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soul, only as it stands in oneness with Christ. "The Lord delivers him out of them all;" here is a direct reference to the wonderful union be. tween Christ and his church, "He keepeth all his bones, not one of them is broken.". There were no bones of the Lord Jesus broken, because the Scripture might be ful filled: "A bone of him shall not be broken." Therefore, not a member of Christ's mystical body can possibly be destroyed. Joseph, when he was dying, gave commandment that they should take his bones into the promised land; he knew he had promised to give deliverance to the children of Israel; they were to take his bones into the promised land. This has a spiritual reference to the Lord Jesus, setting every thing in relation, bring ing the whole bones of his mystical body, joined bone to his bone; referring to the spiritual resurrection, it says, "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection, on such the second death hath no power." Those who have part in the first resurrection-I apprehend it to mean the resurrection of the soul, in the deliverance from the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children of God. The apostle thus addresses them who are risen with Christ: " If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God," Col. iii. 1. Instead of cleaving to the flesh, make it holy and righteous before God, "set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth;" mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth :" he enumerates these members; Fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence and covetousness, which is idolatry." Put to the rack all of them, not in the flesh, but in the spirit; the spiritual man in his in his spirituality mortifies the flesh; whilst he is spiritual, he serves God:
There is a oneness between the
head and members of Christ: he says, they are members of my flesh, bone of my boné: it has a reference to the whole house of Israel, the whole church of God in the valley of vision. Mere carnal preachers would make this apply to the world which I will soon shew is not the truth; that it will not apply to the valley of vision. Does the preaching of the gospel to the world, produce a spiritual resurrection in every one to whom it is preached? Say you, many do not receive it? Well, then, did the preaching of the prophet, when he preached in the valley of dry bones effect this object? They received every one the testimony of the God of heaven; "The Lord said, These bones are the whole house of Israel." I have no hesitation in saying, this was a particular figure of the whole church of Christ, from the first vessel of mercy, to the very last, all brought before the prophet's view in the vision. The dry bones describe the helplessness of every man in a state of nature; he is incapable of performing one thing toward his salvation. The whole was done by the direction of God, it must not therefore be taken in comparison of the ministers of the gospel. This was typical of the work of the Lord Jesus, that he would accomplish among the dry bones the resurrection of that church from a death of sin, to a life of righteousness.
If a minister of the gospel, one sent of God, comes as a minister of the Spirit, to declare and unfold such things as God the Spirit teaches him, there is not a testimony delivered but the Lord must give the increase. It is said of him, as of all his ministers, “They shall not strive, nor cry, nor cause their voice to be heard in the streets;" they shall not make any spiritual struggle, to accomplish any spiritual objects; they shall dwell under his shadow, the whole house of Israel in union to Christ. What is said of Jesus Christ is ap
plicable alike both to the head and members, "They that dwell under his shadow." The Psalmist saw the glory and grandeur of that glorious state, when he said, Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations," Psalm xc. 1; again in the xcist Psalm, "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." To dwell under his shadow, is of course so to be in a place as to be protected, to be a dweller. Keep your attention on this part of the subject; it refers to the soul taking up his abode in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. This cannot be done, but by that faith which is of the operation of the Spirit of God. You will always find that natural religion will keep a man from dwelling in Christ; the flesh will struggle to drive him back into the wilderness: he can never rest here in the day of trouble; he will never be kept waiting here for the salvavation of God, unless his flesh is bound with the cords of love. Some persons say, they were not brought in this way; others are, with great trouble or distress, but with cords of a man and the bands of love. If the Lord leaves a soul, the natural propensity of that soul would be, and is, to destroy itself. Therefore, as it is necessary for their preservation, they are compelled to take such steps by bands; to put bands on, is to bind with, or tie a rope; they are bound with the cords of afflictions, which binding hinders them from presumption, and if they be bound in fetters, and be holden in cords of affliction, then he sheweth them their work, and their transgresssions that they have exceeded. These cords hinder them from the performance of their own enterprize; this is the bondage they wish to be delivered from. The pharisees said, they never were in bondage to any man; in liberty is in bondage to Christ; he is so controlled by the power with which God
encircles him, that he is kept, “ kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time." If a man is yoked to Christ, they shall plough the land together; an ox and an ass are not to plough together; the spiritual meaning is, the new and old nature are not to plough together; here old nature is comparable to an ass, so ignorant, so foolish, so foolish was I, and ignorant; I was as a beast before thee," Psalm lxxii. 22. Nature is often compared to a wild asses colt. The ox is a description of a minister of Christ, "Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn;" this act is a description of the work of a minister of Christ, The soul united to Christ, works together with him, not primarily. Jesus Christ works in them, to will and do of his good pleasure; the ground is ploughed, the ends are accomplished which were intended by union to Christ. The apostle says, without him we can do nothing, with him all things; we can run through a troop, leap over a wall, yea, we are more than conquerors, through him that loved us. Α man being yoked to the Lord Jesus Christ, every thing is accomplished, there is nothing through life down to death and unto eternal glory, but what is secured. There is a security in this fellowship, which exists in the union between him and Christ his vital head, so he dwells under the shadow as one yoked to the Lord Jesus, who is his spiritual head,
They that dwell under his shadow shall return." Oh, what a blessed shadow this, it is said to be " as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land." This figure sets forth that covering or protection, which is realized in a hot oppressive day, the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. The Lord Jesus to the church of God, is this beautiful retreat, in the midst of a waste, howling wilderness, just the same as the promised land appeared to the Israelites; Christ is the promised
It is said in the text, "They that dwell under his shadow shall return." We do not ascertain this fact by the naked announcement: there is an effect, there is fruit, by their fruits we are to know them; "By their fruits ye shall know them;" It is proved in their experience, by the Spirit of God, they are the elect of God, that while they are here they shall dwell under his shadow, that they shall also have their residence eternally in the Lord Jesus Christ, that they are interested in the blessings of his covenant. These fruits are described.
