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The foundation of all the following promises lies in the second verse, even the giving out of the “Branch of the LORD” and the" Fruit of the earth" for beauty and glory to the remnant of Israel. Who it is who is the “Branch of the LORD” the Scripture tells us in sundry places, Isa. xi. 1; Jer. xxiii. 5, xxxiii. 15; Zech. iii. 8. The Lord Jesus Christ, the promise of whom is the church's only supportment in every trial or distress it hath to undergo, he is this branch and fruit; and he is placed in the head here as the great fountain-mercy, from whence all others do flow. In those that follow, the persons to whom those promises are made, and the matter or substance of them, are observable. The persons have various appellations and descriptions in this chapter. They are called (first) “The escaping of Israel,” verse 2; “They that are left in Zion,” verse 3; “Jerusalem”itself, verse 4; “The dwelling-places and assemblies of mount Zion," verse 5. That the same individual persons are intended in all these several appellations is not questionable. It is but in reference to the several acts of God's dwelling with them, and outgoings of his love and good-will, both eternal and temporal, towards them, that they come under this variety of names and descriptions. First, In respect of his eternal designation of them to life and salvation, they are said to be “Written among the living," or unto life" in Jerusalem;" their names are in the Lamb's book of life from the foundation of the world, and they are recorded in the purpose of God from all eternity. Secondly, In respect of their deliverance and actual redemption from the bondage of death and Satan, which for ever prevail upon the greatest number of the sons of men, shadowed out by their deliverance from the Babylonish captivity (pointed at in this place), they are said to be “ A remnant, an escaping, such as are left and remain in Jerusalem." From the perishing lump of mankind God doth by Christ snatch a remnant (whom he will preserve), like a brand out of the fire. Thirdly, In respect of their enjoyment of God's ordinances and word, and his presence with them therein, they are called “The daughter of Zion,” and “The dwelling-places thereof."3 There did God make known his mind and will, and walked with his people in the beauties of holiness: these are they to whom these promises are made, the elect, redeemed, and called of God; or those who, being elected and redeemed, shall in their several generations be called, according to his purpose who worketh all things according to the counsel of his own will.
For the matter of these promises, they may be reduced to these three heads :—first, Of justification, verse 2; secondly, Of sancti
Rev. ii. 12, xiji. 8; Luke x. 20. • Rev. v. 9; Eph. v. 25–27, Zech. iii. 2; John xvii. 9; Rom. viii. 33.
; Ps. xlviii. 11-14, xvi. 1-3, etc.; Jer. 1. 5; Zech. viii. 2; John xii. 15; P&. cz. 3; Isa. xlix. 14.
fication, verses 3, 4; thirdly, Of perseverance, verses 5, 6. First, Of justification, Christ is made to them, or given unto them, for beauty and glory; which how it is done the Holy Ghost tells us: Isa. lxi. 10, “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness," saith the church. He puts upon poor deformed creatures the glorious robe of his own righteousness, to make us comely in his presence and the presence of his Father, Zech. iii. 3, 4. Through him, his being given unto us,“ made unto us of God righteousness,” becoming "the Lord our righteousness," do we find free acceptation, as beautiful and glorious, in the eyes of God. But this is not all. He doth not only adorn us without, but also wash us within. The apostle acquaints us that that was his design, Eph. v. 25–27; and therefore you have, secondly, the promise of sanctification added, verses 3, 4. Verse 3, you have the thing itself: they “shall be called holy," made S0,---called so by him who "calleth things that are not as though they were," and by that call gives them to be that which he calls them. He said, “Let there be light; and there was light," Gen. i. 3. And then the manner how it becomes to be so, verse 4; first, setting out the efficient cause, “the Spirit of judgment, and the Spirit of burning,”-that is, of holiness and light; and, secondly, the way of his producing this great effect, “washing away filth and purging away blood.” Spiritual filth and blood is the defilement of sin; the Scripture, to set out its abomination, comparing it to the things of the greatest abhorrency to our nature, even as that is to the nature of God.” And this is the second promise that in and by the “Branch of the LORD” is here made to them “who are written unto life in Jerusalem.” But
But now, lest any should suppose that both these are for a season only, that they are dying privileges, perishing mercies, jewels that may be lost, so that though the persons to whom these promises are made are once made glorious and comely, being in Christ freely accepted, yet they may again become odious in the sight of God and be utterly rejected,—that being once washed, purged, cleansed, they should yet return to wallow in the mire, and so become wholly defiled and abominable,—in the third place he gives a promise of perseverance, in the last two verses, and that expressed with allusion to the protection afforded unto the people of the Jews in the wilderness by a cloud and pillar of fire; which as they were created and instituted signs of the presence of God, so they gave assured protection, preservation, and direction, to the people in all their ways. The
