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not nor forced him. But it appears to me that David was off from his duly, for when his Hrmy went forth to fight the battles of the Lord, he took his rest at home, and this is not •11, fori am ready to think that instead of David being watching and praying for his people whilst they were engaged in the war, that he spent too much of his time in stlf-indulgence, and so gave way to the lust of the flesh by degrees, and so gave way for this temptation; for while his people were engaged in the war, he himself came off his bed at even-tide, and there perhaps he had dozed part of the afternoon in idleness, and perhaps at that time he thought that his enemies were far off, and he at ease at home; but at the same time I believe that he had got the •greatest enemy lurking about at his home with him, which filled his heart with wicked lust, and caused him to fall into deep mire as it were, where theie is no standing, and surely he must have perished in the depth of everlasting misery, had not his Redeemer gave himself for him, but by his love and mercy he saved his soul alive: but I have not mentioned all, for we see that David did not only commit adultery with Bath-sheba, the wife of Uriah, but he did as much as to takeaway the innocent life of Uriah, with a desig i to have concealed his own wickedness, for he caused him to fall by the sword of the children of Ammon. (2 Sam. xi. 12, LI.) And the thing that David had done displeased the Lord. . And again, this sin was very grievous and heinous in another sense, for by this sin David had given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord, to blaspheme and to speak evil of God, and of his most holy cause and worship, and of his beloved saints, and the whole Church of God. And again, probably they may say, this is he that sung of mercy and judgment, but where is his mercy now? For behold he hath committed adultery, and hath taken away the life of the innocent, and who hast resisted his will. And now we must therefore allow and acknowledge thatDavid's sin in this deed was very great and hurtful, and by that wicked deed of David's, I believe that there are many wicke.J persons in the world, who take an occasion to cast a contempt upon the word of God until this day, but let it not be so with us, for the word of God is still pure, holy, merciful, just, and righteous, and although the righteous have fallen, yet the holy law of God is thus, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. ^ut. vi. 5.—chap. x. 12.) And thou shalt love thy neighas thyself. (Lev. xix. 18.—Matt. xxii. 37.) Therefore, although David had sinned, and at the same time righteous Uriah must die, but at the same time, the law of God is holy, just, and good, and shall be for ever and ever. Amen. And again, this sin which David committed was detestable in the sight of God, and if you read the historical account of David, you may plainly see the calamity, sorrows, and troubles which he brought upon himself, as it appears, for the most and greatest part of the remainder of his days; but it plainly appears that he sincerely repented and was saved: but now I say we must not tempt God, nor indulge ourselves in sin after the similitude ot David; no, we must not be presumptuous in divine favour, as to think that we shall be saved if we continue to commit sins similar to that of David; no, for the way of sin is down-hill, and we cannot tell where we may stop: hear me my son, for the way of wicked lust goeth down to death, and its steps take hold on hell. And a^ in, that lustful sin that David committed was a disgrace to him, and stained his houour, glory and reputation, and it let him low in this world, and I cannot say that it did not place him somewhat lower in heaven. And now my readers, observe this, now this great sin of David's, and that of Manasseh, (2 Kings. xxi.—2 Chron. xxxiii.) are not written down to grant or to give us any license to sin, but they are written for our support, and for our encouragement, that is, if we have committed great sins, we may not despair in the goodness of the Lord, nor lose the hope of God's mercy; therefore if we have sinned, let us entreat the Lord to give us an heart to repent, so that we may do so no more, and that we may ask pardon for our former sins, and that we may pray that the Lord may give us grace and faith to believe in his Son, and that his blood may cleanse us from all our sins. (1 John i. 17.) But for David's repentance, search his Psalms, and my Book called Repentance, and there you may see how that this great sin grieved his precious soul. And now my friends, a sin like this seems hard to be forgiven by him that it is committed against, but we must forgive, that we may be forgiven, and 1 hope and trust that before this, that Uriah, Baih-sheba, and David have embraced each other with an heaven-like and forgiving love, and that God hath pardoned them, and that he hath wiped away all tears from their eyes. (Rev. vii. 17.) And again, after ihis we read of Solomon, the son of David, a child beloved of the Lord, a man of much understanding, great in wisdom, riches, and honour, he was a man that was highly esteemed, and it is said, that all the earth sought to Solomon to bear hi* wisdom which God had put in his heart: therefore one would have thought that he was fortified and strengthened against all evil, but alas! we see his fall, and how his heart Was drawn away from his God, and that by the allurement of lustful and strange women, for he bowed his loins unto strange women, so that he stained his honour, and brought himself low; for his wives and concub.nes turned his heart From that which was right, and caused him to pay homage unto strange gods. (1 Kings xi. 1.) But notwithstanding, although Solomon did fall low by the lust of sinful nature, yet on the other hand, we have great reason to believe that lie saw his error, and the miserable end of this lustful sin, and that he sincerely repented, and that he found his sins pardoned through a mediator, which is Christ our Lord: and this is my confidence, because I do not know that there.is any Book to be found in the Holy Scriptures that gives us a better advice against this lustful sin than that of the Proverbs of Solomon; and it appears that Solomon looked upon all his pleasures, and behold, they were all vanity and vexation of spirit. (Eccl. ii.) And now let us hear his conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, saith he, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man. (Eccl. xii. 13.) And now most of us, my friends, find something of this inbred sin, which wars against the spirit of God, and it oftentimes causes the Christian to grieve, and to lament because of their infirm tsins, by the weakness of the flesh, and their manifold temptations, and he that is ready to slip with his feet, is as a lamb despised in the thought of him that is at ease. (Job. xii. 5.) And now therefore seeing that the poor Christian hath got the world, and the flesh, and the devil to encounter against, it is ready to make him cry out with the language of Saint Paul and say, O wretched man that I am! who shall de.liver me from the body of this dea.h? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Rom. vii. 25.) And now my dear brethren, let us pray that the Lord may strengthen the things which remain that are readyto die, for I aiu afraid oftentimes that our works are not perfect before God. (Rev. iii. 2.) But thanks be unto God which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
BOOK THE TWENTY-FIFTH.
