The Apartment's Equipage, and Parade of Immanuel
William Huntington (1745-1813)
A SERMON, PREACHED AT THE CITY CHAPEL, GRUB ST., DECEMBER 9, 1810.
We are not at a loss to know who this divine person is, of whom this Psalm treats: the epistle to the Hebrews has informed us, for the author of it takes the fourth verse of this Psalm, and applies it to Christ, Heb. i. 7. The works of creation, and the providence of God, are the subject-matter, or the whole contents of this Psalm. And John informs us, that the essential Word which was with God, and which was God, was the maker of all things; "All things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made that was made," John i. 3. So that the world is his in right of nature, Ezekiel, xxi. 27. Nor did he lose his right by his incarnation; for as Immanuel, or God incarnate, he is appointed heir of all things, Heb. i. 2. The Psalmist, being under a most lively influence of the Holy Spirit, calls upon his soul to bless the Lord, or ascribe all blessings and blessedness to him, who is the greatest blessing and the fountain of all blessings to us. David, in his own kingly office, knowing himself to be a type of Christ, views him by the eye of faith in all his ensigns of royalty, or in that divine regalia which is peculiar to him, as mediatorial King of Zion. His crown, his divine glory, his royal robe, are everlasting light; the girdle of his loins, righteousness; the girdle of his reins, faithfulness; his sceptre is his power to salvation, and he sways it by the ministry of the everlasting gospel. But I will come to my text.
"Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters these are his apartments: "who maketh the clouds his chariot;" these are his equipage: "who walketh upon the wings of the wind;" that is his parade. Let our Lord's chambers be Where they may, or what they may, the beams of them are sure to be light: beams, horns, or rays of light, always attend him, for ha dwells in it. "He revealeth deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him," Dan. ii. 22. And Paul speaks the same things; "Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting," 1 Tim. vi. 16. "This then is the message which we nave heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all," 1 John i. 5. And in the verse preceding my text, David says that, "He covereth himself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens as a curtain" By stretching out the heavens, the Psalmist evidently alludes to the creation, when the Lord commanded the firmament to divide the waters from the waters, Gen. i. 6; which is the vast expanse of atmosphere, air, and ether, which serves as a swaddling band to the earth. From all which it appears, that the Lord dwells in the light, and the light dwells with him; yea, he is light, and clothes himself with it as with a garment. Hence he is called the sun with which the church is clothed, the sun of righteousness and the sun of glory to the church, both militant and triumphant. These divine rays of ineffable glory seem to be the train, or the skirts of his robe that filled the temple, Isai. vi. 1; for David says he is clothed with light as with a garment, and beams of divine glory are the train that attend him in all his manifestations to the sons of men; for he dwelleth in the light, and the light dwelleth with him. These ineffable rays, or beams of glory, are what I understand by the beams of his chambers; for what we call beams are too gross, too mean and low, for these chambers.?"He layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters," &c. I come now to offer a few thoughts upon those things which the scriptures call chambers.
1. By chambers, heaven itself may be designed, as appears by the following words: "There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. "Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In their, hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, which is as a bridegroom corning out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race." Paul, in Rom. x. 18, applies the contents of this Psalm to the going forth of Christ with the apostles in the ministry of the gospel. The Lord had purchased his church with his own blood, and he went forth in the ministry of the apostles to espouse her unto himself. The apostles were the tabernacle in which the Sun of righteousness set, and out of whom he shone forth, as he had formerly done from off the mercy-seat. His going forth is compared to the sun in the firmament, dispelling the dismal gloom's of Jewish and Gentile darkness, and bringing life and immortality to light through the gospel. The chamber he came out of is heaven, which will in some future time be the wedding chamber of the church; and from this chamber the Bridegroom went forth, rejoicing as a strong man to run a race, catching and wooing his dear-bought bride; this time being, in an especial manner, the day of espousals, and the day of the gladness of his heart, Cant. iii. 11. Love to her, and his delight in her, seem to be the cause of this joy at his going forth.
