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and the wisdom of his administration, her spirit fails her; and, ver. 8. The cries out, “Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom.” But“ behold a greater than Solomon is here.” Şolo mon, and all his wisdom and glory, was
but a faint type of the glory and wisdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the glo ry of his perfon and administration, and therefore upon far better ground we may say of the subjects of Christ's kingdom, as Moses did of Israel, Deut. xxxiii. 29. "Happy art thoug O Israel : who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellen
3. See hence the misery of a wicked unbelieving world, who will not have him to rule over them, on whose fhoulders the government is laid, but break his bands, and cast away his cords from them ; why, he that fits in heaven shall laugh at their impotent attempts against the government of his Son, and he hath authorised him to break all that will not bow to his government : “ Thou shalt break them as with a rod of iron, thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vefsel.” Even the great potentates, who will not stoop unto him, he will cut them off; for “ he cuts off the spirit of princes, and is terrible to the kings of the earth, and strikes them through in the day of his wrath,” &c.
4. Is it so that the government is laid upon his shoulders ? Then see the nullity of all acts, laws, and constitutions, that do not bear the stamp of Christ, and that are not confftent with the laws and orders he has left for the government of his church. They cannot miss to be null, because Zion's King never touched them with his sceptre, they want a foundation in the word of God ; and unless acts and laws are founded there, they have no foundation at all, because there is no church-authority but what is derived from him.
5. See hence that they run a very dangerous risk who do injury to his subjects, or ftrip them of any of the rights, privileges, or immunities he has granted them, and purchased for them with the price of his blood. Among other privileges which Zion's King hath allowed his subjects, this is none of the least, that they should have the choice of their pastors; for which cause he hath required them to try the spirits and gifts ministers are endowed with, whether they be calculate for the edification of their fouls, 1 John iv. 1.
It is a command not given unto heritors and elders only, but even to little children, young men and fathers ; “ Beloved (says he), believe not every spirit, but try the spirits,” viz. of ministers and preachers," whether they are of God." and the reason he
gives is remarkable, in the close of the verse, “Because many falle prophets are gone abroad into the world.” And in a suitableness to this trying of the spirits of the prophets, we find, Acts vi. that it was "the multitude of disciples,” that by express order are commanded to choose out from among them men full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom." The apostles, the extraordinary officers in the church, and who, one would think, were the most competent judges of men full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom ; yet they would not take that power upon them, which is now lodged in heritors and elders. I fear, the partiality shown in our public acts, in preferring the great, the noble, the rich man with the gay clothing, before the poor of this world, whom generally God hath chofen, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom, lay a foundation for a controversy between God and this nation, which will not soon be at an end. Christ's little ones are but little regarded nowa a-days; but they who maltreat them, to gratify the greatest upon earth, will smart for it in the issue. It is an awful word uttered by him upon whose shoulders the government is laid, Matt. xviii. 6. 7. “ But whoso fhall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a mill-stone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Wo unto the world because of offences : for it must needs be that offences come : but wo to that man by whom the offence cometh.”
6. If the government be upon his shoulders, then hence I infer, that they have a hard talk to manage, who attempt to justle him out of his government, and take it upon their own Ihoulders.
Queft. Who are there?
I answer, A, Papists, who set up the man of fin to be the head of the church, calling him Christ's vicar. He is Antichrist, whom Christ will destroy with the breath of his mouth, and the brightness of his coming.
2dly, Prelatists, who set up archbishops, and diocesan bishops, in the church of Chrift; officers whom Christ never ordained in his kingdom, or never were warranted by his word. We read of no officer under the New Testament superior to a presbyter; and therefore archbishops and bithops have no war. rant in the word, and can be fone of the officers of Christ's kingdom.
zuly, Erastians, who take the government off Christ's shoulders, and lay it upon the civil magiftrtate, putting it in his power to cast the government of the church of Christ into what mould and fathion is roft agreeable unto his worldly intereft. What an affont is it done unto the Son of od, to
have any mortal man deciared head in all cases, not only civil but eclefiastical? This was an ufurpation upon the crown of Christ under some former reigns, which I am afraid is never yet cleanly abrogated or abolished to this day.
4thly, These potentates, who take upon them to tolerate any doctrines or any worship inconsistent with the doctrine, worship, or government Christ hath established in his kingdom.
5thly, These professed Presbyterians, who under that disguise exercise a lordly prelacy and dominion over the church of Christ, in thrusting in men upon congregations without, and contrary to, the free choice their King has allowed them. I fear there shall be a sad reckoning ere all be done, for the violent rapes which are committed, upon the spouse of Christ up and down the land. Christ mystical is wounded in the house of his professed friends; and it will be a wonder if there be not wounds for woninds, before the scene be ended. For,
7. If the government be upon Christ's shoulder, then hence I infer, that all odds will be even, and that Christ will render tribulation, to those that trouble, vex, and harass his poor people, in their spiritual rights and privileges. He will arise for the fighing of the poor, and the cries of the needy; and ( when he doth arise, the vengeance of his temple will fall heavy upon the heads of those who spoil it.
