Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.—1 Peter 2.17.

[A Choice Collection: Sermon 42, by James Renwick.]
 
A   C H O I C E
C O L L E C T I O N
OF VERY VALUABLE
PREFACES, LECTURES, AND SERMONS

P R E A C H E D

Upon the MOUNTAINS and MUIRS, &c. of SCOTLAND,
In the hottest Time of the late PERSECUTION.

By that faithful Minister and Martyr of Jesus Christ,
The REVEREND MR. JAMES RENWICK.

Carefully collected, and faithfully transcribed, from seve-
ral Manuscripts; and now published by the Owners of
that Cause, which the famous AUTHOR sealed with his
Blood.

MARK i. 2. The Voice of one crying in the Wilderness, Prepare ye
the Way of the Lord, make his Paths straight.

G L A S G O W:
Printed and sold by JOHN BRYCE, Bookseller, Saltmarket.


M,DCC,LXXVI.
 
SERMON XLII.

Preached in the shire of Fife, January 24th, 1688.

PSALM 45.10.

Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear;
forget also thine own people, and thy father's house
.

THERE is, first, the preface, in the first verse, My heart is meditating, &c. The spirit of God, as it were, boiling in the heart of the psalmist, until he got a vent to it, his heart was taken up about noble and sweet meditations: We should guard against vain thoughts, and be much exercised and taken up about heavenly things, meditating upon Christ, and upon heaven: But alas! this is not our exercise. There is,

Secondly, The subject matter of the psalmist, and that is touching the king, to wit, Christ: And the excellencies of Christ are described, which are many, wonderful, and great. For,

Verse 2, He is fairer than the sons of men, even as he is man; but infinitely transcending them all, as he is God, being the express image of the Father, and the fullness of the Godhead dwells in him bodily. {533}

Verse 3, Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty. And,

Verses 4-6, Here is his glory and majesty held forth, riding in a stately posture, as it were, in this glorious chariot having four wheels. The first wheel is majesty; pointing at his greatness, power, and glory. The second is strength; holding out his faithfulness. The third is meekness; shewing his humility and low condescendency to sinners. The fourth is righteousness; he is right and righteous in himself, and makes all his people righteous in his sight, through the covering of his righteousness. O! we should long and pray for that day when we shall see Christ riding in that stately posture, shewing himself to be most mighty, to be KING OF KINGS; AND, LORD OF LORDS; and that he may gird his sword upon his thigh, and in his majesty ride prosperously, going forth conquering and to conquer; overcoming his people more to his service, subduing their sins and corruptions, and breaking his enemies in pieces, who will not bow to him: His riding in this glorious posture may serve to comfort his people under all discouragements, and in the midst of distresses; for, he hath not only a sword to defend them, but a scepter (the scepter of his kingdom, is a right scepter) to rule and guide them; and it may be, of terror to all his enemies: his sword of power will reach them, and his arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies, whereby the people falls under him.

Verse 7, Thy God hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. Christ received not the spirit in measure, but was filled with the holy Ghost above his fellows, to wit, all believers: So he is a full stored, and completely furnished Mediator; a Saviour to supply all the wants of his people: Whatever they need, it is to be found in him. O! what condescendency and matter of wonder is this, that all believers are called Christ's fellows?

Verse 8. All thy garments smell of myrrh, aloes, and cassia, &c. Pointing out this, that all Christ's ordinances, appointed in his word, are the means he hath commanded his people to make use of, and wherein he hath promised to be found of those that seek him, smell all sweetly of himself. O! his ordinances when he is found in them, smell pleasantly of himself; yea, the smell thereof far excels that of aloes, myrrh, and cassia; yea, and all the spices of the merchants. O! frequent his ordinances appointed by himself, make use of the means he will approve of, and he will be found of you, and your soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and with fatness. The smell ye shall find shall be pleasant and fragrant, more than that of myrrh, &c.

Verse 10, which is the text, hearken, O daughter, &c. contains an invitation by Christ to his church and people, whom {534} he calls his daughter, to leave her people, and forget her father's house.

For explaining the words a little, I shall shew you how the word hearken hath divers acceptations in scripture,

1. It is taken for obedience, John 1.17, As we hearkened to Moses in all things, so will we hearken unto thee.

2. It is put for the granting a petition, Deut. 9.19, But the Lord hearkened unto me at that time also.

3. It is put for not consenting unto a request, 1 Kings 20.8, All the elders and all the people said unto him, hearken not unto him, nor consent.

