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Of this violence we have an example in Jacob wreft. ling with the angel, who said, Let me go, for the day breaketh ; and he said, I will not let thee go, till thou bless me. * Here Jacob being left alone improves his solitude ; danger and trouble work in him the right way. He prays--prays earnestly, and that against inuch discouragement. God and man seem to oppose him; for the angel of the covenant wrestled, as if to get loose from his hold. It was a spiritual wrestling; he wept and made fupplication, but before lie prevails the angel touched the hollow of Jacob's thigh, and hindered him from wrestling in his own strength. Then the Spirit alone made intercession ; nature fail. ed and grace was conqueror--- When I am weak, then am I strong. He says, Let me go, as God once said to Moses, Let me alone : thus does the Lord fometines try our faith. This was the case of the woman of Canaan, when Jefus, at first, answered her not, and afterwards said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and cast it to the dogs. But when she still worshipped, prayed, and waited, she obtained these words of approbation, O woman, great is thy faith ! as well as the answer of her prayer. So the angel faith, Let me go, the day breaketho--thy affairs want thee---thou must have rest; but Jacob forgoes all for the blesing--rest, family, weariness, pain; and answers, I will not let thee go, unless thou bless me. So must it be with us; none prevail but those, who take the kingdom by violence. He conquers at last. What is thy name? faith God.--.-He will have the finner know himlelf and confefs what he is; then he gives the new name,
A prince with God. If God be for us, who can be against us? The angel does not tell him his naine ; for the tree of life is better than the tree of knowledge, He saw God face to face, and lived. So is it with faithful wrestlers : God resists only to increase our de. fires, and we must be resolved to hearken to nothing that would hinder. Weariness. care, friends, fear, and unbelief, inuft all be thrown afide, when we feek
to see God face to face, and to be brought into the light of life.
They, who are weary of the Egyptian yoke of outward and inward sin, who cannot rest without the love of Jesus, the life of God, at last become violent. They forcibly turn from the world ; by force they attack the Devil ; bring themselves by force, before God; and drag out, by strong confession, the evils that lurk within. Against these they fight by detesting and denying them. Their strength is in crying mightily to the Lord, and expecting continually that fire, which God will rain from heaven upon them. All this must be done by force, and with great conflicts ; for it is against nature, which hath the utmost reluctance to it.
The words of the text allude to the taking a fortified town by storming it ; and this is of all military expeditions the most dangerous. The enemy is covered and hid, and those, who scale the walls, have nothing but their arms and courage. But can the wrestling soul overcome-can he take this kingdom? Ah no, not by · his own strength; but his Joshua will take it for him. God only requires, that .we should entreat him to do this : The prayer of repentance, the prayer of faith, storm mount Sion, the city of God. He that is violent shall receive the kingdom of God --juftification and fanctification : but remember, the violent take it by force. He shall have many a hard struggle with God's enemies, and, it may be, many with the Lord himself, before he declares him conqueror.
Some object, We have no might; and to endea. vour to take the kingdom by violence, is taking the matter out of God's hand : Is it not better to wait for the promise, stand still and see the salvation of God? If you mean by standing still, not agonizing to enter in at the Brait gate, not wrestling in prayer, and fight. ing the good fight of faith-May God save you from this sillness! You err, not knowing the scriptures. The standing still there recommended, is to poffets your soul in patience, without dejection, fear, and mure muring. Stand fill as the apostles, who watched together in prayer, ran with patience the race set before them, and fought manfully, as faithful foldiers, under the banner of the cross. Any other stillness is of the devil, and leads to his kingdom. Search the new teftament, and shew me one standing still, after he had been convinced of his wants. Did the Centurion, did the woman of Canaan, did blind Bartimeus stand still? Did St. Paul, did the woman with the bloody issue stand still ? Did not all of them use the power they had? I do not desire you to use, what you have not ; only be faithful ftewards of the manifold grace entrust. ed to you. A kingdom, a kingdom of heaven is before you-power to reign with Jesus as his priests and kings. Stir up then thy faith ; reach forward to the things which are before. Become a wrestling Jacob, and you shall shortly be a prevailing Ifrael. Be not discouraged, for, as a good man obferves," God frequently gives in one moment, what he hath apparently withheld for many years." .
Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee.
Luke xii. 20.
LÉT us consider, I. Why our Lord calls the pers fon mentioned in the text, fool-Thou fool. II. The fudden and unexpected separation between this rich man and his all. III. The circumstance of the pare ticular time of his death-This night. IV. Make some observations on the nature and value of a foul. V. Observe, who shall require the rich man's foul-it shall be required. VI. Make fome ren arks on the last words of the text, Thy foul shall be required of thee.
" I. It is not without good reason, that our Lord addresses the rich man in the text with Thou fool. The picture our Lord has drawn of him hath eight strokes, each of which proves this worldling to have been an egregious fool.
J. He was rich in this world, but neglected being rich towards God, rich in grace. 2. He was perplexed without reason, and exclaimed What shall I do! I have not where to bestow my fruits. Had he been wife, he would rather have cried out, with the jailor, What shall I do to be saved ! or he would have inquired, whether all the houses of his poor neighbours were full ; and whether he could not bestow * upon them some of those fruits, the abundance of
which made him fo uneasy. 3. He determined to pull down his barns :-not to break off his fins. The pile of them, though towering to heaven, like Babel, did not make him uneasy. 4. He resolved to build greater barns ; but forgot to build the hopes of his fal. vation on the rock of ages.* 5. He would say to his foul, Soul, thou hast goods laid up : But had he been wife, he would have considered, that although he was rich as to his outward circumstances and the things which support the body, yet his foul was poor, miferable, blind, and naked. † 6. He had the folly to proinisë himself a long life, as if he had a lease of it; signed by his heavenly Lord. Soul, said he, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; but God said, Thou fool, this night, 8c. 7. He would say to his foul, Soul take thine ease; but had he been directed by wifdom, he would bave exhorted his foul not to rest till he had obeyed the apostle's precept, Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. Alas! how common and how dangerous is the mistake of the children of this world, who openly follow this fool, and say either to themselves, or one to another, " Soul take thine ease; take care of being under any concern about salvation, there is no need of so much
*Mat. viii. 24.
+ Rev. ii. 7.
Phil. ii, 12.
ado about religion and heaven.” 8. The last mark of the rich man's folly, was to say to his deluded soul, Eat, drink, and be merry; as if a foul could eat and drink what money can procure or barns contain. No my brethren ; the grace of God, and the benefits of Christ's death, which are called his flesh and blood, the bread of life, and the living water, are the only food and drink proper for our fouls ; and the true mirth and folid joy of a spirit is that, to which St. Paul exhorts us, Rejoice in the Lord, and again I fay rejoice.fi
II. The feparation between this rich farmer, and his all, was sudden and unexpected.--This night, said God, shall thy soul be required of thee. This night ; not so much as to-morrow is allowed him to dispose of those goods, which were laid up for many years : he must suddenly, immediately, part with all.
1. All his moveable goads---except a windingfheet. 2. All his landed estate, except a grave. 3. All his barns, houses, and halls, except a coffin. 4. All his friends and relations, without exception : he must go this dismal journey alone and unattended. 5. All his time ; his precious time, which the living kill so many ways, and which the dying and the dead would gladly recover, by parting with a world, if they had it to part with. 6. His foul, it is to be feared.
Let us here reflect, how careful we are, to fecure our doors, lest thieves fhould break in, and take away some of our goods ; and yet how careless to provide for death, who carries away all, or rather hurries us away from all at once ! What an alarming thought is this, for impenitent sinners ! May their fouls be required this very night ? O let them not plot wickedness, and contrive vanity, against to-morrow.
III. The circuinstance of the particular time of this rich man's death, is very awful... This night, not this day, shall thy soul, &c. This seems to imply four things.
• Phil. iv. to