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of storm and tempest,“ of whom should I be afraid?" Psalm xxvii. 1.5.
Whenever a storm arises, whether raised by satan or the world, or by my own corrupt nature, or by God's deserting or hiding his face for a time; I presently, by faith and prayer, run to the apple tree, and take up my place under its shadow; crying out, with holy David, “ Keep me as the apple of the eye; hide me under the shadow of thy wings, from the wicked that oppress me, from my deadly enemies who compass me about," Psalm xvii. 8, 9. No sooner am I set down under that refreshing shadow, and become sensible of my safety, but I presently fall upon solacing my spiritual senses with beholding and feeding upon its fruit; applying' unto myself, by faith, the saving benefits of Christ's personal graces, and the improvement he hath made of the same for me, a poor worm; together with the saving benefits of his word and works, as above discovered, appropriating each particular unto myself. Thus the improvement which my dear Lord Jesus made of the anointing poured out upon him by the Father, to fit him for the work of mediation, it is mine, The promises of the everlasting covenant of grace, which are suited to every condition I either am or can be in, they are mine. That wonderful and amazing work of his incarnation, or becoming man, it is mine: it was to unite me to God in a nearer and firmer bond of union than was between God and me in the first creation,
The work of his unparalleled and matchless humiliation, in my nature, it is mine : it was for me, to prevent my perishing by the damning pride of my corrupted nature, and to merit and purchase for me gospel humility.
That work of his perfectly obeying the moral law, in heart and life, it is mine: he obeyed the law for me, as my surety.
The death which he suffered and underwent, it is mine: it was for me, that he might unsting death for me; and to give full satisfaction to justice for my breaking the law, that my
sins might be arraigned and put to death in his death. The guilt of sin can now no more condemn or cast me at God's bar; neither can it's reigning power from henceforth detain me as its captive or slave, that I should obey it in the lusts thereof.
The resurrection of Christ from the dead, it is mine. He rose for my justification : hereby I am fully assured, from under the hand of the Spirit of God, that the whole of my debt, for which Christ my surety actually died and lay cohfined in the grave, is now fully discharged: I am from henceforth no more liable to the arrest of the law for sin; for that the justice of God hath, by raising my surety from the dead, released and discharged me.
The ascension of Christ from earth to heaven, it is mine: he ascended for me, as my surety and representative, to present before his Father the success of his negociation which he undertook for
me when on earth.
The complete and perfect righteousness he fulfilled for me, to answer the law's demand, and the universal conquest and victory which he by that righteousness hath achieved over all his and my enemies, he makes open shew of them in heaven. Besides this, he ascended to enter upon the possession of that crown and mansion in heaven which he himself purchased for me; the which he hath, as my forerunner, taken into his own keeping for me, until I have accomplished the service to which he hath appointed me on earth.
The intercession of Christ in heaven is mine. He sits at the Father's right-hand, to lay my case, in all its various circumstances, open before God's throne of grace, pleading, in my behalf, the price which he himself hath paid to justice for the procurement of all the good I stand in need of till I come to the end of my race; and to encourage my coming to God's throne of grace in prayer, with a humble and holy boldness, to obtain, in the virtue and merit of the price he hath paid, and the intercession he makes in heaven, the mercy and deliverance which at any time, or in any case, I stand in need of.
The providence of Christ, whereby he governs the world, it is mine. He orders and rules all creatures, or secondary causes, wherein I am concerned, for my advantage and spiritual good, devil, world, indwelling sin, poverty, reproach, friends, enemies, adversity, prosperity, health, sickness, life,
and death. No farther will the all and over-ruling providence of Christ suffer any of these to move or stir, than he will order for my good and eternal advantage.
Matters being brought to so excellent an issue through the powerful operation of the Holy Ghost, my soul finds itself under a holy constraint of crying out, admiringly, ‘Here's fruit indeed! none could ever compare with it! Of these celestial fruits that feast of fat things, promised in Isa. xxv, 6, is made up; and they are by Christ himself intended in those words, “For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed," John vi. 55. What the prime and fatness of beasts, and the most delicious and purest of wines, are to feast and satiate the body, the flesh and blood of Christ, the Son of God, as held forth in the gospel, and by faith applied and fed upon, is unspeakably more to the soul of a true believer, to feed his spiritual hunger, and to quench his spiritual thirst. The believer, while he finds himself thus overcast with the shadow of the apple tree, and his spiritual senses so unspeakably cheered and ravished with it's fruit, cries out with Peter on the mount, at the transfiguration of Christ, “ Lord, it is good to be here!” Matt. xvii. 3. There is no shelter like this of the apple tree; which secures from all manner of storms, be they inward or outward; from the devil; from the envious, wicked world; from heart-corruption, or from God hiding his face. Neither is any fruit to be compared to it's fruit;
a fruit which never fails a hungry soul which feeds on it, to feed, fatten, and strengthen it, against all spiritual qualms and faintings; a fruit which, as soon as tasted, brings the perplexed, melancholy, distracted, despairing heart and mind, to rights again; a fruit which is so far from cloying or surfeiting the believer, that, the more and the oftener he makes use of it, the more doth he long to be at it again. This fruit produceth in the soul of a believer such a holy dropsy, or unquenchable thirst, 23 nothing short of the beatifical vision in heaven will perfectly cure. Rev. vii. 16.
Come, then, O'come; all ye poor, distressed, melancholy, despairing souls, who dread the terrible sentence of the law; who are frightened by the devil's temptations; who are ready to die away, in despair, of the agonies and wounds which sin hath occasioned in your consciences; ye who are afraid ye shall perish for want, and that God's wrath will be your portion for ever; hasten under the shadow of the spouse's apple tree, lest the avenger of blood overtake thee. And, for thy encouragement, know that this apple tree affords shelter to all comers, to all sorts of sinners. The oldest sinners, the vilest and most notorious sinners who breathe this side hell and destruction; all will find welcome; none will be rejected who have a mind to come: “ All that the Father hath given me shall come unto me, and he that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out,” John vi. 37. “ Ho! every one that thirsteth, come ye to the