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surrection and the life; he that believeth in me, thought he were dead, yet shall he live. He that seeth the Son, and believeth on him, hath everlasting life,” John xi. 25.
May you see the matchless glory of this apple-tree, and there sit down under his shadow, and his fruit be sweet to your taste.
PART OF THE DISCOURSE
SERVING THE TABLES.
We are now to proceed to the special work of commemorating the death and sufferings of our glorious Redeemer; and to make way for their sitting down at his table, who have sitten down under his shadow. But there are many absolute strangers to this exercise ; and such are to be excluded from his table.'; All, iherefore, that remain securely in a natural state, and are still sitting under any other shadow than that of the appletree, and are feeding upon husks, &c. we debar from this holy table. More particularly, we, in the Lord?: name, exclude all the impenitent breakers of God's commands; all Atheists, &c. &c. all that make provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof, and that are satisfying themselves with the fruits of the flesh, instead of having the fruit of the apple-tree sweet to their taste. The fruit and works of the flesh are these, Gal. v, 19, &c*
On the other hand, we invite to the Lord's table, all those who, whatever they have been formerly, yet have come to Christ, and, upon a view of him, in his matchless glory, have sat down under his shadow with great delight, and have found his fruit sweet to their taste.
Quest. Who are these that have sat down under his shadow ? 1.1. They are such as have seen the matchlesness of
* See these more fully laid open in Vol. I.
tlie Apple-tree beyond all the trees of the wood; 1 mean, the singular excellency of Christ beyond all others ; as a Beloved beyond all other beloveds. You will give him his due above all others; some are called lords, but he is the Lord of lords : some are called kings, but he is the King of kings; some are called gods, but he is the God of gods ; some are called saints, but he is the King of saints; some are called angels, but he is the Angel of the covenant; some are called stars, but he is she Bright and Morning Star. He is matchless in
2. You have been made to see the great need of Christ as a shadow and shelter to you from the scorching heat of divine wrath, and of the fiery law; you have been pursued and found yourself weary with toil and trouble, vexation and restlesness, and have found that none of all the trees of the wood could afford you any rest or repast ; that they were all bare trees, that could not shelter you with a shadow, and barren trees, that could not sustain you with fruit, but what was sour and bitter; and that vain was the help of man, and vain the help of creatures, and vain the help of all other trees, so as your confidence in the flesh hath been killed.
3. If you have sat down under this Apple-tree, then you
have found a shadow refreshful. A man that sits down is easy, in comparison of what he was before he sat down ; now he gets rest to bis soul : “Come to me, says Christ, all ye that are weary, and heavy laden, and I will give you rest." You have got some rest to your
heart and conscience, rest to your hope, your desire, your care, having cast all your care upon him. A man is easy, when a heavy burden is rolled off his back : you have found ease to your mind, and composure upon your closing with Christ.
4. A man that hath sat down under this shadow of the Apple-tree, he loves to keep his seat, and desires not to rise, but says, “ This is my rest, here will I stay;" at least, he is loth to be disturbed, but rather charges all about him, by the roes and by the hinds of the field, not to disturb his rest; and when they that come to Christ are disturbed by temptations, and put away from their resting place, they are like Noah's dove, they cannot rest till they return; and they desire to fly as doves to their windows, and to ly as the child in the mother's lap. When the soul is full of restless vexations, fluctuating and tumbling up and down, in a whole ocean of perplexities and fears, and can see no shore, no land, no haven of comfort, then it must get to the ark, and use the soliloquy of the psalunist, * Return to thy rest, O my soul.”
5. The man that hath sat down under this shadow, hath found inexpressible pleasure in doing so : " I sat down under his shadow with great delight: I delighted and sat down.” The soul is delighted with the shadow and delighted with the seat under it: he hath joy and gladness more than the wordling can have when bis corn and wine increaseth: you have found wisdom's ways pleasantness, and such great delight as disgraces all carnal delights.
