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