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Sermon 1.




"They shall mount up with wings as eagles."—Isa. xl. 31. We have a remarkable question of the disciples, and answer of our Lord, Luke xvii. 37. The question is,Where, Lord?" The answer is, "Wheresover the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together." Christ had been speaking of days of great tribulation a-coming; and the meaning of the question seems to be, "Lord, where shall these that fear Thy name, fly in these days of trouble and distress? Where shall we find peace in the midst of war? Where is he who gives peace to the world? Where is Christ to be found, to whom the believer shall fly like an eagle to his prey?" Faith needs not be at a loss in this inquiry, Where Lord? In the womb, in the rags, in the manger? thither may we go to see the Son of God in a low, humble state. Where, Lord ? Where, Lord Go to the garden, and see him suffering for your sins the wrath of his Father. Where, Lord? Fly to Mount Calvary, and see Him on the cross; there may the eagles gather together, and behold him bleeding, suffering, crying, dying for them. Again, Where, Lord? From Calvary to heaven, there he is now, and there must the soul fly, and see him crowned with glory and honour. Where, Lord? Even at a communion-table, where he is spiritually present, to be fed upon like a carcase, by the poor, believing, greedy, hungry eagle. Where, Lord? Wherever he be, the believing souls must be at him; if on earth, no corner must be unsearched; if in heaven, distance must not keep them from him; nay, though he be mounted up to glory, yet

* This sermon was preached at Kinclaven, on the Sabbath evening immediately after the administration of the sacrament of the Lord's Supper there, June 1st, 1735.

they must mount up after him, according to his promise, They shall mount up with wings as eagles."


In the four preceding verses we have the prophet,

1. Reproving the children of Israel for their unbelief and distrust of God, their dejection and despondency of spirit: "Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel; My way is hid from the Lord, and my judgment is passed over from my God." (ver. 27.) Why do you think and speak, as if God did not heed and observe you, and as if God could not help and save you, whatever be your afflicted, miserable case?

2. He reminds them of what is able to silence all their fear and distrust: "Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth fainteth not, neither is weary? There is no searching of his understanding." (ver. 28, q. d.) He is an eternal God; so that there is no defect, no decay in him; he is an omnipotent God, who created the ends of the earth, and doubtless is as able to save, as he was at first to make the world. He is of infinite wisdom to contrive your salvation; "There is no searching of his understanding." None can say, so far God's wisdom can go, and no further; for when we know not what to do, he knows: and he is a God of infinite power, he faints not, nor is wearied; he upholds the pillars of heaven and earth, and is neither wearied nor toiled with it.

3. The prophet relates to them God's communicative goodness: He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might, he increaseth strength." (ver. 29.) He is not only powerful himself, but he communicates power and strength to these that need the same: "He gives power to the faint." Many out of weakness, even of body, are made strong, and recovered by his providence; and many that are feeble in Spirit, unable for service and suffering, yet are strengthened by his grace, with all might in the inward man; and especially to them that are sensible of their weakness, he increases strength; for when they are weak in themselves, they are strong in the Lord.

4. The prophet states the difference betwixt them that trust in themselves, and them that trust in God. As for them that trust in themselves, and trust to their own sufficiency, they shall find their strength to be but weakness: "Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young

men shall utterly fail." (ver. 30.) The young men who are strong, and apt to look upon themselves as stronger than they are, and so look not unto God for his grace to be sufficient for them, they shall faint and fail, and be made to see the folly of trusting to themselves. But as for them that trust in the Lord, and wait on him for supplies of grace, "They shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." (ver. 31.)

Thus you see the connexion of the words with the preceding; and in them you have three things. 1. The exercise of God's people. 2. Their privilege: "They shall renew their strength." 3. The effect of this privilege: They shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint."


1. The exercise of God's people; they are such as wait upon the Lord. Now, who are these that wait upon God? I answer, in the words of the psalmist David, (“ Psal. xxiv. 6.) "This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob;" that is, O God of Jacob. And hence seeking and waiting are joined together; "The Lord is good to them that wait for him, and to the soul that seeks him." (Lam. iii. 25.) The true waiter is a seeker, and the true seeker is a waiter upon God. It is a duty comprehensive of the whole character of the religious person. If you be truly seeking God, man, woman, at this ordinance, then you are waiting upon him.

