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and contradiction from others, who will ever malign, and, as they are able, obstruct the prosperity of so good a work. And therefore we may not lean on carnal wisdom, or selfconfidence, for performance of any duty, as being wholly in ourselves without strength." Novi ego istos in pace leones, in prælio cervos," said Tertullian "; a man may be more than a man before the battle, and less than a woman in it, as Peter was: None sooner fall, than they that fight in their own strength. (Numb. xiv. 44)

2. We must not murmur against the Lord, nor complain of austerity in him, as if he called us to harder conditions than we can bear. This was Job's error, when he complained that God dealt with him, as if he had been made of stones or brass. (Job vi. 12) We are too apt to esteem our trials singular, our difficulties unparalleled, and so to chide with our condition, and therein with God; when, many times, it is not the difficulty of the service, but the impatience of the heart which so makes it. We pervert our ways, and then we fret against God. (Prov. xix. 3) A meek and humble spirit will make things easy, which we think intolerable. Take David in a passion, when Nabal refused to send him and his men provision, and compare him with David humbled under the hand of God; when Absalom rebelled, and Shimei cursed him; and then judge how easy a hard duty is to a prepared heart, and how hard an easy thing is to a froward heart.

3. We may not betake ourselves to carnal shifts for avoiding any danger, which assaults us in doing duty. If the Lord set us on work, he is able, without our sin, to deliver us. God's all-sufficiency is an invincible argument to sincerity. (Gen. xvii. 1) Why should I make myself beholden to a sinful shift, when I have an all-sufficient God ?-There were some Christians in the apostle's time, who, out of confidence in their own knowledge and strength to stand, would venture to eat meat at the idols' table; thereby keeping in with their idolatrous friends, for fear of persecution. To these the apostle giveth;

■ Tertul. de corona militis, c. 1. Primus impetus eis major quam virorum est, sequens minor quam feminarum. L. Florus. 1. 2. cap. 4. Fortissimus in ipso discrimine exercitus est, qui ante discrimen quietissimus. Tac. Hist. 1. 1.

(1.) A sharp exhortation, to take heed of falling when they think they stand. (1 Cor. x. 12)

(2.) An answer to their fears, that God will not suffer them to be tempted beyond the strength, which he will supply them withal. (ver. 13)

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4. We may not therefore shrink from duty upon any discouragement, but follow the call of God, and be upright before him. When it is our duty to obey, it is his promise to protect. Say not with Solomon's sluggard, There is a lion in the way;' (Prov. xxii. 13) but remember there are angels with us to bear us in our way. (Psalm xci. 11) Jonah was afraid to go to Nineveh, a great, and a wicked city; one man to threaten so many thousands with speedy destruction ;-it was the next way to be swallowed up, and destroyed himself. He thinks there was no means to fly this danger, but by declining duty. And now he that feared the raging of the people, met with the tempest of the sea; he that feared to be swallowed up of danger, was swallowed up of present death into the belly of the whale; and the Lord, by delivering him from that death, taught him to trust on his power, who could as well have delivered him from any other.

The Lord hath called you, Right Honourable, unto arduous and weighty services. A very difficult work it is to cure complicated diseases, to extricate and unravel the entangled interests of divided minds, to allay animosities, to calm jealousies, to moderate rigours of judgement, to close distant opinions, to separate the gold from the dross,-the precious truths and worship of God, from those many prodigies of error and madness, which had so long assaulted it; to settle the house of God, and the hearts of men, upon firm foundations of truth, peace and righteousness, to join together the sticks of Ephraim and Judah, and to make whole the broken staves of beauty and bands.' If you shall now say, as David did, "Make thy way straight before our face;" as Jehoshaphat did, "We know not what to do, but our eyes are upon thee;" as Paul did, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do ?” Thou hast done great things for us, whereof we are glad; thou hast delivered our eyes from tears, our feet from falling; what is it that we now shall render to the Lord for all his benefits? Truly, Lord, we are thy servants, and would willingly act in our places for thy name, and for the interests.

of thy Christ, and of his church; we have no higher design than this, that the God, who hath wrought wonders for us, may be alone magnified and advanced by us, in orthodox doctrine, in pure ordinances, in spiritual worship, in united affections, that no unnecessary thing may remain, as a ground of offence, and fomes' of division and separation, but that all healing and closing counsels may be used to make us all of one heart, and of one soul;-If you thus, in singleness and uprightness of heart, do bespeak the Lord, I can confidently say from him to you, that he will be with you, and uphold you; that his spirit will level all mountains before you, and break in pieces any gates of brass, and cut asunder any bars of iron which stand in your way: the service he requires of you, he will work for you; he will not only command you by his authority, but assist you by his grace. When our interests and God's are folded up together; when we make his will our will, and his end our end; we are sure never to fail in our designs, because he can never miscarry in his.

We have seen how the Lord encourageth his servants against all difficulties, which might dismay them in his service. Now the means by which he doth it, is by a word, "This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel.'

