The Rock of Wisdom; An Explanation of the Sacred Scriptures/The Rock of Wisdom - Wikisource, the free online library
THE ROCK OF WISDOM;
BY N. C. CANNON.
Proverbs, 9th Chapter.
TO THE AFRICAN METHODIST CHURCH.
of the righteous judgment of Christ and his saints.
The object of my present address is to invite you to private and public prayer—to urge your frequent attendance at the house of God, and your devout use of the evangelical faith with which we are blessed.
My design at present, is to recommend and exhort you to constant and fervant prayer in private, indeed, my brethren, the great end of my preaching will be accomplished, if I am made the instrument of awakening in your hearts a spirit of earnest supplication and you become a praying people; Peter was prevented from sinking by the supporting arm of Christ. Blind Bartemus was restored to sight, and Stephen fell asleep in Jesus with a calm and forgiving spirit; indeed, I know not how to give you an adequate representation of the prevailing efficacy of fervant prayer in the name of Christ. It besieges heaven with a holy violence, beseeching God in the language of the wrestling patriarch, "I will not let thee go except thou bless me," Gen 31 c 26 v., we know that it has stayed the pestilence, Num. 16 c. 44, 45 v. that it has caused the Sun to stand still in the heavens. Josh. 10 c. 13. 14 v. opened the prison door, Acts 9 c. 33, 40 v. nay it has been the means of melting the stubborn soul, of binding: up the broken hearted, of changing the proud sinner into an humble saint and of restoring to polluted man the lost image of his God. Do you ask when is the proper season for prayer? I answer in the Apostle's words. "pray without ceasing." 1 Thes. 5 c. 17 v. I mean not that you should be always upon your knees or always lifting up your voice to heaven, but that you should constantly cherish a prayerful spirit, and be ready to frame a prayer from the circumstances about you.
Are you blessed with temporal mercies, with an easy competence, a smiling family and a fair reputation, pray that these blessings may not prove a snare to you, by robbing the gracious giver of your heart, and you have your "good things" in this world only. Are you tried in your health, in your circumstances, or in your family; pray that the will of God may be accomplished in the dispensation, that you may discern the drift of his providence, may meet it with humble resignation and reap the blessing. Are you called to undertake some arduous duty or to encounter some severe temptation; pray, that God's strength may be perfected in your weakness, that his grace may be sufficient for you, and that you may come off more than conqueror through him that loved you.
Are you going to public worship; pray, that your hearts may be devoutly disposed, that you may enjoy God's gracious presence in his sanctuary, and worship him in spirit and in truth. Are you leaving the church; pray, that you may carry home a blessing, and that you may evince in your temper and in your lives that you have indeed been with Jesus. "Begin the day with prayer;" it is the golden key that unlocks heaven to pour down blessings on you; and close the day with prayer, it is the same golden key that locks you up under the safe protection of God.
Pray for your friends that they may be near and dear to God; pray for your enemies that their hearts may be changed and their souls saved; pray for the progress of the Gospel of Christ throughout the world, "that the word of the Lord may have free course and be glorified," 2 Thes. 3 c. 1 v. pray for the ministers of the gospel, that the pleasure of the Lord may prosper in the land; pray to the Lord of the harvest to send forth more laborers, Mat. 9 c. 38 v., and when you have the nearest access to the throne of grace, and feel your hearts in a heavenly frame, pray for your own minister in particular that his soul may prosper and be in health, that God would teach him so that he may teach others, and may become the honored though humble instrument of bringing many souls to glory.
I shall endeavor to give a small example of the minister of God; it is to love God with all his heart and when in the like condition he will do what is right before God and man, then he will not say one thing and do another for he will then see that death is nigh, for the tree must first be made good and then the fruit will be good, Mat 7 c. 12 v. then if so obedient is the tree and charity is the fruit it bears, this is the love of God in man for Christ who died to give life and liberty to all mankind, even the publicans and harlots that said they would not do the will of God and after a long time they repented of that evil, then returned and went into the field of charity bearing the good fruit of the kingdom of heaven, a great wonder indeed, to man, that poor man who now declares that he is called of God to preach his everlasting gospel to the nations of the earth and has said that he was to do the great will of God, and behold he has left one half of God's Israel behind, then he must lie unto God, oh what is the state of the lying man that well lie unto God! this is he who said father I will go and went not into the great field of charity, but standing outside of the wall of God, merits no admittance, but his sentence is down, down to hell; oh ye sons of Ethiopia awake unto righteousness! for Jesus saith come unto me and if the ministers will not preach the word nor come to God, you all come and escape hell's dark gates, for in that awful day this is their portion, the wicked is cast down into hell Psalm 9, 17 v. and P. 11 , 6 v. upon the wicked he shall rain fire and brimstone and a horrible tempest, this shall be the portion of their cup; two great wonders in heaven to see the poor and the outcast and the despised standing in white at the right hand of God, exalted to the throne of glory, crowned in endless bliss; the second wonder, those whom we condemned in our judgment for to go down to hell; see! oh see arrayed in white robes and palms in their hands going the great rounds of eternal bliss, these are the two great wonders in heaven; and now the third wonder is to see tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands whom we judged to be unworthy fight for the kingdom, but in God's righteous judgment they will be condemned to blow the awful flames of hell fire; oh man, this is the great wonder man will see, and now is the time to seek for pardon and live with God while he is calling, come, oh come, and be liberated for there is a time coming when the great door of pardon will be closed forever and ever, Deut. 32 c. 22 v. my anger shall burn in the lowest hell, Rev 9 c. 6 v. and in those days shall men seek death and shall not find it, and shall desire to die but death shall flee from them, Rev. 20 c. 14 v. death and hell were cast into the lake of fire, this is the second death, and whosoever was not found written in the book of life, was cast into the lake of fire, their punishment will be forever and ever; oh that the Lord would have mercy on a falling world of mankind!
The great knowledge of God, of the independence of God's holy word to the different ministers of the gospel of the everlasting kingdom, the way and manner he enables them to exhibit his holy word, by which they congregate to hear the word with joy, that they can see light in his light, then by faith to fall out with their sins and then to be made the happy partakers of his kingdom; this is the great state of joy to some, and then the ministers as brethren will see eye to eye, that God will enable us to be true and faithful in preaching his great counsel to all the nations of the earth, and then we will see the glorious hope of our labors to the general assembly and to the church of the first born, which are written in heaven and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the just men made perfect, Heb. 12 c. 22, 24 v. and now my dear readers try to read this with patience and diligence so that you may get a proper understanding of your great duty that you owe to God, the great duty and zeal of a minister to love God with all his heart and his neighbor as himself, Ps, 42, 7, when we go into the holy temple we ought always to take counsel of God, and then we clear ourselves of all mens blood, for when we see that we are called by God to preach we ought always to leave all the Devil's work behind, for God is in his holy temple, deep calleth unto deep, at the noise of thy water spout all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me, this is what gave great comfort to Job when finding that God was still with him, Job 1, 16, while he was yet speaking there came also another and said that fire of God was falling from heaven, but Job still had the fire in his heart, by this Job had pleasure that the world could not take away, Ps. 87 and 6, 8, 7 vs. thou hast laid me in the lowest pit of darkness, and thy deep wrath lieth hard upon me, and thou hast afflicted me with all thy waves selah, thou hast put away mine acquaintances far from me, Ps. 69, 1 v. again, save me oh God for the waters are come into my soul, I sink into the mire and I see none to save but God, Luk. 5 c. 4 v. now when he had left off speaking, he said unto Simon launch out into the deep and let down your net for a draught, and Simon answering said unto him master we have toiled all night and taken nothing, nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net, and when they had done this they enclosed a great multitude of fish, and their net broke and they beckoned unto their partners who were in the other ship, that they should come and help them, and they came and filled both ships. There is a temporal scheme whereby man's body may be filled with the productions of the earth, and in the deep sea through their skill the fish might be caught to nourish our bodies, thus we see the love of God unto man, and now these two ships may represent the two covenants, the first ship under the Mosaical dispensation in awaiting a long time for the promise to be fulfilled, and the people in that dispensation to begin to sink in their minds, to be weary, but in due time God's faithful elect called for the second ship, even the lion of the tribe of Judea, who peradventure even as the prophet Joel said, (3 c. 16 v.) the lord also shall raise out of Zion and utter his voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth shall shake, but the Lord will be the hope of his people thus we may see that the two ships are filled; when Christ was on the cross the heavens and the earth shook, the temple was rent from top to bottom, and the heathen idolators with their idol gods fell as flat as a dead man to the ground, the Jewish government fell asunder so that God opened a new and living way from earth to heaven, now in comes the gospel ship sailing with ease, and she now waites for passengers, and every one that comes has got a glorious reward and the best of all she has no respect of person, and here is one grand thing to the nations of the earth no embargo can be laid on this ocean to prevent the emigrant from entering in that happy city, no freezing in winter, December is as pleasant as May, and they are happy in him, now it is well for us all to consider this one point for with one blood we are all made and by the blood of Christ all that is saved must come in at that door; I speak unto wise men judge what I say, thus the heavens and the earth were finished and all the parts of them, and on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made and he rested on the seventh day from all his works which he had made and God blessed the seventh day — as it is said behold the stone which I lay before Joshua the one stone shall have seven eyes, represents the seven spirits of God in discharging their regular duties through the rivers and seas of his great knowledge and love to man, the river that went out from the east of Eden to water the garden, and from thence it was parted and came into four heads, then it may be said respecting the four quarters of the world in which the few evangelists accomplished the will of God, in gathering of the fish in the gospel, and the name of the second river in Zion, that which encompasses the whole land of Ethiopia, this river is said to enter the Euphrates which can go to any part of the world; now the fish that these rivers and seas contain are of various kinds, but all are created by God himself, some black, some gray, some red, some white, some pied, some blue, some grizly, some mudy coarsely and now these colors are a wonder to man, now the fish cannot live without breath although they are in the salt water they cannot be preserved by the salt until they are taken out killed and cleaned, and the good put in vessels and preserved by salt and the bad cast away, this is according to our Lord's words when he said gather the good in vessels and cast the bad away, now in a spiritual sense we would wish to view some of the wise designs of God in creating man in his own image, in the likeness of himself, for such a glorious purpose that he might enjoy his love for ever, according to history our fore parent was of a red color, but that did not retain God's love from him nor did God look upon him with disdain, until he violated the glorious commandment which was given, and then darkness and shame overspread them that they became so unfit for paradise, that God drove them out of the garden and the earth was cursed for his sake; when we look at these things we may easily account for the different changes and colors, from Adam's posterity to the rising generation the many ages and sizes and colors, male and female and every one of these by God's own word has got an immortal soul; and he has only commanded one thing of them, and that is the creatures duty to the creator, and among these people some is called white people and some says black people, and some says grey people, and some says red people, and some says yellow people, and some says hairy people, but young Timothy said the sons of Ethiopia, the sable sons of Ethiopia, this is according to the account of the river in that part of the world, and our best way to get understanding is to read the scriptures of truth and pray to God with a pure heart, and then all the mysteries will be unfolded unto us for Christ saith, 1 John 15 c. 7 v. if ye abide in me and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will and it shall be given you, so this proves that we ought to take God's word for our guide, for God has many witnesses, Rev. 11 c. 4 v. here is two great witnesses, these are the two olive trees and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth, in answer to them witnesses, Zach. 4 c. 11 v. then answered I and said unto him what are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick, and upon the left side thereof, first the one on the left side I consider the old testament, the candlestick was a light with it, the one on the right, side the new testament and the great light with it which Christ gave at his death in order to enlighten all the world, that they might be enabled to keep his holy commandment, now in a spiritual sense we are considered the salt of the earth, therefore the ministers ought to look well to their duty, for Christ has said that he would make fishers of men, ministers I mean, if the fish cannot be saved withont salt we cannot expect our hearers can be saved without grace, and while we stand to preach the word in its purity, we ought at all times public and private to live such a faithful life as to keep our garments unspotted from the world, then God will enable us as ministers to correct all errors, and to give a correct judgment as pertaining to the souls of men, and this is to be done without respect of person, for that man who makes a respect of persons is a judas, he has betrayed his trust and such as do that may read their own sentence in the 9th Psalm 17th verse, this is a lesson for every minister to remember when he administers the sacrament of our Lord, Ps. 68, v. 31, seven hundred and forty-one years before Christ a prayer offered up unto God for the moving of the ark, and his covenant servant when calling the assembly together discovered the light break forth like the sun in his meredian splendor at high twelve, they sung the hymn on the glorious presence of God, because of the temple at Jerusalem shall kings bring presents unto to it, it appeared that peace was about to be proclaimed among the nations, such was the presence of God, so was the presence of God powerfully displayed among the faithful elect, and princes shall come out of Egypt, Ethiopia shall soon stretch her hands unto God, this has a reference to the church and the great display she will make, it was an astonishment to the dark age, the masculine which enabled the feminine to stand on her course until now, for the wise man Soloman said, Sol. 6 c. 10 v. who is she that looketh forth bright as the morning, fair as the moon, that was under the law clear as the noon day sun and terrible as an army with banners, this is under the gospel dispensation, now in addition to all this I shall give another proof, Mat. 2 c. 15 v. out of Egypt have I called my son, this is a proof unto us that God will ever defend his church, although wicked men have hewn out many systems with Tom Paine and Voltaire, and with all the engines of hell, with these powers and skill by night and by day to hedge her way, but through it all she has raised her topsail to glory and now holding out the sceptre unto all nations, and says peace and glad tidings and joy to all people, this is enough to cause us underlings to believe in God, and looking unto that just day of deliverance, Ps. 89, 4 v. the virtue and glory of the church, the increasing comfort of the members there, of this show unto us how holy we ought Jo be in preaching the word in its purity, for none but the pure in heart shall see God's face in the kingdom, Acts 8 c. 27 v. the mighty God displayed his power and he arose and went and behold a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candas queen of Ethiopia, who had the charge of all her treasures and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, this denotes the ministers of the gospel and the church under his charge, for the angel of the Lord spoke unto Philip saying arise and go towards the south, this south wind represents the favor of the Lord upon his people, and while we keep in the warm climate of his favor we shall always be fruitful to his honor and glory, and to the joy of our own souls in a blessed eternity as all the wise and faithful, but what sayeth the word is nigh unto thee even in thy mouth and in thy heart that is the word of faith which we preach, for the scripture saith whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed, for religion is the life of a man I speak to wise men judge ye what I say, my dear readers look well to the true points for we must raise up or sink down: 1451 years before the coming of Christ his faithful prophets stood like unto wise men, and held up the ensign unto the people to keep them in good heart, Deut. 29 c. 29 v. the secret things belongeth unto the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belongeth unto us and our children forever, that we may do all the words of his law, Acts 7 c. 20 v. in which time Moses was born and was exceeding fair and nourished up in his fathers house three months, and when he was cast out Pharaoh's daughter took him up and nourished him for her own son, and Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in word and in deed, and when he was full forty years old it came into his heart to visit his brethren, the children of Israel; in this how plain it is for us to discover the great wisdom of God to fallen man, in laying the plan of the salvation of their souls, by taking a weak instrument like unto dust only being annointed by his grace, to stand and prove a wonder to the world, on which rock the right side being laid up that never has been turned over since there it remains a secret to the world, and is only known to God and his people.
And now for another strong proof, Ex. 36 c. 2, 4 vs. and the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire, out of the midst of the burning bush; this was a wonder indeed,this bush may be said to represent the church of God, being in a flame of fire and the bush not consumed, so was the church in her minor state by being afflicted with sorrow and great trouble, and they saw no end to their affliction which caused them to cry mightily to God, with a heart unto righteousness, and when such a petition came before God, it moved him to compassion and the answer was such, I have heard the cries of my people and have come down to deliver them; and now we see a temporal salvation for his enemies to behold, for he has chosen one to lead his people, God called out of the midst of the bush and said Moses, Moses; he answered here I am; he said unto him draw not nigh hither, put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standeth is holy ground, here you will please to observe,the Lord informed Moses who he was and in whose fidelity he might confide in, as being able to bring him through, moreover he said I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham,the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, and Moses hid his face for he was afraid to look upon God, and the Lord said I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and now according to this, we will ask the question, where is Egypt? I answer wherever the enlightening grace of God has not its influence, I say the whole world or that part of it which is out of Christ, and when Moses started his glorious journey out of Egypt, while the angel came down in a cloud to be his light, and at the same time dark to his enemies, but he was enabled to travel in peace and good courage by putting his trust in God, this is some thing to the christian traveller, now while the world is in darkness the christian has a light which the world knows not of, and when Moses came down to the Red Sea the children of Israel began to grow uneasy, but he with good courage as a man of God, tells them in the boldest manner to stand still and see the salvation of God, hold your peace for God shall fight for you; and now we can discover the great salvation of God which in this day gives cause to take courage, for God is the same. Thus we see Moses bringing the children of Israel on to the Red Sea, and then stretch his hand out over the sea, and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land and the waters was divided, and the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon dry ground, and the waters were as a wall unto them on the right hand and on the left, and when they landed on the other shore Moses streched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea turned to its channel, when the morning appeared the Egyptians fled against it, and the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea, and the waters returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen and all the hosts of Pharaoh that came down into the sea, after that there remained not so much as one of them, thus God saved Israel that day and the Israelites saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore. This ought to give us great encouragement even to this day, for we may consider ourselves in like manner as the Israelites as they travelled in the wilderness, and found favor with God, we believe that we can do the same for Moses has travelled through them, the sea is a figure of our last end when the gospel shall reach the end of the world, and all the nations are warned, then God will close the door of mercy and when we come down to the sea of death, and then we shall have a dry road through and Christ himself shall be our light, then we shall land safe on the other shore, look back my soul and wonder to see the Egyptian sinners beg, find them out of Christ, for one sin unrepented of is sufficient to sink a man to hell, notice that my dear readers, for this subject is of great importance for it calls for that holy number of perfect men to represent the church of Christ, at different periods of time are to let us see the glory of God displayed in the heads of those ministers that he has given charge over his little flock, for he is the great shepherd and bishop of our souls salvation, now let us take encouragement and look forward for the promises for they are all sure, his eyes is as a flame of fire, too penetrating to behold; if we enter the comforter under his banner and fight the good fight of faith, if we perform our duty well as officers under his command, if we overcome the enemies of our souls and of his church, our happiness will be complete, but how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, Heb. 2 c. 5 v. these remarks from different authors might be considered correct according to scripture, Christ is my only author for Jesus Christ will crown all them who believe on him with an everlasting crown, for I take notice of two sorts of crowns a regal or imperial crown and a crown of victory, this last is to be understood in this place as it was customary among the ancients, to crown a hero after a victorious campaign, this crown was not only a badge of high honor it also conferred a dignity and privileges which the conqueror enjoyed in preference to his fellow citizens, but these were only perishable crowns on earthly privileges, the Lord Jesus promised a crown of life with the privileges of immortality in his everlasting kingdom, and his peculiar favor is here offered to the gospel minister as the reward of being faithful until death, these perogations are not merely citizenship in heaven, but titles to large possessions, peculiar favor on spiritual employment in the most important concerns in Christ's kingdom; prayer is now the great object of all our comfort, God bearing witness unto us both with signs and wonders, this is the great question, how shall we get to heaven? how shall we escape hell? that awful lake of hell fire! and how shall we escape that dark place of purgatory, which has been a wonder to our world, which men have been called upon to flee from that place, and I never have seen the man as yet that could give me the laws of it, I think it would be right for us to be acquainted with the laws before we go there, if there is such a place, or else we might be sadly disappointed, for I think according to scripture all the purgatory men will find, is where the rich man lifted up his eyes, I know of no other place in the bible, where there is no law given there is no violation, that is well known to all intelligent men, for our father Adam did not violate the law before it was given unto him, but after the law was given he made a violation of that law, and then he found himself condemned, and when called on by the Almighty he made his public excuse, and said the woman that thou hast given me did partake and I did eat, as much as if he had told the Almighty if he had not have given him the woman he should not have violated the law, this was the first excuse that was made use of, but it did not answer, nor no excuse will answer us but do what God has demanded of us, now judge for yourselves as wise men, that must meet me at the tribunal bar of God, and there to answer for the hearing of the gospel, and I for preaching of the gospel; now unless Jesus Christ in word or the holy bible, has shewed us the place called good purgatory as some people have called it, me thinks that place will be in hell, without they first give us the laws or some assurance of that place, if so it would be better for them to stop in time and come back again to the gate of repentance, for the man is something like unto the camel, there was a gate in the city of Jerusalem called the needle eye just large enough for the camel to go through himself without his load, and when conducted to the gate he could not enter in on the account of his load, and when ordered by his conductors to kneel down then taking the load from off him, then the camel went through with haste into the city, and so it is now with man from the fall of our fore parent, he is loaded with iniquity and full of sin, and now he may sail east, west, north or south and the wall of God's power so much surpasses the wall of Jerusalem, that he cannot enter in unless he first comes in the way of repentance, by kneeling down as the camel did and the load of sin shall be taken off, and proving faithful you shall enter into the city of God's rest, for repentance is essentially necessary for all men, Titus 2 c. 11 v. the grace of God that bringeth forth salvation hath appeared unto all men, and if so we all ought to comply with God's word, for the light is for us to see how to walk that we need not stumble, and the grace teaches us to do his will, and it is in our power to come to God, and if we do not come this light which he has given us will become darkness unto us, for it is well known that Christ is the saviour of the world, and it is in our power to choose or to refuse and while we have the sun we better come to the gospel feast, as the poet said while the lamp holds out to burn the vilest sinner may return; this is to be understood while God's spirit is a striving with man, this is called the lamp of grace, Gen. 6 c. 3 v. and the Lord said my spirit shall not always strive with man, for by this ye see that he gave the antediluvian world a space, and they did not do it, and then the lamp of grace was out and they did live a space, Luke 18 c. 3 v. there was a widow in that city and she had come unto him saying, avenge me of mine adversary, and he would not tor a while, but afterwards said within himself, though I fear not God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me 1 will avenge her, least by her continued coming she weary we; and the Lord said hear what the unjust judge judgeth: this woman I compare to the church of God, and the judge that speaketh to her is compared to her opponent, that is an enemy to the church, he will not serve God himself, yet he will do many things for the church, this is to get a name among men, this is only for the body but will not save the soul, Luke 18 c. 9 v. and he spake this parable unto certain who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others, oh what a mistake to their own soul! when seeing themselves shut out, now we see the need of prayer from a pure heart, for God is a spirit and seeks such to worship him in spirit and in truth, and here is a lesson of prayer, Mat. 6 c. 9 v. the manner we should pray, the duty of the creature to the creator, prayer to God is the duty of all men, we live and move and have our being in him, every good and perfect gift proceeds from him, man ought always to pray and not to faint, for we are so weak that we always need mercy we are so weak that we always need help, we are so empty that we always need supply, we are so exposed that we always need protection, how reasonable then is it that we should continue in prayer, but we greatly need direction in prayer, we know not how to pray as we ought, therefore Christ has been pleased to teach us in these words, which contain an excellent pattern for prayer, after this manner we are to pray, now as many persons constantly use this prayer, it way be very useful to explain it because it may be feared that some repeat these words without knowing the true meaning, which is formality at best, and some contradict every part of the prayer by their wicked lives, which is base hypocrisy, may we therefore be assisted by the good spirit rightly to understand it so that whenever we use it hereafter, we may offer up a reasonable spiritual sacrifice acceptable unto God through Jesus Christ by saying: Our father who art in heaven, we should always begin our prayer with proper thoughts of God's will concerning us, and what thought of him is so proper as those suggested by these words, namely his goodness and his greatness, as a father he is good as a heavenly father he is great and glorious, thus we are taught to approach him both with confidence and with reverence as the great creator of all men, that God may in a general sense be called the father of all, but it is in a high and more endearing sense that he is called a father being reconciled to believing sinners through the blood of Jesus Christ, God is angry with the wicked every day he doth not look down upon them with approbation, nor do they look up to him with confidence and love, therefore this prayer is not fit for the use of a mail who lives in sin, whosoever is carnal minded is an enemy to God, and how dare the swearer, the liar, the drunkard, the fornicator and all that abominable crew, to call God a father, God will not own the relation of such men's prayer; might they not rather cry to their father who dwelleth in hell fire, the Devil, for Christ said to such persons ye are of your father the Devil, and the Just of your father ye will do, John 8 c. 44 v. he was a murderer from the beginning, for he is a liar and the father of it, and tell me what intelligent gentleman or lady ought to have communion with such a being as that, and an evil spirit as called, I often thought to myself if the Europeans had that inveteracy against the Devil, winch they have against the sons of Ethiopia, they would all depart from iniquity and get safe into the kingdom of eternal bliss, I have often wondered in my mind to see the union that did exist between the Indians and the Europeans, although for many years they have been a scalping of them, the Ethiopians have been here all the time laboring for them, and what they did not give in meal they gave in malt, and they hold us all to be aliens in body, but we by the grace of God feel ourselves to be citizens in heart, God will hear our groans and cries by night and day and dark as our skins be, our oath will stand on a square with him so that we can part on the level and view the sun that high meredian I suppose, this is something like the the prodigal son, gone away from home, the Indians I mean, when returning they killed the kid for them, we have been here all the time and we got no kid of man, we went to the field and searched and found the pearl of great price; that is the way we have lived so long, and by it we do expect to live forever, but the best way is to convince a person that he is a sinner and knows nothing about the enlightening grace of God, by showing him that there is no other way to come to God only by repentance; by coming to Christ he is enlightened to know that Christ is the Saviour, and by faith he draws nigh unto God, through Christ he is reconciled to God, his anger is then turned away, and lo! he comforts him, and then with joy he looks up to God as a merciful God, forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin, for Christ has received him, through his attoning blood he is giving power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe in his name, to such only is the spirit of adoption given whereby they cry Abba Father, for it is one thing to use the word father and another to approach him as affectionate children come to a tender parent, with a persuasion of being able and willing to supply their wants; to such persons his name is full of comfort for they are emboldened to believe that if earthly parents, though evil, know how to give good gifts to their children, God our heavenly father is much more disposed to do them good, and to bless them with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus; but his name teaches us also the greatness of God; children then ought to treat their earthly parents with such respect; but what reverence is due to the father of spirits whose throne is in the heavens, not that God is confined to heaven, but he is said to dwell there because there he displays the brightest beams of his glorious majesty, and there angels and saints bow before his feet with the four and twenty elders cast their crowns saying holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty! Such thoughts should possess our minds whenever we say our father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; this petition is placed first to show us that our first and chief desire should be that God might be glorified in our souls, the name of God signifies himself as he is pleased to make himself known to us by this title, his word and his work in his gospel, more especially all his glorious perfections shine and unite there, he shows himself a just God and Saviour; to hallow God's name is to sactify it, to hold it sacred; for to sanctify any thing is to sit it apart from every profane and common use; in this petition then we pray that God would enable us to glorify him in all things, whereby he makes himself known, we must glorify him in our hearts by high and holy reverential thoughts of him; we must glorify him in our language by always speaking of him in the most solemn manner; we must glorify him in our actions not only in those which regard sacred things, but in those also which relate to the world, for whether we eat or drink all should be done with a view to the glory of God, and how far from this are many who say this prayer. Think of this you who curse and swear, get drunk, tell lies, violate the sabbath day with all your midnight crimes, which are known to God; you take God's name in vain when you say in a thoughtless manner, God bless us, oh God! or oh Christ! is this to hallow the name of God? is it praying, or swearing? for these two cannot agree together; but let every one that fears God remember that the glory of God is the first and chief thing that we are to ask for and to desire, and to ask even before our own good, that we and many others do this as we ought, in the next place to pray thy kingdom come.
