Page images


and immediate Defign, point at the State and Inhabitants of the old World, before the Flood in which he liv'd, warning them of the fad Degeneracy of Mankind, and the terrible Punishments that would enfue upon it Yet the Apostle St. Jude, v. 14. exprefly fays, that Enoch prophecy'd of the Antichriftian Members of the Church which were in his Days, but more particularly of thofe that were to come in the laft Periods of the Church, v. 17, 18. All which Inftances do help to confirm this Hypothefis, that all thofe great and fignal Punishments, denounc'd by the Holy Prophets against a People or Nation; thofe particularly which feem to run in General and Univerfal Terms, did ultimately and finally refer to this laft terrible Catastrophe, when Vengeance fhall be poured out to the full, correfponding to the full Measure of Iniquity: For the Judgments never take place, till the Sins of a Nation are filled up. So God did not bring the Flood upon the old World, till the Earth was filled with Violence, as he himself complains, Gen. 6. So alfo God tells Abraham, Gen. 15. 16. that he could not yet poffefs the Land, which he had promised to him and his Seed, becaufe their Sins were not yet full. So then in the latter Days, when the Measure of the Iniquities of Mankind fhall be filled up, their Judgments and Punishments fhall be fo likewife: This Laft and Great Defolation being the Forerunner and Introduction to the bleffed Millennial Kingdom of our Lord Jefus Chrift, was what the Prophets

B 3


[ocr errors]

and Holy Men of old had continually in their Eye; it was, as it were, the Burden of their Prophecies; and whenfoever they were denouncing the Judgments of God against a Nation or People, they (or rather that Holy Spirit that guided them) did ever and anon, for wife Ends and Reasons of Providence, drop fomething too great and illuftrious to be apply'd to any Thing lefs than this laft Vengeance, which fhall be, as it were, a Recapitulation of all the Evils and Miferies that were ever fent upon the Earth. For, as in a Drama or Play, all the preceding Acts and Scenes are only in order to introduce the laft, and are, as it were, fumm'd up in it; fo that in this Senfe the latter End (being First and Principal in the Intention of the Agent) is more Glorious than the Beginning, as the wife Preacher tells us, Eccl. 7. 8. the Beauties and Graces of the whole Tranfaction appearing more glorioufly in the Catastrophe: So alfo the whole Scriptures, as well Hiftorical as Prophetical, (which are nothing elfe but a vifionary Reprefentation of all the great Events and Tranfactions relating to the Church of Chrift, fince the firft Commencement of his mediatorial Kingdom, till the laft Delivery of it up to God the Father,) have the End and Defign of the whole Oeconomy, which is the conquering of Satan, and the introducing the Glorious Millennial Kingdom continually in their Eye: This being the chief Action or End of the whole Difpenfation, to which all the other Actions are fubfervient,


ferving either to reprefent the Thing to us in little, or to give us Hints to be improv'd by Meditation to the Glory of God, in clearing up the Grand Mystery. And having thus clear'd the Way, I fhall proceed to confider each of these afore-mention'd Evils in their proper Place diftinctly.

[blocks in formation]



Of the SWORD.

Ifa. 34. 2. The Indignation of the Lord is upon all Nations, and his Fury upon all their Armies: He hath utterly deftroy'd them, he hath deliver'd them to the Slaughter.



1. The SI. HE First Evil to be confider'd, is, Sword, the the Sword or War, which our proper Pu- Bleffed Lord tells us must be firft, Luke 21. the Lust of 19. When ye shall hear of Wars and Commotions, the Eye. be not terrified, for thefe things must first come to pafs. And fo we find it generally reckon'd by the Prophets as the beginning of Vengeance. This being (if I may fo exprefs it) a more circumferential Evil, may be an Allarm to the rest of the World, that other and greater Evils are following. For tho' indeed War be a very great Mischief to a Nation, yet it cannot properly be call'd an univerfal One in the Senfe here meant, as not affecting every particular Member of the offending guilty Nation, unless in their Fears and Apprehenfions, or at most in their Eftates, not their Persons, which are the only, or properly, the capable Subjects of Punishment or Amendment. Wars then are as the gathering of the Clouds, which are the fore-running Signs of an appoaching Storm, and will be to the

wife hearted a warning to fhift for themfelves, and prepare them a Shelter from the fubfequent Showers of Wrath. These are the proper Punishment of that great Branch of Sin, The Luft of the Eye, to which they owe their Original, and from whence they proceed as their proper and immediate Caufe or Principle. For from whence come Wars and Fightings amongst you? (faith St. James, c. 4. v. 1,2,3.) come they not hence, even of your Lufts, that war in your Members? Te luft, and have not: Ye kill and defire to have, and cannot obtain: Ye fight and war, yet ye have not becaufe ye ask not: Ye ask and receive not, because ye ask amifs, that ye may confume it upon your Lufts. This is the predominant Vice of thofe, who having given themfelves over to a boundless Ambition, make it their whole Concern and Bufinefs to grafp and feize all the Riches, Eftates, Preferments, and Kingdoms, that either their Power or Intereft can bring within their reach; who (as the Prophet Habak. 2. 5. expreffes it) enlarge their Defire as Hell, and are as Death, and cannot be fatisfied; but gather unto them all People, and heap unto them all Nations. This is the Sin to which Satan tempted our Bleffed Saviour, when he showed him all the Kingdoms of the World, and the Glory of them, all which he promised to bestow upon him, if he would fall down and worship him, Matth. 4. 8, 9. Whofoever are in this covetous and wrathful Spirit, are properly the Subjects and Children of Wrath; and according as they are Perfons of more or less Authority

« PreviousContinue »