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Judah for her fins was finally to be cut off from being a nation, forewarnings of vengeance were given without ceasing, by the Son of God himself and his apostles and servants, for the space of forty years. They were exhorted, were intreated with tears, of love, to flee for protection to God their Redeemer.
By day and by night, in the temple and the synagogues and from house to house, the prophecies which demonstrated Jesus to be the Messiah were expounded to them; miracles were publicly wrought in his name; their sin in crucifying him was brought home to their consciences; for which, and for their other iniquities, the extreme and inevitable ruin, which should come upon that very age of unbelievers, was foreshewn and described.
These predictions, moreover, were committed to writing, that they might be weighed and considered in the calmness of retirement, by those who were afraid or ashamed of liftening to the public discourses of the leaders of a hated and persecuted fect. And lastly while the total overthrow of the state, together with the desolation of the city and temple, was foretold and lamented, the faithful were comforted with a promise of deliverance M 2
from the midst of these troubles, and the manner of their escape was minutely prescribed and earnestly recommended.
In these extraordinary interpositions of hea. ven, as well as in the more usual course of providence, He who made man and knoweth what is in him, dealeth with him as a frail, yet still as a rational and free creature. He setteth before him life and death; but as he doth not willingly inflict the one, fo reither doth he forcibly obtrude the other.
When the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah with fire, he had mercy upon Lot; and the angels, while he lingered, laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters. They brought them forth without the city, and put safety in their power ; and said to him, “ Escape for thy life, look not behind thee.” Yet one of the party, small as it was, became a monument of disobedience to all future generations m.
In the fiege of the Chaldeans, and in the war of the Romans, deliverance was promised to those that were obedient; but no
. m See Gen. xix. 15. &c.
rescue was miraculously effected for those who did not believe the declarations of heaven, or did not feise the opportunity of escape which providence afforded.
When Paul was imprisoned, the Lord said unto him, “ Be of good cheer; for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome".” When afterwards in the voyage they were tossed with a tempest many days, and all hope of safety was gone ; he was again certified by an angel of GOD, that neither himself, nor any one of those with him in the ship, should perisho. Yet even this repeated assurance of heaven was not designed to set aside the use of ordinary means and human prudence : “ As the shipmen were about to flee out of the ship,” leaving none on board who could navigate the vessel, “ Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, Ye cannot be saved ?."
Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Thou shalt not throw thyself headlong upon danger, when he hath not promised to keep thee from falling. Thou shalt not tarry in
.° See Ibid. xxvii. 22.
Acts xxiii. 11. ? Ibid. 30, 31.
the tents of the ungodly, when he hath com, manded thee to flee away, lest the earth open her mouth and swallow thee up. Such calaç mities as it seemeth good to the just and merciful Disposer of all things to bring upon the world, he will, if we trust in him, direct us to escape, or enable us to bear. " In faminę he shall redeem thee from death; and in war from the power of the sword?.” Under his wings thou shalt fear no evil, his faithfulness and truth shall be thy shield and buckler. « For who is God, save the LORD? and who is a rock, save our ĠOD? The LORD liveth, and blessed be our rock; and exalted be the God of the rock of our salvation'."
9 Job v. 20.
• 2 Sam. xxii. 32. 47,
L UK E XIX. 41, 42, 43, 44.
And when he was come near, be bebeld the
city, and wept over it, saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are bid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies mall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every fide, and Mall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they hall not leave in thee one stone upon another ; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.
IT has often been observed, by those who I have viewed with attention the affairs of the world, and the various revolutions in civil M4