And when ye see this, your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall flourish like an herb: and the hand of the LORD shall be known toward his servants, and his indignation toward his enemies.
~ Isaiah 66:14
A Song of degrees. When the LORD turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream.
~ Psalm 126:1
And in that day thou shalt say, O LORD, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me. Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.
~ Isaiah 12:1-3
For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.
~ Psalm 30:5
A Sermon on Psalm 126:3-6, by Alexander Henderson.
A Sermon for a Thanksgiving Afternoon.
Psalm cxxvi. 3-6. “The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad. Turn again our captivity, O Lord, as the streams in the south. They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”
It is the Lord’s gracious dealing in all the deliverances of his people, even because they are his people, he gives them matter of rejoicing; and yet he is so wise in his dispensation towards them, that he holds them still in a dependence on him, that so still we may have something to pray for to him, whilk we must have supplied by (over and above) all that we have gotten before. Surely, beloved, it cannot be denied by us but “that the Lord has done great things for us;” and if so be that we will also un-feignedly acknowledge the truth, we may say, “We are glad of them.” And yet, for all that, we have still cause to pray to the Lord, that he who has begun the good work among us would also perfyte it; and we may be assured of this, if we will continue earnest with God in our prayers, he sail bring the work to a happy end. It was so here with the people of God upon their begun return out of Babel: they waken and stir up themselves by a commemoration of God’s former goodness towards them; “The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad:” for so it is in the original, and not whereof. And yet, for all that, they pray to God, “Turn again our captivity;” and tells that if he would do that, it would be als refreshing to them as the streams of water that comes from the north to the dry south; and withal subjoins ane assurance that it sail be so, according to their prayer, “They that saw in tears sail reap in joy.” And so these who depends continually upon God, and bears affliction patiently, and does the thing whilk he commands them, “and goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed;” all that sail be recompensed when it comes to the shearing, for these “sail come in with rejoicing, bringing
their sheaves with them.”
There be three things here in the words to be taken heed to: 1. The praise that they give to God for that whilk he has done, “The Lord has done great things for us, whereof we are glad.” 2. The prayer that God’s people make to him, “Turn again our captivity, as the streams in the south.” 3. The prophetical confidence they have that it sail be so: “They that sow in tears, &c.”
1. “The Lord has done great things for us.” They acknowledge and confess, from their awin experience, that the Lord has done great things for them, and this indeed was a good confession. This day’s exercise, it was begun with a confession of sin, and I wish now it were ended with a confession of thanksgiving. For there is a threefold confession spoken of in Scripture. First, there is a confession of sin, Ps. xxxii. 5, “I said, I will confess my transgression to thee; and thou, Lord, forgavest the iniquity of my sin.” Second, there is a confession of faith, as it is Rom. x. 10, “With the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation.” And in these times, when religion, or any point thereof, is in danger, that is the proper time we ought to make this confession. And it is not enough for us to say over the articles of our belief in general, but whatever point of our religion we see to be in danger, we are obleist to confess that point before the world, and to promise to stand to it.137 And then men attain to a further degree of perfection than before,
137 We discern here what may be called the first germ of the Westminster Standards. In the Assembly 1639, session 19, Mr. Alexander Henderson moved, That it was expedient that there were a positive Confession drawn up, and these errours related therein, and expressly condemned by the Church, and the doctrines of the Church of Scotland cleared, that none hereafter pretend ignorance of them, and that this grave work were recommended to such and such men; the which motion the whole Assembly did approve. We find that the chief burden of this great work came to be laid on Henderson himself, with leave to cease his ordinary ministry when so occupied: and there can be no doubt that his labours under this commission prepared him for the important part he afterwards took in the Westminster Assembly. See M’Crie’s Miscellaneous Works, p. 40.
