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Mr. Prince's SERMON ON The Agency of GOD IN Droughts and Rains.

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The natural and moral Government and Agency of GOD in causing Droughts and Rains.

A SERMON At the South Church in Boston, Thursday Aug. 24. 1749. Being the Day of the GENERAL THANKSGIVING, In the Province of the MASSACHUSETTS, For the extraordinary reviving Rains, after the most distressing Drought which have been known among us in the Memory of any Living.

By THOMAS PRINCE, A. M. And a Pastor of the said Church.

JOB. xxxvii.14.

Hearken unto This! — Stand still, and consider the wondrous Works of GOD!

BOSTON: Printed and Sold at Kneeland and Green's, in Queen-Street, 1749.

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IF it were not too assuming, and at so great a Distance, I would with the utmost Submission ask Leave to Dedicate the following Discourse,
To the Royal Society;

—in Token of Gratitude for the many admirable and useful Disco­veries in Nature which THEIR IL­LUSTRIOUS MEMBERS have made and published for near ninety Years since their Institution: Whereby they have not only advanced many commodious and entertaining Arts [Page] and Sciences; but also improved the Humane Mind in the sublimest Knowledge, cleared the Way for our admiring Views and Adorations of the SOVEREIGN CREATOR and ACTUAL RULER of the UNIVERSE, driven Atheism out of the knowing Part of the World, and obliged Multitudes in EUROPE and AMERICA: With the most servent Wishes that they may go on and prosper in their noble Designs to the Consummation of all Things—

By Their Most humble Admirer, Thomas Prince.
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The natural and moral Agency of GOD IN Droughts and Rains.

PSAL. CVII.33, 34, 35.

He turneth Rivers into a Wilderness, and the Water-Springs into dry Ground; A fruitful Land into Barreness, for the Wickedness of them that dwell therein: He turneth the Wilderness into a standing Water, and dry Ground into Water-Springs.

AS there are two Sorts of Creatures in this visible World in general, viz. (1) Material, as the Elements &c. (2) Moral, as the Race of Men, who are capable of forming some Conception of the Being, Perfections, Ope­rations, Works, Designs and Will of God; so there must needs be a twofold Government of their Creator over them, agreable to their different Natures, viz. (1) Physical or Natural, and (2) Moral.

The Physical or Natural Government of God is exer­cised in his continual ordering all material Substances and whatever is formed of them, in the main, according to those particular Methods which he sees most proper for the Accomplishment of all those wise Designs for which He at first created them. Thus he continually causes the Sun and fixed Stars to send forth their Rays, the Moon and other Planets to reflect them, or the Rays themselves to fly; the Revolutions of Day and Night, and the several Seasons of the Year; with various Sorts of Attractions, Cohaerences, Repulsions, Ascentions and Descentions, and [Page 2] other Operations among the Elements; the wondrous Formations, Growings and Fruitfulness of a [...] Variety of Plants and Animals; the more wondrous Unions of spiritual Substances to material Bodies, with [...] Faculties, Powers and mutual Influences; the Preserva­tion, Increase and Decay of those Powers, with the Con­tinuance and Dissolution of those Unions &c: and all these for a vast Variety of extensive and wise Designs in conti­nual Succession as long as he sees proper.

In such Things as these does the Physical or Natural Government of God consist. And as every Action and Effect of his have their most fitting Place in his universal System, and he is every where equally always present; It seems most likely that in every Action and Effect He always has a perfect View to every other Action & Effect, both past, present and to come, thro'out the Universe.

But his moral Government in this lower World, is his accommodating all his Operations even among material Substances, to the moral Nature of Man, the principal Creature he has produced therein; and for whose immedi­ate Use he has chiefly made the Earth itself, with all the Elements, Plants, brutal Animals and other Creatures; given and continues to them their various Natures, Forms and Virtues: And for the Sake of Man, immediately and chiefly, next to his own Glory, it is, that he therefore ex­ercises even his natural Government above described.

In his moral Government, I would say, He acts accord­ing to the moral Nature, Faculties and Powers of Men; whom he has made to be moral Agents, capable of some Knowlege of Him, of his Being, Perfections, Works, De­signs, Will and Government; are therefore under indis­pensible Obligations of paying Him a suitable Respect, and must therefore be accountable to Him; must be wicked, guilty and exposed to Punishment when they do not yield Him that Respect they owe Him: and when they hum­ble themselves before Him, thro' the Mediation of His SON and his boundless Grace, may hope to see, sooner or later, the Tokens of his undeserved Mercy & Benignity.

[Page 3]And both this natural and moral Government of God is abundantly observed in Scripture, in this Book of Psalms especially, and in particular in the Words before us.

1.] His natural Government; in two contrary Kinds of providential Operations, viz.

1. In bringing grievous Droughts on a Land. Ver. 33, 34 He turneth Rivers into a Wilderness, and the Water-Springs into dry Ground, a fruitful Land into Barrenness. i. e. By drying up the Brooks and Rivers, He turns the Channels where they slowed, into silent, solitary & empty Spaces, like a Wilderness: By exhausting the Springs of Water, He turns their Places into Ground intirely dry; and by such a Drought he turns a fruitful Land into a State of Barrenness.

2. In changing his providential Operation to quite the contrary, by giving plenteous & reviving Rains. Ver. 35. He turneth the Wilderness into a standing Water, and dry Ground into Water-Springs. i. e. By bringing on abundant Showers, and therewith filling every vacant Place and co­vering the lower Grounds, He turns a great Part of the Land which was like a parched Wilderness into the Ap­pearance of Pools of Water; and the Ground which was intirely dry, he fills again with rising and overflowing Springs.

2.] We have then his moral Government in the former afflictive Dispensation to a Land or People, signified by this Expression in Ver. 34. — for the Wickedness of them that dwell therein. i. e. As he continually exercises a natural Government among the Elements, and wisely brings a great Drought on a Land, and knows this Drought is very grievous; so he brings it for the Wickedness of the People that dwell therein; and this he would have them know by such an afflictive and corrective Work of his, and so be excited to humble themselves before him, repent of their Offences, return in their Submission to Him, and implore his Mercy; especially seek him to forgive them, to change the Course of his Dispensations, and to grant them needful and sufficient Showers.

[Page 4]And tho' in the following Verse, we have mentioned only the contrary Instance of his meer natural Govern­ment in turning the Wilderness into a standing Water, and dry Ground into Water-Springs; yet I think we must needs suppose that this Change of Dispensation was an Instance of his moral Government also, as well as the other: i. e. as he had brought on them an afflictive Drought for their Sins against him; so thereby he brought them to some Confession of their Sins, some Humiliation for them, with solemn Prayers for Deliverance and Rain: and then as a Token of his approving their Confessions, Humiliations & Prayers, or that just Homage they therein had paid him; He changes the Course of his providential Operations, and gives them Showers in suffi­cient Plenty.

For there seems to be the same Reason why in the pre­sent probationary State He should exercise a moral Govern­ment in one Case as in the other.—i. e. When he had sig­nified his Displeasure by bringing on them a distressing Drought for their Sins against Him, which would have a Tendency to lead them to Humiliations and Prayers; [...] when they humble themselves and cry for Mercy, He should equally signify the Removal or Abatement of his Displeasure, at least in such a Degree as to change the Course of his Dispensation, take off his chastizing Hand and give them the implored Mercy. And this seems therefore to be implied also, tho' not expressed in the Text before us.

But for further Illustration, I shall endeavour as the Hour allows, to consider briefly these two general Heads:

  • 1. The natural Government, or Agency of GOD in bring­ing grievous Droughts and plenteous Rains on a Land.
  • 2. His moral Government, or the moral Ends of these his various providential Operations.

