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2dly, See hence whence it is that the saints, who have “ taited that the Lord is gracious," do frequent the ordinances of God's appointment. Why, they are God's doves, as they are frequently called in the book of the Song; and is it strange to fee doves flocking to their windows ? Indeed, the world think it strange to see some travelling far to a facrament, and are ready to sneer at them as fools for their pains ; but let a blind world do their uttermost, God's doves will not be scared from the windows of his house.
3dly, See hence the attractive virtue that is in Christ. Why, when he lets out his grace, and love, and glory, he garrs [makes] finners come Aying like a cloud, and like flocks of doves after him, to the windows of his house. “ If I be lifted up (says Chrift), I will draw all men unto me.” O, sweet and victorious is his way of drawing ! He draws with the cords of a man, and the bands of love. No wonder, when all is considered, though the gathering of the people be unto the blessed Shiloh.
4thly, Sec hence what is the great work of faithful ministers of the gospel. Why, it is just to open the windows of gospel ordinances, and to invite the fimple doves, exposed to the fowls of the air, and ravenous birds, to turn in hither to Christ, who is a hiding place, &c.
5thly, See the folly of finners, yea, of the generality of gospel hearers, who come flying about the windows of gofpel ordinances, and yet do not fly in at the windows to Chrift himself, by a real faith closing with him. O, how many come to hear the gospel of Christ, who do not close with Christ! and how many come to a communion table, who do not feed upon Christ himself! O, the folly of such is great, when falvation is near unto them, and they so near to salvation, and yet come short of it through unbelief, &c.
6thiy, See the madness and wickedness of some in our day, who scare God's doves from his windows, and who make'the ordinances of God to be abhorred. Some do this by offering the doves unwholesome food of error or heathenish morality, or truth unskilfully prepared. Some scare the doves by their immoralities, and untender walk, like the sons of Eli, &c.; and judicatories, at this day, are scaring and scattering the Lord's doves from their windows, by violent intrusions, whereby they shut both doors and windows of the sanctuary, and then exclaim against the poor doves, that they do not haunt their usual windows. God fees well how his doves, his little ones, are guided at this day; and he knows how to provide his doves, and reckon with those that scatter and fright them. He will, in his own time and way, take these foxes and vul. tures, which men and judicatories are letting flip through
their fingers. The day of vengeance is in his heart, and the year of his redeemed is a-coming, Il. lxiii. 4.
7thly, See the use both of law and gospel, and how they stand in a sweet subserviency unto the falvation of a foul. Why, by the noise, and thunders, and terrors of the law, God's doves are wakened, and set to the flight from the wrath to come ; and this being done, the gospel opens the windows, and casts open the door of access to Christ, crying, “ l'urn ye to your strong holds, ye prisoners of hope," Zech. ix. 12.: So that Christ being discovered in the gospel, the law becomes a schoolmaster to bring finners unto Christ, that they may “ be justified by faith," Gal. iii. 2:. “ from all things from which they could not be justified by the law of Moses,” Acts xiii. 39. This much by way of inference.
Ule second may be of Trial.
Have you fled to Christ as doves to their windows ? Many fly to Christ in a way of profession, but, if ever thy soul really took a flight to him upon the wings of faith and love, you may know it by these or the like things.
If, Did ever a thunder-clap from Mount Sinai startle you, and raise you out of your natural security, and put you in a consternation, like a heap of doves at the fight of a gun ? So that you was wild, and knew not what to do, or whether to fly for help, like these converts, Acts ii. 37. and the jailor, A&s xvi. 27. and Paul at his convertion, &c.
2dly, When, like Noah's dove, you was wandering up down in your thoughts for a place of rest, got you a discovery of the Ark Christ, and came hovering about the Ark? Our
great Noah opened the windows of the Ark, and took thee in ! with himself, and became a hiding place unto thee, &c.
3dly, If this be the case at thy entry at the window of the Ark, thou hast been made to sing, Pral. cxvi. 7. “Return unto thy rest, O my soul, for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee;" or that, Pral. ciii. 4. “ He redeemeth my life from destruction, he crowneth me with loving-kindness and tender mercies. Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless his holy name," &c.
4thly, If so, when you took your flight to Christ, you left all idols behind you, crying with Ephraim, “What have I to do any more with idols ?" These things you counted gain will be loss in your view. As for fins, even your dearest fins, your right hands and right eyes, you will be careful to cut them off, and pull them out, &c. As for the world you was taken up with, you will cry, Away with it; it is a mere mass of vanity, all vanity and vexation, &c. As for the law, you will be dead to it as a husband. “I through the law am dead
to the law.” As for your works of righteousness that you gloried in, you will count them dung, and loss, filthy rags, &c. As for the wisdom of the flesh, you will reckon it stark folly and madness, &c. As for your own strength, you will see it to be weakness. “ I am not sufficient of myself,” &c. As for your own fulness, you have found it to be no. thing but emptiness; and that, initead of being rich and in. creafed with goods, you have seen that you are wretched and miserable, &c.
