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his presence with her, that the present situation will al. low; thereby intimating, that she is not to look for the comfort of her life from any other, but him, whe. ther he be absent from or present with her.
2. The words themselves : in which confider, . " Ift, The happy term that Christ's sponse lives in ex. pectation of; which is expressed by two things, the latter confequential on the former, the breaking of the day," and the “ fleeing away of the shadows." By the day here is meant the day of eternity, that will break in the other world, in the light of glory arising to thofe that are married to Christ here. That is the or that day by way of eminency, 2 Tim.i. 18. This implies twothings.
(1.) That she looked on her lifetime in this world as a night-time; else why should she have expected the day breaking and that in that night-time there were many shadows, darkening things to her, and allowing her but obscure views of them ; else why should fhe expect their feeing away? as one travelling by night, in a mountainous or woody country, if the night were never so clear, it is no wife comparable to broad day: light; and besides there are many dark and gloomy steps caused by the shadows that the hills and woods caft; which though they amount not to a total dark. ness, yet the light by their means is but a very faint one. Such is the believer's travelling through this to the other world...
(2.) That she believed and expected, that that night would not laft, and that the shadows would vanish at length. She looks for the breaking, Heb. blowing of the day, because however dead a calm there may be through the night, ordinarily at break of day a gale of wind rises ; and that break or blowing of the day will quickly chafe away all the fhadows, that they shall not be to be seen more. That blowing will be of the Spi. rit of Christ, in a full communication of influences to the believer, at the day's breaking to him in the other
.. . world;
world; whereby all the shadows now intercepting the light from him, will in a moment evanish.
2dly, The great thing her souldefires, and the breathes after, till that happy term come. It is communion with Christ her Lord and Husband, in such sort and measure as the state of this life by divine regulation will allow. She is not for turning back to, and folace ing herself with her former lovers, till her Husband take her home ; no, being married to him, her eyes are shut now on all others, and they are towards him alone. “Turii, my Beloved, and be thou like a roe, or a young hart upon the mountains of · Bether.” Ito consists of two parts.
(1.) A defire of his countenance towards her, “Turn, my Beloved," Egc. Heb. Come round about.' It intimates, [1.] His turning his back on her, shewing some sign of difpleafure with her; the frequent lot of God's children in this world. [2.] That even in that cafe her heart was upon him as her beloved, and her eyes going after him, that she would have him turn his face. [3.] That she would fain have his countenance again when loft:-9. d. Turn about to me, that I may behold thee with joy. ..
(2.) A desire of nearness to him, and the embraces of his love : “ Be thou like a roe, or a young hart," &c. Come to me speedily. She lays not the Itress of the speedy meeting on her motion to him ; but as of free grace, on his motion to her; by his grace coming over mountains betwixt them, and that speedily; even as a roe comes to its mate, or a young hart to its dam, upon the mountains of Bether, 2-Samn. ii. 29. The word fignifies a half part.
. . From the text thus explained, may be deduced the three following points of doctrine, viz.
Doct. I. A foul once truly married to Christ, will from thenceforth look on the lifetime in this world, as a might-time, a fadowy one, as indeed it is. Doct. II. To those that are truly married to Chrift,
the day will break in the other world, and the shadows flee away ; and they should live in the comfortable expectation of it.
Doct. III. It will be the great concern of those mar. ried to Christ during their night-journey in this world, that he may turn and come to them, till the day breaking and the fadows fleeing away, they get to bim in the other world. :
I shall speak to each of these in order.
Doct. I. A Soul once truly married to Cbri/, will from thenceforth look on the lifetime in this world, as a night-time, a sadowy one, as indeed it is.
