« السابقةمتابعة »
bus invitation into a place of fecurity for the prefent, Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers. In which invitation four things call for our close attention.
1. The form of the invitation, including in it the qualified fubject, Come, my people. God's own peculiar people, who have chofen God for their protection, and refigned up themselves fincerely to him in the covenant, are the perfons here invited, the fame which he before called the righteous nation that kept the truth, ver. 2. he means those that remained faithful to God, as many of them did in Babylon, witnefs their forrow for Sion, Pfal. cxxxvii, per totum; and their folemn appeal to God, that their hearts were not turned back, nor had their fteps declined though they were fore broken in the place of dragons, and covered with the fhadow of death, Pfal. xliv. 18, 19, 20. Thefe are the people invited to the chambers of fe curity. And the form of invitation is full of tender compaffion; Come, my people; like a tender father that fees a form coming upon his children in the fields, and takes them by the hand, faying, Come away, my dear children, haften home with me, left the form overtake you; or as the Lord faid to Noah before the deluge, come thou and all thy houfe into the ark, and God fhut him in, Gen. vii. 1, 16. This is the form of invitation, Come, my people.
2. The privilege invited to; Enter thou into thy chambers. There is fome variety, and indeed variety rather than contrariety in the expofition of thefe words.
In this all are agreed, that by their chambers, is not meant the chambers of their own, houfes, Ezek. xxi. 14. for alas, their houfes were left unto them defolate; and if not, yet they could be no fecurity to them now, when neither their own houses, nor their fortified city, was able to defend them before.
Grotius* expounds it of the grave, and makes these chambers the fame with the chambers of death. Ite in cubicula, i.e. fepulchra veftra. The grave indeed is a place of security, where God fometimes hides fome of his people in troublesome times, as is plain in Isa. Ivii. 1, 2. but I cannot allow this to be the fenfe of this text; God doth not comfort his captives with a natural, against a civil death, but with protection in their troubles upon earth, as is evident from the scope of the whole chapter.
By chambers therefore, others understand the chambers of
Grotius on the place,
Divine Providence, where the faints are hid in evil days. So our Annotators on the place, and no doubt but this is in part the fpecial intendment of the text.
Others understand the attributes and promifes of God to be here meant, as well as his providence. And I conceive all three make the fenfe of the text full, (i. e.) the divine attributes engaged in the promises, and exercifed or actuated in the providences of God; thele are the fanctuaries and refuges of God's people in days of trouble.
Calvin understands it of the quiet repofe of the believer's mind in God, but that is rather the effect of his fecurity, than the place of it. It is God's attributes, or his name (which is the fame thing) to which the righteous fly and are safe, Prov.
Object. But you will fay, why are they called their chambers? Thofe attributes are not theirs, but God's.
Solut. The answer is eafy, though they be God's properties, yet they are his people's privileges, and benefits; for when God makes over himself to them in covenant to be their God, he doth, as it were, deliver to them the keys of all his attributes for their benefit and fecurity; and is as if he fhould fay, my wisdom is yours, to contrive for your good; my power is yours, to protect your perfons; my mercy yours, to forgive your fins; my all-fufficiency yours, to fupply your wants; all that I am, and all that I have, is for your benefit and comfort. Thefe are the chambers provided for the faints lodgings, and into these they are invited to enter. Enter thou into thy chambers. By entering into them undersland their actual faith exercifed in acts of affiance and refignation to God in all their dangers. So Pfal. Ivi. 3. "At what time I am afraid (faith "David) I will truft in thee: q. d. Lord, if a storm come I will make bold to fhelter myfelf from it under thy wings by faith; look, as unbelief fhuts the doors of all God's attributes and promises against us; fo faith opens them all to the foul: and fo much of the privilege invited to, which is the fecond thing.
3. We have here a needful caution for the fecuring of this privilege to ourselves in evil times, shut thy doors about thee. Or as the Syriac renders Ty behind or after thee, i. e. faith Calvin, Diligenter cavendum ne ulla rimula diaboli ad nos pateat. Care must be taken that no paffage be left open for the devil to creep in after us, and drive us out of our refuge; for fo it falls out too often with God's people, when they are at rest in God's name or promises, Satan creeps in by unbelieving doubts and
puzzling objections, and beats them out of their refuge back again into trouble; it is therefore of great concernment, in fuch times efpecially, not to give place to the devil, as the phrafe is, Eph. iv. 17. but cleave to God by a refolved reliance.
4. Laftly, We are to note with what arguments or motives they are preft to betake themselves to this refuge. There are two found in the text, the one working upon their fear, the other upon their hope.
1. That which works upon their fear, is a fuppofition of a ftorm coming, the indignation of God will fall like a tempeft; this is fuppofed in the text, and plainly expressed in the words following, "For the Lord cometh out of his place to punish "the inhabitants of the earth,” ver. 21.
2. The other is fitted to work upon their hope, though his indignation fall like a ftorm, yet it will not continue long; it fhall be but for a moment, better days, and more comfortable difpenfations, will follow. From all which the general obfervation is this,
DOCT. That the attributes, promifes, and providences of God, are the chambers of reft and fecurity, in which his people are to hide themselves, when they foresee the forms of his indignation coming upon the world.
