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troubles, and provide for the worst estate, whilft we enjoy the best: happy is he that is at once believing and praying for good days, and preparing for the worst. Noah's example is our advantage, Heb. xi. 7. "Who, by faith being warned of God, of things not feen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark." Preventing mercies are the most ravishing mercies, Pfal. lix. 10. And preventing calamities are the foreft calamities, Amos ix. 10. And let us heartily bewail the fupinenefs and careleffuefs of the world in which we live, who take no notice of God's warnings, but put the evil day far from them, Amos vi. 3. who will admit no fear, till they are paft all hope; they fee God housing his faints apace, yet will not fee the evil to come from which God takes them, Ifa. lvii. 1, 2. "The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart; and merciful men are taken away, "none confidering that the righteous is taken away from the "evil to come. He fhall enter into peace, they fhall rest in "their beds, each one walking in his uprightnefs." They hear the cry of fin which is gone up to heaven, but cry not for the abominations that are committed, nor tremble at the judgments that they will procure.
O careless finners, drowned in ftupidity, and fleeping like Jonah, under the hatches, when others are upon their knees and at their wits end! Do faints tremble, and are you fecure ? · Have not you more reason to be afraid than they; if judgments come, the greatest harm it can do them, is but to haften them to heaven; but as for you, it may hurry you away to hell: they only fear tribulation in the way; but you will not fear damnation in the end. Believe it, reader, in days of common calamity both heaven and hell will fill apace.
Demonftrating the fifth propofition, viz. That God's attributes, promifes, and providences, are prepared for the fecurity of his people, in the greatest diftreffes that can befal them in the world.
Sect. I. HAVING more briefly dispatched the foregoing preliminary propofitions, it remains that we now more fully open this fifth propofition, which contains the main fubject-matter of this difcourfe; here therefore our meditations muft fix and abide, and truly fuch is the delicioufnefs of the fubject to fpiritual hearts, that I judge it wholly needless to VOL. IV.
offer any other motive befides itself to engage your affections. Let us therefore view our chambers, and see how well God bath provided for his children in all the distresses that befal them in this world; it is our Father's voice that calls to us, Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers. And the
1. Chamber which comes to be opened as a refuge to diftreffed believers in a ftormy day, is that moft fecure and fafe attribute of Divine Power: into this let us first enter by ferious and believing meditation, and see how fafe they are whom God hides under the protection thereof, in the worst and most dangerous, days. In opening this attribute, we fhall confider it. 1. In its own nature and property.
2. With respect to the promises.
3. As it is actuated by providence in the behalf of diftreffed faints.
And then give you a comfortable prospect of their safe and happy condition, who take up their lodgings by faith in this attribute of God.
1. Let us confider the power of God in itself, and we shall find it represented to us in the fcriptures, in these three lovely properties, viz.
1. As an omnipotent and all-fufficient power, which hath no bounds or limits, but the pleasure and will of God, Dan. iv. 34, 35." He doth according to his will in the armies of heaven; and among the inhabitants of the earth, and none can stay his hand, or fay unto him, What doft thou?" So Pfalm cxxxv. 6. Whatsoever the Lord pleafed that did he, in heaven, and in "earth, in the feas, and all deep places." You fee divine pleafure is the only rule, according to which Divine Power exerts itlelf in the world; we are not therefore to limit and restrain it in our narrow and shallow thoughts, and to think in this, or in that, the power of God may help or fecure us; but to believe that he is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we can alk or think. Thus those worthies, Dan. iii. 17. by faith exalted the power of God above the order and common rule of fecond caufes."Our God whom we ferve is able to deliver us from "the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine "hand, O king." Their faith refting itfelf upon the omnipotent power of God, expected deliverance from it in an extraordinary way; it is true, this is no ftanding rule for our faith ordinarily to work by; nor have we ground to expect fuch mi
raculous falvations, but yet when extraordinary difficulties prels us, and the common ways and means of deliverance are shut up, we ought by faith to exalt the omnipotency of God, by afcribing the glory thereof to him, and leave ourselves to his good pleafure, without ftraitening or narrowing his Almighty Fower, according to the mould of our poor; low thoughts and apprehenfions of it: for fo the Lord himself directeth our faith in difficult cafes, Ifa. Iv. 8, 9." For my thoughts are not your thoughts, "neither are your ways my ways, faith the Lord; for as the "heavens are higher than the earth, fo are my ways higher "than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." He fpeaks there of his pardoning mercy, which he will not have his people to contract, and limit according to the model and platform of their own defponding, mifgiving, and unbelieving thoughts; but to exalt and glorify it, according to its unbounded fulness; as it is in the thoughts of God, the fountain of that mercy; fo it ought to be with refpect to his power, about which his thoughts and ours do vaftly differ; the power of God as we caft it in the mould of our thoughts, is as vaftly different, and difproportionate from what it is in the thoughts of God the fountain thereof; as the earth is to the heavens, which is but a fmall inconfiderable point compared with them.
