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literally, but spiritually still. What is that then? Why thus: these waters are to be undestood spiritually, and so you read in Rev. xvi., “ The sea, and rivers were turned into blood.” Look therefore when the witnesses shall have power to turn the still waters of a state or nation into war and blood; then is this word fulfilled.
But how came the witnesses to have power to do this?
It may be, not legally, for it is not said here, And I will give power unto them to shut the heavens ; but these have power to shut the heavens, and these have power to turn waters into blood; it is not said here, I will give them power, as it is said before.
It may be this may be done, and not legally.
But when shall this be done?
It must be done immediately before their slaying. I pray mark the coherence here. They shall have power to shut the heavens immediately before they are slain, and to turn water into blood immediately before they are slain, just before the three years and a half, that they lie dead upon the earth. For when did Elijah shut the heavens but immediately before the three years and a half of drought. When did Moses turn the waters into blood, but immediately before the coming out of the children of Israel out of Egypt. So here, immediately before the witnesses are slain, and they lie three years and a half as dead, immediately before, they have power to shut the heavens that it rain not, and to turn waters into blood.
Now therefore to draw to a conclusion ; whensoever you see all these things come to pass; I will not apply them to times or places, this or that time or place ; but when you see all these things come to pass, one treading upon the heel of another; when you shall see that the witnesses have power to shut the heavens that it rain not; to restrain the highest powers both in church and state from their wonted influence, and that they have power to turn water into blood, and turn still nations into war; and then immediately upon it they shall be slain, and so lie dead, deprived of their functions and vital operations, as if they lay dead ; then
; lift up your heads and comfortably say, hopefully say, Now, now comes the three years and a half, which is the last time. Now is our salvation near, for God will bring near his righteousness, and his salvation shall not tarry. And he will place salvation in Sion, for Israel his glory.
Only for the present, let me conclude and leave an exhortation with you, which I will draw up from all which hath been said.
The first part of it is this : The saints and people of God in anti-christian times, they are witnesses.
Therefore, be sure that you bear your testimony faithfully. Be faithful now in your witness-bearing, christians. Christ will pay all the charge that you are at in witness-bearing. If a man have a suit at law, and have five or six witnesses, and carry them a hundred miles, he bears all the charge of their witness-bearing. Saith Christ, I will give power to my witnesses, they are my witnesses. Ye are Christ's witmesses, and look whatsoever charge you are at, he will bear the charge, he will bear all the charge of your witness-bearing. And if your faith come not home enough, as it should be, yet Christ is faithful though we believe not, and therefore be faithful in your witness-beariny.
Though you be but few, be not afraid, be not discouraged, for Christ will always have enough to bear witness to his truth in the darkest times. Comfort ye one another with those words.
Be fruitful as the olive tree; and be lightsome as the candlestick. Oh, that God would roll away the reproach of a barren heart from every one of you, and of a barren life. It is time now to be fruitful that you may be as the olive tree, and as the candlestick, to hold forth your light to others.
Pray now have a care that you wear your sackcloth handsomely. Truly these meetings that now we do enjoy, they have a sackcloth on them ; there is a sackcloth upon the loins of every such meeting as this. Christians, you have your sackcloth on, pray wear your sackcloth handsomely, for in due time you shall have robes, shall come forth in white robes, having your palms in your hands, only for the present wear your sackcloth handsomely. I mean, carry your sad and mournful condition as you ought.
If you find that you be not able for to bear your testimony as you would and as you should, go then to Christ, and remember this promise, “I will give power unto my two
witnesses." Oh, plead this promise, christians, it is a great promise: “I will give power unto my two witnesses.” Though men take away power from you for prophesy; they will not let you pray, nor prophesy, yet“ I will give power.” I will give power in opposition to your own weakness. And I will give power in opposition to men’s malice. Therefore go to Christ and press this promise: Lord, I am one of thy poor witnesses, therefore give power according to thy word, for thou hast said, I will give power, and they shall prophesy.
