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hear them. But we must take a delight, and settle our fancy that it may like of the weight and greatness, They were unto the prophet David, “ more sweet than honey and the honey comb." If we taste them with such affection as he did, we should feel and see the great, and weighty, and heavenly flame which is in them.
Many are delighted in the stories of Julius Cæsar, of Alexander the Great, of mighty and victorious princes; they have pleasure to read of their wars, of their victories, and of their triumphs: and many take their pleasure in travel to far countries, to see the divers fashions and behaviour of men. If it were possible we might stand upon such a hill from which we might at once see all parts of the world, the cities and towns, and mountains, and forests, and castles, and gorgeous buildings, and all the kings and princes of the world, in their princely estate ; if we might see the variety of the whole world, how some live quietly in peace, others in poverty and misery, some rise, others fall: to see and behold so great variety of things, it cannot be but it would delight us.
Such a hill, from whence we may take views of so great variety—such a story, in which we may read of noble princes, of their wars and victories, is the word of God. Upon this hill you may at once behold all the works of his hands-how he made heaven and earth, the sun and the moon, the sea and floods, the fishes in the water, the fowls in the air, and the beasts in the field. Upon this hill you may stand and see his angels, and his archangels, and blessed spirits; how some of them fell, and some continued in glory; how God hath sent them in message; how they have come down from heaven to serve the sons of men. Here you may read of the wars of the God of Hosts—how he hath pitched his tents in the midst of his people, and hath gone before them, and fought for them; how the Amorites and Canaanites were rooted out; how the Amalekites were overthrown by the lifting up of Moses' hands in prayer; how the wall of Jericho fell down flat at the sound of a trumpet, and the shouting of the people;
? Ps. xix. 10.
and how one hundred and eighty-five thousand Assyrians were slain in one night by the hand of one angel, when God raught (reached] out his hand from heaven to give victory to his people. Here you may see how God plagued and overcame his enemies; how he drowned Pharaoh in the Red Sea, and his horses, and men, and chariots, all together. Here you may see Nebuchadnezzar, a mighty prince, so bereft of his wits, that he forsook his palaces, and the company and order of men, and lived in the fields after the manner of beasts. Here may you see how God struck king Antiochus and king Herod with filthy diseases, and caused Jice to eat their flesh; how he sent down fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for their sins; how he made the earth 'open, and swallow up Dathan and Abiram; how king Uzziah was stricken with leprosy, and carried from the temple, and cut off from his kingdom.—What stories of any princes or people in any age can report unto us so strange battles, so mighty conquests, so wonderful deliverance in extremities, so dreadful subduing of the enemies, as the hand of God has wrought, and the story of the Scriptures declared unto us ?
This word also showeth the goodness and mercy of God towards the people which put their trust in him : how he made them terrible to their enemies; how he made their enemies their footstool ; how he led them safe through the Red Seà ; how he sent his angel to go before them, and guide them; how he gave them water out of a rock, and rained down bread from heaven; how he brought them into a land that flowed with milk and honey, and sware unto them, that he would be their God, and that they should be his people.
In this word are to be seen wonderful and strange works of God, such as are beyond the course of nature, and pass the reason of man: that the sea parted, and stood on both sides as a high wall; that at the word of Joshua the sun stood still, and went not on his course. Hezekiah spake the word, and required it, and the sun went back ten degrees. At the word of Elias fire came down from heaven to consume his sacrifice. Here you may see an ass open his mouth, and speak, and reprove his master; three servants of God walk in a hot burning
furnace without hurt; Daniel in the den among lions, and not devoured ; Peter in the raging sea, and not drowned ; lepers eleansed, the lame to go, the dumb to speak, the deaf to hear, the blind to see, the dead to rise out of their graves and live; simple and unlearned men to speak in strange tongues ; the devils to go out of the possessed, and to say, I know that thou art CHRIST the Son of God.' Here may you see twelve poor silly men, without spear, or sword, or force, make conquest and win the whole world. No power could repress them, no might could withstand them. It is reckoned, a great matter for a king or nation to yield submission unto another king or nation. It must therefore be a matter of great wonder to see all kings throw down their maces, and all people to yield, before so few, so simple, so unarmed ; and to acknowledge they embraced lies, and lived in ignorance; and that these twelve are the servants of the Highest; and to see how “God hath chosen the foolish things of this world, to confound the wise; and the weak things of this world, to confound the things which are mighty." Such force did God give to their words! He made them the 'sons of thunder ;'l they shook the foundation of the world ; they threw down whatsoever stood against them.
