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elfe they do not reckon the Happiness of the next World, to be fo incomparably above all, that they are flattered with in This: Which Error the Second Head may help to correct. For this would rectify Mens Notions, and fhew, that to fee God as he is, and to be like him, are not fuch dry and tasteless things, as they fo commonly happen to be thought, and, because not better understood, are fo often put, not only, in competition with, but put behind, the Pleafures of Sin and Senfe. Or, laftly, they delude themfelves with groundless Imaginations, that, notwithstanding their Sins, they may come to Heaven at laft; and for the difabufing fuch, my Third Head was neceffary. So excellent a Prefervative hath S. John here furnished against Temptation, fo impenetrable a Shield, able to repel all the fiery Darts of the Wicked; would we but weigh, and remember, and by continually dwelling upon it, render that prefent to our Minds, which cannot yet be fo, to our Sight and Experience. In a Word, The more our Thoughts are employed upon Heaven, and the deeper they plunge into the vaft Ocean of Eternity; the more we fhall answer our Character of God's Children, the nearer we shall approach to him here, by purifying our felves in the Strength of this Hope, even as he is pure: and the more certain we are to be like him hereafter, in his glorious Kingdom. Which He, of his infinite Mercy, grant we may, for Jefus Chrift his fake. Amen.

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The Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany.

23.

The GOSPEL.

Matt. xxiv. 23.

Hen if any man fball fay, Lo bere is Chrift,
or there, believe it not.

PARAPHRASE

23, 24, 25. About the time of Jerufalem's final overthrow, many Seducers will fet up, each pretending to be the Meffiah, that Eminent Deliverer of the Jewish Nation fo long foretold

2 Theff. ii.

and expected. And these will prevail, by the help of fuch lying Wonders, as God, for the Sins of Men, will permit to be done by them: So that many fhall be deceived, and none but the fted faft Chriftians be able to hold out against them. fy fuch it is, that I give this timely Warning of these Men, and their Impoftures.

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24. For there fhall arife falfe Chrifts; and falje Prophets, and fhall fhew great figns and wonders, infomuch that if it were poffible, they shall deceive

the

Elect.

very 25. Bebold I have told you before.

26. Wherefore if they shall fay unto you, Behold, be is in the defart, go not forth. Bebold he is in the fecret chambers, believe it not.

27. For as the lightning cometh out of the Eaft, and fhineth even unto the Weft, fo fhall also the coming of the Son of Man be.

28. For berefoerver the Carcass is, Eagles be gathered together.

there will the

26, 27, 28. Be not therefore led away by any vain promises of fuch a Deliverer, to fave you in this or that place of fecurity, within or without the City. For the Coming of Chrift, in vengeance up

on the Jews, fhall be fudden, fwift, and terrible, as a Flash of Lightning. And the Jews, who are fentenced to Death, fhall in every Quarter be destroyed, as if the Roman Armies, whofe Enfign is the Eagle, had the quality of that Bird, fo fagacious and greedy of prey, that dead Bodies, even at vaft distance, cannot escape them.

29. Immediately after the tribulation of those days, shall the Sun be darkned, and the Moon shall not give her light, and the Stars fall fall from Heaven, and the Powers of the Heavens fhall be shaken.

30. And then shall appear the Sign of the Son of Man in Heaven, and then fhall all the Tribes of the Earth mourn; and they shall fee the Son of Man coming in the Clouds, with Power and great Glory.

31. And be fall fend his Angels with a great Sound of a Trumpet, and they shall gather together bis Elect from the four Winds, from one end of Heaven to the other.

29, 30, 31. [See Paraphrafe on Luke xxi. 25, &c. in Gospel for 2d Sund. in Advent.]

COMMENT.

COM

COMMENT.

T

HE Subftance of this Scripture is, in effect, the fame with that already treated of, in the Gospel for the Second Sunday in Advent. There is therefore no occafion for enlarging any farther, either in the Description, or the Proof, of a General Judgment. The Terrors of that Day are fet forth here by St. Matthew, in Terms of near affinity with thofe in St. Luke. And, that fuch Predictions, even in their literal and moft dreadful fignification, fhall then be strictly verified, St. Peter acquaints us, when declaring, that the Heavens fhall pass away with a great noife,

2 Pet. iii. 10.

and the Elements fhall melt with fervent beat; the Earth alfo, and all the Works that are therein, fhall be burnt up. In all which, to prevent our taking fhelter in any Metaphors, or imaginary Hyperboles, he draws this Inference in the words next following. Seeing then, that all these things fhall be diffolved, what manner of Perfons ought we to be in all holy Converfation and Godliness? Looking for, and hafting to, the coming of the day of God, wherein the Heavens being on fire fhall be diffolved, and the Elements fhall melt with fervent heat.

