And I will raise up for them a garden of renown, and they will no longer be victims of famine in the land or bear the scorn of the nations.
I. PROSPERITY, SECURED BY THE VISITATION OF GOD'S MERCY AND LOVING-KINDNESS. This is figuratively represented by the promise, "The tree of the field shall yield its fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase." The Church is a garden, a vineyard, a forest; when it flourishes, it puts forth signs of vigorous life, and it is fruitful abundantly. The vitality of the Church expresses itself in its praises, thankgivings, and prayers, in its unity and brotherly love, in its deeds of justice and purity, in its benevolent and self-denying efforts for the good of the world.
II. DELIVERANCE AND LIBERTY, SECURED BY THE INTERPOSITION OF GOD'S MIGHT. The Lord "broke the bars of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hands of those who made bondmen of them." "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." It is his office to set God's people free from thraldom to error and to sin, and to make them God's freedmen, to introduce them into the glorious liberty of the sons of God. The promise must have had a special significance and sweetness for those who, like Ezekiel and his companions, were captives and exiles in a foreign land, and subject to the authority of strangers. Its spiritual meaning is comprehended and appreciated by all Christ's ransomed ones who are set free, his banished ones for whose return he has devised effectual means.
III. SECURITY THROUGH GOD'S PROTECTION. In a less settled state of society than our own, the literal meaning of the promise must have been peculiarly welcome: "They shall no more be a prey to the heathen, neither shall the beasts of the field devour them; but they shall dwell securely, and none shall make them afraid." The Church of Christ is secure as the fold of God's flock, the fortress of God's warriors, the home of God's children. The powers of earth and of hell are strong, but the power of Heaven is mightier, and this power is pledged for the guardianship and safety of the people of Christ. The power of Divine providence controls all outward events. The power of the Divine Spirit within checks every rising fear. "Fear not," says the Almighty Guardian and Helper, "fear not: I am with you!" - T.
I. SOME PLANTS ARE RENOWNED FOR THEIR RARENESS. Anything that is rarely to be met with in this world is all the more valued, because it is uncommon. If it be really valuable in itself, it is prized not merely because of its intrinsic excellence, but doubly prized because it is rare. Now, in this respect, Christ may well be called the Plant of renown. He is the only-begotten and well-beloved Son of God. In every view Christ is rare and precious. To be convinced of this, think not merely of His original glory, nor of His mysterious person; but think also of what He is and has done for His people. Truly we must say, He is the unspeakable gift of God — a gift that stands out prominently from all the other gifts of our heavenly Father — a gift with which no other can be compared — yea, with whose infinite value the united value of all other gifts together is not to be put into the balance. As to His love, if we try to speak of it, we must close by saying, that it passeth knowledge. As to His sufferings, if we try to describe them, we must admit that they exceed all our conceptions, and that there never was any sorrow like unto His sorrow. As to His riches, if we try to reckon them, we must end with the confession that they are unsearchable riches. As to His excellence, both in Himself and as the Saviour of His people, if we try to speak of it, we must admit, after all illustrations and comparisons, that it is unparalleled and inconceivably great.
I. ITS NATURE. There never was such another. The plant has two perfectly distinct natures. In the language of the Song of Solomon it is both "white and ruddy." Each of those two natures is complete in all its attributes. Christ was perfect God, and at the same time perfect man.
I will raise up for them a Plant of renown.
I. JESUS IS AN AROMATIC "PLANT." He outbreathes an aroma which fills heaven with ecstasy, and saves earth with its teeming population from moral putrefaction and death. Christ is an eternal perfume. Angels and archangelic ones drink it in as flowers drink in the solar ray. And whenever on human soil He is scented for the first time, it creates an insatiable desire in the soul to daily and hourly drink at this fountain of sweetest odours.
1. The Bible would have no fragrance were it not for Christ. It would be mouldy and mildewed, antiquated and repulsive, without the aroma of this Plant.
2. Preaching would have no refreshing and soul-saving odour without this Plant. It might have persuasive rhetoric, and convincing logic, and charming elocution, and faultless learning, and elegant diction — yea, all the graces and glories of finished composition; nevertheless, devoid of the aromatic odours of the "Lamb of God" — the one Mediator for and only Saviour of a fallen world — it would be nothing more than "a sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal," or a message surcharged with the "savour of death unto death"!
