« PreviousContinue »
peated calls, Psalm lxxxi. 11. 13. “ My people would not hearken to my voice: and Israel would none of me that my people had hearkened unto me; and Israel had hearkened unto my ways! Isa. xlviii. 18. O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments ! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea.". Thus Christ, in the midst of his triumph, when all were crying Hosanna to him, fell a weeping, when he beheld Jerusalem, saying, “If . thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things that belong to thy peace; but now they are hid from thine eyes” Luke xix. 41, 42.
Remark 3. That sloth and security in the people of God, once given way to, is very hard to cure; and,
when discouragements and deadness are encouraged, " it will require call upon call, and stand a pull before “ever these evils can be shaken off again.” When the bride of Christ is lying drooping within doors, and not at her work, not in his company, he must call upon her once and again; “ Arise my love, my fair one, and come;" and again, “ Rise, my love, my fair one, and come away," before ever he gets an answer.
When crushing discouragement is given way to, it will not need another cross to be joined to it, to make them sad; for then, though a man would comfort himself, it will not do; Jeremiah was crushed, chapter viii. 18. 66 When I comfort myself against sorrow, my heart is faint in me.” -Discouraged souls are like wounded persons; if you bring a surgeon, and offer to lance or pounce their wounds, they are ready to fall into a swoon under the surgeon's hands : and the bonds of security are no less strong; when one has laid himself down on a bed of security, then you may cry, " How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard ; when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?" Nay, his best answer will be, “ Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep,” Prov. vi. 10. And of all security, that is the strongest which is the product of discouragements : he that is fallen asleep in the bosom of an idol, when God blasts that idol, he may see his folly, and creep to his feet again : but he that is fallen asleep in discouragements, whatever providences or ordinances and orders come to call him to rise, and even though he essay to get up to his feet, discouragement knocks him down again, and crushes all endeavours and resolutions in the bud : discouragement tells him, that all will be to no purpose. So that these evils given way to, are not easily shaken off: these bonds are not soon broken.
Remark 4. Concerning the import of the repetition here, is, " That Christ's love to his people, and to their
company, is so great, that he will bear with their un“ towardness, and carry on his suit, till he get their “ consent.” If his first call will not do the turn, he will renew it; yea, if neither first nor second will do, he will triple it. So he does bere, ver. 10. 13, 14. “O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely.” He will follow his bride till he bring her to himself, and make her claim her relation to him, and the old kindness, saying, “ My Beloved is mine, and I am his : I am my Beloved's, and my Beloved is mine," Song ii. 16. chap vi. 3. O sirs ! if we should get our will, every outcast between Christ and us would be an everlasting discord, and irreparable breach ; every fit of darkness and discouragement, that we take, would sink to the pit: but, glory to him, his love to us will not let him quit us so. If security be indulged by his people, he will not only follow them by repeated calls, as here he does, but he will pluck them out of the burning, saying, “ Is not this a brand plucked out of the fire ? Zech. iii. 2.-He will famish all the gods of the earth, and make men worship every one from his place, Zepb. ii. 11.-He will bring his people into the wilderness, and there speak into their hearts,” Hos, ii. 14. You have a notable word to churches and saints, that we should pray may be made out to both as they need, Ezek. xx. 32--37. “ Ye bave said, You will be as the heathen, to serve wood and stone; but that which cometh into your mind shall not be at all.--I will bring
you into the wilderness of the people, and there will 1 plead with you face, to face. I will cause you to pass under the rod, and bring you into the bond of the covenant.” As if he had said, " You shall not get " leave to make the apostacy you would gladly make; "I will pluck you out of the burning, and reclaim you.' Again, as thus he deals with his church and children when in security ; so, when under discouragements, she is saying, “ Labour not to comfort me, I will weep bittery,” Isa. xxii. 4. and, as it is, Psalm lxxviii. 2. * My soul refused to be comforted :" it is even then in bis heart to make out that word, Zech. iv. 10. “ Despise not the day of small things, for they shall rejoice:" he uudertakes that they will rejoice: though, through unbelief, they may be ready to cast out themselves as castaways; and though men too may presume to cast them out with a profane abuse of God's name, saying, “ Let the Lord be glorified: yet he will appear to their joy, and their persecutors shall be ashamed,” Isa. Ixvi. 5.