1 Cor. i, 30; Isa. liv. 17, xlv. 24, 25; Jer. xxiii. 6; Rom. v. 1, viii. 1; Col. ü. 10.
? Ezek. xi. 19; John iii. 5; Rom. viii. 1; John xvi. 8_11; Ps. xxxviii. 5, 7; Prov. xiii. 5, 6; Isa. i. 5, 6, lxiv. 6; Ezek. xvi. 4, 5, xxiv. 6; Hos. viii. 8; Zech. xii. 1; Rom. iii. 13; 2 Pet. ii. 22.
sum of the whole intendment of the Holy Ghost in these two verses seeming to be comprised in the last words of the fifth, and they being a suitable bottom unto the ensuing discourse, comprising, as they stand in relation to the verses foregoing, the whole of my aim, with the way or method wherein it may conveniently be delivered, I shall a little insist upon them: “Upon all the glory shall be a defence.”
The words are a gospel promise expressed in law terms, or a new testament mercy in old testament clothes: the subject of it is “All the glory;" and the thing promised is “A defence over it," or upon By “The glory,” some take the people themselves to be intended, who are the glory of God, Isa. xlvi. 13, in whom he will be glorified, and who are said to be made glorious, chap. iv. 2. But the pillar of fire and the cloud lead us another way. As the protection here promised must answer the protection given by them of old, so the glory here mentioned must answer that which was the glory of that people, when they had their preservation and direction from these signs of the presence of God in the midst of them. It is very true, the sign of God's presence among them itself, and the protection received thereby, is sometimes called his "glory,” Ezek. x. 4, 18; but here it is plainly differenced from it, that being afterward called a “defence." That which most frequently was called the "glory” in the ancient dispensation of God to his people was the ark. When this was taken by the Philistines, the wife of Phinehas calls her son I-chabod, and says, “The glory is departed from Israel," 1 Sam. iv. 21, 22; which the Holy Ghost mentions again, Ps. lxxviii. 61, “And delivered his strength into captivity, and his glory into the enemy's hand.” The tabernacle, or the tent wherein it was placed, is mentioned, verse 60, “He forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent which he placed among them;" and the people to whom it was given, verse 62, “He gave his people over also unto the sword;"—that ark being the glory and strength which went into captivity when he forsook the tabernacle, and gave his people to the sword. That this ark, the "glory" of old, was a type of Jesus Christ (besides the end and aim of its institution, with its use and place of its abode), appears from the mercy-seat or plate of gold that was laid upon it; which Jesus Christ is expressly said to be, Rom. iii. 25, 26, compared with Heb. ix. 5. It is he who is the "glory” here mentioned, not considered absolutely and in his own person, but as he is made "beauty and glory" unto his people, as he is made unto them righteousness and holiness, according to the tenor of the promises insisted on before. And this is indeed all the glory of the elect of God, even the presence of Christ with them, as their justification and sanctification, their righteousness and holiness. The matter of the promise made in reference to this “glory" and
i Isa. alv. 25.
