Spoils taken from the Tower of London
- without Siege, Violence, Bloodshed, Conquest, or Loss to the Owners.
IN A LETTER TO A FRIEND.
William Huntington S.S. (1745-1813)
FROM A CERTAIN LOYALIST IN THE BURNING BUSH, TO THE SON OF DAVID, ALIAS MR. DAVIDSON, NO. 7, POSTERN ROW, SECURED BY A WALL, THOUGH IN VIEW OF THE DITCH, LIVING NEAR THE TOWER.
I WISH grace, mercy, and peace to be for ever with thee through Jesus Christ, our most blessed God and Saviour. In my way home after you was so kind as to accompany me in viewing the many curiosities in the Tower, I fell to considering and spiritualizing the various things that I had seen; and upon reflection my roving fancy took her flight, and at her return many things were exhibited on the threshold; the conclusion I made is, that your situation is somewhat singular, and your privileges such as few can boast of.
You live in daily prospect of the high tower, Psal. xviii. 2; which the royal psalmist, though highly favoured of God, was not always indulged with. When we are fixed on the high tower the world appears as the drop of a bucket, or the small dust of a balance, lighter than vanity and less than nothing. You know the promise is that the saint shall dwell on high, that his place of defence shall be the munition of rocks, that bread shall be given him and his water shall be sure, that he shall see the King in his beauty, and behold the land that is very far off.
The royal armoury is within a bowshot of your person, "whereon there hang a thousand buckle"", all shields of mighty men," Cant. iv. 4. Many a good soldier of Jesus Christ, when engaged in the fight of faith, has felt his need of the helmet of hope, the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of help, the shield of faith, the girdle of truth, and the sword of the Spirit, who never could say, as you can, that they lived all the year round close to and in full view of the royal armoury.
Nor have you any thing to fear from the horse armoury. The horses, their armour, their formidable riders, and their weapons of war, strike no terror; they are all fixed, and confined in perpetual imprisonment; there is no apprehension of any danger from them; all the terror they have caused in the land of the lying is now over. What would thousands of Christians have given to have seen the Saracens in the same manner confined when they appeared so terrible: as it is written, "And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them. And thus I saw he horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone; and the heads of horses were as the heads of lions, and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone. By these three was the bird part of men killed." Thus the Tower presents some things in effigy which John saw in vision; and the iron breastplates on the Saracens' troop horses were lively emblems of the seared consciences of that troop of locusts who spread the doctrines of the Turkish alcoran; and of the trading swarm of popish priests, who get money for themselves, and souls for the devil, by selling bulls and pardons.
Many a young Christian who has had Christ in him the hope of glory, has been afraid at first to launch out into the world in a public profession, saying, with the sluggard, "There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets," Prov. xxii. 13; whereas you can go every day and see not only the lions, but wolves, bears, tigers, and leopards, all confined in their dens; yea, you can lay on your bed and hear their terrible roar, but not one of them can come nigh thy dwelling. Highly favoured Daniel, only for calling upon his God, was east in among them; but as he cleaved close to the lion of the tribe of Judah, the others could do him no mischief. O what a day will that be, when the lion of the bottomless pit shall be as closely cooped as those are in the Tower. The angel will come down at the time appointed, and bring his chain in his hand, lay hold of that old serpent the devil, and bind him a thousand years, cast him into the pit, and set a seal upon him, which will make the den more secure than the seal of the king of Babylon made that of the lions' den, that his purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel; or the seal of the Jewish rabbies on the Saviour's sepulchre, which was intended to baffle the force of omnipotence.
The Tower-ditch may serve to remind thee of the very many who by missing the way to the strait gate, have been directed further from it by blind guides, who have groped for the wall till the leader and the led have both fell into the ditch together. Two or three persons have fell into the Tower-ditch in thy days; but it is to be feared there are many more who daily fall into a ditch far worse and far deeper than that. But there is a wall between thee and the ditch, though but a very low one, which may serve to remind thee of Zion's safety; "In that day shall this song be sung, We have a strong city, salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks," Souls encompassed with these are well secured from the ditch. The wall being so very low on the hill side, and so high on the side of the ditch, serves to shew us the side on which the miser takes a view of his bags, whose "wealth is his strong city, and as an high wall in his own conceit," Prov. xviii. 11; so the outward Tower wall appears to a person on the ditch-side; but was he upon Tower-hill it would hardly be seen; so let a worldling be stationed on Zion-hill, and his wall vanishes altogether, and appears less than nothing. But to set a man here is the work of him who said to the publican, "This day is salvation come to this house;" upon the proclamation of which the wall of wealth yielded up the fort of the heart, and the root of all evil was no longer a bulwark of safety.
You have a considerable number of men under arms near your dwelling both day and night; whereas Zion and her rightful sovereign have but few if any more who keep guard round their royal state bed: "Behold his bed which is Solomon's; threescore valiant men are about it, of the valiant of Israel. They all hold swords, being expert in war; every man hath his sword upon his thigh, because of fear in the night." This guard may serve to remind thee of the ministers of the gospel, who are to defend the truth, and the church of the living God, which is the ground and pillar of it, with such spiritual weapons as the Lord's armoury furnishes them with. But thy sure defence is in the God of armies, who is both our guardian and our watch; "Unless the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain."
If I mistake not, thy dwelling is between two hills; one is died Great and the other Little Tower Hill. It is a blessed thing to have one's dwelling among the hills; that is, to have the ancient mountain of eternal election made sure behind, and the everlasting hill of glorification in full view before. It is prophesied that "the mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills by righteousness ;" upon these God has promised towers of blessing, which make the heart soft, and cause joy unspeakable to spring up within; this crowns a gospel year with goodness, while God's paths drop fatness; "They drop upon the pastures of the wilderness, and the Little hills rejoice on every side," Psalm lxv. 11, 12.
The royal crown may serve to remind thee of the crown of knowledge with which the prudent are crowned; of the crown of loving-kindness and tender mercies, which the believer appears in on certain court days; of the crown of life promised to the faithful overcomer at his death; of the crown of righteousness, which is to be worn by kings and priests when they will appear as faithful witnesses at the day of judgment; and of the incorruptible crown of glory that is undefiled, and that never fades ray, reserved in heaven for those who are kept by the mighty power of God through faith to salvation. He whose eyes are as flame of fire, and on whose head are many crowns, Rev. xix. 12; will one day or other bring these forth in all their divine tree when the chosen fraternity are raised up from the dust, and the beggars from the dunghill, and made to sit among princes, and to inherit the throne of glory, 1 Sam. ii. 8.
