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Title: Spiritual Victories through the Light of Salvation
Author: Church, John
Language: English
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Transcribed from the 1810 Ann Kemmish edition by David Price, email

                           SPIRITUAL VICTORIES,
                               THROUGH THE
                          _Light of Salvation_.

                                * * * * *

                         BEING THE SUBSTANCE OF A


                Preached on SUNDAY, March the 11th, 1810,

                                  AT THE

                             OBELISK CHAPEL,

                                * * * * *

                              BY J. CHURCH,
                          Minster of the Gospel.

                                * * * * *

                         _PUBLISHED BY REQUEST_.

                                * * * * *

      “O House of Jacob, come ye, let us walk in the Light of the Lord.”

                                * * * * *

              Printed by ANN KEMMISH, King-Street, Borough.

                                * * * * *


                                * * * * *


_TO those Friends who requested the Publication of this Sermon_—_I have
only to say_, _I have endeavored to recollect a considerable part of it_;
_many ideas I have omitted_, _and others I have introduced_, _as I had
not the least intention of making this public_, _nor should I but for
your very pressing solicitation_.  _I would remark by way of Preface_,
_that the success of Sermons_, _in point of usefulness_, _depends upon
the operations of God the divine Spirit_; _and these influences are
entirely sovereign_.  _That although this Sermon was blest to you in the
hearing_, _it may not be so to you in the reading_—_nevertheless_, _as
the friends of immortal truth_—_you being in the possession of that love_
(_which rejoiceth in the truth_) _will also rejoice in every attempt to
exalt the Person of Jesus as the truth_; _to comfort and establish
Believers in the truth_, _and to encourage all the heralds of truth_, _to
be faithful unto death_.  _I have sent forth the truth in a very plain
style_; _to you who know her excellencies she will shine with unfading
charms_; _while you adore the God of all grace_—_and I subscribe myself_,

                             _Your willing Servant in the cause of truth_,
                                                              _J. CHURCH_.


                        JUDGES viith Chap. 20th Verse.

    “_And the three companies blew the trumpets_, _and brake the
    pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands_, _and their
    trumpets in their right_, _to blow withal_; _and they cried_, _The
    Sword of the Lord and of Gideon_!”

THE history of the church of God, in all ages past, as recorded in the
Scriptures, is intended by the Spirit to exhibit many things of vast
importance to us, on whom the ends of the world are come.

FIRST.—The rebellion, ingratitude, and idolatry of the Israelites, give
us an awful proof of human depravity, and teach an humbling lesson to the
spiritual Israel, who have the same sinful nature, are prone to the same
sins, and would often fall into them and their consequences, but for the
grace of God.

SECONDLY.—The patience and long-suffering of God, particularly marked out
in this history—he bare long with them; his mercy was extended,
prolonged, and manifested to them, notwithstanding all their
provocations, in forgetting his deliverances of them in times past, and
practising the same sins he had before resented.

THIRDLY.—His disapprobation of their conduct, and the means he took to
testify it, are set before us.  Our God is never at a loss for means to
accomplish his wise and holy purposes of justice or mercy, as is evident
from the history before us.  The blessed Spirit operating upon the souls
of his people, often by his influence reproves their consciences of sin,
as it is so opposite to the purity of that divine nature, or holy
principle he has blessed them with.  Sin, committed by a believer, is a
transgression of the law, or dictates of faith; for there is no sin,
condemned under the first covenant, but what, under the covenant of
grace, is pointed out in more odious colours.—Hence the idolatry,
rebellion, and ingratitude of the believer, are seen and lamented by him
as a child of God; and as God the Spirit communicates light to his
understanding, to discover it as sinful, he perpetually testifies that
his sins are more sinful than those who know not God.

FOURTHLY.—The inseparable connection between sin and sorrow, is felt by
all, both elect and non-elect.  By nations, families, and individuals,
the moral and penal evils of the Fall, will be, must be, and are felt by
all.  The non-elect feel it in many awful forms, as transgressors, in the
curse of the ground, in the calamities of war, in all the dreadful
horrors of a guilty conscience, and in the wrath of a sin-avenging God.
Nations feel it universally; this is evident by the calamities which
befell the land of Canaan—so the 6th Chapter begins: “And the children of
Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord delivered them
into the hand of Midian.”  Their sin was resented in this form, by the
Lord—the prevailing of their enemies, which forced them to hide in dens,
caves, mountains, and strong holds—their enemies destroyed the increase
of their country, and reduced them almost to a famine; “and Israel was
greatly impoverished because of the Midianites” and people of Arabia.

FIFTHLY.—The tender mercy of God the Saviour appears as remarkable in
their deliverance; in the remembrance of his covenant of old, with their
fore-fathers; his good hand was seen in bringing them out of trouble,
although they had brought these troubles on themselves—what a solemn, but
gracious proof; “O!  Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself! but in me is
thine help.”  And what encouragement does this give to poor backsliders
to return to Jesus, their first husband; for although they have brought
these troubles on themselves, yet Jesus is ready to deliver them!  What a
striking account does the pious Nehemiah give of the conduct of the
Israelites, and the goodness of God to man—9th chap. 28th verse; “But
after they had rest, they did evil again before thee, therefore thou
leftest them in the hands of their enemies, so that they had dominion
over them; yet when they cried unto thee thou heardest them from heaven;
and many times thou didst deliver them, according to thy tender mercies.”

SIXTHLY.—I remark again, that our God has ever manifested himself a God,
hearing prayer: the children of Israel cried unto the Lord, and the Lord
sent a prophet to them; and after reproving them, we have an account of a
deliverer, raised up by the Lord himself.  What encouragement does this
give to us in all our trials, without and within, whether in body, soul,
circumstances, family, or nation.  God has even condescended to hear the
cries of many who had no grace, yet, led by the light of nature to call
on him in trouble; and will he turn a deaf ear to his saints in trouble?
surely not.  Believer, the remedy’s before thee—PRAY.

