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not fly, rest you with your load upon him; for as faith is a flying, so it is a resting.
Object. 4. Christ is so far away, that I will never reach him.' Answ. Do not say so, for he is near, Rom. x. 8.
Object. 5. When I attempt to fly, the devil and the world, and my own heart, pull me back again into the mire, and then I am just where I was.' Answ. From that moment that thou makest an attempt to fly to Christ, the devil, the world, and corruption, will be upon thee to harass thee. But though they may do thee many an ill turn, yet they shall never pull thee out of Christ if once thou hast fled to him, no man "shall pluck them out of my hand, my Father who gave them me is greater than all,” says Christ, “ and none shall pluck them out of my Father's band.” Many a pluck the enemy gives at Christ's doves, but they shall never pluck them away
from him. Quest. You bid me fly like a dove to Christ, and his windows;
but will you give me your advice in order to it? Answ. 1. Be much in viewing the holiness of the law, and of the Lawgiver," for it is a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ," &c. 2. Be much in viewing your danger while out of Christ, condemned already. 3. Be much in studying the gospel, Christ in his person, nature, and offices; the freedom of the covenant, and the fulness and suitableness of the gospel remedy. 4. Be persuaded of the Lord's willingness to take you in to himself, at his windows, his bowels sound towards sinners. 5. Cry for the wind of the Spirit to blow, that thus you may be set a-flight; for he testifies of, and joins the sinner to Christ. 6. Make a desperate attempt to be at Christ, through the window of prayer, and of faith in prayer; wrestle, cry, seek, and knock; for to such it shall be opened.
2dly, The second sort I would speak to are believers, who have fled like a cloud, and as doves to Christ's windows.
1. Bless the Lord that gave you counsel, and did not allow you to sit still in a natural state, within the sea-mark of his wrath, but chased you with his law terrors, and drew you in at his windows to himself. Sing his praise, saying, “ Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” brought me up also out of a horrible pit, and out of the miry clay.”
.' 2. Have you fled to Christ? Abide in him as in a lodging and dwelling-place: just as the man-slayer was to abide in the city of refuge, after he had fled to it, and was never to go out of it, until the death of the high priest: and your High Priest never dies; and therefore you are never to be found out of your gospel-refuge.
3. Frequent the windows of his ordinances, both the more
secret and retired windows of prayer and meditation, reading, fasting, Christian conference; and these that are more solemn and public, such as word and sacrament, when you can have access: for there it is that Christ feeds his doves, and gives them interviews with himself; and when the public windows are shut, or, defiled, or haunted with foxes or birds of prey, that fright, scatter, or tear the doves, be the more frequently resorting to the more private or secret windows.
4. Have you fled to Christ like doves to their windows, and taken up your rest in him: never look back to your old houses, and resorts, your lying refuges, nor look to the general mercy [of God, &c. Never look to an empty profes
] sion, &c.; never take up again with the works of the law, &c.; bid all these adieu, never to come back to them again, &c.
5. When like the dove, you come to pick up any thing that is necessary for you upon earth, do not sit still upon
the earth, but away again to your windows, and soar upward toward Christ. "Set your affections upon things above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God.”
6. Invite others to your windows where you have been entertained, and do what you can to recommend Christ and his way and word and ordinances to them, “O taste and see that the Lord is good,” says David.
7. When the Lord has taken you" from among the pots," and “made you like the wings of a dove covered with the silver and yellow gold” of his own Spirit and righteousness. O do not defile your feathers, do not tarnish and blacken your profession with the filth of sin. Do not lie down in the puddle with the men of this world: - Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
8. Let God's doves drink 'the pure and running water,of the sanctuary, I mean, keep by the pure word, worship, and ordinances of his appointment, the river of divine truth, gospel doctrine and worship, dispensed in gospel ordinances. Alas! the streams of these rivers do not make glad the city of God, at this day, through many corners of the land. Why, the waters are fouled with the feet of a set of hirelings, intruders, and corrupt and lax ministers, that are forced in upon them; men that are unskilful in the law, men that want the dove-like spirit of Christ, and therefore are incapable of feeding God's doves. Let God's doves be aware of them that foul the waters of the sanctuary, who corrupt the doctrine, discipline, worship, and government, which we in these lands
are sworn to maintain and preserve in their purity, Philip. in. 1 : “ Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision."
CHRIST SET UP FROM EVERLASTING.
I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.
PROV. VIII. 23.
There are such evident rays of the eternal and supreme Deity of Christ, as also of his personality and essential oneness with the Father, in this passage, as looks the Arians and Socinians, these blasphemers of the Son of God, quite out of countenance, and obliges them, though with great absurdity, to allege, that what is spoken of and by Christ in this chapter, and particularly from ver. 22, to ver. 31, is to be understood of wisdom as one of the attributes of the divine nature. But it is beyond controversy, among all orthodox interpreters, that it is Christ, the second person of the glorious Trinity, under the notion of wisdom, who here speaks, as right be cleared from many personal properties, personal acts, and personal words, that are ascribed to him in this passage of scripture, which, for brevity's sake, I cannot insist upon at this time.