The royal diadem with its numerous gems brought to my mind the inconceivable beauty, and the sparkling lustre of divine majesty, that the ever blessed Saviour, the Prince of Peace, sometimes appears in, when he comes to pay his addresses or love-visits to poor wretched sinners, in order to woo and espouse them to himself. In those nuptial days, the Lord of Hosts is a crown of glory and a diadem of beauty to the residue of his people, Isa. viii. 5. Nor will Zion be less in the eyes of her royal bridegroom when he rises and shines with all his glorious majesty on her; she will be a royal diadem in the hand of her God, and be no more termed forsaken or desolate, but Hephzibah, the Lord's delight, Isaiah, lxii. 3, 4. To be blessed with a savoury experience of this, and to enjoy the Spirit's sweet influences, are summary pledges and foretastes of what is to come; these are the marks that secure the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. The soul that knows, experiences, and enjoys these things, and is persuaded in his own mind, by the Spirit of faith, of the reality of them, and of his part and lot in them, may say, as Job did, "My judgment is as a robe and a diadem."
The golden sceptre may remind thee of the sceptre of righteousness, by which every faithful subject of the King of kings is ruled. Victory over devils, the world, self, sin, and death, is, the blessed effect of being under the sceptre of righteousness and the dominion of grace. It is true none of these adversaries are destroyed in the strictest sense; but their destroying power is with respect to the elect, and they will be all beat down under our feet in due time. I am an eye witness that you touched the golden sceptre once; but this is not enough, we must appear at court daily to renew our friendship, and give proof of our loyalty. Beware of a shyness; a distance; a lukewarmness; indulged sins; contracted guilt; an accusing devil; or, what is worse than all, an accusing conscience getting between the King and thee; these things obscure or bring a cloud over the throne of grace, which in time hinders prayer from going forth. At the worst of times, and with the worst of cases, do as some did in the days of old, who said, I will go in and stand before the King, and if I perish I perish; to whom the golden sceptre was held out, and half the kingdom promised; but Christ gives more, for the whole kingdom is ours.
The curtana, or blunt sword of mercy, which is carried between the two swords of justice, the spiritual and the temporal, brought to my mind the terrible appearance that the Lord makes when he first comes to the chosen sinner, and wounds him with the sword of the Spirit, which separates joints and marrow, and discovers the recesses of the heart; insomuch that the poor sinner thinks he is going to destruction; whereas the sword of mercy, though it hath got two edges, yet it hath no point. The wound, or rather bruise, that the Saviour gives us with this, when he appears as conqueror, serves to make more work for him as a physician. I wound and I heal, saith the blessed Redeemer; the Lord maketh sore and bindeth up; he that girds his sword upon his thigh as the most mighty, is anointed to bind up the broken hearted, and to set at liberty those that are bruised, Luke, iv. 18. I think this blunt sword may represent that which Moses speaks of; "Happy art thou, O Israel; who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thine excellency?" An excellent sword this, there is none like it; the wounds we receive from this are excellent, noble, divine, and durable; God grant they never may be healed while we live in the world, seeing a broken spirit is an acceptable sacrifice; under every wound remember it is the sword of mercy; in mercy it is used, and through mercy it will do no hurt; mercy has a soft hand, a tender heart, and compassionate bowels; if fatherly severity gives a wound, tender pity applies the balm. It may be said of a saint in a good sense as it is said of the popish beast in a bad one; That he received a wound by a sword and did live, for his deadly wound was healed; and the whole world will one day wonder as much at the saint, as it wondered after the beast. In short, it will not be terrible to a child of God to die of the wounds given by the sword of mercy. This weapon is generally used where peace is proclaimed; "There is that speaketh like the piercing of a sword, but the tongue of the wise is health."
The ivory sceptre with the dove on the top put me in mind of Solomon's ivory throne, which that peaceable prince made for himself, "overlayed with the best gold; the throne had six steps, and the top of the throne was round behind; and there were stays on either side on the place of the seat, and two lions stood beside the stays. And twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other upon the six steps; there was not the like made in any kingdom." This throne beautifully typified the throne of grace; the light colour may shew the Saviour's holy and merciful proceedings with his own people; the two lions at the foot of the throne, the one representing the terrible majesty of his deity; "The lion hath roared, who will not fear? the Lord God hath spoken, who can but prophesy?" the other the majesty of his risen, exalted, and glorified humanity, he being the lion of the tribe of Judah. The six steps may prefigure the Saviour's way to his throne; he went to it, 1. By his descent from heaven. 2. By his assumption of human nature. 3. By his state of humiliation as a servant. 4. By his obedient descent by death into the grave. 5. By his resurrection; and 6. By his ascension to heaven, where he is sat down on the throne of majesty on high. The twelve hens on the steps of the ivory throne might represent not only the twelve tribes, who at first supported Solomon on his throne, but the twelve apostles, who as prime ministers of state, and the honourable privy council of the great king, appeared bold, valiant, and courageous, spent all they had, and were spent themselves in defending the honour, hereditary and meritorious right of their royal master to the throne of David, and the government of the house of Israel; their standing on the steps may denote their ascension after their master, and the impossibility of any getting to the Saviour but by obedience to the doctrines which they taught; it may likewise denote their ascension to be with their Lord, who will one day appear twelve lions indeed, when they sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. The ivory sceptre put me in mind of the sceptre swayed by the Saviour in glory; he is king of Zion and king of glory, king of saints, and king of angels, principalities and powers. The colour of this sceptre put me in mind of the bright, the glorious, and lovely proceedings of the great King among tire spirits of just men made perfect.
The dove upon the top, the emblem of peace, served to remind me of those peaceable mansions and quiet habitations above, where uninterrupted peace shall be enjoyed, the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary be for ever at rest. The dove brought to my mind the blessed Spirit of God, which rests upon every loyal subject of the Saviour's spiritual kingdom; and on which account the church is called by her royal bridegroom, "My love, my dove, my undefiled;" "My dove that art in the clefts of the rock, Let me see thy countenance," says the altogether lovely, "Let me hear thy voice, for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely."
The silver fountain being empty put me in mind of the emptiness of all sublunary enjoyments, which at first sight seem to promise much, but afford no more than the fountain did to us, that is, the beholding of it with our eyes, which are never satisfied with seeing. An empty fountain seems a contradiction in terms, because it has no supply from itself; it should rather be called a cistern, because it will hold water if you put it into it; but all the transient enjoyments of this world are in a cistern that can hold no water. "My people," saith God, "have committed two evils, they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water." God is a fountain of living water, from whom through the Lamb comes that glorious river, the streams whereof make glad the city of God.