I. The natural Government or Agency of GOD, in bring­ing grievous Droughts and plenteous Rains on a Land.

And here I desire you not to think, I am going to give you a Lecture of meer Philosophy; unless you call the [Page 5] wondrous Government and Agency of GOD, to accom­plish his holy, righteous, kind and wise Designs, for his Glory and the Good of Men— Philosophy. No! I am going to treat on a noble Subject of Divinity; viz. on the wise, mighty and constant Operations of GOD — to rescue some of you from that Branch of Atheism we are exceed­ingly inclined to by Nature, in limitting our Views to the meer Operation of created Instruments—and lead you to see the glorious GOD Himself acting in them; that you may be moved to some becoming Adorations of him, and to yield him his due Returns of Glory. Yea as all Things were made both by and for the SON of GOD, consist in Him, and are governed by Him, I would have you raise your Views to him as Lord of Nature in these various Actions and Dispensations.

[1.] In bringing grievous Droughts on a Land.

And that we may more clearly see the Government and Agency of GOD therein, we may (1) Observe the principal Instruments he uses; and then (2) The Operation of GOD in these various Instruments.

1.] The principal Instruments He uses. And they seem to be these Four; (1) The Descent of the Waters into the Sea, (2) The Ascent of many into the Canals of Vegetables, (3) The Beams and Atoms from the Sun, (4) and lastly, the Course of the Winds, carrying the watery Vapour from us.

1. The Descent of the Waters into the Sea.

And as the want of Water is the main immediate Cause of Droughts, it may be convenient to observe; that the Creator of all Things did at first from nothing bring into Being a great Variety of material Substances for various Ends and Uses in this lower World. Some are fixed; as all Sorts of earthy Substances, Metals, Minerals, Stones, Salts &c: Others fluid; as Quicksilver, Water, Oil, Air, &c: And 'tis likely, that by various Pressures, Fractures, Divisions, or Coalitions, every Kind of material Thing may seemingly at least be changed into any other.

Water is a great Part of the material Substance GOD has made for various Uses in this lower World. And this [Page 6] wise and almighty Being has created every Particle so solid round and smooth, as easily to slide by each other and by other Substances; so exceeding small as to escape the Sight by the finest Glasses: (a) and yet 'tis found, there are forty times more Vacuity in a Drop of Water than of solid Matter. (b) By these Properties & the various Operations of the GOD of Nature in and by them, He has most wisely fitted them to roll along and carry all other Sorts of material Substan­ces thro' the Channels He forms in Plants and Animals to their proper Parts, both to increase their Bulk, supply the Places of those that fly off continually, and form their various Sorts of Fruit and Seed; yea to make up a Part of their Consistency, and keep them moist & soft, or by the Beams of the Sun and their Perspirations only they would soon grow dry, and either hard or firm, or brittle and turn to Powder.

Without this Sort of Substance therefore there could be no such Thing as Growth or Fruit either in Plants or Ani­mals, nor Continuance neither: but were they ever so well formed in the present State of Nature here below, they would soon waste away, dissolve, and loose all their Form and Usefulness; yea no living Creature could subsist, and 'twould not be wise to make them.

But upon every Shower of Rain we see a great Part of the Water hastily descending to the lower Grounds, form­ing into Brooks, running into Rivers and pouring into the Sea. And tho' a considerable Part soaks into the Earth, and partly penetrates into the Roots of Vegetables, and rises in their Stocks and Branches to promote their Nourishment; and another Part appears to ascend in Vapours; yet it chiefly sinks into various Layers, Canals [Page 7] and Fountains, and thence breaks out in Springs or runs thro' other Passages into the Sea, which swallows all. And by this Descent the Ground grows drier every Day: and unless recruited with a fresh Supply of Rain, the Surface of the Earth would soon lose its Moisture, the very Springs and Rivers fail, and every Herb and Tree would wither.

2. The Ascent of many into the Canals of Vegetables, partly adding to their Nourishment, and partly perspiring thro' them into the Air.

Every green Leaf and Spire of every Tree and Plant is composed mainly of Multitudes of little Bottles to receive a Part of the Rain and Dews: and from those little Bot­tles are Canals dispersed into various Parts of the Plant, to convey a quick Refreshment: while a Part of the Rain descending abroad and sinking to the Fibres of the Roots, it enters them, and then ascends in innumerable Vesicles and Tubes thro' every Part of the Plant, to give a further Nourishment; and having done its Office, the Rest per­spires into the Air and dissipates: and without a fresh Supply in the Summer, the Plant grows drier & drier, till it fades and dies.

3. The active, swift, piercing, ratifying Beams & Atoms of the Sun.

The Beams of the Sun are exceeding subtil, active, piercing; they proceed with wondrous Swiftness, of above ten Million Miles in a Minute: they fly perpetually and penetrate the Plants and Surface of the Earth: they are ever making powerful Impressions on every Particle, and giving additional Powers and Motions to every Atom of every Fluid they come to. They carry a wondrous re­pulsive Power with them, (c) and are of greater Force [Page 8] than both the Powers of Gravitation and Cohaesion in the watery Globules, in case there be any Cohaesion in them: And by striking on and in between them, and it may be forming into an Atmosphere round every Globule of Wa­ter, (d) divide and force them from the Sphere of Contact into the Sphere of Repulsion: and so by expanding, rati­fying and raising them up into the Air, continually, leave the upper Parts of the Earth more and more dry and parched.

4. and lastly, The Course of the Winds carrying the watery Vapours from us.

For tho' the solar Rays and Atoms are continually rai­sing vast Quantities of Vapours from the Seas into the Air, sufficient to supply the Earth, with all the Vegetables, Ani­mals, Springs and Rivers thereon with Water; yet the Winds are needful to bring them over the Land, in order to their forming into Clouds above it, and shedding down in Rain upon it: or they would chiefly form in Clouds above the Surface whence they rise and fall down to the Seas again. The repulsive and expansive Powers among them may be indeed sufficient to bring so many over the neighbouring Shoars in the Day as to come down in Dews at Night: But if the Winds either blow them not over us, or blow them quite beyond us before they collect in Drops, and much more blow the Vapours rising from our Land to the airy Regions over other Places; no Supply of Rain will follow here, and the Drought among us will increase continually; 'till, as the Scriptures repre­sent it, the Heavens over us become as Brass, the Earth be­neath [Page 9] as Iron, and the Ruin of our Land only Dust and Powder. Deut. xxviii.23, 24.

These seem to be the chief Means the Ruler of the World employs in bringing & continuing Droughts on a Land.

We go on to consider,

2] The Operation of GOD Himself in these various In­struments. And here,

1. As to the Descent of Waters into the Sea

This is done by what is called by some the Power of Gravity, by some the Power of Attraction, but by others, and I think more properly the Power of Pressure, from some internal and invisible Agent; whereby all Sorts of material Substances in this Planetary System within the Sphere of Saturn, above fifteen Hundred Million Miles Diameter, (e) are propelled towards all others with a just Degree of Force in exact Proportion to their Quantities and Distances: so that every Particle, unless hindred by other Kinds of Powers, is always moved exactly as if it knew every other Particle within this mighty Sphere, and as if it always knew exactly both where and how far off they are, and where and how they move; and as they all are ever changing their Situations, so every Particle is pressed accordingly. (f)

[Page 10]'Tis by this powerful Impetus, that all the Waters in the Earth above the Level of the Sea descend into it. But this Power can be no other than even the actual Power of GOD Himself moving them along to that great Fountain he has prepared for them. For material Substances are plainly unintelligent, unvoluntary, unconscious, un-self-active, un-self-moving Things, and are only subject to be moved by some other Kind of Agent: and it appears most clearly to every careful Inquirer, that this Power which moves them is both every where always present thro' out this vast planetary System, always acting on every Particle therein, perfectly intelligent, wise and regular in all its Actions, without the least Mistake or Intermission: and such a universal, powerful, all-knowing, wise and constant Agent, can be none but GOD. Thus, as in Psal. civ.10. He sendeth the Springs into the Valleys, which run among the Hills; Ver. 6,—8. The Waters go down by the Valleys unto the Place which Thou hast founded for them.

2. As to the Ascent of many Waters into Plants

This is a Motion looking contrary to the former Power of Gravitation: and seems to be owing partly to the won­drous Forms of the several Fibres, Tubes and other Parts of Vegetables; partly to the Attraction between the Juices and the Sides and upper Parts of their containing Vessels; partly to the elastical Air within them ever contracting and dilating; and partly to the piercing and rarifying Heat of the Sun, which putting their Juices into a State of Re­pulsion and altering the elastical Consistence of the Air among them or in their neighbouring Vessels, forces the watery Particles upwards in their Vesicles and Tubes to every Part & thro' their Extremities into the Atmosphere.