The penman of this book was Solomon, “But behold a greater than Solomon is here,” even Christ, “ the wisdom of God, and the power of God, in whom all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hid.” As Solomon had all his wisdom out of this treasure; so being under the conduct of the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, is led, as a type, to speak in the person of his glorious anti-type, as his father David does frequently in the book of the Psalms, particularly in Psal. xvi. and Psal. xl. 1-17. Christ recommends his dictates in the word to the children of men, and shows what advantage will accrue to them by the study of the scriptures; agreeably to what he says, John v. 39: “Search the scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of me.” From the 22d verse to the 31st, in order to engage our faith and trust in him, he elegantly describes the
glory of his person, that so we beholding as in a glass, his glory, may be changed into his image. More particularly, (1.) 'He shows how, from all eternity, he lodged in his Father's arms and bosom, as his beloved Son, in whom he was, and is well pleased, ver. 22: "The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.” (2.) He speaks of his eternal designation to the great work and service of our redemption," in the words of my text, I was set up from everlasting, &c. Where we may notice,
1. The divine person, who is the speaker, in the pronoun, (I) I, the eternal Son of God, the glorious Immanuel, the faithful and true Witness. I, who am God co-equal with the Father; and who sat as a constituent member of the council of peace, respecting the great affair of man's redemption, and therefore cannot but be well acquainted with what was transacted there.
2. The result of that eternal transaction declared with relation to himself, I was set up, that is, I was, by an act of the
I divine will, comimon to all the three persons of the glorious Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, elected, set apart, or foreordained to the great service of man's redemption. A word parallel to this, and which casts a light upon the text, you have, Psal. ii. 7: “Where Christ, speaking of himself, says,
6. I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee." This is called the Father's will, Psal. xl. 7, 8: “Lo! I come, in the volume of the book, it is written of me; I delight to do thy will.
3. In the words we have the date of the divine council and decree, with relation to our Redeemer, or when he was set up for that service. It bears date from the ancient years of eternity, 1 was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, ere ever the earth was. Here are words that swallow
all finite thought and consideration, it leads us back to an eternity past, and who could ever have told us what was acted in the divine mind and council from all eternity, but he only who is the Alpha, and the Omega, from everlasting to everlasting, God, He was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, ere ever the earth was. So much for explaining the words.
Doct. “ That as Christ is the everlasting God; so, from all eternity, he was foreordained and set up for the great service of man's redemption. I was set up from everlasting," &c.
To this purpose is that of the apostle, 1 Pet. i. 20: “Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times.'
The method, 'through divine assistance, I shall observe, is as follows:
I. To prove that Christ is the everlasting God, and that he was from the beginning, ere ever the earth was.
II. Show what is imported in his being set up from everlasting. III. For what ends and purposes was he set up. IV. Why he, and none else, was set up for this end.
V. Make some application of the whole. * I. The first thing is to prove, That Christ is the everlasting God, and that he was from the beginning, ere ever the earth
The Socinians affirm, That he had no being before his actual incarnation. And the Arians, Though they allow that he had a being before his incarnation ; yet deny his eternal existence, and, consequently, make him but a nominal deity, and reduce him among the rank of created beings. Now, in opposition to both these damning heresies, I shall endeavour to trace a little, the scriptural account of the eternal existence of the Son of God, our glorious Redeemer.
And first, that he existed before his incarnation, or his being born of the virgin, is evident from the appearance he made to our first parents in paradise, after the fall, Gen. iii. 15. It, namely, the seed of the woman, shall bruise thy head, namely, the serpent's , explained by the apostle, Heb. ii. 14.
. That this was God in the person of the Son, intimating his future incarnation, and the design of it is evident; for God, absolutely considered, is not a promising but an avenging God, a consuming fire to the workers of iniquity. And all the promises in him are yea and amen. It is only the Lion of the tribe of Judah, and none else, that opened the book of the divine council, respecting our redemption. And therefore it was he, and none else, that broke up this seal, and disclosed this secret to our first parents in paradise.
In like manner, it was he that preached the gospel to Abraham, saying, "In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed," as is clear from Gal. iii. 8.
We find him executing his threefold mediatorial offices, before ever he came in the flesh. We find him, as a prophet, preaching righteousness to the great congregation, Psal. xl. 9: “1 have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O Lord, thou knowest ?” And by his spirit in Noah he preached to the old world, who, because of their disobedience, were shut up in the prison of hell; as we see in 1 Pet. iii. 18—20. We find him acting as the great Priest of his church, before his actual appearance