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him! Here is a fountain for spiritual discourse: if you have an opportunity of conversing with any, concerning the great solemnity you have been witnesses to here; or if any ask you, Where was such or such a minister's text? here js a fair occasion for spiritual converse; for, you cannot, in a manner, tell them this text, without asking them a question, What think ye os Christ?
SERMON LII, LIU.
The GRADUAL CONQUEST; or, Heaven won by little and little *.
Deut. vii. 1.
And the Lord thy God tuill put out these nations before thee, by little and little.
YOU that have been right communicants at this occasion, you have been upon the sield of battle, sighting in the name and strength of the Lord against your spiritual enemies; what victory you have got, I cannot tell: but some may, perhaps, be faying, Oh I I sind my enemies to be yet strong and mighty; " Iniquities prevail against me;" and, I sear, I never get to the full poffession of the heavenly Canaan, there are so many and strong nations of enemies in the way, which I cannot get conquered. To such as may be thus exercised, the words of my text may be welcome news, The Lord thy God <Q)illput out these nations besore thee, by little and little. We have here God's promise to Israel of old, concerning their being brought to the possession of the earthly Canaan, which you know was a type of the heavenly Canaan; and, lest they should be discouraged by the disssiculty of the conquest, so many enemies being in the way, he animates them against the greatest discouragement, 1. If they objected the number of their enemies, and their strength; he answers that objection, ver. 17, 18. He had destroyed greater enemies than these for them; and he that had done the greater,
* This subject was discussed in two sermrns, preached at the sacramental solemnity at Carnock. Jiily 3d. 1727.
Vol. III. t ,B b wouM
would easily do the less; he that began the work, would sinish it. 2. If they objected the'weakness of their own strength and forces; he answers that objection, ver. 20,2*1. Their greatest encouragement was, that they had God among them, a mighty God, and terrible; and if God be with us, if God be for us, we need not sear the power of any creature against us. 3. If they objected the flow progress of their arms, and seared that the Canaanites would never be subdued, if they were not expelled at the sirst; to this it is answered in the words of our text, The Lord thy God will put out these nations, by little and little. Where you may notice two things.
1st, Israel's enemies described; they are called nations, because of their multitude and power.
idly, Israel's conquest; The Lord thy God will put them cut besore thee, by little and little. Where you may notice both the glorious Conqueror, and the manner of the conquest.
1. The Conqueror is God, described by his sovereignty over them, the Lord; and by his propriety in them, thy God. He it is that sights their battles.
2. The manner of the conquest: he will do it, 1. Effectually; He will put them out. 2. Remarkably; He will put them out besore thee. 3. Gradually, which is the special thing here noticed in the manner of the conquest, namely, by little and little. The fame you read, Exod. xxiii. 29, 30. The wisdom os God is to be remarked in the gradual conquest of his people's enemies; and it is in real kindness to the church, that her enemies are 'subdued by little and little.
Now, Israel, being typical of the church; and the land os Canaan typical of heaven ; and Israel's conquest over the nations, their enemies, typical of the spiritual conquest of the Lord's people over their spiritual enemies; and the manner of God's dealing with them for the most p«rt, typical of die way cf God's dealing with his people in all ages: therefore I would deliver to you the gospel of this text, .and open it in this one doctrinal observation;
Doer. That as the true Israel os God have nations cs
enemies in their way to the possession os the heavenly
s, Canaan; Canaan; so the Lord tbeir God will conquer this nations, by little and little.
I shall endeavour to open and consirm this doctrine in the following method.
I. Enquire who are the true Israel os God.
II. Speak a little of the heavenly Canaan, which they will be brought to the possession os.
III. Enquire what nations of enemies they have in their way.
IV. Speak a little of the Conqueror, the Lord their God.
V. The manner of the conquest, his putting diem out before them, by little and little.
VI. The reasons of this gradual conquest.
VII. Make application of the whole, in several uses.
And in all these, I shall endeavour as much brevity as possible. Mean time, look to the Lord, that he would give some word with power, and with a blessing.
I. The sirst thing, Who are the true Israel of God,' to whom this promise is made, in the mystical and spiritual sense of it? They are not all Israel that are os Israel.
1. The true Israel of God, whom he will bring to the heavenly Canaan, are a people whom he hath set apart for himself, and separated from the rest of the world, as Israel was. The true Israel are set apart, net only by election, from eternity; but by essectual calling, in time. As, in the sirst creation, God separated the light from the darkness, and made the one day, and the other ni?bt; so, in essectual calling, he separates the elect from others, as light from darkness; he leaves the rest of the world buried in their own obscuritv, and makes the others children of light. By essectual calling, they get convincing grace, others are left stupid and seared; they get enlightening grace, and others are left in the dark; they get renewing grace, and others are left in their enmity; they get persuading and enabling grace to believe, others are left in their unbelief, and remain children of disobedience and unperfuadableness: "This
Bb2 peopeople have I formed for myself, they shall shew forth my praise." Hence,
2. The true Israel of God are a people whom he hath brought out of Egypt, in a spiritual sense, as Israel was in a temporal; and that with a high hand, and outstretched arm. He hath brought them out of the Egypt of a natural state, and out of the house of bondage; from their natural bondage to sin and Satan, their bondage to the law, as a covenant of works, putting them to the hard task and intolerable labour of doing for lise; a task much worse than the Egyptian bondage, of making brick without straw: he hath brought them, I fay, out of the. house of bondage with a high hand: no power in the world being able to loose their bonds, if the power of a God had not been put forth for that end; They are a people redeemed, not only by the price of the Mediator's blood, but also by the power of his Spirit: by his power he hath begun to plague their enemies, and to drown them in the Red-sea of his blood; for, they overcome by the blood of the Lamb.
3. The true Israel of God are a people acquaint with travelling in the wilderness, from Sinai to Zion, as Israel was; I mean, from the law to the gospel; from the covenant of works to the covenant of grace. As Israel at Sinai was amazed at the sight of God appearing in his terrible majesty, and afterwards were brought into covenant with him; so the true Israel of God are a people, that have been humbled with the views of God's holiness and insinite justice, in the command and threatening of the law; and been made to flee for refuge to the hope set before them, in the gospel-covenant: they have come from Sinai to Zion; to Jesus the Mediator of of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling.
4. The true Israel' of God are a people acquaint with the conduct of the pillar of cloud and of sire, as Israel was; I mean, they have gotten the Spirit of Christ to be their guide in the way to Canaan: "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his;" and if any man have the Spirit of Christ, he is guided thereby, and led into all truth, and out of all the paths of damnable error. There is a leading of the Spirit by a secret invisible hand,