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our mourning, so do our DANGERS also; for fear is no less afflictive than pain: yea, I know not whether there can be a greater pain, than the expectation of imminent mischiefs. Do we therefore see extremities of judgments hovering over our heads, ready to fall down, like Sodom's fire and brimstone, from heaven upon us ? now is it high time to mourn, for the anteverting of a threatened vengeance. Shortly, therefore, to sum up all that we have spoken, whether we feel evils of punishment or fear them, or be conscious of the evils of sin that have deserved them, we cannot but find it a just time to weep and mourn.
And now, to come home close to ourselves; can any man be so wilfully blind, as not to see that all these are met together, to wring tears from us; and to call us to a solemn and universal mourning?
1. What single men SUFFER, themselves best feel; and our old word is, The wronged man writes in marble. I meddle not with particulars. Our pains of body, our losses in our estate, our domestic crosses, our wounds of spirit, as they are kept up in our own breasts, so they justly call us to private humiliations.
If we cast abroad our eyes to more public afflictions; have we not seen, that God hath let his sea loose upon us in divers parts of our land? as if, for a new judgment upon us, he would retract the old word of his decreed limitation; Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further; and here shall thy proud waves be stayed ; Job xxxviii. 11. Hath not God given us, in divers parts of our nation, a feeling touch of some of the Egyptian plagues; in the mortality of our cattle; in the unusual frequency of noisome and devouring vermin? But woe is me! all these are but flea-bites, in comparison of that destructive sword, that hath gone through the land; and sheathed itself in the bowels of hundred thousands of brethren. Oh, that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people ; Jer. ix. i. Was there ever a more fearful example of divine vengeance against any nation, than to be armed against each other to their mutual destruction that Christian compatriots, brethren, should pour out each others' blood like water in our streets, and leave their mangled carcasses for compost in our fields? that none but the sharper sword should be left to be the arbiter of our deadly differences ? that fathers and sons should so put off all natural affection, as to think it no violation of piety to cut the throats of each other? Oh, that we have lived to see the woeful havoc, that the hellish fury of war hath made, every where, in this flourishing and populous island; the flames of hostile fury rising up in our towns and cities; the devastation of our fruitful and pleasant villages; the demolition of our magnificent structures; the spoils and ruins of those fabrics that should be sacred; in a word, this goodly land, for a great part of it, turned to a very Gol gotha and Aceldama! These, these, my Brethren, if our eyes be not made of pumices, must needs fetch' tears from us; and put us into a constant habit of mourning.
2. And, if our Punishments deserves thus to take up our hearts, where shall we find room enough for sufficient sorrow, for those horrible sins, that have drawn down these heavy judgments upon us?
Truly, Belored brethren, if we were wholly resolved into tears, and if every drop were a stream, we could not weep enough for our own sins, and the sins of our people. Let every man ransack his own breast, and find out the plague of his own hwart; 1 Kings viii. 38: but, for the present, let me have leave a little to lay before you, though it is no pleasing object, that common leprosy of Sin, wherewith the face of this miserable nation is overspread; whether in matter of Practice, or of Opinion.
(1.) For the Former; should I gather up all the complaints of the prophets, which they have taken up of old against their Israel and Judah, and apply them to this Church and Nation, you would verily think them calculated to this our meridian: as if our sins were theirs, and their reproofs ours.
What one sin can be namedl, in all that black bead-roll of wickedness, reckoned up by those holily querulous censors, which we must not own for ours?
Of whom do you think the prophet Isaiah speaks, when he says, Four iniquities hare separated between you and your God, and y'ur sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear; for your hand's are di filed with blood, and your fingers with iniqui y, your lips hace spoken lies; your tongue hath muttered perverseness? Isaiah lix. 2, 3.
Of whom do ye think the prophet Micah speaks, when he says, The rich men thereof are full of violence, and the inhabitants thereof have spoken lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouths ? Micah 'vi. 12.
Do we think of epicurism and self-indulgence? Whom do we think the prophet Amos speaks of, when he says, Il'oe be to them, that ure at case in zion; that put far away the cvil day, and cause the seat of violence to come near; thai lie upen beds of ivory, and streich themselres upon their couches; that drink wine in bouls, and anoint ihemselves with the chief oirmont; but they are not grieved for the atiliction of Joseph ? Amos vi. 1, 3, 4, 6. Pell me, Brethren, was there ever more riot and excess in diet and clothes, in belly-cheer and back-timber, than we see at this day?