Souls filled and satisfied with this water never thirst for the vanities of this world again; he has got a spring within him, as wisdom says; "A good man is satisfied from himself," that is, from a knowledge of his own safety and happiness, for his very heart is a fountain being partaker of that water that springs up into ever lasting life; on which account the church is called "A garden enclosed a spring shut up, a fountain sealed." This spring shall carry us at last into that inexhaustible fountain from whence the streams descend; then we shall be abundantly satisfied with the goodness of his house, and drink of the river of his pleasure; for with him is the fountain of life; until which happy and blessed period we must content ourselves with that glorious declaration that heaven has made to Zion; "All my springs are in thee."
The golden eagle with her expanded wings put me in mind of the amazing condescension and tender love of God, which quickens, inflames, and bears the church above the world. Moses represents this bird as turning over her eggs, that they may all get warm alike; as hovering over her young, and taking them on her wings and mounting up with them, in order to teach them how to fly; and then compares it to the tender care and love of God to his people. "As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings; so the Lord alone did lead him [Jacob] and there was no strange God with him. He made him ride on the high places of the earth," Deut. xxxii. 11 - 13.
The eagle is a very towering flyer, noted for scent and quickness of sight; on which account heavenly-minded souls are compared to her; "They shall mount up as upon eagles' wings, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint." Job says the eagle beholds afar off; and I am sure that the eye of faith sees further than all the eagles in the world; the ancient saints saw the promise at a distance. Enoch, the seventh from Adam, saw the day of judgment; and the eye of faith will pry into heaven itself, and see the way thither; so that the eye of faith exceeds the eye of the eagle, for that is "a path that no fowl knoweth, and which the vulture's eye hath never seen." It is said of the eagle that she can look at the full blaze of the sun; so can the Christian, when the Sun has looked upon him; he can see him that is invisible, and find his sight strengthened instead of weakened; it affords pleasure instead of pain; "a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun."
We were informed that the holy oil is put into the golden eagle, and poured out of its beak into the golden spoon, with which the kings of Great Britain are anointed; this put me in mind of the golden pipes, which empty the golden oil out of themselves, Zech. iv. 12. The candlestick represents the church; the bowl upon the top of it the gospel of Christ preached; the seven lamps the eyes of the Lord upon it, and his precious salvation in it; the seven pipes represent tried, purified, and faithful ministers, who are ministers of the spirit; who being anointed with the oil of joy themselves, anoint others with the same oil in the name of the Lord, James, v. 14; and all this comes from Him who is said to bear Jacob as on eagles' wings, who was anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows, that he might give us "beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness," Isaiah, lxi. 3. This anointing makes us kings and priests unto God. This oil makes the countenance of a saint to shine; it keeps the lamp of his salvation burning with love, light, and zeal, so that it goeth not out by night, nor even at midnight; the light of the righteous rejoiceth, when the lamp of the wicked is put out, Prov. xiii. 9. "There is a treasure to be desired," saith the wise man "and [it is] oil in the dwelling of the wise;" which will certainly be fulfilled when the foolish virgins will say to the wise, Give us of your oil, for our lamps are gone out. This oil is no less than the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of all grace. Jesus was anointed with the Holy Ghost. The soul that has got this blessing shall find all things work for his good; "Let the righteous smite me, it shall be a kindness; and let him reprove me, it shall be an excellent oil." Job was no stranger to this when he made this doleful and lamentable complaint: "O that I were as in months past, as in the days when God preserved me; when his candle shined upon my head, and when by his light I walked through darkness; as I was in the days of my youth, when the secret of God was upon my tabernacle; when the Almighty was yet with me, when my children were about me; when I washed my steps with butter, and the rock poured me out rivers of oil."
The golden spoon may serve to caution us against remissness n duty, coldness, slothfulness, and negligence in the ways of God, which make Christians weak, sickly, and childish in spiritual things. Spoons are table furniture, generally used to feed children; we are commanded to grow in grace and knowledge; to be men in understanding. A stunted, weak, rickety child is always in the cradle, the chair, the arms, the swing, the backstring, or the go-cart; they are always in danger; never out of harm's way. Paul speaks of the Hebrews, who for the time they had made a profession ought to have been teachers, who needed teaching again, being children; needing milk instead of meat; he that useth milk, says the apostle, is unskilful in the word of righteousness for he is a babe. It is to our own advantage that grow in knowledge and experience; we are then able to give a reason of our hope, defend our own testimony, stop the mouth gainsayer, and discover the emptiness of a fawning hypocrite. It is by trials, by watchfulness, by diligence, by meditation, by reading, by spiritual conversation, and by prayer, that Christians grow as the vine, revive as the corn, and flourish as the palm tree. Such souls are capable of discerning, receiving, and digesting and wholesome doctrines, which the apostle calls meat. "I have fed you," saith he, "with milk, not with meat, for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able." "Strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern between good and evil." If my friend can bear such food as this, there is another curiosity that may be considered, and that is:
The golden salt-cellar of state, made like the square white tower which is used at the king's table on the day of coronation. This golden salt-cellar may prefigure a believing heart blessed with the grace of God, which will preserve us to God's everlasting kingdom: "Have salt in yourselves," says the Saviour, "and have peace one with another." Every spiritual sacrifice stands in need of this savoury article. The sacrifices of a broken heart, of prayer, of praise, of almsgiving, of thanksgiving, yea, even the body which is to be presented as a living sacrifice, in need of salt: "Every oblation of thy meat-offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat-offering; with thine offerings thou shalt offer salt." "Every sacrifice shall be salted with salt." The apostles and Jewish disciples were the salt of the land of Canaan; "Ye are the salt of the earth," and so the Jews found it at the destruction of Jerusalem. When the Christians fled to Pella in Celosyria, the Jews had lost all their seasoning, and their savour, and they became a stink in the nostrils of God, and he numbered them to the sword, till they stank upon the earth.
