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ftay any longer in the body, and yet afraid to be diflodged, left its condition be made worse by the exchange: do you think you would ever imprecate damnation any more? And yet all these terrors and horrors upon the confcience, are but as the fweating of marble-ftone, before the great rains
But what if God fhould give you a vifion of hell itself, and of the unconceivable, and inexpreffible mifery of those defperate, and forlorn wretches, that lie there fweltering, and groaning under the heavy preffures of the wrath of a great and terrible God, immediately, and everlastingly transacted upon their fouls? Would you ever jeft with damnation any more, as with an harmless thing? Nay, would you not strive to the uttermoft, to flee from this wrath to come? Do feem to hear, in this rational and juft fuppofition, and doleful cry coming from hell, and the ftate of the damned, with this very found and fenfe? Good fouls, if ever you expect to be delivered from this ftate, and place of torments, ftrive, to the utmost, ftrive while you have opportunity, ftrive whilft breath and strength do laft, to flee from, and escape, by a found conversion, this doleful state of eternal damnati• on.'
Suppofition 4. Laftly, and in a word, fuppofe you had a vifion of heaven, as Stephen and Paul had in the body; fuppofe you saw the glory of God, and Jefus ftanding at his right hand, furrounded with the triumphant myriads of palm-bearing faints, finging Hofanna's and Hallelujahs to God, and the Lamb for ever; and blessing, praifing, and admiring him that gave them another spirit, vastly different from that which governs fuch as you: Bleffing the Lord, that enabled them to be praying and praifing, whilft others were curfing and fwearing; to be fighing and groaning for fin in fecret, whilft others were fhouting and finging in taverns and ale-houses; to beat down their bodies, and keep them under, whilft others were pleasing and gratifying their lufts; would you still drive that course you do? Well, firs, if ever you expect to come where these bleffed ones are, you must take the courfe they did. Let this be your endeavour, and it shall be my fervent, and hearty pray
Go forth, ye daughters of Zion, and behold king Solomon, with the crown wherewith his mother crowned him in the day of his efpoufals, and in the day of the gladness of his heart.
Crown is the top of earthly glory, the culminating point
of human dignity. Pfalm xxi. 2, 3. "Thou haft given him his heart's defire; thou haft fet a crown of pure gold up66 on his head." The ambition of the many, moves in various fpheres below it; the ambition of none afpires above it, except it be that anomalous monster, the man of fin, who affects to fit in the very throne of God, and exalts himself above all that is called God, 2 Thef. ii. 4.
When God puts a crown upon the head, and a sceptre into the hand of a man, he engraves upon that man (in a qualified fense) both his name, and the lively characters of his Majefly and authority, Pfal. lxxxii. 6. “I have faid, ye are gods, and "all of you the children of the Moft High." But yet, in all the grants and conveyances of Heaven, there is always a refervation and falvo to the divine prerogative, to * difplace it at pleasure, and fet it upon what head he fhall please, Ezek. xxi. 26. "Thus faith the Lord God, Remove the diadem, and take "off the crown: This fhall not be the fame: Exalt him that is ❝low, and abafe him that is high."
Though dominion be not founded in grace, embellishes, and fecures the domnion of men.
yet grace both The princes of the earth owe fealty and homage to Jesus Pfal. ii. 10, 11, 12. Chrift; and had fome of them been more
* The Lord dethrones kings, difposes of kingdoms.
fubject to his laws, their kingdoms had flourished, and their government been more aufpicious.
The coronation-day of a king, is, in a fenfe, the marriageday betwixt him and his people, and is accordingly folemnized with all the figns and demonftrations of joy and gladnefs: For the fbout of a king is among them. Thus when the crown of Ifrael was fet upon the head of Solomon, the scripture represents their exuberant joy, in an elegant, and lofty hyperbole: 1 Kings i. 40. "And all the people came up after him; and the peo "ple piped with pipes, and rejoiced with great joy, so that the "earth rent with the found of them."
Carnal men rejoice carnally, and spiritual men should re joice fpiritually: The most glorious part of the folemnity of fuch a day, confists in,
1. Praises and prayers for him that wears the crown.
2. In a fpiritual improvement of the action to ourselves. 1. In praises and prayers for the king, whom God hath fet over us. Your prayers and praises reflect more glory upon the erown, than all the jewels and fparkling ftones with which it fhines: And fo I am perfuaded our king will account it; ac cording to Zech. xii. 5. "The governors of Judah fhall fay in "their hearts, The inhabitants of Jerufalem fhall be my "ftrength in the Lord of Hofts their God."
Práife thy God, O England! for setting thy crown this day upon the head of a Proteftant prince; who accounted not his treasures, or blood, dear unto him, to redeem the intereft of Chrift out of the dangers that were ready to fwallow it up.
Pray fervently for your king this day: The concernments of the people of God are fo great in him, as that they exact from all the faints the uttermoft importunity in prayer.
