By that Flour of the CHVRCH, Mr. Samuel Rutherfurd.


Canticles 2. Chap. 14. 15, 16, 17.‘Verses. O my Dove that art in the Clefts of the Rock, in the Secret Places of the Stairs, let me see thy Countenance, let me hear thy Voice; for Sweet is thy Voice, and thy Countenance is Comely, &c.’

IN the 14. Verse, there is (1:) A Stile given to the Kirk. (2.) A Suit made. (3.) A Doubt answered. In the 15. Verse, A New Doubt answered, and a Suit made; He calls her His Dove, He rewes nothing that He said, He bides by His Word, He calls her His Love, His Fair One, His Vndefiled, Now He avoues it, He bides by it; You are even My Dove: Yet He is not Flattering her. If ye be CHRISTs, He will give you all your Stiles of Honour; He will speak much Good of you, both behind your Back, and be­fore your Face: She is termed CHRISTs Dove.

First, Because the Dove is a fearfull Bird and soon scarred, Hosea 11. 11. They shall tremble like a Dove out of Assy­ria. Any thing, the smallest Noise or Dinn that can be, frights and chases these Timorous Birds in their Dove-house into CHRIST. It is an happie Rain that chases CHRIST's Doves in to himself; For all the Devils Wit he is soon beguil­ed. The Storm that arises against the Ship where CHRIST and his Disciples are, makes them to Awaken and Pray.

[Page 4] Secondly, The Dove is a Mournfull Bird; So are the Doves of CHRIST Mourning, and in Tears, Zek. 16. They that Escape of them shall be like Doves of the Mountains; Like Doves in the Valleys, all of them Mourning: Every one of them for their Iniquities. If ye be GODs Doves, ye will have manie a Sorrowfull Day in the World: There is Bloodie Weirs betwixt the Kirk and the World; Keep the Dove from the Nest, and she Mourns without; Keep the Kirk from CHRIST, and she will break her Heart.

Thirdly, She is not a Revengefull Bird, she has no other Armour against the Ravens and Vultures, but her Wings to flee away. GODs Childrens best Armour when they are wrong­ed is, by Faith in Prayer to mount up to GOD; They must be like CHRIST. He went out of the World with manie a Wrong, and they are not yet Revenged, his Blood is keeping to the Last Court Day. CHRIST sits with manie a Wrong in Heaven; He has not gotten amends of these that Spate in his Face. Manie a time the Kirk and her Husband CHRIST will be here wronged, albeit it be seen betwixt them. Cant. 5. She shuts him to the Door, and lets him Lodge all Night in the Rainie Fields.

And then Fourthly, The Kirk is like a Dove Mourning without a Marrow; for that Fowl cannot want a Marrow: If ye be GOD's Doves, Woe will ye be when your Marrow CHRIST flies away. She falls aswoon and her heart flies out of her when CHRIST flies away.

Fifthly, The Dove is an Innocent Harmless Bird. she can­not offend. So is the Kirk; the Meek Spouse of CHRIST, will not Marrow with a Malicious House.

Sixthly, The Dove is a Silly, Weak, Tender Fowl, and if they be compared to the rest of the Birds, they are but counted the tenth of flying Fowls; Surelie GODs Kirk in her Self is but a Weak Bird and Tender Woman, compared in Rev. [Page 5] 12. to a Woman with Child lately Delivered, and little be­twixt her Death and her Life, if she be not Carefullie attend­ed. A Christian is a Tender Thing; an Jewel in the Hand of CHRIST. If He let us fall we are soon broken in pieces: We should pray that CHRIST may handle us softlie, and not let us be Tempted above our Strength. The Kirk is called, Micah 4. and 6. a Cripple Woman that goes onlie upon her one Side. So surelie we had need to come out of the Wilder­ness Leaning on our Beloved, Cant. 8. Chap.

Seventhly, And for their Number they are but an Hand­full, Isaiah 1. The Tein or Remnant GODs Part is but the Tenth, and the Devil has all the Stock; often GOD has one and the Devil nine; Great need have we to labour to be of GODs tenth. My Dove that Dwells in the Holes of the Rock; We need not to go far off to seek the Exposition of these Words, for CHRIST is the Rock upon which the Kirk is builded. Matthew 16. 28. Vpon this Rock will I Build my Church, says CHRIST. And Psalms 18. 2. The LORD is my Rock and Fortress. And GOD is also the Secret Place of the Stairs, where the Kirk hides her from the Storm. So David calls GOD his Secret Place, his Hiding Place. Psalms 32. 7. Thou art a Secret Place to me from Distress, Thou wilt Preserve me, Psalms 91. And because in all this Song we must ever hold up the Line and String of the Allegorie of Marriage, and consider the Kirk as the Spouse of CHRIST: The Rock is CHRIST in whom the Kirk dwells by Faith, and CHRIST dwells in her Heart, Ephesians 3. 17. Abide in Me, and I in you John 15. 4: Abide in Me as Branches Imped into the Vine: Now the Imp is ingrafted in a cutted Stock; CHRIST was Hagged, Hewed and Cutted on the Cross, the Stock wherein we are Ingrafted. So that the Holes of the Rock, may well be exponed (as Bernard says) to be the Wounds of CHRIST: So that the Meaning is, O [Page 6] O My Dove that by Faith has thy abode in the Wounds and the Holes made in the Hands and Sides of Crucified JESVS: Or, O my Dove that believes and that by Faith has thy abode in the Wounds and abides in CHRIST as an Imp ingrafted in a Tree, in CHRIST when Dead; and so Man flee into CHRIST all Wounded, and Holled for thy Sin, flee into CHRIST thy Rock; and so into GOD: Psalms 18. 2. Hence we see what a Saviour the Kirk believes in; a Saviour that's GOD and Man, as Man to be a Sufferer, and as GOD to be a Supporter, which there was great Necessitie of these Two Natures; GOD would not seek Payment of our Debt off His Son as GOD; for by the Law He could not answer, for He was the Creditor, and so could not be the Debtor: And therefore, for the better Understanding of this, I would have you with me to consider, how our Nature, and GODs Nature works to others hands in the Work of our Redempti­on. A Sinner cannot Dwell in CHRIST as GOD only. There is no Holes nor Chambers for a Sinner to Dwell in GOD; and therefore CHRIST behoved to be Man, that we might find fair Chambers in the Wounds of JESVS, wherein the Doves of JESVS might Dwell; And if He had been only Man, He could not have been an House upon a Rock, and so could not have born the Weight of all the Doves: For there be some Questions in the Work of our Redemption that onlie Man can answer. Man has sinned, and Man must Die, says GODs Justice, be it so says CHRIST. Man sinned, and I the Man CHRIST shall Die. (2.) Man took on the Debt, therefore an other cannot pay for him; Be it so says CHRIST, I the Man shall pay the Ransom. (3.) Man behoved to make a­mends, because Man did the Fault: Let it be so said CHRIST, I the Man CHRIST shall make amends again.