2. By chambers is sometimes meant the clouds, which are watery particles exhaled from the earth and sea; which vapours, ascending into the upper regions, are thereby clarified, and are ordered by divine wisdom hither and' thither, to distil their rich and refreshing contents for the good of mankind: the clouds are called the Lord's chambers: "He watereth the hills from his chambers: the earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works," Psalm civ. 13. David writes sweetly of these things, calling them the visits and the provision of God. "Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it: thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, which is full of water: thou preparest them corn, when thou hast so provided for it. Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly: thou settlest the furrows thereof: thou makest it soft with flowers: thou blessest the springing thereof. Thou crownest the year with thy goodness, and thy paths drop Patzess," Psalm lxv. These are the blessed provisions of God, and the contents of watering the earth from his chambers; and if these refreshing showers were once withheld, instead of the paths of the Lord dropping fatness, leanness and emptiness would soon appear in the shambles, and barrenness in the dairy.
3. By chambers we may understand the love of the Lord.
David calls the Saviour his house: Be thou my strong rock, for an house of defence to save me, Psalm xxxii. 2. "Lord, thon hast been our dwelling-place in all generations," says Moses, Psalm xc. 1. And this is the promised peaceable habitation, our sure dwellings, and quiet resting places, Isa. xxxii. 18. There is such a dwelling place as love, for "He that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him," 1 John iv. 16. And I have at times thought that this is the spacious apartment of David; "Thou hast not shut me up into the hand of the enemy: thou hast set my foot in a large room," Psalm xxxi. 8. A large room it is, for it holds a great many friends. Nothing bursts the bands of fear, hardness of heart, and unbelief, like love: love sweetly enlarges the troubled soul, when the foot of faith is established in it, as the beloved disciple found it, when he says, "And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us." 1 John iv. 16. I think the holy spouse gives the name of chambers to the love of the Holy Trinity, into which Christ introduced her; for we hear of nothing but love all the while she was there; her heart and her mouth seem filled with it. "The King hath brought me into his chambers: we will be glad and rejoice in thee, we will remember thy love more than wine: the upright love thee," Song i. 4. The love that filled her soul, and the, joy that sprung from it, make manifest what these chambers were. "He that hath my word and keepeth it, he it is that loveth me, and he shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him;" and this is all fulfilled at the descent of the Holy Comforter. These seem to be the saints' chambers mentioned by the evangelical prophet; "Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast," Isaiah, xxvi. 20. The indignation here spoken of seems to be the destruction of Jerusalem, for their rejection and crucifixion of our Lord. The people spoken to are the apostles and disciples of Christ: and what chamber does our Lord advise them to abide in? "Abide in my love, as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love." In this chamber a man is hid, so that none but the saints can see him, or know where he dwells. And he that enters this guest-chamber finds the doors to be shut, so that no enemy can get at him; and I know of so hiding chambers that will keep all intruders out but this.
4. Another of these chambers seems to be the heart of the mints, as appears from the song: "I held him fast, and would not let him go, until I had brought him into my mother's house, and into the chamber of her that conceived me," Song iii. 9. The blessed lover found, and held fast, was Christ; her mother, the heavenly Jerusalem that is above; her mother's house are the heirs of promise, the children of that holy mother. The chamber of conception is the heart of God's people; here the seed of grace is received and conceived; here the new man is formed, and this is his place of abode; and hence Peter expressly styles him-the hidden man of the heart.
Having offered a few thoughts on the beams and the chambers, I will now pass on to the waters. "He layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters," &c.
I observed, when speaking of these chambers, that one of these chambers were the clouds: David says, "He watereth the hills from his chambers," Psalm civ. 13. Clouds are watery exhalations, or vapours drawn up by the sun into the higher regions, and the Lord's ineffable beams of light have often been seen in these waters: in a cloud he descended at the giving of the law. The three highly favoured disciples, Peter, James, and John, upon lip. mount of transfiguration, entered into a cloud, when all appeared light and bright about them; even the Lord's garments became white and shining, and a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud.
It was a cloud that directed the march of the camp of Israel all through the wilderness: it was as a pillar of fire by night, to give them light, so that his beams were seen in that chamber all night long. In the day-time the light did not appear, Israel having then the light of the sun to guide them; and therefore saw not the bright light which was in the clouds, Job, xxxvii. 21.
