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Mr. Adams's Sermon,

On Psal. 65 5.

By terrible things in Righteousness, wilt thou answer us, O God of our Salvation.

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& sometimes Answers His People, by Terrible Things in Righteousness.

A Discourse Occasioned by that Awful Thunder-clap Which Struck the Meeting-House in N. London, Aug. 31st. 1735. At what Time One was Killed outright and diverse Others much hurt and wounded, Yet graciously & remarkably Preserved, together with the rest of the Congrega­tion, from Immediate Death. AS IT WAS Delivered (Sept. 7th) the Lord's Day Following.

By Eliphalet Adams, M. A. And Pastor of the Church there.

Psal. lxxxi. 7.

-I answered thee in the secret place of Thunder-.

Respondi tibi in Loco Abscondito Domus majestatis meae, personantibus Coram me rotis Igneis.

Chal. vel. Targ.

N.LONDON, Printed & Sold by T. GREEN, 1735

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To my Dear Friends, THE FLOCK under my Pastoral Care.

SINCE it is at Your Request and Importu­nity, that the following Discourse now sees the Light, this will not only supersede all other Apologies to the world for its being made Publick, of which I had no manner of tho't when it was first Composed; But also Justify me in a farther Address to You on so awful an Occasion.

I could not but take Notice of the Crowded Assembly when it was Delivered, Many (doubt­less) being led by their Curiosity to hear some New thing and observe what our Sentiments and Dispositions were under such an Awful hand of God, And Oh that our Behaviour at this Day, may be suitable and becoming both in the Eyes of GOD and Men!

[Page ii] Moses giving a relation of the Solemnity of that Day when the Law was given from Mount Sinal, thus Expresse h himself, Deut. 4.32, 33. But ask now of the days that are past which were before thee, since the day that God creared man upon earth, and ask from the one side of heaven unto the other, whither there hath been any such thing, is this great thing is, or hath been heard like it, Did ever people hear the Voice of God, speaking out of the midst of the fire, as thou hast heard and live?

Never was any Dispensation in all its Circum­stances to be Compared to that, It was a wonder how their frail Natures could Endure the Majesty and Terror of the Lord, that they were not quite oppressed by the over-bearing Glory.

However, Somthing like this; We also have heard the Voice of God, speaking out of the midst of the Fire and yet we Live. And it is hard to say whither the greatness of the Danger, or the wonderfulness of our Preservation be most to be Admired; And possibly one End of his, in bring­ing us into the Danger was to shew his great power and mercy in our Signal Preservation & Escape.

We also like the People of Israel, were thrown into great fear and Consternation, and perhaps [Page iii]like them were ready to promise, Let the Lord please to declare unto us his Will in a more fami­liar and gentle way and we will hear it and do it. If any such Impressions were made upon us, no doubt the Lord approves of them so far as to desire they may be lasting. Deut. 5.29. Oh! that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me and keep my command­ments always, that it might be well with them and with their children for ever.

Doubtless You are perswaded, that it is not Enough to be a little startled and put on a face of Seriousness for a time, We must think on our ways and turn our feet into God's testimo­nies, And tho' frowns and Severities alone, be they ever so sharp and awful, will not produce an happy change of Heart and Life, Yet by disposing us to be more Serious and thoughtful, they may prepare the way for God's grace to Effect this desirable Change; when every Valley is Exalted and every Mountain and hill made Low, then the Glory of the Lord may be revealed.

I have in the following Discourse, taken the Opportunity, to recommend and press several par­ticulars for the Amendment of our Conduct, which now it is put into Your hands, I trust you will peruse with a suitable regard, For are there not with us, Even with us Sins against the Lord? [Page iv] Every one may Know the Plague of their own Hearts and Discern the Error of their ways, if they would set themselves diligently to Enquire, Let us then Search and try our ways and turn again unto the Lord.

God hath graciously begun of Late a good work in the Country, We hear of great Numbers of People asking the way to Zion with their faces thitherward; Why should we be the Last to bring the King back to his Throne? Yea, why should we come behind the very Chiefest Christians?

It is Certainly our Interest as well as Duty, to get Near to our God and keep Near to our God, to walk in all his Ways and keep his Commandments, as he Commanded our Fathers; And who can tell what reserves of Mercy of this Kind, he may have in store for us? When he pleaseth to work, there is Nothing can Let it, Then the hearts of the rash shall understand Knowledge; the most stubborn tempers shall Yield and the Heart of Stone be Changed into An Heart of Flesh.

If this may but be the fruit, even to take away all our Sin, If by this, our Iniquity may be purged, We shall have reason to bless the Stroke that drives us home to our God and directs our feet into the path of Life.

[Page v] I trust there will be but little Need to lay in Caution that you guard against such Seducers and Sectaries who are still saying, Lo here is Christ, or Lo there; And are ready to represent that it is safer taking on with them, against whom as yet no such Severity hath been displayed, Since you are taught of God that Neither Love nor Hatred is certainly to be learned by any thing that is before us, Or if any thing of that nature be to be gathered, we are told that whom the Lord Loves he rebukes and chastens and that Judgment somtimes begins at the House of God; Only let us be Humbled under the Lord's Discipline and let them remember that it is their wisdom, not to be high-minded but to Fear.

I am now Growing into Years and as I would ask Your prayers for me, that while I am Conti­nued, I may be Enabled to speak the Word plainly and boldly, as a good Steward of the manifold grace of God; So God forbid that I should Sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for You, or in failing (as I am able) to teach you the good and the right way.

We have Escaped this Time, but there will quickly come a time when we shall no Longer Escape, Man Goeth to his long home, And Death whith is approaching by Insensible steps should never be out of our Minds;

[Page vi] Nor should we forget the Time, when (as the Apostle Peter tells is) 2 Pet 3.10, &c—The Heavens shall pass away with a great Noise, and the Elements shall melt with fervent heat, the Earth also and the works that are therein hall be burnt up; Seeing then that all these things shall be Dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy Conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting to the Coming of the day of God, wherein the Heavens being on fire, shall be dissolved and the Elements shall melt with fervent heat.

Hinally, Whatever good Impressions have been made upon any of us, by this late Awful Dispensa­tion of divine providence, May the Lord our God, Keep this for ever in the Imagination of the thoughts of the heart of his people and pre­pare our hearts unto him. As we were seaso­nably taught from, I Chron 29.18 by a message in the mouth of his Servant, * the same Day when the following Discourse was delivered; And may we all of us give diligence that we may be found of him in peace, without spot and blameless.

