No. 1

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 verses 1 and 4 of Hymn No. 197,
published in Olney Hymns as Book 1, Hymn 59
No 197 v1
No 197 v4
view the full hymn here
view the hymn with background diary extracts here

No. 1

Is 32 2 No 1 nothing
Nothing raises the wonder and disgust of the world more than the high regard believers pay to the Lord Jesus.  If they would only speak seriously of God, his goodness and providence, they might be born with – but so much of Christ is offensive.  Those who know him, however, will never think they can [never] say enough of him – and they have good reasons the others cannot understand them:
1. what he is in himself
2. what he is and will be to them
With regard to the latter we have a comprehensive description in this verse, which speaks at once the dangers and difficulties in the believer’s path, and the security he enjoys in the Redeemer.
The person to whom these great and gracious properties are applied is called a Man – and this is our comfort that our Redeemer is our Goel, our near kinsman – he took upon him our flesh and blood, and was made Man – but was he not more than Man, who could venture upon him for these great purposes.  We may read it the Man – we may be sure it means the God Man – the man that is God’s fellow – the Word who was made flesh – and who in the nature wherein he suffered, now reigns over heaven and earth.  You that are desirous to escape this evil world – see what lies before you – here is winds and floods – a barren wilderness and a burning sun.  Be prepared – but be not discouraged – for here is a hiding place where you shall be safe.  Here is a river of life to cheer you, when all within and all without is dry.  And here is a shadow through which the heat cannot pierce to hurt.  In a word – if you seek Jesus you will find him All in all.  This verse is too full, to be treated in one discourse, but I shall go through it if the Lord permits, before I leave it.
1. Here is a wind spoken of and a hiding place provided.  In fair weather, a hiding place is not thought of, but when a storm arises, everyone is glad of a shelter.  Sinners are like those servants of Pharaoh, who when Moses threatened a tempest, made light of it, and even ventured their people and cattle in the fields.  The wrath of God is denounced against sin, and yet sinners are secure.  But when the Spirit convinces the heart, then all is found true.  O when a change does conviction make, and how welcome would a hiding place be then.  This may be compared to a storm of wind – for:
  1.1 Suddenness
The storm often rises when little expected.  So conviction comes upon a soul at unawares.  Such was Belshazzar’s case – and such the jailer’s though a vessel of mercy.
  1.2 Violence
Who can stand before the whirlwind – it is uncomfortable to face a storm, yet when a building is known to be weak, fear forces people into the air, lest their shelter should fall and bury them in the ruins.  Such is the sinner’s case – he had a refuge before the storm came, some good works or good resolutions, but now he dares not trust – the storm forces him out – and though he cannot stand, he cannot flee, or hide.
  1.3 The wind is searching
It will find its way, as we say, through a crevice.  So is the wind of the Spirit – it pierces the inner man – it reaches to the remembrance of the past and long forgotten sins.  It lays open the soul.
  1.4 [unstopable]
The wind cannot be stopped or moderated by all the art or power of man.  It will blow where it listeth.[1]
Am I speaking to some that are now in the storm?  Behold – a hiding place.  Look to the man in my text, flee to him and you shall be safe.  Faith in his name shall place you out of danger – and as faith grows, you shall be out of fear likewise.  O flee for refuge to the hope set before you.
Dreadful as this storm sounds in the sinner’s ears, it is indeed a merciful dispensation – sent to urge him to flee to the ark before a more dreadful storm comes.  Consider:
1. The person of Christ – how great, and how near – as God and man.
2. The storm he endured for our sakes.
3. His office in heaven:
  3.1 To present and plead his own blood and righteousness for us.
  3.2 To receive and dispense pardon, peace and grace and eternal life.
4. His promises – and these are absolute without exception.
Let others remember – there is a storm of unmixed wrath in reserve – for those who refuse this salvation.  Jeremiah 23:19.[2]

[1] John 3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
[2] Jeremiah 23:19 Behold a whirlwind of the Lord is gone forth in fury, even a grievous whirlwind: it shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked.

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