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we read of between the devil and Michael, (not the Lord Jesus Christ, who is called in Dan. xii. I. “ Michael, the great Prince,") but a created angel, who contended and disputed about the body of Moses, Jude 9. “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints.” And the reason assigned for such a necessity follows thus; “ For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation; ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness,” (such are real Antinomians) “and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ;' Jude 3, 4. These include Arians, and all others who make the Saviour a mere man or creature: and such must be earnestly contended with, for we must not “ give place to them by subjection, no not for an hour, that the truth of the gospel may continue with us ;” Gal. ii. 5. And, as an encouragement in this work, the Lord is pleased to give us a gracious and precious promise, “ I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist,” Luke xxi. 15. See it fulfilled in Stephen's experience, Acts vi. 10. If ever the circumstances that Paul describes corresponded to any time, it is the present, “ For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine ; but after their own lusts
shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." 2 Tim. iv. 3, 4. This is evidently the case with us now; sound doctrines and sound experience are scarcely to be found among the professors of our day; who, according to their own lusts, heap to themselves (for the Lord hath no hand in the collection of these heaps) teachers, having itching ears; and the ears of these are turned away from the truth, and are turned unto fables. Paul prophesied that plenty of impostors would appear among the churches he had planted, after his.departure: and our late faithful Pastor often warned us, that such would succeed his removal. “ For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your ownselves shall men arise speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one day and night with tears;" Acts xx. 29–31. • Under a clear view, and the full assurance of
faith, that the church of Christ in our time is going into a very dark night, the shadows of the evening being already much upon her, and hoping that, by the blessing of God, some weak hands may be lifted up, and feeble knees strengthened, I have determined to pay you another visit from the press; offering you a part of my testimony for
the Lord, by publishing some letters to a friend with whom I was brought acquainted in rather a singular manner, which I considered as a truly kind providence, it having been the means of establishing my mind more firmly in the belief of this precious truth—That the Lord worketh all things in this world after the counsel of his own will;—that no individual motion or circumstance ever takes place in time, but what is according to the decree and purpose of God from everlasting, as the scriptures abundantly declare. “And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;" Acts xvii. 26. " Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing ? and one of them shall not fall to the ground without your FatherBut the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows;" Matt. x. 29–31. “ There shall not a hair of your head. perish;" Luke xii. 25. If then not a sparrow falls to the ground, nor a hair of our heads, without our heavenly Father's leave, much more is that benefit, that one saint often receives by the instrumentality of another, according to the Lord's eternal purpose and particular appointment; and indeed every thing is the subject of the special providence of God.- The king of Babylon was brought to confess this after living seven years as a beast, and being then restored to his faculties and kingdom; " I blessed the most
High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting doninion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation; and all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou ?” Daniel iv. 34, 35. Nothing comes to pass but by the particular appointment and ordination of God. And what one of our good old Bishops said upon this subject, I consider so truly precious, that I cannot pass it without insertion.
“A sparrow, whose price is but mean, two of them valued at a farthing, which somre make to be the tenth part of a Roman penny, and was certainly one of their least coins; whose life therefore is but contemptible, and whose flight seems but giddy and at random; yet it falls not to the ground, neither lights any where, without your Father. His all-wise providence hath before appointed what bough it shall pitch on, what grains it shall pick up, where it shall lodge, and where it shall build; on what it shall live, and when it shall die.-And, if your Father's providence be so critical about the small concerns even of sparrows, fear not ye, for you are of more value than many sparrows; yea, of more value than many men.Our Saviour adds, “ The very hairs of your head are all numbered.” God keeps an account even of that stringy excrement; he knows how many
fall off, and the precise number that remain.“ Hence we learn that God governs the meapest, the most inconsiderable and contemptible occurrences in the world, by an exact and particular providence.-Do you see a thousand little atoms wandering up and down in a sunbeam ? It is God that so peoples it, and he guides their innumerable and irregular strayings. Not a dust flies in a beaten road, but God raiseth it, conducts its uncertain motion, and by his particular care conveys it to the certain place he had before appointed for it; nor shall the most fierce and tempestuous wind hurry it any further. And, if God's care and providence reach thus to those minute things which are but as it were the circumstances of nature, and little accessaries to the world, certainly man, who is the head and lord of it, for whose sake and service other creatures were formed, may very well be confident that God exerciseth an especial and most accurate providence over him and all his affairs. Again-Each fly and worm, as well as man (who is but the greater worm of the two,) hath a work to do in the world, and till that be finished God sustains its being; nor shall the weakest creature be destroyed within the prefixed time that God hath set for its duration.-Now, by this almighty providence God overrules and sways all things to his own glory. There is nothing comes to pass but God hath his ends in it, and will certainly make his own ends out of it. Though the world seems to run at random, and