If we consider heaven to be one of these chambers, out of which Christ came forth as the Sun, and as the Bridegroom. of his church in the ministry of the apostles, and rejoiced as a strong man to run a race: I say, if we consider heaven to be one of these chambers, we shall find his beams in the waters even there. "The Lamb, in the midst of the throne, shall feed them, and lead them unto fountains of living waters," Rev. vii. 17. I look upon these waters to be the life of glory, flowing from God the Father, through the Son and by the Spirit, to all the saints; and it will be a sea without bounds or bottom, and quite overwhelming, for mortality will be swallowed up of life, 2 Cor. v. 4.
But to proceed: the scriptures speak of a wonderful river in heaven, and by its singular name we may guess what it is. They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thine house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures," Psalm xxxvi. 8. The saints will be satisfied with the waters of life from the living fountain, which is the life of gory. But by this river I understand the love of God; it is called a river of pleasure; and what so delightful and pleasant as that? The least stream from it, even in this life, makes glad the whole city of God. But there will be beams in these waters; for when the saints are filled with the waters of this fountain, and with the pleasures of this river, Christ will so shine in them, that even the moon would be confounded and the sun ashamed, were they present at the time when the Lamb, who is the glory and light of the heavenly city, shall make the righteous shine forth as the sun in the glory of their Father's kingdom for ever and ever. In all these waters his beams appear, for the light dwelleth with him.
If by waters we understand the love of God, which Paul save is shed abroad in the heart, and is called a flood upon the dry ground, which, as was before observed, is the stream that makes glad the city; beams are sure to appear in this water, for be that loveth dwells in the light: the Lord never makes a discovery of Iris love to a sinner, but that sinner finds himself illuminated. Blood and love heal all our spiritual diseases and disorders, and this healing never comes without light: "Unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings." The rising sun and the saving health come both together; and how should it be otherwise, when he dwelleth in the light, and the light dwelleth with him?
But by these waters we may understand the race of mankind; for, as the tide of the sea ebbs and flows, so one generation passeth away. and another generation cometh. The waters of the river, strong and many, in Isaiah, are explained to be the king of Assyria and all his glory, Isa. viii. 7. The waters on which the whore of Babylon sitteth are explained to be the same. "And he saith unto me, the waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations. And tongues," Rev. xvii. 15. The ingathering of the Gentiles to the church of God is compared to an inundating river; "For thus saith the Lord, behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream," Isa. lxvi. 12. And in these waters, which are the children of men, the Lord hath his chambers. He that loveth, God dwelleth in him, and he in God: he dwells in the heart by faith, yea, lower still; he is is his people the hope of glory. But he descends two steps lower, for he dwells with the broken and contrite heart that trembles at his word, Isa. lxvi. 2. "if we love one another, God dwelleth in us," 1 John iv. 12. "Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God," 1 John iv. 15. By wisdom is the house of God built, and by understanding it is established, and by experimental knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches, Prov. xxiv. 4. And the wise man tells us what these precious and pleasant riches are. The ransom of a man's life are Iris riches, Prov. xiii. 8. The Lord Jesus Christi who gave himself a ransom for many, is the true riches, and the everlasting portion of all that believe. Thus the children of men are called waters, their hearts and affections chambers, filled by knowledge with these precious and pleasant riches. "I will dwell in them, and walk in them," 2 Cor. vi. 16. But wherever he hath his chambers he hath his beams also; for the light dwelleth with him. God tells us that Zion is his resting place for ever; "here will I dwell, for I have desired it," Psalm cxxxii. 14. And, as Zion is the Lord's royal pavilion and guest-chamber, there are the beams of glory also: "Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined," Psalm 1. 2. The light dwelleth with him.
Light seems to have appeared first in the old creation, and so it does in the new. Beams of light are generally discovered, or perceived, before the manifestations of pardoning love take place. "In Galilee of the nations. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of tire shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined," Isa. ix. 2. These beams open the sinner's understanding, awaken his mind, alarm his conscience, and disturb the peaceable and secure possession of the strong man armed. Sin is discovered by these beams, and made to appear what it is; "for whatsoever doth make manifest is light." Fearfulness and trembling take hold of the poor sinner, when these beams shine round about him: these brought Pan, to the ground, and put out his eyes, so that "he could not see for the glory of that light" Whensoever, or wheresoever, the Lord intends to manifest himself, or take up his abode with any of the sons of men, rays of divine glory appear, to rend the veil of the heart, dispel the dismal glooms of darkness, awaken the sinner; and to proclaim the Lord approaching. "He layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters; he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him." I come now to the next thing proposed, which is the chariot of the Lord.
