... Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.—Revelation 15.3.
C O L L E C T I O N
LECTURES AND SERMONS,
Preached upon Several SUBJECTS, mostly in the
Wherein a Faithful Doctrinal TESTIMONY is transmitted to Posterity for the DOCTRINE, WORSHIP, DISCIPLINE and GOVERN- MENT of the Church of SCOTLAND against Popery, Prelacy, Erastianism, &c.
By these FAITHFUL and EMINENT SERVANTS of JESUS CHRIST; Messrs. WILLIAM GUTHRIE, MICHAEL BRUCE, JOHN WELLWOOD, RICHARD CAMERON, DONALD CARGILL, ALEXANDER PEDEN and ALEXANDER SHIELDS.
To which are added, some Sacramental Discourses by Mr. JOHN LIVINGSTON and Mr. JOHN WELCH, and a SERMON on the BREACH of COVENANT, by Mr. JOHN GUTHRIE.
Carefully collected and Transcribed from several MANUSCRIPTS by J. H.; and now Published at the desire of the OWNERS of that CAUSE, which some of the Worthy AUTHORS Sealed with their Blood.
ISAIAH lii. 7. How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth salvation.
G L A S G O W:
JOHN LIVINGSTONE was the son of William Livingstone, the minister of Kilsyth, and was born there in 1603. He was blessed with godly parents, and, above all, he was himself, and that early, the subject of regenerating grace. In his Autobiography, he tells of the workings of God the Spirit upon his heart while he was very young, leading him to earnest prayer and to holy delight in the study of the Divine Word. Though not resolved when he was prosecuting his education in its earlier stages to devote himself to the work of the ministry, he was afterwards led in this direction by Providences of a peculiar kind. On the second day of January, 1625, he delivered his first sermon in his father's pulpit. He gave good promise of becoming an able and zealous minister of the New Testament.
On account of opposition to him on the part of the Prelatic party because of his strong sympathy with Scriptural doctrine and purity, several parishes were prevented giving him calls. In the summer of 1630 he received an invitation to go to Ireland, and accept a call which the Parish of Killinchy was ready to offer him. Only for a year was he to discharge the office of the ministry there without molestation. For nonconformity he was suspended by the Bishop of Down. About a year later the sentence of deposition was reversed, and Livingstone entered anew upon his ministerial labours. In 1635, he was again suspended, and no prospect of restoration appearing, he determined to go to New England. Almost overwhelmed by a storm near Newfoundland, he and his associates resolved to return to the shores of Ireland. Learning soon after his arrival there, that a warrant was issued for his apprehension, he crossed to Scotland, and sojourned for a time in the vicinity of Edinburgh.
In 1638, he was engaged in the Renovation of the National Covenant, and in receiving throughout various parts of the country signatures to that deed. In the same year, he was settled as minister of Stranraer. He also attended the celebrated Reforming Assembly held at Glasgow that year, and heartily supported its procedure and decisions. In 1648, by the desire of the General Assembly, he was translated from Stranraer to Ancrum in Teviotdale.
As an evidence of the high honour in which he was held, and of his extensive influence, Livingstone was chosen by the Assembly as one of their representatives to treat with the young king Charles at the Hague, with a view to his coronation. With that power of penetration, which was one of the prominent features of his character, he judged the king to be insincere in his professions, and considered him disinclined in heart, as well as in other respects unqualified, to rule the kingdom according to the Reformed constitution established therein. Nor did he cease to protest against the national step then taken, although the king subscribed the Covenants, and the other Commissioners expressed their full satisfaction.
The storm Livingstone feared would soon arise, began to blow in all its intensity immediately on the Restoration of 1660. As ministers were required to acknowledge the Prelatic power or remove, he resolved to quit his charge. In the course of his last services, he gave a noble vindication of the right of Christ to reign in His own house, and boldly avowed himself ready to suffer for Christ's sake. In obedience to a citation of the Council, he voluntarily surrendered and appeared before them. On his examination, and having refused to subscribe the Oath of Allegiance, sentence was pronounced against him that he should leave Edinburgh within forty-eight hours, and within two months depart from the king's dominions. In 1662, he arrived at Rotterdam, where he had much joy and consolation in the company of the many faithful men who for like reasons were banished from their native land.
