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Lord of hosts defend Jerusalem." The stability of the church in general, and of every particular believer, is from God. He who assaults the saints assaults the throne of God, and then we may easily and certainly judge what the issue will be: “ He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall have them in derision.” “ Thy throne, O God," says the Psalmist, “is for ever and ever;" neither the powers of earth nor hell shall prevail against it. He not only confers a glory upon his people, but upon and round about all that glory he places a defence. Do we, then, belong to this body? are we constituent parts of the church of Christ? if so, we may boldly say with the apostle, “ if God be for us, who can be against us?" many may be designedly so, but who can be rationally or effectually so? If his grace does not change their hearts, his power will restrain their hands. What is here called a throne, is elsewhere compared to a vineyard; and God says, “I the Lord do keep it; I will water it every moment, lest any hurt it: I will keep it day and night."
3. Their nearness to God. The church is God's throne, and where should a king be but upon his throne? “ The King of Israel, even the Lord, is in the midst of thee; thou shalt not see evil any more.” He who by reason of his immensity is present with all his creatures, is in an especial manner so with his saints. He is with them-he is in them; he says of the sanctified heart as he does of Zion, “ This is my rest, here will I dwell for ever, for I have desired it." The saints dwell in God, and God dwells in them; which implies the closest connexion and most intimate communion. We read of earthly kings who have abdicated their thrones, but the King of kings will not do so: “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee," was his language to Joshua; and is so to every true believer. He is always within the call of our prayers, and we are always within the reach of his help. This should dispel our fear, and excite our trust,—that when friends withdraw, enemies assault, and death approaches, yet God is near. All these circumstances united with respect to our blessed Redeemer, yet he comforted himself with this-"I am not alone, because the Father is with me."
I would also add, that this nearness is attended with delight, not only on the part of the saints, but on the part of God; for as a king delights to be upon his throne, so God delights to manifest himself to his people. “The Lord delighteth in thee,” says the Prophet Isaiah. " He will rejoice over thee with joy,” says the prophet Zephaniah ; “ he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing."
4. When a king sits upon his throne he appears in his greatest glory, and thus does God in his church. There suppliant sinners present their addresses, and his loyal subjects pay him their grateful homage and adoration ; there he displays the glory of all his perfections, his wisdom, power, holiness, mercy, and faithfulness. In the material temple his glory dwelt in a cloud, but in his spiritual temple it breaks forth in a blaze. Ministers display it in their sermons, and private Christians in their lives. Hence that solemn passage which closes the third chapter of Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians,—“ Unto him be glory in the church, by Christ Jesus, throughout all ages, world without end."
Then let the Lord's holy and sanctified ones know their privilege, and act up to it. If you, my friends, have deferred to make a public profession of religion, defer it no longer. It is promised in the following words,~" All nations shall be gathered to it in the name of the Lord in Jerusalem;" that is, the church shall be blessed with a great increase, and this increase shall be attended with the utmost love and peace. If you have made a public profession, you should adorn it thus in the concluding part of the verse-“ neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart.” There is an evil heart; still this evil heart hath its imaginations, but they shall not walk after them. To mortify sin, and perfect holiness,
should be the daily work of the Christian. God may say to us, as the church says to him, “ Do not disgrace the throne of my glory." God consults our advantage, and we should consult his honour. He gives us his grace, the greatest gift, next to Christ, that he could bestow; and as that grace teaches, so it should sweetly incline-nay, powerfully constrain us——to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world, looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ, to whom be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen!
Zion, a mourner long,
Her new-born children sees;
“ Who hath begotten these ?".
While these estranged had been ;
A new, a glorious scene.
Its beams afresh displays,
Are now attuned to praise.
One here, another there
Are gathered to the Lord,
And all-subduing word.
But oh, the happier day,
When round the blissful throne,
Collected all in one.
Without a jarring note,
Or one discordant tongue,
In one harmonious song.
When Moses saw it he wondered at the sight.
When Israel's deliverance out of Egypt was promised to Abraham, he saw a smoking furnace and burning lamp, the one of which might signify their affliction, the other their salvation. Here Moses, in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, sees an angel of the Lord, that is, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messenger or Angel of the Covenant, and whom is the name of the Lord, in a flame of fire in a bush and he wondered at the sight. Two things are here to be considered the sight itself, and the wonder it excited.
I. The sight itself: a bush on fire, and not consumed. There is nothing more easily set on fire than a bush, or more easily consumed ; fire readily catches it, and is not easily extinguished in it. It is fit matter for fire to act upon, nay, it is often used to kindle fire. It is therefore amazing that the whole was not immediately reduced to ashes. When a house is on fire, some part of it will be burnt, but here the whole was preserved; so that this was a miracle, something out of the ordinary course of nature, as great a miracle as the preservation of Daniel in the lion's den, Jonah in the whale's belly, or the three Hebrew children amidst the intense heat of the burning fiery furnace.
of his mission, and embolden him in the discharge of that work which God had assigned him. The voice of the Lord divides the floods of water, and it also divides the flames of fire. That which was a means of preserving Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the fiery furnace, was also a means of preserving the bush. Christ was in the furnace, and Christ was in the bush; and the same cause will always produce the same effect. “When thou walkest through the fire, I will be with thee, and thou shalt not be burnt, neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” The sight here spoken of is represented as a great sight: “ I will now turn aside,” says Moses," and see this great sight.” The great God was a part of it; there were great mysteries in it, and great things followed upon it. It was an uncommon sight; he had never seen any thing similar to it either in the wilderness, or the court of Pharaoh. It was a delightful, yet awful sight. God himself says to Moses, “ Draw not nigh hither, put off thy shoes from thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.” Not holy by any external consecration as men make churches and church-yards holy, but by a divine manifestation, and the immediate presence of the great God. It was also an instructive sight. Many useful lessons might be, and no doubt were, learned from it. Moses, though well-skilled in all the learning of the Egyptians, who were then supposed to be the most learned people upon
the face of the earth, was here taught more than he had ever learnt before concerning the wisdom of God's providence, the greatness and sovereignty of his grace, his care over, and the happy issue to which he will bring all the afflictions of his people. Now the wonderful sight here spoken of may be considered as an emblem and figure either of the person or church of Christ.
1. Of the person of Christ. Is a bush something mean and contemptible in its appearance? This may hold forth the human nature of the Lord Jesus Christ, in which the unenlightened cye could see no form nor comeliness, so that he was despised and rejected of men. Hence he is com