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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 shall 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 now 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 Tempests: And although natural Causes may be employed in producing such Effects, yet it is God who manages thefe natural Causes, and who can restrain, or quicken their Agency as he pleases, and who always does so.
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 ?
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, tbe 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 hide thee in the Duft 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 bis Majesty, wben be hall arise to fake terribly the Earth.
When the incorrigible Sinners shall come to fee 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 bear and for eandthing gof many Families, and Mulcitudes destroyed, or re
duced to extreme Distress and Misery, who a little before enjoyed Health, Prosperity, and Peace ; when Dangers chicken about them, when their guilty Souls shall be filled with horrible Fears, they
nay Ay from their Dwellings, and setk hiding Places for their Security, but they cannot fly from God, nor get out of the Reach of his Arm: Whithersoever they shall go, the Just God is there; if in the City there comes a Pestilence, or Famine, without it the Sword may devour.
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.