4. It is the same with listening, as it were, and laying to the ear to hear what is spoken, Isaiah 49.1, Listen, O isles, and hearken ye people from afar.

5. It is put for receiving instruction, Jer. 35.13, Will ye not receive instruction to hearken to my words, saith the Lord.

6. It is the same with hearing, Job 37.2, Hear attentively the noise of his voice, and the sound that is gone out of his mouth.

7. It is all one with inclining the ear, as in the text, a bending of the ear to hear what is spoken, hearken, O daughter, consider, and incline thine ear. The Lord uses these three expressions, hearken, consider, and incline thine ear, to hold forth with what great earnestness she should hearken to what he was saying, forget also thine own people, and thy father's house; that is, she should leave all that she had from her first father Adam, and got in his house, and come to Christ.

DOCTRINE 1. That Christ is very tender to his people.
In the text he calls them his daughter, and he as a father takes care of them, Rev. 12.1. His church is called a woman, who is liable to many injuries, and encompassed about with infirmities; and so he, as her head and husband, takes care of them; yea, his care and tenderness of them is so great, that he carries the lambs in his bosom, and gently leads those that are with young, Isa. 40.11. He takes special notice of the kids, to wit, young beginners, lest they should wander and go astray. When the spouse is seeking direction where she might find her beloved, she is bidden go away by the footsteps of the flock, and feed her kids beside the shepherds tents, Song 1.7,8. O! what a wonderful mystery is this in the text? He calls her his daughter, and yet he invites her to be married unto him, and he to be her husband; this holds forth the near relation that is between Christ and his people; the nearest relation that is between any in the earth; there is the same between him and his people, he is their father, and they his sons and daughters; he the head, and they the members; he the husband, and they the spouse; he the King and they the subjects; he the Lord and master, and they the servants. {535}

For Use. Seeing it is so that Christ is so tender of his people; it may teach us,

1. That we should subject ourselves to him, to be his, and for him; we should subject ourselves to his laws and ordinances, for they are all easy and light: subject yourselves to him, and quarrel not against him; let not your hearts rise against his sovereignty, nor quarrel at his way of procedure with you and others.

2. As he is tender of his people, so we should be tender of his glory and truths, that we and others may not wrong them; but alas! where is our zeal for, and tenderness of his truths and cause in this day, when they have been, and are so wronged and wounded! And let your zeal for his truths, and against the wrongs done to the same appear: O! be tender of his truths.

3. It teaches us to be tender of his people, and to be tender of one another; and if ye would be tender of one another: Then,

(1.) We should love one another: This is a duty much commanded and commended in scripture; Christ enjoins it many a time to his disciples, that they should love one another; and Paul, in his epistles, presses it much.

(2.) We should sympathize with one another: We ought to bear burden with all his afflicted members. But, Oh! and alas! ye in this country-side, where hath your sympathy with his afflicted people appeared? For ye have been at ease and in quiet, while many in the west have been sore persecute; some to wandering, tossing, and hiding; others to bonds, imprisonment, banishment, and death for his truths. O! lie not at ease, but be concerned with his cause, and sympathize with his people.

(3.) If we would be tender of one another, then we should reprove one another for our faults; this is a great duty, tho' unpleasant to nature, and that which many do not like; yet to reprove one another is much commanded and pressed in the word, and it is the greatest act of love we can shew to our brother, not to suffer sin upon him, but to rebuke him, Lev. 19.17.

(4.) If we would be tender of our brother, then we should withdraw from him when he walketh disorderly after all our admonitions, exhortations, and reproofs, prove successless; this also is an act of love to him, but it should be the last thing we can do with him, and with great tenderness; and, with sorrow of heart observing that rule, yet counting him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother, 1 Thes. 3.15.

DOCTRINE 2. These who are believers in, and daughters of Christ, they should hearken and incline their ear, and consider what he says. {536}
He presses this in the text; and Isa. 55.3, Incline your ear, and come unto me; hear, and your soul shall live.