3. Prayer, too, would have no effect without the perfume of this Plant. There might be fluency of utterance, beauty of sentence, multiplicity of words, glowing creations of thought, minute descriptions of want, and oratorical outbursts of desire and request; but unless fragrant with the incense of Jesu's blood, and death, and intercession, it will be but a bundle of "vain repetitions," or a jingle of unmeaning terms, unacceptable to God, and unbenefiting to us.
4. Heaven would have no fragrance but for Christ. Fie is the all of heaven! The music of its songs, the brightness of its skies, the health of its atmosphere, the splendour of its sceneries, the vitality, and glory, and wonder of its inhabitants — ay, the nectar of its unwithering flowers, the eternal perfume of its homage, worship, service, adoration!
II. CHRIST IS A MEDICINAL PLANT. His "leaves are for the healing of the nations." He is the "balm of Gilead," the "balm for every wound," the "cordial for every fear." A wonderful variety of medicinal virtues is characteristic of this unique Plant. While as a grand specific for the world's sin it is one; yet, for the Church's manifold ailments it is a repository of all that is needed, suited, effectual. If you suffer morally from had appetite and "indigestion," so that you do not relish the means of grace or the ordinances of the Church, and loathe the food with which God's servants try to feed you, through its not being dainty enough, or too much spiced, or not cooked to your taste — make application to Christ and He will speedily effect a cure. Or if you suffer from soul "dyspepsia," which makes you peevish, discontented, morose, and querulous in the church and in the family and in the business, so that you are an unwholesome sample to the world of our glorious Christianity — come to Christ and tell Him all. and He will send you healthy and happy away.
III. JESUS IS AN UNWITHERING PLANT. Not only evergreen, ever-verdant, ever-fresh, but eternally enduring. The frosts of time cannot nip it; the roll of centuries cannot fade it; the heat of a myriad persecution — suns cannot scorch it; the blasts of all storms, and the blights of all winters, and the changes of all seasons, and the sweep and swing of all eternities, cannot sear, shrivel, wither it! In two of its ingredients — qualities — it stands in sublime and unapproachable isolation, namely, immutability and eternity. It is immutable, because eternal from necessity, and eternal from necessity because uncaused and infinite.
IV. JESUS CHRIST IS A UNIVERSAL PLANT. In other words, a Plant in every place, being omnipresent; and a Plant for every sinner's appropriation, being suitable and sufficient. None can monopolise it, any more than they can monopolise the sunlight, the rain, the dew. It is the property of all in general, but of everyone who believes in particular. He is "the Saviour of the world." He is for "the healing of the nations." "All men are to be blessed in Him." As the old sun shines on every shore, so this Plant shall cast its healing shadow over every land, and drop its "sovereign balm" in every receptive heart, and be renowned by all languages and peoples.
(J. O. Keen, D. D.)
II. ITS BEAUTY. Every believer will acknowledge this. Feeling how exactly suitable the Lord Jesus is to meet your every want, you admire all that concerns Him.
III. ITS FRUITFULNESS. The Lord God, who in the beginning gave to man every tree for meat, has given us Christ for the same purpose. Other trees have only one species of fruit, but this produces twelve manners of fruits: fruits for every season: fruits for prosperity; fruits for adversity; fruits for every occasion that can possibly arise; fruits for newborn converts; fruits for those of riper experience; fruits for fathers and mothers in Israel; fruits suited to every individual whom the Holy Spirit leads to Christ.
IV. ITS PERMANENCY. Its branches will be ever stretching forth, the glory of Paradise. Its leaves will never lose their healing virtues. Its fruits will be as delicious ten thousand ages hence, as they will be in the very commencement of your future eternity. No one that takes shelter beneath its branches will ever be compelled to flee from under it.
V. ITS FRAGRANCY. In whatever sanctuary He is preached, how fragrant is He there! In whatever book He is set forth, how fragrant is He there! The leaves of that book all smell of myrrh, aloes, cassia, and all manner of sweet spices. How fragrant, too, is any house which is the abode of even one of the Lord's redeemed people! How fragrant is any parish, any country, where believers are multiplied, walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost!
