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return to Thee, praise, honour, and thanksgiving, with all the living, here and elsewhere, for Thou alone art worthy, God over all, the heavens and the whole earth, blessed for ever and ever, Amen.
POOR HELPLESS MAN.
A Sermon preached at the Quakers' Meeting-House,
in Grace-Church-Street, London, May 12, 1694.
BY BENJAMIN COOLE.
WELL might the man of God, the man after God's own beart, who spake as a prophet, and as a king, say what is man? when he was addressing himself to the great God, he doth with a boly wonderment and amazement at the condescending love and kindness of God to man, cry out, “Lord, what is man, that thou art mindful of him! and the son of man, that thou visitest him! Really Friends, man is a poor weak creature, he is a very helpless creature; all the creatures that God hath made, are in a better state and station than he, unless he be helped with help from above, from his helper in heaven.' He hath a great work to do, a great race to run, he hath a great fight to engage in, and hath no strength of his own to do it, nor power or ability ; but that is not all, there is worse than all this; be is altogether helpless, and though he is so ; yet, he doth not know himself to be so.
O my Friends, this hath been the travail of my soul this day among you, that we may all come to
have a sense of our helpless state, of our poor and low estate. There is no doubt but if we are poor enougo, God will enrich us; there is no question but if we have a right sense of our own weakness, we shall be supplied with strength : for there is strength enough, and power and sufficiency enough in bim, as hath been testified this day, Help is laid upon one that is mighty to save, even to the uttermost : but who are saved by bim! all they that come unto God by him, they know strength, they know help, and power, and assistance from bim. But here is the unhappiness of the world in this our day, as it was in the days of old ; •Cbrist was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not : He came to his own, (that was the Jews,) and his own received his not. The Jews were his peculiar people : it is true, all the world was his, both Jew and Gentile, that is by the right of creation, but the Jews were his in a more peculiar inanner: 'You have I known, saith He, of all the nations and families of the earth : I have not dealt with other nations as I have dealt with you :' He gave his law and statutes to Israel, they were bis peculiar people, and Christ owned them as such. We have upon record in the holy scripture, a large history of the noble acts of the Lord, and of the wonderful things tbat his mighty arın wrought for that people; he signalized his love and favour, and magnified his name and power amongst them; yet when our Lord Jesus caine to them, (his own) - his own received him not;' and because they did not receive him, they fell short of the glory of God; they did not believe in, nor follow the Captain of our salvation, who was made perfect through sufferings : they did not come under his banner, that they might resist the devil, and overcome the world, and be more than conquerors ; nor did they fight the good fight of faith, that they might lay hold on eternal life ; they did not run the heavenly race, (viz.) so run as to obtain the crown, they did not accomplish the work they were called to, and the reason was, “They did not come to Christ, nor would they receive him upon whom help was laid.' And this is the sin and misery of the world in this our age and generation. They will not come to Christ that they might have life, and have it abundantly.' God hath a regard to all the works of his hands, more especially to the sons and daughters of men: He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance, and to the knowledge of the truth, that they may be saved : to such as receive Cbrist, (who is the gift of God) to them he giveth power to become the sons of God: if you receive Christ, you shall have power communicated to your souls.
But what power is it that we want, may some say ? what do we want power for, and strength for? what do we need help for? O it is to resist the devil, to make war against the enemy of our souls : we have a subtle and potent enemy to war withal : "Your adversary the devil like a roaring lion goes about continually seeking whom he may devour.' Are you not sensible of his temptations every day? do you not observe how he prevails over the world that lies in wickedness, and destroys the sons and daughters of men ? such as drink iniquity like water, and sin as it were with cart-ropes; such as let loose the reins to their lusts, and take their swing in the pleasures and vanities of the world, not remembering they must give an account at Christ's tribunal for whatsoever they had done in the body, whether it be good or evil: these are they that the devil, the enemy of our souls, makes a prey of: • He goes about continually, seeking whom he may destroy. Blessed are they that are delivered from his snares : he hath gins and traps to entangle men and women in; he matters not wbat it is, so it be made a snare to them. He seeks to make their
table a snare, their trade a snare, and their company a snare. Therefore it concerns you all to watch and pray, that you enter not into temptation.
Man (as I said) is a poor weak helpless creature, yet he is apt to pride himself in his own strength, and to value bimself upon his own wisdom, and parts, and knowledge, and experience, and to esteem himself highly for his riches, honour and grandeur in the world, he values himself upon the account of these things which will not prove advantageous to him in a day of trial. When the enemy assaults, none of these things can defend from his temptations, none of these things can secure us; no, aster all, we are not able to save and defend ourselves from the wiles and stratagems of that old serpent : we have no power or sufficiency, we cannot so much as think a good thought, much less do a good act of ourselves.
Well, therefore did our Lord and Saviour say, what I say unto you, I say unto all, watch :' it greatly concerns you all to be a watchful and a praying people; therefore watch and pray continually, for all the tiine that we are off from our duty, we are obnoxious to the enemy: we ought always to be upon our guard, and to stand ready armed, that we may resist and defeat him in all his attacks. This is the great duty of a christian, entirely to depend upon the Lord, who is always graciously present with his people that trust in him, that are sensible of their own weakness and poverty, and low estate, without bim; he is present with such an humble soul, that is vile in his own eyes, and bath nothing of his own to rely upon; we must not think to live independantly as if we had a sufficiency in ourselves, but we must always depend upon the Lord, that we may have fresh supplies from Him. We must. in all our conflicts with our spiritual enemies, wait to have fresh recruits from Christ, who is the Captain of our salvation, else we shall sustain loss and