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'world; whereby all the shadows now intercepting the light from him, will in a moment evanish.
i<lly, The great thing her foul desires, and ihe breathes after, till that happy term come.^—It is communion with Christ her Lord and Huiband,' in such sort and measure as the state of this lise by divine regulation will allow. She is not for turning back to, and solacing herself with her former lovers, till, her Husband take her home; no, being, married to him, her eyes are shut now on all others, and they are towards him alone. "Turn, my Beloved, and be thou like a roe, "or a young hart upon the mountains of Bether." It consists of two parts.
(1.) Adesire of his countenance towards her,"Turn, roy Beloved," \£c. Heb. 'Come round about.' It intimates, [i.] His turning his back on her, shewing some sign of displeasure with her; the frequent lot of God's children in this world. [2.] That even in that case her heart was upon him as her beloved, and her eyes going aster him, that she would have him turn his face. [3.] That she would fain have his countenance again when lost: q. d. Turn about to me, that I may behold thee with joy.
(2.) A desire of nearness to him, and the embraces of his love: "Be thou like a roe, or a young hart," \£c. Come to me speedily. She lays not the stress of the speedy meeting on her motion to him; but as of free grace, on his motion to her y by his grace coming over mountains betwixt them, and that speedily; even as a roe comes to its mate, or a.young hart to its dam, upon the mountains of Bether, a-Sam. ii. 29. The word signisies a half part. -- .
From the text thus explained, may be deduced the three following points of doctrine, viz.
DocT. I. A soul once truly Married to Christ, will from thenceforth look on the lifetime in this world, as a night-time, a shadowy one, as indeed it is.
Doct. II. To those that are truly married to Christ,
the day will break in the other world, and the shadows flee away; and they should live in the coTnfortable expectation of it.
Doct. III. It will be the great concern of those married to Chrji during their night-Journey itt this world, that he may turn and come to them, till the day breaking and the shadows fleeing away, they get to hint in the other world.
I shall speak to each of these in order.
DocT. I. ^A foul once truly married to Christ, will from thenceforth look on the lifetime in this -world, as a night-time, a Jhadowy one, as indeed it is.
In touching a little on this doctrine, I shall,
1. Shew in what respect the saints lisetime in this world is a night-time.
II. How the foul once married to Christ comes to, look on its lisetime in this world as a night-time.
III. On what grounds such a soul justly looks on it as a night-time, a shadowy one.
IV. Improve the point.
I- In what respect the saints lisetime in this world is a night-time. To clear this, consider,
r. The lise of a child of God in this woild, from the moment of the marriage with Christ, is a day-time, in comparison with the time he lived . in his natural state, i Thefl*. v. 3. Therefore fays the apostle, Eph. v. 8. "Ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord." While they are in their natural state, they are in midnight darkness, it is black and dark night with them. But being united to Christ, the night of their natural state is at an end, and the day of grace is come with them. And this is such a day, as will never be succeeded by another night.
2. But in comparison with his state in the other world, it is but a night-time. When he enters there, a day of glory shall break to him, that will so far surpass all he has seen, that he shall be made to think, he
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never saw day before, Rom. xiii. 12. The natural man is in black and dark night, and the saints in this world are in a cloudy moon-light night*, only the saints in the other world are in broad day-light, Col. i. 12.
II. We shall consider how the foul once married to Christ comes to look on its lisetime in this world as a night-time. There are four things concur to it.
1. They then have some new and precious light, however faint, that they had not before. They can fay with the blind man cured by Christ, John ix. 25. "One thing I know, that whereas I was blind, now 1 fee." They see that in sin, Christ, and in the other world, that they did not before perceive. Strangers to Christ are like blind men, to whom the night and the day are alike; but being once married to Christ they are like him who said, "J see men as trees walking," Mark viii. 24. They see, but sind they do not see clearly, and so conclude, that it is night with them.