This does not mean the kingdom of God's providence which rules over all his works; it cannot be said to come for it is come already and will never cease, but it means that spiritual kingdom which Christ came to set up in the world; that kingdom of the Mesiah which the pious Jews had long expected, and which when this prayer was given to the disciples it was said to be at hand; this kingdom of Christ did come, soon after it was set up when Christ assended up to heaven and the spirit decended from heaven, but still this prayer is as necessary as ever, for we pray that this kingdom may be established in our own hearts and extended to all the world; the kingdom of Christ is erected on purpose to destroy the kingdom of Satan, the Devil has usurped a dominion over all mankind and though he does not now possess the bodies of men as once lie did, yet he rules in the hearts of the children of disobedience who are led captive by him at his will, and in some parts of the world lie has actually worshipped in order to destroy this kingdom of Christ, but Jesus Christ came into the world with such power that he overcame him in all his attempts to seduce him, and on the cross he spoiled the principalities and power, and conquered, and deprived Satan of his power and led captivity captive, and wherever be sent his gospel he proclaimed liberty, free grace unto Jew and Gentile, and whenever he gives his grace to any person, there Satan is dethroned, and being made willing to submit to Christ as a believer that is translated out of Satan's kingdom of sin and darkness into the holy kingdom of God's dear son; when we say thy kingdom come, we pray that the light and power of liberty and glory of Christ's spiritual kingdom may be more fully experienced in our own hearts, for as one observes in worship, we pay our homage to God in the world, in the sacrament we renew our oath of allegiance; in alms giving we pay him tribute; in prayer we ask his leave, and praise is our rent to the great God from whom we hold all our rights; thus also we express our soul's desire for our poor fellow sinners, deeply affected with the state of the heathen Jews, Mahometans and wicked men; we, as men fearing God pour forth our souls in holy longing for their conversion, earnestly desiring the joyful day when it shall be said, the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdom of our God and his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever, Rev. 11 c. 1 5 v. "thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven." God the glorious maker of the world has aright to, govern all his subjects, and it is his will that they should prosper in the ruling of his creatures, and it is obeyed by them all except by man and the devil, for God has made known unto us his will concerning us in his word; the law of the ten commandments showeth what obedience he requireth of us as fellow creatures, we have rendered ourselves incapable of perfect obedience to it, so of obtaining life by it; God has graciously given us the law of faith or the gospel of salvation by Jesus Christ, and this is his commandment that we should believe in the name of his son Jesus Christ and love one another; but natural men refuse obedience to this, he is either unconcerned about salvation or dislikes the way of it; while he remains in this state he cannot do the will of God in any respect acceptably, for without it is impossible to please God, in short, the carnal mind is enmity against God, the will of the flesh is directly contrary to the will of God, but it accords with the will of Satan, sinners being led captive by him at his will.
How necessary then is this petition, "thy will be done," it includes first a desire to know it, as the Psalmist's prayer 143 c. teach me to do thy will for thou art my God, or as converted Saul said Lord, what wilt thou have me to do. Second: a heart to do it and a heart on which God has written His laws. I remember a person who told me when he was teaching his children to say this prayer, and when he came to this petition, thy will be done, the child refused to say it, and would have it, my will be done; this poor simple child was far more honest than many of us who say thy will be done, and yet determined to follow our own will; but the real christian's desire in heart is, oh that there was such a heart in me, to fear God and keep his commandments always, Deut. 5 c. 17, 20 vs. We pray for strength to do the will of God, for to will may be present and yet how to perform that which is good, we may not find; but knowing that the Lord worketh in his people both to will and to do, we here ask by prayer that he would make us perfect in every good work, to do his will working in us that which is well pleasing in his sight through Jesus Christ; this petition also includes holy submission to the will of his providence, however afflicting, and that we may learn to bear it without murmuring, knowing that it is his will and for our good ; we pray for grace to do all this, in imitation of the spirits of the just men made perfect, and if the sinless angels in heaven say "God's will be done in heaven," the angels that excel in strength to do his commandments hearkening to the voice of his word, they do it humbly, cheerfully, dilligently, constantly, and so do glorified saints in heaven for there his servants shall serve him.
"Give us this day our daily bread;" this petition implies our dependence on God for our food and raiment, and all support and comforts of life; man as a fallen creature has forfeited the good things of this life and deserve to be deprived of them all, the earth was cursed for man's sake, therefore in sorrow and labor he eats, but it is through the goodness of God that he has power to labor, and that rain from heaven and fruitful seasons are granted; it is he who gives us our corn and wine and oil, and though the poor man works hard for his daily bread, it is no less the gift of God; to him we also owe the appetite that makes our food pleasant and the power of digestion that makes it nourishing. Moderation in our desires is here expressed, we are not taught to ask for riches and honors, they are often the destructive snares of those who possess them, but we may lawfully ask for food and raiment, for our heavenly father knoweth that we have need of these things, and having these things we ought to be contented; we are not to ask for weekly bread or monthly bread, but for daily bread, for we must not boast of to-morrow nor depend on future years, but live in daily dependance on God without anxious care for a future time; sufficient for the day is the evil thereof, and sufficient for the day is the good thereof, so that we are to exercise ourselves in daily prayer, and receive every meal and every morsel as the gift of a good God which will make it sweet.
The christian will also ask for bread for his soul as well as body; Christ is to the believers soul what food is to the body, he is the bread of life, and if we are born of God we shall daily desire to feed upon him in our hearts by faith with thanksgiving. "And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors;" this petition is joined to the last by the word, and, which may teach us that without the forgiving of sin the comforts of this life can do us no real good, Math. 8 c. 38 v. for what does a man profit if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul; here we set the value of a soul, it cannot be estimated; millions of worlds would come short in redeeming of it, and yet the blood of one man, Christ Jesus, is calculated to redeem the whole world if they would only comply with it; what an easy task for man! every man is a sinner, there is not a creature who wants daily bread that does not also want daily pardon, and yet how few are sensible of it; sin is here compared to a debt, there is a debt of duty that we owe to God and in case of failure we contract a new debt to the justice of God; the debt we owe to .God exposes us to misery, and be it remembered that we are not able to pay a single farthing of this debt, if ever we are delivered from going to the prison of hell, Ps. 9 c. 17 v. it must be by a free pardon, for as we here pray, forgive us our debts, or as it is elsewhere, forgive us our tresspasses, God will have no compassion; we can make no amends; it is not in taking care to contract a new debt that will discharge an old one, this will not do with our neighbors nor will it do with God's free forgiveness, nor will it prevent our punishment, but though a sinner is justified freely it is only through the redemption that is in Christ; with believing and with penitent hearts we must go to God by Jesus Christ and plead for his mercy for Christ's sake, he will then pardon; at the same time we are here taught the necessity of a forgiving temper, as we forgive our debtors, that is as we forgive those who have injured us in our property, person or name; not that our kindness to another deserves forgiveness at the hand of God, but that we cannot expect pardon from God while we refuse it to others who ask us for it, we may humbly hope that if we are enabled by grace to forgive others, God whose thoughts and ways are infinitely above ours will not reject our prayers for pardon and mercy through Jesus Christ.
"And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil" of every kind: Those whose sins are forgiven will be afraid of sinning again, knowing the power of temptation, we pray to be kept from it, temptation is any thing which makes a trial of us and proves what is in our heart; temptation is not a sin, but by yielding to the temptor, there we condemn the word; resist the Devil and he shall flee from you; afflictions are God's trials of us for our good but all Satan's temptations are to lead us to evil; ail who use this prayer are afraid of sin and lie will offer up his petition to God that he would keep him out of the way of such trials as would be too hard for him, and grant him sufficient strength through grace to resist and overcome the Devil, the evil one who goeth about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour, not who he can devour, but he must first divide the mind before he can enter; this is well known, but this must be accompanied with watching and avoiding all wilful occasions of sin, or else these words do but mock God.
The conclusion of the prayer is, "for thine is the kingdom, (Eccl. 12 c. 13 v.) and the power and the glory forever, amen;" this shows why we should pray to God and why we hope to be heard; the kingdom is his, God is king of all the world and has an undoubted right to dispose of all things; the power is his as well as the authority, he therefore can answer our prayer when it is from a a pure heart, this is a well grounded hope of the christian life, whatever God does, it is for his own glory and our good, and if we are disposed to give him all the glory of what he does for us, we may hope that our petition will be granted, this kingdom, this power, this glory are forever, he will never want the power to help, and if we are saved we shall never cease to give him praise; the force of the whole prayer lies in the first and last words of it, our father and amen; in the first we apply to God in Christ as reconciled to us, in the last we set our seal to the whole and say amen, so let it be, so we humbly hope it shall be for Christ's sake, amen.
How awfully is this prayer abused by ignorant people, not ignorant by God's will but by their own wicked words, it is a kind of charm and it is enough to say the words without considering the true sense of its meaning. Oh! leave off, as you love your soul of mocking God by thoughtless prayer; can you call him a father while you obey the Devil? will you say hallowed be thy name and yet profane it daily? what do you care for his kingdom while you belong to another f or talk of God's will without wishing to do it? do you not forget him when you eat and drink and get drunk, and curse and swear? are you not careless about a forgiveness of your sins, adding daily to the dreadful debt and perhaps living in malice and wrath with your neighbors; how can you pray that God will not lead you into temptation when you are running wilfully into the way of it, frequenting the ale house, the play house, the ballroom, the horse race, and all your midnight crimes; remember the broad eye of the supreme judge of the highest court, is looking right down into the heart, and will shortly summon you to his awful bar, and there to render a strict account for those deeds; then your gold and your silver is dead, your soul must stand the test, up to heaven or down to hell, and to there sink with the company of the lewd, the profane, the drunkard and the adulterer. Dear fellow creatures permit me as a friend indeed, to say unto you that thus contradicting your prayer, by your lives and actions, daily cheating and defrauding, you cannot expect to be heard: nay God may justly say unto you at last, out of thine own mouth will I condemn thee thou wicked servant, Mat. 22 c. 13 v. bind him hand and foot, but oh God forbid that this should be the sentence of our dear hearers; may they speedily return and fly to Jesus and find shelter; think over this prayer before you sleep the sleep of death; you must use it again and again, and beg God to give you grace to enable you to use it with understanding and sincerity, that the rich blessing asked for in it may be yours and God be glorified in your everlasting salvation, Luke 10 c. 30 v. a certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jerico and fell among thieves which stripped him of his raiment and wounded him, and departed leaving him half dead; a certain priest went that way, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side; likewise a Levite came and looked on him and passed by on the other side; a certain Samaritan who journied came where he was and when he saw him he had compassion on him, bound up his wounds, poured in oil and wine, sat him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him; when he departed he took out two pence and gave them to the host and said unto him, take care of him and whatever thou spendeth more I will repay thee. First, the priest is the moral law, the Levite the ceremonial law; from the fall of man these being not competent to save man only by grace, so these passed by and left the man half dead, until the coming of Christ the good Samaritan, he bound up the wounds by pouring the pure doctrine of his kingdom in the hearts of the children of men; the two pence the old and the new testaments, and to-morrow he departed and the reply is whatever more is due I will repay, that is for all the soul, our life to gain it, and when he comes again to judge the world, to take his ransomed people home; the host is the church of God with her children, the general assembly of the first born which arc written in heaven, Heb. 12 c. 23 v. the priest and the Levite passed by though professing to be christians, they are or may be considered as the people of this day, that profess to be christians and are not in heart, they do not unto their neighbors as they would wish those neighbors to do unto them, Mat. 7 c. 12 v. they would wish to receive good at all times, and in return give evil; but dear friends "Why boasest thon thyself in mischief, O mighty man? The goodness of God endureth continually. Thy tongue deviseth mischiefs; like a sharp razor, working deceitfully. Thou lovest evil more than good; and lying rather than to speak righteousness. Thou lovest all-devouring words, O thou deceitful tongue." Why did they reject Christ and his religion as being not worthy of their notice, and choose the bitter cup which has filled their souls with sin; and he said unto them because you say, you see, and see not, your sins remain, but if you was wilfully blind and would not see your sins they would remain had thou been wise to consider the things which make for your peace, but now they are hid from thine eyes, and well might he say that the foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the son of man hath not where to lay his head, Luke 20 c. tell us by what authority thou dost these things, I will also ask you one thing and answer me, the baptism of John was it from heaven or of man? and they reasoned among themselves saying, if we shall say from heaven he will say why then not believe him, if we say of man all the people will stone us, for they are persuaded that John was a prophet, they could not tell him whence it was, and Jesus said unto them neither tell I you by what authority I do these things, now let us look in our day how many thousand that has the form of Godliness attending the church daily, partaking of all the ordinances and deny God by their walk; we are told that there are many called but few chosen, and if so many be called why is it that so few are chosen? I answer they refuse to comply with the rule of free grace, Luke 16 c. 23 v. hereby you may see the situation of those that put their dependence in riches, in hell he lifted up his eyes being in torment and seeing Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom, he cried and said, father Abraham have mercy on me and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am tormented in this flame. A question, how did he know Abraham to call him father? Answer, by understanding the records in his day, hearing and seeing certain events which had taken place, and the word that God said unto Abraham, I send you to a strange nation that you know not, and they know you not; I will bless them that bless you and I will curse them that curse you, and thou shall be the father of the righteous and I will make thy seed as numerous as the stars of heaven or the sand on the sea shore, that cannot be numbered for multitude; now the question in viewing the sight he then would reflect what he had heard and seen before, but he thinking that he could get in some other way; this is unbelief; the great bolt that locks heaven against the sinner the reason I asssign is, his calling him father; seeing then he was according to the promise, and if there was my mercy to be found, father was the only medium he could enter, but finding there was a gulf between them and then finding himself a son of disobedience, his case is unalterable; seeing himself thus fixed he looked back and saw the condition of his five brethren, and then prayed to Abraham, I pray therefore thou wouldst send him to my fathers house for I have five brethren, that he may testify unto them lest they also come to this place of torment; the answer was, they have Moses and the prophets, let them hear them; he said nay, father Abraham, but if one went unto them from the dead they will repent: if they hear not Moses and the prophets neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead; and we may discover if the tree fall toward the south or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth there it shall be, Eccl. II c. 3 v. And now the question is who is the rich man? Answer, every man that neglects his duty towards his God, Eph. 6 c. 11 v. the commandment is to put on the whole armor of God that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil, by neglecting to do this that he may become rich in the goods of this world, for Paul said if our gospel be hid it is hid from them which the God of this world hath blinded their eyes, notwithstanding they have plenty of this world's goods and are rich in the sight of men, they are poor in the sight of God, and that kind of poverty will take them to hell if they return not to God in time, Thes. 2 c. 11, 12 v. now the poor man represents Jesus Christ, he had no whereto lay his head among these rich Jews, he layeth at their gates, he knocketh at their doors, to give hi n entrance that he might receive their crumbling hearis, that they might live in time and in eternity, they would not receive him, he died without their gates, and angels came unto him; and so we find we must become poor in order to get rich; now all men who seek God with a pure heart is counted poor in the sight of the world but they are rich through the blood of Christ which cleanseth from all sin; this is the way beloved, in which we find Jesus Christ our salvation the high priest of our suffering, the supporter of our infirmity, and our defender, through him we raise our aspiring looks to heaven and behold the celestial mansion as in a glass, through him the eyes of our hearts are opened, through him our foolish and darkened understandings are renewed in his marvellous light, through him God hath willed us to taste immortal knowledge, who being the glory and the light of his magnificence is much greater than the angels; by how much he hath obtained a more excellent name than they, for it is written, who maketh his angels spirits and his ministers a flame of fire, but of his son the Lord hath said, thou art my son this, day I have begotten thee, and again he saith unto him, set thou at my right hand until I make thine enemies thy foot stool, Ps. 10 c. but who are his enemies? wicked men, and those who oppose his will. The following passages are beautiful and affecting in the highest degree: "why are there amongst us contentions, wrath, envying, schism, and war, have we not one God and one Christ and one spirit of grace poured out upon us, and is there not one vocation in Christ ? why do we tear asunder and rend the members of Christ? take ye into your hands the epistle of the blessed Apostle Paul, study what he hath written unto you, immediatelv in the beginning of his address; certainly being divinely inspired, he admonishes us respecting himself and Cephas and Apollas in his epistle; there were even then amongst you factions and parties, but surely in that inclination of mind ye sinned less, in that ye were disposed by the affection towards the Apostle, eminent by good report, and toward the men approved by them, he who hath the charity that is in Christ will keep Christ's commandments, who by words can express the bond of the charity of God, for what is capable of representing its beauty in the highest degree to which charity bears us is inexpressible; charity unites us to God, charity covereth a multitude of sins, charity supports us in all things, charity patiently endureth all things, nothing illiberal nor sordid is to be found in charity, nothing proud, charity knoweth not schism, charity moveth no sedition, charity devoteth all things in love, in charity all the elect of God becomes perfect, not that I believe that one half of the bulk of man was elected from all eternity to be saved and the other half to be assigned to hell, for the Lord said look unto me and be ye saved all the ends of the earth, for I am God and there is none else, and every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess, Ish. 45 c. 22 v. without charity nothing is acceptable unto God, in charity God takes us unto himself, by reason of that charity which the Lord Jesus Christ hath extended to us, he gave his blood for us, according to the will of God, and his flesh for our flesh, and his soul for our souls; you may see brethren how great and marvellous is charity; its perfections are not to be declared, who is to be found in it except those whom God has deemed worthy, let us pray therefore and beseech with entreaties that we may be esteemed worthy of it, and that blameless, we may pass our lives in charity, those who live in love and charity would rather that they themselves, not their neighbors, fall into misfortune; the generous self devotion of Moses as related in the 32d chapter of Exodus, who thus continues, oh, mighty charity! oh, insuperable perfecfection! his servant freely speaking to the Lord, entreateth pardon for the people, or desireth that he himself may be destroyed with them, this is great charity indeed. About 352 years after the flood Abraham was born, according to my calculation; second, about 140 years after the death of Joseph, God delivered the children of Israel; before Christ 1499 years, God gave the law on Mount Sinah, at that time there was a small glimmering light which gave the people of God great encouragement, still to look forward and trust in the Lord, but more especially when Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, seeing that they were severely scourged for their transgressions, being bit by the serpent then seeing the wonderful cure by looking on the brazen serpent that Moses made; that was a type of Christ which was a great light unto them, Num. 21 c. 7, 8, 9, vs., Joh. 3 c 14 v. and as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, that the people might see him and be cured; now in our day we as ministers lift him up in our hearts that sinners may see our good walks and hear our good counsel, that they may come to Christ and be healed from all their maladies; but seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you, Mat. 6 c. 33 v. these servants of God are representing the true church of Christ, this is a square number consisting of the twelve disciples, in allusion to the number of the. church of the old testament, who were the true and genuine offspring of the twelve patriarchs and to the church of the new testament of the offspring of the twelve apostles. It is also the number of the new Jerusalem, the church of Christ is expressed by this number here because at that very time all those heads of families had been brought into her bosom, which constituted the genuine lineage of the old dispensation and such of the church of Christ as by their posterity will reach the gates of the new Jerusalem, this you may call mercy unto thousands of them that loveth God, this great mercy reminds me of the time God told me to go forth and preach the gospel, and said unto me fear not and I taking encouragement trusted in his word and started on my circuit a foot, and preached as I went, and God worked great wonders to my astonishment.
On the 17th of July 1822, in the morning, I started on to my appointment from Attleborough, in Pennsylvania, going to New Hope I saw on the fence before me a milk white bird, and I thought it was a pigeon walking on the fence, and it seemed so tame I thought within myself I would catch it, I walked towards it and I lifted up my hand, and it stopped and I thought in my mind I would catch it, when I got to it my heart failed me, and I looked at it for some time, and while standing looking at it I felt very awful, and then concluded in my mind I would not catch it, then I- started on and left it, and it looked after me; when I had got about ten rods it flew and came close right over my head, it went on about five rods before me and lit on the fence, then I resolved in my mind to catch it, I would, I lifted up my hand again and stopped still as before, and I went towards it and when I got in reach of it, I lifted up my hand to catch it, an awful fear came over me, and so I only clapped my hand on its head, and rubbed it on the back to the the tail, and I stood in a maze for some time, and it appeared that a voice said unto me go forth and preach the word, and great shall be your reward and so from that time to this I have strove to do that duty to God and my fellow creatures, notwithstanding my many failures and short-comings; thank the Lord my head is yet above the water, my sail is yet hoisted for heaven and immortal glory, my prayer is still that he would give us the pure word of general grace, that we may preach to all the sinful race, and point them to the all atoning blood, and then great shall be the preacher's crown in time and eternity; I have had a discovery of that star out of Jacob, and a sceptre shall arise out of Israel, that rejected people, the Lord has opened a gate in the vineyard, and the gate will never be shut only by disobedience, Num. 24 c. 17 v.
In the year of 1S16, in March 26, I left the methodist episcopal church after this about twelve years, a certain gentleman who called himself a lawyer, I being in company with him he swore in my presence and I took him to task for it, and he said I suppose you are one of them methodist who say it is wrong to swear; I answered and said that I was a methodist, and he said that he believed I was a liar, I then pulled out a methodist discipline to prove to him that I was, and by that book he proves to me that I was not a member by discipline, for no man can be a citizen of the United States unless he takes the oath of allegiance, says he, then I discovered where I was in an error and had to leave the book and take to my own knowledge to vindicate my own cause, by pointing him to the ninth Psalm, seventeenth verse; I knew he was a wicked man by swearing, for it says the wicked shall be turned into hell, and again, upon the wicked he shall rain snares of fire and brimstone, and a horrible tempest, this shall be the portion of their cup, for Solomon said in a multitude of counsel there is safety, so I say too, for I found it so, I pointed him to Rev. 3 c. IS v. there is my counsel and here I got by the monster; then lie turned and said unto me, is all things possible with God? I said yes, then said lie can God make two hills and no valley between? and I said yes, I answered, for when he made our first parents they were two hills and there was no valley between; until he violated the law, and ever since that there has been a valley between men, but once and a while we can find a bridge, that is the rock. Christ Jesus, and thus finding myself so disappointed I resolved to join an institution that I could receive the right thereof, without respect to person, for we are commanded to do to all men alike, or else never see God's face in glory, for some say let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like theirs, and how can this be expected unless we live the life of the righteous; this is a tiling out of the question, for the Devil cannot punish a righteous man in hell, for the fire that he has is above his power, it is thunder proof, water proof, and it has been tryed by the wicked, their power failed and the power of this fire stood; you see an example of this by the three Hebrew children, that all the paths of the righteous are ensured, and their kingdom by God himself, Dan. 2 c. 35, 45 vs, now for the consolation of all ministers, that is inspired by God to go forward and preach the gospel, and now these passages of scripture is enough for us to consider upon, the right of them, for the good of our own souls, for we are commanded to pray for all men in authority, from the President of the United States, Vice President, the Secretary, Treasurer, and all the departments of state, and all. the different officers, to the different houses of congress, and to the different states. of legislature, and all the minor officers, under these, as ministers and hearers, ought at all times to pray without ceasing to God in their behalf, that they may enact such laws to destroy the works of the Devil, that mercy and peace might meet together and righteousness and truth kiss each other, then Zion's wheels would be uncloged, then we would all go ninety times swifter in one hour than they do on the rail road; I now refer you to this solemn passage Ex. 33 c. 14 v. and he said my presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest, this is the path of great delight, 2d Kings 4 c. 40 v. Oh thou man of God there is death in the pot, let us mind this one thing that our pot be clean, and wash our meet clean, and then it will be good; I now address myself again to my dear readers.
