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means God would at times revenge the quarrel and thirty broad, a spacious place, a large recepof his church, even in this world, upon them tacle for any that liked to take shelter there. It that, without cause, should, for their faith and was made of pillars, even as the house within was, worship, set themselves against them. For here or it stood upon pillars. The pillars, you know, . is a face of threatening revenge, they were store- I told you before, were to show us what mighty houses, chariot-cities, cities of horsemen, with men, or what men of mighty grace, God would castles and towers. And thoy stood on the same have in his church in the wilderness furnished with. ground that this house was builded upon, even in And it is worth your observing here also we have the forest of Lebanon. We know that in Israel pillars, pillars. And he made the porch of pillars, God stirred up kings who at times suppressed that is, of pillars of cedar, as the rest of the pillars idolatry there, and plagued the persecutors too, of the house were. as Jehu, Hezekiah, Josiah, &c. And he has . And the porch was before them.' That is, as promised that, even in gospel times, kings shall I take it, an entering porch, less than the space hate the whore, - make her desolate and naked, within, so that the pillars, neither as to number and shall eat her flesh and burn her with fire.' nor bigness, could be seen without, until at least Re. xvii. 12, 16.
they that had a mind to seo entered the mouth Here now are the store-houses, chariot-cities, of the porch. And by this was fitly prefigured cities of horsemen, with towers and castles, for the how unseen the strength of the church under perhelp to the house of the forest of Lebanon, for the secution is of all that are without her. Alas! help of the church in the wilderness, or, as you they think that she will be run down with a push, have it in another place, as the serpent cast floods or, as they said, 'What do these feeble Jews? of water out of his mouth after the woman, 'that Will they fortify themselves? Will they sacrifice ? he might cause her to be carried away of the Will they make an end in a day? Will they revive flood. And the earth helped the woman, and the the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which earth opened her mouth and swallowed up the are burnt?' Alas! if a fox go up he shall even flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.' break down their stone wall.' Ne. iv. 2, 3. Re. xii. 15, 16. Thus the Medes and Persians helped But do you think these men saw the strength of to deliver the church from the clutches and strong the Jews now? No, no, their pillars were within, hand of the king of Babylon.
and so were shadowed from their eyes. David This Lebanon, therefore, was a place consider- himself could not tell what judgment to make of able and a figure of great things; the countenance the way of the world against the people of God, of the Lord Jesus is compared to it, and so is the until he went into the sanctuary of God. Ps.lxxiii.16,17. face of his spouse, and also the smell of her gar- How then can the world judge of the condition ment. Ca. iv. 11; v. 15; vii. 4.
of the saints ? Alas, had they known the church's
strength, surely they would not, as they have, so CHAP. X.
furiously assaulted the same. But what have they got by all they have done, either against the head
or body of the same? She yet has being in the LEBANON.
world, and will have, shall have, though all the Solomon also made a porch to this house of the nations on earth should gather themselves together forest of Lebanon. He made several porches, as against it. Nor is it the cutting off of many that one for the temple, one for the house which he will make her cease to flourish. Alas, were she dwelt in, one for the throne of the kingdom, and not sometimes pruned and trimmed her boughs this that was for the house of the forest of Lebanon, would stand too thick. Those therefore that are of all which this last is that mentioned.
taken away with God's pruning-hooks are removed, • And he made a porch of pillars, the length that the under branches may grow the better.' thereof was fifty cubits, and the breadth thereof But, I say, to extinguish her it is in vain for any thirty cubits; and the porch was before them, and to hope for that. She stands upon pillars, on rocks, the other pillars, and the thick beam were before on the munition of rocks; stand therefore she must, them.' i Ki, vii. 6. This porch was famous both for whether the world believes it or no. length, and breadth, and strength, it was able to • And the other pillars - were before then, or, contain a thousand men. It was like that of the as the margin has it, 'according to them.' The tower of David, otherwise called the stronghold, other pillars, that is, they more inward, those that the castle of Zion, which is the city of David. 2 Sa.
| Thus the blood of the martyrs was the seedtime of tho This tower of David was built for an armoury, church, and it produced an abundaut harvest. That God sufwhereon there hanged a thousand bucklers, all sufferings in their way to glory, is a proof that God's ways are
OF THE PORCH OF THE HOUSE OF THE FOREST OF
fered the choicest of his saints to pass through such dreadful sliields of mighty men. It was fifty cubits long not our ways, but they are infinite in wisdom and mercy.-(ED.)
v. 7. 1 Ch. xi. 5. Mi, iv. 8.
