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powerful Gods. God is all kind of gods; all kinds, which either idolators and Gentiles can imagine, (as riches, or justice, or wisdom, or valour, or such) and all kinds which God himself hath called gods, (as princes, and magistrates, and prelates, and all that assist and help one another) God is Elohim, all these gods, and all these in their height and best of their power; for Elohim, is Dië fortes, Gods in the plural, and those plural gods in their exaltation.
The second name of God is a name of power too, Adonai. For, Adonai is Dominus, the Lord, such a lord as is lord and proprietary of all his creatures, and all creatures are his creatures; and then, Dominium est potestas tum utendi, tum abutendi, says the law; To be absolute lord of anything, gives that lord a power to do what he will with that thing. God, as he is Adonai, The Lord, may give and take, quicken and kill, build and throw down, where and whom he will. So then two of God's three names are names of absolute power, to imprint, and reprint an assurance in us, that he can absolutely deliver us, and fully revenge us, if he will. But then, his third name, and that name which he chooses to himself, and in the signification of which name he employs Moses for the relief of his people under Pharaoh, that name Jehovah, is not a name of power, but only of essence, of being, of substance, and yet in the virtue of that name, God relieved his people. And if, in my afflictions, God vouchsafe to visit me in that name, to preserve me in my being, in my subsistence in him, that I be not shaked out of him, disinherited in him, excommunicate from him, divested of him, annihilated towards him, let him, at his good pleasure, reserve his Elohim, and his Adonai, the exercises and declarations of his mighty power, to those great public causes, that more concern his glory, than anything that can befall me; but if he impart his Jehovah, enlarge himself so far towards me, as that I may live, and move, and have my being in him, though I be not instantly delivered, nor mine enemies absolutely destroyed, yet this is as much as I should promise myself, this is as much as the Holy Ghost intends in this metaphor, Sub umbra alarum, Under the shadow of thy uings, that is a refreshing, a respiration, a conservation, a consolation in all afflictions that are inflicted upon me.
Yet is not this metaphor of wings without a denotation of power. As no act of God's, though it seem to imply but spiritual comfort, is without a denotation of power, (for it is the power of God that comforts me; to overcome that sadness of soul, and that dejection of spirit, which the adversary by temporal afflictions, would induce upon me, is an act of his power) so this metaphor The shadow of his wings, (which in this place expresses no more, than consolation and refreshing in misery, and not a powerful deliverance out of it) is so often in the Scriptures made a denotation of power too, as that we can doubt of no act of power, if we have this shadow of his wings. For, in this metaphor of wings, doth the Holy Ghost express the maritime power, the power of some nations at sea, in navies, Woe to the land shadowing with wings*'; that is, that hovers over the world, and intimidates it with her sails and ships. In this metaphor doth God remember his people of his powerful deliverance of them, You hare seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you to myself“. In this metaphor doth God threaten his and their enemies, what he can do, The noise of the wings of his cherubim are as the noise of great waters, and of an army“. So also what he will do, He shall spread his wings orer Bozrah, and at that day shall the hearts of the mighty men of Edom, be as the heart of a woman in her pangs". So that, if I have the shadow of his wings, I have the earnest of the power of them too; if I have refreshing, and respiration from them, I am able to say, as those three confessors did to Nebuchadnezzar, My God is able to deliver me“, I am sure he hath power; And my God will deliver me, when it conduces to his glory, I know he will ; But, if he do not, be it known unto thee, 0 King, we will not serve thy gods; be it known unto thee, O Satan, how long soever God defer my deliverance, I will not seek false comforts, the miserable comforts of this world. I will not, for I need not; for I can subsist under this shadow of these wings, though I have no more.
The mercy-seat itself was covered with the cherubim's wings; and who would have more than mercy? and a mercy-seat; that is, established, resident mercy, permanent and perpetual mercy; present and familiar mercy; a mercy-seat. Our Saviour Christ intends as much as would have served their turn, if they had laid hold upon it, when he says, That he would have gathered Jerusalem, as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings*. And though the other prophets do (as ye have heard) mingle the signification of power, and actual deliverance, in this metaphor of wings, yet our prophet, whom we have now in especial consideration, David, never doth so; but in every place where he uses this metaphor of wings (which are in five or six several Psalms) still he rests and determines in that sense, which is his meaning here; that though God do not actually deliver us, nor actually destroy our enemies, yet if he refresh us in the shadow of his wings, if he maintain our subsistence (which is a religious constancy) in him, this should not only establish our patience, (for that is but half the work) but it should also produce a joy, and rise to an exultation, which is our last circumstance, Therefore in the shadow of thy wings I will rejoice.
40 Isaiah xviii. I.
43 Jer. xlix. 22.
"Exod. xix. 4. 44 Dan. iii. 17.
