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the faith of Christ's care and providence between him and the storm, according to that word, Matth. vi. 31. 34. “ Take no thought what ye shall eat, or what you shall drink, or wherewithal you shall be clothed. Take no thought for to-morrow, for to-morrow shall take thought for itself.” And Phil. iv. 6. “ Be careful for nothing, &c.-1 Pet. v. 6. Casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you.”
(3.) He is a shadow from the scorching heat of the fiery darts of Satan's temptations : for, who is it that rebukes the tempter? It is the Lord Jesus Christ, with a “Get thee behind me, Satan."—Who is it that prays always acceptably for the tempted and scorched believer? It is Christ : “ Simon, Simon, Satan hath desired thee, that he may sift and winnow thee as wheat; but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.” Who is he that is always a friend at hand, when the believer is at the last gasp, ready to be scorched to death? It is Christ; 1 Cor. x. 13. “ There hath no temptation taken you, but what is common to men; but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above what ye are able to bear; but will with the temptation make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it.”
What should one do for relief against all the temptations and delusions of the day, but just come under the shadow of the Apple-tree,“ Christ himself suffered, being tempted, that he might succour them that are tempted,” Heb. ii. 18.
(4.) He is a shadow against the scorching heat of afflictions, and that either when he prevents them, and keeps them off, and Stays his rough wind in the day of his east wind: being a present help in the time of trouble :” or, when he sanctifies troubles, and blesses them to the advantage of his people; " By this shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged;" or, when he supports under trouble, and enables them to bear, and by faith to quench the violence of fire, and out of weakness makes thein strong : or, when, whatever be their losses by affliction, he makes up their loss with a hundred fold more; and makes them, with all other things, to work for their good, though some trials may separate
them froin friends and brethren ; but here is a shadow against that sorrow, namely, “ Who shall separate me from the love of Christ?” &c. Rom. viii. 35,-39.
3. Here is a shadow with all the good qualities of a shadow : particularly, a thick, a broad, a lasting, and a living shadow.
(1.) It is a thick shadow. Some trees have shadows, but in hot days the beams of the sun will pierce through them, because they are thin; but this is a thick shadow : no scorching wrath of divine displeasure can get into the soul that is under it. The destroying angel, that slew the first-born of Egypt, could not come near the door that was sprinkled with the blood of the lamb; no more can the wrath of God reach these that are under the cover and shadow of the blood of Christ, that spotless “ Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world.”
(2.) As it is a thick, so it is a broad shadow, it covers the whole man; and it covers all that come under it: notwithstanding of the multitude of the receivers of Christ; yet a numberless number may get room here : notwithstanding all the redeemed, from the beginning, who have come, yet there is room for more : • Whosoever will, let him come.--God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that who. soever believeth on him, might not perish, but have everlasting life.”
(3.) It is a lasting shadow: not like Jonah's gourd, that came up in a night, and withered in a night; it fenced him from the sun's heat, and from the east wind, and that only for a night, and then went away; but, this is a shadow of goodness and mercy, that follows the believer all the days of his life, as the pillar of cloud that followed Israel in the wilderness, and never left them as long as they had occasion for it; Christ never leaves the soul till he sets it beyond all hazard and danger in the heavenly Canaan. Whatever are or may
be your trials, this is a shadow that was, and is, and is to come. For,
(4.) It is a living shadow; it is the shadow of the Tree of life, that hath life in itself, and that gives life and health to all that sit down under it; “ The leaves of this tree are for the healingof the nations," Rev. xxii. 2. Was there a healing virtue in Peter's shadow, Acts v. 15. that the sick were brought forth to the street, and laid in beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by, might overshadow some of them ? O! what must be the healing and quickening virtue of this shadow of the Tree of life itself, from which Peter's virtue was borrowed ! O dead and diseased soul, look to this Apple-tree to overshadow you, and sit down under this shadow. This leads, ,
III. To the third thing proposed, viz. To speak of the act of faith, as it is expressed by a sitting down under this shadow. And,
1. Faith, as it is a sitting down under this shadow, imports deliberation ; it is a deliberate act: when one sits down, he is not rambling nor rushing headlong, but acting deliberately and considerately. Here he acts, from a manifold conviction.-From a conviction that it is lawful and warrantable, and no presumption for him to do it: Why, here is a shadow proposed to me to make use of; I am a poor sinner, in danger of wrath, God holds out to me the sceptre of grace, and calls and allows me to take up my rest under this shadow. He acts from a conviction of necessity : I must do it or be undone to eternity; but I must not abide in Sodom, for the fire of God's wrath will destroy me there : I must put myself under this shadow, or perish. He acts from a deliberate conviction of profit and advantage that is to be had under this shadow; If I were once there, may be say, what blessed fruit will I find upon this Apple tree? Peace with God, and access to him, and communion with him; what justification from all guilt, what mauifestations of God's love, what consolations of his Spirit may I expect! Therefore I will do it, because I may do it, and because I must do it, and because it is the best, the only shift, and the most profitable course that can be taken.