land. It is said, in the Lord they have an inheritance. Christ is the blessed shadow for his people, the security of their salvation; they that are covered with this shadow, are so hid, so effectually is it their shield, that God the Father does not look behind the shadow for them. The Psalmist says, "Behold, O God, our shield, and look upon the face of thine anointed." Every man who knows what a vile sinner he is, will want to be hid behind this shield, and will say with the Psalmist, Behold, O God, our shield." "Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand, upon the Son of Man whom thou madest strong for thyself," Ps. lxxx. 17. If any man is so presumptuous, that he is looking to Moses, he is one that is not covered with the righteousness of Christ; he, not having the blood of atonement on the lintel of the door, not being entitled to the blessing conferred on those in union with Christ, is most assuredly under the curse; and when fire and brimstone is rained down upon this earth, he will receive the curse, except it is warded off by the shield, the person of Christ, by the life of Christ, the salvation of Christ; for Christ is the immediate and only deliverance from death. He is a great deliverer, and by the great salvation which he accomplished in behalf of his church; he that dwelleth under his shadow is eternally protected. If you attempt to trace back the beginning of this dwelling place, you will find it is Christ, for the Psalmist says, "Thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations." Christ the strong tower, into which the righteous run and are safe; he is thy tower, thy refuge in all generations. The place of safety is the place of God's covenant, God's purposes, God's grace, God's election, God's love; for if God did not choose us in Christ, we shall never be amongst the number of those who shall again pass under the hand of him that telleth them.
1st, It speaks of them, that "they shall return." Return, say you; from whence? return the way the prodigal returned. Something of importance is meant here by returning, "And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into you hearts, crying, Abba, Father," Gal. iv. 6. Then the Spirit of his Son, sent into your hearts, makes you return, "because you are sons.' When were you sons? In the secret of God's election: "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain," John xv. 16. There is never an elect vessel of mercy without faith. fruit should remain:" here is the fruit of the eternal settlements, here is the fruit of eternal election of the church in Christ, here is made manifest these things in their proper order: first, the root before the stem, the stem before the foliage, and a tree before blossoms, and blossoms before fruit; the fruit is an after result: first in union to Christ, then dwell under his shadow, then bear fruit. To say, as the Arminians, is monstrous, that we must first produce fruit to give to the Lord: the Lord gives first to the Church, and then takes back what he has given; the Lord gives to the church, and the church pays tithes back to the Lord,
I believe, the tithes paid under the Levitical economy, had a spiritual reference, though crafty men, corrupt men, have made it a very lucrative thing for their pockets, they were exclusively given and had a reference to God's gift. The Lord gives to his children, and expects to receive back again of his own. Fruit is the result of God's eternal election. He who is a dweller in Christ, under his shadow, was loved in Christ, saved in Christ, before he was called: Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified," Rom. viii. 30. Here a dweller in Christ is first predestinated, then called, then justified, and after that glorified. "Happy art thou, O Israel; who is like unto thee, a people saved by the Lord, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency!" Deut. xxxiii. 29. Paul, in his address to
Timothy, says, "Who hath saved us (that comes first, the grand act of God's eternal settlement), and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began." It was given to you in Christ; had it been given to you, it would have been unavailing, could not have taken care of it: you it was given to him for you: if you had had it, you would have lost it, and never would have produced it. It was therefore given to you in Christ, who has taken care of it, who has every benefit and every blessing all needful for our salvation locked up in him: we are fools, and slow of heart to believe; he is all wisdom, and will dispense every blessing and every benefit at the proper time, for the accomplishment of the object, in connection with his election of grace, before the foundation of the world.
