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dangerous turning you took in that sermon. You gave a good description of the countries I have passed through, corresponding with my own records thereof.
I heard you on Tuesday evening last at Monk. well street. You seemed to be favoured with great enlargement of heart, and fervour of spirit; but there was one thing you advanced that I cannot agree with; that rod and sceptre in scripture have the same meaning, is a thing which no man can solder together, let him blow the coals and smite the anvil as long as he will. For I have passed under the rod before I was brought into the bond of the covenant. The rod is for the fool's back; and those, that are not favoured with a touch of the sceptre, the rod will break in pieces, because they were not made wise and teachable; and because they kissed not the Son, in his wrath they perish from the way of touching the sceptre of his kingdom for ever; and those his enemies, his rod is heavy upon them. Blessed be the King for his mercy, that endureth ever.
Yours for the truth's sake,
Great Arthur street,
To JOHN WALKER.
GRACE and truth be with thee, and with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity and truth. I received yours; and hope ever to be thankful to God for enabling me to speak so as to agree with the Spirit's testimony in the hearts of any of his children; which, in part, you seem to acknowledge. But you must allow that the best of men, more especially the worst, are but fallible creatures, though the Spirit of God is an infallible Spirit. The Psalmist, who declared that he had more understanding than his teachers, in humility asks, “Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.” It was in God's light that he saw light; but, if God withdrew his rays, he cries, “I am a stranger with thee; hide not thy commandment from me.” It is more easy to hear a sermon, sir, than it is to deliver one; nor does it require half the labour and wisdom to find fault with a discourse, that it does to put a good one together. No man, much less Wisdom's children, is to make a man an offender for a word, nor to lie in wait for him that reproves in the gate. Many a hearer has made a sad handle of one blunder in a discouse; whereas, had he himself been in the pulpit, he would, in all probability, have made an
hundred. For my part, I would sooner preach before an hundred men really wise, than before one man that thinks himself so. Hearers are no more infallible than preachers; and more frequently err in finding fault than the Lord's servants do in preaching. If God sets an eye in the body mystical, he generally shines so in him as to give light to all that are in the house; and what he sees that he declares; while many in the house may think he is wrong, because themselves are not right; and find fault with what they do not understand; and this, sir, is your case. The very one thing that you cannot agree with me in, is what all the scriptures do agree to declare; and what you say no man can solder together, is put together by God himself, without any human soldering. If you have passed under the rod into the bond of the covenant, it is well for you; but I should suppose it is but lately; if otherwise, I fear you have too often played truant, instead of sitting humbly at the Lord's feet, and receiving his words; for it is evident that humility and wisdom are much wanting in your letter. Pride and ignorance are no proofs of divine teaching; these materials are from the ruins of the fall, not from the covenant of grace.
A sceptre, sir, in the literal sense, is a short staff, or small rod, carried in the hand of a royal sovereign, which is a sign or emblem of royal power and authority, granted by the King of kings and Lord of lords, by whom kings reign; and it is
put into the hands of a king by the nation that sets him as a ruler over them.
But, if this sceptre, this power and authority, was to extend no further than just to be held out at the palace to an humble petitioner, who solicits a favour, it would be a sceptre of mercy with a witness, but not a sceptre of righteousness; for we should soon be overrun and destroyed by thieves, villains, and murderers, and no man would be sure of his life; “A king all mercy is a king unjust.' The authority of a ruler is to promote good works, and to be a terror to evil; to do good, is to have praise of the same; but, if thou do that which is evil, be afraid: for he beareth not the sceptre nor the sword in vain; for he is the minister of God, a revenger, to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil, Rom. xiii. 3, 4. But without a sceptre he hath no authority. What you mean by being favoured with a touch of the sceptre, I do not understand, and it is what you cannot explain. Queen Esther touched the sceptre of King Ahasuerus. This I know; but the sceptre of Christ is neither wood, gold, nor iron; it was not made by the turner, the goldsmith, nor upon the blacksmith's anvil; for it is no less than Almighty power, which is not to be touched with the finger, but felt in the soul; nor is it in our power to handle it, it must be manifested in us by the Lord himself. Nor is this power of the mediatorial King confined to the objects of his love, but it extends to all his enemies. “Thou hast given him
power over all flesh," to subdue them, and make all things subservient to his own end; and for this reason, “ that he should give eternal life to as many as the Father hath given him.” This power reaches to all, to all the angels in heaven, and to all the devils in hell; to all the saints in Zion, and to all the sinners on earth. He is the head of all principalities, and has the keys of hell and of death. He is King of glory in heaven, King of saints in Zion, and King of nations, as well as King of kings and Lord of all lords. And it is under this rod of his strength that the rebel passes, who is made willing in the day of his power; and by the same rod of his mouth he smites the earth, slays the wicked, and breaks in pieces the oppressor. If this kind tutor of mine had examined the word of God, he might have learned from thence that God calls a rod a sceptre more than once. “And she had strong rods for the sceptres of them that bear rule.” “ And fire. is gone out of a rod of her branches, which hath devoured her fruit, so that she hath no strong rod to be a sceptre to rule. This is a lamentation, and shall be for å lamentation,” Ezek. xix. 11. 14 And what is called the rod of Christ's strength which went out of Zion, is said to be the rod by which he rules in the midst of his enemies, and by which he makes his own people willing to submit to his government, Psalm cx. 1—3. And this ruling rod is called his sceptre; and it is a right sceptre and a sceptre of righteousness, which well becomes