In taking one more view of this history, we must admire the conduct of
God in over-turning all the schemes of men, their wisdom, counsel, and
power: that in providence as well as in grace, his wisdom, power, and
faithfulness, might be clearly seen and adored by his people.  His wisdom
in the permission of the Fall, and its awful consequences, seems to go
before, and make way for the displays of his love, mercy, power, and
faithfulness.  This is seen in his dispensations, generally, and
particularly in grace & providence.  How often has infinite wisdom
permitted heavy troubles to come on the Church, to wean her from the
creature—to shew her the value of Jesus, as a deliverer—and to lead her
to him by many intreaties; that while we feel our strength perfect
weakness, we may the more clearly discover the good hand of our God, in
our support and deliverance, and give him the glory due to his name for
it.  The principal end God has in view in all his dispensations, is his
own glory—this is the first cause and last grand end of all things—“for
of him, and through him, and to him, are all things.”  Had the victory we
are considering been gained by well disciplined men, led on by wise,
noble, valiant generals, who had often been successful in war—had this
been the case, the creature would have been extolled, and God nearly
forgotten.  But this victory was a display of the power of Jehovah—his
hand clearly seen, his mercy displayed, and all the honor given to him to
whom it is due.  The means, the feeble means the Lord made use of were
simply, a weak un-armed man, with only three hundred men, led by him,
with lamps, trumpets, and pitchers—to carnal reason a very unlikely
method to conquer two hundred thousand Midianites, well skilled in the
art of war.  But this was God’s method, and we have a right to submit our
wisdom to God’s plan; “for my thoughts are not as your thoughts, nor my
ways as your ways, saith the Lord; for as the heavens are high above the
earth, so are my ways above your ways.”  And this victory, through such
feeble means, is a confirmation of this truth—the angel Jehovah Jesus,
appeared to Gideon as he was threshing wheat, in a secret place, to hide
it from the enemy; and assured him, that however mean himself and family
were, he should deliver Israel from their present servitude.  Gideon,
astonished at such an appearance, such a salutation, and such a
declaration, began to ask, “How this could be?”  The blessed Jesus tells
him, “Surely I will be with thee.”  Gideon, like the rest of God’s
people, could not give God the credit of God, nor take him at his word—he
could not honor him by believing on him, and prays, “If I have found
grace in thy sight, shew me a sign that thou talkest with me.”—As
believers in Jesus, we are called to walk by faith, and not by sight, as
seeing him who is invisible, or out of sight—depending on his word, oath,
and faithfulness, as the word of a covenant God, who cannot lie: this is
honoring Jesus—yet God condescended to give Gideon the request of his
lips; and to confirm his faith, he, with a rod, touched the rock, and
caused fire to come out of it, and, consume the slain Kid and unleavened
cakes, all moistened with the broth, which Gideon, at his command, had
put thereon.  Gideon was fearful and apprehensive of immediate death, as
he had seen an angel; but the Lord kindly assured him that he was in no
danger.—How strange and groundless the fears of God’s people—frequently
they take covenant-love dispensations as tokens of wrath; forgetting it
is written, “I will no more be wroth with thee, nor forsake thee.”—We are
seldom satisfied with the wise and gracious conduct of our God; when we
have no sign or clear evidences we murmur—when we have we often fear they
are not of a right kind.  Well may saints be called children, seeing they
possess the weakness of them.

After this, Gideon built an altar, and called it Jehovah Shalom—believing
what the Lord had declared, “that he would send peace to Israel.”  It is
worthy of observation, that the people of God only rear up altars to the
Lord, as they believe in him—there is no praying or praising but by faith
in Jesus; this leads the soul out to God, and “without faith it is
impossible to please God.”  Gideon then testified his zeal for the
service of God, and in God’s strength he threw down the altar of Baal,
and cut down the grove that was by it.  This shews the effect of faith in
Jesus; it is a faith which worketh by love to God’s service, and produces
a zeal for his glory.  This alarms Satan, who stirs up persecution
against all who love the Redeemer’s cause, as in the instance of
Gideon—his fellow-citizens sought his life, for opposing their idolatry;
but Joash, his father, remonstrated with them, that it did not become the
people of God to plead for Baal; and that if Baal was truly God, he ought
to exert his power in punishing those who had broken down his altar; and
he called his son Jerubbaal, that is, let Baal contend with himself (if
he can).

Understanding the Midianites had crossed Jordan, Westward, and were
encamped in the valley of Jezreel, at no great distance—filled with the
Spirit of God, as a spirit of courage, Gideon sounded a trumpet, and
assembled his friends, to the number of thirty-two thousand men.  But,
alas! what was this little army to meet and encounter with two hundred
thousand!  Perhaps his heart might fail him once more—he begs another,
even a double sign.  We must never forget that God has said “Open thy
mouth wide; ask great things;”—the Lord graciously answers him, and by
bedewing a fleece of wool, while the adjacent ground was dry—and again
bedewing the ground, while the fleece of wool was dry, the Lord confirmed
his doubtful mind.  Thus assured of victory Gideon marched his forces
directly towards the Midianites.  What the army thought we know not, in
their march, knowing their fewness and the vast army of the other—but
every natural gift is of the Holy-Ghost, as the God of nature and
providence, as well as every spiritual one; and all the wisdom and
courage of warriors are the work of God the Spirit, and no man has any of
these gifts inherent in himself, they are the peculiar gifts of God, to
answer his holy purposes.  And now Gideon’s faith is put to a double
trial.  If God gives his people grace, he tries that grace, especially
the grace of faith.  At the well of Harod God ordered him to warn his
army, that every one who was timorous should return home, and there
returned home twenty-two thousand! so that Gideon was left but with ten
thousand.  God was wisely securing the honor of this victory to
himself—hence he assigns this reason, “lest Israel vaunt themselves and
say, Not the Lord, but mine hand hath done this:” and so it is in our
salvation—God has wisely permitted man to become as weak as he was
wicked, that he might take occasion to honor the riches of his grace, in
saving those who could not save themselves: and how often is this seen in
his providential dealings, when brought into circumstances of sore trial,
and every door shut up? then it is that the Lord’s hand is more clearly
seen, and the glory redounds to him.  His glory is great in our
salvation—this made the ancients say, “When the bricks are doubled, then
comes Moses;” that is, “Man’s greatest extremity is God’s opportunity.”

Gideon’s faith is tried again: “The people are yet too many for me,”
saith the Lord.—He was then ordered to cause all of his people to drink
out of the river, without using any vessel.  On this trial only three
hundred lapped the water, putting their hands to their mouths; the rest
bowed on their knees to drink water.  This was emblematic of their
spirits and minds—some, apparently careless of their country, took their
ease at the water-side—the three hundred, set upon the battle, (which
they saw God’s hand was in), they only lapped the little out of their
hands they had hastily caught up.  What an emblem of the different
characters that compose the visible church of Jesus—some who only have a
name to live, and are dead! who are taking their ease in Zion, and
resting beside the waters of creature comforts; while the humble and
zealous believer is using the world as a traveller at an Inn, knowing
that he is but a stranger and a pilgrim here below; and that as he is
engaged in a warfare, it will not be for God’s glory to load himself with
thick clay.  The Lord then says, “By the three hundred men that lapped
will I save Israel.”—These three hundred were ordered to provide victuals
for some days; and each a trumpet, a lamp, and a pitcher.  We hear
nothing of arms; but, just before the victory, Gideon and Phurah his
servant, went into the Midianitish camp, at night, as directed of God.
Here, for the confirmation of his faith, and once more, to assure him of
success, he heard a soldier in the host tell his comrade of a strange
dream he had, of a barley cake rolling from the hill, and over-turning
his tent.  The other explained the dream, and said, “This is no other
than the Sword of Gideon, the son of Joash, a man of Israel, for into his
hand hath God delivered the Midianites.”—Doubtless the Midianites had
heard before that the God of Israel had raised up one to oppose them; but
they were not intimidated with that, perhaps only laughed at the weakness
of the Israelites, in placing any dependence on their God—as Satan and
the world, pharisees, and hypocrites, laughing at believers, walking by
faith, and not by sight; it will be the believer’s turn to laugh another
day, when their enemies shall gnaw their tongues in anguish, and say, We
fools counted their lives madness, and their end without honor.

