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When my life and reputation were both equally struck at, by the hellish plot laid against me by that man, who instead of hanging me would have hanged himself, who wrought my escape and deliverance from that destroyer, but the wonderworking providence of Jehovah'
Such plots as the two last-mentioned have proved successful to the destroying thousands of other men, but me they could not reach, because I was hid in the hollow of God's providential hand 1
That sinful desperation and unbelief while under the terrors of the law, which sent Cain, Judas, and innumerable millions of Adam's reprobate posterity to hell, the place of the damned; what hindered that it did not fix me in the same place and condition of misery, when by the raging power thereof I was brought so near hell, in my own apprehensions, as that I looked on myself as a free denison of that place : What, I say, kept me back from descending into that place but the providence of God, discovering and applying to me, by the saving operation of the Holy Ghost, the Almighty Saviour held forth in the gospel?
See, and learn hence, how like an absolute and unlimited sovereign the great God did work in my behalf; and that in behalf of my soul as well as my body l
He, who by the ministry of man, hath by his own blessing accompanying that, his own ordinance, converted innumerable thousands of the elečt, it pleased him to convert and call me out of my natuaral state to a state of grace, without the ministry of man; and that both by awakening and wounding me by the spirit of bondage, setting home by the law the fight and sense of my lost estate, and by healing and curing the bleeding wounds of my despairing soul, by the spirit of adoption discovering and applying to me the merit and saving virtue of Christ's mediatorial righteousness; which hath occasioned my often thinking of what is storied of Achilles, a notable archer among the heathen, who gave such wounds by the arrows he shot, as no hand but his own could cure. Una eademque manus, vulnus, opemgue tutit. The selfsame hand which gave the wound, brought the cure. How true this is of Achilles I am uncertain; but in this, of the wounding and healing of my soul, I am not more certain of any thing in nature than I am that the spirit of Christ, which wounded me by the law, did also heal me by the gospel. Job v. 18. For be maketh sore, and bindeth up ; he woundeth, and his hands make whole.
o BS E R v ATION IV. . . .
and all other fleshly relations, being turned out empty-handed to the wide world, and not knowing whither to go, or what to do, God took care of me, and provided a lodging and friends for me, which, with the peace of my conscience, gave me more satisfaction and comfortable content than all the gallantry and greatness of my fleshly relations. Those sweet promises, recorded in the scriptures and made good by the providence of God, have oftentimes refreshed and ravished my pensive and weary soul. Psalm xxvii. 10. When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up. Matt. xix. 29. And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or land, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundred fold; and shall inherit eternal life. Heb. xiii. 5. Let your conversation be without covetousness, and be content with such things as ye have; for he bath said, I will never, never, never, never, leave thee, nor forsake thee. The Greek hath no less than five negatives in this one scripture to assure the true believer that God will in nowise forget or forsake him. I have been forsaken of my nurse when but three months old, but I was taken into the nursery of God's providential care, which causes me often to think with comfort of Psalm xxii. Io. I was cast upon thee from the womb; thou art my God from my mother's belly. The same providence which took care of the head takes care also for the members.