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away. Others fall into Satan's sieve, and are effectually shook, tossed, tumbled and winnowed: butto these the Lord appears, and takes the prey from the mighty, and delivers the lawful captive, who never forgets the wormwood and the gall. And those who escape the sieve are caught in Satan's bridle; and this is the worst of all; for Satan will never let such an one rest till he hath involved him in the guilt of the great transgression : he will make him with this bridle set his mouth against the heavens, and his tongue go through the earth by circulating his damınable heresy. But the Lord's chosen ones return to the chief Shepherd and Bishop of souls, while waters of a full cup are wrung out unto them. Blessed be God for convincing us of our ignorance and blindness, and for humbling us to submit to divine revelation; but, above all, for keeping us from kicking, stumbling, and taking offence, at the glorious foundation that he hath laid in Zion.
Again. This bridle is said to be in the jaws of the people, causing them to err. Job makes mention of the jaws of the wicked. “I was a father to the poor: and the cause which I knew not, I searched out. And I brake the jaws of the wicked, and plucked the spoil out of his teeth.” Job xxix. 16, 17. Job compares these spoilers to a voracious beast, or mastiff dog, which, when they seize a child, a lamb, kid, or calf, hold so fast, that there is no such thing as rescuing the poor creature, but by wrenching open the jaws by
violence. Just such is an oppressor, a grinder of the face of the poor, an overreacher, an overbearer, who is as insatiable after money, as a starven beast is after prey: these greedy dogs can never have enough; they go about the city, and grin like a dog, and grudge, but are never satisfied. Job set himself against these, and raised the court against them, and made them relinquish the spoil they had taken. “ He hath swallowed down riches," says Job,“ but he shall vomit them up again; God shall cast them out of his belly.” Just such a beast of prey is a wolf in sheep's clothing, among the sheep and lambs of the Lord's fold; or, to keep to my text, just such an one is a damnable heretic, with this bridle of the devil in his jaws : to devour, divide, and scatter the sheep of Christ is all his work; and he is so bent upon it, that his sleep is taken away, unless he hath caused some to fall.
The mystical body of Christ is compared to the human body, and the different members of the body to individual believers of different sizes in growth, or in different stages of foot and the ear represent the diligent and the attentive believer; and such as these the devil is most watchful over; and when one of these devourers of the poor and needy have been let loose upon the flock, nothing has been left for the Lord but three mangled members, and these sick in bed. “ Thus saith the Lord, As the shepherd taketh out of the mouth of the lion two legs, or a piece
of an ear; so shall the children of Israel be taken out that dwell in Samaria, in the corner of a bed, and in Damascus on a couch,” Amos ii. 12.
In the heart of this monster of iniquity Satan rules; in his vain imagination Satan is exalted, and there he raises his high towers of self-conceit, human wisdom, self-sufficiency, independency, carnal reason, and the wonderful light of fallen nature; and every other high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of Christ, that not one thought may ever go into captivity to the obedience of him. The reins of this bridle is infernal power, which leads this deluded wretch captive at his will; por can he recover himself out of this snare of the devil: he hath chosen his own way, and God hath chosen his delusions. The bit of this bridle is pride; and a poor wretch hardened and stiffened with pride would sink into everlasting burning, before he would bow, yield, submit, or acknowledge an offence, or himself in an error. The Jewish pharisees would plunge themselves in the guilt of innocent blood, and into the unpardonable sin up to the neck, and expose their nation to ruin, and themselves to the greatest damnation, rather than submit to the person or doctrines of Christ, or acknowledge the truth of one charge brought against them by the Son of God. This bridle was in their jaws, and the devil rode them, and managed them, in all their persecutions of Christ, from the manger to the cross: and they pursued him as bad after his
resurrection, until the Roman sword came upon them; and then, just as Pharaoh and his troopers perished in the Red Sea, so these were drowned in destruction and perdition; for wrath came upon them to the uttermost; and at the day of judgment such, saith Christ, shall go away with the devil and his angels.
God hath set a brand upon several classes of people, which those who are skilled in physiognomy may read: a whore's forehead exhibits a defiance of all virtue, modesty, and chastity; it can redden at nothing; nothing can deface it but Mary's repentance. The midnight cry will make them change pale, but it will not make them blush. A fallen countenance informs us of the destruction of a false hope, and of some awful bill of indictment being filed in the court of conscience. A sad countenance on the butler and baker of Pharaoh informed Joseph of the sorrow of their hearts. The anxiety, pious concern, wishful eyes, and blubbered cheeks of the spouse in the Song, told the daughters of Jerusalem that she was crossed in love. “ Whither is thy beloved gone, O thou fairest among women? Whither is this thy beloved turned aside, that we may seek him with thee?” The scorner in his chair is to be known by his brow of brass, which no reproof nor rebuke from man, no warning nor allurement by the ministry, ever melts or removes. A papist carries the mark of the beast in his forehead; judicial blindness, bigotry, hatred, and revenge, are evident enough.
But this ungovernable animal in my text, when he is equipped, is the most conspicuous of all; defiance of heaven appears on his brow, pride swells his cheeks, and Satan looks through his eyes, and never suffers one plain truth, in real honesty, ever to come from his mouth. This is the pale horse, and he that sits on him is Death, and hell follows him, Rev. vi. 8. Be not like a horse or mule, which have no understanding, whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, and I will guide you with mine eye, saith the great Commander and Leader of his people, and where this eye, this true light shines, God grant we may ever follow! Amen, and amen.
END OF THE EIGIITEENTH VOLUME,
T. Bensley, Printer,