done it elsewhere by great ones ;, he introduces them under the Images of four Sorts of Locusts. [Foel i. 4, &c.] If we therefore would secure ourselves from thefe Locusts, one of the fore Judgments of God, we have no other way of doing it, than God by Joel prescrib'd to the People of Israel, in the other Case ; we must fan£tify a Fast, call a solemn Asembly, gather the Elders, and all the Inbabitants of the Land, into the Houses of the Lord our God, and cry unto the Lord, Alas! for the Day, for the Day of the Lord is at Hand! And as a Destruction from the Almighty shall it come. [v. 14, 15.]

The Third of those Judgments, in Case the Locufts should come upon us, or even by other Ways, which the Providence of God can make Use of for the same Purpose, may well be Famine ; which is but a natural Consequence of the Locusts, and

may be a Consequent of some other Method of Providence. This is intimated in the following Words of Joel: Is not the Meat cut off before our Eyes, yea, Joy and Gladness from the House of our God: [v. 16, 17, 18.] The Seed is rotten under their Clods; the Garners are laid defolate, the Barns are broken down, for the Corn is wither'd. How do the Beasts groan? The Herds of Cattle are perplex'd; because they have no Pasture ; yea, the Flocks of Sheep are made defolate, &c. Nor can we any other Way secure ourselves from this Judgment of Famine, than by hearkening to the same Prophet, who from God delivers this as the only Remedy for such great Miseries : [ii. 12, 13, 14.] To blow tbe Trumpet in Zion, and found an Alarm in God's


[ocr errors]

Holy Mountain : To turn to the Lord with Fafting, and with Weeping, and with Mourning ; to rent our Hearts and not our Garments, and turn unto the Lord our God : (v. 15, 16, 17.) To blow the Trumpet in Zion, sanEtify a Fast, to call a folemn Asembly, to gather the People, to fan&tify the Congregation, to assemble the Elders, to gather the Children, and those that suck the Breast; for the Bridegroom to go forth out of his Chamber, and the Bride out of ber Closet: To let the Priests, the Ministers of tbe Lord, weep between tbe Porch and the Altar, and to let them say, Spare thy People, O Lord, and give not thine Heritage to reproach, left the Heathen jould rule over them; which last Words naturally lead me to,

The Fourth of those Judgments we have Reason to fear, which is Captivity or Slavery to a neighbour Nation. This was the great Judgment, which was so often threaten'd to the Wicked Jews, and which came so often upon them, for their frequent Idolatries, and other flagrant Enormities, as may be seen every where in the Books of the Old Testamnent ; particularly in that terrible Chapter of Judgments threatned by Moses, and which afterwards came remarkably to pass accordingly, I mean the xxviiith Chapter of Deuteronomy. (v. 36, 37.] The Lord sball bring thee, and thy King, which thou Malt fet over thee, unto a Nation, which neither thou nor thy Fathers have known ; and there shalt thou serve Wood and Stone ; and thou shalt become an Astonishment, a Proverb, and a bye Word, among all Nations whither the Lord shall lead thee, [v. 64.)


[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

And the Lord shall scatter thee among all People, from the one End of the Earth to another. [v. 65.) And among these Nations shalt thou find no Ease, neither foall the Soles of thy Feet bave Rest; but the Lord fall give thee there a trembling Heart, and Sorrow of Mind. Nor is that which Bi-. shop Sherlock, in his former Sermon and present Letter, appears also afraid of very unlikely to come to pass ; (Serm. Pag. 8, 9, 10. Let. Pag. 13, 14.] I mean that Popery, which, as he observes, now gains so much Ground, should at last prevail over us, and by a juft Punishment from God be entaila on us, and our Posterity. This seemed very near about four or five Years ago ; and the Successes of the Rebels in Scotland terrified the Protestants to a very great Degree. Nor, in a Kingdom and Metropolis so wicked as ours, is there any Security from Popery, but by amending the Lives of Proteftants, as well as their Doctrine and Discipline, and thereby securing ourselves of the Favour of God, and thereby inviting the religious Part of the Roman Catholicks to unite themselves with us, in any farther Reformation, which is for certain greatly wanted in both Churches.

The Fifth of those Judgments, which we have Reason to fear, is what we call the Mortality or Pestilence. This most frightful and destructive Malady sometimes follows Earthquakes, as was remarkable in that at Port-Royal in Jamaica, [as the History of that Earthquake informs us, See Pag. 66. priùs.) and this was terrible in London, 1665, the Year before the Fire, and much more


[ocr errors]

terrible at Marseiles much later, 1721. However, this Nation was then so alarmed at the Dread of its coming hither, which was very much feared, and that folemn Fast then appointed, was so much more feriously observ'd than our common Fasts have of late been, that it pleased God to prevent its coming over hither at that Time. Nay, it has pleased God of late, to preserve the City of London free from that fatal Distemper, much longer than ordinary. But since great Mercies greatly abused, do naturally call down the heavier Judg. ments at last, and fince the Iniquity of the Inhabitants of London seems to be entirely full, as we have too sadly found already ; and the News which we frequently meet with of the Plague, or the like contagious Distemper in other Places, makes me fomewhat afraid that we shall not escape this Distemper very much longer. I only mean this, unless I could see Signs of niuch greater and more general Reformation among us, than at present appear. This Diftemper would indeed much more scatter Abroad the Inhabitants of London, than the late Panick about a third Earthquake did. Now this is one of those terrible Judgments threatned the Difobedient Jews in Deuteronomy. (xxviii. 21, 22.] The Lord fhall make the Pestilence cleave unto thee, until be have confumed thee from off the Land, whither thou goeft to poljefs it. The Lord mall smite thee with a Consumption, and with a Fever, and with an Inflammation, and with an extreme Burning, and with the Sword. That last Word puts me naturally in Mind of a fixth Judgment,


the Sword of War, which as it has been upon a great Part of the World now for many Years, and has sorely afflicted us, and the neighbouring Kingdoms, so are there many Indications that it may be rekindled, and so still more fully contribute to that prodigious Diminution of Mankind, which is foretold as the Consequence of the Judgments belonging to these Times. [If. xxiv. 6.] Now if we look into the xivth Chapter of Ezekiel, we shall find, that three of these four Judgments already mentioned, which we have now to fear, I mean Famine, and Sword, and Pestilence, (Ezek. xiv. 12.

-21.] are there fet down as such Punishments for heinous national Sins, that nothing of the Intercesfion of the best Men, which used in many cases, to appease the Anger of God, would be hearken'd to: (v. 12, 13, 14.] The Word of the Lord came to me again, saying, Son of Man, when the Land finneth against me by trespafing grievously, then will I stretch out mine Hand upon it, and will break the Staff of the Bread thereof, and will send Famine upon it, and will cut off Man and Beast from it. Tho' these three Men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they fould deliver neither son, nor Daughter, but their own Souls (or Lives) by tbeir Righteousness, saith the Lord God. And the very fame is said in the following Verses, as to the Noisome Beasts, the Sword, and the Pestilence, I shall add the 2 ift, 22d, and 23d Verses, as affording Comfort to good Men in such dismal Calamities; as well as the former ought to be very terrifying to the Wicked it the same Time ; since these seem to be the very

« ElőzőTovább »