Bush burning, yet not consumed, or, The church in the furnace, yet still preserved (1)
Burning, yet not consumed; or, the Church the Furnace, yet still preserved.
In three Sermons,
From Exodus, iii, 1, 2.
By the late Reverend and learned,
Mr JOHN HUNTER,
Minister of the Gospel in the associate Congregation at Gareshaw.
Stirling. Printed by C Randall. 1806.
Preached at Lintoun, March 11th 1739.
Exodus iii. 1. 2.
MAnifold Metaphors are made use of by the Spirit of God in the holy Scriptures to illustrate and set forth the nature and properties of the church: so in the words of our text, sh(illegible text) gets the denomination of a Bush, a poor mea(illegible text) Bramble-Bush, a despicable like creature that makes a very silly and mean appearance in the view of the world. As the glorious Monarch of Heaven when he appeared on the Stage of this world, to accomplish the purposes of his Father's love and grace, made but a mean and insignificant appearance, far from answering the carnal expectations the Jews had conceived of him and was esteemed as a tender plant, and a root springing out of a dry ground, by the unbelieving and blind generation that then acted their part on the stage of life who saw not the glory, the Divinity and ravishing excellency of his person, concealed under the rags of the human nature: just so does the spouse of Christ tho’ her robes are of needle work, and she be all glorious within: tho' he be the seed-royal of heaven, and has her descent ⟨⟩ above, make but a mean, silly and ⟨⟩ ⟨⟩-like, appearance in the view and esteem of those ⟨⟩ the God of this world has blinded. She is as (illegible text)e accounted of as a silly Bramble-Bush, that ⟨⟩ no man's regard, engages no man’s observation.
Moses in this Chapter, is about his worldly ⟨⟩ he kept the Flock of Jethro his father in law, ⟨⟩ led his flock to the back of the desert: and, ⟨⟩ thus employed, he is privileged with a very ⟨⟩ appearance of God. This may teach us, that (illegible text)gence and activity in our worldly business is a ⟨⟩ commendable thing, and especially when gone a(illegible text) at with a view and regard to the glory and ⟨⟩ of God; and that even the meanest office in (illegible text) is by no means degrading or dishonouring to the (illegible text)ts of God; yea many times such as are ⟨⟩ to serve God in the meanest offices, are ⟨⟩ with noble manifestations from God, and ⟨⟩ raised to honourable stations. This ⟨⟩ when keeping a flock of sheep has an ⟨⟩ revelation from Heaven and is called to the ⟨⟩ of a general and deliverer to the enslaved tribes ⟨⟩ Israel in Egypt. Thus, again, David was taken ⟨⟩ following the ewes great with young, to sway ⟨⟩ sceptre of Israel And thus Amos, who was of ⟨⟩ herdmen of Tekoa was taken from the office, ⟨⟩ declare the will of God to the People of Israel, to denounce his judgments against the king’s court ⟨⟩ Samaria
Moses, after he had sojourned, forty years in the ⟨⟩ of Midian and during the that time, employed ⟨⟩ in tending the flocks of his father in law is ⟨⟩ with a vision. The angel of the Lord appeared ⟨⟩ him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: (illegible text)d he looked and, behold the bush burned with ⟨⟩ and the bush was not consumed. In which ⟨⟩ this holy man gets a clear emblematical ⟨⟩ of the Church of Christ in Egypt, and of ⟨⟩ wilderness condition and situation of the Church ⟨⟩ Christ unto the end of Time.
Before I go further you may readily ask ⟨⟩ who was this Moses, that is prevl(illegible text)eged with this ⟨⟩ appearance of God? I answer, he ⟨⟩ a very great and bright man. who bears a very ⟨⟩ character in the sacred writings. He ⟨⟩ in many things a noble illustrious Type of o(illegible text) lord Jesus Christ. No sooner is Moses born, th(illegible text) Pharaoh pursues him to take away his life, as is ⟨⟩ from the bloody ⟨⟩ passed by him for cutting (illegible text) the male children of Israel (illegible text) assoon as the ⟨⟩ of glory appeared in our world, wicked Herod ⟨⟩ him for his life Again, as Moses was ⟨⟩ to flee for his life to the land of Midian so the ⟨⟩ Jesus Christ, when but a very young child, is ⟨⟩ to flee to the Land of Egypt, for preservation ⟨⟩ the hands of bloody Herod. Again, Moses ran ⟨⟩ risque of his life in delivering of (illegible text) kinsmen ⟨⟩ death; so our Lord not only ran the risque of ⟨⟩ life, but even lost the same in rescuing his ⟨⟩ from their spiritual enemies. Again, Moses ⟨⟩ the part of a shepherd for a considerable part of ⟨⟩ life: so our Lord Jesus Christ is by God the ⟨⟩ constituted a shepherd, and acts the part on one (illegible text) the sheep of his pasture, and will do so till all his ⟨⟩ flock be brought home to glory. Again, ⟨⟩ was a redeemer, in saving of poor enslaved ⟨⟩ and ransoming them from the sad and (illegible text)ore bondage they groaned under, by the tyranny of the ⟨⟩ task masters, and their barbarous prince, and in ⟨⟩ them thro’ the red Sea and Wilderness to ⟨⟩ borders of the goodly land of Canaan; so our ⟨⟩ Jesus Christ a greater than Moses delivers ⟨⟩ people from sin, Satan, and all their other ⟨⟩ enemies, and, under a safe convoy, leads them ⟨⟩ all the straits, difficulties and troubles they can be exposed to in this waste and howling wilderness ⟨⟩ the heavenly Canaan, that lies on the other side