« הקודםהמשך »
ceiving one hundred pounds per annum for their pretending to preach the doctrinal articles of the Church; when their audience might have been furnished with ministers, of the same hearts and sentiments with themselves, at twelve pounds a year.
END OF THE TENTH VOLUME.
T. Bensley, Printer,
grave is insufficient, who is mutable in his mind, changeable in his will, weak in his government, wavering in his counsel, and fickle in his love, he hides himself under falsehood; and, by exalting fallen man, he brings the sinner to trust in another lie. “Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie.” In exalting the freedom of man's will, the sufficiency of his own obedience, the power of his own arm,
capability of attaining to perfection, and making his salvation to depend on, and his standing to consist in, certain conditions, which were never contained in the scriptures of truth, and which in the gospel he could never point out, this is his attempting to destroy the poor with lying words: which shews us, that forgers of doctrinal lies, those who trust in a lie, and all who make lies their refuge, and who under falsehood hide themselves, are, as well as the Pharisees of old, of their father the devil, and will perish in their own deceivings. For into the heavenly Jerusalem shall nothing enter that loveth and maketh a lie; yea, all sorcerers, whoremongers, and liars, shall have their portion in the lake of fire. These are some of his wicked devices,
To destroy the poor with lying words. The spiritually poor are such as cannot pay their own debts, and so fly to the surety; who can have no confidence in the flesh, nor find a home in themselves, and so embrace the rock, for want of a shelter; who cannot work out a righteousness of
their own, and so fly to grace, and the gift of righteousness, Rom. v. 17; who are humbled to beg the bread of life at mercy's door; and who live dependent on the gracious bounty of their God for every supply, who of his unmerited goodness has provided for the poor. These are the poor persons that he aims to destroy with lying words, even against their true testimony; or, as my text .says, even when the needy speaketh right. The needy are such as depend on the Lord for wisdom, strength, and direction; for supporting, quickening, comforting grace; and for every promised supply of help and strength, to enable them to live to God, to discharge every duty, and to perform every good work. This serves to shew us, that such are not trusted with a stock in hand, nor left to stand or fall by the improvement of their own talents.
These needy ones speak right, when they tell others what God has done for them, revealed to them, and wrought in them; and so contradict his lying words by their own testimony. They speak right, when they tell such vile persons that God never sent them; that they are deceivers, and are deceiving themselves and others; and that they are trying to starve or destroy God's poor and needy. And they speak right, when they call for, and demand, the sincere milk of the word, the pure bread of life, the wholesome truths of the gospel, and to be fed with knowledge and understanding. And if he does not, cannot feed the
sheep, he is an hireling, or a thief, and ought to be put out of the fold; but, if the goats keep him in, let the sheep come from them. He that does not believe, ought not to speak : he that is not in the covenant, should not take it in his mouth. What has he to do to declare God's statutes, who has no law in his heart?
Which brings me to consider the prince that rules in judgment, whose eyes are not dim, and whose circumcised ears hear the Lord's voice, and who hearkens to the joyful sound; who understands knowledge, and whose tongue speaks plainly all the sentiments of his heart; who conceals no part of the counsel of God; who is at a certainty about the state of his soul, and at a point in his doctrine; who speaks in faith, and with confidence; and who declares the whole counsel of God. Or,
Eighthly, according to his last character drawn in my text, he is one of a liberal device. The liberal soul deviseth liberal things. As the son of a King, he has a tincture of divine royalty in him; as a prince, he is one of a princely spirit: he is a noble, and has a nobleness of mind; a ruler, and rules in judgment, magnifying his office, and living up to his royal character. He receives every good and perfect gift from the King of heaven, who gives liberally, and upbraideth not. And, therefore, he keeps public days, a good table, and an open house, to all comers and goers, and all at the sole cost and charge of his royal Father and Sovereign, who is heir of all things, and who detests a niggard, a miser, a covetous servant, a contracted spirit, and a narrow heart, in his household. He is a liberal soul, and is made fat; and as he waters, he is watered also himself. Freely he receives, and he freely gives. He endures all for the elect's sake; he spends all he has for the good of his fellow-citizens, and would spend more, if he had it: he would gladly spend, and be spent, for the good of others, 2 Cor. xii. 15. He does not spin out his text on a wheel, for fear of wanting cordage for the tabernacle; nor refuse to pursue his melody, fearing a future want of wire for his harp. A perpetual spring is a perpetual supply. He shall not be careful in the year of drought; nor shall he know when heat cometh. He deals not out his matter by the ounce; nor watches the clock like the hireling that waits for the shadow. He speaks fully upon each subject; and, if his incomes are great, he continues his speech till midnight, and after this breaks bread, and talks till break of day, and trusts in his Father for a fresh supply. While the cruse springs, he pours away till the vessels are full, and the oil stays, without any reserve for a rainy day, or without any fear of standing still for the want of provision, or of shutting up house for the want of remittances. He gives a portion to seven, and also to eight, without considering the evil of famine or war that may in future be in the earth. The independent, who keeps house at his own ex