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"Now, when I passed by thee and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love."-EZEK. xvi. viii.

My friends, if you have been believing communicants this day, your Lord has been giving you a love feast. But now, since the table is drawn and the feast seems to be over, lest you reckon his love withdrawn also, I am come upon the back of the feast to give you a love-letter, written with his own own hand, and directed to you, that you may lay it up in the cabinet of your hearts, and never either forget nor jealous his love at any time, which he hath shown to you at this or some other time of your need. The words of the letter are, "Now, when I passed by thee and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love."

The most remarbable event that befel the Jewish church of old, as to its outward condition, was the shadow of the spiritual mercies designed for the true Zion of God; and therefore, I am to speak of the blessings whereof this is an emblem. It is a New Testament mercy in Old Testament dress. Under this shadow is hid the most substantial spiritual blessings..

In the words we may observe the four following particulars: 1. A miserable time ascribed to the sinner, called, Thy time." 2. A merciful time ascribed to the Saviour, "The time of love." 3. The happy conjunction or meeting between that miserable time and this merciful time: "Thy time was a time of love," and 'wherein I showed my love. 4. The strangeness and wonderfulness of this conjunction: "BEHOLD! thy time was a time of love." It is mat

The first was

This subject was handled in five sermons. preached on the Sabbath evening immediately after the celebration of the sacrament of the Lord's Supper at Dunfermline, July 14th, 1734. The other four were delivered after the solemnity. We give it in three divisions, in order that each sermon may fill a No. Each separate sermon will be complete, and the three taken together form a most practical, valuable discourse upon the subject. No. 7. July.]

[Vol. 1.

ter of astonishment, and worthy of a note of admiration. I reserve the explication of these particulars to the prosecution of the following doctrine :

OBSERVE. That it is matter of wonder and admiration that God should show his love to sinners at such a remarkable juncture, that their time of need and misery appears to be his time of love and mercy. "Behold, thy

time was a time of love."

The method I would incline to handle this subject in, under the divine favour, shall be the following:

I. We shall speak a little of the SINNER'S time of need and misery as it is described in the context.

II. Of God's time of love, as it is here also represented and shadowed forth.

III. Make it evident that he shows his love at such a remarkable juncture, as makes it appear their time of need is his time of love.

IV. Show that this is matter of wonder and admiration. V. Deduce some inferences for application of the whole. I. We are to speak a little of the time of need and misery as here pointed out in the context.

1. The time of need here pointed out is, when we are in a polluted state, represented by the infant cast out of the womb; "I saw thee polluted in thine own blood, neither washed with water, nor salted, nor swaddled.” Ver. 4. When grace and mercy take hold of a sinner, it is even when living in the puddle and filthy mire of original and actual pollution; the understanding polluted with darkness, the will with enmity, and the affections with carnality and sensuality.

2. The time of need is when we are in a helpless, naked, and destitute state, having no eye to pity or have compassion upon us: "None eye pitied thee to do any of these things unto thee, to have compassion upon thee." Ver. 5. Grace and mercy step in with help when we can contribute no help to ourselves. When all refuge fails, and all help is gone, surely it is a time of need.

3. The time of need here mentioned is, when we are in a loathesome state; in an unpleasant state, as new-born children wallowing in their blood: "Thou wast cast out to theloathing of thy person." (Ver. 5.) Grace then beheld us with an eye of love and pity, even when we were loathsome to beholders.

4. The time of need is when we are in extreme hazard, upon the very brink and precipice of utter ruin, just choked with our own blood, ready to die and expire, being exposed and cast out into the open fields. (Ver. 5.) And what was it but a field of blood, a field of danger, a field of death? And what is this time of need but the time of death, wherein we are dead in sin and dead in law; which is plainly supposed, ver. 6. "I said to thee, when thou wast in thy blood, Live." Intimating that the time of need was a time of spiritual death, and obnoxious to eternal death, upon the brink of hell and damnation. This is the time of need here represented.

II. The next thing I would touch at also is GOD's time of love, as here shadowed forth; that extremity is his opportunity; that time of need is the time of his showing his love. And what this time of love is, may appear particularly from these four things in the context.

1. His time of love is a time of love-calls, wherein he called to us," Live." (Ver. 6.) "I said unto thee, when thou wast in thy blood, LIVE; yea, I said unto thee, when thou wast in thy blood, Live." These love-calls are doubled, that they may be effectual; he says it, and repeats it again; and we are never called effectually till we hear him twice. In the time of love, therefore, he says unto us, "Live." Yea, he says to us, "In our blood, Live." He says it outwardly, in the word, and then he says it inwardly by the Spirit; he says it into the ear, and then he says it again into the heart; then the heart that was a dead grave opens, and takes in the living Jesus; the Spirit of life enters, and the dead soul begins to live and breathe spiritually. The quickening word creates in the soul a life of care and concern about salvation: "What shall I do to be saved?" A life of desire after Christ the Saviour. "O," says the poor soul, "I would give a thousand worlds for him." And afterwards, in various degrees, a life of faith, love, hope, and joy.

