[Page] Light in Darkness, OR DELIVERANCE Proclaimed unto the CHURCH IN THE Midst of all her Despondencies and Discouragements.

IN A SERMON Preached by THOMAS WATSON.

LONDON, Printed for Hen. Bettenham, at the Still-Yard in Thames-Street. 1679.

Light in Darkness, &c.

Psal. 112. v. 4.‘Unto the Upright there ariseth Light in the Darkness.’

THE Scripture (as Chrysostome says) is a Spiritual Paradise. The Book of Psalms is placed in the midst of this Paradise.

The Psalms are not only for Delight, but for Use: like those Trees of the San­ctuary in Ezekiel, which were both for Food, and for Medicine.

The Psalms of David are commensurate and exactly fitted to every Christians condition; If his Affections are frozen, here he may fetch Fire; if his Grace be weak, here he may fetch Arniour; If his Spirits are ready to faint, here he may fetch Cordials for his Soul: Amongst other Di­vine Consolations, the Text is not the least,—

[Page 6] Unto the Upright there ariseth Light in the Dark­ness.

Which words are calculated for the Comfort of the Godly, in all Ages and Centuries of the Church.

This Text is like Israel's Pillar of Fire in the Wilderness: or, like the Mariners Lanthorn, that gives Light in a Dark Night.

Unto the Upright there ariseth Light in the Dark­ness.

Let me Explain the Words e're I come to the Proposition.

1. To the Upright.] Who are here meant by the Upright?

The Hebrew word for Upright, signifies Plain­ness of Heart. The Upright Man is without Collu­sion or Fraud; In whose Spirit there is no Guile, Psal. 32. 2. He that is Upright, his Heart and his Tongue go together, as a well-made Dial, goes exactly by the Sun.

The Words following in the Text, may serve for a short Paraphrase to shew us, who this Upright Man is, the Text sayes.

[Page 7]He is

  • Gracious,
  • Full of Compassion,
  • Righteous.

First, The Upright Man is Gracious: That im­plies his Holiness.

Secondly, He is Full of Compassion: That im­plies his Charitableness. And,

Thirdly, He is Righteous: That implies his Justness.

He is Gracious, therefore he fears God.

He is Full of Compassion, therefore he feeds the Poor.

He is Righteous, therefore he does to others as he would have them do to him.

This is the Upright Man.

In short; He is one that does act from a right Principle, and that is Faith: By a right Rule, and that is Scripture: To a right End, and that is, God's glory. Here's a man downright Upright.

2. The second thing in the Text is, There ariseth [Light] to the Upright. What's meant by Light here?

By Light metaphorically is meant Delight and Comfort, or Joy. That's here meant by Light. [Page 8] Esther 8. 16. The Jews had Light, and Gladness, and Joy. Light when it springs in, doth much revive. Light is sweet. Joy is to the Heart, as Light is to the Eye, Exhilarating and Refreshing.

That's the second Word: There ariseth [Light] that is, Joy and Comfort.

3. There ariseth Light in [Darkness] What's meant here by Darkness?

By Darkness is meant Trouble and Sorrow, Res adversae. In Isa. 8. 22. They shall look unto the Earth, and behold Trouble, and Darkness. By Darkness is meant Trouble. Darkness is very Disconsolate and Afrighting: It makes every thing like the Terrors of the Night; Such is Trouble; Such is Affliction; 'tis Affrighting: It makes every thing like the Terrours of the Night.

So much for the Explaining of the Words.

To the Upright ariseth Light in the Darkness.

The Observation that results from the Words is this; (Pray observe it:)

Doct. That when the Condition of God's People is Darkest, God causes a Light to shine [...]nto them. To the Upright ariseth Light in Darkness.

[Page 9] This Proposition has two Branches; I shall speak of them distinctly.

1. That the Upright may have their Night: it may be a Dark season.

2. That a Morning-light arises to them in the midst of all their Darkness.

First,

That the Upright, those whom God loves, they may have their Night, they may have a ve­ry Dark season: They may have a two-fold Night.