Am. v. 9.
were in the body of the house. Christ doth not, there. Ac. iv, 23. There we find the pillars, and
poor world doth, that is, set the best leg have both solace and example. There, as Pombefore; the pillars that were more inward in the ponius said of his person, stands Christ Jesus in house were as good as those in the front. It is the front as Captain of the Lord's host, and round true some are appointed to death to show to the about him the old fathers, prophets, apostles, and world the strength of grace, not that he can help martyrs. This porch, therefore, I take to be a nobody to that strength but they. The most figure of those cordial and large affections which feeble of his flock, when Christ shall stand by the church in the wilderness has to all, and for and strengthen them, are able to do and bear all them that love the truth, and that suffer and what the strong have underwent. For so he are afflicted for the sincere profession thereof. saith.
This porch was bigger than that which belonged And the other pillars and the thick beams were to the temple by much, to show that those that are according to thein; nay, 'before them.' Indeed, made the objects of the enemies' rage most are they that are left seem weak and feeble if com- usually most prepared with affection for them pared to them that have already been tried with that are in the same condition. Fellow-feeling is fire and sword and all the tortures of men. But a great matter. It is said of the poor afflicted that grace by which they were helped that have people that were in Macedonia in a great trial of done such mighty acts already, can help those affliction, the abundance of their joy and their deep who seem more weak yet to go beyond them. God poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality;? strengtheneth “the spoiled against the strong, so for to their power, - yea, and beyond their power,' that the spoiled shall come against the fortress.' they showed their charity to the destroyed church
Or, as another scripture has it, •The of Jerusalem. 2 Co. viii 14. lame take the prey.' Is. xxxiii. 23.
So that you see
And a porch in a forest, or a bosom in a wilderhere is all substance. All here are pillars and ness, is seasonable to them that in the wilderness thick beams, both in the house and in the porch. are faint and weary. Nabal shut up his doors
The conclusion therefore is:—The true members against David, and therefore he died like a beast. of the church in the wilderness are strong, mighty, Poor David! thou wast bewildered, but this churl being made able by the grace of God for their had no compassion for thee. 1 Sa. 21v. 5–13, 25–39. standing, and being also coupled and compacted Blest Obadiah, thou hadst a boson, and bread, together with the biggest bands or thickest beams and hiding-places for the church, when rent and that the Holy Ghost puts forth to bind and hold torn by the fury of Jezebel, and thou bast for it this church together. And there is reason for it. thy reward in heaven. 1 Ki. xvi. 3, 4. Mat. I. 42. EbedThe church is God's tower or battery by which he melech, because he had compassion on Jeremiah beateth down Antichrist, or if you will have it in when he was in the dungeon, God did not only the words of the prophet, . Thou art my battle-axe give him his life for a prey, but promised him the and weapons of war; for with thee (saith God) effects of putting his trust in the Lord. Je. xxxvi. will I break in pieces,' &c. Je. li. 19. 20. Wherefore, 7-11; xxxix. 15—18. since the church is set for defence of religion, and
And he made a porch of pillars. The porch is to be as a battery to beat down Antichrist, it is but the entrance of the house, whither many go requisite that she should be made up of pillars of that yet step not into the house, but make their strong and staunch materials."