But so curiously and wisely formed is every Vegetable for this and other Designs, that none who nicely examines them can think that any other than a wise and universal Agent ever a working all over the Earth can be their Former, which is none but GOD.

And as to the Air's Elasticity; it is that Sort of Power whereby it is capable of being compressed & dilated, and [Page 11] when forcibly compressed, as the Pressure ceases, the Air will ever immediately return to its natural Expansion, till it comes at least to a Ballance with the Power of Gravitation: and this expansive Power is so wonderful as to be dilatea­ble to above fifty Thousand times greater Extent of Space at some Times than at others. (g) But tho' the Author of Nature, for various Uses permits us to compress it to a great Degree, and in some Degree compresses it Himself by his Power of Gravity; yet in this he ever bounds our Power, as no Power of Man can so compress it as to make its Particles touch or unite into a compact Body. And as this irresistible Power on the one Hand, and this expansive Power on the other is universally existing and continually and most regularly and wisely acting; it is as evidently the acting Power of GOD, tho' acting in a dif­ferent Manner, as is that of Gravitation. By such Means as these the inspired Poet sings, in Psal. civ.16. The Trees of the Lord are full of Sap, the Cedars of Lebanon which he hath planted: And Ver. 14. He causeth the Grass and Herb to grow.

3. As to the active, swift, piercing, rarifying Beams and Atoms of the Sun

Of these there are many wondrous Properties: and every one displays the universal Presence, Wisdom, Power and Agency of GOD. But I would now only consider their surprizing Force & Swiftness. And as from the Creation they have been constantly and directly flying from that great central Source of Light & Heat to its whole System of Planets and Satellits, above a Million times faster than [Page 12] a Ball out of a Cannon in its greatest Celerity; (h) Who can imagine they could do so without a perpetual Source and Exertion of Almighty Energy? And who can ima­gine these Millions of Millions of Millions of Rays continually and most regularly and wisely emitted and carried along directly, without a divine Presence, Knowlege Wisdom and Power in perpetual Concert & Operation?

For such a Being must be perpetually present & active not only with these innumerable Millions of Rays, but even with every one of the innumerable Millions of Atoms in every Ray; giving this amazing Force to every Atom as it leaves the Sun, forcing it up from this vast Body which has above two Hundred Thousand Times more attractive Matter than our Earth, in Opposition to this other Power of Gravitation, perpetually moving and guiding them in so quick and exact a Manner that not a Ray or Atom should slide astray; and in so vast a Multitude & Progress as continually to fill the Sphere of Saturn all round about the Sun, above fifteen or eighteen Hundred Million Miles Diameter, as we observed before: Yea were the whole concave Surface of this vast Sphere of Saturn as solid as the Surface of that Planet; by the constant flying of the Sun-Beams to it and reflecting from it to us, the whole concave Surface of that mighty Sphere all around us would continually shine as bright as he. But how many Millions of Miles the Sun-Beams are continually fly­ing further, even as far as some of the fixed Stars, which appear also to be other Suns at immeasurable Distances, is yet undiscovered, and beyond Description. (i) But they [Page 13] all demonstrate the constant Agency of GOD Himself in these innumerable, mighty & unceasing Actions. Agrea­ble to this we read in Psal. lxxiv.16 Thou hast prepared the Light and the Sun: Mat v.45. He maketh his Sun to rise: Isai. xlv.7. I form the Light: And Job xxv.3. Upon whom doth not his Light arise?

4. and lastly. As to the Course of the Winds carrying the watery Vapours from us—

Winds are only Air in Motion and directed in a sensible Current from one Part of the Atmosphere towards ano­ther. And their instrumental Causes seem to be in general, partly the solar Beams and Atoms either direct or reflex, or dispersed, or all, making unequal Rarefactions, and partly Particles of Cold, making unequal Condensations in the At­mosphere; whereby either a greater expansive Force or a greater Power of Gravitation in one Part than another, bares on the neighbouring Part where there is the least Resistance, and drives the Air before it, till the bearing and resisting Forces come to a Ballance, and then ensues a Calm.

But all those Actions both of Radiation, Gravitation and Expansion we have shown already to be the Exertion of the Power of GOD in those Ways and Instruments. And the same may be said of Particles of Cold and their powerful Condensations. For tho' Heat and Cold are only contrary Sensations in us; yet as some Sort of Atoms which may be called Sulphureous, seem to be peculiarly fitted to rarify and give us the Sensation of Heat, so some other Sort of Particles which may be called nitrous seem to be fitted to condense and give us the Sensation of Cold. But they being alike material, must needs derive their Force from GOD: and in all their Actions it must be his con­tinued Power exerted in them. So that all the Rise, Mo­tions, Directions, Forces & Effects of the Winds are justly to be ascribed to Him.

But tho' he may commonly operate in those various Sub­stances according to the particular Methods he has seen fit to appoint for his usual Action in them; yet for certain [Page 14] Reasons I cannot but apprehend, that the Case of Winds is one of those Cases wherein he does not always confine Himself to those usual Methods, but has wisely reserved his Liberty of varying from them, and often improves it when he sees proper: (k) So that unknown to us, He raises, moves, directs, increases and abates the Winds, both where and when, and in what Degree he pleases, to accom­plish his wise Designs.

Agreable to this, Inspiration tells us, that 'He who createth the Wind—the Lord God of Hosts is his Name, Amos iv.13: that He commandeth and raiseth the stormy Wind, Psal. cvii 25: that He bringeth the Wind out of his Treasu­ries, Psal. cxxxv.7: that he causeth his Wind to blow, Psal. cxlvii.18: that he maketh the Clouds his Chariot, & walketh upon the Wings of the Wind, Psal. civ.3: and that Fire and Hail, Snow and Vapour, stormy Wind are fulfilling his Word, Psal. cxlviii.8.

Thus have we seen something of the natural Govern­ment and Agency of GOD in bringing Droughts on a Land. And by such Means as these he puts forth his Power, and we may say as Job, in Chap xii.15. Behold be with-holdeth the Waters, and they dry up: As Asaph, Psal. lxxiv.15. Thou driest up mighty Rivers: or as the Prophet, Nah. 1.4, 5. He drieth up all the Rivers; Bashan languisheth, & Carmel, and the Flower of Lebanon languisheth; the Earth is burnt at his Presence, yea the World and all that dwell therein.

We go on to consider,

[2.] His natural Government & Operation also in giv­ing plenteous Rains.

And here we may observe, that as the Instruments and Operations in giving Rains are chiefly the same he uses in producing Droughts, tho' some he employs in a different Way; we may be therefore briefer in treating on them. And that these may be more distinctly viewed, we may [Page 15] likewise (1) Observe the principal Instruments he uses; and (2) His powerful Actings in these various Instruments.

1.) The principal Instruments he uses in this Affair: And these may be reduced to the following Articles; (1) The Seas; (2) The solar Beams & Atoms; (3) The mutually attractive Powers between the Sun and Moon with our At­mosphere and Waters; (4) The Course of the Winds in bringing the watery & nitrous Vapours over us; (5) The condensing and uniting them in Clouds and Drops by the Powers of Cold and Attraction, and their descending by the latter of these two Powers.

1. The Seas.

These are the great Reservatories and perpetual Foun­tains from whence the Rain is drawn: The watery Sub­stance in their Surface, being first divided from the Salts adhering to it, then raised into the Atmosphere, expanded, carried about by Winds, formed into Clouds, joined in Drops, distilled in Showers; some infused and rising into Plants and perspiring in the Air, the rest running into Springs and Rivers, then by constant Circulations returning to the Seas again; and from thence employed on the same Kinds of Circuits and Designs, in perpetual Revolutions. So Solomon observed above twenty seven Hundred Years ago, Eccles. i.4. All the Rivers run into the Sea; yet the Sea is not full; unto the Place from whence the Rivers come, thither they return again.

