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and prophecies of the Old Testament relating to gospel times, and compare them with the New; and especially those which foretel the unchurching of the Jewilh nation, and the ingrafting of the Gentile nations into their room : and that thereupon the national church-state and privileges of the Jews were to be transferred to Christian nations, and particularly tl.is of being nationally in covenant with God. Which prophecies are to have their special and full accomplishment at Babylon's downtil. For illustrating these points, and applying the scriptur -texti relative thereto, I might expatiate in - feveral llie is of paper, if it were proper here. I thall" only at this time cire some of the texts that may be well improven to the foresaid purposes; which the reader may turn to and confier ai his leisure, fuch as Isa. xix. 18, 21, 23, 24, 25. chap. xlv. 23. Jer. 1.4, 5. the 1x. lxi. and lxii. chapter of Isaiah throughout. Ifa. lv. 3, 4, 5. IMicah iv. 1, 2. Zech, viii. 21, 22, 23. Rev. ii. Rom. xi. 17, 19. chap. x. 12, 19. Mat. iii. 5, 6. Acts viii. 6, 1 2. 2 Cor. viii. 5. Mat. xxi. 43. Rom. ix. 24, 25, 26. compared with Llor. i. 9, 10, 11. chap. ii. 23. Likewirelt might cite several prophecies with respect to the islands, and utmost ends of the earth, which were peopied by Japher, that have a very particular and favour. alle aspect to this covenanted land.
Lehcies all which, it is evident, from the first and great cuminant of the law, which is directed to lírael as a nation, and is obligatory under the New Testament as well as the Old ; that it is a moral duty, universally and perpetually binding upon nations and societies, as well es Ongle persons, to chuse, acknowledge, and avouch the Lord to be their God, to walk in his
ways, his ftatures. This is required in the first commandment according to the exposicion of our Larger Catechism ; and is there confirmed by these texrs, that warrant and exemplify the practce of national covenanting, such as Deut. xxvi. 19, 17. Joth. xxiv. 22. In fuch a national way dia our íathers of old acknowledge and avouch the Torit to be their God, and devote themselves and their poilerity to the Lord.
And, blefled be the Lord our God, who did rany ways declare limfelf to be weil
pleased with the bargain, and especially by filling the temple with his glory.
As the prophets and godly Jews were at great pains to convey to posterity historical accounts of the wondere derful deliverances God 'wrought for Israel at the Redsea, and in rescuing them from Egypt, Babylon, and other enemies ; so it would be useful to fortify our reformation, if we were careful to hand down to the rising generation a sense of God's distinguishing mercy to this land, in delivering us from spiritual Babylon, and rescuing us from time to time from these captains that have sought to lead us back thither. Many a time hath he delivered us, when we have been brought very low.
By many instances it hath appeared, that the glorious JEHOVAH hath not been alhamed to own his covenant relation to this sinful and unworthy land. God forbid that we of this age should be ashamed to own our covenant relation to him. This hath been both our glory and our safety; and I hope, there will still be found a remnant to own it, and plead it with God in the time of danger. Surely, it is not time now to wife claim it, when the enemies of our Zion are combining together, and seeking to raze her to the foundation. Let all her lovers cry mightily to her covenanted Lord in her behalf, in these Thaking times : let them join to put up that prayer of the Psalmist, lxxviii. 28. « Strengthen, O God, that which thou haft wrought for us ;" and that of Habakkuk, Hab. iii. 2. " O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years."
MAY 27. 1797
N. B. The foresaid digression, in the preface to the firft edition, was occafioned by the broaching of some Sectarian notions, which introduced great reelings and fhakings in this corner, and other parts of this church; fince which time, alas ! the hath enjoyed little peace within her walls, or prosperity within ier palaces; but, instead thereof, the hath been tofled with tempests and troubles of various kinds, whereby the children of Zion have been brought, and still ly, under great distress and afiliation,
The first impression of this book being disposed of, and a second called for, I have the more readily consented to it, at this time of general calamity and distress, seeing the book is intended as a Directory to Christians under affliction, whatever fort it be. It cannot but be obvious to every serious observer, that the Lord's judgments are in the earth at this day, and that the inhabitants of this land are generally visited with calamities of divers kinds, both fpiritual and temporal; which makes a Directory how to manage and carry under them the more seasonable and neceffary.