retreat from thence; but it is because they are The largeness of the porch was commodious; it non-residents, they only come to see; or else, if was the next shelter, or the place whereunto they they pretended more, it was not from the heart. of the house of the forest of Lebanon, when pur- They went out from us,' said John, but they sued, miglt resort or retreat with the less difficulty. were not of us ; for if they had been of us they Thus the church in the wilderness has her porch, would, no doubt, have continued with us; but they her place, her bosom, whereunto her discouraged went out that they might be made manifest that may continually resort, and take up and be re- they were not all of us.' 1 Jn. ii. 19. freshed. As Abiathar thrust in to David and his And forasmuch as this porch was fifty cubits men in the wilderness, in the day when Saul had long, men may take many a step straight forward slain his father, and of his brethren, even 'fourscore and five persons that did wear a linen ephod.' ? How easily is this riddle resolved by those who visit the
afflicted. The Christian poor beat the rich out and out in
charity. The poor mother rises long before her usual time, and When the apostles were persecuted they went having fitted her own children for school, runs to her sick to their own company,' because the Lord was neighbour to do the same for her little ones, frequently sharing
with them her own children's food; and then, like an angel of
mercy, watches over and comforts her sick neighbour. Such Consult Bunyan's admirable treatise, Of Antichrist and is the unostentatious Christian charity found among the Chriskis Ruin.- Vol. ii., 1. 41.
tian poor. O that it may more and more abound.-(ED.)
1 Sa. xxii. 17--23.
therein and be but in the porch yet. Even as we O forest, and every tree therein (here is comfort have seen men go, as one would think, till they for the church vider the name of a forest, that in are out of view in the porch of this church in the which the house we have been speaking of was wilderness, but presently you have them without built): for the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and the door again.
glorified himself in Israel.' Is. xliv. 23. To what, I True, this porch was made of pillars, and so to say, can this text more fitly be applied, than to every one, at first entrance, it showed the power the church in the wilderness, put here under the of the place; the church in the wilderness also is name of a forest as well as under the title of so builded that men may see it is ordained for heaven? Yea, methinks it is cried here to her, defence. Men also, at their first offer to step over O forest,' on purpose to intimate to us that the the threshold there, with mouth profess that they house in the forest of Lebanon was the figure of will dwell as soldiers there. But words are but the church in this condition. wind; when they see the storm a-coming they will 2. Again, 'Is it not yet a very little while, and take care to shift for themselves. This house, or Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field, and church in the wilderness, must see to itself for all the fruitful field shall be esteemed as a forest? them.
And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of As the house therefore is a figure of the church the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out in the wilderness, so, so great a porch belonging of obscurity, and out of darkness. The meek also to it may be also to show that numbers may there shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor be entertained that, if need be, will quickly whip among men shall rejoice in the holy One of Israel. out again. Although therefore the porch was For the terrible one is brought to nought, and the made of pillars, yet every one that walked there scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity were not such. The pillars was to show them, are cut off.' Is. xxix. 17-20. Lebanon was a forest, not what they were, but what they should be that but now she must be a fruitful field. What means entered into this house.
he here by Lebanon but the church under perseThe church also in the wilderness, even in her cution, and the fruitful field? Mistress Babylon porch or first entrance into it, is full of pillars, shall become as a forest, that is, as the church apostles, prophets, and martyrs of Jesus. There under distress. But when shall this be? Why, also hang up the shields that the old warriors when the terrible one is brought low and the have used, and are plastered upon the walls the scorner is consumed, &c. brave achievements which they have done. There What can be more plain than this to prove that are also such encouragements there for those Lebanon, even the house in the forest of Lebanon, that stand, that one would think none that came for that is here intended, was a figure of the church thither with pretence to serve there would, for very in the wilderness, or in a tempted and persecuted shame, attempt to go back again; and yet, not to state. For to be turned into a fruitful field signitheir credit be it spoken, they will forsake the fies the recovering of the afflicted church into a place without blushing, yea, and plead for this state most quiet and fruitful; fruitful fields are their so doing. But I have done with the explica- quiet because they are fenced, and so shall the tory part, and conclude that from these ten par- church be in that day. ticulars thus handled in this book, the house of the 3. The wilderness and the solitary place shall forest of Lebanon was a type, or figure, of the be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and church in the wilderness.