2. His time of love is a time of love visits; "When I passed by thee," says the words here. It is an allusion to passengers that, on their way, meet with miserable objects in a deplorable condition, and extend pity toward them: "I passed by thee." It is spoken after the manner of man, but done after the manner of God, who is pleased to give gracious visits to the soul, whom he once quickens by his

word of power. It is true, all his visits in this world are but like a passing by; they are but passing visits, as it is said to Moses: "While my glory passeth by, I will show thee my back parts; but my face shall not be seen." (Exod. xxxiii. 23.) It is in heaven we see him face to face, without interruption; but here we are to be content, if we get some view of his glory as it passes by.

3. His time of love is a time of love glances, or of loving looks: "When I passed by thee, and looked upon thee." It is not a look of observation only, for he beholds all things, they are naked and open before him, but a look of commisseration. It is a look wherein his heart follows his eye. In the time of love, the Lord gives his people sometimes an appropriating look, an affectionate look: "His countenance doth behold the upright." (Psa. xi. 7.) Sometimes a directing look, "I will guide thee with mine eye." (Psa. xxxii. 8.) If he takes his directing eyes off us, we never make a right step. Sometimes a convincing look, a penetrating look, such as he gave to Peter, that pierced, melted, and dissolved his heart: "Jesus looked on him, and he went out and wept bitterly." Sometimes a comforting look: "To this man will I look, even to him that is poor, and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word." (Isa. lxvi. 2.) With a look he breaks the hard heart, and with a look he heals the broken heart. These are his love glances.

4. His time of love is a time of love tokens; and here are many tokens of conjugal love in the context; some antecedent, some concomitant, and some consequent to the marriage.

i. Some love tokens antecedent to the marriage betwixt Christ and them. Such as, besides what I have already named, these immediately following the text: "Thy time was a time of love, and I spread my skirt over them, and covered their nakedness;" there is the marriage robe wherewith he covers his naked bride, the garment of his righteousness. "Yea, I sware unto thee;" there is the marriage oath by which his word is confirmed, "that by two immutable things, by which it is impossible for God to lie, they might have strong consolation," &c. And, "I entered into a covenant with thee;" there is the marriage bond, the covenant that standeth fast in Christ. Here all is done to her hand, when she could do nothing: "I entered into a

covenant with thee, saith the Lord God." And "Thou becamest mine!" there is the marriage relation constituted, and the union betwixt Chist and his bride made up. I became thine, and thou becamest mine. I became thy Head and Husband, and thou becamest my bride and spouse; I manifested my good-will toward thee; and I made thee willing in the day of my power.

ii. Some love tokens concomitant are here mentioned, from ver. 9. 14. "Then washed I thee with water," ver. 9; yea, "I thoroughly washed away thy blood from thee." This points out both pardoning grace, washing the conscience from the guilt of sin, and purifying grace, washing the heart from the filth of sin. Whom he loves, he washes; hence the song of the redeemed is, "To him that loved us, and washed us in his blood." And he washed us from our blood. It is bloods in the original. And he washes us from blood-guiltiness; both from the guilt of our own blood, and the guilt of the blood of Christ; in his blood he washed us from our blood. Again, "I anointed thee with oil." (Ver. 9.) Here is another notable love token concomitant. with the marriage. His giving the Spirit, the oil of gladness, wherewith he is anointed above measure; this he doth according to his promise, "I will put my Spirit within you," and that not only to begin the good work to quicken and renew, but to abide in us, and subdue siea more and more, to help our infirmities, to be a pledge and urnest of the glorious inheritance, to guide us to the land of prightness, and to comfort us under all our troubles in the wilderness, till we come to enter into the joy of our Lord. Again, clothing necessary for benefit and comfort, mentioned ver. 10. and an inventory of more that served for state and magnificience, mentioned ver. 11, 12, 13. Whatever literally these things import to the Jewish nation, yet spiritually they refer to the precious graces and blessings wherewith Christ adorns his bride. Yea, here is not only raiment, but food, (ver. 14): "Thou didst eat fine flour, honey, and oil;" pointing the best cheer; "The feast of fat things, and wines on the lees;" heavenly manna, the flesh and blood of the Son of God. Whom he loves with a con

jugal love, he gives them food and raiment, and all provisions necessary; yea, not only so, but beauty and renown, ver. 14: "Thy renown went forth among the heathen, for thy beauty; for it was perfect through my comeliness which

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