Salt is a preservative, and of a communicative nature; so divine grace saves a man, and serves to season others; without this a man is nothing; without this he can be of no spiritual use or advantage to others: "Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man." It is this savoury article that makes the difference between a real Christian and a hypocrite; the latter may learn the language of a Christian, his outward deportment, and the form of religion, and talk about a good and bad spirit, as some do who know of no other spirit than that of spirituous liquors; but these hypocrites cannot counterfeit nor describe this salt; this seasoning lies too deep for them, it can only be known by experience, and described by the experienced. He that was instrumental in making known the savour of Christ's name in every place, and was a sweet savour unto God in them that are saved and in them that perish, could say, "It is meet for me to think this of you all; that ye are all partakers of my grace," Phil. i. 7. A wolf in sheep's clothing may preach, converse, or write, but he cannot season; hypocrites may be pleased and charmed with words, for they do not know but what the kingdom of God is in word; we know that salt is good, but with them it hath lost its savour; they have no relish for it, therefore how shall they be seasoned with it? Luke, xiv. 34. The true Christian looks more after the power than the sound; he is more for savoury meat than music: "Can that which is unsavoury be eaten without salt," says Job, "or is there any taste in the white of an egg?" "How forcible are right words, but what doth your arguing reprove?"
The golden bracelets brought to my mind the spiritual ornaments of the Jewish church in her prosperity; I decked thee also with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon thy hands, and a chain on thy neck. And I put a jewel on thy forehead, and earrings in thine ears, and a beautiful crown upon thy head, Ezek. vi. 11, 12. The best royal robe that ever Zion put on is the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ; the next to that is the garment o( salvation; and under both these "the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, in the sight of God of great price." The finest and most delicate hand is the hand of faith by which the soul lays hold on eternal life; by this the king of heaven was held in the galleries; with this the princess royal held her adorable lover: I held him, I would not let him go, until I had brought him to my mother's house, and into the chamber of her that conceived me," where the marriage treaty was settled; "My beloved is mine and I am his." The best spiritual bracelet that I know *, is the bond of everlasting love; this is the bond of union and the bond of all perfection, and is a ring for the linger, Luke, v. 22; a chain for the neck, Cant. iv. 9; and a bracelet for the fist, Ezek. vi. 11: it is a sure, a satisfactory, and an everlasting token; it is the main tie of eternal wedlock, and the root of all the joys that attend it either in this world or in that which is to )me. The hand of faith, however delicate in the eyes of some, is nothing without this ornament; "Faith worketh by love." This ornament makes the spouse appear an honour to her husband and an honourable manager of her household; "Her children rise up and call her blessed? Faith worketh by love, and love is an helpmate to faith: "Charity believeth all things;" with this working hand the spouse maketh fine linen and selleth it, and delivers girdles of truth to spiritual merchants; strength and honour are her clothing, and she shall rejoice in time to come, Prov. xxxi. 24, 25.
The golden spurs worn at the coronation may serve to caution s against slothfulness; we are commanded to run the race set before us, not to turn to the right hand or the left, not to look back or tarry in all the plain; Christians are not compared to elephants or camels, but to horses, harts, hinds, and roes; creatures that are swift afoot. The spurs brought to my mind the cutting reproofs and rebukes that the lively and truly gracious christian sometimes gives to the sluggish, careless, and remiss professor. Solomon says, "A reproof entereth more into a wise man than n hundred stripes into a fool." A bright, shining, diligent christian is a living reproof to the wicked, and a golden spur to sluggish professor. Nothing is more mortifying to a heavy horse than a good rowelled spur; you know the flock of the house of Judah, that the Lord of hosts visited, are called his goodly horse in the battle, Zech. x. 3, and troop horses are seldom ridden without a provoking spur; Paul speaks of the liberal Corinthians, of whom he boasted to them of Macedonia, that some in Achaia were ready a year ago, and that their zeal had provoked very many, 2 Car. ix. 2.
The most disagreeable sight to me in all the Tower was what they call, the school of apes. This apish academy, without a teacher, put me in mind of a band of hypocritical professors, who think to bribe heaven with a counterfeit shew, and to pass disguised in sheep's clothing, though they are without Christ in the world. Eliphaz says, "The congregation of hypocrites shall be desolate, and fire shall consume the tabernacles of bribery." That very large ape that sat at the left-hand corner as we entered the room, which took the other little ones into its hands, put them between its hinder legs, warmed them by the fire, hugged them in its arms, while all the little ones sat in awe with their eyes fixed, observing nothing but the motions of him, had a very strange appearance. This lord paramount, which sat as a father of the Family, put me in mind of the devil's fondling and making sport of those of his own household, which the Saviour calls the synagogue of Satan. Christ says that mammon is the master of those mimickers of religion, who draw near to God with their mouth while their hearts are far from him; yea, he calls the devil the father of hypocrites; "Wo unto you scribes and pharisees, hypocrites," Luke, xi. 44. "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do." Apes are noted for mimicry and activity; I have seen some of them mount over and tumble like a mountebank on a stage; you know the word hypocrite, signifies a mountebank or stage player in scripture, who generally appears in the character of another instead of his own, as an hypocrite does in the character of a saint; hence the Saviour's caution, "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." I considered the school of apes as lively emblems of Job's congregation of hypocrites, on the following accounts.
First, They come the nighest to the human species of any of the brute creation; and of all the religious orders among men there is none come so near the new creation, or to souls created anew in Christ Jesus as a varnished hypocrite, who has laid by his written form of religion and counterfeits a spiritual worshipper.
Secondly, The use that the ape makes of its fore paws, which are so much like the human hands, displays the dexterity of the hypocrite, who can weave the spider's web of self-righteousness, and hatch the cockatrice egg of serpentine mischief; even in the church of God. Hence wisdom compares the hypocrite to that weaver; and there is a kind of apes called the spider ape; "The spider taketh hold with her hands and is in king's palaces," Prov. xxx. 28; and like the spider, the hypocrite generally entangles himself in his own web; hence Bildad declares "the hypocrite's hope shall perish; whose hope shall be cut off; whose shall be a spider's web," Job, viii. 13, 14.