I am Your Affectionate Pastor, Eliphalet Adams.
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GOD Sometimes Answers His People, BY Terrible things in Righte­ousness.

PSALM LXV. 5.

By Terrible things in Righteousness, wilt thou Answer us, O God of our Salvation,—

IN this Psalm, David begins by saying, that Praise waited for God in Zion and unto him the Vow shall be performed. What if we should conjecture Now, that this may possibly have reference to that period of time, when David finding a little respite from his Wars and having Conquered Jebus (which was afterward, called Jerusalem) and particularly taken the Strong-hold of Zion, which was called the [Page 2] City of David, And having fitted up a place for the reception of it, was preparing to bring the Ark of God in thither; To be sure, this is what he had Vowed, and at length happily Accomplished and he else­where Appeals to the Lord to be graciously remembred for his Zeal in that matter, as we find in Psal. 132. beg. Lord, Remember David and all his afflictions, how he sware unto the Lord and vowed to the mighty God of Jacob, Surely I will not come into the tabernacle of my house, nor go up into my bed, I will not give sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to mine eye lids until I find out a place for the Lord, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob, Lo, we heard of it in Ephrata, we sound it in the fields of the wood: We will go into his Tabernacles, we will worship at his foot­stool, Arise, O Lord, into thy rest, thousand the Ark of thy strength.

Praise waited or was Silent for God, (as the Hebrew word signifies) now in Zion, The Servants of God stood ready, as soon as the Ark should be brought in, and the Wor­ship of God be set up there, to Celebrate his praise and there he should be praised from Generation to Generation.

And not only God's peculiar people the Jews but Proselites and people out of all Na­tions, brought by the Fame of the God of [Page 3]Israel, should come to Zion with their prayers and praises, as we learn from, ver. 2. O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come.

As to their Present state indeed, he Ac­knowledgeth it to be bad Enough, Iniquities prevailing and abounding among them (In his Predecessor's reign, too little care had been taken about the Exercise and Estab­lishment of religion, Neither had he that just authority in his own Court as yet, which were to be wished, while the Sons of Zer­viah were frequently too hard for him) But then he Exerciseth faith, that God would graciously pardon their Iniquities and heal their backslidings. Ver. 3. Iniquiries prevail against me: as for our transgrissions thou shalt purge them away.

And now he refresheth himself with the Consideration of the blessedness of their condition, who shall he admitted to approach into the presence of God in the way of his appointment (a thing too little understood and Valued by vulgar and carnal minds) ver. 4. Blessed is the man whom thou chusest and causest to approach unto thee that he may dwell in thy courts; we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house and of thy holy temple.

[Page 4] Why may it not be thought that David hath particular reference to himself here? Especially when we compare the words with a Sam. 6.21. — It was before the Lord which chose me before thy Father.

Now come in the words of the Text, which seem a little to cloud and Darken this glorious prospect, wherein he saith, By terrible things in righteousness, wilt thou answer us.

If the foregoing Exposition should hold and may be allowed, whither these words may not refer to the breach that was made upon Ʋzzah, in the Day when the Ark was bringing up to the City of David, An ac­count whereof we have at large, in 2 Sam. 6. I submit to better Judgments. Certainly, it was an awful and terrible thing, And it was done in Righteousness too, however severe it might seem; David was much affected with it, And it put a stop to the bringing home of the Ark for some years afterwards.

Some Interpreters Expound these words of the terrible Judgments which God is wont to Inflict upon the Enemies of his Church and People; They pray to him in their distress, when they are set upon and used hardly by their Enemies and the Lord [Page 5]hears in heaven his dwelling place and Exe­cutes Judgments oftentimes in a terrible manner upon these their Enemies in Answer to their prayers, So he did at the red Sea, upon Pharaoh and his host, So he did in the Days of Jehoshaphat, upon the Children of Moab and the Children of Ammon, And often at other times.

Other Interpreters, tell us, that this may be understood, ‘Of the rebukes which God in his providence gives somtimes to his own People, He often answers them by terrible things for the Awakening and Quickning of them, But always in righ­teousness, He neither doth them any wrong, nor means them any hurt; for Even then he is the God of their Salva­tion, By wonderful things, Things which are very Surprizing, Things that strike an Aw upon us wilt thou answer us; The holy freedom that we are admitted unto in God's Courts, and the Nearness of our approach unto him, must not at all abate our reverence and godly fear of him, For he is terrible in his holy places, Psal. 68.34, 35.

The term Answer us here used, doth not always stand for a reply to somthing before [Page 6]spoken, or for a return made to some petition preferred and put up, which are the usual senses of this phrase (altho' taken in this sense it was Literally true in the days of Sa­muel. 1 Sam. 12, 18. So Samuel called unto the Lord and the Lord sent thunder and rain that day; and all the people greatly feared the Lord and Samuel.) When our Lord accommo­dated his Discourse to what was in the hearts of the people and met with somthing that was running in their minds and they were ready to Object, he is said to Answer them. Luke 14.355. Yea, when God suits his providential dispensations to somthing be­fore done by a person or people, he is said to Answer them Psal. 99.8. Thou answeredst them, O Lord our God; thou most a God that forgavest them though thou wokest vengeance of their inventions. Perhaps in the Text this term Answer may be taken as Equivalent to the Terms Shew or Manifest, By terrible things in righteousness, wilt thou manifest thy self to us, O God of our Salvation. When God puts on glory and arrayeth himself with Majesty and comes near to his people in any of his great and mighty works, striking an aw and dread into their hearts and causing them to feel somthing of the weight of his hand, then he may be said by terrible things in righteousness to answer them.

[Page 7] In the farther speaking to these words, we may Consider,

  • First, That somtimes God appears and mani­fests himself to his people in very terrible things.
  • Secondly, That when he doth so, it is always in righteousness.
  • Thirdly, That yet at the same time he is the God of their Salvation.

I. We may Consider, That somtimes God appears and manifests himself to his people in very terrible things. Things that are wonderful and surprizing, that strike an aw and a dread into them and cause them to say, as in Psal. 119.120 My flesh trembleth for fear of thee, and I am afraid of thy Judgments. Or as Moses, Heb. 12.21. And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake. And here,

1. The Execution done upon Sinners, the Ene­mies of God and their Enemies in their sight, hath struck an aw into them.

This way (as it hath been observed) In­terpreters have carried the sense of these words, But then the things which God hath done, have not only been Destructive [Page 8]to his and his people's Enemies, but it hath been awful to behold and Consider of it, No doubt, Noah, shut up as he was in the Ark, was greatly affected to think of the de­struction of the whole world by the flood, to whom he had long been a preacher of righ­teousness, but all in Vain. No doubt Lot was mightily affected with the Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrha and the Cities of the plain, by that horrible Tempest that was sent upon them out of heaven, The good man flyes and dared not look behind him or stop till he was Entred into Zoar, having received such a Charge from the Angels, No, tho' his wife were turned into a pillar of Salt for her disobedience, Gen. 19 16, 17 Concern for his own particular preserva­tion drove him thus along, Yet at the same time, we may well conceive, his heart to be full of thought and sollicitude about the poor people that were actually perishing under the fatal stroke.