th(illegible text) Jordan of Death Again, as Moses was the man ⟨⟩ whom the children of Israel always applied themselves in their doubts and difficulties: so is our Lord Jesus appointed a counsellor; and all who want their spiritual doubts resolved, and their spiritual grievances redressed must apply unto him. All things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, says Christ, believing ye shall receive. Matt xxi 22. This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased: Hear ye him As Pharaoh commanded the Egyptians, when in want of corn to go to Joseph, so ’tis the duty of all under all their wants and pressures to apply unto the Lord Jesus Christ He is appointed Heaven's trustee, to let out all blessings upon sinners: and I can assure you that whoever of you shall, by faith, apply unto our spiritual Joseph, whatever your wants and necessities be, ye shall undoubtedly get them all supplied. Whatever your grievances are, come to Jesus and you shall get them all redressed (illegible text)'!is said here, that Moses led his flock to the back side of the desert; and in this he is remarkably a type of Christ: for he leads his people to the desert of conviction and humiliation You read in Acts ii that he led three thousand persons to this desert one day, and upon their coming there, led them ⟨⟩ mount Sion, where they got a discovery of Jesus Christ (illegible text) their only Saviour. Again, Moses came to (illegible text) the mountain of God Wherein may ye say was he in that typical of Christ? Horeb and Sinai are but one mount some writers are of opinion that they are two tops of one and the same, mountain. Unto this mountain Moses came. Even so our Lord Jesus Christ came to mount Sinai, and there took upon him all their curses that were pronounced from that black mountain, and bore all that wrath and punishment, that law and justice threatened, in the room and stead of his people O sirs, you that perhaps just now are scorched with the fiery flashes that issue from mount Sinai come to Jesus and you shall get these quenched by his blood.
But to proceed. Moses, I said before gets here an emblematical representation of the outward condition of the Church of Christ in Egypt in a very ⟨⟩ and extraordinary manner namely a bush burning and yet not consumed. In this he g(illegible text) him represented the melancholy and deplorable situation of the children of Israel in Egypt, while they were grievously oppressed and born down by tyrannical task masters there Tho' they were, in a manner burnt in the fire, and all means were used to bear them down, and root them out yet they were not consumed; the more they were oppressed, the more they grew. Their sore affliction proved medicines unto them, and by the Messing of God, were means of their growth and improvement.
In the words read in your hearing we may very briefly notice these five things following.
1. We have an emblematical representation of the church of Christ Behold a Bush burning—Here the church of Christ is compared to a Bush As a Bush is a mean, low, silly, and insignificant thing
2. We have the ordinary state and circumstances of the church, and that is a Bush burnt with fire The church of Christ is, for most part in flames either an inward flame raised by the old Man that dwells in her members, or an outward flame raised by hell and earth. 'Tis somewhat strange that the Lot and condition of the Lords people, while their militant circumstances, ordered by their Lord and King, should be fiery tryals and a hot burning furnace. Whatever their state and condition be whatever sun-shine of prosperity they may be under, at times, yet, for most part, they are in the furnace Their Lot is chequered with troubles and trials; their circumstances are mixed with a fiery flame and furnace.
3. We have protecting mercy coming into the most of the Bush. No sooner is the fire kindled in the Bush, but mercy leaps out of the heart of God into the midst thereof, What the matter what thy ⟨⟩ be, O believer when such good company as (illegible text), preserving and protecting mercy, is with ⟨⟩? be assured, that, when thou art in the ⟨⟩ preserving mercy bears thee company. The ⟨⟩ children afford us a noble instance of this They ⟨⟩ no longer cast info the burning fiery furnace, (illegible text) one, like unto the son of God, bears them ⟨⟩. When they came out of the fire, not one ⟨⟩ of their head (the most combustible thing about ⟨⟩) was either singed or hurt If mercy, O ⟨⟩, be in the Bush no matter tho’ hell's flames ⟨⟩ in it too.
4. We have the greatness of the sight intimate by (illegible text) word behold, Behold, a bush burned, and ⟨⟩ not consumed I is not a great sight to see a ⟨⟩ Bush, green and fresh in the midst of (illegible text) burning fiery furnace? is it not a great sight to ⟨⟩ the church of Christ, all in a flame and yet ⟨⟩ like the three children in the midst thereof, ⟨⟩ the least harm? Let hell and earth raise ⟨⟩ hottest persecution they can, yet the church of Christ will look as fate in the flames as the three ⟨⟩ Jews did, when in the burning fiery furnace. Why so? Because her King will never, leave her nor forsake her She cost him too much to cast her off or reject her, notwithstanding all her faults and follies He will never forsake his poor Bush.
