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but to destroy. A dry wind, neither to fan nor to cleanse. By wind, sometimes, error is meant; false gales, raised up by the devil, in order to blow the smoke of the bottomless pit into sinners' eyes, that they may not behold the way of the vineyards, nor find their way to the city. Hence the divine caution, “Be no more carried about with every wind of doctrine;" for it is a gord thing that the heart be established with grace. As false doctrines are compared to wind, the devil raises them, in imitation of the power of the Holy Ghost, which is compared to the blowing of the wind; and with a glorious rushing, like the wind, he descended on the day of Pentecost, when he filled the Apostles with his power and grace. This power the devil tries to imitate. He gave the Pope not only his doctrines, and his seat, and great authority, but his power also, which was sufficient to puff up whole nations; it worked and fermented in the souls of the deluded like new wine, and made them so drunk, that they could not see where they were got; it blinded their eyes, and made them call evil good, and good evil; and, in the end, filled the kingdom of the Beast full of darkness. These false gales have caused wonderful operations and emotions among the Arminians. The preachers, under the influence of the spirit of error, with a blind zeal, and empty oratory, have so worked upon the passions of their audience, as to move the hair of their head, and make the blood rankle in their veins: some have rolled their
eyes, others have cried out; some have kicked
ups and others have tumbled over. These are commonly called good times; and those who can perform this sort of work are deemed powerful men, though, in an unconverted state, destitute of the grace of God, and enemies to the truth as it is in Jesus. From public calamities, and from these dangerous blasts and gusts of contrary winds, which, if it were possible, would deceive, blind, and mislead, the very elect, I know of no hidingplace but the Lord Jesus Christ; who is to be an hiding-place from the wind
“ And a covert from the tempest:" by which is meant the wrath of God, roused up and awaked by sin, and revealed in the law against it. At the giving of the law, clouds and darkness appeared, betokening hot displeasure against the works of darkness: the curses pronounced against transgressors were attended with rolling thunders; and the flashes of fire on the mount, represented the divine vengeance against sin. Thus God answered Israel in the secret place of thunder.
Upon the Lamb of God, our surety, this heavy storm fell with all its weight; after which the clouds cleared up, and the glory of a reconciled God shone forth in the face of Jesus Christ. We have no refuge from the avenger of blood, nor covert from the above storm, but the Saviour. When the law awakens and pursues the elect sinner, this refuge is set before him; and hither he must fly, if he will escape for his life, for he can
never be safe till he arrives here. As the Lord Jesus is a covert from the tempest, so is he to be
“As rivers of water in a dry place.” The fiery law revives the fire of sin: the ashes of dead works, and the legal covering of the sinner, under which his sin lies hid from his eyes, blow away, and the whole frame of nature seems all on fire; at which times the fiery darts of Satan often fly thick and fast, which all together are ready to scorch the poor sinner up. Sinai stands in a barren wilderness; and the sinner finds himself in a dry land, where no water is, and he may go to the troughs of a hundred called shepherds before he finds any water. . But God says, when the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongues fail for thirst, he will hear them: and, just as the rock was smitten in the wilderness to refresh Israel, so the Spirit points the poor sinner to the Rock of ages for spiritual drink; or, as Hagar was directed to a well, where she filled her bottle to save her son from famishing by thirst, so the Spirit directs the sinner to the well of salvation, where he may drink and live for
Many old watering-places are now become dry; the Philistines have stopped up almost all the wells that our blessed Isaac opened; and we have too many who set themselves to dig wells without proper staves, and without
direction from the lawgiver, so that nothing springs up nor flows out. Many who began with the name of
Christ, without the spring of his Spirit in their hearts, begin now to put even the common notions of him and his doctrines out of their heads: his name is sometimes dropped from their mouth, and that is all, which shews that even his name is kept at the threshold; and matters will get worse and worse. We are going into one of the darkest nights that ever overwhelmed the Christian world since the Sun of Righteousness first rose upon it, and are got a great many years into it; the cloudy and dark day gathers thicker and thicker, and a most dismal night is coming on.
But Christ will make a way to his own, and faith will find her way to him; he has promised that he will not suffer the souls of the righteous to famish. He is the well of salvation, and
“ As the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.” Great struggles will be made by the man of sin to regain his lost territories in Great Britain; which work has long since been begun. The Arminian sister, as some call her, is an handmaid to the whore of Babylon, and the harbinger of Popery; they are united in the foundation, and self-righteousness is the chief corner-stone in which they both unite; and, as to other trifles, such as dolls and beads, jumble them together with classes and perfect bands, and they will agree and unite from the foundation to the top-stone, and so escape the violent storm that will fall upon Zion and her witnesses, Rev. xi. 7, 8. But there is another storm impending, that shall most surely overtake them;
notion of the method of salvation; and, as to Timothy and the scriptures, they seem to be utter strangers to each other. There is not any understanding, acquaintance, familiarity, or intimacy, between them: one would be ready to conclude, that they had never seen each other before.
Quot. This knowledge of spiritual weakness Paul himself lived a total stranger to before his conversion; and, were all the children of God to keep a distinct idea how ignorant they once were of themselves, it would be a proof to them, that their having now an understanding of the scripture, is an evidence of spiritual life.
Answ. This is another pillow, to bolster up and establish the hypocrite in Zion: for Paul declares, that a man may have all knowledge, and understand all mysteries, and have all faith, so as to remove mountains, and to speak with the tongue of men and angels, and yet be nothing but sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal; or, as he elsewhere explains it, be nothing but an instrument without life, giving sound. Understanding is a proof and evidence to Tim's Christian of divine life; but Paul's hypocrite goes three steps beyond him, and has no life at all. Either Paul deceives us, or Timothy tells lies, one of it.
Quot. Many have called in question the truth of their faith, because they have found it fail them in times of their greatest need.
Answ. If faith fails in times of greatest need, there is just ground to call it in question, and to