VI. ITS SHADOW. There will come seasons when you will find the hot winds of severe afflictions beating so vehemently upon your heads, that, without Christ's supporting grace, you will be brought to your wits' end, and will be at the point to die. Oh, that you would see how sad is your condition compared with that of Christ's people in their trials and difficulties!
VII. ITS CELEBRITY. In one respect this plant resembled others. In its origin it was tittle accounted of. In His incarnation, humiliation, and death, He was comparatively despised and rejected; but springing up, in His resurrection, ascension and heavenly glory, He has become greatly renowned, and is daily made more so by the spreading of His Gospel throughout all nations. I conclude by a two-fold admonition.
1. Feed upon this plant yourselves.
2. Make it known to others.
(C. Clayton, M. A.)
II. SOME PLANTS ARE RENOWNED FOR THEIR BEAUTY. Some for the gorgeous richness of their colour; others for the delicate paleness of their hue — some for the elegant, form and loveliness of their flower; others for the stately and majestic appearance of the plant itself. And most assuredly Christ may in this respect be called the Plant of renown. In Him we see every variety of colour and shade, which, combined, constitute the perfection of beauty. The most lovely sight which this world ever saw was the character of Jesus. Everything which pure and holy beings can admire, is to be seen in Jesus. View the graces separately, and you see each of them perfect in Christ — humility in His becoming a man — meekness in bearing insults — gentleness in administering reproofs — patience in enduring sufferings — devotedness to His Father's will, which made Him say, that in the doing of it He had meat to eat which the world knew not of — devotion, which wearied not of whole nights spent in prayer — benevolence, which knew no bounds in the bestowment of blessings — heavenly-mindedness, which made Him, though in the world, not of it. These graces shine each of them gloriously in the character of Jesus, and all of them combined constitute that perfect excellence which saints and angels shall admire forever.
III. SOME PLANTS ARE RENOWNED FOR THEIR FRAGRANCE. Sweet smelling flowers and fragrant plants are felt even here to be most delightful and refreshing; but in the East, there are plants of such rich fragrance, as we can have no conception of at all in these northern climes. To pass a garden of aromatic herbs, when the gentle breeze causes the sweet spices to flow forth, is perfectly delightful to the weary traveller. And in this respect, too, Christ may be called the Plant of renown. What a sweet savour there is about all the graces and excellencies of Christ! You cannot come to the contemplation of His character without feeling that you are breathing a pure and holy atmosphere, grateful as the spicy breezes of the East to those who are faint and weary. The death of Christ is an offering and a sacrifice to God of a sweet smelling savour, and the Lord is well pleased for His righteousness' sake, seeing He hath magnified the law and made it honourable. And anxious souls feel that it has a delightful fragrance, when their hearts are cheered, and revived, and comforted, as they behold the Lamb of God taking away the sins of the world. Never was weary traveller, when like to faint under the burning rays of an eastern sun, so revived and refreshed by the spicy breezes, as poor souls, ready to faint under a burden of sin, and amid the trials of the world, are refreshed and cheered by the sweet savour that there is in Christ.
IV. SOME PLANTS ARE RENOWNED FOR THEIR HEALING VIRTUE. It is a proof of the goodness and benevolence of God that, while this world, in consequence of the Fall, is filled with disease and pain, there are medicinal plants whose application has a healing efficacy. And in this respect, as well as those already mentioned, Christ may be called the Plant of renown. From the Saviour on the Cross there flows a healing virtue to cure all the diseases of our souls. The blood and grace of Jesus are the precious balm. It is balm extracted from the wounded Tree of Life — from the pierced side of Immanuel; and it is effectual in curing the envenomed bite of the old serpent, the devil in mortifying the wounds which the arrows of conviction have made in our souls, and in completely healing the loathsome disease of sin.
