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of the second temple. And thus' was accomplished
II. I shall shew what are those rods the Lord cau. feth such a people to pass under. The Lord has many rods for this purpose, and can make use of any or many of them together as he fees meet." I will name four of them. : 1. A blasting curse upon the substance of a land, Hag. i. 9. Ye looked for much, and lo it came to little ; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. God brings sometimes a generation of his anger into such a cale, that nothing thrives with them which they take in hand, 2 Chron. xv. 5. 6. In those times there was no peace to him that went aut, nor to him that came in, but great vexations were upon all the inhabitants of the countries. And nation was destroyed of nation, and city of city : for God did vex them with all adversity. This rod God is causing these lands to pafs under at this day, whereby trade and credit are disturbed, and many ruined ; and even wise men smart: for God can make the wife as well as fools pass under his rod, easier than a fhepherd can run his sheep, when he has a mind. Alas! there is little to be had by plaistering over a tottering house ready to fall. The black bargain the nations have made between them. selves, for which the bond of the covenant behoved to be broke afunder, and the horrible perjury and wickedness used among some trading men, may be plainly read in the present circumstances of the nations.
2. The sword, Lev. xxvi. 25. I will bring a sword upon you, that fall avenge the quarrel of my covenant. Many a time God has been threatening ihese perfidious nations with palling under this rod, and he
and dow. See a terminould foonis is a nativepan the
has given them of late several earnests of it: but it is to be feared, that what has happened of that kind is but an earnest of the bloody fword for these nations, that shall avenge the quarrel of the covenant. The Lord will not want instruments when he has a mind. He can hils for the bee of Aflyria out of the remotest parts, and ere he want, will fet Manaffeh against Ephraim, and Ephraim against Manaffeh, and pull out the men of his anger, be they great or small, like sheep, and cause them pass under the rod.
3. Famine, Ezek. V 16. I will send upan them the evil arrows of famine. This is a native confequent of the sword, and would foon be at the heels of it among us. See a terrible defcription of it, Lam. iv. 7. and downwards. Saul's murdering of the Gibeonites contrary to a covenant with them, brought three years famine on Ifrael, 2 Sam. xxi. 1. What may a nation expect then for murdering of men for their ad. herence to the nation's covenant with God himself which is a crime that God has to lay to the charge of Scotland, We had an earnest of this too some years after the revolution, which made many a pale face, and laid many in the dust : but whatever is added to the controversy since, one may easily fee the quarrel is not yet removed.
4. The pestilence, which has a frequent connection with the other two, Lev. xxvi. 25. I will send the pestilence among you. And when I have broken the staff of your bread, &c. Ezek. v. 16. 17. I will send upon them the evil arrows of famine, and pestilence. That is a desolating rod. It swept off at once among the Ifraelites fourteen thousand seven hundred men, Numb. xvi. 49. For David's numbering the people feventy thousand fell by it in one day. God is now avenging the dragooning in France, and their other cruelties upon the poor Protestants, by that dreadful visitation. And these nations have ground to fear it is coming that way to them, considering it has caft
e the abominable copy in much wickedness, which s' these lands have followed. e. These are the rods which will be destructive to ma.
ny, and trying to all who are caused to pass under them.
III. I shall fhew how by such means a people are brought back into the bond of the covenant. it 1. Such a passing under the rod, makes people apt
to receive convictions of their unfaithfulness in the
covenant. Hence says the Lord, Hof, v. ult. I will e go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their
offence; and seek my face : in their affli&tian they will - feck me early. It is hard to convince men of their e prosperous wickedness. In the time of God's pae tience, men will draw fair covers over their foul acitions, eat, and wipe their mouths, and say, they
have not sinned. But if God were risen up out of
2. It would make men blithe to plead the privi. leges of the covenant, If. lxiii. 15. 16. Look down from "beaven, and behold from the habitation of thy holiness and of thy glory: where is thy zeal and thy strength, the founding of thy bawels, and of thy mercies towards me? are they restrained? Doubtless thou art our fa. ther, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not : thou, O Lord, art our father, our redeemer, thy name is from everlasting. They that undervalue God's covenant now, being caused to pass under the rod, the weight of it would make
them change their note; as it did to Israel, Pfal. lxxviii. 34. 35. When he new them, then they fought him: and they returned and inquired early after God. And they remembered that God was their rack, and the high God their redeemer. The covenant with hell and death being rent asunder by the anger of God, and not being able to afford them any more security, they would be glad to catch hold. of God's covenant, , which they trod on before.
3. It would remove many a dead weight from off the covenant, both persons and things. For thus speaks the Lord to lsrael, Ezek. xx. 38. I will purge i cut from among yau the rebels, and them that transgress against me : I will bring them forth, out of the country where they sojourn, and they sball not enter in. to the land of Israel. Micah vii. 10. 11. forecited. Many a dead weight is lying at this day on the work of God in these nations, which there is no appeare ance of the removing of, till the Lord put to his own hand. But he can turn them off with a touch of his hand : for thus he addresses Israel, Ezek. xxxvii. 12 Behold, Qu my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. Making the generation pass under the rod, he will either remove them out of the way, or render them inefficacious, that they shall not be able to stop a good work.
4. It would put an edge, by the blessing of the Lord, upon the spirits of the remnant, to take hold of the covenant, and press them on to it, as their necessary course in a day of distress : Jer.. I. 5. They fall ask the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, Jaying, Come, and let us join our felves to the Lord, in a perpetual covenant that fall not be forgotten. Compare Neh. ix. 36. 37. 38. Behold, say the Israelites, after their return from the Babylonish captivity, we are servants this day, and for the land that thou gaveft unto our fathers, to eat the fruit thereof, and the good thereof, behold, we are servants in it. And it
gieldeth much increase unto the kings whom thou haft fet over us, because of our fins : also they have dominion over our bodies, and over our cattle, at their pleaJure, and we are in great distress. And because of all this, we make a fure covenant, and write it; and our princes, Levites, and priests feal unto it Ay, such a day would make men step over many impediments without ceremony, which they cannot get over in a day of ease. Necessity has no law, and need makes the naked run.
IV. I shall give the reasons of this dispensation. I only offer these three.
1. God takes this method, that he may thereby lay by many, whose eyes he will not let see the great things which he minds to do for his people and church, Ezek. xx. 38. forecited. The generation in the wilderness provoked him so, that he caused their carcases fall therein, before he brought the people into Canaan. There may be some whom God has a special controversy with, that he will have out of the way, before he make his glorious work appear, Amos ix. 10. All the finners of my people shall die by the fword, which say, The evil shall not overtake nor prevent us.
2. That he may thereby purge away the dross of those whom he will make sharers of the glorious day, If. i. 25. 26. formerly cited. Like the three children, they must be cast into the fire, that their bonds may be burnt off them. They must feel the coriofives, before they get the cordial.
3. That he may awaken the generation to some sense of religion, and particularly bring in some elect ones yet walking in darkness, whom he will neither sweep away with the multitude, nor yet make' witneffes of the glorious days in that case, Hof. ii. 6. 7. Therefore behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths. And She foall follow after her lovers, but she shall not over