For tho' as it is the Execution of God's will & pleasure, they may arquiesce and ap­prove of it, and the memory of the Injuries done to them, may abate very much of their concern, So that in a sense as it is in, Psal. 58.10. They may rejoice when they see the ven­geance, Yet it is still an awful & melancholy thing to behold the destruction of many, [Page 9]when it is sudden and violent, Even though they are the Enemies of God and of his people.

2. The works of God's common providence when they are unusually signal and remarkable, done be­fore our Eyes and when they come any thing near to us, are very terrible and strike an aw into us. Among these things, we may reckon raging and Epidemical Sicknesses; Tho' these operate more slowly, yet they carry a great terror with them, all faces gather blackness and every heart is filled with apprehension, Ex­pecting when they shall be seised and carried into Eternity with their Neighbours that are dying daily round about them; As also, Stormy Winds, fulfilling God's word; when these blow Tempestuously, whither by Sea or Land, the hearts of the people are moved as the trees of the wood are moved by a migh­ty wind; So, when some Earthquake hap­pens, who that feel the Earth trembling under them and all that is upon it shaking and tottering and that hear the mighty roaring within, do not also at the same time feel their hearts failing for fear and looking after some dreadful and fatal Consequences immediately? Once more, When some fearful Storm of Thunder and Lightning comes over us, when the Voice of the Lord (as the Psalmist calls it) waxeth Louder & Louder, [Page 10]all Nature is made to tremble, an aw is struck upon every mind, that is not altoge­ther stupid and Insensible, because they are uncertain where it may please God that the hurtful Strokes shall light, Thus the Psal­mist speaks of it, Psal. 29.3, — 9. The voice of the Lord is upon the waters, The God of glory thundreth, The Lord is upon many waters; The voice of the Lord is powerful, The voice of the Lord is full of majesty, The voice of the Lord breaketh the Cedars, yea, the Lord breaketh the Cedars of Lebanon; He maketh them also to skip like a Calf; Lebanon and Syrion like a young Ʋnicorn; The voice of the Lord divideth the flames of fire, The voice of the Lord shaketh the wilderness, The Lord shaketh the wilderness of Kadesh; The voice of the Lord maketh the hinds to-calve and discovereth the forrests; And in his Temple doth every one speak of his glory. Yea, and it is not unbecoming Even godly people to stand in aw of God's terrible Ma­jesty at such a time; A slavish fear indeed should be striven against, because our hea­venly Father hath the whole Direction of the Storm; Yet we should stand in aw of him when he thus loudly utters his Voice. Job 37: 1, — 5. At this also my heart trembleth and is moved out of its place. Hear attentively the noise of his Voice and the sound that goeth out of his mouth. He directeth it under the whole [Page 11]Heaven and his Lightning unto the Ends of the Earth. After it a Voice roareth; He Thun­dreth with the Voice of his Excellency, and he will not stay them when his Voice is heard. God Thundereth marvellously with his Voice. These works of God are terrible and should strike an Aw into us, Especially,

  • (1) When we are particular Sufferers, or are hurt in any of our Interests by such providences, our hearts should stand in aw of God. Even when we hear of such things happening to Others at a distance, our hearts should stand in aw of that God who doeth such marvel­lous things; But when it lights upon us or on our relations, when we are wounded by his hand and broken by his power, it be­comes us to tremble and bow before him, Now the Lord comes nearer to us and they must be stubborn Children indeed that will not yield, when they feel the smart and suffer under the Effects of his Displeasure.
  • (2) When Death is brought upon any by these means in our presence, then our hearts should stand in aw of the Lord. So when the Bethshe­mites were smitten in such great numbers, the rest that survived thus Express them­selves, 1 Sam. 6.20. — Who is able to stand before this Holy Lord God?

    [Page 12] So when Uzza was Smitten, David is said to have been Displeased, This doth not sound so well, For shall mortal man pre­tend to be more just than God? to arraign his Proceedings, or charge him with doing any thing that is wrong? But afterward he is said to have been afraid of the Lord, And this may be a little upon the other Extream, But certainly an holy aw of God is proper and becoming on such an Occasion, 2 Sam. 6 7, 8, 9. To see any person die, be it ever so Leisurely, pined and broken with distem­pers, hath somthing in it awful and solemn, which may well compose the spirits and fill the beholders with thought and Concern; But when they are taken off at once, in full health and strength, we are struck with sur­prize and astonishment, and scarce know how to behave or which way to turn.

    Once more,

  • (3) When God comes to break in upon some obstinate Sinners heart, many times his appearance is very Terrible. Especially if they have gone far, continued long and done much Evil a­gainst the Lord, Then an Heart-quake is raised within them; They look pale, they tremble, they know not what to do, They cannot rest Day nor Night. They repair to their Closets, They retire to the Woods, They make their moan to their Friends, [Page 13]They Enquire of the Watchmen, They endure no little Anguish and are indeed in a sad Condition for a time, till God do give them rest from this day of trouble, So the three thousand Converted at the Apostle Peter's Sermon, were in a mighty taking for a time. Act. 2 37 When they heard this, they were pricked in their heart and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, Men and Brethren, what shall we do? Much such a condition was that which Paul was in, Act 9 6. And he trembling and astonished, said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? So the Jailour, Act. 16 30. — Sirs, what must I do to be saved? Perhaps the Psalmist may have some references to this, when he saith, in, Psal. 45.4, 5. And in thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth, and meekness and righteousness, and thy right hand shall teach thee Terrible Things; Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the Kings Ene­mies, whereby the people fall under thee.

