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You neither know how much, nor how long you can bear and fuffer. It is not inherent, but affifting grace, by which your fuffering abilities are to be measured. God can make that little ftock of patience you have to hold out as the poor widow's cruife of oil did, 'till deliverance come; he can enable your patience unto its perfect work, (i. e.) to work as extenfively to all the kinds and forts of trials, as intenfively to the highest degree of trial, and as protenfively to the longeft duration and continuance of your trials, as he would have it: if this be a marvellous thing in your eyes, muft it be so in God's eyes al fo?
2. The Lord knows the proper feafon to come in to the relief of your fliding and fainting patience, and will affuredly come in accordingly in that season; for so run the promises, "The Lord fhall judge his people, and repent himself for his "fervants, when he feeth that their power is gone, and that "there is none shut up or left," Deut. xxxii. 36. Cum duplicantur lateres venit Mofes ; in the mount of difficulties and extremities it shall be seen. "The rod of the wicked fhall not "reft upon the lot of the righteous, left the righteous put forth "their hands unto iniquity," Pfal. cxxv. 3. Ubi definit humanum, ibi incipit divinum auxilium; God's power watches the opportunity of your weakness.
Plea 7. But what if I fhould be put to cruel and exquifite tortures, fuppofe to the rack, to the fire, or fuch most dreadful fufferings as other Christians have been? What shall I do? Do I think I am able to bear it? Is my ftrength the ftrength of ftone, or are my bones brafs, that ever I fhould endure fuch barbarous cruelties? Alas! Death in the mildeft form is terrible to me how terrible then must such a death be?
Anfwer. Who enabled those Christians you mention to endure these things? They loved their lives, and fenfed theit pains as well as you, they had the fame thoughts and fears, many of them, that you now have; yet God carried them thro' all, and fo he can you. Did not he make the devouring flames a bed of roses to fome of them? Was he not within the fires? Did he not abate the extremity of the torment, and enable weak and tender perfons to endure them patiently and chearfully? Some finging in the midst of flames, others clapping their hands triumphantly, and to the laft fight that could be had of them in this world, nothing appeared but figns and demonstra tions of joy unspeakable. Ah friends! we judge of sufferings by the out-fide and appearance, which is terrible; but we know not the infide of fufferings, which is exceeding com
Fortable, Oh! when thall we have done with our unbelieving ifs and buts, our questionings and doubtings of the power, wildom, and tender care of our God over us, and learn to trust him over all. Now the juft fhall live by faith; and he that lives by faith fhall never die by fear. The more you trust God, the lefs you will torment yourselves. I have done; the Lord ftrengthen, stablish, and fettle the trembling and feeble hearts of his people, by what hath been fo feasonably offered for their relief by a weak hand. Amen.
THE EPISTLE TO THE READER.
F Heinfius, when he had fhut up himself in the library at Leyden, reckoned himself placed in the very lap of eternity, because he converfed there with fo many divine "fouls, and profeffed, he took his feat in it with fo lofty a fpi"rit and sweet content, that he heartily pitied all the great and rich men of the world, that were ignorant of the happi
nefs he there daily enjoyed!" How much more nay that foul rejoice in its own happinefs, who hath thut himfelf up in the chambers of the Divine Attributes, and exercifeth pity for the exposed and miferable multitude that are left as a prey to the temptations and troubles of the world.
That the days are evil, is a truth preached to us by the convincing voice of fenfe; and that they are like to be worfe, few can doubt that look into the moral caufes of evil times, the impudent height of fin, or into the prophefies relating to these
* Plerumque in qua fimulac pedem pofui, foribus peffulum obdo, et in ipfo aternitatis gremio inter tot illuftres animas fedem mihi fumo; cum ingenti quidem animo, ut fubinde magnatum me mifereat qui felicitatem hanc ignorant. Épiftola primar.
latter days; for whom the fharpest sufferings are appointed, to make way for the fweetest mercies. A faithful watchman of our own, hath given us fresh and late warning in these words of truth: Hath God faid nothing? doth faith fee nothing of a flood coming upon us? Is there fuch a deluge of fin among us, and doth not that prophecy to us a deluge of wrath? Lift up your eyes, Chriftians, ftand, and look through the land, eastward and westward, northward and fouthward, and tell me what you fee? Behold, a flood cometh; a flood of fin is already broken forth upon us, the fountains of the great deeps are broken up, and the windows of hell are opened, &c. In fuch an evil day as this is, happy is the foul that hath made God its refuge, even the most high God its habitation. He fhall fit Noah-like, Mediis tranquillus in undis, fafe from the fear of evil. In confideration of the diftrefs of many unprovided fouls for the misery that is coming on them, and not knowing how fhort my time will be ufeful to any, (for I know it cannot be long) I have endeavoured once more, the affistance of poor Christians in these two small treatifes, one of fear, the other of preparation for the worst of times; which, it may be, is the laft help I fhall this way be able to afford them. It is therefore my earnest request to all that fear the Lord, and tremble at his word, to redeem their time with double diligence, because the days are evil; to clear up their intereft in Chrift and the promises, left the darkness of their spiritul estate, meeting with fuch a night of outward darknefs, overwhelm them with terrors infupportable. Some help is offered in this treatife to direct the gracious foul to its reft in God: May the bleffings of his Spirit accompany them, and bless them to the foul of him that readeth; it will be a matter of joy, beyond all earthly joys, to the heart of,
Thy friend and fervant in Chrift,
+ Mr. R. A. of Godly Fear, p. 19.