Secondly, If CHRIST had not been our Rock, there had been no Dwelling in him, he would not have keeped Wind and [Page 7] Weather off us: Therefore the Divine Nature was a Pillar on which the Humane Nature did hing, and this is the Cause why CHRIST-man leans to the Divine Nature, as his War­rand in all that he does. For if ye will consider in this Work, there is Three Bargains, or Covenants to speak so.

First, GOD and Man bargained together, ye shall believe, that's your Part. I shall give you Life Eternal, that's my Part says GOD. Now Man dare not promise this of himself with­out CHRISTs Bond to Relieve him, that is to Enable him throw his Grace to believe.

Secondly, GOD Bargains with his Son, Isaiah 53. 10. Son, if Thou shall lay down Thy Life, Thou shall see Thy Seed, and Prolong Thy Days, and have many fair Children, Psalms 2. Ye shall have the Heathen to Serve You. Heb. 1. I will be Your Father, and Ye shall be My Son. CHRIST is content, but he cannot do this alone; he must borrow Flesh and Blood from Man, and in it Suffer.

Thirdly, The Man CHRIST Bargains with the Divine Na­ture. The Humane Nature says, I Love Man, and I will Die for him: The Divine Nature says, now I shall hold Thee up under Thy Sufferings, and Thou shall overcome Death. The Man Christ without the Back-bond (to speak so) durst not for Ten Thousand Worlds have ventured to Yoak in the Fields with the Justice of GOD, and Death, and Hell, and Sin, and the Devil, except he had the Divine Nature in a Per­sonal Union to bear him up under his Sufferings: Therefore CHRIST when he looks upon his Sufferings, looks also upon his Warrand, Isaiah 56. I gave My Back to the Smiters, and My Checks to them that pulled off the Hair. These be the Words of the Man CHRIST.

Now because it might have been said a Man will Suffer all that his alone; But here he looks to his Warrand, Verse 7. and says, I have my Warrand with Me, The LORD GOD [Page 8] will help Me, I shall not be confounded. I have GODs Warrand who is united to Me in a Personal Union to bear Me up. Even Sick-like CHRIST goes down to the Grave, Psalms 16. 10. Thou wilt not leave My Soul in Hell, (or the Grave,) neither wilt Thou suffer Thy Holy One to see Cor­ruption. As if Christ would say, I am sure LORD Thou will be as Good as Thy Word, and make Good Thy Bargain, and will Warrand Me against Death: See then how it goes; The Man Christ takes Man by the Hand to bring him out from under GODs Wrath. So Beloved, Be Glad in such a Saviour, come all into the Rock, for God, Christ, and Man, all these Three are linked together as in a Chain, and Christ in the middle link of the Chain. Now let all the Kings of the Earth that boast of Fair Houses and Stately Palaces, come and see if they can compare with the Dove that Dwells in the Holes of the Rock. Nebuchadnezer said, Is not this Great Ba­bylon that I have built, &c. Surely Men are to be rebuked that are carefull for Houses and settling in the World, and has no Assurance of this Lodging. Worldlings are but Ravens that big in the Wild Mountains. The Kirk is only at Home biging in Faith: These be indeed Dear Chambers, being built by Christ Himself. GOD has made Holes and Windows in Christ that his Doves may flee into, and make their Nest in his Heart. O Dear and Precious Dwelling; The Lodging cost us Nothing, yet we are desired to Dwell in it. Now what is Christ's Petition? Cause Me to hear thy Voice. It's ordinary for Man to beg from GOD, for we be but his Beggars; But it is a Miracle to see GOD beg at Man; Yet here is the Pot­ter begging from the Clay; the Saviour seeking from Sinners. What is his Suit? It must be some Great Thing; it is even a Sight of his Bride; He is even saying to her, my dear Spouse be kind to Me, let me see thy Face, be not Blaite and Waver­ing, be plain with me your Husband, tell me all your mind in [Page 9] Prayer, I delight to hear your lisping and hisping and speak­ing to me in Prayer: Ye may see all the Wooing comes on Christ's Side of it; She cannot hold up her Face, or let one Love-blink on Christ, but as He commands her, and wakens her up; She is a Soure Bride of her self, if she Laugh, it is He that makes her Rejoice by the Holy Spirit that is given to her, Romans 5. 5. She keeps her Chamber and is ashamed to go forth; He bides her be kind and shew her Face. We cannot Love Him, while he first Love us, 1 John 4. 19. We run because he draws us, Canticles 1. 2. John 6. 44. We appre­hend Christ, but we are first gripped of him, Philippians 3. 12. Beloved, there is great skill in wooing Christ, every Bride has not the gate of it, but he must teach us.

In all other Matches ye will find Two Things that are not here.