II. We may Consider, That when God thus manifests himself to his people in Terrible things, it is always in Righteousness. Text. Not only doth God now manifest his Almighty Power and Uncontrolled Sovereignty, against which there is no disputing or contending, but his Righteousness too. This we must readily own and acknowledge, God will be Justified [Page 14]when he speaks and Clear when he Judgeth. Psal. 119.75 I know, O Lord, that thy Judgments are right and that thou in faithfulness has afflicted me. Psal. 145 17. The Lord is righteous in all his ways and holy in all his works There is no blemish or defect in any thing which God doth, Nothing of which we should dare to say, That it ought to have been otherwise; There are faults Enough and Enough in us to Justify the Lord in his most severe Dispensations towards us; We must hold our peace and not open our mouths to Complain, nor suffer an uneasie or grudging thought to stir in our hearts, how heavy so ever the Stroke be, or how much so ever we are made to smart thereby, We must still ascribe Righteousness to our Maker & our Judge. So doth Nehemiah, Chap. 9.33. Howbeit, thou art Just in all that is brought upon us, for thou hast done right, but we have done wickedly.

And here,

1 When God Executes Judgments upon his and his peoples Enemies, how ever Awful it be, yet this is done in Righteousness. They De­serve it all; Even they shall not be able to say, that he lays upon them more than is right, that they should enter into Judgment with him. The people of God, perhaps, may be more ready to allow that God is just and right in these cases, It is what they have Expected, [Page 15]waited and prayed for, Yea and wondred that it came no sooner; But certainly the Lord is not governed by a weak fondness and partiality for his people, to lay upon their enemies more than is right; They are [...] for Judgments before they are sent: Their Iniquities come to the full, before he Vi­sits, When the Harvest is ripe, then he gives Order to put in the Sickle, These phrases are used, Joel 3.13, 14. Put ye in the sickle, for the Harvest is ripe; Come, get ye down for the press is full, the Fats overflow for their wickedness is great Multi­tudes, multitudes in the valley of decision, for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The Enemies of the Lord and his people have somtimes fallen wonderfully. His hand hath been Heavy upon them; But yet the Lord hath been always righteous, Their mouths have been stopped, They could not with any Justice Complain and it was really wonderful that the Lord suffered them so long as he did. Rom 9.22 — En­dured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath, fitted to Destruction.

2. When God inflicts heavy strokes upon his People in the course of his providence, he is cer­tainly and must be acknowledged to be, just and righteous therein. Whatever they fear, what [Page 16]ever they feel, even they must acknow­ledge with Ezra Chap. 9.13. — Thou, our God, hast punished us less than our Iniquities de­serve. And indeed, why should a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sin? We are much unacquainted with the Nature of Sin, if we think that they who are guilty of it in any Degree, may be overloaded with Sufferings in this life; Neither doth the Lord in this world always observe a Ma­thematical proportion, in ordering out an equal Degree of Sorrow to an equal Degree of Sin: That is reserved to the great & final Judgment, When HOW much persons have glorified themselves and lived Deliciously, so much Sorrow and torment shall be given them. But in this world, Somtimes they that have sin­ned less are Corrected and afflicted more, And on the other hand they that have sin­ned more are Corrected and afflicted less; This is according as it seems good in the sight of our heavenly Father, But still all is done in Righteousness; They that suffer most do not meet with a Jot too much. It any are more spared it is always mercy & Clemency & is so acknowledged by them that have a right sense of things. And when God lays heavier Strokes upon his people, there is Nothing amiss. The Lord doth all things well.

[Page 17] 3. When God comes to subdue the heart of some Careless and obstinate Sinner, whatever pain and Anguish is raised within, he is not only Just and righteous, but very merciful therein. Espe­cially if these strong Convictions do happily Issue in a siving Conversion; For it is very sit that all should stoop to God's Authority and bow to his Scepter, It is very Just that they who have taken pleasure in Unrighte­ousness should be made heart Sick of their folly, that they who have swallowed down Sin as some delicious morsel, should find this meat to be turned in their bowels and be made as the gall of Asps within them, This is not only Just, but it is a good day when the people are made willing in the day of God's Power; Tho' their hearts ake and throb and a sword pierceth through their Souls, vet if these Awakenings and Convictions issue in Con­version, they themselves in time to come, will acknowledge, that it is not only just and righteous, that they should be brought to God's foot, but also that it was the greatest Mercy that ever they received in all their Lives, For it may be said of them as the Father did of his prodigal Son, at length returned home, These poor Creatures were dead and are alive again, were lost and are found.

[Page 18] III. We may Consider, That yet at the same time He is the God of their Salvation. So he is styled in the Text, And this Con­sideration is as Comfortable and refreshing, as the other is awful and Terrifying Ter­rible things from an almighty, stern and inexorable Judge are overwhelming indeed, but when they come from a reconciled Fa­ther, the God of our Salvation, this Con­sideration may well sustain and bear us up; Often in Scripture is the Lord styled, the God of Salvation, and the God of our Salvation. 1 Chron 16.35. Save us, O God of our Sal­vation. Psal. 24.5. He shall receive — righ­teousness from the God of his Salvation. Psal. 68.19, 20. — Even the God of our Salvation, He that is our God is the God of Salvation and unto God the Lord belong the issues from Death. And frequently elsewhere.

In two respects principally the Lord our God may fitly be styled the God of Salva­tion.

1. On the account of the Eminent Salvations and Deliverances given to his people in times of Danger, Difficulty and Distress. Whatever Salvations they receive God is the Author of them, Whatever means or Instruments are used, he is the principal Cause and they [Page 19]are effectual only in his hand; When De­struction is near people, God many times rescues them from the strokes of it and that very remarkably, He puts them a little out of the way of it, He shields and covers them and as it were hides them in the Hollow of his hand that they shall not be at all hurt; In Battles, when Destruction is fly­ing on every side, In Storms at Sea and in Tempests and other Dangers on Shore, The Lord covers their heads, is their Shield and the God of their Salvation; We wonder how they Escaped when we come afterwards to reflect and Consider of it; We should have thought it almost Impossible that per­sons in such Circumstances, in such a Situa­tion, could have Escaped Death; but God preserveth them by his power and goodness and they receive little or no hurt; The Psalmist useth many metaphorical yet apt Expressions to set this forth. Psal. 91.3—7. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler and from the noisom pestilence, He shall cover thee with his feathers and under his wings shalt thou trust, His truth shall be thy shield and buckler, Thou shalt not be afraid of the Terror by Night, nor the arrow that flyeth by Day, Nor for the pestilence that walketh in Darkness, nor for the Destruction that wasteth at Noon-day; a thousand shall fall at thy side and ten thousand [Page 20]at thy right hand, but it shall not come nigh thee. On this account he is the God of Sal­vation, Creatures may be Means of Sal­vation, but He is the God of it.

