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elear before an earthquake, and the winds are laid before great rains fall. The gospel has been doing little good for many years; and where people are not bettered, they are made worfe by it. I believe there was never a generation more difpofed to root out ferious godlinefs from the earth, than that which this time affords. Among the fashionable people of the age, religion is become almost quite out of fashion. Minifters and profeffors, through long eafe, have gathered much mud, they need to be emptied from veffel to veffel. And it feems that judgement, as ordinary, must begin at the house of God, to purge it, and prepare the nations for a more dreadful vengeance; fo that it is probable it will be brought to this ere long,-fuffer or fin.-Confider,
(3) That it is not easy to stand in a time of trial. Many will venture to fea in a fair day, that will never abide a storm. Many tall cedars have been blown up from the root by the wind of perfecution, and they who have stood fastest, their towering branches have been made to fweep the ground. Be not over confident; though you have endured a storm already, there may be a harder yet before you, Heb. x. 34. compared with chap. xii. 4. There is need, then, to be preparing.-Confider,
(4.) That this will fit you for it. When the things of the world hang loose about us, like Jofeph's mantle, and Satan, by the hands of wicked men, seizes them, to draw us to him by them, they will flip off, and we will leave them in their hand, and fo efcape, as he did. They who are standing ready to encounter, will refift the enemy, while they who are furprised will fall into confufion. It is a fad thing to feel trouble before we fee it, to be paft hope before we have any fear. Troubles S 2
that find men fecure, ordinarily leave them defpe»
Mot. 2. Apoftafy and defection from God in a trying time, is dreadful and dangerous: Heb. x. 38. Now the juft fhall live by faith; but if any man draw back, my foul fhall have no pleasure in him." God punishes men of this defcription: oftentimes remarkably. How has a spirit of defection been followed in the fearful 'judgement of God with a spirit of perfecution; for when God departs, the spirit is imbittered. As the fharpest vinegar is made of the most generous wine, fo apoftate profeffors oftintes become the bitterest perfecutors. Befides, their gifts often wither, and dry up. It has alfo often been seen, that they have quickly loft their all dishonourably, who have gone out of God's way to fave it, while they who have walked honestly, have walked furely. Dreadful above expreffion will their doom be, if they get not grace to repent: Matth. x. 33. " Whofoever fhall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven." But, Heb. x. 32. "Call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions."
3. The truths and ways of God are more worth than the whole of what we have to lofe for them. It is a general rule: Prov. xxiii. 23. "Buy the truth, and fell it not." The profane fpirits of fome influence their flighting fome lefs truths of religion; and they imagine, after doing fo, that they are fecure from fuffering, while the foundation points remain untouched. If these men valued their bodies as little as they do the truths of God, they would, in like manner, allow you to cut and mangle them as you pleafe, provided ye did not ftab them in the heart; but they who value fun
damental truths, because of Chrift's ftamp upon them, will not dare to give up with circumftantial truths which they know, feeing they alfo bear the fame impreffion of divine authority: So that it is a bold venture for a man, on any pretence, to quit the word of Christ's patience in a time of trial, and to step out of God's way; for he leaves his foul in pawn for it, which is of more worth than all he has in a world; and it is one to a thousand, if ever he has power to come back, and loofe it by repentance.
Mot. 4. Death is approaching, and then you muft part with all you have in the world. Cleave as fast as you will to these things, you must let go your hold at length. The ferious confideration of the fhortnefs of our time, the certainty of death, and the uncertainty of the time of it, would difcover to us, that the whole we can make by turning afide from God's way in a time of trial, is not worth our trouble, not worth the going off our road for it; for it may be, what is refused for Chrift may quickly be taken from you at death. I am fure we will never part so eafily with what we have, as when we fit loose to it. Ripe fruit falls off the tree with a shake, when the unripe must be rent off. When the heart is loofed from what we have in the world, it is easy parting with it, by what it is when the heart holds by it till it be forced from it.-Nothing is ever parted with fo honourably, as when it is parted with for Chrift. No thanks to you that you part with what you have, when God takes
it from you whether you will or not. It is honourable to forfake the world at Chrift's call, for Christ's fake, before we be forfaken of the world.
Mot. 5. You will be no lofers at Chrift's hands. If you quit with them now to Christ, he probably S 3 will
will let you keep them, and accept of your wifl for the deed. This was the cafe with Abraham, when called to offer up Ifaac; and with David, when it was in his heart to build a house to the Lord. Thus you will have them with his bleffing and favour. If he take them from you, without them you will get a throughbearing: Pfal. xxxvii. 3. "Truft in the Lord, and do good; fo fhalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou fhalt be fed." A little ferved from the proup to you mife, and brought to your hand by a particular providence, will have a double fweetnefs in it. That bread will not be loft which is thrown upon these waters; after many days you fhall find it : Matth. xix. 29. " And every one that hath forfaken houses, or brethren, or fifters, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's fake, shall receive an hundred-fold, and shall inherit eternal life." Himself will be to you instead of all, and better than all here; and heaven will fully make up all hereafter.
If any fhall fay, But, O! I fear I fhall never be able to carry through,' I would fay to fuch, You know that the foundation of your throughbearing is laid, if your heart be loofed from all things befides Chrift, and if he be dearer to you than what is dearest to you in a world: Pfal. xlv. 10. 11. "Hearken, O daughter, and confider, and incline thine ear; forget alfo thine own people, and thy father's houfe. So fhall the king greatly defire thy beauty; for he is thy Lord, and worship thou him." When the king thus greatly defires thy beauty, he will fee to preserve it: John, x. 28. 29. "I give unto them eternal life, and they fhall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, who gave them me, is greater than all, and no man is able
able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.” You have taken him for all, and it lies upon his honour to fee you carried through. Live by faith, and draw your daily fupplies from him: Hab. ii. 4. "The juft fhall live by his faith." Ifa. xl. 31. "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they fhall mount up with wings as eagles; they fhall run, and not be weary; and they fhall walk, and not faint." Amen.