for before they were only professors of religion, but now they are confessors of it. Third, there is a confession of thanksgiving, and that is when any confesses that the Lord has done great things for them, and so they are thankful. Thir three confessions of necessity must go together; for he who is not humbled for sin, and has not gotten a sight thereof, that so he may confess it, he will never seek in to Christ; for it is only the sight of the guiltiness of sin that makes any to flee in to Christ. Secondly, if there be not faith to believe in Christ, then there will not be ane open confession for him, nor for his truth; and if there be none of these, then thou will never confess that the Lord has done great things for thee, but when it is done, thou will say it is thyself who has done it. But if so be that thou sees thy sense of sin, and of Christ, and of redemption by him, and has faith to believe in him, and to confess him before the world, then thou will say, “The Lord has done great things for us.” And, therefore, since ye began this day’s exercise with a confession of sin, and we have of late made a public confession of our faith, let us also close this day’s exercise with a confession of thankfulness, from our awin experience, and say, “The Lord has done great things for us, whereof we are glad.”
“The Lord has done great things for us.” In this acknowledgment and confession there be three points considerable of thankfulness, whilk are all aimed at here. 1. That they were great things were done. 2. Who it was that did them “The Lord.” 3. That they are done not against us, but “for us.”
First, “great things.” What great things were these? If they will remember all the great things were done for them fra they came out of Egypt, they were great indeed, and would take a long time to tell them, and yet many times does the prophets and servants of God remember them of these. But there were three things that were great in the present deliverance out of Babel; Because it was strange, and a thing they hardly looked for; and therefore in the beginning of this psalm they say, “When the Lord brought back the captivity of Zion, we were as them who dreamed.” When they heard of such a thing as to be relieved from their captivity, they thought they had been dreaming, to hear of such a sudden and great change to be so unexpectedly done. And ye know that dreams are but vain things, and not to be looked to; so they could not believe this, it was so strange; this declares the greatness of it. 2. It was great also in respect of the extent of it. I mean it belonged to all sorts of persons, great and small, rich and poor, men and women, and to ilk person of all sorts; every one who apprehended the greatness of their captivity apprehended also the greatness of this. And, indeed, the deliverance that belongs both to kirk and country and to every member thereof, these are great deliverances; and this concerned their religion also, because they could not get stayed in Babel, but they were constrained to be idolaters. As ye see the three children, they were commanded to fall down before Nebuchadnezzar’s golden image. 3. And it was great also, because it did concern their consciences, their liberties, their fortunes, their lives, and their posterity also; for their posterity had remained slaves also, if the Lord had not shewn this great mercy.
Secondly. “The Lord has done.” And yet it was a king who did set them free, even Cyrus; he was the instrument of returning their captivity. But what was it that moved Cyrus to do this? We cannot say that it was religion, for he was a stranger to that. Second, we cannot say it was policy moved him, for he had a great numbersome, and virtuous people in captivity, and so we cannot say it was policy did move him to let them go. And besides this, we hear not that he relieved any moe captives that year, whereas he had many moe. And therefore, seeing it was not religion moved him to do it, nor was it policy; and seeing their deliverance was not common with others, but singular, it behoved only to be the Lord who did it: yea, whatever was the king’s intention the Lord was the doer of it, for he put it in the king’s heart. For the Lord, he has not only power to work by second causes, but by the hearts of men also.
Thirdly. “For us.” They had had but little cause of thanksgiving, if thir great things had been done for the enemies, and against them; but they were done only for them: and that indeed makes the thankfulness great. The Babylonians and they among the heathens said, “The Lord has done great things for them;” but they say, “The Lord has done great things for us.” The infidels wonder at that whilk was done; not that anything was done for themselves, but when they saw that whilk was done for God’s people; and God’s people turns it over again, and says, “The Lord has done great things for us.”