2. He may be styled, The God of Salva­tion, in that he is the Author of their Eternal Salvation from Sin and all the fatal Consequences thereof. When all had been ruined and lost by mans Apostasy from God, he graciously devised means for their recovery and laid help upon One that is mighty to Save, He sent his Son into the world to take our Natures upon him and therein to make Satisfaction for our Offences, to lay a foundation for our recovery and reconciliation to God; He hath ordered this good News to be brought to our Ears and Life and Happiness to be offered us in his Name; If any of the Sons of men, hearing of these things, do close with Jesus Christ upon his own terms, it is he that Enableth them to do it; He saveth them and calleth them with an holy Calling, not according to their works, but according to his own purpose and grace; And Finally, he brings them safely at last, through many Hardships and tryals, temptations and difficulties to Everlasting Life; On this account He is (as he is here termed) the God of Salva­tion.

[Page 21] And Even when persons fall by temporal Judgments, as Eli and Uzza and Josiah and others did, it would be hard to think or say, that they must needs on that account, come short of Eternal Salvation.

I proceed to the IMPROVEMENT.

1. Doth the God of their Salvation some­times manifest himself to his people by Ter­rible things in Righteousness? Then it is a weakness even in them to Expect, that the Course of his providential dealings with them, should be always Smooth, gentle and easie. They may look that somtimes he will write bitter things against them, that he will shew them hard things and cause them to Drink the wine of astonish­ment, as the Expressions are, Job 13.26. Psal. 60.3. It is Enough, that he is the God of our Salvation and that he will take a father­ly Care of them that Love him and desire to fear his Name and that at length their Souls shall be bound up in the bundle of Life; They must not think to be Exempt from the Common Accidents, troubles and sorrows of Life, No, nor from Extraordinary strokes Neither, at what time or in what manner it shall please our heavenly Father to inflict them.

[Page 22] II. Doth the God of our Salvation some­times manifest himself to his people by Ter­rible things in Righteousness? Then it is not for them to Murmur and Complain, no, not so much as to think hardly of the providence of God, when such things happen to them. All is done in Righteousness, There is Enough in our Con­duct to justify even a much greater Severity, Our mouths must be stopped from Charging God foolishly, and we must say with the Psal­mist, Isal 103.10. He hath not dealt with us after our sins nor regarded us according to our iniquities. Or. Lan. 3.22. It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. Instead of finding fault or thinking hardly, it will become us on such Occasions, with Job. to fall down and wor­ship and Adore. Job 1.20, 21.

III. Doth the God of our Salvation some­times manifest himself to his people, by Terrible things in Righteousness? Then all their religious Friends that hear of such severe dispensations of divine providence, towards any person or people, should be sure to pity, Sympa­thize with and pray for them. They should put themselves in their place and Imagine that their Souls are in their Souls stead; If they have Opportunity they may do very well to get about them, direct, counsel and [Page 23]Comfort them under all that hath befallen them, So Job's three friends proposed to do, and it had been well if they had per­formed the good Office aright; But they seemed to have quickly forgotten their De­sign. Job 2.11. — They had made an ap­pointment together to Come to mourn with him and to comfort him. People should not be careless and unconcerned about what befals others, while their Condition cries to them in that Language, Job 19.21. Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, O ye my friends, for the hand of God hath touched me.

IV. Doth the God of our Salvation some­times manifest himself to his people by Ter­rible things in Rightcousness? It becomes them then in such a day, to Consider what the can and Language of such providences is, and to Com­ply as readily and punctually as ever they can, with the Lord's design and Intention. There is a meaning in all such providences, which we should be sollicitous and Inquisitive to find out, with a resolution to Comply with; Now we need the Interpreter, One of a thou­sand, which Elihu speaks of, to shew unto man his uprightness, Job 33.23. Now we should apply our selves unto God, as Job did. Job 10.2. I will say unto God, Do not condemn me, shew me wherefore thou Contendest with me.

[Page 24] And this brings me to Discourse more particularly of the Awful Dispensation of divine providence towards Us of this Con­gregation the last Lord's Day.

We had finished our forenoon's Service and were returned again to the house of the Lord, when no small Storm came over us, which prevented diverse of the Congrega­tion from assembling together with us; No sooner had we, that were met, risen up to worship and scarce had we begun to utter our selves before the Lord, when a dreadful Thunder-Clap broke upon us, with an ama­zing Noise, as if diverse Cannon had been Discharg'd at once; The fire of God fell among us, rending the House in a wonderful man­ner, which I may not stand, neither would it be so proper, now to Describe; Striking down to the ground great Numbers of peo­ple, Burning and wounding several in a most sorrowful manner; One desirable Youth after a little struggle presently Expiring, the Lightning having licked up his spirits be­yond recovery.

Others, upon the application of proper remedies, being brought to their Senses, were after a while carried home, where some of them still are the Lord's prisoners, [Page 25]waiting upon the same hand that wounded, graciously to heal and restore, And others are come Halting hither to Day, to give thanks to the God of their Salvation; All of us Stunned and astonished with the sudden and surprizing Blow; Methinks the dread­ful Sound is still in our Ears and we shall scarce forget it to our Dying Day, Thus did the God of our Salvation answer us by Terrible things in Righteousness;

It can scarre be Expressed by words the Concern, the Surprize, the Consternation that was among us on that Occasion, Every ones Countenance was changed at what had happened Uncertain whither there might not be somthing yet more Severe presently to follow.

When we could a little recover our selves, then the Cries of friends for them that needed help, were very pitiful and affecting.

We ran to the assistance of One, and be­hold Another and Another and Another in every corner of the House, wanted us at the same time; We were all busied in do­ing good offices for our friends, of one kind or another, to recover them that were quite stunned with the blow, to revive them that [Page 26]fainted and bind up the wounded and at length (when they were in condition for it) to attend and bear them to their several homes; And only one, by the awful dispen­sation of providence, was carried off dead, beyond all possibility of recovery; Thus instead of the usual Exercises of the Lord's Day, this was our Imployment for that after­noon, And when we had sent off our dear friends sufficiently attended, we had no more time left, but only to call together the remains of the Congregation and in a short and humble address to God, to give thanks for our preservation and bewail the burning which the Lord had kindled; So we hastened home to the farther assistance of our wounded and Languishing friends and also to bemoan and Comfort them that had been so awfully bereaved.

The Lord himself was pleased to preach to us more Immediately, that afternoon in a tremendous manner, causing such a seri­ousness, trembling and Consternation, as it did at Mount-Sinai, at the giving of the Law. Exod. 20, 18, 19. And all the people saw the thunderings and the lightnings and the voice of the trumpet and the mountain smoaking and when the people saw it, they removed and stood afar off. And, they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us & [Page 27]we will hear, but let not God speak with us, lest we die. The Apostle relating this matter, adds some more Circumstances, Heb. 12.18-21

Too often (we must Confess) we have made too light of the Calls and warnings that have been given us by men, but how shall we Escape if we turn away from him, that thus speaketh from Heaven?

