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flept fecurely under our ministry, will fear and tremble under his rods; thofe that are without faith, are not without sense and feeling, their own eyes will affect their hearts, though our words could make no impreffion on them.
Sect. 2. But of what ufe foever these national judgments are to others, to be fure they shall be beneficial to God's own people; when others die by fear, they fhall live by faith; if they be baneful poifon to the wicked, they fhall be healthful phyfic to the godly. For,
1. By thefe calamities God will mortify and purge their corruptions; this winter weather shall be useful to deftroy and rot thofe rank weeds, which the fummer of prosperity bred, Isa. xxvii. 9. "By this therefore fhall the iniquity of Jacob be purged." Phyfic in its own nature is griping and unpleasant; but very ufeful and neceffary to purge the body from noxious and malignant humours, which retained, may put life itself in hazard: And it is with the body politic, as with the body natural.
2. National judgments drive the people of God nearer to him, and one to another; they drive the people of God to their knees, and make them pray more frequently, more fervently, and more feelingly than they ever were wont to do; in this posture you find them in ver. 8, 9. of this chapter. "Yea in the way of thy judgments, O Lord, have we waited for thee, the defire of our fouls is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee. With "my foul have I defired thee in the night, yea, with my fpirit
within me will I feek thee early."
3. In a word, by these distractions and diftreffes of nations, the people of God are more weaned from the world, and made to long more vehemently after heaven; being now convinced by experience that this is not their rest. When all things are tranquil and profperous, God's own people are but too apt to fall afleep and dream of pleasure and reft on earth, to fay as Job in his profperity, "I fhall die in my neft, I fhall multiply my days "as the fand.". And then are their heads and hearts filled with many projects and defigus, to promote their comforts, and make provifion for their accommodations on earth: the multiplicity of earthly cares and comforts take up their time and thoughts too much, and make them that they mind death and eternity Too little. But faith God, this must not be fo, things must not go on at this rate, the profperous world muft not thus enchant my people; I must imbitter the earth that I may thereby fweeten heaven the more to them; when they find no rest below, they will furély feek it above.
Thefe, and fuch like, are the gracious designs and ends of God
in fhaking the world by his terrible judgments, but yet, though national troubles must neceffarily come, the wifeft of men cannot politively determine the precife time of thofe judgments; we may indeed, by the figns of the times, difcern their near approach; yet our judgment can be but probable and conjectural, feeing there are tacit conditions in the dreadfulleft threatenings, Jer. xviii. 7, 8. Jonah iii. 9, 10. And fuch is the merciful nature of God, that he oft-times turns away his anger from his people, when it feems ready to pour down upon them, Pfal. Ixxviii. 38. The confideration whereof no way indulges fecurity, but encourages to repentance and greater fervency in prayer.
Opening and confirming the fecond propofition, viz. That God's own people are much concerned in, and ought to be fuitably affected with thofe judgments that befal the nation wherein they live.
F God's people have no concernment in these things, why are they called upon in this text, to turn into their chambers, hide themselves, and fhut their doors, till the indignation be over-paft? Certainly though God hath better provided for them than others, yet they are two ways concerned in these cases as much as others: viz,
1. Upon a political
1. Upon a political account, as they are members of the com. munity, and fo are equally concerned in the good or evil that befal the nation in which they live, their cabins must follow the fate of the fhip in which they fail, their lives, liberties, eftates, and intereft fink and swim with the public. The good figs were carried away with the bad, Jer. xxiv. 5. To thefe outward refpects it often-times bears as hard upon the righteous as upon the wicked. Ezek. xxi. 3. "I will draw forth my "fword out of his fheath, and will cut off from thee the righ“teous and the wicked.” In these outward refpects, as it is with the good, fo with the finner, Eccl. ix. 2. The fame fire that burns the dry tree, often-times burns the green tree too, Ezek. xx. 47. Grace is above all hazards, but creature-enjoyments and comforts are not. The fins of the Sodomites involve
not only their own houfes and eftates, but Lot's alfo, in the ruin and overthrow; wicked men often fare the better for the company of the godly, and the godly often fare the worfe for the company of the wicked.
And it is not to be wondered at, if we confider that even the faints themfelves have an hand in the provocation of these judgments, as well as others, Deut. xxxii. 19. And when the "Lord faw it, he abhorred them because of the provoking of his "fons and of his daughters." We have contributed to the common heap of guilt, and therefore muft justify God if we partake with others in the common calamity.
2. They are greatly concerned in fuch judgments upon a religious and Christian account, for it is ufual for the flood of God's judgments not only to fweep away our civil and natural, but our fpiritual and beft enjoyments and comforts. Thus the ordinances of God ceased in Babylon, and there the faithful bewailed their mifery upon that account, Pfal. cxxxvii. per totum; we wept when we remembered thee, O Zion." Not only Ifrael flies, but the ark is taken prifoner by the enemy, 1 Sam. iv. II. And you find the people of God more deeply concerned upon this account, than for all their outward loffes and 9thers fufferings, Zeph. iii, 18. "I will gather them of thee that
are forrowful for the folemn affemblies, to whom the re"proach of it was a burthen." For by how much our fouls are more excellent than our bodies, and the concerns of eternity over-balance thofe of time; by fo much the more are we concerned in the lofs of our fpiritual, more than of our temporal mercies and enjoyments.