Livingstone continued an earnest student. He had a tolerable acquaintance with modern languages, and while in Holland spent a large part of his time in literary work, specially bearing upon the Scriptures. It was when here that he prepared a Latin translation of the Old Testament. Being an intensely close and persevering student, and having been much exposed by previous vicissitudes, his body began to show symptoms of infirmity and decay. His conversation with relatives and friends when death was drawing near, was sweet and elevating. He was deeply concerned about the condition and prospects of Christ's Church and cause in Scotland, and many a time did he turn his thoughts to the land of his birth he loved so well. "I would not have people to forecast the worst," he said to friends as they conversed on this subject, "but there is a dark cloud above the Reformed Churches which prognosticates a coming storm." Yet he was sure that the truths of Christ which Scotland covenanted to maintain, would not be obliterated. "I die," said he, "in the faith that the truths of God, which He hath helped the Church of Scotland to own, shall be owned by Him as truths so long as sun and moon endure." Of himself more particularly he said, "I have my own faults as well as other men, but He has always made me to abhor shows. I know I have given offence to many through my slackness and negligence, but I forgive, and desire to be forgiven." And again, "Carry my commendation to Jesus Christ till I come there myself." With his eye upon his ministry he said, "I cannot say much of great services; yet if ever my heart was lifted up, it was in preaching of Jesus Christ."
On the 9th of August, 1672, and in the 78th year of his age, John Livingstone gently passed away. "Them also which sleep in Jesus, will God bring with Him."
Now, the Lord bless you. Bless Him, and then bless yourselves, and bless all His people. Now, what are ye come here for to-day? Has not your conscience said in particular unto you, "What was I before the Lord called me? How have I carried since that time?" And what, if this shall be the day that He will bring your fears upon you? We are all here as in a fold, and He may kill or save alive as it pleaseth Him. Yea, it may be, there are more that get a dead stroke at Communions than at any other time or place: "And after the sop, Satan entered into him." But we are loath to speak such hard things unto you.
Now, there is here much ado. There are many professors that are like our bare gentlemen, that will strive to hold out their rank for a while, but it will not do with them long. And oh, that the Lord would come this day, and save us, and let us choose our curators, and let Him get the stock and us both! Oh, do ye know Him? And do ye know how sweet He is? But alas! the condition of the people seems to say that it is not necessary to speak much of this kind, but believe it, that if God had not been very gracious we had all been in the meeting place of misery and woe long ere now. Believe this, that hell fire is very hot. And yet believe this, that though there were a great body of that fire to break through this congregation, it would not do us much good; no, not so much as a sermon. "They have Moses and the prophets, let them hear them." And I would ask one question, and it is this: Who have been better dealt with than we have been? But alas! I would ask another question more sad than this, and it is this: Who hath used Him so ill and ungratefully as we in this land have done? Say ye then, The Lord grant that this Communion be not like other occasions of this kind, where the Lord was gracious, and we soon forgot it? And again the Lord grant that it be even like unto some others. We are going to heaven. Now, who is ready, like a man that is going on a sea voyage? Such a one gets his board ready, and he says, "I am now as far on my way as he who sat up all night, waiting upon the tide." May Christ choose your time and tide.
Now, let us bless Him, and so call upon His name.
TWO TABLES WERE SERVED.
OH, but God hath been a good God to Scotland, and oh, but Scotland hath been an evil and ungrateful Scotland unto Him! If it be enquired, Who is it that will bring on God's judgments upon us, if they be coming? it may be answered, It will neither be profane atheists, nor malignants, but professors that will bear the blame of it. Professors, yea, there are professors, and blessed be God that many have gone up to heaven through that door. But there are a kind of professors that take unto themselves that name, and they will come to communions, and they will propose questions to good folk that they have heard others propose, and yet if the Lord prevent not, they will call us Baal's priests. They are growing fond of a religion which neither the prophets, Christ, nor His apostles knew of. The Lord help you to keep your feet this slippery time. But they that will be honest shall have all Christ's heart. He will take a poor mourning sinner all in His arms, and say, "Child, I mean thee no harm. According to your faith so be it unto you." "That night wherein he was betrayed, he took bread and brake it," &c. Yes, He brake it. And ye must know, that through His breaking of it, we are healed. His dividing was our binding together, and, when Satan hath broken, He heals us. Christ says, "There are my bloody hands that healed you; these very hands of Mine did it." "And he brake it;" and say ye, "Let it be a bargain." And then think much and well of such a saying.