I conclude with an use of Confolation to the poor people of God; particularly to those that are spoiled of their liberties and, privileges as Christians ; for though they be forsaken of them whose business it is to take the greatest care of them, yet they are not forsaken of their God; and our commillion leads us particularly “ to preach the gospel to the poor, to comfort them that mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for alhes, and the oil of joy for mourning.” We are to“ strengthen the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees.” There are these few grounds of confolation I offer you in your present circumstances. As,
1. Your God does not stand as an unconcerned spectator of the injuries that are done you at this day; no, he is observing, and resents the spoil that is commited upon you. You may read for this a challenge, and an awful challenge given on their behalf, If. iii. 12-15. “ As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them : O my people, they which lead thee, cause thee to err, and defiroy the way of thy paths. The Lord standeth up to plead, and standeth to judge the people. The Lord will enter into judgement with the ancients of his people, and the princes thereof: for ye have eaten up the vineyard; the spoil of the poor is in your houses. What mean ye that ye b-at my people to pieces, and grind the faces of the poor? faith the Lord God of hosts.”
2. Know for your comfort, that God hath founded Zion. This is a topic of confolation, which is parricularly presented unto the poor of his people, and accordingly to he told by the messengers of the nations, ll. xiv. 32. “ What hall one then answer the messengers of the nation?” (viz when they are inquiring about the state and circumitances of God' Israel, in a dark and drumbly day like this). The answer is, “ That the Lord hath founded Zion, and the poor of his people shall trust in it;" i.e. Let it be proclaimed to the world, that he who laid the foundation of Zion, will build her up; and when he doth so, he will appear in his glory, and his poor prople, however at under, shall trust in it as an unshaken truth, that he who founded Zion, will take care of her, and of those who espouse her cause,
3. Know that he who hath the government upon his shoulder, rules in the midst of his enemies, and has so much of the art of government, that he both can and will bring good out of evil, advantage to his poor people out of things tending to their hurt and prejudice. Jacob's sons conspire against the life of their brother, they fell him into the hands of the Ishmaelitish merchants; they in all this had no other view but to satisfy their lust of revenge ; however God meant it for good, as was proved by the event.
4. Know that the most dark and cloudy-like difpenfations towards the church and people of God, are in the event found to have been pregnant with love and mercy; he who hath the government upon his shoulders turns them fo about, as they are made to understand his loving-kindness in all these things.
5. Know for your comfort, that he on whose shoulders the government is laid, hath power to provide you with honeft ministers, notwithstanding of all the bars that lie in the way of your being comfortably provided ; yea, his power is cast into a promise, that you may act faith upon it, If. xxx. 20. 21. “ And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers : and thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, faying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.” Jer. iii. 15. I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding." Our great Governor hath the lțars in his right hand, and he calls them forth by name : and therefore * be not afraid, only believe."
But now, to shut up this discourse, I shall, 1. Tell you some of the secrets of Christ's government. 2. Offer a few advices to the Lord's people.
First, A few fecrets of Christ's government with respect to his people in this world. 'As,
1. That his public management in providence seems many times to interfere with his promise; as in the case of Abraham tis being commanded to sacrifice his son, the promise made of the kingdom to David, &c.
2. His acts of government have a light as well as a dark side. " No affliction for the present is joyous, but grievous ; but afterwards it yieldeth the peaceable fruits of righteousness."
3. There is a pleasant regularity in all his government, however perplexed it may appear unto us; and when the work is done, beauty will arife out of it, as out of the chaos arose a beautiful world.
4. In his administrations he hath long fetches, which we are not able to discover, or fee to the end of at first instance'; it is only fome links, and not the full chain of providence, that lies open to us.
God 'must have his own time to finish his work.
5. His administrations many times take very surprising turns ; as when Ifrael was brought to the borders of Canaan; and they expecting immediately to enter upon the poffeffion of the promised land, and yet are sent back to measure the hills of the wilderness for the space of forty years. When the designs of his adminiftration feem to be brought to the birth, fome new occurrence may caft up, which to our view seems to render all abortive.
6. These acts of his government, which seem to us to portend utter ruin to the church and his kingdom in the world, are found to be the very means for their deliverance and out. gate. No step of providence so much haftened Joseph's preferment, as that of his being caft into prison, and laid under fetters of iron. Israel's pinch at the Red sea was the time of the Lord's appearing for their delivery, and the ruîn of Pharaoh and his hoft.
Secondly, I conclude with a few advices to the subjects of Zion, especially in this day of trouble, and treading down. 11. Keep the eyes of faith fixed on him who holds the helm; and believe, with an affured faith, that'* the Lord doth reign for ever, even thy God, o Zion, unto all generations:" 7 He that reigns is “ Imnianuel, God with us ;” not