Beloved, these are the considerations that I would have you to think upon in your thankfulness to God now. 1. That they be great things whilk the Lord does for you; for if ye only think them to be common things with the rest of the world, ye will not be thankful for them. God has made the world; that is a great work; and he upholds it, and all that is therein; that is another great work: and we are obleist to be thankful for these. And moreover, he has sent his Son to the world to die for thy redemption, and his Spirit from heaven for thy sanctification: all this may be said to be done for thee in particular, for there is enough there for all mankind, if they have faith to believe. But I may say, moreover, since the last we met here at this occasion, the Lord has done great things for us, even for us in this land, and for us in this house in particular,156 because then we had no expectation that it should have been thus; it was to us a dream. And indeed, I think the like of this has never been seen, so soon and so great a change: surely it is wonderful in our eyes that the Lord has done this for us. It is also great because of the extent of it; for it concerns all in the land, from the highest to the lowest; and it concerns them also in everything they have to do with. For if the Lord had not been pleased to have dealt thus wonderfully with us, we had died in captivity, all ways, both in our consciences, for they had been chained; our bodies had been in slavery, our means in danger,”
138 The reference is to his own personal troubles in the matter of the Servicebook.
139 This is true. It was not merely religious but civil liberty that was at stake not merely the souls and consciences of men, but their very bodies and goods. Absolute supremacy in all things, civil and ecclesiastical, this, and nothing less, was what the king aimed at, and what his flatterers taught him to believe he had a right to. In a sermon preached by Dr. Manwaring some time before this, and printed by special command of the king, it is taught “that though property was commonly lodged in the subject, yet, whenever any exigency required supply, all property was transferred to the sovereign; that the consent of Parliament was not necessary for the imposition of taxes; and that the divine laws required compliance with every demand, how irregular soever, which the prince should make upon his subjects.” See Rushworth 1. 585, 594.
our liberties tane away; and our posterity would still have been slaves also.140 And therefore I say it, and indeed I think all must say it, that indeed they are wonderfully great things, 2. Now sail we not say that it is the Lord who has done this? Surely it is the Lord only who has done it, and no other. It is true, indeed, he has called many worthy instruments to the doing of it; yet they themselves have been forced to acknowledge that it is only the Lord who is the doer of every point of it. Howsoever, indeed, they ought to be respected as those whom the Lord has employed as instruments, but it is the Lord who is master of work, and they do all by his permission and direction. “Not unto us, not unto us, O Lord, but to thy name give glory.” Ay, indeed, we have continual reason to say this. 3. Thir great things are done also “for us.” He might have done great things against us, but he has done them for us. For if the course had proceeded whilk was anes beginning among us, (and some malicious enemies are yet working so fast as they can,) what could we have looked for but that we should have been overspread with all sort of idolatry? and then the heavy vengeance of God should have lighted upon us. But the Lord has been very gracious to us, in holding these evils aff us, and in doing great things for us. And therefore, I would have all to consider of this, and all who are in any doubt of thir things, I desire no more but that they should humbly submit themselves to God, and see whether or not these be great things that are done, because by (beyond) all our expectation, and because of
140 The far-reaching mind of Henderson saw that the wellbeing of posterity, as well as of the then existing generation, was involved in the questions then at issue, and that had the slavish principles of the court been then established, the liberties of future generations would have been taken away. Looking back to that period, with the help afforded by above two hundred years’ observation and reflection, are we not warranted in saying that Henderson was right, and that to the determined stand made by him and others, at this time, against arbitrary and tyrannical power, we owe whatever of civil and religious liberty we now enjoy?
the extent of them, and to see also that it is the Lord who has done them, and he has also done them for us. I know how men do calumniat these whom God hath employed into this great work; but if so be that we have the warrant of God for that whilk we do, and our hearts be honest in the doing of it, we need not to care for those foul aspersions that they would put upon us, by following it.