2. Faith, as it is a sitting down under this shadow, imports, not only deliberation, but design also, for present rest and present ease. The man is pursued, and wants a city of refuge ; scorched, and wants a shadow from the heat; and so he comes, and receives, and rests upon Christ alone for salvation. He sits down for rest from a troubled conscience, and from all the challenges thereof, under this shadow : his heart is sprinkled from an evil conscience : here the law cannot touch him; “ Christ is the end of the law;" here justice cannot condemn the Mediator, and I am under his shadow; wrath cannot win through to me here. He sits down for rest from his excessive desires after created good, which he vainly pursued before, saying. O for this and that worldly thing! “ Who will shew us any good ?" But, when he comes to Christ, he finds contentment; he is where he would be; and finds no want; he hungers and thirsts no more insatiably after vanity : “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." Though streams should fail him, he now hath the ocean ; though the stars should be withdrawn, he hath the Sun. He sits down to be free from. the turbulency of corruption: there is a great struggle between a man's light and his lusts; his lusts driving him contrary to his light; but, under this shadow, his lusts are brought into subjection to his light: grace gets above corruption, and faith purifies the heart. He sits down, to be free of scorchings that annoy him. Faith is acted to be free of all hot pursuits whether from law, justice, conscience, or from any other quarter : from the heat of fiery lusts, which only can be quenched with the blood of Christ: from the heat of fiery temptations, this shadow is a shield for safety in this case ; also from the heat of wrath-like dispensations ; “ If thou mark iniquity, O Lord, who shall stand ?" When trying and fiery-like providences come, who can abide them, till they lay themselves down under this Apple-tree ? Faith acts likewise to be free from the the heat of Fearful loooking for of judgment, spoken of, Heb. x. 17. and fiery indignation, that shall consume the adversaries;" from the fear of death, the king of terrors, with its sting; and from the fear of an awful tribunal, and a wrathful sentence issuing from it. Where shall I be secure from these fears, but under this shadow of the Mediator's blood and righteousness? It acts, in a word, to be free from the curse of the fiery law, saying, "
“Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things written in the book of the law, to do them;" to avoid this, says the believer, I cast myself under Christ's shadow; “I fly to thee to hide me.” I quit the law as a covenant, and want to be married to another Husband.
3. Faith, as it is a sitting down under his shadow, imports, a centering here. When restless, wandering souls come to Christ, they need go no further; if they come indeed to God in Christ, they may now sing a Requium to themselves, “Soul, take thy rest." Christ, as Mediator, is the way, and as God, is the end of that W
The bride of Christ here was like a weary traveller walking through a wood; and whatever tree she met with, she found some defect and barrenness in it; but coming to the apple-tree here, she found none; and therefore goes no further. When one comes to Christ, and to God in Christ, then be is at his journey's end; he may set up his staff, and take himself rest. And hence also,
4. Faith, as it is a sitting down under this shadow, imports, a continuation of the act thereof. When we meet with Christ, we should sit down, and make him our home, our house of residence, our habitation, to which we may continually resort. The true improvers of Christ must abide with him: though sensible comforts should be withdrawn; yet they must not quit their resting place. It is a sitting down without purposing to rise again. Every believer should have a firm purpose to live by faith on the Son of God, under all possible changes and alterations that fall out, either in his spiritual or temporal condition ; he is to make use of Christ while he is living, and when he is dying.
When he is deserted, he must live upon Christ, saying, “I will wait on the Lord, that'hideth his face from the house of Jacob.” When he is dismayed and afraid, he should live upon Cbrist, saying, 66 What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” When he is weighed with work, he should live upon Christ, saying,
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