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8. We will consider the character of a prince, or one of a princely spirit, who rules in judgment. “ He deviseth liberal things.”
9. His firm standing, or establishment, in his liberal device. “By liberal things shall he stand.”
And, Lastly, draw a few inferences from the whole.
First, then, I am to give you a description of a vile person, who is to go by his proper name, and not to be called liberal.
I am sensible that all men are by natural corruptions vile; but my text speaks only of professors in religion. Saints and hypocrites, ministers of Christ, and ministers of Satan, are the only characters here meant. Hence one sort are called princes that rule in judgment; the others are persons that practise hypocrisy. The one deviseth liberal things, and speaks plainly; the other works iniquity, and speaks villany. The King of Zion is the grand subject of debate in my text; and it is plain that there are no neutrals where he comes: men must be for him, or against him; they must gather with him, or scatter abroad; love him, or hate him. Here are some princes, and some vile ones: some are ruling in judgment under him; others uttering errors against him. The one feeds liberally; the other makes empty the soul of the hungry. The one instructs the poor, and teaches him to speak truth; the other
I am willing to comply with your request: but as the text never struck my mind till last night going to bed, it could not be supposed that I could be very
concise in the delivery of so long a subject; nor can it be expected, as I could not sit down immediately to pen the subject while it was fresh on my mind, but was obliged to preach another discourse before I began to write this, that I can retain, by strength of memory, every particular of a discourse nearly two hours long, so as to express it verbatim as it was delivered. I believe you will have the substance of it, with a little more conciseness or method, and with a good deal less power.
However, I shall confine myself as much as I possibly can to my text. I shall use plain dealing; and, such as it is, I hope you will receive it from one who serves you in Christ Jesus, with as much or more satisfaction than you can express yourselves to be served, by so unworthy a servant as
nor to hypocrites, or to the children of falsehood. These will speak of false preachers, as their fathers did of false prophets. The world loves its own; and there is a wo to the preacher when all men speak well of him. A good name from the world is a sure sign of a false teacher: hence the wo is entailed on all preachers that obtain the world's good report. This command, to call the vile person by his proper name, is given to the princes who rule in judgment, and to the household of faith, ruled by them; who, as soon as they hear this vile person utter error against the Lord, or speak villany, are to mark him, and call him a vile person from the villany that he speaks, and detest and contemn him as such : for by his words he shall be condemned. Nor can they be called true citizens of Zion, or loyal subjects and faithful rulers under Zion's King, except they do.
He that abides in the Lord's tabernacle, and dwells in his holy hill, is one that walks uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. In whose eyes a vile person is contemned, but he honoureth them that fear the Lord, Psalm xv. The second branch of this first head is,
He is not to be called liberal. God, who has fixed his name, calls him a vile person; and we are to know him to be such an one by his doctrine, and to call him by his proper name as soon as we hear him speak, or publish his villany. Not but that a false preacher may be as profuse with his
lies as a prince is with the truth; yea, and more so; for good seedsmen sometimes sleep while the devil, by these men, is busy sowing tares; and the more they labour, the heavier their punishment.
Liberal, in my text, implies free. A liberal soul is one renewed and upheld by a free spirit; who, in my text, is a spiritual prince, the son of a king, and of a queen, by adoption and grace; a free-born son by a spiritual birth; a son of a free woman; a free citizen, made free by the truth, whose heart is enlarged by divine love. But this
is not renewed by the Spirit, but under the influence of Satan. He that utters error against the Lord, cannot be made free by the truth. “The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.” But a false witness is a cloud withont rain, a well without water: his end is to deceive, beguile, starve, and destroy the souls of the poor with lying words, or by speaking villany, and uttering error against the Lord; and, as he makes empty the soul of the hungry, and causes the drink of the thirsty to fail, it is perverting his name to call him liberal. Nor is the distribution of the alms of such a deceiver to be called liberality. Sinners love sinners; the deceiver loves the deceived. All he aims at, in his alms, is to gain a good name, or human applause; or as a bribe to obtain heaven; or to open a way to enthrone himself in the affections of the
that he may circulate his errors among them, and betray their souls into the hand of the father of lies. God