Now ye may think, and think a thought as broad and as long as heaven itself; because He wanted us to have full nourishment, He took the cup; "and after he had given thanks" (and thanks be to Him, and if our heart's blood could thank Him, it could never go a better way), "saying, Drink ye, drink ye all of it." Neither hath He done with you yet, nor have you done with Him. He will never let your heart alone, until He get you up unto Himselfup at the throne. "To him that overcometh, will I give to eat of the tree of life, that is in the midst of the paradise of God. And he that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death." "To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna: and I will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth, save he that receiveth it." "And he that overcometh, and keepeth my words unto the end, to him will I give power to rule over the nations. And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter, shall they be broken to shivers, even as I received of my Father, and I will give him the morning star." "The same shall be clothed in white raiment, and I will not blot his name out of the book of life; but I will confess him before my Father, and before his angels." Believers, I am now reading your portion to you. "Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of God; and he shall go no more out; and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is New Jerusalem." "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am sat down with my Father in his throne." "He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear!" It may be (though we have no mind to speak hard things unto you) that ye may get no other preaching but your Bible, stolen out to a barn-side, moor-side, or the back of a dyke, there to read your Father's testament. There needs not many words, for if ye be ready He is ready; and if ye be not ready, He is both ready Himself and ready to make you ready on such a day as this.
Looking upon these elements hath done more good than many sermons. Says the soul when the elders are coming with the flagons, "Is Christ coming in a flagon? And shall I drink eternal life over in a cup?" "There is my body which was broken for you: take ye, eat ye all of it." And what think ye of this entertainment? What think ye of the wine? Is the wine good? Take another drink. I do not mean that ye need to do it externally oftener than once in one day, but your doing it once says that ye should do it believingly always. "In like-manner he took the cup." So we take it. May such a word be spoken! And if it be rightly taken, then drink your service, your hearts' service unto Him, as, being ready to take off your doublet, and to lay down your head on the block, and there drink your last service in this world unto Him. Suffering is like to wear out of fashion in Scotland, but maybe it will come in fashion again. It is a little thing for folk to get a sore case, but if ye be robbed in the dark for His sake, that is suffering. If they who have a prejudice against the gospel and religion can find out a way to get it and the ministers of it away, that will be suffering. It may be there are blackened faces amongst us, but let it not be our practice to search out the ways of others, but I say for our warning what should be our wish. Now, sure I am, these should be some of our wishes:Lord, lead us on to heaven without snappering. Lord, let me suffer, ere any of Thine suffer for my sake, and ere any of Thine have a sad heart for my sake.
And for people's backwardness in coming forward to the Tables: In the name of the Lord, I charge you that are guilty of such backwardness, that ye come not forward till ye repent of the same. Dare ye say, "Lord, forbid that this land be full of Christ"? It is likely there are many wearied of His ordinances, but there are some other things to do. There is particularly the completing of the bargain. Is it a complete bargain? Is it subscribed, as it were, like a piece of parchment hanging down from heaven, and the Great Master hath His name written upon it in great letters, and His poor tenant hath but as it were a mark for his name. Well, "in that night in which he was betrayed." Lord, forbid that He should be betrayed again in Scotland! Say ye, "Is it I? Lord forbid that it should be I!" There are many dead ministers now in Scotland. Not to speak of those that are called Quakers, there are many betrayers of Christ amongst us, and some will not have a good minister when they can get him. Some think that Christ is going out of the land; but while He is as it were going out, He is looking back over His shoulder, saying, "Will ye let me go? Will ye let me go?" But let it be your reply, "No, if we can hold or detain Thee." "That night wherein He was betrayed." He made out many writs that night. He may say unto us, as a friend, or midwife so to speak, to a child, "I slept none that night thou wast born." And yet for all the haste He sat down, and encamped with His disciples. "Take ye, eat ye. Do this in remembrance of me." Where will ye be all this day hundred years? I trow, many of you wot not that the substance of the whole Bible is in these sacramental elementsthe whole covenant, a whole Christ in a state of humiliation and exaltation.
