Page images
PDF
EPUB

ing and renewing bis call, but also urging and pressing it with the strongest motives and arguments, drawn from the sweetness of the season, that he brings along with him, when he comes to court you back to him: see these from the tenth verse of this chapter where the text is; and they are every way suited to the remedying of your sad circumstances. And,

(1.). Are you a frighted bride, that has been terrified with the dangers of the dismal winters that have gone over your head? Then, behold, he brings safety with him, saying, “ Lo! the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;" therefore, “ Rise, my love, my fair one, and come away."

(2.) Are you a black bride, all deformed and withered? Then, behold! he brings beauty with him ; therefore he says, “ The flowers appear on the earth;" the flourishing beauty of holiness comes along with him when he comes; therefore, Rise, my love, my fair one, and come away. ; (3.) Are you a dejected and downcast bride, sunk in the depths of melancholy? Behold! he brings joy and melodious music with him; therefore it follows, « The time of the singing of birds is come; and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;" here is the joyful sound! therefore, “ Rise, my love, my fair one, and come away.

(4.) Are you a barren bride, like a barren tree that has fallen into a decay, and has lost its sap and substance ?' behold, he brings fruit with him, and greeness and savouriness to these that have lost their former freshness and fragrance; for, behold! “ The fig-tree putteth forth her green figs; and the vines with the tender grapes, give a good smell :" Rise, then, my love, my fair one, and come away” with me, to share of the blessings and benefits I bring along with me. Thus our Lord is urging you with arguments, that answers all the great needs and sad cases that your soul can be in.

Therefore know, believer, that he allows no objection to be made against your yielding to his earnest call, and loving invitation. Object not then the badness of the time, or the sadness of the season; for our Lord brings a spring-time with him, as appears in all these parts of the description of the gospel-spring: 0! he can make a sweet spring in the heart, and that in the very midst of winter, though it should be just now a deep winter case with you ; is it not enough to make instantly a pleasant heartsome spring, for him to say,

Rise, my love ;" “ For, lo! the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;" the storm of law-curses, and the shower of God's wrath is over your head, and it has lighted upon my head with a vengeance, that you might escape ? « Rise, then, my love." Again, object not, That others are giving you no example, but lying in carnal security, as well as you. Let this be no exa cuse to you, for the call here (as has been formerly observed to run in the original) is, “ Rise up" FOR THYSELF, verse 10. · Every one is to rise up and come away for himself, though none should join you ; though nobody should rise up with you, yet say thou, with Joshua, “ As for me, and my house, we will serve the Lord.” The multitude of sleepers will not be a shelter to any that follow the crowd in that woful trade. Yea, though other wise virgins, as well as the foolish, be slumbering and sleeping at this day, the more need you have to be awake; “ Rise up for thyself,” and for thy own profit and advantage, which the word also imports. It is thy interest and happiness to rise up and come away to Christ. Again, object not, That you are but a single one by yourself; can he be speaking to me ? Yea, man, woman, to thee, even to thee he is speaking. Though Christ speaks to all and every one that is here, yet he sometimes has a secret word to one soul by itself, as he had to the woman of Samaria by herself ; yea, when he is speaking to thousands at once ; yet he is sometimes speaking to the heart of one among them, and only to the ear of the rest. However, though thou art one by thyself, yet he is speak. ing to thee in the singular number, “My love, my fair one;" and calling thee by name, a poor and pitiful one, that has been lying among the pots, but thou shalt be like the wings of a dove, covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold; therefore, “ Rise, my love,

[ocr errors]

my dove, my fair one;", it is thee I am wanting to have, and I will by no means want thee; "Rise, up, and come away.” Again, object not against coming to him, because of the former slights you have put upon him : for he makes not that, nor any other objection against you ; and therefore is renewing and repeating his call. Make not your présent sécurity and discouragement an objection ; for the call is to you to arise out of that case : he wants to deliver you out of that horrible pit and miry clay. Object not, that he has no favour or kindness for thee, when he is saying the contrary;

