Five Considerations to persuade all to STAND 1/3

 

  1. Consideration.Consider what thou doest out of thy place is not acceptable to God, because thou canst not do it in ‘faith,’ without which ‘it is impossible to please God;’ and it cannot be in faith, because thou hast no call.  God will not thank thee for doing that which he did not set thee about.  Possibly thou hast good intentions.  So had Uzzah in staying the ark, yet how well God liked his zeal, see II Sam. 6:7.  Saul himself could make a fair story of his sacrificing, but that served not his turn.  It concerns us not only to ask ourselves what the thing is we do, but also who requireth this at our hands?  To be sure, God will at last put us upon that question, and it will go ill with us if we cannot show our commission.  So long must we needs neglect what is our duty, as we are busy about that which is not.  The spouse confesseth this, ‘They made me the keeper of the vineyards, but mine own vineyard have I not kept,’ Song. 1:6.  She could not mind their [vineyards] and her own too—our own iron will cool while we are beating another’s.  And this must needs be displeasing to God—to leave the work God sets us about, to do to do what he never commanded.  When a master calls a truantly scholar to account, that hath been missing some days from school, would this be a good plea for him to tell his master, that he was all the while in such a man’s shop at work with his tools?  No, sure his business lay at school, not in that shop.
  1. Consideration.By going out of our proper place and calling, we put ourselves from under God’s protection.  The promise is, he will ‘keep us in all our ways,’ Ps. 91:11.  When we go out of our way, we go from under his wing. We have an excellent place for this, ‘Let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God,’ I Cor. 7:24. Mark that phrase, abide with God.  As we love to walk in God’s company, we must abide in our place and calling.  Every step from that is a departure from God; and better to stay at home, in a mean place and low calling, wherein we may enjoy God’s sweet presence, than go to court and there live without him.  It is likely you have heard of that holy bishop, that in a journey fell into an inn, and by some discourse with the host, finding him to be an atheist, or very atheistical, presently calls for his servant to bring him his horse, saying he would not lodge there, for God was not in that place.  Truly when thou art in any place, or about any work to which thou art not called, we may safely say, ‘God is not in that place or enterprise.’  And what a bold adventure it is to stay there where you cannot expect his presence to assist or protect!  ‘As a bird that wandereth from her nest, so is a man that wandereth from his place,’ Prov. 27:8. God took special care that the bird sitting over her eggs in her nest should not be hurt; Deut. 22:6, but we find nothing to secure her if found abroad.  In doing the duty of our place, we have heaven’s word for our security; but upon our own peril be it if we wander.  Then we are like Shimei out of his precincts, and lay ourselves open to some judgment or other.  It is alike dangerous to do what we are not called to, and to neglect or leave undone the duty of our place.  As the earth could not bear the usurpation by Korah and his company of what belonged not to them, but swallowed them up, so the sea could not but bear witness against Jonah the runaway prophet, disdaining to waft him that fled from the place and work that God called him to.  Nay, heaven itself would not harbour the angels, when once they left their own place and office that their Maker had appointed; so these words ‘left their own habitation,’ Jude 6, I find most probably interpreted.  The ruin of many souls breaks in upon them at this door.  First they break their ranks, and then they are led farther into temptation.  Absalom first looks over the hedge in his ambitious thoughts. A king he would be, and this wandering desire beyond his place, lets in those bloody sins, rebellion, incest, and murder, and these ripened him for, and at last delivered him up into, the hands of divine vengeance. The apostle joins order and steadfastness together,’I am with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the steadfastness of your faith,’ Col. 2:5.  If an army stands in close order, every one in his place attend­ing his duty, content with his work, it is impregnable in a manner.  How came many in our days to fall from their steadfastness, but by breaking their order?
  2. Consideration.We shall never be charged for not doing another’s work.  ‘Give an account of thy stew­ardship,’ Luke 16:2, that is, what by thy place thou wert intrusted with.  We may indeed be accessory to another’s sin and miscarriage in his place.  ‘Be not partakers with them,’ saith the apostle, Eph. 5:7.  There is a partnership, if not very watchful, that we have with other’s sins, and therefore we may all say ‘Amen’ to that holy man’s prayer, ‘Lord, forgive me my other sins.’  Merchants can trade in bottoms that are not their own, and we may sin with other man’s hands many ways; and one especially is, when we do not lend our brother that assistance in his work and duty, which our place and relation obligeth to.  But it is not our sin that we do not supply another’s negligence, by doing that which belongs not to our place. We are to pray for magistrates that they may rule in the fear of God, but if they do not, we may not step upon the bench and do his work for him.  God requires no more than faithfulness in our place.  We do not find fault with an apple-tree if it be laden with apples—which is the fruit of its own kind—though we can find no figs or grapes growing on it.  We expect these only from their proper root and stock.  He is a fruitful tree in God’s orchard that ‘bringeth forth his fruit in his season,’ Ps. 1:3.

 

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