Gideon was now encouraged, divided his army into three companies, and
ordered them to imitate him in all he did—16th verse; “And he divided the
three hundred into companies,” one hundred in each company, partly to
make the better figure; a shew of an army, with right and left wing, and
partly that they might fall upon the camp of Midian in different
parts—and he put a trumpet in every man’s hand—they that returned of the
trumpeters having left their trumpets behind, so that there was a
sufficient number of trumpets for three hundred men; and these were put
into their hands, that when they blew together the noise would be very
great, and it would seem, by the noise, like a great army, and so terrify
their enemies.  “With empty pitchers, and lamps within the pitchers:” the
pitchers were of earth, and so very easily broken, and made a great noise
in clashing together one against another; and these were empty of water,
or otherwise would not have been fit to put lamps into—and the lamps put
into them were not of oil, for then when the pitchers were broken the oil
would have run out—but were a kind of torches, made of rosin, wax, pitch,
and such like things; and these were put in the pitchers to preserve them
from the wind, and conceal them from the enemy till just as they came
upon them, and then they held them out—which, in a dark night, would make
a terrible blaze, as before this they were of use to light them down the
hill to the camp.  Gideon stood forward first, and as he acted so were
they to act; and as they were acting so they were to exclaim, “The Sword
of the Lord and of Gideon!” or, for the Lord and for Gideon.  The name
Jehovah, these heathens might often have heard as the God of Israel, and
would now sound dreadful to them; and the name of Gideon also:—this was
the reason why Gideon is added, and not out of arrogance and vanity, but
put after the name of the Lord, as being only an instrument the Lord
thought fit to make use of; but all the glory belonged to the Lord.

Verse 19.—So Gideon, and the three hundred men that were with him, which
was one of the three companies his army was divided into, came unto the
out-side of the camp, in the beginning of the middle watch, (the second
watch).  In early times the Jews divided their nights into three watches;
Gideon choose the middle—had he come the first, all might not have been
in bed—had he come the last, some might have been rising; but he took
this time, a little after midnight in the dead of the night, when the
whole army was fast asleep—and the three companies blew the trumpets, and
brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the
trumpets in their right hands, to blow withal—and they cried, The Sword
of the Lord, and of Gideon!  The noise, and the blaze of light were very
surprising to the host of Midian, just awaking out of their sleep,
perhaps—an awful emblem of the surprise a soul experiences, when it
leaves the body without a hope, and without a God!—a greater emblem of
that period, when the midnight cry shall be made—when the arch-angels
trumpet shall wake the dead!—shake the vast creation when the blaze of a
burning world, and the sword of vindictive justice shall be seen.—“The
host of Midian ran, and cried, and fled.”—Such shall the terror be in
that dread moment.  See this finely represented by the excellent Admiral
Kempenfelt, who was drowned in the Royal George, and who composed some
excellent verses on the Last Day.  I will only mention these two verses,
as suitable to this subject, and will be acceptable to the believer,
while it is a terror to those Midianites who will experience the horrors
of that day.—

    Hark! ’tis the trump of God
    Sounds thro’ the worlds abroad—
          Time is no more!
    Horrors invest the skies!
    Graves burst and myriads rise!
    Nature, in agonies,
          Yields up her store.

    Chang’d in a moment’s space!
    See the affrighted race
          Shrink and despair!
    Now they attempt to flee—
    Curse immortality?
    And view their misery
       Dreadfully near!

But while the Midianites fled, the Israelites stood every man in his
place;—so it will be at the final consummation of all things.  Clothed in
the righteousness of Jesus, we shall stand in our lot, and see a burning
world, and the misery of the damned.  But while Jesus descends as our
salvation we shall glorify, and for ever admire him.—This will surely be
thy experience and thy privilege, O believer, as sure as ever the Holy
Spirit has brought you, in time, to believe on him, to seek him, rejoice
in him, and live to his praise.

To close the history of Gideon—we find, that the Midianites in the dark,
and in their terror, took their friends for their foes, and killed one
another—one hundred and twenty thousand Midianites were slain; fifteen
thousand got over Jordan with Zebah and Zalmunna, their kings.—Gideon
pursued them at their heels.  His men being faint he desired the elders
of Penuel and Succoth, as he passed, to give them victuals; but they,
accounting him a fool to pursue such an army with such an handful of men,
refused his troops refreshment, which he, afterwards, justly
resented.—After his victories the Israelites offered him the government
of their country, which he as piously declined, and told them the Lord,
alone, was their rightful sovereign.—Thus was Midian conquered in such a
manner that they lifted up their heads no more, to threaten or overcome
the Israelites.—After judging Israel seventy years, Gideon dies, leaving
behind him seventy sons, all of whom were basely murdered by Abimelech.

We cannot close this history of pious, valiant, honored Gideon, without
taking a view of the grand design of God the Holy Ghost, in this, as well
as in many more instances of renowned warriors, pious judges, and noble
deliverers.—I humbly conceive in the history of Gideon is sweetly
exhibited the adorable Redeemer, as the Christ of God, as the Deliverer
of his saints, as the Saviour of sinners, as the Judge of Israel, and the
glorious leader of his people.  His poverty and meanness, set forth the
abasement and humiliation of him who was rich, yet, for our sakes, became
poor, in every sense of the word.  Gideon’s call to his work, sets forth
Christ’s call to save sinners, which he willingly accepted for the sake
of his Israel.  Hence the Father, in the Covenant, is represented as
saying, “I have called thee in righteousness; thou art my servant, in
whom I will be glorified.”  So the Redeemer says, “Now the Lord God, and
his Spirit hath sent me—the Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he
hath anointed me to preach the Gospel.”  The miraculous confirmation of
Gideon’s call, leads us to remark the miracles of our blessed Jesus, as
proofs of his Divinity, and to confirm his Messiahship as the sent of the
Father; not forgetting the Father’s testimony at his baptism and
transfiguration.  The zeal Gideon shewed for the service of God, reminds
us of him who once said, “The zeal of thy house hath eaten me up;” and
who drove the buyers and sellers out of his Father’s house.—By a few
weak, unarmed men, Gideon did wonders.  What a type of him who, by a few
poor illiterate preachers, sounding the Gospel trumpet, and displaying
the light and fire from their earthen vessels, foiled sin and Satan, and
the lying and delusive systems of Scribes, Pharisees, and idolatrous
Priests, in the Jewish and Gentile world.—As Gideon invited others to
share in his victories, so does our glorious Immanuel, Christ; having
obtained peace by the blood of his cross, and wrought out a complete
obedience, he invites his friends, and bids them an hearty welcome, with
an “Eat, O friends.”—Gideon mildly pacified the unreasonable
Ephraimites—and how mildly does our Jesus often pacify our rebellious
spirits, when he overcomes us with sweet discoveries of his covenant
love, tender mercy, covenant faithfulness, and finished work.—Gideon
resented the cruelty of the men of Penuel, for refusing his men
refreshment—he, tore flesh, killed their chief men, and destroyed their
tower—a striking emblem how Christ will deal with mystical Babylon, and
with all who deny his poor people help in time of need—(see the 25th
Matthew) “When I was hungry ye gave me no meat—and these shall go away
into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal.”—After
his victories he arrives to great honor; and our Jesus is highly exalted.
Gideon judges Israel; and all judgment is committed to Jesus.—Gideon asks
a present of those for whom he had done so much; and Jesus says, “My son,
give me thine heart!”—and by Paul, “I beseech you by the mercies you have
received, to dedicate yourselves to God, which is your reasonable