5. And lastly. We have the Beholder of this great ⟨⟩. He is called Moses. He was a typical ⟨⟩ of this typical representation Moses beheld the burning Bush with much affectionate concern; this is intimate in his turning aside to behold it. So Jesus Christ beholds his Bush with an endeared concern. When he saw her like to be burnt up with the Flames of law and Justice he came and quenched the flame with the purple streams of his own blessed blood. Justice had a debt-bond upon the Bush, and earnestly craved the payment of the same. So the Lord Christ, because no payment but that of blood would do the business, shed his own blood for clearing the debt When the knife of law and justice was just going to cut the throat of the elec(illegible text) world, Christ himself was the true ram that was caught in the thickets of justice, and so, by his sacrifice, diverted the impending blow from lighting on the poor sinner Thus sirs, the Lord behold his Bush with an affectionate concern; yea wonders at her as Moses did and well may Men and Angels wonder, when the Lord of Glory himself wonders at her. And, indeed if the son of God did not behold her with this endeared concern she would be swallowed and burnt up in ⟨⟩ flame
The words being thus shortly divided and explained, the doctrine ⟨⟩ arising from (illegible text) this viz
Doct That as a fiery furnace and a devouring flame, is the ordinary lot of the Church of Christ so preserving m(illegible text) in her allowance, from her Lord and head even in this situation Behold, here is a great wonder, a Bush burning, yet not consumed.
The doctrine you see is complex: and tho' it might well be split into two propositions, yet cause rather to confine it to one, to save time in the prosecution thereof now tho' the text affords sufficient proof for the doctrine, yet, to confirm your faith in a matter that is calcul(illegible text)e so much for the faith and comfort of the Lords people. I will name (illegible text) pieces of scripture that will set it in a clear and convincing light unto us. The first is. lix, xliii 2 "when thou paslest thro’ the waters, I will be with thee: and thro' the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest thro' the fire thou shalt not be burnt neither shall the flames kindle upon the The speaker and promise here is the great Jehovah: the owner and preserver of his poor despicable Bush. And considering the subject matter of the promise, we may well say, it must be ⟨⟩ ⟨⟩, a fire hotter than hell, that can harm the ⟨⟩ of Christ. Why so? The Lord is with her, (illegible text) will be with thee. Can anything harm a person ⟨⟩ the Almighty is with him? surely no. ⟨⟩ scripture affording a direct proof of the ⟨⟩ you have in (illegible text) xxi. 3. "I the Lord do keep it, I will water it every ⟨⟩; lest any hurt it, ⟨⟩ will keep it it night and day” It will be (illegible text) flame the waters of the holy spirit will not (illegible text). O sirs, there is a river that runs into the (illegible text) of Christ that would quench hells flames if (illegible text) were possible they could seize it. O what is the (illegible text) this river will not quench? If a drop of it could (illegible text) fall into hell all its flames would be immediately ⟨⟩. The poor Bush would be destroyed, did ⟨⟩ the river or God run thro it. The Lord will (illegible text) it, lest any hurt it, he will keep it night and day. That is a (illegible text) guard indeed. 'Tis as if he ⟨⟩ said, I the owner, (illegible text) buyer and purchaser of ⟨⟩ glorious Bush (illegible text) much in love with it am so much concerned for its (illegible text) and preservation, that I will see to it I will protect and defend it day and night from all harms and dangers. What reason have you to fear, believer what the furnace be (illegible text) thrown into, when the Lord superintends and ⟨⟩ thee and (illegible text), truly says the believer, ⟨⟩ am not ⟨⟩ of a foe in hell, for my (illegible text) and husband is my constant guard and protector. The believer may make supposition that can never take place, hells flames, tho he were in them, would be to him what Nebuchadnezzar's her furnace was to three heroick Jews, they would not hurt or harm them in the least one in the form of God and who thinks it no robbery to be equal with God, would bear him company, and bring him out safe and sound.
In the protection of the doctrine, I shall endearvour to do the following things.
1. I shall shew why the church of Christ, in this representation is compared to a Bush. II. Why to a burning Bush
III Shew what are these flames that endanger the Bush.
IV Discover how it comes to pass that the church of Christ, when in such a fixation, is preserved
V. Manifest how it is that our Lord Jesus Christ beholds this Bush with such care and concern
VI And lastly, apply he who
I return to the first thing proposed, namely, to shew why the church of Christ is compared in this emblematical representation to Bush——and, upon this head, I shall mention these ten particulars following.
