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providence towards them : they continued their provocations in the face of the most awful threatenings, and when on the brink of ruin. And just so it is with the generation in these lands at this day,

Lastly, When there is no reason from them to stop procedure against them, God out of his lovereign mercy may yet put a stop to it. So he did with Ifrael in Egypt, Ezek. xx. 8.9. But they rebelled a. gainst me, and would not hearken unto me : they did not every man cast away the abominations of their eyes, neither did they for fake the idols of Egypt: then I said, I will pour out my fury upon thein, to accomplish my anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt. But I wrought for my name's fake, that it svould not be polluted before the heathen, among whom they were, in whose sight I made my self known unto them, in bringing them. forth out of the land of Egypt. And many a time on the deliverances of his people, and on ours in particular, may that be written, Ezek. xxxvi. 32. Not for your fakes do I this, saith the Lord God, be it known unto you : be ashamed and cona founded for your own ways, O house of Israel. .

re the my name's sake of the land my lips my

II. I shall shew how mercy interposeth for the res lief of such a people, when on the brink of ruin. '

1. By putting off the execution of threatenings a- gainst them, when they seem to be come to the very

point of execution. Thus the barren fig tree, when the sentence was passed on it, Cut it down, why cumbereth it the ground ? Luke xiii. 7. was, by the interposition of mercy, spared another year; and the old world was spared seven days after the expiring of the hundred and twenty years. How many times have the clouds been black above our heads, ready to shower down, and yet the storm has blown by ?

2. By moderating the stroke when it has come on, that it has not gone to the extremity that might have been feared, Il. xxvir. 8. In measure when it shooteth forth, thou wilt debate with it; he stayeth his rough

wind in the day of the east-wind. The destroying are being threatened, mercy has prevailed to hold with the "pruning-knife; and God has lightly afflicte ed, when justly he might have made his strokes heavy to a pitch.

Lastly, By putting a stop even to the course of lefser strokes, when he might have carried them on

to the making of a full end, Jer. v. 10. Go ye up upa I on her walls, and destroy, but make not a full end :

take away her battlements, for they are not the Lord's. He returns and does them good, after he has done them evil. Having pinched them a while, in mercy he relieves them, looses their bands, and lays meat again before them.

III. I shall give the reasons why mercy thus interposeth for the relief of such a people on the brink of ruin.

1. Because of a mourning and serious remnant that (may be among them, endeavouring to keep their | garments clean, as God would have spared Sodom,

if there had been but ten righteous persons found in it, Gen. xviii. 32. In public calamities they readily bear their share, and the Lord himself has a sympathy with them in their afflictions, as he had with Ifrael, 11. lxiii. 9. In all their affliction he was affiated, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them, and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old. And therefore he extends mercy to the community wherein they are. And he has a regard to their prayers and supplications in that case; Exod. xxxii. 10. Now therefore let me alone, says the Lord to Moses, that

my wrath may wax hot against them. 1 .2. Because of the infolence wherewith their ene

mies would carry themselves, both towards God and them, if God should give up with them. Many a time the church is more obliged for preservation to the insolent temper of her enemies, than to the

good

my wrath hot me a monthat cafe; Legard to the

should suit our fpirits to the dispensations of the day, not seeking great things.

1. Awake out of your golden dreams of worldly case, and lay your account with tribulation and trial, If. 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, pe careless women: for the vintage shall fail, the ga. thering Jhall 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 foul, 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 foul hall be required of thee : then whose fball those things be which thou haft provi. ded? And even good men are apt to fall into fuch doting; Job xxix. 18. Then I said, I shall 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 inount 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 fandy 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 shall be safe. 3. Seek nothing, less nor more, in any way in.

consistent) 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 charity to others, in pursuing your own intereft, without 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 wast not spoiled; and dealest treacherously, and they dealt not treacherously with thee: when thou shalt cease to spoil, thou shalt be spoiled; and when thou fbalt make an end to deal treacherously, they fall deal treacherously with thee. James ii. 13. For he fball have judgement without mercy, that hath fewed no mercy.

4. Be content with, and thankful for the little that ye have, and take God's security 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 croíles 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 will not gall your neck, be it never so 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, Pfal. cxxxi. 2. .

Lastly, Seek the things that are most necessary for yourselves, and in them ye will not be disappointed ; Luke 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

providence towards them: they continued their prou vocations in the face of the most awful threatenings; and when on the brink of ruin. And just so it is with the generation in these lands at this day.

Lasily, When there is no reason from them to stop procedure against them, God out of his sovereign mercy may yet put a stop to it. So he did with Ifrael in Egypt, Ezek. XX. 8. 9. But they rebelled against me, and would not hearken unto me : they did not every man cast away the abominations of their eyes, neither did they for fake the idols of Egypt: then I said, I will pour out my fury upon thein, to accomplish my anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt. But I wrought for my name's fake, that it spould not be polluted before the heathen, among whom they were, in whose light I made my self known unto them, in bringing them. forth out of the land of Egypt. And many a time on the deliverances of his people, and on ours in particular, may that be written, Ezek. xxxvi. 32. Not for your fakes do I this, faith the Lord God, be it known unto you : be ashamed and cons founded for your own ways, o house of Israel. .

II, I shall shew how mercy interposeth for the relief of such a people, when on the brink of ruin. :

1. By putting off the execution of threatenings a. - gainst them, when they seem to be come to the very

point of execution. Thus the barren fig tree, when the sentence was passed on it, Cut it down, why cumbereth it the ground ? Luke xiii. 7. was, by the interposition of mercy, spared another year; and the old world was spared seven days after the expiring of the hundred and twenty years. How many times have the clouds been black above our heads, ready to shower down, and yet the storm has blown by?

2. By moderating the stroke when it has come on, that it has not gone to the extremity that might have been feared, If. xxvii. 8. 'In measure when it looteth forth, thou wilt debate. with it ; he stayeth his rough

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