I cannot pass by this history without enlarging a little more, which I
shall do, God leading me, only to make a few remarks, in a spiritual way,
upon that part which I first read as a text; and I hope, without any
injustice to the subject, or straining it, or putting a sense on it, that
was never intended, there can be no impropriety in my leading the minds
of my hearers from the lesser to a greater subject; and I must give it as
my most decided opinion, that the greatest part of the Old Testament
circumstances were really designed to hold forth something of Jesus, and
the salvation of the Gospel.  To exhibit from the text the Person and
Work of the Son of God—to point out the qualifications and work of Gospel
ministers, with an application of the text to the whole body of God’s
elect, in the present state of things, is my design.  The Person of
Jesus, as God-Man Mediator, and the Redemption of men, by him, was
exhibited to the Old Testament saints, by many figures; these, the
excellent Milton stiles Religious Rights of Sacrifices; informing men, by
types and shadows, of that destined Seed to bruise the Serpent—by what
means he shall atchieve deliverance.—Our blessed Lord owns many of the
shadows: the Apostle, or rather the Holy-Ghost by the Apostle, applies
many others; the Brazen Serpent, Solomon’s Temple, the Prophet Jonah in
the Whale’s belly, the Smitten Rock, the Vail of the Temple, the divided
Waves of the Sea, the Cloud by Day and the Pillar of Fire by Night, with
a vast many other emblems.  Nor can I see why our blessed Jesus should
not be pointed out to the faith and hope of God’s saints, by the lamp and
pitcher, while he, at the same time sounded the trumpet of free grace and
eternal mercy, which was “a savour of life unto some, and of death unto
others.”  May not the pitcher be an emblem of his earthen nature, and the
lamp within, of his divinity—and by virtue of union of the two natures,
our God is manifest in the flesh—married our nature, conferred an honor
upon poor sinners that he never conferred on the angels.  This was Job’s
triumph, “in my flesh shall I see God.”  He took part of the children’s
flesh and blood; he was truly human—bone of our bone and flesh of our
flesh.  God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, without the intervention
of a human father, but by the miraculous impregnation of the Holy-Ghost;
so that his human nature appears to be the joint work of the Trinity—the
Father provides it—“a body hast thou prepared me,”—the Son assumed it—“he
took on him the form of a servant;”—the Spirit formed it—“that holy thing
that shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God—thus the word
was made flesh and dwelt among us.”  The lamp within the pitcher may be
an emblem of his Godhead, as the light of life—he wrapped up his divinity
in his manhood—here it was he concealed his glory: well may the Prophet
exclaim, “Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel the
Saviour.”  What a mystery! a child born—“the everlasting Father, the
mighty God.”  How great is the mystery of godliness!  Angels are amazed,
saints admire, and sinners triumph—a God in every perfection, a Man in
every faculty—God-Man—the fœderal head—the representative of his
Church—the second Adam—a public person—that as Adam the first, was the
head of all, as sinners, so Jesus should be the head of all his elect.
How striking is the language of Milton, when he represents the Almighty
Father thus addressing his eternal Son—

    Be thou, in Adam’s room, the head of all mankind,
    Tho’ Adam’s son; as in him perish all men,
    So, in thee, as from a second root shall be restor’d
    As many as are restor’d—without thee none.

This divinity often blazed through his humanity, in the miracles he
wrought, which were done by his own eternal power and Godhead—the words
he spoke, the tidings he foretold, but particularly his transfiguration
on the Mount, when the light of his divinity shone so luminous, that his
whole body, and even his raiment appeared like the sun in a case of
chrystal.  Peter calls it an excellent glory—St. John says we beheld his
glory—the Evangelists say of those with him on Mount Tabor—and when they
were awake, they saw his glory.  The lamp may be a fine emblem of Jesus,
as the light of life; this is peculiar to him as God, and as God-Man.
The light is the most striking emblem of God Jesus; it is the life and
beauty of every thing else—it hath a kind of omnipotency in it—a peculiar
brightness and purity.  He is the light of reason to all—he is the light
of grace in the covenant—the light of truth in the word—the light of life
in the souls of the elect, and the light of heaven in glory—the Lamb is
the light thereof; the Lord is thine everlasting light, and thy God thy
glory: this is the lamp of salvation, the light of the Gentiles and the
glory of his true Israel—such Jesus is, and such his grace.  O! may he
shine on you!—this will engage your hearts to love, admire, adore, and
praise his name for ever and ever.—As all the fulness of the Godhead
dwells in Jesus, so all the blessings of an everlasting covenant is
treasured up in him—all that we can possibly stand in need of, for time
and eternity—blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in
Christ Jesus; for God giveth not the Spirit by measure to him—all the
fulness of blessings are in him, for his dear people’s use; hence, says
one, “Out of his fulness have we all received, and grace for grace.”
These gifts could only flow to us through his obedience and death—the
gift of the Spirit—access to God—spiritual knowledge and eternal glory.
Not that the Redeemer is to be considered as purchasing these blessings;
they were all given as the free, unmerited gift, of God—but it was
necessary that Jesus should obey and suffer, that these gifts should flow
to us in a way of justice and holiness, while the mercy and compassion of
God was displayed.  Hence he says, “If I go not away the Comforter will
not come unto you; but if I depart I will send him unto you—it is
therefore expedient for you that I go away;” as it was necessary that the
pitchers should be broken, that the blaze of light might appear—First, to
overturn the enemies of Israel—Secondly, to deliver the people from their
oppression—so, by the sufferings and death of the human nature of Christ,
he overturned the kingdom of Satan, took away his power, and delivered
his people from the law, the guilt of sin, and the powers of darkness—he,
by his death, slew death, and him who had the power of death; and who
hoped he should be the executioner of the penal sentence of the law, was
disappointed—in seeing the great Deliverance that was brought about in
such a wonderful way, he was foiled and spoiled, the curse of the law
falling on Christ—enduring the curse which we had deserved—standing in
our place, he fulfilled the law for us, by his holy life—made an
atonement by his awful, though glorious death—sanctified the grave by his
burial—and rose for the justification of all that believe in him.  Here
was the overcoming the sharpness of death, and the opening the kingdom of
heaven to all believers; and upon his ascension to heaven, and sitting on
the right hand of the Father, he obtained the gift of the Holy-Ghost,
which was shed abroad on the Apostles; and all spiritual good for poor
sinners.  Thus, through the breaking the earthen pitcher, a light is made
manifest; all covenant blessings flow to us, in a way honorable to God,
and safe to man—and now we rejoice, that by him all that believe are
justified from all things; and that the blood of Jesus cleanseth us from
all sin.  But can we forget the trumpet of his voice of love and mercy,
which he so often sounded during his public ministry?  With what
declarations of blessedness did he begin his sermon on the Mount—what
sweet invitations did he give to poor condemned, sin-burthened souls, in
these words, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden.—If
any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink.—Behold the man—look unto
me—Come ye to the waters.—All things are ready, come unto the
marriage.—Behold the Lamb of God.”  This is the inviting voice of the
trumpet of the Gospel, as preached by the Lord Jesus—and though so
melodious to a poor sinner; what solemn awful sounds were sometimes heard
from his gracious and holy lips!—and how great the truth afterwards
declared, that the ministry of Jesus is a savour of life unto life, or of
death unto death.  Hence, he said, “Wo unto you, Scribes, Pharisees,
Hypocrites!  Except your righteousness exceed the Pharisees, ye cannot be
saved!—Except you repent, you shall likewise perish!—and because you say,
we see, your sin remaineth.—For judgment am I come into this world, that
those who see not might see; and those who boast of their light might be
made blind.”

