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The Prophet Isaiah having.expoftulated with the Inhabitants of Judah for their Wickedness, and Incorrigibleness, under those Judgments, which had been inflicted on them, adds, (Isaiah i. 24.) Therefore faith the Lord, the Lord of Hofts, the Mighty One of Israel, Ab, I will ease me of mine Adversaries, and. avenge me of mine Enemies. And who are these? Doubtless, all who lead ungodly Lives : They evidently appear to be God's Enemies by their wicked Works : and inexpressible are the Terrors of the Time, when the Righteous God shall avenge himfelf of them.
I may likewise observe, that after the Prophet had faid to the Lord, Tbou haft forsaken thy People, he fays to the People, Enter into the Rock, and bide thee in the Dus for Fear of the Lord, and for the Glory of bis Majesty, (vid. Isaiah ii. 6, 10.) And he foretels their going into the Clefts of ibe Rocks, and into the Tops of the ragged Rocks, for Fear of the Lord, and for the Glory of his Majesty, wben be hall arise to Shake terribly the Earth.
When the incorrigible Sinners shall come to see the dreadful Execution of God's threatened Judgments, when the Arrows of his Wrath shall Ay thick around them, when they shall hear nothing
but dreadful Tidings, when they shall bestand for e anatheg gof many Families, and Mulcitudes destroyed, or re
duced to extreme Distress and Misery, who a little
Sacred Declarations, &c.
9 And altho' the Wicked, in a Time of Tranquillity, may for a while be stupid, and fearless, yet when God proceeds in & Controversy with them, he will make their Hearts to ach, and their Flesh to tremble, and fill their Souls with Confternation, and amazing Terrors. Then the Sinners in Zion will be afraid, then Fearfulness will surprize the Hypocrites.
There is Reason, as I have observed, to think that the Day of the Lord's Visitation of this Land for Sin is begun, and proceeding; and therefore the Hearts of ungodly Sinners may well faint with the Apprehension of the Evils that may justly be expected.
I say not these Things to drive any to Despair, but to excite them immediately to seek Peace, and Reconciliation, with the Holy God, through Faith in the Blessed Jesus, who is both able and willing to save even the chief of Sinners, who return to God through him.
There is still Room to hope for Mercy and Pardon. Therefore it is that the LORD still waits, even that he may be gracious unto us.
If the Inhabitants of our Cities, if the People of our Land, will, like the Ninevites, believe God, and fat and humble themselves, and cry mightily unto God, and turn every one from his evil Ways, and from the Violence that is in their Hands, God will turn from his fierce Anger, and we shall not perish. (vid. Jonah iii.)
For the Lord hath said, At what Instant I Mall Speak concerning a Nation, and concerning a Kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; if that Nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their Evil, I will repent of the Evil that I thought to do unto them. Jer. xviii. 7, 8.
Sacred Declarations, &c. But we can have no well.grounded Hope of efcaping the destroying Judgments of God, of God long provoked, till we fee a great Reformation in our Cities and Nation.
Reformation is the thing which the World, and the l'rovidence of God do loudly call for ; and that I may thio' the divine Blessing be an Instrument of his bringing a sinful People to Repentance, Faith, ard Holiness, in Heart and Life, I shall give an Account of some Sorts of Persons, whom God will punih in the Day of his awful Visitation for Sin.
The Word of the Lord is the Derision of profane Sinners in these Days, no less than in Time palt ; yet the divine Providence is always fulfilling his Word.
Nel sid David say to God, Thou hast magnified thy Word above all thy Name, Psal. cxxxviii. 2. The Word of God is the Sword of the Spirit (Ephef. vi. xvii.) It is the great Means by which the holy Spirit subjues Sinners, and brigs them to the Obedience of Faith, and by which he enableth Believers to connict with, and overcome their spiritual Enemes, the Principalities, and Powers, and the Rulers of the Darkness of this World.
But the Generality of People are Strangers to the Word of God, and many who scoff at it never read it; yet the Time will come, will surely come, when all Men will be made to know somewhat of it, for they will be judged according to it.
It is certainly very feasonable, and needful, when God is risen out of his Place to punish the Inhabitants of the the Earth for their Iniquities, very needful, I say, to acquaint them with what the Word of the Lord has spoken concerning various Sorts of Sinners, and let them observe whether God in the Course of his Providences will not act according to the Declarations upon Record in his holy Word ; and consider whether it is not their Interest, as well
as Duty, to seek Peace with God, that so they may escape the Evil he has threatned.
And it deserves the most serious Notice, and Consideration, that the following Sorts of Persons are particularly threatned with Punishments in the Day of God's Visitation for Sin : And happy will it be if those guilty Sorts of People, shall ponder in their Minds, what the Lord hath said concerning them, and be prevailed with to fly from that Wrath which is coming on the Children of Disobedience, by flying to the blessed Jesus with the Wings of Faith, and becoming his true Disciples, new Creatures in him, sanctified by his Spirit, and made fruitful in Holiness by Union, and Fellowihip with him.
I. Those Ministers of the Word of God, of every Denomination, who either set bad Examples, or live in the Neglect of the Duty they owe to the People under their Care, are one Sort of Persons particularly threatned by the holy God.
I mention these by Way of Preface, because they are as Stewards of the Mysteries of God (1 Cor. iv. 1.) and have in Charge to teach the People, the Doctrines, the Statutes, the Commandments and the Ordinances of God; and because their bad Ex. amples, and Neglect of the Duties of their Miniftry, are fad Occasions of Irreligion, and Wickedness among the People.
In Isaiah v. 6,9—12. the Word of the Lord says, All the Beasts of the Field come to devour, yea, all the Beasts of the Forest. His Watchmen are blind, they are all ignorant, they are all dunh Dogs, ihey cannot bark , Neeping, lying down, loving to sumber. Þza, they are greedy Dogs, which can never have enough, and they are Shepherds that cannot understand : They all look to their own Way, every one for his Gain from bis Quarter. Come ye, say they, I will fetch Wine, and we will fill ourselves with sirong Drink, and 10
morrow shall be as this Day, and much more abundant.
By Watchmen, and Shepherds, were meant the Prophets and Priests, who, in the Days of ISAIAH, were Ministers of the Word of God, who ought to have understood it, and been able to instruct the People in it, able to teach them, what God would have them to know, to believe, and to do ; they ought to be Men free from Avarice, and of great Sobriety.
The Passages cited shew, that the following Sorts of bad Ministers, are plainly threatned with Destruction in the Day of the Lord's Visitation.
, 1. Those Ministers, who are ignorant, ignorant of those Things, which God would have them teach the People, and so are no more capable of performing their Office, than Watchmen who are blind can see an approaching Danger, and thereupon give Warning of it, or guide People in the Way they should go, but are like dumb Dogs, that cannot bark to give Notice when a Wolf is coming : Their Ignorance rendering them incapable of ac. quainting the People under their Care, with the Dangers their Souls are exposed to.
2. Those lazy, careless Ministers, who wilfully neglect to perform the Duties of their facred Function, and indulge themselves in Ease, Idleness, and Sloth. This is manifestly imported in those Expressions, sleeping, lying down, and loving to sumber. 3:
Those covetous Ministers, who, tho' negligent of the Service they owe to their People, yet are for getting as much from them as they can, making their own fecular Interest their chief Concern. This is plainly signified by those Words, viz. they are greedy Dogs, which can never have enough-they all look to their own Way, every one for his Gain from his Quarter.