Page images

this song, which was sung upon the occasion of the destruction of the church's enemies. In that day, fing ye unto her a vineyard of red wine. I would first observe that the church is compared to a vine and a vineyard, and which is frequently the case both in the Old and New Testament; as in the 8oth Pfalm, Thou bast brought a vine out of Egypt; thou haft cast out the heathen and planted it; alluding to the bringing the Israelites out of Egypt, and dispossessing the Canaanitish nations, to plant them in their room: and in' verse the 15th, the church is called a vineyard; so also in the Song of Solomon, the church is compared to a vine and a vineyard. The church of Christ may be compared to a vineyard for the following reasons : a vineyard is a spot of ground separated and distinguished from others; so is the church of Christ from the rest of the world, by electing, redeeming, and efficacious grace. Believers are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, and, being so, are a peculiar people : they are fenced about with sovereign grace, whereby they are made to differ from others. In the vineyard, the church, ftands in the firft place Chrift, the true and moft noble vine ; and next to him true believers, who are there planted by him, ingrafted on him, and grow up in him. A vineyard is a

A vineyard is a very fruitful spot; so is the church of Christ, consisting of true believers, who are filled with the fruits of righteousness by Jesus Christ, who is the true vine on whom they are ingrafted, and from whom their fruit is found. A vineyard requires great care and pains from the husbandman; so does the church: and Christ is continually employing his care over, and bestowing the showers of his grace upon it. Vineyards are delightful and pleasant, such is the church to Christ; he delights to walk in it, and often goes down into it, to observe how it grows and thrives. Vines must be watered, pruned, and propped. Christ does all this and much more to his vineyard the church; he waters it every moment by his grace, prunes, and lops off the unfruitful branches, supports the weak and tender vines with his almighty power, and fences them about with divine favours. Christ's vineyard, the church, is a place to sing as well as work in. He hath his ministers employed in working in it, by labouring in the word and doctrine, and in singing the Lord's song, in publishing the Lord's praise, and proclaiming his everlasting love, free grace, a finished salvation, the unsearchable riches of Christ, which fill the souls of the redeemed with joy unspeakable. In that day, when the everlasting covenant hath been carried into execution by the incarnation of the Son of God; when everJasting righteousness is brought in, peace made, sin abolished, Satan conquered, and everlasting victory gained over all the principalities and powers of darkness, fing ye unto her a vineyard of red wine. It is by the most precious blood of Christ, the church is cleansed and purged from sin, and redeemed out of the hands of law and justice ; pardon of sin is the fruit of it. We have redemption through bis blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of his grace. It is the

blood of Christ which alone can wash out the scarlet fain of sin, and obtain peace with God; and redemption through the immaculate Lamb of God, is the sweetest sound and song a believer can hear; it is music to the ear, honey in the mouth, and melody in the heart. Without the bloodshedding of Christ, fin would have undone our fouls; and without God's own testimony in the Scriptures concerning the eternal worth and everlasting efficacy of the blood of sprinkling, the guilty conscience could have no peace. For when fin is known and felt in its guilt and power, the soul would fink into unutterable and everlasting despair, did not the Holy Spirit point the convinced person to the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Nothing but the joyful sound of par-, don and salvation, can raise up the soul, through the grace of the Holy Spirit, unto a living hope and faith in God. The Lord hath here prepared a long to be sung to the honour of his name by Zion's converts, in remembrance of his mercy, and for the refreshment of their spirits. In that day sing ye unto her a vineyard of red wine. I the Lord do keep it ; I will water it every moment : left any hurt it, I will keep it night and day. Fury is not in me. Here is the church's safety and happiness. The Lord delighteth in his people. He preserves and protects them. He supplies and waters them with showers of heavenly blessings ; guards them by night and day, is at perfect peace with them, and all their enemies are under his feet; so that it must be a vain thing for any enemy to attempt to annoy them. Who would set the briars and thorns against me in battle ? (all the enemies of God's people are but thorns

and briars before the Lord, who will be unto them a 'consuming fire.) I would go through (or, march against) them, I would burn them together. Who would be so rash ? Rather let every one of mine enemies humble himself, and fly to my grace.

Let him take bold of my frength, that be may make peace with me, and be shall make peace with me. We here see how the Lord is pleased to deal with such to whom he shews mercy. He pours out of his Spirit upon them, and puts his Spirit within them, who gives them to feel their want of Christ, and makes them willing to come unto him. Hereupon the soul is brought to know that God is reconciled, is the God of peace, and that he is at perfect peace with all his people in Christ Jesus. He hath declared it, Fury is not in me. If the soul asks, how shall I be assured of it? How shall I know my interest in it ? The Lord gives this command, Let him take hold of my strength; Jesus is the all glorious Mediator; take hold of him, as set forth by the Father's love and grace, as a propitiation for fin; he is the great peace-maker. But how shall we take hold of Christ? By faith. The Father draws the heart to Christ, by the invincible his omnipotent grace. The foul drawn, lays hold of Christ, as the strong and almighty Saviour; and Chrift being trusted in, and relied upon, by the faith of the operation of God, hereby the foul, by the testimony of the Spirit, is brought to know its perfonal interest in Christ, and that God is at perfe&t peace with him. The Holy Ghost reveals God as reconciled in Christ and at perfect peace: and when believers are under fear and trouble through guilty fears and unbelief, he directs them to take fresh hold of Christ by faith, whereby they have a renewed sense of God's love towards them, and of their interest in the covenant of peace. Every sermon concerning the love of God in Christ, is a song to every trembling, doubting, disconsolate believer. The Lord does not come to his people calling them to mount Sinai, discovering himself in terror and horror; but he comes to them in the still small voice of peace and pardon ; and from mount Zion he sings forth the glo. rious song of redemption to poor undone sinners and doubting saints. It is well for us that it is so; for when a soul is really and effectually awakened by the Holy Spirit, to see, feel, experience, and know, what a state of sin and guilt Adam's fall had brought it into, no voice but the Lord's can raise up the guilty finner to wait and hope for the salvation of God. As God wounds in conviction, so he only can heal. It requires the almighty power of God to be put forth, in order to comfort the truly awakened person. Let the whole college of divines, yea, summon all the holy angels from heaven, and let them all cry, Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, faith your God: it will all be in vain, until the God of all comfort, himself, by his own word and spirit, is pleased to speak peace and comfort to the heart. Luther used to say, “ It requires as much

power of

to satisfy a guilty conscience as to satisfy God him66 self.” Nothing can give the guilty conscience peace, but the blood of Christ; and this yields peace only in its application, which it is the peculiar prerogative and office of the eternal Spirit to make. He applies it by

« PreviousContinue »