they make, to make them happy? Does he not call them by the voice of his own Son, and by the mouths of his ministers? Does he not assure them of his favour? And why is not this effectual?.. Why, because they will not attend to this call; because they will not pray for the graces they want; because they neglect the means of obtaining that grace which God has ordained; so that their destruction is from themselves.

But then there are others who give themselves for lost, because their sins are many and great. What! greater than the goodness of God; greater than the merits of his Son; greater than what a tender father can forgive?

There are others still more perverse; who, because they know they are weak, and subject to many failings, do therefore fear that their repentance will never be perfect, and so refuse to set about it; that is, they will not be saved, because they find they cannot save themselves: they will not consider, that men were not made to be independent of their Maker; that therefore they are taught to distrust themselves, and to look up to God for help; that he knows all their weakness, and knows how to apply proper remedies to all their ailments; that his power is magnified in making a poor, weak, backsliding creature, in making dust and ashes, worthy of immortality,

As for those that have returned to God, and yet fear his anger, because of their unavoidable infirmities, they would do well to consider, whether the good shepherd, who took so much

pains to seek for, and to bear his lost sheep home on his shoulders, who rejoiced so heartily because he had found it; whether it is likely he would after cast it away, because it was not the best of his flock, or because it should afterwards be distempered. No; that very goodness, which made him to seek his lost sheep, will incline him to do every thing that is fit to save it from being for ever lost.

Let us all then meditate upon these instructive parables.

Let such as have received favours from God be careful not to abuse them to his dishonour, as the prodigal son did the portion of goods that fell to his share.

Let such as are under the chastising hand of God consider, as the prodigal did, that this is the great goodness of God, in order to reduce them from the error of their way, and to save them from ruin.

Lastly; Let us all meditate upon the mercies of God in Jesus Christ, that his mercy and goodness may lead us to repentance, which will be most acceptable to God, and happy for us all.


MATT. vi. 2.



CARCITY of BREAD is one of those four sore judgments with which God punisheth sinful nations. God's judgments are intended not only as punishments for past sins, but as warnings to prevent greater; and they are mild and severe, just as people are more or less ripe for vengeance.

Our case at present is something like that of the Jews, mentioned by the prophet Amos:§ I have given you cleanness of teeth and want of bread, in all your places; yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the Lord.

Another of the prophets sets down the cause of these judgments; they did not know, that is, they did not consider, saith the Lord, that it was I that give them corn, and wine, and oil; that is, the blessings they enjoyed; therefore I will take away their corn; and their land shall mourn; yea, the beasts of the field, yea, the fishes of the sea, shall be taken away.


* This Sermon appears to have been preached in the year 1741, a dreadful dear year," says the Author, in a marginal note, "and scarcity of bread, approaching to a famine."

+ See 1 Tim. vi. 8. "Having food and raiment, let us be therewith 66 content."

Ezek xiv. 21.

§ Chap. iv. 6.

Hoses, chap. ii.

Now, by these judgments God is awakening us to flee from the wrath to come; and more especially from that wrath which awaits impenitent sinners in the world to come.

And indeed we are never so truly sensible of God's displeasure, and of our dependence upon him, as when he makes us feel our want of help, and that none else can help us. When thy judgments are in the world, saith the phet,* the inhabitants of the earth will learn righteousness. And woe be to them if they do not; for that is a sure sign that they are ripe for destruction.


But this is not God's design in this visitation. His design is, as we said before, to awaken us into a sense of our manifold abuses of his blessings; into a lively sense of our dependence upon him for life, and breath, and all the things we enjoy or hope for; and lastly, to amend what is amiss in us.

Many, very many, are the uses that we may, and ought to, make of this visitation. Such as are careless, and in the midst of plenty, forgetting that it is God that gives them their daily bread, will now see upon whom they depend for the necessaries of life.

In the next place, this visitation is certainly designed as a wholesome remedy against the scandalous abuse of God's good creatures: as also, to punish those whose god is their belly, as the apostle speaks,† who aim at nothing so much as to please their appetites, and to satisfy

* Isaiah xxvi. ?.

+ Phil. iii. 1).

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