Gambar halaman

heart to fhiver ? So that to travel through the world is often as unpleasant, as through an howling wilder. ness in the night. And not only fo, but they are of. ten in hazard of being devoured by them, and swallowed up, 1 Pet. v. 8. No wonder they long for day-break, when these wild beasts will go into their dens and be dilenced, Psal. civ. 22. - (3.) It is a time inclining to sleep and inactivity, i Theff, v. 7. All the unregenerate world is fast asleep about them, and will not awake; and they themselves have a constant struggle to hold up their head. If it were day with them, they could beftir themselves, and apply to their proper business; but it is night, and with difficulty they watch one hour.

2. They justly look on it as a shadowy night, ;

(1.) Because there are many things intercepting the light from them; by such means shadows are made in the night, as when a house or a hill intercepts the light of the inoon or stars by night. Thus it is with God's people in the world; there are many things to mar the light of their Lord's countenance shining on them, Ifa. xlix. 2. Pfal. xxx. 7. And by means of these inter. pofing hinderances, they cannot have now that light of knowledge and comfort, that they would defire. - (2.) It is a time wherein they had some precious light, yet but faint, and mixed with much darkness. Where there is no light at all, there cannot be thadows, all is but one shadow; and so it is with natural men, “ there is no light in them,” Ifa. viii. 20. But souls married to Christ have the light of grace, which however is but a dim and mixed one in comparison of the light of glory, i Cor. xiii. 12. . '

(3.) It is a time, wherein the very means of their light and knowledge give but small and dark representations of the knowledge of the other world, and the riches of his kingdom. So does the shadow of a house in the night represent it but very darkly and imperfectly ; to the shadow of a man by a looking-glass is but ati


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


imperfect representation of the man, not comparable to seeing face to face. Thus we have a shadow of Christ in the gospel, in the word, in the facraments; but it is but a shadowy darkly representing him and the happiness of his kingdom, 2 Cor. iii. 18. So that the half is not seen. But as one taken with a beautiful picture, natively longs to see the original; fo does a fight of Christ by these shadows, cause one to long for the day breaking and the shadows fleeing away, that they may fee him face to face. . We shall now make some improvement of this point, in the following uses. : Use T. Of information. Is the time of this life indeed a night, a shadowy one, to those married to Christ, and do they look on it fo? Then, · 1. They to whom this life in this world makes such a pleasant day, that they desire no better, are in bad case. If it is so with you habitually, ye are not truly married to Christ, Cant. viii. 5. Ye are yet in your natural blindness, that night and day are alike to you; and the day of grace is not yet risen on you. And if it be so with you only occasionally, you may be sure that while it is so, your souls are out of frame, and the grace of God in you is under a cloud. . :. 2. Then the time of this life is a dangerous time, even to those that are espoused to Chrift, and they have no need to watch, “ every man having his sword upon his thigh, because of fear in the night," Cant. iii. 8. They are in danger of fins, snares, and tempta. tions; for it is a time wherein the roaring lion is ranging about, who will be bound down in his den, if once the day were broken. This made the apostle jealous over the Corinthians “ with godly jealousy; for I have espoused you to one husband,” says he, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear left by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his fubtility, so your minds should be corrupted from the fimplicity that is in Christ, 2 Cor. xi. 2, 3. They


are in danger of various troubles, which are incident to them in this night season. But it is but to watch a while, if the day were broke, the danger is over.

3. The Chriftian's life in this world is a lonely and wearisome life; for the travellers to Zion have a night of it, a shadowy one. If one travel by day, he will readily get company, for then every body is astir ; and this makes the way to destruction a throng way, the carnal world going at ease in it, because the sun of this world is up on them, and their night is coming in the other world. But if one travels by night, he will readily have a lonely journey of it; and therefore there are but few in the way to life. So it is told us, Matth. vii. 14. “ Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Micah therefore laments the loneliness of it with him, Micah vii. I. « Wo is me, for I am as when they have gathered the summer-fruits, as the grape gleanings of the vintage ; there is no cluster to eat," and the Psalmist, Psal. cii. 6, 7. “ I am like a pelican of the wilderness; I am like an owl of the desert. I watch, and am as a sparrow alone upon the.. house top.” For it is night with them ; but in the other world the day will break to them. This makes it wearisome travelling. It is so ordered, as the march through the wilderness for their trial.

