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once did to such a self-conceited man, “ Take a ladder and climb up to heaven by thyself alone." In short, a society of believers walking together in gospel order, is like the excellent composure of syllables, words, and sentences, that have a great deal of sense and signification in them ; but a separated and divided christian that will join himself to no church, is like a single letter or disjointed syllable, that is perfect nonsense."
III. “How criminal are those persons who break the beautiful order and harmony of a church of Christ for trifles ?” Whose fanciful humours, or whose imposing spirit raises up discord and contest in a well settled and peaceful church; some are peevish, because the church will not consent to let them have their own will, or because others will not obey their assumed power.
Some affect to make divisions upon every little occasion, out of unreasonable pretences of purity and order, where scripture gives no plain rule. Whatever varnish may colour over such practices in this world, yet such humourous and unreasonable disturbers of the peace shall receive no thanks from our Lord Jesus in the great day, whether they be pastors or people.
IV. “ When we behold a society of christians flourishing in holiness and honourably maintaining the beauty of this sacred fellowship, let us take occasion to raise our thoughts to the heavenly world, to the church of the first-born, who are assembled on high, where everlasting beauty, order, peace, and holiness are maintained in the presence of Jesus our common Lord. And « when we meet with little inconveniences, uneasiness, and contest in any church of Christ on earth, let us point our thoughts and our hopes still upward to that divine fellowship of the saints, and the spirits of the jast made perfect, where contention and disorder have no place." There the glories and the graces of the Redeemer, who is the head of the church, are diffused over all the happy assembly: They adore and love their God, and their Saviour with supreme fervency, and they love one another with pure affection; their hearts and souls are one, and they rejoice in the love of God, and in the presence of the Lamb for evet,
To Encourage the Reformation of Manners.
Ex. xvii. 11.–And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that
Israel prevailed ; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. Though the design of my discourse be derived from this senteuce iu the history, yet it is necessary that the scene of the whole action be drawil, and the field of battle spread before us; then we shall see this passage in its true light, and the discourse will proceed in a more regular conformity to the words ; nor can I describe the fight with Amalek so well as Moses has done: Let us read the account which this ancient and divine historian has given, beginning at the cighth verse.
Verse 8. Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim. 9. And Moses said unto Joshua, chuse us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: To-morrow I will stand on the top of the hill, with the rod of God in my hand. 10. So Joshua did as Moses had said to him; and fought with Amalek. And Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 11. And it came to pass when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed ; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. 12. But Moses's hands were heary, and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon: And Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. 13. And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. 14. And ihe Lord said unto Moses, write this for a memorial in a book; and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: For I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. 15. And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovah-nissi, that is, the Lord is my banner. 16. For he said, because the Lord has sworn, that the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.
Not only the ceremonies of the Jewish church, but the civil affairs of that nation, in many instances, were typical of the
* Preached at Salter's-Hall, to the Societies for Reformation of Manners, in the Cities of London and Westminster, October 6tb; 1707. VOL. II.
christian state : Their release from the house of bondage, and their march through the wilderness to Canaaan, was a shadow of our rescue from the slavery of sin, and our travels through this desart world to the heavenly country. Their rebellions and murmurings, their fiery serpents and destructive plagues which swept them away by thousands, were but a figure of our sins and sorrows, our backslidings and divine judgments. This is evident to those who will read and believe what St. Paul writes to the Corinthians; 1 Cor. x. 1-11. Where, after he had briefly recounted their transgressions and punishments, he asserts, verse il. that all these things happened unto them for examples, or types, as it is in the original; or these things fell out typically, turiXWS, as the Alexandrine manuscript in the royal library bids us read it; and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
The enemies they met with in their way, represent those sinners that vex the christian church in its journey through this mortal state ; and Amalek may well figure out the biggest impieties, the most daring and profane wretches, against whom it concerns a christian to make his utmost efforts : For these were the people that came first out against Israel, just after their escape from the hand of Pharaoh: They came out with violence and without any provocation; they were those against whom the Lord sware he would have everlasting war; verse 16. or such whose hand was lifted up against the throne of the Lord, as some translate this phrase. It is a description of sins and sinners of a bold and impious character, that fight directly against heaven and holiness, against the light of nature and the laws of God and nations: Such as the Lord hath resolved that the remembrance of them shall utterly be blotted out; verse 14.
It is against such iniquities, and such transgressors, immoralities and wickednesses of the biggest size, that you have taken up arms, who appoint and attend this season of worship; and my soul shall rejoice if ye may be this day animated to pursue the war. Now let us take a survey of the several persons that are placed in their proper posts and offices in this warfare against Amalek. Here is Moses, Aaron, and Hur, Joshua, and the chosen men of Israel.
