefore, the believer, whose spiritual ears and eyes are open, may still have occasion to say, " The voice of my Beloved ! behold, he cometh, leaping upon the mountains, and skipping upon the hills.”
CHRIST'S LOVE-SUIT reinforced and repeated :
Or, His kindly Gospel-Call renewed.
SONG ii. 13:
Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.
F our Lord Jesus Christ is come here this day to court a bride, in the terms of this text, they show, that never was there such an affectionate or importunate Suitor: his affection will appear in the kindly names he here gives her, which show what a loving and kind heart he has ; " My love, my fair one;" his importunity appears
in the suitable call and invitation he gives her, which shows what a lazy and loitering case she is in; “ Rise, and come away. More sweet compellations cannot be given to a loathsome bride; “ My love, my fair one :" more meet invitations cannot be given to a
* This Sermon was preached immediately before the celebration of the sacrament of the Lord's supper, at Dunfermline, on Sabbath, July 21st, 1751.