When I joined the African Methodist Episcopal church some of my white brethren told me that I had disgraced myself by joining that church, and yet they were not willing to give me a chance to do what the Lord had commanded me, but I understand that, you shall not muzzle the ox that treads out the corn, for God careth for him; I stated unto them that during the twelve years they never had a charge against me, then I related unto them that I did no more crime than the Rev. Mr. Wesley, when he left the church of England, for it was well known that he was under that discipline, and when he left that he formed another for. himself to govern his people, but never left any law that I could see, that could raise me to any eminence as a minister; the parish I support I would wish to he protected by, and since I joined the African methodist episcopal church we stand without respect to person and do as we would be done by, see Mat. 7 c. 12 v. but we had a long trial before we could gain the union, but God did work in our behalf and by our religious walks and good conduct, we gained the approbation of our great men to give us authority to go according to law, and as long as we keep within bounds we have no fear but what they will protect us as a people, for man is fully sufficient to make himself virtuous, it only requires a firm and steady resolution to be so, and of this resolution he himself is master at his own pleasure, as all our disorders are not the effect of sin, but consequent of our limited nature, all evil inclination may be overcome by reason with the grace and assistance of God; our happiness is in our own power and we may change our habits and disposition by a mere philosophic use of the natural and christian means in our hands; what great progress have we not made in the arts; and sciences, in civilization and politeness; to what a great degree of illumination has the human mind arrived since the days of the reformation? superstition is turned out of door, the wings of fanatacism and enthusiasm will now soon be sufficiently clipped, we soon will have a rational body of energetic rules for a more reasonable explanation of the bible, and are already furnished with means sufficient to determine the flowers of the Hebrew poetry and the bold flight and fire of oriental genius. Blessed be God. We now say a little more of Creeds and Confession of Faith. Our province is the practice and moral part of religion, whether they believe in one God or twenty Gods, that will neither pick my pockets nor break my legs; these are just inferences and a true explanation of words. I am increased with goods and have need for nothing, by which the Lord refers to those boasting of acquired abilities in religion and virtue, for this cause, the Colonization Society have taken up the cause of the sons of Ethiopia, as they say, in order that we may gain knowledge, in trying to move us to the scorching shores of Africa, for we are so ignorant in this land we cannot gain knowledge, they say; it is impossible that I will leave them and their God, for a farther consideration, for I see the French, the Dutch, the Irish and the Indian, all these must be the children of the wise woman, and we the children of the simple, for they can come here and learn the arts and sciences of man, both civil and religious, and still they say we must go to Africa before we can get ours; but, however, according to scripture, that great book, we would wish to go by in time, so we by this great regulator, which is the bible, to a have a good time in eternity. "And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth." Acts, 17 c. 36 v. With one blood he will save all men that come unto him, and that is the blood of Christ, and that blood is as free for the sons of Ethiopia as the king on his throne, and according to scripture,, he that rejects it and will not receive it will go to hell, let him be as white as snow or black as ink. Judge ye what I say and think for yourselves; and we are commanded to pray for all men that are in authority, and we pray for those who are engaged in trying to separate us, and likewise do pray for" the Colonization Society—" And let them alone, for if this council or this work be of men it will come to naught, but if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it, least haply ye, be found even to fight against God." Acts, 5 c. 38, 39 v. Rev. 3 c. 18 v. Now let the counsel of God, dear son, suffice for all true ministers, with faith and obedience; let us yield to that glorious death, for the scripture saith, that all things shall work together for good to them that love him, "and from the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, arid the violent take it by force; this is not an evil violence, but it is a holy zeal of loving God with all your heart, glory in tribulation, for love worketh no ill to his neighbor." Math. 11 c. 12 v. For we know by grace that tribulation worketh patience, patience experience, experience hope, and hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in the heart; this is the violence, thus we take the kingdom, for Christ said unto his deciples, "be ye, therefore, wise us serpents and harmless as doves;" this zeal the devil and all his combined forces cannot overthrow, for it is linked in that stone that was cut out of the mountain without hands; this is the reason that hands cannot overthrow it, and by this we stand. If I start from here in a ship to go to England I know before I start that 1 must go to the ship and go on board, and if I expect to reach England I must take care not to fall over board, and obey the order of the captain, then I have a pleasant passage, for I have his smiles and sweet counsel by my obedience ; and when the ship gets into port, I then enter into the great city, and go at large. By this let us learn a lesson and look well to the land mark, and know that we stand on the equal of justice, if so we can part on the level of truth. Now I warn the sinner, the moralist, the self-righteous, the infidel, according to the scriptures, Jesus Christ is the great ship of safety, he is now lying in port, calling for passengers, all his captains are dressed in uniform and with one voice they say peace, and peace it is. Now it is certain that we must go to the ship in order that we may get to the glorious city, we must keep on board of the ship until she arrives in port, and then we can enter into the great city, and live with God, no more to die. Dear friends, it is one thing to go in this ship and another thing to stay on board, fir the word sayeth "be ye watchful unto prayer least you fall from your steadfastness." By this we may see that there is danger in falling, if we do not continue in prayer, for prayer is the key that unlocks heaven, and gets the blessings down into the soul. Unbelief is another key that locks the heavens against the soul, for Judas, as soon as he ceased praying, the heavens were closed against him for thirty pieces of silver. And I am afraid that there are thousand now who will shut heaven against themselves for the sum of six and a quarter cents or a less sum. Let us take heed to ourselves least we fall like Babylon of old, to rise no more. "And thou Capernaum which art exalted unto heaven, shall be brought down to hell." Math. 11 c. 23 v. Hence the wisest part of mankind about the time of Christ's birth looked upon this whole system of religion as a just object of ridicule and contempt among the Greek, and Romans, more particularly there were many eminent men who were perfectly aware of the defects of their religion. Mosheim, when speaking of them, judiciously remarks that of these sagacious observers some were destitute of the weight and authority that were necessary to remedy these overgrown evil's, and others wanted the will to exert themselves in such a glorious cause, and the truth is none of them had wisdom equal to such a solemn and arduous enterprise. This appears manifest from the laborious and useless efforts of some of the Greek and Roman philosophers against the vulgar, superstitions. Nero was the first emperor who enacted laws against the Christians, in this he was placed by Domitian Maseus Antonius, the philosopher Ceverus and the other Emperors who indulged the prejudices they imbibed against the deciples of Jesus Christ. It would have been surprising if, under such a monster as Nero, the christian enjoyed the sweetness of tranquility and freedom; but this was far from being the case, for this perfidious tyrant accused them of having set fire to the city of Rome, that horrible crime which he himself had committed, with a barbarous pleasure of charging this crime upon the innocent christians; he so ordered matters that the punishment should bear some resemblance to the offence, he therefore caused some of them to be wrapted up in combustible garments and ordered the fire to be set to them while the darkness came on, that thus like torches they might dispel the obscurity of the night, while others were fastened to crosses or torn to pieces by wild beasts; and this horrid persecution was set on foot in the month of November in the 64th year of Christ; and it is according to some of the ancient accounts, Paul and Peter suffered martyrdom, though the latter fact is contested by many as being irreconcilable with Chronology. The death of Nero, who perished in the year 68, put an end to the calamities of the first persecution, under which, during the space of four years, the christians suffered every sort of torment and affliction, which the ingenous cruelty of their enemies could invent. This account is according to history; my object is not to cast any stigma upon any sect or society of people, only to show their disposition towards Christ, for we are informed that charity does cover a multitude of sins, and as long as we have all sinned and have come short of the glory of God, it is right that whosoever gets knowledge from God it is a duty encumbent upon him to do all to teach others of our fellow creatures that men are dependent on on each other, like one man's hand; if one finger is affected the whole system feels the shock, and so in the christian church, if one member is defective the whole feels it, either by getting drunk, lying, stealing, violating the sabbath, taking God's name in vain, or committing adultery, or the man with two wives or the woman with three husbands, or by pride, self righteousness and self-exaltation; these are the capital crimes, if a man dies with these sins, he must undoubtedly go to hell. "For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell." Deut. 32 c. 22 v. This is the consequence of all those that live and die in their sins. Now, dear reader, seriously consider upon the value of your soul, the shortness and uncertainty of time, and the duty which you all owe to God, with the awful consequence of living and dying in sin. Now for God's sake, from this time resolve, by the help of God, that you will serve him by breaking off from all evil practices, and by shunning all unnecessary wicked company and begin to close every day with God, having your minds solemnly fixed on him, and your hearts drawn out in fervent prayer after him, to seek to know God, will every day convince you with a fixed determination through the help of Christ, to do it with joy; to live to-day as you would wish to die to-morrow, daily expecting to give an account to the Supreme Judge of the universe, that it may be well with you here in death, and then in the world to come. God will be thy friend; this is the consolation of every christian that has lived in this world, and while receiving the whole communion, there is but one table, and we ought so to consider it, for Christ had his table in the wilderness and led five thousand without any respect to persons, with five barley loaves and two small fishes; and Jesus said make the men sit down; now there were much grass in the place so the men sat down about five thousand in number, and Jesus took the loaves and when he had given thanks he distributed to the deciples and the deciples to them that were set down, and likewise of the fishes; and when they had eaten he told them to gather up the fragments that none might be lost, and there were twelve baskets left of the five barley leaves of which they had eaten. See 6 c. of John. Search ye the scriptures for in them ye think ye have eternal life. What a thing, it is for a man to be deceived in regard to his everlasting welfare. We ought to search our hearts with a scrutinizing eye, looking to Jesus for help, and with an humble reliance upon him as our rock and our salvation.
Consider this one thing, all we that come to the holy communnion, we must come without; malice, without hating our neighbor, with a heart resigned to do unto our neighbor as we would wish that he should do unto us. This is a thing that will justify us before God, for he said "for my flesh is meat indeed and my blood is drink indeed; he that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood dwelleth in me and I in him;" this is without respect to persons.—Here I would, wish to make a few remarks in order to remove any thing like prejudice.
I once belonged to another church; in leaving them I did not think that there were no good people among them, but it was-because some of those that governed the church did not do me that justice that I thought God demanded of me, and for that reason, seeing there were two evils, I thought I would take the least. In order to give a clear view of this I will offer two examples. First, if the President of the United States, through his kindness and benevolence should build a house large enough to hold a bible for every man in the United States, and then sends the Vice-President to deal out these bibles to every individual as they called for them without money or price. And now as intelligible men, consider in your judgment who they ought to return thanks to, the President or the Vice-President. I think I would say that you owe your allegiance to the President; still that would not hinder you from being thankful to the Vice-President and wishing him well for the attendance. I am speaking, unto wise men, judge ye what I say, for I would wish to do justice to all men while I live, that it may be well with me in eternity.
The Quakers or the Friends, so called, have a claim on us for their sincere services in getting us a free building for schools, in order that we might read the word of God, that we might be useful men in our generation. Money, we have none to give to them, but the sincere prayer, we intend to offer up unto God in their behalf, that they may prosper in time., and at the last day, we hope that they may enter the fair gates of glory, and there to spend a glorious eternity; for prayer will do more good in time, than in eternity: we shall then experience rest with God. "I was glad when they said unto me, let us go up unto the house of the Lord;" this will do more good than the world full of your monuments, for all these things will fail but the word of God will stand forever. But what shall we then do brethren, shall we cease from good works; shall we forsake charity? God by no means permitteth us to do this; but that we should be constant in performing with diligence and alacrity of mind, every good work. The Lord the maker of all excellent in his work, for lie established the heavens by his high and mighty power, and adorned them with his incomprehensible wisdom, he divided the earth also, from the waters, surrounded and placed them upon the foundation of his own will as a firm tower The animals likewise, with which it is filled he commanded to he his own; the sea also, and the living creatures therein. He first created by his power, a being most excellent of all, and exalted in the highest decree, by the dignity of intelligent man, in the image of his own likeness, and with sacred and sinless hands; all these, when he had surveyed, he blessed. Having this example then, let us diligently obey his will, and with all our stregnth, work the work of righteousness. Beloved, how precious and wonderful are the gifts of God; life in immortality, glory in justice, truth in liberty, faith in confidence, temperance in holiness, all which are certainly known unto us; how great then, must be those things, which are prepared for those who wait upon the Lord, the holy creator and farther of ages ! Knowing their extent, and their beauty, let us, therefore, seriously endeavor to be found among the number of those who look for him, so that we may be made partakers of his promised gifts.
But in what manner, beloved is this to be done. If our thoughts are established by faith in God: if we diligently seek after those things which are pleasing and acceptable unto him: if we have done those things which are according to his pure will: and if we have followed the ways of truth, throwing from us. ail injustice, iniquity, contention, malice, fraud, whispering, envying, hatred to God, pride, bearing vain glory, ambition, for those who do these are abominations to God; and not only those who do them, but those who consent to them, "because the carnal mind is enmity against God." Rom. 8 c. 7 v. Now, be it known to all that the great conflict must first commence with our own hearts before we can rally around the blood stained banner of Christ, for the defence of his church, and that only begins when in the day of God's power the sinner's eyes are opened, and he turned from darkness to light, and from the power of sin and satan unto the living God, that he may, by a spiritual arm and divine assistance, combat his own corruption and fight the good fight of faith in the presence of the Lord. Only those persons then, truly and experimentally acquainted with Christ, can take an effectual share in this conflict of the church, under her great captain; and all those who do endure manfully to the end, shall overcome the enemies of Christ, in their desperate attempt against his church, and in due time shall eat of the tree of life, in which the tree in Eden was only the type from which Adam was prevented to eat after the fall, by his being banished out of paradise. It was customary with the ancient Hebrews and many of the eastern nations, to term every thing very beautiful, salutary or glorious, a tree of life; but here it seems to convey the peculiarity of immortality, in a state of innocence and fruition of God, of which our first parents is only a figure. According to the scripture of the Percians, the tree of life grows in the midst of the fountains of immortality upon the holy mount, right in the centre of the world, the sun is at its meridian; he scatters his array from east to west, from north to south, in order that all the sons of God may meet together on the square of justice and part on the level of truth. Here is the mother of rivers from whence this heavenly element extends itself frequently with the germ of life, for plants, trees animals and men, over all the earth. This tree of life is. no doubt, a symbol of Jesus Christ, and of the blessed effects of his redemption to man. See Jon. 6 c. 33—53. By these verses a man may see his duty to God and to his own soul, who endows his people with immortality and eternal life in heaven. This charge next to its general use, seems to be particularly intended for the first evangelical ministry immediately after the apostles' age, which has been the time according to church history, when their first love had much subsided, when the church was infested by false apostles, the Moelatianes and other teachers of heresy of which, however, we now know little more than barely their names; and it is well that we do, seeing that our lives is so short, our time so scant, disasters awaits us, a frail nature shrinks, no lease of time that we dan confer from one moment to another with any safety to ourselves, therefore, let us all set out afresli for heaven, to seek pardon for our daily sins: freely pardoned, for Jesus can make a dying bed feel as soft as a downy pillow, and while the believer can lean his head on the Redeemer's breast, and with joy say, I have fought the good fight, I have kept the faith, I have done the work thou gavest me to do, and now with glory in ray soul I breathe my life out sweetly here, and to end all my sorrows for an endless crown of righteousness which the believer shall wear through the countless ages, of eternity, singing hallelujah, redeeming love, amen. The sinner will not come and go with us, therefore, we must bid him good by, mid escape to the mountains looking to the great helm of righteousness.
In a single state of life, or a marriage state, let virtue be our principal aim and object. We will ever find virtue to be its own reward, in time and eternity, for we often deceive ourselves in the choosing of evil rather than good, therefore, let us always try to be on our guard, and God will enable us, so by grace, not to deviate from the true path that leads to life everlasting Dear Brethren abroad, in the Lord, notwithstanding we are separated by the rigid mountains, rivers, rivalets, and the deep streams, that all-searching eye, with the hand of Ins love, will cheer our fainting hearts and give us a full assurance of faith, that when we put our trust in him we have nothing to fear while facing cold wind, frost and snow, to call our fellow creatures to the gospel feast. Let us act as wise men, and preach the word in its purity, and prove a blessing to the cause of God in which we have entered both in heart and hand, for our hearers look to us in order to hear the right instruction, that they may be justified in time and in eternity. My deaf fellow-laborers in the gospel of Christ, there is something awful in the thought of eternity; how watchful should we be to be prepared to approach the judgment seat al the great day, and at his tribunal to hear our doom, come ye blessed, depart ye cursed. But if we have complyed with charity, our conscience will be clear, of having done our duty unto God and all men; for here is a duty encumbent upon us, to live such lives before the world as will entitle us to the smiles of our blessed Redeemer in that decisive hour. Amen. See 2 Tim. 4. c. 5 v. But watch! The intention of preaching the gospel is to call sinners from darkness unto light, for in that light the sinner may see that he is diseased, and in the light of knowledge, he sees that Christ is the great physician of souls, and if he will act upon the will of his moral agency, he can come to Christ. and be healed, like the man that was diseased for thirty years, he came to Christ and was made whole; even the blind man who cryed out with a loud voice unto Jesus, saying "thou son of David have mercy on me;" this will show free agency as well as moral agency: the moral agency on the body, the free agency on the soul, free to think, free to act, free to pray unto God in prison and out of prison. If so, justice is that great standard or boundary of righteousness, which will enable us to render to every man his just due, for this kind of virtue will strengthen us, so as to comply with all that which is good and great, for after Christ put the clay on the man's eyes his eyes was not opened; and here we see there is something to do. Some people say that they have nothing to do, for this cause they loose their souls. Take notice, that after the clay was on the man's eyes, the next thing, was a commandment to go to the pool and wash; methinks that if he had not gone to the pool his eyes would not have been opened. Therefore, we see it is right for us to keep the commandments of God; obedience was the cause of this man's eyes being opened. Well, now is it not right when God has commanded sinners to come to him, and they will not come, how is it possible they can receive their sight, for he is the pool of the gospel? We need not now to wait for the angel to come down and trouble the water, for we can come unto him by night or day, for God is a spirit, and seek to worship him in spirit and in truth, for love covereth a multitude of sins, for brotherly love binds us hand in hand, and heart to heart, so that we can stand in the sanctuary of the most high; we can always find shelter, and have that pleasent gale that drives away the fear of death and makes wicked men and devils stand back, while here we say peace, that peace the world cannot give nor take away. It is like the previous ointment on the head and glory in the soul: this is more than the world can find out.
We; the ministers of God, ought to bind up his sacred testimonies and seal his holy law in our hearts, and in the faith stand fast and continue to look for him that dwelled) in Mount Sinah. It is a duty they owe to God to instruct the simple in the knowledge of the gospel, so that we may all live in peace in time and in eternity; together we stand but if divided we are sure to fall and great will be that fall; this is well known to the ignorant men, for the wise man Solomon said, in the multitude of counsel there is great safety; this will answer in civil and religious government, for union is the strength of ail society, justice is her wall, love is her foundation, and victory is her cover. See Isa, 8 c. 10 v. Warning for ministers to keep concealed the mysteries and counsels delivered unto them, from the devil; that, is, always to keep Christ in your hearts. Deut. 29 c. 29. Hold fast to the great faith in Christ, every day is a day of benevolence, and we as ministers, ought so to receive it, sincerity and plain dealing in preaching the word with a pure heart. And now the lite and death of him that sayeth I am a minister sent from God unto a nation to call them to come to Christ, and when the people come inquiring the way to Cod, he could not tell them, nor show them nothing hut the road, that is the bible; and he could toil them no dangers that was in the road, and when his time was out with them he left them worse than he found them: he fed them for the fleece and not for the soul: he delighted mere in the sums of money that he got than the souls he could win to Christ. How is it possible that I can tell the people any thing of the law and the situation of purgatery, unless God by revelation or some apostle, or in his sacred writing had given me some true statement of such a state or place? If this is a wonder to the people, how is it possible that men can preach Christ and never have received him? Remember that the devil can come in the light of an angel, and can show great wonders, but he betrays himself by having no love, for when on the mount speaking unto our Lord, he thought that he was about to do wonders; the third time he spake he did his best by telling Christ if he would fall down and worship him he would give him all the kingdoms of the earth; in this he did his best, and it was a lie at last, for he has not got the hell where he dwells, for hell has him. Here is the effects of having no love and truth; in like manner, by others we fear that God has never called them, for when I see a minister preaching one thing to his hearers and do another, I am lost in wonder what will be the consequence to this man, if so living and so dying, he must be lost to all eternity; he may read his sentence in the 23d chapter of Jeremiah.
The life of a christian minister is always to hold fast unto union with love and fidelity; to love God with all his heart, with all his soul, with all his might and strength, his neighbor as himself, When one of these men stand in a place to preach, God attends the word with power and energy; like Peter in the day of Pentecost, and three thousand souls were pricked to the heart and the commencement of the speed of the everlasting gospel; the fire that was kindled at the death of our Lord on the cross, it burnt with love and great zeal; that is the reason the devil and Tom Payne, with the combined powers of hell have never been able to quench it, it is defended by God's power, for the Lord said the gospel of the kingdom shall be preached to all the world and to all nations, and then shall come the end: the end of all our sorrows and troubles, and death. What a glorious day this will be to his officers? Then with joy when they hear the great rumor of that dreadful war and commotion, the cries of the wicked when seeing the hatches of hell snatched away, to let them down: the righteous will say amen, to their damnation: no more gospel for them to hear.
Now, sinners, I warn you, as from the mouth of God, come and go with us, that you may escape the wrath of that great day. Come now and delay not, lest the spirit of God should cease to strive with you: like Noah's dove to take its flight and no more to return. We read of wars and commotions, now this is nothing compared with that great and notable day. Behold the fig tree now in tender buding; O shepherd! hark ye, and wake, and hear the cries of bleeding Zion! While the celestial sun is yet shining, let us act our part like pure hearted men and fly unto Jesus and beg for sinners for God to have mercy on them, for we see by the revelation of God, the earth will burn, the moon will bleed, the sun will be turned into darkness, and behold! the comets will blaze through the sky, and then you will hear Jesus say unto his watchmen, leave the walls of Zion. The trumpet is to be blown no more: and he will say, come ye blessed, enter into the kingdom which I have prepared for you, well and faithful have you run your course to the end of life, and here is a crown for you: while entering, O hear the shouts, the loud hallelujah of the church militant! Triumphant are we come together to part no more: the glorious song will be sung, victory, we have overcome, and to enter into that great assembly the church of the first born. Now to the wicked look back O my soul and wonder, could it be possible that an intelligent man or woman, could neglect their soul's salvation, while the gospel trumpet was sounding unto them to awake and fly to Jesus, for there is no other help found, nor no other name given whereby man can have salvation! But their excuse was, that while the lamp holds out to burn, they had time enough. But what I understand by the lamp's burning is, while the spirit of God is striving with man, for God said to the antideluvian world, my spirit shall not always strive with man, and then when God had shut Noah into the ark, the spirit ceased to strive with them, so it was with Sodom when Lot went out of it, it rained fire and brimstone, and this was David's language. See 11 Ps. 6 v. Sinners now ought to consider this sentence, for I warn you as for eternity, to consider, it is for the interest of your never dying souls. Consider when God's thunder begins to roll, and the elements with its awful terror spliting the earth, rending the rocks, the lightning flashing from pole to pole, the wind blowing, the seas boiling; while in your house shut up, they tumble, and your heart trembles worse, and in the awful agony of your souk you are brought to cry unto God for mercy. But, O my God, to think of that awful day, when he shall call the seven thunders to utter their voices and shake the globe from pole to pole, and fling his lightning abroad; send Gabriel with his trump to sound the echoes through earth and down to hell; to call the nations great and small; when the seas shall roll her millions to the shores in order to come to judgment. Look and behold the turfy graves and marble pillars give way! Awake, the voice of God through his angel are sounding! your day of doom is come: here comes the horse gambler, the card player, the gambler, the sportsman, the adulterer, the fornicator, and all liars, the ball-room crew, the theatre company, who have neglected to repent of their sins; here him say to the damned, give back, give way ye antideluvians, ye Sodomites, to let down these gospel-slighters, these heaven-darers, God-provoking, to the lower caverns of hell; these are my enemies that fought against me and my people, and trampled down the blood of my everlasting covenant, under their unhallowed feet. They would not regard the voice of my master, but still call for swift destruction, and think you are like the troubled sea that cannot rest night nor day; you lived devoid of peace, a thousand stings in your breast which still deprive your souls of ease; your way is dark and leads down to hell; why will you still pursue? O think, can you in endless torment dwell, shut up in black despair? in pain you travel all your days, to reap eternal wo! but now just stop. O think, your bones are not iron, your flesh is not brass, and if it was hell, fire will be as a moth to you, through the countless ages of eternity; but now you have time to hear the gospel and attend to the duties which God has called upon you to perform, by bowing to the sceptre of his word, renouncing sin, submit to your sovereign Lord and learn his will divine. O fellow creatures, this is the state of free grace, will you come, for it will soon be too late, the way of life in Christ is for you to choose; therefore, come, lay your carnal weapon by, no longer fight against your Lord, but now comply with the gospel and heaven shall be your great reward in the great day of eternity. Your beloved friend wishes you these things, to perform in time at least, else it may be too late.
Now a few remarks relating to historical accounts.
Gen. 1st Chap. Sect. 1st. This book is so called from its treating of the generation, that is, of the creation and the beginning of the world. The Hebrews call it Bereseth, from the word with which it begins. A firmament by this name and the highest star, the lower part of which, he divideth the waters that are upon the earth from those that are above in the clouds.
1. Two great lights God created on the first day, which being moved from east to west by their rising and setting, made morning and evening; but on the fourth day he ordered and distributed this light, and made the sun and moon, though much less than the stars are here, called a great light, from its giving a far greater light to the earth than any of the others.
He rested &c. that is, be ceased to make or create any new kind of things, though as our Lord tells us, John 5. c. 17 v. he still worketh, viz. by preserving and governing all things and creating souls.
2. The tree of life, so called, because it had that quality, that by eating of the fruit of it man would have been preserved in a constant state of health, vigor and strength; and would not have died at all.
3. The tree of knowledge, to which the deceitful serpent falsely assumed the power of imparting a superior kind of knowledge beyond that which God was pleased to give.
