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Sometime he doth fhut up the door of utterance, and will not let them give warning of the wrath to come to punish their fin. Therefore Saint Paul willeth the Ephefians, Praying always, Eph 6.18, with all manner of fupplication for all men, and for me that utte rance may be given me.
Beloved, we watch for you, we pray for you, we preach to you; whilst we stand upon these towers to give you warning pray you for us that God would be pleased to make us fufficient for this holy fervice.
When Paul and Silas went to preach, They were commended of the brethren to the grace of God; pray the Lord of the harvest, ut mittat operarios, that he would lend forth labourers.
We do not stand upon thefe Towers to keep watch for our felves only, but for you; and whenfoever we come into a Pulpit, your thoughts must be ready to fay to us as Cornelius did to Pe ter, Now therefore we are all here prefent before God, to bear all things that are commanded thee of God.
The care imposed on us is greater then the care of the King and the Magiftrate; To which of them hath he faid at any time feed my fheep, feed my lambs?
Obey them that have the rule over you, and fubmit your felves, for they watch for your fouls, as thofe that must give account.
Wonder not at our infirmities, and do not make the worst of our weakneffe; for we ftand upon the Tower, and fuffer many
Heb. 13. 17.
Thus doth the faithfull Watchman of Ifrael take heed to himfelfand to his doctrine; to himself and to his flock, as the Shepherds to whom the Angel appeared, giving them notice of the birth of Chrit: They kept watch by night because of their flock Blessed is that fervant, whom the Mafter when he cometh shall finde fo doing. the tower, and
3. His patient expectation. I will set me upon will watch to fee. -God doth not alwayes reveale himself and his will to his Misnifter, he must tarry Gods leafure and wait his times.
Sometimes God doth withdraw his light from the Minister, for the punishment of the people, and will not let him fee a danger that is coming, that he may chaften the fins of his people with the rods of men.
a blaft which cometh not neare you.
No fort of men lye fo open to Satans force and fury as we do; he vexeth us with all his ftormes.
When Joshua stood before the Angel of the Lord to receive his Commiffion, Satan ftood at his right hand to refift him. He defired to winnow Peter,
For through God only we are mighty.
I conclude this point in the Apoftles words of exhortation, feeing we ftand upon the Tower and keep watch, till God will put a word into our mouths;
God fent the angel of Satan to buffet Paul: When Chrift lived a private life, little is faid of him: but fo foone as he was baptized, and entred into the execution of his miniftry, he was tempted of Satan in the wilderneffe forty dayes together.
It was the policy of the King of Aram to bend all his forces I Reg. 22. against the Captains of the Lords Army.
We are not able of our felves to think any thing as of our felves, all our fufficiency is of God who hath made us able Minifters. Therefore whilst we attend the opening to us of the whole counsel of God, we have great need of your prayers, that we faint not in our expectation, that we fhrink not in the execution of our duty.
Therefore that we may ftand it out in all weathers, that we be not idle and drowfie in our watch, that we may be full of the ftrength of God to do the work of Evangelifts, pray you to God without ceafing for us.
For we have many difcouragements, and standing fo high upon the Tower, we have many eyes upon us; and Satan on our right hand ro refift us, and the world on the left hand to tempt us; and the great difficulty of our fervice and employment in the Church to dishearten us: yet audiam quid loquatur Deus,yet I will hear what God will fay to me.
You also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift be- Cor.1. Stowed upon us, by the means of many perfons, thanks may be given by many on our behalf.
The Apostle doth confeffe that our gifts are bestowed on us by the means of many perfons, by the prayers and fupplications of many of Gods good fervants.
4, His holy care in his office,
It is not to fudy what his own brains will fuggeft, but to hear what God will fay to him: for this is
Dignus vindice nodus, a knot worth the loofing. Many observing the ftate of the Church, and fecing the beft men on earth fufter moft, and poffeffe leaft; and beholding the wicked and ungodly gather all, live in peace of the world, in fulnesse, heaping up riches, rifing to honours, and having the monopoly of this life prefent, have ftaggered in the faith of Gods providence.
Davids feet upon this flippery ground had well-nigh flipt, and there were fome that profefled it
It is in vaine to ferve God; and what profil is it that we have kept bis Ordinance?
And now we call the proud happy, yea they that work wickednesse are fer up, yea they that tempt God are delivered.
Therefore it is high time for the Prophet to feek his informa tion and light from God himself.
The light of humane reafon cannot penetrate this thick cloud, David confeffeth fo much, the fweet finger of Ifrael could hot hit upon this tune, for he faw how profperoufly every thing fuc ceeded with the ungodly of the earth..
