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it, as from his drunkenness, swearing, stealing. A murmurer is an ungodly man; he is an ungodlike man; no man on earth more unlike to God than the murmurer; and therefore no wonder if, when Christ comes to execute judgment, He deals so severely and terribly with him. In the wars of Tamerlane, one having found a great pot of gold that was hid in the earth, he brought it to Tamerlane, who asked, Whether it had his father's stamp upon it ? but when he saw it had not his father's stamp, but the Roman stamp upon it, he would not own it, but cast it away. The Lord Jesus, when He shall come with all His saints to execute judgment, Oh ! He will not own murmurers; nay, He will cast them away for ever, because they have not His Father's stamp upon them.
3. Murmuring is a mother sin ; it is the mother of harlots— the mother of all abominations-a sin that breeds many other sins (Num. xvi. 41, xvii. 10)—viz., disobedience, contempt, ingratitude, impatience, distrust, rebellion, cursing, carnality; yea, it charges God with folly, yea, with blasphemy. The language of a murmuring soul is this : Surely God might have done this sooner, and that wiser, and the other thing better. As the river Nile bringeth forth many crocodiles, and the scorpion many serpents, at one birth, so murmuring is a sin that breeds and brings forth many sins at once. Murmuring is like the monster Hydra-cut off one head, and many will rise up in its room. Oh! therefore, bend all thy strength against this mother-sin. As the king of Syria said to his captains, “Fight neither with small nor great, but with the king of Israel," so say I, Fight not so much against this sin or that, but fight against your murmuring, which is a mother-sin; make use of all your Christian armour, make use of all the ammunition of heaven (Eph. vi. 10, 11), to destroy the mother; and in destroying of her, you will destroy the daughters. When Goliath was slain, the Philistines fled; when a general in an army is cut off, the common soldiers are easily and quickly routed and destroyed; so destroy but murmuring, and you will quickly destroy disobedience, ingratitude, impatience, distrust, &c. Oh! kill this mother-sin, that this may never kill thy soul. I have read of Sennacherib, that after his army was destroyed by an angel, and he returned home into his own country, he inquired of one about him what he thought the reason might be why God so favoured the Jews ? He answered, that there was one Abraham their father that was willing to sacrifice his son to death at the command of God, and that ever since that time God favoured that people. Well, said Sennacherib, if that be so, I have two sons, and I will sacrifice them both to death, if that will procure their God to favour me; which, when his two sons heard, they (as the story goeth) slew their father (Isa. xxxvii. 38), choosing rather to kill, than to be killed; so, do thou choose rather to kill this mother-sin, than to be killed by it.
4. Consider that murmuring is a God-provoking sin; it is a sin that provokes God not only to afflict, but also to destroy a people. “ How long shall I bear with this evil congregation which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me. Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the Lord, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you; your carcases shall fall in this wilderness, and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me" (Num. xiv. 27-29). “Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer” (1 Cor. x. 10). All our murmurings do but provoke the Lord to strike us, and destroy us.
I have read of Cæsar, that, having prepared a great feast for his nobles and friends, it so fell out, that the day appointed was so extremely foul, that nothing could be done to the honour of the meeting ; whereupon he was so displeased and
ARROWS SHOT AT HEAVEN.
enraged, that he commanded all them that had bows to shoot up their arrows at Jupiter, their chief god, as in defiance of him for that rainy weather ; which, when they did, their arrows fell short of heaven, and full upon their own heads, so that many of them were very sorely wounded. So all our murmurings, which are as so many arrows shot at God himself, they will return upon our own pates—hearts; they reach not Him, but they will hit us; they hurt not Him, but they will wound us ; therefore it is better to be mute than to murmur; it is dangerous to provoke "a consuming fire" (Heb. xii. ult.).