And the eyes, &c. Not that they were blind before the woman saw that the tree was fair to the eyes, nor that they were opened to anymore perfect knowledge of good, but only to the unhappy experience of having lost the good of original grace and innocence, and incurred the dreadful evil of sin, from whence followed a shame of their being naked, winch they minded not before, because being now stript of original grace, they quickly began to be subject to the shameful rebellions of the flesh: the seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head. And Adam and Eve, his wife, who conceived and brought forth Cain, and again she brought forth Abel, "and Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a tiller of the ground." And it appears that Cain slew his brother Abel, because that God had respect unto his offering, and there the Lord put a curse upon him, and he went away from the face of the Lord; his guilty conscience made him fear his own brothers and nephews, of whom, by this time, there might be a good number upon the earth (which now had endured nearly one hundred and thirty years, as may be gathered from Gen. c. 5. 3 v. compared with 4 c. 25 v.) though in the compendious accounts given in scripture, only Cain and Abel are mentioned. The more common opinion of the interpreters of holy writ, supposes this work to have been a trembling of the body, or a horror and consternation in his covenant name; it is supposed that his wife was the daughter of Adam, and Cain's own sister, God dispensing with such marriages in the beginning of the world as are now observed, as mankind could not otherwise be propagated. He built a city in process of time, when his race was multiplied so as to be numerous enough to people if, for in the many hundred years he lived, his race might be multiplied even to millions. It is the tradition of the Hebrews, that Lamech, in hunting, slew Cain, mistaking him for a wild beast, and that having discovered what he had done, he beat so unmercifully the youth by whom he was led into the mistake, that he died of the blows, not that Adam and Seth had not called upon God before the birth of Enos, but that Enos used more solemnity in the worship and invocation of God. The descendants of Seth and Enos are here called sons of God, from their religion, and whereas, the ungodly race of Cain, who, by their carnal affections, lay grovelling upon the earth, are called the children of men; the consequence of the former marrying with the latter, ought to be a warning to christians to be very circumspect in their marriages and not to suffer themselves to be determined in their choice by their carnal passions, to the prejudice of virtue or religion; the meaning is, that man's days, which before the flood were usually years, should now be reduced to a hundred and twenty years, of rather that God would allow men this term of a hundred and twenty years for their repentance and conversion, before he would send the deluge. It is likely the generality of men before the flood were of a gigantic stature in comparison with what men now are, but these here spoken of, are called giants, as being not only tall in stature but violent and savage in their dispositions, and were monsters of cruelty and lust. God who is unchangeable, is not capable of repentance grief or any other passion, but these expressions are used to declare the enormity of the sins of men, which were so provoking as to determine their creator to destroy these his creatures, whom before he had so much favored. The ark according to the dimension here set down contained four hundred and fifty thousand square cubits, which was more than enough to contain all the kinds of the living creatures, with all necessary provision, even supposing the cubits here spoken of to have been only a foot and a half each, which was the least kind; however, it appears that Noah finished the ark, and that the waters descended upon the earth forty days and nights : before there was a secession of water Noah opened one of the windows of the ark and sent forth a raven and it did not return into the ark, but as may be gathered from the Hebrews, went to and fro, sometimes going to the mountains where it found carcases to feed upon, and oilier times returning to rest upon the top of the ark; therefore, in the six and first year of the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were lessoned upon the earth; in the second month the seven and twentieth day of the month, the earth was dried.
Noah, by drinking of wine was made drunk and was uncovered in his tent. See Gen. 9 c. 21 v. By the judgments, the fathers were not guilty of sin in being overcome by wine, because they knew not the strength of it. Thus, as St. Gregory takes notice, we ought to cover the nakedness, that is, the sin of our spiritual parents and superiors; the curses as well as the blessings of the patriarchs, were prophetical and this in particular is here recorded by Moses for the children of Israel who were to possess the land of Canaan; but why should Canaan be cursed for his father's fault? the Hebrew answers, that he being then a boy first saw his grandfather's nakedness and told his father Shem of it, and joined with him in laughing at it, which drew upon him, rather than upon the rest of the children of Shem, this prophetical curse, not of beast, but of men, who by his violence will run into sinnearly of every kind. Abraham said unto his wife, say, I pray thee, thou art my sister, that it may be well with me for thy sake, and my soul shall live because of thee. See Gen. 12 c. 13 v. This was no lie, because. she was his niece, being the daughter of his brother Aaron, therefore, in the stile of the Hebrews, she might truly be called his sister, as Lot is called Abram's brother. See Gen. 14 c. 12 v. Plurality of wives, though contrary to the primitive institution of marriage, was by divine dispensation, allowed to the patriarch, which allowance seems to have continued during the time of the law of Moses; but Christ our Lord reduced marriage to its primitive institution. See Math. c. 19. "What therefore God hath joined together let not man put asunder." God tempteth no man to evil. Jas. 1 c. 13 v. But by trial and experiment maketh known to the world and to ourselves, that we are as here by this trial the singular faith and obedience of Abraham, was made manifest. Gen. 27 c. 19 c. "And Jacob said, I am Esau thy first born, I have done as thou didst command me, arise, sit, eat of my venison, that thy soul may bless me." In treating at large upon this place it excuses Jacob from a lie, because this whole passage was mysterious as relating t» the performance which was afterwards to be given to the Gentiles before the carnal Jews, which Jacob by prohphetic light might understand. So far is certain that the first birth-right, both by divine election and by Esau's free cession, belonged to Jacob, so that if there was any lie in the case, it could be no more than an officious and venial one. This blessing was to be bestowed upon Jocob as a temporal blessing, which caused his brother Esau to be very wroth against him, and Jacob took a journey to Mesopotamia, to the house of Labon, and there continued for a number of years and become very rich.
We will now consider something about the spiritual blessing. Gen. 23 c. 29 v. Jacob asked him and said tell me I pray thee thy name;- and he said, wherefore that thou doest ask after my name: and he blessed him there.
Observation. This angel in human shape, as we learn. Ish 45 c. 21 v. I am the first, and I am the last; and besides me there is no God. And because he represented the person of the Son of God this wrestling in which Jacob, assisted by God, a match for an angel, was so ordered that he (see Gen. 32 c. 2S v.) might learn by this experiment of the divine assistance that neither Esau, nor any other man should have power to hurt him in a spiritual sense. We wrestle with God by prayer and through his mercy prevail over him The sons of Jacob on this occasion were guilty of a grievous sin, (see Gen. 34) as well by falsely pretending religion, as by excess of their revenue: though otherwise their zeal against so foul a crime was commendable. It appears that Jacob in his old age suffered many things, even to the loss of his son Joseph: but by the goodness of God Joseph was powerfully blessed in his station and became a great man, although his brethren did not like him, because he was blessed with the power of interpretation, and he was sold by his brethren to the Ishmaelites and they led him into Egypt. Gen. 37 c. 28 v. These dreams of Joseph were prophetical and sent from God, as were also those which he interpreted otherwise. Generally speaking the observance of dreams is condemned in the scriptures as superstition and sinful. Doth not interpretation belong to God? When dreams are from God as these were, the interpretation of them is a gift of God, but the generality of dreams are not of this sort, but either proceed from the natural habits or dispositions of persons, or the roving of their imaginations in the day, on such objects as they are much affected with, or from their mind being disturbed with cares and troubles, and being oppressed with bodily infirmities: or they are suggested by evil spirits to flatter or to terrify weak minds, in order to gain belief, and so draw them into error or superstition, or at least to trouble them in their sleep, whom they cannot move when they are awake: so that in general, in regard to dreams, is not to observe them, nor to give any credit to them. However, Joseph now being in Egypt, and was Governor in the land, and corn was sold by his direction to the people, and when his brethren had bowed down to him, he knew them, and he remembering of the dream which he formally had dreamed, he said unto them, you are spies. Gen. 42 c. 9 v.—This he said by way of examining them to see what they would answer, or else by the help of Pharaoh you are topics; that is, if these things you say be proved false you are to be held for spies, for your lying shall be treated as such. Joseph dealt in this manner with his brethren, to bring them by the means of affliction to a sense of their former sin, and a sincere repentance for it; however; Joseph kept Simeon in bonds, (see Gen. 42 c. 26 v. and Joseph sent away the rest of his brethren with sufficient provision arid their money in the mouth of the sack, on the condition of they bringing their youngest brother, which was Benjamin. They all returned home to their father's house with corn and their provisions and the money in the sacks' mouth. Now Jacob was more disturbed on the account of his son being in prison and desiring his youngest son Benjamin, and when seeing the money in every man's sack and they all being astonished together. "And Jacob their father said unto them, Me have ye bereaved of my children: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away. All these things are against me": also see Gen. 37: 35: "I will go down into, the grave unto my son mourning. Thus lie wept for him." This place called hell, is considered the grave; but is considered by some hell or limbo, the place where the saints rested before the coming of Christ, but as my idea being short I will say but little about it, and the reason why, I am not authorized by the bible to tell the people to prepare for any such place, because our Lord says "And these" &c. See Mat. 25 c. 46. By the reading of these words thus written, if any philosopher is able to show any other place of more safety than the. word of our Lord, he must be a. wiser man than Tom Payne, and he got into a dark place, and I never heard of his coming out. I will conclude by these few remarks, and we will consider some thing more about Joseph.
After Jacob consented to let his youngest child go down into Egypt, Joseph made himself known unto his brethren and sent for his father to dwell in that land; and he gave him the land of Goshen a rich and fertile soil, in which Jacob and his sons dwelt for years, and multiplied to a great number. At the sickness of Jacob his son Joseph visited him. See Heb. 11 c. 21 v. "By faith Jacob, when he was dying blessed both the sons of Joseph and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff." Following the Greek translation of the septugent reads, adored the top of his rod, where, note, that the same word in Hebrew according to the different pointing of it, signifies both a bed and a rod, and to verity both these sentences we must understand that Jacob leaning on Joseph's rod adored, turning towards the head of his bed, which adoration, inasmuch as it was referred to God was an absolute and sovereign worship, but inasmuch as it was referred to the rod of Joseph (as a figure of the sceptre, that is, of the royal dignity of Christ) was only an inferior and relative honor. After Jacob had blessed the two sons of Joseph, he blessed his son and called Reuben his first born. See Gen 49 c. 3 v. He calls him his strength, as being born while his father was in full strength and vigor; he calls him the beginning of his sorrow, because cares and sorrow usually come on with the birth of children excelling in gifts, &c.; because the first born had a title to a double portion, and to have the command over his brethren, which Reuben forfeited by his sin being poured out as water, that is, spilt and lost; this was not meant by way of a curse or imprecation, but by way of prophecy, foretelling that the tribe of Reuben should not inherit the pre-eminence usually annexed to the first birth-right, viz: the double portion, the prince or lord over the other brethren, and the priesthood, of which the double portion was given to Joseph, the princely office to Juda, and the priesthood to Levi. The blessing of Juda foretelleth the strength of his tribe, the fertility of his inheritance, and principally that the sceptre and legislative power should not be utterly taken away from his race until about the time of the coming of Christ, as in effect it never was, which is a demonstration against the modern Jews, that the Messiah is long since come for the sceptre, has long been utterly taken away from Juda. Dan shall Judge; see Gen. 49, 16 This was verified in Samson who was of the tribe of Dan, and began to deliver Israel Judg 13 c. 5 v. But as this deliverance was but temporal and very imperfect, the holy patriarch aspires after another kind of a deliver, saying I have waited for thy salvation O Lord, Gad being girded a troop shall overcome; and it seems to allude to the tribe of Gad, when, after they had received for their lot the land of Gilead, they marched in arms before the Israelites, to the conquest of the land of Canaan; they afterwards returned loaded with spoils. See Josh. c. 6. To behold his beauty whilst his envious brethren turned their darts against him, &c; his bow rested upon the strong; that upon God who was his strength, who also loosed his bands, and brought him out of prison to be the pastor, that is the feeder and ruler of Egypt; and the stone, that is, the rock and support of Israel; the blessing of the father, that is, thy father's blessings are made more prevalent and effectual in thy regard by the additional strength they receive from his inheritance; the blessings of his progenitors, Abraham and Isaac the desire of the everlasting hills; these blessings all looked forward to Christ, called the desire of the everlasting hills, as being longed for, as it were, by the whole creation. Mysterially the patriarchs and prophets are called the everlasting hills by reason of the eminence of their wisdom and holiness. The Nazarite; this word signifies one separated, and agrees to Joseph as being separated from, and more eminent than his brethren, as the ancient Nazarites, were so called from their being set aside. For God vowed to him to be gathered to his people, that is, I am going to die and to follow my ancestors that are gone before me, and to join their company in another world.
Sec. 2. On the book of Exodus, the second book of Moses.
Exodus, from the Greek word which signifies going out, because it contains the history of the going out of Egypt of the children of Israel. The Hebrew from the word with which it begins that Moses was a child of the Hebrews and was caught by Pharaoh's daughter when she saw a basket in the flags afloat in the water, she sent one of her maids to bring it hither, and the maid said, shall I go and call an Hebrew woman to nurse it? she answered go; the maid went and called the child's mother to nurse it. We thus see the great wisdom of God in the opening of ways to lead his children into safe places and providing means for their comforts that the world knows not of, for some of them he keeps poor in order that they may seethe more need of him, that they may act in due form, by keeping a pare heart, then their riches will not perish in this world as earthly riches, for they go no farther than the grave, but, the riches of a pure heart will stand in time and through the countless ages of eternity for God is their great ensurance, for the mid-wives feared God: the mid-wives were rewarded, not for their lies, which was a venial sin, but for their fear of God and their humanity; but this reward was only temporal, in building them houses, that is, in establishing and enriching these families. Moses, in the Egyptian tongue, signifies one taken or saved out of the water, and after he was grown up he went to his brethren and saw their afflictions, rod an Egyptian striking one of his Hebrew brethren, and when he looked about this way and that way and saw no one there, he slew the Egyptian. This he did by a particular inspiration of God, as a prelude to his delivering the people from their oppression and bondage. See Acts 7 c. 24 v. But such particular and extraordinary examples are not to be imitated. See Exo. 3 c. 2 v. And the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush, that, is, an angel representing God and speaking in his name, I am that I am, being itself eternal, self-existent, independent, infinite, without beginning, end or change, and the source of all other beings. Thus we see that Moses was qualified for the great task of the delivery of the children of Israel, notwithstanding that God hardened the heart of Pharoah not by being the efficient cause of his sin, but by withdrawing from him, for his just punishment, the dew of grace that might have softened his heart, and so suffering him to grow harder and harder, not by being the efficient cause of his hardness of heart, but by permitiitg it, and by withdrawing grace from him in punishment of his malice, which alone was the proper cause of his being hardened. See 2d Tim. 3 c. 8 v. "Now as Jaunes and Jambres withstood Moses, so doth these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds" &c. But now I say, pray ye to the Lord; by this it appears that though magicians, by the help of the devil, could bring frogs yet they could rot take them away, God being pleased to abridge in this the power of Satan; so we see they could not afterwards produce the less insects, and in this restraint of the power of the devil, were found to acknowledge the finger of God; By this we see that Pharoah was himself the efficient cause of his heart being hardened, and not God. See Heb. 3 c. 6, 8 vs.; Exd. 9 c. "Then the Lord said unto Moses go in unto Pharoah and tell him, Thus saith the Lord God of the Hebrews, Let my people go;" the things that they took goods, oxen, rams, &c. It is the usual stile of the scriptures to call all idols and false gods abominations, to signify how much the people of God ought to detest and abhor them. So it appears that the Lord was with Moses even to the delivery of the children of Israel, and a dark cloud enlightening the night; it was a dark cloud to the Egyptians, but was a guide to the Israelites, by jiving them a great light, and the Lord fed them on their journey with manna; this miraculous food with which the children of Israel were nourished and supported during their sojourning in the wilderness, was a figure of the bread of life which we receive in the blessed sacrament for the food and nourishment of our souls during the time of our mortal pilgrimage, till we come to our eternal home, the true land of promise where we shall keep an everlasting Sabbath and have no farther need of sacraments; and the blessed Lord in his wisdom gave to the children of Israel the law by the hand of his servant Moses, saying in the 20th chapter of Exodus, 3d verse, "Thou shalt have have no other Gods before me," &c. A graven thing, nor the likeness of any thing, all such images or likenesses are forbidden by this commandment, as are made to be adored and served according to that which immediately follows, "Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them," that is, all such as are designed for idols or image gods, or are worshipped with divine honor; but otherwise, images, pictures or representations, even in the house of God and in the very sanctuary, so far from being forbidden are expressly authorised by the word of God. See Exo. 25 c. 15 v. &c; 37 c. 7 v.; Num. 2t c. 8, 9 vs.; "and the Lord said unto Moses, Make a fiery serpent and set it up on a pole." 1st Chron. 28 c, 18, 19 vs.; 2d do. 3 c. 10 v. These passages goes to show us the great design of God in instructing us to do his will and not ours; all these different things here mentioned, that gold and silver was for certain purposes and not for images. I want a God that can hear and answer prayer, and by his mighty power to protect me, while grace preserves my soul. I think that if Daniel while in the lions' den, or the three Hebrew children, had no other God but a gold image to pray unto for deliverance, methinks they would have been devoured forever, no more to be heard: but the bread they lived on perished not, something like the manna that was given to the children of Israel when passing through the wilderness; this bread, because they were always to stand before the face of the Lord, in his temple as a figure of the original sacrifice and sacrament in the church of Christ: the lamps which was always to give light in the house of God, was a figure of the light of the Holy Ghost, and his sevenfold grace in the sanctuary of the church of Christ; the sanctuary, that part of the tabernacle which was without the veil, into which the priests daily entered, is here called the sanctuary or holy place; that part which was within the veil, into which no one but the High Priest ever went, and he but once a year, is called the holy of holies (literally the sanctuarus of the sanctuary, as being the most holy of all holy places.) Seeing now the sun at high meridian, what a glorious light of perfection, while standing upright.—Doctrine and Truth: these words written on the rational sons to signify the light of doctrine and the integrity of life, which the priest of God ought to approach him. See Exo. 33 c. 11 v. "And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend, and he turned again into the camp." This is a most familiar manner, though as we learn from this very chapter, Moses could not see the face of the Lord; in the language of the scriptures God is said to know such as he approves and loves, and to know by name those whom he favors in a most singular manner, as he did his servant Moses ; the Lord by his angel usually spoke to Moses in the pillar of the cloud, so that he could not see the glory of him that spoke familiarly with him in the vision here mentioned, he allowed to something of him in an assumed corporeal form, not in the face, the rays of which were too bright for mortal eye to bear, but to view him, as it were, behind, when his face was turned from him. Thus we see the close communion with God to admit Moses to converse with him, and I believe to this day, for as much as Moses did it in a temporal sense, the true christian may converse with him in a spiritual sense here, while travelling in this hostile world. See Lu. 24 c. 32 v. "And they said one to the other, Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked with us by the way and while he opened to us the scriptures." "And whatsoever ye shall ask in ray name that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you shall ask any thing in my name I will do it." These passages are sufficient to prove to the world that God will ever defend his children; "but be ye not deceived," for here is but one way to ask and one way to receive. 1st the prayer from a pure heart, God bound himself to answer, and that is well known for Daniel proved that fact; the way to receive is always to be found in obedience at the footstool of sovereign mercy, then whatever he doeth it shall prosper.
But a word to those that had a name to live the shadow without the substance. That man cannot expect to receive any thing good from the hand of the Lord, for it is contrary to God's own word. "This is that Moses which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren like unto me, him shall ye hear."
Sec. 3. On the Book of Leviticus.
By historical accounts this book is called Leviticus because it treats of the officers and ministers, rites and ceremonies of the Priests and Levites. The word with which it begins, that is, the whole burnt offering, so called, because the whole victim was consumed with fire and given in such manner to God as wholly to evaporate, as it were, for his honor and glory, without having any part of it reserved for the use of man. The other sacrifices of the Old Testament were either offerings for sin or peace offerings, and these latter again, were either offered in thanksgiving for blessings, reward, or by way of prayer for new favors or graces; so that sacrifices were then offered to God for four different ends or intentions, answerable to the different obligations which man has to God. 1st. By way of adoration, homage, praise and glory, due to his divine majesty. 2d. By way of thanksgiving for all benefits received from him. 3d. By way of confessing and craving pardon for sin. 4th. By way of prayer and petition for grace and relief in all necessity. In. the new law we have but one sacrifice, that of the body and blood of Jesus Christ. But this one sacrifice of the New Testament perfectly answers all these four ends, and both priests and people as often as it is celebrated, ought to join in offering up our petition to the Almighty God for the conviction and convertion of the souls of the people and ourselves, that it may go well with us here and hereafter. Amen. "For ye shall burn no leaven nor any honey in any offering of the Lord made by fire." No leaven nor honey was to be used in the sacrifice offered to God, to signify that we are to exclude from the pure worship of the Gospel, all double dealing and affection to carnal pleasure. In every sacrifice salt was to be used, which is an emblem of wisdom and discretion, without which none of our performances arc agreeable to God. Peace, in scripture language, signifies happiness, welfare or prosperity: in a word, all kinds of blessings. Such sacrifices, therefore, as were offered either on an occasion of blessings received, or to obtain new favors, were called peace offerings. In these some part of the victim was consumed with fire on the altar of God, other parts were eaten by the Priest and by the persons for whom the sacrifice was offered. The perpetual fire. This fire come from heaven and was always kept burning on the altar, as a figure of the heavenly fire of divine love, which ought always to be burning in the heart of a christian. Lev. 9: 24. "And there came a fire out from before the Lord and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat, which, when all the people saw, they shouted and fell on their faces." This will show that all the people of God are to shout, not that I mean they should jump up off the ground, but I mean to shout when a men feds his heart to burn, with sacred love as the disciples of our Lord did when they said, "did not our hearts burn within us; while he conversed with us and opened unto us the scriptures." This is the kind of shouting; I mean, for God is a Spirit and seek such to worship him in the spirit and in truth; this may be done in standing or sitting, running or walking or lying down, so that it is done with sincerity, this is all that God requires. "Speak unto the children of Israel saying, These are the beasts which ye shall eat among all the beasts that are on the earth." Lev. 11: 2. The prohibition of so many kinds of beasts, birds and fishes in the law was ordered 1st. To exercise the people in obedience and temperance. 2d. To restrain them from the views of which these animals were symbols. 3d. Because the things here forbidden were for the most part unwholesome and not proper to be eaten. 4th. That the people of God by being obliged to abstain from things corporally unclean, might be trained up to seek a spiritual cleanness.—Hoof divided and cheweth the cud, signifies discretion between good and evil and meditating on the laws of God: and where either of these is wanting, a man is unclean in like manner. Fishes were reputed unclean that had not fins and scales; the camel, the hare, the coney, the swine, are mentioned as unclean in scripture. "And whatsoever hath not fins and scales ye may not eat: it is unclean unto you. Of all clean birds ye shall eat. But these are they of which ye shall not eat; the eagle and the osifrage, and the espray, and the glede, and the kite, and the vulture after his kind, and every raven after his kind."
"When the plague of leprosy is in a man then he shall be brought unto the priest." Lev. 13: 9. The leprosy has the figure of sin, and the observance prescribed in this and the following chapter intimates what ought spiritually to be done in order to be delivered from so great an evil, or preserved from it. The prescriptions with relation to garments and houses infected with the leprosy, are to teach us to fly from ail such company and places as are apt to be the occasion of sin. Thus you may readily see by any evil or lying: thus Elisha's servant, Gahazi, after Elijah had healed the man that had the leprosy, his servant had a covetous heart and told his master and the man a lie, and Elisha said unto him, "is this a time to receive money or garments, olive-yards or vine-yards, sheep, oxen, men-servants and maid-servants." He then stood speechless to hear his awful sentence: "the leprosy, therefore, of Namon shall cleave unto thee and unto thy seed forever; and he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow." Here is the fate of all liars: let this be a warning for all of us for there was no remedy for his malady: an awful sight indeed! And now these ceremonies used in the cleansing of a leper were mysterious and very significative; the sprinkling of seven times with the blood of the little bird, the washing himself and his clothes, the shaving his hair and his beard, signify the means which are to be used in the reconciliation of a sinner, and the steps by which he is to return to God by the repeated application of the blood of Christ, the washing his conscience with the water of compunction, and retrenching all vanities and superfluity, by employing all that is over and above what is necessary in alms deeds, the sin offering, and the holocaust or burnt offering, which he was to offer at his cleansing, signify the sacrifice of a contrite and humble heart, and that of adoration in spirit and truth with gratitude and thankfulness for the forgiveness of sins, with which we are ever to appear before the Almighty, the touching of the right ear, the thumb of the right hand, and the great toe of the right foot, first with the blood of the victim and then with the remainder of the oil which had been sprinkled seven times before the Lord, signify the application of the blood of Christ and the unction of the sevenfold grace of the Holy Ghost to the sinner's right ear that he may duly hearken to and obey the law of God, and to his right hand and foot, that the work of his hands and all the steps or affections of his soul, signified by the feet, may be rightly directed to God. Their legal uncleanness was instituted in order to give the people a horror of carnal impurities; no one but the High Priest, and he but once a year could enter into the sanctuary, to signify that no one could enter into the sanctuary of heaven till Christ our High Priest, opened it by his passion.—This is to teach us that if we would go into the sanctuary of God we must take with us the incense of prayer, and the blood, that is, the passion of Christ. Where, also, note, that the High Priest, before he went into the holy of holies, was to wash his whole body, and then to put on white linen garments to signify the purity and chastity with which we are to approach God.
Sec. 4. The Book of Numbers.