They may have

  • 1. A Night of Affliction.
  • 2. A Night of Desertion.

1. They may have a Night of Affliction: (for Godliness does not exempt from Trouble.) A Dark Cloud may set upon their Name, upon their Estate: God may lay an Embargo upon all their Outward Comforts. In Ruth 1. 20. Call me not Naomi (that is, Fair, or Pleasant:) call me Mara: For the Almighty hath dealt very [bitterly] with me.

[Page 10] 2. The Godly may have not only a Night of Affliction, but they may have a Night of Desertion. God may with-draw the smiling Beams of his Favour, and then 'tis Night with them indeed, then nothing follows but Darkness. In Job 6. 4. The Arrows of the Almighty are within me, the poison whereof drinketh up my Spirit.

It alludes (saies Drusius) unto the Custom of the Persians, who in their Warrs did dip their Arrows in Poison, that they might shoot their Enemies with the more deadly Wound. Thus the God of Heaven, he may sometimes shoot the poisoned Arrow of Desertion, and then the Soul is Benighted, it is in the Dark.

Though God has the Heart of a Father, yet he may sometimes have the Face of an Enemy.

And; the Lord may cause a Cloud of Dark­ness upon the Soul, and suspend the Beams of Spiritual Comfort, for these two Reasons.

Reason 1.

The Darkness of Desertion, it is, to quicken the exercise of Grace.

For Grace sometimes acts highest, when Com­fort is lowest. In Jonah 2. 4. I said I am cast out [Page 11] of thy sight, yet will I look again towards thy Holy Tem­ple. That is, I will look to Christ, of whom the Temple was but a Type.

Faith and Patience, like two Stars, shine bright­est in a dark Night of Desertion. We are taken with the Comforts, but God is more taken with the Actings of our Grace.

Reason 2.

The Lord may cause a Dark Cloud to be up­on the Righteous, a Cloud of Desertion, That he may hereby awaken, excite, and stir up in them a Spirit of Prayer.

If ever the Soul will pray to purpose, 'tis now, in an hour of Desertion. Fathers may hide their Faces from their Children, to make them cry after them the more; God sometimes hides the light of his Face, that we may cry after him the louder: As David, in Pfal. 143. 7. Hear me speedily, O Lord, my Spirit faileth: O! hide not t [...]y Face from me. My Beloved, [...]esertion, it is a short Hell. Jonah called the Whales belly, the belly of Hell; Why so? Because he was Deserted there. And if ever Jonah would Pray to purpose, it was now, that he might get out of the belly of Hell. Jonah 2. 2. Out of the belly of Hell I cryed unto thee, and thou heardest my voice.

[Page 12] And that's the first Branch of the Doctrine, That God's People, they may have a dark Night: A Night of Affliction, when God lays an Embargo upon all their Comforts: And a Night of Desertion, which is a short Hell.

Secondly, The second Branch of the Proposition is this, That now a Morning Light shines upon the Righteous.—Unto the Upright there ariseth Light in the Darkness. Lux oritur, A Morning Light shines. The Philosopher says, Non dantur purae tenebrae. When 'tis Darkest, when there's Midnight, God will cause Light some way or other, to break forth to the Upright in Heart. In Psal. 18. 28. The Lord will light my Candle. As if David had said, Though at present all my Comforts seem to be blown out, and I am left in the dark, yet the Lord will light my Candle: he will make Light to arise in Obscurity.

There is a twofold Light that God causes to a­rise A two­fold Light a­rising to the Up­right. upon the Upright when they are in the dark.

There is

  • 1. An Outward Light that he makes to shine.
  • 2. An Inward Light that he makes to shine.