V. SOME PLANTS ARE RENOWNED FOR THE SHELTER THEY AFFORD FROM THE SCORCHING RAYS OF THE SUN. Even in our own climate it is often most refreshing, when oppressed with heat, to recline under the shade of a spreading tree. And how much more delightful for an eastern traveller to come to a shady tree, under whose wide-spreading branches he may lie down upon the cool ground and rest himself! Flow delightful for the eastern shepherds, when they have conducted their flocks to the place of rest at noon, to lie down and rest themselves in the shade! But, oh, how infinitely more delightful for the poor sinner to sit down under the shadow of the Plant of renown! The branches of the trees of Paradise were no covering to guilty Adam, but under the shadow of the Tree of Life the awakened sinner may lie down and take quiet rest, assured that the wrath of God will never reach him any more.
VI. SOME PLANTS ARE RENOWNED FOR THE EXCELLENT FRUITS WHICH THEY BEAR. This is a quality for which the plant here spoken of is renowned; for the consequence of its being raised up to God's people is, that they shall no more be consumed with hunger in the land. If it be delightful to a weary traveller to lie down at noon under the cool shade of a spreading tree, it is especially so when the tree is laden with mellow and delicious fruit, which the traveller may pluck and eat for the quenching of his thirst. In this respect, every believer finds Christ to be the Plant of renown, and it is while he feeds upon Christ by faith that he is no more consumed with hunger in this batten land.
Homilist.I. He is renowned in His STATELY BEAUTY. He towers high above all the trees of the great forests of the world, and His branches, adorned with lovely foliage, spread out in all directions over all. Christ is the incarnation of the highest moral beauty; He is altogether lovely.
II. He is renowned for His WONDERFUL FRUITFULNESS. He is the Tree of Life, His fruits are for the healing of the nations. His fruits are sufficient to feed and bless all hungry souls. Who of all the children of men ever accomplished one-thousandth part of the good that Christ has accomplished?
III. He is renowned for His REMEDIAL VIRTUES. He has a sovereign "balm for every wound," He "binds up the broken-hearted," He is the "Great Physician." He is a cure for guilt, for fear, for remorse, and for all the disorders of the mind.
IV. He is renowned for His GREAT DURABILITY. All human plants wither, decay, and pass away; but He continues unchanged through the centuries.
I. WHY JESUS IS THE "PLANT OF RENOWN."
1. His great beauty. It is impossible for us to say what Jesus was personally, that is, His physical appearance; nor can such a subject concern us much. Many who show little or no physical beauty reveal high intellectual and spiritual worth, and if we look at Jesus through this channel, we shall soon find that He was the most beautiful plant that eyes of man ever looked upon. No one ever said such beautiful things as Jesus. Whether He was on the sea or on a mountain apart, whether at a marriage feast or at a funeral, whether surrounded only by His beloved disciples or by the inquisitive eager multitudes, whether at home with His parents, in the house of Martha and Mary, on the Mount of Olives, or even hanging on the Cross, no one ever uttered such beautiful sayings as He. He was, for beauty, the "Plant of renown," if we look at the character Fie possessed. No passion marred it, no sin spotted it, no darkness eclipsed it, no sorrow dimmed it, nor did any combination of forces impair or weaken it,. Then His worthiness to be called the "Plant of renown" is seen if we call to mind the beautiful deeds He accomplished. It was a beautiful thing for Jesus to leave His home and glory in heaven, and to come to suffer and bleed and die for us. And how full was that life of beautiful acts! Nazareth and Capernaum, Bethlehem and Jerusalem, Bethany and the Mount of Olives, all say His life was crowded with deeds most beautiful; and therefore Ezekiel was quite right when he said that Jesus was a "Plant of renown."
2. If we examine His marvellous strength we shall find another right, or title, to the figure. There are some things exceedingly beautiful, but they are so weak that we are afraid of damaging if we only touch them. Had not Jesus been as remarkable for His strength as for His beauty, He would have been destroyed by the rough elements that surged around, and wasted their strength upon Him. The world put forth its energy to destroy this Plant; its prejudice, its envy, its malice, its hate, its unbelief, its authority, and its allurements were all brought forward to destroy Jesus; but His strength was superior to all, and so He said, "I have overcome the world." Satan, he who overcame the first Adam, and who since the victory then won has weakened, broken, defaced, and destroyed many and many beautiful plants, — Satan brought his great power to bear upon Jesus, the "Plant of renown"; but here he was foiled and defeated. So strong was Jesus that he overcame the devil And what for strength this "Plant of renown" was, it still remains. Not the roll of nineteen hundred years has at all impaired it; neither in root, nor leaf, nor flower has it suffered any decay. This Plant is a strength-giving Plant. Jesus has power to comfort the sorrowful, to help the helpless, to guide the perplexed, to release the prisoner, to make bold the diffident, and to cause the barren to be fruitful. Yes, "He is mighty to save, and He travels in the greatness of His strength."