"He maketh the clouds his chariot." Angels are sometime! called the Lord's chariots: "The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels," Psalm lxviii. 17. Angels are here called chariots, in allusion to their having appeared twice in such forms. Elisha's servant, when the Lord opened his eyes, saw the mountain surrounding Dothan covered with horses and chariots of fire, round about Elisha, 2 Kings, vi. 17. At the translation of Elijah an angel made the same appearance; "There appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven;" 2 Kings, ii. 11. But my text calls the clouds the Lord's chariot, and in this chariot he is said to ride. "Behold, the Lord rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt, and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at his presence," Isa. xix. 1. In a cloud our Lord ascended to heaven, and in the clouds of heaven he will come again, and every eye shall see him, at the grand assize of the world, Rev. i. 7.
Ministers of Christ, and messengers of peace; men who are inspired by the Holy Ghost, and who are joint witnesses with the Spirit, (John xv. 26, 27). who have the water of life, and the grace of God in them; who have got salvation in their conscience, and the word of life in their mouth; these are called clouds, because their belly is like a springing well, and their words a flowing brook; and by preaching their doctrine drops as the rain, their speech distils as the dew; "as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the bass," Deut. xxxii. 2. These, by their enlivening testimony, are called " a cloud of witnesses," Heb. xii. 1. And again; "And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people, as a dew from the Lord, as the showers upon the 0at ass that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men," Micah, v. 7. The abundant access of the Gentiles, at the first publication of the gospel, are represented as covering, or overwhelming, the Jewish church like a spreading cloud. "The multitude of camels shall cover thee the dromedaries, of Midian and Ephah: all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense, and they shall shew forth the praises of the Lord. All the flocks of Kedar shall be (Fathered together unto thee, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister unto thee: they shall come up with acceptance on mine altar, and I will glorify the house of my glory. Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows?" Isa. lx. 6, 7, 8. Hence it appears that ministers of the word, and poor sinners, animated and stirred up by the good Spirit to seek the Lord and Saviour of mankind, are compared to clouds.
He maketh these clouds his chariot; in these he rides to transact the grand affairs of his kingdom. Every thing that a cloud discharges, in a spiritual sense, comes from these clouds. Sometimes thunder is discharged: hence we read of Boanergeses, sons of thunder; and it is remarkable, that at the opening of the first zeal of the sealed book the noise of thunder was heard, Rev. vi. 1. I look upon this thunder to mean preaching the law to awaken secure sinners, by discharging the storms of Sinai upon them. Out of the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices, Rev. iv. 5. Lightnings to illuminate the understanding; thunder to alarm the conscience; and voices of life and peace to quicken and reconcile souls to God. Cutting reproofs from the Lord that pierce deep, lay open, wound the spirit, and make the soul tremble, are compared to arrows, attended with flashes of lightning and such they were, in the ministry of the apostles, over whom the Lord presided, and with whom he went forth confirming their word with signs. "And the Lord shall be seen over them, and his arrows shall go forth as the lightning; and the Lord God shall blow the trumpet, and shall go with whirlwinds of the south," Zech. ix. 14. But the most beautiful description of this chariot, is in the first chapter of Ezekiel. In verse the 4th, we have the cloud, and a whirlwind attending it. In verse the 5th, we have four living creatures, which shews that they were ministers of the Spirit, not of the letter, for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life. I believe the word cherub to signify an ox, and cherubim to signify oxen; and these were such oxen as tread out the corn, and feed the Lord's cattle with clean provender. In verse the 16th, we have an account of their wheels, which are Zion's holy assemblies following and worshipping the Lord under the ministry of the word. In verse the 26th, we have the appearance of a throne, to shew that he who fills it is the King of Zion, who keeps his court there; upon this throne was the appearance of a man, the same that came in the clouds of heaven to the Ancient of days, Dan. vii. 13. This man, in appearance, had from his loins, upwards and downwards, the appearance of fire; which seems to have seen a vision of him in his glorified humanity, such as Isaiah had when he saw his glory and spake of him, Isa. vi. 1. About the throne was the appearance of a rainbow, to shew us that he is ever mindful of his covenant, and will not suffer the objects of his choice, and the purchase of his blood, to be drowned in destruction and perdition. As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord, ver. 28. This account is called the visions of God, the prophet being in the raptures of the Spirit when he saw them. The national church of the Jews was now in captivity, and the remnant, according to the election of grace, were involved in the common calamity, for the encouragement of whom this vision was exhibited even in the land of their captivity. And, although the vision in this form was never seen but twice, that we know of, at least it is recorded only in the first and tenth of Ezekiel, yet we have the whole sum and substance of these visions in the book of the Revelation, and the effects of them in the experience of all the saints. 