[Page 13] 1. There is an Outward Light shines; that is, God does oftentimes cause a Light of Prosperity to arise upon his People: that's a Light in Darkness. When God by his Providence alters the Face of things, and causes Peace and Prosperity in the Tabernacles of the Righteous, here's Light ari­sing in Darkness. In Psal. 29. 3. When his Can­dle shined upon my Head.—What was this Candle? It was nothing else but the Candle of Prosperity that shined upon him. And in Psal. 132. 17. I have ordained a Lamp for mine Anointed: That is, Outward Blessings, Gracious Prosperity, shall shine as a Lamp upon David's Successor. I have ordained a Lamp for mine Anointed; I will give outward Glory in the Kingdom; Here's an outward Light. The Lord can on a sudden alter the Scene of Providence, and turn the shadow of Death, into the Light of the Morning.

2. God causes an Inward Light to arise upon the Upright, when they are in the dark,—

  • 1. A Light of Grace.
  • 2. A Light of Joy.

[Page 14] First, The Light of Grace, he makes that shine. In the midst of Darkness, let the Darkness be what it will, a dram of Faith in the Soul, is a spark of Light. When the Tree has no Leaves nor Blossoms to be seen, but seems dead in Autumn, yet there may be sap in the Root of the Vine: When our Outward Comforts are as it were dead, there may be a Seed of Grace preserved in the Heart: and this Grace in the darkest condition, it is the dawning of Light in the Soul.

Secondly, God causes a Light of Spiritu­al Joy and Comfort to arise upon his Saints. And truly, this Light of Spiritual Joy, it is somewhat of the glimmering of the Light of Heaven, this is some glimpse of the Light of Paradise. In Isa. 12. 1.—Thine Anger is tur­ned away, and thou comfortedst me. The Light of Divine Joy in the Soul, it is sweet and ra­vishing: it makes all dark Shadows flee away. Spiritual Joy, causes a Jubilation, and does as far exceed all earthly Comforts, as Heaven does Earth.

[Page 15] Thus you see, that in Midnight, in the darkest Cloud of Providence, God causes some Light or other to arise upon the Up­right.

My Brethren, 'tis only God can make it lightsome in a dark troubled Soul As when the Sun is set, none can make it rise again but God: So, (My Beloved,) when 'tis Sun-set in the Soul, and the Dew of Tears fall from the Eye, none can make Day-light in the Soul but only God. Ministers they may Preach Comfort to us, but God only can make us feel Com­fort; Ministers they may bring a Cordial to us, and set it by us, but none but God can pour this Cordial into the Heart; in Psal. 4. 7. Thou hast put Gladness in my Heart.

Before I come to the Application, here's a Question arises,—

Why does God make Light to arise to his People, in an hour of Darkness?

I answer: for three Reasons,—

1. That God may hereby fulfil his Promise: He Reasons of the Point. has said it, that he will enlighten his People In [Page 16] Isa. 42. 16. I will make Darkness Light before them. God's Honour lies upon it, to make good his Pro­mise, and to cause Light to arise to his People in Obscurity. The Lord's Promise, it is his Bond. When one has given Bond to another, he cannot go back. Though sometimes God's Promise may be long in Travail, yet at last it brings forth Deliverance.

Two things in God never fail,—

First, His Compassions fail not, Lam. 3. 22.

Secondly, His Faithfulness fails not, Psal. 82. 33. God may sometimes delay a Promise, but he will not deny his Promise: God may sometimes change his Promise, turn a Temporal Promise into a Spiritual, and so pay us in a better Coin, but will never break his Promise. He has said he will cause a Light to go before his People in all their Darkness.

2. God may cause Light and Joy to arise to his People, because they help to enlighten others. When o­ther Christians are in the dark of Ignorance, they enlighten them with Knowledg; when they are in the dark of Affliction, ready to perish, they feed them, and they relieve them, and their Almes [Page 17] minister Light of Joy and Comfort to the Poor; when they are in Desertion, why God's Peo­ple, they speak a word of Comfort to their Hearts: They enlighten those that sit in Dark­ness, and therefore surely God will not let those want Light, who help to enlighten others; if they should come to be benighted with Sor­row, why God will be sure to spring in with some Light to them, who have given Light to others.