In speaking to this, I shall shew,

  1. What way ye must consider.
  2. Shew you some things that this day he is calling upon you to consider.
I. As to the first of these, if ye would rightly consider what Christ is saying, then ye must do it,

1. Attentively; take good heed what ye hear, and consider seriously upon the same. O my friends! let not your hearts wander after vanities, when ye are hearing the word, but let your hearts be present. I fear many of you tonight, though you be here, yet your minds are going out after your goods, gear, and cattle, and at home in your houses.

2. Ye must do it in faith, for without this, it is impossible to please God, Heb. 11.6. We must believe not only that he is, but what he is; that he is a holy, just, wise, and merciful God,—otherwise we can do no duty aright.

3. Ye must do it in love: loving him and all his commands.

4. It must be done with delight; cheerfully obeying what he commands.

5. It must be done with a submissive spirit, nor murmuring at his commands, but cheerfully acquiescing unto what he enjoins, without disputing, though cross to our nature.

II. I shall shew you some things that Christ would have you to consider this day: O! think upon the same seriously; slight them not, for they are matters of great moment and consequence, and very worthy your consideration: As,

1. Consider your natural state; ye were all born in a state of enmity against God, in a state of sin and misery; by nature your understanding is darkened, so that ye cannot discern of spiritual things; your will is perverse, so that ye cannot will that which is spiritually good; and the affections depraved so that ye cannot do that which is right. O! consider seriously upon your state; for, if ye die in that natural state, miserable will your lot be.

2. Consider your own impotency to help yourselves out of that miserable state you were born in, all ye can do in this will be to no purpose; yea, angels and men cannot help you. O! do not think to make a Christ of your duties; for they cannot help you out of that state; and go not about to make a Saviour of your own righteousness, for that will not save you, it will prove as rotten rags, and filthy garments.

3. Consider your own unworthiness to be delivered out of that sad state; for there is nothing in you to commend you to a Saviour: A right sight of yourselves, and of your sin, will make you think yourselves unworthy of mercy. O! do not think yourselves worthy of salvation, or more worthy than others, {537} but humble yourselves in his sight, and under the sense of your sin; have a low esteem of yourselves.

4. Consider this great truth, this faithful saying, which is worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners: He is a complete Saviour, and well-furnished Redeemer, able to save and redeem all that come to him. O! therefore come unto him; embrace him as your Saviour, for he is willing to receive. O! close with him, by faith, as your Prophet, Priest, and King. Though ye have slighted him formerly, yet now is he willing to accept of you. O! consider seriously upon it, for it is matter of great concernment; yea, of no less, than that which concerns the eternal welfare of your immortal souls.

5. Consider seriously whether ye have actually closed with Christ or not.

6. O! Consider, whether ye be born again or not; if ever ye knew what regeneration, and the pangs of the new-birth were. O! sit down seriously, and consider on this great business, set about the work of self-examination; though it be painful and against nature, yet it is profitable: Put yourselves to the trial, to see whether ye know any thing of religion, and of the saving work of the Spirit of God upon your souls; think not this a light business; it is of no less consequence, than the eternal salvation of your souls. And,

7. Consider your ways, Hag. 1.5. Consider your personal walk, how ye have carried in your ways as to that; all ye who are guilty of personal sins and scandals, as drunkenness, swearing, uncleanness, or any other way; O! consider upon the same; turn unto the Lord. Mourn for these things and get pardon for the same. Consider your way also, as to the public cause, what hath been your carriage in reference to that: Alas! ye in this place of Fife, many of you are guilty of defection from his truths, and of compliance with enemies. Many of you are guilty of hearing these abjured hirelings, the curates, though ye got faithful warning to the contrary: O! consider the sinfulness of such a course, for thereby ye are guilty of bringing in that lordly dominion of prelacy into his house, which he never commanded in his word, thereby ye have consented to the extrusion of Christ's faithful ministers out of his vineyard, and to the intrusion of these abjured hirelings in their room: Ye are thereby guilty of strengthening the hands of evil doers; and ye are thereby guilty of perjury; prelacy being expressly abjured by our covenants. Many of you again have paid the cess and locality, for the maintenance and upholding of enemies; consider the wickedness thereof; for the paying thereof is the same, as if ye had bought a gun or a sword to give the soldiers to murder all the servants and people of the Lord: or, as if every one of you {538} had brought a coal to make a fire to burn them all in; Of the sin of this ye got also faithful warning, which makes the paying of it now more heinous.

