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and not ours. For it is the Lord must build this spiritual church, and set it up in the world, and preserve it against the world, and cause it to increase, till it fills the world; so that the design, and the accomplishment of it, belongs to God, and not to us; and they that are displeased at it, let them go and quarrel against God: and so they will certainly do, through the operation of the devil; Behold, saith he, they shall surely gather together: As soon as ever the church separates from the world, the world gathers together against the church.

Yea, this place is not only to be understood of those that are open enemies without the church, but of a generation in it, that are not of it; and so the gathering together against the church, shall be in the church and so Calvin interprets; and such a thing will assuredly come to pass, that the church, as well as the kingdom, will have domestic enemies; it hath been so in all ages, and what wonder will it be if it be so in this? The first division in this kingdom, was between common profession, and open profaneness, and if ever there be another, it is like to lie between the form and power of godliness; and the children that are born after the flesh, will up, and be persecuting them that are born after the Spirit; and the deepest wounds we shall receive, will be in the house of our friends; not our friends indeed, but of such who seem to be so; for they pray as well as we, and preach, and hear, and receive the sacraments, and use the same ordinances with us; and yet their enmity, of all other, will be the greatest against us; and we shall receive deeper wounds in the houses of these friends, than in the streets of our enemies, They shall gather in thee, against thee.

But not by me.

The saints gather together by God, having the Spirit of God to bring them into union and communion: but the

carnal church gathers together against the spiritual, not by God, but without him, for worldly base ends and interests, and profits, and advantages. But mark the end of such gathering together:

Whosoever shall gather together against thee, shall fall for thy sake.

For the Lord loves the church, the body of Christ, even as he loves Jesus Christ himself; thou hast loved them as thou hast loved me. He loves head and members with the same love. The Lord's people are his portion on earth, as he is theirs in heaven: and so he will give nations and kingdoms for them; and hath said, The nations and kingdoms that will not serve thee, shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted. O that this kingdom in itself, and in its representation, would avoid this evil, as they would escape this end.

The four monarchies, for opposing the spiritual church, have fallen for its sake; and so shall every other kingdom and commonwealth, that undertakes against it!

Ver. 16. Behold, I have created the smith, that blows the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy.

Ver. 17. But no weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper, &c.

Thou art, saith God to the church, a small, weak, despised, contemned, persecuted people; but thy safety, protection, blessing, lies in me, and in my power, and wisdom, and love.

No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper.

God blunts the edge of the weapon, and weakens the hand, and puts fear into the heart of him that useth it; and so no weapons that have been used, have prospered hitherto; and if any more weapons shall be used hereafter, they shall be as unprosperous as these.

And every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment, thou shalt condemn.

Two ways you see the enemies of the church assault the church; by their hands, and by their tongues; and this latter way is the more dangerous of the two: by the former, they scourge the church with rods; by this latter, with scorpions. This weapon of the tongue, is the most dangerous weapon that ever was used against the church in any age, and the last refuge of the devil and his instruments to annoy the church. And thus, when the enemy fails at the strength of his weapons, he undertakes again with the malice of his tongue: and with this the enemy strikes against the saints that profess the truth, and against the truth itself, professed by the saints.

Against the saints that profess the truth, clothing them with odious names, and loading them with base aspersions; their tongues rise up in judgment against them; it intimates, they shall have specious pretences against the church. O these are the men, say they, that would turn the world upside-down, that make the nation full of tumults and uproars, that work all the disturbance in church and state; it is fit such men and congregations should be suppressed, and they should have no employments in church or state; it will never be a quiet world, till some course be taken with them, that we may have truth, and peace, and government again. And thus they have fair pretences against the godly, and use the glorious names of truth, peace and government, to the destruction of them all. And this is the sense of these words, for their tongues to rise up in judgment against them.

Yea, methinks this phrase intimates thus much, as if they would call in the aid and power of the secular magistrates against the spiritual Christians, and then their tongues rise up in judgment against them indeed; and except they engage the magistrate's power against the saints,

they think they can never do them mischief enough. And thus their tongues rise up in judgment against the saints that profess the truth.

2. As the enemy strike with their tongue against the saints that profess the truth, so also against the truth professed by the saints: and this they call by way of reproach, new light.

But see how God conquers this weapon of the enemy's tongue to the faithful, as well as the former weapons of their hands; every tongue that riseth up in judgment against thee, thou shalt condemn. All that reproach and slander, and vilify, and abuse the saints, either by their tongues or pens, thou, by thy uprightness, integrity, innocency, truth, and faithfulness, shalt condemn them; thy ways, and thy works, that are led and acted in Christ and his Spirit, shall be the condemnation of all thine enemies; and their misreports and slanders shall be done away as a mist before the sun; and thy righteousness and integrity shall break forth in that clearness, and brightness, and strength, that they shall sit down astonished and amazed and they shall be condemned, not only by the word, and by the saints, but by all the common morality of the world, yea, and by their own consciences; so that they shall carry their guilt with them night and day, and shall not be able to look the godly in the face, whom they have so reproached; the very presence of the saints, shall be the condemnation of their enemies, who have before so unworthily judged them: yea, the whole world shall see the faithfulness and integrity of the saints of God, and shall justify them, and condemn their enemies; and shall say, Lo, these are the men that the world judged as sectaries, and schismatics, and what not! See how faithful they have been to God, and the true church of God, and to the state; and surely they must be bad men, that are enemies to these. And thus, while our enemies judge us, they shall be condemned them

selves. And this shall certainly be done, as sure as the word of God is true, and as sure as the Lord lives, to make good his word. For,

This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord. That is, you shall have this by as sure right as any man hath an inheritance, that is entailed upon him. This is your heritage, O ye servants of the Lord, to make void the force of every weapon that is used against you, and to condemn every tongue that judgeth you. This promise is our portion, and the lot of our inheritance; and in this we rejoice, that while we serve the Lord truly and faithfully, neither the hands nor tongues of the enemy shall hurt us, but in the end we shall be more than conquerors over all. Let my portion fall in this pleasant place, and I shall have a goodly heritage.

And their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.

That is, these servants of mine, are not men of a human and moral righteousness only, but they partake of the righteousness of God in Christ; Their righteousness is of me or thus, though they are sinners before the world (for as the world reckons their own sin for righteousness; so it reckons God's righteousness for sin,) yet they are righteous before me, and in my eyes. So that, however the world reckons us evil does, and not worthy to live in the world, yet God reckons us righteous, and our righteousness is before him.

To conclude: seeing God hath engaged himself to secure us in his ways, both from the weapons and tongues of men, Go and tell the foxes, that we will walk without fear in the world, both to-day and to-morrow, and the third day we shall be perfected.

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