gal son, which is a beautiful illustration of a sinner coming to his Father's house; he is surprised and overwhelmed with the reception, so contrary to what he deserved, as a man who had taken his father's substance, squandered it away, and soon spent it; to see the union in his heart. Here was the poor fellow; he thought, and no doubt said, Here is nothing but husks. Being a son, he knew what was in his father's house. There is that wisdom in a child of God, that he cannot eat husks, he cannot live on swine's food. The Lord, however, compares some to swine, for he says, "Cast not your pearls before swine, lest they turn again and rend you." Formal pro fessors can eat what the child of God cannot. Blessed be God, they have that appetite that can never be satisfied with what the world gives. Yes, blessed be God, there is an inward thirst, an aching void that the world can never fill; an hungering and a thirsting, not after creature righte ousness, but the righteousness of the Son of God; and nothing else will satisfy that soul: the effect which is produced is they are returning. The poor sinner, being deprived of God, sinks under the weight and oppression of sin. Buried in the ruins of the fall, he has lost all sight, sense, and feeling of an interest in Christ. Yet, dark as the soul is, he shall surely return. Ephraim may follow his idols:" he shall go thus far, but no farther. The Lord knows how to stop Ephraim: when he proceeds, his path is edged in; he shall suffer affliction, suffer trials: in this way, although you cannot see the merciful design and end of it, but thou art kicking, and rebelling, and struggling against the obstruction, the Lord is overruling for thy good, and will make the vision plain, and in the end bring it to a happy issue. You will thus be brought to see his ways are in the deep, that he gives his blessings cross handed. As Joseph said to his Father, "Not so, my father;" so does
every child of God say, Not so, my father, this is the eldest; but yet the youngest has the blessing: he wanted the first-born in the flesh, but the spiritual had existence first, had their dwelling-place in the Most High; they had grace in Christ before all time. In the xvth of the Corinthians, Paul says, Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural, and afterwards that which is spiritual." Now the spiritual man is first in the blessing, Ishmael is to be cast out. Nevertheless what saith the Scripture! Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the free-woman.'
is dead because of sin." The seed planted in the soul prospers as the corn planted in the earth: the corn dies, then shoots up a living blade, though it is inconceivable how it can push its tender fibre through so much rubbish. Sometimes I have stood in a field of corn, and contemplated with astonishment the simple blades; I have put my finger to one, and it instantly broke, yet, though so brittle, so fragile, it forced a passage through the thick clods of earth that buried it, made its appearance above ground, and then grew up from the blade into the ear. This figure, also, sets forth the apparent weakness of the seed in the soil; yet, to a simple observer, there is a work that takes place under ground. Under-ground work shews there is life before we see it above ground; there is vegetation going on. God be praised if but one good seed be dropped into your soul to-night, for it will produce love to God, and you will go home satisfied that you know what it is, by happy experience, to dwell under his shadow. There is an open manifestation of dwelling under his shadow. When he casts his corn seed into your soul, that seed shall revive, and not all the powers of hell shall extinguish the life of that seed. It is, just for a while, buried in the earth, and the fowls of the air will hover about to try to pick it up. I always think, when preaching, that the fowls of the air are hovering about to pick it up. When the heart is prepared, it shall take deep root, and bring forth fruit. That would be accounted a slovenly farmer who threw his seed on the surface of the ground. If he did not well plough, harrow and prepare the ground, to make it in a proper condition, we should say he was a poor foolish fellow, for the birds of the air would carry the whole away. To make the ground in proper condition, the fallow ground must be broken up. There is that which is comparable to the plough, "And if Christ be in you, the body the harrow, and the tormentor in the January, 1844.]
They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn." This is a fruitful figure; if a man is in Christ Jesus he shall revive as the corn. You who are engaged in agricultural pursuits, will see the applicability of the figure to the experience of a child of God. Thus the grace of God is comparable to good seed; the seed of God cast into the heart, it revives as the corn. When the corn is cast into the ground, it first dies, then revives, grows, and brings forth first the blade, then the ear, and after that the full corn in the ear, all ready for the harvest. Take up a seed of corn from the earth in the winter time, and it will appear dead; Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die ”—this has a direct reference to the Lord Jesus Christ—“ it abideth alone;" keep it as long as you will it abideth alone, it yields nothing; "but if it be cast into the earth and die, it bringeth forth much fruit." Depend upon it, never was the grace of God, the seed of eternal life put into any man's soul, but it produced death. By these things (said Hezekiah) men live, and in all these things is the life of my -flesh! no, no, but " the life of my spirit." This is a life that is the death of my flesh.