« PreviousContinue »
midst of this incumbrance she hath been made to grow, bud forth, and blossom as the rose, Isa. Xxxv. 1. and Hos. xiv. 5.
As the bush burned and was not consumed, Exod. iii. 2. so the fire of persecution hath never been able to destroy her, but she hath always remained and grown,
and shall grow
when that fire shall be finally extinguished.
While I am musing, some how or other, these thorns have entangled me by my garments. This remindeth me of that monster of wickedness and miracle of grace, even Manasseh the king of Judah's being taken among thorns. Whether these were thorns literally, or the thorns of afflictions, I shall not determine; only whatever they were, they were made the means of catching him in his mad race to perdition, and of making him stop and consider his ways, *Hag. i. 5, 7.; which consideration, through grace, was not only made effectual for stopping him in his mad career, but also of turning him about, and making him run a quite contrary course, even the way of God's commands, Psal. cxix. 32.
Thus the royal Psalmist himself was once caught in the thorns of affliction, when he was running astray, and made to turn again into the paths of the righteous, Psal. cxix. 637. Happy thorns ! happy afflictions ! when thus blessed for preventing men from running to destruction.
But ah! how many are caught in the thorns of affliction, that are never a whit the bettered thereby, but push forward in their mad career still. These may be said to be taught with thorns the evil of their doings, but, making no improvement of their lesson, are only torn thereby, as Gideon taught the men of Succoth, Judg. viji.
Surely then it is my duty, as well as all others, whenever we are caught in the thorns of affliction, to comply with that call, to consider our ways, Hag. i. 5, 7, what we have been doing, and whither we have been going; what hath brought us into these troubles, and what is their language to us?
This is not only to hear the rod, but also him who hath appointed it, Micah vi. 9. If we are grieved for the pain only which these thorns occasion, and seek to get rid of them, without looking duly to the cause that involved us in them, it is a sign they are destitute of that effect which they had upon David and Manasseh.
The thorns of affliction, instead of being a curse, according to their nature, are now made a blessing to the people of the Lord; and are graciously promised to them as preventatives from pursuing their idols to their destruction ;” Therefore, behold, I will hedge
up thy way with thorns, and make a wall " that she shall not find her paths : And she « shall follow after her lovers, but she shall "? not overtake them; and she shall seek " them, but shall not find them. Then shall " she say, I will go and return to my first “ husband, for then was it better with me
than now,” Hos, ij. 6,7,
But especially those thorns bring to my remembrance that awful event when the powers of earth and hell were let loose against our eyer blessed Lord and Saviour i
when a crown of thorns, for pain and derision, was plaited for him, and put on his allsacred head by the wicked Jews and Roman soldiers, which, after they had mocked him and spit in his face, (that infinitely sacred and glorious face, before which the earth and heavens fly away, Rev. xx. 11. as unworthy to be looked on by him ;) they smote with a reed, no doubt into his sacred temples; meantime the blood sprang from a thousand
pores while they struck him on the head, Matt. xxvii. 31.
Fie upon you, thorns ! you fruit of the cursed ground, Gen. iii. 17, 18. that gave our Lord such excruciating pain ! rather, fie upon the Jews and soldiers who contrived and executed this barbarous torture! But, above all, fie upon my sins, and the sins of an elect world, that were the procuring cause of allthat shame and pain which our ever-blessed Lord and Saviour suffered; these conceived the barbarous torture, mocked him, spit in his face, and smote the thorns into his tem
Revenge, revenge, O
my soul, all this indignity, cruelty, and pain, which thy sins occasioned to thy dear Saviour, on thy sins, by destroying their life in thee : Yes, O my soul, crucify them which crucified thy Lord, the Lord of glory.
Away with them from thy heart which cried, “
away with this man !” Luke xxüi. 18. “ away with him, away with him, cru
cify him!” John xix. 15. Rather do it, O Almighty God, by thy infinite power and grace, for it is a task too hard for me; yet I am resolved, that through thy grace, which is sufficient, and strength which is made per fect in weakness, 2 Cor. xii. 9. I shall mortify sin daily, crucifying the flesh with the affections and lusts, Gal. v. 24. And should not I and every one do so, seeing that they crucified the Lord of glory? May I so revenge
the death of Christ on the life of sin in my soul!
And are we not bound to do so in baptism, and many of us since by our own voluntary vows and should we harbour as dear friends in our bosoms the stern enemies of Christ ? Should we allow those to live in our hearts, that slew our dear Saviour? No, whatever others do, may I resolve, Jo