Here you may see the fight of God's elect children: how they patiently suffered afflictions in their bodies. rather than they would deny the truth of God; they gave their backs to the scourge, their necks to the sword, their bodies to the fire. No tyrant, no menacing, no rack, no torment, no sword, no death could remove them from the love of the Gospel which they had received. The more of them were cut down, the more did spring up; the more were killed, the more were left alive. AUGUSTINE saith, “They were bound, and shut up, and racked, and burnt, and yet were increased.”i This is the victory that hath overcome the world. For the LORD answered St. Paul, “ My strength is made perfect in weakness.” It liveth in death; it is made
Mark iii. 17. i "Ligabantur, includebantur, torquebantur, urebantur, et multiplicabantur.” August. de Civitat. Dei, Lib. XXII. c. vi.
& ] Cor. i. 27.
* 2 Cor. xii. 9. Vol. III.-26
whole and sound by wounds and stripes ; it is increased by those means whereby men destroy it.
Jacob saw a ladder stand upon the earth, and the top of it reach up into heaven, and the angels of God go up and down by it. This was but a dream and vision in his sleep; yet when he awoke, he took pleasure and comfort of this vision.—We have not only the delight of this with Jacob, but we have other far greater visions. We see Isaiah beholding the LORD as he sat upon a high throne;m we see Paul taken up into the third heavens ;n we see the glory of God appear, and hear the voice which came out of the cloud, saying, “ This is my well beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.” We see JESUS CHRIST, the Son of God, born of a virgin, and how “ he made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”p We hear him cry with a loud voice, “ My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?". We hear him say, “ Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do ?'r and, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit."s_Here we may see the sun to be darkened, that the moon giveth no light; the earth to shake, the rocks to cleave asunder, the vail to rend, the graves to open, and CHRIST rise from the dead, and go up into heaven, and sit at the right hand of his Father. -Here we may see the overthrow of Babylon, which “made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication;' how she is destroyed with the breath of God's mouth. Here we behold the resurrection of the dead, and four and twenty elders sit before God on their seats, and the Ancient of days sit upon his throne, and the judgment-seat, and the books opened, and all flesh appear before him; and how some are taken into everlasting life, and some are sent into everlasting death.
What tongue is able to express those pleasures and delights which are laid open to us in the word of God? We buy images, and pictures, and maps of men, and divers things and countries; but what map or picture can show us the like variety and change of things ?-We purchase lands, and have liking so to do. Here we are taught how we may come to that land, which shall stand with us, and in which we shall continue, for ever.
I Gen. xxviii. 12, ss. o Matt. xvii. 5.
Luke xxiii. 34.
m Isa. vi.
2 Cor. xii. 2–4. p Phil. ii. 7, 8. a Matt. xxvii. 46. • Luke xxiii. 46. • Rev. xiv. 8.
To see any one of these, it were great pleasureeither the creation of heaven and earth; or the angels and archangels, and blessed spirits ; or the battles of the God of Sabaoth; or Amalek dashed in pieces like a potter's vessel; or the walls of Jericho blown down with the sound of a trumpet; or Pharaoh drowned in the sea; or Nebuchadnezzar eating grass among the beasts; or Antiochus smitten from heaven; or Sodom and Gomorrah burned with fire and brimstone; or the earth to open and swallow up the wicked; or the sea to stand like a wall; or water to come out of a stone; or bread to come from heaven; or the sun to stand still, or to change his course; or an ass to speak, and teach his master; or fire to be extreme hot, yet not burning; or lions hungry, yet not eating their meat; or the sea tempestuous, yet not drowning; or blind to see, deaf to hear, dumb to speak, dead to rise ; or, ignorant men to speak in languages they never learned ; or the devil to roar, and confess CHRIST; or God sitting in his majesty, and CHRIST at his right hand ; or Babylon thrown down, and become a tabernacle of foul spirits, and a den for the devil; or Christ to sit in judgment, and give sentence upon the quick and the dead :-to see any one of all these wondrous works of God, it were great pleasure. How can it be then, but that we rejoice and take delight to see so many, so great, so marvellous, so heavenly, and so glorious wonders in one heap all together?
How far would we ride or go, to see the triumph of a mortal king ! Here is to be seen the triumph of God, the Lord of lords, and the King of kings : how he made the name of his Son triumph over principalities and powers, and over the whole world."
• Col. ii. 15.