But as the Springs and Rivers run into the Seas, and without a fresh Supply from thence wou'd quickly fail, the Earth grow dry, and every Herb and Tree wou'd wither; the arduous Question is — How shall the Water which is 800 Times heavier than Air in Winter, 850 in the Spring and Fall, and 900 in Summer,(l) rise up against all the Laws and Power of Gravity, into this vastly lighter Medium, and form in Clouds, and there for a Time sus­pend and float aloft on this thinner Element, till it unites [Page 16] in Drops and falls in Showers? And especially how can these Waters rise, when every square Foot Column of the Atmosphere is found to press with a Weight of above two Thousand Pounds on every Foot square of Water in the Sur­face of the Seas and Earth? (m) One wou'd be apt to think that here they wou'd be bound down for ever.

But,

2. The primary Means of their rising seem to be, the exceeding active, swift, peircing, separating, rarifying Rays and Atoms from the Sun.

How they operate we have considered before: And shall here only observe, that as the Sun is computed about eighty one Millions of Miles from the Earth, they fly this Distance in about eight Minutes; and in a hot Summer's Day, they divide and raise a tenth Part of an Inch from the Surface of Water; which from every four Foot square will make a Gallon, and from every square Mile above six Thousand Tons. (n) And as these divided Globlues rise, they are by the repulsive and reflecting Atoms of Heat, so rarified or driven so far asunder from each other, as to extend to two Thousand Times greater Space than they did as they lay in the compact Form of Water; till the rarifying Force diminishes and comes to a Ballance with the other Power of Gravitation.

3. The mutually attractive Powers between the Sun and Moon above, and our Atmosphere and Waters below.

For, to speak in the usual Style, as those great Bodies every Day pass over the Seas, the Waters nearly under them rise up towards them: And tho' the Moon be abun­dantly less than the Sun, yet she is so much nearer to us, being but about two Hundred and forty Thousand Miles, that our Seas rise five Times higher towards Her, than [Page 17] towards the other; (o) and this higher Rise is called the Tides. And tho' the Attraction of the Sun and Moon con­junctly are insufficient to divide a single Globule of Water from the Sea; yet as they either jointly or separately go over it, the Force of Attraction in the Waters towards the Earth must in Proportion be abated, and therefore more easily and plenteously raised by the solar Atoms; and the watery Globules being once divided, rarified and raised into the Air, the less is their Attraction towards the Earth, and the greater in Proportion towards those heavenly Bodies. And as the Sun and Moon are every Day passing round our Globe; even the whole Atmosphere nearly under them, unless prevented by other Powers, successively rises to­wards them, increases its Extension, and helps the Vapours upward. Tho' after all, the superiour Power of the Earth's Attraction, being so near these Vapours, as long as it continues, will hinder every Atom of Air & Water, tho' not of Light, from flying away.

Thus we in some Measure see how the Waters of the Sea, are raised into the Atmosphere in great Abundance, and thereby Preparations made for plenteous Showers. But how shall they come over us and rain down upon us? To this I answer,

4. The Course of the Winds are a principal Instrument in bringing both the raised Vapours and condensing Cold or Nitre over us.

For tho' the rarifying Powers we mentioned before have a Tendency to spread the Vapours raised from the Sea into the Atmosphere over the Shoars and Countries round about; yet as some particular Winds may either hinder their coming over us in plenty, or carry them away before [Page 18] they contract in Clouds and Drops, and thereby continue and increase a Drought among us; so other Winds may both bring and make them meet and croud above us in great Abundance, and both drive the Atoms of Heat away, which kept up their Rarifaction and hindered their Condensation, and may also bring a nitrous, cold or less warm Air, which helps to condense the rarified Vapours into Clouds and Drops.

5 and lastly,— The uniting them in Clouds and Drops by the Powers of Cold and Attraction, and their Descent in Rain by the latter of these two Powers.

Whether the Particles causing Cold be a peculiar Kind of Substance, or are only without that Motion which causes Heat; it is enough that what we call the Particles of Cold, help to contract the watery Vapours, or bring them so near together as sensibly to intercept so great a Number of Rays of Light, that we cannot see the Skie, and then they appear in the Form of Clouds. (p) And the like [Page 19] no doubt is also the Effect of the Attractive Power of these watery Vapours, when it is not hindered by the contrary Force of Repulsion or Expansion from the more powerful Atoms of Light and Heat.

Yea 'tis highly probable, that by the interchangeable Predominance of all those Powers, occasioned by the Revo­lutions of Day and Night, and the different Seasons of the Year and other instrumental Causes — the Atmosphere round the Globe, is continually in every Part, either ex­panding above or contracting within it's Ballance of Gravitation, and that this is a main, continual Source of our Varieties of Winds and Weather. While by the Power of Heat, it is expanding over us or kept above the Ballance, we have droughty Weather: And when by the contrary Powers of Cold and Gravitation it contracts and comes below the Ballance, the watery Vapours draw nearer to each other till they Form in Clouds; and as their at­tractive Power predominates, they join in Drops and de­scend in Showers.

These seem to be the various Instruments of plenteous Rains. But we must now consider,

2.) The Agency of GOD in these various Instruments.

And in particular,

1. As to the Seas, the material Source of all.

These great and perpetual Fountains the wise CREATOR has provided for the necessary and continual Supply of the Earth with sufficient Rain. They seem to have been prepared at the Creation of this Globe: (q) and he has so wisely placed them, as to lie convenient for every Re­gion. [Page 20] The Northern Seas for the northerly Parts of Asia, Europe & America: the Mediterranean for the southerly Parts of Europe, the northerly of Africa, and the westerly of Asia: the East-Indian Seas for the southerly Parts of Asia and the easterly of Africa: the Atlantick Ocean for the westerly Parts of Europe & Africa and the easterly of America: and the pacific Ocean for the westerly Parts of America and the easterly of Asia &c. (r) And who could create and place them but GOD alone? Psal. xcv 5. The Sea as his, and he made it, and his Hands formed the dry Land Psal. lxxiv.17. Thou hast set all the Borders of the Earth. Psal. xxxiii.7 He layeth up the Depth in Store-Houses.

But yet his continual Influence is needful to preserve not only the Lakes and Rivers, but even all these mighty Oceans from being totally dried up & lost. For by their watery Substance incessantly rising into the Atmosphere at the Rate of about three Hundred thousand Million Tons in a Day; (s) without his more mighty and perpetual In­fluence in that Operation called Attraction, the Earth in its exceeding swift Rotation in its annual Orbit, of near a Thousand Miles in a Minute, would leave this watery Sub­stance streaming away behind it, as fast as it arises, until the Seas themselves were totally exhausted without Reco­very, and so this whole Globe itself deprived of every Particle of Moisture.

And perhaps this might be one Way of the Earth being delivered from the redundant Waters of the Deluge. And a Comet passing thro' or near the streaming Vapour, might then attract and carry it quite away: or it might [Page 21] descend to the lower Planets which might want them, or to the Sun Himself if the Rays would let it, or be by them dispersed to the higher Planets or Satellits of the solar System.

But by this his particular Operation which we common­ly call Attraction, He by an amazing Force continually makes the remaining watery Vapours to keep with the Earth in its swift Rotation, from being left behind it. Thus therefore should we own to GOD as that lightened People Neh. ix.6. Thou hast made the Seas and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all. And how wondrous [...] the Exercise of his Mercy, Patience, Benignity and Power, for this ungrateful and wicked World, continually!