upon whom it doth abide is, that there “shall be a defence upon it.” The word translated here “A defence" comes from a root that is but once read in Scripture, Deut. xxxiii. 12, where it is rendered to cover: “The LORD shall cover him all the day long." So it properly signifies. From a covering to a protection or a defence is an easy metaphor, a covering being given for that end and purpose. And this is the native signification of the word “protego,” “to defend by covering;" as Abimelech called Abraham “the covering of Sarah's eyes," or a protection to her, Gen. xx. 16. The allusion also of a shade, which in Scripture is so often taken for a defence, ariseth from hence. This word itself is used twice more, and in both places signifies a bride-chamber, Ps. xix. 5, Joel ii. 16, from the peace, covert, and protection of such a place. The name of the mercy-seat is also of the same root with this. In this place it is, by common consent, rendered “A defence" or protection, being so used either by ullusion to that refreshment that the Lord Christ, the great bridegroom, gives to his bride in his banqueting-house, or rather in pursuit of the former similitude of the cloud that was over the tabernacle and the ark, which represented the glory of that people. Thus, this “defence” or covering is said to be “upon” or above the "glory,” as the cloud was over the tabernacle, and as the mercy-seat lay upon the ark. Add only this much to what hath been spoken (which is also affirmed in the beginning of the verse), namely, that this defence is "created,” or is an immediate product of the mighty power of God, pot requiring unto it the least concurrence of creature power, and the whole will manifest the intendment of the Lord everlastingly to safeguard the spiritual glories of his saints in Christ.
As was before shown, there are two parts of our spiritual glory, the one purely extrinsical, to wit, the love and favour of God unto us, his free and gracious acceptation of us in Christ. On this part of our glory there is this defence created, that it shall abide for ever, it shall never be removed. His own glory and excellencies are engaged for the preservation of this excellency and glory of his people. This sun, though it may be for a while eclipsed, yet shall never set, nor give place to an evening that shall make long the shade thereof; whom God once freely accepts in Christ, he will never turn away his love from them, nor cast them utterly out of his favour. The other is within us, and that is our sanctification, our portion from God by the Spirit of holiness, and the fruits thereof, in our faith, love, and obedience unto him. And on this part of our glory there is this defence, that this Spirit shall never utterly be dislodged from that soul wherein he makes his residence, nor resign his habitation to the spirit of the world,—that his fruit shall never so decay as that the fruits of
1 Ps. xvii. 8, xxxvi. 7, lvii. 1, lxiii. 7, cxxi. 5; Isa. xxx. 2, xlix. 2; Ezek, xxxi. 6, etc. . Cant ii. 4.
Sodom and the grapes of Gomorrah should grow in their room, nor they wherein they are everlastingly, utterly, and wickedly, grow barren in departing from the living God. These two make up their perseverance whereof we speak. Whom God accepts in Christ, he will continue to do so for ever; whom he quickens to walk with him, they shall do it to the end. And these three things, acceptance with God, holiness from God, and a defence upon them both unto the end, all free and in Christ, are that threefold cord of the covenant of grace which cannot be broken.
In the handling, then, of the doctrine proposed unto consideration, I shall, the Lord assisting, show,
First, That the love and favour of God, as to the free acceptation of believers with him in Christ, is constant, abiding, and shall never be turned away; handling at large the principles both of its being and manifestation.
Secondly, That the Spirit and grace of sanctification, which they freely receive from him, shall never utterly be extinguished in them, but so remain as that they shall abide with him for ever; the sophistical separation of which two parts of our doctrine is the greatest advantage our adversaries have against the whole. And [I shall] demonstrate,
Thirdly, The real and causal influences which this truth hath into the obedience and consolation of the saints, considered both absolutely, and compared with the doctrine which is set up in competition with it.
In the pursuit of which particulars I shall endeavour to enforce and press those places of Scripture wherein they are abundantly delivered, and vindicate them from all the exceptions put in to our inferences from them by Mr Goodwin in his “ Redemption Redeemed;” as also answer all the arguments which he hath, with much labour and industry, collected and improved in opposition to the truth in hand. Take, then, only these few previous observations, and I shall insist fully upon the proof and demonstration of the first position, concerning the unchangeableness of the love of God towards his, to whom he gives Jesus Christ for beauty and glory, and freely accepts them in him:
First, As to their inherent holiness, the question is not concerning acts, either as to their vigour, which may be abated, or as to their frequency, which may be interrupted; but only as to the spirit and habit of it, which shall never depart. We do not say they cannot sin, fall into many sins, great sins, which the Scripture plainly affirms of all the saints that went before, (and who of them living doth not this day labour under the truth of it?) but through the presence of God with them, upon such grounds and principles as shall afterward be insisted on, they cannot, shall not, sin away the Spirit and habio of grace (which without a miracle cannot be done away by any one