Nothing can so effectually uphold the spirits of men above difficulties and discouragements, which they meet with in the duties whereunto they are called, as a seasonable word spoken unto them from God. The word of the Lord to Zerubbabel, is confirmation enough against all the oppositions of most potent adversaries. So it was to Joshua; 'I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee,' &c. (Jos. i. 5, 8) So to Asa; When he heard the words of the prophet, he took courage.' (2 Chron. xv. 8) The righteous are bold as a lion;' (Prov. xxviii. 1) and their confidence is founded on a word. (Psalm cxix. 49) And well it may, if we consider,

1. The truth of it, confirmed by signs and wonders, and by the solemn oath of God. Now it is impossible for God to lie; every word of his is founded on his own immutable being; and these are grounds of strong consolation. (Heb. vi. 17, 18)

2. The authority of it, which is sufficient to animate any man unto obedience. A man that hath an ample commission from a supreme power, acteth with courage, as knowing the

power he hath to back him. No commission so full of power as that which God gives. This made Moses and Aaron venture on Pharaoh and all his sorcerers ;-Amos, a herdsman, upon the court of Jeroboam a king; Peter and John, illiterate men, to speak boldly, notwithstanding the inhibition of the chief priest and his council. (Acts iv. 19, 20, and v. 29)

3. The efficacy of it. Nothing more operative than the word of God. It was a word only which made the world. 'He said, Let there be light, and there was light by the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.' (Psalm xxxiii. 6) Aoyos Enμroupyixòs, Eusebius calleth it. And it is a word only which ' upholds the world :' (Heb. i. 3) and the word is able still to give being to every promise, and subsistence to every purpose of his towards his people. It is a commanding' and a 'creating word.' (Psalm xliv. 4. Isa. lvii. 19) God's purposes and promises are ever seconded by his power. He will not leave, till he have done what he hath spoken. (Gen. xxviii. 15) I have spoken, I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, I will do it.' (Isa. xlvi. 11)

The Lord hath ordered all duty to have some difficulty in it. And the same word which is the rule of the duty, is also the comfort against the difficulty. We have therein the comfort of his authority requiring it of us. It is the work which he hath given us to do; we have not rushed upon it presumptuously ourselves. We have the comfort of his promises quickening us unto it; for every word of command hath a word of promise with it. (2 Cor. vii. 1. Heb. x. 36) We have the comfort of his grace working together with the word, facilitating the duties required, and proportioning the soul to the service, giving a heart to do the word. (Ezek. xi. 19, 20) And therefore, by faith and hope, we may improve every word unto comfort and courage in duty. Faith, giving a kind of being unto the things promised, (Heb. xi. 1) and hope waiting for joy for the accomplishment of them, do powerfully work the heart above difficulties unto chearful obedience. Faith quencheth temptation, overcometh the world, purifieth the heart, worketh by love, removeth fear, the discourager and obstructer of duty. (1 John iv. 18)

Hope causeth us to purify ourselves; (1 John iii. 3) to serve the Lord instantly day and night; (Acts xxvi. 7) to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts; (Tit. ii. 11, 12, 13) to wait on the Lord, and to keep his way; (Psalm xxxvii. 34) to renew our strength, to run and not be weary, to walk and not faint. (Isa. xl. 31)

When the soul of a man is in such straits and perplexities, that all the world is not able to comfort him; one sentence out of the word, wisely managed by the hand of faith, is able to bear up the heart, and to make it victorious, above all the powers of darkness. Wit, wealth, power, policy, youth, strength, security, sensuality, worldly employments, will peradventure serve awhile to fence against fear and discouragement; but these are but like a bush in a storm, which shelters awhile, and after annoys with its own dropping. Nothing will minister durable and final comfort against all doubts and fears, but a word from God seasonably brought unto the conscience: this alone can hold up the heart against the roarings of Satan, and all the powers of darkness. You may haply have before you many knotty and difficult debates, and be at a stand which way to steer your judgement, and to dispose your suffrage. Men may, like Carneades, dispute plausibly aud probably on either side; and the substantial merits of a question may lie hidden under the oratory, which hath pro et con' been spent upon it.

In such cases, attend not only to what you have heard spoken, but with David, 'Make the word of God your counsellors.' (Psalm cxix. 24) Let not frowns dismay you; let not interests bias you; let not parallogisms dazzle you; but seriously weigh what is most consonant to the will of God, what is most likely to promote the great ends which that calls for, the glory of God, the salvation of men, the cause of religion, the simplicity of the gospel, the spirituality of worship, the peace, unity, and integrity of the church, the healing and setting in joint the dislocated and divided affections of men; the impartial settling of judgement and righteousness in the land. And when you hear a word behind you, saying, 'This is the way,' then walk in it, turn not to the right hand or to the left. (Isa. xxx. 21)

We have seen, how the Lord encourageth his servants in

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