Do we think of drunkenness and surfeits? Of whom do we think Isaiah speaks, when he saith, They huve erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way: the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink. (Indian smoke was not then known:) they are swall: xvd up of zine; they are out of he way through sirong drink; they err in vision; they stumble in judgment, for all tables are full of me and fil hiness? Isaiah xxviii. 7, 8.
Of whom doth the prophet Fio: ea speak, when he says, IVhoredom and wine and new wine lake away the heart? well may
these two be put together, for they sellom go asunder. But tell me, Brethren, was there ever such abominable beastliness in this kind,
as reigns at this day, since the hedge of all Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction was thrown open?
And, if we think good to put these and some other of their damuable society together; of whoin do we think the prophet Hosea speaks, when he says, The Lord hath a controversy with the land; because there is no iruth, no mercy, no knowledge of God in the land. By su'earing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood ? Hos. iv. 1, 2.
Do ye think of perjury? Of whom do ye think the same Hosea speaks, when he says, They have spoken words swearing falsely in making a covenant? Hos. x. 4.
Do we think of the violation of holy things and places? Of whom do we think the prophet Jeremiah speaks, when he says, Is this house, which is called by my Name, become a den of robbers in your eyes : behold, even I have seen it, saith the Lord? Jer. vii. 11.
I could easily tire you, if I have not done so already, with the odious parallels of our sins with Israel's. Yet, one more: do we think of the bold intrusion of presumptuous persons into the sacred calling, without any commission from God? Of whom do we think the prophet Jeremiah speaks: The prophets prophesy lies in my Name: I sent them not : neither have I commanded them, nor spake unto them: They prophesy unto yine a false vision, and the deceit of their ozen heart? Jer. siv. 14: and again, I have not sent these prophets; yet they run: I have not spoken io them; yet they prophesier'; Jer. xxiii. 21.
To what purpose should I instance in more; as I easily might: as practical atheism, falsehood, cruelty, hypocrisy, ingratitude, and, in a word, universal corruption?
O England, England, too like to thy sister Israel, in all her spiritual deformities; if not rather, tu thy sister Sodoin. Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom: pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her; neither did she strengthen the hands of the poor and needy; Ezek. xvi. 49. Lo, thou art as haughty as she; and hast committed all her abominations.
But that, which yet aggravates thy sin, is thy stubborn incorrigibleness, and impudence in offending. Is it not of thee, that the prophet Jeremiah speaks, This is a nation, that obeyeth not the voice of the Lord their God, nor receiveth correc ion? Jer. vii. 28. For, O our God, bast thou not whipped us soundly, and drawn blood of us in abundance; yet, woe is me! what amendment hast thou found in us? what one excess have we abated? what one sin have we reformed? what one vice have we quitted ? Look forth, Brethren, into the world: see if the lives of men be not more loose and lawless, their tongues more profane, their hands more heavily oppressive, their conversation more faithless, their contracts more fraudulent, their contempt of God's messengers more high, their neglect of God's ordinances inore palpable, than ever it was: yea, have not too many amongst us added to their unreforination an
impudence in sinning? Is it not of these, that the Prophet speaketh; Were they ashamed, when they had committed abomination? Nay, they were not ashamed at all, neither could they blush: therefore shall they fall among them that foll: in the time of their visitation they shall be cast down, saith the Lord? Jer. viii. 12.
By this time I suppose you see, how too much cause we have to mourn for those sins of practice, which have fetched down judgmeuts upon us.
(2.) Turn your eyes now a little to those intellectual wickednesses, which we call sins of Opinion.
“Opinion," think some of you now,“ alas! what so great offence can there be in matter of conceit; and in these results of our ratiocination, which we pitched upon in the cases of religion?" Let me tell you, Dear Christians, what valuation soever you may please to set upon these capital errors of the understanding set abroach for the seduction of simple souls, there is more deadly mischief and higher offence to God in thein, than in those practical evils which honest hearts profess to abhor. These, as they are the immediate sins of our spiritual part; so they do more immediately strike at the God of Spirits, in his truth and holiness: and, as religion is the highest concernment of the soul; so the depravation of religion must needs be most dangerous and damnable.