Thirdly, The sagacity of the ape which tries to imitate every thing that it sees a person do; so the hypocrite imitates the saint. Does the christian enforce spiritual holiness? the hypocrite does the same; but to what purpose? If a man was to enforce obedience to the third commandment all the year round to me, yet if himself lived in blasphemy, I should hate him, and lightly esteem his as it appeared to have no influence on himself. It is common for hypocrites to make a great outcry against the grace et God, and cry up the holy law as the only rule of life, while any discerning eye may see they privately hate and seek to injure the cause of God; would sooner offend his servants and worshippers, spend one hour to reform the vile. This shews their enmity God, the pleasure they take in the triumphs they give the Philistines; besides, precepts enforced by people abandoned to wickedness, who live on, cohabit with, and stand as pimps for drunkards, what can be expected from them? when it is evident they are destitute of the grace of God, nurses for hypocrites, making a gain of godliness, living like drone bees on the hi ye of the industrious, and eat the bread of idleness. Reproofs or instructions given by such awful characters only harden rebels their sins, and can have no more weight on a serious person an the rebukes of Judas, whom the Saviour calls a devil, had, he rebuked the Saviour and Mary about the waste of ointment; no saint under the dominion of grace and in union with ,fist can ever slight the power of the Spirit, by giving heed to abused precept in the mouth of a palpable impostor. We know the grace of God teaches the saint to have respect to all the commandments, the fourth as well as the rest; the precept in the mouth of a rebel is like a parable in the mouth of a fool. "Six d shalt thou labour and do all thy work." If any will not work neither shall he eat, 2 Thess. iii. 10. "If any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel." They are to study to be quiet, to do their own business, and work with their own hands, I Thess. iv. 11. If the hypocrite denies the faith, how can he keep his credit up but by making a noise about the law? for it is the talker and the hearer of the law that is justified by him, not the doer; for he is an Antinomian.
Fourthly, The knowledge that these creatures seem to have of the different sexes of the human species has something very shocking and disgustful in it. They are creatures noted for craftiness, always in mischief, stealing things and hiding them, and the seeming pleasure that they take in doing it is emblematical enough of the lechery and treachery of hypocrites; witness the counsel of that arch monster, that sworn enemy to God's Israel, namely Balaam, as it is written; "And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive? Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balsam, to commit a trespass against the Lord in the matter of Peer," Numb. xxxi. 15, 16. Thus the devil got his end through the instrumentality of wretched Balsam, which ended in the destruction of the women of Moab, as well as the men of Israel. The effects of Balaam's counsel may be gathered from the following passage; "And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab. And they called the people to the sacrifices el' their gods; and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods. And Israel joined himself to Baal-peor; and the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel." This old leaven lurked at the root of the Nicolatians, who taught community of wives, which the Saviour complains of to the angel of the church of Pergamos; "Thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balsam, who taught Balak to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolatians, which thing I hate." We know there is no escaping the pollutions that are in the world through lust, but by the almighty power and sovereign grace of God: it is true, there is a nation pure in their own eyes but they are not so in God's eyes till washed from their filthiness. The cunning, artful craftiness, the pilfering tricks, and the pleasure that the ape lakes in doing mischief brought to my mind the subtle proceedings of those professors which Jude compares to natural brute beasts, made lo taken and destroyed, who speak evil of the things that they understand not," Jude, 10. They are said to walk in craftiness, and handle the word of God deceitfully. Some of this stamp came to betray the Saviour, but he could penetrate into their craftiness, Luke, xx. 23. The pleasure those false professors take in doing mischief to the cause, to the reputation, and usefulness of the saints, by giving offence to them, by staggering e weak, by tripping up the heels of the seeker, by strengthening e hands of evil doers, by emboldening the presumptuous, fortifying the erroneous, and furnishing rite contemptuous with arguments against the children of God. Some in Paul's days pretended to love the same Saviour, preach the same doctrine at Paul did, and yet averred that he said," Let us do evil that good may come." The description Wisdom gives of these is, they are said to sit at the doors, to call passengers who go right on their way, to be loud and clamorous, to watch for the saints' halting, to rejoice when their feet slip, to wait for iniquity, and ever to rest at quiet unless they have prejudiced or stumbled me one or other. "They sleep not unless they have done mischief, and their sleep is taken away unless they cause some to fall."
The brutal fondness of these apes brought to my mind the way which an hypocrite deceives and plunders a simple believer; there is hardly a sincere soul that I know but in his infant state of grace has fallen a prey to these. When they bare a mind to pick your pocket or make a gain of you, they generally take a glass or two of rum, brandy, or good old Geneva, and the operation of that sets all the bowels of candour to work; then they will pour you out a whole gill of tears; Joel well understood their way," Awake, ye drunkards, and weep; and howl, all ye drinkers of wine," Joel, i. 5; and so they will until they have got the baubees, and then like the ape with the apple, they set, as he does, upon the house top, chattering and bidding fianc?to all the inhabitants within. Of this stamp were the multitude that followed the Saviour over the sea of Tiberius, for the loaves and fishes, whom he sent back, telling them, they must eat his flesh and drink his blood, or die for ever.
An ape is very odious and dangerous to pregnant women; bad effects have been known to have been produced from women in such cases taking flight at the sight of an ape; and surely nothing is more dangerous to a pregnant or fruitful church than a profound hypocrite, who hates the power of religion and the possessors of it; by their hypocrisy and their errors they have sometimes so injured Zion, and even her pastors also, that her very offspring have appeared improper children, visibly marked, and chattering a wild gibberish, between Hebrew and Ashdod, till sundry fiery trials have melted their spirits, and the divine Potter has put his hand a second time to this work on the wheels, and turned these ill-shaped vessels into a better form; for as the clay is in the hand of the potter, so are we in his hand, and he does with us as the potter does with Isis clay, makes us such vessels as please him, namely, vessels of honour; and when done, there that erred come to understanding, and those that murmured learn doctrine; so that those marked ones, which seemed to have the face of an ox, come to appear with the lace of a man, Ezek. i. 10; when the living creature appears in the wheels, Ezek. x. 17.
I observed in the school of apes, that notwithstanding all their likeness to the human species, their cunning, mimicry, and fondness, they were all chained down to the floor, as not to be trusted, though in the precincts of tile Tower; this brought to my mind the state of hypocrites, who, notwithstanding their likeness to real saints, their cunning by which they deceive, their seeming fondness of those they flatter, they are all bound down; the wicked is holden with the cords of his sin, says Solomon. Some are tied down to lust, some to covetousness, some to envy against the saints, some to errors, and some to the dram bottle, insomuch that the carbuncles of their face proclaim the good spirit of candour that ebbs and flows in their bowels; the well known cant of these is, put sugar and brandy, but no wormwood nor gall, in the ministry of the word; all zeal, faithfulness, reproof,-warning, caution, and rebuke, is fathered upon the spirit of the devil, as if Satan was divided against himself. Those who make a gain of godliness are noted for candour, anti those that God uses to bring sinners to Christ, are of the spirit of devil; so it was in the days of' old; to Simon Magus they bad all respect as the great power of God, Acts, viii. 10; but Christ, -'ho declared that hypocrites could not escape the damnation of bell, they called Beelzebub, the prince of devils. These were an open candid spirit; they preached one thing and lived another, as Peter talks of some who promised liberty to others, while themselves are the servants or corruption. We read of the prophets who prophesied of wine and strong drink, Mic. ii. 11 and no doubt but such filled their bottles by their pleasing candid prophecies, till they made sport of them that were prophets of the Lord, calling them fools, and spiritual men mad, or influenced by a bad spirit, Hos. ix. 7. David complains that he was the song of the drunkard, However the hypocrites may get into the church, yet they are in bondage under the sentence of God, as well as to their own sin; hence we read of such, who were of old ordained to this condemnation, Jude, 4. Solomon had a navy of ships that came once in three years, bringing apes and peacocks, I Kings, x. 22; but our eternal Solomon has no call to send so far for them; he has scarcely a palace or a lodge in Great Britain where the stewards of the household are not complaining that they are overstocked with, these hairy ones.
