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for, in the beautiful language of feripture ---** a man “ shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a • covert from the tempeft: as rivers of water in a “ dry place, as the Madow of a great rock in a

weary land," If. xxxii, 2. And again, “ The “ name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righte

ous runneth into it, and is safe,” Prov. xviii. 10. -Safe from the penal demands of the law, and the vindi&tive wrath of the Law giver :- From the paw, also, of the roring devouring lion, and all his emiffarics among men. - Oblerve,

2. That as this rocky country afforded shelter, fo it abounded with the richeft provision, for its inha. bitants; for the mountains were covered with vines and olives, and the holes of the rocks were filled with swarms of bees. Accordingly, we are told, that God made Ifracl " to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock, ”Deut. xxxii. 13.

Than this account of Palastine, nothing could be more expressive of the liberal provifion which is made for the fouls of men in Jesus Christ, and pointed out too, by the fame metaphor of a rock or mountain. “ In this mountain (lays the prophet,

Ilaiah) shall the Lord of hosts make unto all peow “ ple a feast of fat things ;-a feast of wines on the

of fat things full of marrow,--of wines « on the lees well refined,” If. xxv. 6. Intimating, that such things are not more adapted and agreeable to the palate, than the words of Christ, the ordinances of the gospel, and the blessings of his purchafe are to the foul. Nay, in manifold experience, it hath been found, that the word of God, -revealing Christ, and conveying falvation, is more favoury to the foul than wine and milk, oil and honey, marrow and fatness can be to the palate.--" How sweet

(Said David) are thy words unto my taste!-yea,

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# sweeter than honey to my mouth," Plak cxix. 103.

II. We are to consider what Christ here promiseth,

upon this rock i will build my church. As an illustration of this part of the fubject, it may be useful to notice : 1. What is here meant by the church. 2 By Christ's interest in her, my . church. 3. By his promile concerning her, I will build my church.“ And 4. To notice some things concerning Christ, as the foundation of the whole fabric: upon this rock.

1. We are to notice what is here meant by the church.

Without entering apon the definition of a church, according to the usual acceptation of that term,or considering the peculiarities by which churches on earth are distinguished from one another ;-it need only be oblerved, that our Lord, in this pas, fage, directs our view to the collective, universal, perfect church,--to be gathered out of all the cons munities which bear that name among men :

the church wherein all the ranfomed world thall be comprehended, -and from which no ransomed foul thall be excepted.

Though nothing like this will ever be found, except in heaven ;-true church meinbers, of every denomination, are viewed, by infinite Wildlom, even at present, as teparated from the vefflls of wrath with whom, in their church capacity, hey are severally mingled, - and, however unknown to themselves, united together in one church.

The reasons of diff rent churches o earth, are, chic fly, two;-thir being separated, in he providence of God, by distance of langage ;-or, where not separated by distance or languze, the in perfection of their members, in huliacis, muit be

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considered as the fource of all divifions, in fentiment or conduct, formed or propagated among them.

But neither of these can stand in the way of God's distinguishing his elect church, wherever her members are scattered, or with whomfoever they are connected; for “ The foundation of God “ standeth fure, having this seal-- The Lord know" eth them that are his,” 2 Tim. ii.

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Accordingly, the church is frequently fpoke of as one : « 1 speak, (fays Paul to the Ephesians) con“ cerning Christ and the church,” Eph. V. 32. And an infinitely greater than Paul is represented as saying, “I will declare thy name unto my " brethren ;-in the midst of the church will I ang

praise unto thee," Heb. ij 12.

2. We are to notice what is here meant by Christ's intereft in her--my church.

This select, distinguished community, belongs to Chrift. as Mediator, in different views. {

(1) As all the members of it were made over to him, by his Father's deed of gift:

" I have “ manifefted (says he) thy name unto the men " whom thou gaveft me out of the world ;-thine " they were, and thou gaveft them me.” And again, “ I pray for them; I pray not for the world,

but for them which thou hast given me, for they are thine,” Joho xvii. 6, 9.

(2) As all the members of it were redeemed, by his obedience upto death, from lin and hell. They were redeemed from iin,-for “ he hath apo peared to put away fin, by the facrifice of him. “ felf,” Heb. ix 26-and from hell, for, in the words of the apostle, saints “ wait for the Son of " God from heaven, even Jesus which delivered us 6 from the wrath to come,” i Theff. i. 10.

(3.) As all the members of it have been, now are, or shall hereafter be introduced to the Father's

acceptance

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acceptance and approbation through him. Accordingly, we are told by one apoftle, that, through Christ, both Jews and Gentiles " have an access by

one Spirit unto the Father,” Eph. ii. 18. and by another, that “Christ hath once suffered for

fins, the just for the unjust that he might bring us to God,” i Pet. ii. 18. And,

(4.) As there is a real, though myftical, union between him, and each of them; such as there is between the tree and its various parts ;. .“I am " the vine, (says he to his church). •ye are the “ branches,” John xv. 5:

And such an union as fubfifteth between the head and members, in the natural body; for, speaking of Christ, the apostle fays, “ He is the head of the body the church," Col. i. 13.

3. We are to notice what may be meant by our Lord's promise concerning his church.--- I will build her.

For illustrating this part of the subject the following observations may be attended unto :

(1.) That, in allusion to literal buildings, our Lord diggeth every member of his elect church from the quarry of a natural state ; and, by conversion, renders them capable of making constituent parts of this spiritual edifice. This change, in their state and temper, he graciously effects by his word and fpirit:-- which, when effected, is distin, guished, in scripture, by terms--the most significant and emphatical :-such as, being begotten "by the “ word of truth,” James i. 18. “ born of the

water and the spirit,” Joho üi5.-saved by " the washing of regeneration and the renewing of " the holy Ghost," T'it iii. 5.-and being "crea“ ted in Christ Jesus unto good works,” Eph. ii. 10. (2.) That having prepared them, as fit materials,

he.

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he joins and unites them together, in one boly body or fuperftructure. . Tho, originally they confift of many different parts, having prepared each heir of salvation for the particular place which is afligoed him in this building, he makes, of them all, whether Jews or Gentiles, one beautiful whole. In which, when compacted, there shall be nothing defective, nothing fuperfluous; nothing contrary to the fricteft laws of symmetry and proportion: for, "In him all the building fitly framed together,

groweth into an holy temple in the Lord, Eph. ji. 21.

(3-) That, having joined the different parts of this building, by making “ them drivk into one Spirit, he will continue to improve and imbellish the whole, -until it be crowned with the highest perfection that the feveral members, apart, or all of them, taken together, fhall be capable of. Accordingly, we are allured, that“ Christ loved the church, and “ gave himself for it, that he might fanctify and "cleanse it with the washing of water by the word; " that he might present it to himself a glorious "church, bot having fpot or wrinkle or any fuck " thing; but that it should be holy and without " blemish," Eph. v. 25, 26, 27.

4. We are to notice some things concerning Chrit, as the foundation of the whole fabric :--upon this rock.

Befides what was observed, on the firft head, con cerning the defence and provifion which are in Chrift for his church, when the is built ;-there are different particulars concerning him, as the foundation of the building, which merit all attention.

(1.) It may be obferved, that though Christ, in his mediatory capacity, is the builder, according to iny text ;--as the founration, upon which the build. ing flands, he was laid ;

-for, “Behold, (lays the

“ Father)

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