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except we bring forth Fruits meet for Repentance. It being greatly to be feared that the Ax is even already laid to the Root of the Tree, as it was beretofore to that of the Babylonian Empire in the Cafe of Nebucadnezzar, by the Signs which have appeared in Christendom for Some Years past.
Since if Wars, Famines and Peftilences; if Commotions, Hurricanes and Earthquakes in divers Places; if a fiery Zelotick Spirit delighting to fet all in Flames; if Apoftates and Falfe Prophets gone out into the World to deceive many; if Wandring Stars, and Angels of the Churches not keeping their firft Eftate, or Principality; if a general Falling Away from the Maxims of Christ, and the Original Conftitution of his Kingdom on Earth; if Perfecutions for the Sake of Truth and a Good Confcience; if the Love and making of Lyes, arrived even to the utmoft Perfection; if the Strong Delusions of Satan and his Inftruments at this Time, and particularly the Artifices of the Antichriftian Sect, lately rifen among us, who would alone be thought to Think Freely; lastly, if the abounding of Iniquity, the failing of Faith, the defpifing of Dominions, the fpeaking Evil of Dignities, the walking in the Way of Cain, the running greedily for Reward into any Error or Wickedness whatsoever, the bringing of all things (even the moft Sacred) to the Teft of Ridicule, and the fcoffing at the Promife of Christ's Coming; be any Signs (as conjointly confider'd) of the near Approach of That Day, or of fome Grand Revolution in the World, fuch as bath not yet been, we cannot be mistaken, I think, in preparing against the worst, and in purfuing the Ways that make for our THE
Dan. 12. 1. And there shall be a time of Trouble, Such as never was fince there was a Nation, even to that fame time.
Or, as it is expreffed by
St. Matth. 24. 21. For then shall be great Tribulation, fuch as was not fince the beginning of the World to this time, no nor ever shall be.
St. Mark 13. 19. For in thofe Days Shall be Affliction, fuch as was not from the beginning of the Creation which God created, unto this time, neither fhall be.
HIS PROPHECY thus differently expreffed, contains a Solemn Denunciation of the dreadful Judgments that shall come upon the World in the laft Times, which will display them
felves in two forts of Evils.
1. By the Natural Evils I understand principally, The Sword, the Peftilence, and the Famine.
2. By the Supernatural, The Afflictions which the Church of God, and the whole World, fhall undergo in the Reign of Antichrift, who is the Confummation of the Curfe.
THE Reasons why I imagine these Natural Evils to be the Sword, Peftilence, and Famine, are these :
1. BECAUSE thefe (with that of the noifom Beafts) are call'd God's Sore Judgments; or as it is in the Original, his (Emphatically) Evil Judgments, Ezek. 14. 21. and tho' indeed, in this and one or two other Places, we find the noifom Beafts, and fometimes the Earthquakes join'd with them; yet generally fpeaking, thefe Three are in moft of the Prophets put together, as the Sum or Completion of all the Natural Evils that can befal a People.
2. BECAUSE they correfpond to, and are the Natural Fruits and Productions of the Three great Divifions of Sin, mention'd by St. John, 1 Ep. 2. 16. 1. The Luft of the Flesh; 2. The Luft of the Eye; 3. And the Pride of Life; which he calls all that is in the World; meaning, that all other Inftances of Sin, may (generally fpeaking) be reduc'd to thefe Three Heads.
THESE fhall ravage up and down in the World, in different Places and Degrees, accordingly as Perfons, Places, or Nations, may be more or lefs ripe for Vengeance; and are not only intended as a Punishment for the Sufferers, but as Warnings for those that fhall escape them, that greater Evils are at hand: For fo faith our Bleffed Lord,
Matth. 24. 7,8. Mark 13.9. Nation shall rife against Nation, and Kingdom against Kingdom: And there fhall be Famines, and Pestilences, and Earthquakes in divers Places; and immediately fubjoins, All these are the beginnings of Sorrows. Where the Original Word *, which **w. we tranflate Sorrows, fignifies particularly the Pains of a travailing Woman, and feems to be most emphatically used in this place, to represent to us, that these fhall be, as it were, the Throws and Pangs of the Kingdom of Darkness, or Hellish Principle, labouring to bring forth Antichrift, who is to be the Head and Completion of the Apoftacy, the Top-Fruit of the Mystery of Iniquity, in whom shall dwell the Fullness of Diabolical Deceit and Wickedness, in oppofition to our Lord Jefus Chrift, in whom dwelt the Fulness of Grace and Truth; yea, of the Godhead bodily.
BEFORE I proceed to a diftinct Confide- The preceration of the feveral Parts, I fhall premife ding Confione Thing; That feeing there are in Scri- derations confirm'd. pture many terrible Denunciations of great Judgments, which have not yet been fulfilled, at least in their utmoft Extent and Meaning; it is natural to imagine, that they do ultimately refpect those latter Times, according to what our Bleffed Lord tells us of them, Luke 21. 22. That these are the Days of Vengeance, that all Things that are written might be fulfilled: i. e. These are the Laft and Great Days of Vengeance, in which shall be ultimately fulfilled all thofe heavy Denunciations of Judgment, which God by the Mouth of his Holy Prophets, B 2
ever fince the World began, has threatned to the Enemies of his Church, which is now beginning to lift up her Head, and triumph over the Oppofitions of all her Enemies. The times of her refreshing are about to commence; fhe fhall pass fecurely through this Deluge of Affliction, and fhall come forth glorioufly. This hath been reprefented to us, as it were, in miniature, by divers leffer Manifeftations of the Divine Juftice and Mercy: Thus the Apostle St. Peter tells us, 2 Ep. Chap. 2.. That the Deftruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was, as it were, a little Sketch and Reprefentation of this laft dreadful Scene: The Deftruction of the City and Temple of Jerufalem is likewife defcrib'd in fuch a Manner, and with fuch Characters, as plainly fhows it to be typical of that more dreadful Deftruction, that fhall come upon the Apoftate World in the latter Days: Thus the Crimes and Punishments charg'd upon Babylon, Tyre, Edom, &c. in the prophetical Books, tho' they were in fome measure verify'd according to the Letter in the Type; yet it is clear to any that are acquainted with Hiftory, that they were very far from being entirely fulfill'd, but are rather Types and Figures of the Antichriftian World, as ftanding in fome eminent Property or Character, whence we fee they are transcrib'd by the Divine Author of the Revelations, Ch. 17. 18. and apply'd to the Myftical Babylon, or Apoftate Chriftendom. So, laftly, Grabe's to go yet further, the Ancient Prophecy Spicil. Vat, of Enoch did, no doubt, in its moft obvious Lp. 344.