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hand, yet, notwithstanding, if he be not humbled under the hand of the Lord, God will not exalt him; for, says the Lord, I have promised, indeed, that if men humble themselves under my mighty hand, they shall be exalted; and I have said, if the people, upon whom my name is called, humble themselves, I will hear. He humbled himself much. This will mortify your sins as your sins mortified and took captive your duties, and this must be done thoroughly. And to move us to it, take notice of the general darkness that is in the land, how few know what they would have in a way of reformation, what is agreeable to God's way. Ezek. xliii. 10, 11. The way to see stars in the day, is to go to the bottom of a well. But now here is a company not humbled, what fashion have they left since; wherein does it appear that you are more humbled ? this must be.
Though that a man be humbled, yet, notwithstanding, if he does not pray and cry mightily to God, he cannot fetch God back again, for, says God, I am engaged to my word, and I walk by rule. When I threatened Nineveh, the king went from his throne, and went in sackcloth and ashes, and they cried mightily unto me; and do you think if you do not cry mightily, that I will return in mercy to you? Oh, says God, I have given you more than Nineveh, you know more and you must do more; they cried mightily, and shall not you cry mightily? We must pray more than ordinary; so did Moses; and for motives to it: 1. It is all that some of you can do: you cannot help other ways, by building God an house, lending money, &c., but you may pray. be idle, you will envy those that do pray; for it is a sure rule, those that stand by will envy the workmen; and what that will do you may see in Cain's envy of Abel when his sacrifice was rejected. 3. The scales may seem to hang even, it may be your grain of prayer may turn them to mercy. 4. The Lord seems to be going, he is rising: when the judge sits still the malefactor does not lift up his voice and cry after him; but when the malefactor is condemned, and the judge riseth, and goes off the bench, then the poor malefactor lifteth up his voice, and cries, Good, my lord; good, my lord. So when God is rising and going off the bench shall men cry, and cry mightily unto him ; pray, and pray mightily unto him. Beloved, the Lord seems to be going off the bench; oh, you that never prayed, now pray; you that have despised prayer and praying-meetings, now pray; you that have a heart to pray, pray now, and cry mightily unto the Lord your God.
2. If you
Though a man does pray, and cry mightily unto God, yet, notwithstanding, if he does not turn from the evil of his doings, all is nothing. Yet, says the Lord, I am constant to my rule, and I have promised, Isa. lvi. 9, “ If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger and speaking vanity.” If you put away the evil of your doings, what then? Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer presently; thou shalt cry, and he answer sensibly, and say, There am I. And so Judges x. 14. they having come and cried to the Lord, the Lord gives them this answer, “Go and cry unto the gods which you have chosen, let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation. And the children of Israel said to the Lord, We have sinned; do thou unto us whatsoever seemeth good unto thee, deliver us only we pray thee this day. And they put away the strange gods from among them and feared the Lord.” They cried before, but now they prayed and put away their strange gods; “ And his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.” So now will the Lord do when people are sensible of his hand, and are humbled, and cry, and cry much unto him, and put away the evil of their doings: this will prevail. Wherefore, beloved in the Lord, let us now join together in this work, and for the Lord's sake put away the evil of your doings. All you that hear me this day are of three sorts, either such as do live upon your lands, or such as live upon your trades, or such as live by keeping taverns and ale-houses. If you be such as live upon your lands, then think, and say with yourselves, I see there is a stoppage made in England's mercy, come, oh my soul, it may be it is my sin hath done it; it may be I have lived so much upon my lands, that I have lived little or nothing upon Christ; I will learn to live more upon Christ and less upon my lands. If you be such as live upon your trades, say, Husband, wife, children, servants, it may be it is our sin that hath made this stop; our lying, our false dealing, our breaking of the Sabbath, selling upon the Sabbath for gain ; it may be it is our poor family that hath made this stop; let us put away the evil of our doings. If you be such as keep taverns and ale-houses, say, It may be it is the drunkenness
that I have suffered in my house, the thousands of oaths that are sworn in my family; for my part I will never have Ireland's blood lie at my door, therefore, servants, children, friends, I charge you, no more lying, no more swearing, no more Sabbath-breaking; for the Lord's sake, and for our poor brethren's sake in Ireland, let us put away the evil of our doings. You that have been drunkards, swearers, or adulterers, put away the evil of your doings; it may be this will bring God back again.