The victory, of Gideon was a display of the sublime perfections of Deity;
and surely we see them more clear, and more glorified in the work of a
sinner’s salvation: eternal love is the spring—infinite wisdom lays the
plan—almighty power executes it—while mercy, grace, and compassion,
justice and holiness, sovereignty and truth, appear glorious.  Yes,

    Here the whole Deity is known,
       Nor dares a creature guess
    Which of the Glories brightest shone,
       The Justice or the Grace!

Secondly.—May not the pitcher, lamp, and trumpet, be an emblem of Gospel
ministers, and their office in the Church of Jesus Christ?  We have this
treasure in earthen vessels—the Gospel is a treasure, because it exhibits
the riches of God and of Christ, in mercy, love, grace, wisdom, and
power; which are unsearchable, substantial, and satisfying—the
repository, cabinet, or pitcher in which this treasure is, are earthen
vessels.  Most Divines are of opinion that the Apostle refers to the
circumstance we are considering.  It is our mercy the Gospel is put into
such vessels—an Angel, commissioned from the high throne of God, however
lofty his language, however kind his message, yet would not be a proper
person to preach to the Church of God—Ministers must be men of like
passions with the Church; have the same depraved nature; be taught by the
same Spirit; have the same trials in body, soul, and circumstances; or
how could they sympathize with the Church?  Now, that all the excellency
of the power of the word might be of the Holy-Ghost, (which is the grand
design of God) he has kindly put this treasure of the Gospel in earthen
vessels, brittle shells, baked earth—to shew the frailty of the bodies of
the best of men—“Your fathers! where are they?” and “Do the Prophets live
for ever?”  This is to shew the outward meanness of those instruments the
Lord makes use of; but few rich, honorable, or noble, are called to the
work; and frequently the most useful have been poor illiterate common
mechanics.  God is determined to stain the pride of human glory—to this
end he has chosen the base, the foolish, the weak, to accomplish the most
noble purposes—earthen vessels, that they might not be too much exalted,
least, if they fall they should get the more injury.  God will have all
the glory of a man’s salvation, and the power is to be attributed to him
alone, and not to the eloquence or oratory, learning or piety, gift, or
even grace of the speaker; they, as earthen vessels, are not to be put
too low, least they should be spurned and kicked.  God has put an honor
on them, and they are to be honored and esteemed for their work’s sake:
in the pulpit they are to know none; but aim at the glory of Christ and
the good of his people—to keep back nothing that is profitable—to conceal
no doctrine—to be ashamed of no ordinance—to connive at no error—to have
no man’s person in admiration, but aim at the exaltation of free, rich
grace, in the plan of salvation.  They are called earthen vessels, to
shew the mighty power of God in their support, being so weak in
themselves; and the protection and wonderful deliverances of them in
times of trouble.  Hence the Apostle, personating them, says, “We are
troubled on every side;” that is, by every one, saint and sinner; yet not
so distressed as to be without hope or comfort—We are perplexed and know
not what to do, nor which way to take; but not in despair of the Lord
appearing and working salvation for us.—Persecuted, but not forsaken by
our God—Cast down we sometimes are as an earthen vessel which may be cast
out of man’s hand, in order to be dashed to pieces; but not destroyed—we
are still safe in the hands of Christ, and kept by the power of God—and,
indeed to what else can all this be ascribed?  ’Tis surprising that
earthen vessels should bear so much, and not fall or be dashed to pieces;
for I think that Ministers have greater trials, greater enemies, greater
sins, and of course, greater sorrows, than any other believers.  The lamp
in the pitcher, may be an emblem of that light which is peculiar to God’s
Ministers—not only the common operations of the Spirit upon them, to
constitute them believers in Jesus, but the light given them for the use
of others—a greater degree of internal knowledge.  Hence the exhortation,
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works—Ye
are the light of the world.”  There is a knowledge essential to them as
Ministers, and this is not human learning, though that is not to be
despised, but it is the influence of the Spirit upon the mind, giving
them to see, clearer than others, the plan of salvation, the depravity of
human nature, the exceeding sinfulness of sin, the nature of the law, the
glories of the Saviour, the danger of a form of godliness, without the
power; the temptation, subtilty, and art of the Devil; the vanity of the
world; and the dangerous tendency of all errors.  These things ought to
be well known by us as Ministers, that we may contend earnestly for the
faith once delivered to the saints.  What the Lord has taught us,
experimentally, that we are to declare—as we have heard, so have we
seen—of sin, the law, the Saviour, the world, Satan, and error.  Hence
the Apostle John says, “that which we have heard, which we have seen, and
our hands have handled of the word of life; for the life was manifested,
and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal
life which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us.—That which we
have heard and seen declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship
with us.”—This lamp, or light, is manifest by an ability to speak forth
what they see and have been taught.  It is given them for the use of the
Church.  Hence the Apostle says, “A measure of the Spirit is given to
every man to profit withal;” every Minister of the Gospel, for some
purpose in the Church; and it is a sad pity for good men to fall out by
the way, seeing God has allotted every man his peculiar work; and one
Minister never can do the work of another; yet Satan is always setting
brother against brother.—Some are calculated to alarm, some to warn, some
to comfort, some to open dark mysteries, some to establish.—Paul was
raised up to plant churches, where the Gospel had never been
before—Apollos to water, comfort, establish, and build up those who had
been planted.  Ministers differ in their abilities—some have greater and
some less; but these all worketh that self same Spirit, who divideth to
his Ministers severally as he will, for the perfecting of the saints, for
the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come in the unity of the
faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God.—This is the design of the
Gospel Ministry.  The breaking of these pitchers, that the light might
appear, may be emblematic of the various trials and heart-breaking
circumstances they meet with here below; and the more they are broken the
clearer they shine—this is true of all believers, as well as Ministers in
general.—May not the trumpets be an emblem of their message to God’s
saints, which must give a certain sound?  How necessary a Minister should
be at a point about his own state.  Only observe the preaching of those
who are not—what legality—what ifs and buts—what a mixture of felt Law
and unfelt Gospel—what dealing in terrors of death, hell, and damnation!
How dismal the sound—how gloomy the countenance—how awful and tremendous
the language in prayer, while in such legal bondage.  Hence they
sometimes begin with, Most dreadful God!—Most terrible Jehovah!  How
different the ideas and language of a soul in Gospel liberty—Blessed
Lord—Gracious Father—Precious Immanuel—Friend of Sinners—Lord Jesus—My
Father—My reconciled covenant, indulgent God.  This is very different
from the terrific language of those who are under the Law, for the Law
always genders to bondage.  Such men cannot give a certain sound—it is a
sound of pardon, of life, of peace, of holiness, of good-will, and
covenant-love, and mercy.  We are to preach, and proclaim pardon to
rebels, mercy to the miserable, deliverance to captives, peace to those
who are convinced of their enmity—the trumpet of God is sounding abroad
the language of mercy—salvation through blood; and while this comforts
the saints it starves the hypocrite, confounds the Pharisee, and becomes
the savor of death to all that hate it.—As the lamp gave light to the
Israelites, and the trumpet was understood by them at the same time, it
confused and over-turned the host of Midian; and sure I am that a
faithful testimony for God and his truth, will never be out of the
consciences of men, whether saints or enemies, in heaven and hell.  Men
cannot endure sound doctrine; they hate the light—they oppose those who
preach it; and the worst term of reproach they can now load them with, or
cast on them, is that of Antinomian, although those very characters know
in their own souls they are not so.—But those Ministers that dare to be
faithful to God and truth, are the only men who handle the Law, lawfully,
hold it forth in its true spirituality, and point the sinner to look to
Jesus as the end of it; and who can look further than the end?—Fear not,
O ye Ministers of my God; arise! shine on!—set the trumpet to the
mouth—proclaim a free-grace Gospel, and leave all consequences to God.
Shine on, ye stars in the hands of your God!  Ye are the light of the
world—take no notice of the slanders of Legalists, moderate Divines,
Arminians, Baxterians, Arians, Deists, and Socinians.  By your preaching,
praying, and living, shew that one is your master, even Jesus!—Permit me
to introduce an Eastern Fable, as it is calculated to illustrate this
point: “The Owls and Bats once joined in a petition to Jupiter, against
the Sun; humbly shewing, that his beams were so troublesome that they
could not fly abroad, for at least twelve hours out of the twenty-four.
Jupiter seeing Phœbus shortly after, informed him of the petition he had
received, adding, I shall, however, take no notice of the petition; and
be it your business to revenge yourself, by shining.”  You that preach
the Gospel, “go, and do thou likewise:”  Suppress no truth—keep back no
part of the price, through the fear of men, or to procure the favor of
men.  Be bold for truth—the blood of souls stains deep!  Remember the
Apostle’s language, “Woe is me, if I preach not the Gospel—yea, woe is
me, if I preach not the Gospel.”

