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the times of the greatest ease: What are thy thoughts most biassed and turned to, with oftenest and deepest delight? Canst thou say, it is to God ? that thy heart hath got that retreat, and is inured to that, is frequently there, throughout the day, turns by, or passes over husband or wife, or children, or riches, or delights, or any thing would stand in thy way, and stays not, till it be at him, and there rejoices in his love, sits down under his shadow content and happy, willing that others should rule and share the world as they please, that thou dost not envy them, yea, canst even pity them, with all their gay hopes and great projects; yea, though thou do not find at all times, yea possibly, scarce at any time, that sensible presence of God, and shining of his clear discovered love upon thee, yet still he is thy hope, thou art at a point with all the world, hast given up all to wait on him, and hope for him, dost account thyself richer in thy simple hope, than the richest man on earth is in his possessions. Then art thou truly so, for the hope of God is heaven begun, and heaven complete is the possessing of him. ! The Saviour, not exempting from trouble, but saving in time of trouble. The reason for Israel's trouble lay in their own sin and security, and abuse of ease and peace; but yet they were not left to perish in trouble, but had a Saviour in time of trouble, who was then most eyed and considered, and found to be so. In the furnace, both the faith of his people and the truth of his promises are tried.

The children of God were much beholden to their troubles, for clear experiences of themselves and of God; and in this indeed is the virtue of faith, to apprehend God as a Saviour in time of trouble, before he come forth and manifest himself to be so.

Wicked men have their times of trouble too, even here, but have no title to this Saviour. *If themselves, or friends, or means can help them, it is

* Suæ fortunæ fabri..

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well; but they can go no further. But the church, the Israel of God, when all help fails on all hands, have one great resourse that cannot fail, the strong God, her Hope and Savourin time of trouble, or straitness : When their is no way out, he can cut out a way through the sea, can divide their enemies, or whatsoever is their greatest difficulty, and make a way through the middle of it. Well might he

say, Happy art thou, O Israel, who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord, the shield of thy help, &c. Men are under-saviours in outward deliverances, so it is said, He raised them up Saviours : But he is THE SAVIOUR. All others have commissions from him: All their strength, and all their success, is from him; without him, no strength, nor wit, nor courage, avail : All falls to pieces when he withdraws his hand, Give us help from trouble, for (says the church) vain is the help of man. We have found this, if any people ever did, and have had real lectures, to teach us to cease from man ; for wherein is he to be accounted of? Yet still we are ready to look to multitudes, or to the quality of men'that undertake: But if we do so, yet shall that prove our shame and disappointment; and it shall never go well with us, till our dependence and confidence come clear off from all creatures, and we fix it entirely upon him, who is our shield and our strength.

Thus should a soul, in particular distress, especially inward, wherein the help lies most incommunicably and immediately in God's own hand, learn to trust him; and though thou art not clear in thy interest as a believer, yet plead thy interest as a sinner, which thou art sure of. God in our flesh hath enlarged the nation of Israel: All that will but look to him, he is their Saviour: Look unto me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth. Now he hath stiled himself the Saviour of sinners; press him, by that, “ Lord, I do look to thee, do for me, O Sariour; help, I am in trouble.” So, in any par

ticular temptation, either to sin, or to distrust because of sin, “Now, Lord, here is an opportunity for thy power and thy grace to glorify itself.” And though thou find thyself sinking, yet believe, and thou shalt not drown.

Why shouldest thou be as a stranger, &c.] The main thing desired was his constant abode with them. Some passing deliverances he wrought; but that was not enough, came as a stranger, to stay a night, refreshed them with a transient visit, and away again. Thus we may say, He hath stilí done for us; when we were in desperate straits he came and helped, but when we were left to such counsels as bred us new troubles : He hath not so evidently yet taken up his residence, though he hath built him an house amongst us, we trust, with that intention, to dwell with us.

This we are to suit and entreat for. Why art thou as one astonished ? looking on our miseries as an amazed stranger, as not concerned in our affairs or condition, and not caring what become of us, as a traveller, but passing through, and having no further interest nor regard; or, a mighty man that cannot save, as Sampson after his hair was cut, &c. A mighty man that cannot save, either as wearied or bound, or somewhat hindered, though strong enough.

Now, Lord, look not on, own our sufferings, and bestir thyself: make it appear that thou faintest not, neither art weary, nor that any thing can stand before thee and be thy hindrance.

Break through our sins, the greatest hindrance of all, let not these stop thy way, nor bind thy hands; for thou art in the midst of us, though we see thee not so in thy work as we desire, yet here we know thou art in thy special good-will and power, as thou art in our profession and homage done to thee as our king amongst us; that testifies thy presence. Thou canst not so hide thyself, but there are still some characters of thy presence, and we are called by thy name, thy people. If we perish, thy name being

upon us, what becomes then of it? Therefore leave us not; though thou strike us, yet stay with us, and we shall live in hope of favour and deliverance, if thou go not away, our cries and prayers, at least our miseries, will move thee.'

These things make up our plea. We are a most unworthy people, yet called by his name, in covenant with him; so his glory is interested. We must not let go this; and what advantage so great, as to have our interest wrapt up in his ? His glory and our safety in one bottom, to sink and swim together, then there is no hazard. Therefore keep close to his interest and his covenant, and beg his staying with us, and arising for us, and lay hold on him for this end: It is a pleasant violence; and were there many to use it towards him, our deliverance were not far off.



LUKE xiii. 1-10.

There were present at that season some that told him of

the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with

their sacrifices. And Jesus answering, said unto them, Suppose ye that

these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans,,

because they suffered such things ? I tell you, nay; but except ye repent, ye shall all like

wise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell,

and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above

all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, nay; but ercept ye repent, ye shall all like

wise perish. He spake also this parable : A certain man had a fig

tree planted in his vineyard, and he came and sought fruit thereon, and

found none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold,

these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none ; cut it down, WVhy cumbereth it

the ground? And he answering, said unto him, Lord, let it alone this

year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it. And if it bear fruit, well; and if not, then after that

thou shalt cut it down.

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T is no easy or common thing, to give God's

ways a right construction; for the most part, we either let them pass unobserved, or unframe our observations, looking through these principles and

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