« PrécédentContinuer »
ments, which were once thus thundered unto the world; and bear in mind that, with a voice of thunder, the Lord still says unto us, "Thou shalt Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and all thy soul, and all thy strength; and thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” But when the thunder causes us to reflect upon the commandments of our God, let there be a self-examination in that reflection.
Let us now examine our selves, what is requir'd, and whether we have not omitted it? what is forbidden, and whether we had not committed it? and what provocation we have given unto the God of glory to speak anto us in his wrath and vex us in his displeasure. Blessed the thunder that shall thunder-strike us into the acknowledgments of a convinced and a repenting soul!
III. A third voice of the glorious God in the thunder, is, “Think on the future coming of the glorious God in the thunder, and in great glory.” When the day of judgment shall arrive unto us, then “our God shall come, and shall not keep silence; a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him.” The second coming of our Lord will be, as we are advised in 2 Thes. i. 7, 8, "with his mighty angels in flarning fire;" the clouds will be his charriot, but there will be proligious thunders breaking forth from those clouds.
The redemption of the church, for which the Lord hath long been cried anto, will then be accomplished; but at what rate? The Lord will come la the thick clouds of the skies: at the brightness that shall be before him Liek clouds will pass, hail-stones and coals of fire; the Lord also will thunder in the heavens.
I say, then, does it thunder?—Let us now realize unto ourselves that great and notable day of the Lord, which will be indeed a great and thunering day! But how far should we now realize it?-realize it so, as to te ready for it? Oh, count your selves not safe till you get into such a condition of soul, that your hearts would even leap and spring within you, fire you sure that in the very next thunders our precious Lord would bike his descent unto us. What if the hour were now turned, wherein he judge of the whole world were going to break in upon us with fierce unders, and make the mountains to smoak by his coming down upon tem, and reign before his ancient people gloriously? Could you gladly 51, "Lo, this is the God of my salvation, and I have waited for him!” I sar, let the thunders drive you on to this attainment.
IV. A fourth voice of the glorious God in the thunder, is "Make your peace with God immediately, lest by the stroke of his thunder he take you way in his wrath.” Why is it that persons are usually in such a consvrnation at the thunder? Indeed, there is a complectional and constituanal weakness in many this way; they have such a disadvantage in a ghtful temper, that no considerations can wholly overcome it. But Lust usually the frights of people at the thunder arise from the terms
wherein they may suspect their own souls to stand before an angry God Their consciences tell 'em that their sins are yet unpardoned, that thei hearts are yet unrenewed, that their title to blessedness is yet unseitler and that if the next thunder-clap should strike them dead. it had bee good for them that they had never been born.
Hi sunt qui trepidant, et ad omnia fulgura pallent ;
Here then is the voice of God in the thunder: “Art thou ready? Son art thou ready? Make ready presently, lest I call for thee before thou a aware.” There is in thunder a vehement call unto that regeneration, unt that repenting of sin, that believing on Christ, and that consenting ung the demands of the new covenant, without which no man in his wits ca comfortably hold up his face before the thunder. I have now in my hous a mariner's compass, whereupon a thunder-clap had this odd effect, the the north point was thereby turned clear about unto the south; and so will veer and stand ever since unto this day, tho' the thing happene above thirteen years ago.
I would to God that the next thunder-claps would give as effectual turn unto all the unconverted souls among us! May the thunder awake you to turn from every vanity to God in Christ without any delay, lest b the thunder it self it come quickly to be too late. It is a vulgar erros that the thunder never kills any who are asleep: Man, what if the thur der should kill thee in the dead sleep of thy unregeneracy?