This book of Moses; is called Numbers, because it begins with the numbering of the people. It would take up too much to go and search out each chapter for to comment upon, therefore, I must apply the words of our Lord, "search the scriptures for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they that testily of me." Without the spirit there is no testimony that can be permanent, and that it would be well for us all to remember, and that in time. Now for this confession and satisfaction ordained in the old law, was a figure of the sacrament of penance, this ordinance, the spirit of jealousy was intended to clear the innocent and to prevent jealous husbands from doing mischief to these, as likewise to give all a horror of adultery, by punishing it in so remarkable a manner. Num. 8: 7. "Sprinkle water of purifying upon them," &c; this was the holy water mixed with the ashes of the red heifer. "This is the ordinance of the law which the Lord hath commanded, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel that they bring thee a red heifer without spot wherein is no blemish and upon which never come a yoke." That was appointed for purifying all that was unclean; it was a figure of the blood of Christ applied to our souls by his holy sacrament. "And the mixt multitude that was among them fell a lusting and the children of Israel also wept against, and said Who shall give us flesh to eat."—The mixt multitude; they were the people that came with them out of Egypt, who were not of the race of Israel, who by their murmuring drew also the children of Israel to murmur. To teach us the danger of associating ourselves with the children of Egypt, that is, the lovers and admirers of the wicked world. " And the Lord said unto Moses Gather unto me seventy men of the elders of Israel whom thou knowest to be the elders of the people and officers over them, and bring them unto the tabernacle of the congregation that they may stand there with thee." The seventy men; this was the first institution of the Council or Senate, called the Sanhedrim, consisting of seventy Senators or Counsellors; even as there were seventy men stood around the bed of Solomon, in order to accomplish the design of God in due time: it was fulfilled by our Lord himself, when he had given commission to his seventy-two disciples, telling them to "go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature, and they that believe and are baptized shall be cured, and he that believeth not shall be damned, the Lord working with them and confirming the works with signs." Mark 16: 16. And now we see the great necessity of the gospel being preached unto the fallen world of man, for he said "Behold I send you forth as lambs among wolves;" and here the wicked are compared to wolves; now the nature of a wolf will devour mankind whenever it is in his power, but let him have powder with him and rifle well charged, he may pass through the wilderness with safety; they will run by the smelling of powder in a hard winter when there is no pray to be got; the wolf will give a howl, a sign of distress, and perhaps five hundred or more will gather and they will make fond and play with each other very lovingly and from this they W >H strike a curie and form a trot; they will get to a canter, and the first one that falls, by guiding or being weak, all the rest will turn and devour him and eat him up; and from this let us learn a lesson, this is the way with the world, they do to each other this. You may see by the charge our Lord gave his disciples, saying, behold, that is a wonder to the world for the world will look; at them as a speckle bird, he sent them forth as lambs among wolves; this is not to go into their exile, for he said unto us touch not nor handle not the unclean thing, and I will receive you; they must always have their rifle well charged with truth and grace, knowing that the love of God, through the preaching of the gospel, do cover a multitude of sins; this is the great cannon of their faith, and while they thus walk in this path no wolves can devour them In the multitude of council there is safety, together we stand but if divided we are sure to fall, and be ye aware of the lust of the flesh and the pride of life, because there they buried the people that lusted. Num. 11: 34. "But if Israel is not gathered Jacob will not loose his reward. Now, therefore, kill every male among the little ones and kill every woman." Women and children ordinarily speaking, were not to be killed in war; but the great Lord of life was pleased to order it otherwise in the present case in detestation of the wickedness of the people, who by the counsel of Balaam had sent their women among the Israelites on purpose to draw them from God. This mention of the journey of the children of Israel from Egypt to the land of promise, were figures according to the fathers of the steps and degrees by which christians, leaving sin are to advance from virtue to virtue, till they come to see the God of Gods in Zion.
Sec. 5. The Book of Deuteronomy.
This book is called Deuteronomy, which signifies a second law, because it respects and inculcates the ordinances formerly given on Mount Sinai, with other precepts not expressed before; this book contains a degree of duty we owe to our God and in the way pointed out, that we may honor him. Hence the wicked who refuse to be subject to the divine law are called in scripture, the children of the devil. There shall be no poor. It is not to be understood as a promise that there shall be no poor in Israel, as appears from the 15th chap, of Deut. 11 verse, for the poor shall never cease, where we learn that God's people would never be at loss to find objects for their charity; but it is an ordinance that all should do their best endeavors to prevent any of their brethren from suffering the hardships of poverty and want. Here we see what authority God was pleased to give to the church guides of the Old Testament in deciding without appeal all controversies relating to the law, promising that they should not err therein, and punishing with death such as proudly refused to obey their decisions; and surely he has not done less for the church guides of the New Testament. This caution against suffering any filth in the camp was to teach them to fly the filth of sin, which driveth God away from the soul. This was a dispensation granted by God to his people, who, being the Lord of all things, can give a right and title to one upon the goods of another, otherwise the scripture every where condemns usury as contrary to the law of God and a crying sin. Ex. 22: 35.—St. Paul understands this of the spiritual, laborers in the church of God who is not to be denied his maintenance. 1st Cor. 9: 8, D, 10. This orders for the destroying of the Amelakites; sheweth in the mystical sense how hateful these are to God and what punishment they are to look for from his justice, who attack and discourages his servants when they but just come out as it were of the Egypt of this wicked world, and being yet weak and faint hearted, are but beginning their journey to the land of promise.—In the Old Testament God promises temporal blessings to the keepers, of his law, heaven not being opened as yet, and that gross and sensual people being more moved with present and sensible things. But in the New Testament the goods which are promised us are spiritual and eternal, and temporal evils are turned into blessings. Thus God dealt with the trangressors of his law in the Old Testament, but now he often suffers sinners to prosper in this world, rewarding them for some little good they have done, and reserving their punishment for the other world, through your own faults, and because you resisted his grace. It may be an expression which may either be understood as spoken by the sinner, blessing, that is, flattering himself in his sins with the imagination of peace, and so great an abundance as may satisfy, and, as it were, consumed all thirst and want; or it may be referred to the root of bitterness spoken of before, which being drank with sin may attract, and by what means consume such as thirst after the like evils, as much as to say such things belong and are known to God alone; our business must be to observe what he has revealed and manifested to us, and to direct our lives accordingly, although the dwelling of God be above in heaven, his arms are always stretched out to help us here below: and what consolation is this for the cross bearing soul, for he said in this language "I will be with you in the sixth trial and in the seventh I will not leave thee. Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me."
Moses, the servant of God being a great witness, for after he had finished the work with honor and dignity, God saw cause to conceal his remains in a grave unknown to men or devils. This last chapter of Deut. in which the death of Moses is related, was written by Joshua or by some of the prophets. By the ministry of angels and would have the place of his burial unknown, lest the Israelites who were so prone to idolatry, should worship him with divine honor.
Sec. 6. The Book of Joshua.
This book is called Joshua because it contains the history of what passed under him, and according to the common opinion was written by him. The Greeks call him Jesus, for Joshua and Jesus in the Hebrew are the same and have the same signification, a Saviour, and it was not without a mystery that he who was to bring the people into the land of promise, should have his name changed. O see! for so he was called before, Joshua or Jesus, to give us to understand that Moses, by his law, could only bring the people within sight of the promised inheritance, but that our Saviour Jesus was to bring us into it.
St. Michael, who was called Prince of the people of Israel. Dan. 10: 21. "And there is none that holdeth with me in these things but Michael your Prince;" not with divine honor, but with a religious veneration of an inferior kind, suitable to the dignity of his person; there are many I fear that commit the unpardonable sin mentioned in Matthew 12th chapter 32d verse, "but whosever speaketh against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world nor the world to come." Now it is well for us to consider the first reproof by our Lord when he wept over Jerusalem and said "if thou had been wise to consider the things which made for thy peace, now they are hidden from thine eyes." In this expression we may plainly see that the Jews cut themselves off by denying the power of God; for Paul said, he that rejects the sacrifice for sin, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sin. This sin has been a controversy to millions and has caused them wonder and great astonishment, and they are lost and do not know what it is, not that I, call myself competent to tell what it is, either by history or philosophy, but I am merely moved on by the Spirit of God. Now I tell you, every man that dies without repenting of his sin, let the sin be ever so small that is an unpardonable sin, in one sense. 2d. We are not to murder ourselves; according to scripture that is a soul damning sin, for no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. Now the great apostle tells us that unbelief locks heaven against the sinner. However, my dear reader, I do not say that I have described the unpardonable sin that is mentioned by our Lord according to my weak judgment, and my opinion to be short, it has allusion to those who once had tasted the good word of God and felt the power of the world to come, and then turn back and deny that power with malice in his heart; I believe that that man is damned above ground. You may think as you please, and in addition to this, according to our Lord's word, for it is "impossible for those who were once enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the power of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance, seeing they crucified to themselves the son. of God afresh and put him to an open shame." You will please to observe what this great sin is of denying of the Holy Ghost. This is the power of God, for what is a man without power, for we have sinned against the father, for this cause he sent his only begotten son to redeem ns and we sinned against him. The third is the Holy Ghost. We are not to deny that power, for that is the way that God defends his children by his power and his grace is to preserve them, and if we deny the son we have no power, it is by him we get this power. It was asked by what authority he did these things or gave this authority, and he answered very beautifully. "I will also ask you one thing, and answer me, the baptism of John, was it from heaven or of men. They reasoned with themselves, saying, if we shall say from heaven he will say why then believe ye him not; but if we say of men, the people will stone us, for they are persuaded that John was a prophet. They answered, that they could not tell from whence it come, and Jesus saith unto them, neither tell I you by what authority I do these things." Now when they heard these things, knowing their hearts being evil they trembled on occount of their guilty conscience, and they finding themselves so completely confounded, they could not answer him. And now itwould be well for us all to consider the case well, for our own safety, least we should be found speechless in the great day of eternity.
And now I will give a short history of a certain gentle-man in a distant land where I travelled, that went to the church and saw the minister delivering the sacrament, and he was filled with laughter. He and his company returned home and said that he intended to go through the same exercise. He got his bread and wine and said that he could do it as the minister; he went into a room with his company and shut the door, and places his bread and wine on the table, got his book and went through theceremonies, then all knelt down, as he saw it done, and after his prayer, he then gave his bread and wine, saying this was Christ's body which was broken for you, also the wine, drink this in remembrance of Christ's blood which was shed for you and for many others, for the remission of sin. Now this was a great gentleman, so called. What an example this was before the ignorant and unlearned! He was called to a friend's house, a few doors from where he lived, and commenced talking with his friend, and in a short time, he exclaimed, with an awful screatch, and said, my belly is full of hell-fire and I am burning up: hell is my home, the wrath of God is my portion, and in a few moments he gave up the ghost.
Now my friends and dear readers, it is well for us to take notice of this man's conduct; bear it mind at least, some of you may fall in the same manner, for his walls fell like unto the walls of Jericho to be rebuilt no more.—Jos. 6: 20. That is a curse and devoted to destruction. Jericho, in the mystical sense, signifies eniquity. The sounding of the trumpet by the Priest: the preaching of the word of God, by which the walls of Jericho are thrown down, when sinners are converted and a dreadful curse will light on those who build them up again, for you will not be able to serve the Lord. This was not said by way of discouraging them, but rather to make them more earnest and resolute by setting before them the greatness of the undertaking, and the courage and constancy necessary to go through with it.
Sec. 7. The Book of Judges.
Judges, this book is called, because it contains the history of what passed under the government of the Judges who ruled Israel before they had kings. The writer of it, according to the more common opinion, was the prophet Samuel. Jerusalem was divided into two parts, one was called Jebus, the other Salem, the one was in the tribe of Juda, the other in the tribe of Benjamin. After it was taken and burnt by the men of Juda, it was quickly rebuilt again by the Jebusites, as we may gather from Judg. 1: 21. And continued in their possession till it was taken by King David; by this it seems that the valiant men of the tribe of Reuben were divided in their sentiments with relation to this war, which division kept them at home within their own borders to hear the bleating of the flock. Judg. 5: 16. Where this land of Moses was which is here laid under a curse, we cannot find, nor is there mention of it any where else in holy writ. In the spiritual sense they are cursed, who refuse to assist the people of God in their warfare against their spiritual enemies. Mark how the Lord chooseth the humble who are mean and little in their own eyes, for the greatest enterprise; by this we see that God will not choose for his instruments in great achievements, which depend purely on his grace, such as through pride and self-conceit, will take the glory to themselves. O, my friends, beware of this pride and glory which is so prevalent in this world. See Gideon and his men who lapped the water; those were preferred who took the water up in their hands and so lapped it, before those who laid themselves quite down to the water to drink, which argued a more eager and sensual disposition.
Observation of dreams is commonly superstitious, and as such is condemned by some people, but in some extraordinary cases, as we see here, God is pleased by dreams, to foretell what he is about to do. Judg. 7: 13. In a mystical sense the preachers of the gospel, in order to spiritual conquests, must not only sound with the trumpet of the word of God, but must also break their earthern petition by the mortification of the flesh and its passions, and carry lamps in their hands by the light of their virtue: a meek and humble answer to God, otherwise they might have come to extremities, so great is the power of humility, both with God and man. The olive tree is introduced, speaking in this manner, because oil was used both in the worship of the true God and in that of the false gods, whom the Schemites served. Wine is represented as agreeable to God, because he had appointed it to be offered up with his sacrifice, but we are not obliged to take these words, spoken of by the trees in a parable, according to the strict rigor of divinity, but only in a sense accommodated to the design of the parable expressed in the conclusions of it; however, this may suffice for the present; but we understand that the feminine gender determineth to the mother, but then, the child was also to refrain from the like things, because he was to be from his infancy a Nazarite of God. Judg. 13: 5. That is once set aside in a particular manner and consecrated to God. Now the Nazarites by the law were to abstain from all these things, not in his own person, but in the person of his messengers. The Israelites in those days imagined they should die if they saw an angel, taking occasion, perhaps, from those words spoken by the Lord to Moses.—Exo. 33: 20. "No man shall see my face and live;" but the event demonstrated that it was but a groundless imagination, not like a Samson, for there was a very remarkable providence in this particular, of the history of Samson, from which, also, in the mystical sense, we may learn what spiritual sweetness and nourishment our souls will acquire, from slaying the lions of our passions. Samson being judge of the people, he might have many to assist him to catch foxes with nets, or otherwise, a number of these animals of which there were many in that country. Some are of the opinion Delilah was married to Samson, others that she was his harlot; if the latter opinion be true we cannot wonder that in the punishment of his lust, the Lord delivered him up by her means into the hands of his enemies; however, if he were guilty, it is not to be doubted, that under his afflictions he heartily repented and returned to God, and so obtained forgiveness of his sins.—Judg. 16: 28. " That I may revenge myself." This desire of revenge was out of zeal for justice against the enemies of God and his people, and not out of private rancour and malice of heart. Samson did not sin as I think, on this occasion, though he was the cause of his own death, because he was moved -to what he did, by a particular inspiration of God, who, also, concurred with him by a miracle, in restoring his strength upon the spot. In consequence of his eyes, Samson, by dying in this manner was a figure of Christ, in one sense, overcame his enemies, Again, the children of Israel went up against the children of Benjamin, his brother; the Lord suffered them to be overthrown and many of them to be slain, though their cause was just, partly in punishment of the idolatry which they exercised or tolerated in the tribe of Dan and elsewhere, and partly because they trusted in their own strength, and therefore, though he bid them fight, he would not give them the victory till they were thoroughly humbled and had learned to trust in him alone.
Sec. 8. The Book of Ruth.
This book is called Ruth, from the name of the person whose history is here recorded, who being a Gentile became a convert to the true faith, and marrying Boaz, the great grandfather of David, was one of those from whom Christ sprung, according to the flesh, and an illustrious figure of the Gentile church. It is thought this book was written by the prophet Samuel. Noami did not mean to persuade Ruth to return to the false gods she had formerly worshiped, but by this manner of speech, insinuated to her that if she would go with her, she must renounce her false gods and turn to the Lord the God of Israel for it is a good thing to have a right understanding and a proper judgment, so that we may discern the things that makes for our peace; for the custom was in redeeming, by giving pledges to confirm the same, by plucking off his shoes and to give to his neighbors. This was the testimony in Israel and all the people that were in the gate and the elders, said that we are witnesses. Now let us in the gospel dispensation, pluck off our shoes, that is, the world, then we can walk upright, on the level with ail men, then we can keep the land-mark always in view, then we can say that we are Jesus' witnesses. Ruth. 4: 11.
Sec. 9. The First Rook of Samuel.
This and the following book, are called by the Hebrews, the book of Samuel, because they contain the history of Samuel and of the two kings Saul and David, whom he annointed. They are more commonly named by the fathers, the First and Second Books of Kings. As to the writer of them, it is the common opinion that Samuel composed the first book as far as the 25th chapter, and that, he prophet Nathan and Gad finished the first and wrote the second book. "And if one man sin against another the Judge shall judge him, but if a man sin against the Lord, who shall entreat for him." By these words Eli would have his sons understand that by their abase of sacred things, and of the very sacrifices which were appointed to appease the Lord, they deprived themselves of the ordinary means of reconciliation with God, which was by sacrifices, the more, because they were the Chief Priests, whose business it was, to intercede for all others, they had no other to offer sacrifice to and to make atonement for them, in consequence of their manifold sacrileges, he would not soften their hearts with his efficacious grace, but was determined to destroy them. This was partly fulfilled when Abiathar of the race of Eli, was removed from the priesthood and, Sadoc, who was of another tribe, was substituted in his place, but it was more fully accomplished in the New Testament, when the priesthood of Aaron, gave place to that of Christ. The Lord was pleased afterwards to give to his people Israel in that place, by the prayers of Samuel. "Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpeh and Shen and called it the name of Ebenezer—This great foundation, although the Philistines took the ark of God and brought from Ebenezer unto Ashdod."—There is great reason by all these circumstances to hope that Eli did, in the state of grace, and by his temporal punishment escape the eternal wrath of God. We see how much the Israelites lamented the loss of the ark, which was but the symbol of God's presence amongst them; how much more ought christians to lament the loss of God himself, when by sin they have driven him out of their souls.
Bethel, where there was at that time an altar of God, it being one of the places where Samuel judged Israel, in which there was also, at times, a high place or altar.—Prophets: these men, whose office it was to sing hymns and praises to God, are called prophesying. 1st Chron. 15: 22, 25. "And they brought up the ark of the covenant with joy." Now there were in those days, Colleges or schools, for training up their prophets, and it seems that there was one of these schools at the lull of God and. another at Naioth where they were taught. Now the great College of God is to give that pure lesson of truth and light: knowledge to serve him so that they may safely arrive to the kingdom of God. At this time Saul was in great rage and in war, but the great master of life and death, who cuts off one half of all mankind while they are children, has been pleased, sometimes, to ordain that his children should be put to the sword, in detestation of the crimes of their parents, and that they might not live to follow the same wicked ways; but without such ordinance of God it is not allowable in any war, however just, to kill children. Thus, we find, the Lord knoweth how to deliver the innocent. "Now even in the cave I will not put forth mine hand against my God, for he is the Lord annointed, for in that I cut off the skirt of thy robe, and kill thee not, there is neither evil nor transgression in my hand." I would to God that all that say they are his annointed, possessed such a spirit and disposition in this day to pray for ther enemies instead of rejoicing at their downfall, and then the christian warfare would go right and God himself would be glorified.
David, I believe, had a thought to kill Saul, his enemy, on the first attempt, and on the second he reflected that he was an annointed of God; this thought to kill him was a suggestion to which he did not consent to; the meaning is, that he referred his whole cause to God to judge, and punish according to his justice; yet so as to keep himself in the meantime in due bounds from all personal hatred to Saul, or desire of gratifying his own passion, by seeking revenge; so far from it, that when Saul was afterwards slain, we find that, instead of rejoicing at his death, he mourned most bitterly for him. Previous to the death of Saul he said to David, "thou art more righteous than I, for thou hast rewarded me good, whereas I have rewarded thee evil." And now we see that David was a man of another spirit. David said, "behold! how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity; it is like the precious ointment upon the head that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard, that went down to the skirts of his garments as the dew of heaven, and as the dew that descended upon the mountain of Zion, for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life forevermore." Yet the Lord blessed him in all his proceedings and he praised God on the occasion, not out of joy for the death of Saul or of Nabal, which would have argued a rancour of heart, but because he saw that his divine majesty had so visibly taken his cause in hand in punishing the injury done to him, whilst by a merciful providence he kept him from revenging himself. There were a great many people in those days that were enemies of the people of God, and some, if not all of them, were of the number of those whom God had ordered to be destroyed, justified David's proceedings in their regard: though it is to be observed here, that we are not under an obligation of justifying every thing that he did, for the scriptures in relating what was done, doth not say that it was well done, and even such as are true servants of God are not to be imitated in all they do. It is the more common opinion of the holy fathers and interpreters that the soul of Samuel appeared indeed, and not as some have imagined, an evil spirit in his shape, not that the power of her magic could bring him thither, but that God was pleased, for the punishment of Saul, that Samuel himself should announce unto him the evils that were falling upon him, that is, in the state of the dead and in another World, though not in the same place.
Sec. 10. The Second Book of Samuel.
David now being ruler and annointed king of Juda, purposed to build a temple, but the Lord forbid him—This prophesy partly relateth to Solomon, but much more to Christ the great son of David, and the builder of the true temple, which is the church of God, his everlasting kingdom, which shall never fail nor be. cast off, for any inpurity of "her children. It appears that the Lord sent Nathan unto David after he had sinned, and told him a parable, and after he had ended, David's anger was kindled against the man, and said, "as the Lord liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die, and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing and because he had no pity; and Nathan said unto David thou art the man." 2d Sam. 12: 7. David on this occasion wept for his sins, which he knew were the cause of all his sufferings. Ziba, by false suggestions, obtained his master's inheritance. "Shimei, the son of Gera; he came forth and cursed still as he came;" not that the Lord was the author of Shimei's sins, which proceeded purely from his own malice, and the abuse of his free will, but that knowing and suffering his malicous disposition to break out on this occasion, he made use of him as his instrument to punish David for his sins. The people might apprehend lest Absalom should be reconciled to his father and, therefore, they followed him with some fear of being left in the lurch, till they saw such a crime committed as seemed to make a reconciliation impossible. "The God of Israel said, and the Rock of Israel said to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. 2d Sam. 23: 3. So shall the kingdom of Christ, as if he should say "this everlasting covenant was not due to my house, but purely owing to the bounty of him who is all my salvation and my will;" that is, who hath always saved me and executed what I desired of him so that I and my house, through his blessing, have sprung up and succeeded in all things.
Sec. 11 . The First Book of Kings.
This and the following book are called by the holy fathers, the Third and Fourth Books of Kings, but by the Hebrews the first and second; they contain the history of the kingdoms of Israel and Juda, from the beginning of the reign of Solomon to the captivity. As to the writer of these books, it seem most probable they were not written by cue man nor at one time, but as there was all along a succession of prophets in Israel, who recorded, by divine inspiration, the most remarkable things which happened in those days, these books seems to have been written by those prophets, 2d Chron. 9: 39; do. 20: 34; do. 26: 23; do. 32: 32; for the express purpose to keep in view so that the rising generation might see and know the proceedings of their fathers, that they might have a correct knowledge of the oracles of God and the great temple that was built by Solomon, was a figure of the great celestial temple; so the stones for the building of God's eternal temple in the heavenly Jerusalem, must first be hewed and polished here, by many trials and sufferings before they can be admitted to have a place in that celestial structure. The inner house of the oracle, that is the sanctuary, which he separated from the other part of the temple, with this partition of cedar, instead of the veil which, in the tabernacle of Moses, hung before the sanctuary. And he set up two pillars in the porch of the temple, and he set up the right hand pillar and he called the name thereof Jachin, and he set up the left hand pillar, and called the name thereof Boaz; that is, in it is strength. By recording these names in holy writ, the spirit of God would have us to understand the invincible firmness and strength of the pillars on which the true temple of God, which is the church, is established, or, no less foundation than God himself, for he said, his soul shall dwell at ease, and his seed shall inherit the earth, the secret of the Lord is with them that fear him, and he will show them his covenan, for this church will exist while time lasts and he will show his officers how they should conduct the administration of all the affairs that they may be able to close all their charges in peace and make a safe arrival to the church of the first born. It appears that there was none that followed the house of David but the tribe of Juda. 1st Kings, 12: 20. Benjamin was a small tribe, and so intermixed with the tribe of Juda (the very city of Jerusalem being partly in Juda, partly in Benjamin) that they are here counted but as one tribe. "And he said unto him I am a prophet, also, as thou art an angel, speaketh unto me by the word of the Lord. 1st Kings 13: 18. The man was a prophet but he sinned in thus deceiving the man of God, the more because he pretended a revelation for what he did. When he had gone a lion met him by the way and slew him according to the word of the Lord in which he spake unto him, for his disobedience. Thus the Lord often punishes his servants here, that he may spare them hereafter, that will repent, for the generality of divines are of opinion, that the sin of this prophet, considered with all its circumstances, was not mortal, but yet if is unknown to man, for the Judge of all the earth will do right. Although Elijah requested to die, not out of impatience, but out of a zeal against sin, and that he might no longer be witness of the miseries of his people, and the war they were waging against God and his servant; but he went a day's journey into the wilderness and came and sat under a juniper-tree, and he requested for himself that he might die, and said "it is enough, now O Lord take away my life, for I am not better than my father." 1st Kings. 19: 4. This bread with which Elijah was fed in the wilderness, was a figure of the bread of life which we receive in the blessed sacrament, by the strength of which we are to be supported in our journey through the wilderness of the world till we come to the mountain of God and our end in a happy eterntity, for the thought raiseth the great courage of every true minister of God, to stand fast in the liberty where Christ has set them, for Elijah said "I have been very zealous for the Lord of Hosts, for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars and slayed thy prophets with the sword, and I, even I, only am left, and they seek my life to take it away. 1st Kings 19: 9, 1 0. And it is said by some in the kingdom of Israel, or of the ten tribes, for in the kingdom of Juda religion was at that time in a very flourishing condition under the kings Asa and Josaphat, and even in Israel, there remained several prophets, though not then known to Elijah. 1st Kings 20: 13, 2S, 35. "And all the prophets prophesied so saying go up," &c. 1st King 22: 12. This was spoken ironocally and byway of jesting at the flattering speeches of the false prophets; and so the king understood it, as appears by his adjuring Miciah in the following verse, to tell him the truth in the name of the Lord God, who standeth not in need of any counsellor, nor are we to suppose that things pass in heaven in the manner here described, but this representation was made to the prophet to be delivered by him in a manner adapted to the common ways and notions of men ; and the Lord said unto him wherewith, and he said I will go forth and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. 1st Kings 22: 22. This was a command, but a permission: for God never ordaineth lies, though he often permitteth the lying spirit to deceive. those who love not the truth. 2d Thess. 2: 10. "Because they receive not the truth that they might be saved;" and in this sense it is said in the following verse "the Lord hath given a lying spirit in the mouth of all the prophets;" and Miciah said "thou shalt see in that day when thou shalt go into an inner chamber to hide thyself." 1st Kings 22: 25. This happened when he heard the King was slain, and justly apprehended that he should be punished for his false prophecy, and by this we may perceive that truth and error cannot agree together, nor love nor vice can dwell together, for God is the true spirit of light, and they that dwell in him dwell in love, because God is love the true foundation; on the other hand you all may see that every foundation that has been built by any other means, never could stick together, for the author of it is filled with confusion, he raiseth his walls in malice, the covering thereof is neither wind tight nor water tight and thus exposed even the weakest prayer in faith, shakes the foundation; much more when the heralds of free grace, mount the walls with their trumpets sounding; they give the word of God's command with their cannons levelled against the fort of the dark army, and at the report, the armies of the aliens have to give back, down comes the walls, like unto Joshua, march in and take the city.