I have such an aversion to apes, that I would sooner keep a serpent or a scorpion in my house than one of those creatures; and as a minister, I would sooner preach to fifty careless unreformed sinners, who are called serpents and vipers, than to a thousand hypocrites, who sit under the gospel for base ends, abandon themselves to idleness, and by walking in craftiness get a livelihood out of simple people, or even stand pimp for drunkards, rather than work with their own hands, and with quietness eat their own bread; these are enemies to God, strangers to power of religion, and the experience of it on the heart of the righteous. The poor seeker, who is sensible of his want, is of a teachable spirit, waits at Wisdom's gate, esteems them that fear the Lord, favours the Saviour's righteous cause, and longs for the manifestation of pardoning mercy, I love, pity, and pray for; but idle, empty hypocrites I cannot away with; for their whole study is to prejudice the minds of weaklings, and to injure the cause of God; with these I trust I shall ever carry on an offensive and defensive war; Christ came to send peace between us and them, but a sword, therefore it is a just and a holy war. Perhaps you will answer,
Peace is thy calling, friend, not
The traitor's bridge and gate, by which some rebels came into the Tower to lost: their lives, put me in mind of the archway which some come into the church; and the traitor's gate that leads to the river, shews the wine gate by which many hypocrites go out, who, as Paul says, are drowned in destruction and perdition. I Tim. vi. 9. Let this bridge and gate caution us against the disloyalty and rebellion of hypocrites; it is dreadful to a loyalist to be imprisoned, though but for a time by the great King; but it is a fearful thing to fall into the revengeful hands of the living God. We saw the axe by which some lost their heads; but to miss of Christ, to lose the Head of the church, an infinite, irreparable, and eternal loss. The blackest character in the Bible, excepting Satan, the prime leader of angelic sinners, is Judas the traitor.
The pieces of cannon that are mounted around the Tower, me in mind of some of our present Boanergeses, falsely so called, who deliver every message from the mount that burns with fire, with blackness, darkness, and tempest, the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words, Heb. xii. 18, 19. The prophet Elijah, who travelled so far to pay his visit to Horeb, found the same earthquake, wind, and fire, as Moses had done: a caution this to every believing soul not to attempt seeking the King of Zion at Sinai or Horeb. Moses put a veil on his face near this mount; and Elijah, who was the chariot and horsemen of Israel, was obliged to wrap his head in his mantle, when God demanded, "What doest thou here, Elijah?" I Kings. xix. 13. The fiery law is to be handled, in order to alarm, rouse, shake, and awaken the drowsy, careless sinner; but if you batter his ear's and entertain his mind with nothing but repeated rounds of fiery salutations, you will soon sear his conscience as with a hot iron, and make his heart cannon and bomb proof; and, like Job's horse when his neck was clothed with thunder, he will paw in the valley; and instead of being afraid or awed, he will rejoice his strength, and go forth even to meet the armed men, Job xxxix. 19 - 21.
"To threats the stubborn sinner oft is hard.
The old shattered and neglected tower, which stands at the remotest part from the gate of entrance, and the lowness when compared to the white tower, brought to my mind our mystical Babel-builders, who, as the Saviour tells us, are intending to build a tower, the top of which is to reach heaven; like that which the ancient towering schemers, called by way of derision Babel-builders, began in the plains of Shinar; but the Saviour tells us such tower-builders sat not down first to count the costs; and for want of this they began to build, as the Babel-builders did, but have not wherewith to finish; hence the Saviour says, the beholders began to mock, as the Trinity did after Nimrod's architects had produced the plan, and got the royal command for the execution thereof: "Go to," said the builders, "let us make brick and burn them thoroughly: and they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven, and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the earth." The Trinity adopts their language: "Go to," says is God, "let us go down and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech," Gen. xi. 7. This tower was intended to exceed the rainbow, that was not sufficient to secure them against a second deluge; its top was to reach heaven; it was intended to get them a name, and to prevent their being scattered; but they left it unfinished; for the Trinity had them in derision, laughed at their calamity, and mocked when their fear came. It is true they got a name, which will last as long as the world stands; it will never be forgot so long as a false prophet or a legal workmonger remains in the world; yea, even at the day of judgment there will be a confounding of the language of some builders; but from this the believer is secure; he is not to be ashamed or confounded world without end, Isaiah, xlv 17. This tower was first erected in their imagination; nothing will restrain them, says God, from that which they have imagined to do; they were all bent upon it, lest they should be scattered abroad; but their unanimous precaution against separation was the cause of their dispersion; "So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence, and they left off to build the city," or, as the Psalmist says, he scattered these proud ones in the imagination of their hearts.
The ensign staff upon the Tower reminded me of the rod that came out of the stem of Jesse. And this rod of Jesse is to stand for an ensign of the people; "To it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious." This staff reminded me of union; before the standard the troops are ranged and mustered; and in detente of the imperial colours they all unite as the heart of one man; to the royal standard rebels are commanded to repair, as soon as a proclamation of the royal favour is proclaimed; blematical this of saints uniting in one faith, hope, and spirit, and of lost sinners coming over to him who received gifts for the rebellious, that the Lord God might dwell among them.
The flag or banner may serve to remind us of the banner of everlasting love, which is displayed over the head of a young recruit when in the rendezvous or banqueting house, Song ii. 4; to let him know that he must engage in the fight of faith as soon as the royal bounty is spent.