Now what wrought this upon them? “We are glad.” It is impossible, yea, flesh and blood cannot conceive what gladness will be in the heart of man, when they see that God has done anything for them. When but a great man does anything for us, especially the thing itself whilk they do being great, as when we have committed treason, and a great man, or the king himself, deal for us to get us free, we will think that a very great matter, worthy to be rejoiced in; but when the Lord does great things for us, our cause of rejoicing is far greater then. Only consider this, that rejoicing is only proper to some in the world, but it is common to all the godly; ay, I may say, it is proper to the godly also, for it is the prerogative of the children of God, that they may always rejoice. That ye may perceive the truth of this, ye must know the difference wherein it stands. I. In the cause of their rejoicing. The godly rejoices because he has the Lord to be his God, and he lifts up the light of his countenance upon him; but for the worldly man, he is as the rich worldling, he rejoices only when his corn and his oil does abound, and when his barns are full; then he says, “Soul, take thee rest, for thou has enough laid up for many years.” This is the great difference between the child of God and the worldling. The child of God has evermore his eye towards God, and his sorrow is when God withdraws himself, and he sees not his face; but he rejoices when he has the light of his countenance; but for the worldly man, he only rejoices in the things of the world. 2. The joy of the child of God is a full and perfect joy. I mean not that the children of God attain to perfection of joy here, but only it is so in comparison with the wicked, or the worldly man, it is a shouting joy. 3. The joy of the child of God, it is a heavenly and spiritual joy for the quality of it; but the joy of the worldling, it is but carnal, natural, and worldly. And I may add to these also, that it is a biding joy; for the child of God, when he is anes entered into the state of grace, he abides into it, and that indeed is matter of great joy. Then, beloved, since this is the joy of the godly, let us labour for it-to have a divine joy, coming from divine grounds, and such a joy as in the quality thereof is heavenly and spiritual, in quantity full, and in the continuance everlasting, and then we may be sure that such a joy sall abide, not only so long as we are here, but it sall also be perfected hereafter.
II. But yet, for all this, there is no such cause of rejoicing, but there is also great cause of supplicating, and therefore he subjoins to this a prayer, “Turn again our captivity, as the rivers of the south.” How can this be, that he returns to prayer again? For he has said, “The Lord has brought back our captivity,” even the captivity of Zion; and seeing he had restored Zion to her former liberty, whilk was the worship of God, they behoved also to be restored; yea, that God was not worshipped at Zion, was a greater cause of sorrow to them than their awin captivity, and therefore, in bringing back the captivity of Zion, they behoved to rejoice more than in their awin. What then is it makes them to pray thus? The reason was this, they acknowledge that there was als mickle wrought by God already, in bringing them from this captivity, as they had just cause to rejoice; but as there was mickle wrought, so there was mickle to work also; and so they acknowledge by their prayer, that he who has begun the good work must perfyte it.
And, therefore, now they beseech the Lord that, seeing he has begun to turn again their captivity, he would not leave aff now till it be perfyted. There were two causes specially made them to pray this. First, there were a number of these who were called the people of God, who, when their liberty was proclaimed, did not return again to their awin land, but stayed still in Babel, notwithstanding the proclamation that was made. And there were but over few of them who longed for this deliverance, for some of them had gotten fat worldly portions made up there, and had alleyed (allied) themselves with these people, and so had no will to leave that land to return to their awin. The second reason was because they, who, at the proclamation, had returned to their land were daily in danger, either by the hostilities of the enemies, or that another king should arise, and through his change [they should] be brought back, or that Cyrus’ awin heart should change again; and therefore they are earnest with God in their prayers “to turn again their captivity.”. That is, that he would move others who have not as yet returned to return, and that he would be a guard every way to those who are returned, that they be not drawn back again.
