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1. The holy seed shall be preserved in a winnowing day. The winds of error, profanity, tyranny, persecution, are beginning to blow, and, it is likely, they may blow harder yet before all be done: the Lord seems to be coming with his fan in his hand to purge his tloor, and to distinguish between the chaff and the wheat. Now, here is confort; the holy seed, which is the substance, shall not be blown away with these winds: the wise husbandman will let no more wind enter his barn-door, than serves for cleansing his seed from the chaff, or the light corn; so here, Is. xxvii. 8: “In measure when it shooteth forth, he will debate with it; he stayeth his rough wind in the day of the east wind.”
2. The holy seed shall not always be trodden upon. Indeed he may yoke the thre-hers to thresh his holy sced; and he may make the wheel of the cart to pass over it; but he will not always be bruising it: Is. xxviii. 28, 29: “ He will not ever bé threshing it, nor break it with the wheel of his cart, nor bruise it with his horsemen. This cometh forth from the Lord of hosts, who is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working." "The Lord will not contend for ever, neither will
. he be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before him, and the souls which he hath made.”
3. The holy seed will sow the land; for it is "the substance thereof, and a blessing is in it.” I will give you a scripture to feed your faith and meditate upon, as to this matter, Psal. xxii. 30, 31: “ A seed shall serve him, it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation. They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this." God, like a wise husbandman, is keeping a seed of honest ministers and Christians in this time of common defection; and I would fain hope, that it is not for naught, but that he may sow his field again.
4. The holy seed shall be watered, and flourish, and sprout forth like a tree that has lost its leaves in a winter storm, it revives in the spring : " I will be as the dew unto Israel; and he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon.” The vineyard of red wine is watered every moment, when others are dry and withered like the mountains of Gilboa: Psal. lxxii. 16; • There shall be a handful of corn in the earth
upon of the mountains; the fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon, and they of the city shall flourish like grass of the earth." God's work will get up again, in spite of all the stream of malignancy that is running against it at this day.
5. The holy seed shall rejoice. When the Lord turns back their captivity, it will be like streams from the south; “Weep
ing endures for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” And they that laugh at your calamity will hang their heads, Is. Ixv. 13, 14: “Behold, my servants shall eat, but ye
shall be hungry; behold, my servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty ; behold, my servants shall rejoice, but ye shall be ashamed; behold, my servants shall sing for joy of heart, but ye shall cry for sorrow of heart, and shall bowl for vexation of spirit.”
6. Another word of encouragement I give you under your hard treatment at this day, is, that you meet with no worse measures than Christ, and the cloud of witnesses met with before you. Are you despised and rejected of men; so was he, Is. liii. 3. The stone was rejected by the builders ; and so his followers, Heb. xi. 35, 36.
The last use shall be of Exhartation. Is it so, that the holy seed of believers are the substance and strength of a land? then,
1. Let this serve to commend holiness to all hearing me; especially to you who have been at a communion-table, making an open profession of being the holy seed, before God, angels, and men. Sirs, if you have any kindness for the land you live in, as you would avert impending judgments, or recover us from that current of defection we are running into, study to be holy yourselves, “in all manner of conversation,” and to promote and advance holiness among others; for it is the holy seed, that is the substance.
2. Another word of exhortation I offer to you, is, to trust, and hope, and wait upon the Lord, in this dark and cloudy day: “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.
Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God.” Sirs, there is no standing in this shaking and trying day, but by faith: “We walk by faith, and not by sight." And, to encourage your trust,
1st, Consider his near relation to you as your Goel, your kinsman. Who will not trust such a near friend?
2dly, Consider how he has avenged your quarrel upon the old serpent.
3dly, You are commanded to trust in him at all times.
4thly, It is pleasing to the Lord to be trusted; it is the work of God: it is like the embraces by the infant, of a mother's breast, when gorged with milk.
5thly, Consider the advantages of trusting him in an evil day. (1.) Perfect peace: Is. xxvi. 3: “ Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee; because he trusteth in thee.” (2.) Joy, filled with joy in believing. See
Hab. iii. 16—18. (3.) Provision in famine: Psal. xxxvii. 3: " Trust in the Lord, and do good, so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.” (4.) Protection in time of danger, Psal. xci. 2-4, &c. (5.) Stability like mount Zion: Psal. cxxv. 1: They that trust in the Lord shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever.” (6.) Increase of grace and the waterings of the Spirit: Jer. xvii. 7, 8: “ Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted 'by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river.”
