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A Feast for Serpents

A Feast for Serpents
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Author: Church John
Title: A Feast for Serpents
Release Date: 2018-10-02
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
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The Project Gutenberg eBook, A Feast for Serpents, by John ChurchThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and mostother parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms ofthe Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org.  If you are not located in the United States, you'll haveto check the laws of the country where you are located before using this ebook.Title: A Feast for SerpentsAuthor: John ChurchRelease Date: October 2, 2018  [eBook #58010]Language: EnglishCharacter set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK A FEAST FOR SERPENTS***

Transcribed from the 1813 R. Thomas edition [0] by David Price, [email protected]

Public domain book cover

A
Feast for Serpents,

BEING THESUBSTANCE OF

A SERMON,

Preached at the ObeliskChapel,

On SUNDAY Evening, March 21,1813,

Published byDesire—and addressed to all whom it may concern.

 

BY J. CHURCH,
Minister of the Gospel.

 

Saviour.—YeSerpents, ye Generation of Vipers.

Hosea iv, 8.—They eat upthe Sin of my People, and they set their heart on theirIniquity.

Isaiah.—He feedeth onAshes.

Jerem.—Against him thatbendeth let the Archer lend his Bow.

 

LONDON:

Printed by R. THOMAS, Red Lion Street, Borough.

1813.

 

p.3PREFACE.

To the Church of JesusChrist, who are loved with an everlasting love,chosen in Christ before all worldsredeemed bythe blood of the Lamband effectually called out ofdarkness into marvellous light; led by the providence ofGod to attend the ministry of so unworthy an instrument asmyself, to whom God has made my labors useful, andprofitable for reformation, conviction,conversion, building up, and spiritualconsolationHaving been much tried and perplexed bymen of corrupt minds, who have long endeavoured toprejudice me, with a view to separate us one from theother, but they have hitherto failedhavinggrace given you to continue with me in my temptations, toabide in the furnace of affliction with me, and to standin the evil dayThe good hand of God,restoring a degree of peace to us, so that we can passto our Meeting Place of Worship unmolested,—I thinkit right, and that I am in duty bound (though youhave not demanded it) to make a few general remarks uponthe subjects which have agitated the public, and not alittle distressed your minds.

p. 4I wishyou most decidedly to bear in mind thro’ the whole of thisperformance, that I write only for yoursakesI write not for the worldling, whoseheart is set on the things of time and sense, who,Gallio like, cares for none of these things,except it be to pass an unpleasant sneer at us.—Iwrite not for the proud Pharisee, or the mereFormalist, who have a name to live and aredeadI write not for Hypocrites, whose endwill be according to their work, and who are a perpetualplague to the Household of FaithWolves inSheep’s cloathing, who cover the vilest principlesand conduct with the garb of apparent holiness!—butI write for those who know the plague of the heart; thevanity of the world; the emptiness of the creature;the danger of a form of godliness without the power;the spirituality of God’s most holy Law; thepreciousness of a dear Redeemer; the power of theword; the manifestation of the atonementThese characters so graciously taught, must be underthe influence of divine lovethe remnant that shallnot do iniquity, nor speak liesneither is adeceitful tongue found in their mouths; but they feed onthe bread of eternal life, and can not be satisfiedwithout itTo these Characters I dedicate thisbook; and not doubting but it will procure me manyfoes, and stir up that carnal enmity which they are theslaves of, for them I would put up that charitable prayerof our Lord, “Father forgivethem;”—and of you I would use the finelanguage of the blessed ApostleAnd now,Brethren, I commend you to God,&c.Acts xx.

p. 5ASERMON.

“AND DUST SHALL BE THE SERPENT’SMEAT.”—Isaiah lv, 25.

It is a most undoubted truth, that,as in the planetary system one star differs from another inglory, so it is in the Church of God—though the elect areloved alike, chosen and provided for alike, and shall all bepartakers of the same glory in ultimate bliss—the infantwho died this day, and the mind of the apostle Paul will be alikethere; yet, in the Church Militant it is not so.  God thedivine Spirit, is a sovereign in all his dispensations; and whilesome of the people of God have scarcely been known here, butthrough the solitary lane of life, have pursued the noiselesstenor of their way—treasures hid in the sand—aSparrow alone—a Pelican of the Wilderness—and, asfinely described by one of our Poets—

Full many a gem, of purest ray serine,
   The dark unfathom’d caves of ocean bear:
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
   And lose its sweetness in the desert air.

p. 6Butthough this is the case with many, yet some have been more highlyfavored, and shone with peculiar lustre in the Church ofGod.  All the Prophets testified of the adorable Redeemer,but Isaiah shines like a star of the first magnitude.  Hisname signifies the Salvation of God; and he was a type of thegreat Prophet of the Church of God.  It is said, but withoutany probable ground, he was the cousin of King Uzziah, in thelatter end of whose reign he began his predictions.  Hisqualifications were great, and his writings truly sublime, yethis success was but small.  A minister of small talents maybe more successful in his public work than a man of greater, butthis is according to the sovereign good-will and pleasure ofGod.—After this great Prophet had borne his testimony forGod and truth about forty-five years, he died a martyr, perhapssawn asunder with a wooden saw, under the reign ofManassah.  He clearly foretels the incarnation of our Lord;and probably he was the first to whom it was revealed that theMessiah should be born of a virgin.  His mind was led totrace him through a life of sorrows, while he foretels his mostintimate acquaintance would be grief—acquainted withgrief, but his reward would be glorious.  His name should begreat in all the world, and everlasting honours paid him, asGod-man Mediator.—This was the joy set before him, forwhich he endured the Cross, and thought light of theshame—the Father hath therefore highly exalted him, and p. 7given him aname above every other, that at his name every knee should bow,if not in this world to the sceptre of his grace and mercy, theyshall to his iron rod in hell.