V. A fifth voice of the glorious God in the thunder, is, “Let this thur der convict you of what you may justly reckon your own iniquity
, Every man has his own peculiar sin, a sin whereby the soul of the man i more expos’d and endanger'd than by any other sin; his darling-sin, hi master-sin, or that which bids fairest so to be. David, being deliver from damage by the thunder, ascribes it unto the favour of God, (2 San xxii. 24,) rewarding him for keeping "himself from his own iniquity. This I say, the thunder may do us the favour of informing us what is ou own iniquity, and that would be a favour indeed! There are some sort 9 writings which you can't read until you hold them against the fire: Woul you read the worst guiltiness and wickedness of your own hearts? Ther say I, “hold them up against the lightning.” My meaning is this: whe it thunders, do you observe about what miscarriage your hearts do fire and most of all then misgive you; observe which of all your faults the does first of all and most of all stare you in the face with formidabl criminations. You may now take it for granted, this is "your ow) iniquity." And the voice of the thunder is, “Do you keep a specia watch against that iniquity, and against all the beginnings, all the occa sions, all the incentives of that iniquity." VI. A sixth voice of the glorious God in the thunder, is, "Take heer
• They tremble and grow pale at every crash, | Crazed with the muttering storm and blinding flash.
9w, take heed ever, of those grosser sins which have sometimes been revenged by thunder.” There have been the ireful and the direful thunders of God, sometimes used for the executions of his vengeance upon such and such enormities. The perpetual admonitions of the thunders 2e, Take heed of such thunder-struck abominations!" As now, the cties now buried (tho' they say of late by the sinking of the water growing visible again) in the Lake of Sodom. Tacitus the Roman Historian, traly tells us, they perish'd fulminum jactu—by thunder-bolts; God sent an extraordinary thunder-storm upon them for the lusts of uncleanness, wierein they burned.—What says the poet?
Tu parùm castis inimica mittes
Wherefore, when it thunders, the voice of God in it is, "Put out the unclean fires of lust in your souls, lest I set you on fire by my dreadful thunders.” Again, there was Nadab and Abihu, who offered strange fire to God, and God punished them with a killing fire from heaven, in a bideous thunder-storm; so, then, when it thunders, the voice of God in it is, "Look well to all your sacrifices, lest my fire make you a sacrifice: See that you duly attend my worship, lest my thunder fall upon you!" Unce more, there was Uzziah, who fell into an error in his management coat the ark of God; and it seems as if a thunder-storm, suddenly comng up, kill'd him for it: Hence, then, when it thunders, the voice of God s it is, “Look to it that my ark and my word find no contempt with you, st my thunder chastise you for your contempt.” What shall I say more? Coral was destroyed by thunder for his rebellion against God and Moses. Therefore the voice of the thunder is, "Take heed of all rebellion against God and Jesus.” The Egyptians, the Philistines, the Assyrians, were confounded with desolating thunders, because they invaded and injured the people of God. It is then the voice of the thunder, “See that you do no yolg unto an holy people, that have this artillery of heaven to defend
They that are such witnesses for God and reformation as Elijah 73, have, as he had, the fires of lightnings to devour those that hurt them.
VII. A seventh voice of the glorious God in the thunder, is, “Hear the * 1 of my word, lest I make you fear the voice of my thunder.” When the inhabitants of Egypt persisted in their disobedience to the word of Gid, it came to that at last, in Ex. ix. 23, "The Lord sent thunder, and Le fire ran along upon the ground.” Thus the eternal God commands ten to let go their sins, and go themselves to serve him; if they are dis.. edient, they lay themselves open to fiery thunders. This, you may be s, is the voice of God in the thunder, "Hear my still voice in my criinances, lest you put me upon speaking to you with more angry
ander-bolts." I have known it sometimes remark'd that very notorious
The desecrated grove, of rites unchasto, | Thy vengeful bolts shall blast.--HORACE, Odes, I. 12, v. 59.
and resolved sleepers at sermons often have some remarkable suddenne in the circumstances of their death. Truly, if you are scandalously give to sleep under the word of God; and much more, if to sin under it; an most of all, if to scoff under it; it may be, your deaths will be rendré sudden by the other thunders of heaven lighting on you. When it thu ders, God saith to all the hearers of his word ordinarily preached, “Co sider this, and forget not God, lest he tear you in pieces, and there i none to deliver you."
