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L E T T E R
INHABITANTS of LONDON and
HEN the Inhabitants of any City, or
Country, have long revolted from God, when Iniquicies have long abounded among them, they then have Reason to fear, and to expect a Suffering under the Divine
Vengeance. When they have long enjoyed the Means, and Opportunities of Knowing God, and his Will, and their Duty to him, and yet stubbornly remain regardless of them, and obstinately perlift in Disobedience to his Commandments, they then have the strongest Arguments from the Nature of Things, and the Threatenings of the Divine Law, to be very apprehensive that Deftruction from the Almighty may betal them.
It is said in Heb. x. 26–31. If we fin wilfully after that we have received the Knowledge of the Truth, there remaineth no more Sacrifice for Sin, but a certain fearful looking for of Judgment, and fiery Indignation, which fall devour the Adversaries [of God.] He that despised Moses's Law died without Mercy under two, or three Witnesses: Of how much forer Punishment, fuppose ye, shall be be thought worthy, who haib trodden under Foot the Son of God, and hath counted the Blood of the Covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy Thing, and bath done Despite unto the Spirit of Grace : For we know him that bath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, faith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful Thing to fall into the Hands of the Living God.
That the Inhabitants of L- and W. have long, and most dreadfully provoked the Wrath of the Holy God, and go on still multiplying the Provocations of his destroying Judgments, is undeniably evident from what his Lordship the Bishop of London, in his most seasonable and serious Letter to the Clergy and People of these Cities, has very justly observed.
The Righteous God has not only manifested amazing Patience and Forbearance towards us, and the rest of the People of Great Britain ; but he has, through a Course of many Years, and by various Dispensations of his Providence, both merciful and amicting, been calling us to Repentance, and Reformation, calling us to seek Peace with him : And he has given awful Tokens of his Indignation, on the account of the numberless Sins against him, by which the Land is polluted ; Tokens that the Time of his tremendous Vification for Sin is very near ; nay, but rather that is already begun.
I sball only mention Two Particulars out of many; viz. 1. The MORTALITY,, which, for some Years, has been deitroying the larger Catile; by which
God plainly admonishes us, that if we will not be reformed by such Judgments, he will destroy our Persons. 2. The EARTHQUAKES, which have lately happened. 1. The Mortality among the Cattle is one fearful Token. For after God had threatened to inflict divers Calamities on his People, if they would not hearken to him, and would not do all his Commandments, if they fhall despise his Statutes, or if their Soul should abhor his Judg. ments, so that they would not do all his Commandments, but break his Covenant ; I fay, after God had denounced various Judgments to be inflicted on them for their Sins, one of which was, that he would destroy their Cattle. (Lev. xxvi. 22.) He says, If ye will not be reformed by me, by these 7 hings, but will walk contrary unto me, then. I will also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you seven Times for your Sins. And I will bring a Sword upon you, that shall avenge the Quarrel of my Covenant : And when ye are gathered together within your Cities, I will send the Pestilence among you, and ye shall be delivered into the Hand of the Enemy. Vid. Lev. xxvi. 23, 24, 25.
The Holy God, by continuing the mortal Sickness among the Cattle, tells us, that his Wrath is not turned away from us, that we must repent, and amend our Ways, or expect to feel his Vengeance in our Persons; and by the flow Progress of the Mortality among the Cattle, through a Course of several Years, he shews himself a most merciful God, and that he is loch to destroy us. Therefore,
If People will not hearken to the Almighty, but go on in their Trespasses, their Guilt will be most heinously aggravated, and the Righteousness of God's destroying Judgments will be most conspicuous, when they shall be executed.
The other Token of God's Displeasure and Controversy with us, are the EARTHQUAKES, which
have lately happened, not only under these Two great Cities, but in other Parts of this Kingdom.
EARTHQUAKEs are the Productions of the Almighty Power of God, and happen only when and where he commands them to happen : No Aftronomer, no Philosopher, can tell when or where the terrible and mighty CONVULSIONs of the Earth shall be : No, no more than they can tell when the Wind will change from East to West, or to any other Point of the Compass, or how long it shall blow from this or that Quarter, or when it shall raise Storms and Tempefts: And although natural Causes may be employed in producing such Effects, yet it is God who manages these natural Causes, and who can restrain, or quicken their Agency as he pleases, and who always does fo.
It is the Mighty God, who makes the Earth to tremble; therefore faid David (Psalm lx. 12.) O God, thou hast cast us off, thou hast scattered us, thou baft been displeafed ; O turn thyself to us again. Thou bast made the Earth to tremble, thou haft broken it : Heal the Breaches thereof, for it Maketh.
The Lord is the true God, and an everlasting King : At bis Wrath, the Earth Mall tremble, and ihe Nations shall not be able to abide bis Indignation, said the Prophet, Jer. X. 10.
And the Prophet Isaiah, declaring God's Indignation against the Inhabitants of Jerusalem, for their Sins, says to them ; Thou salt be visited of the Lord of Hofts with Thunder, and with Earthquake, and great Noise, with Storm, and Tempest, and the Flame of devouring Fire, Ilaiah xxix. 6.
And doubtless, when any other People fall under the like Guilt, they fall under the like Threatenings, which will be executed when ever the Lord pleases.
The Divine Power is never idle, or inactive: As it did act in the Creation of the Universe, so it is
always acting in upholding, preserving, and regulacing all the Parts of it: and some Things appear to be the immediate Effects of the Divine Agency ; particularly, the Course of the Wind, whence, and whither it blows, Storms, and Tempefts, Thunderings, and Lightenings, and Earthquakes. They that go
down to the Sea in Ships, that do Business in great Waters; these see the Works of the Lord, and bis Wonders in the Deep. For be commandeth, and raiseth tbe Stormy Wind, which lifteth up the Waves thereof, Pfal. cix. 23, 24, 25.
The Agency of the Power of God appears like. wise in his Management of Things in the Moral World, the Concerns of rational Creatures, the Things in which Nations, Cities, and Families, and particular Persons are concerned. Skall ibere be Evil in the City, and the Lord hath not done it, it is said, Amos iii, 6.
FAMINES, and PESTILENCES, and EARTHQUAKES are tremendous Judgments of the Almighty and Holy God, by which Multitudes have been destroyed; yet, tremendous as they are, they are mentioned by our Bleffed Saviour as foregoing Signs of greater Miseries. For after he had foretold them, he says, All tbese are the Beginning of Sorrows. Mat. xxiv. 8.
And have not Famines, and Pestilences, and Earthquakes, been lately in divers Places ? And hath not the Inhabitants of Great Britain, and its Cities, long, even through the Course of many years, been provoking the Most High? Have they not been regardless of his Laws, affroncing his Authority, and defying his Justice, and his Power? And do they not still go on in their evil Ways, and in a dreadful Rebellion a gainst him? And what will be the End of such a desperate Course! Are not greater Calucitis and greater Destructions of Sinners, to be feared, and expected ?