1. Then, as a Bush is that which springeth from some seed or other, in a ⟨⟩ to its nature; just so to the church of Christ, this collective body of ⟨⟩, and ⟨⟩ ⟨⟩ ⟨⟩ thereof, are begotten by the word of grace (illegible text), says the Apostle Peter, Ep Chap i v 23. 'Ye are born again, not of ⟨⟩ seed but of incorruptible, by the word of God which liveth and ⟨⟩ ⟨⟩ The (illegible text) not a twig, the least believer in this blessed (illegible text) what must be a new born creature of the seed of grace the word of truth, the gospel of our salvation. I own 'tis a great mystery what influence or concurrence the faith of the word of promise has thro’ the operating virtue of the holy Ghost, in producing a new creature in the (illegible text) of a sinner. This to carnal men appears a fanciful whim exceeding the belief of a rational man. But will you not believe it because you cannot comprehend it? at this rate, O man you may deny all mysteries of nature, and much more those of grace, because your shallow reason is not able to form suitable and adequate notions and conceptions of them But, are there no mysteries in spiritual things, because you cannot comprehend them? surely there are tho' you should remain eternally blind and the scales of ignorance remain for ever on your eyes. There are many mysteries in nature that you know ⟨⟩ little of as this we are presently talking about yet ⟨⟩ generally believe them: and surely the one ⟨⟩ as strong and firm faith as the other. Oh! ⟨⟩ to the Lord for the teaching of the spirit, that ⟨⟩ may unfold unto you the mysteries of his grace. ⟨⟩ is not a child, si(illegible text)s born into the world of ⟨⟩, but what must and will be born after this ⟨⟩, there must be a word of grace dropt into the ⟨⟩ heart, in a way suitable to its nature and ⟨⟩ which, by the concurring influence of the ⟨⟩ spirit will produce a new creature And this (illegible text)or of promise is the seed out of which the new ⟨⟩ proceeds just as a grain of seed grows in your ⟨⟩ or gardens A collective body of believers do (illegible text) spring and grow out of a word of grace I own (illegible text) one word of grace may be blessed to one ⟨⟩, and another word of grace to another person; ⟨⟩ all these words of grace are one and the same (illegible text) kind and nature, all the incorruptable seed of the ⟨⟩ Perhaps believer, there is one word blessed ⟨⟩ thee, and another to thy neighbour but 'tis all ⟨⟩ same seed that comes from Immanual's land the ⟨⟩ of glory, whence all the rich and free pro(illegible text)es whereby the spirit operates, derieve their ⟨⟩ and being
Now sirs, examine yourselves, if ever you were ⟨⟩ with, or partakers of a regenerating ⟨⟩ upon your souls Oh! Man, was ever grace ⟨⟩ implanted in thy soul? if thou art not a ⟨⟩-born plant of grace, thou dost not belong to ⟨⟩ bush of Jesus Christ; thou art a wild bramble (illegible text) this day. Examine yourselves my friends. Did ⟨⟩ never find the plow of the law turn up the ⟨⟩ ground of your hearts, and the seed of the ⟨⟩ sown thereby the spirit of grace? Did you ⟨⟩ find the Holy Ghost dropping grace into thy ⟨⟩; and when thy conscience was pierced with ⟨⟩ law terrors, that then a word of grace powerfully drew you to Christ and you accepted of Christ, and forgot your consciences pacified by the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus upon them and thus faith, or an active reception of Christ, was the first breathing of the new creature within you; but I must not insist regeneration not being the subject I am just now called to discourse upon.
2. The church of Christ is called or compared to a Bush because, as a Bush you know has a root on which it depends, and from which it draws nourishment, so is it with the Church of Christ; she has the renowned root of Jesse, on which she depends, and from which she derives all her spiritual nourishment and growth. As is evident from what our Lord says in John 5 4 "Abide in me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine: No more can ye except ye abide in me." There is not the least branch of the poor bush. that can by nature bring forth any spiritually good fruit unless it be united to Jesus Christ in the living root from whence all fruitfulness does proceed The realest and tallest Cedar in this bush, as well as the meanest twig, are all obliged to the renowned root of Jesse for their fruitfulness and growth, and not to any inherent fruitful principles of their own. Christ’s mystical body his believing numbers are a vast weight upon him but, being the mighty God he is abundantly able to bear them all, and indeed the Church of Christ is well born, she is on a strong foundation; she has Jesus Christ himself for her foundation; and so must be immovable. They that would raze the bush, must first raze the root; the one must go before the other go. You are but stark fools and madmen that meddle with the bush of Christ. for she shall never be consumed. We challenge men and Devils to wrong the least believing twig in all this bush The Church can never be wronged, because Christ is engaged to present her." without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, unto the father at the last day.” The Bush, sirs, is nearly ⟨⟩ to Christ and dearly bought by him too. She is (illegible text)ted to him as a living root and this is the (illegible text) sole foundation, from whence all ra(illegible text)sture and blessings flow. All the spiritual blessings, that are the property of the Church spring ⟨⟩ this root alone if you cannot say you are u(illegible text)t to Jesus Christ, you are yet strangers to the ⟨⟩ ⟨⟩ and juice that is in him. If you have Union with this blessed root, you have no com(illegible text) with him in houness of his nature, the ⟨⟩ of his life and the satisfaction he made (illegible text) law and justice for sin; you have no interest in (illegible text) triumphant ascension to heaven, and his preva(illegible text)ssion within the vail. and so must needs (illegible text)n very dismal and lamentable situation. O sirs, you are by nature united unto sin and Satan, so ⟨⟩ by grace, to be enjoined therefrom, and ⟨⟩ to Jesus Christ the living and life giving root.