Now, here are two seals. This is His blood. Take it and divide it amongst you. We keep silence a little, that ye may have time for your thoughts; because when we are speaking ye cannot well think on what ye are engaged in.
Now, ye may think again. It may be some will be saying. "I think still more of Christ." Oh, your domineering lusts and sins! The Lord give you the mastery over them. These are the greatest points of Christianity except suffering:
1st, Still be diligent in a lawful calling, and be always honouring God in so doing; in carrying forward the work of your own salvation.
2ndly, You must mortify and subdue all your predominant lusts and idols. And
3rdly, When you get any wrong done you in the world, then endeavour to suffer as Christ did. If ye want these three, if ye would preach and pray never so well, so that the cheeks of those who heard you never dried, yet, if ye want these, ye are but reprobates. Fear and forbear. It is a great thing in Christianity, how the husband and wife guide the family, and how ye carry it home and abroad in your lawful callings; for ye must either go along with all the duties of Christianity or quit it altogether.
Now, beloved in the Lord, do ye all agree in one? Or what are ye thinking? Surely I must conceive ye do not repent your coming here: and this ordinance says that Christ repents not of the bargain. Therefore in imitation of Him, I take bread; and in His words, say unto you, "In that night wherein he was betrayed, he took bread (as ye see us do) and brake it after he had given thanks, and gave it unto His disciples, saying, Divide it amongst you." We cannot read all the clauses of the covenant at every table: but I tell you the meaning or sum of the words is, "I will be your God, and ye shall be my people," which in substance is extended unto us every day in our access to the throne of grace. "Take ye, eat ye all of it." And we give it you in the same terms that He gave it, that ye may do it in remembrance of Him. Truly this is wisely and well contrived; for we have no more need of temporal food here than of spiritual food. Some can go half naked, but meat and drink is a man's life, so Christ is the Christian's life; and "therefore take ye, drink ye all of it. This is the cup of the New Testament shed for you."
Now, if ye go to heaven this easy way, it will be strange, for they are almost gone which have endured already. This seemed but a small matter in the Prelate's days; since which time we have been borne on Christ's sides, and dandled on His knees. There are many new upstart professors amongst us, with sharp thorns in their hearts, breaking forth in their lives and conversationspersons who cannot think to pray for their enemies, contrary to Christ's own exhortation. You would think it a strange thing to see a man coming to thrust you through with a sword; but truly though it were so, ye ought to go to death with this prayer, "Good Lord, spare the life of him that wounded me." It may be, some professors think in these days to get a crown, kingdom, and throne. I know not if ever that shall be, but I think it will not be till the Jews be brought in. It is thought a hard state in the world amongst many, that they get not such an estate in the world as they would have; But there are people in other nations, that would think themselves half in heaven (so to speak) if they were but in our condition, who never hear a word of preaching for many years. Oh, mind these in this your day; for it were to be wished, and especially at every communion, that the Lord would give that man of sin a notable blow; that the Lord would be avenged on the Turks and Jesuits and that man of sin, for if the bloody Spaniards come in, as many of you as have not received the truth in faith and love will but turn Papists ere all be done; for a quick idol within will open the doors to a dead idol without. Poor souls! the first communion was the saddest where there was none with Christ but twelve poor men mourning for their Master who was to die and be buried, and they knew not then whether or not He would rise again. They were weeping while He wept, so that it is questionable whose sorrow was greatest. His sorrow was not timorous and woman-like as theirs was. He spake many a comfortable word unto them, such as these, "Behold I appoint unto you a kingdom;" "Fear not little flock," &c. Yea, He told them, that it behoved Him to go away, but withal that He would come again, on which they all wept. But as David's voice exceeded Jonathan's, even so doth our David's sorrows exceed ours. But they, hearing of His departure, did as so many children would do to their departing father. They gathered about Him with tears, saying, "Father, Father, depart not." But Christ as a loving Father, looses their grips very tenderly, without hurting these tender ones, with the words "I tell you I must go away; but I will see you again, and your hearts shall rejoice." Thus He took the bread and brake it; and the cup also after supper, saying, "Eat ye, and drink ye all of it; this do in remembrance of me."