1'he representation of the Lord's going forth in the ministry of the word, as shewn to this prophet, was not a transitory thing, lint it was to shew how the Lord would go forth (even into the Gentile world, for this vision was not seen in the Holy Land) in gospel times; and indeed ever since he has had a church in the world. I have been informed, that it is common with the Jews to call the above vision a chariot, and the chariot of the cherubim; and indeed it is not much unlike a chariot. A wonderful sight it is: the firmament, like crystal, stretched out above; under this a throne, cloud, and rainbow, and the appearance of a man shining in glory on the throne, the living creatures, and their wheels by them, a whirlwind sounding among them, end fire to illuminate, melt, and inflame, flying in all directions. The spouse upon a love visit, compares her soul to a chariot: "Or ever I was aware, my soul made me like the chariots of Amminadab," Song vi. 12. Which, according to the learned, signifies the chariots of my willing people; and the church has still the whole contents of this vision. What, have we no whirlwinds of the south; no heavenly gales or breezes of the blessed Spirit among us; no regenerating work going on under these breezes? Yes, we have. Does the Lord of glory never visit our assemblies? Yes, he does. Have we no throne of grace to approach; have we no answers to our prayers, no living creatures to hold forth the word of life, nor that can feed upon the word of life? Yes, we have. Are there no wheels, no Gilgal, no souls, who have had the reproach of Egypt, sin, bondage, and slavery rolled away from them? Joshua, v. 7. Yes, there are. Nor are we without the doctrines, nor without the grace of pacification, reconciliation, and peace, of which the rainbow is a sign. Nor are we destitute of live coals from the altar; and these are the 'blessed effects of these visions: and these in experience, and in the enjoyment of them, is better, in my opinion, than seeing them in vision. For Balaam saw much, but he enjoyed nothing. "He layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters, he maketh to clouds his chariot, he walketh upon the wings of the wind."
Three times David mentions the wings of the wind, 2 Sam. xxii. 11; Psalm xviii. 10; Psalm civ. 3; and even heathens ascribe wings to the wind, because of the speed and swiftness of their motions; and by the wings of it, I should suppose, they mean the influences and effects of them upon men, water, trees, and other things; sometimes strong, so that there is no standing against it: sometimes keen, sharp, and piercing; and at other times fanning, with cool and pleasant breezes.
But in my text no mention is made of flying, but of walking, "who walketh upon the wings of the wind." God, our Saviour, path said, that he will dwell in his saints, and walk in them, 2 Cor. vi. 16. And he was seen in John's vision, either standing or walking, in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, Rev. i. 13. Here the Lord promises to dwell; "I will dwell in them, and wall: in them." And John sees him standing or walking in the mulct of these seven churches. But then, as we are both by birth and by practice sinners, and our corrupt nature is so foul will vile. how can the Holy One reside with such? When we read that the poor souls, who met him on the road from Bethany to Jerusalem, covered the ass for him to sit on, and spread their garments on the ground, to keep the ass's feet from the earth, and all this in leis state of humiliation: but now he is crowned and covered with glory and honour, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens. How then can he dwell and walk in men, in whom, that is in whose flesh, dwelleth no good thing? Rom. vii. 18. My text tells us, that the wind spreads out its wings for him to walk upon. "He walketh upon the wings of the wind." We have seen that, wherever he takes lip his abode, beams of ineffable light surround the chamber; he dwelleth in the light, and if he walks, holiness must consecrate the path "Loose thy shoe from off thy foot, for the place whereon thou standest is holy," Josh. v. 15. When he appeared to Moses he told him to put off his shoes from his feet, for it was holy ground, Gen. iii. 5. When our Lord shewed himself to the elders of Israel, we have the following account: "And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet, as it were, a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness," Exodus, xxiv. 10. Nor will he tread the utmost bounds, or borders, of Zion, without such a pavement as the above. But he promises to " lay her stones with fair colours, and her foundations with sapphires, to make her windows of agates, and her gates of carbuncles, and all her borders of pleasant stones," Isa. liv. 11, 12. The bases and borders of Zion have the same pavement as that which the Elders of Israel saw, under the Saviour's feet. And he promises that a glory shall attend the place of his feet, in all his visits to Zion: "The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir-tree, the pine-tree, and the box together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary; and I will make the place of my feet glorious," Isa. lx. 13. But my text says that "he walks on the wings of the wind." I will now offer my thoughts,
1st. Upon this wind; and,2d. Upon the wings of it.