5thly, If you have really Aed to Christ as dores to their win. dows, there are some things you have found in him, which you could never find any where else. 1. Thou hast found the life of thy soul in him: 'Our “life is hid with Christ in God: He that hath the Son hath life," &c. 2. Thou hast found reit to thy soul in him: Thou triedit to find this and the former in lying refuges, but was ay disappointed in thy expectation, but now, now, thou hast found it according to his promise, Marth. xi. “ Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you relt,” O glorious rest! ll. xi. 10. 3. Thou hast found soul health in him, like the woman that spent all her means upon other phyticians to no purpose, till The came and touched the hem of Christ's garments, and then the bloody iflue was stayed. So can not thou say upon thy coming to Christ; thou foundít his countenance to be thy health; healing is under his wings, Mal. iv. 2. Psal. ciii. 3. He healeth all my diseases, &c. 4. Thou haft found food to thy foul in him: His “ felh is meat indeed, and his blood is drink in. deed, &c. O taste and see that the Lord is good,”' &c. 5. Thou haft found clothing to thy naked soul in him: You was trying, like our first parents, to cover thy nakedness with fig leaves; but now thou caftest these away, and taking the skin of the word to cover thee with, which God provided, and upon thy being thus clothed with the righteousness of Christ, thou hait been made to sing that song, Il. ixi. 10. “ He hath clothed me with the garments of falvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness," &c. 6. You have found riches, and unsearchable riches, in him, that do not rot in the grave, gold better than the gold of Ophir, to make you up for all eternity. 7. In one word, you have found your God in him, whom
loft in the first Adam; for God is in Christ, and you have found him as your own God: And now you will be ready to say, He is “my God, and I will prepare him an habitation, even the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Chrift; and therefore I will exalt him. Our God is the God of sale vation," &c. Ule third may be of Confolation unto God's doves in this
dark and evil day, in which their usual windows to which they use to flock, are like to be shut by a sett of men and judicatories who should open them, and who should gather God's doves, instead of scattering them.
There are these few things. I offer for comfort in an evil day like this.
ift, Know for your encouragement, that, when the windows of public ordinances are shut up, either by persecution, violence, or defections, or when you are scared away from them by vultures, or birds of prey, that have got into the house, yet God can let you in to coinmunion with him, by the private and secret windows I mentioned in the doctrinal part. God's doves, though they may be shut out of the kirks, yet they shall not be shut out from fellowship with him, one way or other; no, he will gather unto him them that are forrowful for the solemn assembly, &c.
2dly, God hears the mourning of his doves even when they are driven to the “ clefts of the rock, and secret places of the ftairs," Cant. ii. 14. &c.
3dly, God's eye is upon his doves, and he " tells all their wanderings ;-the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and they run to and fro,” &c.
4thly, His heart and his affection is set upon his doves, even to a ravishment, Cant. iv. 9. “ Thou hast raviled my heart, my sister, my spouse.” And this affection is invariable, for he rests in his love, &c.
5thly, The arms of his power and providence are about his doves, and “ He covers them with his feathers, and he will hide them in the secret of his tabernacle, when thousands shall fall at their side, and ten thousand at their right-hand. Come, my people, “enter into your chambers, thut the doors about thet," &c.
6thly, Ere it be long, thy soul will take a flight out of this ill world, into the land of relt, the house of many mansions, where thou wilt be at reft for ever.
Use fourth might be of Terror unto all these that are doing hurt to God's doves at this day.
Some are scaring and frighting them, some are scattering them, some are plucking at their gospel rights and privileges, fome plucking at their name with llander, tome plucking them out of their dwellings, because they cannot commit themselves into the hands of the birds of prey. I hall only ly to you, if there be any such hearing me, as I doubt not but there may be fo ne of them to spy out our liberty on this occasion, 1.“ God is je tlous for his doves with a great jealousy,” Zech. i. 14. 2. He is fore difpleased with you for the injuries that VOL. III.
are done to them in helping on their affliction, Zech. i. 15. 3. God is preparing a cup for you to drink, and a bitter one, Plal. Ixxiv. 8.“ In the hand of the Lord there is a cup, and the wine iz red," &c. He will render tribulation to them that trouble his doves. Goi's doves, that are mourning now, shall fing when ye shall mourn; they will be singing in hea. ven, when ye shall be mourning and howling among devils, &c.
Use fifth Hall be of Exhortation : 1, To all in general; 2dly, To God's doves in particular.
ist, a word of exhortation to persuade Guners to rise out of the earth like a cloud, and fly like doves unto Christ. O that all this company before me would clap their wings, and take a flight, and never rest until they had fled for refuge to this hope fet before them in the gospel! To fet you all a-flight, if posible, let me deal with you in a rational way.
1. God commands you to fly to Christ, “ This is his comniandment, That we ihould believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ," &c.
2. He invites you to fly to his Christ, “ Behold my servant whom I uphold,” &c.
3. He intreats and befeeches you to fly to him, “ We pray you in Christ's Read, as though God did beseech you by us, be ye
reconciled to God," &c. 4. He expostulates with you, because of your backslidings, to fly to him, “O my people! what have I done unto thee?" &c.
5. He affures you of welcome by his promise, " Come to me who will, I will in no ways cast out,' &c. And by his oath, “ As I live, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live," &c.
6. All things in his house are ready to give entertainment nhto you, behold, “all things are ready, come to the marriage, Proverbs, 8th and yth chapters.
7. l'iy, the windows are open, the heart of Christ is open, &c. His arıns are open and stretched out, &c. His covenant is open to you to take hold of it, &c.
8. Consider what is behind you. (1.) The roaring lion, ready to devour you. (2.) The curse of the broken law is behind you, &c. (3.) Th: wrath of God is behind you. O! who knows the power of it? &c.
9. There is no safety for you in heaven nor earth, if you do not fly from fin: “ There is no other nanie under heaven, given anong me!!, whereby we must be fived,” &c. “How ihail