I shall Cast what I have farther to say upon this Occasion into the following method.

First, I shall Consider what Constructions may possibly and also what ought to be made, of this astonishing dispensation of divine providence.

Secondly, I shall call upon the whole preserved Congregation never to forget, but always to praiso God for their Eminent Deliverance.

Thirdly, I shall put you upon Sympathizing with the more Immediate Sufferers and especially with them who have been so sorely bereaved.

And, Fourthly, I shall Invite and press you, Every one to make that wise and good improvement of this providence, which our heavenly Father now Expects.

[Page 28] 1. I shall Consider, What Constructions may possibly and also what Ought to be made, of this astonishing Dispensation of divine providence. In such cases, Every one have their Sentiments, all persons have their Say; Some perhaps may Censure us as greater Sinners than Ordi­nary, because we have Suffered such things; Others, that are more forsaken of sense and reason, may Interpret it, as a Testimony from Heaven, against our Observation of Holy Time and professing to spend it in the worship and service of God; To these last I would say, That when we are commanded, not to forsake, the assembling of our selves toge­ther, as the manner of some is, When the word is to, be preached in season and out of season; when a Seventh part of our time hath been set apart from the beginning and made Sa­cred to the service of God and the care of our Souls, by a Statute for Ever; We may Easily pass by such Censures as these and pity those that offer them, Could we Ob­serve holy time and attend these religious Duties in a right manner we might Easily Justify our selves both to God and the world, for our Observing them at all.

To the first, I would say, in our Blessed Saviour's words, Judge not that ye be not Judged, And put them upon remembring what he also said, Luke 13: 1, —5. There [Page 29]were present at that season, some that told him of the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices, And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you Nay, but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish; Or those Eighteen upon whom the tower in Siloam fell and slew them, Think ye that they were sinners above them that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you Nay, but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

We may be allowed, possibly, to make some such returns unto men.

But before the Lord our God, we must fall down and adore his Soveraignty, acknow­ledge his righteousness, Kiss the rod, accept the punishment of our Iniquity and own that he hath punished us Less than our Iniquities have Deserved, while he thus spits in our Faces and makes us an Example before the world. There is no Justifying our selves before him, Nor may we Expostulate the matter with him, saying, Wherefore hast thou done this unto us? There hath been Enough and Enough amiss in our Conduct, to draw down this and heavier Calamities upon our heads. We must say with Judah, Gen. 44.16 What shall we say unto the Lord? what shall we speak? or how shall we clear our selves? God hath [Page 30]found out the Iniquity of his Servants. And, Oh! may the fruit of it be to purge away our Sin and make us partakers of his holiness.

From all our Fellow-servants, who are wise and Considerate and that are partakers of the true spirit of Christianity, we promise our selves, their pity and prayers, that they will not despise our Sufferings, but will cordially Commend us to him, who is able to make all things work together for our good.

II. I shall call upon the whole preserved Con­gregation never to forget, but always to praise God for their Eminent Deliverance. We might have died by Scores and by Hundreds, Yea, the whole Congregation might have been dispatch'd at once into Eternity. The House might have been burnt about our Ears, Death came round about us, Destru­ction hovered over us, Diverse were bro't to the gates of Death, the very brink of the pit, and one actually carried thither, more likely to have lived many Years the moment before, than multitudes of us; How is it that we have Escaped, but only that it plea­sed our heavenly Father to have Care of our Lives and mix abundance of Mercy with this Judgment; And shall we not now cry out in the Language of the Text, O God of out Salvation! O God of our Salvation!

[Page 31] We are as so many brands plucked out of the Burning; when we were all of us, as it were thrown into the fiery surnace, our Lives were precious in God's sight; And though some were more Scorched in the flames, yet they are now in a fair way of recovery, And upon the most of us, not so much as the smell of fire hath passed, And that promise hath been, Even Literally fulfilled unto us, Isa. 43.2, — When thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burnt, neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.

And it is well worthy of Remark, that there were many Instances of persons, who but just before, removed from their usual places of Sitting, Some to avoid the rain that came down upon them, Some moved with fear and some (perhaps) for no mani­fest reason, who, if they had Continued but ever so little longer in the places where they were, would have been in Eminent hazard of Immediate Death, whither by the Thun­der, which struck very near those places with a dreadful force and Effects; Or by the fall of pieces of Timber from the roof, so large and long, as might have crushed many to Death at once, or at least, made them Crip­ples for their whole Lives;

So narrowly have we Escaped; so signally did providence Exert it self for our preserva­tion! [Page 32]And shall we not now say and sing with the psalmist, Psal. 103.1, 2, 4. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within one bless his holy Name, Bless the Lord, O my soul and forget not all his benefits. Who redeemeth thy life from destruction, who crowneth thee with loving kind­ness and tender mercies.

Some (perhaps) may please and bless themselves, that they were not present in the Congregation that awful Day and so, that they were more out of the way of Danger; But to have been present & been witnesses, as we were, not only of God's terrible Majesty, with which he was then pleas'd to Aray him­self, but of his tender Care and goodness to his Unworthy people, It is a rich Experience, well worthy to be laid up in Everlasting remem­brance, Especially if God will please to bless it too for our spiritual good, as (it is to be hoped) he will.

III. I shall put you upon Sympathizing with the more Immediate Sufferers & Especially with them, who have been so Awfully bereaved. We, who have Escaped better, should bear a tender Regard to them who have fared worse; We might have been in their places and they in ours, had it so pleased God; Now as they that know the heart of a Stranger, do better know and are more inclined to show kind­ness [Page 33]and do good offices unto Strangers than others be, So we, that were so near the Danger and did so narrowly Escape, It is to be presumed, can better Sympathize with them that did more smart by it, And the rather, because this is one good way to shew our thankfulness to God, for our deliverance; Their wounds and sores and bruises & lame­ness, should, in a sort, be felt by Each of us and we should be ready to do all manner of good offices about them. And, I bless God, that there is no manner of reason of Com­plaint of any backwardness on this score.

But what shall we say to, or do for our dear Friends, that have been Called to part with, a near and dear Relation, in so awful and solemn a manner?