First, In other Matches the Bride makes some Wooing of her own sort; but here Men cannot move, but as Christ's Spirit wooes in us, and teaches us. In other Contracts the Bride and her Friends are bound for their Part, the Bride has some Toocher of her own, or she may be an Heretrix, she may have all, and he Nothing: But here the Bridegroom in this Contract is obliged for all, he give his Name for himself and his Wife, Ezekel 36. 27. I will put My Spirit in you, and cause you to Walk in my Judgements. Here the Kirk has no Toocher of her own, and yet she has not the Good Man­ners to look up to her LORD, but as he commands and holds up her Head: All the Toocher is Christ's, and the Inheritance is Christs; the Kirk has Nothing, he has the Houses, John 14. He has the Land, Romans 8. The Fine Gold, Reve­lation 3. and buys the Spousing Cloaths of the Religion that came in with her Saviour Christ, and that is the best Religion in the World; for it gives most to GOD and least to Man. I will tell you who are meet for Christ, even these that are out of [Page 10] themselves, and lays all upon Christ. The best Schollars that Christ gets are Publicans and Sinners, Whores, Harlots, Blind, Lame, Criples, and such like, and such as feels them­selves Sinners. Look how much ye trust in your selves, and rest upon the World, and Loves your Lusts, as far ye are from Christ; and when ye are all out of your selves, and changed into GOD's Image from Glory to Glory, as by the Spirit of the LORD, 2 Corinthians 3: 18: then ye are meet for Christ, begging Poor Sinners are our LORDs Schollars. The Lintel-stone of our LORDs School-door is a Low-stone, ye must stoup Low and Lout; Ye will be on your Knees with it or ye can win in; Ye must be very humble, else that Stone will take your head and ding you back, and ye will not win in; than be Fools that Christ may be your Wisdom, 1 Corin­thians 1: 30: There is as much merit in Christ as will buy a Thousand Heavens. Now if our Wooer Christ were not Kind, and sought our Kindness, even Words of us, and brought the Love. Tokens, the Friendship betwixt Christ and us would soon wear out of Date, & grow Cold; Christ ay blows at the Coal ere it wear out: Christ would win a Friend, yea a Foe to be kind to him; He is ay thriping and claiming Kindness of us, as if he were the Beggar and the Poor-man, and we the King. O he claims Kindness to us. Then surely we need not think shame of our Friend. Would ye ken for whom Christ Died, and Payed, even for Dyvours, such as Swore them­selves bare, and came out of Prison upon Caution, or a Cessio­bonorum. Poor-men that has been upon the Dyvours-stone, and are far from Payment by the Dyvour-bill, when there is not a finger in all your hand fastened upon your self, then ye are meet for Christ: For who are better met and yoaked than a Poor Sick Dying-man and a skillfull Physician; Who is bet­ter yoaked than a crying Begging-sinner and a Rich Christ? But oh it is ofttimes not so! for Christ would give us more nor [Page 11] we will receive: He scatters his Gold, we Proud Beggars will not bow our back, and lout down and gather: He would fain Sell, we will not Buy, so there will be no blocking. Let Me see thy Countenance. An Allusion to Israel that was to pre­sent themselves before the LORD Thrice a Year in the Taber­nacle; The meaning is, Walk before me. It is not enough that thou believe, and so dwell by Faith in the Holes of the Rock; but thou must also shew thy Faith by Good Works and Prayers, and Worshipping of GOD. Christ loves not Pro­fessors that never wan or Love to Pray, and such as hates not the World: But you will see they are Believers by their Holy Living, Matthew 13: The VVord of GOD is Seed sown that brings forth Thirty, Sixty, and an Hundred Fold; Ilk Boll brings out Thirty; Ilk Sermon, ilk Communion should bring out an Hundred Good VVorks (Beloved) GOD's Land is Set at an High-price; he is a Master that will have all his own from his Tennents; and as the Song says, Every one of GODs Sheep brings out Twins, Hebrews 7: 8: There is a Ground that drinks in Rain from Heaven, and yet brings forth Briers and Thorns, it is near a Curse: Bring forth Fruit, or else ye will make GOD say, my Curse, and GODs Mallison be upon thy Heart, thou hears much, and brings forth no Fruit: There­fore beware (Beloved) a Tree that once gets a dadd with GODs Ax, it will never do well again: Ye shall become like the Girdle, Jeremiah 13: 17: which he did hide at the River Euphrates; it was profitable for nothing, it was marred, it shall never go about GODs Wast again. Beware then that ye be not Blasted Professors & Fruitless Christians; but be ye always in his Sight: For there be some that comes never in GODs Sight, they are GODs Dyvours: They are aughting so much that they dar not come to GOD, and Compt and Pay, Outlaws and Borderers that comes not, or keeps not Christs Kingdom; but runs like Wild Asses and Drumadaries [Page 12] up and down the Mountains, and snuffs up the Wind at their Pleasure: I compare their Life to those that rides Post. Ma­ny a Horse has Satan in his Stable; and when these Out-laws has wearied their Greediness after Sin, and has gotten they know not what, they mount upon a Fresh-horse; Some u­pon Pride, and they ride once out of GODs Sight, they run while they be in Hell in the end: For the Devil is upon the Horse and the Rider. GOD seeks Dear, and for his Money ye must give him more than Ten in the Hunder; For Five Talents, he must have Ten again, he must have double Stock. Look what Grace ye receive by Weight, render to him his own in Weight and more: If his Gold want an Ounce, he will cast it to you again: For one Bolls sowing, ye must give him Thirty again: GOD would have his Servants ay keeping his Chamber, if they go their own length from him he misses them; Ye must not be GODs Chamber-pages, and steal out of his Pre­sence, and give the Devil a Baggadge-yoaking; nay he must ay see your Face, and hear your Voice. There be many that would serve GOD, and be in Christs School; but they are like Trow­ands that takes the Play, and runs to Play, sometimes with the World, and the Devil, and loves to sport themselves with the World and the Devil; But GODs Schollars may not take the Play. Let me see thy Face. The Kirk might have said, Dear LORD, my Face; Oh does Thou desire to see my Face, it is very Black, I am Sun-burnt, Sin hath made me deform­ed; and for my Voice, it is both Harsh and Mistuned. What then says Christ? I think not so my Dear Spouse; I think it is a Fair Face; I think ye have a Sweet Voice. It is Great Comfort for GODs Children when they rise many times off their Knees from Prayer with a woe heart, thinking, because they have no Heart, nor Feeling, nor Sence, that GOD is offend­ed with their Prayers, and thinks little of their Works; when as their Prayers, and Tears, and Works are accepted before [Page 13] GOD. Ye think nothing of one Tear, yet GOD puts it in his Bottle; and nothing of one Sigh, but GOD gathers it in his Treasure. If GOD thought of us as the World does, and as we think of our Selves, oftentimes wofull would our Case be; But GOD has not a Pleasanter Sight in the World, nor the Face of a Child of GOD: No Musick Delights Him more nor the Sighs and Tears, Complaints and Prayers of his Chil­dren. See ye not the Spirit of GOD bringing in Christ long­ing for a Sight of his Wife, longing for a Word of her, Pro­verbs 8. 31. Christ Rejoiceth and Sports, and Plays in the Habitable Parts of the Earth, and his Delight is with the Sons of Men. Ye will see more of this upon the last words of this Song.