(1.) That God would cleanse and wash the crown of England from all that guilt and pollution it hath contracted under former governments, that the fins of the crown may not defcend with it.
(2.) That the royal head on which it fhall be fet this day, may be filled with the wisdom of God, and matched with an holy heart, inflamed with love to God, and zeal for his glory. (3.) That as foon as men have set the crown upon his head, he may chearfully take it off again, and caft it at the feet of Jefus Chrift, as the twenty-four elders did, Rev. iv. 10. "And "the twenty-four elders fell down before him that fat on "the throne, and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever, "and caft their crowns before the throne," &c. Hhh
(4.) That God would make the crown fit eafy, and long upon his royal head. Easy, because crowns are ufually lined with thorny cares; and long, for the church's peace and tranquillity.
Secondly, The next thing belonging to the due folemnity of this day, will be the fpiritual improvement of the whole fcene of actions, to your own instruction and spiritual advantage; and this will be much more glorious, than all the triumphant arches, royal robes, thundering guns, and loud acclamations of the people. To this purpose, I have chofen this text, for the direction, and fpiritualizing of the duties of the day. "Go forth, ye daughters of Zion, and behold king Solomon, "with the crown wherewith his mother crowned him, in the "day of his efpousals, and in the day of the gladness of his "heart."
This book of the Canticles, is a fpiritual epithalamium, fung in parts, betwixt the heavenly Bridegroom, and the bride. The matter of it is most spiritual and weighty, the ftile of it rapturous and lofty, the intimate union and communion of Chrift and the church, is elegantly illuftrated in an allegory of marriage: But nothing is found here light, or obscene.
Procul hinc, procul efte profani:
Nil hic nifi caftum. *
It is a crystal stream of pure spiritual love, fliding fweetly betwixt two pleafant banks, Chrift and the church.
In the ninth and tenth verfes you have the defcription of a triumphant chariot, prepared by king Solomon for the daugh. ters of Jerufalem: "The pillars thereof of filver, the bottom "of gold, the covering of purple, and the midft thereof paved "with love." A chariot is an inftrument framed for easy, safe, and honourable conveyance: This chariot is the covenant of grace, fitted by Christ for the safe and honourable transporting of his bride, the church, through this world, to her stately pavilion, or glorious manfion in the highest heavens.
But how ftately and magnificent foever this royal chariot be, he that contrived and framed it is much more glorious to behold: And therefore, in the next words, which are my text, believers are fummoned, and invited to behold and contemplate Chrift, that framed it: "Go forth, ye daughters of Zion, and behold king Solomon, with his crown," &c. In which words we have,
1. The Spectators fummoned, or invited. * Hence, far hence what e'er's profane: There's nought to feed your unchafte flame,
2. The fpectacle they are invited to fee.
1. The spectators invited; the daughters of Zion. By Zion, understand the church; and by the daughters of Zion, the members of the church, or every particular believer: These are here invited, or fummoned to go forth, i. e. of their entangling, diverting temptations; and to behold, viz. by the eye of faith, this moft glorious, and heart-ravishing object.
2. The spectacle they are invited to behold and contemplate; king Solomon, with his crown, &c. the most illuftrious, glorious, and ravishing fight that ever the eyes of men did, or fhall behold. By king Solomon, understand Christ; of whom Solomon in this book, is the figure, or fhadow; yet one to whom Solomon, in all his glory was but a depainted fun on a fignpoft, to the fun in the mid-heavens, fhining in all his glory.
And by his crown, understand not any material crown, as that of Solomon's was; but the glory and,honour that is put upon Christ, the king of Zion; of which glory a crown is the emblem.
What crown is here meant, interpreters are not all agreed about it; fome would have it to be understood of our human nature, which he was crowned withal by his mother Mary, of whom he took it: But though this affumption of our nature, put fuch a crown of glory upon it as it never had before, yet it was rather an obfcuring of Chrift's glory, than any addition of glory to him.
Others interpret it of the crown of thorns, with which his mother (the Jewish church, or fynagogue) crowned him in the day of his paffion at Jerufalem: But this feems to be as hard and foreign a fenfe as the former.
The maft judicious expofitors are agreed in a third sense, viz. That, by the crown on Chrift's head, we are to underftand that glory and honour, which believers give unto, or put upon Chrift, when in the day of their efpoufals to him by faith, renouncing Satan, fin, and all that had exercised dominion over them before, with all truft and dependance on any righteousness of their own, they give their deliberate, full, and hearty confent, that Chrift alone fhall reign over them for ever and ever; faying, "The Lord is our King, the Lord is "our Judge, the Lord is our Law giver." Chrift is "the Lord "our righteousness," and in all things we will obey him. This Christ esteems as a crown of glory put upon his head, in the day of his efpoufals, and in the day of the gladness of his heart. There is no fuch honour, no fuch pleasure a poor finner can give to Chrift, as to believe in him; this is as the putting of a