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day, with respect to heaven? God has hid his face from the generation. He is evidently displeased with us, and loaths us. Where are the former tokens of his favour and presence among us? Look to ordia nances, and our dead and lifeless assemblies; look to
the several corners of the land, and the name of the i whole may be Ichabod, for the glory is departed. It · has been these many years a-departing, and grows al5 ways lefs and less, departing farther and farther. And
this brings me to,
- Doct. HII. God, hiding his face from a froward
generation, waits to see what issue they will bring it i to, that he may take course with them accordingly. I - will see what their end will be
This is a very heavy word, and implies three things.
1. God will give them head. They are froward, and will not be managed by him; he will not strive with them as he has done, but he will give them head to take their course, and follow their mark, as he did with Israel of old, Psal. lxxxi. 11. 12. My people would not hearken to my voice ; and Israel would none of me. So I gave them up unto their own hearts luft : and they walked in their own counsels. The farther finners go in apostasy from God, they find their way the plainer, and not so many rubs in it as they met with at the first.
2. He will narrowly mark every step which they take, when they have gotten their will, though he do not presently tell them of it, nor strive with them to hold them in, Amos viii. 7. The Lord hath sworn by the excellency of Jacob, Surely I will never forget any of their works. They could not endure his be.. ing a monitor, and a reprover to them: he will let it alone, and be only a spectator, but not an idle fpectator, but one that will lay up every article in order to count and reckoning in due time, Deut. xxxii. 34. 35. Is not this laid, up in store with me, and
sealed up among my treasures ? To me belongeth ven. » geance, and recompense, their foot fball side in due time : for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that all come upon them make hafte..
3. They will bring the matter at that rate to a miferable ifsue, If. lvii. 17. forecited. They will go from evil to worse. And so they did, till they crucified the Lord of glory, persecuted his followers, and turned downright blafphemers, and God rejected them and cut them off, Deut. xxxii. 21. They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God, they have provoked me to anger with their vanities : and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people, I will provoke them to anger with a foolile nation. Thus finners, having provoked God to give them head, go on to such a pitch of apostasy and wickedness, as will justify before all the most fevere proceedings against them
USE. Alas! this seems to be too like to be the case of this church and land at this day, and of many particular persons in it. In former generations the Lord held his church short by the head: and because they could never hold right long, they got no long rest ordinarily, but were thrown into the fur. nace to purge them. But now the rest which this generation has got, is near on the borders of forty years; and we have been long going wrong, and still our peace is preserved; and always the longer the farther, and the case the more hopeless. So it , looks as if God, having given the generation head, were even seeing whas issue they will bring it to: And if it be fo, God pity them that will live to fee the end of it; for it will be dreadful first in the pitch that the apoftasy will be brought to, and the judgement which will follow it. And so will it be in the case of particular persons.
Doct. IV. What provokes God to deal thus with a generation, is their being children in whom is no
faith, men profesing the true religion, and yet so false as that they are not to be trufteil. This we may. take up in these two things.
1. Their being men who cannot be bound to their duty by the most folemn and sacred engagements,
but say, Let us break their bands afunder, and cast - away their cords from us, Psal. ii. 3.
2. Persons who, in their professions of duty which they make, lie to God and man, will say well at a time, but in practice do not mind nor regard what they so faid; Jer. ii. 20. Thou saidit, I will not transgress : when upon every high hill, and under every green Iree thou wanderest, playing the harlot.
Use. Now whether God is seeing what our end will be, sure this is the case of this generation, children in whom is no faith. Our folemn national ccvenrants with God, the conscience of them is generally worn out at this day, and the facred ties of them are felt by very few, the sense of them being deadened by contrary practices, laws, and oaths. Sacramental engagements to duty in our baptism and at the Lord's table, are too weak to bind most of those that have taken them on to a tolerable Christian walk; but they carry as if they had been engaged to serve the devil, the world, and the flesh. And with many marriage is but a jest, and their marriage-vows are to them but as ropes of sand, whence these lands are filled with vile adulteries. Men profess to know God, but in works they deny him. There is no truth left among men, and common honesty is turned rare. There is no trusting of mens words or protestations, and hardly their oaths. The master cannot trust the servant; nor can one neighbour trust another; for it is rare to find a person, that will not facrifice truth and faithfulness to their own interest. So that the character of the generation may be, Children in whom there is no faith. And what will the end of these things be?
The certain, though flow, Accomplish.. ment of threatened Judgements.
Preached at ETTRICK, on a congregational Faft
day, February 26. 1729.
EZEKIEL xii. 23. Say unto them, The days are at hand, and the effe Et
of every vision.
THIS is a 'message from God, and a heavy one,
1 to the Jews, who being often threatened, and yet spared from time to time, were like to turn infidels to all Heaven's threatenings, and to make a jest of them. It consists of two parts.
1. They were to be assured, that now at length the days of threatened wrath were at hand. The days are at hand, Heb. have come near. Of these days four things are to be observed.. (1.) They were days of wrath, wherein they were to get such a stroke as they had never got since they settled in Canaan, viz. the destruction of Jerusalem, and the laying the land defolate of them by Nebuchadnezzar. Of these days they had long been forewarned, particularly by Jeremiah and Ezekiel. (2.) They had been 'long put off, from the time that the Lord began to threaten them ; so long that it was turned to a proverb, a profane jest, The days are prolonged, ver. 22. Heb. will be long a-coming. There is no appearance of them, for all that the angry prophets
had beearly by Jetes they had hem by Neoma, an
are always saying, and all the noise they have made about them : if they come at all, and do not blow by, they are not like to come in our time. (3.) Though they were flow in their motion, they were neither flack nor sleeping , they have come near, they have been still advancing. (4.) Their present situation; they were now near at hand. If ye alk, how near they were then? They were within three years of their beginning, Ezek. viii. 1. with 2 Kings xxv. J. And that the Lord would have them to reckon near.
2. They were to be assured, that in these days all fhould come on together; And the effect of every vision. It imports two things. (1.) That every vision should have an effect. ' The prophets had got several visions of wrath on Jerusalem, of war, famine, sword, and captivity, which they had revealed to the people. But they were so long delayed as to accomplishment, that they began to say, Every vision faileth, ver. 22. Now affure them, faith God, they shall every one have their accomplishment, and not one of them miscarry. (2.) That every vision should have an effect in these days, and so all thefe miseries should come on together: The effect of every vision is as at hand.
The substance of these words may be gathered up in the following doctrine.
Doct. Days of threatened wrath long delayed come near to breaking out at length, on an impenitent people ; I and when they do break out, they are very fore, all
coming on together.
For the first part of this doctrine, I shall,
1. Shew why days of threatened wrath are long delayed.
II. Consider these days of threatened wrath coming near at length to breaking out on an impenitent people. III. Apply.
G 2 , . I. I