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heaven and earth? Will not your mouth be stopped, when it shall appear that what has already so often proceeded out of your own mouth, does so much condemn you? And what will hypocrites and self-pretenders to experiences say, who have told what discoveries they had of the glory of God, of Christ, and of heaven ; when the Judge inquires of them, why they set so light by this God, and did so prefer the dust of the earth and the filth of sin, before him? When those who have often told what love they have felt to the Lord Jesus Christ, are asked why they took no more care to please and honour him, and why they rather chose from time to time to reject him than sacrifice their worldly interest.
So when wicked men are inquired of why, when they professed to believe a future state, they took no more pains to prepare for it; why, when they professed to be the followers of Christ the Lamb of God, they were no more like him; why, when they owned him for their head, and expressed such wonderful love to him, they could turn and become his enemies; why, when they lived in hope of a life of such unspeakable glory in heaven, they set their affections wholly on this world; why, seeing they made such a show of regard to God and their duty at one time, they discovered such a total disregard at another ; why, when they made such pretences to religion, and had such appearances of it in some things, they were so irreligious and wicked in others; what will they answer? Wicked men will appear self-condemned every way: their own reason and their own consciences, their own mouths and their own actions have condemned them : their reason and consciences will still condemn them, and God will condemn them, and men and angels will and must condemn them : so that they will appear universally condemned; they will have nothing to say for themselves, nor will any one have any thing to say for them.
4. If you are so inconsistent with yourself, you need not wonder that God will enter into no Friendship with you, or that he does not receive you into his Favour. Many natural men are ready to wonder that God will not receive them into favour-they do so much in religion.
But if you consider what has been said, you need not wonder at it. A wise man will make no friendship with another who is very inconsistent with himself in those things wherein men are concerned with him. He will not associate himself with him, nor care to have much to communicate with him ; for men know that such
persons are not to be depended on. One does not know where to find them, nor how to suit them, and if they will be so inconsistent with themselves, certainly they will not be very consistent with others that trust them. God therefore justly refuses to receive such persons into union with him. It is not consistent with his divine wisdom to give himself to them in a covenant relation.
No wonder that Christ will not commit himself to such persons as these ; John ii. 23, 24, 25. “ Now, when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man; for he knew what was in man." Christ knew that there was no dependence to be had upon them; be knew they would not prove consistent with themselves.
5. How vain and inconsistent is the Dependence of wicked men on themselves! If this be the case with natural men, if all natural men are as we have heard, so absurdly inconsistent with themselves, how unreasonable is their high thought of themselves, and their trusting to their own goodness, to their own prayers, and their other performances !
And that they do so, is an evident sign of their woful ignorance of themselves. If such persons saw themselves as they are, and to be such as we have described them, certainly they would be far from trusting in their own excellency and goodness, but would see themselves to be polluted, wretched, miserable lost creatures, and would no more say in their hearts, “I am rich, and increased with goods ;" but would rather condemn themselves, and cry out with self-abhorrence and amazement, “ Unclean, unclean, undone, undone !"
ISAIAH xxxii. 2.
And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert
from the tempest: as rivers of water in a dry place; as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.
In these words we may observe,
1. The person who is here prophesied of and commended, viz.: the Lord Jesus Christ, the King spoken of in the preceding verse, who shall reign in righteousness. This king is abundantly prophesied of in the Old Testament, and especially in this prophecy of Isaiah. Glorious predictions were from time to time uttered by the prophets concerning that great King who was to come: there is no subject which is spoken of in so magnificent and exalted a style by the prophets of the Old Testament, as the Messiah. They saw his day and rejoiced, and searched diligently, together with the angels, into those things. 1 Peter i. 11, 12. “Searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us, they did minister the things which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you, with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.”
We are told here that “a man shall be a hiding place from the wind,” &c. There is an emphasis in the words, that " a man” should be this. If these things had been said of God, it would not be strange under the Old Testament; for God is frequently called a hiding place for his people, a refuge in time of trouble, a strong rock, and a high tower. But what is so remarkable is, that they are said of "a man." But this is a prophecy of the Son of God incarnate.