And indeed, these same be the reasons that we have even now to pray to God to return our captivity. The Lord, indeed, he is begun to return our captivity, and we have cause to rejoice and be glad of it. But we have also cause to be humbled before God, and to pray to him. First, because there be many who, albeit this deliverance be offered to them, yet they love it not. Many will allege that if the king would proclaim this liberty to them, O then they would be glad, and would accept of it with all their hearts; but since it is not so, they will not go before the consent of authority and indeed this is one chief cause that hinders authority from giving their consent. And I verily believe that some who says so, albeit that the king’s mind should change, and he should become as ane of us into the matter, yet they would not accept of that offer of liberty, for it is the thing they do not desire. I know of some who has said that before they abode the censure of the General Assembly they had rather abide the Spanish Inquisition; and indeed I think it be true, for they would pass freer without a censure in the one nor in the other.* For they love idolatry, and affect it, and their hearts are going that gate (road); and so they rue from their hearts, that there is anything done to stop it. It might be, indeed, that they would make a form to consent, if so be that the king would ordain it; but it would be against the heart. And therefore we should pray to the Lord to let these see the right, and to bring them from their captivity to liberty. And then, beloved, for ourselves who are returned, we may be in great danger yet, for we may be soon reduced again, for als far as we are on. Yet if it be so, we will have the wyte of it ourselves; for if we return to the Lord with all our hearts, then he will be our God, and we will be his people; and there may be some little captivity for a while, but if we will endure to the end, and go on in his strength, there is no question but he will perfyte the work that he has begun.
* It was but seldom that Henderson employed the weapon of irony; but we see here that when he did so, it was with effect. Another example is to be found in his altercation with the King’s Commissioner, the Earl of Traquair, regarding the moderatorship in the opening meeting of the Assembly, 1639.
“As the rivers in the south.” What means this? It is the water that comes toward the south parts whilk makes the hottest climate, because of the direct beams of the sun towards them; such as the deserts of Arabia were to Judea. When rivers comes out of these places, there is great need of them, and they make great refreshment where they come. How came thir streams? for if they came from Arabia, then they were torrents; they came through the melting of the snow aff the hills, and that filled the water pools; and now it is turned as streams in the south.*
1. We may see here that the souls of God’s children, when they are in spiritual captivity,-when they see that God is not honoured, that religion is not rightly set up, that people’s souls gets not good food, they are like ground gaping to heaven for a shower, or like sandy deserts that are brunt up for want of rain, and looks mournful-like till they get it. And indeed I put no question, but there has been many into this land thir by-gane years, who has been like dry gaping earth, wishing and praying earnestly for a deliverance to the kirk of God within this land: and that any deliverance is now begun into this land, it is to be imputed to that, that God has heard these prayers, and is now begun to send ane answer to them. And so let us still strive to win nearer to God, and pray more earnestly to him, and when he begins to deliver, take that as ane answer to our prayers. 2. We may see here, when deliverance comes, it makes the hearts of God’s people to be glad, as
* “I think the image is taken from the torrents’ in the deserts to the south of Judea; in Idumea, Arabia, Petraea, &c., a mountainous country. These torrents were constantly dried up in the summer; see Job vi. 17-18, and as constantly returned’ after the rainy season, and filled again their deserted channels. The point of the comparison seems to be the return and renewal of these (not rivers’ but) torrents,’ which yearly leave their beds dry, but fill them again; as the Jews had left their country desolate, but now flowed again’ into it.” Bishop Lowth.
* “I am sure the years 1637, 1638, &c., in this late blessed work of reformation… are the very return of those fervent prayers uttered and sent up to heaven at those most profitable aedification meetings, when the publick meetings were, for most part now, corrupted for not a few years.” Row, p. 388.
the streams does the dry gaping ground in the desert. 3. We may see here what is the way they seek of returning their captivity: they pray to God to do it. It were to be wished that our captivity here were returned, by turning our king’s heart the right way, and that our deliverance should come that way. There be two ways of delivering God’s people from their enemies. First, as the Israelites were delivered from the Egyptians, by a terrible, strong, and mighty hand. The Lord forbid that ever we see that day here that we be put to that! And therefore, we should pray to the Lord that he would fall in upon (exert his influence on) our king’s heart, that so he may take such a course as may tend most for the honour of God, the establishing of religion, and for the salvation of poor souls, and for establishing himself and his crown to his generation after him perpetually. These, indeed, should be our wishes, that our deliverance may come that way; and therefore let us supplicate his Majesty continually for that end. And when he will not hear our supplications, (as the Lord forbid it come to that, and we trust in God it sall never come to it), then let us double our petitions and supplications to God, that he who has the hearts of all men into his hands would incline his heart to that whilk is most agreeable to his will, and may be most comfortable both for himself and for others.*
III. There is a prophetical confidence that it sall be so, according to their prayer. “They that sow in tears sall reap in joy.” And then, in the next verse, he sets it down more fully; “He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, sall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” That is, albeit he buy his seed at a dear price, and go forth with a sad heart to saw it, yet when he brings in sheaves thereof, he sall have a shouting joy.