Perhaps, it would but aggravate grief, to observe that he was a very promising & desira­ble Youth, One that had Escaped more Un­tainted in his Manners, in this dangerous time, One that by his Discreet Conduct had recommended himself to every ones Esteem, and that none had any Evil thing to say of him; Just arrived to his Freedom; Just setting out in the world, which he might have done with good advantage; His Parents promising them­selves much from him and even saying with the parents of Noah, This same shall Comfort us concerning our work and the toil of our Hands.

[Page 34] Hither he was come that Day, to worship with us and it seems he must not be Diver­ted, though proposals were made of his going some other ways (for he chose to worship with us, now that matter was left to his own choice and discretion) And here the Provi­dence of God met with him, on a good Day, in a good place and (we trust) on a good Design; He falls in the Sanctuary (where some good people have wished to Expire, if it were the will of God) and Dyes at the very horns of the Altar; He was observed to be more than ordinarily thoughtful and Concerned, as the Storm gathered and blackned and drove more fiercely upon us; And who can tell but that he dyed praying for himself and us? Who can say, but that our Lord Jesus Christ, looking upon the Youth, might Love him, cloath him with the bright robes of his Righteous­ness and so receive him to his Mercy?

These are things that we must leave, They are not to be Determined by us; Where­fore I would say to his bereaved Relations, Sorrow not, my Friends, as they that have no hope; We know your Tryal is great & you will have need of abundance of Grace and patience to behave suitably under this Sove­raign dispensation of divine providence. But Remember the Instance of Aaron, He lost two Sons and both dyed in actual Sin (which [Page 35]was a much harder Case than yours) and yet he held his peace, Lev. 10.1, 2, 3. So, do you labour to Acquiesce in the dispensations of an holy God and say, The Will of the Lord be done. Especially since you have much more to Quiet you under his hand.

And the good Lord make up to you this Loss in Spiritual and better blessings and give you a Name better than that of Sons and of Daughters.

You have seen the Sympathy of your Fellow-Servants, how forward they have been to mingle their Tears with yours, in our late (almost) universal attendance at his Funeral, We all look'd on with pity and join'd in Imploring mercies from the God of Heaven, And now, May we all be Edified by your Example of patience, Submission and resignation to the will of God, that we may learn the better how to behave, if Ever God should call us out to any the like Trial;

And the Lord prepare us, Every one, for our Dissolution, at what time and in what manner soever it may come, that then we may be found of him in peace.

IV. I shall invite and press you, Every one, to make that wise and good Improvement of this pro­vidence, which our heavenly Father now Expects: [Page 36]The Eve, both of GOD and Men will be now more upon us, to observe what our Con­duct and behaviour will be after this; Some things are Evident, what is plainly our Duty at this Day and some things may Easily be Searched out and come at, if we will be at the pains to Examine;

Shall we not think now Every one of us, What if it had been our Lot to have been struck dead at once in that awful Day, when Death was so very Near us? What condition should we have been in? Was our peace made with God? Had we gotten an Interest in Jesus Christ? Was there no guilt lying Unpardoned upon our Souls? If so, we should then only have been hastened a little sooner into the presence of our Redeemer, and ascended, as in a Chariot of fire, into the region of the blessed; But if we had been yet in our Sins, Unregenerate, Unconverted, Alienated from the life of God, Servants to diverse Lusts and pleasures, it would have been a dreadful stroke indeed upon us, We should have gone from one fire to a worse and it had been good for us that we had never been born; Methinks every profane Sinner, when he remembers it, may Yet tremble at his very Narrow Escape, to think how near he was to his being past all hope and help and reme­dy. Well, now we are all spared a little [Page 37]Longer and have a little more time to think and to set, our Souls in Order, if we have but the heart to do it, And surely the loud Call, which we have had from heaven, should be sufficient to rowze us; Shall we still put off and Delay? Shall we ever cry to mor­row, when God is saying, To Day? To Day if ye will hear his Voice, Harden not your hearts.

The Great Design of the Gospel and in­deed of all religion is, to bring us to Love and to Fear God and to Subject our selves to him, To help us to Govern well our passions and affections, our appetites & inclinations; To make us just and righteous, kind and Benevolent and useful to all that are about us, good Neighbours and good men, Thus it is represented, Tit. 2. 11, — 14. For the grace of God, that bringeth salvation hath ap­peared to all men, Teaching us, that denying un­godliness and wordly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world, Look­ing for that blessed hope and glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all Iniquity and purify to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

And since we are fallen by our Iniquity and there is a Necessity of a Saviour, Surety and Mediator between God and us, upon [Page 38]whose account we may be accepted in God's sight, Repentance towards God and Faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ, are much Insisted upon in the New Testament Act. 20.21, Testifying both to the Jews & also to the Gentiles, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. Heb. 6.-1—The foundation of repen­tance from dead works and of faith towards God. And often elsewhere. These are the things that we must Enquire after and not rest till we can find them in our selves; Wherefore now especially since we have been under such Awakening Dispensations.

1. Let us Every one reform what hath been amiss in our Conduct and testify against Sin in Others. We all know, better than other persons, what Sins they be that do most Easily beset us and most frequently prevail against us, We must be best acquainted with the Plague of our own hearts and whatever our faults and Irregularities be, whither we have Indulg'd our selves in any of the kinds of Evil Speaking, taking God's Sacred Name in Vain, or Injuring of men; Whither we are addicted to the Sins of Intemperance and Unchastity, to Injustice and Unrighteous­ness, to Uncharitableness and Cruelty, or what ever other Fault it be; Let us search it out and put it away, For why should [Page 39]we Indulge our selves in any thing so Mis­chievous and fatal, that is like to End in Death? Let us think, What fruit we have already had in these things, They have done us no service and we have reason to be ashamed of them.

Thus having Reformed our selves, let us go forth to testify and appear against Sin, where ever it is to be met with; From this day, let us not be mealy-mouth'd; If others will transgress the Laws of God, let us be so free & bold as to tell them of it; Let those that are in Authority Exert their Power for the Suppressing of Vicious practises, as they that do not mean to bear the Sword in vain.

Pray also for me, that Utterance may be given me, that I may speak the Word boldly and as I ought to speak.

Let wildness & Extravagance cease from this Day forward and Oh! that this Stroke which hath been upon us, might thro' the blessing of God, produce a greater Circum­spection, Sanctity and regularity in our Man­ners.