3 the Church of Christ is called or compared to Bush Why? Because, as a Bush is not one ⟨⟩ but made up of many branches, so, one ⟨⟩ of Christ is not one believer, but consists in ⟨⟩. One branch will not make a Bush; so one ⟨⟩ will not make a body to Christ There ⟨⟩ millions of believers go to make up Christ’s ⟨⟩ body; many branches make up this one ⟨⟩ And seeing all believers are branches of one ⟨⟩ the same Bush, this should teach them union, ⟨⟩ and agreement among themselves. 'is a ⟨⟩ unnatural like thing to see the members of the ⟨⟩ body clashing and (illegible text) tugging, with one ⟨⟩, when they are striving, thro' grace, to hold ⟨⟩} head, as the expression is, C(illegible text)on, n 19 O you ⟨⟩ are branches of this Bush, beware of crashing ⟨⟩ dashing against one another, considering how ⟨⟩ is it to behold the branches destroying the ⟨⟩ 'tis true indeed in a stormy wind, the branches united to one and the same root, may clash with, and dash one against another So when the winds of temptations, afflictions, persecutions, and divisions blow upon this spiritual Bush the branches will dash against one an other But when the noontide of glory comes, they will better a(illegible text). Then harmony and peace shall succeed all their hot disputes and fiery contentions and an undisturbed calm possess their mind for ever
4. The Church of Christ is called, or compared to a Bush. Why? Because a Bush is a mean and low thing, and makes but a silly and insignificant appearance in the world And what is more despicable in the eyes of the world, than Christ's Church? Oh! She appears as a very poor society on earth; hence she is called and compared to a lame woman leaning on her beloved She can b(illegible text)f walk, there’s in her but half grace half sin Further, she is compared to a worm; Hence our Lord says Fear not (illegible text) Jacob Who is more mean and despicable like than a worm, (illegible text) the silly worm that crawls among their feet 'Tis just so with believers, the Church of Christ; the carnal man does not think them worthy a night's lodging in the wilderness. But fear no worm Jacob You know every fool is ready to trample upon a worm; and the Potentates and Monarchs of the world and such as strut up pride and magnificence, think their feet good enough ⟨⟩ upon the Lambs of Christ; and when they don't resent it they call them creatures of a silly wh(illegible text) spirit. Thus the world would devour the poor Lambs of Christ, and trample upon them as so many many worms under their feet But they have a promise to buoy up their hearts amidst all the hardships they are exposed to; Fear not worm Jacob saith the Lord. Why, says the believer, have I no reason to fear? is not every fool of cruel pride against me? Am I not treated as mire (illegible text) out in the streets?" Fear not worm Jacob for I am with thee, I will strengthen, yea, I will help thee, yea, I uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness." (illegible text) And indeed tho' the fire be kindled (illegible text) Bush, (illegible text) the Lord is in the midst of it, and ⟨⟩ to it than the devouring flame
5 The Church of Christ is called or compared ⟨⟩ a Bush—Why? Because a Bush you know is ⟨⟩ to manifold wilderness tryals, and storms—⟨⟩ hardly a wind blows but the Bush in the ⟨⟩ feels it Just so is it with the Church of ⟨⟩ Hence saith the Lord, “O thou afflicted and tossed with tempests and not comforted.’ In ⟨⟩ words the Lord speaks to his Bush; and he ⟨⟩ her, when thus tossed and afflicted with tears ⟨⟩ compassion Our Lord warns his Bush of tryals ⟨⟩ tempests in this valley of tears, John xvi. 33. In the world ye shall have tribulation That was ⟨⟩ news to the poor Bush, but there’s a cordial to ⟨⟩ her amidst all her tribulations 'Be of good ⟨⟩ I have overcome the world' Manifold are ⟨⟩ affliction on and tribulations that the people of God ⟨⟩ exposed to in their militant state; they have ⟨⟩ a fair day and serene hour in the whole ⟨⟩ they are making to the land of rest in the ⟨⟩ Palace. Stormy days and foul weather is their (illegible text)eral lot You are the branches of this Bush (illegible text)y lay your account with storms and tempests in ⟨⟩ wilderness. We read of the Church being ⟨⟩ to a woman that fled to the wilderness whilst ⟨⟩ devil the old dragon and serpent, vomited floods (illegible text)rror, persecution and delusion after her. Alas! (illegible text) the devil is left vomiting these floods, at this (illegible text) against the flowers of Britain and Ireland—⟨⟩ a remnant of the Lord's chusing in ⟨⟩ at this day, and the devil is pouring out floods (illegible text) them. Many errors and delusions are new (illegible text)ding Well Sirs, tho' the Bush be in a flame ⟨⟩ shall not be consumed. Abide by this Bush or be ruined and consumed for ever. Some will be ready to say, alas I cannot abide by a Bush all in a flame; if that's your Bush Moses, farewel, the back of my hand to it; seeing this is the case I'll have nothing ado with the Bush of Christ for there‘s nothing about her but flames of error and persecution. My advice unto you is, O take up you quarters here or be ruined to eternity, ⟨⟩ do not take up your lodgings here, hell fire will seal your condemnation to a long eternity; and then you will not have such good company as the poor Bush; Well, man I cannot give thee a better advice and you will think it very strange to take up your abode in a fiery lodging I doubt not but some will think it a paradox. Yea, but it is a heavenly one and a true one too