5. Murmuring is the devil's image, sin, and punishment. Satan is still a-murmuring; he murmurs at every mercy that God bestows (Job i. 8, 9), at every dram of grace He gives (Luke xxii. 31-34); he murmurs at every sin God pardons, and every soul He saves (2 Cor. xii. 8–10). A soul cannot have a good look from heaven, nor hear a good word from heaven, but Satan murmurs at it; he murmurs and mutters at every act of pitying-grace, and at every act of preventing-grace, and at every act of supporting-grace, and at every act of strengthening-grace, and at every act of comforting-grace, that God exercises towards poor souls; he murmurs at every sip, at every drop, at every crumb of mercy that God bestows. Cyprian, Aquinas, and others, conceive that the cause of Satan's banishment from heaven was his grieving and murmuring at the dignity of man, whom he beheld made after God's own image ; insomuch, that he would relinquish his own glory to divest so noble a creature of perfection, and rather be in hell himself than see Adam placed in paradise. But certainly, after his fall, murmuring, and envy at man's innocency and felicity, put him upon attempting to plunge man into the bottomless gulf of sin and misery; he, knowing himself to be damned, and lost for ever, would needs try all ways how to make happy man eternally unhappy. Mr Howel tells it as a strange thing, that a serpent was found in the heart of an Englishman when VOL. II,
he was dead. But, alas! this old serpent was, by sad experience, found to have too much power in the heart of Adam whilst alive, and whilst in the height of all his glory and excellency. Murmuring is the first-born of the devil, and nothing renders a man more like to him than murmuring. Constantine's sons did not more resemble their father, nor Aristotle's scholars their master, nor Alexander's soldiers their general, than murmurers do resemble Satan. And as murmuring is Satan's sin, so it is his punishment. God hath given him up to a murmuring spirit; nothing pleases him-all things go against him; he is perpetually a-muttering and murmuring at persons or things. Now, oh, what a dreadful thing it is to bear Satan's image upon us, and to be given up to the devil's punishment ! It were better not to be, than thus to be given up; and therefore cease from murmuring, and sit mute under your sorest trials.
6. Murmuring is a mercy-embittering sin, a mercy-souring sin. As, put the sweetest things into a sour vessel, it sours them ; or put them into a bitter vessel, and it embitters them : murmuring puts gall and wormwood into every cup of mercy that God gives into our hands. As holy silence gives a sweet taste, a delightful relish to all a man's mercies, so murmuring embitters all; the murmurer can taste no sweetness in his sweetest morsels; every mercy, every morsel, tastes like the white of an egg to him (Job vi. 6). This mercy, saith the murmurer, is not toothsome, nor that mercy is not wholesome; here is a mercy wants salt, and there is a mercy wants sauce. A murmurer can taste no sweet-he can feel no comfort-he can take no delight in any mercy he enjoys. The murmurer writes “Marah”-that is, “bitterness"-upon all his mercies, and he reads and tastes bitterness in all his mercies. All the murmurer’s grapes are grapes of gall, and all their clusters are bitter (Deut. xxxii. 32). As to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet, so to the murmuring soul everything is bitter.
7. Murmuring is a mercy-destroying sin, a mercy-murdering sin. . Murmuring cuts the throat of mercy-it stabs all our mercies at the heart. Doubtless ye shall not come into the land concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun." God promises them that they should possess the holy land, upon condition of their obedience; this condition they brake, and therefore God was not foresworn, though He cut them off in the wilderness, and kept them out of Canaan. But what is the sin that provokes the Lord to bar them out of the land of promise, and to cut them off from all those mercies that they enjoyed, which entered into the holy land? Why, it was their murmuring, as you may see (Num. xiv. 1-3, 26–29). As you love your mercies, as you would have the sweet of your mercies, and as you would enjoy the life of your mercies, take heed of murmuring. Murmuring will bring a consumption upon your mercies; it is a worm that will make all your mercies to wither. The mute Christian's mercies are most sweet, and most long lived; the murmurer's mercies, like Jonah's gourd, will quickly wither. Murmuring hath cut the throat of national mercies, of domestic mercies, and of personal mercies; and therefore, oh! how should men fly from it as from a serpent—as from the avenger of blood-yea, as from hell itself!
8. Murmuring unfits the soul for duty. A murmurer can neither hear to profit, nor pray to profit, nor read to profit, nor meditate to profit, the murmurer is neither fit to do good, nor receive good ; murmuring unfits the soul for doing of duties, it unfits the soul for delighting in duties (1 Cor. vii. 33–35), it unfits the soul for communion with God in duties. Murmuring fills the soul with cares, fears, distractions, vexations; all which unfit a man for duty. As a holy quietness and calmness of spirit prompts a man to duty; as it makes every duty easy and pleasant to the soul ; so it is murmuring that unhinges the soul, that indisposes the soul, that takes off the chariot-wheels