3. His healing properties. I can't think there are many people who would refuse to have in their possession a plant which could cure all their maladies, or turn their maladies into blessings. Certain I am that if any gardener could exhibit such a plant for sale, he could have almost any price for it, and then be utterly unable to meet all demands. Now, Ezekiel's "Plant of renown" is a plant of this character. And yet — oh, marvellous to relate! — men, women, and even young people, are seldom eager to possess it.
4. Jesus is the "Plant of renown" because of the fruit He bears. Perhaps if you were to search very minutely and very long, you might meet with a boy who does not care for plants because of their beauty, or with a girl who thinks little of them because of any healing virtue they may have; but I don't think any searching would find boy or girl who would care nothing about any fruit you might mention as produced by plants. The possessors of this Plant have Christ formed in their hearts, and they bring forth fruit unto holiness, — "they grow in grace," and are "pure in heart." No plant, then, for beauty, strength, healing power, and fruit, can compare with Ezekiel's "Plant of renown."
II. WHERE JESUS IS THIS "PLANT OF RENOWN." "Everything in its place," is a capital maxim. There are places where we might as well search for sunshine at midnight as for this "Plant of renown." I shall not ask you to look for this Plant in the writings of infidelity, for if it could be found there, it would only be that it might be insulted and, if possible, destroyed. I shall not ask you to search for it in the multitudinous volumes of light, fictitious literature with which we are almost deluged; such a soft has neither depth nor richness sufficient for this Plant.
1. Jesus is a "Plant of renown" in the Bible. I want to compare the Bible to a conservatory; and I think we shall find it the very best conservatory the world has ever seen. Let us go inside, for our fathers many years ago opened wide the door, and now we are quite welcome to enter. How beautifully it is fitted up, and what an assemblage of colour and fragrance, what unspeakably rare plants are here; and all preserved in excellent order. But now just listen; what can it be these plants are all saying? "We have no root of ourselves, no beauty underived, no fragrance our own, no fruit naturally, no life independent; for all these things we are dependent, and dependent only, upon Ezekiel's 'Plant of renown.'"
2. Jesus is a "Plant of renown" in all the intercourse held between man and God." Who has not heard of "the missing link"? Jesus is the only missing link of union between God and us. God's character is one of holiness, justice, truth, and love; man's character is one of sin, injustice, falsehood, and hate. Oh, what can bring the two together? Heaven and earth combined, proclaim, "Jesus of Nazareth, the Plant of renown."
3. Jesus is a "Plant of renown" in the hearts of God's people. The moment Jesus enters the soul, all sickness and darkness, all parchedness and blight, entirely disappear, and, with the "Plant of renown" right in the centre, the heart becomes like the garden of the Lord.
4. Jesus is a "Plant of renown" in the history of the entire world. What a great deal that history will have to say about His coming into and His growth in our world; about the influence of Jesus in all cottages and palaces, in all courts and camps, and in all counsels, whether of Churches or of States. How that history will show, in characters of living light, His value as Redeemer, Saviour, Friend, and King. How it will ascribe to Him preeminence in all things — in virtue, truth, goodness, grace, sanctity, glory, and everything else that is lovely and of good report; ever presenting to Him the homage and love of a glorified and saved Church, out of all nations, and peoples, and tongues under heaven.
