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flourish, whether the tender grape appear, and the pomegranates bud forth: there will I give thee my loves. Let us, with all haste and cheerfulness, visit the fruitful vines of our believing children; and, to our mutual comfort, be witnesses and partakers of all the signs and fruits of grace, of all those good works and thanksgivings, of those holy endeavours and worthy practices, which they yield forth unto us: let us judge of their forwardness, and commend it; whereupon it will easily appear, that the consummation of our happy marriage draseth near, in which there shall be a perfect union betwixt us.
VII. 13 The mandrakes give a smell, and at our gates are all manner of pleasant fruits, new and old, which I have laid up for thee, O my beloved. Behold, thy godly servants, which not only bear' fruit themselves, but are powerful in the provocation of others, present their best services unto thee; and even at our doors (not far to seek, not hard to procure) is offer made unto thee, of all variety of fruit, whether from thy young converts, or thy more settled professors: and all these I spend not Javishly ; but, in my loving care, duly reserve them for thee, and for the solemn day of our full marriage.
THE JEWISH CHURCH. VIII. 1 O that thou wert as my brother, that sucked the breasts of my mother! when I should find thee without, I would kiss thee; yea, I should not be despised. . . Oh that I might see thee, my Saviour, clothed in Aesh! Oh that thou, which art my everlasting Husband, mightest also be my Brother, in partaking the same human nature with me; that so, I, finding thee below upon earth, might familiarly entertain thee, and converse with thee without reproach of the world, yea, might be exalted in thy glory!
VIII. 2 I would lead thee, and bring thee into my mother's house, who would instruct me: I would cause thee to drink of spiced wine of the juice of my pomegranate. Then would I, though I be now pent up in the limits of Judea, bring thee forth into the light and knowledge of the Universal Church, whose daughter I am: and, then and there, thou shouldest teach me how perfectly to serve and worship thee, and I shall gladly entertain thee with a royal feast of the best graces that are in my holiest servants; which I know thou wilt account better cheer, than all the spiced cups and pomegranate wines in the world.
VIII. 3 His left hand should be under my head, and his right hand should embrace me, Then shall I attain to a nearer communion with him ; and both his hands shall be employed to sustain and relieve me : yea, he shall comfort my head and my heart, my judgment and affections, with the lively heat of his gracious embracements,
VIII. 4 I charge you, ( daughters of Jerusalem, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, until he please. I charge you, O all ye that prosess any friendship to me, I charge you deeply, as ye will avoid my uttermost censures, take heed how ye vex and disquiet my merciful Saviour, and grieve his Spirit; and do not dare, by the least provocation of him, to interrupt his peace.
CHRIST. VIII. 5 Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved ? I raised thee up under the apple tree : there thy mother brought thee forth : there she brought thee forth that bare thee. Who is this, that from the comfortless deserts of ignorance, of infidelity, of tribulations, ascendeth thus up into the glorious light and liberty of my chosen; relying herself wholly upon her Savi. our, and solacing herself in him? Is it not my Church? It is she, whom I have loved and acknowledged of old : for even under the tree of offence, the forbidden fruit which thou tastedst to thy destruction, I raised thee up again from death; even there, thy first mother conceived thee, while by faith she laid hold on that blessed promise of the Gospel, whereby she and her believing seed were restored.
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THE JEWISH CHURCH. VIII. 6 Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm : for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave : , the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame. And so have thou me still, () my Saviour, in a perpetual and dear remembrance: keep me sure in thy heart, yea in thine arms, as that which thou holdest most precious; and let me never be removed from thy love, the least shew and danger whereof I cannot endure: for this my spiritual love is exceeding powerful, and can no more be resisted than death itself; and the jealous zeal, which I have for thee and thy glory, consumes me even like the grave, and burns me up like unto the coals of some most vehement and extreme fire :
VIII. 7 Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for "love, it would utterly be contemned. Yea, more than any fire; for any Aame yet may be quenched with water, but all the water of afflictions and terrors, yea whole streams of persecutions, cannot quench this love, and for all tempting offers of wealth, of pleasures and honour, how easily are they all contenined for the love of my Saviour!
VIII. 8 IVe have a little sister, and she hath no breasts: what shall we do for our sister in the day when she shall be spoken for? We have a sister, as thou knowest, () Saviour, ordained through thy mercy to the same grace with me, the uncalled Church of the Gentiles; small, as yet, of growth through the rareness of her converts, and destitute of the help of any outward ministry whereby she might either bear or nourish children unto thee:
when she grows unto her maturity, and the mystery of calling her universally to thee shall be revealed to the world and herself, what course will it please thee to take with her ?
CHRIST. VIII. 9 If she be a wall, we will build upon her a palace of silver : and if she be a door, we will inclose her with boards of cedar. If she shall continue firm and constant, in the expectation of her promises, and the profession of that truth which shall be revealed, we will beautify and strengthen her with further grace, and make her a pure and costly palace, fit to entertain my Spirit; and if she will give free passage and good entrance to my word and grace, we will make her sure and safe from corruption, and reserve her to immortality.