Moses the law-giver, the supreme magistrate : “ He was king in Jeshuron when the heads of the people and the tribes of Israel were gathered together;" Deut. xxxii. 4, 5. He gave orders to Joshua to fight the Amalekites, while himself stood on the top of the hill, with the rod of God in his hand. This may be called a rod of authority and command, whereby his orders were continued: It was a sceptre in the hand of Moses, and the most powerful one that ever was held by a prince: It was
a rod for signal, like an ensign or banner to encourage the soldiers: It was a rod of faith, for by faith alone it could produce wonders :-wonders of destruction upon Egypt, wonders of division upon rocks and Red seas, wonders of deliverance for Israel, and all this without any natural force of its own; for it received all its power from faith, and from the presence of divinity with it. It was lifted up constantly froin an eminent place where Moses stood, whence the holy army might see it, and obey orders, and renew their courage in battle. Though the hands of Moses scein to have been lifted up altervately, and not together, yet because the lifting up of the hands sometimes in scripture signifies prayer, therefore the constant fervency of intercession may be also implied liere; and no doubt but these earnest requests to heaven, which this man of God offered upon the mount, while the people were fighting below, had a mighty influence on the labour and success of the day.
Blessed be God, we have a Moses in the midst of us on the top of the hill, a queen of a manly soul upon the throne of our British Israel : She has by her royal proclamations given order to fight with Amalek, to oppose and suppress the armies of iniquity: She still holds up the rod of command; and it may be well called the rod of God, not only because all authority is derived from God as the original source of government; but
because here it is held up in his quarrel too. It shall be called a rod of faith and of power, for it has wrought wonders at a distance : This the fields of Blenheim witness, and the plains of Ramillies; wonders of rescue for the German empire, and wonders of liberty for mankind. Her hand is still stretched out against the enemies of heaven at home and abroad; and we have still reason to believe, that it is lifted up in addresses to heaven by faith and prayer, that all the adversaries of the Lord may be overcome. O may her life be precious in the sight of the Lord, and guarded by the angel of the covenant, as the life of Moses was ! May her days be many, as the days of Moses ! Deut. xxxiv. 7.May her eye never grow dim to the true interest of our Israel, nor her natural force and resolution to fight the battles of the Lord be ever abated !
Aaron is the next person mentioned here. Aaron the highpriest, though, perhaps he was not at this time invested with that office, yet being designed for it, we may take him now under this character; he was to assist Moses in bearing up his hand on the one side, as Hur on the other: We have also the ministers of the gospel in our age attending this holy warfare: Those whom the favour of her majesty hath advanced near to her royal person support her hands in this design, encourage lier zeal to lift up this standard against sin, and assist her to pray for victory: Nor are these, wbo lie at a distance from the throne, but still withir the verge and shadow of its protection, less zealous in their assise tance of the war, or less fervent in pleading with God for success. O may our Aarons never grow weary of encouraging the work of reformation, and giving their utmost aid to the pious design of our supreme magistrate! May they still revive and quicken the languishing diligence of all that have engaged in the same cause! And wheresoever men are joined in societies, to build the house of God, or to demolish the houses of satan, there let it be always said, that “ with them are the prophets of God helping them;" Ezra v. 2.
Hur follows the mention of Aaron, and his post is to support the other land of Moses against Amalek: His character seems to be a prudent man, and a considerable counsellor ; Ex. xxiv. 14. when Moses left the camp of Israel for a season,“ behold," saith he to the people, “ Aaron and Hur are with you: if any man have any matters to do, let him come unto them.” The rod of power lifted up by the civil magistrate must be well managed by the hand of zeal, and the hand of prudence. Ministers and counsellors are the supports on each side to exhort to the work and advise the best methods of performance. All persons and societies that are contriving means of reformation, fall under the character of Hur; such are those gentlemen who have formed a scheme for carrying on war with sin and sinners, and brought their methods to a regularity and consistence; they have made the execution of them practicable, and much easier than at first. Our praises are due to the God of wisdom that such men are found in the nation ; that the prudent man is not cut off, nor the counsellor perished from amongst us: O may their pious consultations be continued in their stated seasons ! May they be executed with daily vigour, and attended with growing success!
Joshua is the chief person concerned in the execution of these orders of battle against Amalek; he ventures into the field, and fights the enemy. The inferior magistrates of every kind and degree bear a resemblance to his office, and should wear the image of his Spirit; courage and resolution becomes each of
you that act according to the several ranks of your authority; fcar not the rage nor the threats of Amalek, of the most profligate and haughty sinners ; remember you have the warrant of Moses for what you do: The supreme magistrate ceases not to lift up the rod.
The chosen men of Israel are the last characters I take notice of here; they assist Joshua in the performance of his divine orders; such are those brave and generous spirits, whether of