Take us the Foxes. It's a Speech of Christ to take the Kirk, to take, Convince, Censure, Rebuke, Cut off, and Ex­communicat all Inordinate Livers and Offenders in the LORDs Vineyard, Ezekiel 13. 4. O Israel, thy Prophets are like Foxes in the Deserts. Jeremiah 12. 10. Many Pastors have Corrupted My Vineyard. O what can there be upon the Earth to make a Kirk Happy, But it is here. To hear a Kirk Sick of Love for Christ, and here Christ Sick of Love for his Kirk: Christs Left Hand is under Her Head, and His Right Hand doth Imbrace Her: She is His Fair One, His Love, His Dove, His Vndefiled: She Dwells in the Wounds of Her Lord by Faith. Yet for all this, His Kirk is a Vineyard that has many Foxes in it to Destroy the Vines. Then we see, so long as GOD hath a Vineyard, there will be Foxes in it to Destroy the Vines; That is, Crafty-men, False-Teachers, Deceitfull-Workers, Transforming themselves into the Apostles of Christ, 2 Corinthians 1. 13. Paul Planted a Church in Ephesus, Acts 20. 28. yet after his Departure, Grievous Wolves entred in not Sparing the Flock. Sure­ly in this Life Marches are not redd betwixt GOD and the [Page 14] Devil; The Devil Fyles the Score, and comes over the March upon GODs Bounds. Matthew 13. GOD Sows his Wheat, and the Devil steals up the Rigg, and with Hot-furr he Sows his Tares. 1 Kings 22. In Achab's Court there is never a Honest-Man till he be Tryed: The False-Knave and Truth are Door-Neighbours. 1 Kings 22. In Achab's Court there is an Honest-Man that tells the King the Truth; But there is Four Hundred False-Knaves that says against him, and Poor-Man he must to Prison, and they get leave to keep the Court; for the Thief is ever the Honest-Man till he be Tryed; The False-Knave and the Truth are Door-Neighbours, and almost Twins born at one Time; howbeit Truth be Eldest and First­born Isaiah Complains Chapter 46. Of Dumb Dogs that could never have enough. Jeremiah 10. He Complains of many Pastors that Corrupted the Vineyard. Ezekiel Com­plains of Foxes. Zachariah 11. Of Idol-Shepherds. Hy­mineus and Philetus spoke against Paul. The Sadducees in Christ's Days Denyed the Resurrection: And not only is there False Teachers in our Days, but in the Best Kirks were, and are many Foxes; for all is not Fish that comes in the Net: And if ye be GODs Sheep, ye must not think to want Foxes to Nibble, and to Work under the Earth to Destroy you; Ye may not look that Christ is Master of the Fields without Blood: Ye will not be long in Prosperity in the World. There be a Number of Foolish People wonders that GOD brings such a Good Husband that should not hold out the Foxes from his own Vineyard; They would have a Christ of Gold, and a Kirk of Velvet, or of Fair White Paper; They think Christ's Bride should be Clade in Purple and Scarlet as the Whore of Rome is, or does Wear.

I will shew you how Christ and his Kirk meets when the Bridegroom Wooed his Kirk; Many a Black Stroak got He both of GOD and Man. He was the Vine, GOD and Man [Page 15] strake at him with Axes; he Bought him Dear; it cost him Blood ere he got her: And think ye she has Fair Weather when she Wooes him? Nay, many a Cuffe gets she from the World; This Fox, and that Fox pulls the Skin off her: She is hardly handled in this Wooing, there be Stroaks on both Sides: For fain would the Devil have the Contract Cancelled, and the Marriage going back. And let me speak to you that are GODs Young Vine, make you for it, the Foxes of the World will Peel the Bark off you; If there be Grace in you, they will do what they can to eat it up in the bud; Hold your hands about the Grace of GOD, be not Robbed; And ye give them their Will, they would pull the Skin off your Face.

Secondly, Ye see Christ hath gotten out Letters of Capti­on against all his Foxes: Here is a Commission obtained in Christ's Court, that all that hurts Christ's Vineyard should be Apprehended and laid fast: But alas! the Commissioners, the Pastors, the Judges over-sees them: But here a Comfort for you, who are the LORDs Vines, that are troubled with Foxes, I assure you, that the Kirk has Law against all her Enemies: Be not casten down, because the World Hates you; Twenty six Hunder years syn Christ hath given out a Decreet against all his Enemies, and Yours, to take them. Here ye have Assurance; Your Enemies are Rebels, and all of them under Caption, Psalms 110. 6. He shall fill the Places with Dead Bodies. He shall Wound the Head over them, even in many Countries. Ye that Complain of your Predominant Sin, and thinks ye are hardned with them (for these be also Foxes that do Harm the LORDs Vineyard) fight against them, for Christ has given out a Decreet against those that they shall be taken.

My Beloved is Mine. These be the Words of the Contract of Marriage; For there is a Covenant betwixt Christ and his Kirk, Ezekiel 36. I will be Their GOD, and They shal [Page 16] be My People. But here an Doubt to be answered by these Words: It would seem Christ and his Kirk are Two Diffe­rent Parties in the Contract; Christ upon the one side, and the Kirk upon the other: Is not Christ upon the Kirks Side, and obliges for his Wife? I Answer, Christ having Two Natures, has Two Contrary Considerations, and yet he is one Party, and we another, and so Promises to us Life Eternal; and we Promise by his Grace to Believe.