6 the Church of Christ is compared to, or called a Bush. Why? Because (illegible text) The owner thereof dresses (illegible text) may not go (illegible text) 'Tis just so with the Church of Christ; there was never a (illegible text) so well taken care of, never a plant so well ordered and dressed Of this you have figurative or metaphorical account in the (illegible text), where the (illegible text) thus sing, "Now will I (illegible text) to my well beloved (illegible text); My well beloved (illegible text). And he fenced it and gathered out the stones thereof; and planted it with the choicest vine and ⟨⟩ a tower in the midst thereof, and also made a wine (illegible text) therein." &c Verses (illegible text) and 9 O what pains was he at with (illegible text) vineyard, the (illegible text) ground of his holy and heavenly Bush The Holy Ghost is the (illegible text), the principal (illegible text) this Bush hence he is promised, as the comforter to come to the poor Bush, when the Jewish flame was ready to burn it up—". will send the comforter, the Holy Ghost unto you, and he shall guide you in all truth," & (illegible text) xivi (illegible text) He is called a river, the streams whereof do make glad the (illegible text), of God That is the Holy Ghost, who is sent both to quench the flames that endanger the Bush, and to preserve it from barrenness destruction and desolation He himself is the great dresser of the Bush. And as he dresses himself, so he set to work under dressers Prophets and Apostles; These dressed for a time There must always be under pruners and dressers for the service of the Church O well cared for Bush!
7 The Church of Christ is called or compared to a bush Why? because as you know, a bush must be fenced and hedged about, and protected that so it may not be trampled under foot and destroyed by the wild beasts that range and roam thro' the fields Just so is it with the Church of Christ Never was a society so well fenced as the Church is. We know no society that has so strong and impregnable an hedge as the Church, she has an inner and outer hedge about her. There is the inner hedge of divine grace and mercy the Church ⟨⟩ locked up, as it were, in the attributes of God, (illegible text) in a safe inclosure Come my people saith the Lord enter into your chambers. These Chambers ⟨⟩ the divine perfections, which surround her as a ⟨⟩ inclosed a garden. The divine promises, ⟨⟩ are Yea, and Amen in Christ Jesus as it ⟨⟩ impregnable hedge about her namely the ⟨⟩ hedge of divine ordinances and intentions. The ordinances of Christ, the discipline and ⟨⟩ which he as King ⟨⟩ Zion. hath instituted (illegible text) his house, serve for a noble fence to protect the (illegible text) Church from the flames of heresy and error. ⟨⟩ (illegible text) Sirs they that would pull down this ⟨⟩ (illegible text) either to Christ or his ⟨⟩: They that under a pretence of universal love ⟨⟩, are for removing the hedge of ⟨⟩ and discipline that surrounds the Church, will ⟨⟩ no thanks from Christ; for they are enemies to him and his people, and dethrone him from his government, while they make him worse than an earthly King, who protects his subjects O sirs, such are the enemies to the Bush, and its glorious hedge. Satan himself could not deny but the church was safely hedged and fenced, when he says unto the Lord concerning Job hast thou not made a hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands and his substance is increased in the land Job i 10. This was, indeed, sound divinity out of the mouth of Satan He had a mind to give holy Job, a fruitful branch of his Bush, a heavy blow: and he argues with his owner anent i. As if he had said, I cannot reach that branch of the Bush a blow he is so well guarded and hedged about. Shall I get a hit of him? I despair of getting it to eternity, in regard he is so well fenced and hedged about. This are the people of Christ well guarded and protected. The Lord himself is their fence and hedge; and, therefore they cannot miss to be in safety, amidst all their enemies whatever O sirs, seek to be among the branches of this Bush, otherwise you will be over run by your enemies and be sacrificed to glut their revengeful resentment against you. None are safe but the branches of Christ's Bush
