No. 3

Isaiah 32:2

And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind,
and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place,
as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land
This sermon is also reflected in verse 5 of Hymn No. 197,
published in Olney Hymns as Book 1, Hymn 59
No 197 v5
view the full hymn here
view the hymn with background diary extracts here

No. 3

Is 32 2 No 3 spoken
We have spoken of Jesus, as the refuge from storm and rain – the sure and welcome retreat, for every convinced, tempted soul. The next clause sets him forth in a very acceptable view. And here we may enquire:
1. what is meant by a dry place
2. why he is compared to rivers of water
1. a dry place
  The dry place signifies a wilderness, as Psalm 105:41.[1] The believing soul is in a wilderness in a twofold state, and must perish without these refreshing streams. Such is the prayer of David – Psalm 143:6.[2] A wilderness is barren – lonesome – uncomfortable. Such a state is applicable:
  1.1 To the world
It does not appear to us so by nature – rather fruitful and pleasant and the poor soul says as Psalm 132:14.[3] But when the eyes of the mind are opened, the false appearance vanishes and it is all a wilderness. A right view of God and divine things, puts us out of conceit with the world, and its poor pleasures are no longer pleasing. A Christian, except he has some believers with him, is alone in a multitude – as a man would be counted solitary, if he had none of his own kind, but only wild beasts of the forest around him.
  1.2 To the heart
This likewise is known to be a wilderness when known aright. It is indeed full of wickedness – full, as it were, of serpents and dragons, but nothing good or pleasant. By nature we think ourselves rich and increased in goodness – but when awakened we find ourselves poor and destitute. But:
2. rivers of water
  The knowledge of Jesus, produces a change as if one could turn [divert] a river of water into a wilderness; then the desert begins to flourish and blossom like the rose.
  2.1 It puts a new face upon the world, gives a sunshine, as it were, to every object, sanctifies and spiritualizes common employments, gives a double relish to every comfort, and even sweetens the bitter cup of affliction. Then we see the directing, disposing hand of our Redeemer at every turn. We have a friend near to help us in trouble, and act and suffer in a new manner, when we are taught to do everything as for him who loved us.
  2.2 And so it is within in the heart. The knowledge of Jesus and communion with him, is a refreshing stream, by which comfort will flow in, in spite of awkward things.

This healing, fertilizing, life-giving stream is communicated in the means of grace. These are as pipes through which the water is received:
    2.2.1 The promises are such channels, when opened and applied by the Spirit. How do they revive in the time of drought!
    2.2.2 The ordinances: When all has been barren and discouraging within and without, how sweet to have the heart opened and watered by a blessing on the preaching.
    2.2.3 So at times in prayer. Perhaps by one hour’s secret waiting upon God, yea, a few minutes, there is a change like from the depth of winter to the height of summer.
  [2.3] This is compared to water – because
    2.3.1 on account of its refreshing qualities
    2.3.2 necessary  – no life or growth without it
    2.3.3 cheap – wine and milk must be bought but water is free. Isaiah 55:1.[4]

1. Seekers, bless God for showing you this river.
2. To others, why will you perish for thirst when there is such a provision?

[1] Psalm 105:41 He opened the rock, and the waters gushed out; they ran in the dry places like a river.
[2] Psalm 143:6 I stretch forth my hands unto thee: my soul thirsteth after thee, as a thirsty land. Selah.
[3] Psalm 132:14 This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.
[4] Isaiah 55:1 Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.

Transcribed from Newton's pocket sermon notebook, N43, Cowper & Newton Museum, Olney, Bucks


N43, Cowper & Newton Museum, Olney, Bucks
MS Eng 1317, Houghton Library, Harvard University

Marylynn Rouse, 12/10/2016