2. As to the rarifying Beams and Atoms of the Sun

We have already considered their Action as the Ope­ration of GOD. To which I may add — that by the Com­putation above we may further see, that were our whole Globe covered with unfrozen Water; such is the still migh­tier Power of GOD put forth in these inconceivably dimi­nutive Atoms of Light & Heat, as not only to make them fly up hither with such an amazing Force against the Sun's Attraction, as we observ'd before, but even to raise from hence four Times as many Million Tons of Water in a Day, as we just now mentioned, i. e. Twelve Hundred Thousand Millions, and this against the united Powers both of Cohaesion and Attraction. Yea if the whole Sphere of the Earth's Orbit were a concave Surface of Water, the solar Atoms would have the same Effect to raise them: and how many Million of Million times more would be then raised by them, is beyond our Capacity to compre­hend. How amazing is the Power of GOD put forth in these extreamly diminutive Atoms. (t)

[Page 22]And all this Raising and Expansion of Waters is only, either by the reflexive Power of the Sun Beams which is abundantly weaker than in their direct Descent; or by the unaccountable Activity of their dispersed Parts, when the Rays being intercepted in their rectilinear Motions have immediately lost their Light, are dissolved into their innu­merable Millions of Atoms, and these dark Atoms left to innumerably various Motions from what they had before, and have need of GOD both to guide them and continue their Activity for these wondrous Purposes.

Yea this Operation of his is both more evident & won­derful, in that he continually steers both these reflecting Rays and dispersed Atoms of Light and Heat with the watery Globules, and carries them up between the descending Sun-Beams; which else by their vastly greater Force would beat them down to the Seas, or rather never permit them to rise against their mightier Current into the Atmosphere: And yet these expanding Globules of Water continually cross those descending Rays without Interruption. It must all be done by the wise Direction & continual Agency of the Power of GOD. Thus he divideth the Sea with his Power, as Job declares in Chapter xxvi 12. So the Israe­lites in Psal. cxxxv.6, 7 Whatsoever the LORD pleased, that did he in Heaven and in Earth, in the Seas & all deep Places; He causeth the Vapours to ascend from the Ends of the Earth &c.

Or if these Rays and Atoms touch not the watery Glo­bules, but get under and form Atmospheres around them, or raise and force them up before them by some other ele­mentary Power exerted at a Distance from them; it will be yet more wonderful, and not less evidential of the Action of GOD, but lead us nearer to view Him. For whether this be by a universal Fluid or their elastical At­mospheres; this Fluid and these Atmospheres being all material, they can only act, as they are acted on by that universal, all-knowing, all-wise, all-powerful Being.

[Page 23]And after all, since Sir Isaac has computed, the Atoms of Light are so inconceivably small and solid, that their Attraction is above a Thousand Million Million Times greater than the Force of Gravity on the Surface of the Earth, according to the Quantity of Matter in each; — what but the Power of GOD can first force them up from the Sun against the Sun's mighty Attraction? and as soon as ever they have done their Office here; then in Oppo­sition to the great Attraction between them and the Earth, force innumerable Millions of them back again; Multi­tudes up to the Moon, representing to her the Earth as a glorious Luminary fifteen times greater than she appears to us, as Dr. Gregory computes; Multitudes flying to the Sun again; and Multitudes of others to unknown Distan­ces successively in all the Etherial Regions round about. (u)

3. As to the mutual Attraction between the Sun and Moon above and the Waters with our Atmosphere here be­low—

We have already shown, that this Attraction or mutual Impulse towards each other, acting always every where [Page 24] thro'out the solar System, not only in every Atom, even in the very Centers of every Body, but also with a perfect View to all the other Atoms thro'out the System in all their various Distances and Situations — must needs con­tinually proceed from a universal, perfectly knowing, wise and powerful Agent, always every where working in them: which can be none but GOD. The like Agency of GOD we have also shown both in the Rise and Course of the Winds, whereby he brings the watery and nitrous Vapours over us — in condensing them in Clouds, and uniting them in Drops by his Powers of Cold and Attraction — and in making them descend in Rain by the latter of these two Powers.

But here we must also observe, that when he has raised so many Millions of Tons of Water into the Air and hangs them over us like heavy Mountains; then he by the same merciful Power restrains them, holds them up, & permits them not to run into mighty Lakes or Cataracts at once, and overwhelm and drown us; but joins the watery Glo­bules only into Drops one after another, and so distills them, sometimes for several Days together, as the Trees Herbs and Corn can bear them. So Job observed with grateful Wonder, Chap. xxvi.8. He bindeth up the Waters in his thick Clouds, and the Cloud is not rent under them.

This is Part of the Agency of GOD in giving Plenty of Rains. And thus the Prophet even repeatedly assures us, Amos v.8. and ix 6 He calleth for the Waters of the Sea, and poureth them out on the Face of the Earth. So the di­vine Poet in Psal. cxlvii.8. Who covereth the Heavens with Clouds, who prepareth Rain for the Earth. And then, as Elibu describes it in Job xxxvi.27, 28. He maketh small the Drops of Water: they pour down Rain according to the Vapour thereof: which the Clouds do drop and distil upon Man abundantly.

And thus have we briefly considered the natural Agency and Government of GOD both in bringing grievous Droughts and plenteous Rains on a Land.

[Page 25]And yet after all our Searchings, his Ways of acting in these Matters are not fully discovered to us. So Eliphaz seems to intimate, when he speaks of GOD in such Terms as these, Job v.9, 10. Which doth great Things and un­searchable, marvellous Things without Number; Who giveth Rain upon the Earth &c.

But as we observed under the Head of Winds— In these and other Cases, we should not dare to apprehend that the Sovereign GOD in governing this lower World intirely confines Himself to act according to his common Course of Nature; but most wisely and justly reserves the Liberty of acting otherwise on all Occasions when he sees most fitting.

Such like reserved Cases seem to be Earthquakes, Hurri­canes & Tempests; Storms of Wind, Rain, Thunder, Light­ning, Snow & Hail, with the raging of the Seas; & indeed all Kinds of Weather, hot & dry, cold & wet; the Rising of nox­ious Vapours out of the Earth, the Corruption of the Air, the Multiplication of Insects and Animalcula, infectious and epidemical Diseases; Multitudes of Alterations in human Bodies; personal Distempers and Mortalities; Lotteries and Accidents; as also innumerable Changes of Ideas and Propensities both in brutal and human Creatures. In all which He rules this lower World and brings about his wise Designs: making all Kinds of Substances indeed, his fitting Instruments and using them; but whenever he sees Occasion, giving additional Degrees of Powers and different Directions, or abating their Degrees of Power in other Ways than in his common Course of Nature, which is only his usual Way of Operation in them.

In this Manner he may in the most proper Seasons send both Droughts & Rains, and Sicknesses and Health, to par­ticular Places; He may point his Lightnings to particular Persons; He may raise a Storm to disperse a Fleet, and give additional Powers to a Gust of Wind to overset a Vessel, or to the Waves to break her; He may direct Physicians to a sufficient Knowlege of the Cases of their Patients, and the suitable Means of their Cure, and give additional Forces and Directions to the Medicines in their [Page 26] inward Operations, or otherwise. And so in Multitudes of other Cases: Or there would be no more need to pray to GOD for a safe Voyage, or a prosperous War, or to pre­serve from Drought, or Plagues or Enemies, or to save in any Sicknesses or Dangers; than to pray in an extream hot Day, that he would make the Sun to go down at the usual Time; or in a dark and cold Night, to rise again; or that he would make the Tide to ebb or flow: which would exceedingly, if not intirely prevent that Reverence of him, which in the present State of human Nature is highly if not absolutely needful, to keep the Race of Men in any tolerable Order, and excite them to pay him their suitable Acknowlegements, both for his own just Glory and their Advantage.

In short, the Wisdom & Goodness of GOD seem to require a twofold Kind of natural Operation among his Creatures in our terrestial World, answerable at least to the present Condition of Men therein: — the one Kind more stated, as the constant Revolution of Night and Day, and the Seasons of the Year, the Action of Gravitation, the Ebb and Flow of Tides, the shining of the Sun that so we may not be at all Uncertainties in ordering our Affairs, but may have these universal Necessaries to depend on. But as we need powerful Restraints from gratifying our evil Appetites, and Excitations to all Kinds of Duties, es­pecially to GOD our Maker, Owner, Sovereign and con­tinual Upholder and Benefactor; it seems both wise and kind that He should also in Multitudes of Cases keep us in Uncertainty, and occasionally operate in all Sorts of Sub­stances; that we may constantly see our Dependance on Him, and Need of his gracious Interposals for us, may fear to offend Him, and when he chastens us, may be moved to humble our selves and implore his Mercy in the Change of his Dispensations.

