« AnteriorContinuar »
is put out of the throne, and temporal heritages are made the foundation of fpiritual privileges : As for ex. ample, when in the choice of pastors tv any congrega. tion, which is a spiritual privilege,' relating to immortal fouls, the heritors of this earth, the heirs of a little yel. low dust, have such a privilege and preference given them by virtue of their temporal inheritance, as if they were lords over the consciences of men, and lords over God's heritage : surely their secular advantage in the world can entitle them to no fpiritual privilege in the house of God, no more than an earthly inheritance can entitle them to heaven : but to give them a dominion over the souls of men in this matter, is a practical de. throning of the Lamb from the midst of the throne. Church-officers themselves are discharged to usurp such a dominion as to be lords over God's heritage : it is un lawful for them to obtrude pastors upon a Christian people without their consent ; far less have they power to put such a dominion over mens consciences into the hands of earthly superiors. How can they give what they have not themselves *? In fpiritual matters we are to own no inan lord, but he that is '“ Lord of lords, the
Lamb that is in the midst of the throne.” Church. Bir government is quite overturned, when the throne of
Christ's fpiritual kingdom is posseít by any other in this world but only the Lamb. . 6. Here is comfort against death. Death shall not reign, because the Lamb is in the midst of the throne, and liveth for ever and ever, and hath the keys of hell and of death; and therefore death shall be swallowed up in victory.
7. Here is comfort against the fear of judgment; that awful day reeds be 110 terror to the lovers of the Lamb, because, when the fiery tribunal will be erected, the Lamb will be in the midst of the throne ; and the friends of the Lamb will be received into his bofom, while all his enemies will stand trembling before his throne.
8. Here is comfort in the view of a long eternity, that * Pationa ye has always been a great grievance to the church, and was carried on at this time with a very high hand, though contrary to Suripure, Rea'on, our Standards, and Acts of the Church ; particularly act of ATembly ai Glasgow, 1638, as observed above, p. 298. 351.
the Lamb, that is for ever in the midst of the throne, will for ever feed you, and lead you unto living fountains, and wipe away all tears from your eyes. O! who can tell the happiness of the higher house, the glorious feeding and leading you shall have there, the everlasting and ever-living fountain of divine confulation, wherewith ye shall for ever be refreshed! The fountain is God, and his glorious attributes; Christ, and his inexhaustible fulnefs; the Spirit, and his everlasting consolation ; a glorious Trinity: God, who is now a promising God, will then be a performing God. Who can tell the sweetnels of that blessing, his wiping away all tears from your eyes? He that hath a bottle for your tears now, hath a napkin to wipe them all away then; fur, Ye shall obtain joy and gladness, and forrow and fighing shall flee away.
Secondly, I offer a word of advice to you. O Sirs, if the Lamb be in the midst of the throne,
1. Then be quiet amidst all the mal-adıninistrations of men, amidst all the misnianagements of chutch-men and church-judicatories; because, though men cannot be justified in their church-ruining projects, yet the Lamb being in the midst of the throne, hath a' just, holy, and sovereign hand in ordering these evils, when he hath a controversy to plead with us. Let us see the hand of God in leaving men to themselves, to rob the church and people of God of their rights and Reforma. tion privileges. What was the hand of Pilate against Christ, the cruellest act that ever was done? Why, it was the hand of God himself: for'it is said, when Pilate fpake, saying, “ Dolt thou not know that I have power to crucify thee, or to set thee at liberty?" Christ answered, - Thou couldst have no power, except it were given thee of my Father." Even fo say I, churchi-men or church. judicatories, courts or assemblies, could have no power to break down any of the carved work of Reformation; no power to harm the liberties of God's people in chu. fing their pastors; no power to obtrude ministers on Chriftian congregations, willing to chuse faithful pastors; no power to pass fentence against such as oppose that speat of defection, except it were given them of our Father; and therefore, let us be quiet and sober: we have fome other
and chúrándít all the milit all the mala
thing et him "The Lorced some
thing ado than to break out in a paffinate resentment against pour mortal men ; the fintul inftruments of the church's confusion and disorder. When Shimei railed upun David, “ Let him alone, says David, may be the Lord hath bidden him.” The Lord, for our trial and chastisement, perhaps hath required some in our day, Go and tread upon the rights of these people ; go and reproach and persecute, fufpend and depose these minifers, for keeping a good conscience in an evil time: I fay, it may be the Lord hath bidden; yea, “ Is there evil in the city, and the Lord hath not done it?” Is there evil in the church, and the Lord hath not done it? No, no : Well, what of that? This does not justify evil instruments, no; but it says, we are to be fober, and lay our hand upon our mouth, and bear the indignation of the Lord, because we bave fioned against him: We are to be dumb, and not to open our mouth, because he does it. The Lamb in the midt of the throne hath the government upon his flioulders, and he is righteously or. dering and over-ruling these