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work: Those that have not onyx stones, or are not able to bring gold or silver, yet may bring goats hair.
As all sorts of persons were employed in building the tabernacle in the wilderness, so the whole congregation of Israel were called together to set up the tabernacle in Shiloh, after they came into Canaan, Josh. xviii. 1. And so again, the whole congregation of Israel were gathered together, to bring up the ark of God, from Kirjathjearim ; and again, they were all assembled to bring it up, out of the house of Obed Edom into mount Zion ; sò again, all Israel met together to assist in the great affair of the dedication of the temple, and bringing the ark into it: So we have an account, how that all sorts assisted in the rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem, not only the proper inhabitants of Jerusalem, but those that dwelt in other parts of the land ; not only the priests and ralers, but the Nethinims and merchants, husbandmen, and mechanics, and women. Neh. iii. 5, 12, 26, 31, 32. And we have an account of one and another, that he repaired over against his house, ver. 10, and 23; 28, and of one that repaired over against his chamber, ver. 30. So now, at this time of the rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, every one ought to promote the work of God within his own sphere, and by doing what belongs to him, in the place in which God has set him : Men in a private capacity, may repair over against their houses. And even those that have not the gore ernment of families, and have bat part of an house belonging to them, should repair, each one over against his chamber: And every one should be engaged to do the utmost that lies in his power, laboring with the utmost watchfulness, care and diligence, with united hearts, and united strength, and the greatest readiness, to assist one another in this work : As God's people rebuilt the wall of Jerusalem ; who were so diligent in the work, that they wrought from break of day, till the stars appeared, and did not so much as put off their clothes in the night ; and wrought with that care and watchfulness, that with one hand they wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon ; besides the guard they set to de
? fend them ; and were so well united in it, that they took care, that one should stand ready, with a trumpet in his hand, that if any were assaulted in one part, those in the other parts at the sound of the trumpet, might resort to them, and help them, Neh. iv. at the latter end.
Great care should be taken that the press should be improved to no purpose contrary to the interest of this work. We read that when God fought against Sisera, for the deliverance of his oppressed church, they that handle the pen of the writer came to the help of the Lord in that affair, Judg. v. 14. Whatever sort of men in Israel they were that were intended, yet as the words were indited by a Spirit, that had a perfect view of all events to the end of the world, and had a special eye in this song, to that great event of the deliverance of God's church, in the latter days, of which this deliverance of Israel, was a type, it is not unlikely that they have respect to authors, those that should fight against the kingdom of Satan, with their pens. Those therefore that publish pamphlets, to the disadvantage of this work, and tending either directly or indi. rectly to bring it under suspicion, and to discourage or hinder it, would do well thoroughly to consider whether this be not indeed the work of God; and whether if it be, it is not likely that God will go forth as fire, to consume all that stands in his way, and so burn up those pamphlets ;, and whether there be not danger that the fire that is kindled in them, will scorch the authors.
When a people oppose Christ in the work of his Holy Spirit, it is because it touches them, in something that is dear to their carnal minds ; and because they see the tendency of it is to cross their pride, and deprive them of the objects of their lasts. We should take heed that at this day we be not like the Gadarenes, who, when Christ came into their country, in the exercise of his glorious power and grace, triumphing over a legion of devils, and delivering a miserable creature, that had long been their captive, were all alarmed, because they lost their swine by it, and the whole multitude of the country came, and besought him to depart out of their coasts: They loved their filthy swine, better than Jesus Christ; and Vol. III.
had rather have a legion of devils in their country, with their herd of swine, than Jesus Christ without them.
This work may be opposed, not only by directly speaking against the whole of it: Persons may say that they believe there is a good work carried on in the country; and may sometimes bless God, in their public prayers, in general terms, for any awakenings or revivais of religion, there have lately been in any parts of the land ; and may pray that God would carry on his own work, and pour out his spirit more and more; and yet, as I apprehend, be in the sight of God, great opposers of his work: Some will express themselves after this manner, that are so far from acknowledging and rejoicing in the infinite mercy, and glorious grace of God, in causing so happy a change in the land, that they look upon the religious state of the country, take it in the whole of it, much more sorrowful than it was ten years ago ; and whose conversation, to those that are well acquainted with them, evidently shews, that they are more out of humor with the state of things, and enjoy themselves tess, than they did before ever this work began..... If it be manifestly thus with us, and our talk and behavior with respect to this work, be such as has, (though but) an indirect tendency, to beget ill thoughts and suspicions in others concerning it, we are opposers of the work of God.
