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banks. There is a growing untenderness among all ranks in church and state. Our very gold is become dim; religion is turned with many into mere form and shew, and many have quite loft the very form which they had. :
2. The notable stand which the success of the gospel is now at, Luke xiii. 7. It is near about forty years we have in peace been drinking in the rain of the gospel; but where is the fruit now? Heb. vi. 7. 8. For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dresed, receiveth blefing from God: but that which beareth thorns and briers, is reje&ted, and is nigh unto curfing; whose end is to be burned. This church is like land now so long laboured, that it is i worn out. Look to our temple, and we may see a departing glory, a sad presage; Ezek. ix. 3. 4. And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub whereupon he was, to the threshold of the house, and he called to the man clothed with linen, which had the writer's inkhorn by his side ; and the Lord said unto bim, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that figh, and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. The white horse of the gospel despised, is followed with the red and pale horfe; and contempt of the marriage-feast with destroying armies. Consider that alarming passage, If. vi. 9. 10. 11. Go and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but underfand not; and see ge indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes : left they fee with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed. Then said 1, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly defolate.
3. Incorrigibleness under former strokes, partly threatened and partly inflicted, as in Amos iv. See
ver. 12. Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel : and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, o Ifracl. O how often has the Lord been threatening this generation, thefe bygone years, with desolating strokes; yet has mercifully prevented, or carried them off without coming to an extremity!
But still as the new deliverance came, the generation | has grown a degree worse, till it has arrived now at a height.
4. Few mourners in Zion left among us. Many of them are now removed by death, whose room is not filled up, Il. lvii. 1. Such as remain, there is a damp on their spirits. The mouths of a praying remnant for a linking land are much closed, and their prayers returned into their bosom, as for a generation of wrath.
5. The striking at the root of Christianity, by the atheism and infidelity of the generation. That bitter root began to fpring forth fhortly after the revolution : but the magistrate effectually interposing, and making one an example to the rest, it was curbed. But now it has spread broad and wide, and the proper divinity of the Son of God is attacked through the three nations by many. And the hands of the general afsembly of this church have been filled with matter of that fort. It was the opposition to the Son of God that ruined the Jewish nation, and it is like to be the drop in the cup of Britain and Ireland, that will make it run over.
6. Lastly, The lesser strokes going through the whole land at this day, as signs of greater to come. Trade is decayed through the whole land, in the mean time a dearth of victual, an unusual stroke upon the flocks, great fickness, and frequent deaths in every corner, and a threatening season, whereby the earth is made as iron already. These things look like warnings of worse to come.
omean time aecayed they, as figns going this
II. I shall fhew how we under that appearance
should suit our spirits to the dispensations of the day, not seeking great things.
1. Awake out of your golden dreams of worldly ease, and lay your account with tribulation and trial, 11. xxxii. 9. 10. Rise up, ye women that are at ease, hear my voice, ye careless daughters, give ear unto my speech. Many days and years Wall ye be troubled, je careless women: for the vintage fball fail, the ga- i thering shall not come. There is a disposition in all to dote this way, and build castles in the air that will never be inhabited. It is so with carnal men, who are often singing of peace, when destruction is at the door; as was the case with the rich man in the gospel, Luke xii. 19. 20. I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul ball be required of thee : then whole fall those things be which thou hast provis ded? And even good men are apt to fall into fuch doting; Job xxix. 18. Then I said, I Mball die in my : neft, and I shall multiply my days as the fand. And : it is evident from the case of the disciples on the mount of transfiguration, who said, Lord, it is good for us to be here, Matth. xvii. 4. What was their fate?! Peter was crucified, James was slain, John was banished into a desolate island, though he afterwards died in peace. If ye mind for heaven, at all times ! : ye shall meet with tribulation, John xvi. ult. Though ye hold the broad way, it is like in this time ye will meet with tribulation.
2. Set not your hearts upon the world's wealth, the silver and gold, the corn and cattle; for ye may foon find them like a sandy brae, that will slide away with you: but if ye be weaned, and make God and his promises the stay of your heart, ye will be able to stand in the evil day, Hab. iii. 17. Let Christ be your all, and then blow what wind it will, all yours ihall be safe. 3. Seek nothing, less nor more, in any way in
consistent with justice or charity to your neighbour. Do not dare to drive on your own interest in any unjust way. Divest not yourselves of mercy and cha
rity to others, in pursuing your own interest, with| out any bowels of compassion. It is very ordinary
in a time of public calamity, for one to build up himself on the ruins of another. For that fort of work already, God is contending, and will not overtook it; If. xxxiii. 1. Wo to thee that Spoileft, and thou was not spoiled; and dealest treacherously, and they dealt not treacherously with thee: when thou shalt cease to spoil, thou Malt be spoiled; and when thou falt make an end to deal treacherously, they fall deal treacherously with thee. James ii. 13. For he. fball have judgement without mercy, that hath fbewed no mercy.
4. Be content with, and thankful for the little that ye have, and take God's fecurity for what ye want. For he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee, Heb. xiii. 5. He that has taken fome from you, might justly have taken all; and whatever he has taken from you, he might have taken your forfeited life when he took it. Therefore acknowledge ye are his debtors, and let not your crosses and trials make you overlook mercies.
5. Sit quietly under your cloud, be it thinner or thicker, till the Lord be pleased to make it clear, and bring you forth to the light, Micah vii. 9. Whatever
yoke the Lord lays on you, bear it tamely: and it I will not gall your neck, be it never fo heavy. Say as
David, Surely I have behaved and quieted myself as a child that is weaned of his mother : my soul is even as a weaned child, Psal. cxxxi. 2.
Lastly, Seek the things that are most neceffary for yourselves, and in them ye will not be disappointed ; Łuke x. ult. One thing is needful. And Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. It is to stir up hereunto, that God denies men great things of this world.; for it is hard to have
great things of this world, and not to flight the necessary things. And these are two.
(1.) Seek the happiness of another world, Matth. vi. 33. Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righ. tenufness, and all these things fall be added unto you. The more that providence frowns upon our lot here, let us be the more eager in our pursuit of a portion in heaven. If God refuse to give us our good things in this life, let us take it for an intimation, that he will have us to insist for them in the other life; Matth. vi. 20. 21. Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
(2.) Grace for the way to it, especially for the time of trial, how to get cleanly through. The most necessary thing in a time of private affliction, or public calamity, is grace to carry right under it. That is more necessary than deliverance, as the foundness of the soul and conscience is more valuable than ease to 1 the outward man.
III. I shall shew wherefore such an appearance should bring us off from seeking great things for ourselves. It may have this influence on us, if we con. fider,
1. That we have enough to do otherwise, in preparing to meet the Lord, Amos iv. 12. When the Bridegroom is on his way, and the voice is heard, Behold, the Bridegroom cometh, go ye forth to meet him; it is not time for the virgins to be trifling, but going out to meet him. When the heavens are growing black above one's head, it is not for one to be lying at ease on the grass, but to make away to the house; as did Noah, Heb. xi. 7. By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house ; by the wybich he condemned the world, and became heir of the ghteoufiefs which is by faith.