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within the danger of the law, which punisheth all crimes, though not with equal feverity..

Thus I have done with the first thing I propounded to fpeak to from these words, viz. the wrong ufe which too many are apt to make of the fignal and extraordinary judgments of God upon others. I proceed to the

Second thing I obferved in the text, viz. the right ufe we fhould make of the judgments of God upon others; and that is to reflect upon our own fins, and to repent of them, left a like or greater judgment overtake us. This our Saviour tells us in the next words, But except ye repent, ye shall all likewife perish. As if he had faid, there is no reafon at all, why ye fhould conclude from thofe terrible judgments of God, which have befallen thofe miferable perfons, that they were greater finners than yourfelves, who have for the prefent efcaped thofe judgments: but instead of cenfuring others, you should look into yourselves: the most proper reflexion to be made upon fuch occafions, is, that you are liable to the like judgments, your fins have deferved that God's providence fhould have dealt fo with you, as it hath done with those Galileans, whofe blood Pilare mingled with their facrifices; or with thofe eighteen perfons upon whom the tower of Siloam fell; and for what reafons foever thefe judgments of God fell upon them, and paffed by you, (which you are not at all concerned to enquire into) to be fure, if you continue impenitent, you have reason to expect the like, or greater ruin.

When we fee the judgments of God abroad in the world, and to fall heavily upon particular places and perfons, we fhould argue thus with ourselves: For what reafon the holy and wife providence of God hath dealt fo feverely with others, I know not; whether out of a particular difpleasure against them, for fome notorious fin committed by them; or whether for a merciful warning to me and others; or for both; it is not for me to pry curioufly into the counfels of God, and to wade into the depth of his judgments; but there is one ufe which I am fure it concerns me nearly to make of it, to look into myself,

to fearch and try my ways, to repent of my fins, and to for fake them, left whilst I am gazing upon others, I fall into the like or greater calamities. It may be thofe perfons and places which have been fo feverely vifited with the judgments of God, were no more obnoxious to him than I am; and, when this hath been done to others, in all appearance not guilty of greater fins than I am, what may not I fear, who am in the fame condemnation? It may be they were not fo great finners as I am. This fhould awaken me fo much the more to a confideration of my own danger: nay, poflibly many of those whom the rod of God hath fmitten, were his own dear children. This fhould ftartle men most of all: For if this have been done to the green tree, what shall be done to the dry? If this have been the lot of thofe whom God loves, what shall be the portion of those whom he hates? If judgment begin at the house of God, where fhall the ungodly and the finner appear?

The judgments of God, which are executed upon particular places and perfons, are defigned by him to be fo many admonitions to the inhabitants of the world to learn righteousness. That fearful ruin which befel Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them, was not only intended for the punishment of the inhabitants of those wicked cities; but for a standing example, and a lafting terror to all ages of the world. So St. Jude tells us, ver. 7. that Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them, are fet forth for an example, fuffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

It is the advice of the Prophet Micah vi. 9. Hear ye the rod, and him that hath appointed it. Every rod of God, every affliction hath a voice, which doth not only speak to the fufferers, but to the spectators alfo; not only to thofe who are fmitten, but to those who ftand by and look on: and if, when God fends judgments upon others, we do not take warning and example by them: if instead of reflecting upon ourfelves, and trying our own ways, we fall a cenfuring of others; if we will pervert the meaning of God's providences, and will not understand the defign and intention of them, then we leave God no other way of

to awaken us, and to bring us to a confideration of our evil ways, but by pouring down his wrath upon our heads, that fo he may convince us to be finners by the fame argument, from whence we have concluded others to be fo: or if we continue impenitent, he may ruin us as incorrigible.

And thus I have done with the second observation I propounded, viz. the right ufe we ought to make of the judgments of God upon others, which is, to reflect upon ourselves, and to repent of our evil ways, left the like or greater judgments overtake us. I fhall only draw an inference or two from what I have already difcourfed upon these two heads:

1. Let us adore the judgments of God, and instead of fearching into the particular reafons and ends of them, let us fay with St. Paul, Rom. xi. 33. How unSearchable are his judgments, and his ways paft finding out! If he who was taken up into the third heaven, and had fuch multitudes of revelations, and was admitted fo much nearer to the fecrets of God than we are, durft not fearch into them, how much lefs fhould we, who only converse here below?