There is a fourfold allowable weariness in the Christian life, which our Lord will not be displeased with in his people, that it make them often to propose that question, Isa. xxi. 11. “ Watchman, what of the night?”

(1.) Wearying of an ill world, a world lying in wickedness, Psal. cxx. 5. “ Wo is me, that I lojourn in Mesech, that I dwell in the tents of Kedar.” Surely God himself is weary of them, of their obstinate im. penitency, carnality, profanity, and formality, Isa. lxv. 2,-5. & i. 14. It is but kindly that his people weary of their society, who thus weary their God, and that


they long for the day when they will be by themselves.

(2.) Wearying of an ill heart, the body of fin and death, Rom. vii. 24. “O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death !” God has left it in them for their exercise and trial, as he did the Canaanites in the land ; but surely they are to make no league with it, but to war against it; and it is acceptable to him to weary and long for the day that they will be rid of it.' And there is never a weary look they give for it, but he kindly noticeth it.

(3.) Wearying to be at home in Immanuel's land, where there is no more night, but an eternal day, 2 Cor. v. 4. “ For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened ; not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.” Rom. viii. 23. “ And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” Indeed the Lord makes their travelling in this world difficult to his people, for that very end, that they may long to be home.

(4.) Wearying for our Lord's gracious visits to their souls, while they are abroad, Psal. cxxx. 6. “My soul waiteth for the Lord, more than they that watch for the morning ; I say, more than they that watch for the morning." How passionately does the spouse cry for them in the text? It is a sign it is very ill with the Christian, when his Lord is away, and he cares not ; when his communion with God is stopt, and yet he is at ease, Cant. v. 3. See Psal. xxx. 7.

4. That a Chriftian's life in this world has many ups and downs in it, is not at all strange; nay nor that the alteration comes very suddenly ; for he is travelling in a night, a shadowy night. There is nothing more stable than a Christian's state, but nothing more al. terable than his frame, PT. Ixxxix. 36,37. He may be going on cheerfully in the moon-thine, linging his song

in the night; anon he enters fome black and shadowy valley in his way, or a cloud overcasts, and strikes a damp on him; he gets through the valley, the cloud passes off, and he recovers; and so one after another, till the day break, and the shadows flee away. .

Use II. Hereby ye may try, whether ye are truly married to Christ, or not? If it is so, ye will look on your life in this world henceforth as a night-time. And,

1. Your former value for this world will be sunk, and your love to it turned into a holy contempt and neglect of it, in comparison with Christ your husband, and his kingdom in the other world, Mat, xiii. 46. The blackness of the night will be fitten down on it, in its most gaudy dress, of profits, pleasures, and honours in it, I John ii. 15. You will look on it as a shadow, hiding much of the Bridegroom's glory from you; and so will keep up a struggle against it, as that which getting in betwixt the Sun of righteousness and you, will cause an eclipse of the light of his countenance.

2. Your esteem of Christ will be raised above all, 1 Pet. ii. 7. Your love to him will be a superlative love, above all persons and things, Luke xiv. 26. She that without consideration runs into a marriage with a man, is ready to discover something in him afterwards, that makes her despise him, and, when it is out of time, to prefer some other of her suitors; so they that are rash and indeliberate in their pretended closing with Christ, that were never blessed with a saving discovery of him to their souls by the Spirit, will be ready to rue the match, and to return to the flesh pots of Egypt. But the soul once truly married to Christ, will find him a covering of its eyes; they will charge their cyes thenceforth to be closed on all his rivals, as never to see another so fair, Pfal. lxxiii. 25. “Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee."

Lastly, Ye will count it day only in the other world, however bright the sunshine in this world may be ;




« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »