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The humble finner resolved what he
should do to be saved.
A&s 16. 30, 31:
Sirs ! What must I do to be saved.
And they said, believe on the Lord Iesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
Aul and Silas ( on their journey ) make a step to Pbilippi,a chiefe City in Macedonia, vers. 12.They had a special call for it, ver... Being there the next Sabbath, they apply themselves to Praying and Preaching, ver. 13. and each of these was
crowned with a blessed effe&. By the former, Lydia is converted, ver. 14, 15. By the latter,the Devil is difpoflefled out of a Damafell, ver. 16, 18. The Word and Prayer are the great power of God to change the heart and conquer Satan.
But if we trouble the Devil, the Devil will not cease to trou bleus. It hath been the lot of the best Ministers, co do most good, and find most affliction. Look but in the 19. ver. and there you shall see Panland Silas caught and drawn before the
cast out a Devil! Bu: this is not the matter objeđed, nor the immediare ground of the trouble ( Her Master saw that the hope of their gaines was gone. ) How far will the love of the world chruft a man against Gods servants,even Paul himself is brought to the Bar, when he cuts off the gaines which che Devil brought. Covervus hearts and good Mixifters can never agree.' They will rather sell the Truth than lose their gaine.
But being now before the Magistrate, what is their accufation? What! That Pauland Silas did cast out the Devil? No. That they who were the Masters of the Damosel were impaired and disadvantaged by their Preaching ? No, though this was the ground, yet something else was the Pretence. This would seeme lomewhat too base, and therefore they urge against them another allegation, which they knew would easily take, vers.20. Thile being lews exceedingly trouble our Ciry, and ver. 21. Teache Cufiomes which are not lawful for us to receive, nor to observe, being Romans.
As if he said they are a couple of fa&tious and schymatical fel. lows, men of a singular spirit, given to innovation, speak strange things of one Christ, and of Believing, and of Repenting, and we know not wbat.
They need say no more, presently there is an uprore, and without any more ado, right or wrong, they have Justice. The Ma. giftrates rent their clothes, and command to beate them. veri22.
And this is not enough, besides the whip, they must to the Prijon,and be kept safe and close, verse 23. Hatred of goodnelle doth many times precipitale evil men to the afts of injustice; and he who hates a good man, will many times - become a bad Judge.
But in the prison and stocks they are, and the layler is as Ariet to exechle, as they «njuft.co command, verse 24. He did ihrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the Stocks.
A strange Providence is that of God, Paul and Silas are sent to prison to convert a Jayler, to unloose him, who bound them, to heale him, who fcourged them, God hath some special ends in the times and places of his servants sufferings. Well, at Mid
night Paul and Silas prayed and sang prajses to God, verse 25. No prison can bolt out our Communion with God. Prayer will gec upto heaven in dispice of all opposition, and even a fuffering Christian may be very cheerful.
But now séę che consequents of this, their prayers shooke the Heaven,and the Heaven thooke the Earth, so that the foundations of the Prison were shaker, and immediately all the doores were opened, and every ones bands were loosed, ver. 26. I do not marvel that Prayer can breake the bonds of Iron,when I know it is able to break asunder the bonds of death it self.
The layler awake' ,fees the prison doores open, and for ought he knew,an escape of all his prisoners for whose lives,probable it is, that he must pay his own, and therefore in a paflionate desperatenesse, drawes, owe his sword to kill bimself.
Paulespies him, and cryes out with a loud voice, (bold, hold) Do thy self no barme, for we are all bere, not a man of us that hath stirred.
Which when he had learched, and found, O, what a strange alteration is in this Jayler, verse 29. He came in trembling. What!he who before made them to bleed, doch he now cremble! he that before cast them into the stocks,doth he come trembling to them! What were they, or what could they do, shackled, and scourged, and imprisoned persons, that he trembled before them! But io he did. Scorners will become Tremblers,when God bath once couched their hearts ; yet this is not all. He also falls down before them. He is upon his knees to ask them forgivenesse, for his cruel usage.
cruel usage. And then he brings ebem forth.
But what of all this. All this may arise from sparks of picey and Object bumanicy,
Nay, but there is a greater matter chen all this : Sirs, laid he, Sol. mbat shall I de to be saved? ( As if he said) I am in a miserable condition, I have lived wickedly, and done wrong to many of the people of God, and in particular to you; Good Lord what Thall become of me; you are the Ministers of Christ
, Ibeseech you have pity on me, and shew unto me what I may do to save this poore soul of mine, What does Paul, and Silas Answer him? they said, Beleeve
in the Lord lesus Chrift, axd sbom shalt be saved. And I be feech you marke it, how immediate their answer is to bi. question; they do not say, as the High Priests to afflicted indas,look thow corbat , they do not upbraid bim with his hard and cruell usage. They take not thai advantage, and say, nay. now doth thy conscience troÅble thee for being so wicked, and scourging as fo sharply? yes, and so let it; doelt chou come for direction and comfort to us whom thou hast so Thamefully abused?
No, they forget the injuries, and presently pour in the Oyl, They instantly dire& bim into the crue way of life, Believe is. the Lord lefus Cbrift,and shon shalt be saved. But more of this a
I have chosen this text on purpose, that I may proceed to th: next article of the Creed (I believe in lesus Christ our Lord) yo sec it is exprest in the next.
But before I handle it,give me leave to analyse the words,a...' to touch upon some fingular conclusions, and then I will fec. down upon the Article it Yelf more fully,
The opening of the words with the severall
Dottrines in the text.
He words of the text do containe two parts.
A case of Conscience to be propounded by a troubled and trembling finner : The cale is not for another, but for himself, what shall I do? And not about his Riches, or wealth, or his body, but a
bout his soul : And that not for meer fpeculatsz. on, but for practicals, it is a cale about his falvacion, and about the mcanes which bs should take to accaine :, Sirs, what shall I do to be./ared