« PreviousContinue »
men, whereby we must be saved, but by the name of Jesus Christ,” Acts iv. 12. It is not your broken planks of a profession of religion, hope in the general mercy of God, your civility, morality, or legal righteousness, that will do ; God's wrath will stave all these broken planks in pieces: and therefore repair to the Ark Jesus Christ.
3. There is a fixed day, a time set for your entering into the New Testament Ark, which if it be let slip, there will be no entrance into the Ark, but you shall infallibly perish in the deluge. “ He that liveth for ever, has sworn with his hand lifted
to heaven," that there shall be no more entrance into the Ark. Quest. What is the fixed time? Answ. It is the day of grace, the day of life, the day of salvation ; if that pass, you are gone for ever: and therefore, “ To-day, if you will hear his voice,” Psal. xcv., and Heb. iii.
4. The Ark is prepared of God for you, and that at an infinite expense. God has provided a Saviour, Psal. Ixxxix. 19: “Help is laid upon one that is mighty,” John iii. 16: “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish.” The Ark is finished, and perfected, and made ready for you: “All things are ready,” Matth. xxii. 4.
5. The Ark is at hand, it is near to us, Is. xlvi. 13: Behold, “I bring near my righteousness, it shall not be far off, and my salvation shall not tarry; and I will place salvation in Zion,” &c. “The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth,
and in thy heart; that is, the word of faith which we preach," :: Rom. x. 8.
6. The Ark is ordained for men and women of our stamp, I mean men and women of the human nature: and therefore the call is “ to men and the sons of men,” Prov. viii. 4. Christ is a Saviour, not for the fallen angels, but for us: “Unto us is this child born," Is. ix. 6; he “is made of God unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption," 1 Cor. i. 30.
7. Many have already entered, and are saved; an innumerable
company, “ which no man can number," Rev. vii. 8. The doors of the Ark are cast wide open to you also, together with a promise of safety ; “ Whosoever believeth shall not perish, but have everlasting life,” John iii
. 16. 9. The great God commands you to enter into the Ark, 1 John iii. 23: “ This is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ.”
I conclude with a word to believers who have fled into the Ark.
(1.) By way of comfort.
1. God is with you in the Ark, “For God is in Christ,” 2 Cor. v. 19; and he will never leave you, Heb. xii. 5.
2. “ Your life is hid with Christ in God,” Col. iii. 3: “Because I live, ye shall live also,” John xiv. 19.
3. You are freed from condemnation. The law cannot curse you ; though man may, yet God will not curse you, Rom. viii. 1.
4. The waters of affliction shall not overwhelm you, Is. xliii. 2, 3; the waves may dash, but they will turn into foam like the waves of the sea.
5. Death and the grave cannot harm you, “ I will ransom them from the power of the grave, I will redeem them from death.” Hos. xiii. 14.
(2.) A word of counsel to you that are in the Ark. 1. Bless God who provided the Ark. 2. Bless God who brought you into it. 3. Rejoice and glory in the Lord, triumph in him. 4. Live upon Christ, and the provision you find in the Ark.
5. "Walk worthy of the Lord, unto all well-pleasing," Col. i. 10.
THE PLANT OF RENOWN.
And I will raise up for them a plant of Renown.—EZEK. XXXIV. 29.
THE FIRST SERMON ON THIS TEXT.
If we cast our eyes back upon the foregoing part of this chapter, we shall find a very melancholy scene casting up; we shall find the flock and heritage of God scattered, robbed, and peeled, by the civil and ecclesiastical rulers that were in being at that day; a day much like to the day in which we live: the ruin of the church of Christ, in all ages and periods of the world, has been owing to combinations betwixt corrupt church men and corrupt statesmen. And so you will find it in the preceding part of this chapter; there is a high charge brought in against the shepherds of Israel, and a terrible and awful threatening denounced by the great and chief Shepherd against them, for the bad treatment that the flock of Christ had met with in their hands. However the sheep of Christ may be fleeced, scattered, and spoiled, yet the Lord looks on them: and many great and precious promises are made for their encouragement in that evil day; you may read them at your own leisure, for I must not stay upon them just now. But among all the rest of the promises that are made, Christ is the Chief, Christ is the [Resort] of the church, whatever trouble she is in. In the 7th chapter of Isaiah, the church had a trembling heart, God's Israel was shaken as ever you saw the leaves of the wood shaken by the wind, by reason of two kings combining against them: well, the Lord tells them, a virgin shall conceive and bare a son, and shall call his name IMMANUEL. But might the church say, What is that to us? what encouragement does this afford in the present distress? Why, the Messiah is to come of the tribe of Judah, and the family of David; and therefore that tribe and family must be preserved, in order to the accomplishment of that promise. Whatever distance of time, suppose hundreds or thousands of years may intervene before the actual coming of the Messiah, yet the promise of his coming, as it is the ground of your faith for eternal salvation, so it is a security for the present, that the enemy shall not prevail to the total ruin of Judah, and the royal family of David. In all the distress of the church, Christ is always presented to her in the promise, as the object of her faith, and the ground of her consolation; and, accordingly, “ they looked to him” in the promises,“
and were lightened, and their faces were not ashamed.” He is here promised under the [name] of David; he is promised under
the [name] of God's Servant; and in the words of the text, 1 he is promised as a renowned Plant, that was to rise in the
fulness of time. And blessed be God be has sprung up, and is in heaven already, and has overtopped all his enemies, and “ all his enemies shall be his footstool.”