5. Jesus will be the "Plant of renown" in heaven. Gabriel, Michael, the whole company of the angelic world, cherubim and seraphim, are all like so many plants of rare excellence; but no plant in heaven like Jesus. Think, too, of the plants that have gone from our garden plots here, from our homes, and from our hearts. All gone: we see them not, we hear them not: the Master hath called them. But whilst they were here they were "plants of the Lord's right hand planting," "trees of righteousness." Then what, after years of holy culture and constant growth, must such be in heaven? Who now shall estimate their beauty or worth? But high above and far beyond all others in heaven, will be the Lord Jesus, the "Plant of renown."(1) He will be renowned for having once left its glory, its society, and its song, in order that He might become a poor man, to suffer, bleed, and die.(2) He will be renowned for having thrown wide open to the sons of Adam its pearly gates, its everlasting privileges, and its undying glory; and for having by His attractiveness drawn into that holy place millions of the race of man; as the great and only Conqueror of death and sin, of hell and the devil.
(J. Goodachre.)I. THE GLORY OF THE SAVIOUR, as intimated by the metaphorical designation here given to Him — "a Plant of renown."
1. The glory that surrounded Him, even amidst the greatest depth of His humiliation.
2. His triumphant resurrection from the grave, and His exaltation to honour and glory at His Father's right hand.
3. The triumphs of His Gospel, from the earliest period of its proclamation to the present day.
4. The Divine predictions of His millennial glory on earth, and His perpetual reign in heaven.
II. THE AGENCY OF GOD THE FATHER in securing all this glory to the Saviour. Jehovah is the Speaker; and He says, "I will raise up a Plant of renown" (ver. 23).
1. God the Father called the Saviour, and set Him apart to His work.
2. God the Father sent our Saviour into our world clothed in our nature.
3. God the Father qualified Him for His work, and assisted Him in it.
4. God the Father, as a proof of His love, and as the reward of His services, gave Him all that renown which He had acquired.
III. THE BLESSEDNESS OF CHRIST'S PEOPLE, in consequence of His elevation to glory, or renown for their sakes.
1. In consequence of the work and exaltation of Him who is here denominated "a Plant of renown," His people shall be at once freed from want, and blessed with abundance.
2. In consequence of the work and exaltation of Christ, His people shall be at once freed from shame, and loaded with honour.Application —
1. Give glory to God for raising up for you a Plant of renown.
2. Live constantly by the faith of Him who was once greatly humbled, but is now highly exalted for your sakes.
3. Days of darkness and distress will to believers be succeeded by days of joy and triumph.
4. Use the means of making the Redeemer more renowned.
5. All must be exposed to want and eternal ruin who have no connexion with Christ as the Plant of renown.
(A. Thomson, D. D.)I. PREMISE A FEW THINGS CONCERNING THIS BLESSED PLANT.
1. What is here ascribed to Christ, is not to be understood absolutely of Him as God, but officially — as He is Mediator and Redeemer.
2. This Plant is but small and little in the eyes of a blind world.
3. However contemptible this Plant of renown is in the eyes of a blind world, yet He is the tallest plant in all God's Lebanon.
4. This blessed Plant of renown was cut down in His death, and sprung up gloriously in His resurrection.
5. All the little plants in the garden are ingrafted in this Plant of renown.
II. HE IS A RENOWNED PLANT. He is renowned in heaven, and He is renowned on earth, and will be so (Psalm 72:17).
1. He is renowned for His antiquity.
2. He is renowned for His beauty. The glory of a God is in Him Is there any glory in His eternal Father? Why, that glory shines in our Immanuel in the very brightness of it (Hebrews 1:3).
3. He is renowned for His verdure, for His perpetual greenness. Other plants are fading.
4. He is renowned for His virtue. We read in Revelation 22, "That the leaves of the tree of life were for the healing of the nations," — that tree of life is the very same with this Plant of renown; the leaves of this Plant are for the healing of the nations; and we that are ministers are come this day to scatter the leaves of this tree of life, of this Plant of renown; try if you can get a leaf of it applied and set home upon your souls; depend upon it, there is virtue in every word of His.
5. He is renowned for His fertility: He is not a barren Plant; He would not be renowned if He were barren; He brings forth all manner of fruit every month; yea, I may add, every day, every moment. There is the fruit of His incarnation; there is the fruit of His death; there is the fruit of His resurrection; there is the fruit of His ascension; there is the fruit of His intercession, and sitting at the right hand of God; there is the fruit of His prophetic office; there is the fruit of His priestly office; there is the fruit of His kingly office; there is the fruit of His appearing within the vail; there is the fruit of what He did without the vail, and without the camp. Oh, what fruit is here!