When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me,
Untill I went to the Sanctuary of God: then understood I their end. Which teacheth us in these great deeps of the wisdom of God, not to refolve any thing out of humane reafon, but to confult God himself, and to hearken what he will fay to the matter, to Speak after him, and follow him.
Our experience telleth us that there hath been much oppofition, much injustice here in our land, that the Common-wealth groaned under the burthen thereof.
The wayes of Cod are not like our wayes; did not God fee this? did not the cry of the poor and the opprefled go up to him, even to his ears? is he not come down to vifit the tranf greffors,and to take the matter into his own audience; even now in the cool of the day he is come at laft to keep a Seffions, and to search Jerufalem with a candle and lanthorn; now his eye lids do begin to try the fons of men, and the joyful Church and Common-wealth cry to him, faying,
Gird thy fword upon thy thigh O most mighty, with thy glory and thy Pl.45 3.
And in thy Majefty ride profperously, because of truth and Verf. 4. meekneffe and righteousnesse, and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things.
2. His inftruction of others.
He will not only hearken to fatisfie himfelfe, but he will furnish him felf from the mouth of God with anfwers, to fatisfie them that fhall dispute and argue with him against the Provi dence of God.
That is the use of our study and labour in our Ministry.
22. To convince contradictors.
This fecond part of our duty the Prophet had now fpecial u fe of; for the Church foreseeing the fearful judgements of God upon the Jews, did argue the matter with the Prophet, and all thofe former grievances they objected as arguments against Gods Government of his Church,
The Prophet holdeth the foundation, and feeketh to inform himfelf, how he may be able to maintain the fame against oppofition and strife of tongues.
Docemur, We are taught.
In the Church of God there will be ever fome that will argue Doct. and dispute against God.
1. Because men are firft taught by the wifedome of the world, Reaf.1. and that is enmity with God.
This proceeds from our original pravity of nature, corrupt in
the firft derivance from our Parents, which albeit it hath the feafoning of the Law of God written in the heart, yet the law of the members, which is contrary to the law of God, doth prevaile against that law, and leadeth us captive unto fin. 2.Because as the Apostle faith for who hath known the mind of the Lord? Ignorance of the ways ofGod doth breed in us many fini- R eaf. 2. fter opinions,as we find in David in this very cafe, for he confeffeth that the profperity of the wicked troubled him, till he went into the house of God; there he learned the mind of God, and then he Was well fatisfied.
Even this Prophet knew not how to answer them that would
argue with him against God, till he had called to account and difputed the matter with him.
Reafon 3. 3. Because the Apoftle faith of the Elect, For we walk by faith, 2 Cor. 5.7 and not by fight.
Now in many of Gods chofen the fight and fenfe is full, the faith is weak and imperfect, and when we come to hear of the equal Jultice of God in punishing finners, and feel the fmart of bis rod upon the Church, it is an hard matter to affure the heart by believing against that which is fuffered in feeling.
Reaf. 4. 4. Because Solomon faith, God bath made man upright, but they Eccl.7.29 have fought many inventions: for fu rely, the equal and conftant ways of God, are fufpected by the unequal and inconftant inventions of men, who in favour of themselves, fpare not to caft the afflictions of the Church rather upon the will of God, of which they are not able to give the reafon,then upon the evil defervings of their own fins.
I- The Minister muft learn of the Prophet, to apply himself to the remedy of this inconvenience, to maintain the cause of God against all contradiction and ftrife of tongues; for as we are the Peoples Oratours to plead their caufe with God, fo are we Gods Oratours to defend him against the corrupt and perverse cenfures of men, by proclaiming his conftant Juftice, and Wisdome, and truth, and by teaching them; as the Pfalmift faith, He will not fuffer kis truth to faile.
We need not ftrain our felues much for this; for wifedome will be juftified of her children, and he whom we defend against the calumniations of prophane, or against the distrustfulneffe of the ignorant and weak, will fill our mouths with arguments in his own defence,
Iob. 13.7. Fob faith to his friends, will ye speak wickedly of God, and talk deceitfully for him? The Caufe of God is an upright Caufe,we shall not need to be put to our shifts, to defend him againft the difpute and arguing of men.
Its enough that we reft in this principle of undeniable truth,S# rely God is juft, there is no unrighteousnes with him; as Abraham,
That be far from thee to do after this manner, to flay the righte ous with the wicked, and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be farre from thee? shall not the judge of all the earth do right.