« السابقةمتابعة »
land defiled with breach of solemn national engagements, while these folemn covenants have been scandalously burnt in the capital city of the nation, and that by the countenance and command of authority? And are there not many at this day amongst us, who profess to be of the communion of the church of Scotland, that do renounce and disown the obligation of these solemn ties? Are not many defiling their garments with Arminian and Socinian heresies; others with a superstitious worship, which, to the reproach of our holy religion, is tolerated among us by law? Have not many defiled their garments in our land, with a customary swearing by the name of God; others by juggling with God in the matter of folemn oaths, abjuring a popith pretender, with a design to put themselves in a better capacity to do him service, and promote his interest? Others have, even in this province, lately defiled their garments, by putting their hands to scandalous libels, by way of address to the sovereign, wherein they represent ministers as rebels against authority, for appointing fasts, and preaching against the sins of the time; and for giving warning to people of the tokens of God's anger that are visible among us: And, alas! may we not all lament that we have defiled our garments, by the breach of facramental and sick-bed vows? But I muit not stand on these things.
USE 3d, is of trial and examination. Try, firs, whether you be among God's little remnant, that are keeping their garments clean, when all round about you are defling themselves; and, for your trial, I offer you the few following marks of God's remnant. (1.) God's remnant are a people unto whom Christ is exceeding precious; his very name, is unto them as ointment poured forth; they love to hear of him, they love to speak of him, and their meditations of him are sweet ; the defre of their soul is unto him, and the remembrance of his name; and they are ready to say with David, whom have I in heaven but thee? &c. or, with 'Paul, I count all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Chrif Jefus my Lord. (2.) God's remnant are a people that do not reckon themselves at home while they are here on earth: This is not their proper country, but they look for a better country, that is, an beavenly, Heb, xi. They look for a city that has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. See this to be the character of God's remnant, Heb. xic 13. The Apostle tells us of these worthies, That they confessed they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth: This confession David makes, Pfal. cxix. 19. I am a stranger in the earth, bide not thy commandments from me. So then, firs, if your home be here, ye are none of God's remnant, if your thoughts and affections be confined within the narrow limits of time. God's remnant are a people that are coming up from the wilderness ; they are always ascending and mounting heavenward, in their affections and desires : They look not at the things that are seen, but the things that are not seen. (3.) God's remnant are a people that speak and think much on God; see this to be their character, Mal. iii. 16. Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another ; and a book of remembrance was written for them that feared the Lord, and thought on his name. Try yourselves by this: It is the character of the wicked, that God is not in all their thoughts; and he is as seldom in their mouths, except in a way of prophanation: But God's remnant, I say,
they they think much on God; and the thoughts of God, o how precious are they unto their souls ! Pfal. cxxxix. and out of the abundance of their hearts their mouths speak honourably and reverently of him. They will speak to one another of his word, of his works of his providences, and of his ordinances; their lips are like lillies dropping sweet smelling myrrhe. (4.) God's remnant are a praying people. Psal. xxiv. This is the generation that seek thy face, o Jacob; or, O God of Jacob; whereas it is given as the character of the wicked, Psal. xiv. That they call not upon God; they either live in the total neglect of this duty, or, if they do it at all, it is in a hypocritical, formal and overly manner : But God's remnant, they seek the face of God, they seek him with fervency, with truth in the inward parts; they seek him believingly, they seek him constantly and perseveringly, which the hypocrite will not do, yob xxvii. 10. Will be delight himself in the Almighty? Will he always call upon God? (5.) God's remnant are a mourning people: They mourn over their own fins in the first place, Ezek. vii. 16. The remnant of Jacob that escape, they fall be on the mountains like doves of the vallies, every one mourning for their iniquity. They mourn over the errors of their hearts, and the iniquity of their lives, and are ready to cry out, innumerable evils bave compasfed me about, mine iniquities have taken hold on me, &c. and then they mourn, not only for their own personal fins, but for publick sins; the sins of others, whereby the land is defiled: Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law; I beheld transgressors, and was grieved. That this is the character of God's remnant, ye may see from Ezek. ix. 4. Go through the city, and fet a mark on
the fore-beads of the men that high, and that cry for all the abominations done in the midst of it. And then they mourn for the calamities and desolations of Zion, when they see the bear out of the wood, wasting ber, and the wild beasts out of the foreft devouring ber. Psal. cxxxvii. 1. By the rivers of Babylon we sat down and wept when we remembred Žion. And then they mourn, when they see ordinances corrupted, or God's candlestick in any measure removed, the Lord's people deprived of their wonted freedom and liberty in waiting upon him in these galleries, Zepb. ii. 18. I will gatber them that are forrowful for the folemn assembly, unto whom the reproach of it was a burden. (6.) God's remnant are a people that will rather venture upon suffering than linning; they rather venture to run the risque of displeasing kings and queens, potentates and parliament, than venture upon the displeasing of God; they can rather venture on the rack of outward torments, than upon the rack of an accufing conscience. See this to be the character of God's remnant in the three children, Dan. iii. &c. and Mofes, Heb. xi. 27. forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the King. Many other marks of God's remnant might be infifted upon; they are a people that cannot live without Christ, and fellowship and communion with him, Cant. iii. 1. fob xxiii. 3. O that I knew where I might find him, that I might come even to bis feat! They are people that will not rest in their attainments, but press towards the uttermost of grace and holiness, Phil. iii. 12. They press after more nearness unto Christ, Cant. viii. 1. They love holiness for itself, Pfal. cxix. 140. Christ for himself; yea, they love heaven for Christ and holiness: In a word, they love holiness, be the event what will,
Use 4th, is of exhortation. Is it so, that God's remnant, who are privileged to 'walk with Christ in white, are such as keep their garments clean ? O then ! let me exhort all hearing me, particularly you who have been professing yourselves among the number of God's remnant by drawing near to him in the holy ordinance of his fupper : Let me, I say, exhort you to keep your garments clean ; be exhorted to the study of true gospel-holiness, both in heart and life. And by way of motive, I would have you to consider these following things.
Motive 1f, Consider, that ye are in continual hazard of defiling your garments. Ye are in danger from every quarter ; as, Firs, Ye are in dan ger from the world, there are many things in the world that are of a very defiling and polluting nature; there are many polluting opinions broached in the world, which go very glib away with nature, and which nature is very ready to catch at and embrace; as, that God is altogether made up of mercy, and will never damn any of his creatures; that Christ died for all; that morality runs parallel with grace; that an empty profession is enough to save people ; that it is better to keep the body whole, than the conscience pure; that to be zealous for religion, is to be righteous overmuch. : These and many other opinions are of a polluting nature ; and we are in danger of defiling ourselves with them. And then the examples of the world are very infectious, the examples of magistrates and ministers, as ye see from Hof. v. 1. Hear ve this, o priests ; give ear, O house of the king, because ye have been a snare in Mispah, and a net spread upon Tabor. And then ye are in danger from the example of professors, who perhaps have a great name for religion in the church of God; 0! will