After all the Tables were over, Mr. Livingstone proceeded thus:
IT is not proper now to speak anything more, because what we speak now may but justle out what we have spoken already. Oh, that ye could but remember the half of what hath been said; for Christ pities your bodies that have continued here so long. But I hope that, though ye are now to take your leave of us, ye are not minded to take your leave of Him. Therefore say, "Lord, hast Thou any more service for us to do?" and He will answer you, "Yea, I have the old and new commandment to give you, that ye love one another. Keep peace, and treat one another well for my sake." A good journey I hope some of you hath made towards heaven, and thanks be to God the door is yet open. And therefore be requested, O ye strangers, yet come in; and you who have communicated unworthily, begin just now and repent; for if ye know Him, ye would ask Him, and He would give you living waters. But intending to say no more at present, let us first pray and then praise.
"Remember Lot's wife."Luke 17.32.
IT would seem to be a very gloomy example that we have to speak of at this time; and yet it is God's word, and not unprofitable. But I may compare the want of fear to the rolling over of a great stone; for if Satan can once get watchfulness lulled asleep, he will not miss to steal your crowns from you.
Here you have in these words a very necessary memorandum to all generations, whether standing in the house, or in the highway home. If ye remember the history, there came two angels to Sodom to carry Lot, his wife, and daughters, out of the city. Approaching hazard forbade them to look behind them: and yet this poor woman but looked back with a longing eye towards Sodom, and she became a pillar of salt. Hence these few things following may be grounds for our instruction:
That amongst the keepers of our look, memory is one that is much broken, which doubtless had been in better case if we had rightly served Christ. Memory is a notable servant unto Jesus Christ. It is like an apothecary apprentice, turning quickly unto every shuttle, and bringing forth His medium; but alas, the want of memory hath sent many souls into hell, not remembering that they were washen. They say it is natural for them to be forgetful. But I say unto such, Woe unto you; for ye can keep a tryst [appointed meeting] with the devil, and ye can remember that, and ye can remember foolish tales or things of that nature. Our hearts (to use the comparison) are just like a watch which one carries unto a man who hath skill, and says to him, Mend this little thing in it. But when the skilled person looks into it, he finds that there is not a right wheel in it. All is wrong. The mind, will, and affection are all gone wrong. The wisdom, understanding, and spirit are all gone wrong by our first parents eating the forbidden fruit, whereby Satan and our own folly have made strange work, though they were warned by God's express prohibition.
Ye say ye have no memory. Say ye, "Though I cannot remember all things, it is enough if I remember the things of my own concernment, and of my own experience"? But here you should remember that whatever ye remember ye should not lose mind of the Bible, viz., what a good man Josias was, and what a bad man Manasses was, and others, but it may be that while ye read through the Scriptures, ye will notice some one or other encouragement or promise, saying, What needs more? I am not to dwell upon the place. And other young raw Christians will say that they can explain the Scriptures, yet I bid you speak soberly and be watchful; for indeed there are crafty adversaries going about in these days. Therefore remember Lot's wife whose salvation or damnation we shall not and cannot determine; we will not determine this, having so small light going before us as to this, but, sure, she is here set forth as a warning unto us. But ye will perhaps say, What should we here remember concerning her?
