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Ivi. 3. "At what time I am afraid, I will truft in thee." Pfal. xviii. 2. "The Lord is my rock, and my fortrefs, and my de"liverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will truft, my "buckler, and the horn of my falvation, and my high tower.' This their confidence in God, and reliance upon him, engages him to protect them in their dangers, Ifa. xxvi. 3. All others put themselves out of God's protection, by making flesh their arm, and fo giving the honour of God to the creature, Jer. xvii. 5. And thus much for clearing this laft propofition alfo. All that remains, will be dispatched in a brief and close application of the point thus opened and confirmed.
CHA P. XII.
Containing the firft ufe of the point, in several informing confectaries and deductions of truth from it.
Confect. 1. FROM the whole of this difcourfe, we may be informed what a miferable and fhiftless people all those will be, in times of trouble, who have no fpecial intereft in God, or the promifes. Sad and lamentable was the cafe of Saul, as it is by himself expreffed, 1 Sam. xxviii. 15. "fore diftreffed, for the Philiftines make war against me, and "God is departed from me, and anfwereth me no more." It is a wonderful and unaccountable thing, how carnal men and women fubfift and bear up, when their earthly props and hopes fink under and fail them; fo long as any creature comfort is left, thither they will retreat for relief and fuccour: but if all fail, as quickly they may, whither will they turn for comfort, having not a God nor a promise to flee to which the people of God can do, when all things elfe fail them, Heb. iii. 17. Their different conditions in the day of trouble, is clearly expreffed in Zeph. ii. 3, 4. "Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, "which have wrought his judgment, feek righteousness, seek "meeknefs, it may be ye fhall be hid in the day of the Lord's "anger." There is God's may-be, which is better security than man's full-be, for their temporal deliverance: But what fhall become of others, that have no refuge but in the creature? Why, the mifery and fhiftlefnefs of their condition follows in the next words: "Gaza fhall be forfaken, and Afhkelon a de"folation; they fhall drive out Afhdod at noon-day, and Ekron "hall be rooted up;" i. e. All their earthly fecurities shall
fail them; their ftrong-holds fhall not fecure them; they fhall find no fhelter in the fcorching heat of the day of trouble. Moab, Afhdod and Ekron have no more benefit by the promises. made to Zion, than the inhabitants of Rome can claim by the charter of London. If a wicked or hypocritical perfon cry to God in his diftrefs, he will not hear him, Prov. i. 25, 26. Job. xxvii. 9. but will bid him go to his earthly refuges which he hath chofen. If he go to the promises, knock at thofe doors. of hope, they cannot relieve him, being all made in Chrift to believers; if to the name and attributes of God, all the doors are fhut against them, Pfal. xxxiv. 16. There are feven dreadful aggravations of a wicked man's troubles.
(1.) When troubles come upon him, the curfe of God follows him into his carnal refuges; Jer. xvii. 5. "Curfed be the 66 man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and "whose heart departeth from the Lord." Trouble is the arrow, and this curse the venom of the arrow, which makes the wound incurable.
(2.) When troubles fall upon him from without, a guilty confcience will terrify him from within; fo that the mind can give no relief to the body, but both fink under their own weights. It is not fo with the people of God, they have inward relief under outward preffures, 2 Cor. iv. 16.
(3.) The gufts and ftorms of wicked mens troubles may blow them into hell, and hurry them into eternal destruction: if death march towards them upon the pale horfe, hell always follows him, Rev. vi. 8.
(4.) If troubles and diftreffes overwhelm their hearts, they can give them no vent or cafe by prayer, faith, and refignation to God, as his people ufes to do, I Sam i. 18.
(5.) When their troubles and diftreffes, come, then comes the hour and power of their temptation; and, to fhun forrow, they will fall into fin, having no promise to be kept in the hour of temptation, as the faints have, Rev. iii. 10..
(6.) When their troubles come, they will be left alone in the midit of them: these are their burdens, and they alone must bear them. God's gracious, comfortable, fupporting presence is only with his own people.
(7.) If trouble or death come upon them as a storm, they have no anchor of hope to drop in the form; the wicked is driven away in his wickedness; but the righteous bath hope in his death, Prov. xiv. 32. By all which it appears, that a christless perfon is a most helpless and fhiftlefs creature in the day of Louble.
Confect. 2. Secondly, Hence it follows, That Chriftians eught not to droop like other men in the day of trouble. A wicked man's boldnefs, and a Chriftian's cowardlinefs, in times of affliction, are alike ungrounded and uncomely. Why fhould thy heart, Chriftian, defpond and fink at this rate, upon the prospect of approaching troubles? Are there not fafe and comfortable chambers taken up, and provided for thee against that day? Is not the name of the Lord a ftrong tower, into which thou mayeft run and be fafe? The heart of a good man, faith Chryfoftom, fhould at all times be like the higher heavens, ferene, tranquil, and clear, whatever thunders and lightenings, storms and tempefts trouble and terrify the lower world. If a man have a good roof over his head, where he can fit dry and warm, what need he trouble himself to hear the winds roar, fee the lightenings flash, and the rains pour down without doors? Why, this is thy privilege, Chriftian; "A man (to wit the man Christ "Jesus) fhall be as an hiding-place from the wind, and a co"vert from the tempeft; as rivers of water in a dry place, as "the fhadow of a great rock in a weary land," Ifa. xxxii. 2. Art thou in Chrift, and in the covenant? give me then one good reafon for thy dejections in a day of trouble; or if thou haft none to give, hearken to thefe reafons against it.
1. If thou be in Chrift, thy fins are forgiven thee; and why fhould not a pardoned foul be a chearful foul in adversity? Affictions may buz and hum about thee, like bees that have loft their fing, but they can never hurt thee.
