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stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God.” It is a dangerous thing, for us to neglect one of his commands, who by anos ther is able to command us into nothing, or into hell, at pleasure; to act or run cross to God's express command, (though under pretence of revelation from God,) is as much as a man's life is worth; as you may see in that sad story, 1 Kings xiii. 24. &
Divine com mands must be put in speedy execution, without denying or delaying, without debating or disputing the difficulties that may attend our subjection to them. God's commands are spiritual, holy, just, and good, Rom. vii. 12, 13, 14. and therefore to be on beyed without muttering or murmuring. Divine commands are backed with the strongest reason, and attended with the highest encou. ragements. Shall the servant readily obey the commands of his master, the subject the commands of his prince, the soldier the commands of his general, the child the commands of his father, the wife the commands of her husband ? and shall not a Christian as readily obey the commands of his Christ ? Nay, shall vain men readily and willingly obey the sinful and senseless commands of men; and shall not we be willing to obey the commands of God? 2 Sam. xiii. 28, 29. “Now Absalom had commanded his servants, sayings Mark ye now when Amnon's heart is merry with wine, and when I say unto you, Smite Amnon, then kill him, fear not; have not I commanded you? be courageous, and be vam liant. And the servantes of Absalom, did unto Amnon, as Absalom had commanded." They made no bones of obeying the bloody commands of Absalom, against all law, reason, and religion.
I have read of one Johannes Abbas, who willingly fetched water near two miles every day for a whole year together, to pour upon a dry stick, upon the bare command of his confessor,
I have also read of the old kings of Peru, that they were wont to use a tassel or fringe, made of red wool, which they wore upon their heads; and when they sent any governor to rule as viceroy in any part of their country, they delivered unto him one of the threads of the tassel ; and for one of those simple threads, he was as much obeyed, as if he had been the king himself. Now, shall one single thread be more forcible to draw infidels to obedience, than all those golden commands last cited, shall be of force to draw you to be quiet and silent under the troubles and changes you meet with in this world ? The Lord forbid.
Shall carnal and wicked persons be so ready and willing to comply with the bloody, and senseless, and superstitious commands of their superiors ? And shall not Christians be more ready and willing to comply with the commands of the great God, whose commands are all just and equal, and whose will is the perfect rule of righteousness? The chief reason of obedience, is the authority of the Lord, not the utility of the servant. Ah Christians ! when your hearts begin to fret and fume under the smarting rod, charge one of those commands last cited upon your hearts; and if they shall mutter, charge another of those commands upon your hearts; and if, after this they shall vex and murmur, charge another of those commands upon your hearts ; and never leave charging and rubbing those commands one after another upon your hearts, till you are brought to lay your hands upon your mouths, and tosit silent before the Lord under your greatest straits, and your sorest trials.
11. Consider, that mercy is nearest, deliverance and salvation is at hand, when a Christian stands still, when he sits quiet and silent under his greatest troubles, and his sores trials. Exod. xiv. They were in very great straits, Pharaoh with a mighty army was behind them, the Red Sea before them, mountains on each hand of them, and no visible means to deliver them: but now they stand still to see the salvation of the Lord, ver. 13. and within a few hours their enemies are destroyed, and they are gloriously delivered, ver. 24.-ult. Psal. xxxix. David is dumb, he sits mute under his smart afflictions; but if you look to the second and third verses of the fortieth Psalm, you shall find mercy draws near to him, and works salvation for him ; “ He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the mire and clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song into my mouth, even praise unto our God; many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.” And so when Absalom had made a great conspiracy against him, and his subjects fell off from him, and he was forced to fly for his life, his spirit was quiet and calm, 2 Sam. xv. 25. 26. « And the king said unto Zadok, Carry back the ark of God into the city: if I shall find favour in the eyes of the Lord, he will bring me again, and shew me both it, and his habitation. But if he thus say, I have no delight in thee: behold, here am I, let him do to me as seemeth good unto him.” And the same calmness and quietness of spirit was upon him, when Shimei bitterly cursed him, and railed upon him, chap. xvi. 5.-14. And within a few days, as you may see in the two following chapters, the conspirators are destroyed, and David's throne more firmly established. Mercy is always nearest, when a man can in quietness possess his own soul ; salvation is at hand, when a Christian comes to lay his hand upon his mouth. Mercy will be upon the wing, loving-kindness will ride post, to put a period to that man's troubles, who sits silent in the day of his sorrows and sufferings. Ah Christians! as you would have mercy near, as you would see to the end of your affictions, as you would have deliverance come flying upon the wings of the wind, sit mute and silent under all your troubles. As wine was then nearest, when the water-pots were filled with water even to the brim; so when
the heart is fullest of quietness and calmness, then is the wine of mercy, the wine of deliverance nearest.
The 12th and last motive to work you to silence under your greatest trials, is this; Seriously consider the heinous and dangerous nature of murmuring. Now, that you may let me propose these following particulars to your most sober consideration.
(1.) Consider, That murmuring speaks out many a root of bitterness to be strong in thy soul; murmuring speaks out sin in its power, corruption upon its throne. As holy silence argues true grace, much grace, yea, grace in its strength, and in its lively vigour ; so murmuring, muttering under the hand of God, argues much sin, yea, a heart full of sin; it speaks out a heart full of self-love, Exod. xv. 27. chap. xvi. 7. 8. and full of slavish fears, Numb. xiii. 32. 33. chap. xiv. 1. 2. 3. and full of ignorance, John vi. 41. 42. 61. and full of pride and unbelief, Psal. cvi. 24. 25. yea, they despised the pleasant land, or the land of desire, (there is their pride); they believed not in his word*, (there is their une belief); what follows? They murmured in their tents, and hearkened not unto the voice of God; they preferred Egypt before Canaan, a wilderness before a paradise. As in the first chaos, there were the seeds of all creatures ; so in the murmurer's heart, there are not only the seeds of all sin, but a lively operation of all sin. Sin is become mighty in the hearts of
* Psal. lxxviii. 19. 20. Unbelief is virtually all ill,