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is their refuge, and underneath them are the everlasting arms. God is their dwelling-place; and all his perfections unite for their safety and preservation. Infinite love moves him to keep them safely, and his wisdom directs him how to do it: his goodness and grace have made him declare that he will keep them, and his power enables him to do as he has said; and he will faithfully perform his promise. He says to them all as to Abraham, "Fear not, I am thy shield, and thine exceeding great reward: I am God almighty, walk before me and be thou perfect." They are allset as a seal upon his heart and his arm." It must be difficult to pluck a seal from the loving heart, or the all-powerful arm of omnipotent Jehovah. Never has the power of God been more remarkably displayed than in the preservation of his Church. He is a wall of fire about her, and the glory in the midst. A well-built wall of sufficient height and strength is a great defence to the city which it surrounds, makes it impregnable, and keeps the enemy without. But a wall of fire, while it enlightens, and defends those who are within, consumes all who approach it, and renders every attempt to break through it certain death, and inevitable destruction. In this manner is Zion defended, and the gates of hell can never prevail against her. In the language of our text, before a great personage can be robbed of his jewels, which he highly values, many walls and gates must be broke through: before Christ can be robbed of his, which he purchased with his blood, all the Divine perfections must be encountered and overcome. That Christ may make his jewels absolutely secure, he
keeps them himself and entrusts no other with them: hear his own words, "A vineyard of red wine, I the Lord do keep it: I will water it every moment: lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day." And every individual saint may be thus addressed, "The Lord is thy keeper; the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil; he shall preserve thy soul. The Lord shall preserve thy going out, and thy coming in, from this time forth, and even for evermore."
4. Jewels in general are kept in a secret place, and not exposed to the sight of all indifferently. They are only brought forth upon some particular occasions, and in certain companies. In many respects may the Lord's jewels be said to be kept secret. Their great value and dignity are hid from the men of the world, who reckon them only the offscouring of all things. The saints dwell alone, and are not reckoned among the nations. The life of grace and its real value are not fully understood by believers themselves; and far less are they acquainted with the just value and excellency of the life of glory. With infinite propriety does John say, "Now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." The Lord's people are hid and secreted from the bustle of the world, and like their great Master, neither cry nor make a noise in the streets. Often the believer lives in the mud-walled cottage, and is covered with tattered rags. The wealthy and gay
consider him as an object of pity, and his habitation as almost a nuisance. It does not now appear to them what he is. Little are they aware that he is one of Christ's jewels: but when he shall exchange his cottage for a crown, and his coarse clothing for the robes of glory, and shine as the sun, his true dignity will be known to all. The secrecy of believers is expressed in many passages of Scripture. They are called God's hidden ones, Psa. lxxxiii. 4. The apostle, Eph. i. 13, says that they are sealed of that Holy Spirit of promise; and a seal is used both for secrecy and safety. In Colos. iii. 3, their life is said to be hid with Christ in God.
While the new man, which is the chief part of the jewel, is the inner man, and greatly secret; the exercises of the Lord's people which are so pleasing to him, are many of them secret and invisible to the men of the world, and the great spring of all their exercises, love to the Redeemer, is what they can form no idea of. As to time, like Jacob, in many of their exercises, they wrestle" till the dawning of the day," or, like David, they rise at midnight. Most of their sorrowings, as well as their songs, are in the night. They regularly enter into their closets, and shut their doors behind them. The best of all their exercises are actings of the soul, and language is only the dress in which they are clothed. When they engage in private or social duties, they guard against ostentation, and are in some measure mindful that they are sinful dust and ashes. True, they make, and glory in making, a public profession of Christ, and are not ashamed of him; but little are the men
of the world acquainted with their secret groanings. In one word, the saints, while in this world, are like a bright gem wrapped up in a coarse covering, or overspread with some rust, the true value of which is not seen. In heaven, like gems highly polished and properly placed, they will so reflect the rays of the sun as to dazzle the beholding eye with their brilliant splendour!
5. Jewels are highly esteemed. Men commonly put more value upon them than all other things which they possess; and, unless reduced to the last extremity, will by no means part with them. Christ values his jewels in the highest degree. This seems to be chiefly meant in the text. The term translated jewels is segullAH, a word well known to the learned, but the force of which can scarcely be conveyed to an English reader. The same word is used, Exod. xix. 5, where it is translated "a peculiar treasure unto me above all people, for all the earth is mine." It is also used and translated in the same manner, Psal. cxxxv. 4, "The Lord hath chosen Jacob unto himself, and Israel for his peculiar treasure.” A man is enriched by his treasure; and though the Lord in one sense cannot be so, yet he reckons himself more enriched by his people than all the world besides. Believers are his jewels, while the rest are only lumber. He expresses that particular pleasure and complacency in his people, which men find in their treasure. As a man's treasure enables him to make a figure in the world; the Lord is peculiarly honoured by his saints. They not only glorify him themselves, but by their good works procure a revenue of glory
from others. They are his witnesses, and a city set upon an hill. The church is the pillar which exhibits truth that others may learn and receive it. They express too in their lives the wonderful power of his grace, which is admired by angels and fellow-saints. As a man cannot live and be happy without his treasure, neither can Christ without his jewels. Accordingly he says, "because I live ye shall live also;" and it is a part of his continued intercessory prayer, "I will that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am." Christ's heart is where his treasure is, he is always with them, and never leaves them.
The Scripture is filled with expressions of the esteem which Christ has for his people. In Isa. xliii. 3, 4, he expresses himself thus: "I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life." In Jer. xii. 7, he calls his people "his heritage, and the dearly beloved of his soul:" and in Zech. ii. 8, he speaks of them as the apple of his eye, and declares that whoever touches them, touches him in that feeling part.
There is a near relation subsisting between Christ and his people expressive of the highest esteem: often he is spoken of as their Father, and has the most fatherly pity: sometimes he compares his affection to the tender feelings of a mother: thus he says, Isa. lxvi. 12, 13, "Then shall ye suck, ye shall be