Secondly, Christ is considered as Mediator, GOD and Man, and so he is upon our Side; for the Promise is made to Him and His; And he as Principal-Contractor binds for Us, and we are his Assigneys; So Jesus skips betwixt both the Sides, because he is a Friend to both: But it is certain these very Words proves him to be on our Side of the Covenant, because our Beloved is Ours, and we are His; He is our Mediator and Cautioner bound for Us. The very Words of the Covenant are spoken to Christ, Psalms 87. 27. I will make Him My First-born Higher then the Kings of the Earth: But he said, Verse 26. He shall cry to Me, Thou art My Fa­ther, My GOD, and the Rock of My Salvation: My Mer­cy will I keep for Him for evermore, and My Covenant shall stand Fast with Him. The Enemies of Grace would have Christ a GOD folding his Fingers, and a Looker on, and beholding Fair Play. Lyars, he is more than Half-play ma­ster. The Devil will not get his Name out of the Contract: And Beloved, see ye not but it is a Sweet Thing to have any thing to do with Christ. His Chaffe is better than other Mens Corn; If ye have any fastning with Christ the Cause is Won; Now hold you be Christ, it is a shame for him that ye fall out of the Covenant, because he is Cautioner; as ye know, it is a shame for a Nobleman that his Poor Friend be cast in Prison for the Debt that he is obliged to pay: Christ is now obliged that He fullfill the Covenant, and make Good both your Part, [Page 17] and his Part: Boast not of your Selves, or of your own Strength; be not Proud of your Selves, but ye shall have full Liberty to boast your Self of Christ, Crac enough of Christ; be Proud of Christ's Merits, ye cannot erre there; The Debt of Faith and Obedience that we are aughting to GOD now to speak so) is not our Debt but Christs, and he is Cautioner for us: It were a shame that a Poor Friend should be Imprisoned for his Chiefs Debt, especially since he is a Rich-man and able to pay.

Now let us consider the Mutual Interest, Christ and the Kirk, has every one of another: He is Mine, and I am His; He is my Husband, and I am His Wife; He is my Head, and I am His Body; He is my King, and I am His People; He is my Rich Cautioner, and I am His Dyvour.

Now let us see what claim Christ has in the Kirk, and what claim the Kirk has in Christ. Now to hold upon the Comparison of this Song betwixt a Husband and a Wife; for the Husband & the Wife has no Sundry Goods; if he be a King, she is a Queen; If he have a fair Inheritance, it is hers also, as long as he Lives; If they Live ever together, it is ever hers: Then when she says, he is mine, I am his, CHRIST is mine, and I am his, and all his, his Flesh, and his Blood; his Death and Merits; his Glory; his Kingdom; his Court and Credit, and all is Mine; and all Mine is His, my Soul and Body, my Sins, my Trou­ble, my Cross, they are all His. Christ and She is (to speak so) carded throw other, John 15. Abide in Me, and I in You: Cursed be he that says not Amen to that; John 17. 21. That they also may be one, as Thou Father art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Vs: I in them, and they in Me. But we will labour to Reduce them, the Particulars to a certain Number. There be these Things Com­mon to us betwixt Christ and Us.

First, There is a Sibness of Nature betwixt Christ and us. [Page 18] There be Pawns given and received betwixt both Sides; He has a Pawn of Ours, Our Flesh, and he took that Pawn with him to heaven, and he is never minded to give it again; but we have as Good a Pawn of him, his Spirit; We were of that Flesh and Blood. Hebrews 2. 14. Let us keep Christ's Pawn as long as he keeps Ours; Let him not be to the fore with Us: Now he keeps our Pawn for ever; He will never lay down our Flesh; We are never minded to lose the Pawn, let him keep it for ever; Long may he keep it: Let us keep his Spirit; For it is not his Will to loose that Pawn; Let him keep it for ever, Hebrews 4. 2. Christ would also be a Bairn and Partaker of Flesh and Blood. Would to GOD ye would all strive to get his Pawn, and to keep it well; Seek his Spirit, and keep it well. Worldly Men, Ye have little claim to Jesus; GOD help you, there is no Borrowing nor Lending betwixt You and Christ.

Secondly, Community; We got all his Good, and he gets all our Ill, that's a Good Cooss for Us; He took our Curses, we took his Blessings; He our Shame, We his Glory; He our Sins, We his Righteousness: He is the Kirks, and the Kirk is Christs; That Day GOD laid upon Christ, he was shifted our from under GODs Wrath, and GOD strook the Kirk's Head, to let the Members go free. When Christ was in blocking to buy his Kirk, he knew the Faults in the Wares; he kend well enough that Curse of GOD, and Wrath of GOD, and Hell, and Sin, and many Ills followed the Kirk: Yet Christ wad not rew in time; He said freely I will take her, and all the Ills that follow her, how beit she be Blind, Lame, yea, a Cursed Bride; Yet I will make her my Wife. Would to GOD we could take Christ and all the faults that follow Him. There be Men that will not Cooss with Christ; but will keep their Will, their Lust: GOD was about to strike Us, and had lifted (to speak so) his Wand to bring a Stroak of [Page 19] his Wrath upon Us; and Christ came in, and held his Hand, and laid down himself, and bade his Father lay upon Him: Yea never saw such a Suiter as Christ, he prays Us to Cooss for the better; He crys to you for GODs Sake give me your Dross, and ye shall get my Gold; Give me your Sins, and I give you My Righteousness. Is it not an hard matter? Men will not give their Ill to Christ, and transfer and give over their Sins to Christ. He says to you, Give Me your Lust that I may Crucifie it, and I will give you Love for it: Give Me your Anger, and I will give you My Zeal for it. Then make a Cooss and take him at his Word, ilk day be making New Blocks with Christ; Deny your Folly, and give it to him to Crucifie; And seek ye his Wisdom, you must do this e­ver while all Nature be away and done, and nothing in you but Grace.

