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deny, or do not zealously own, the cause and interest of Christ this day. But let us fear and tremble, to consider how far the children of God may be left to depart from him and his way, in a dark time, and in a day of temptation. It is possible that good men may be left to sin, and to justify their sin. I will be loth to say, that they are all wicked that justify their sinful proceedings in public matters at this day, and that justify their persecuting rage and anger at their brethren, when I consider how Jonah justified his anger against God, saying, "I do well to be angry." So it is possible that even some, that have met with God, may justify their anger at their brethren, saying, "We do well to be angry even unto death," and angry even to suspension, deposition, excommunication.* I hope none need be offended, if I have charity for some that are of that opinion, through their ignorant zeal, while carried away like Barnabas, with the dissimulations of the day, and whose eyes God will open in due time, to see that their anger was as ill founded as that of Jonah's. For, if ever God met with them at Bethel, when he is pleased to return, their eyes will readily be opened, and they will see they did. ill to be angry with their brethren that were contending for the rights of their mother's house; yea, another merciful turn upon their hearts will make them say, as Jacob's sons once did of Joseph, "We are verily guilty concerning our brother." So we hope of some, if ever they have met with God at Bethel, surely upon the Lord's return they will regret their miscarriage, and say, "We have verily been guilty concerning our brother." However, as some that have met with God may come under dreadful clouds of sin, (for we are not to unsaint them all, and every one that is carried down the stream of defection; though we are to have no charity for their ways, yet let us not meddle with their state, till we see if God shall reclaim them,) so, in point of misery, some that have met with God may be put to say, "O he breaks me with breach upon breach, and runs upon me like a giant;" yea, while suffering his terrors, they have in a manner been distracted, and sometimes cursed the day wherein they were born. Thus you may see what dark days may follow upon Bethel interviews with God; and yet, after all, the promise

* Our author is here alluding to the conduct of the church judicatories, in the prosecution at this time carrying on against Mr. Ebenezer Erskine and his brethren,

stands good to all the seed of Jacob that have met with God at Bethel. He will not leave them, till he hath done that which he hath spoken to them of.

III. The third general proposed was, To consider and explain this promise, "I will not leave thee, till I have done that which I have spoken to thee of." For explaining hereof there are these following questions that we would propound and answer. 1st. How God speaks to his people? 2ndly. How he doth or accomplisheth that which he hath spoken to them of? 3rdly. When is it that he will do that which he hath promised? 4thly. What is the import of this privilege, that he will not leave them? 5thly. In what sense it is said, he will not leave them, till he hath done what he hath promised?

1st. How God speaks to his people, when they have a Bethel visit of him? I answer, in a few words,

1. He speaks divinely, he speaks like himself, letting them know that it is he that speaks: as he said to the woman of Samaria, "I that speak to the am he," (John iv. 26,) so says he here to Jacob, "It is I that speak to thee; I will not leave thee, till I have done that which I have spoken." "Never man spake like this man." Man's speaking only reaches the ear, but God's speaking reaches and touches the heart. Hence,

2. He speaks powerfully, as it is said of Christ, "He spake as one having authority, and not as the scribes." So, when the Lord speaks, there is power end authority accompanying the word, either in its first coming, or in its afterworking, upon the heart: "Ye received the word, not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which worketh effectually also in you that believe.” (1 Thess. ii. 13.)

3. He speaks particularly, as here to Jacob, " I will not leave thee, till I have done that which I have spoken to thee of." People may hear the word delivered in general to all the congregation, but it doth them no good till they hear it in particular spoken to them. Then God calls the person by name, and says, "To thee I speak;" and the heart says, "It is to me that God is speaking." O! hath God spoken to thee, man, to thee, woman?

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4. He speaks kindly and comfortably: "I will allure her, and bring her to the wilderness and speak comfortably to her." (Hos. ii. 14.) His kindness in speaking appears

most evidently when it is in a wilderness case he communicates himself; every word he speaks to Jacob here is a word of kindness. O the light, life, strength and comfort that the word brings when God speaks it! He hath a view both to their present comfort and future support when he speaks with them in Bethel.

5. He speaks plainly, and not in parables; for he opens their understandings to apprehend, and their hearts to apply: "For to them is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven; to others it is not given. (Mat. xiii. 11.) The word of grace is a sealed book, till the Lion of the tribe of Judah opens the seal.