matters for the profitable trial of his people, and the glorious praise of his name in the issue : « The wrath of man shall praise thee, and the remainder of his wrath wilt thou restrain.” The Lord hath his own time and way of reiiraining his ene. mies, and his own time and way of reformning his church; and when the Lord shall appear in his glory, he will build up Zion. Sometimes he fees fit to appear in his wrath, and then he lets out the wrath of man, the en. mity of man, to the breaking down of Zion, and of his carved work: but there is another time, when he sees fit to appear in his glory, and then to reltrain the wrath of man, and reform his church. And since he is appear. ing in his wrath in our day, letting out the reins of man's wrath, to the ruining of Reformation-work; O be suber and humble; and depend upon him as the Lamb in the midst of the throne, who hath the reins in his hand, to let them out, or take them in, as he pleases. Instruments are but his sword, his hand, by which he does as he pleases, Psal. xvii. 13, 14. “ Deliver my soul from the wicked, from men which are thy hand, O Lord.” Think not then the government is out of Christ's hand, when men are doing many fad things, and giving many
od work: bu olory, and
heavy blows to the work of God: No, no: men are but his hand; and it is the hand of God that justly and righteously is lying heavy upon his people.Look above men then; you have not to do with them ; there is a turn of matters just as he is pleased to turn his hand; the Lamb is in the midst of the throne, and in the midst of heavy clouds hanging over Scotland; therefore look to him, that he may turn away his wrath ; Psal. ii. 12.“ Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little: bles. fed are all they that put their trust in him.” Again,
2. If it is only the Lamb that is in the midst of the throne. O then be tender of those that are followers of the Lamb, while they are yet upon the footstool, and not yet fet down with Christ upon his throne. They are in danger in an evil day, wherein they are called to give testimony against the evils and corruptions of the day, to go aside to some extreme or other. There are many thoughts of heart, and many needless words among people at present about the manner of testifying. Some are accused as if they were too forward; others are accused as ii they were too far behind, in their testimony. Well, not to meddle with mistakes people may be under, it may be both these are true : for, who can say, I am clean, and do not err toward the right or left hand, when they would appear for Christ and his cause ? But, Oʻbe tender of the militant followers of Christ. I hope you will remember, that it is only the Lamb that is able to keep the midst of the throne; and, I hope, we are all wil. ling to subscribe to this, that this honour only belongs to him, that he was able to keep the midst of the way to the throne, without going to one side or other: none but himself was ever able to do so; let him alone liave all the glory.
3. Let me say to you that have become the bride, the Lamb's wife, If the Lamb lia in the midst of the throue, O then see that ye frequent the throne. What more in. viting argument than this can there be, that the Lamb is in the midst of it? And the farther forward you ap. proach, so much the better. Never rest till yru be in the midst of the throne, where the Lamb is. You may have boldness to go as far as the Lamb goes; and you
n Clarilt to strong drinking to
will find this the most pleasant exercise in the world, and the most profitable also: for grace and mercy is about the throne of grace ; it is a mercy-feat, because the Lamb is there.
4. O believer, if the Lamb be in the midst of the throne, even the Lamb, your Head, your Husband, fee that you live upon him by faith'; let the Lamb be your feeder, and the Lamb your food every day : and beware you do not disgrace your honourable Husband. Are you married to the Lamb in the midst of the throne? We read that Bathsheba said to her son, Prov. xxxi. 4. " It is not for a king, O Lemuel, it is not for a king to drink wine, nor for princes to drink strong drink.” So it is not for believers in Christ to drink and tipple, to fwear and cheat; the gracelefs world do so. But, O believer, have you been at a communion-table ? Hath the Lord graced and honoured you with marriage to the Lamb in the niidst of the throne ? Do not disgrace yourself; it is below your rank: fee that you live as becomes these that are matched and married to the Prince of the kings of the earth.
I remember fome years ago, after certain disputing in the Church about the doctrine of the gospel, we had a folemnity here, on which occasion I was led to speak of the fubstance of gospel-doctrine, Christ given of God to be a covenant of the people *; and now I am obliged to remark, That after fome contendings, or rather, in thie midst of fome contendings in the Church, about the government of his lioufe, I have been led, without any design in me, but only as the text was pleasant to my own ful, to speak of the very sum and centre of ecclefrastical government, the Lamb in the midst of the throne. I remember, at that former occasion the Lord was present by his Spirit, and gave evidence thereof unto many; and now, I hope, at this occasion also there shall be some blessings dropt down from the throne. And, O to be going away from this place, with this truth sealed upon our heart, concerning the Lamb's being in the midst of the throne: Come what will, there
is no fear of the followers of the Lamb, and the fufferers ' for him ; for, Tbe Lamb is in the midst of the throne.
* See this elaborate discourse in Vol. I, p. 162.