By wind, in my text, I understand the Holy Spirit of God: his well-known emblem is wind. Ezekiel is bid to prophesy to the wind, that it might breathe upon the dry bones of the house of Israel, that they might live, Ezekiel, xxxvii. 9. Awake, O north wind, and come thou south, says the spouse; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof many flow out. It was a rushing mighty wind and sound from heaven that filled the house of the apostles on the day of Pentecost: and our Lord sets forth the Spirit's work of regeneration by wind. "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth; so is every one that is born of the Spirit." But I shall not dwell upon this emblem of the Spirit here, having written largely upon this subject elsewhere. I will come now to what I understand by the wings of the wind.
On the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit appeared in the shape of a fiery tongue, a tongue cloven, or forked. A tongue being no more than one small member of the human body, this form shewed that the best of men have but a measure of the Spirit. But our Lord was to be anointed with the oil of gladness above all his fellows: and hence we read that "God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him," John iii. 34. Accordingly, at his descent upon the Son of God, he did not assume the appearance of a tongue, but he appeared in a bodily shape, like a dove, Luke, iii. 22; and a dove is a winged creature. To this dove-like appearance Milton alludes in his prayer to the Holy Ghost, when speaking of the Spirit's moving upon the face of the waters (Gen. i. 2), at the creation of the world:"And chiefly thou, O Spirit, that dost prefer
Before all temples th' upright heart and pure,
Instruct me, for thou know'st; thou from the first
Wast present, and, with mighty wings outspread,
Dove-like sat'st brooding on the vast abyss,
And mad'st it pregnant; what in me is dark
Illumine; what is low raise and support;
That to the height of this great argument
I may assert eternal Providence,
And justify the ways of God to man." Paradise Lost, Book i., 1. 17-26.
By the wings of the wind I understand the influences anti operations of the Holy Spirit; and the incorruptible seed (1 Peter, i. 23,) the graces (1 Tim. i. 14,) or holy fruits (Gal. v. 22,) which are the productions of these his operations. For the Lord says, "He will slake the place of his feet glorious," Isa. lx. 13. Glorious grace must be the pavement, for God makes the place of his feet glorious. There is in every soul that God visits, or to whom he makes himself manifest, a preparatory work. For instance; "But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth and grow up as calves of the stall," Mal. iv. 2. The souls of these poor sinners were prepared by the Holy Spirit, who planted this fear, this reverential awe of God in them, under which influence they separated themselves from the world, and shunned the paths of the destroyer, and were kept watching, waiting, and expecting. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil. The fear of the Lord is a summons, a call, a citation; it awakens all the powers of the soul, calls for attention; it is as a herald proclaiming God to be at hand, and raises up expectations of him, and prepares the soul to meet him. The promise is, "Unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise." In all his approaches to sinners he walks upon the wings of the wind. But,
2d, "The meek will he guide in judgment; the meek will he teach his way," Psalm xxv. 9. In the last passage quoted, the Holy Spirit had blowed a heavenly gale, which had produced fear and a reverential awe of the Almighty, and upon this fear the Sun of righteousness arises. But in the last quotation the grace of meekness is produced, which is an influence that makes the soul tame, teachable, and tractable; passive and lowly; submissive and resigned; soft and pliable, and ready to receive any impression or instruction, any discovery or manifestation, that God shall be pleased to make of himself, or of his mind and will. And to such are the following promises made: "He will beautify the meek with salvation." "The meek shall eat and be satisfied." Christ is anointed to preach good tidings to the meek, and "the meek shall increase their joy in the Lord," Isa. xxix. 19. "He walketh upon the wings of the wind."