2. If thou be in Chrift, thy God is with thee in all thy troubles; and how can thy heart fink or faint in fuch a prefence? Let them that are alone in troubles fail under them: but do not thou do fo, that art furrounded with Almighty power, grace, and love, Ifa. xliii. 1, 2.
3. If thou be in Chrift, thy greatest afflictions fhall prove thy best friends and benefactors, Rom. viii. 28. Sure then thou art more afraid than hurt; thou mistakest thy best friends for thy worst enemies; thou and thy afflictions fhall part more comfortably than you met.
4. If thou be in Chrift, thy treasure is fafe, thy eternal hap. pinefs is out of the reach of all thine enemies, Luke xii 4. Luke x 42. And if that be fafe, thou haft no caufe to be fad ; to droop and tremble at the hazard of earthly comforts, whilst heavenly and eternal things are fafe, is as if a man that had gotten his pardon from the king, and had it fafe in his bofom, fhould be found weeping upon the way home, because he hath loft his staff or glove. Thefe reafons are ftrong against the
dejections of God's people under outward troubles; but yet I am fenfible that all the reasoning in the world will not prevent their dejections, except they will take pains to clear up their intereft in God, against such a day, Pfal. xviii. 2. and will act their faith by way of adherence and dependence upon God, in the want of former light and evidence, Ifa. 1. 10. And lastly, that they keep their confciences pure and inviolate, which will be a fpring of comfort in the midst of troubles, 2 Cor. i. 12.
3. Confect. Thirdly, It hence appears to be the greatest folly and vanity in the world, to make any thing but God our refuge in the day of trouble. This practice, as you heard but now, is under God's curfe; and that which is curfed of God can never be comfortable to us. It is an honour peculiar to God, the right of heaven, and therefore curfed facrilege to bestow it on the creature. We read of fome that make lies their refuge, and hide themselves under falfhood, thinking when the overflowing fcourge comes, it shall not come nigh unto them, Ifa. xxviii. 15. They will truft to their wits and policies, they will fawn and flatter, lie and diffemble, caft themselves into a thousand shapes and forms to fave themselves; but all in vain; the flood shall fweep away their refuge of lies. Others make riches their trust and confidence, Prov. x. 15. "The rich man's wealth is his ftrong city." If enemies come, their money shall be their ranfom: But oh! what a poor refuge will this be ! it may be tray, but cannot fecure them. "Behold, faith God, I will flir "up the Medes against them, which fhall not regard filver; "and as for gold, they fhall not delight in it," Ifa. xiii. 17. Riches profit not in the day of wrath, Prov. xi. 4. Job blessed God in the day of his adverfity, that he had not made gold his hope or the fine gold his confidence, Job xxxi. 24. Bless not thou thyfelf, that thou haft fuch things to bestow thy hope and trust upon. Others make men their refuge, efpecially great and powerful men: But to how little purpofe is it! "Put not your trust in princes, nor in the fon of man, in whom there is "no help," Pfal. cxlvi. 3, 4. They cannot keep their crowns up. on their heads; no, nor their heads upon their fhoulders; the greatest men are but dust, and what can duft do to duft? Three things aggravate their mifery, who misplace their confidence, by bestowing it on any creature. (1.) That creature will certainly deceive them; men are deceitful men, Pfal. lxii. 9. Riches are deceitful riches, 1 Tim. vi. 17. Every thing you lean, on befide God will start afide like a deceitful bow, Pfal. lxxviii. 57. (2.) The disappointment of your hopes from the creature will enflame
your affliction, and greatly aggravate your forrow, 2 Kings xviii. 21. The broken reeds of Egypt will not only fail, but pierce you. (3.) In a word, God will take none into his protection, who make any thing befides himself their hope and confidence ; if we fly from God to the creature, God will fay, To the creature thou fhalt go; except I have thy dependence, thou shalt never have my protection; where I have no honour, thou shalt have Do comfort.
Confect. 4. Fourthly, The former difcourfe yields us alfo this comfortable conclufion, That whatever confufions, defolations and troubles be in the earth, the church and people of God can never be wholly exterminated and deftroyed, feeing fuch a fecure refuge is prepared for them of God, Pial. cii. 28. The children of thy "fervants fhall continue, and their feed fhall be established be"fore thee." Which is affigned as the true reafon of its perpetuity and fafety, Pfal. xlviii. 3. "God is known in her palaces for a "refuge." The church's enemies have tried the utmost of their policies and powers in all ages against it, but to no purpose: whilft they have been plotting and perfecuting, the preserved remnant have been finging their fong upon Alamoth, even praises to their great preferver; tho' they have no external, visible defence, yet are they as fafe as falvation itself can make them, "for falvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks," Ifa. xxvi. 1, 2. Four things are exceeding remarkable in the church's prefervation: (1.) No people were ever fo fiercely opposed by, the powers of this world, "The kings of the earth have fet "themselves, and the rulers have taken counfel together," Pfal. ii. 2. All methods and artifices have been tried, fometimes to jeer and fcoff them out of their religion, fo did the apoftate Julian; and fometimes by cruel tortures to affright them from their religion; the variety, and more than barbarous inhumanity whereof the church-histories give us a fad and amazing account. (2.) Under these cruel perfecutions they have feemed to be utterly loft, to the eye of fenfe and reafon; "I am left alone, "faid Elijah, and they feek my life," Kings xix. 10. "By "whom, Lord, shall Jacob arife, faid Amos, for he is very "fmall?" Amos vii. 2. (3.) Notwithstanding all which, the church hath out-lived all its dangers; it is the true Phoenix which hath out-lived the deluge. (4.) Such deliverances are proper and peculiar to the church alone; no people, befides the people of God, have fuch falvations upon record. The great and famous monarchies of the world have dafhed one another VOL. IV.