Many of you have also taken these dreadful oaths and bonds that came along, all repugnant to the oath and bond of our covenants. O! consider upon these things; seek repentance and forgiveness for them; and consider the great danger the interest of Christ is in this day: The protestant interest is in hazard to be razed and ruined; therefore be not secure.

8. Consider the danger ye are in, and be not at ease: O consider it seriously; rouse up yourselves, for God is angry with the lands. Is not our religion, and the interest of Christ in great danger, when he that hath now usurped the regal power is a professed papist, and a sworn vassal and votary of Antichrist, and one who is a member of the society of Jesuits, the cruelest and bloodiest sort of all the Papists; yea, one who said, that he should either convert England, to the catholic faith, or die a martyr; yea, who said also, that it would not be right, till the west of Scotland, was made a hunting field? O then! are we not in great danger? And now, to carry on his designs the more undiscernable, he hath granted a pretended favour and toleration to protestants, which he can remove when he sees fit; for, it is his principles to be treacherous, and to keep no faith to heretics, (as papists and protestants).

O my friends, consider the hazard ye are in; for, though he speaks fair, he means not so. Consider the sinfulness of this toleration; for, the fountain of it is absolute power, which the granter claims above all laws divine and human; the channel through which it comes, is the taking away of the penal laws: The restrictions wherewith it is bounded are sinful, and the design thereof evil: Yea, by this toleration, all the kinds of power that Christ hath seated in his church, are invalidated, invaded, and encroached upon. For,

(1.) The dogmatic power, whereby ministers are to judge of truth and error in point of doctrine, according to the word of God; this power is encroached upon, and this key extorted out of their hands: For according to the proclamation, nothing may be taught by the accepters of the toleration, in their tolerated meetings, that can be interpreted by the court, to alienate the hearts of the people from the granter, or his government; whereby they are bound up, that they may not doctrinally discover unto the people the sins and snares of this toleration, or any other sin of the time.

(2.) The diatactic power, whereby the courts of Christ are to discern the circumstances of the worship of God, as to time and place, for order, decency, and edification, according to the general rules of the word, this power is invaded: The key of order is wrung out of their hands; for, now the places {539} of worship are determined in the royal proclamation, which must be made known to some of the court patrons, on whose warrant they are tied to depend: In the mean time, field meetings, for the worship of God (which have been signally countenanced of the Lord) are severely interdicted.

(3.) The critic, or corrective power which the courts have to censure delinquents, and absolve penitents, according to the word of God, is also invaded: For, not only does this toleration rob the ministers tolerated of this power of impartial censuring those scandals that are tolerated thereby, and all that make themselves guilty, by complying with the same, or have been involved in sinful and scandalous compliances formerly: But also usurps this power formally, investing the granter of this authority to discharge some ministers the exercise of their office, whom the word of God, and laws of this church, do authorize; and to allow others, whom the word of God, and constitutions of this church, require to be laid aside, and suspended from that function.

(4.) The exausiastic power of trying, sending, and authorizing office-bearers in the church, is made useless and void, by this toleration: For, suppose a minister hath his mission in Christ's orderly appointed way, and never so well qualified to exercise it, and also have the call of the people; yet the same is not of any signification, except intimation be made, to this exotic power, of their names that are to officiate under this toleration, and they be found such as please the court patrons.

So now my friends, ye would consider the sinfulness of this toleration; and as ye would keep yourselves free of the sin and snares of it, and of the judgments wherewith it will be pursued, ye would keep yourselves free of it, and of countenancing these ministers who have accepted the same; for, they have changed the holding of their ministry, and have its dependency upon the courts of men.

9. Consider the desolation of the Lord's house and sanctuary, how Zion is laid waste, and her pleasant places desolate; the walls of Jerusalem are broken down, and are robbed of all her pleasant things: And, O! let these things affect your hearts; be not at ease, or unconcerned, in this day of Zion's trouble.

10. Consider seriously how the Lord's anger is burning against the land; O! there is much anger incumbent and lying on, and much more wrath impendent and hanging over us; therefore prepare for the same; flee into Christ, the city of refuge: Enter into your chambers, shut the doors about you, and hide yourselves for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. {540}

DOCTRINE 3. That these who would believe in Christ, and be his children, they must leave and forsake their own people, and their Father's house.
That is, they must forsake every thing they got in their first father Adam's house, and come to Christ, close with him, and embrace him: He invites them to this in the text, Forget also thine own people, and thy father's house.