The mint and the balance, by which coin is tried and adjusted, brought to my mind the many counterfeit religions which pass current in our days; some are said to be impressed and bear an image that God will despise, Psalm lxxiii. 20; others to receive the mark of the beast, Rev. xiii. 17; others a countenance that witnesseth against them, Isaiah, iii. 9; others wear a whore's forehead, Jer. iii. 3; but there are some who bear the image of the heavenly Adam, Rom. viii. 29. Only these will pass for sterling in the great day; all must be put into the balance and tried; God will take no man's word; many commend their own candid spirit, but God will try them in the balances of the sanctuary: "All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes, but the Lord weigheth the spirits." "Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie; to be laid in the balance together they are altogether lighter than vanity," Psal. lxii. 9. In short, all that have not Christ in them the hope of glory, will have Tekel written on them," weighed in the balances and found wanting."
The Spanish armoury, that contains the instruments of torture and cruelty, the iron collar, the iron thumbscrews, the formidable toothpick, and their strange weapons that were taken from the formidable armada, brought to my thoughts the views that tile children of Israel bad when they saw the troops, troop-horses, war chariots, arms, and armour, of Pharaoh and his host, on the shore of the Arabian gulf, after the king's predicted success and momentary triumph was ended: "I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil, my lust shall be satisfied upon them; I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them;" but God blew with his wind, and they sank like lead in the mighty waters, Exod. xv. 9, 10. One blast of the breath of God's nostrils got the victory; and it was but a puff from the same almighty conqueror that blasted this expensive, deep-laid, and well-contrived expedition. The pope's blessing and cross-keys were no security against his power, who rides on the heavens for our help, and in his excellency upon the skies; nor is it likely they should, seeing it is predicted that the pope himself shall be destroyed by a blast from the same quarter; "Whom the Lord shall consume with tile Spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming."
Tower gates being kept shut until opened by a porter, serves to shew the way by which sinners enter the gates of Zion; it is by the king's leave these gates are open to any; if he issues out a command to the contrary, there is no entrance. The King of Zion does more; he not only grants, but gives orders; without his voice there is no admission; to him the porter openeth, and to none else; without a royal grant there is no entering the strait gate or getting within the inner walls of Zion; the hypocrite may grope for them, or go round about Zion, count her lowers, mark her bulwarks, and consider her palaces, and that is all; while the inhabitants of the citadel can triumph and say," This God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even unto death," Psalm xlviii. 14.
The warders or guardians of the Tower, who wear the king's livery, shew and explain the curiosities, detect idle and ill-disposed persons attempting to enter, exhibited to my mind the duty of a gospel minister when clad with the righteousness of Christ with the garment of salvation, and with the Spirit of sanctification, whose business it is to shew and explain the royal and the peculiar treasures of the great King; to make all men see what is the hope of our calling, and to reveal and make known the fellowship of the mystery, things which have been hid for many ages past, but are now brought to light in a glorious manner by the gospel. It is the duty of gospel ministers to take up strollers who are backsliding and wandering from their resting place, or out of the way of understanding; to take them up with a royal warrant, bring them to the bar of conscience, appeal to truth against their conduct, and try them by the laws of Zion; the ancient watchmen served the spouse so; "The watchmen that go about the city found me." She strolled until she had lost sight of her royal consort, provoked him to jealousy by her conduct, insomuch as she sought him but found him not, she called him but he gave her no answer. She was gone back to her first husband the law, Rom. vii. 3, 4; and had I got the old veil on her face again; therefore the watchmen found her, they smote her with the staff of authority, they wounded her with the sword of the Spirit; the keepers of the wall took away her veil from her, Song v. 6, 7; and brought her back with a blushing face, covered with shame and confusion, to her much slighted Lord, from whom, without any provocation, she had treacherously eloped. These warders take up idle pilfering persons; so ministers are to detect hypocrites, who, under a mask of religion, and by making a false shew and an outcry about holiness, deceive the simple and live by sacrilege, by robbing the church of God, countenancing and strengthening the hands of evil doers. The apostle had no small trouble with these; "For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies; now them that are such we command, that with quietness they work and eat their own bread," 2 Thess. iii. 11, 12.
The prophet Ezekiel, that watchman of Israel, had no small trials from sacrilegious ladies; "Likewise, thou son of man, thy face against the daughters of thy people, which prophesy out of their own heart; and prophesy thou against them, and say, Thus saith the Lord God, Wo to the women that sew pillows to all armholes. Will ye pollute me among my people for handful, of barley, and for pieces of bread, to slay the souls that should not die, and to save the souls alive that should not live, by your lying to my people that hear your lies? With lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad, and strengthened the hands of the wicked," Ezek. xiii. 17 - 22. The work of these upholsterers was making pillows for the armholes, that is, bolstering up hypocrites, loose professors, and idle persons; for which wickedness, 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 retried; 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 blowzyfaced 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 he rouse the sleepy 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 hypocrite 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 idleness, get the name of prophetesses, 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 knows 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 loving-kindness 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 thousands 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 o 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, a 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 messenger 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 bowls of mercy, there is no wormwood, bitterness, or gall made use of; nothing but sweetness and candour drops from their lips; yet 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 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 but the very words which the prophets of candour had dropped. "And Micaiah said, I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills as sheep that bare not a shepherd, and the Lord said, These have no master," their king was killed; "let them return every man to his house in peace. And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee that he would prophesy no good concerning me, but evil? And Micaiah said, Hear thou therefore the word of the Lord; I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the hosts of heaven standing by him, on his right hand and on his left. And the Lord said, Who shall persuade Ahab that he may go up, and fall at Ramoth-gilead? And one said on this manner and another said on that manner."