Remark 5. From the repetition of the call here, is, 6. That there is enough in Christ's company to invite “ souls to get up and follow him.”. Hence this exhortation, begun ver. 10th, is now subjoined to the former motives; showing, there is a sweet spring he brings with him, to be enjoyed by them that will rise up and come away with him. Any other condition, compared with that of being in his company, is like a person drooping within doors, compared with being abroad in the open field, or in gardens among sweet smelling flowers. There is enough in Christ's company, to outbid all the vanities of time. Saul said to his servants, “ Can the son of Jesse, give every one of you fields and vineyards ? Will he make you captains of thousands, and captains of hundreds ?" 1 Sam. xxii. 7. What can this world give you, in comparison of that which is to be had in the company of Christ? The light of his countenance is preferable to all things else, and will give you a more glad heart than the world can have, when their corn and wine increaseth, Psal. iv. 6,7. In him there is enough, not only to make up all wants ; but also to comfort against all sorrows: a drink of the
blood of this vine will make a man, that has a heavy heart, to forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more, Prov. xxxi. 6, 7.
Remark 6. “ That opportunities of enjoying Christ's “ company, and of a time of love, should not be slight“ed."'. And therefore, when he brings a sweet spring, a time of love, a time of the singing of birds, when the voice of the turtle is heard in our land, the exhortation is again repeated, “Rise up and come away;" that we may not quench the Spirit, and lose the opportunity, we should listen to the call : we will not always get a spring time: therefore, To-day if we will hear his voice, let us not harden our hearts. Let is remember now the things that belong to our peace. The enemy threw a trench about Jerusalem, and laid her even with the ground, because she knew not the time of her visitation, according to Christ's words foretelling it, Luke xix. 43, 44. Precious seasons misimproved, and the greatest mercies neglected, leave the saddest guilt behind them ; and when they are removed, men will be made to remember them with sorrow, for not improving them, Lam. i. 7. O may we, through grace, improve present mercies, present calls, considering our former pleasant things, that once we have had, and are stript of ! and that the further abuse of present blessings we yet enjoy, may not be followed too with a sad aftergame.
Remark 2." That our Lord Jesus Christ wants that “his people should have a full feast of love, and a com** fortable enjoyment of him.” His heart is much set upon this ; and therefore fie calls them again and again to rise and come away with him, and share of the precious fruits of his purchase, to enjoy the benefits of the spring that he has brought with him, and to rejoice in his goodness, and in the fair weather that his presence makes. It is unbelief that makes the church to sigh and sob, when he is calling her to sing ; this was the fault of Zion, Isa. xlix. 13, 14. When he is bidding all sing, saying, “ Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains; for the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy on his afflicted;" but instead of that, Zion said,
• The Lord bas forsaken me, my Lord hath forgotten me.”
We should shake off the rags of discouragement and drooping, when the Lord calls us to put on our beautiful garments; for, as it is, Neh. viii. 10. "The joy of the Lord is your strength.” And it is a great sin, when Christ is kind, and when his gracious returns makes winter to evanish, and the spring to return, not to study encouragement and chearfulness in joining company with him at his repeated calls; “ Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away."
Remark 8. “ That it is a pleasure and delight to our « Lord Jesus Christ to have his people with him, feed
ing and feasting upon the provision he has made for 6 them.” And this pleasure and delight he shows, both by the repeating of this call, and the repeating it in this manner; he does not bid her rise and go, and be refreshed with the spring; but rise, and come away with me.
When he feasts his people, he feasts himself also with them, Song v. 1. “I am come to my garden my sister, my spouse; I have gathered my myrrh ; I have eaten my honey-comb with my honey : I have drunk my wine with my milk; eat, О friends, drink, yea, drink abundantly, o beloved.” And thus Song vii. from ver. 11th, when he and the bride go out to the villages, and to the vineyards, to view the vines flourish. ing, and the tender grapes, &c. it is a feast laid up by her for her Beloved. He loves them to go along with them, and to feast them and himself both; and therefore importunes them to go along with him, “ Rise, my love, my fair one, and come away.”
V. The fifth thing proposed was, To deduce some inferences for the application of the subject.
Is it so, That the repeated call, and renewed in. vitation of our Lord Jesus Christ, to his drowzy and disconsolate bride and people, whom he names his love, fair one, is, that they rise, and come away with him?
1. That no change of frame or condition in God's people, and no change of his dealing with them, can alter the state of their persons before him. Whatever he has to say to them, and whatever he does to them,