Here, then, you have a comfortable promise of the Messiah; where, again, you may notice, 1st, The Promiser, (1, I will raise up, &c. It is a great (1) indeed, it is Jehovah in the person of the Father, it was he that in a peculiar manner sent him; “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” In the fulness of time he sent forth his Son, “made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” God promised to send him, and, accordingly, he has actually fulfilled his promise. Again, 2dly, We may notice the blessing promised, and that is, a
Plant of renown: Christ gets a great many metaphorical I names and descriptions in scripture; sometimes he is called a
Rose, sometimes he is called a Sun, and sometimes he is called a Door, sometimes he is called the Tree of life; sometimes he is called one thing, and sometimes another, and he is content to be called any thing to make himself known to us; and here he is called a Plant, and a renowned Plant; but more of this afterwards. But then, 3dly, We have the production of this Plant, I will raise him up. Hell will endeavour to keep him down, the devil and his angels will endeavour to smother him when he sets his head above ground. So we find Satan sends Herod, and Herod sends the bloody dragoons to murder him when he came into the world. But let hell do its utmost, as it has done in all ages, and is doing this day to smother that Plant, up it will be; I will raise him up; and therefore he shall prosper. But then, again, 4thly, We may notice here for whom, or for what end, for whose use and benefit it is; I will raise up (for them) a Plant of renown. Who these are, you will see by casting your eye on the former part of the chapter, it is for the Lord's flock, his oppressed heritage, who are borne down by wicked rulers, civil and ecclesiastical, I will raise up for them a Plant of renown, and he will be their Deliverer.
The doctrine that naturally arises from this first clause of the verse is in short this :
" That Christ is a Plant of renown, of God's raising up, for the benefit and advantage of his people, or for their comfort and relief in all their distresses; he is a renowned Plant of God's raising up."
Now, in discoursing this doctrine, if time and strength would allow, I might,
I. Premise a few things concerning this blessed Plant.
I. As to the first of these, namely, to premise a few things concerning this blessed Plant
1st, I would have you to know, what is here attributed and ascribed to Christ, is not to be understood absolutely of him as God, but---officially, as he is Mediator and Redeemer. Considering him absolutely as God, this cannot be properly
said of him that he was raised up; for he is God co-equal and co-essential with the Father: but, viewing him as-Mediator, he is a Plant, as it were, of God's training. You will see from the context, all that is said of Christ has a respect to him as Mediator; that he was to be God's Servant to do his work; in consideration of that, he is here called a Plant, and a Plant of Renown : Hence Zacharias, when speaking of him, has a phrase much to the same purpose : " He hath raised
a Horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant Dayid.”
Again, 2dly, Another thing I would have you to remark is, that this Plant is but small and little in the eyes of a blind world. He was little looked upon when he sprang up in his incarnation, and when he was here in a state of humiliation: Men looked upon him as a root sprung up out of a dry ground: they saw no comeliness in him why he should be desired; and, to this day, though he be in a state of exaltation at the right hand of God, yet he is little thought of, or looked upon by the generality of mankind, and the hearers of the gospel; “He is despised and rejected of men.”
But then, 3dly, Another thing I would have you to remark is, that however contemptible this Plant of renown is in the
eyes of a blind world, yet he is the tallest plant in all God's v Lebanon: There is not the like of him in it; he is fairer than
the children of men, and he is as the apple tree among the trees of the wood; if ever you saw him, you will be ready to say so too, " Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon
the earth that I desire besides thee." Again, 4thly, Another thing I remark is, that this blessed Plant of renown, was cut down in his death, and sprung up gloriously in his resurrection. The sword of divine justice hewed down this plant upon Mount Calvary, but within three days he sprung up again more glorious, and more beautiful and amiable than ever, and he was “ declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by his resurrection from the dead."
Lastly, I would have you to remark, that all the little plants in the garden are ingrafted in this Plant of renown; “I am the vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
I am like a green
fir tree, from me is thy fruit found.” If you be not ingrafted, sirs, in this Plant, you will never grow, and all the trees that are not planted in him are all but weeds. There is a time coming when all the weeds will be plucked up: and therefore take heed that you be ingrafted in him by a " faith of God's operation.” So much for the first thing I proposed.