blossom as the rose.' Is. xxxv. 1. Nor do I know, if this be denied, how so fitly to What are we to understand by these words if apply some of these texts which speak to the church, they be not a prophecy of the flourishing state of to support her under her troubles, of the comforts Christ's kingdom, who, in the days of her persethat afterwards she shall enjoy, since they are cution, is compared to a wilderness, to a desert, presented to her under such metaphors as clearly and to solitary places. And she shall be glad denote she was once in a wilderness, for instance, for them ;' for what? for that she is rid of the
1. Sing, 0 ye heavens; for the Lord hath done dragons, wild beasts, satyrs, screech owls, great it (that is, redeemed his servant Jacob from his owl, and vulture, types of the beasts and unclean sins and from the hand of the enemy): shout, ye birds of Antichrist. Is. xxxiv. 13—15. lower parts of the earth (or church once trampled She shall be glad for them that they are taken under feet): break forth into singing, ye mountains, away from her and placed far away, for then no
lion shall be there nor any ravenous beast; yea, These home-thrusts at conscience, so constantly met with it is the habitation of dragons, where each lay, in Bunyan's works, should have the effect of exciting us to shall be grass, with reeds and rushes, as it is, solemn self-examination. May we never be contented with the purch, but enter and enjoy the riches of Divine gracc. hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing; for in the
Is. xxxv. And now the lame man shall leap as a -(Ed.)
wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in which is more fully expressed by her repeated liallethe desert.' Read the whole chapter.
lujahs. Re, xix. 1–6. Which hallelujahs there are the For that the desert and wilderness is thus men- effect of her deliverance from the rage of the beast tioned, and that to express the state of the church and great whore, of whose greatness and ruin you in trouble by, it is clear that Lebanon is not ex- read in the two foregoing chapters. Now, I say, cluded, nor the thing that is signified thereby, since the church was to be in a wilderness condition which, I
say, is the church in her low estate, in under the gospel; and since we have this house of her forest, or wilderness condition.
the forest of Lebanon so particularly set forth in 4. “I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the Scriptures; and also since this house, its furnithe shittah-tree, and the myrtle, and the oil-tree ; ture, its troubles, and state, do so paint out this I will set in the desert the fir-tree, and the pine, church in this wilderness state, I take it to be for and the box-tree together.' Is. xli. 19.
that very thing designed, that is to say, to prefigure Can any think that trees are the things taken this church in this her so solitary and wilderness care of here? They are the men that Antichrist state. has murdered in his heat and rage against Christ,
[Conclusion.] the which God will restore again to his church, when Antichrist is dead and buried in the sides of the We will now therefore here make a brief conclupit's mouth. And that you may the better undersion of all. stand he meaneth so, he expresseth again the state First. This may inform us of the reason of the of the church as like to a wilderness condition, and deplorable state of a professing people. It is allotted promiseth that in that very church, now so like a to them in this world to be so. The world, and wilderness, to plant it again with Christians, flour- men of the world, must have their tranquillity here, ishing with variety of gifts and graces, signified by and must be possest of all; this was foreshown in the various nature and name of the trees spoken of Esau, who had of his sons many that were dukes here.
and kings before there was any king in Israel. Ge. 5. • Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall xxxvi. 31. God so disposing of things that all may spring forth ; shall ye not know it? I will even give place when his Son shall come to reign in make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the Mount Zion, and before his ancients gloriously, desert. The beast of the field shall honour me, the which coming of his will be at the resurrection, and dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the end of this world, and then shall his saints reign wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink with him; 'when Christ, who is our life, shall
appear, to my people, my chosen.' Is. xlii. 19, 20. Here God then shall ye also appear with him in glory.' Col. iii. 4. alludes to the condition of the children of Israel Let not therefore kings, and princes, and potenin the wilderness of old, and implies they shall be tates be afraid ; the saints that are such indeed, in a wilderness again ; and as then he gave them know their places, and are of a peaceable deportwater, and delivered them from serpents, cocka- ment; "the earth God hath given to the children trices, vipers, dragons, so he will do now, now to of men,' and his kingdom to the sons of God. Ps. his people, his chosen.