3. God will cause Light to arise in Dark­ness to his People, either he will support them in Trouble, or deliver them out of Trouble, be­cause God sees that they have great need of some dawnings of Light, they need some Morning-Star now to appear; they would faint away, they would be discouraged in serving God, if some­times he did not turn the Shadow of Death into the Light of the Morning. Should the sick Patient always have purging Physick given him, why surely if he had no Cordials he would soon faint away. God knows our frame, he sees our Spirits would fail before him, if he did always let a dark Cloud dwell upon us; and [Page 18] therefore, in Judgment he remembers Mercy, and causes the Day-Star of Comfort and Joy to spring up in a Gracious Soul. God will not fuffer it always to be dark in the Hearts of his People, lest they should touch upon the Rock of Despair. The Musician, he will not stretch the Strings of his Viol too hard, left they should chance to break.

Thus you see why the wise God sees it fit­test to cause Light to arise unto his People, in the midst of all their Clouds of Darkness.

And so much briefly for the Doctrinal part.

I proceed now to the Application:

  • 1. By way of Information.
  • 2. By way of Consolation.

1. Use of Information.

First, By way of Information; Here are several Inferences.—

Inference 1.

1. See from this Text, the Infinite Goodness of God to his Children in all cases that may fall out in this World, whether Affliction or De­sertion. O the goodness of God! in the midst of darkness he causes some Light or other to break forth. God does checker his work of Providence; with dark Clouds he intermixes bright Stars. Just like the Limner who min­gles with dark and black Colours, bright Co­lours; thus does God in his Providence: the condition of the Saints on Earth is never so black and cloudy, but some Rain-bow appears in the Cloud of Providence. In Psal. 138. 7. Though I walk in the midst of Trouble, thou wilt re­vive me. Every step I take, I tread upon Thorns, I walk in the midst of Trouble, a­mong Clouds, but thou wilt, Lord, revive me. Joseph, he was in the Prison, there was Dark­ness; but (the Text saies) the Lord was with Joseph, there was Light; Gen. 39. 2. Jacob had the Hollow of his Thigh put out of joint in Wrestling: there was a dark Providence; [Page 20] but he saw God's Face at that very time, and there the Lord blessed him: here was Light arising to him, Gen. 32. 30. Job lost all that ever he had, he was Rough-cast with Boils and Sores; there was a dark Providence: Ay but hereby Job's Grace was proved, and improved, and God gave him an honourable testimony, That he was upright; and God gave him double the Estate that ever he had before: here was Light arising to him in his Darkness, Job 42. 10. And thus God does mix Light with his Peoples Darkness. As in the Ark there was Manna laid up with the Rod; so 'tis in God's Providences to his People: with the Rod of Affliction, there's some Manna, some Light, some Com­fort that God causes to spring up: Manna with the Rod. O the goodness of God! who would not serve this God? in the darkest Night that is, he keeps alive some sparks of Light in the Hearts of his People, which may sup­press their Murmuring, and may minister matter of Thanksgiving. That's the first Infe­rence.

Inference 2.

2. If it be God's work and design to cause Light and Comfort to arise to the Righteous: why then, how contrary do they act to God, whose work it is to cause Darkness and Sorrow to the Righteous? God's design and theirs cross each other. There is a Woe belongs to them that make the Hearts of the Righteous sad, In Ezek. 13. 22. God is creating Light for his People, and the Enemies of the Church, they are laying snares for them; God he is pouring Wine and Oil into his Peoples Wounds, and the Enemies of Sion, they are pouring Vinegar into the Wounds; how contrary do these act to God? the Children of Romish Babylon, they are at this day plot­ting the Ruine of God's People: they would turn the Church of God into an Aceldama, a Field of Blood. The Lord, he makes Light to arise to the Godly, and the Wicked, they labour to make Darkness and Sorrow arise to them. But, such as lay snares for the Righteous, God will rain snares [Page 22] upon them: Psal. 11. 6. Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, Fire and Brimstone. The Wicked Enemies of the Church, they strike at Christ through his Members Sides; and let them know that 'tis kicking against a Rock. Christ will be too hard for all his Enemies; he will be victorious at last: the Enemies, they may bid defiance to Heaven, they may set up their Standards a­gainst Heaven: but God always comes off Conqueror, and sets up his Trophies. If there be either Justice in Heaven, or Fire in Hell, the Enemy shall not go unpunished. Psal. 11. 13. He hath ordained his Arrows against the Persecutors. God has his Arrow upon the String to shoot at Persecutors, and be assu­red God never misseth his mark. Dioclesian rased down the Christians Temples, and burnt their Bibles: but God was avenged on him; he was afterwards stricken with Phrency, and poisoned himself. Persecu­tors never thrive upon that bloody Trade.