3d, "And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord." Isa. lix. 24. Here the Lord is promised to Zion, and to all them that turn from transgression. But no man will turn from transgression until he is quickened to feel it, and made sick of it, and sore by it, and grieved on the account of it, and in pain to be delivered from it; such will pray like the publican, "God be merciful unto me;" or like Jabesh, "Keep me from evil that it may not grieve me." "He walketh upon the wings of the wind."
4th, "For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy, I dwell in the high and holy place; with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit; to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones," Isa. lviii. 15. Contrition is a wound given to the spirit by the cutting reproofs, and piercing rebukes of the Lord, when the sins of the heart and the follies of youth are laid open; when the guilt of sin and God's displeasure meet together in the conscience; when the soul is bruised, chafed, and made tender, soft, and sore; and yet despair is forbidden by the springing up of hope, and by the expectations of mercy through Christ. A humble soul is one that has both a true sight and sense of human depravity and of the depth of man's fall, and loathes himself in his own sight, and esteems every soul better than himself, the heart knowing its own bitterness. Here we see that contrition and humiliation are the gracious influences which pave the way for the Lord's abode; I dwell with such, to revive, enliven, quicken, encourage, refresh, and make glad the contrite and humble heart-"He walketh upon the wings of the wind." And without these preparatory operations the Almighty would be a terror, and a consuming fire, which must terminate in our destruction; "For, as wax melteth before the fire, so do the wicked perish at the presence of God," Psalm 1xviii. 2 And no wonder, when there is nothing in us by nature but Satan, sin, and death. But whereever the Spirit operates there is some good thing found towards the Lord God of Israel, if it be even in the house of Jeroboam. When the wind blew upon Ezekiel's dry bones, he turned the dry bones into a living army. When he blows upon a sinner, according to our Lord's doctrine, regeneration is produced, John iii. 8. When he blew on the spouse's garden the spices flowed out; and upon this flowing out her beloved came in, and ate his pleasant fruits, Song iv. 16. When he blew, in the ministry of John, the joys of sinners withered, and human glory soon faded away, Isa. xl. 7, "He walketh upon the wings of the wind."
5th, "Thou meetest him that rejoiceth, and worketh righteousness, those that remember thee in thy ways," Isa. lxiv. 5. Here we have an account of God's meeting with a poor sinner, visiting him, embracing him, manifesting himself to him, and admitting him into his company, and into communion and fellowship with himself; and the joy of the Spirit prepares the soul for this heavenly meeting. The soul is rejoicing, working righteousness and remembering God in his ways, and attending on divine worship. "He walketh upon the wings of the wind."
6th, God has promised to make his eternal abode in his church; "Zion is my rest for ever, here will I dwell, for I have desired it. I will abundantly bless her provision, I will satisfy her poor with bread." This we see is God's rest for ever; and his desirable dwelling; but this resting place is paved with love, which is a work done by the Holy Spirit, for " the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto us," Rom. v. 5. And in this love shed abroad doth God dwell. "God is love, and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him," 1 John iv. 16. This is God's dwelling, and his rest is the same; "The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest on his love," Zeph. iii. 17. Here we see that, if God dwells in men, it is in men that love him; this is his dwelling and his resting place; he will rest in his love. " He walketh upon the wings of the wind."
7th, "Finally, brethren, farewell; be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you," 2 Cor. xiii. 11. Here we have a perfection, by which I understand a saving and an assuring measure of spiritual knowledge, and divine consolation, springing from a full assurance of understanding; and these becalming, composing, and quieting the conscience, and keeping the soul in peace; and where these are, the apostle says, the God of peace shall be with you; the Holy Spirit's operations, and the fruits of the Spirit, consecrate and sanctify the soul, in which the Lord condescends to dwell. Neither inbred corruption, nor external reformation, can be an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob. No, if he visits a sinner, he will make the place of his feet glorious, "He walketh upon the wings of the wind."