Sec. 12. The Second Book of Kings.
"Then Moab rebelleth against Israel after the death of Ahab." "Now therefore, thus saith the Lord, thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die. And Elijah departed."
It appears after Elijah was departed the King sent for him, while he was sitting on the top of a hill, "and Elijah answered and said to the captain of fifty, if I be a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven." Elijah was inspired to call for fire from heaven upon these captains who came to apprehend him—not out of a desire to gratify any private passion—but to punish the insult offered to religion to confirm his mission, and to show how vain are the efforts of men against God and his servants, whom he has a mind to protect. Thus we see that Elijah was protected, even in his last moments, in this life, and then taken away in a charriot of fire, to heaven. This heaven here is meant the air, the lowest of the heavenly regions, as some wise men say, but let that be as it may, I believe that he is secure in that region where sorrow never can enter. The sons of the prophet; that is, the disciples of the prophets, who seem to have had their schools like colleges or communities in Bethel, Jericho, and other places in the days of Elijah and Elisha. When Elijah was about to be taken away, that Elisha requested of him a "double portion of thy spirit upon me." 2d Kings 2: 8 A double portion of thy spirit as thy eldest son: and here, or thy spirit which is double in comparison of that which God usually imparteth to his prophets. When the son of the prophets which were to visit at Jericho saw him, they said the spirit of Elijah doth rest upon Elisha, and they came to meet him and bowed themselves to the ground before him, and I believed they worshipped him as a fervent of the living God, with an inferior, yet religious veneration, not for any temporal, but spiritual excellence; and he turned back and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord. 2d Kings 10: 24. This curse, which was followed by so visible a judgement, was not the effect of passion, nor of a desire of revenging himself, but of zeal for religion, which was insulted by these boys in the person of the prophet, and of the divine inspiration, God being determined to punish in this manner, the inhabitants of Bethel, the chief seat of the calf worship, who had trained up their children in a prejudice against the true religion and its ministers.
View the great danger of children while allowed by their parents to follow such pernicious practices, as to make game and sport of them that hold up the walls, to keep them from sinking into eternal despair; and I am more astonished while I see men and women call themselves intelligent and of good sense, and in a worse situation than the children, for as the old cock crows so the young ones learn. What would you think if a man was to come and tell a gentleman that his house was on fire, "Sir, arise, or else you will be consumed," and he was to rise in a passion and slay the man, and then go to bed again? Would you not say that that man deserved burning up? Your good reason says yes: so say I. Now the ministers of God call to sinners in tears, and beseech them to awake unto righteousness and sin not, for the wrath of God is kindling their houses—will be soon on fire—and how many have been slain for preaching the word in its purity, and sinners will not awake and have grace, but are trying to stop the gospel of Christ and clog Zion's wheels! But thank the Lord, there is a celestial fire kindled within, thunder cannot step it, deep water cannot drown it, fire cannot face it: so she stands sure: she is chartered by God himself. Come sinners, escape the lamentation of hell and fly to heaven.
We will now consider something of Gahazee, the servant of Elisha, when he was commanded to go and take his staff in hand and salute no man by the way.
He that is to raise to life the sinner who is spiritually dead, be must not suffer himself to be called off or diverted from his enterprise, by the salutation or ceremonies of die world, which is deadly poison, for God sent Moses with his rod, although miraculous, it was not able to raise in life man dead in sin; this was to be done by the master himself, in person, and by his own sacred body. By this we see nothing short of the blood of Christ is able to cleanse us from sin. Although it is impossible not to spare a passing glance to these trains of argumentation, it is not my intention to forsake our present purpose, which is to establish elements for a system, and the reader is forewarned to keep the reign on his impatience, as a great deal remains still to be done, before we shall be prepared for systematizing. The hewers are in the mountain, and quarrymen are in the quarry, every beam must be squared, every joint and tenon must be filed, every stone must be chiselled to its exact form and dimension, and should we succeed in all this according to the draft and plan, which the divine architect of the universe has furnished us, you shall soon see stone come to its stone, and beam to its beam, till the great temple of the Lord shall tower towards the heavens without the sound of a hammer. Habk. 2: 11. "For the stone shall cry out of the wall, and the beam out of the timber, shall answer it. 1st. The stone shall cry, that is, the ardent desire of Christ to save sinners, the wall, the church of God, the beam, the true minister of God, the timber, the man in a carnal state, in which, after being wrought upon by the spirit of God, and then becomes a subject of his church, to answer the ends for which he was created, for many times there are calls for more laborers, and God is pleased to leave it to his church, for to send them out, then this man is squared to fit the place where God intended to place him; he is also plumb, to walk uprightly and always to meet on the square of truth, and to stand upon the level with all men, for wisdom hath built her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars, and strong are they, representing the seven spirits of God; she hath killed the beast, she hath mingled her wine, she hath also furnished her table with the riches of dainties, there is a balm for every wound, a cordial for every fear, God himself will come to give us that sweet council to conduct us to the laud of promise; his strength and power which, at his pleasure are called home. Luke 1: 69. Or beams of light which come forth from his hands, or it may allude to the cross in the horn of which, the hands of Christ were fastened, where his strength was hidden, by which he overcame the world and drove out death and the devil. Both death and the devil shall be the executioners of his justice against his enemies as they were heretofore against the Egyptians and Canaanites. Heb. 3: 6. "He stood and measured the earth, he beheld and drove asunder the nation, and the everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual hills did bow, his ways are everlasting." One look of his eye was sufficient to survey the whole earth; this measuring the earth was far superior, as I think, than that of the angels measuring the great city; the time that he measured the earth it was different to the time when the angel measured the city, for the prophet's reply, was like unto that of Adam "O God I have heard thy speech and was afraid." 1st. The measuring of the earth was a type of the great knowledge of God, in which the great sea of love was opened unto man, free without charge, for his prophet to prophecy the way in which the great ship should come and call for passengers, and at their own free will, they can come or stay. In his beholding he saw the opposition that would oppose his cause, and at one sound of his voice, he shook the nations that was upon the earth, and those that was to come after never could build another foundation, for he had laid down his word as the true foundation, and no other could be laid but what is already laid. The mountains being scattered; that was the great mountain of them that stood in opposition against God. With the breath of his mouth their governments were scattered and could not stand: the perpetual hills within Christ, his love, power and knowledge, always moving perpetually, so that no other power can evade it, that is to destroy the foundation. That is the reason I do assign his ways everlasting. And for the other power I. have not such a counsellor as to explain any farther; by reading the following passages you may satisfy yourselves. Exo. 29: 9; do. 30: b; Jer. 2.5: 9; Ezk. 35: 5. Now one look of his eye is enough to melt all the nations of the earth and reduce them to nothing, for all heaven and earth disappear when they come before his light. The mountains and hills I now mention, are signified the great ones of the world that persecute the church, whose power was quickly crushed by the Almighty: even the waters he holds in the hollow of his hand.
I shall now allude to the wonders wrought heretofore by the Lord in favor of his people. Israel, when the waters of the rivers of Arnon and Jordon, and of the Red Sea, retired before their faces, when he came, as it were, with his horses and charriots to save them, when he took up his bow for their defence, in consequence of the oath he had made to their tribes: when the mountains tumbled and the deep stood with its waves raised up in a heap, as with hands lifted up to heaven: when the sun and moon stood still at his command, &c. to comply with his anger, not against the rivers and sea, but against the enemies of his people. How much more will he do in favor of his son and against the enemies of his church, the head of the house of the wicked. Such was Pharoah, heretofore, such shall Anti-Christ be hereafter. Thou madest a way in the sea to deliver thy people from the Egyptian bondage, and thou shalt work the like wonders in the spiritual way, to rescue the children of thy church, from their enemies. We understand that Princes shall come out of Egypt: Ethiopia shall soon stretch forth her hand unto God: the evils which are now coming upon the people for their sins, which will come hereafter upon all impenitent sinners, if dying without repentance, and the foresight which I have of these miseries, therefore, I beg the sinner, in the name of the Lord, turn, turn, O ye house of Israel, for why will you die, now is the accepted lime, and the day of salvation. As for my part I am bound to contend for the faith that was delivered to the saints, that I may die the death of the righteous, that I may go up to our people, that I may join the happy company in the bosom of Abraham. Who are girded, that is, prepared for their journey by which they shall attend their Lord when he shall ascend into heaven, to which high and happy place my Jesus, that is, my Saviour, the great conqueror of death and hell, shall one day conduct me, rejoicing and singing psalms of praise. Well might David say pray for the peace of Jerusalem, they shall prosper that love thee; peace be within thy walls and prosperity within thy palaces for my brethen and companion's sake. I will now say peace be within thee for the authority which the gospel ministers have to preach the gospel to every creature; that is the commandment of our Divine Master "go ye, therefore, teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you," To preach the gospel, is to preach it in the purity of life, as a system enforced by divine authority, commanding submission in the name of the Lord Jesus, under the pain of eternal death, and with a promise of eternal life to all who shall hear it. The philosophy of the system, and it has a philosophy, is another affair; every christian must have sometimes been sensible of an insensible majesty and authority in the preacher, who proclaims the gospel solely as the word of God, commanding submission in his name. This, I presume, is what is meant by preaching it, not with the enticing words of men's wisdom, but in the demonstration of the spirit, and that with power. By this we may see the sun at his high meridian, which is the beauty of the day.
Now with the great command to Abraham to offer up his son Isaac, the Paskal lamb, the mercy-seat, the sprinkling of blood and making; atonement for the sins of the people, was the type of the Messiah, who commanded the patriarch and prophet from time to time, foretold he was Jacob-Shiloh unto whom the gathering of the people should be; Job's redeemer, that shall stand at the latter day upon the earth; Moses' prophets, unto whom all should hearken; hosannah O King! the annointed; David's King, set on Zion's hill, who shall have the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession; his Lord who shall sit at the right hand of God until his enemies be mede his footstool; solemn wisdom and chiefest among ten thousand; and the rose of Sharon the lilly of a valley was like unto Isaiah's wonderful counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Jeremiah's righteousnes; Ezekiel's shepard and plant of renown, who should feed his people; Daniel's Messiah, who should be cut off but not tor himself: Micah's Judge of Israel, whose going forth has been from of old and from everlasting. Zephaniah's Lord and God; Hagia's desire of all nations; Zackeriah's King, Just and having salvation, lowly and riding on an ass; Malachi's messenger of the covenant, who was at the appointed time sent into the world, in the reign of Herod, King of Juda. The heretic in those days most impiously inferred that the blessed virgin might have had other children besides Christ, but Jerome shows by divine examples that this expression of the evangelist was an idiom usual among the Hebrews to denote by the word, until only what is done without any regard to the future; thus it is said Gen. 8: 6, 7; Isaiah 46: 4. Who dare then to infer that God should then cease to be. God said to his divine son, sit on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool. Shall he sit no longer after his enemies are subdued? Yea, and for all eternity. Jerome also proves by scripture example, that an only begotten son was also, called just born or just begotten, because, according to the law, the first born males were to be consecrated to God. Sanctify unto me, saith the Lord, every first born that openeth the womb among the children of Israel. Exo. 13: 2. which words, according to the use of the scriptures and the holy fathers, do not only signify repentance and amendment of life, but also punishing past sins, by fasting and such like penetential exercises.
After our blessed Master had arrived to the age of twelve years, that he went about the important duty which devolved upon him, and was determined to fulfill, although he being mixed with a multitude of wicked men, Pharisees and Sadducees. There were two sects among the Jews of which the former was for the most part notorious hypocrites, the latter a kind of free-thinkers in matters of religion, for I think now we have a great any free-thinkers, as they say, expecting to get to hear their external performances. If men measure the by themselves, they are not wise, for our Lord said "I say unto you that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." Math. 5: 20. Now you see that there was a righteousness among them which they say was lawful, but when they come to be measured by rule, their measure will condemn them, and I have no right to justify them. Now he that lives in that state in those days according to scripture, if he be on the pinnicle top, or in the middle chamber he must be justified by the measurer or condemned. Judge for yourselves, I speak as unto wise men, for heaven and hell will divide the bulk of mankind according to scripture truths. Math. 25: 46. "And these shall go away into everlasting punishment;" and that I believe is hell, "but the righteous into life eternal." 1st Pet. 4: 17, 18. "And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and sinner appear;" (his is according to scriptural testimony, including the 9th Psalm, 97; "the wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God. Ps. 11: 6. "Upon the wicked he shall reign snares, fire and brimstone, and a horrible tempest;" this shall be the portion of their cup. Duet. 32: 22. "For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowermost hell, consume the earth with her increase and set on fire the foundations of the mountains." Numb. 22: 22. "God's anger a as kindled." Rev. 28: 2, &c. "the great Babylon is fell, and is become. the habitation of devils." Now we may consider their habitation, which is in the heart of man, which ever does keep the man in trouble, like die boiling seas no peace nor happiness can be found in that state; if he dies in that state he must be like the ship when she strikes the rock, she splits, and down she sinks, with all her valuable cargo, and crew, no more to rise. But now question if man be troubled with such a bad tenant as this how can he get clear of him and turn him out; he must take no illegal steps, but he himself must go according to law, and then what he does is legal; and the only way given in scripture, is to cast the devil out, is to comply with what the Lord has said, that is, son, daughter, give me thine heart; this is all that God requires in the compliance, for he sayeth "blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God," that is, to continue until death. Now upon this subject, we shut the door, and there is only one way to get in, and this is the way. Come, let us comply with the commandment of God, by agreeing with thine adversary quickly, whilst thou art in the way with him lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the Judge, and the Judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison." Math. 5: 25.
The Scribes were the Doctors of the law, together with die Pharisees. Of the law of Moses, the Pharisees were a precise set of men, making profession of a more exact observance of the law, and upon that account greatly esteemed among the people. If a man is in danger of the judgment lie shall be liable to be brought before the lower court, among the Jews, which took cognizance of such crimes: whereas, the council or Sanhedrem, was a higher court and had greater authority. This was in the external performance in which they had to regulate their temporal concerns, but in the spiritual sense I understand it this way, that the adversary represents Jesus Christ, for this reason he said, he that is for me is not against me, and he that is against me is not for me, for it is in our power to agree with Christ, and he will be satisfied, and the debt is paid, while we continue to agree with him, that is, in this life, for he said "he that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved." And now if-we had to agree with the devil to let us go, that, we might serve God, I ask you, how many you think would get to heaven? Judge for yourselves for Pharoah did promise to let Israel go, and although he partly consented to let them go, it seems that he did not mean it from his heart: therefore, to prove it, he followed them, and I believe he lost his soul and body.—Now the only way to get rid of the devil, is to hold no consultation with him on the subject, but like Moses do what God has commanded us, that is the only way that we can get clear of him and his crew, for he is a liar from the beginning, as the scripture saith, for after our Lord came out of the water the devil taking him up into an exceeding high mountain, showing him all the kingdoms of the world, that is, pointed out to him, where each kingdom lay, and set forth in words, what was most glorious and admirable in each of them, or also, set before his eyes, as it were, in a large map a lively representation of all those kingdom, and after all this he said unto Christ, all these things will I give unto thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me; and he even had the assurance to say unto him, it is written he shall give his angels charge concerning thee, and in their hands they shall bear thee up. Now only see the craft and knowledge of the devil; he thought he was in possession of these, as to attempt to fool our Lord in order to sap the foundation of the human family and make God a liar. But the wisdom of God being so far superior to that of his, he told him "get thee behind me Satan."
Now let us consider what he had to give. He went to give a lie: it was not received; and he went to attempt to offer kingdoms, and the glories thereof: and in all this he failed; and good reason for it, for he had not the hell that he dwells in, for hell has him; and much more forr him to attempt to have any kingdoms here. And this place called hell, I believe is where their worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched. Math. 11: 48. Some people say they can get into purgatory and there to remain for a few days to be purifyed and then to be received into heaven after all their sinning against God here, whilst in a state of probation according to the judgment of the wisemen of the earth can they find scripture to bear them out in such a state as that, for the salvation of souls after a certain period in purgatory, as some call it, and then get to heaven. Such scripture is unknown to me, for I read if the tree falleth towards the south or towards the north, in the place where the tree falleth there it shall be. Eccl. 11. This is a general scope of the human family, that is, if the tree beareth fruit, it is well, and if not, it will be cut down and cast into the five. Now the tree that beareth the fruit is the christian, obedience is the tree, and charity is the fruit that it bears. This is love of God in men, to do as he would like to have done unto him if he were in the same condition, Math 7: 12. "Now I perceive the fruit of the spirit is love, joy and peace, long-suffering and gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, against such there is no law. Isah. 3: 10. "Say ye to the righteous that it shall be well with him, for they shall eat the fruits of their doings;" and now on the left hand here the awful sentence,: "wo unto the wicked, it shall be ill with him, for the reward of his hands shall be given him." "Such as do these things, envying, murder, drunkenness, railing and such like, of which I told you, as I have also told you in lime past, that they which doeth such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God;" and whenever time is closed with them here, and here you may read your doom, and death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death, and whosever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. Rev. 20: 14; do. 1: 18. I close this as follows: "I am he that liveth and was dead; behold! I am alive forevermore, amen; and have the keys of hell and of death."
And now a hint to those that may become wise, they may search and if they can find no better scripture to guarentee them safety in time, they better comply with this before they enter into enternity, for I wish the glorious welware of all my kindred and fellow citizens, in time and in eternity. And now I leave you to judge for yourselves and O! that you may make a wise choice in time, and now begin to pray for the gift of God, for now is the accepted time and the day of salvation. I told you to pray for the gift, that is, the offerings that you shall make to God shall be, instead of that which should be expended for thy profit This tradition of the Pharisees was calculated to enrich themselves by exempting children from giving any further assistance to their parents, if they once offered to the temple, and the Priests, that which should have been the support of their parents, but this was a violation of the law of God and of nature, which our Saviour here condemns. God's holy word and all christian purity, neither are they to be counted among the doctrines and commandments of men, because they proceed not from mere human authority, but from that which Christ has established in his church, whose pastors he has commanded us to hear and obey even as himself. Luke 10: 16; Math. 18: 17. "That is no uncleanness in meat nor any dirt contracted by eating it with unwashed hands, can defile the soul, but sin alone, or disobedience of the heart to the ordinances and will of God;" and thus when Adam took the forbidden fruit, it was not the fruit which entered into the mouth, but the disobedience to the law of God, in my judgment, which defiled him; the same is to be said of a Jew in the time of the old law, had eaten swine flesh, or a christian convert in the days of the apostle, contrary to their ordinance, had eaten blood, or of any of the faithful at present should transgress the ordinances of God's church, by breaking the feasts, for in all these cases, the soul would be defiled, not indeed by that which goeth into the mouth, but by the disobedience of the heart in wilfully transgressing the ordinance of God, or of those who have their authority from him. Math. 16: 16. See what is said.—"And Simon Peter answered and said, thou art the Christ the son of the Living God." Peter here, by divine revelation, made a solemn profession of his faith of the divinity of Christ. So in recompense of this faith and profession, our Lord here declares to him the dignity to which he was pleased to raise him; that he, to whom he had already given the name of Peter (signifying a rock) John 1: 42. should be a rock indeed, of innumerable strength, for the support of the building of the church, in which building he should be next to Christ himself, the chief foundation stone in quality, of chief pastor, ruler and governor, and should have accordingly all fullness of ecclesiastical power, signified by the keys of the kingdom of heaven upon this rock. The word of Christ to Peter spoken in the vulgar language of the Jews, which our Lord made use of, were the same as if he said in English, thou art a rock and upon this rock I will build my church. So that by the plain course of the words, Peter is here declared to be the rock upon which the church was to be built; that is, he was to continue in Christ, for Christ himself being both the principal foundation and founder of the same, where, also, note, that Christ by building his house, that is, his church, upon a rock, has hereby secured it against all storms and floods, like the wise builder, Math. 7: 24, 25; the gates of hell, that is, the power of darkness and all his agents, and what Satan can do either by himself or his agents, for as the church is here likened to a house, or it. fortress built on a rock, so the adverse power, are likened to a contrary house or fortress, the gates of which, the whole strength, and all the efforts it can make can never be able to prevail over the city or church of Christ. By the promise, we are fully assured that neither idolatry. heresy, nor any pernicious error whatsoever, shall, at any time prevail over the church of Christ, for it is a place where God delights to dwell, to bless his people, for where there are two or three gathered together in my name there am I in the midst of them. This is understood of such assemblies only as are gathered in the name and authority of Christ, and in the unity of the church of Christ; these are without fornication or adultery; in case of fornication, that is, of adultery, the wife may be put away, but even then the husband cannot marry another as long his the wife is living, according to scripture, for it is said, "what, therefore, God hath joined together, let no man put asunder." By continuing in this state do those persons conceive that they are acceptable ones to take the sacrament? I say not. No man can be a servant of God while he continues to do the things that God forbids him. Math 19: 6. "Now the coming of Christ was in order to destroy all these abominations, manifest to all the world like lightning, and wheresoever he shall come, thither shall all mankind be gathered to him, as eagles are gathered about a dead body, and wo be to those who never eat of his flesh and drink of his blood;" that is, in a spiritual sense. Luke 22: 19. "And he took bread and gave thanks, and brake it and gave it unto them, saying, This is my body which was gave for you, do this in remembrance of me." He does not say this is the figure of my body, but this is my body. Neither does he say in this or with this, is my body, but absolutely, this is my body, which plainly implies transubstantiation.—Drink ye all of this. This was spoken to the twelve apostles, who were then all present, and they all drank of it.—Mark 14: 23. But it no ways follows from these words spoken to the apostles, that all the faithful are here commanded to drink of the cup, any more than that all the faithful are commanded to consecrate, offer and administer this sacrament; because Christ on the same occasion, and as I may say, with the same breath, bid the apostles do so in these words, "do this in remembrance of me."—As the Old Testament was dedicated with the blood of victims by Moses in these words, this is the blood of the New Testament. Heb. 9: 20. So here is the dedication and institution of the New Testament, in the blood of Christ, here mystically shed. By these words, this is the blood of the New Testament—fruit of the vine—these words, by the account of St. Luke 22d chap. 18th verse, were not spoken of as the sacramental cup, but of the wine that was drank with the Paschal Lamb, though the sacramental cup might also be called the fruit of the vine, because it was consecrated from wine and retained the likeness and ail the accidents or qualities of wine. A blessed institution, indeed, and the power he gave, unto his apostles commission, and to their successors, the bishops and pastors of Christ's church, he received from his father all power in heaven and in earth and in virtue of this power he sends them even as his father sent them to teach not a few individuals, but all nations, and instruct them in all truths, and that he will assist them effectually in the execution of this commission, he promises to be with them not for three or four hundred years only, but always even to the consummation of the world. How then could the church of Christ, ever go astray, having always with her, pastors, as is here promised? Christ is the way, the truth and the life. The great figure of the sacrament by Melchizideck, to be the greatest type of Christ. After Abraham had gained the victory and overcame his enemies, this exalted character, Melchizideck, king of Salem, brought forth bread and wine, and he was the Priest of the Most High God, and he blessed him, and said, blessed be Abraham of the Most High God, possessor of heaven and earth. This was in an early age of the world, almost two thousand years before Christ, according to my judgment. And now this bread and wine, as it was given after Abraham gained the victory and overcame his enemies: his enemies were temporal, and in our day ours are spiritual.—Through the gospel, sinners are awakened and brought to the light and knowledge of the truth as it is in Christ, then his body and blood is a balm for every wound, and his blood a cordial for every fear. While we thus follow the commandment of eating his flesh and drinking his blood in remembrance of him, it shall preserve our souls and bodies unto everlasting life.
Another beautiful figure of the sacrament the Lord hath commanded, saying, "speak unto the children of Israel that they bring a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came a yoke." As this heifer was red they all saw it and offered it for a sacrifice for sin, and consumed it with fire without the camp.—Num. 19: 2. This was a figure of the passion of Christ, by whose precious blood, applied to our souls in the holy sacrament we are cleansed from our sins by believing that he is, and a rewarder of all those that diligently seek him, for theirs is a fountain opened in the house of king David for sin and uncleanness, for these ordinances are only to the true Israelites' soul and his only, for his end is peace: Jesus can make his dying bed as soft as a downy pillow.
Melchizideck, king of Salem brought forth bread and wine, and he was the Priest of the most high God, and he blessed him and said, "blessed be Abraham of the Most High God, possessor of heaven and earth." Num, 19 c. "The Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, This is the ordinance of the Lord which the Lord hath commanded, saying, speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke." You all may see that water of separation is a purification for sin. Whom. is he that loveth mercy and can forgive his brother when he sins against him? Have you got grace to forgive until seventy times seven? O! let us look at this number of times—490 times. "The Lord said unto Moses make thee a fiery serpent and set it upon a pole that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass.—And the Lord said my presence shall go with thee and I will give thee rest." Phil. 1: 21. The fruits of their faith and true worship in Christ's sufferings, and daily praying to him for their increase in grace, and knowledge, when to some, how ready lie is to glorify Christ either by his life or death. O for fortitude to stand in the door of persecution; "for to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Rev. 14: 13. "The lamb standing on Mount Zion with his company of angels and ministers, to preach the gospel, the fall of Baylon, and now the fall of the world and the great hope of righteousness. And I heard a voice from heaven, saying unto me, write blessed are the dead which die in the Lord, from henceforth: yea, saith the spirit, that they shall rest from their labor and their works do follow them. The great vanity of human persuits, and the lovers in the works of pleasure, thought the wise man, would be better than the fool, yet both have one event, the vanity of human labor, in leaving it they know not to whom. Here we may see the great wisdom of God, by the necessary change of times, vanity is increased, God's works are excellent, his desire of service to his people, and from the abuses of human judicatures, God's judgments are suspended, so that the wicked may look out for their reward, and for every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heaven, a time to be born and a time to die; and now let us not be troubled about the time we shall live: how long or how short: there is only one thing needful; let us, in God's name, try to live to-day as we would wish to die to-morrow; then brothers and ministers, it will be well with us in time and in eternity, for the only thing is, to get right and then to keep right. Amen. I now speak as unto wise men judge me what I say.
