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the fear of scorn,' by promising to be their glory." When they are without walls, I will be their wall; when they are without gates, I will be their gate; my salvation will be a bulwark unto them; they shall call their walls salvation, and their gates praise." (Isa. xxvi. 1, and lx. 18)
The words set forth the Lord opposing all the enemies, removing all the fears of his people, by a double promise, of protection,' against all powerful oppositions, of' honour' against all reproachful insultations.
In both it is considerable; 1. The author and substance of it, "I, saith the Lord." 2. The subject of it, 'Jerusalem,' I will be unto her.' 3. The description of it. 1. Of the protection, by the metaphors of a wall and of fire,' and the place of that, in circuitu, round about.' 2. Of the honour, and the place of that, I will be for glory,' or 'the glory in the midst of her.'
A weak people met together about a hated and invidious enterprise, opposed by strong, subtle, vigilant, active, malicious adversaries, had need to have a help to defend them. "I, saith the Lord, will be a help, a wall unto them."
But potent enemies can batter walls and scale them: (Ezek. xxi. 22. Prov. xxi. 22) "Nay," saith the Lord, “I will prevent that fear, I will be a wall of fire,' which the enemy shall not dare come near or touch."
But a wall may have gaps and breaches in it; the gates may be pulled down and consumed, as we find they were, Neh. i. 3, and vi. 1: and then whatever the wall be, the breaches will let in the enemy. The poor church is never without some breaches or other, called the breaches of the city of David, Isa. xxii. 9. Some gates pulled down, to lay them open to danger. But every work of God is perfect. (Deut. xxxii. 4) Where he is a wall, he will be a wall, 'in circuitu,' round about; no breach, no gap; no gate or portcullis pulled down, by which danger may enter in.
But if the wall be fire, what will become of the houses of the city?" I will, saith the Lord, be a wall unto her," not a wall against her. "It is dativus commodi ;' a beneficial fire to the city, a consuming fire to the enemy that assaults her: A fire for the three children to walk in ; a fire for their
Dan. iii. 25, 22.
enemies to perish by; a fire in the bush to Moses; a fire in brimstone to Sodom; a destroying fire to the captains of Ahaziah; and a triumphal fire, a chariot of fire to the Lord's prophet. s
But a wall may shut men and their misery in together; the wall of a prison or dungeon is no great comfort to those that are shut within it. It may be sad enough in medio,' though there be a wall in circuitu.'
We have a relief against that too: As the Lord is 'a wall of fire round about' to keep out the enemy, so he is The glory in the midst of Jerusalem,' to comfort his people. Providence is expressed by a circumference with an eye in the centre. God is here both in the circumference and in the centre of Jerusalem: a severe providence in circuitu,' to keep off the enemy; a gracious providence in medio,' to honour and revive his people: Ignis et exitium hostibus, gloria et subsidium ecclesiæ."
The poor church was miserably opposed and oppressed by the potency of their enemies on every side. But against them all they have a God to put into the other part of the balance: God alone is eminently unto his people, whatever good thing else they want. In widowhood, he is a husband;" Thy Maker is thine husband." (Isa. liv. 5) In orphanship, he is a father;-" A father of the fatherless is God in his holy habitation." (Psalm lxxxviii. 5) In darkness, a sun,-in danger, a shield; (Psalm lxxxiv. 11) a refuge in trouble, a river in drought; (Psalm lxvi 1, 4) a safety where there is no wall, a praise where there is no gate, a light where there is no sun; (Isa. lx. 18, 19) a God of salvation in whom his servants can triumph, where all other comforts in the world are wanting. (Hab. iii. 17, 18)
Let us hold fast our God, and we need not fear our enemy. "If God be for us, who can be against us ?" (Rom. viii. 31) If he justify, who can condemn? If he love, who can separate? Many will be against us to hate us; but none can be against us to hurt us. Many will gird and gird again; many will take counsel, and make a decree; many will rant it with Pharaoh, "I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the
Exod. iii. 2. 2 Kings ii. 11.
• Gen. xix. 24.
f 2 Kings i. 10, 12.
spoil, my lust shall be satisfied, I will draw my sword, mine hand shall destroy." (Exod. xv. 9) Agam, ruam, rapiam, tundam, prosternam," as the proud confident in the Comedian;—but if he be Emmanuel, God with us,—they shall be broken; their counsels shall not stand; their decrees shall come to nought; he will strengthen, he will help, he will uphold with the right hand of his righteousness. (Isa. viii. 9, 10. xli. 10) Let the name of your city be Jehovah Shammah,' the Lord is there;' be zealous for his truth and worship, for his name and glory : let him be in medio,' in the midst of your hearts, to fear him,-of your counsels, to follow him,-of your houses, your trades, your conversation, to walk with him. Provoke him not by your impieties against him, by your unrighteousness against men: and then, if there be any help or comfort against danger in heaven or earth, he can command it; if there be none, he can create it: whatever is wanting, he can supply and make it good out of himself; "I will be a wall.”↳
1. A wall of partition to separate the church from the world; as the land of Canaan was divided by the Mediterranean sea westward, by the inland seas, and the river Jordan eastward, and at each end north and south with mountains ; so the church of God is severed and shut up from the rest of the world. Israel dwelt alone, and was not reckoned amongst the nations.' (Numb. xxiii. 9) They are chosen 'out of the world.' (John xv. 19) A garden enclosed, a spring shut up, a fountain sealed,' (Cant. iv. 12) their laws diverse from all people; (Esther iii. 8) they are not to conform to the world, (Rom. xii. 2) nor to walk xar' aiva. (Eph. ii. 2) The world knows them not; (1 John iii) but looks on them as prodigies, and men to be wondered at. (Zech. iii. 8)
2. A wall of conjunction, uniting the parts together in one common interest, as the brain is walled in by the skull, the vital parts by the ribs and the breast, to keep them firm and close together, that they may not be scattered nor divided. Though the members of the church are called out from the world, and are to separate from that; yet they are to be compacted and united within themselves; (Psalm cxxii. 3) to be of one heart, and of one soul; (Acts iv. 32) to hold the
h Psalm xliv. 4. Isai. iv. 5.