But though there be this, yet unless the troubles of England, the Achans be brought forth to punishment and thrown overboard, the sea cannot be appeased, the storm will not down. For, says the Lord, I am the same God that I was when wrath brake out upon Israel ; then stood up Phinehas, and slew Zimri and Cosbi, and my wrath was stayed. When wrath broke out in Joshua's time, Achan was brought forth and punished, and so my wrath was stayed. Do you think that I will take less at your hands? Therefore let us pray that the Achans may be brought forth, and when they are brought forth, justify the worthies of the Lord, own them, guard them, and stand by them. And when the work is done, rejoice with fear and trembling, wash your feet in the blood of the wicked, and give glory to God, and say, Blessed be the Lord, who only doth great things; marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; who would not fear thee?
He made an holy resignation of himself to be at God's disposing, so we may see Araunah did, i Chron. xxi. 23 : “ Then Ornan said to David, Take it to thee,” &c. He gave up his threshing-floor, and his oxen, and his threshing instruments; those things that were his livelihood. So should we offer up our shops, our trades, yea ourselves and all we have to God.
Thus you have heard, when God is in a way of mercy, sin does make a stoppage in his proceedings. You acknowledge there is a stoppage made in our mercy; you have heard that those sins are as thieves in our candle, that do smear out our comforts; you have heard what a hard thing it is to bring God back to mercy again ; you have heard the work must be done ; and you have heard what to do: wherefore let every man, as in the sight of God, go home and think, and say, and resolve with himself, I have not been much affected with Ireland's condition, I confess it, the Lord forgive me, but I will look more into it than ever I have done; I have not been much humbled for my own sin, and the sins of the time, but the Lord pardon it, and I will be more humbled; I have not cried unto the Lord, but from this day following I will cry mightily unto the Lord my God, it may be he will return. And I will put away the evil of my doings: I have been an unclean person, I have been a Sabbath-breaker, and have been proud of this coat, and that gold lace; I will be proud no more, farewell all bad company; and I will pray that justice may be done upon all Achans and troublers of Israel, and when it is done I will rejoice with trembling. And thus I have done the first doctrine : when God is in a way of mercy towards his people, there sin makes a stoppage in his proceedings.
CONTAINING SOME COMFORTABLE DIRECTIONS FOR SUCH
HOUSES, GOODS, OR COUNTRY.
“ Our inheritance is turned to strangers, our houses to aliens.”LAM. v. 2:
When I consider the estate of this kingdom, this country, and this town ; I cannot but fear, notwithstanding the speech of accommodation, that evil is now approaching. Our brethren in other parts of this land and in Ireland, are thrust out of their habitations; and what are we better than they in other places ?
We are as sinful as others, as secure as others; and therefore why we should not fear their miseries I know not. That therefore you may not be unprovided in the evil day, I have made choice of these words, that in some measure we may be prepared for that condition.
The words are part of the church's lamentations, penned by Jeremiah, in which there are two things that are most considerable.
First, The matter of their lamentation.
Secondly, That those their goods were given, and “ turned unto strangers."
The goods lost are their inheritance, and their houses, their lands, and their habitations. Their lands were not such as they had purchased with their monies, but such as did descend upon them from their forefathers by promise. inheritance is turned to strangers,” &c.* It is a great loss to lose one's lands, it is yet more to lose one's inheritance, it is yet more to lose one's house and habitation, it is vet more that they should be given to strangers. This was their con
* Contingit enim ali juando ut quis amittat prædium suam, agros et vites, tamen domus ejus maneat intacta.—Calvin in locum.