The chapter from whence the text is selected is very singular,yet truly important.  The Prophet is led to foretel the baseconduct of the Jews in rejecting the Gospel, the Saviour, and hisApostles—the casting away of that nation; the provokingthem to jealousy by a foolish nation, in the calling a peoplethat did not seek after him, or expect it.  These things areclearly pointed out in the seven first verses.  Then, lestthe truly godly should fear being cut off, the Lord graciouslypromises he would take care of them, when the rest should benumbered to the sword; they are the seed, the blessed of theLord.  A line of distinction is drawn between God’sservants and those rejecters of the Saviour, from the 13th to the16th verse.  The Holy Ghost then leads the mind of theProphet to the future glory of the Church in the thousand yearsreign—For behold I create new heavens and a newearth, which will be a state of joy and comfort.  Thisnew heavens and earth must refer, literally, to the personalreign of Christ on earth; for the apostle Peter says (it iswritten) and to this passage he must refer.  After the oldheaven and earth are passed away, then a new region will becreated, suited to the glorified p. 8bodies of the saints—and a newearth, where Christ and his saints will dwell personally athousand years—one day with the Lord—the truesabbatic year.  The Prophet having intimated this, goes onto shew what will take place previous to this reign, even aspiritual reign, in the universal knowledge of ourLord—long life; no weeping over dead children; nooppression of each other’s houses or lands; but alltemporal prosperity and spiritual success—speedy answers toprayer; and even, perhaps, the brute creation will be tamed, andbrought into the same subjection as before the fall—Hail!happy period! the Lord hasten it in his time.

This spiritual reign will be very different from theMillennium, though many good men suppose it the same thing; butthe Millennium will be a perfect state, this will not.  TheMillennium will be after the resurrection of the just, this willbe before it.  The Millennium will be the personal reign ofChrist, but this will be spiritual; just as it is now, in theheart—in the Church, in Doctrines and Ordinances, but withan amazing increase of light, life, love, and holiness; when, nodoubt, the poorest peasant will have as much light as the apostlePaul had when on earth.

It is very probable that this prophecy began to take placeupon the spread of the Gospel in the land of Judea, and in theGentile world; when p.9there was a new face of things, so that the whole lookedlike a new world.  The Gospel ran, had free course, and wasglorified—Sinners, of every sort and size, were convertedto God—the Redeemer saw the travail of his soul, and theHoly Spirit displayed the love, grace, and mercy of God, in allits glory.  The freeness of grace was seen in theobjects it noticed; the power of it was seen in theconquests it gained; its sovereignty was seen in passingby those who bid fairest in their own eyes for glory.  Whilegrace revealed these things unto babes, others, not interested inthem, heard enough to hate them—rejected them altogether,and persecuted those who had received them.  Thesepersecutions were attended with many advantages to the saints;none were hurt effectually, nor any bud of the Tree of Life, norbudding hope, destroyed in all God’s holy Mountain.

Thus having proceeded to our text, which I shall barelycomment upon, except the clause I first read as a text, this Ishall endeavor to explain.

FirstThe Wolf shall dwell with theLamb—so it reads in the 11th Chap, of this Book; hereit is the same—shall feed together; if they dwelltogether they must, consequently, feed together.  I remark,that it was the eternal design of God to shew himself to hiscreatures as the God of all grace—so the Apostle words it,that in the ages to come he might p. 10shew untous the exceeding riches of his grace and kindness towards us,by Christ Jesus.  This he has done in all ages, inits divine sovereignty, freeness, and power, upon thosecharacters who may justly be compared to ravening Wolves, whohave worried, and made sad havoc among Christ’sSheep.  Such bitter persecutors have been called out ofdarkness into life, the heart being changed, the life and conductwere changed too; for this is the design and the conquest ofgrace.  It is to be lamented that many, while in the world,have been sad opposers of the doctrines of the Gospel—thesetake up a profession, and however promising in appearance, theystill oppose the main Doctrines of the Cross.  Then, I ask,what has grace done for them?  In a profession they are, butin a state of reconciliation they are not.  But my texttells us, that the Wolf and Lamb shall feedtogether—that what the Lambs feed on, such the Wolfshould, when God converted them to the truth.  Here theSaints are compared to Lambs, for their harmlessness andinnocence; and such they are in their new-creature state. We may see this passage verified in the Apostle Paul—he wasof the tribe of Benjamin, of whom Jacob said, he should ravinas a Wolf.—Thus did Saul of Tarsus against the Sheep ofJesus.  He harrassed, he made sad slaughter amongthem.  But, oh! the wonders of grace, that tamed, humbled,and reconciled him to the Saviour and his dear people, that helaid down at the feet of the p. 11Lamb of God.  He fed with theLambs in the same fold, and he was brought to feed themafterwards.  Thus the

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