2. The Things here foretold of him, and the Commendations given him.
“He shall be a hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest :”. That is, he shall be the safety and defence of his people, to which they shall flee for protection in the time of their danger and trouble. To bim they shall flee as one who is abroad, and sees a terrible storm arising, makes haste to some shelter to secure himself'; so that however furious is the tempest, yet he is safe within, and the wind and rain, though they beat never so impetuously upon the roof and walls, are no annoyance unto him. He shall be as “rivers of water in a dry place.” This is
” an allusion to the deserts of Arabia, which was an exceedingly hot and dry country. One may travel there many days, and see no sign of a river, brook, or spring, nothing but a dry and parched wilderness; so that travellers are ready to be consumed with thirst, as the children of Israel were when they were in this wilderness, when they were faint because there was no water. Now when a man finds Jesus Christ, he is like one that has been travelling in those deserts till he is almost consumed with thirst, and who at last finds a river of cool and clear water. And Christ was typified by the river of water that issued out of the rock for the children of Israel in this desert : he is compared to a river, because there is such a plenty and fulness in him.
He is the " shadow of a great rock in a weary land.” Allusion is still made to the desert of Arabia. It is not said as the shadow of a tree, because in some places of that country, there is nothing but dry sand and rocks for a vast space together, not a tree to be seen; and the sun beats exceedingly hot upon the sands, and all the shade to be found there, where travellers can rest and shelter themselves from the scorching sun, is under some great rock. - They who come to Christ find such rest and refreshment as the weary traveller in that hot and desolate country finds under the shadow of a great rock.
We propose to speak to three propositions that are explicatory of the several parts of the text.
I. There is in Christ Jesus abundant foundation of safety for those who are in fear and danger. “A man shall be an hiding place from the wind, a covert from the tempest.”
II. There is in Christ provision for the satisfaction, and full contentment, of the needy and thirsty soul. He shall be "as rivers of water in a dry place.”
III. There are quiet rest, and sweet refreshment in Christ Jesus for him who is weary. He shall be “as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land."
1. There is in Christ Jesus abundant foundation of peace and safety for those who are in fear and danger.
The fears and dangers to which men are subject, are of two kinds ; temporal and eternal. Men are frequently in distress from fear of temporal evils. We live in an evil world, where we are liable to an abundance of sorrows and calamities. A great part of our lives is spent in sorrowing for present or past evils, and in learing those which are future. What poor, distressed creatures are we, when God is pleased to send his judgments among us! If he visits a place with mortal and prevailing sickness, what terror seizes our hearts! If any person is taken sick, and trembles for bis life, or if our near friends are at the point of death, or in many olber dangers, how fearsul is our condition! Now there is sufficient foundation for peace and safety to those exercised with such fears, and brought into such dangers. But Christ is a refuge in all trouble; there is a foundation for rational support and peace in him, whatever threatens us. He, whose heart is fixed, trusting in Christ, need not be afraid of any evil tidings. " As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so Christ is round about them that fear him."
But it is the other kind of fear and danger to which we have a principal respect; the fear and danger of God's wrath. The fears of a terrified conscience, the fearful expectation of the dire fruits of sin, and the resentment of an angry God, these are iufinitely the most dreadful. If men are in danger of those things, and are not asleep, they will be more terrified than with the fears of any outward evil. Men are in a most deplorable condition, as they are by nature exposed to God's wrath; and if they are sensible how dismal their case is, will be in dreadful fears and dismal expectations.
God is pleased to make some sensible of their true condition. He lets them see the storm that threatens them, how black the clouds are, and how impregnated with thunder, that it is a burning tempest, that they are in danger of being speedily overtaken by it, that they have nothing to shelter themselves from it, and that they are in danger of being taken away by the fierceness of
It is a fearful condition when one is smitten with a sense of the dreadfulness of God's wrath, when he has his heart impressed with the conviction that the great God is not reconciled to him, that he bolds him guilty of these and those sins, and that he is angry enough with him to condemn him for ever. It is dreadful to lie down and rise up, it is dreadful to eat and drink, and to walk about in God's anger from day to day. One, in such a case, is ready to be afraid of every thing; he is afraid of meeting God's wrath wherever he goes.
He has no peace in his mind, but there is a VOL. VIII.