6. He speaks suitably to their case; for, he hath the tongue of the learned, to speak a word in season to the weary. (Isa. 1. 4.) He adapts his words here to Jacob's weary case, as I showed in the explication. He gives them a word that suits their difficulties. Sometimes they have difficulty about this, and sometimes about that and the other affair, and they come with their burdens before the Lord, and he presents a word relative to them. Sometimes they are burdened about their provision, and he gives a word for that: "Bread shall be given thee, and thy water shall be sure." They are burdened with fears of danger, and they get a word for that: "Fear not, for I am with thee; the eternal God is thy refuge." Sometimes they want direction, and get a word for that: "I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known; I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight." They want the Spirit, and they get a word for that: "I will put my Spirit within you;" and "the water that I give shall be in you a well of water springing up into everlasting life." They want strongth for duty or trial, and they get a word for that: 'My grace shall be sufficient for thee, and my strength shall be perfect in thy weakness." They want pardon, and they get a word for that: "I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions, for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins." They want to have sin subdued and mortified, and get a word for that: "Sin shall not have dominion over you." They want something for the church, and they get a word for that: "That the wall shall be built in perilous times; that at evening time it shall be light; and upon all the glory there shall be defence." They want a

blessing for their children, and they get a word for that: "I will be thy God and the God of thy seed."*

2ndly. The next question here was, How he doth what he hath spoken to them? "I will do what I have spoken of to thee." Why?

1. He will do it faithfully: "Not a word shall fail of what he hath spoken." (Josh. xxi. 45.) The history of Jacob shows how faithfully God accomplished his promise, and all that he spoke to him; and he hath faithfulness for the girdle of his loins. "God is not man that he should lie, nor the son of man that he should repent." He will do what he hath spoken surely and certainly: "The vision shall speak, it shall surely come."

2. As he will do certainly what he hath spoken, so he will do it wonderfully, and he will work wonders before he do it not: "Heaven and earth shall pass away, before one jot of his word fall to the ground." And it is in a very marvellous and mysterious way, that God doth accomplish his word through a world of dark dispensations: "Through fire and water he brings them to a wealthy land." Though impassable mountains be in the way, yet he will come and do what he hath said, and give his people occasion to say when he comes, "It is the voice of my Beloved; behold he comǝth skipping upon the mountains, leaping upon the hills." 3. He will do what he hath spoken, and do it remarkably. Thus he did what he said to Jacob; and if the believer may put a remark upon the Bethel visit, when he comes to promise, much more upon the Peniel visit, when he comes to perform what he hath promised. In the Bethel visit, we see him by faith in his word; but in the Peniel visit, we see him by sense in his work; for then he not only says, but does what he hath said, and shows himself face to face,

4. When he doth what he hath spoken, he doth it surprisingly. Jacob was not expecting such a way of God's accomplishing his word. "When the Lord turned back the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream." (Ps. cxxvi. 1.) He sweetly surprises when he comes to do what he hath spoken: "Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with songs; the Lord hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad." Again,

* See a vast many more of the cases of the saints stated and solved in Sermon LXXXVIII.

5. When he doth what he hath spoken, he doth it gloriously. His glory shines in all his works, and especially in accomplishing his promises, that are Yea and Amen in Christ. He makes the glory of his wisdom, power, holiness, the glory of his mercy, truth, and faithfulness, to shine in the accomplishment; he doth more than he hath spoken, and is better than his word. (Exod. xv. 1.) When God accomplished his promise of delivering Israel out of Egypt, and out of the hand of Pharoah and his host, then their voice was lifted up, saying, "I will sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously."

6. When he doth what he hath spoken, he doth it seasonably: "The vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak and not lie; though it tarry, wait for it, because it will surely come, it will not tarry." (Hab. ii. 3.) It will not tarry beyond the appointed time, nor beyond the proper time; and therefore, let faith wait upon a faithfui God, who will do as he hath said. This leads,

3rdly. To the third question: When is it that he will do what he hath spoken to them of? You may take the answer of this is in the following particulars:

1. Some things he hath spoken relative to a day of trouble, and when that day comes he will do what he hath spoken to them of: "I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honour him." (Ps. xci. 15.) Hence his people never enjoy more of his presence and pity than in days of tribulation and affliction. And sometimes he lets the trouble come to an extremity, before he sensibly accomplishes his promise of help; "I was brought low and he helped me." (Ps. cxvi. 6.)

2. Some things that he hath spoken to them of relate to a day of temptation, and when that comes then he will do what he hath spoken. He hath said, "The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly." (Rom. xvi. 20.) He hath said "That he is faithful who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able to bear, but will with the temptation make a way to escape." (1 Cor. x. 13.) And hence it is for ordinary, in a time of great and grievous temptation, he opens some door by which they escape, from time to time, while they wait upon him.

3. Some things that he hath spoken relate to a day of work, of great work, that he puts into their hand, and when that day comes he doth that which he hath spoken. He

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