6. He is renowned for His scent, and pleasant savour (Song of Solomon 1:2). The believer finds a scent about Him, he draws a savour from Him. What is the design of us ministers but to cast abroad His scent; and it is by this we win souls.
7. He is renowned for His shadow (Song of Solomon 2:3). Oh, sit down under His shadow, and you will find shelter there against all deadly; whatever blasts come, you will find safety there; would you be shadowed from the king of terrors, death is a terror to many. Oh, if you would be shadowed against the awful terrors of death and God's vengeance, get in under this shadow, and you are safe.
8. This Plant is renowned for His stature; He is a high Plant, He is a tall Plant. You see the heavens above you, but they are but creeping things in comparison of Him; but this glorious Plant, "He is the high and lofty one that inhabits eternity," you can never see His height.
9. This Plant is renowned for His extent, not only for His stature, but He is a broad Plant. He was planted in the first promise in Paradise, He spread through the Old Testament Church, He came the length of filling the land of Judaea, but at length this Plant has spread among us, and oh, that I could spread Him among you!
III. THE RAISING OR UPBRINGING OF THIS PLANT.
1. He was raised up in the counsel of God's peace from eternity.
2. He was raised up in the first promise to Adam and Eve.
3. His actual manifestation in the flesh, when, in the fulness of time, He appeared.
4. This Plant was raised up, even in His death.
5. This Plant was raised up in His resurrection from the dead. For in His resurrection from the dead He was "declared to be the Son of God with power, by the Spirit of holiness."
6. This Plant of renown was raised up higher in His ascension into heaven, when He was set "down on the right hand of the Majesty on high," after He had, by Himself, purged our sins.
7. He is raised up likewise in the revelation of the everlasting Gospel.
8. This Plant of renown is raised up in the day of the Church's reformation.
9. This Plant of renown will be raised up at His second coming.
10. This Plant of renown will be raised up in the songs of the redeemed through endless eternity.
IV. FOR WHOM IS IT THAT THIS PLANT IS RAISED UP? He is raised up for mankind sinners, not for angel-kind sinners, and every mankind sinner that hears tell of Him should lay claim to Him (Isaiah 9:6). As the firmament is for you, if you will open your eyes, so the Sun of Righteousness is for you, if you will open your hearts to Him: for the Lord's sake do not refuse Him, or else it will not be telling you; you will rue it to eternity.
V. WHY IS HE RAISED UP?
1. He is raised up as a Redeemer to set the captives of the mighty at liberty.
2. He is raised up as a Mediator of the new covenant, to make peace between an offended God, and offending rebellious man, He "makes reconciliation for iniquity" (Daniel 9:24).
3. He is raised up as a Surety, to pay the debt of a company of broken divers, and to bind Himself under a bond to satisfy justice for their crimes, and that He should reduce them to obedience to their offended Lord. Hence He is called (Hebrews 7:25).
4. He is raised up as a renowned Healer, a non-such Physician. He has opened up a medicinal well (Zechariah 13:1) that washes from sin and uncleanness, and, whatever be your malady, we invite you to come to this well, and wash and be clean.
5. He is raised up as a Witness to tell the truth, or as a Prophet to reveal it.
6. He is raised up as Leader unto the people, to show us the path of life, and to lead us into it, and, by His leading, He causes the wayfaring man to walk without erring, — "I will bring the blind by a way they know not," etc.
7. He is raised up as a Commander unto the people, as the Captain of salvation, to fight our battles for us, and to head the armies of God's Israel in their way to glory. And, by His skill and conduct, He makes them all conquerors, yea, more than conquerors, etc.
VI. APPLICATION. Is it so that Christ is a Plant of renown, raised up by Jehovah? Then —
1. See hence the iniquity and wickedness of these men who study to derogate from the glory of this renowned Plant.
2. See hence how to know a true and faithful minister of Christ. He will have a smell of the Plant of renown about him, whether he be in the pulpit or out of it.