It is no marvel therefore, if a truly-zealous Christian could even weep his eyes out, to see and hear those hellish heresies and atheous paradoxes, which have poisoned the very air of our Church wherein they were vented.
One beats the keys into the sword; or hangs them at the magistrate's girdle: so as he suspends religion upon the mere will and pleasure of sovereignty. One allows plurality or community of wives: another allows a man to divorce that wife he hath, upon slight occasions, and to take another. One is a Ranter: another is a Seeker: a third is a Shaker. One dares question, yea disparage the Sacred Scriptures of God: another denies the soul's immortality; a third, the body's resurrection. One spits his poison upon the Blessed Trinity: another blasphemes the Lord Jesus, and opposes the Eternity of his Godhead. One is altogether for inspirations, professing himself above the sphere of all ordinances, yea, above the blood of Christ himself." Another teaches, that the more villainy he can commit, the more holy he is; that only confidence in sinning is perfection of sanctity; that there is no bell but remorse. To put an end to this list of blasphemies, the very mention whereof is enough to distemper my tongue and your ears; one miscreant dares give himself out for God Almighty; another, for the Holy Ghost; another, for the Lord Christ; another (a vile adulterous strumpet) for the Virgin Mary.
(God, were there ever such frenzies possessed the brains of men, as these sad times have yielded ? Was ever the Devil so prevalent with the sons of men?
Neither have these prodigious wretches smothered their damnable conceits in their impure breasts, but have boldly vented them
to the world; so as the very presses are openly defiled, with the most loathsome disgorgements of their wicked blasphemies.
Here, here, my Dear Brethren, is matter more than enough for our mourning if we have any good hearts to God, if any love to his truth, if any zeal for his glory, if any care for his Church, if any compassion of either perishing or endangered souls, we cannot but apprehend just cause of pouring out ourselves into tears, for so horrible affronts offered to the Dread Majesty of our God; for so inexpiable a scandal to the Gospel, which we profess; for so odious a conspurcation of our holy profession; and, lastly, for the dreadful damnation of those silly souls, that are seduced by these cursed impostors.
Ye have seen now what cause we have of mourning for Sins both of Practice and Opinion.
3. It remains now, that we consider what cause of mourning we may have from our DANGERS: for, surely, fear, as it is always joined with grief, so together with it is a just provoker of our
And here, if I should abridge all the holy prophets, and gather up out of them all the menaces of judgments which they denounce against their sinful Israel, I might well bring them home to our own doors, and justly affright us with the expectation of such further revenge from Divine Justice: for how can we otherwise think, but that the same sius must carry away the same punishments The holy God is ever constant to his own most righteous proceedings: if then our sins be like theirs, why should we presume upon. a dissimilitude of judgments ?
Here then it is easy to descry a double danger, worth our mourning for: the one, of further smart from the hand of God, for our continuing and menacing wickedness; the other, of further degrees of corruption from ourselves.
(1.) For the First, let that sad prophet Jeremiah tell you, what we may justly fear. They are not humbled even unto this day; neither have they feared nor walked in my law : Therefore, thus saith the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, Behold, I will set my face against you for evil, and to cut off all Judah; Jer. xliv. 10, 11. And, if ye will have particularities, have we not cause to fear, that he will make good upon us that fearful word, I have taken away my peace froin this people, saith the Lord, even loving kindness and mercies ? Jer. xvi. 5. This is an ablative judgment, and that a heavy one too: will ye see a positive one, more heavy than that? Behold, I will utterly forget you, and I will forsake you, and the city that I give to you and your forefathers, and cast you out of my presence. And I will bring an everlasting reproach upon you, and a perpetual shaine which shall not be forgotten; Jer. xxiii. 39, 40. Will ye have the specialities of his threatened judgments? Behold, I will send upon them the sword, the famine, and the pestilence: I will persecute them with all these; and will deliver them to be removed to all the kingdoins of the earth, to be a curse, and an astonishment, and « hissing, and a reproach among all nations; Jer. xxix, 17, 18. But