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days the devil had a privy council of these engi neers. “Their eyes stand out with fatness; they have more than heart could wish; they are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression; they speak loftily; they set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth; therefore his people return hither; and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them,” Psalm 1xxiii. 7-10. If you would know what is meant by waters of a full cup in the books, you will find it explained in the parchments. “But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil.”
Solomon complains of this sin, of this evident token of perdition. "So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun; and, behold, the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power, but they had no comforter; wherefore I praised the dead more than the living," Eccl. iv. 1, 2. The oppressed here is in the same state of the oppressor; that is, destitute of the grace of God; neither of them had a comforter; the first had leanness in his soul, and the latter leanness in both soul and body; and so it was the poor oppressing the poor, which is a sweeping rain that leaves no food behind.
But, blessed be God, this is not our case; for
God hath put gladness in our hearts, which is of a better nature than that which springs from an increase of corn and wine, Psalm iv. 7.
It was the cry that Israel put up under this yoke that brought the God of Abraham from the third heaven into the bush. "Now therefore behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me; and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them. Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt." And what did they get by this their oppression? Why, they got ten of the heaviest plagues that ever fell upon a nation; the destruction of their firstborn, the spoiling and ruin of their country, and the overthrow of Pharaoh and all his host in the Red sea.
When God intends that a man shall fill up the measure of his iniquity in haste, he generally gives him up to his own heart's lust; and then his eye and heart are never satisfied. Thus he gave up Pharaoh, thus he gave up Nabal, and those also that beat his people in pieces, and grind the faces of the poor. And those whose souls were plotting fresh schemes of oppression, while they were engaged in the very service of God; "And the "And the songs of the temple shall be howling in that day, saith the Lord God: there shall be many dead bodies in every place, they shall cast them forth with silence. Hear this, O ye that swallow up the poor and needy, even to make the poor of the land to fail,
saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? And the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit? That we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes; yea, and sell the refuse of the wheat? The Lord hath sworn by the excellency of Jacob, Surely I will never forget any of their works." To give a man up to this infatuation is one of the worst judgments from God that is to be found in the land of hope. "For he shall have judgment without mercy that hath shewed no mercy, and mercy rejoiceth against judgment."
Those at the helm of affairs have struggled hard to undermine this soul-damning sin; but many of the landholders, it is to be feared, have their eyes upon raising the rent of their farms, and therefore will not be very forward to make head against an evil that brings grist to their mill.
"The rich man's wealth is his strong city, and a high wall in his own conceit," saith Solomon. But he adds, "A wise man scaleth the city of the mighty, and casteth down the strength of the confidence thereof." This is done by prayer; for there is no wall, no bulwark, no human oppressor, no, nor even the very council of devils, that are proof against the prayer of faith. "Call upon me in the time of trouble, I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me." This is the language of the
books; and the parchments say the same. things are possible to them that believe."
Those that are rebelling against the higher powers imagine that it is in the power of their hand to destroy this root of all evil, and to break in pieces the oppressor. But this is a work that none but the King of kings can do, and which he hath promised he will do: but the oppressed must cry and pray for it. Hear the language of the books, "Thou shalt not vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt. Ye shall not afflict any widow, or fatherless child; if thou afflict them in any wise, and they cry at all unto me, I will surely hear their cry; and my wrath shall wax hot, and I will kill you with the sword; and your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless." Take notice here, if they shall be afflicted, or oppressed in any wise, and they cry unto me, I will surely hear them. But thou shalt not rebel against the higher powers, because the Lord is King of kings; they are set up by him. "By me kings reign, and princes decree justice; by me princes rule, and nobles, yea, all the judges of the earth." Therefore," thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse them, no, nor speak evil of the ruler of thy people," Ex. xxii. 28. This is God's command to us; "And cursed is he that continueth not in all things written in the book of the law to do them." Thus you see the rebel is cursed by the books; and, I add, he is damned by the parchments. "There is
no power but of God; the powers that be are ordained of God: he that resisteth the power resisteth the ordinance of God, and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation," Rom. xiii. 1, 2. Ye must be subject, not only for wrath, but for conscience sake; not for fear of punishment, but in order keep a good conscience toward God. We have got a set of men in the nation that want to blow up all our walls and bulwarks, and to make Great Britain a field of blood. they done? Why, just nothing. cause? The cause is, the will of God; he would not have it so. Then have they not resisted his will; and have they not resisted the power? Yea, they have; and such are rebels by the books, and they are damned by the parchments.
And what have
And what is the
"Fear God, and honour the king," is the command of God to all his children. The government that we are under protects us in the worship of our God, and will not suffer us to be molested by any; and this is a blessing to us. We have no call to be afraid of the power while we do that which is good, for such shall have praise of the same; "For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil," Rom. xiii. 3. Rebelling against God, resisting his will and ordinance, and speaking evil of dignitaries, shall never bring prosperity to the land, nor comfort to the conscience; this may be proved both from the books and the parchments.
This is a day appointed for fasting and prayer; and may God grant that we may be thankful for