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heels shall compass me about? Ps: 49. 5 These heels are some part of our Lord in his state as the the Son of man. It is said, Thou shalt bruise his heel. We must look down at the footsteps to find the heel, and then we shall see our Lord suffering thus, He hath left us an example that we should follow his steps, who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, threatened not, but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously, 1 Pet. 23. Though he had no sin himself, iniquity compassed his heels, or his suffering state, and caused him to go on in much sorrow, so that he could not be free, even with those that loved him, and that he loved. This iniquity is pointed out in the 49th Psalm. They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches such as have their heart set upon money. Judas bare the bag. For thirty pieces of silver he sold his master, but with profound deceit betrayed him. Hail, master, and kissed him! When he was purged from the company of the apostles, then our Lord advanced them to the rank of friends; I call you not henceforth servants but friends. John 15. 15. And freely opened his heart to them in those three beautiful chapters so different from all the rest. Yet still he compassed him till he threw him down, delivering him to the power of the world, and so to death. But these things must be, or how should the scripture he fulfilled. Habbak

kuk looked at such times as these, and begins his prophecy, as a burden, O Lord, how long shall I ery, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save! Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? For spoiling and violence are before me; and there are that stir up, strife and contention. Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous, therefore wrong judgment proceedeth. So Jesus Christ was judged and condemned as worthy of death by the means of the man who knew that it was innocent blood. The disciples themselves seeing these things were offended at our dear Lord, forsook him and fled. For the prophet says, Surely we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted; we hid, as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Isa. 53. 3. All you shall be offended because of me this night.

His time of sojourning in our nature was not a time of hot and general persecution. The Jews singled him out as an object of vengeance to cast him headlong, or to stone him, and at last crucified him. But his followers were not exposed to this till after the Holy Ghost came down, and then dreadful slaughter began. He prepares the minds of the disciples for this. If the world hate you, you know that it hated me before it hated you. John

15. 18. They shall deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you; and you shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. Matt. 24. 9. The two periods that John describes in the chapter of my text before this, that we are now considering, were periods of great persecution. When that

ceases, then the world and the church are apt to mix, so that but little difference can be seen, and we may be sure that the power of godliness is declining; and the more the world, and professors of religion, and those who have more than profession, are intermingled, so life that is spiritual is more rare. And as the power of religion is not light, but life; and life is found in faith, hope, and love, these are at low ebb. The Thessalonians, more persecuted than any, abounded more than any church in these three. 2 Thess. 1.

Again, they who had received from him the pardon of their sin were scattered here and there. There was no communion of saints outwardly. His extreme sufferings brought them nearer together, and the Holy Ghost at his coming knit them in heart. But in our Lord's life time, we have no account of the man' sick of the palsy, of the blind man, of the samaritan, and of others; they were all at a distance from each other most probably, and little known.

Lastly, In the days of the Son of man, profession was most rampant; and they that were nearest him appearance, but not in heart, as Judas, were the

in

worst. They rejoiced, they laughed, they triumphed, they fed, were full, and in high esteem. Luke 6. 24. While the righteous were sad, poor, and sorrowful. The just, upright man was laughed

to scorn.

When therefore you see the church of God in the general much bowed down and afflicted, in sorrow and inward suffering; when there is much distance, shyness and evil surmisings among them; when each thinks more of himself than he ought, in conversation and in company can ill bear to be least; when many cleave with flatteries, are liberal to make a shew and gain favour, but grind the poor to make up that waste; most forward when they can gain a name, and backward to relieve real distress; when under much love in shew, war is in their heart; when there is no hot outward persecution; when the wicked compass about the righteous, so that wrong judgment proceedeth; when professors without power are mirthful and joyous; when there is no visible difference between the church and the world, but one apes the other; when these are very distinguishing marks; then judge ye that this vision which John saw is nigh, yea, even then present, which represents the Son of man sitting upon a cloud, taking his rest, not being as in the two former periods persecuted in his members; and considering in his dwelling place, no great spread of his truth

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as heretofore; but deliberating, and suffering long, cherishing his weakly plants, and refreshing them just enough to keep in life thro' the dew. Some one or more sees and aloud for the sickle,

feels all this, and cries

from love to his master

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and mercy to man. For a mercy it is that the Lord should sweep men from the land of the living, when it is evident a length of life is only lengthening crimes, violence, michief, and mutual injury one of another.

But he sits, having a golden crown on his head; golden, to denote the riches of his grace; and a crown to denote the glory of his power; and having in his hand a sharp sickle; an instrument of severity. And another angel came out of the temple, saying, with a loud voice, to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap for the time to reap is come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.

The harvest is the ripeness of wickedness, for their wickedness is great, says Joel; and such a time calls for weeping and lamentation, for fear and trembling, and sitting loose to this world. Yet it is so contrary to this, as to be a time of general rejoicing, as harvest is, and of sharing abundant fruits. But before they begin to enjoy properly, the sickle is put in, and down they come.

The harvest is not a sudden thing. There has been a gradual growth for a long time before the

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