In touching a little on this doctrine, I shall,
I. Shew in what respect the saints lifetime in this world is a night-time.
II. How the soul once married to Christ comes to, look on its lifetime in this world as a night-time. • III. On what grounds such a foul justly looks on it
as a night-time, a shadowy onė. • IV. Improve the point. : 1. In what respect the saints lifetime in this world is a night.time. To clear this, consider,
1. The life of a child of God in this world, from the moment of the marriage with Christ, is a day-time, in comparison with the time he lived in his natural state, i Theff. v. 5: Therefore fays the apostle, Eph. v. 8. “ Ye were fometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord.” While they are in their natural state, they are in midnight darkness, it is black and dark night with them. But being united to Chrift, the night of their natural state is at an end, and the day of grace is come with them. And this is such a day, as will never be succeeded by another night. : 1 2. But in comparison with his state in the other 'world, it is but a night-time. When he enters there, a day of glory shall break to him, that will so far surpass all he has seen, that he shall be made to think, he
owever, then havare four thinme in
never saw day before, Rom. xiii. 12. The natural man is in black and dark night, and the saints in this world are in a cloudy moonlight night, only the saints in the other world are in broad day-light, Col. i. 12.
II. We shall consider how the foul once married to Christ comes to look on its lifetime in this world as a night-time. There are four things concur to it. .
1. They then have some new and precious light, however faint, that they had not before. They can say with the blind man cured by Christ, John ix. 25. 66 One thing I know, that whereas I was blind, now I see.” They see that in fin, Christ, and in the other world, that they did not before perceive. Strangers to Christ are like blind men, to whom the night and the day are alike ; but being once married to Christ they are like him who said, “I see men as trees walking," Mark viii. 24. They see, but find they do not see clearly, and so conclude, that it is night with them.
2. Being once married to Christ indeed, the sun of this world fets upon them. The world's love to them is turned to hatred, it conceives an antipathy against them, John xv. 19. And looks as when the darkness of the night follows the lightsome day, and sits down on the beautiful cities, the green hills, the pleasant meadows and gardens, all these lose their lustre and beauty, and become black and gloomy; so when once a soul is married to Christ, the world lofeth its former beauty to the man ; it is quite another thing in his eyes than it was before ; the vain world is.turned out of its gaudy day-dress, into its night-dress, where its former beautiful appearance is gone, Gal. vi. 14.--"The world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. .
3. Yet the Sun of righteousness is still hid to their eye sight, however he lets out some rays of light to them, and they discern him by faith, i Pet. i. 3. In some northern parts belonging to this kingdom, the body of the sun, about this time of the year, does indeed go out of their fight about the middle of the night;
whom they od there be ith, Cant.
yet still certain rays from it appear all along ; so is it with the believer. Therefore he must look on it as night; though it is but a short one. That Jesus to whom they are joined in fpiritual marriage, is gone to heaven, and there he abides hid from their eyes, though manifest to their faith, Cant. iv. 6. As Jacob married to Leah, got not a broad view of her till the morning ; so the believing soul married to Christ, will not get a broad view of its Husband, till the day of ternity break.
4. Lajily, The beauty of the light let into them na. tively causes a longing for the perfection of it, Phil. iii, 13, 14. As one with a dim light discerning a beautiful object, presently calls for a clear light whereby to disa cernit fully; so the soul that has seen as much of Christ's excellency as to engage the heart to him, longs for a full fight of his glory; and while the light will not serve that purpose, it natively concludes, that it is night still.
III. I shall next shew on what grounds they juftly look on it as a night time, a shadowy one..
1. They justly look on it as a night-time. For,
(1.) It is a time of much darkness with them, I. Cor. xiii. 12. darkness of ignorance, and of uncomfortableness. However vain men may pride themselves in the knowledge they have reached, puffed up therewith as empty bladders; serious Chriftians will still be bewailing their ignorance and weakness in the divine mysteries, Pfal. lxxiii. 22. Prov. xxx. 2, 3. And however lightfome a life the native vanity of mind may make some; it is not possible, but the imperfections, infirmities, and struggles attending the Christian
life here, must make much uncomfortableness in it, Pfal. .xcvii. 11. How then can they but count it night?
(2.) It is a time, wherein the wild beasts are got out of their dens, ranging about, Psal. civ. 20, 21. In the darkness of this life, what howling and yelling of the infernal crew, the devils and wicked men acted by them, do reach the Chriftian's ears, and make his