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desperate rebels, and to apostates; to these it shews much candour, it is gentle, it calls for meekness; but its enmity against the experimental preachers of Christ, or the spiritual children of God, is such, as breaks through all bounds of God and man, of decency and modesty, and would venture on the bosses of God's buckler, and expose the whole cause of God to contempt, and their own souls to every curse in the Bible, in order to seek revenge on a minister of the Spirit. The re
power attending the word, and of sinners being called by it, is what they cannot endure. From the time that it goeth forth it takes them; for morning by morning it passes over them; yea by day and by night; and it is a vexation to them only to understand the report of it, Isa. xxviii. 19. And as it was then by professing Israel, so it is now by hypocritical professors; they cannot endure the power of religion to be enforced.
Not long ago I had a twopenny pamphlet on candour addressed to me, and sold at my chapel doors, which I did not much wonder at, as I know hypocrites cannot love the saints, nor can the righteous nation that keep the truth find much love to them. Besides, there had been a penny address sent to me in print some time before, throughout the whole of which the author contradicted and condemned himself; which I did not wonder at, when I perceived it to be the work of a poor Arminian, who had nothing in his head but wind and confusion: a friend desired me to answer
it, but I told him it was written by some poor faithless free-will-monger, who being destitute of the grace of God, could not trust his Maker for a loaf; and if he could get a morsel of bread for his poor children by an Address to Mr. Huntington, he was very welcome; I was willing to live and let live; which I am informed he did; for it was reported to me, that he cleared fourteen pounds by it, which might help to pay his rent, if he was not too far gone with his landlord.
But this last twopenny pamphlet on candour, which was first sent out without a name, seemed to cause great triumphs in Gath; the Philistines shouted, supposing that Samson was bound by a woman; and to be sure, when I heard that it was written by a female, I was surprised at her brazen brow, especially when I was informed it was done by a woman that professes religion; a woman that is a member of a church; a woman that gospel ministers countenance and visit. I never was more surprised; and must confess it was such a piece of infernal presumption, such contempt of God, such rebellion against his command, and such daring insolence, as I never read nor heard of as com: ing from any of the weaker sex since I have been in the world.
I turned my thoughts to all the honourable women mentioned in scripture, to their writings, and to their conduct; I considered the lesson that Bathsheba taught her son Solomon, and of the counsel she gave him, together with the descrip:
tion she gives of a virtuous woman; who seeketh wool and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands; that she layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff; that she is not afraid of the snow, for her household are clothed with scarlet; that she maketh fine linen and selleth it; that she looketh well to her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness, Proverbs chap. xxxi. This prophesy I admire; and as Solomon was the son of her womb, and the son of her vows, she acted the mother's part in endeavouring to instruct him, and took her part of the burden, as all mothers ought to do, instead of laying the whole weight upon the father; but when Solomon came to the throne, the dignity of the mother did not devour the obedience of a subject; she laid by her power to command, and took a petition, “ I desire one small petition of thee, I pray
thee say me not nay,” i Kings ii. 20. I considered the conduct of the virgin mother, who at the marriage in Cana in Galilee, when the mother of Jesus said unto him, “ They have no wine;" and of the rebuke she got for limiting the power of God,
“ Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.” I considered the reproofs she gave him at his first public appearance, when she said unto him, “Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?"
I perused the conduct of Deborah, that pious prophetess in Israel, who, upon the delivery of her divine message to Barak, refused to go without her; who declared to him that a woman should take the honour of the victory; yet she did not bring against him a railing accusation. She joined with Barak in the song, instead of publishing a twopenny ballad against him; “ Then sang Deborah and Barak, the son of Abinoam, on that day, saying, Praise ye the Lord for the avenging of Israel.” “ Awake, awake Deborah; awake, awake, utter a song: arise Barak, and lead thy captivity captive, thou son of Abinoam,” Judges v. 1, 2. 12.
There is no twopenny squib in all this song fired off against Barak, though he shewed such unbecoming cowardice. It is true, she did not write with that meekness and candour that hypocrites call for in our days. “ Curse ye Meroz,” says Deborah ; but this rancour must be overlooked, seeing the Angel of the Lord said, “ Curse ye Meroz, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; because they came not to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty.” If they are cursed who come not to help, they are not likely to be blessed who hatch mischief in the chimney corner, on purpose to hinder the Lord's helpers against the mighty.
I have considered the conduct of Abigail to: ward David, when he and his men were equipped and armed to destroy her whole house; which ertainly savoured of a little spleen and bitterness;
but she did not throw it in his teeth, nor tell him that he was too big by one-half, but fell at his feet, and said, “ Upon me, my lord, upon me let this iniquity be, and let thine handmaid, I pray thee, speak in thine audience, and hear the words of thine handmaid. Let not my lord, I pray thee, regard this man of Belial, even Nabal; for as his name is, so is he; Nabal is his name, and folly is with him; but I thine handmaid saw not the
young men of my lord whom thou didst send. Now therefore, my lord, as the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, seeing the Lord hath withholden thee from coming to shed blood, and from avenging thyself with thine own hand; now let thine enemies, and they that seek evil to my lord, be as Nabal. I pray thee, forgive the trespass of thine handmaid; for the Lord will certainly make my lord a sure house; because my lord fighteth the battles of the Lord, and evil hath not been found in thee all thy days. Yet a man is risen to pursue thee, and to seek thy soul; but the soul of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of life,” i Sam. xxv. 24-29. This woman does not accuse him of any rancour, spleen, or bitterness; she brings
no. railing accusation against the man after God's • own heart; she complains not of his being too
big; she gives no rules to him to go by, nor limits the divine power that was with him, by prescribing to the Holy Ghost, that came on him after Samuel had anointed him. She enforces the promise, predicts his salyation and the destruction of