Inference 3.

See here the Great Difference between the Wicked and the Godly; there's a vast Difference; The Godly in all their Darkness that befalls them, they have some Light arising to them; the Wicked in all their outward Comforts, they have some Darkness arising to them; in the middst of all their Jollity and mirth, why still there's a Dark Cloud hangs over them: Con­science chides them, Scripture threatens them, (which is like the Hand-writing upon the Wall;) In Psal. 68. 21. God shall wound the Head of his Enemies, and the hairy scalp of such a one as goeth on still in his Trespasses. A sinner still, in all his lightsom condition, his outward Mirth, his Joy, he may see some Clouds of Darkness: God's Threatnings are against him: God's Curse hangs over him, and that Curse it blasts wherever it comes. A wicked man, an impe­nitent hardned sinner, he goes every day in fear of Arresting; Death may Arrest him. There remains nothing for him, but [...]: A fearful looking for of Judgment, and [Page 24] fiery indignation, as the Apostle saies, in Heb. 10. 27. A hardned impenitent sinner is in an ill case; if he dies, he drops into the Grave and into Hell both at once. God is brewing for him a Deadly Cup. In Psal. 75. 8. In the hand of the Lord there is a Cup, and the Wine is Red: it is full of mixture, and he poureth out the same: but the Dregs thereof all the Wicked of the Earth shall wring them out, and drink them.

What's this Red Wine in the Cup? 'Tis no­thing else but the Fiery Wrath of God: that's the Red Wine; Wine burnt with his Wrath. And (the Text saies) this Cup is full of mixture, it's a mixed Cup the sinner must drink. What's the mixed Cup? The Worm of Conscience, and the Fire of Hell: here's a mixed cup; and the wicked shall be ever drinking of this Cup: God will never say, Transeat—Let this Cup pass away from the Damned: No, they must be ever drinking the dregs of this Cup of Wrath.

Methinks this Scripture should be a Cooling Card unto all wicked men, and damp all their Mirth and Jollity: Doomsday Darkness is com­ing upon them. It was sad news brought to Saul (and no wonder when the Devil brought [Page 25] the news:) In the 1 Sam. 28. 19. saies Satan there in Samuel's Mantle, to Saul, To morrow shalt thou be with me. O dreadful news, to take up a mans Quarters among the Damned! To day a sinner is among his Cups, he is Sport­ing with his Lusts: now he is in his Mirth: and perhaps to morrow he may be with the Devil and his Angels, where Saul is.

Inference 4.

The fourth Inference is this: Does God cause Light to spring up to the Upright in all their Darknes? Why then see from hence the difference between Earth and Heaven. Here in this World there's a Mixture of Darkness and Light: there's Clouds mixt with their Stars: Dark Providen­ces as well as Light.

But now, in Heaven it is otherwise, there's no Darkness there: nothing but pure Light, pure Bliss: and therefore Heaven it is call'd an Inheritance in Light, Col. 1. 12.

The Philosopher saies, [...]: Light is the most glorious Creature, 'tis the Beauty of the World. What were the World without [Page 26] Light, but a Dark Prison? Here's the Beauty of Heaven, 'tis an Inheritance in Light. Heaven it is a Diaphanum, or a bright-Body, all over em­broidered with Light and Glory: There are no Eclipses there; There are no dark shadows to be seen, but all is Orient Brightness, Celesti­all Glory.