I. In speaking to this, we shall shew you what ye should leave and forsake.

1. Ye must leave natural ignorance, that old companion that hath kept you company since you were born; ye must leave that and come to Christ for light: for, by nature ye are ignorant of God, of Christ, and of yourselves; of heaven, and the way to it: O! forsake your ignorance; rest not till ye have it to say, Sometimes ye were darkness, but now ye are light in the Lord, Eph. 5.8.

2. Ye must leave your unwillingness, another companion ye got in your father's house; for by nature the will is perverse, only inclined to evil, and cannot will that which is spiritually good: O! labour to get this removed; come to Christ and get your wills subdued and inclined to that which is spiritual, and that he may make you a willing people in the day of his power, Psalm 110.3.

3. Ye must forsake your unbelief, another old companion; this is a brat begotten betwixt the other two, to wit, ignorance and unwillingness: O! get that removed; believe in Christ; and remember that without faith it is impossible to please God, Heb. 11.6.

4. Ye must forsake your worldly wisdom; the natural man looks upon religion as foolishness, and a fancy; and to be religious, is but a poor sad melancholy life. But, O! the believers in Christ, those who have their eyes enlightened, and discern things spiritually, they will see it a far other thing; they will see it to be the power of God, and the wisdom of God; they will look upon it to be no fancy, but a real business; and that it is not a sad melancholy life to be religious, but a most pleasant and sweet life: They count one day in the courts of God, better than a thousand, Psalm 84.10. The noble Gallacius, marquis of Vico, it is said of him, "that it was one of the means of his conversion, when he heard a minister preach how the world looked upon religion as folly and a fancy, and yet what reality, harmony, and pleasantness was in it; for, said the minister, the professors of the gospel are like a people dancing, and keeping order to sweet harmonious musick:" When this is seen at a distance by any, they think them mad and distracted, but when they come nearer, and see what order they keep in dancing, and what concord is in the music, they change their minds: {541} And even so it is with the professors of religion, when the blind world sees them at a distance, they count them distracted; but any that comes nearer, they will see and observe a sweet pleasant order, harmony, and concord, and then they change their thoughts.

5. Ye must leave your covetousness; ye must forsake your worldly-mindedness, which naturally ye are addicted to; ye must leave all these and come to Christ: In a word, ye must leave all ye got in your first father Adam's house; all ye had in that family, ye must forsake: Ye must leave your idols, your corruptions, your predominant lusts, these old companions, who were greater, higher, and stronger than the rest, ye must leave all these and come to Christ.

II. Now, it may be asked, that since we are to leave so much in coming to Christ, What shall we get when we are come? O my friends! If ye will forget your own people and father's house; if ye would leave these your old companions and come to Christ, close with him, and embrace him, ye shall get much more than you left: For,

1. Ye shall be taken into a new family, even Christ's family: Ye shall get a new head and husband, even Christ: Ye shall get a new inheritance, and new companions, yea, every thing new; and all these much more desirable and excellent than the old.

2. Ye shall be made beautiful; for, by nature, ye are all unclean and defiled: Ye shall be made all glorious within, and your clothing of wrought gold: You shall be made beautiful through Christ's comeliness.

3. And being made so beautiful through his comeliness, he will greatly delight in your beauty: O! what a wonder is this, that though the poor believer hath no beauty of his own, being only adorned with Christ's comeliness, yet he will greatly delight in its beauty, as if it were its own?

4. As Christ will have a common interest in you, and all that is yours; so ye will have a common interest in him, and all that is his: Ye may sweetly travel through all his attributes, view and behold them, and make use of them as your own.

5. Ye shall have that sweet companion, Peace of conscience (that peace which passeth all understanding, Phil 4.7.) to follow you: This the wicked man wants, though he may have the enjoyment of never so much of the world, yet there is a bitter root and sting in them all.

6. You shall have your state changed from a state of misery, to a state of happiness; from death to life; from darkness to light: Yea, ye shall get more than tongue can express. If I had the tongue of angels and men, I could not get expressions {542} to hold forth what ye shall get, what a life ye shall have; for eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, the things that God hath prepared for them that love him, 1 Cor. 2.9. O therefore! come and embrace Christ; leave all your own things, and close with him.

Let us pray, &c.