Now we come to the fountain-head of candour, where all prophets and false prophetesses fill their pitchers, to supply and entertain the minds of a candid public. "And there came forth a spirit and stood before the Lord, and said, I will persuade him. And the Lord said unto him, wherewith? and he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets and he said, thou shalt persuade him and prevail also; go forth and do so." This was the spirit that clothed them all with bowels of mercy, and that filled their hearts with that candour and sweetness which entertained not only the king and his nobles, but a candid public at large; they were in the sweetest union, unanimous in their predictions, and prophesied good with one mouth. But Micaiah, with his rancour, spleen, and bitterness, persists in his singularity. "Now therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee." Who could have thought that a lying spirit could be in the mouth of four hundred prophets, whose mouth prophesied nothing but good? Here is Micaiah, who is said to prophesy nothing but evil, opposing four hundred prophets, who are said to prophesy good with one consent; now, how is a candid public to judge? why this pudding must be proved by its spending. If the good prophecies are true, the victory will be given to Ahab, and if Micaiah's evil prophecies be true, then Ahab loses his life, and Israel is scattered, having no master; but as it may be some time before God decides the point, it will be necessary to give Micaiah a good drubbing, if it is but to caution others. "But Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah went near and smote Micaiah on the cheek, and said, which way went the Spirit of the Lord from me speak unto thee?" This man had got the Spirit of the Lord, according to his own account, and he prophesied good to a candid public; but as Micaiah did not belong to the public, he had no part of the candour; all that he got was a knock on the head to extort a confession; "Which way went the Spirit of the Lord from me? And Micaiah said, Behold, thou shalt see in that day, when thou shalt go into an inner chamber to hide thyself. And the king of Israel said, take Micaiah, and carry him back to Amon the governor of the city, and to Joash the king's son; and say, Thus saith the king, Put this fellow in the prison, and feed him with bread of affliction and with water of affliction, until I come in peace." If Micaiah has nothing but these bitter herbs to live on till the king returns in peace, he will have a starving and long imprisonment. But the prophet knew better; "If thou return at all in peace, the Lord hath not spoken by me; and he said, hearken O people, every one of you;" read I Kings twenty-second chapter. Micaiah stuck to his text, and the Lord preached the sermon, the application of which was the death of Ahab, of Jezebel, of the royal family, and or all the prophets, who fell by the sword; and so they arrived at the eternal habitations, and in the good company of that spirit from which all their candour; sweetness, and good prophecies came. Thus it often happens, that men of candour perish in their sweetness, while those that are said to prophesy no good, but evil, prolong their lives and die in peace; and what shall we say to these things? why, if God be for these bitter prophets, who can be against them? Those that prophesied nothing but good to men, prophesied nothing but lies, and God was against them; the other prophesied nothing but evil, and yet he prophesied nothing but truth, and God was with him: therefore I conclude, that it is better to prophesy evil by the Spirit of truth from God, though false prophets smite us and a candid public condemn us, than to prophesy good by the spirit of lies from the devil, though all the world approve and admire the moderation, openness, sweetness, compassionate bowels, tender pity, and candid disposition of the prophet: it is not what men call good, for they sometimes call evil good, Isaiah, v. 20; but what God calls truth, that must make people free.
The river Thames, which is of inestimable worth to this metropolis, being composed of the Thame and the Isis; Rickmansworth, the river Mole, &c. &c. may remind thee of that river the streams whereof make glad the city of God, Psalm xli. 4. You may embark at the Tower and sail to the Nore, to the Downs, and into the English channel, and so round the world, if you keep a proper distance from the poles; nor will you feel much want of either light or heat if you keep under the torrid or temperate zone. So every vessel of mercy that embarks in the river of the waters of life shall make a glorious and eternal voyage; he shall sail in his God, and end in an eternity of pleasure that knows neither bottom nor shore: the river of regeneration, but no other, leads to this: "There the glorious Lord will be to us a place of broad rivers and streams; wherein shall go no galley with oars, neither shall gallant ships pass thereby; then is the prey of a great spoil divided, the lame take the prey. And the inhabitants shall not say I am sick; the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity."
This is the glorious end we have in view; possessed by our covenant head and representative, who in our nature, name, and persons has taken possession, and appears in the presence of God for us, who are kept by Almighty power through, faith to the same. It is secured by promise, by oath, by covenant, by the blood of the testator, by the broad seal of heaven, and by the omnipotence anti faithfulness of divine, immutable, and infinite veracity; the first-fruits are gathered by the band of faith, and are a satisfactory earnest or sweet foretaste to the expectation of hope; we are predestinated and called, and shall therefore be glorified; we are ransomed, and shall return with songs and everlasting joy upon our head, Isaiah, xxxv. 10; we are enabled to believe, and shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end; we are loved with an everlasting love; partakers of everlasting life; clothed with an everlasting righteousness; saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation; we shine in everlasting light; are heirs of an eternal inheritance; and shall possess an everlasting kingdom. 0 what has grace done for us! we are wooed and espoused, and shall therefore be wedded and enjoyed; we shall bear the image and likeness of our royal head; possess a mansion of his own preparing; and be no less than heirs of God and joint-heirs with the King of kings and Lord of lords! This world is our furnace, the angels are our guard, regeneration is our road, Christ is our end, and heaven our home.I hope thou wilt not be offended at this public present. I know alms ought to be given in secret, but as thou art, through grace, a partaker of the promise, it is rather a present than an alms. You know I must be employed about something; I hate idleness; I would sooner be what Elijah was, a zealous, faithful troubler of Israel, than a candid sluggard, who will not lift his hand to his mouth. You would insist upon treating me with a sight of the curiosities of the Tower, and as a recompense I have sent you the few spoils that I pilfered and pocketed from thence: one good turn deserves another; I have presented to your view what you desired should be presented to mine; and in order to pull down the price of seeing the Tower, the greatest part of its curiosities are here exhibited to a candid public at so small a price as one shilling only, for the sake of ready money.
With respect to the sale of these curiosities, your assiduity, vote, interest, and recommendation is expected. Advertisements in public newspapers, booksellers' prefaces, outcries at places of public resort, or the vapourish puffs of hawking pedlars, appear to me as so many indications of the craftiness of the trader, and the worthlessness of the stale commodity: stinking fish require a loud and a lying cry; they must be turned over in haste before the customer's eyes; a large price fixed and insisted on; a deal of talk in striking the bargain is required; and an hasty flight, ended with a great noise, when the commodity is delivered, lest a hue and cry should follow.
I was very sorry at the report of thy sickness; am thankful for thy recovery: this sickness has not been unto death; all the time we gain by trading there is no room for complaint, whether we occupy business in deep waters or suffer in the furnace of affliction; every confession, petition, supplication, intercession, or tribute of praise that is offered to God, has its promise in the word of God, and will turn out to good account at last. It is better to live near the lower with a good hope through grace, than to have the bounds of our habitation fixed in Stationers' Court, where there is Creed Lane at the back, Paternoster Row in the face, Ave Maria Lane on the right hand, and Amen Corner at the left. I would sooner find the blessings of one chapter of the Bible in my heart, than have possession of the Chapter House; it is better to bare Paul's God than to be Dean of St. Paul's church. I would sooner be blessed with a good slate of health, than have the advice, gratis, of a college of physicians; a useful doctor of divinity is better than a doctor of physic; a man's spirit will sustain the infirmities of the body, but a wounded spirit who can bear? Farewell; excuse haste; and believe me to be thy willing servant, to serve thee with such as I have.
Dated from the Burning Bush,
April 10, 1798.William Huntington