8 The Church of Christ is called, or compared to a Bush Why? because a Bush like this, which Moses saw, being a thorn Bush, as some divines think, is full of prickles; so that nobody can touch it without bloody fingers: just so is it with ⟨⟩ Church of Christ; she is full of prickles, to ⟨⟩ and draw the blood of all such as meddle with her I do not mean here, sirs a Church that has the of a civil establishment If that could secure ⟨⟩ Church, then the Church of Rome, that mother ⟨⟩ Harlots and abominations of earth, has been ⟨⟩ these thousand years bygone: I mean ⟨⟩ Church that is built on the rock Christ a ⟨⟩ body of believers that are under the influence and government of the glorious head Emannel himself: they that meddle with this Church will find her to be like Jerusalem, a burthensome stone that will crush them to pieces, and grind them to powder. Paul in the days of his ignorance and infatuation, tried his trade of crushing and hurting the Bush He like a poor fool, raised a bloody club to level the Church; he instigated the civil and ecclesiastical rulers to raise a storm of persecution against the Bush, thinking not to leave a living twig into it all. But, while he is in the heat of his bloody rage and fury against the Church and going with a furious force to ruin and destroy all the christians at Damascus the ⟨⟩ of the Bush surprises him with an alarming ⟨⟩ Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? It is ⟨⟩ for thee to kick against the p(illegible text)! That is to ⟨⟩, thou actest as unwise and foolish a part it is ⟨⟩ a beast to kick with its heels against sharp stakes ⟨⟩ pointed irons. There’s prickly vengeance' ⟨⟩ the Bush of Christ: no man will meddle with ⟨⟩, but shall be cut off with wounded and bloody ⟨⟩. Ye that attempt to crush and oppress the ⟨⟩ of Christ what will you get but confusion ⟨⟩ and ruin to yourselves and offspring? What got Pharaoh for meddling with this Bush, ⟨⟩ in his dominions did he not meet with multip(illegible text) plagues, one plague upon the back of another? ⟨⟩ at last he and his mighty host were overwhelmed ⟨⟩ the red sea, and ⟨⟩ like lead in the mighty ⟨⟩. You think perhaps you are doing God good ⟨⟩ when you are vexing and harassing the ⟨⟩ of Christ, and setting all on fire about her. ⟨⟩ be not mistaken Zion will prove a burdensome (illegible text)e to all that burden themselves with her. The ⟨⟩ that was hewn out of the mountain without ⟨⟩, will fall on you all, and crush you with ⟨⟩ strokes of fiery fury, in the cxxix psalm we (illegible text)d of a set of men, that like plowers plowed upon the Church's back and drew long their furrows. Well what was the consequence? The Lord but asunder the cords of that ungodly and persecuting crew, verses 34 &c And did not a set of prelatic men kindle a fire of persecution against the Church of Christ, in the late persecuting times in this land but what made they of it? The Lord confounded their plots, and cut of many of the ringleaders in the height of their fury, and sent them to their place appointed like so many Magor Misiabibs. while they were a terror to themselves, and all around them: and sent deliverance to his Church and people. And tho' the same spirit seems to be reviving a' this day among a set of corrupt kirk men, yet let them take care, God will reach them with a blow, suddenly shall they be confounded.
9 The Church of Christ is a savoury Bush. Take this Bush out of the world, and it will smell like hell there would be nothing behind but the object of God's abhorence As long as the Church of Christ is in the world, that sun will shine in the Inhabitants there of. But when the Bush is away, you will not have the light of the glorious gospel, nor that of that Sun in the heavens O how foolish are they that grudge the Church a (illegible text)ence in this world! O blind world that will not allow Christ's Bush to abide among them while not considering that the holy seed of the Church is the substance thereof, and prevente(illegible text) judgments from pouring in like a deluge, upon it
10 And lastly, the Church of Christ is a cost Bush Tho’ she be but as a poor bramble-Bush ⟨⟩ she cost Christ dearer than the tallest Cedars in ⟨⟩ They cost him but a creating Wo(illegible text) but she cost him redeeming blood The Church bought by the price of blood Before the ⟨⟩ could be redeemed, the son of God must die ⟨⟩ two thieves; be persecuted, afflicted and at last ⟨⟩, like a malefactor on a cursed tree O cos(illegible text) Bush! Dear bought Church!
In short the Church of Christ is a happy society, O happy, eternally happy will they be, that can say I am a branch of Christ’s Bush For the Bush shall be transplated from this earth to the soil of glory. and grow in verdant beauty and fragrant splendor for evermore Oh! then let us all, with one voice, say, we will be branches of the Bush: we will take ⟨⟩ our residence with the happy Bush, whether ⟨⟩ smile or adversity frown
The other heads in the method I cannot so much ⟨⟩ touch upon at present; and therefore, leaving ⟨⟩ to another occasion, I shall shut up all with a ⟨⟩ brief word of,
1 Is it so, as has been said: then, Sirs, will you ⟨⟩ with this blessed Bush, and the root thereof ⟨⟩ be united and married to Jesus Christ, and you ⟨⟩ be branches of this happy Bush Consider, ⟨⟩ there’s no safety in evil times, but by being ⟨⟩ this company The wrath of God will light (illegible text) the wild brambles of this world, and consume them ⟨⟩ ashes but not one drop of wrath shall fall on ⟨⟩ head of this blessed Bush Hasten and escape, from among the brambles that are destined to ⟨⟩ unto this Bush that grows on the ⟨⟩ root of Jesse seek to be among the trees of ⟨⟩, and the planning of the Lord and ⟨⟩ shall grows as so many willows by the water ⟨⟩, and be sat and flourishing amidst all the ⟨⟩ winds that may blow from earth or hell