* Now that the character of Henderson is known and established, it were a needless task to vindicate him from the charge of disloyalty; but this, and numerous other passages in this volume, disclose the real sentiments and affections which he never ceased to cherish toward his sovereign.
Only observe two things here. 1. That the afflictions of God’s people are as sawing in tears; wherein there is three things. First, in sawing ye know there is great pains. The land must be first teiled (tilled) and dressed before the seed be cast into it; and there is pains in casting the seed into it; and then it must be covered with ground. And then it takes a great dressing all the year, before it be set into the barn-yard. There is none of you who are ignorant of this, but the sawing of the seed requires great labour and pains. Secondly, it requires great charges too, and therefore it is called “precious seed.” For ye know seed-corn is aye dearest; but especially when other corn is dear, then it is very dear: yet albeit it were never so dear, the husbandman resolves that he must have it, and he will hold it out of his awin belly, from his wife, children, and servants; and will take it to the ground, and sow it; and he will go out weeping with it. And so ye see that with the pains there is also great charges. Thirdly, there is also great hazard, for corn, after that it is sown, is subject to many dangers. And so is it, indeed, with the children of God in a good cause. First, They must resolve to take pains about it, for that is a preparing of the ground for seed; and if there be not a seed time, how can ye look for a harvest, and so to reap anything? Remember that ilk step ye give in a good cause, is a handful of seed, and then, when ye bestow charges upon a good cause, count up that. Why not? Yet remember it is a sowing of seed, it must yield usury to you; and so indeed it will yield most of anything that ever ye had. He can give a hundrethfold more in this life, but afterward it will yield mickle more. Thirdly, ye must resolve to undergo hazards also, in life, lands, moveables, or whatsoever else ye have in the world: rather hazard all these before either religion be in hazard, or your own souls. And if the Lord sall cast thy knot of time, so that either thou must quite the world, or quite the way of salvation, rather quite the world, and all that is in it. And therefore consider of this, that if ye either undergo pains, or charges, or hazards for a good cause, that it is only sowing of seed, that so ye may do it the more willingly. There is a speech to this purpose, Ps. 129: some there are compared to ploughmen, and some are compared to the land that is teiled by them. The enemies and persecutors of the children of God, they are put to pains, and sow the seed, but God makes his children to reap the increase. O but this be a considerable seed-time for the children of God!
2. Then after the seed-time follows the harvest and that comes with joy, and that is a shouting joy. For then they get more than they could have looked for; and it is not leaves whilk they get, as in the spring, but it is fruits, such as are in harvest, at Michaelmas. There be three degrees of the happiness of God’s children, in reaping of fruits. First, in the first-fruits. Even when they are enduring anything for the gospel of Christ, it carries contentment and fruit with it: but chiefly it has contentment when we find the Lord working that in us, first to believe the gospel, then to do according to it, and then to be content to suffer for it. When the Lord works this in a soul, then he gives them a further assurance of the pardon of their sins, and that is a handful of the first-fruits; and he gives them also a further measure of sanctification than they had before. As I put no question but many in this land, who has been employed about this work, has found further assurance of the pardon of their sins, and a further measure of sanctification; and it works in them ane earnest desire to study after sanctification, and to get victory over their corruptions. And if it be in sincerity, then it will prevail; and then they will find peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. Second, after the first-fruits, then comes sheaves, not singles,* but sheaves, to refresh the husbandman, and to assure him that the full harvest is coming. And when he threshes these sheaves, and they bleid (yield) weill, then they are great comforts to him. So the Lord now and then, he gives testimony of a full deliverance to his awin people, especially of the deliverance of Sion, and lets them taste of the sheaves whilk they have reaped. And lastly, they get the full harvest: and that is gotten at that great and last day, but not till then. And that is above all others that we get; for then we get peace without trouble, joy without grief, profit without loss,
* Singles. The small neatly assorted bunches gathered by gleaners.
pleasure without pain; and then we have a full sight of the face of God. This is the outgait that the children of God gets from all their troubles,-even a plentiful harvest in the hinder-end.