6. You have found the fruit of the apple tree sweet to your taste : and not only that it was a shady tree for sweet solacement, but a fruitful tree for sweet entertainment. Can you not say, You have got such an experimental taste of his goodness, that his name was as ointment poured forth to you, and all his garments smelled of aloes, myrrh, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces ? So sweet, that the taste raised your appetite after more and more of it; and sweet, as being a pledge of the love of God, and a foretaste of his glory? O sirs, you that have taken your seat under the shadow of the apple-tree, the tree of life; see that you take your seat at his table, even though at present you should want the sweet and sensible experience of the deliciousness of his fruits : if you sit down by faith under his shadow, you will find sense in due time; but, you are to live by faith, and not by sense: your life lies in the tree itself; and therefore, let your life be a life of faith on the Son of God, and the sweet fruit will drop down in your lap in his time, who hath made every thing beautiful in his season, and who is the tree of righteousness that brings forth his fruit in his own season: he knows the proper seasoir of shaking the tree, and giving you
a sweet fill of his fruit; only abide under his shadow by faith and dependence: give evidence of your sitting down under his shadow, by sitting down at his table; do not dishonour him by staying away, when you have so much need, and more need, perhaps, than ever :, he hath been speaking to you; yet, may be, you do not know so much, till he make himself known to you in the breaking of bread.
SERVICE OF THE TABLES
Now, believing communicant, you are come again to sit down under the shadow of the matchless Appletree, under the shadow of the blood and righteousness of Christ, and as there is no want of protection under such a thick shady tree; so there is no want of provision under the shadow of such a fruitful tree : this tree of life, is also the bread of life, and the water of life.
The bread of life is here; for, " in the same night wherein he was betrayed, he took bread,” &c.
Here is also the water of life, represented in the communion of the blood of Christ; After supper he took the cup," &c.
Now, believer, you are called to eat the fruit, and to drink the juice, of the apple-tree, while you sit under the shadow thereof; and you should do it with great pleasure and delight. It pleased the Lord to break and to bruise that tree; the sacrifice Christ offered of himself to satisfy divine justice, was a sacrifice of a sweet-smelling savour unto God; justice was delighted with it ; Christ, whose delight was with the sons of men from everlasting, in the prospect of this work of redemption, delighted to do the Father's will in this doing and suffering work; and when he sees the travail of his soul, he is satisfied and delighted : with delight, then should we sit down under the shadow of this tree; for, Christ's delight lies in seeing poor hell-deserving sinners hiding themselves from the wrath of God under the shadow of his sufferings. Here is one of the grand motives to faith, that you do God a pleasure, you do Christ a pleasure and satisfaction, when you sit down under his shadow with pleasure and delight, and eat the pleasant fruit of his labour, and toil, and death, and resurrection : he seeks no more satisfaction from you, for all his soul-travils, but that you make use of his sufferings, and the sweet fruits thereof. It is a satisfaction to Christ, when that which gave satisfaction to justice, gives also satisfaction to your heart; and when you that have nothing in yourselves to boast of, are chearing and delighting yourselves in him, and in that which is in him. This day would be a day of the gladness of his heart, and a joyful feast to him, if you be brought joyfully to feast upon his flesh and blood; that is, his inarnation, that he took on our nature; and satisfaction, that he gave to justice therein. He takes pleasure in them that hope in his mercy venting through this channel, to the glory of justice, and that rest upon bis grace reigning through his righteousness to eternal life: “ He meeteth him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness,” saying, “In the Lord only have I righteousnessand strength.” In this manner weare to sit down under his shadow with great delight, giving him employment for pardon of sin, for peace with God, for sanctification, and for consolation. What a delightful communion will this be, if Christ and you be both delighted! He sees the travail of his soul, and is satisfied ; and when you see it, and are satisfied too. O what a powerful argument is this to excite faith, as it is a sitting down under his shadow with great delight ! nainely,