In Heaven, Christ, the Son of Righteousness, will alwayes be shining with his illustrious Beams: In Rev. 21. 23. The Lamb is the Light thereof. O how should we long to be in that blessed place, that Paradise of God, that is so Adorned with the bright illustrious Rays of Celestial Glory! There's nothing but pure Light, nothing but Glory shining in its per­fection.

So much for the first Use.

Use 2.

The second Use is of Consolation for the Church and People of God. This Text is a Pillar of Light, a Breast of Consolation, Unto the Upright there ariseth Light in the Darkness. Does God make Light, and Joy, and Peace, to [Page 27] arise to the Righteous? Why then should we despond, or throw away our Anchor? Why should we despair? Why may we not hope that the Morning-Star of Deliverance and Mercy may yet appear unto this Island? Why (I say) should we despond, when 'tis God's great Pro­ject and Design, to lighten his Peoples Dark­ness?

I confess, things have a bad Aspect, a dark Face at present, Gray hairs are here and there. My Brethren, we see how things go: Sin grows higher: Enemies grow bolder: Divisions grow wider. These are bad Symptoms of a dying Patient.

England is like that Ship in the Gospel, which was almost covered over with Waves. Here's that may humble us, and set our Eyes abroach with Tears.

Yet, that we may not mourn without hope, let me tell you, there are some sparks of Light, that do seem to arise to us in the Dark. Unto the Upright there ariseth Light in the Darkness. Let me come as a Dove with an Olive-branch of Peace in my mouth, that that is some spark of Light to us.

[Page 28] 1. That there are many Upright ones in this Grounds of Hope for Eng­land. Nation: That's a Spark of Light. The Text saies, Light ariseth to the Upright: 'Tis to be hoped there are many such in this Island. Were the Godly removed, (as 'tis the design of some to destroy them:) God would make Quick work with the Nation, he would soon break up House here, God would quickly sink the Ship of Church and State, if he had not some of his Elect in it. But for the sake of those that are Upright, God may be pleased yet a while to Reprieve the Nation, and Ad­journ Englands Funeral a while longer. In Isa. 65. 8. As the new Wine is found in the Cluster, and one saith, Destroy it not, for a Blessing is in it: So will I do f [...]r my Servants sakes, that I may not de­stroy them all. Though it cannot be denied but our Vine, in this Land planted, bears much ve­ry bad fruit, yet doubtless there are some good Clusters in the Vine, and for these God may spare the Vine, and say, Is t [...]ere not a blessing in it?

The Saints of God stay his Hand when he is going to strike. In Gen. 19. 22. Haste thee [Page 29] (saies the Angel to Lot, Haste thee to Zoar) escape thither; for I cannot do any thing till thou be come thither. q. d. Thou holdest my hand, I cannot strike till thou art gone. The Saints of God, though others look upon them with a contemptible eye, they are the Safety of the Land, God will do much for their sakes. The Upright, they are the Excellent of the Earth, Psal. 16. 3. Others are but the Lumber, God knows bad Lumber: These are the Jewels. Mal. 3. 17.

The Saints of God, they are the Chariots and Horsmen of Israel: They are the very Flower and Cream of the Creation; they are the Glory of Christ, 2 Cor. 8. 23. And for their sakes God may yet cause Light to arise, and he may be propitious, and his Arm may bring Sal­vation.

2. Another Spark of Light arising in Eng­lands Darkness, is this, That yet God is pleased wonderfully to keep up in his People a Spirit of Prayer; They cry mightily: Certainly God will not say to us, Seek ye me i [...] vain.

The Spartans Walls were their Spears. The [Page 30] Wall and Bullwark of a Land is Devout Pray­er. Whole Vollies of Sighs and Groans are every day sent up to Heaven for Mercy; here's a Spark of Light in our Darkness: God hears these Sighs.

