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ness, the word, or judgments of God often smote them, and they beginning to sink under the stroke, ran to one of these ladies of candour, who told them that the man that rebuked them was not a prophet of a good spirit, but quite the reverse, therefore not to be regarded; nothing but candour and sweetness could ever come from God, from his word, or from his Spirit; and with this pillow, the smitten, blasted, withering, and sinking hypocrite was propped up and fortified against the sword of the Spirit, and those that handled it; so that all reproofs, rebukes, and sharpness, used against an hypocrite, an idle professor, a busybody, or a blowzy-faced drunkard, are the effects of a bad spirit, and not to be regarded. A minister of Christ is not to speak like the piercing of a sword, nor to use sharpness, lest they rouse the sleepy or disquiet the carnally secure professor ; nothing but candour and sweetness is to be used; no zeal for God, no disobedience is to be revenged, no mumping hypocrites is to be discovered, nothing but bowels of mercy are to be put on by a servant of the Lord; thus hypocrites are bolstered up and fortified against the word of God, until, being often reproved, they harden their own neck, and are suddenly destroyed, and that without remedy, Prov. xxix. 1. This is the business of these prophetesses: the objects of their hatred are the children of God; they are said to make the righteous sad, to destroy souls that should not die, by hardening them against all conviction; the end
they aimed at was a livelihood; it was done for pieces of bread and handfuls of barley; the name of God was polluted, the hands of evil-doers strengthened, and the righteous opposed, to indulge themselves in idleness, get the name of a prophetess, and to enshrine themselves in the house, pantry, pocket, and conscience of every poor purblind sinner that received a wound or stripe from his Maker.
The secret watchword put me in mind of the witness of God's Spirit in the hearts of the faithful. This is one secret that is with the righteous; none know any thing of this but the armies of the Lord of hosts; this watchword comes from the Captain of our salvation, it is whispered to the heart of every good soldier of Jesus Christ, and is kept a profound secret in the camp of the saints; it can never be explained nor divulged by any adversary or hypocrite in the world; neither the wicked nor the fool understand this.
The drawbridge, which when drawn up cuts off all communication, brought to my mind the Saviour, who is the only way to the Father; by venturing on whom, millions have gone safely over the very verge of the bottomless pit, which still continues to bear all up and safely over, who come by this new and living way; but the time will come when this bridge will be drawn up to heaven; the master will rise up and shut the door; then all communication will be cut off; no more grace, mercy, or truth communicated to men; no more
communicating troubles to God in prayer; the bridge is drawn, and the waters of wrath separate; "Lord! Lord! open to us," will be all in vain at that day. The Lord forgave the iniquity of my sin, saith the Psalmist. "For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee, in a time when thou mayest be found; surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him," Psalm xxxii. 5, 6.
The bold attempt of Colonel Blood, (who disguised himself in the garb of a doctor of divinity, with a band, false band, a cap with ears, &c. in order to get acquainted with the keeper of the regalia, who, with his accomplices, knocked down the keeper with a mallet, seized the crown, sceptre, dove, &c. and put them into a wallet, in order to carry them off, but was discovered and secured before he could get out of the Tower,) brought to my mind the daring and presumptuous claim that hardened hypocrites lay to the crown of lovingkindness and tender mercy; who come into the church only to spy out our liberty, misuse the officers, encourage rebels in their wickedness, and lead them to destruction. They cannot endure to see the officers of Zion's king intrusted with such valuables; they covet the office and the honour of it; but they have no power from the king, therefore they hate and oppose the power in others, and palm the devil, that actuates them, upon those that oppose their hypocrisy; and by these means they support the interest of Satan, and bring thou
sands to his gloomy regions. Jannes and Jambres, who withstood Moses, did, by counterfeiting his power, render him in the eyes of Pharaoh no more than a magician; and the miracles of God, which Moses wrought, were debased to a level with magic, or devilish art. This was enough to harden the heart of Pharaoh and all his house, till their country was ruined, the fierceness of God's wrath poured out, evil angels were sent among them, the first-born of man and beast destroyed, and Pharaoh and all his hosts overwhelmed in the Red Sea.
It was four hundred false prophets kept in idleness by Ahab that brought him to his destruction; these all spoke in the name of the Lord. "Jehoshaphat said unto the king of Israel, inquire, I pray thee, at the word of the Lord to-day. Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said, shall I go against Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up, for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king. And Jehoshaphat said, is there not here a prophet of the Lord besides, that we might inquire of him? And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the Lord; but I hate him, for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so. Then the king of Israel called an officer, and said, Hasten hither, Micaiah the son of Imlah. And the mes
senger spake unto Micaiah, saying, Behold now, the words of the prophets declare good unto the king with one mouth;" there is not a bad spirited man among them; every one is clothed with bowels of mercy, there is no wormwood, bitterness, or gall made use of; nothing but sweetness and candour drops from their lips; let not thy bitter spirit blast the king's scheme, nor dare to set thy face against an assemblage of four hundred prophets, who prophesy good with one consent; be entreated, lay by your singularity; I speak as a friend; I know you are a prophet of the Lord, but you must not prophesy against these good men; these to a man have prophesied good; "let thy word, I pray thee, be like the word of one of them, and speak that which is good. And Micaiah said, As the Lord liveth, what the Lord saith unto me, that will I speak." Can this be the Spirit of the Lord? is it not the reverse? "So he came to the king. And the king said unto him, Micaiah, shall we go against Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall we forbear? And he answered him, Go, and prosper, for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king." These were the words verbatim that were delivered by the four hundred good prophets. But yet this will not do; the king took it as a humorous jest, and said unto him, "How many times shall I adjure thee that thou tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the Lord?" This was intended to represent Micaiah as a lying prophet in the eyes of Jehoshaphat, though he had spoken nothing