Let not your mouth be shut, but open in prayer; for it is said here, If any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of his mouth. That was the prayer of Elijah, it brought down fire, scorching and blasting judgments. Christians, is there a fire, a fire in your mouth? Oh, you that have any credit
, in heaven, pray now. If there were any here that I could speak to, I would say thus, You that never prayed, pray now. But I hope there is none such; but if there should be any such, I would say, You that never prayed, pray now; and you that have any credit in heaven, improve it in this day of trial for the poor witnesses.
And to conclude all : If that you should see that the witnesses shall have done such great things, that they have shut heaven that it rain not; that they have turned water into blood, and yet immediately upon it they have been slain, and lie dead ; if you see all these things come to pass one after another, then lift up your heads, oh, ye saints, and wait, and wait ; for he that doth come, will come, and will not tarry. And when he comes, he will not only pay you your principal money, but he will pay you all your forbearance money too. And therefore what I say to one I say unto you all, and to my own soul, Let us wait upon the Lord and keep his way. And thus now I have done with the first time of the witnesses, their prophesying time, their slaying time follows. But that you will conjecture at something by what hath been said.
THE UNCERTAINTY OF THE WORLD SHOULD TAKE OFF OUR
HEARTS FROM THE LOVE OF IT.
· But this I say brethren, the time is short. It remaineth, that both they that have wives, be as though they had none : And they that weep as though they wept not : And they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; And they that buy, as though they possessed not : And they that use this world, as not abusing it ; for the fashion of this world passeth away.” 1 Cor. vii. 30, 31.
“But this I say brethren, the time is short,” &c. In this scripture we have a great exhortation to use this world as if we used it not, which the apostle openeth by divers instances, and strengtheneth by divers arguments. The general exhortation brings up the rear, “They that use this world as if
“ they used it not,” or as “not abusing it.” The instances march in the body and middle of the words ; “ They that have wives, as though they had none; and they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that huy, as though they possessed not.” Which are enclosed with two reasons :
One in the front, “ The time is short;" “ This I say, brethren, the time is short, it remaineth," &c.
The other reason in the close or rear of the words, “ For the fashion of this world passeth away." From all which then I take up this doctrine or observation :
That the consideration of the shortness of our time here, and that the fashion of this world passeth away, should move us to use the world in all our particular concernments, as if we used it not. For the opening whereof these several things will fall under our consideration :
First, That a good man may make use of the world.
Secondly, Though he may make use of the world, yet he must use the world as if he used it not.
Thirdly, What are those particular concernments wherein we are to use the world as if we used it not.
Fourthly, What there is in these reasons of the apostle, “ The shortness of the time," and the “passing fashion of the world,” that should move us so to use the world as if we used it not.
Fifthly, When a man may be said to use the world as if he used it not.
Sixthly; What is the issue and the consequence thereof, in case he do or do not.
Seventhly, What a man should do that he may get his heart into this holy frame, so to use the world as if he used it not.
First therefore, We must grant that a good man may make use of the world; he may make use of the world in reference to the persons of the world, in reference to the things of the world.
In regard of the persons of the world : so Abraham and Isaac did make use of Abimelech ; so Jacob did make use of Laban ; so the Israelites did make use of the Egyptians; so the Jews did make use of the heathen Cyrus, Darius, Artaxerses, for the building of the house of God. Plainly then, a good man may make use of the world, the persons of the world.
And as he may make use of the persons of the world, so he
nay make use of the things of the world, for they are lis own : “All things are yours, whether Paul, or Apollos, things present, and things to come ; life and death, all things are
And who may not make use of his own? If a friend should send a man a gift, it would be accounted an incivility and unthankfulness not to make use thereof. Why truly, as for the things of this world, they are God's gift; “The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh.” They are God's gift; and will it not be accounted an incivility towards God, and an unthankfulness towards God, not to make use of this his gift that he hath given us. May not a traveller make use of those things in his journey, that are meet and necessary for him in his journey? lle may. We are all travellers to another country, we are upon our journey, so far therefore as things are necessary for our journey, we may make use thereof. The Lord would have Adam himself to be employed in the state of innocency, in the things of the world, “Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thou hast to do.” And the apostle, 2 Thess. iii. 11, shews that those are busybodies whose bodies are not busy: “We hear that there are some