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my covenant? seeing thou" hast other gods before me in thy heart, and thus thou “ hatest instruction, and castest my counsel bebind thy back.”
Object. 8. God is angry, he carries towards me as an enemy, he smites by the word and rod; how then shall I adventure to say he is the Lord my God? Answ. It is true God was angry; but his angry or vindictive wrath having spent itself upon our glorious Surety, we may now say, with the church, Is. xii. 1 : “ His anger is turned away, and he comforteth us. Behold, God is my salvation: I will trust, and not be afraid.” Having smelt a sweet savour in the sacrifice of the death of Christ, the deluge of wrath is recalled, and a proclamation issued out, “ Fury is not in me:" I am the Lord thy God: Thou shalt have no other gods before me. O sirs, this is not the language of anger and wrath, but the language of love, mercy, and of infinite bowels of pity and good will toward man upon earth. As for the appearance
in his dispensations, “no man can know either love or hatred, by all that is before him :" the only way to judge of the love of his heart, is to read it in and by his words of grace; for these, and not his external dispensations, are the exact portraiture of his deep and infinite heart. It is true, indeed, we are told that “God is angry with the wicked every day:" but what is his grand and fundamental quarrel with them? It is this, that though he has said, I am the Lord thy God and Redeemer ; though he has given such a glorious proof of this as to give his only-begotten Son, and to give him up to the death for our redemption; though he has engaged his faithfulness to us in a new covenant; yet they will not know and acknowledge the Lord as God, and as their God, but will have some other gods before him. To conclude, the design of all the threatenings of the word, and of all the angry-like dispensations of his providence, is, that we may flee from his wrath, and may not “rush upon
the thick bosses of his buckler," but may turn to him as our God in Christ, and live, Ezek. xxxiii. 11.
Object. 9. What if it was only to the elect or believers in the camp of Israel that God spake, when he said, I am the Lord thy God? If so, they cannot be a foundation of faith to all. Answ. This objection still breaks the connexion God has made betwixt the promise and the precept, which must not be. I believe nó man will adventure to say, that the command, Thou shalt have no other gods before me, was only to the elect or believers; but to the elect and reprobate, believers and unbelievers. The whole law was given to every man, no man excepted: now, did God tie them all to obedience by his command, and yet at the same time take away
the foundation of obedience, which lies in the promise ? No, the one must run parallel with the other ; the promise in its exhibition must be as extensive as the obligation of the command; the object of faith must be presented to all whose duty it is to believe; the promise is among things revealed as well as the precept, and therefore equally belongs to us. “What God has joined let no man separate.” It is true, these words, I am the Lord thy God, considered as in his mind, purpose, and decree, belonged only to the elect; but considered as uttered or spoken indefinitely, they cease to be a decree with respect to us; we are to look upon them as a promise tendered to us as the ground of our faith ; and so they have a respect to every one commanded to have him as his own God.
I shall shut up this discourse with two or three words of exhortation or advice to you who have in reality obeyed this first commandment of the royal law, by laying hold upon God in Christ as your God, by virtue of his faithfulness engaged in this glorious grant, I am the Lord thy God. O what shall we, or what can we, render to him, who, after we had lost him as our God by sin, renders himself back to us in a new covenant, sealing it with his own blood, and attesting it by the three that bear record in heaven! There are these few things the Lord thy God requires of thee in a way of gratitude:
1. Love him as thy God, and love all that bear his image; for this is the sum of the ten commandments, “ Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself." This “ love is the fulfilling of the law."
2. Trust him as thy God; “ Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength. Trust in him at all times, ye people.” Trust him for every promised blessing ; and ask them of him in prayer, for they are agreeable to his will. 66 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us.” “ Cast all thy cares upon thy God, and in every thing by prayer and supplication, let your requests be made known unto him."
3. Worship him as thy God: “ He is thy Lord, and worship thou him.” And O'worship him in the beauties of holiness, for “ holiness becomes his house for ever.”
4. “Walk before thy God, and be thou perfect.” “ All people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever." “ Walk worthy of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” “Let your light
“Let your light so shine before VOL. II.
men, as others seeing your good works, may glorify your Father which is in heaven."
5. Praise, extol, and magnify him as your God: Exod. xv. 2: “ He is my God, and I will prepare him a habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him.” Let the high praises of thy God be continually in thy mouth, that he ever said to thy soul, I am the Lord thy God. Join issue with David, Psal. xviii. 46, saying, “ The Lord liveth, and blessed be my Rock: and let the God of my salvation be exalted.”
6. Lastly, Disband all other gods: Thou shall have no other gods before me : let nothing usurp his room. “ Little children, keep yourself from idols." “ Hear, O my people, and I will testify unto thee: Israel, if thou wilt hearken unto me; there shall no strange god be in thee: neither shalt thou worship any strange god." I am the Lord thy God, Psal. lxxi. 8-10.