And such a wise Scheme of divine Government as this, the holy Scriptures clearly give us, as I might easily shew in the abovementioned Cases. In particular, [...] Appre­hensions of the Operations of GOD has the inspired Elibu [Page 27] taught us, as to his ordering our Atmosphere, in Job xxxvi. and xxxvii. ‘Remember that thou magnify his Work which Men behold! Every Man may see it, Man may behold it afar off. Behold GOD is great, and we know not. For can any understand the Spreadings of the Clouds, or the Noise of his Tabernacle? Behold He spreadeth his Light upon it, and covereth the Bottom of the Sea. For by them judgeth He the People, He giveth Meat in Abundance. With Clouds He covereth the Light, and commandeth it not to shine by the Cloud that cometh betwixt. — Hear attentively the Noise of his Voice, and the Sound that goeth out of his Mouth: He directeth it under the whole Heaven, and his Light­nings unto the Ends of the Earth:—He thundereth with the Voice of his Excellency—GOD thundreth marvellously with his Voice: Great Things doth He which we can­not comprehend. For he saith to the Snow, Be thou on the Earth; likewise to the small Rain, and to the great Rain of his Strength: He sealeth up the Hand of every Man, that all Men may know his Work: Out of the South cometh the Whirlwind, and Cold out of the North: By the Breath of GOD, Frost is given, and the Breadth of the Waters is straitned. Also by watering he wearieth the thick Cloud: He scattereth his bright Cloud; and it is turned round about by his Counsel; that they may do whatsoever He commandeth them upon the Face of the World in the Earth: He causeth it to come, whether for Correction, or for his Land, or for Mercy.’

But this brings us to consider,

II. His moral Government, or his moral Ends in these various Providential Operations.

And here we may (1) take a View of his moral Go­vernment of Men in general; and then (2) in causing Droughts and Rains in particular.

[1] As to his moral Government of Men in general

The Scriptures are so clear and full in this, that whoever believes them wrote by Inspiration, cannot doubt [...] [Page 28] shall therefore offer something to confirm our Faith there­in from other Arguments.

And that He always exercises such a moral Government over his moral Creatures, such as Man, must needs arise from his own moral Nature and theirs, and from his natu­ral Relation to them.

For as to HIMSELF—His necessary and eternal Self-Ex­istence must needs be owing to the most absolute Perfecti­on of his Essence; an Essence so supreamly & absolutely perfect, that it cannot but eternally exist. And this Essence must be so absolutely perfect, as to comprehend every ab­solute Excellence therein: their being an equal absolute Necessity of one as well as another, and so of all as well as any: of absolute Spirituality, Ubiquity, Understanding, Power and Knowledge, which are commonly called his na­tural Excellencies; as also of absolute Wisdom, Justice, Goodness, Truth and Holiness, which are commonly called his moral, as well as the other.

And as his natural Excellencies plainly include his moral; so the Exercise of his natural Excellencies in any Action equally includes the Exercise of his moral in the very same Action also. As they are all essentially undivided & ab­solutely harmonious in Him, they must forever act in ab­solute Concert & Harmony. In Particular; being abso­lutely spiritual, always every where present, and always ab­solutely understanding, knowing & powerful; He must be always absolutely wise: and being always absolutely wise, he must always have the wisest Ends in every Exertion of his Power, both in creating, upholding & ordering every Creature, and in every Act of his Power contained therein.

And as He has created Men with all their Faculties and Powers, and continually upholds them, continually pre­serves them from innumerable Evils, and even such as would be most afflicting and fatal, and is continually obliging them with innumerable undeserved Kindnesses of the greatest Moment, according to his sovereign Pleasure; as they absolutely depend on Him, and he has an absolute Propriety in them, is infinitely full of the highest & most [Page 29] venerable and amiable Excellencies, and has given them Power of knowing all This; they must needs in Justice owe him the highest Gratitude and Love & Reverence and Honour, with the most absolute Devotion, Service & Obe­dience: And all this he must needs know; and both his own Perfections require of them, and also engage Him to treat them in a Way agreable to the very Nature of that most absolute Knowledge, Wisdom, Goodness, Truth and Equity which are essential in Him.

And here I might easily show, that a moral Government of GOD is most righteous, and therefore he must in Justice exercise it: that it is the best Government both for Him­self and his moral Creatures; and therefore his absoute Goodness will effectually move Him to it: That it is the wisest and most fitting, & therefore his absolute Wisdom will lead him to approve and chuse it: and that he per­fectly sees all This, with his own absolute All-sufficiency for this most perfect Government; and all this in the most united Harmony will engage Him to undertake and manage it in the most perfect Manner. But the Time would fail me.

And I would only now remonstrate — How extreamly absurd would it be to assert, that such a Man is the most excellent Father, who only in general provides Things needful and convenient for the natural Supply of his Children; but takes no Care of their moral Good, neither to give them any Intimations that Wisdom, Kindness, Justice, Truth, Hatred, and avoiding of all moral Evil, or Love and Doing of all moral Good, are accceptable to him; but wholly lets them alone to do as they list, to revile him and spoil his Works, and lye and cheat, and gratify every inordinate Appetite, and hate, injure and destroy each other; and yet never corrects them, or shows any Displeasure at their horrid Crimes, nor ever helps those who repent, nor even those who honour him, when in Distress they cry to him for Mercy! And as it would be extremely absurd to assert that such a Man is the most ex­cellent Father, and as GOD is infinitely more excellent than [Page 30] Man can be; it must be infinitely more absurd to imagine that GOD can in such a Manner govern the Children of Men, who are much more the Children of his own Production.

Only we must here observe; that considering the moral Nature of GOD and Man and our Condition in this Life; it is evidently inconsistent with absolute Justice, Benignity and Wisdom, to limit our Existence to the present State: And as the present State must needs be designed chiefly to be a State preparatory or precedaneous to a Future; it is not a Thousandth Part of his absolutely perfect Scheme of moral Government which is exercised here, and that we now can see: (w) On which Account in Multitudes of Cases it must in the Nature of Things appear exceed­ingly mysterious to us, and we must therefore refer the Completion with our satisfying Views thereof to Eternity.

And now,

[2] As to his moral Agency and Ends in causing Droughts and Rains in particular — As GOD has made us the most superiour of Creatures in this lower World; He has also made this Terraqueous Globe and Atmosphere with all the Substances & inferiour Creatures in them in a gradual Subordination of Nature to our Use and Benefit, & so he commonly orders them in his Course of Providence: and as in this He makes them in the Course of Nature termi­nate, this was his Design, and this Design He carries on continually: and herein is not only the Exercise and Display of his natural Excellencies of Spirituality, Ubiquity, Understanding, Knowlege & Power; but also of his moral, especially Wisdom and Benignity.

[Page 31]And as not an Atom of Light or Heat, or Particle of Air, Cold or Nitre, or Globule of Water, in his Course of Nature moves but by his active Power; wherever He exerts this Power, especially in causing Droughts & Rains, He therefore always acts in perfect Wisdom, for the wisest Ends; tho' to us in their very Nature inscrutably various and extensive, in their numberless Connections Branches and Trains of Consequences: and these wise Ends must needs be moral as well as natural with Respect to Men; for whom they are chiefly made, who are chiefly affected with them, and in whose Affliction or Advantage, under GOD, they supreamly terminate.

But tho' I said Affliction or Advantage— as these two Ends more clearly seem to be different in a natural Sense; yet in a moral Sense, in our present depraved & mixed State, which is a State of Probation, and so of needful Discipline for our greater Benefit, all Afflictions may be advantagious, even eternally advantagious, excepting those that hinder any in [...] preparing for Eternity: And these must needs be meer Punishments to the particular Persons utterly ruined by them, tho' they may be Advantages to others.

As to the natural End of God in Droughts it must in general therefore be as He in his Course of Nature makes them terminate, viz. in afflicting us. And as to Rains— When they are unseasonable or immoderate, his natural End must be to afflict us also: But when seasonable and moderate, it must be by reviving and increasing the Fruits of the Earth, and the Cattle, to promote our Benefit.