Aug. de Bap. l. 5. c. 27, 28.
unity of the spirit, in the bond of peace; to have a coagmentation and joining together. (Eph. iv. 16) Factions and divisions in the church, are usually the fruits of the flesh: when one is of Paul, another of Apollos, are ye not carnal? (1 Cor. iii. 4) The apostle warns us to take heed of such as cause divisions and offences, contrary to the doctrine received, as those that serve not the Lord Jesus, but their own bellies. (1 Cor. iii. 3. Rom. xvi. 17, 18) We have seen, by very sad experience, when there hath been no wall nor enclosure to bound and keep within some principles of unity, the wild and exorbitant spirits of men, who, either acted by interest, or driving on designs, or possessed with prejudice against received doctrines, have departed from sound truth and brotherly love,-what flames and confusions have overspread these nations, once famous for unity in orthodox truth! what forsaking of ordinances, what magnifying of deceitful lights, what rage against ministry, what violations of magistracy, what bleeding of princes, what breaking of parliaments, what phrenetick and furious extravagances and disorders have stained the glory of the reformed religion amongst us! The evidence of these doleful effects should now, at last, awaken the spirits of all wise, godly, and sober persons, to close in some healing and uniting counsels; not to foment animosities, nor cherish jealousies one against another, but studying every man his own failings, to be the more remiss in censuring, and the more inclinable unto closing with, their Christian brethren. Why should we shut any out of our love here, whom we dare not exclude from the common salvation hereafter? And, indeed, when the Lord is pleased to send a spirit of unity and agreement amongst a people, to make them tender of each other's safety, and to look on the welfare of the parts, as the common interest of the whole; they are hereby a wall unto one another, as Nabal's servants said of David and his men. (1 Sam. xxv. 26) Every thing is best preserved, when most united. It is easy to break the sticks of a fagot, when the bond is loosed, and they severed each from other; but while they are bound together, they mutually preserve each other. Love is a bond.' (Col. iii. 14) The integrity of the body is preserved by the love of the members unto one another. Therefore nature hath taught weak cattle to keep together in flocks, and fishes in
shoals, and birds in flights; whereas beasts of prey live commonly alone, as lions, whales, eagles, kites. "A kingdom, divided within itself, cannot stand:" therefore as Christ is not divided, (1 Cor. i. 13) would not have his bones broken, nor his garment parted; so neither should his church. She is never so terrible, as when she is an army with banners, united and compacted into one body.
3. A wall of protection and defence. As the Lord promiseth to encamp about his house and to defend them. (Zech. ix. 8, 15) He is a rock, a tower, a shield, a chamber, a sanctuary, and here a wall, to preserve and protect his people. Great hath ever been the care of states, to keep the walls and gates of cities inviolable; in the Roman law, they are called 'Res Sanctæ et Divini Juris,' sacred things, and in no case to be injured, and it was a capital crime to climb over them. We read in Diodorus Siculus m, what care Themistocles took to build a wall about Athens; because walls are a great defence and protection to the cities, to which they belong.
The Lord doth thus, as a wall, protect his church. a way of promise, " I, saith the Lord;" his saying it, is doing it. His word is operative and efficacious. God's promises are the walls about his church. Every thing is preserved by the same word whereby it is created. "He upholdeth all things by the word of his power." (Heb. i. 3) His servants count themselves safe under his promise; they trust in his word. (Psalm cxix. 81)
2. In a way of power, making bare his arm in their cause, then when all second helps fail and are at a stand. Such a defence he was to Israel at the Red Sea, when death was before and behind, and on every side of them; so that they were able to do nothing, but only to stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord.'n
3. In a way of Providence. 1. By creatures, with whom he maketh a covenant in behalf of his people, that they shall not hurt in all his holy mountain.' Of this league we read, Job v. 23. Hos. ii. 18. Ezek. xxxiv. 25. 2. By enemies, making Moab a covert for his outcasts; (Isai. xvi.
k Psalm xviii. 2. cxliv. 2. Deut. xxxiii. 29. Isai. xxvi. 20. viii. 14. tin. Instit. 1. 2. Tit. 1. sect. 10.
m Lib. 11.
n Exod. xiv. 13.