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will, and it shall be done unto you." Phil. iv. 13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." And it is fixed : so their thrashing is Christ's thrashing, Col. i. 24. And ye may well allow Christ's thrashing away mountains, with a little finger of his body. If with the finger of God he cast out devils, with the least of his fivgers he may cast down mountains.
5. Lastly, All the mountains that stand before worm Jacob are burnt mountains; so they are far easier to thrash than one would think. The mountain of the Babylonish monarchy stood before worm Jacob, and barred his way seventy years : at length God sets fire in the bowels of it, and makes it a burnt mountain; and then bids worm Jacob thrash, and it flies away with the wind ; Jer. li. 25, “Behold, I am against thee, O destroying mountain, saith the Lord, which destroyest all the earth, and I will stretch out mine hand upon thee, and roll thee down from the rocks, and will make thee a burnt mountain." By the death and resurrection of Christ, all the mountains that stand between worm Jacob and heaven, are burnt mountains. Christ has gone through the bowels of them with his fire, undone their consistence, burnt the rocks to lime; they are nothing now but the shape of mountains, with a thin scorched surface : they will give way at the thrashing of worn Jacob, like the apples of Sodom, that being touched go to dust between ove's fingers : Micah ii. 13, “ The breaker is come up before them : they have broken op, and have passed through the gate, and are gone out by it; and their King shall pass before them, and the Lord on the head of them.” Nahum iii. 12, “All thy strong holds shall be like fig-trees with the first ripe figs : if they be shaken, they shall even fall into the mouth of the eater.” Compare Is. xxvi. 19, “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise : awake, and sing, ye that dwell in dust : for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead." Hos. xiii. 14, “I will ransom them from the power of the grave : I will redeem them from death : 0 death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction ; repentance shall be hid from mine eyes."
INFERENCE 1. The struggles of the church with all her adversaries will have a surprisingly comfortable issue at length. As weak as she is, and as strong and numerous as they are, she will infallibly have success, surprising success, against them, attending the encounter with them: Micah iv. 11, 12, 13, “ Now also many nations are gathered against thee, that say, Let her be defiled, and let our eye look upon Zion. But they know not the thoughts of the Lord, neither understand they his counsel : for he shall gather them as the sheaves into the floor. Arise and thrash, 0 danghter of Zion : for
I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass, and thou shalt beat in pieces many people : and I will consecrate their gain unto the Lord, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth.” And as to the present state of the church, learn,
1st. It is not at all strange, nor will it make the case of this church hopeless, that prodigiously high mountains, higher than our fathers saw, are raised up against her, overtopping worm Jacob, and threatening to crush him: mountains of national guilt of forty years' gathering, laid upon the top of the mountains of guilt raised by our fathers : profanity overflowing, and become fashionable ; a conspiracy carried on in the house of her friends against the grace of Christ and serious godliness, to palm upon us refined heathenism for Christianity; the foundations struck at, mountains of damnable heresies and blasphemies against the person of Christ, and divine authority of the Scriptures; and the advanced learning of the age improved to these monstrous ends. But,
2dly, Assuredly these mountains will be brought down : and though we have all ground to expect that multitudes shall be crushed to death with thrashing judgments for bringing them down; yet neither the one nor the other shall crush worm Jacob, but he shall see them all blown away with the wind.
3dly, It is worm Jacob that shall thrash and beat them small : a believing, praying, wrestling, though despised remnant, will bring them down; though they stand immoveable against all the merely rational and politic methods used against them.
INFERENCE 2. They are not for heaven, that are not for thrashing away the mountains in their way to it. As,
1st, Such as are not exercised unto godliness; that pretend to believe, but trouble not themselves with the work of mortification, letting these mountains stand unmolested : Gal. v. 24, “They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh, with the affections and lusts." Whatever kindred ye pretend to worm Jacob, if you had any thing of his nature, you would thrash, in mortification.
2dly, Such as are partial in their obedience, that are not for thrashing the mountains in their way without exception, Mark x. 21, 22. Such a lust they are content to sacrifice, but there is a darling one to be spared : any trouble they would bear, but only such an one as God lays before them, they can never think to lay their fair neck under that yoke: that is to say, they will scatter the molehills, but have no heart to venture on the mountains.
3dly, Backsliders, that fall a-thrashing, but give over before the mountains begin to give way, or be beaten small; (Heb. x. 38); they draw back their hand, Luke ix. 62. These are like those that
came out of Egypt, but fell in the wilderness through their unbelief, thinking there was no making it against the Anakims.
INFERENCE 3. Last, Serious souls, sensible of their weakness, but resolute to combat whatever difficulties are between them and heaven, be the issue what it will, shall certainly be blessed with surprising success, to their own eternal wonder. The worm shall thrash away the mountains.
I would say to such, Go on and prosper : thrash on, worm Jacob, thou shalt beat them small.