6. • The Lord shall confort Zion: he will comfort I know there are extravagant opinions in tho all her waste places; and he will make her wilder- world about the kingdom of Christ, as if it consisted ness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of in temporal glory in part, and as if he would take the Lord ; joy and gladness shall be found therein, it to him by carnal weapons, and so maintain it in thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.' Is. li. 3. its greatness and grandeur; but I confess myself
See here are Zion's waste places, Zion's wilder- an alien to these notions, and believe and profess ness, forest, or Lebanon. Next here is a promise the quite contrary, and look for the coming of Christ that he will comfort her; and what doth this suppose to judgment personally, and betwixt this and that, but that she was in her wilderness state, uncom- for his coming in Spirit, and in the power of his fortable at least as to her outward peace, her word to destroy Antichrist, to inform kings, and so liberty, and gospel privileges and beauties? Then give quietness to his church on earth; which shall here is the comparison, by which he illustrates his assuredly be accomplished," when the reign of the promise as to what degree and pitch he will comfort her. He will make her wilderness like Eden, The gradual spread of the gospel, like the leaven, must and her desert like the garden of the Lord.' The eventually leaven the whole. How astonishing has been its effects of all which will be she will have joy and progress since Bunyan entered the celestial city. If his happy
spirit hovers as a guardian angel about the saints at Bedford, gladness; she will be thankful, and be melodious in how must he rejoice in the change. The iron hand of despotic her voice, in her soul to the Lord. This, I say, will oppression laid low; his old prison swept away; the meetings follow upon her deliverance from her desert, her in dells, and wools, and barns, exchanged for large and com
modious places of worship. How he must wonder at our want of wildernees, her desolate, and comfortless state: all I gratitude, and love, and zeal, in return for such mercics.—(ED.)
cxv. 16. Mat. xxv. 34. Lu. xii. 32.
beast, the whore, the false prophet, and of the man winter; afflictions are to try us of what mettle we of sin is out. 2 Thes. ii. 8. Is. xlix. 23; lii. 15; Ix. 3, 10, 11, 16; are made; yea, and to shake off worm-eaten fruit, lxii. 2. Re. xxi. 24.
and such as are rotten at core. Troubles for Christ's Second. Let this teach men not to think that the sake are but like the prick of an awl in the tip of church is cursed of God, because she is put in a the ear, in order to hang a jewel there. wilderness state. Alas, that is but to train her up Let this also put the saints upon patience: when in a way of solitariness, to make her Canaan the we know that a trial will have an end, we are by more welcome to lier. Rest is sweet to the labour- that knowledge encouraged to exercise patience. ing man. Yea, this condition is the first step to I have a bad master, but I have but a year to servo heaven; yea, it is a preparation to that kingdoma. under him, and that makes me serve him with paGod's ways are not as man's. 'I have chosen thee,' tience; I have but a mile to go in this dirty way, saith he, in the furnace of affliction. When Israel and then I shall have my path pleasant and green, came out of Egypt, they were led of God into the and this makes me tread the dirty way with patience. wilderness; but why? That he might have them I am now in my rags, but by that a quarter of a to a land, that he had espied for them, that lie year is come and gone, two hundred a year comes might bring them to a city of labitation. Eze. xx. 6. into my hand, wherefore I will wait, and exercise P's. cvii. 1-7.
patience. Thus might I multiply comparisons. Be The world know not the way of the Lord, nor the patient then, my brethren; but how long ? to the judgment of our God. Do you think that saints coming of the Lord. But when will that be? the that dwell in the world, and that have more of the coming of the Lord draws nigh. mind of God than the world, would, could so rejoice • Be patient,' my brethren, be long patient, even in God, in the cross, in tribulations and distresses, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the huswere they not assured that through many tribula- bandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the eartlı, tions is the very roadway to heaven. Ac. xiv. 22. and hath long patience for it, until he receive the
Let this then encourage the saints to hope, and early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish to rejoice in hope of the glory of God, notwithstand your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth ing present tribulations. This is our sced-time, our | nigh.' Ja. V. 7, 8.