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this employment, do bow our knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family of heaven and earth is named, that he would grant unto you according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith, (Eph. iii. 14–16). And that we cannot enough render thanks to God for you, for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before our God; night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and, according to our calling and measure, might perfect that which is lacking in your faith, (1 Thes. iii. 9, 10). The opinion of the merit of prayer is abomination, but the principal theme and matter of the solemnity of the day, we take for an answer of the prayers of the godly in the three kingdoms, and in all the Reformed Kirks; and the desire we have to see you, is not only that natural instinct, which is to be found in all of our nation, whom the cause of God hath brought from their own homes and habitations; but our longing to come unto you with rejoicing, bringing our sheaves with us (Psal. cxxvi. 6), and to find you such as we would; for now we live if ye stand fast in the Lord, (1 Thes. iii. 8). The third reason is, that I may, upon this occasion which God hath put in my hand, communicate unto you my humble thoughts for your good, unto which many thousands of your sons, worthier than I can have any reasons to think myself to be, have, according to the commandment of God and their manifold obligation, devoted and sacrificed themselves and all that they have. For my part, since I am not able to pay my duty to the full, I shall still acknowledge my obligation, confess my debt, and what I have (which is a small proportion to that which I owe) I shall willingly offer.

The Lord hath done great things for you, and by you. His Spirit speaking in your faithful pastors, and working in your own hearts, will teach you and give you grace in wisdom and humility, to compare your present estate under the light, purity, liberty, and blessings of the gospel, with

the darkness, corruptions, tyranny, and miseries, which our forefathers were covered with under Paganism of old, and under Antichrist afterwards, and which ourselves did endure under antichristian Prelacy of late. It is true, the present times are full of sufferings, calamities, losses, and fears; all the three kingdoms have drunken, although by unequal draughts, of a very bitter cup, such as the Lord propineth when he is angry with his people, and no man knoweth when the end shall be. Yet if we consider what our miseries might have been, if these our miseries had not been; that we ought to choose affliction, and not impiety or iniquity, and that all our troubles are but the travailings of childbirth, to bring forth a reformation; we will take the saying of Ecclesiastes to be spoken to every one of us: "Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than those? for thou dost not inquire wisely concerning this,” (Eccles. vii. 10). I intend not to set forth the great power and merciful providence of God in the late seasonable deliverance, and notable victory never to be forgotten, that being recent in your minds, and the intent of the following Sermon. We ought to be thankful for the undeniable presence of God, to stir up ourselves to take hold of him, lest he hide his face and depart from us; and to go on hereafter with confidence in his name against the greatest difficulties.

But when I call to mind what hath come to pass in these days, since the beginning of our troubles, and begin to consider the proceedings and results of divine providence, contrary to the designs and devices of the enemies, which they cannot deny, and far beyond the first intentions and particular desires of such as the Lord hath used for instruments in his work, which they do reverently acknowledge, I may make use of the grave and serious warning of the apostle : "Behold, therefore, the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness; otherwise thou also shalt be cut off,” (Rom. xi. 22). And that we may the more value the

goodness of God to ourselves, we ought the more to behold the severity of God cutting off the pomp, the pride, the tyranny, and power of the enemies. I may also with him, although writing of a matter of another kind, cry out, "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor ?" (Rom. xi. 33, 34). Not only in the matter of salvation and damnation, but in the administrations of his providence, the Lord useth his sovereignty, and doth what seemeth good unto his wisdom: and although we know not the particular reason of every thing, yet this we know, whatsoever be the weakness of men upon the one hand, or the wickedness of men on the other, that all things are done by him that ruleth the world, in great wisdom and justice, to his own glory and the good of his church. Again, when from my sense of myself, and of my own thoughts and ways, (which many thousands may observe, and no doubt do observe of themselves) I begin to remember, how men who love to live obscurely and in the shadow, are brought forth to light, to the view and talking of the world; how men that love quietness are made to stir, and to have a hand in public business; how men that love soliloquies and contemplations are brought upon debates and controversies; how men who love peace are made to war and to shed blood; and generally, how men are brought to act the things which they never determined, nor so much as dreamed of before; the words of the prophet Jeremiah come to my remembrance : "O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps," (Jer. x. 23); which imply the positive part: that the way of man is in the hand of God, and that the Lord directeth his steps to his own appointed ends; according to the saying of the wise Solomon, whether speaking of the decrees of God or of the word of God, "There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand," (Prov. xix. 21).

Experiments of things past, are documents of things to come. Let no man think himself absolute master of his own actions or ways: "When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldst : but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldst not," (John xxi. 18). Let no man say, I shall die in my nest, in mine own house, with my children about me and under my wings, (Job. xxix. 18). We will learn I hope by time, if we be not unteachable, to distinguish betwixt our first and natural will, and our second, our spiritual and more deliberate will; and to say, Not my will, but thy will be done, (Matt. xxvi. 39). The seven years of ensuing providence, may carry us as far beyond the present intentions, whether of the enemies of religion, or our own, as the seven years past have done, beyond our former intentions and theirs. The pulling down of popery in the Christian world, and the pulling down of prelacy, and the supporters thereof in Britain, are equally feasible to the Almighty, who delighteth to turn our difficulties and impossibilities into the glorious demonstrations of his divine power; and who putteth motions into the hearts of men, which they turn into petitions and endeavours, and God, by his power, bringeth forth into reality and action. The conception, birth and perfection is all from himself.

When I speak of the future, and that which afterwards may come to pass, my meaning is not that God will always, and throughout the whole work, use the same individual instruments. Experience hath already proved the contrary. I speak of the collective and successive body, which like a flood runneth in a continual course, but the several parts passeth by very quickly. Joshua must succeed to Moses, and Eleazar to Aaron, before the people of God be brought into Canaan; and others must come after them before the temple be builded: each one whom the Lord calleth hath his own part. As the course of general providence in the world, and of special providence in the kirk, goeth on constantly

according to the eternal decrees of God, which men may oppose and clamour against, but can no more hinder than the rising sun, and his ascending to his strength; so doth the course of particular providence in the lives of men, which he cutteth off or continueth at his pleasure: nor should any man, who hath seen the beginning of this work, offend or be displeased that his days are ended before it ends, more than others, who shall be honoured to be the witnesses of the glorious conclusion thereof, have cause to be grieved that they have not seen, or had a hand in the beginnings of it; even as we have no more reason to be grieved that our life lasteth not longer, than that it did not begin sooner. No man could know, but his life might have been as short in peace as it hath been in war; nor was it in any man's power in the time of peace to choose the manner of his death. It should be sufficient for us that we follow the calling of God; that our life is not dear to us, when He who spared not his life for us calleth for it; that we are ready to lay it down in his cause; and that it shall add to our blessedness, if we die not only in the Lord, but for the Lord.

Let us therefore observe the Lord's providence, admire his wisdom and goodness, adore his sovereignty and greatness, and cheerfully offer and give up ourselves to be disposed upon at his will, seeking his glory, and not our own ; and to approve ourselves to our own consciences, and not to the world. This will make us sincere and straight in our course, while others are seeking themselves quiet and secure in the midst of dangers; when others, like Magor-missabib, (Jer. xx. 3), have fear round about; and contented in confidence of a recompence of reward from God, against the ingratitude of men, when mercenaries have not the patience to bear it, because they served no other master, and had no other thing in their eye, but their wages ;- -a poor compensation of their pains, and no proportion to the adventuring of their lives. It is a frequent observation in history, upon a world of examples, that such as have deserved

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