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Spirit.” Let the life you live, be by faith on the Son of God; for “by faith ye
stand.” “ He that trusteth in the Lord shall be as Mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever.”
2. Cry that the wind of heaven may awake, and come and blow away
the hurtful winds of hell: Cant. iv. 16: 66 Awake, O north wind, and come, thou south, blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out.” Ezek. xxxvii
. 9: “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.” And then the dead and dry bones will stand up as a numerous army to fight the battles of the Lord. And learn to distinguish the winds that come from heaven, and those that come from another quarter. And particularly remember, that every wind, however specious, that blows against the present truth or testimony, is a hurtful wind. A testimony is lifted up for the covenanted doctrine, discipline, worship, and government of the church of Christ, which the greatest enemies are not able to disprove, being so evidently founded on the word of God. Now, every wind that blows against the truth, though it appear like a heavenly wind, yet it must be rejected, as coming from a bad quarter; Is. viii. 20 : “ To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them,"
3. In order to your being preserved from all hurtful winds, hide the word of God in your hearts: Psal. cxix. 11: “ Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” It is said of the righteous man, “ The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.” And, therefore, take heed to the “sure word of prophecy, as unto a light shining in a dark place;" for by it you shall be “ thoroughly furnished unto every good work," and secured against the wind of error, delusion, temptation, profanity, or apostacy from the truth.
4. “ Hold fast what you have received, that no man take your crown." Have you received Christ Jesus the Lord, and been determined to embrace him who is the unspeakable gift of God ? hold fast the grasp you have gotten of him, as the spouse did: “ I held him, and would not let him go." Have
any of his love-tokens on this occasion ? lay them up, and hold them fast, for Satan will do his best to spoil and rob you of them. Have you “received the testimony of Jesus," and made a profession of your faith? “ then hold fast the profession of your faith without wavering, steadfast unto the end ;” “ be steadfast and immoveable" in your profession, particularly in your profession of the present truth, against which the main [fury] of the present winds is
levelled. If a thief or robber enter a house, and be
carrying away any part of your furniture or goods, your present care is to preserve or recover that part of your furniture which is in greatest hazard of being lost. “Who hath given Jacob for a spoil, and Israel to the robbers ?---even he against whom we have sinned.” The house of God is in danger of being quite plundered, and spoiled, much of his valuable furniture is carried off; study then to recover what is lost, and hold fast what remains of the covenanted doctrine, worship, discipline, and government, of the church of Christ in this land.
5. Keep a strict and watchful eye upon all the enemies of Christ, and of your own salvation. You have enemies both within and without doors. Take heed, in the first place, of “ an evil heart of unbelief,” that it do not “ turn you away from the living God;" for when you are turned away from God, you cast yourselves out of his protection, and then you are an easy prey to all your other enemies, and are fair to be driven away like chaff before the wind. 6 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation.” Be not ignorant of Satan's devices, and wiles, who casts himself into every shape in order to catch the prey, and who at this day is transforming himself into an angel of light, by counterfeit convictions, conversions, and raptures of joy, which (it is well known through the land) leave men and women just where they were, if not worse; because, imagining themselves to be in a state of grace, they are proof against all that can be said to the contrary, until God come and "sweep away the refuge of lies.”
6. Lastly, Take care what ministers you own and hear as the ambassadors of Christ. This is as necessary a caveat in our day, as it was in the days of the apostles, í John iv. 1:
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” And if you ask, How shall we try them ? Christ answers the question, Matth. vii. 15, 16: “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.“ By their fruits ye shall know them.” But, say you, what are the fruits by which they may be known? Answ. Do you see any of them fishing up and down for worldly gain? do you see them strengthening the hands of those that are pulling down the carved work of reformation, and weakening the hands of those that are (endeavouring] to build it up? do you see them tormented by a testimony for the Lord's work in the land, and siding with those that are carrying on a course of backsliding? do yoų see them entering any other way than by
the door of the house ? depend upon it, they are not the true prophets of Christ, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. And, therefore, do not own them as the ambassadors of Christ ; they do not carry Christ's commission; and therefore, though they shall say, "Lo, here is Christ, or lo, he is there," whatever pretensions they may make to the Spirit of Christ, yet go not after them, because these fruits are not the fruits of the faithful prophets of Christ's sending; and if he never sent them, they cannot profit their hearers, however, perhaps, they may have the art of touching the imagination, or raising passions to strange and unaccountable effects.
CHRIST CONSIDERED AS THE NAIL FASTENED IN A SURE PLACE, BEARING ALL THE GLORY OF HIS
In the name of our God we will set up our banners.-Psal. xx. 5.