Ah! the Lord's hand is visibly lifted up against us ac this day, and hath been for some years paft, in fhutting up the churches womb, blasting gospel ordinances, and withdrawing his Spirit from the affemblies of his people, and from our judicatories. The flood-gate is opened for error, infidelity, and looseness, to overfpread the land; so that the gospel of Christ, the holy Scriptures, and all revealed religion, are condemned and ridiculed by many; anger
of the Lord hath divided us both in church and state, and hath mingled a perverse spirit in the midst of us ;" yea, hath made such woful breaches among godly ministers and Christians, who are aiming at the same things, that no balm can be found for heal. ing them. There is a way opened for a carnal self-seeking minister to get into the vineyard, when faithful labourers are thrust out, and godly preachers and students are discouraged from entering in. Not a few Christian congregations, who lately were harmonious and unite in partaking of gospel-ordinances, are now so miserable, rent and scattered, through mournful intrufions and dividing courses, that they cannot worship God together ; and many of them are wandering like theep having no shepherd, exposed to beasts of prey, and liable to perish in a state of ignorance or negligence. · Likewise, the Lord's hand is remarkably lifted up alo gainst us, in the variety of temporal judgments and calamities brought upon us within a very thort time bypast. Sometimes the Lord sends forth his stormy winds with extraordinary violence, so as to carry terror and destruction along with them both by sea and land, and even threaten to bury us in the ruin of our
houses. Sometimes he sends such long continued rains in harvest, as threaten to destroy the whole crop before our eyes. Sometimes such extraordinary storms of froft and snow, as to bind up the waters and mills; that food cannot be prepared for us, and we are ready to perish in midit of plenty. Sometimes he sends such destructive storms of lightning and thunder from heaven, and kindles such violent fires on earth, that whole cities, with their inhabitants, are like to be consumed therewith. Upon our neighbouring countries dreadful inundations have been sent of late, for destroying the inhabitants with their cattle and effects. Again, God hath visited us with long continued drought, cold and unnatural storms in the spring, and ometimes with frost in midst of summer, which have brought on extraordinary scarcity and dearth of victual, so that there are great disorders committed in the land by riots and tumults for want of food, and multitudes of families are diffolved, and forced to wander begging their bread; and the cattle also are familhed for want of grass and food to sustain them. In the mean time we are engaged in war with cruel enemies, who feize our ships, carry our countrymen captives, throw them into dungeons and nauseous prisons, where they use them barbarously ; yea, much of their blood is shed, and many valuable lives are lost in our defence. And, besides our other calamities, we fuffer greatly through decay of trade and merchandise, and penury of money; in many places, merchants, tradesmen, and artificers, want business ; there is no work nor hire for labourers, and for those who would use honest industry for bread, whether men or women:* so that want is “come upon us as one that travaileth, and poverty like an armed man," and many are reduced to extreme misery, and starving circumstances, for lack of bread.
By all which proceedings it appears that God hath a peculiar controversy with Scotland, and threatens to punish her remarkably for her heinous Gns and provocations. The Lord's hand hath been long lifted up against us, and now it is higher lifted up than ever : and, the higher it is lifted, the blow is like to be the severer when given. He hath sent many lefser strokes and judgments upon us, as forerunners and warnings of greater, which Vol. I. Р
he hath ftill bis reserve for us, if we repent not; for his magazine is far from being exhausted. As there are many causes for these calamities of ours, so I think there is a principal one mentioned, Mat. xxiv. 12." Iniquity doth abound, and the love of many is waxen cold.” Infidelity, immorality, and contempt of the gospel, are come to a prodigious height : our hearts are become cold and frozen 10 Christ and his intereft, to his people and holy laws : for which cause, God is provoked to fend such judicial cold and froits upon our land, and the fruits of the earth, so as to mar and diminish our crops, and reduce both men and beasts to the greatest straits. And yet so great is our impenitence and perverseness, that we will not see the Lord's hand, nor be reformed by all thefe judgments.
It might well be expected, when the Lord's judge ments are so visible in the earth, that not only his people by profession, but even the inhabitants of the world, would learn righteousness, according to Ifa. xxvii. 9. But, alas ! So perverse are we to walk with God, that neither the inhabitants of the world, nor those who profess to be separated from the world, will alter their course, nor learn righteousness; nay, instead of that, many are learning still more wickedness, “Shall I not visit for these things ? faith the Lord : and shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?" Alas! hath he not been provoked to say concerning us, as he did concerning his ancient people, Lev, xxvi. 23, 24. « If ye will not be reformed by all these things, but will walk contrary unto me : then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will bring seven times more plagues upon you, according to your fins." And likewise to say unto us, as unto them, “ When ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you; and when ye fast and make many prayers, I will not hear: but I will consume you with the sword, with the famine, and with the peftilence," as in Isa. i. 15. Jer. xiv. 12.
The sword, famine, and peftilence, are God's three mortal arrows, which he commonly threatens to shoot against impenitent and incorrigible offenders. Two of these are already shot againct us : the sword is drawn, and much of our countrymen's blood is already shed;