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“The inhabitants of Zion shall be all righteous ;' Isa. Ix. 21. Many that make a great shew now upon the stage, shall be turned off with shame enough; try and search your hearts, force not the Lord to lay you open to all. The spirit of judgment and burning will try you. Tremble, I pray, for you are entering the most purging, trying furnace, that ever the Lord set up on the earth.
Use 5. Be loose from all shaken things: you see the clouds return after the rain, one storm in the neck of another. Thus it must be, until Christ hath finished bis whole work. “Seeing that all these things must be dissolved, what manner of persons ought we to be in all manner of holy conversation. Let your eyes be upwards, and your hearts be upwards, and your hands be upwards, that you be not moved at the passing away of shaken things. I could here encourage you by the glorious issue of all these shakings, whose foretaste might be as marrow to your bones, though they should be appointed to consumption before the accomplishment of it: but I must close.
Use 6. See the vanity, folly, madness of such as labour to oppose the bringing in the kingdom of the Lord Jesus. Canst thou hinder the rain from descending upon the earth, when it is falling? Canst thou stop the sun from rising at its appointed hour? Will the conception for thee dwell quietly in the womb beyond its month? Surely thou mayest with far more ease turn and stop the current and course of nature, than obstruct the bringing in of the kingdom of Christ in righteousness and peace. Whence comes it to pass, that so many nations are wasted, destroyed, spoiled, in the days wherein we live? that God hath taken quietness and peace from the earth? Doubtless from hence, that they will smite themselves against the stone cut out of the mountain without hands. Shall not the decree bring forth ?' Is it not in vain to fight against the Lord ? Some are angry, some troubled, some in the dark, some full of revenge ; but the truth is, whether they will hear or forbear, Babylon shall fall, and all the glory of the earth be stained, and the kingdoms become the kingdoms of our Lord Jesus Christ.
BRANCH OF THE LORD THE BEAUTY OF ZION :
THE GLORY OF THE CHURCH
IN ITS RELATION UNTO CHRIST:
OPENED IN TWO SERMONS; ONE PREACHED AT BERWICK,
THE OTHER AT EDINBURGH,
* These two sermons not being divided in the first edition, we were obliged to print them together as one continued discourse.
TO HIS EXCELLENCY
LORD GENERAL CROMWELL, &c.
My LORD, It was with thoughts of peace that I embraced my call to this place, in time of war. As all peace that is from God is precious to my spirit, so incomparably that between the Father and his elect, which is established, and carried on in the blood and grace of Jesus Christ. The ministerial dispensation of this peace being through free grace committed even unto me also, I desire that in every place my whole may be, to declare it to men of God's good pleasure. That this was my chief design, in answer to the call of God upon me, even to pour out a savour of the gospel upon the sons of peace in this place, I hope is manifest to the consciences of all, with whom (since my coming hither) in the work of the ministry I have had to do. The enmity between God and us began on our part; the peace which he hath made, begins and ends with himself. This is the way of God with sinners; when he might justly continue their enemy, and fight against them to their eternal ruin, he draws forth love, and beseeches them to be reconciled, who have done the wrong, and them to accept of peace, who cannot abide the battle. Certainly the bearing forth of this message, which is so worthy of all acceptation, and ought to be so welcome, cannot but have sweetness enough to season all the pressures and temptations wherewith it is sometimes attended. This hath been my desire to pursue, and that with the weapons which are not carnal. And though some may be so seasoned with the leaven of contention about carnal things, or at best the tithing of mint and cummin, as to disrelish the weightier things of the gospel, yet the great owner of the vineyard hath not left me without a comfortable assurance that even this labour in the Lord hath not been in vain.'
The following sermons, which I desire to present unto your Excellency, were preached one at Berwick upon your first advance into Scotland, the other at Edinburgh. My willingness to serve the inheritance of Christ here, even in my absence, caused me to close with the desires that were held out to this purpose. . And I do present them to your Excellency, not only because the rise of my call to this service under God was from you; but also, because in the carrying of it on, I have received from you in the weaknesses and temptations wherewith I am encompassed, that daily spiritual refreshment and support, by inquiry into, and discovery of, the deep and hidden dispensations of God towards his secret ones, which my spirit is taught to value. The carrying on of the interest of the Lord Jesus amongst his saints, in all his ways, which are truth and righteousness, the matter pointed at in this discourse, being the aim of your spirit in your great undertakings, it bears another respect unto you. I am not unacquainted with its meanness, yea, its coming short in respect of use and fruit, of what the Lord hath since and by others drawn forth, but such as it is, having by providence stepped first into the world, I wholly commend it to him for an incense, who graciously supplied the seed to the sower ;' beseeching him that we may have ‘joy unspeakable and glorious,'
in the acceptance of that peace, which he gives us in the Son of his love, whilst the peace, whose desire in the midst of war you continually bear forth to him, and to others, is by them rejected to their hurt.