1. Thrash on the mountains of opposition that stand in your way, from earth or hell: thou shalt get through them all at length; and thou shalt “stand on the sea of glass, having the harp of God;" and shalt “sing the song of Moses, and of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints," Rev. xv. 2, 3.
2. Thrash on the mountain of troubles, trials, and afflictions. Let none of them, be they never so high and formidable, prevail to separate betwixt your God and you; they will be beat to dust at length, and blown away from before you; Rev. vii. 9, 10, 14, “ After this I beheld, and lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.— These are they which came out of great tribulation, and bave washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."
3. Thrash on the mountain of corruption, indwelling sin; thrash on every height therein, particularly that top of it that is the sin that easily besets you: infallibly you will get it down at length. Paul saw this while he was thrashing it, Rom. vii. 24, 25, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Say not, Alas! I am weak, my thrashing will be in vain. No, though you have no more strength for them than a worm for a mountain, it will not be in vain. God will have these mountains thrashed by worms.
But thou wilt say, Alas! I have thrashed long without success. ANSWER. Thrash on; there must be patient enduring ere the mountain fall, Heb. vi. 15, “ After Abraham had patiently endured, he obtained the promise:” but there is an oath mediating betwixt the promise and its accomplishment that it cannot fail, ver. 17. (Gr.) Mind the walls of Jericho. Have ye not had a partial success
sometimes? be sure then of the total. So it is with Jesas himself, Heb. ii. 8, “ Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him."
The last mountain to be thrashed away is death, and ye shall beat that small too, 1 Cor. xv. 54, 55, “ When this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory ?”
After all, it is a mighty wonder, worm Jacob thrashing the mountains. But the thrashing worm is shod from heaven, and so fitted to thrash. Three things this thrashing instrument is shod with. (1.) A word of command, calling to the work. (2.) A word of promise, securing the success. (3.) The use of means of Heaven's appointment for reaching the end. If any of these be wanting, there will be no thrashing the mountains away: a plain instance we have in the rationalists of the age laying aside the doctrine of a crucified Christ, and substituting in the room thereof the dry and sapless doctrines of heathenism; which God will never countenance to renew the hearts or reform the lives of any, as being contrary to the appointment of Heaven for that purpose. But worm Jacob, influenced by the command of God, excited by the promise of success, and using the proper means, “shall thrash the mountains, and beat them small, and shall make the hills as chaff.”
THE CASE OF PETITIONERS AT THE COURT OF HEAVEN CONSIDERED; OR, THE NECESSITY OF PRAYING ALWAYS, AND NOT PAINTING.
Two Sermons preached, on a sacramental occasion, at Maxton, July 15 and 16, 1727.
LUKE xviii. 1. And he spake a parable unto them, to this end, that men ought always
to pray, and not to faint.
The time of this life is the time of trial; only in the life to come is full ease to be expected. Now is the warfare, and partial victories : the complete victory comes not till death. If we must have our portion of goods in hand presently, and cannot wait, we will soon be through it, and have nothing when we need most. If we mind for heaven then, we must be resolute, set a stiff heart to a stay brat, and hold forward whatever storms blow in our face, as we see in the words of the text. Wherein we have,
1. The Lord's insisting to teach his disciples, “ And he spake a parable unto them,” &c. That the relative thern refers to his disciples, appears by the coutinued connexion of these words with the discourse from chap. xvii. 22. And lie changes in it his manner of teaching, making a practical improvement, in a parable, of what he had before taught them in plain style. (Gr.) “Now he spake also a parable unto them,” to impress the lesson the more lively, both on their minds, memories, and affections."
2. The new lesson he taught them, “That men ought always to pray, and not to faint;" that there would be a necessity of their praying always, and not fainting. The discourse whence it is inferred, among other things, bears, (1.) That their comforts should be less than they were then, ver. 22, “ And he said unto the disciples, The days will come when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it.” (2.) Their temptations more, ver. 23, “ And they shall say to you, See here, or, see there : go not after them, nor follow them.” (3.) That the world would be long in deep security, and they long in deep distress, so that they might be in hazard of giving it over; see vers. 26–33. (4.) That the Lord would come to them at length, and make all right: but when or where, they are not to know.
Now, to direct them how to carry in such a difficult situation, he speaks the following parable; the scope and sum of which comes to this, " That men ought always to pray, and not to faint.” So he tells them, (1.) The course they must hold, blow the wind as it will : they must “always pray;" not that they must be always on their knees, but they must keep a habitual course of praying. (2.) What they must beware of; they must “not faint.” The word signifies a succumbing or yielding under the pressure of evils or hardships, as one sinking under a burden, or giving over by reason of the badDess of the way, Eph. iii. 13, and is well rendered fainting ; for the apostle explains it by being loosened, Gal. vi, 9, because in fainting or swooning the nerves are loosened, relaxed, or unbended, and so activity is gone. So whatever hardships are met with, we must not be so outwearied with them as to give over. (3.) The necessity of this; men ought or must needs always pray, and not faint. If we give over, we are gone; if we faint, and break off our course, all is lost.