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2. But what advantage have they that thus seek and wait upon God? This is showed us in the second part of the words, their privilege: "They shall renew their strength." Their strength shall not only be increased, but renewed; as there is new occasion, they shall have new supplies, and so they shall renew their strength;" or, as it is in the Hebrew, "They shall change their strength," as a man changes his raiment; as their work is changed, their strength shall be changed, whether it be doing or suffering work; they shall have strength to labour, strength to wrestle, strength to resist temptation, and strength to bear burdens; "They shall renew their strength;" get new strength for new duty. The best of God's children, if continuing long in duty, their spirits are wasted. Well, God will renew their strength, especially their spiritual strength, which is from God himself, from

whom is their new temper and disposition, their new nature. "But what of all this?" say you. Indeed, they have much benefit, if you consider,

3. The effect of this privilege, or how it is made evident; that is evinced in three particulars.

i. "They shall mount up with wings as eagles." O it is a great privilege for a believer to be brought, through grace, to fly; yea, not only to fly like a weak bird, but to mount up like an eagle, the strongest of flying birds. The weak believer, by waiting on God, becomes strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Grace strengthens the soul to mount heavenward, and carries it above the world and the things of it.

ii. "They shall run and not be weary;" that is, they shall run in the way of God's commandments cheerfully, and with alacrity, constancy, and with perseverance.


iii. "They shall walk and not faint;" weak and sickly persons are in danger to faint and fail when they walk, but they shall walk and not faint." You have a word, (Gal. vi. 9,) "Let us not be weary in well-doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." "O," says a child of God, that is endeavouring, through grace, to wait upon the Lord, "I fear I never shall reap, because I will soon be faint and weary." But here is the promise you are to take hold of: "You shall run without wearying, and walk and not faint;" and in this way, there is no fear but you shall reap; grace is promised, as well as the reward of grace.

We have already discussed one doctrinal observation from these words, viz., that as it is the duty and practice of God's people to wait on God, so it shall be their privilege to have their strength renewed. But having finished what we intended upon this doctrine, we come now to consider the second observation, namely,

Doctrine. That believers, who, in waiting on the Lord, get their strength renewed, they shall mount up on wings as eagles.

The Scripture is full of parables, where spiritual things are represented by natural; so here, the believer is compared to the eagle. The gospel of Christ is full of them; and it may be for these two reasons:

1. Because parables make a lively impression on the minds of auditors, and convey the truth to the person before he be aware. Some, who are ready to forget the

truth, will mind the simile; and so it leads them back again to the truth, which they had forgotten.

2. To teach us a spiritual and sacred use of the creature, like Jacob's ladder, the foot on earth, and the top in heaven; that by these we may ascend to heaven, and by the creature look above the creature.

The method we would propose, for illustrating this subject, through divine assistance, shall be the following.

I. We shall speak a little of the wings wherewith they mount up.


II. The things wherein they mount up.

III. The seasons when it is especially they mount up. IV. The manner how they mount up.


V. The reasons why thy mount up. VI. Make some application of the subject. And in the whole of these particulars, study as much brevity as possible. I. We are to speak of the wings wherewith they mount And here I might tell you the wings wherewith they are mounted up, and the wings wherewith they do mount. The wings wherewith they are mounted up, are nothing else but the influences of the Spirit of Christ, the enlightening and enlivening influences thereof; they are, indeed, more passive than active at first: "When I am lifted up I will draw all men after me." Christ being mounted up, he makes all his remnant to mouut up after him, and herein they are acted upon before they act, for "He works in them both to will and to do." They are carried up, as it were, on the wings of the wind; for these influences of the Spirit, wherewith they are mounted up, are compared to the wind, (Song iv. 16,) "Awake, O north wind; come thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out." Believers know well enough what it is to be mounted up on the wings of the Spirit. But more particularly, as to the wings wherewith they do mount up, they are especially these two, viz., the wing of faith, and the wing of love.

1. The wing of faith they have, and must have, who would mount up heaven-ward. Now, there is not a feather in this wing but is made in heaven: "By grace ye are saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God." (Eph. ii. 8.) Yea, after the believer hath got faith, he cannot spread out his wing without God: "To you it is given, not only to believe but to suffer for his

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