Thirdly, There is a Community of Gifts and Graces be­twixt Christ and Us. Not a Grace we get from GOD, but it comes throw Christ's hands to us: So that Christ keeps the Pawns betwixt GOD and Us: GOD gives Grace to his Kirk, but where is it? It is in Jesus. Grace is laid in Pledge in the Hands of Jesus, and it was made a running over Fountain: For as we see in a Race, the Wages, or the Garland is not in the Hand of the Runners, but some Friends keeps the Staikes for both: So Christ keeps the Wage for the Father and Us. Christ indeed is the Fountain. John 1. I4 We beheld His Glory, as the Glory of the Only begotten Son. Some Friend keeps the Staikes for both; There the Well running over, But for what End? Verse 16. That out of His Fulness we might all Receive, even Grace for Grace. So GOD gives us Life Eternal. But who has this Life in Pledge? Even Jesus Christ, 1 John 5. 11. And this is the Witness that GOD hath giv­en us, even Eternal Life; and this Life is in His Son▪ LORD send us part of this consigned Grace. Again ye send [Page 20] not up a Sigh to GOD; but first it must be laid down in the hand of him that keeps the Pawns, Revelation 8. 12. Be the Way I shall give the Vse with every Article of the Doctrine; Try thy Light, try thy Grace, try thy Honour, and Credit, Riches, & all the Blessings that ye have; The Silver, & the Gold, whether these Blessings be Impawned in Christ's Hand or ye get them; If ye get them not in Christ, they are Unchri­stened Blessings, and they want the Fashion. Wo be to these Blessings that came never throw Christ's Holy Hands. A­gain, try your Prayers, Sighs and Desires, and your Service, if ye offer them to GOD in CHRIST: Many Unchristened Prayers goes to Heaven that are never Welcomed of GOD. Ye must take your Communion out of GODs Hand at the near­est; but out of CHRIST's Hand there should be nothing done betwixt GOD and Us; but CHRIST should be at it.

Fourthly, There is a Community of Sufferings betwixt CHRIST and Us. Poor would we be, if his Sufferings were not Ours; and Wo would be our Case if his Sufferings were not Ours: But this Way it goes, he is that Apple Tree Excel­lent above all the Trees of the Forrest, and we do Rest under the Tree, now when the Shower of Rain falls, it lights first on the Tree, and the Stroak of it is broken, and it does not great Harm to these that are under the Tree. Ilk New Shot at the Kirk, lights first on the Head of Christ, and he breaks the Point of the Arrow. If ye be Ill-spoken off, so was He; If ye be Hated of the World, so was He; If your Blood be shed, & your Face Deformed, so was his fair Face Deformed & Marred, Isa. 52. 14. be content to Drink with Christ. Wo be to them that are not in Christ, and yet are in Trouble: The Arrow with the Sharp Point comes upon them, & goes to their Heart, & Slays them. Try if your Troubles be Christened-Troubles, that lights first upon CHRIST the Head, & then upon you as the Members. Try if by Faith ye have an Union with him. Now [Page 21] here by the way a Great Comfort in Trouble: Those that are Dear to you Dyes, & ye Mourn: Christ Mourned & Groaned in Spirit for Dead Lazarus: Ye Weep, so he Weeped. Are ye Poor, and ay at the Borrowing; So was Christ at the Bor­rowing Trade all his Days: Should ye not then with Good Will Drink off the Cup that He Drank off before you▪ when ye Murmure, and will not Drink Willingly, ye Refuse to Pledge Christ: But ye must Pledge Him, and Drink with GOD's Blessing, and with Joy, He will not Poyson you. They are none of Christ's Friends that will not Pledge Him, Matth. 20: 21.

Fifthly, There is a Community of Glory betwixt Christ and Us: The Heaven that the Mediator Christ Enjoys, is our Heaven; Our Heaven is to the Man Christ in a Con­quest: Heaven was bought with Blood to Him and Us, and to make you Rejoice: None of GOD's Children gets a Heaven properly of their own; Why? We got a share and part of Christ's Inheritance, He is the Principal Heir, Romans 8. We are the Conjunct-heirs: Sweet is that Word which He speaks to his Children, Luke 22. 29. And I appoint unto You a Kingdom, as My Father hath appointed unto Me, that ye may Eat and Drink at My Table in My Kingdom, Sitting on Thrones, Judging the Twelve Tribes of Israel. The Meaning is, My Father hath made a Disposition to Me of the Kingdom of GOD, it is Mine and My Dear Children. I will think Heaven uncouth if ye be not with Me. Here I make a Disposition and Resignation of that Kingdom to you; Ye shall Sit at my Table in My Kingdom: Up your Heart, howbeit ye be not Lords in Earth, ye shall be Lords in Heaven; I and Ye shall part Kingdoms and Thrones together.

Secondly, Rejoice in this ye that are in Christ and see your Condition, ye and Christ are Halfers together of Heaven and Glory, O if GOD's Children be in a Sweet Case as long as [Page 22] Christ is in Heaven and keeps the Inheritance, as long shall we keep our Right; And who can cause him Flit? The De­vil hath made these Enemies of the Grace of GOD to Mis­ken all our communion with Christ, they have put Christ and the Elect together, as a Man in an Inns for a Night, and to go away to Morrow; They have yoaked Christ and us to­gether, as if He were one and we another; as if He were His own, and We were our own; as if Christ had no Law and Right to Us, and We had no Law and Right to Christ, but met at a Venture, and sundered at a Venture; as if We had one heaven, and He had another; As if he had his Portion by himself alone, and that he keeps for ever; and that We had our Share be our alone too, to Sell when We pleased. Sells if we Dispone Heaven, We Dispone not Christ's Heaven. In the Fighting he fights all the Battles his alone, We but look on: But when it comes to the Dividing of the Spoil, We get a Rich Share of the Spoil, Yet he gave the Whole Sum for the Inheritance, and We Nothing; yet we are set at his Elbow in a Throne with him, Now seeing our Right is also Good, slip not from them: Do not as some Unworthy Heir, who having a Good Right slips from it for a feckless composition af­ter Drink, quites all, howbeit he should Beg: Indeed the Wicked does this. The Devil drinks them Blankfull, and fills them with Worldly Pleasures, and garrs them Subscrive a Re­signation, and gives them an unworthy composition, some present Pleasure. Compone not with the Devil to go to the Law with him, let Christ be your Advocat, Subscrive not a Submission with the Devil, come never in Trysting Terms with him▪ hold you aback from the World, and the Lusts of it, it is the Devil's Arles that he gives to Silly Drunken Heirs, when they cry Hills and Mountains fall on Vs: They would fain give back the Arles and Rew, but it is out of time.

