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O Hefbbon, and Elealeh: for the souting for thy summer-fruits, and for thy harvest, is fallen. Chap. xvii. u. In the day shalt thou make thy plant to grow, and in the morning shalt thou make thy feed to flourish:: but the harvest ball be a heap in the day of grief, and of desperate forrow. And as we hear from the words so we fee it with our eyes at this day. .

: Object. But these things fall out of courfe; and! there have been bad seafons before this, and will be after. Ans. There has so; but I know no body who pretends to have seen such a long and fore course of it at once. Howbeit God has the management of all, and known to him are all things from the beginning; and he has so ordered the course of nature, as to serve the purpose of fulfilling his word thereby: fo. that wind and rain are all let out by his order for that end, Job. xxxvii. 12. 13.

Lastly, It is the taking away from sinners that which they have used to the dishonour of God; and who fees not that to be most just? The corn is the Lord's ; it is given to the children of men, that they may be thereby strengthened to serve the Giver; and insteadi of that they serve their lufts with it. .

Use. Let this serve,

1. To convince us of our abuse of former mercies, being the cause of this heavy stroke in the case of the harvest. There have been good years; but what wonder the Lord return, considering the unfruitfulnefs under the gospel, abuse of God's good creatures, carnality and worldliness, doc. ?

2. To humble us, as a people against whom the Lord is thus testifying his difpleasure, as against abu-. fers of his goodness.

3. To put us to justify God, and not to fret. He is just in all that he has done ; for we have finned.

Lastly, To ftir us up to repentance, to turn to a finiting God; that, we be not as those who refuse correction.

Dact.

: Doct. III. God may have a design of love in taking away his corn from a finful people, and depriving them. of such necesary mercies and comforts of life. : 1. In the general, that design is to cause them to return to the Lord the first Husband. When the Lord was to bring back Ifrael to himfelf from her adulterous departures, she is ftraitened in her provi

fions, Hof. ii. 2. 3. The straits which the prodigal : mct with abroad, occasioned his coming home, Luke { xv. And this ftroke is a call to us to return to our

God. • 2. More particularly, we may conceive that defign to be, •°(1.) To teach sinners dependence on God in their affairs of life, Pfal. cxxvii. i. Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it : except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. Men may plough, and fow, and be at all pains, and yet not be secure of the crop : for God can make the harvest a heap. Therefore learn that it is the Lord, and not your wit and industry, that gives power to get wealth.

(2.) To cut off from them fewel for their lusts, Hof. ii. 6. I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that Aoe ball not find her paths. Abundance bas been a fnare to many. And the best have fo little skill to guide wealth, that it is God's goodness to many, they are held fhort by the head. We are often with the comforts of the world, like a child playing himself with a knife: he weeps as herried, when it is taken away; but it is the father's kindness to the child, that he will not let him keep it.

3. To bring them to be more about the throne of grace by prayer, and to live more by faith. When the streams run full, and there is wealth in the cifterns, we are apt to forget the fountain: fo God dries up the streams, gives one cistern a crack after another, and it runs out, and then the foul comes avay to God for all, Zeph. iii. 12. I will leave in

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the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they Iball trust in the name of the Lord. Tim. v. 5. Se their souls prosper, though the world prospers not with them; while the prosperity of others destroys their souls.

4. To enrich them another way, Rom. v. 3. 4. 5. Tribulation worketh patience ; and patience, experience ; and experience, hope : and hope maketh not ashamed. The wilderness-lot is oft-times the most profitable part of the Christian's lot in the world. The most pathetic moving psalms of David were penned on fuch occasions. The wilderness is often God's closet, which he takes his people into, Hof. ii: 14. I will allure her, and bring her into the wil. derness, and Speak comfortably unta her, or to her beart. And fome sharp trial is the fignal given them to come into the closet. The Lord brings them into ftraits, that he may have occasion to shew them his love in seasonable reliefs, and that he may enter. tain them with the sweet of the promises framed for, their lot.

Use. 1. Entertain kindly thoughts of the dispensations of this day, in the Lord's so far taking away the corn. The patient believes that the physician, in opening a vein and taking away so much blood, and in administering a bitter potion of physic to him, has no ill. design on him: the toward child believes the father means no ill, but good to him, in correcta, ing him. Why fhould we entertain harsh thoughts, of God, in his taking away outward comforts of life? Surely he fees need for it. Without these kindly thoughts of the divine providence, there is no good of the trial. . 2. Comply with the kind defign of providence. Learn dependence on God, mortify your lusts, live by faith, and fee to make spiritual advantage of the dispensation. Return to God who smiterh, and humble yourselves under his mighty hand : and if

ye be losers one way, ye will be sure to be gainers another.

Lastly, Rejoice in the Lord, when the creatures fail. This was Habakkuk’s exercise, and it ought to be yours, chap. iii. 17. 18. Although the fig-tree fball not blossom, neither fball fruit be in the vines : the labour of the olive fall fail, and the fields fball yield no meat, the flock fall be cut off from the fold, and there fball be no herd in the stalls : yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my falvas tion.

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Doct. God often fees it meet to take away tempo3 Tal mercies, just when they are brought to the point Ć of enjoyment. As if one Thould cause the bread to

fall out of one's hand, when he is just putting it in his mouth. Remarkable to this purpose is Hof. ix.

2. The floor and the wine-prefs Joall not feed them, and the new wine fball fail in her. Thus has he done in our case. He does it,

Reaf. 1. To make the trial strike the more home, Job xx. 22. In the fulness of his sufficiency, he shall be in straits. The higher mens hopes are lifted up, the more piercing is the disappointment. Secure finners need a sharp awakening, and God points affictions this way, that they may be the more rousing. The more the mercy is ripened, the loss is the forer,

and the trial the greater. . i . 2. To teach us that we are always in his reverence, į and all we have is at all times in his hand, Hof. ix.

11. 12. As for Ephraim, their glory shall fly away like a bird; from the birth, and from the womb, and from the conception. Though they bring up their children, yet will I bereave them that there shall not be a man left : yea, wo also unto them when I depart from them. What we have we can sometimes pút

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out of the reach of men our enemies : but nothing we have can we put out of God's reach. Therefore there is as much need of dependence on God, for the corn when it comes to the hook, as when it is sown at first.

3. To punish mens carnal confidence upon fair appearances. When the creature blooms fair, men promise themselves mighty things on the head of its without dependence on God; and then a jealous God strikes it down therefore in his wrath, Luke xii. 20. Thou fool, said God unto the rich man, this night thy foul small be required of thee; then whose sball those things be which thou hast provided? This is applicable to the affair of the blasted crop. It may bud and blossom fair whose fruit may be blasted, Hof. viii. 7. They have fown the wind, and they fall reap the whirlwind : it hath no stalk: the bud sall yield no meal : if so be it yield, the strangers fall fwallow it up. · Lastly, There may be some new provocation, between the first appearance and bringing of the mercy to perfection, which may procure a turn of the wheel of providence. Hence said the Lord to Eli, i Sam, ji. 30. I said indeed, that thy house, and the house of thy father should walk before me for ever : but now the Lord faith, Be it far from me ; for them that honour me, I will honour, and they that despise me, sall be lightly esteemed. O how often do we by our mis. carriages stop the course of our mercies! Things go favourably a while: but when men forget God, and forget themselves, God is provoked to give a backward cast.

Use. 1. See here the uncertainty of all temporal things. One is never sure of them ; there is not one stage of all the way they come to us, but they may fall in it, and never rise again, Hof. ix. 11. forecited. In the bud, bloffom, and fruit too, they are liable to blasting. When they are at their full, they may suddenly suffer an eclipse.

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