8th, "That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith," Eph. iii. 17. Here we find another fruit of the Spirit, persuading the mind, assuring the conscience, and influencing the whole soul with spiritual confidence: faith is a gift from above; it is born of God, and is produced under the operations of the Holy Spirit. With these things is the church of God adorned; these make her all glorious within, being her glorious grace, the incorruptible soul that liveth and abideth for ever; these beautify the place of the Lord's sanctuary, and make the place of his feet glorious. The same blessed Spirit that brooded upon the confused and undigested mass of matter at the creation, and brought that into order, does, under his benign and prolific operations, produce this holy and heavenly crop of divine grace, on the dry and barren souls of poor lost sinners.
9th. Hope is another grace produced under the Spirit's operations, and discovers itself under the first influence of divine consolation; "For whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our learning; that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope," Rom. xv. 4. This lively and active grace, which counteracts despondency, and hangs on the faithfulness of God in Christ, and which expects the fulfilment of God's promise, and which is so deeply concerned with things future, and so closely connected with the glory that is to be revealed; and as divine comfort is the heavenly soil out of which it springs, so divine consolation is its handmaid, or sister grace; and hence we read of "everlasting consolation and good hope through grace," 2 Thess. ii. 16. Now this hope, and the glory expected by hope, is called God's mystery among the Gentiles, and is Christ in us the hope of glory, Col. i. 27.
It hath pleased the Father that in Christ all fullness should dwell: and he, taking part of the children's flesh and blood, is the representative of all the chosen family, and a head of influence to every child of it; that, as Aaron's unction flowed from his head to his skirts, so Christ's fullness is extended to all his members. But of this hidden manna some gather more, some less; but he that gathers much has nothing over in the fiery trial, and he that gathers little has no lack; for, as his day, so is his strength. All, and every one that obeys his voice, receives something from his fullness; for virtue goes out of him, and heals them all; he is our priest, that is to examine the poor lepers; and he is a priest that can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; and as many as touch him with the finger of faith are made perfectly whole. The fear of the Lord is his treasure, and so is every spiritual grace: and he has lodged this treasure in earthen vessels, as so many parts of his own fullness. As a man, who has a wife and many children, we may say the whole is the man, for they are but so many parts or parcels of himself; even as God, when he had created our first parents, male and female, "called their name Adam," Gen. v. 2. "For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one, body; so also is Christ," 1 Cor. xii. 12 for we are his body collectively, and members in particular. The human nature that he assumed is first in election, and is a part of our own flesh and blood; he represents all, and is the Father of ail, and the life of all; all are reconciled by his sacrifice, and purged by his atonement; his righteousness is upon all that believe; they are all influenced by his Spirit, and are all partakers of his grace; and his grace consecrates the whole household. And upon every fresh discovery that he makes of himself, every love visit that he pays, every indulgence that he grants, is for the renewing, refreshing, and reviving of this good work, and for changing us into his own image from glory to glory. "And, if it be not so now, who will make me a liar, and make my speech nothing worth?" Job xxiv. 25. Let the weakest believer observe, and even the convinced sinner, and he shall find-some beams of divine light shining into him, discovering the vileness of his corrupt nature, and making his sin appear exceeding sinful; "for whatsoever doth make manifest is light." The law will appear in its spiritual meaning; the world in an awful state. All our comeliness turns into corruption, and our boasted strength becomes, a bruised reed: the high arm of free-will withers and dries up like a stick; a form of godliness becomes a covering too narrow for a wrapper, and carnal ease a bed too short for a heavy laden soul. Neither death nor judgment, heaven nor hell, are entirely hid where the Lord shines. He realizes both worlds to the objects of his choice: he leaves them no room to doubt about future rewards and punishments; they know the demerit of sin, and the existence of Tophet; the mercy of God, and the malice of Satan; for he that believes, and follows Christ, shall not abide in darkness, but shall have the light of life. Wherever the Lord takes up his abode, beams of light shall surround the chambers and the child of light shall see it; for the face of the covering, which the god of this world has cast over us, shall be destroyed by this divine anointing. And, if the Lord make the cloud of witnesses his chariot, the thirsty soul shall not find this to be clouds without rain; many heavenly distilations shall drop upon his soul, like the dew upon the tender herbs; for God says, "I will be as the dew unto Israel; he shall grow as a lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine; the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon. Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? Prudent; and he shall know them? For the ways of the Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein," Hosea 14.