THE STANDARD OF HEAVEN LIFTED UP AGAINST THE POWERS OF
HELL, AND THEIR AUKILIARIES. *
When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall
lift up a standard against bim.--Isa, lix. 19.
From the 16th verse of this chapter and downward, we have an illustrious prophecy concerning our glorious Redeemer, and the salvation he was to work for lost sinners by his obedience unto the death. He is introduced as a renowned champion, taking the field in our quarrel, when there was none to interpose for our deliverance from the thraldom of hell and sin. He puts on his armour, ver. 17. And what is it? Righteousness is his breastplate, salvation his helmet, vengeance against Satan and his confederates his clothing, and zeal for his Father's glory and our good his cloak or mantle. Being thus armed, he distributes death and ruin among all those who stand in the way of his undertaking, ver. 18: of glory.
* The substance of some sermons preached upon different occasions, at the celebration of the Lord's supper in Kinclaven, Burntisland, and Orwell, Enno 1730.
“ According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay; fury to his adversaries, recompense to his enemies," &c.
Thus, having carried the day, spoiled principalities and powers, the fame thereof spreads among the Gentile nations, upon the wings of the everlasting gospel. And what is the fruit of this? Ver. 19: “ So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun.” The meaning is, that the Gentile nations should come from east and west to the kingdom of the New Testament church, which is the nursery for the kingdom of glory; when the Jews, who had been for a long time the only children of the kingdom, should be cast out into utter darkness, because of their unbelief, in rejecting and crucifying the Lord
But now, when the powers of hell are thus overthrown by a glorious Redeemer, and his New Testament church reared up among the Gentiles; will the routed enemy ever rally his forces, or molest the church of God any more? Yes,
the prophet, after all this, the enemy will come in like a flood; but though he do, he shall not succeed in his attempts, for the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.
So then, in the words we have these two things in general 1. An attack made by the gates of hell upon the church of God: The enemy shall come in like a flood. 2. We have a repulse given him: The Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.
1. I say, we have an attack made by hell and its auxiliaries upon the kingdom and interest of Christ: The enemy shall come in like a flood. Where again we may notice, (1.) By whom the attack is made; it is by the enemy. The church of God, or his saints in this world, have many enemies, as you may hear afterward. They are expressed in the singular number, because of their unity in their designs against Christ and his kingdom, and because they attack under one principal leader and commander, namely, the god of this world, whose kingdom Christ came to overthrow. (2.) We may notice the manner of the enemy's attack; he comes in like a flood, with great violence and noise, as though he would sweep away all clean before him, Rev. xii. 15, we read that "the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman; that he might cause her to be carried
away of the flood.” It is no unusual thing in scripture, to represent the irruptions of hell and its armies upon the church of God, under the notion of a rapid flood or river, which threatens the ruin of every thing that stands in its way,
Psal. xciii. 3: “ The floods have lifted up, O Lord, the floods have lifted up their voice.” (3.) We have the progress of the enemy, ok how far the attack may be carried; he shall come in: he shall not stay without the walls or borders, like an enemy laying siege, and going no farther; but he shall come in, and "overflow even to the neck." Satan has a party within the church to take him by the hand; yea, he has a party within the very heart of the elect to side with him. (4.) We have the certainty of all this; it is not a may-be, or a peradventure, but there is a certainty of it: The enemy SHALL come in like a flood; the Lord has said it, and therefore it needs be no surprise when it comes.
2. In the words we may notice the repulse given to the enemy, after all his progress: The Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him. Where again we may notice, (1.) By whom the repulse is given, by the Spirit of the Lord. It is not by the might or the power of the church, it is not by any created strength, but “ by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts." (2.) How the repulse is given, or managed; it is by lifting up a standard against him. By the standard I understand Christ, who is not only “a standard-bearer among ten thousand,” Cant. v. 10, but the standard or ensign itself, Is. xi. 10: “And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek, and his rest shall be glorious." By the lifting up of the standard, I understand the displays of the glory of Christ in a gospel-dispensation, accompanied with the efficacy of the Spirit of the Lord: this is called a lifting up of Christ, John iii. 14, 15: “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up." It is by the listing up of this standard, or the manifestation of Christ in the gospel, that Satan's kingdom is ruined in the world, and his strong holds pulled down. (3.) We have the repulse itself given to the enemy by the Spirit of the Lord; he is put to flight, as it reads in the margin: or, as Calvin reads it, the Spirit of the Lord shall drive him back like the waters of Jordan, which were driven back toward their fountain, when they stood in the way of Israel's entry upon the possession of the promised land, Psal. cxiv. 5: “What ailed thee, O thou sea, that thou fleddest ? thou Jordan, that thou wast driven back ?” (4.) We have the certainty of this promise of repelling or driving back the enemy; it is not a may-be, but a shall-be. As there is a certainty respecting the in-breaking of the enemy; so there is as great a certainty of his being beaten back by the Spirit of the Lord : “Hath he said it, and will he not do it?"
From the words thus opened, I notice these two doc, trines :