It was spoken of the Lord by the prophet (see Math. 2: 15) saying, out of Egypt have I called my son." "And it shall come to pass that every soul which will not hear that prophet shall be destroyed from among the people." "And there came a fire out from before the Lord, all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces." "And he stood between the dead and the living, and now the members that did die were fourteen thousand and seven hundred, besides them that died about the matter of Korah. And Aaron returned unto Moses, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and the plague was stayed." Christ is a king forever. His law does not allow us to hate even our enemies, much less our parents; I mean we must have such a disposition of soul as to be willing to renounce and part with every thing how near or dear soever it may be to us, that would keep us from Christ. By this it is plainly seen that the septre of free grace is yet held out to sinners: likewise, joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons who need no repentance.—And I new, in my weak judgment, judge these to be infants, that need no repentance, for if there is no law given there can be no violation. Although there may be many that will not agree with me in my opinion, but if they will give a more correct proof by scripture than this, I will give up, if not, mine may stand as according to the word of the Lord. I perceive this is correct, for Christ said suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God. Hereby I say unto you, whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, shall in no wise enter therein. Luke 18: 16,17. Now, on this subject, judge ye for yourselves, not that I would wish to cast a stigma on any, but my ardent desire is, that all may be saved and escape the damnation of hell, for under the apostolic age of the world, there were many that did not believe, on the Lord Jesus Christ: and in fact, they caused Peter to deny our Lord and Master, previous to that the Lord told him before the cock crow twice thou shalt deny me thrice. The cock crew at two different times of the night, about midnight for the first time, and then about the time commonly called the cock crowing: and this was the cock-crowing our Saviour spoke of, and therefore, the other evangelist takes no notice of the first crowing. But it appears when the cock did crow Peter was convicted, and did remember immediately the words of our Lord, and he began to weep. Jesus at that time, knowing that his time was but short here among us, although his hour had not yet come, but it was not afar off. Soon afterwards there was a council held with the elders and counsels and bound Jesus and carried him away and delivered him to Pilate, and there they asked him many questions, but he answered them nothing.—And they cryed out, crucify him, and according to their wicked desire, he was crucified on the third hour. The ancient account divided the day into four parts which were named from the hour from which they began, the first, third, sixth and ninth hours. Our Lord was crucified a little before noon, before the third hour had quite expired; but when the sixth hour was near at hand, on speaking of himself before, or previous to his crucifixtion, he said that he would rise on the third day, and on that day before the sun had risen, they set out before it was light to go to the sepulcher, but the sun had risen when they arrived there, or perhaps the sun here spoken of is the sun of justice, Christ Jesus our Lord, who had risen before their coming. Observe, here is order to reconcile the four evangelists, that divers persons concurred in charging Peter with being Christ's disciple, till at length they brought him to deny him at the fire; first put the question to him, and then positively affirmed that he was with Christ. 2. Another maid accused him to the standers-by and gave occasion to the man here mentioned to renew the charge against him, which caused the second denial. 3. Others of the company took notice of his being a Galilean, and were seconded by the kinsman of Malichas, who affirmed he had seen him in the garden, and this drew on the third denial. But I say, notwithstanding we are flesh and blood as Peter was; but thank the Lord that Peter saw his weakness, and after he was convinced, he repented and I believe, according to scripture, that he was the first apostle, and the man whom the Lord loved. Therefore, I do say that there is a great chance for a backslider, if he will do as Peter did, and repent, I believe that God will give him a double talent. One would say why, the reason I say is this, the man has been following Christ for some time and through weakness and fear he forsakes God, and becomes a backslider? I will assign my reason that if the man returns and continues in the faith until death he will receive double, by his being in the way at once, he now knows the danger of falling, for it is said that he that standeth take heed lest he fall from his steadfastness. Hear what the Lord said "Comfort ye, Comfort ye my people sayth your God, speak ye comfortable to Jerusalem, and cry unto her that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquities are pardoned, for she hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins. Ish. 40. And it is said again, "in a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment, but with everlasting kindness, I will have mercy upon thee sayeth the Lord thy redeemer." By this you may see that God has ever been merciful unto the backslider, for according unto the scripture, if our first parents had not sinned, there would have been no need of the gospel, but for their sins was the cause of their being banished out from Paradise. Then there was no other way after they had broken the commandment, only to comply with the requisition of the gospel, and that is by repentance, for he said, I am married to the backslider. Jer, 3: 14. This will show us that man ought not to have but one wife, for it is said what God has joined together, let no man put asunder; that is, I mean of a professor of religion, and a woman, and they depart from each other or any other person is the cause of their separation, there is a great crime committed without there is a reconciliation on both sides, sin lieth at the door, and in a backsliding state. This is one reason why the prophet said "Return, O ye backsliding Israel, and I will love you freely;" that he might give you sufficient grace. I never knew in my life, for a man and woman, being wife and husband, living the life of the gospel, that ever had any call, or even a moving of the mind, to depart, in a temporal sense, much more in a spiritual one, and you may take it for granted, that if ever you see a man and woman, or as you may call it, husband and wife, separate from each other, the devil is in the midst, for he is the author of confusion, and that is the reason they cannot have any peace, for one wrong never rights a wrong on the other hand. One right rule well followed will right a thousand wrong ones, by which millions may receive comfort, in time and in eternity. God help us, that is, in the path to keep in it, then we can mind the things that is most needful for both soul and body, for he will convince the world of sin and of righteousness, and of a judgment to come: the Holy Ghost by his coming brought over many thousand. 1st. To a sense of their sins in not believing in Christ. 2. To a conviction of the justice of Christ now sitting at the right hand of his father. 3i To a right apprehension of the judgment prepared for those who choose to follow satan, who is already judged and condemned—God delivered up his son, and his son delivered up himself for the love of us arid for the sake of our salvation; and so Christ being delivered up he was holy and it was God's own determination, but those who betrayed and crucified him did wickedly, following therein their own malice and the instigation of the devil; not the will and determination of God, who was by no means the author of their wickedness, though he permitted it because he could and did draw out of it so great a good, the salvation of man, having overcome the grievous pains of all the powers of hell, and gave full commission unto the apostle? to go out into the world and exclaim unto the people that there was a high and living way whereby they may get to heaven.
Peter being one of the twelve: on a certain time it pleased God to instill something more into Peter than ever, and that by a vision. Acts. 10. "Then Peter openeth his mouth and said of a truth, T perceive that God is no respector of persons, but in every nation he that feareth him and worketh righteousness is accepted with him;" that is to say not only Jew but Gentile; also of what nation soever are acceptable to God, if they fear him and work righteousness, but then true faith is always to be presupposed; without faith, which saith St. Paul, it is impossible to please God; because then of the error of those who would infer from the passage, that men of all religions may be pleasing to God, for since none hut the true religion can be from God, all other religions must be from the father of lies, and therefore, highly displeasing to the God of truth. But Christ, as a man, was predestinated to be the son of God and declared to be so, as the aspostle Paul here signifies, first, by power, that is by his working stupendous miracles; secondly, by the spirit of sanctification, that is, by his sanctify or holiness; thirdly, by his resurrection, or raising himself from the dead. God only, is essentially true, all men, in their own capacity are liable to lies and error; nevertheless, God, who is the truth, will make good his promise of keeping his church in all truth. There is not any man just by virtue, or, cither of the law of nature or of the law of Moses, but only by faith and grace. The faith to which the apostle here attributes man's justification, is not presumptions assurance of our being justified, but a firm and lively belief of all that God has revealed or promised. Heb. 11. "Faith working through charity in Jesus Christ." In short, faith which embraces hope, and repentance, and the use of the sacrament, and the works which he here excludes, are only the works of the law, that is, such as are done by the law of nature, or that of Moses, antecedent to the faith of Christ, but by no means such as follow truth and proceed from it, by the inward motion of divine love mi the peace of conscience, which the children of God experience; they have a true testimony of God's favor, by which they are much strengthened in their hope of their justification and salvation, but yet not so as to pretend to an absolute assurance, which is not usually granted in this mortal life, during which we are taufht to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. Phil. 2: 12. "And wherefore, let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall." Rom. 11: 20,21, 22. "Not all who are carnal seed of Israel, are true Israelites in God's accounts, who has by his free grace heretofore preferred Isaac before Ishmael and Jacob before Esau; so he could and did, by the like free grace, election and mercy, raise up spiritual children by faith, to Abraham and Israel, from among the Gentiles, and prefer them before the carnal Jews, for these two sons, namely, Esau and Jacob. By this example of these two, and the preference of the younger to the elder, the drift of the apostle is to show to these, that God, in his election, mercy and grace, is not tied to any particular nation, as the Jews imagined, nor to any prerogative of birth, or any foregoing merits, for as, antecedently to his grace, he sees no merits in any, but finds all involved in sin, in the common mass of condemnation, and all children of wrath : there is no one whom he might not justly leave in the mass, so that whomsoever he leaves in it, he leaves in his justice. As when two equally criminal, a king is pleased, out of pure mercy, to pardon one, while he suffers justice to. take place in the execution of the other, that is, by any power or strength of his own, abstracting from the grace of God, not that God made him on purpose that he should sin and so that he might be damned, but foreseeing his obstinacy in sin, and the abuse of his own free will, he raised him up to be a mighty man in this world, to make a more remarkable example, and that his power may be better known, and his justice m punishing him, published throughout the earth, not by being the cause or author of, but by withholding his grace on the account of his disobedience, and so leaving him in his sin, in punishment of his past crimes. This similitude is used only to show that we are not to dispute with our maker, nor to reason with him, and say why he does not give as great grace to one as to another, for since the whole mass of our clay is vetiated by sin, it is owing to his goodness and mercy, that he makes out of it so many vessels of honor, and it is no more than just, that others, in punishment of their unexpiated sins, should be given up to be vessels of dishonor, for God sayeth "my spirit shall not always strive with man."—This is the word of God, in order that we may build upon a sure foundation in this life, and while his spirit is yet striving the foundation is Christ and his doctrine, or the true faith in him working through charity, the building upon this foundation. Gold and silver and precious stones (see 1st Cor. 3: 12.) signifies the more perfect preaching and practice of the gospel The wood hay and stubble, such preaching as was that of the Corinthian teachers, who affected the pomp of words and human eloquence, and such practice as is mixed with much imperfection and many lesser sins. Now the day of the Lord and his fiery trial in the particular judgment, immediately after death, shall make manifest of what sort every man's work has been, of which, during this life, it is hard to make a judgment, for then the fire of God's judgment shall try every man's work and those whose works are like wood, hay and stubble, cannot abide the fire, shall and will suffer loss: these works being found to be of no value, yet they themselves having built upon the right foundation, by living and dying in the true faith and in the state of grace, though with some imperfection, shall be saved, yet so as by fire, being liable to this punishment by reason of the wood, hay and stubble, which are mixed with their buildings. By the law such can hardly ever be without a fault on the one side or the other, and on both sides that is all indifferent; things are indeed, lawful, inasmuch as they are not prohibited, but oftentimes they are not expedient, as in the case of law suits, &c. and much less would it be expedient to be enslaved by an irregular affection to any thing how independent soever the true children of God's church is, the pure in heart, for he said that none but the pure in heart shall see God. The commandment of love which was first given in the old law, but was renewed and extended by Christ. John 13: 34. The church of God, under the guidance of their lawful pastor, partakes of the grace of the Holy Ghost, promised to the church and her pastor, and have in the church all necessary knowledge and instruction, as long as he keepeth in himself this seed of peace and this divine generation by which he is born of God, but then, he may fall from this happy state, by the abuse of his free will. Rom. 11, 20: 21, 22; 1st Cor. 9: 37; do. 10: 12; 2d Pet. 3: 17; Rev. 3: 11. Now my friendly hearer, I call upon you in God's name, to read these passages of scripture with. due attention, that you may not be deceived in time or in eternity; lift up the right scale first, then we will see our duty to God and to our neighbor and ourselves. Now the left hand scale, that is, we must wear the world as a loose garment, for according to scripture, there is a possibility after a man has been once enlightened, and tasted the good word of God, then after this, fall from grace and that by neglecting his duty to God. This is very clear to every discerning mind, when we see so many passages of scripture to confirm the truth, we are not commanded to stop by the way, but to continue to the end of life, for together we stand, and if we are divided we are sure to fall; look well to the point and judge for yourselves in order for a proof of this, that there is a possibility of a man, after believing in grace, that he may, by his wicked action and deeds, that he will cause the power of God and the revelation of the righteous judgments of God upon his own head, and if he does not repent, must be lost. Math. 10. Read it if you please. Math 27: 5. Now think for yourselves whether a murderer has eternal life abiding in him. Luke 22: 3.
I perceive, according to my judgment, that Judas was a good man, but by neglect of duty, though the devil was out of him he then entered into Judas, surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve, one of whom the Lord had given commission to go forth and cast out devils in his name, and to heal the sick, and to cleanse the leprosy; &c. Now we see that this was a chosen man of our blessed redeemer, and stood on a level with the rest of the apostles, and was given the same authority; but previous to the death of our Lord, we see him in three points. 1st. as a Judas. 2d. As a deceiver or betrayer. 3d. As a murderer; and wo be unto that man in whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for that man that he had never been born. Acts 15: 25. "Judas, by transgression fell that he might go to his own place. "This is the awful condition of such person or persons, after receiving a commission to go forth to deliver the same, if by neglect of attending to their duty in a temporal sense, they are punished according to the laws of the country; at the same time the temporal law cannot hurt the soul, but a commission delivered to a man to deliver to others, that their souls may enjoy the benefits thereof, and he neglects to deliver that commission, the soul must appear before that same tribunal to answer the charge, for not discharging their duty, and then if guilty, he must depart from God and the glory of his power, for this reason we are commanded to search the scriptures, for our own satisfaction that we may get a proper understanding and a just conception of the things that make for our peace in time and in eternity, for it is said that none of them is lost but the son of perdition. And now by brethren, seeing the condition of these things, let us, for God's sake, and for your soul's sake, be watchful and stand fast, whereby Christ has made us free.
There are many in this day, we might say are heretics, although some people call the Methodists, heretics, but I do not call them so, nor do I believe that there is any man or woman, that had a moral form of religion, much more genuine religion, would call them so, for what I take to be a heretic, are the enemies of Christ, let them be who they may, for no christian is considered an heretic, and no christian is an enemy to the church of Christ. But there are many sorts of christians in the world, but not solid, steadfast, genuine christians, otherwise they would have remained in the church, I do not mean the temporal church, but the spiritual church of Christ, that is, grace and wisdom from the Holy Ghost. It is commonly understood of heretics, that they are not able to hurt the green tree, that is, such as have a lively faith, working by charity, but only the reprobate, they are represented as prepared for battle, as being ever ready to contend: they wear counterfeit gold on their heads, for all is but pretence and fiction in shape: they are as men in smoothness of speech, as women in fury and rage against all who oppose them: as lions, their breasts and hearts are as hard as iron, they are full of noise and subtilty: the sting of their pestiferous doctrine is worse than that of the scorpion's bite: their reign is generally but for a 6hort time, but we as christians of the true church of God, not that church, as some of our neighboring professors of the different sects, in which they go to say, that ihe church that Christ founded upon Peter the rock, was a temporal one, and that was the only true church; but I say it was a spiritual church, and the gates of hell never should prevail against it. I have often thought that people took the naked walls to be the church. Sometimes they build a house out of stone and mortar: they call that the church. And I have known members of different meeting houses, who have happened to visit a church of another society, who were considered almost, and sometimes in fact, have lost their membership, and they would have said to them, why did you not go to your own church? Now what I call the church, is, that man or woman who has the love, of God shed abroad in their hearts: having a well grounded hope in this life and that which is to come. If so, they carry the church with them, that is, Christ, the true church.—She hath the moon, that is, the changeable things of this world, under her feet, and the twelve stars with which she is crowned, (Rev. 12: 1.) are the twelve apostles. She is in labor and pain, whilst she brings forth her children; and Christ is then in the midst of affliction and persecution. When the Lord made this revelation to St. John, the situation of the church of Christ was peculiarly critical. Jerusalem and her temple, the former people and church of God lay in total ruin, which in its holy records and many glorious promises, net yet fulfilled, the banners of the church had been planted, and her ministers every where met with great success in enlisting many valient soldiers for the service of the Lord. Jews and Gentiles were alarmed at this rapid propagation of the gospel, and the christians were in full expectation of the approach of the personal kingdom of Christ on earth, which should compass the whole world. In the midst of this full tide of prosperity, the church of Christ was arrested by the cruel persecution of the Roman Emperor, Nero, and Domitian revived, Paganism, in all, its abominations, threatened Christianity with utter destruction.—Idolatry was every where again vigorously supported by the power of the Prince of darkness. The self-interested views of a host of Priests and the corrupt passions of men. But the religion of Jesus, was accounted foolishness, an enemy to the state and to mankind, and only maintained herself by the truth of her doctrine and the holy lives of her disciples. When the christians saw all their hopes thus crossed and all their wishes prostrated, and fears concerning the truth and divine origin of the christian religion, and her final success on earth. Short sighted reason argued thus: If Jehovah be the author of Christianity, and Jesus Christ the son of God, then our religion must finally prevail, and all the promises concerning the welfare of Zion, will surely be accomplished, but the natural probability from the violent opposition of the world is against us, and Paganism is victorious from the throne to the cottage. It is not impossible that we may be deceived, man perhaps, is doomed to wander in darkness, doubt, and perplexity, through the valley of this world forlorn and ignorant of a life to come, without a true knowledge of his maker and his God. If in this life only, we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. 1st Cor. 15: 19.
He who sitteth on the white horse, is Christ, going forth to subdue the world by his gospel; the other horses which follow, represents the judgments and punishment which were to fall on the enemies of Christ and his church; the red horse signifies war, the black horse, famine, and the pale horse, which has death for its rider, plagues or pestilence. Thus the great mystery was solved, and the christian now knew which of the true principles in the Roman Empire, would at last prevail. The lion of Judah had overcome, and now by a second victory laid even the throne and residence of Satan under his feet. The holy Martyrs were promoted to a higher state of felicity, and no doubt, the unhappy dead have been placed into a more painful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. Heb. 10: 27, 31; Math. 8: 29. Now we see that the power of Satan has been very much abridged by the passion of Christ, for n thousand years he was bound, that is, for the whole time of the New Testament, but especially from the time of the destruction of Babylon or Pagan Rome, till the new efforts of Gog and Magog against the church towards the end of the world, during which time, the souls of the Martyrs and saints live and reign with Christ in heaven. In the first resurrection will be that of the body, at the day of the general judgment. This demonstrates that the beatitude of the saints is not deferred until the general resurrection, but that in the mean time, and while they are absent from, they are present with the Lord in the particular judgment. Immediately after death the soul is rewarded or punished according to what it has done in the body here below, therefore, it is great wisdom, indeed, for us to try and make a sure work for heaven and eternal glory, and there to live with him forever, and enjoy his presence. This reward shall be given unto all the true followers of the meek and lowly Jesus, who gave himself for us, and made us kings and priests unto God. Joel 3: 16. God's judgments against the enemies of his people, and his blessings upon the church; the Lord, also, shall roar out of Zion and utter his voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth shall shake, but the Lord will be the hope of his people. I shake not the earth only, but also the heavens. Now suppose that the earth being shaken is a figure of their idolatry, and the shaking of the heavens means the levitical worshippers, and the political state of the Jews, and the shaking of the earth signifies the destruction of all the idolators, and the shaking of the heavens, the abolishing and removal of the Jewesh worshippers and government. That this seems to be the true meaning appears from this chapter. Heb. 12. For the things which cannot be shaken signifies the gospel, which is to remain to the end of the world, as the only form of religion which is acceptable unto God; through a pure heart they all will be justified for their labors at the end. On the other hand, behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven, and all the proud, yea, and 'all that doeth wickedly, shall be stubble, and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of Hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. Malichi 4th chap.
The altar in Bethel. He put forth his hands from the altar, saying, Lay hold on him. And his hand, which he put forth against him, dried up, so that he could not pull it in again. 1st Kings, 13. And took the mantle of Elijah, that fell from him. 2d Kings, 2: 14. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. Phil. 1: 21. Be angry and sin not; let not the sun go down upon your wrath, neither give place to the devil Eph. 4: 26, When he had opened the seven seals, there was silence in heaven about the space of one half hour- 1st. Silence demands our attention. 2d. To hear the things that pertain unto salvation. 3d. Is to comply with that decree, so that it may be well with us in time and eternity. Luke 16: 23. And in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and seeing Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom—John. 5: 39. Search the scriptures for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of me. Acts 3: 19. Repent ye, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the time of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. And it shall come to pass that every soul which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among this people.—Josh. 6: 13. And the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of ram's horns, before the ark of the Lord. And in those days shall seek death and shall not find it, and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them. Rev. 18: 4. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying. Come out of her my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not her plagues. Rev. 6: 16. And said unto the mountains and rocks, fall on us, this is the great day of his wrath, and who shall be able to stand: none but the pure in heart. The soul that sinneth shall die. For a fire is kindled in mine anger and shall burn unto the lowest hell. Num. 23: 10. Who can count the dust of Jacob, and the number of the fourth part of Israel: let me die the death of the righteous and let my last end be like his. If we expect to die that death we must live a righteous life. Ezek. 33: 18. When the righteous turn away from his righteousness and committeth iniquity, he shall even die thereby. Ezek. 33: 35. And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land, and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods.—Rev. 19: 17. And I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God. Rev. 13: 1. And there appeared great wonders in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars Rev 19: 4. And the four and twenty elders, and the four beasts, fell down and worshipped God that set on the throne, saying Amen; Alleluia. Rev. 2: 20. Behold! I stand at the door and knock, if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in unto him and will sup with him and he with me. Ps. 91: 1. He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most high, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. Ps. 19: 4. The great joy and happiness that is to come through the gospel to every believing soul; their lines gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them he hath set a tabernacle for the son. Ps. 85: 10. Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have blessed each other, truth shall spring -out of the earth. Ps. 122: 6. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee: peace be within thy walls and prosperity within thy palace. John 3. 4. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the son of man be lifted up. Num.21: 4,8. They journeyed from the mount Hor, by the way of the Red Sea, to compass the land of Edem, and the people sinned against God and God sent fiery serpents among them, and Moses prayed for the people, and the Lord said unto Moses, Make a serpent of brass and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass that if a serpent had bit any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass he lived. Math. 2: 15. Which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son: this is the great prophet indeed. Acts 3: 22. For Moses truly said a prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you, and it shall come to pass that every soul which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from, among the people. Mind that as you pass by, for God is not to be mocked, for this is a Prophet indeed, and Priest and King: and he is the King that will reign forever. Dan. 2: 44. And in the days of those Kings, shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to any other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. The stones were cut out of the mountains without hands, and that is the reason that hands can never throw it down. This is a wonder to the world. This stone has become a great temple, far superior to that of Solomon's. Solomon's temple was put together without the sound of a hammer, and when finished, it had the resemblance more of the Architector of the universe than that of human hands. But this temple here mentioned, is put together without any sound, or swearing, lying, or drunkenness, or otherwise of the wisdom of this world.—That is one great point for us to look into for there is a peace that dwelleth in it forever, and that is the reason that wicked men and devils never have been able to throw it down. Love is its foundation, salvation the walls and its covering is victory: it is insured forever, while time lasts, and eternity rolls: it is fire proof, and water cannot drown it, for this reason the master above said, bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples, so that it may stand unto the redemption day. But now of late I have found myself better armed against these drone bees than formerly, when my bounty is going to the families of God's children. Fret not: do not be duped by the devil, a serpent or a wolf in a sheep skin.
"God is my life:" Gen. 29. Jacob's journey is like unto the journey of man through time, and the well that Jacob see, the well of salvation, and the field, the world, and the three flocks of sheep lying by it, three sons of Noah, going to the east and to the north, and to the south. Behold! these are the sheep of the whole world, and only but the one well for all the sheep. O! come and drink in time. Isa. 12: 3. "Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation." John 4: 6. Jacob's well. do. 14. "But whosever drinketh of the water that I shall give him, shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up unto everlasting life." So amen. God grant unto all the faithful peace, in time and in eternity.
See here a proof of a third place, or middle state of soul as some people sayeth, for these spirits in prison, to whom Christ went to preach after his death, were not in heaven, nor yet in hell, of the damned, because they say heaven is no prison, and Christ did not go to preach to the damned. Baptism is said to be of the like form with the water by which Noah was saved, because the one was a figure of the other. Some say that baptism has not its efficacy in order to salvation, from its washing away any bodily filth or dirt, but from its purging the conscience from sin, when accompanied with suitable disposition in the party to answer the interrogation made at that time with relation to faith, the renouncing of satan, with ail his works, and the obedience to God's commandment, 1st Pet. 4. Where there is a full remission of sin, as in baptism, there is no more occasion for a sin offering to be made for such sins already remitted, and as for sins committed afterwards, they can only be remitted in virtue of the one oblation of Christ's death. He speaks of the sin of wilful apostacy, from the known truth, after which, as we cannot be baptized again, we cannot expect to have that abundant remission of sin9 which Christ purchased by his death, applied to our souls in that ample manner as it is in baptism, but we have further all manner of reason to look for a dreadful judgment, the more, because apostate from the known truth seldom or ever, have the grace to return to it. Heb. 10; also, 6. "Therefore, leaving the principle of the doctrines of Christ, let us go on unto perfection, the word of the beginning, the first rudiments of the the christian doctrine." It is impossible for such as have aposted from the faith, after having received many great graces, to return again to the happy state from which they fell. Under the conduct of Moses they received baptism in figure, by passing under the cloud and through the sea, and they partook of the body and blood of Christ, because it was a figure; by eating of the manna, called spiritual food here, because it was a figure of the true bread which came down from heaven; and drinking the water miraculously bro't out of the rock, called here a spiritual rock, because it was also a figure of Christ. 1 Cor. 10. The evangelist, that is, the preacher of the gospel, the same who converted the Samaritan and baptised the eunuch, being one of the seven, first deacons. 21st chap, of Acts.
