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their covetous Defire might prompt them on to an univerfal Slaughter. But as a Prelude to this Tragical Day, (which 'twas hop'd would be very lucky) Haman faint with the Thirst of Blood, refolves to take off Mordecai first, and accordingly fets up a Gallows of 50 Cubits high probably that he might be expofed as a Spectacle of Contempt to a numerous Croud.
But the very Night before the Morning that Mordecai was to die, the King could not fleep, Efth. 6.1. and inftead of the ordinary Diverfions of the Court, calls for the Records of his Empire; and the Perfon that was to read them, was, doubtlefs by the fpecial Providence of God, guided to that place in thofe Chronicles, that reported an eminent Service Mordecai had done fome time before, in difcovering a Plot against Abafuerus's Life.
The King immediately enquires whether Mor- Ver. 22 decai had ever been rewarded; and finding he had not, instead of being hang'd the next Morning, is made to ride in Triumph through the Streets of the City, while Haman his potent Enemy is forc'd like a Lacquey to attend his Horfe of State.
Thus God by an unaccountable Turn of Providence, dashes the Defign of Haman, and his Plot proves abortive; and by another Turn as ftrange as the former, Haman is forc'd to leave his Court-Preferments, to be lifted up upon a Gallows of his own erecting: for in the 9th of Efther 1. we read, that in the twelfth Month, (that is, the Month Adar) on the thirteenth Day of the fame, when the King's Commandment and his Decree drew near to be put in Execution, in the Day that the Enemies of the Jews hop'd to power over them, (tho it was turned to the с
contrary, that the Jews had Rule over them that hated them) no Man could withstand them, for the Fear of them fell upon all People.
Thus are the Wicked fometimes taken in the Devices they imagine; in the Net which they hid is their own Foot taken. Their Mifchiefs return upon their own Heads, and their violent Dealing comes down upon their own Pate.
Fofephus relates, that Caligula having a Defign to vent his bloody Rage on the Jews for refufing him Divine Honour, was, by a domeftick Sword, prefently forc'd to refign his revengeful Breath. And 'tis the Obfervation of one, that the Perfian Nobles incenfing the King against Daniel, did occafion his growth in Favour, together with their own Destruction.
Hab. 2. 11.
Thus in the feveral Ages of the Church hath God by the most unaccountable Methods deliver'd righteous Kings, and their People, from the Plots of wicked Men; particularly the Deliverance we praife God for this Day was brought about, by Means as imEccl. 10.20. probable as if a Bird of the Air should tell the Matter, or the Stones in the Walls of a feditious Conventicle fhould cry out Treafon. Pender- How was one of our Enemies bow'd by an invifible Hand, to make a Difcovery of the wicked and black Defigns of others of them! as Balaam blefs'd Ifrael, when he had more mind to curfe 'em. Nay, feveral of our late Confpirators (it feems) were ftruck with fome kind of terrible Apprehenfions at the Thoughts of that Execrable Villany they were in a little time to commit; and have fince fallen proftrate at the Feet of that Prince, whom they defign'd to have laid at theirs. Does not this
Deliverance then bear the Character of a special Providence of God?
3. We may then afcribe a Deliverance of King and People to a special Providence of God, when after the Enemy hath advanc'd his Defign near to Execution, a feasonable and fudden Difcovery is made.
When the Enemies of God are promifing themselves undoubted Succefs, how opportunely are their Measures fometimes broken, and their Designs defeated?
Pharaoh refolving to purfue and overtake, and divide the Spoil, and faying his Luft fhould be fatisfied; instead of meeting with the Sweets of Revenge, is overtaken with the Bitterness of Death, and the Ifraelites are as it were furpriz'd with Salvation.
Thus Mystery Babylon, in the Revelation, is Rev. 18. 7. represented as being fuddenly furpriz❜d by the Judgments of God, while fhe was priding her felf in the Grandeur of her State.
And the Pfalmift, to fhow the Speciality of Divine Providence, in his Deliverance from the bloody Defigns of Saul, reprefents God riding towards him upon a Cherub, and flying upon the Wings of the Wind; to denote how swiftly and feasonably he came for his Succour and Help. And thus God hath done for our King and us; when fome like Sheep were appointed to Slaughter, and others deftin'd to Slavery, then fuddenly he interpofes by a fpecial Providence, and prevents the defign'd Mischief: he prevented us by the Bleflings of his Goodness; and when he turn'd back our Captivity, we were like those that dream, (as the Pfalmift fpeaks :) for our Deli- Pfal. 126. 1. verance was fo furprizing and fudden, that
we were like Men awak'd out of Sleep, forc'd to pause a while, being inftantly transported with filent Wonder! Our Enemies were like Jehu, driving on furiously, but fuddenly their Chariot-Wheels drop off, and they are stop'd: so that we may fay with the Prophet, Ifa. 64. 3. Thou didst terrible things which we look'd not for, thou cameft down, and the Mountains flowed down at thy Prefence.
O the unlooked for, unexpected Discoveries that God hath made for our Safety, and our Enemies Confufion! How amazingly hath he laid open that which had lain concealed in the thickest Darkness! all things were prepared and ready: In what a Posture was the late King to make his Defcent, feeming only to wait for the Signal, which, bleffed be God, none had the Opportunity of giving! For by the seasonable Interpofition of the Divine Providence, a Discovery was made; and just as the Enemy was coming in upon us like a Flood, the Lord lifted up his Standard against them. So that well may our English Ifrael fay, If God had not been on our fide when Men rose up against us, they had swallowed us up quick.
O how has God baffled the Confidence of Man, and let him fee that no Weapon form'd against his Zion shall profper!
How has he fnatch'd us from the very Jaws of Death! how have our Souls efcap'd as a Bird out of the Snare of the Fowler! To what fhall we afcribe our Deliverance, but to his fpecial Providence who hath helped us right early?
4. That Deliverance is by a fpecial Providence of God, that is eminently serviceable to his People.
As furely all will confefs that our prefent Deliverance is likely to be, but the Bigots of the Roman Faction, and those who are scarce a Remove from them; I mean fuch as can abfolve Men dying under the Guilt of the blackest Crimes, without any Tokens of Remorse.
How dreadful had been the Condition of all the Proteftants in Europe, if He that had fo fuccefsfully vindicated and fecur'd their Rights, fhould have been barbarously Affaffinated? But how much worfe had it been with us, (even fuch of us as might have furviv'd the Fatal Blow) who muft have exchang'd our Liberties and Laws, for the Ufurping Tyranny and Slavery of France; and inftead of finging this Day, the Tears of our Widows and Fatherlefs Children, might have been mixed with the Ashes of our City, and our Streets floated with a Stream of Human Blood?
5. Then we ought to afcribe the Deliverance, &c. to a fpecial Providence of God, when it is a direct Answer of our Prayers, as this Salvation and Deliverance must be acknowledged to be.
How often have we in this Place pray'd that God would defend his Majesty's Perfon against fecret Plots and open Violence, and that the Angels of God's Prefence might encamp round about him? To which we have had fo visible a Return in his Majesty's Preservation, and in the Discovery of this Execrable Plot against his Life and Government, that without incurring the Sufpicion of Enthufiafm, we may conclude our Prayers are answer'd, and have great Reafon to cry out with David, Now we know that Pfal, 20. 6. the Lord fayeth his Anointed, and will hear him