O be restless till you be brought to Jesus, and ⟨⟩ to him at the living and life giving vine, that you may partake of the sap and juice thereof and ⟨⟩ be rendered fruitful in every good word and ⟨⟩ and, because he liveth, ye may live also O ⟨⟩ art made up for ever, if thou in the command ⟨⟩ call of God, give thy heart to the Lord Jesus Christ. O believe on him and be enriched forever (illegible text) Is it so (illegible text) been (illegible text) then O beware ⟨⟩ wronging the Bush. The owner will highly ⟨⟩ the least wrong done to his blessed Bush When Paul in bloody rage, was persecuting and raising flame in the Bush there came a voice unto him Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? Every stroke thou givest to my members Christ looks upon it ⟨⟩ done to himself; for they and he are mystically one. If a man was inflicting tortures upon your Son, would not every cry of his pierce your very heart? What is but a very faint resemblance ⟨⟩ Christ’s love to believers: for his love is like himself, infinite So that every stroke ye give his people, is given to himself, and he will resent it highly O sirs, what ails the world at the poor Bush ⟨⟩ Christ; ’tis a very harmless creature, which like an innocent lamb, means and does harm to nobody Indeed sirs, the world cannot endure the heavenly Saviour of Christ that is about believers. Ye ⟨⟩ be hated of all men says Christ, for my name’s sake That’s a prediction of the entertainment ⟨⟩ shall get from the men of the world. They shall be hated, For what? just for Christ’s name sake that perfumes them and so shall render them agreeable to all men But the world cannot come near Christ’s Bush; they abhor her, she smells so (illegible text) a Saviour of Christ about her that the world which likes nothing but the smell of hell hates her, ⟨⟩ says with the Edomites. raze, raze her out of ⟨⟩ land; let not the Bush stand a moment longer (illegible text) our land. And hence they think they would have ⟨⟩ good and merry time of it, once the Bush ⟨⟩ rooted up and taken away——Then would the floods of iniquities, errors, patronage, supremacy apostacy and tyrannical usurpations over the ⟨⟩ heritage, and their other darlings, flow amain, ⟨⟩ foolish mad and frantic persons, who thus think thus act!
3. Is it so as has been said; then, pray sirs, keep ⟨⟩ with the Bush It is to be near her; ⟨⟩ some crumb to be had from king's children. But some of you may say, O 'tis dangerous to be ⟨⟩ her she is a burning Bush all in a flame I'll ⟨⟩ you sirs, a burning fire at a distance, appears more formidable than near at hand A great divine ⟨⟩ said the crops appear to be heavier at a distance (illegible text) when you behold it on a believer's back—— (illegible text) so is it with the Bush all in a flame. Tho’ it ⟨⟩ appear somewhat discouraging and frightful-⟨⟩ a distance; yet, when you more nearly ⟨⟩ it, it will appear with a more inviting and ⟨⟩ aspect. Then sirs, if you are for chusing ⟨⟩ for safety to your souls and bodies, goods ⟨⟩ gear, I know no society better for you to join ⟨⟩ And anything that you dole while in this ⟨⟩, the protector of the Bush has promised ⟨⟩ repay with ten thousand times more advantage. ⟨⟩ not another society under the cope of ⟨⟩ for men to join with, recorded in scripture. ⟨⟩ ⟨⟩ alone Thou art but a dead man if thou unite ⟨⟩ with it. Whatever the flame in the Bush is, (illegible text) no great matter, seeing thou art to be safe and ⟨⟩ amidst the same If thou fearest the losing ⟨⟩ thy worldly goods and gear, I am sure thou canst ⟨⟩ lose them more honourably than to throw them (illegible text) yea and life itself too into the flame for Christ's (illegible text). And this is therefor, the ready way to get all ⟨⟩ and secured to you and yours. What is ⟨⟩ of all the persecutors that have harassed people of God? Why, they are they all dead and (illegible text)e They, and what they had are mostly ⟨⟩ from off the earth; whereas the godly, and their (illegible text), have been well and plentifully provided for, ⟨⟩ all the external hardships and difficulties ⟨⟩ have met with Again.
And lastly, is it is so, as has been said: then O ⟨⟩, tempted and not comforted branches of this Bush, take comfort Why? thy blasts will all ⟨⟩ be over, and joy will come in the morning. All thou meetest with, O burning Bush, will effectually ⟨⟩ to thy advantage. Yea; all the fiery flame of whatever kind, that are in the midst of thee shall promote thy good ⟨⟩ the winds that blow in ⟨⟩ teeth shall serve to ⟨⟩ thee the faster and ⟨⟩ to heaven All things whether prosperity or ⟨⟩ whether joy or grief, &c shall advance ⟨⟩ growth and improvement; and thou shalt ⟨⟩ receive any real wrong or injury from all the cross thou art trysted with Hence, saith the ⟨⟩ Paul "We know that all things work together ⟨⟩ good to them that love God, to them who ⟨⟩ the called according to his purpose Rome" v 28—Thus all things, without exception, shall ⟨⟩ together for the good of the Church; when as ⟨⟩ burning Bush, she is surrounded with fire, and flame May the Lord bless his own word Amen,