Ila. xxvi. 20. Come my People, enter thou into thy chambers, and but thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be over-past.
Wherein the literal and real importance of the text is confidered, the doctrine propounded, and the method of the following difcourfe ftated.
Sect. I. MAN being a prudent and profpecting creature, can
never be fatisfied with prefent fafety, except he may also see himself well fecured against future dangers. U. pon all appearance of trouble, it is natural for him to seek a re; fuge, that he may be able to fhun what he is loath to suffer, and furvive those calamities which will ruin the defenceless and expofed multitude. Natural men feek refuge in natural things. "The rich man's wealth is his ftrong city, and as an high "wall in his own conceit," Prov xviii. 11. Hypocrites make lies their refuge, and under falfhood do they hide themfelves, Ifa. xxviii. 15. not doubting but they fhall ftand dry and fafe, when the over-flowing flood lays all others under water, But,
Godly men make God himself their hiding-place, to him they have still betaken themfelves in all ages, as often as calamities have befallen the world, Pfal. xlvi. 1. "God is our refuge and ftrength, a very prefent help in trouble." As chickens run under the wings of the hen for fafety when the kite hovers over them, fo do they fly to their God for fanctuary, Pfal. Ivi. 3. "At what time I am afraid I will truft in thee;" q. d. Lord, if a storm of trouble at any time overtake me, I will make bold to come under thy roof for shelter; and indeed not fo bold as welcome; it is no prefumption in them after fo gra cious an invitation from their God, "Come, my people, enter "thou into thy chambers."
My friends, a found of trouble is in our ears, the clouds gather and blacken upon us more and more: Diftrefs of nations with perplexity feems to be near,,our day haftens to an end, and the fhadows of the night are ftretching forth upon us. greater fervice therefore can I do for your fouls, than by the light of this fcripture (as with a candle in my hand) to lead you
to your chambers, and fhew you your lodgings in the attributes and promifes of God, before I take my leave of you, and bid you good night.
O with what fatisfaction should I part with you, were I but fure to leave you under Chrift's wings! It was Chrift's lamentation over Jerufalem, that they would not be gathered under his wings, when the Roman eagle was ready to hover over that city; and you know how dear they paid for their obstinacy and infidelity. Be warned by that dreadful example, and among the rest of your mercies blefs God heartily for this, that fo fweet a voice founds from heaven in your ears this day, this day of frights and troubles; "Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers," &c.
This chapter contains a lovely fong fitted for the lips of God's Ifrael, notwithstanding their fad captivity; for their God was with them in Babylon, and cheered their hearts there with many promises of deliverance, and in the myftical fenfe, it relates to the new teftament churches, of whofe troubles, protections, and deliverances, the Jews in Babylon were a type.
This chapter, though full of excellent and feafonable truths, will be too long to analize; it fall fuffice to fearch back only to the 17th verfe, where you find the poor captivated church under defpondency of mind, comparing her condition to that of a woman in travail, who hath many fharp pains, and bitter throws, yet cannot be delivered, much like that in 2 Kings xix. 3. "The children are come to the birth, and there is no "ftrength to bring forth."
Against this difcouragement a double relief is applied in the following verfes, the one is a promife of full deliverance at Jaft; the other an invitation into a fure fanctuary and place of defence for the prefent, until the time of their full deliverance.
The promise we have in verfe 19. " Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arife: awake and fing ye that dwell in the duft," &c. Their captivity was a civil death, and Babylon as a grave to them. So it is elsewhere defcribed, Ezek. xxxvii. 1, 2, 3, 14. I will open your graves,
and caufe you to come up out of your graves, and bring you "into the land of Ifrael." And therefore their deliverance is carried under the notion of a refurrection in that promife.
Object. Yea, (might they reply) the hopes of deliverance at Jaft is fome comfort, but alas, that may be far off: How fhall we fubfift till then?
Solut. Well enough, for as you have in that promife a fure, ground of deliverance at laft, fo in the interim here is a graci