Ver. 11, 12.

My Difcourfe upon the Epiftle for this Day having carried me beyond the ufual Bounds; All I defign here, is to make fome farther Improvement of the Subject in hand, by a few practical Confiderations, which the time would not permit me to mention, when handling it before.

The Second Sunday in Advent.

1. And First, We fhall do well, upon this occafion, to obferve the great Wifdom and Goodness of our Blessed Mafter, in the manner made Choice of for foretelling his laft Coming. For, by drawing the Terrors of it fo black, he hath taken the most pro

bable

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bable course, to awaken Mens Confciences, and to put them upon fhaking off fpiritual Security and Sloth. And, from the Representations given of it, As a thing, certain in it felf, and uncertain in the time; he hath cut off all wicked Excufes, for unthinking Negligence, and dangerous Delays. Had thofe tremendous Circumstances been omitted, the Impreffions upon our Minds muft in all reafon have proved lefs powerful. And, had its diftance been punctually determined, Men would have been apt to bear but very cold regard, to an Event, which, though never so sure, yet, they had the Comfort to know, was ftill removed a very great way from them. But nothing can be ftrong enough to fcatter this Spiritual Lethargy, and quicken us into ferious Piety, and effectual Preparation for a Judgment, upon the iffue whereof our All muft turn at last, and we be fixed in Woe or Bliss by it; If the Certainty, the Horror, and Suddenness, of fuch a Judgment will not. Sure we know it is, and Terrible beyond all Imagination; and very nigh at hand it may be, for ought we do, or can know. Nay, far off, we are certain, it cannot be, as it regards our own Death. Our Condition, in this refpect, will in nothing differ from that Posture of Soul, in which the Great Day of Account will find us. What manner of Perfons then ought We to be indeed? how Holy, how Circumfpect? We, who call our felves Christians, and profefs, as fuch, moft firmly to believe this coming of our Lord, as a Fundamental Article of our most holy Religion? St. Paul alledges, in the Jews behalf, that had they I Cor. ii. 8. known, they would not have crucified the

Lord of Glory. And yet if, that Ignorance of Theirs notwithstanding, God poured out his Indignation upon that People, in Circumftances fo difmal, that the Ears of all that hear it tingle, and the very reading their Story, even at this Diftance, chills and

2

curdles

curdles all our Blood; Of how much forer Punishment shall we be thought worthy, who have fo fevere an Example before our Eyes, and yet take no Warning by it? We, who profefs to worship, and be Servants to Jefus, and yet in Works dishonour and do defpight to him: We, who acknowledge his Glories, and call him the Son of God, but, as much as in us lies, crucify and again expofe him to Contempt? Is not this to call down upon our own Heads the utmost Torments, that Day can inflict? Is it not to Treasure up to our felves Wrath against the Season of Wrath, and to render that Gospel, given to preferve, and fit us for Heaven, an Occafion of our fo much jufter Damnation, and of finking us fo much deeper into Hell? All the abufed Means of Grace, all the neglected Opportunities of Amendment, even these Admonitions will fly in our Faces, and upbraid the Obdurate and Improvident. And They, who have had all done, that could be done to them, may well call upon the Mountains to fall on them, and the Hills to cover them; when they shall fink under the Load of a double Sentence, and be condemned, not only out of God's, but out of their Own Mouths.

2. Secondly, Hence we may learn, how mean an Opinion is due to this World, and the Things of it. It hath been well obferved by Philofophers, that no Object of fhort continuance, and fubject to Corruption, can poffibly be worthy the Defires of a reafonable and immortal Soul. No Argument is therefore more capable of infpiring true Noblenefs of Mind, than thofe Chriftian Revelations, which fo pofitively threaten the utter Destruction of this whole material Frame. When, not this droffy Earth alone, but even thofe purer Celestial Bodies, the Source of Light and Comfort to wretched Mortals, fhall undergo the general Conflagration; Does not this

argue,

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