But then those natural Ends with respect to us, must needs in Wisdom be subservient to his moral. And as to these we may observe in general— That as his natural End in Droughts and unseasonable and excessive Rains, must be to afflict us, his moral End must be by this Affliction to correct us: That as his natural End in seasonable and reviving Showers, is our Advantage, his moral End must be thereby to oblige us:—And as in his constituting Nature He designed and made the former Kind of Dispensation [Page 32] afflictive and the latter beneficial, and sees they are; so he knows the natural and moral Sentiments and Dispositi­ons he has made them have a natural Tendency to raise up in us and lead us to: And these must be his wise and moral Views in sending them.

In Particular therefore, they are such as these —

To cure us of those Degrees of Atheism that are apt to grow upon us in a constant Course of agreable & fruit­ful Seasons, and lead us to consider and see his constant Operations, Being and Perfections, both in these & other of his Works of Nature.— To raise up in us an answera­ble Admiration, Esteem and Reverence of Him.— To move us to pay Him that Respect and Homage which are his Due both on Account of his essential Excellencies natural and moral, and of his wonderous Works both of Creation and continual Providence.

In a scorching Drought, to convince us of our intire and constant Dependance on him in these particular Operati­ons of Nature.— To make us feel [...] afflicting and chastizing us, and apprehend his awful Power, Justice and Displeasure therein.— To stir us up to consider our Relations, Obligations, and various Duties and Behaviours to him. To excite us to a serious, diligent and impar­tial Search both of our Hearts and Lives, that we may discover our Sins of Commission and Omission in all their Kinds, Numbers, Aggravations and Evil Nature, Fruit and Tendency.—To move us to lament, confess and for­sake them, to humble our selves before Him, resolve on Amendment, and implore his Mercy.

And as for us who live in the Light of the Gospel— to bring us further on to those peculiar Graces and Duties, which this highest Revelation of GOD on Earth points out and requires us to seek and labour after: Such as the sanctifying Change of our Hearts as the Source of all Sin­cerity and real moral Excellency, and their being broken and melted for all our Dishonours of GOD and inward Contrariety to him; our justifying him in all his Chas­tizements, and our loathing and condemnng our selves [Page 33] before him; our hating and renouncing every Sin both in Heart and Life; our Desire of mortifying every Inclination thereto as offensive to Him, of being re­conciled to Him as the highest and best of Beings, of be­ing conformed to Him in Holiness, and of glorifying Him by universal Obedience; our rejoicing in CHRIST the Mediator, our earnest Application to Him to reconcile us to GOD and procure us every Blessing; our hearty em­bracing Him in all his Offices, and our trusting in Him to discharge them for us; yea thro' Him our returning to GOD in the highest Affection, and giving our selves intirely to Him in an everlasting Covenant; imploring not only Pardon and temporal Help in the present Diffi­culty, but also his perpetual Friendship, with his effectual SPIRIT to keep from every Sin, mortify every corrupt Affection, grow in every Grace, abound in every Duty, and freely and faithfully serve Him forever; and then hum­bly and patiently waiting for all these Mercies.

And lastly, upon answering our Prayers, kindly chang­ing the Course of his Dispensations towards us, and giving us seasonable and suitable Showers;—Then to rise in lively Thankfulness and Love and Praises, and proceed in all other due Acknowledments of our Obligations to Him.

These are plainly the moral Ends of these his providen­tial Operations, as the very Nature of Things, as well as the inspired Scriptures fully show, had I Time to mention them. But I must now conclude with some

IMPROVEMENT.

I. Let us then learn to see the Operations of GOD in Nature, with his Being and various natural Profections; in particular his Presence, Understanding, Knowledge, Wisdom, and active Power appearing in them.

It is even contrary to the real Truth and Connection of Things as well as [...] Respect we owe the sole CREATOR and Preserver, Owner, Lord and Ruler of the Universe, to look on the Operations of natural Causes as Opera­tions [Page 34] without his continual Influence, Support and Gui­dance. If we therefore had a due and realizing View of Things, we shou'd view them as Instruments in his up­holding, acting and directing Hands, which he continually uses to accomplish his innumerable and wise Designs among his Creatures.

All the Operations of Nature round about us are his continual Actions: And in every lucid Ray and Spark we should see a Glimpse of his universal Power and Pre­sence, as well as in every glowing Fire and in every Streak of Lightning. In the diamond Drops of Dew on the morning Herbs, we should see 'tis he that glitters in them, as well as in the Stars of Heaven. When we look and see the Moon and Sun, we should see their Maker shining in them, and how he covers Himself with Light as with a Garment. So we should see him acting in the falling of every Drop and Atom, in the boiling of every Spring, in the running of every Course of Water, in the moving of every Wave, in the growing of every Spire of Grass: We should perceive him in every Breeze of Air, as well as in every Pulse of Life: And we shou'd hear him in every Rill and Wind, as well as in the Roaring of the Sea and the Voice of Thunder.

But we shou'd especially see his natural Operations in Droughts and Rains, and in all the conspiring Actions of their instrumental Causes, as we have before described; and view them with religious Wonder, Delight and Ve­neration.

2. Let us endeavour also to see his moral Government and Excellence, in particular his Wisdom, Goodness, Jus­tice, Truth, and Holiness, with his moral Ends in these Dispensations.

In afflictive Droughts we should see his Holiness or Ha­tred of Sin in those natural Signs of his Displeasure — his Justice in Chastizing us— and as we live in the Light of Inspiration, his Truth in answering those Intimations he has given in Scripture of executing this particular Judg­ment, for acting and pesisting in Contrariety to him; it [Page 35] being by Inspiration only that the Truth of GOD can be displayed. Yea in correcting with this Kind of Discipline he shows and we should see his Goodness, as 'tis useful to convince us of our Dependance on him, that none but he can help us, and so reduce and bring us to implore his Mercy; but much more still in answering our worthless Prayers, and giving needful Showers in our Extremity— And in all his Wisdom in displaying and glorifying both his Excellencies and his Government both natural & moral, promoting our Conviction and Veneration of them, with our present and everlasting Interest, and accomplishing a Multitude of other wise Designs among his Creatures.

And as He has a great Variety of Ends both natural and moral in the very same Actions; so in his with hold­ing Rains, we should see Him making the Vegetables wither and fail in Fruitfulness, the Beasts decline in Flesh and Strength, and so less fit for Food or Labour; and all to terminate both in afflicting and correcting Us, & there­by awakening us to suitable Convictions of his Being, Per­fections, Providence, our Relation, Obligations & Duties to Him, Sins against Him, his Displeasure with us, our Interest to return and seek to be reconciled to Him, and implore his Mercy; and exciting us to a becoming Reve­rence and Adoration of Him, and to all these Duties. And in his giving seasonable Showers, we should see Him reviving the Vegetables and Animals, promoting their Growth and Fruitfulness, and all to terminate both in re­lieving and obliging Us, and thereby exciting our religious Gratitude, Esteem, Love and Praise, and every just and grateful Duty to Him.

These moral Ends of his we should therefore also have in View continually in these Dealings with us, and labour after an intire, just and wise Compliance with them: Or we behave unnaturally; i.e. directly contrary to our mo­ral Nature, Obligations, Interest and Reason; as well as the apparent Tokens of the wise, good, just & holy Will of our Sovereign RULER, Chastizer and Benefactor.

[Page]3. When we view those Things, we [...] Plea­sure also see, how exactly the Scriptures speak and how clearly the Works of GOD in Nature confirm their Verity.

For besides the Passages before recited, we may [...] observe, — That when the wa [...]tery Vapours spread [...] in the Part of the Atmosphere over us, or form not [...]to Clouds, or the Clouds only appear without shedding a Shower, and then break away, and let the parching [...] pour out his insufferable Heat on the thirsty Earth, [...] no Winds from other Quarters round us bring any Suppl [...]s Then we should look up to GOD and hear Him speaking with some Displeasure, as in Amos iv.7. I have with­holden the Rain from you; and as in Isai. I.2. I make the Rivers a Wilderness: And then own to Him as Solo­mon, 1 King. viii.35. When Heaven is shut up and there is no Rain, because they have sinned against Thee.