Finally, And is there not this voice of the glorious God in thund after all? “O be thankful to the gracious God, that the thunder does i more mischief to you all."
Whatever the witch-advocates may make of it, it is a scriptural and rational assertion, that in the thunder there is oftentimes, by the perm sion of God, the agency of the devil. The devil is the prince of t air, and when God gives him leave, he has a vast power in the air, ar armies that can make thunders in the air. We are certain that Satan h: his efficiency in it, when the fire of God or the lightning fell upon pa of Job's estate. How glad would he have been if the good man bimse had been in the way, to have been torn in pieces! And perhaps it wi the hellish policy of the wicked one, thus to make the good man sus; cious that God was become his enemy. Popes that have been conjuro have made fire thus come from heaven, by their confederacies with er spirits; and we have in our own land known evil spirits, plainly discoverit their concurrence in disasters thus occasioned.
A great man bas therefo noted it, that thunders break oftener on churches than any other house because the dæmons have a peculiar spite at houses that are set a-part
f the peculiar service of God.
I say, then, live we thus in the midst of thunders and devils too; 21 yet live we? Oh! let us be thankful to God for our lives. Are we a smitten by the great ordnance of heaven, discharging every now and the on every side of us? Let us be thankful to the great Lord of heave who makes even the wrath of hell to praise him, and the remainder that wrath does he restrain.
Such a serious thankfulness, manifested in an answerable fruitfulne will be still continually a better shelter to us from the mischiefs of t thunder, than the crowns of laurels, or the tents of seal-leather, wheret some old Emperours counted themselves protected; or than all the am lets of superstition.
To the custody of Israel's Great Keeper I now commend you all. .
THE RETURNING PRODIGAL;
RELATING REMARKABLE CONVERSIONS.
Sais perdita nunquam reverteretur, nisi pii pastoris misericordiam consequeretur.-Aug.*
The substance of the church, that mystical body of our Lord JESUS CHRIST, was from all eternity under the eye of God, as proposed in the decree of election. The members of that body were from all eternity writden in the book of life: And, in pursuance of the divine decree concern. ng it, the Holy Spirit in the continuance of time, thro' several generations does fashion it into the shape designed for it. But how? We are told in Psal. cxxxix. 14, “'Tis fearfully and wondrously made; marvelious are the works of God about it." The marvellous works of God in converting and uniting of elect sinners unto the Lord JESUS CHRIST, will make an history for heaven. But something of that history has thousands of times been given to particular flocks of the faithful throughout New-England, in the relations which devout people have made unto them, At their first admission into their communion.
These marvellous works of God were very proper materials for a churchstory: But ours has not a room for them; nor will I recite in this place Lore than two or three remarkables.
I. It was a problem among the ancient philosophers, “Whether a child may not confer more benefits on his father than he has received from ...n?" This hath been sometimes bravely determined in the affirmative anong us, when fathers have by the means of their own children been
One of my neighbours had a son which died when he was about five or is years old. The man's religion extended no further than to prayer sib his family on the Lord's Days. All the rest of the week his worldly beurt was by the cares of this world indisposed for devotions. The mother t the child therefore pray'd with her children every day; and she saw the good effects of it upon them. This child lay sick for divers weeks; in which time he often called on his mother to pray for him-never on kis father. And when the Lord's-Day arrived, the child would, with skservable joy, utter that expression, “This is the day on which my father 1988 to go to prayer.” The words of the dying son so stuck in the mind of his father, that with many tears he not only bewailed and reformed 03 bis neglect of his family prayer, but also became, as far as could be razged, a sincerely Godly man, dying afterwards in the fear of God. II. Some have obsery'd that, for the generality of them who are effect
The lost sbeep would never return to the fold, unless she received the pity of her tender shepherd.