Let us not then trouble ourselves with nice enquiries into these things: nor one another with mutual cenfures and uncharitable reflexions upon one another but let us all agree in this, to acknowledge the righteousness of God in all his providences to us and others, to humble ourselves under his mighty hand, ἀσπάζεσαι τα συμβαίνοντα, to kifs all events of the divine providence, and to believe, that if we be good, they fhall turn to our good. Let us, every one of us, comply with the open and visible ends of God's judgments upon ourselves and others, which is, to fearch and try our ways, and to return unto the Lord; and for the reft, let us believe that it is beft for us, that things are as they are; that his judgments are unfearchable, and his ways paft finding out.

2. Let us not be rafh in our cenfures and determinations concerning the judgments of God upon others; let us not wade beyond our depth into the fecrets of God: for who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? Let us not VOL. X. Y be

be hafty and peremptory to pafs fentence upon others, because of any evil or calamity that befalls them. We may be as fevere to ourselves as we please, this is fafe and prudent; but who art thou that judgeft another man's fervant? What our Saviour faid in the cafe of the woman accused of adultery, is very applicable to thofe who are fo forward to cenfure others, as the caufes of God's judgments; He that is without fin, let him throw the first stone. If there be any man that is not confcious to himself that ever he offended and provoked God, that man may have leave to lay all the fault of God's judgments upon others.

God hath of late years in his providence towards this nation fo ordered his judgments, and they have fallen with fo great an equality upon all forts of men, that we cannot without great rafhnefs fix the cause of them upon any particulars: but however, this does not appertain to us, to pry into the fecret reafons of God's difpenfations. That which properly belongs to us, is to take off our eyes from others, and to look into ourselves; and if we would do this, we fhould fee reafon enough for God's judgments, and great caufe to admire his mercy and goodness to us, that he hath been pleased to fpare us, when he hath ruined fo many others.

So that the proper ufe of all the judgments of God upon others, is to bring us to a confideration of ourfelves, and our own ways, and to argue ourselves into repentance. We fhould reafon thus: The judg ments of God, which have fallen here and there upon others, were intended for terror to us; and if we ftill continue impenitent, if we be unreformed by thefe providences of God, which were purposely defigned and intended for our amendment; what can we expect, but that God should also send upon us the like or greater calamities, and that except we repent, we should all likewife perish.

I cannot apply thefe words, as our Saviour does, because, as I told you, they are probably a prediction of a particular event to the nation of the Jews, in cafe they continued impenitent, which they did, and

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this prophecy was afterwards fadly fulfilled upon them
in the utter ruin and deftruction of that nation:
but this we may affuredly fay, from the warrant of
the general tenor of fcripture, that if notwithstand-
ing thefe great judgments of God which have been
upon us, and have made fuch fearful defolations a-
mongst us, we do not fearch and try our ways, and
turn to him who hath smitten others for a warning
to us, we have reafon to fear, that we fhall fuffer in
the fame manner, or that God will bring fome great-
er temporal judgments upon us, and be angry with
us, until he hath confumed us.

But whatever God may do, as to temporal judgments, this we are as fure of, as the word of God can make us, that there is a fad fate hangs over all impenitent finners, which however they may escape in this world, will certainly fall upon them in the next. God hath fworn in his wrath, that fuch fhail not enter into his reft. He is immutably determined to make fuch for ever miferable, as by their final obftinacy and impenitency refufe to be happy. And of this terrible doom the judgments here in the text are but an imperfect type and reprefentation. How glad would finners then be, to fuffer only fuch things as the Galileans did! what a favour would they efteem it, to have no worse fate than thofe eighteen men, upon whom the tower of Siloam fell! and to be crushed under the weight of the heaviest rocks and mountains, and there to ly hid for ever, from the face of him that fits upon the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb! No, it is a more fearful ruin, a destruction infinitely more terrible, that attends those in another world, who will not repent in this life, even everlasting deftruction from the prefence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power. And how great and fearful that is, is not to be expreft in words, nor can we frame any perfect idea of it from any of thofe pains and fufferings which we are acquainted with in this world: for who knows the power of God's anger? who can conceive the utmost of what omnipotent juftice is able to do to finners?


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