And I am His. This Property of the covenant is Mutual, [Page 23] as she says and acknowledges that he is hers, and so Christ is bound to her by his Promise: So she acknowledges that she is bound to him, and is his by Right, Multitudes of the World would play fast and loose with him: They would have Christ fast, and themselves loose: They devise a covenant of their own, and says, Christ Died for All, and GOD is Mer­cifull to All, and GOD will Relieve All Christian Souls from Hell, and they think GOD and CHRIST fast enough to them: But in the mean time they are loose, and Lives like Dogs and Swine in their Filthiness: These Men would have Christ as a Child in making of the covenant, and exceeding Silly: should Christ give himself for you, and will ye neither give Life nor Goods for him? Christ came to save you, Matth. 20. 28. And will ye be his Master? Are ye not obliged to Serve him? This is to make a Gospel of your own: Too many Obeys the Gospel as long as it Flatters them. As long as it tells them Christ's Parts, and that he shed his Blood, and came to save Sinners freely: That is the best Chapter in all the Bi­ble: But when the Gospel begins to tell them what is their Part, and that they must Deny Themselves, Crucifie their Lusts, to Take up Christ's Heavy Cross, they start aback: These are Tender-footed-Christians that Walks in the Law, and in the Gospel, so long as they go softly on it as a Bed of Roses, and Hurts not their Feet: But when a Thorn of the Command touches them, they stand aback. Ye may not half GOD's Law, and take as much of it as serves you. As Christ gave himself to be Yours, and has Subscrived the Con­tract; So give your Selves to Him, and Subscrive your Part of the Contract to be his, as he is Yours; Take therefore the Law and this Sweet Saviour both together, bind your Selves to him to be his, as he is bound to be Yours.

He Feedeth among the Lillies. To prove that Christ doth Esteem her as his Kirk and Flock, his Wife, his Beloved: [Page 24] She says, He Feeds her amongst the Lillies, that is, the Pure and Uncorrupted Word of GOD, or the Lillies are the Fruits of the Spirit, opposed to Stinking Roots, and Bitter Roots that grow in the Kirk: When Judgement is like Hemlock, or Wormwood: Or the Lillies, the Saints of GOD, that are Lillies amongst Thorns.

Fifthly, However it be, it is certain the LORD feeds his Kirk with as much Spiritual Food as holds in their Life in the Way to Heaven, while their Day of Marriage come, Ro­mans 8. 23. We receive here the first Fruits. When a Man has shorn a stouk of his corn-field, that puts him in assurance of the whole croop. GOD would have Israel to Taste of the Vine Grapes of Canaan, to assure them they should get the Land it self, 2 Chronicles 1. 22 GOD hath sealed us and given us the Earnest of his Spirit in our Hearts. There be Two Words.

First, GOD does with his Children in this Life as a Mer­chant does with his Wares he has bought, because he cannot Transport them presently, he puts a Seal or Mark upon them, and then it may be Sold to no other Body, and his Children stricks hands, he writes his Name, and his Arms; the Image of GOD in their Soul; and then when the Devil comes throw the Mercat to buy, for he offers ay Money in hand, Pleasure, Lusts, Honours: Ye have an Answer to give him; Tell him, your Soul is sealed already; You have blocked with an Ho­nest Merchant; Christ and he has put his Mark upon you that ye may not Sell; and it were a pity to beguile him. And therefore bid that Deceiving Loun go seek his Mercat in another place; ye are not his Merchant. The Devil will promise them as fair as GOD: he will not prig with them: he will not care to promise much more than Heaven. She shall be like GOD: But he pays not so well as GOD doth: Agree not with him: Block not with him.

[Page 25] There is another Sweet Word used, that GOD gives to his Children, The Earnest of His Spirit in this Life; He gives them Arles, Faith, Hope, Joy, these be like Six or Seven Shil­lings to warrand that; Ye shall get the Principal (Beloved) had GOD blocked with you, and given you Arles, he would therefore that the Bargain hold. Will ye not then take GODs Arles, and block with the Devil? By GOD's Arles ye have Assurance of this, GOD will come and Loose his Arles; Rew not of the block, never any Man had cause to Rew the block with Jesus Christ. There is another Word used, John 16. Christ is going to Heaven to Leave His Disciples; He promis­ed to come again to them to see them: How Sorry were they to want him, and blyth were they of that word that he said, he will come again: Therefore in Sign and Token that he would come again; he promised them a Pawn, that was His Holy Spirit. Ye know Christ and We are contracted in this Life; We will be Married again at the Day he comes to Judge the World. Now all the Wooing-Time, there goes Love-Tokens betwixt Them, and Missive-Letters. Tell me when ye got a Letter last from Christ; There will be Messengers going be­twixt You. The same Word is a Messenger, the Sacraments are Love-Tokens that our Wooer has left to assure us that he is contracted with Us. I pray you take no Gifts from the Devil; away with Ill-Conquest: Away with Lusts, and the Love of the World. I hope ye are not minded to Marry with Sin; if ye do, ye are ashamed then for all your Days: Ye are come off GOD's House, and are his Image: Fy, it is a shame to hear tell of it, to Marry with a Base Slave the Devil: I al­low you here to be Wife and Prudent in your Marriage; Mar­ry not for Gear, keep your self to be a Good Match. There be a sort of Indifferent-men, that ye call Harmless-meu, they have neither Good nor Ill, they Love not Falshood, they Love not Popery, and yet they will not Burn for the Truth; They are [Page 26] like Blank-paper, as it is thought, neither GOD nor the De­vil has blocked with them: But has not GOD given you Arles, nor no Pawn? Satan will get you: But do this first, hold your self with Christ, & then ye have an Answer to give other Lov­ers, the World and the Devil: Ye may Laugh and say, ye are too long in coming; I have promised my Self away to ano­ther Husband, and therefore I cannot have you also; for I will not have Two Husbands, 1 Cor. 6. 19. The Apostle takes a Reason to Prove that the Body should not be given to an Harlot; it is the Temple of the Holy Ghost. Set the House of your Soul to GOD, and then for shame ye cannot win off him to cause him Flit. Ye are bought with a Price,; Married Folk has not many Wooers: The Devil is busie to seek them that are Virgins, and Love not Christ to be their Husband.

