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wound that work has got in our day: and it has proceeded to a cafting off the covenants for it in principle, and a casting dirt on the faces of our zealous forefathers, as unenlightened in the matter. Yea and the root of Christianity has been struck at, by calling in question the necessary existence and independency of Christ the great God our Saviour. It is true, our church has teftified her displeasure with the men that have given thefe bold strokes : but they cease not for all that to be sad symptoms of wrath. So it was with the Jewish church before their destruction.
Sympt. 2. In the mean time the pillars of the land fail. Many mourners in Zion and wrestlers are taken away by death. The generation of professors is exceeding naughty, their conversation generally stumbling and offensive, fitted to expose religion to the contempt of others, and to fright them at it, turning religion into mere fhew and talk, without any tolerable regard to the duties of morality; so that we may fay, O that I had wings like a dove, for then would I flee away, and be at rejt; and, Oh, that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the pain of the daughter of my people? And finally, there is a decay and damp on the spirits of the truly-godly, that they are fighing and going backward, in worse case at this day to meet with trials than several years ago.
Sympt. ult. We are far on in the time of the delay, and the controversy is still standing and increasing. Therefore we may conclude, that the days are near, and the effect of every vision,
The last branch of the doctrine is, When threatened wrath long delayed does break out, the days of it are readily very fore, all coming on together. For,
1. The grounds of the contioverfy are always increasing with an impenitent people spared. As the snow-ball the farther it is rolled, and the water the farther it runs, is the bigger; so when all comes to be laid together, it makes swelling accounts.
2. As lin increases wrath increases, Rom. ii. So the longer judgement is a-coming, it is the forer when it comes. When God enters on the plea, he pursues for both principal and intereft together. Hence,
3. The stroke in that case is fudden, fore, and of various kinds. Like a water long dammed up, breaking out at length, it comes down suddenly, and overflows all its banks.
Repent therefore, and betake yourselves to Jefus Christ, if so be ye may be hid in the day of the Lord's anger, Sinners day will come at length, and a fad reckoning they will have.
But come what will come, let not the godly de. spond. In the forest days, it shall be well with the righteous. See a strange word, Luke xxi. 25. 28. And there hall be signs in the fun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring, &c. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. What though there arise a strong wind, rending the mountains, and breaking the rocks in pieces, and after that an earthquake, and after that a fire; the Lord may be coming after all in a ftill small voice, as he did in Elijah's time, 1 Kings xix. 11. The Lord may bring on the heaviest judgements on our land, nay even make it nearly defolate, yet out of the ruins of the whole, he may rear up a stately building to himself, and give to such as fhall survive the desolating stroke to see glorious days.
A Caveat against seeking great Things
in an evil Day.
Preached at ETTRICK, on a Fast-day appointed by
the Synod of Merse and Teviotdale, April 24. 1729.
JEREMIAH xlv. 5. And seekest thou great things for thyself ? seek them
not ; for behold, I will bring evil upon all flesh, Jaith the Lord: but thy life will I give unto thee for a prey in all places whither thou goeft.
D Rovidence is visibly frowning on the land at this
day, and on the country, insomuch that few or none of us all have missed of these frowns, one way or other. Our great duty is to suit our fpirits to the dispensations of the day. And the voice of God to each of us seems to be that in the text, And seekest thou great things for thyself? &c. O that we were as sure of the well-grounded application of the latter part, as we are of the former.
This is a part of God's message to Baruch, a wellinclined pious young man, setting out in the world. He was Jeremiah's scribe, and read the roll, chap. xxxvi. Thereupon an order is issued out to apprehend him, and he is forced to abscond. He is difcouraged with that, and very uneasy, one trouble coming on him on the neck of another, chap. xliii. 5. instead of the great things he had in view. In the words we have,
i. A check to him for the fret he was in, upon what he had met with. And therein,
(1.) He is rebuked for his golden dreams of worldly ease and comfort, the entertaining of which had made him so uneasy on his disappointment; And seekelt thou great things for thyfelf? He is not rebuked for seeking fimply: a time of trial should be a time of requests, a praying time; but then we should be sure to seek aright. He was seeking great things for himself; not the great things of another world, that is never unfeasonable; but the great things of this world, worldly ease, rest, and prosperity: and had he sought there with due submission to the will of God, it had not been ill taken; but he fought them inordinately, being on the fret on the disappointment. And therefore he is rebuked here, as for a thing unfeasonable, shameful, and unreasonable.
(2.) He is peremptorily ordered to humble and quiet himself, and fuit his fpirit to the dispensation of the day; Seek them net: Lay your neck under the yoke; be as a weaned child; and be mainly concerned how you may be carried through in the day of the Lord's anger.
2. The reason of this check given him. Wherein,
(1.) An universal calamity coming on the land, is laid before him: Behold me bringing evilon all flesh, Heb. A general stroke is on its way, when all will be in the utmost confusion, by the Babylonians. Is it time for you to be painting your own cabin, when the whole ship is finking? to be dreaming of ease, when the Lord is risen up to break down, and pluck up the whole land?
(2.) The most that was to be expected in such a day, viz. to escape with the life, and that the Lord assures him of, his life for a prey in all places whither he went. He intimates, that, ere all was done, he should be well content to quit the great things, so that he could escape with the life. He should have a tossed life of it, going from place to place; but God
would protect him, when many bulls should lie on the green.
The substance of the words may be summed up in the two following doctrines.
Doct. I. The appearance of God's bringing a stroke i on all, should bring off men from seeking great things
in a world for themselves, and move them to suit their Spirits to the dispensations of the day."
Doct. Il. It should move men, under such an appearance, that a time may come, that they fball think they win well away that win away with their life.
I shall explain each doctrine in its order. .
Doct. I. The appearance of God's bringing a stroke on all, fbould bring off men from seeking great things in a world for themselves, and move them to suit their Spirits to the dispensations of the day.
In discoursing this subject, I shall shew,
I. What appearance there is of a general stroke coming on all at this day.
II. How we under that appearance should suit our spirits to the dispensations of the day, not seeking great things.
III. Wherefore such an appearance should bring us off from seeking great things for ourselves.
1. I shall shew what appearance there is of a general stroke coming on all at this day.
1. Universal corruption of life and manners, as was the case in the antediluvian world, Gen. vi. 12. 113. God looked upon the earth, and behold, it was cor
rupt : for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me ; for the earth is filled with violence through them : and behold, I will destroy them with the earth, A. deluge of sin iš a presage of a deluge of wrath. The former is let in upon us, and no wonder the latter follow. Profaneness overflows all its . * Н