Lastly.—May not the pitcher, lamp, and trumpet, be an emblem of God’s
saints, the teachings of the Spirit, and the happy consequence of the
same?—The earthen pitcher may be figurative of our bodies—although,
through grace, they are the temples of the Holy-Ghost, yet they are of
the earth, earthy: the body is called an earthly house, because it is
from the earth, is supported by earthly things, has its present abode on
the earth, and will quickly return to it—the first man was of the earth,
earthy—so are all his descendents—this shews how frail we are, and how
little reason to be proud of ourselves, seeing we came from the dust, and
must return to it.  Man was formed out of the earth—“The Lord God formed
man of the dust of the ground;”—the word there used signifies Red
earth.—Josephus says, that the first man was called Adam, which in the
Hebrew tongue signifies Red; because he was made out of Red earth—for
such, he says, is the true and virgin earth.  Man, in consequence of the
Fall, was doomed to return to it again—his sin and fall had such an awful
influence, as to make himself and posterity sensual, earthly, and
devilish—to mind, affect, and cleave to earthly things—this is bearing
the image of the earthy.  But it hath pleased God our Saviour to confer
an honor upon our nature, by taking it into personal union with his
Godhead; and his mysterious assumption of human nature is, indeed, the
wonder of heaven.  Here was heaven and earth joined together—God and
Man—but how this was done we cannot form any idea; even Solomon, with all
the wisdom God gave him, declares of Four things, they were too wonderful
for him; and this subject was one of them, “The way of a man with a
maid;” or, as Mr. Romaine says, it is in the original, “The way of the
Almighty in the virgin, when he took part of the children’s flesh and
blood.”  By earth is meant the people of God, as creatures; hence the
promise, “He shall smite earth with his rod:” this is done when the word
comes home with power to the heart.—Again, “O earth, earth, earth, hear
the word of the Lord—Give ear, O heavens, hear, O earth the words of my
mouth—I will hear the heavens; they shall hear the earth; and the earth
shall hear the corn, the wine, and the oil;”—which is a gracious promise
of assurance, taken in these threes declarations, “Yea I have loved thee,
I have redeemed thee, I have called thee.”  The idea of these bodies
being so brittle, makes Infidels, Pharisees, and Hypocrites tremble—but
the believer rejoices in the sweet thought, that this house cannot last
very long, that it will soon be dissolved or taken down by death; then he
will bid a lasting adieu to sin, his greatest grief.  What a contrast
between the child of God and the man of the world!—while the latter
mournfully exclaims on his dying bed, with a wretched old Cardinal,
“Farewell, a long farewell to all my greatness!” the believer can look on
this world, and say, Farewell, a long farewell to all my littleness.—But
this earthen pitcher, these bodies, are the vessels of mercy, afore
prepared unto glory, and ordained for it.  These earthen pitchers were
redeemed from actual as well as original guilt, by our Redeemer, our
kinsman.  These vessels, although broke to pieces by death, will be
raised glorious bodies, fit to hold all the glory our God has in
reversion for it—when they will be formed like the glorious body of
Jesus—from the loins upward, to the loins downward, of the colour of
amber, and be for ever with the Lord.  The body will be now for the Lord,
and the Lord for the body—the Apostle calls them the temples of the
Holy-Ghost, because he has taken possession of their souls—by his
gracious inhabitation he has made them new creatures, a new creation, a
new, a hidden man of the heart.  This was shadowed forth by the light, or
lamp in the pitcher.  God is light; and this new man is the seed, or
child of light: this was not formed by piece-meal, but done at once.
When God comes to his temple his train is sure to fill it—his train of
divine excellencies—so that when the Spirit takes the sinner’s heart, he
brings all his graces with him; and these are called light, marvellous
light—Christ formed in the heart the hope of glory, and the salvation of
the soul in the pardon of sin, is called a lamp; this is the lamp the
wise virgins took, while the foolish ones took the Law—the one went out
in obscure darkness, and left them under the curse! while the other shone
brighter to perfect day.—The word of God is compared to light—this makes
us wise to salvation, as it opens to us what we, as poor sinners want—the
knowledge of God reconciled and well pleased with us in Christ—Thus “the
entrance of thy word giveth light, it giveth understanding to the
simple.”  The light of God’s countenance upon the soul is a precious lamp
in this pitcher, which is nothing more than the Spirit of God operating
as a Comforter, and sweetly assuring the heart of its pardon; while peace
is enjoyed, and we can look God in the face with pleasure, and say, My
Father!—May not the trumpet be a figure of the testimony that all the
saints bear to the freeness of divine grace—to the sovereignty, power and
faithfulness of a covenant God, in a gracious experience of these things,
“Come hither, all ye that fear God, I will tell you what he hath done for
my soul.”—This is proclaiming the glory of God—they shall abundantly
utter the memory of thy great goodness; they shall speak of the glory of
thy kingdom, and talk of thy power.  Thus when we are called out of
darkness, and experience the light of the Son of God—we plead our
master’s cause—when we are helped to walk consistently with our holy
profession, this is the trumpet we sound—God is faithful—By grace are we
saved—He hath, from the beginning, chosen us to salvation—We are bought
with a price—He hath remembered us when in our low estate—He brought me
out of the horrible pit.  We likewise give invitations to others—they
took knowledge of the men, that they had been with Jesus—“Come, see a man
that told me all that ever I did.”  If we meet with a soul in trouble, we
sound the trumpet, as those did, of old, to the blind man—“And they call
the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort; rise! he calleth
thee.”  We relate what great things he has done to us; and like the
Gadarene, “Go, and proclaim how Jesus met with us—cast out the
Devil—clothed us and made us wise.”  Here Jesus gets the glory of our
salvation; so by a close adherence to his Gospel, we bear our testimony
against a form of godliness without the power.—Nor can we be easy without
letting others know what state they are in that are cleaving to the Law.
We must be faithful if we fall into company with the enemies of Jesus,
the Deist, the Arian, the Socinian, or any other characters that oppose
his Person and Work.  We must openly profess his name and salvation—and
having a gracious experience of the truth, we are not easy moved by those
adversaries, who are ripening themselves for damnation, by opposing the
dear Redeemer—this is the case with some thousands this day in Great
Britain.  What a mercy to have the truth in the heart; for though a child
of God may not be able to answer all the sophisticated arguments of the
Arian or Socinian, yet he has got the truth in his soul, which none can
dispute him out of; and it is for want of this that many, who have for a
time appeared to run well, have got into company with such characters,
who first stumbled at the Gospel, then fell into the ditch, from whence
they very seldom come out.—Here we must sound the trumpet, and tell all
such that if they die in that state, where God is they never can
come.—What a mercy to have the light of life—to be taught of God—to know
the plague of the heart—the vanity of the world—the weakness of our own
arm—the value of the atonement—to be built up and established in our
souls—and to long for the glorious appearing of the great God our
Saviour.  Whatsoever maketh manifest is light—God is the Lord, who hath
shewed us the light.  This is not mere head knowledge; but what is
written in the Scriptures of truth is written in our hearts, by the
Spirit—“I will put my law in their hearts—they shall all know me, from
the least to the greatest, for I will be merciful to their
unrighteousness, and their sins will I remember no more.”  A light to see
this truth in the Bible, and the Spirit bearing witness to our souls that
this is our privilege and blessing, is an unspeakable mercy; ’tis this
disarms death of its sting—’tis this smooths the rugged path of
life—sweetens every sorrow—lightens every burthen, and gives a rest to
the soul—makes our faces to shine, and comforts the soul in every
tribulation—’tis this makes a sick bed easy, and bows the will to
God’s—removes the fears of death, and gives an easy passage to glory.
Oh, its a blessed thing to have true light to see the Person and Work of
Jesus, as our atoning sacrifice, and end of the Law for righteousness:
this fills the soul with joy—this inspires the mind with a song of praise
through life, and in a dying hour will swell louder, Salvation to God and
the Lamb.