3. Another exhortation to God's holy seed, is, to be much in wrestling at a throne of grace, and in improving your interest for the land and church in which we live, that deserved strokes may be averted. Tokens of God's anger are to be found; his anger has divided us; his anger has made to withdraw his Spirit from ordinances and judicatories; the clouds are bound up, the fruits of the earth withered, and famine at the door; Oh wrestle and pray for floods and water to the dry ground.
Motive (1.) You do not know how far you may prevail with a prayer-hearing God. Moses' prayers prevailed to deliver Israel; Asa prays against the Ethiopian army; Jehoshaphat prays against the Ammonites; and he is the same prayerhearing God this day as ever.
(2.) Although you should not prevail to avert wrath, yet your prayers will not be lost, they shall return into your own bosom; you shall either deliver your own souls, or God will hide you
from the common calamity. (3.) Consider how active sinners are to pull down wrath, and bring ruin upon the land. Men are active this day, as if they were weary of their mercy; wearied of Christ, of the gospel, and of the privileges of it; weary of his saints. Men seem to be upon a plot to ruin a covenanted work of refor, mation. Now, when others are active this way, should not we be active?
4. Another exhortation. If it be so that the holy seed is the substance and strength of the land: then beware of touching them to do them hurt; do not malign, traduce, oppose, or oppress them; and beware of joining in a confederacy with such as are casting out those who are rich in faith, for those who are rich in this world, though they be strangers to the power of God and godliness. Value and prize them as the stock and substance of the land.
Motive (1.) Consider that Christ has given a strict charge to all respecting them, not to do them injury; they that touch them, touch the apple of his eye; Matth. xviii. 10: “ Take
heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, ihat in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven."
(2.) Consider whose they are; they are the children of a King, and therefore it is lese-majesty to hurt them.
Object. They are but factious and turbulent persons. Answ. Take care that
do not wound a real saint, under the notion of a hypocrite; and take care that you do not reckon all hypocrites, that do not run in the same way with yourselves.
(3.) You will pay for it, for the injuries you do them;" “ Their Redeemer is strong, the Lord of hosts is his name. It is dangerous meddling with them that have great friends and allies: so here, God is their Father, angels their ministering spirits, heaven their inheritance; and therefore beware of hurting them.
I conclude with a few advices to saints, the substance of the land,
1. Bless God that made a difference between you and others. By nature you are children of wrath, as well as others.
2. Beware of despising others, yet in a natural state: “Remember the rock whence you were hewn, and the hole of the pit whence you were digged.” Study to be of Agur's temper, Prov. xxx. 2, 3: “ Surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man. I nei-' ther learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the holy.”
3. Lastly, Let God's holy seed keep at the greatest distance from sin. “ Be blameless apd harmless, the sons of God without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.” The least flaw in your conversation will soon be ripped up, and made to ring through the world.
THE FIRST PROMISE ACCOMPLISHED;
THE HEAD OF THE SERPENT BRUISED BY THE SEED OF
For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the
works of the devil.-1 John III. 8.
To gain time, I shall entirely abstract at present from the connexion of these words with what went before, or what follows, and consider them just as they lie before us, in regard they make one complete and entire sentence as they stand. And they are the same in substance with the first gospel that ever was preached in the world, Gen. iii. 15:
The seed of the woman shall bruise the head of the serpent:" only, with this difference, that what was delivered to our first parents, in a way of promise and prophecy, is here delivered to us in a way of history, as a thing now done and accomplished. And, in this respect, there is more said in these few words, than all the prophets under the Old Testament could say. They could only tell the world, that Christ was to be manifested in the fulness of time; but now, says our apostle John here, this is not a thing to be done; no, but it is done, it is a thing accomplished, it is now over and past; the Messiah is come, and has bruised the head of the serpent: For this purpose was the Son of God manifested, thut he might -destroy the works of the devil. O! should not such glad tidings of great joy make every one of us who hear it join issue with the angels at his birth, and cry, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, good will towards men ?" or, with
" the church, Psal. cxviii.: "Hosanna to the Son of David : blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord to save
The words, in general, are a declaration of the great designs of the appearance of the Son of God in this lower
• Preached on occasion of the celebration of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper at South Queensferry, Sabbath, August 12, 1733.