" Rise, my love. Object not against . coming, because of your deformity and defilement, when he is saying, “Rise, my fair one.” O happy soul that art black in thine own eyes but comely in Christ's eye! Object not, that your sin has broken up the relation between him and you ; when yet he is claiming the relation over and over again ; " My love, my fair one ; Rise, and come away. Object not, that you can. not rise and go to him : for, he is not calling you to rise and go your alone, but his call'is, " Rise, and come away” with me, in my company, and by my help to be continually with me, that I inay hold thee by thy righthand,

O then, sirs, has his word captivated your heart? has his kindly call made your heart rise out of the hellow and depths you were in, out of the damps and discouragements you was under, and made you glad at the heart, at the bottom of your soul,, to rise and come away with him, that is such a mighty Lord, and such a matchless lover ? Then his next call to you is to come and take your supper with him, that you may sup with him, and he with you at his table, to which he invites you ; not to go without him, but to come away band in hand with him ; for still his sweet call is, “ Rise, my Jove, my fair one, and come away.”

[ocr errors]

PART OF THE DISCOURSE

BEFORE THE

SERVING OF THE TABLES.

My friends, our kind Lord has been courting the hearts of sinners here, to come with him, and share of the great benefits of redemption purchased by his blood: which benefits are represented in the context, as formerly observed, by the blessings of the spring; that are laid out as so many arguments to move souls to embrace that glorious Lover, who is the Father's Beloved, and the church's Beloved. Some souls, I hope, are gained ; and some hearts have been by his kindly call quickened, who before were dead in sins and tres. passes; and quickened to an ardent desire to rise at his kindly call, and to come away with him, and to bid. farewell to all other lords and lovers; these are to be invited to the table of communion and fellowship with him.

But there is a generation of rejecters of Christ, whose hearts were never moved, with any of his sweet and kindly calls, to rise out of their beds of sin and sloth, and to come away with Christ, and chuse his company; but on the contrary, chuse rather to stay away from him, and to maintain fellowship with his enemies, thiese base lusts and idols; these must be excluded from the table of the Lord: for it is said, 1 Cor. x. 20, 21. “ Ye cannot bave fellowship with God, and fellowship with the devil; ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils : ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table and the table of devils ;" And therefore in the Lord's name, we excommunicate all the enemies of our Lord Jesus Christ, who show their enmity, by their disobedience to the call of the gospel, and consequently to all the commands of the law : more particularly, we exclude all impenitent breakers of any of the teri commands, such as, &c. In a word, all the slighters of that

great command of God, 1 John iii. 23. that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another; these have no right to the Lord's table, that are not lovers of God, and of his saints, and that are not disapprovers of sin in sinners, in saints and in themselves. These that are approvers of personal, national, public, private, or secret sins: these ought to be excluded, that are approvers of the corruptions and defections of the Judicatories at this day on the one hand, and approvers of the delusions and disorders of new Separatists on the other hand. [And sure they exclude themselves from this communion-table, that are approyers of the pretended and profane censures and sentences past against a number of ministers and elders, because of their maintaining of their old Reformation and Revolution principles and profession, and adhering to the true religion presently professed and authorised by the law in this land. The approvers of these sinful sentences, founded upon libels of lies and calumnies, what are they doing but rashlý and ignorantly crucifying Christ in his members, killing the prophets and stoning these that are sent to them, fiercely thrusting their old ministers and messengers of Christ, through the heart, with drawn swords of rage and reproach, and dipping their hands in the blood of their sacred ministry, under pretence of doing God service, and under the conduct of some leaders that cause them to err, and leaders that are not able to answer the public refutations of their horrid extravagancies; and far less will ever be able to answer to God and conscience for their conduct ? Our hearts should pity the poor weaklings of the flock of Christ, that are catched in these deceitful snares; and we pray the Lord may restore and recover them from these crooked ways, to which they have turned aside; and that the Lord may avert the awful and desolating judgments that such dreadful profanation of the name of God, under the mask of zeal, doth portend.] But we use to sum up the doctrinal excommunication, by reading some catalogues of such whom God excludes ; such as, Rom. i. 29,31. Gal. v. 19,--21.

But, on the other hand, we come to invite the friends VOL.-IX

Gg

« PreviousContinue »