2„ Being once married to Christ indeed, the fun of this world sets upon-them. The world's love to them is turned to hatred, it conceives an antipathy against them, John xv. 19. And looks as when the darkness of the night follows the lightsome day, and sits down on the beautiful cities, the green hills, the pleasant meadows and gardens, all these lose their lustre and beauty, and become black and gloomy; so when once a soul is married to Christ, the world loseth its former beauty to the man; it is quite another thing in his eyes than it was before ; the vain world is,turned out of its gaudy day-dress, into its night-dress, where its former beautiful appearance is gone, Gal. vi. 14.—"The world is crucisied unto me, and I unto the world.1'
3. Yet the Sun of righteousness is still hid to their eye sight, however he lets out some rays of light to them, and they discern him by faith, 1 Pet. i. 3. In some northern parts belonging to this kingdom, the body of the fun, about this time of the year, does indeed go out of their sight about the middle of the nights • ;. . yet yet still certain rays from it appear all along; so is it with the believer. Therefore he must look on it as night; though it is but a short one. That Jesus to whom they are joined in spiritual marriage, is gone to heaven, and there he abides hid from their eyes, though manisest to their faith, Cant. iv. 6. As Jacob married to Leah, got not a broad view of her till the morning; so the believing foul married to Christ, will not get a broad view of its Husband, till the day of eternity break.
4. Lujlly, The beauty of the light let into them na». tively causes a lodging for the persection of it. Phil, in, 13, 14. As one with a dim light discerning a beautiful object, presently calls for a clear light whereby todifcernit fully; so the soul that has seen as much of Christ's excellency as to engage the heart to him, longs for a full light of his glory; and while the light will not serve that purpose, it natively concludes, that it is night still.
III. I shall next shew on what grounds they justly look on it as a night.time,-a shadowy one.
1. They justly look on it as a night-time. For,
(1.) It is a time of much darkness with them, I Cor. xiii. 12. darkness of ignorance, and of uncomfortableness. However vain men may pride themselves in the knowledge they have reached, puffed up therewith as empty bladders ; serious Christians will still be bewailing their ignorance and weakness in the divine mysteries, Psal. Ixxiii. 22. Prov. xxx. 2. 3. And however lightsome a lise the native vanity of mind may make some; it is not possible, but the impersections, insirmities, and struggles attending the Christian lise here, must make much uncomfortableness in it, Psal. . accvii. 11. How then can they but count it night?
(2.) It is a time, wherein the wild beasts are got out of their dens, ranging about, Psal. civ. 20, 21. In the darkness of this lise, what howling and yelling of the insernal crew, the devils and wicked men acted by them, do reach the Christian's ears, and make his \ heart heart to shiver? So that to travel through the world is often as unpleasant, as through an howling wilder, ness in the night. And not only so, but they are often in hazard of beingdevouredby them, and swallowed up, 1 Pet. v. 8. No wonder they long for day-break, when these wild beasts will go into their dens and be silenced, Plal. civ. 22.
(3.) It is a time inclining to sleep and inactivity, l-Thess. v. 7. All the unregenerate world is fast asleep about them, and will not awake; and they themselves have a constant struggle to hold up their head. If it were day with them, they could bestir themselves, and Apply to their proper business; but it is night, and with difficulty they watch one hour. '2. They justly look on it as a shadowy night,
Y1.•) Because there are many things intercepting the light from them; by such means shadows are made in the night, as when a house or a hill intercepts the light of the moon or stars by night. Thus it is with God's people in the world; there are many things to mar the light of their Lord's countenance shining on them, Isa. xlix. 2. Psal. xxx. 7. And by means of these interposing hinderances, they cannot have now that light of knowledge and comfort, that they would desire.
(2.) It is a time wherein they had some precious Kght, yet but faint, and mixed with much darkness. Where there is no light at all, there cannot be shadows, all is but one shadow; and so it is with natural men, " there is no light in them," Isa. viii. 20. But souls married to Christ have the light of grace, which however is but a dim and mixed one in comparison of the sight of glory, 1 Cor. xiii. 12.
(3.) It is a time, wherein the very means of their light and knowledge give but small and dark representations of the knowledge of the other world, and the riches of his kingdom. So does the shadow of a house in the night represent it but very darkly and impersectly; so the shadow of a man by a looking-glass is but att