But there is one part of this history must not be overlooked—the pitchers
were broken before the light could well be seen, or any victory gained.
Every man, by nature, is represented as whole; but when the Holy Spirit
operates upon the soul, it is broken to pieces, that the light may
appear.  The language and complaint of Job, is doubtless the experience
of every one taught of God—“I was at ease, but he hath taken me by the
neck, shaken me to pieces, and set me up for his mark;” and surely if the
Prodigal Son had never been broken in pieces, by a sense of want, he
would not have longed for his father’s house.—By the light the Israelites
got the victory; and it is only by the light of the Spirit we get a
victory over the blindness of our hearts—by a discovery of the obedience
of Jesus, we get the victory over the Law—the Spirit demonstrating to our
hearts, that by him, all that believe are justified from all things from
which they could not be justified by the Law of Moses.—By a discovery of
the sufferings and death of Jesus, we overcome all our guilt, original
and actual—while faith receives the atonement, and hears the glad
tidings, “I, even I, am he that blotteth out all thy transgression.”
This received, embraced, and relied upon, will overcome all guilt,
depravity, and misery—“They overcame by the blood of the Lamb;”—this is a
receipt in full of all demands; so that whatever the Law or conscience
says, our advocate steps in, and shews his hands and his side—this is
enough for us.—By this same light we see in God’s word, the wonderous
plan of salvation—the stability of the covenant—the eternity of God’s
love—the Person of Jesus, as our representative in heaven for us—with
many precious promises, and God’s faithfulness to them.  This brings
comfort into the mind, overcomes our fear, and bears us up in trouble.
When Satan is permitted to harrass the mind, by insinuating the
probability of our fall into awful errors, we can answer, it is written,
“He shall guide into all truth.”  Thus we overcome by the word of our
testimony.—But as it was necessary the pitchers should be broken, that
the light appear, and our Lord Jesus is called the breaker—so, by his
Spirit’s gracious teaching we are broke off from the world—“Come out from
among them.”—We are broke from a form of Godliness—from false views of
God, and often from the esteem of the world—from trusting in the Law—from
our own righteousness—and from carnal professors, who have only a name to
live, while they are dead!  So we are broke in pieces with a sense of
guilt, with groaning under the wrath of God, the fears of death, the
curse of the Law, and the bondage we feel.  God approves of this, as the
effect of the work of his own Spirit—“a broken and a contrite heart, O
God thou wilt not despise;”—thou hast sore broken us in the place of
Dragons.—When peace is proclaimed to the soul, and we are led to see
Jesus as a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.  When the matter
becomes personal, and we can say, “’Twere you my sins, my cruel sins, his
chief tormentors were!”—this lays the sinner low, while his heart is
dissolved in tears, and love, and blood—“They shall look on him whom they
have pierced, and mourn.”—When our souls are led to reflect on our sins
and daily infirmities, with the long-suffering of God to us, the mercy
and truth he hath shewn us, the way he hath led us, the great things he
has done for us, the deliverances he has wrought, the prayers he has
answered, the appearances we have had of his faithfulness and love—these
things melt the heart, overcome the soul, lay us in the dust, and create
the most delightful thoughts of Jesus, so that we can give him the glory
due to his name.—Here the Lord overcomes all our evil with good, and
fulfils this promise, “They shall loathe themselves in their own sight,
for their iniquities, when I am pacified towards them, saith the
Lord.”—Thus the light the Lord has given us appears in the above
manner—life, faith, hope, love, repentance, godly sorrow, the fear of
God, and Bible humility—these implanted in the mind by the Spirit’s
gracious inhabitation, are clearly seen by us at times, and, perhaps,
always by others.  This light appears conspicuous in ministers and saints
in general, by the various trials with which they are exercised.
Whatever graces or light the Holy Ghost is pleased to communicate to us
is sure to be tried—“the Lord trieth the righteous;” hence Job says,
“When he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”  Those very
afflictions and trials that drive the hypocrite from his profession, make
the saint shine brighter.  St. Peter encourages believers under their
trials, with this—“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery
trials which are to try you;”—remember they were all ordered in the
Covenant, in number, weight, and measure; and while they break you off
from an arm of flesh, from the world and self, they try your graces, and
make them appear clear to yourself—thus God promises, “And thine age (or
spiritual birth) shall be clearer than the noon day; thou shalt shine
forth and be as the morning.”  Afflictions are not to destroy but to try
us, just as silver and gold are tried in the fire, lose their dross, and
become purer and brighter.  Faith is tried, and becomes more precious
than gold which perisheth.  Hope of eternal life is tried, and grows more
strong and lively, sure and stedfast, amidst the greatest storms.  Love
to Jesus, his word, ministers, and people, is often tried—by the trial it
appears that nothing can separate the saint and his beloved.  Patience is
tried in afflictions—humility, meekness, and every other grace.  But in
all times of tribulation, though the outward man, or pitcher decays, yet
the inward man is renewed, day by day.—How needful the cross, to keep us
humble—dependent—wean us from the world—furnish us with many petitions to
God, and make us long for glory.  How sweet are those lines of the
excellent Watts—