3. See hence whence it is that believers flock to Gospel ordinances, where they can get them dispensed by those that bear Christ's commission to dispense them. It is the smell of the Plant of renown that draws them thither.
4. See hence why God the Father is called a Husbandman. He is so called with reference unto His raising up this Plant of renown (John 15:1).
5. See hence the regard that God hath for His Church upon earth, as His own garden. Why, He plants this Tree of Life in her, by which she became a new paradise:
6. See hence the excellency of Christ, in His Person, nature, offices, and appearances.
7. See what makes a land or a church pleasant, a Hephzibah or a Beulah unto the Lord. If the Plant of renown and His interest be thriving in a land or Church, it makes her "beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth," etc.
8. See when it is that a Church loses her beauty and glory, and makes defection. It is when Christ loses His Savour among her ministers and professors.
9. See hence how a person may know whether matters be right or wrong, whether he be thriving and prospering in grace, or if he be decaying and going backward. Is the Plant of renown rising or going back with you? If He be rising, then —(1) He will be raised up in your esteem (Psalm 73:25; Philippians 3:8, 9).(2) In your affection and love, "Whom having not seen, we love," etc.(3) In your meditation; every thought will be a captive to His obedience.(4) In your talk and walk, they will have a savour of the Plant of renown, and the chat and common talk of the world will be tasteless, like the white of an egg, to you.(5) In your religious worship, both public and private; when you go to prayer, when you go to hear the word, or when you go to a communion table, nothing will please but Christ Himself.(6) In your wishes and endeavours for the advancement of His kingdom and glory, in as far as your power can go.
10. If Christ be the Plant of renown, raised up by His eternal Father, may it not be for matter of lamentation that the Plant of renown is in so little request among us at this day, and that there is such a plucking away of the glory of this blessed Plant?
11. Is it so that Christ is a Plant of renown raised up by Jehovah? Then let all that bear the name of Chris, especially you who have been entertained at His table, and tasted of His special love and goodness, study to answer God's design, in raising up for us this Plant of renown.(1) Sit down, and rest your weary souls, under the shadow of this renowned Plant, after the example of the spouse (Song of Solomon 2).(2) Come and behold the glory and beauty of the Plant of renown: "O look unto Him, and be saved, all ye ends of the earth."(3) Come and feed upon the fruit of this Plant of renown: "For His flesh is meat indeed, and His blood is drink indeed."(4) Whenever you find yourselves wounded by temptation, or corruption, or the world, come to the Plant of renown.
Homilist.Christ is frequently spoken of as a tree, a branch, a root, a stem, a rod, a lily, a rose. But the word plant has a signification somewhat different. What we plant we cultivate, sow the seed maybe, watch the growth, and tend in its maturity. And the plant here spoken of would refer to the human work and human nature of our Lord, arranged and developed by Divine wisdom.
I. THE SEED WAS SOWN IN THE ETERNAL COUNSELS OF GOD. We know that the purpose existed before the world was formed. There was the sowing of the plant.
II. THE GROWING. The plant started above the soil when man fell. Its green leaves showed themselves when the promise was given as to the seed of the woman which was to bruise the serpent's head.
III. THE DEVELOPING. In teaching, symbol, ritual, prophecy, the light gradually dawned.
IV. THE BLOSSOMING. When Christ came visibly into the world, He "blossomed like a rose." His words were as fragrance. His acts of mercy and love beautified the earth, and filled all nations with their beauty.
V. THE FRUIT BEARING. The plant flowered, and apparently withered when Christ was put to death. But out of that very fact we see the result of ripened seed — "The flower abideth alone, except it die," and Christ's death caused the seed to be scattered abroad, which should cause the whole world to bloom. The seed of life, joy, hope.
VI. THE HONOUR GIVING ETERNAL GLORY. "A Plant of renown." It is not a mere passing, fading, temporary, useless growth. It is renowned for its beauty — the essence of the Father's glory; for its usefulness — the covert and shelter of all people; for its continuance — it shall never fade; for its fruitfulness — it shall nourish all mankind. Happy is the man who finds shelter and rest in Him.
(John Skinnier, M. A.)
No more consumed with hunger in the land
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