While the Day Dawn. That is, The Marriage-day; and in Hebrew called Your Day for Excellency. To say the Truth, it is a Day, and called the Day of Christ, the Day of Redemption, 2 Timothy 1. 2. It is called the Day for these Causes. It is the Day when Christ is Perfect in his Members. Now Christ's Body is Mangled, Arms, and Legs, and Hands, in sundry places; Some not Born, some Born: But in the De­vils Service, some Rotten in the Earth, and casten in the Sea. Christ is Bleeding in his Members; There is many a Wound in the Mystical-Body of Christ this Day; all will be gathered in that he gets: His Bride he enters in Peaceable Possession of Her.

Secondly, That Day Christ shall give in his Accompts, and all his Fathers Generally; he shall Render an Accompt of all that he took by the Hand, and shall put up his Sword, and never Draw it again; And as the Chief- Shepherd, he shall make an Accompt of all his Lambs, and tell his Father, these be all My Silly-Sheep; They have win away with their Life. I went throw Woods, and Waters, and Briers, and Thorns to [Page 27] Gather them in, and My Feet was Pricked, and My Hands and My Side Pierced ere I could get a grip of them; but now here they are. Good Cause shall the LORD have to Clap Christ's Head that Day: And judge ye if ye will have a Blyth Heart, to hear Christ and his Father to Compt toge­ther, when we shall be all standing under the broad Scarlet Robe of Christ's Righteousness, and as many Glorified Angels look­ing on.

Thirdly, And every Souldier that Day shall shew his Wounds to his LORD, saying, LORD, I have losed this and this for Thee, and GOD shall clap our Head, and take us benn to his Chamber of Presence, all Glorious Tapestry there, LORD, make you Ready for that Day.

And the Shaddow flee away, or Mist. This Life is all but a Night, because of the Ignorance and Darkness of our Mind; We see but the Portrait of the Kingdom in the Glass of the Word and Sacraments. Then when that Day Dawns, we shall see Him Face to Face. So long as the Night is, we do No­thing, but by the use of Candle; When the Sun rises, the Candle is blown out, lest we should burn Day-light. The Gospel is GODs Candle to let us see the Way to Heaven: But when it is Day-light, and Christ Lighted to us from Heaven, then shall come Light and Heat from Him, Clear Light and Know­ledge that shall endure for ever. Our Soul here is like a House in the Night, when Doors and Windows are closed. In that Day the Doors and Windows shall cast up, that the Sun may shine for ever upon us: We shall not need to seek Communi­ons; The Lamb of GOD shall be present with you for ever­more, Rev. 21. I saw no Temple there, for the Lord God Almighty is their Light. We get but here the Parings of GODs Bread, and a Four Hours Drink, to speak so. There the Board shall be Covered, and the Great Loaf set upon it, and all shall Eat, and all be Welcome, and the Table shall ne­ver [Page 28] be Drawn. Ye shall have your fill of CHRIST; Ye shall Drink, and Drink at the Wells Head, the Cup of Salvation for evermore.

Secondly, One Night here: But we know not what we are, Marches are not redd betwixt GOD and Satan here: We are but Silly Bodies here, Earthen Vessels often in Trouble, I Corinthians 1. and yet Kings Sons, 1 John 3. 2. Behold now we are the Sons of GOD, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that when He doth appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. A Friend from a Foe cannot be known in the Night: Care not what the World think of you, it is Night, they cannot well see you.

Thirdly, It is Night, because of Great Trouble which be­sets us, Luke 3. 1, 2: Let us be content with an hard Bed, the Morn will be a Good Day, and think ye what a Comfort it will be to you, when GOD puts up his own Holy Hands to your Face, and to your Watry Eyes, and shall Dry them with the Napkin of his Consolation.

Now this Short Night ly still in Peace and Sleep by Faith in GOD. Be content to ly down in your Grave for a Night or Two; for your Husband Christ shall be at your Bed-side soon in the Morning.

Turn My Beloved, and be thou like a Roe or a Young Hart upon the Mountains of Bether. As Psalms 71. 21. Thou did turn about and comfort me. Turn about and come to me, as swiftly as a Roe or a Young Hart upon the Moun­tains of Bether, or Bithven. The Mountains of Division or Separation: Mount Gilead severed or parted from the rest of the Land of Judea by the River of Jordan. In the which Mountains, there was Pleasant Hanting; here She Desires his Presence, either in the Last Judgement, or in his Incarnation, or by the Comfort of his Holy Spirit, and prays that he as [Page 29] Roes and Harts are not Hindered any Whit by any Craigs or Down-falls of the Rocks to Descend and Meet one with another. So CHRIST would be Kind to His Love, and count Mountains as Valleys, and let no Craigie-way Hinder the LORD JESVS to come. She can never get Her Fill of CHRIST; She is so Browden on CHRIST, that She ever would be at an Union with him; There is Kissing, Verse 7. The Place where he Dwells, Chapter 2. under his Shaddow in his Wine-Celler; We cannot be far enough on in going to CHRIST: We can never be near enough hand him. Cry ye to him, come; For he crys to you, come; and then ye will Meet. Ill-Gate will not Hinder our Bridegroom to come, he cares not for a Showre of Rain, or a Dark Night. He Loups over Hills to be at his Kirk. Give ye him a Meeting. Amen.

Let us Pray.

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