Grace indeed cannot be loft, but the means and inftruments by which it is begotten may; the golden candlestick is one of the moveables in God's houfe, Rev. ii. 5.
Thus you fee a twofold concernment that the people of God have in the effects of national judgments.
Sect. 2. This being fo, how should all that fear God be affected with the appearances and-figns of his indignation? So was David, Pfal. cxix. 120. "My flesh trembleth for fear of thee, and I am afraid of thy judgments." He that feared not a bear, a lion, a Goliah, yet trembleth at God's judgment. So did Habakkuk, chap. iii. ver. 16. "When I heard, my belly "trembled, my lips quivered at the voice, rettennefs entered ** into my bones." Expreffions denoting the deepest feizures of fear and greateft confternations; not that I would perfuade you to fuch flavish fear, or unchristian dejection, as it is not only inful in itfelf, but the caufe and inlet of many other fins: but
to a due fenfe both of the evils of mifery that will befal the nation when God's indignation comes upon it; and the evils of fin that have incenfed it; and to such a fear of both as may feafonably awaken us to the ufe of all preventing remedies. And firft,
I. O that all would lay to heart the national miferies that God's indignation threatens upon us. It is faid, Pfal. cvii. 34. “A fruitful land is turned into barrennefs for the wickedness of "them that dwell therein." It was long fince told England by one of its faithful watchmen *, The nation and church in which we are, is the common fhip in which we are all embarked, and if this in judgment be caft away, whether dash⚫ed against the rocks of any foreign power, or fwallowed up in the quickfands of domestic divifions, it must need hazard all the paffengers: Or if you were fure, that for your parts you might be fafe, would it not be a bitter thing to ftand upon the fhore, and fee fuch a glorious veffel as this nation is, to be caft away? To fee this glorious land defaced, the bleffed gofpel polluted, the golden candlestick removed, it cannot but affect men that have apy bowels.
• Or if this move you not, yet to fee a stranger to lord it in thy habitation, and thy dwelling-place to caft thee out; for your delightfome dwellings, your fruitful, pleafant, and welltilled fields to be made a prey; for you to fow, and another to reap, impias has fegetess for the delicate woman upon whom the wind muft not blow, to he expofed to the luft and cruelty of an enemy, and be glad to fly away naked to prolong a miferable life, which they would be glad to part with for death, were it not for fear of the exchange. For the tender 'mother to look upon the child of her womb, and confider, must this child in whom I have placed the hope of my age; • for,
Omnis in Afcanio ftat chari cura parentis ;
'He that hath been fo tenderly bred up, must he fall into the 'rough hands of a bloody foldier, fkilful to deftroy? It had 'been well for me if God had given me dry breafts, or a mifcarrying womb, rather than to bring forth children unto murtherers; or if you might be fafe, how could you endure to fee the miferies that fhould come upon your people, and 'the destruction of your kindred." Thus far he. But alas ! What fecurity have any of us as to our earthly comforts from the common calamity? We may please ourselves as Baruch did, Jer.
* Mr. Strong
xlv. 4, 5. and dream of exemption, but by fo much the greater will our diftrefs be, when it fhall furprize us.
2. You that are the people of God ought to be deeply affected with the spiritual miseries that threaten us in the day of God's indignation: do you confider what the removing the candlestick out of its place is? A departing gofpel, the going down of the fun upon the prophets, the lofs of your sweet fabbaths, and gofpel feafts, and the grofs darkness of popery to fill the earth: O it is hard parting with these things. It is faid, 1 Sam. vii. 2. when the ark was removed, "that all the houseof "Ifrael lamented after the Lord." Pity your own fouls, and be deeply affected with the mifery of others, the poor Chriftlefs world, who are like to perifh for want of vifion, Prov. xxix. 18. In the year 1072, faith Matthew Paris, preaching was fuppreffed at Rome, and then letters were framed by fome as coming from hell; in which the devil gives them thanks for the multitude of fouls fent to him that year.
3. But especially labour to affect your hearts with the fin that have incenfed God's indignation: So did the faints in Jerufalem, Ezek. ix. 4. they fighed and mourned for all the abominations committed in it. So did Lot, 2 Pet. ii. 7. “He vexed "his righteous foul from day to day." So did David, Pfal. cxix. 136. "Rivers of water run down mine eyes, because men kept not thy law." O who that loves God can refrain tears, to see the God of pity, the God of tender mercies, a Father full of bowels of compaffion, fo incenfed and provoked to indignation! Oh, it is an heart-melting confideration where there is any ingenuity. If our afflictions grieve God to the heart, as it doth, Judges x. 16. our fouls should be grieved for his difho
4. To conclude, get upon your hearts fuch a fenfe of God's indignation as may quicken you to the use of preventing duties. So Amos iv. 12. "Because I will do this, prepare to meet "thy God, O Ifrael." So the prophet, Zeph. ii. 1, 2. "Gather yourselves together before the decree bring forth.” It was Mofes's honour to ftand in the breach, Pfal. cvi. 23, And Abraham's to plead fo with God, though he did not prebail.