42 Ezek. i. 24. 45 Exod. xxv.
I would always raise your hearts, and dilate your hearts, to a holy joy, to a joy in the Holy Ghost. There may be a just fear, that men do not grieve enough for their sins ; but there may be a just jealousy, and suspicion too, that they may fall into inordinate grief, and diffidence of God's mercy; and God hath reserved us to such times, as being the later times, give us even the dregs and lees of misery to drink. For, God hath not only let loose into the world a new spiritual disease; which is, an equality, and an indifferency, which religion our children, or our servants, or our companions profess; (I would not keep company with a man that thought me a knave, or a traitor ; with him that thought I loved not my prince, or were a faithless man, not to be believed, I would not associate myself; and yet I will make him my bosom companion, that thinks I do not love God, that thinks I cannot be saved) but God hath accompanied, and complicated almost all our bodily diseases of these times, with an extraordinary sadness, a predominant melancholy, a faintness of heart, a cheerlessness,
46 Matt. xxü, 37.
a joylessness of spirit, and therefore I return often to this endeavour of raising your hearts, dilating your hearts with a holy joy, joy in the Holy Ghost, for Under the shadow of his wings, you may, you should rejoice. If you look
upon this world in a map, you find two hemispheres, two half worlds. If you crush heaven into a map, you may find two hemispheres too, two half heavens; half will be joy, and half will be glory; for in these two, the joy of heaven, and the glory of heaven, is all heaven often represented unto us. And as of those two hemispheres of the world, the first hath been known long before, but the other, (that of America, which is the richer in treasure) God reserved for later discoveries ; so though he reserve that hemisphere of heaven, which is the glory thereof, to the resurrection, yet the other hemisphere, the joy of heaven, God opens to our discovery, and delivers for our habitation even whilst we dwell in this world. As God hath cast upon the unrepent sinner two deaths, a temporal, and a spiritual death, so hath he breathed into us two lives; for so, as the word for death is doubled, Morte morieris, Thou shalt die the death", so is the word for life expressed in the plural, Chaim, vitarum, God breathed into his nostrils the breath of lives, of divers lives. Though our natural life were no life, but rather a continual dying, yet we have two lives besides that, an eternal life reserved for heaven, but yet a heavenly life too, a spiritual life, even in this world; and as God doth thus inflict two deaths, and infuse two lives, so doth he also pass two judgments upon man, or rather repeats the same judgment twice. For, that which Christ shall say to thy soul then at the last judgment, Enter into thy Master's joy“, he says to thy conscience now, Enter into thy Master's joy. The everlastingness of the joy is the blessedness of the next life, but the entering, the inchoation is afforded here. For that which Christ shall say then to us, Venite benedicti, Come ye blessed, are words intended to persons that are coming, that are upon the way, though not at home; here in this world he bids us come, there in the next, he shall bid us welcome. The angels of heaven have joy in thy conversion “, and canst thou be without that joy in thyself? If thou desire revenge upon thine enemies, as they are God's enemies, that God would be pleased to remove and root out all such as oppose him, that affection appertains to glory; let that alone till thou come to the hemisphere of glory; there join with those martyrs under the altar, Usquequo Domines, How long O Lord, dost thou defer judgment ? and thou shalt have thine answer there for that. Whilst thou art here, here join with David, and the other saints of God, in that holy increpation of a dangerous sadness, Why art thou cast down 0 my soul? why art thou disquieted in mesi? That soul that is dissected and anatomized to God, in a sincere confession, washed in the tears of true contrition, embalmed in the blood of reconciliation, the blood of Christ Jesus, can assign no reason, can give no just answer to that interrogatory, Why art thou cast down O my soul? why art thou disquieted in me? No man is so little, as that he can be lost under these wings, no man so great, as that they cannot reach to him; Semper ille major est, quantumcumque creverimuss, To what temporal, to what spiritual greatness soever we grow, still pray we him to shadow us under his wings; for the poor need those wings against oppression, and the rich against envy. The Holy Ghost, who is a dove, shadowed the whole world under his wings; Incubat aquis, he hovered over the waters, he sat upon the waters, and he hatched all that was produced, and all that was produced so, was good. Be thou a mother, where the Holy Ghost would be a father; conceive by him; and be content that he produce joy in thy heart here. First think, that as a man must have some land, or else he cannot be in wardship, so a man must have some of the love of God, or else he could not fall under God's correction ; God would not give him his physic, God would not study his cure, if he cared not for him. And then think also, that if God afford thee the shadow of his wings, that is, consolation, respiration, refreshing, though not at present, and plenary deliverance, in thy afflictions, not to thank God, is a murmuring, and not to rejoice in God's ways, is an unthankfulness. Howling is the noise of hell, singing the voice of heaven; sadness the damp of hell, rejoicing the serenity of heaven. And he that hath not this joy here, lacks one of the best pieces of his evidence for the joys of heaven ; and hath neglected or refused that earnest,
47 Gen. ii. 17.
48 Matt. xxv. 23.
49 Luke xy. 10.