Instead of coming to the help of the Lord, we shall actually fight against him, if we are abundant in insisting on, and setting forth the blemishes of the work, so as to manifest that we rather choose, and are more forward to take notice of what is amiss, than what is good and glorious in the work. Not but that the errors that are committed, ought to be observed and lamented, and a proper testimony borne against them, and the most probable means shonld be used to have them amended ; but an insisting much upon them, as though it were a pleasing theme, or speaking of them with more appearance of heat of spirit, or with ridicule, or an air of contempt, than grief for them, has no tendency to correct the errors; but has a tendency to darken the glory of God's power and grace, appearing in the substance of the work, and to beget jealousies and ill thoughts in the minds of others, con
cerning the whole of it. Whatever errors many zealous persons have run into, yet if the work, in the substance of it, be the work of God, then it is a joyful day indeed ; it is so in heaven, and ought to be so, among God's people on earth, especially in that part of the earth, where this glorious work is carried on. It is a day of great rejoicing with Christ him. self, the good shepherd, when he finds his sheep that was lost, lays it on his shoulders rejoicing, and calls together his friends and neighbors, saying, rejoice with me : If we therefore are Christ's friends, now it should be a day of great rejoicing with us. If we viewed things in a just light, so great an eyent as the conversion of such a multitude of sinners, would draw and engage our attention, much more than all the imprudences and irregularities that have been ; our hearts would be swallowed up with the glory of this event, and we should have no great disposition to attend to any thing else. The imprudences and errors of poor feeble worms, do not hinder or prevent great rejoicing, in the presence of the angels of God, over so many poor sinners that have repented ; and it will be an argument of something very ill in us, if they prevent our rejoicing.
Who loves, in a day of great joy and gladness, to be much insisting on those things that are uncomfortable? Would it not be very improper, on a kings coronation day, to be much in taking notice of the blemishes of the royal family ? Or would it be agreeable to the bridegroom on the day of his es. pousals, the day of the gladness of his heart, to be much insisting on the blemishes of his bride? We have an account, how that at the time of that joyful dispensation of providence, the restoration of the church of Israel, after the Babylonish captivity, and at the time of the feast of tabernacles, many wept at the faults that were found amongst the people, but were reproved for taking so much notice of the blemishes of that affair, as to overlook the cause of rejoicing. Neh. viii. 9, 10, 11, 12. “ And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest, the scribe, and the Levites, that taught the people, said unto all the people, this day is holy unto the Lord your God, mourn not nor weep; for all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law. Then he said unto them, go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them, for whom nothing is prepared ; for this day is holy unto our Lord; neither be you sorry, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.' So the Levites stilled all the people, saying, hold your peace, for the day is holy, neither be ye grieved. And all the people went their way, to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them."
God doubtless now expects, that all sorts of persons in Newengland, rulers, ministers and people, high and low, rich
young, should take great notice of his hand, in this mighty work of his grace, and should appear to ac. knowledge his glory in it, and greatly to rejoice in it, every one doing his utmost, in the place that God has set them in, to promote it. And God, according to his wonderful patience, seems to be still waiting, to give us opportunity, thus to acknowledge and honor him. But if we finally refuse, there is not the least reason to expect any other, than that his awful curse will pursue us, and that the pourings out of his wrath will be proportionable to the despised outpourings of his Spirit and grace.
Shewing, in many Instances, wherein the Subjects,
or zealous Promoters of this WORK, have been injuriously blamed.
THIS work, that has lately been carried on in the land, is the work of God, and not the work of man. Ils beginning has not been of man's power or device, and its being carried on, depends not on our strength or wisdom ; but yet God expects of all, that they should use their utmost endeavors to promote it, and that the hearts of all should be greatly engag