My friends, we are met together this day about a very great and weighty work, namely, renewing of our solemn covenantengagements to the Lord, which, for a great many years back, have been lying buried in oblivion, by the generality of the inhabitants of the land. Many grave-stones have been cast upon them, since they were last renewed by authority both civil and ecclesiastical. Their obligation was rescinded by act of the Scots parliament: they were ignominiously burnt at Edinburgh, by the hand of the public executioner; many have suffered upon scaffolds and gibbets, in the fields and cities, for asserting the obligation of these covenants, under some reigns before the Revolution; and, since that period they have lain much neglected, yea, measures gone into, both by church and state, inconsistent with a covenanted reformation. However, we, the ministers of the As. sociate Presbytery, are this day met together, in order, through grace, to renew these solemn covenants, in a suitableness to the circumstances in which we stand in holy providence, and, in the Lord's strength, to essay the rolling away the stones from the grave, in which they have been so long buried, and to bring them forth again to the light. We that are ministers are only concerned in the work of this day, that we may, like the he-goats, lead the way to the Lord's flock, who, I hope, in due time shall follow.
* A sermon preached at Stirling, December 28, 1743, immediately before the Renovation of our solemn Covenants, by the ministers of the Associate Presbytery. And some other sermons preached afterwards upon the same subject.
There are two things which I judge somewhat remarkable, with respect to the work we have in view, namely, the time, and the place of it. 1st, As for the time, I judge it pretty remarkable, that this same time one hundred years, the Solemn League for reformation was sworn by persons of all ranks through the three kingdoms of Scotland, England, and Ireland; and that, notwithstanding of the strong efforts of hell and earth, since that time, to have them buried in utter silence, yet this day, God, in his adorable providence, is making these covenant-engagements with him to peep from under the ground. 2dly, I judge the place of their begun resurrection somewhat remarkable, namely, in the town of Stirling, where that faithful witness, Mr. James Guthrie, minister of the place, was stoned, and otherwise maltreated and abused, by a malignant party, for his faithful adherence to the covenanted reformation, and who also suffered martyrdom in the same cause, in the Grassmarket of Edinburgh. And although we be shut out of the legal synagogue of the place, have not access to speak in the pulpit of that eminent light of our Israel, yet, it is worthy of our observation, that God has, in his holy providence, brought a place of worship out of the old quarry, where we may worship him, even in Stirling, and set about the renovation of our solemn covenant-allegiance to the exalted King of Zion.
Perhaps some may say, as in Neh. iv., “ What will these feeble " 'associates “ do will they make an end in a day? will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish, which are burnt?” I answer, It is all one with God to work by many or by few; by the weak things of the world, or by the great and mighty, who appeared for this cause at our reformation. I remember a scripture or two that has been comfortable to myself since the first beginning of the work that God has been employing us in for some time past. One you have, Mic. ii. 13: The Breaker is come up before them; they have broken up, and have passed through the gate, and are gone out by it, and their King shall
pass before ther, and the Lord on the head of them.” The other'is, Matth. xxviii. 20, being Christ's parting word of promise to his disciples immediately before he ascended up on high,
Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." In the faith of his faithful word of promise, though our hands be weak and few, we are to set forward in this great work. The apostles were but twelve poor fishermen, sent out to build the
kingdom of Christ, and to encounter hell and earth, “principalities and powers, and the rulers of the darkness of this world;" and yet, the Breaker going up before them, the Jewish economy is unhinged, the idolatries of the Gentile nations fallen down, and the power of the Roman empire is made to stoop to the obedience of Christ, the Prince of the kings of the earth." And what do we know, but the Lord may so far countenance the little effort we are making to own the royal authority of Zion's King, this day, as to determine all the inhabitants of Britain and Ireland, in his own time, to do the same, and again, like “Ethiopia, to stretch out their hands to God," and to return to him, from wbom they have so far departed His blessing upon this essay will do it effectually; for his hand is not shortened, that he cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that he cannot hear.”
And they shall liang upon him all the glory of his Father's house, the off
spring and the issue, all vessels of small quantity: from the vessels of cups, even to all the vessels of flagons.- Is. xxi. 24.
THE FIRST SERMON ON THIS TEXT.
In this chapter, from verse 20, we have an illustrious prophecy of the kingdom and government of the glorious Messiah, under the type of Eliakim's preferment and promotion in the kingdom and government of Judah, as appears by comparing verse 22, with Rev. iii. 7, where Christ applies this passage to himself. More particularly we have,
1. Eliakim's call to his honourable employment, by which is represented Christ's call to his mediatory work and office: ver. 20: “ And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah. Christ did not run unsent, like many in our day, who intrude themselves into the office of the ministry, Is. xlii. 6; Heb. v. 4, 5: he “ did not take the honour unto himself, but was called of God, as was Aaron.”
2. We have the badges of honour bestowed upon him in consequence of his call: verse 21, 22: “ And I will clothe him with thy robe, and strengthen him with thy girdle, and I will commit thy government into his hand, and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah. And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder: so he shall open, and none shall shut, and he shall shut, and none shall open.” (1.) He is clothed with a royal robe. So Christ is clothed, Rev. i., with a garment down to the foot, that serves to cover and adorn himself and