1. Remember that she was Lot's wife, a good man's wife, and a professor too, and brought up and educated in good company; and yet he is vexed in his own house, as well as amongst these filthy Sodomites. It may be that she was of good education also. But alas! that did not her turn. She is set up between heaven and earth for a memorandum, and we have no more certainty of her descent, but that she was Lot's wife. Therefore, though your good parentage and education be a mercy, yet boast not of it; and though you may have dwelt long in a good house, what of that? May not Satan tempt you there, if ye have not the root of the matter within you? And you must sometimes begin to inquire of Christ, if ye have attained as much in that condition as to bear you through, to bear your charges to heaven. Carefully record these things that you may forget none of them; for there are many careless professors, especially women, similar to Lot's wife. Many others amongst you are but bad instruments in a country-side, and ringleaders to wicked courses; therefore pray that ye be not a grief and as plagues unto your husbands, nor a vexation unto your parents or relations.
2. Remember that she was half-way to Zoar, and Sodom burning behind her; and, it may be, she then thought she was past all danger and most secure. While the angel took hold of her hand, she says, as it were, "God be thanked, I am now past the worst of it, and nearer unto heaven than I was." The lesson for our instruction is this: that some may seem to go to heaven, nay, seem to be half-way there, and yet not be upon that way at all. So king Agrippa said unto Paul, "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian." But woe unto them that are but almost persuaded to be Christians! Hence arises this question, How far a reprobate may go on in Christianity? and yet it is not fitting for a Christian to know this, nor yet how far a Christian may be misled in an evil way, and even go half-way to hell and more. "But remember Lot's wife," that was half-way on to Zoar; and yet I say that half-way is no way, for all the blossoms of a tree do not come to fruit; "And ye have not resisted unto blood," &c. I say not this to make you quit your confidence; because ye are not yet so far on in suffering; but to make you more wary, and not to cast off your armour until ye get the victory over your lusts and predominant evils. Begin to ask, Am I right? or How far may I be come? or What may I meet with ere all be done? I will not say here that ye should do as Peter did in denying his Master, or as David in the matter of Uriah; and yet ye know not what Satan will do unto you ere ye go hence; for it is likely that many that have gone a great length have fallen back, and will fall back in their Christian way, and never come to the camp again. Wherefore, it is good to abide with God and His people, and not to go in singular ways of your own, and to be afraid of saying, "I am now half-way towards heaven. I need not fear. I am well when at a communion table; and so I need not fear." But be afraid. We would say unto you, as to men in a ship when a great blast of wind comes, Stand to your sails; and I may say, God grant that we may not be found asleep in that day! And
3. "Remember Lot's wife." But you may say, What did she? She but looked back, and could not go straight on in the way with her husband. Hence ye may take this lesson, that God doth not account of things as we do. He accounts that a great sin which we account but a little one. Who could have thought that there should have been so much business for so small a fault? But see what became of Hezekiah for leading these men in to see the treasures of his househow angry is the Lord for that, because He knew what it would turn unto; for He judgeth not as we judge according to the bulk or outside, but what is within the heart. But you will say, "It was but a small thing for Ishmael to smile at the weaning of Isaac;" and yet ye may see he was persecuted for it. And think ye, that that was a small matter in God's sight for Aaron and Miriam to speak against Moses, although it must be granted that they were two gracious persons? But many smalls make a great (as we use to say); and "if the Lord shall mark iniquities, who shall stand?" But
4. "Remember Lot's wife." But you will say, "What moved her to do so, to look back contrary to the Lord's express command?"(1.) It was a piece of her own curiosity. She thought she might in this matter take some of her own will, when she was nigh halfway to Zoaras it is with many of us. We virtually say, "We are lords, we will come no more to thee." Again, some would gladly say, "I cannot think to lay my will flat under God's will, nor endure to have it conformed fully thereto." "But remember Lot's wife." And you know that Jacob's daughter, in going out to see the daughters of the land was defiled; therefore return in again; for this was an evil sight to her and to all that belonged unto her, and to all the Schechemites also. And oh, what folly lurks in our corrupt hearts, opposite unto the law of God!Lastly, "Remember Lot's wife." But after all ye may perhaps say, "What should we remember of her?" No good I warrant you; and therefore the more sad is the subject to speak of. God made her a spectacle in these days, as He is in our days doing with some, not comparable to the apostle Paul, who was as a gazing stock. The Lord, in the depths of His infinite wisdom, dealt so with him in His mercy, and others He hath suffered, in His wrath, to do evil deeds for their former sins to the instruction and edification of many. Therefore, ye should not look upon such spectacles of His wrath in a light manner. See these eighteen men upon whom the tower of Siloam fell. They were not the greatest sinners in Jerusalem, and yet were made spectacles unto others. Therefore, "Remember Lot's wife," a backslider indeed, which is Scotland's sin this day, and that of many of our professors also, whose destruction lingers not, and whose damnation slumbereth not. How suddenly is the Lord likely to come upon us as a thief in the night for our whoring, incest, adultery, drunkenness, and many other dreadful sins, which although often reproved and confessed, yet are never amended nor forsaken!