2. Let us set our selves Carefully to practise, the great Duties of righteousness and mercy, which would make us blessings in our places and useful to all that are about us. So Daniel Counselled [Page 40] Nebuchadnezzar, Dan. 4.27. Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee and break off thy sins by righteousness and thine iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor; if it may be a length­ning of thy tranquillity. Let us learn to be just to our selves, and not live in Idleness, pro­digality or any ways of unnecessary Expence. And then, let us be just to other people, giving to Every one their due, and doing to them, as we would have them to do unto us, Let there be no grinding of the faces of the Poor, No Imposing upon the weak, simple and Cre­dulous, any more among us; Yea, let us learn to devise Liberal things and shew mercy with Chearfulness. There will be ever among us, some that are Poor, some that are Afflicted, some that are in Distress; From these we must not turn away our Eyes, or shut up our bowels of Compassion, but run and even fly to their assistance and relief; How much Religion lies in this the process at the great day of Judgment may inform us, where our blessed Saviour tells us that all these things shall be Considered and brought to an account, Mat. 25.34, &c. And the Apostle James informs us, Jam. 1.27. Pure religion and undefiled be­fore God and the Father is this, to visit the father­less and widows in their affliction and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

[Page 41] 3. Let us live in the Ʋse of the Instrumental Duties of religion which are Designed to bring us to the Love of God and our Neighbour and use them as means for this farther End.

Such as reading, hearing, meditating, Ex­amining our selves, and attending upon the Ordinances of the Gospel.

We must make Conscience of doing these things, because God hath Commanded them and makes use of them as Means to bring us to an Intimate Acquaintance with Jesus Christ, to fill our hearts with Love to God, to make us fit for Service and meet for the Inheritance among the Saints in Light here­after; Wherefore let me Exhort you Every one to study and peruse your Bibles and Me­ditate in the Law of God Day and Night, This is the Rule by which we must live and by which we must one day be Judged, We had need Endeavour therefore that we may be intimately Acquainted therewith;

Get alone, frequently, by your selves, to think what Condition you are in and what you must do to be Saved, to call your selves to a strict Account and accomplish a most dili­gent Search. Then and there pray to your heavenly Father that seeth in secret and your Fa­ther that seeth in secret shall reward you openly. [Page 42]And let me beseech all such as are Masters of Families to set up and keep up practical Religion there, walking within your Houses with perfect hearts, that God may come and Dwell with them. Oh! Why are not your Voices heard in the Morning and why in the Evening are you so very Silent; The Lord grant that we may see this Fruit of the Frown that hath been upon us, that there may not be found One Prayerless Family among us any more; If hitherto you have not Learned the way to the Throne of Grace, begin this very Night and now take it upon you to Open your mouths to the Lord; And the Lord grant you according to your wants and the desires of your Hearts, Yea, when ever you come in your anguish and bitterness of your Hearts, then let the Lord please to hear in heaven his Dwelling place and grant you answers of peace.

And shall I not prevail that the Sanctuary may be more frequented? Let no persons place be Empty, when God gives you an op­portunity to be present, that you may not miss of any good for your Souls; Love the Habitation of God's House, the place where his honour dwelleth, But come still in the multitude of God's mercies and worship in his Fear towards his holy temple: From this time forward keep your feet when you go to the House of God and be [Page 43]more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools who consider not that they do wickedly. Re­member that God will be Sanctified in them that come nigh him and before all the people he will be glorified.

The Voice of the Lord which we have lately heard, was not meant so much to drive us from our place of publick Worship, as to make us Cautious, Serious & Devout when­ever we Come thither, Now we should re­member, that God is a Spirit and they that Worship him should do it in spirit and in Truth,

Farther, Why do so many Live so long without Baptism for themselves, or for their Children? Arife and be Baptized and wash away your Sins, calling upon the Name of the Lord.

And why do More Live in the Neglect of the Lord's Supper? As if he had never said to us, Do this in the remembrance of me, Or as [Page 44]if they did not Concern themselves though he had; Oh! When shall the Lord's House be better filled, For as yet, there is room.

It is time that we should be rouzed and Quickned to the Observation of these things with greater diligence preparation & Care.

Once more,

4. Let us see to it, that the saving change of Conversion be wrought upon us; Let us not be able to rest, till we can find that it is happily begun. Our Lord himself hath told us, in, Mat. 18.3. — Except ye be Converted and become as little children, ye shalt not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. And again, Joh. 3.3, 5 — Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God — Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. We must begin to Live before we can act & work, We must Enter in at the strait gate, be­fore we can Walk in the narrow way that lead­eth unto Life; Let no persons flatter them­selves, or rest in a deceitful Work, thinking that they are somthing, when indeed they are nothing, Imagining that they are Rich and Full and stand in need of Nothing, when at the same time they are Poor and Wretched and Miserable and Blind and Naked. But let them Accomplish a diligent Search and not cease till they can find the Lineaments of the [Page 45]New Creature and that Christ is formed in their Hearts. Better had it been that we had not been Born at all, than not be New Born before we Die; When shall the time to favour us come, the set time, when shall it come? When they that are yet Dead in Trespasses and Sins, shall be made to hear the Voice of the Son of God, and hearing it, shall Live?

To Conclude, We have heard that a Work of God hath been happily begun & carried on, in some parts of the Country, People, in a general way, being greatly Concern'd for the Everlasting welfare of their Souls; It may be the Lord means good unto Us also (When will he think upon us!) and begins with this Terrible Stroke, For there was need of somthing very Awakening to Rouze us out of that deep Security, into which many of us were fallen, But this alone will not do; It may startle and make us tremble for a time, but we shall soon get over it and return again to folly, unless the Lord please to send down his Effectual grace, to pour out the Spirit of grace and Supplication to Ac­company it; The case may be somthing resembled by that passage, we meet with, in, 1 King. 19. 11, 12, — And behold the Lord passed by and a great and strong wind rent the mountains and brake in pieces the rocks before the [Page 46]Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake, And after the earthquake, a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire, a still small voice.

We have had Earthquakes among us, a while since, which have rent the Moun­tains, And though some were Awakened thereby to greater Seriousness. Yet too many remain'd Unaffected; We have had a Vio­lent Wind this present Year, that hath born down Buildings, Trees and the Fruits of the Earth before it; And now we in this place have been Encompassed with this Terrible Fire;

But all will not do for the Amendment of our Hearts and Lives, if the Lord be not in them; Oh! That he would please to utter the still, small Voice, which shall silently and sweetly. Yet powerfully Transform us all into the divine Image.

Can these dry bones Live? said the Lord once to the prophet; And he Replies, O Lord, thou knowest. The Lord knows how to soften the hardest hearts, Enlighten the blindest minds and turn Even the worst of Sinners into E­minent Saints; Turn us and we shall be turned, Heal us and we shall be healed, for thou art the Lord Our God.

FINIS.

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