The young man thought on the subject of marriage, and general observations of impiety. Prov 28. Religious integrity. The wicked flee when no man pursuedth, but the righteous are as bold as a lion, and remembereth he that covereth his sins, shall not prosper; and this is for us to consider the curse of God; but hear St. Paul on this subject. Gala. 2: 17. "But if while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves, also, are found sinners. Is therefore Christ the minister of sin, God forbid, for if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. St. Math. 7: 12. Now let us, as christians, therefore, take the word of God for our counsel and keep anti-Christ, always behind us, by our strength in Christ the Son of God, which is the only rock of the true believer, for we as ministers of God, are commanded to bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples. Isaiah 8: 16. Dear christians, here is good news for the true believer in Christ while here on earth, notwithstanding the anti-Christ has tried with all his wisdom and powers in order to destroy the faith of the true christian and to stop up his path, but the great path and -way of christians leads right from hell to heaven. Isa. 16; John 14: 6. Now here is the wisdom of the anti-Christ. St. Math. 7: 15. "Because of false prophets which came to you in sheep's clothing, but in word they are ravening wolves: and again hear St. Paul on this subject. 2nd Thess. 2: 1, 8, 12; 2d Pet. 2. Now here read with attention as for eternity; though we say this or that, O remember that eternity is home in heaven or in hell. Now if all this is right then remember the- words of the wise man, to remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth. If clouds be full of rain they empty themselves upon the earth, and if the tree fall towards the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall lie; whatsover the hands findeth to do, do it with all thy might, for there is no work or device, or knowledge, or wisdom in the grave, whither thou goest. And now if you all think as I think, then I say, let us as ministers of God, stop fighting and quarrelling with each other in the stand about our religions, for we have no warrant of scripture for so doing, but we have a warrant for to preach to our people the truth, the whole truth, as it is in Christ; if so, then let us preach expressly upon the subject of convertion for we must get religion or be damned forever. Mark 16: 16. Then let us all pray as one man, for God to pardon all our sins, then we will have peace and union in our land, and then our God will have mercy on us all, and then the anti-Christ must give back and stay behind, and then, as christians, act wisely and let us walk together through time, in peace, and in the end we shall enter into the kingdom of our God and live forever. Amen.
Question. Where did the anti-Christ get his bible? For he has said it is holy; the only one, he said, that would justify the parting of man and wife. Answer. The sons of men when the light was small in the world, went among weak minded people, and then from behind the door of darkness, brought out his bible, and it is only warranted of men and not of God, and that is the reason there is no light. Then said Timothy, if by his bible he has right to part man and wife, he must be paid for it, and here are the places where the Lord has appointed out to all such who love unrighteousness and the wages of. them. John 3: 18, 20; Rev. 20: 12, 14, 15; Now if any man doeth these things his name is not written in the book of life. O! the wages of unrighteousness with Balaam. 2 Pet. 2: 3. While you read these lines, judge for yourselves lest ye fall into eternal fire. O! come ye sinners while you have time, for remember that Judas by trangression fell. Here is so much for the heresies of anti-Christ. For I say there is no warrant in scripture for parting man and wife, only for what Christ said, that is, for fornication. Math. S: 32; do. 19: 9; Jer. 3: S; Mark 10: 11; Luke 16: 17, 18 Now read these chapters and hear the conclusion of the whole matter, and it ends in this text: 1st Eps. of John, 2: 22. Here is the great record of all them who are liars, but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ, he is anti- Christ that denieth the Father and the Son.
I remember that God said let there be light and there was light, and the devil has tryed with all his craft to light out, but it burns yet, and the reason the devil missed putting out the light, God had chosen the weak things of this world to confound the mighty, and that the world by wisdom knew not God, and therefore, the things of God will stand, although Thomas Payne and Voltaire, and the anti-Christ, have done all they knew to kill the prophets and destroy the people of God, and burning the bible, and after all this the secret things still belong unto the Lord, and this was the great reason that their wisdom fails and they still remain in darkness. Deut. 2: 29. And after all their evil works of killing the prophets and sawing asunder the people, the work of the Lord went forth like fire, and the people of God rejoicing and giving glory to him, for the gospel day was .nigh at hand, and the anti-Christ did tremble for fear, O rejoice, ye people of God, for he that loves God indeed, his soul shall dwell at ease. This is the great confidence that the people have in Him, that he will deliver them in the time of trouble. Math. 33: 27, 29, 33, 34. Now the reward of anti-Christ, for they shall not escape that day, for the parting of man and wife will then be over with them. Isa. 66: 24. And we read how the Lord defended the rights of his church near 1,926 years before the coming of Christ, by giving power unto Melchisedek. And God is still the same. O, rejoice and enter ye in at the strait gate, for it is religion that makes the man. Then hear ye the word of the Lord, bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples.—Hear Jeremiah upon the subject of marriage. God said go and proclaim the words toward the north and say, return thou backsliding Israel Again. Turn, O, backsliding children, saith the Lord, for I am married unto you, and as young Timothy said, shall the anti-Christ takeaway the Lord's bride? He said no! for we are commanded to leave the word of God and turn ye to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope; even to-day do I declare that I will render double unto thee. O, sinners, hear ye the call of your Lord. Isa. 45: 22, 23; and this is a great call indeed,. for to leave the dark system of purgatory, Deut. 22: 22; lest you forever burn; for here is a great marriage, indeed, and all are called. O, come to the great marriage supper of the Lamb. Rev. 19: 7, 8, 9.
Dear beloved brethren, we must not neglect this supper, but hold out a little longer, until we shall reach the great port of our Redeemer, then sorrow and death will be over. O! then the anti-Christ will be out of our sight, and what an awful day it will be with them in the resurrection!—Math. 7: 12. "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied?" this is to remember the great day at the tribunal of God. Math. 25: 41. The end of anti-Christ. Rom. 2: 1, 4 5. I hear rumbling, said anti-Christ! Another said, what is the matter anti? I am undone! Why? I preached the doctrines of purgatory and my bible has tailed, and I have no warrant of scripture for ail my preaching purgatory unto the people! And is this purgatory? Down, down to Ps. 9: 17 "The wicked shall be turned down to hell, and all the nations that forget God." Then anti cries out, O! my people, what a great mistake we have made! Here we s go down to get our wages, for there is hard nuts to crack! Is this the wages of the parting of man and wife! For there is no warrant in the scriptures for to do it! This is the great scene of anti-Christ. See Math. 11: 23; 2 Pet. 2: 4; Jude 1: 6, 7, 8.
Dear readers, one and all, while you view these lines penned by me, your friend and brother in Christ, I say unto you all as one that loves you, let, O, let! this subject of the parting of man and wife alone, for behold! the wages that is due to them.
St. Math. 7: 13. I now bid the world adieu, for the great consolation of the christian is sweet to my heart, for the Lamb shall lead the heavenly flock where living fountains flow, for this crown is incorruptible and undefiled, and it cannot fade away, for the saints are kept by the power of God; salvation is still drawing nigh; then let us walk by faith, as strangers here, until Christ shall call us to his everlasting kingdom. Amen.
The world's funeral sermon I remember the sentence, Gen. 6: 3. "And the Lord said my spirit shall not always strive with man." Deut. 7: 3, 4; 1 Pet 3: 13; and who is he that will harm you. Rev. 9: 0. And in those days shall men seek death and shall not find it. Gen. 18: 24. Abraham with God. "If there be fifty righteous in the city," &c. Ps. 42: 7. "Deep called unto deep," &c. Math. 6: 33. " But seek ye first the kingdom of God," &c. Joel 3: 16. "The Lord also, shall roar out of Zion." Jer. 25: 30. " Therefore prophecy. Eccle. 3: 2. The excellency of God's work; a time to be born and a time to die. Gal. 4: 4. "Far the Jews were for a while under the law, but Christ came to redeem and to give both to Jews and Gentiles the adoption of sons, for when the fullness the of time was come God sent forth his son, made of a woman, made under the law that was the time to be born, and now we can behold the birth day, the day of great joy. Phil. 1: 21. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. Heb. 9: 27. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment. Eph. 1: 10, 12. Ezk. 34: 25. And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land, and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods, and this is the text. Ps. 85: 10. Mercy and truth are met together, righteousness and peace have kissed each other. Luke 2: 13. This was a great time indeed; suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and singing glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and good will towards men. John 1: 14, 17. The word was flesh and dwelt among us, and of his fullness have we all received grace for grace, for the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. Rom. 14: 17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink: but righteousness and peace and joy in the holy Ghost, for he that in these things serveth Christ, is acceptable and approved of men. Heb. 6: 4.
Now sinners read these texts; take reason and justice within your hearts and think well for yourselves; first remember that the great day of judgment is nigh, and this will we do, if God permit, for it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance, seeing they crucify to themselves the son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.—Isa. 9: 6; John 4 10. And another answer to these texts. Ye cannot deny Second Gen. Epistle Peter. See c. 2: 1 9, For I say unto you all escape from those who live in error, while they promise liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption, for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought into bondage, for if after they have escaped the pollution of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
Now these few lines I leave with you to consider on my ignorance and my dullness of comprehension, and with all this I still desire, with a great desire, to learn to be the true man of God, that when my approaching end is come, that I may be found a wise and true babe in Christ.
I now call on all the true ministers in Christ. We as brothers, preachers of one Christ, to which we are the distinguishing characteristics, are universal benevolence and unbounded charity, we cannot therefore, but be fond of our order and jealous for the great interests of free ministers in Christ, which in the strongest manner, inculcates the same charity and benevolence, and which, like that religion, encourages every moral and social virtue among ministers, to which introduces peace and good will to those who otherwise might have remained at a perpetual distance until now, and we might have died and gone down to hell. But I thank my God that it is so, that whoever is warmed with the spirit of Christianity, must esteem, must love a true minister. Such is the nature of our institution that, in all our houses, union is connected by sincere attachment. Hypocrisy and deceit are unknown among us—but pleasure is reciprocally communicated by the cheerful observance of every obliging minister as a office, if so the devil cannot get over it, he may pass, and that is all that he can do, and that is nothing, for virtue, is the grand object in my view—luminous as the sun shines at high meridian, the refulgent rays of the mind enlivens the heart, converts cool approbation into a warm sympathy and cordial affection though every man who carefully listens to the dictates of reason, may arrive at a clear persuasion of the beauty and necessity of virtue both public and private, yet is a full recommendation of a minister to have these pursuits continually in his view, as the sole objects of hi& association, and these are the laudable bonds, which unite ministers in one indissoluble society in Christ. John 14: 6. Prow 9. The doctrine of wisdom, the ways of science are beautiful. Knowledge is attained, and by the degrees of wisdom, the love of God dwells in the soul, with a contemplation; there we seek her, though the passage be difficult, the farther we proceed the easier it will become and if we are united as the true ministers of God, We will flourish in time and be crowned in eternity; and if so, let all these things give place to peace, and let the true fellowship unite us in the great grand design; let us be happy in ourselves, and endeavor to contribute to the happiness of others; let us promote the useful arts of pure religion, as ministers among the people; let us cultivate the moral virtues and improve in all that is good and amiable; let the genius of religion preside over all our conduct, and under its sovereign sway, let us act with becoming dignity; let our recreations be innocent, and pursued with moderation; and never let us, as ministers, expose our character to derision; let us act in every way to our standing in conformity to our precept, and support tho great name we have always borne, of being a respectable, a regular, and a uniform man of the great Architect of the universe, the giver of all good gifts and graces, and so be it with me. Amen.
Ps. 91: 1. "He that dwelleth in the secret places of the Most High." The happy state of the Godly, and their safety in the true worship of God. Peace be within thy walls and prosperity within thy palaces. This is the great safety of such as trust in the Lord, they shall be as mount Zion, celebrated for her incredible return out of captivity, for the sun is risen. O, ye brave sons of Etheopia, waite ye for God; do his own will, for we know that tribulation worketh patience, patience experience, and experience hope, and that is the great view of the heavenly body, and there is where we shall stand in the hope of a great salvation to come, that is, the great day when both the great and the small must quit their dust and round the dread tribunal stand to hear their sentence, Come ,to heaven, or down to hell. The great call to the sons of Etheopia. Gen. 2: 13; Etheopia; Job 28. For the price of wisdom is above rubies, the topaz of Etheopia shall not equal it, neither shall it be valued with pure gold. Ps. 68: 81. Princes shall come out of Egypt, Etheopia shall soon stretch out her hand unto God. Ps. 87. Tyre, with Etheopia: this man was born there. Isa. 20. The Etheopia captives. Isa. 55. Thus saith the Lord, the labor of Egypt and merchandise of Etheopia; the great word of the Lord was, I am the Lord and there is none else; there is no God besides me. Isa. 40. Who hath measured the waters. Acts 8. The Lord will be the hope of his people. Behold, a man of Etheopia eunuch of great authority under Candace, Queen of the Etheopians. Jer. 13. After all the great wondering, can the Ethiopian change his skin or the Leopard his spot, then may ye also do good that are accustomed to do evil now, judge for yourselves. Amos 9. Are ye not as children of the Etheopians unto me. O, children of Israel, saith the Lord, have I not brought up Israel out of the land of Egypt.
Now if God was as- man, what would then become of us, if he would not take our oath in his court of justice, we might go down to hell for the want of a friend; but I remember, therefore, the word of the Lord to Solomon, and that cheers my heart because thy love is great and the speech pleased the Lord; he has not asked thyself long life, neither has asked riches for thyself, nor has asked the life of thine enemies, but has asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment; and this is only my prayer that I may so live that God will grant me grace enough, as a wise hearted minister, to overcome the devil and his crew, always through time, and in a blessed eternity live for ever. 1 Kings 3. This is good enough for me, for I believe much in the words of the blessed Lord, when I view the conduct of Elijah the Etheopian, who was fed by ravens; the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening, and he drank of the brook. 1 Kings 17; John 6: 47, 50. This is good enough for me; "I am that bread of life;" this is the christian's glory; this is the bread which cometh down from heaven that a man may eat thereof and not die. Isa. 12. Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation; you all may look at this and remember me in your prayers, for Christ said, Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you; and while my readers are reading this simple work of mine, O, may the God of heaven let light from eternity flash into their hearts and set their souls all on fire that they may for ever keep in the path of peace and joy unto the end. Ps. 16: 11.
I was stationed in 1831, at Balti, Md. and it was a glorious year to my soul, and on the 25th of Aug. I had the honor of holding a camp meeting of the African Methodist Episcopal Society, held on the lands of Edmund Dorsey, Esq.; it commenced on the 25th and closed on the 30th, and during its continuance there were about thirty persons converted, and the convictions of sin were numerous. We were thoughtful under the divine favor of heaven, and to the community at large, for the good order that prevailed throughout the camp. The text that I tryed to preach from, was in Ezek. 34: 25. And for all this good favor, we as ministers onght always to establish the usages and customs of truth and virtue; honor and reputation are concerned in supporting with dignity, the respectable character of ministers; and let no motive, therefore, make us swerve from our duty, or violate our vows to God, or betray our trust, but be the true and faithful man and imitate the example of that celebrated artist, to which our friends have conferred, and worthy of the great confidence that we have reposed in him.
I preached my farewell sermon to my dear brethren and sisters, in these words "Lord, now let thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word." Luke 2: 23. For we are bound by duty, honor and gratitude, to be faithful to our trust and to support the dignity of our character, and with that regularity of conduct, which will preserve us while we as christians, mind the old land-mark and with these views, let us be true and faithful, and imitate she only true example, Christ.
Dear friends and brethren read these texts of scripture with a heart-righteousness, and remember me in your prayers, that I may stand fast in time, and in the end be eternally crowned in heaven.
Explanatory Notes on Genesis, &c. Chap. I. Ver. I. That is, In the beginning of time and things, the three Divine Persons, in one Godhead, made of nothing the third heaven, or the residence of the blessed, and the whole matter out of which the air and starry heaven, the sea and earth, were afterwards formed. Heb. ix. 3.—"Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear." Ps. cii. 25. "Of old thou hast laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of thy hands." 2 Pet. iii. 5. Jer. x. 12 and li. 15. Ex. xxxi. 17, and xx. 11. Ps. xxxiii. 6, 9. lxxxix. 11, 12, cxlvi. 6. and cxvlviii. 1, 6. Isa. xliv. 24. Zech. xii. 1. Acts xiv. 15. xvii. 24. and iv. 24. Js. xlii. 5. Rev. iv. 11. x. 6. and xiv. 7. Rom. i. 19, 20. and xi. 36. The word Elohim, here rendered God, is plural, and denotes the Worshipful Ones, the Divine persons, who equally concurred in the creation of all things. 1 Cor. viii. 6. "The Father of whom are ail things."—Mat. xi. 25. "He is Lord of heaven and earth." Eph. iii. 9. "God created all things by Jesus Christ." John i. 1, 3. "In the beginning was the Word (the Son) and the Word was with God, and the Word was God—all things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made." Col. i. 16. Prov. viii. 27, 30. Job xxvi. 13. "By his spirit he garnished the heavens." Ps.xxxiii. 6. "All their hosts were made by the spirit of his mouth." And civ. 30.
Ver. II. Earth, deep and waters, signify the same mingled mass of earth and water; 2 Pet. iii. 5. "The earth standing out of the water, and in the water."—It "as without form; without any agreeable shape, order, or ornament; and void; without either vegetables to furnish it, or animals to inhabit it. And not the wind, which was not yet formed, as there was no air, but the Holy Ghost, in his almighty influence, moved, or sat brooding upon this mingled mass to prepare it for the intended separation of earth and water, and for the production of vegetables and animals.
Ver. III. 2 Cor. iv. 6. "God commanded the light to shine out of darkness." It, as well as all things else, was produced by Christ, who is God's personal word, John 1, 3, his wisdom and power, 1 Cor. i. 25.—This light is some bright shining body, perhaps, somewhat like the pillar of fire in the wilderness; and out of it the sun and stars appear to have been afterwards formed.
Ver. IV. God divided the light from the darkness, by making them to take different places by turns; the light always shining upon the one half of the mingled mass, and the darkness covering the other; in much the same manner as our sun, by turns, illuminate the one half of the globe, and leaves the other in darkness.
Ver. V. The time of the first revolution of the darkness and of the light were the first day; for both the light and the darkness existed together at the same time, but on different parts of the mingled mass.
Ver. VI. This firmament includes the region of the sun, moon and stars, and comets: and the air or atmosphere which surrounds our earth, and separates between the water which is in the clouds, and that which is in the seas and rivers. Ps. xxxiii. 6, 9. "By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. He spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast." Job xxxvii. 18. "He spread out the sky which is strong, and as a molten looking glass." Job. xxvi. 13. Ps. cxxxvi. 5. Jer. x. 12. li. 15. Zech. cii. 1. Jer, x. 13. "There is a multitude of waters in the heavens, and he causeth the vapours to ascend from the—earth." Job xxvi. 8. "He bindeth up the waters in his thick clouds, and the cloud is not rent under them." And xxxviii. 22, 26." "Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow, and of the hail, which I Have reserved?—Who hath divided a watercourse for the overflowing of waters—to cause it to rain upon the earth?" Job xxxvii. 11. Eccl. xi. 3. Ps. cxlviii. 4.
Ver. IX. Job xxxviii. 9, 11. "Who shut up the sea with doors—when I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddling band for it, and brake up for it my decreed place, and set bars and doors; and said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further?" And xxvi. 10. " He compassed the sea with bounds." Ps. xxiv. 1. 2. "The earth he founded upon the seas, and established it upon the floods." And cxxxvi. G. "He stretched out the earth above the waters." Ps. civ. 5—9. and xxxiii. 7. Pet. iii. 5. Jer. v. 22. Prov. viii. 19. But the whole globe of earth and it was hung upon nothing, Job. xxvi. 7. The approbation of the second day's work was deferred till the separation of the waters was completed, and we have it in ver. 10.
Ver. XI. Ps. civ. 14, 15. He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man; that he may bring forth food out of the earth— wine—and oil—and bread." Job xxviii. 5. In this first production the vegetables, the solar heat had no influence, as it was not vet formed; nor had their been any rain. These vegetables have seed in themselves: viz. have a power in their root, branch, leaves, buds, or fruit, to propagate their kinds.
Ver. XIV God now formed more glorious and useful enlighteners of the now well-ordered and adorned earth than had been formed on the first day. The sun is in it- self a very extensive body of light; and the moon, though it hath no light in itself, enlightens our earth, by reflecting the light of the sun; and both are called great lights, since by reason of their nearness, they appear to us much larger than any of the stars. These lights not only form the day and night, but also form or mark out the seasons of mowing, planting, reaping, sailing, travelling, or the like: and are for signs of the weather, and sometimes of remarkable providences. Ps. cxxxvi. 7—9. "God made great. lights—the sun to rule by day, and the moon and stars to rule by night." And lxxiv. 16, 17. "The day is thine, the night also is thine: thou hast prepared the light and the sun. Thou hast made summer and Winter." And civ. 19, 20. "He appointed the moon for seasons; the sun knoweth his going down. Thou makest darkness, and it is night." Deut. iv. 19. "The sun, moon, and stars, even all the host of heaven—God hath divided unto all nations," for use. Job xxxviii. 12. Ps. viii. 3, 4, ch. cxlviii. 3, 5, and cxix. Ml. Jer. xxxi. 35. and xxxiii, 25. Mat. xvi. 2, 3. "When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to-day, for the sky is red and lowring." Luke xxi. 25, 26. "There shall be signs in the sun and in the moon, and in the stars—men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth." Mat. xxiv. 29. Isa. xiii. 10. Ezek. xxxii. 7. Joel ii. 10—31, and iii. 15. Acts ii. 19, 20. Josh. x. 13.
Ver. 21—25. Acts xvii. 25. "He giveth to all life, and breath, and all things." Ps. civ. 24, 26. "The earth is full of his riches," mines, vegetables, animals.—"So is this great sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts. There is that leviathan," whales, crocodiles and other sea-monsters. Ps. 1. 10, 11. "Every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowls of the mountains; and the wild beasts of the field are mine,'" by creation. Job xl. 15. God's blessing gave the animals a power to propagate their kinds. Ps. cvii. 38, "He blesseth them, so that they are multiplied greiftly. Job xlii. 12. Ps. cxliv. 13, 14.
Ver. 26. The plural is not here used for the singular in the manner of some modern kings. There is not in scripture one instance of a sovereign's speaking of himself only in the plural number, we, us, our. But the plural us here denotes a consultation of the Divine Persons, concerning the production of that species of creatures which was to be the most perfect under heaven, and in which the glory of God was to be forever most illustriously manifested in his. work of redemption.—The image of God on man includes, 1 . The resemblance of his soul, in respect of spiritual substance, understanding, and will: 2. The happiness of his state, and his honorable dominion over the creatures: 3. And chiefly the moral conformity of his soul to God, in spiritual knowledge, righteousness and holiness. Eccl. xii. 1. "Remember thy Creators," Heb. i. e. Father, Son and Holy Ghost, "in the days of thy youth." Job. xxxv. 10. "Where is God my Makers ?" Heb. Is. liv. 5. " Thy Makers—the Lord of Hosts." 1 John v. 7. Eccl. vii. 29. "God made man upright." Col. iii. 10. "Renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him." Eph. iv. 24. "The new man after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." 2 Cor. iii. 18, with Ex. xv. 11. Gen. v. 1. and ix. G. Ps. viii. 4—8, "Man, thou hast made a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: all sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field, the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea: and whatsoever creeping thing passeth through the paths of the sea."—Gen. ii. 19, 20, and ix. 2. Job. v. 23. Jer. xtvii. 6.
Ver. 28. Prov. x. 22. "The blessing of the Lord maketh rich," i.e. numerous and happy. Ps. cxxviii. 1, 4. "Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord: thou shalt eat the labor of thine hand—thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine—"thy children like olive-plants round about thy table," many, healthful, comely, and prosperous. I Chron. xxvi. 4, 8. Obed-edom had a large and a happy family, for God blessed him. And iv. 10. Job. xlii. 12. Ps. cvii. 38. Gen. 1. 22. and viii. 17.
Grounds of David's forbearance towards Shimei—2 Sam. xvi. 11, 12. The Rewards of the conquering Christian—Rev. ii. 17. The Israelites returning from Babylon—Jer. 1,4, 5. The redeemed sinner joining himself in a Covenant with God—Jer. 1. 5. The Way to Zion.—Isa. xxxv. 8, 9, 10. The Heavenly Zion—Isa. xxxv. 10. The Patience of God—Rom ii. 4. The Repentance of Judas—Mat. xxvii. 3, 4, S. The Repentance of Peter.—Luke xxii. 60, 61, 62. The Confession of Pharaoh—Exod. ix. 27, 28. The Scape-Goat a Type of Christ—Lev. xvi. 21, 22. The Burial of Christ—John xix. 41, 42. Exhortation and Promises of God to the afflicted—Isa. xliii. 1, 2, 3. Advantages of a frequent Retrospect of Life—Deut. via. 2. Fear of Peter when walking on the Sea—Mat. xiv. 30, 31. The Christian waiting for his Deliveror—1 Thess. i. 10. Praver of David for Self-knowledge—Ps. exxxix. 23. 24. The Wedding Garment—Mat. xxii. 11,1,2, 13. The Christian reigning in Life—Rom. v. 17.