"The name of the Lord (faith Solomon) is a strong tower; "the righteous run into it, and are fafe," Prov. xviii. 10. And his attributes are his name, Exod. xxxiv. 5. For by them he is known, as a man is known by his name, and this his name is a ftrong tower for his people's fecurity; now what is the ufe and end of a tower in a city, but to receive and fecure the inhabitants when the out-works are beaten to the ground, the wall fcaled, and the houfes left defolate?
And as it is here resembled to a tower, fo in Ifa. xxxiii. 16. it is fhadowed out unto us by a munition of rocks, His place "of defence fhall be a munition of rocks." How fecure is that person that is invironed with rocks on every fide? Yea, you will fay, but yet a rock is but a cold and barren refuge, tho' other enemies cannot, yet hunger and thirst can invade and kill him there. No, in this rock is a ftorehouse of provifion, as well as a magazine for defence; fo it follows, "Bread shall be given him, and his water fhall be fure."
And fometimes it is refembled to us by the wings of a fowl, fpread with much tenderness over her young for their defence, Pfal. lvii. 1." Yea, in the fhadow of thy wings will I make
my refuge, until these calamities be overpaft." So Pfal. xvii. 8. "Keep me as the apple of thine eye, hide me under the tha
"dow of thy wings." No part of the body hath more guards upon it, than the apple of the eye. God is as careful to preferve his people, as men are to preferve their eyes; and he that toucheth them toucheth the apple of his eye. But we need not go from one metaphor to another, to fhew you where the faints refuge is in time of danger; you have a whole bundle of them lying together in that one fcripture, Pfal. xviii. 2. “ The Lord "is my rock and my fortrefs, and my deliverer, my God, my "ftrength, in whom I will truft, my buckler, and the horn of "my falvation, and my high tower." Where you find all kinds of defence, whether natural or artificial, under a pleasant variety of apt metaphors, afcribed to God for the fecurity of his people.
Now for the cafting of this great point into as eafy and profitable a method as I can; I fhall refolve this general truth into these following propofitions, which are implied or expressed in the text and doctrine thence deduced; and the first is this;
Prop. 1. That there are times and feafons appointed by God for the pouring out of his indignation upon the world.
Prop. 2. That God's own people are concerned in, and ought to be affected with those judgments.
Prop. 3. That God hath a special and particular care of his people in the days of his indignation.
Prop. 4. That God ufually premonishes the world, efpecially his own people, of his judgments before they befal them.
Prop. 5. That God's attributes, promises, and providences are prepared for the fecurity of his people, in the greateft diftreffes that befal them in the world.
Prop. 6. That none but God's people are taken into thofe cham bers of fecurity, or can expect his special protection in evil
And then I fhall apply the whole in the proper ufes of it.
CHA P. II.
Demonftrating the firft propofition, that there are times and fedfons appointed by God for the pouring out of his indignation upon the world.
Sect. 1. THIS is plainly implied in the text, that there are times of indignation appointed to befal the world; yea, and more than this; not only that fuch times fhall come, but the duration and continuance is also under an appointment.
"Hide thyfelf for a little moment, until the indignation be over-past." The prophet tells us in Zeph. ii. 2. that these ftormy times are under a decree, and that decree is there compared to a pregnant woman which is to go out her appointed months, and then to travail and bring forth: Even fo it is in the judgments God brings upon the world. We fee them not in the days of provocation, fed adhuc foetus in utero latet, but, all this while it is in the womb of the decree, and at the appointed feason they fhall become visible to the world. As there are in nature fair halcyon days, and cloudy, overcaft, and stormy: So it is in providences, Eccl. vii. 14. "God hath fet the one over-against the other." Yea, one is the occafion of the other; for look as the fun in a hot day exhales abundance of vapours from the earth and fea, thefe occafion fhowers, thunder, and tempefts, and those again clear the air, and dispose it to fair weather again. So it is here, profperity is the occafion of abundance of fin, this brings on adverfity from the juftice of God to correct it; adverfity being fanctified, humbles, reforms, and purges the people of God, and this again by mercy procures their profperity: So you find the account ftated in Pfal. cvii. 17. "Fools becaufe of their iniquities are afflicted, then they
cry to the Lord in their troubles, and he faveth them out of "their diftreffes."
And this appointment of times of diftrefs is both profitable and neceffary for the world, especially God's own people in it.
In general, hereby the being and righteoufnefs of God is cleared and vindicated against the atheism and infidelity of the world, Pfal. ix. 16. "The Lord is known by the judgments "that he executeth." Impunity is the occafion of many atheistical thoughts in the world, Jer. xlviii. 11. "Moab hath been
at cafe from his youth, and he hath fettled on his lees, and "hath not been emptied from veffel to veffel, neither hath he gone into captivity; therefore his tafte remaineth in him, and "his fcent is not changed." So Pfal. Iv. 19. “Because they have
no changes, therefore they fear not God." Kingdoms, families, and particular persons, like standing water and ponds, are apt to corrupt by long continued peace and profperity; the Lord therefore fees it neceffary to purge the world by his judgments; "When thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the "world will learn righteousness." Thofe fermons that God preaches from heaven by the terrible voice of his judgments, ftartle and rouze the fecure world, more than all the warnings and exhortations of his minifters could ever do. Thofe that VOL. IV.