(2.) Old Sodom comes into her mind again, as in the case of the Israelites in the wilderness, when lusting after the onions and garlic which they had while in Egypt. Truly, that was strange; for you know, garlic hath no agreeable taste. But what shall we say? Anything of Egypt or Sodom is good, when we are out of them, yea, many may think "What meant I while I was in the acts of my wickedness, that I took not my pennyworths of it," as we sometimes say. It was even so with her, looking back to her old but bad companions. But I bid you beware of this, especially of "touching the garment spotted with the flesh." Except in the case of necessity, Solomon forbids so much as to go in the way with an angry man. The Christian should be like an old pilgrim with his gown and staff, and if he get not a bed, he should lie on the ground as old Jacob did with a stone under his head. But your accommodations for back and belly, bed and board, even such as Sodom could afford, are the means to destroy you, and pamper you up to commit grievous abominations. Sometimes you are forbearing yourselves, and exclaiming against others, saying, "How beastly was such and such a man or woman? But I may say, What if the Lord love others that are poor and ragged, as well as you with your fine clothes, yea, and better; and what know ye, to judge of the state of others? "Remember Lot's wife," of whom it is said, "But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt." Indeed she should have consulted her husband in it; and it is but the part of all women in things lawful to do so. Though I grant not always, provided they be not wasters. But this woman would neither be subject unto God nor her husband, like Eve, who should have said unto the serpent, "Hold thy peace, and be quiet, for I will not hearken unto thee, until I first hear what Adam will say;" and yet doubtless she is in heaven this day. But she was the first transgressor in the world in breaking God's express commands. See also what became of that poor man, who for gathering a few sticks upon the Sabbath-day, was stricken dead. Therefore, take heed how ye have communicated this day, for little do ye know what sickness and death follow on despised communions. And therefore
But here is an extraordinary work, or dispensation of God's providence; to see this woman so turned into a pillar of salt, whereby He makes one stone of another. Her heart was hard as a stone; and so must the other parts of her body become as a stone also.
USE.Therefore pray that this may never be your case. Moreover, I may say unto you who are profane professors, again, "Remember Lot's wife." The chief thing that draws many of you away is the pride of your religion, wit, gifts, profession, &c. It is not altogether natural pride, but the pride of your religion, saying, "It cannot be I except I be singular." For which sin, O ye empty professors, make ready for a storm, and ballast your ships well, that so ye may be more steady. Get more humility and sobriety. Esteem others better than yourselves. Search and try your own hearts, for there are many waiting to get an advantage of you. And remember that ye are changeable while on this side of time. As for Quakers and these sectaries, beware of them, with whom Satan does as he did with old Eve while he talked with her; she was deceived, therefore meddle not at all with them; for if ye do, I may say of you as it is said of Saul, Ye are seeking unto the devil. And it may be that, in that case, God will suffer him to overcome you. Therefore, "Remember Lot's wife," and let it be your memento always.
N.B.There are other two discourses, besides a preface, delivered by the same Author during this solemnity; one from Psalm 93, and another from John 20.24-29, which on different accounts could not be here published. And although these of his now printed were neither just so full, nor so methodical as could have been wished, yet it was thought proper to give them a place here, both on account of the man's manner, and likewise because there have been none of his ministerial labours of this nature published before.
1. This preface, a discourse at the serving of the tables, and an evening sermon, were preached by Mr. John Livingstone, at the celebration of the Lord's Supper at Carluke, May 29, 1659.