Surely, beloved, we have no skill to make the right use of these favours that the Lord bestows upon us. What does man when he is resisting any sin? He thinks it a grief to do so, because it mars him of some present honour, pleasure, profit, ease, &c., and so he only compares his present pain with his present pleasure; but the best comparing is to compare the present pain with the pain that is to come afterwards, or with the pleasure [that] sall be afterwards; for if the present trouble be great in resisting, the trouble afterwards will be much greater if we yield. And compare the pleasure we have in yielding with the loss of the testimony of a good conscience, whilk passes all earthly pleasure. And let us evermore compare the present afflictions with the eternal weight of glory, whilk is to come, and then we sall be forced to say with the apostle, “That the light afflictions of this present life are not worthy to be compared with that exceeding weight of glory.” Therefore, beloved, be not short-sighted, as those whom the apostle Peter speaks of, as those who are sandblind cannot see far aff; but in seedtime let us look to the harvest, and that in due season we sall reap the fruits of our labours. And we must not look for harvest at Whitsunday, but wait on till the due time; and if we will sow our seeds in tears, and wait on, then we sall get a eternal recompense of them all, when we sall get that great and eternal crown of glory put upon our heads, whilk is purchased for us by Jesus Christ. To whom, &c.
Weels them (well is it with them), and blessed are they whom thou teaches to walk in thy ways, and with whom thou deals patiently, to bring them to thee, in whose bosom thou shows by thy Spirit that thou art working for them.
O if we could entertain thee into our hearts, that so thou might not be a stranger to us! Now, for Jesus Christ’s sake, thou who has sent the gospel into our land, still dwell among us, as the master does into his awin family, to reign and rule there; and, Lord, teach us by thy Spirit, and give gifts and graces to those whom thou sends out to teach thy people; and rule every one of us, and strengthen us to walk in thy ways. And because there are great things done for us, and none has done them but thou, Lord, save us that we be not as the heathen who knows not God, and so does neither glorify God as the doer of anything, nor are thankful to him for that whilk he does; for, certainly, if we knew thee to be the doer of everything for us, we would glorify thee as a great God, and we would be thankful to thee. Lord, let us not be strangers to the joys of thy people, or to rejoice in anything but thee, for that is idolatry and adultery; but, Lord, lift up the light of thy countenance upon us, and make us to rejoice in that. And let us see, when we rejoice, that our joy is not carnal, but it is a sanctified joy, coming from the sense of thy goodness; at least make us to think and know that all things in the world beside thee are but beggarly. And, Lord, give us some beginnings of thy favour here, that so we may look for more hereafter. Lord, as thou has begun to work among us, and to bring back our captivity, whereof we rejoice, so cease not till the work be ended. Lord, return the captivity of thy Sion here; our desire is this, to have a full and a free liberty to thy Sion, that all things may be done in thy house according to thy will:* Lord, make us to gape and to long for this, and not to rest till we get it. And when it comes, Lord, make us to accept it; and these whom thou has returned, Lord, let them not be reduced again. And give us grace to learn and to know that all whilk we do now for thy cause is a sawing
*The faculty of stating, in few and perspicuous words, the real point at issue in any case, which was so remarkably characteristic of Henderson, is here well exemplified. “That all things might be done in God’s house according to God’s will,”-this was the sum and substance of what was contended for at this time, as regards the Church, expressed in the fewest and clearest words possible.