2. The power of God is a fupreme and fovereign power, from which all creature-power is derived, and by which it is over-ruled, restrained, and limited at his pleasure. Nebuchadnezzar was a great monarch, he ruled over other kings, yet he held his kingdom from God; it was God that placed not only the crown upon his head, but his head upon his shoulders, Dan. ii. 37." Thou, O king, art a king of kings; for the God of "heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and ftrength, and "glory." Hence it follows, that no creature can move tongue or hand against any of God's people, but by virtue of a commit fion or permiffion from their God; albeit they think not fo. Knoweft thou not, faith Pilate unto Christ, that I have power to crucify thee, and power to release thee? Proad worm! what an ignorant, and infolent boast was this of his own power! and how doth Chrift fpoil and fhame it in his anfwer? John xix. 10. Thou couldeft have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above.
Wicked men like wild horfes would run over and trample under foot all the people of God in the world, were it not that the bridle of divine Providence had a ftrong curb to reArain them: Ezek. xxii. 6. "The princes of Ifrael every one
were in thee, to their power to fhed blood." And it was well for God's Ifrael that their power was not as large as their wills were; this world is a raging and boisterous sea, which forely toffes the paffengers for heaven that fail upon it, but this is their comfort and fecurity: "The Lord ftilleth the noife of "the fea, the noife of the waves, and the tumult of the peo"ple," Pfal. lxv. 7. Moral, as well as natural waves, are checked and bounded by divine power. Surely the wrath of man fhall praise thee, and the remainder of wrath thou shalt "reftrain," Pfal. lxxvi, 10. As a man turns fo much water into the channel as will drive the mill, and turns away the rest into another fuice.
Yea, not only the power of man, but the power of devils alfo is under the reftraint and limitation of this power, Rev. iii. 10. "Satan fhall caft fome of you into prison, and ye shall "have tribulation ten days." He would have cast them into their graves, yea, into hell if he could, but it must be only into a prison: He would have kept them in prifon, till they had died and rotted there, but it must be only for ten days. Oh glorious fovereign power! which thus keeps the reins of govern ment in its own hand!
3. The power of God is an everlasting power; timè doth not weaken or diminish it, as it doth all creature-powers, Ifa. xl. 28, "The Lord, the creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not "neither is weary." Ifa. lix. 1. "The Lord's hand is not "fhortened," (i. e.) He hath as much power now as ever he had, and can do for his people as much as ever he did; time will de çay the power of the strongest creature, and make him faint and feeble; but the Creator of the ends of the earth fainteth not, "Thou (faith the Pfalmift) abideth for ever, thy years flee not," Pfal. cii. 27. In God's working there is no expence of his strength, he is able to do as much for his church now, as ever he did, to act over again all the glorious "deliverances that ever he wrought for his people from the beginning of the world; to do as much for his church now, as he did at the Red-fea; and upon this ground the church builds its plea, Ifa. li. 9, 10. “ Awake, "awake, put on ftrength, O arm of the Lord, awake as in the "ancient days, as in the generations of old, art thou not it
that haft cut Rahab, and wounded the dragon?" g. d. Lord, why should not thy people at this day expect as glorious pro ductions of thy power, as any of them found in former ages? Sect. II. Let us view the power of God in the vast extent of its operations, and then you will find it working beyond the line,
1. Of creature-power,
2. Of creature-expectation,
3. Of human probability.
1. Beyond the line of all created power, even upon the hearts, thoughts, and minds of men, where no creature hath any jurisdiction. So Gen. xxxi. 29. God bound up the fpirit of Laban, and becalmed it towards Jacob. So Pfal. cvi. 46. "He made them alfo to be pitied of all them that carried them "captives." Thus the Lord promifed Jeremy, Jer. xv. 11. "I will caufe the enemies to entreat thee well, in the time of "evil." This power of God foftens the hearts of the most fierce and cruel enemies, and fweetens the fpirits of the most bitter and enraged foes of his people.
2. Beyond the line of all creature-expectations, Eph. iii. 20. "God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we can "ask or think." He doth fo in fpirituals; as appears by those two famous parables, Luke xv. 19, 22. " And am no more worthy to be called thy fon; make me as one of thy hired fervants. "But the Father faid to his fervants, bring forth the best robe, "and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on "his feet." The prodigal defired to be but as an hired fervant, and lo, the fatted calf is killed for him, and mufic to his meat; and the gold ring upon his finger. And in Mat. xviii. 26, 27. the debtor did but defire patience, and the creditor forgave the debt. Oh, thinks a poor humbled finner, if I might have but the leaft glimpse of hope, how fweet would it be! But God brings him to more than he expects, even the clear fhining of affurance. It is so in temporals the church confeffes the Lord did things they looked not for, Ila. Ixiv. 3. And in both spirituals and temporals this power moves in an higher orb than our thoughts, Ifa. Iv. 8, 9. " My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor my ways your ways; but as far as the heavens are above "the earth, fo are my thoughts above your thoughts." The earth is but a punctum to the heavens; all its tallest cedars, mountains, and pyramids cannot reach it: He speaks, as was faid before, of God's pitying, pardoning, and merciful thoughts, and fhews that no creature can think of God, as he doth of the creature under fin, or under mifery, our thoughts are not his thoughts; either firft by way of fimple cogitation we cannot think fuch thoughts towards others in mifery, by way of pity; or under fin against us by way of pardon, as God doth: Nor fecondly, are our thoughts as God's in refpect of reflexive comprehenfion; i. e. We cannot conceive or comprehend what thole thoughts of God towards us are; when we fall into fin or