    Had but the prison wall been strong
       And firm, without a flaw,
    My soul had long in darkness dwelt,
       And less of glory saw.

Reproach from the world, or church, though it breaks the heart, makes us
prize a name and a place in the covenant of redemption.  Persecution, for
imputed righteousness’ sake, tries our profession and principles, and
gives an occasion to rejoice in the honor of suffering for Christ’s
sake.—A body of sin and death, called the plague of the heart, tries our
hope, and helps us to prize the blood of Jesus more and more.—Pain of
body—delays of answer to prayer, try our patience.—False doctrines in the
world, try our love; while the devil’s fiery darts of blasphemous
thoughts, often try our faith—thus as our earthen vessels break, the
light appears; and we often shout victory, through the atonement and
righteousness of Jesus, and by the faithfulness of God.—This light
appears in the whole of their conduct, as external evidences of an
internal work—in their love to, and zeal for the truth as it is in
Jesus—in their unfeigned love to the brethren, as they stand manifest in
each other’s consciences that they are called by grace—in their just
dealings with each other, and the world at large—“the Lord bless thee, O
habitation of justice, O mountain of holiness.”—In their integrity,
uprightness, affection, and sincerity, at home and abroad, they are to
shine as lights, in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.—In
allegiance and obedience to the higher powers—knowing the powers that be,
are ordained of God.  A christian may and ought to be a good subject,
under any government—“Fear God, honor the king,” is the command of the
Holy-Ghost—that whereas the world speaks against you, as evil doers, they
may, by your conversation which they shall behold, glorify God, in the
day of visitation.  The grace of God makes men good fathers, good
masters, good subjects, and honest tradesmen.—Believer, take care that
you show to the world and the church, what great things God has done for
you, by having your conduct squared according to the precepts of the New
Testament, which is to be the rule of your actions; and as many as walk
according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy.  Thus the light
appears, and you proclaim to all around, that you have been with Jesus,
and learned of him.  And while the Pharisees condemn you as an Antinomian
in principle, shew them that your high principles are heavenly ones, by
the effects produced—take the New Testament for your rule of conduct, and
then fear not.—This light appears in a steady, uniform, constant
attendance on all the ordinances of God’s appointment—prayer, private and
public—hearing those ministers that exalt the Saviour in every sermon—a
submission to the ordinance of baptism, by immersion, as soon as it
appears to them right—an attention to the Lord’s supper, from a principle
of love to Jesus—godly conversation with the most experimental
christians.  Here the light is seen: I mention these things because many
of my adversaries have circulated it, far and near, that I am an
Antinomian, and deny all practical religion!—When will mankind forbear
lying against each other; and those who contend for the Law, keep the
ninth commandment as they ought to do?  “Thou shalt not bear false
witness against thy neighbour.”

Finally.—Soon will the earthen pitcher be broke by death! then the soul
enlightened, will enter into perfect day—see as it is seen—know as it is
known.  The blessed Spirit, in the article of death, will be poured out
upon the soul, to fit her for her passage.  Hence he is promised, as the
early and as the latter rain—a greater light comes into the soul, as it
is about to depart into the regions of endless light—in the light of
faith the departing soul sees the pardon of sin, the obedience of Jesus
its own—sees heaven open—angels ready waiting, and whispering to the
saint, The master is come, and calleth for thee! while the saint
exclaims, Come, Lord Jesus! come quickly!—thus he enters into rest, while
Jesus is his everlasting light, his god and glory.—I close this Sermon,
in the language of Dr. Watts’ Description of a Saint’s Life and Death,
under the fine emblem of a Summer’s Day and Setting Sun.

    Just so the Christian, his race he begins—
    He melts into tears when he mourns for his sins;
          And travels his heavenly way.
    But as he draws nearer to finish his race,
    Like a fine setting sun, he looks richer in grace,
    And gives a sure hope at the end of his days,
          Of rising in brighter array.

Which may God grant to us all.—AMEN.

  [Picture: Decorative graphic of cherub carrying a banner saying Finis]

                  Shortly will be published, (Price 1s)
       _A Series of Letters on same important Texts of Scripture_.
              Addressed to several of the Author’s Friends.

                                * * * * *

        Also may be had of the Author, the Four following Sermons
                   (lately published).  Price 6d. each.

1.  _The Patience of God_, _and the Sin of Man_.

2.  _The Goodness of God and Man contrasted_.

3.  _The Believer’s Perseverance founded on the Atonement_.

4.  _The Believer’s Estimation of the Name of Jesus_.

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