of seed, after whilk there sall be a plentiful harvest; even ane expectation of better things than are here; and this will refresh us more than all. Thou can recompense anything that is done for thee even in this life, but thou will not fail to do it afterwards, and, therefore, Lord, give us grace still to be sawing, and to wait for that harvest. Lord, forget not thy awin people throughout the world, but be merciful to them. Thy kirk, O Lord, has suffered many grievous things of the enemies this time by-gane; grant, Lord, that her suffering may be as sowing, and recompense it with a fruitful harvest; and return to them again, and dwell among them, that they may bring forth fruits worthy of amendment of life. Lord, give us grace to make the right use of the great things that thou hast bestowed upon us; and make us still to be earnest with thee till thou find out such ways whereby our captivity may be brought to an end. Lord, touch our king’s heart, incline it the right way, that he may authorize thy truth; O but there would be great cause of rejoicing if this were! It is possible to thee, and the averseness is only because of our sins; therefore give us grace to turn to thee by repentance and amendment, and then turn thou his heart, that so he may be blessed of thee, and all that he has to do with, and his posterity after him. Bless his queen, and turn her from idolatry, and the love of it, to the love of thy truth. And bless their children, especially the young prince; put thy fear in his heart now in his tender years, and in their hearts who has the care of bringing him up, that so he, being well brought up, now, may in his awin time be a profitable instrument both for kirk and state. Bless the nobility, &c.; Lord, thou who has all their hearts into thy hand, work upon them, that every one of them may add their power for setting up of religion in this land, in the former liberty thereof. And these who has not spared to sow their seed plentifully for thy truth, Lord, fill their souls with faith to believe, and hope to wait on, and assure them that they sall get a good and plentiful harvest; and, Lord, bless them, and all they have ado with, with thy best blessings-themselves, their adoes, their families, and their posterity after them. We entreat thee, O Lord, for a blessing upon all the congregations of thy people this day; and, Lord, let thy blessing be upon us who are here before thee; and because thy kindness has been special to us this day, give us grace now to devote ourselves only to thee. And, Lord, let not this day’s exercise that we have been about be a witness against us: we may indeed forget what we have been doing this day, but it remains in thy book of remembrance. Therefore, O Lord, keep us from building up Jericho again after this, seeing thou has pronounced so sore a curse against it; but, Lord, give us grace now to set to to build up Jerusalem. And we entreat thee, Lord, whatever is necessar for us, and for our direction afterward, furnish it to us, that so thy grace may be kythed (manifested) in us, and we may be bettered by this day’s exercise that we have been about, and we may now learn to watch better over our ways. For we do ofttimes cast ourselves louse, and cares not what we do or speak, and we have a licentious nature that would aye be at outbreaking; and therefore give us grace to watch over our awin slee (sly) and subtle hearts, and to beware of Satan, that wily fox, and of the allurements or terrours of the world. And, Lord, give us grace evermore to be trying ourselves, and see what escapes us; for there is evermore something that is wrong that escapes the best of us, and therefore give us grace still to try our ways, that so when we have found that we have done anything amiss, we may purge ourselves thereof again by repentance, and so may be clean. And this, indeed, will be exceeding good for us, if we will learn to watch over ourselves, to try ourselves what is amiss, and then purge ourselves of it; for then we will be ready to receive comfort when thou offers it; and when thou enjoins us to do a duty we will be ready to perform it; and when thou sall be pleased to call upon us, and cut the thread of our life, then we will be ready to lay down our tabernacle, and thou to receive us in thy everlasting mansions. Lord, let thy blessing be upon this poor congregation. We acknowledge, O Lord, that a great part of us are strangers to thee, and knows not what thou requires of us; we sin many times of ignorance and of infirmity, but keep all of us from presumptuous sins. Lord, guide and direct every one of us by thy counsel, and grant that we may have a happy and a joyful meeting again; that so still we may have new cause to praise thee while we are here, till at last we be brought to the heavens, where our praising of thee sall never be ended. To thee, O Father, &c.