Pray observe, when the Lord intends to pour out the Vial of his Indignation, and to bring wrath upon a People, he presently stops all the sluces of Prayer, no more Prayer to be made. In Jer. 7. 16. Pray not for this People. God has not said so yet concerning England. Prayer is a powerful Orator for Mercy, and may cause Light to spring up yet. The Key of Prayer, oyled with Tears, and turn'd with the Hand of Faith, unlocks God's Bowels. Prayer, when 'tis importunate, it staves off Wrath from a Land. In Exod. 32. 10. Saies God to Moses, Let me alone, that my Wrath may wax hot against them. Why, what did Moses do? He only Prayed. Fervent Prayer it overcomes the Omnipotent, as Luther saies. Prayer it finds God Free, but it leaves him Bound. Haec Do­mina Mundi fructuat Solum.—

Prayer ties God's Hands: It staves off Judg­ment. This (my Brethren) lets in some dawn­ing [Page 31] of Light to this Land this day, in the mid'st of all our Clouds of Obscurity: Prayer is made for the Church. This gives us some ground to hope, that God will not wholly leave us.

Especially when we consider, Christ is our Advocate; He prays over our Prayers again, sprinkles them with his Blood, and perfumes them with his blessed Odours: and so they go up to Heaven as sweet Incense. In Rev. 8. 4. The smoke of the Incense which came with the Prayers of the Saints, ascended up before God, out of the Angels hand.

3. And lastly, Another spark of Light a­rising in our Dark Hemisphere, it is this, God's Compassions, his Bowel-Mercies. Mer­cy, it is God's Darling Attribute, that he loves most of all to magnifie: Mercy pleas­eth him, Micah 7. 18. Though We don't please God, yet Mercy pleases him.

Justice is God's strange Work, Isa. 28. 21. He is not so much used to that: But Mercy it is his proper Work, it flows naturally from him, as the Honey from the Bee, or as the Myrrhe [Page 22] drops from the Myrrhe-tree. While God so delights in this Darling Attribute of Mercy, why should we despair? Why may not Mer­cy give the casting Voice for this Nation? In Isa. 63. 9. In his Love and in his Pity he Redeem­ed them. O! Love and Pity will do great things.—In his Love and in his Pity he Redeemed them.

God's Mercy 'tis not only Free, sending out Pardons where it pleases; but here's the Comfort, God's Mercy can as well Heal as it can Save: 'Tis a Healing Mercy. In Hosea 14. 4. I will heal their Backslidings.

Pray observe: Mercy, what can't it do? it can reclaim the Stubborn: it can soften the Im­penitent: it can bring back those that are g [...]ue a­stray from God. God's Mercy, it can as well give Repentance to a Nation as Deliverance; Mercy can destroy the Sins of the Nation, and yet save the Nation. 'Tis a Healing Mercy:—I will heal their Backslidings.

Why, these are then some Dawnings, some sparks of Light, that God causes to arise in the midst of all our Darkness.

[Page 33] Quest.

But here's a Question, (and so I hasten to an end.) You will say unto me, But things they still look very bad and dark, and we would have more Light; now what must we do, how must we carry our selves, till God makes Light to arise to us in our Darkness? till Mercy comes riding to England in the Chariot of Salvation?

Answ.

I answer in these two or three things:—

1. In this time of our Darkness and Cloudi­ness, the first thing we do, let us go into our Chambers. In Isa. 26. 20. Come, my People, enter thou into thy Chambers, and shut thy doors a­bout thee: hide thy self.

There are two Chambers that we must now go into:—

  • [Page 34]1. The Chambers of our Hearts.
  • 2. The Chambers of the Promises.