When the Vapours rise and gather in thick Clouds, and the Lightning flashes with irresistible Power: let us then lift up our believing Eyes and see GOD in them: Let us hear him speak with Majesty and Terror, as in Isai. I.3. I clothe the Heavens with Blackness: and then believe and own as the Prophet, Jer. x.13. When He uttereth his Voice, there is a Multitude of Waters in the Heavens, and he causeth the Vapours to ascend from the Ends of the Earth; He maketh Lightnings with Rain; He bringeth forth the Wind out of his Treasures. So Chap. II.16.

When the desired Rain comes down;— Then let us further see and speak of GOD with Eliphaz as in Job v.10, 11. Who giveth Rain on the Earth, and sendeth Wa­ters on the Fields, to set up on high those that be low, that those who mourn may be exalted to Safety.

When the Showers descend on some particular Places and pass by or stop before they arrive at others;—Then let us with humble S [...]ssion hear the supream Orderer of them say, as in Amos ix.7, 8. I caused it to rain on [...] City, and caused it not to rain on another City: one Piece was rained upon; and the Piece whereon it rained not [...]: — Yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the [...].

[Page 37]And when the Rains are plenteous and general;—let us then gratefully see & sing as King David with the Congrega­tion of Israel, in Psal. lxviii.9. Thou O GOD, didst send a plen­tiful Rain, [...] whereby thou didst confirm thy weary Heritage.

While we see the Corn and Grass a dying, and the Drought continuing, and growing more intense; let us see the Burning of the divine Displeasure, and say as h [...], in Jer. xii.1.3. Righteous art Thou, O LORD, How [...] shall the Land mourn, and the Herbs of every Field wither, for the Wickedness of them that dwell ther [...]! And when we see the Rain descending and reviving the Plants and Animals and causing them to grow & flourish; Then let us speak of GOD and to Him, as They in Psal. civ.13,—15. He watereth the Hills from his Chambers; the Earth is satisfied with the Fruit of thy Works: He causeth the Grass to grow for the Cattle, and Herb for the Service of Man; that he may bring forth Food out of the Earth, and Wine to make glad the Heart of Man, and Oil to make his Face to shine, and Bread to strengthen the Heart of Man.

4. Let us now consider these various Works of GOD, both as to his natural and moral Dispensations to Us in the present Summer— The most remarkable on those Accounts we have ever known.

Let us remember how greatly he distressed us in the late most extraordinary long, extream, destroying Drought, and in many Places Swarms of various Sorts of Insects de­vouring all before them. I have met with none that re­members the like Distress. The first Crop of Hay which was our chief, yea with many the sole Dependance, to support the Cattle for our five Months foddering Season, so far cut off; that most of the People had but a Fourth Part, many but a Fifth, many but a Tenth of what they us'd to mow; and many none at all, being oblig'd to turn their Cattle into their only mowing Ground to keep them from perishing: And how affecting was it to see them empty, pining & go low [...]g about for want of Food; their Owners pittying, but unable to help them.

[Page 38]In many Parts of the Land, we saw innume [...] warmt of Worms and Grashoppers concurring to devour the remaining Herbage:— In many, both the Beans, Pease, and Barley withering up:— In many, various So [...] of Vermin destroying the Flax, the Potatoes, Turnips, & other Eatables:— In some, Millions of little Worms consu [...]ng the necessary Leaves of Trees in Orchards:— In others, Multitudes of larger Worms cutting off the Roots of o [...] Indian Corn the main Subsistence of the People: — The Face of the Ground scorched to a reddish Hue:— The Brooks, Springs, and many Wells & Rivers dried away:— The Roots of the Grass so burnt as they seem'd irrepara­ble, and the remaining Corn folding up and at the Point of perishing.

Never were those affecting Passages in Joel i. and Jer. xiv, more pertinent to us than in that distressing Season.

And all the while we were languishing under the ex­tream Affliction, GOD was raising up as great a Quantity of Waters out of the Sea into the Air as usual: even in ten Miles of the Light-House, on every Day above nine Hun­dred Thousand Tuns; and in a Hundred Miles, on every Day above ninety Millions; (x) but directing them to other Quarters, and not permitting the Winds to bring them over us; or if they did, He drove them on to other Parts of the Atmosphere beyond us, kept up the Heat and Expansion Here, and would not suffer the Vapours to join in Drops and Showers on our parched Land.

Let us never forget our great Extremity, our growing Difficulties, our threatning Dangers; our affecting Pros­pect of loosing half our Stocks; being oblig'd to send not [Page 39] only for Hundred Miles to Pensylvania, but even to Eng­land above three Thousand, neither of which was ever done before, for Hay, to save some of our Cattle alive;—Yea the Prospect of more distressing Want of Bread for Our­selves and Children; neither having it, nor wherewith to purchase it.

Let us remember how awful the Displeasure of GOD appeared, and how we humbled ourselves before Him, fasted, confess'd our Sins, and cried for Mercy. Thursday June 15, was our Day of general Fasting and Prayer throughout the Province.

And now behold in what a wonderous Manner, he has heard and answered; given us gentle and moderate Showers, almost every other Day, with most suitable In­tervals of warm Weather, revived many of those Fruits of the Earth which seemed irrecoverable, causing them surprizingly to flourish, that we are like them that Dream; destroying the devouring Insects, and even giving the Hopes of a plenteous Harvest!

5. and lastly, Let us now consider what great Obliga­tions we are thereby under to this SOVEREIGN BEING, who has thus kindly answered us, even exceeded our Prayers and Hopes, and what are the Duties we indispensibly owe Him.

And here we should see— That this Kindness of his is not because we have in the least Degree deserved it, but quite the contrary: That it therefore flows from his meer Sovereign Grace thro' CHRIST the Mediator: That it is to testify his approving our paying a Part of our due Ho­mage to Him in our Humiliations and Intreaties in this probationary State; and to signify how much more ac­ceptable wou'd be our cordial, universal and continual Homage, and how extremely to our Advantage.

Our first Duty then, even of every one among us and of this whole obliged People, must be to be exceeding thankful to Him, and most heartily to Bless and Praise Him— To Sing, as David and his People in Psal. lxv.1, 2, 9—e. Praise waiteth for thee, O GOD, &c.

[Page 40]Yea our further Obligations— are most highly and ser­vently to love Him, to forsake every Sin, and avoid every Thing offensive to Him, especially the abuse of the Fr [...]ts of his Goodness— to devote ourselves thro' CHRIST [...] ­tirely to Him forever: and make it our Business and Delight to do whatever pleases Him, keeping in View [...] Glory as our highest End, and his revealed Will as our unvaried Rule — to value his Favour [...] above every Creature, and never rest 'till we know we have an Interest in it— as also to reverence, adore, seek and trust in Him for the future.— Lastly to consider our Misery under the moral Drought or Want of celestial Influences; to get a more affecting Sense of this far more great and fatal Calamity; & to implore with unceasing Importunity the Sovereign Grace of GOD to deliver us from it, by show­ering down the heavenly Rain, or those efficacious Influ­ences of his HOLY SPIRIT, which will revive and wash our Souls and produce the Fruits of Holiness and Righte­ousness and Joy abundantly thro'out the Land. Hos. x.12. It is Time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain Righte­ousness upon you.

And to conclude— Let us long for and joy in the Pros­pect of the most happy and universal Reign of CHRIST a coming on this lower World: And whenever we feel a natural Drought, or see a Shower; let us with Pleasure think on those reviving Predictions of HIM in Psal. lxxii.6, 7, 16, 17. ‘He shall come down like Rain upon the mown Grass, as Showers that water the Earth: In his Days shall the Righteous flourish, and Abundance of Peace so long as the Moon endureth: There shall be an Handful of Corn in the Earth, upon the Top of the Mountains; the Fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon, and they of the City shall flourish like Grass of the Earth: His Name shall endure forever; His Name shall be continued as long as the Sun; and Men shall be blessed in Him; all Nations shall call Him Blessed.’

AMEN.

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