Page images

" And they said, hath the Lord indeed spoken only by Moses ? hath he not spoken also by us? and the Lord heard it. Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth;" yet his meekness or candour did not skreen him from the scourge of women's tongues. Therefore God comes down to stop this rebellious female teacher: “ And the Lord spake suddenly unto Moses, Aaron, and unto Miriam, Come out ye three unto the tabernacle of the congregation; and he called Aaron and Miriam, and they both came forth. And he said, hear now my words; if there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream; my servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house; with him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses? And the anger of the Lord was kindled against them, and he departed; and the cloud departed from off the tabernacle, and behold Miriam became leprous, white as snow. And Aaron said unto Moses, Alas, my Lord, I beseech thee, lay not the sin upon us wherein we have done foolishly, and wherein we have sinned; let her not be as one dead. And Moses (who was not destitute of candour,] cried unto the Lord, saying, Heal her now, O God, I beseech thee. And the Lord said unto Moses, If her father had spit in her face, should she not be ashamed seven days; [how much more for spitting in the face of her

go; but

Maker, and rebelling against the prophet and me diator that God had appointed ?] Let her be shut out of the camp seven days,” Num. xii.

Miriam was not like Deborah the prophetess ; when she had received a message from the Lord, she tells Barak of it privately, after she had sent and called him; and when Barak declared that he would not go unless she went with him, she rebukes him, and tells him if he wants a woman's aid to defend him, a woman shall take the glory of the victory from him: “And Barak said unto her, If thou wilt go with me then I will if thou will not go with me, then I will not go, And she said, I will surely go with thee; notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour; for the Lord shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman,” Judges iv. 8, 9. Here is a woman that is called a prophetess; one to whom a message from heaven came; yet she did not turn her divine message into a twopenny squib, in order to fire it off against the Lord's ministers at the door of the synagogues, when the people were going to worship. She received her message from God to Barak, and to him she delivered it; and when he called for her help, she predicted the loss of his honour.

And this I will be bold to affirm, that if I have written falsehood; if I am in errors ;

doctrine makes void the law; if I be an Antinomian, and influenced by a bad or by a party spirit; if I am of a blood-thirsty disposition; if influenced

if my

with rancour, spleen, and bitterness; if destitute of meekness and candour, and too big by one-half; then it may be depended upon that the conduct of the present combination has been consistent with the will of God; and that our present prophetess, who has made so free with me, my office, my doctrines, and my stature, in my pretensions to excel, has done right; and that God will shew his approbation, bear his comfortable testimony to them, and incline his saints to justify his proceeding in and by them all. But if, on the other hand, I am a child of his, and am called by him to the ministry, and am doing his work instead of deceiving the people, or dividing them by a bad spirit of spleen and bitterness, then I say God shall shew me a token for good, and that others that hate me shall see it; and those of the combination who have slandered me, reproached me, and injured me, together with the present prophetess that has made so free with my ministry, shall sensibly meet with the visible disapprobation of God; and it shall be made known in as plain a manner as the approbation of God to Abel was before Cain. I shall pawn my honour in the ministry upon this, and the present generation shall bear witness to it; and I will leave God to justify his own conduct with respect to sending out such bad spirited men as me, and to vindicate me if I am his servant.

I wish every true Israelite to observe what this enthusiastic Micaiah saith, and watch the event.

If I am the Lord's servant, these weapons of women shall not prosper against me; but if I am not, they certainly shall. Zeresh herself, the wife of Haman, though the daughter of the devil, could never predict success even to her own husband against the seed of the Jews, Esth. vi. 13; and God has declared that no weapon formed against his servants shall prosper; and I believe he speaks as he means. What I have asserted I found on the testimony of his own word, and upon the testimony that I think he has given me, testifying my adoption, and my call to the ministry, which I shall submit to his will to own or disown according to his faithfulness and truth.

Thus we see that the servants of the Lord, both as labourers in the vineyard, and as good soldiers of Jesus Christ, have need of patience, and that in many respects. It is in patience that we are to possess our souls; and this grace is coupled with faith, and is to be found in none but real believers; hence it is called the patience and faith of the saints. We see that all sorts of people will try this grace more or less; not only persecutors, devils, and ungodly men, but little children, as Elisha found it, and old women also.

I have received letters from all sorts of people, women and all; some have informed me that they have been intolerably prejudiced against me, and desired me to call upon them to remove it, which I did not see to be a part of my duty as a minister; for people that live in idleness can attend upon me better than I can upon them; especially women destitute of grace, who rather command than intreat. I own Wisdom is gentle to them that intreat, but not to women that command. I did not get at my ministry so easy, and therefore dare not make it too cheap: “Let them return unto thee,” says God, “but return thou not unto them.”

I received another long epistle from a woman after the above, which I must confess was pregnant with a deal of warm zeal; and it was sent by one who it seems is a stanch advocate for a certain evangelist; I opened it just before I went into the pulpit; but as I found no candour in it, I carried it into the vestry, and delivered it into the hands of Mr. Brayne, and desired that it might be read to the Deacons, which it accordingly was ; and I was glad that they read it; for at the conclusion it savoured too much of spleen and bitterness, for she plainly cursed me for a rascal for writing against so good a man. I do not pretend to

say that this woman is not a prophetess, for I believe she is, and one of the same stamp that bear that name in the thirteenth chapter of Ezekiel's prophesy; and such as the apostle Paul was troubled with in his days; yet I must do her justice; for although she was found out upon the inquiry of the Deacons to be a common prostitute on the town, yet she did not print her letter and send it after me from one place of worship to another; she had modesty enough to seal it up and direct it

« PreviousContinue »