First, Let us go in this time of Darkness into the Chambers of our Hearts, by serious Meditation, and Self-examination. Let us in the first place search our Evidences for Hea­ven, cast up our Accounts, see how the case stands between God and our Souls. Let's bring our Graces to the Touch-Stone: What Faith have we? are we hid by Faith in the bleeding Wounds of Christ? What Love to God have we? does Conscience witness that we not only serve him, but love him? Our Heart and Flesh cry out for the Living God? Are we carried every day up to Heaven in a fiery Chariot of Love? Is it thus with us? O let us enter into these Chambers of our Hearts, set our House in order, our Souls: that's our great work now. My Beloved, when things are dark without, we had need have all clear within, to have Conscience smile.

[Page 35] Secondly, Let us go into the Chambers of God's Promises, and there let's a while hide our selves, during this black Cloud of Provi­dence. O the sweet Promises of God, where our Souls may take Sanctuary! God has pro­mised Comfort to all his Mourners, Matth. 5. 4. God has promised that he will strengthen the infirm; Isa 40. 29. to them that have no might, he increases strength. God has promised a Crown of Glory to the Conqueror, Rev. 2. 10. He has given it under Hand and Seal, he will never leave us, nor forsake us. Heb. 13. 5.

O my Brethren, here's our Wisdom: let us now by Faith go and hide our selves, in the Chambers of these Divine Promises.

And that's the first thing we must do in this Dark Hour: Go into our Chambers.

2. Having done this, if you ask me yet further, what we must do in this time of Dark­ness, till God makes Light spring up to us? I answer: having got into our Chambers, let us [Page 36] Commit our selves and our Case to God, that he would safe-guard and keep us. And this I ground upon that Scripture, in Psal. 37. 5. Commit thy way unto the Lord; he will bring it to pass. In the Hebrew it is Roll thy way upon the Lord. This is now our work: Even as the Client commits himself and his Cause to his Counsel that he imploys, to plead for him: or as the Orphan commits himself unto the Care and Tutilage of his Guardian; so should we commit our selves to God, and devolve all our cares upon him.—Commit thy way unto the Lord. Let us do our Duty, and trust God with our Safety. Brethren, it is our work to cast Care: it is God's work to take Care.

3. In this time of Darkness, having got in­to our Chambers, and committed our selves unto God; let us now patiently wait God's time, till he shall make a Light to arise in our Horizon: wait on God, till he turns our Darkness into the Light of the Morning. God can on a sud­den, with a word of his Mouth, scatter and disperse the blackest Clouds that do appear; God can create Light. God can strike a streight [Page 37] stroke with a crooked Instrument: He can bring Good out of Evil. God can deliver his Peo­ple by means unthought of: nay, he can deliver them that very way that they think he will destroy them in. Who would ever have thought that God should have made a Caus [...] way for his People to have marched through on, in the midst of the Sea? that God should have made Heaven a Grainary, to drop down Man­na for his People to feed on? O wait till Light spring up. God he can make use of the Ene­my to do his Work: he can play his Game by his Enemies hand. In short: God is able to re­move the Mountains that lie in our way, or else (if he please) he can leap over the Mountains: In Cant. 2. 8. He cometh leaping upon the Moun­tains. Therefore, my Brethren, till Light spring up, let us wait with Patience: Light will arise unto the Upright.

My Brethren, I will say but this: The Mercies we pray for, and are in expectation of, they are worth waiting for. To see the Golden Fleet of Prayer come home laden with large and rich returns of Mercy: to see the [Page 38] Lilly and the Rose united, Truth and Peace: To see Popery abandoned, and not one Stone left upon another: To see Prophaneness discoun­tenanced and disgraced: to see the Beauty of Holiness shine forth in our Hemisphere: To see Jesus Christ ride in Triumph in the Chariot of his Gospel: To see the Righteous had in Honour and Renown, and be like the Wings of a Dove covered with Silver; Surely these are Mercies so emi­nent, that they are well worth waiting for.

And therefore, let not Patience be out of breath. Having got into your Chambers, and committed your Cause to God, now get into a waiting posture: wait till some Light spring up to God's Church. I will shut up all with one Scripture, (which may encourage hum­ble waiting:) In Isa. 30. 18. The Lord is a God of Judgment; Blessed are all they that wait for him.

FINIS.

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