God's Care for his People.
But in all the trials and conflicts of life, yet we see that the Lord is flood, and that his tender mercy is over all his works, and that you may see in this Book that there is a great consolation for those which are humble and trust in the living God, who labour under adversity and have great and spiritual warfare in this life; and this Work is very consoling, and especially for the Children of God, and you have it from Scripture, brought up to your view by chapter and verse, which I hope will prove beneficial to all them that read or hear it.
But in all the trials and conflicts of life, yet we see that the Lord is good, and that his tender mercies are over all his works; and thou 0 Lord hast never said to thy creature man, labour in ths way of holiness for nought, neither hast thou said to the seed of Jacob, Seek ye my face in vain; but thou hast blessed Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and their seed that obey, and the faithful in Christ for evermore; and although our trials on the earth seem great, and the way sometimes seems almost hedged up, but yet in these trying seasons, the Lord will never leave us nor forsake us, if we put our trust in him; but he will surely at his good time find a way for our escape; therefore this Book is called God's Care for his People, and to strengthen the weak hands, and the feeble knees, by divine grace, I will endeavour to show you by a few outlines, what God hath done for his people; glory and honour, and adoration and praise be unto thy name, O thou most high, which hath created man at the beginning, and blessed him with the spirit of life, and huth remembered him at his fall, and did provide for him a Saviour; but after this men sinned against the most holy exceedingly "by the wicked lust of the .flesh. (Gen. vi. 2, 5.) But here we see God's care for his people, and that righteous Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord, and was spared when the earth was deluged by the flood, for the overthrow of the wicked ; and the Lord aUo took care of his servant Lot, and spared him from the burning, when he destroyed wicked Sodom and Gomorrah with brimstone and fire. (Gen. xix. 24.) And we see again, how the Lord preserved Moses from the hand of the destroyer, so that he might deliver his people from bondage, and to show forth his wonders in the land of Egypt. (Exod. ii.) And surely methinks that the Lord preserved Israel as a bush in the midst of the fire, even as a bush which was not consumed by the fire. And again, the bush which Moses saw in the midst of the fire, may perhaps have some allusion to Israel in their severe bondage: but again, I think, perhaps, that it may have some allusion to t^ie desert of sinful man, and also to God's mercy, and he made it appear by an angel of love. (Exod. iii. 2.) And again we see what mercy and care the Lord had for his people when he brought them through the deep waters, even through the mighty deep, into a good and wealthy land, because his mercy endureth for ever. (Exod. xiv.) The Lord also preserved David, and saved him from the hand of Saul, and delivered him out of the hands of all his enemies, because his mercy endureth for ever. But again, behold Elijah the prophet, and how he was sustained and sut ported by his God in the days of wicked Ahab, when the famine was sore in the land, for it rained not as St. James saith for the space of three years and six months. (chap. v. 17.—Luke iv. 24.) But the Lord took care of Elijah, and fed him by the ravens day by day, and after this in the extremity of the famine, by a very little oil, and an handful of meal which wasted not, he lived many days, and that by prayer and faith in his God. (1 Kings xvii.) And so you see, my brethren, what love and care the Lord hath for his children, for thus it is written that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live. (Deut. viii. 3.) And thus it is, and here it is realized as follows:—For the Lord rained bread from heaven for his people, and they called it manna. (Exod. xvi.) So we see that they were fed by the word of the Lord, even by food which fell from heaven, and that in a miraculous way, in a way which they knew not, neither did their fathers know. And again, we see that after Elijah had slain all the false prophets, and that in a zealous passion for the cause of his God, and for so doing, we see that how his precious life was in danger and pursued after by Jezebel, Ahab's wife, that wicked woman, for she had said that his life if pos