THE JEWISH CHURCH. VIII. 10 I am a wall, and my breasts like towers: then was I in his eyes as one that found favour. Behold, that condition, which thou requirest in the Church of the Gentiles, thou findest in me: I am thus firm and constant in my expectation, in my profession; and that want, thou findest in her, of ability to nourish her children by the breast of thy word, is not in me; who have abundance both of nourishment and defence: upon which my confession and plea, I found grace and peace in the eyes of my Saviour, and received from him assurance of his everlasting love to me.
CHRIST. VIII. 11 Solomon had a vineyard at Baal-hamon ; he let out the vineyard unto keepers ; every one for the fruit thereof was to bring a thousand pieces of silver. My Church is my Vine, and I am the Owner and Husbandman: our thrift and profit thereof far exceedeth the good husbandry of Solomon : he hath a rich vineyard indeed in a most fruitful soil, but he lets it forth to the hands of others, as not being able to keep and dress it himself; and therefore he is fain to be content with the greatest part of the increase, not expecting the whole:
VIII. 12 My vineyard, which is mine, is before me : thou, ( Solomon, must have a thousand, und those that keep the fruit thereof two hundred. But my Vine is ever before me: I am with it to the end of the world: I reserve it in mine own hands, and dress it with mine own labour; and therefore, if thou, () Solomon, canst receive from thine to the proportion of a thousand, thy workmen and farmers will look for the fifth part to come unto their share, whereas the gain of my vincyard ariseth wholly and only unto myself.
VIII. 13 Thou that dwellest in the gardens, the companions hearken to thy voice : cause me to hear it. Since therefore, such is my care of thee, and joy in thee, O my Church, which consistest of the particular assemblies of men pro
fessing my Name, see thou be diligent in declaring my will, and giving holy counsels to all thy fellow-members: speak forth my praise in the great congregations, which all attend willingly upon thee, and let me hear the voice of thy constant and faithful confession of me before the world.
THE CHURCH. VIII. 14 Make haste, my beloved, and be thou like to a roe or to a young hart upon the mountains of spices. I will most gladly do what thou commandest, O my Saviour; but, that I may perform it accordingly, be thou, which art according to thy bodily presence in the highest heavens, ever present with me by the Spirit, and hasten thy glorious coming to my full redemption.
ISAIAH. I. 2 Hear, o heavens, and give ear, 0 earth: for the LORD hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. Since that men are deaf unto my words, I will turn me and my speech to the very heavens and earth, and call them to witness against those which should be my people: hear therefore, O heavens, and give ear, earth; for it is not I that speak, but the Lord himself complaineth of the unthankfulness of Israel, &c.
I. 3 The or knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib. What a wonder and shame it is, that they, which should be more than men, are indeed worse than beasts; for behold, the very ox and the ass, which are the dullest of all creatures, yet they take thankful notice of their owner, and of the crib wherein they are fed.
1. 5 Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. I have already tried your reformation by many chastisements, yea, judgments; yet ye will not amend : to what purpose should I correct you further, since I see you do still grow worse and worse? those parts of you, that should be best, and are most eminent and of greatest use, are extremely out of order.
I. 6 From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores : they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment. Even from the highest to the lowest, from the meanest drudge unto the greatest of your princes, ye are all miserably disordered and sinful; and are accordingly plagued, so as none of you are free from some grievous judgment, and such are your sins and your judgments, that they have made themselves incapable of remedy or mitigation.
I.'8 And the daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard.
The country round about being wasted, Jerusalem itself is left standing alone desolate, as a cottage in a vineyard, &c. and hath no more recourse unto it, and traffic in it, than if it were already besieged, as ere long it shall be..
I. 9 Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah. If God had not been gracious unto us, contrary to our deservings, and restrained the fury of our enemies, and mercifully reserved this small remnant unto us, we had been utterly destroyed and laid waste, like to Sodom and Gomorrah.
I. 10 Hear the word of the LORD,'ye rulers of Sodom. Since ye bave made yourselves then as sinful as those infamous cities, that were destroyed with fire from heaven, let me give you the names of those, whom ye have imitated : hear therefore the word of the Lord, O ye rulers of Sodom, &c.
I. 11 To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me ? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, &c. To what purpose is the formality of these your outward sacrifices; as if the multitude of your oblations, or the very act done, could please me without due affections?
I. 14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth : they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. Those your solemn feasts, which I have instituted, and do therefore well approve in themselves, yet as they are celebrated by you, I loathe and abhor them, &c.
I. 21° How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment. Jerusalem was once my faithful spouse, a holy city: how is it, that she is now turned strumpet, and become desperately lewd and debauched ? &c.
I. 22 Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mired with water. Those good graces, that thou didst once profess to have, are now utterly corrupted and depraved; thine obedienee, which was once sincere and pure, is now adulterated with abominable wickedness.
1. 25 And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin. Yet, in my judgment I will remember mercy: I will not utterly destroy thee as I might, but I will turu my hand upon thee, for thy restoration; and, whereas I might burn thee quite up, yet I will only purge away thy dross, and take away the base metal from thee, that the small remainder of the pure and precious may be reserved.
I. 29 For they shall be ashamed of the oaks which ye have desired, and ye shall be confounded for the gardens that ye have chosen. They shall be ashamed of that foul idolatry, wherewith ye have been tainted; and of those groves, which ye have used to that purpose; and of those gardens and orchards, which ye hare so employed.