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of which we must be judged ? If we do consider these Things, I say, and yet are not thereby restrained from sinning; there is but one Argument more, that can be supposed to work upon our Fears, and that is,
2. The Consideration of God's Justice and Severity against Sin: For, if God Spared not the Angels that sinned, as St Peter argues, but cast them down to Hell; and spared not the old World, but brought in the Flood upon the Ungodly; turning the Cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into Ashes, and making them an Example to those, that after should live wickedly : Nay, what is more, if God fpared not his own Son, when, having no Sin of his own, he undertook only to be the Proxy and Representative of Sinners ; how much more will he not spare them, whose Impieties have provoked his Wrath, and whose Damnation, upon that Account, Numbereth not? Knowing then the Terrors of the Lord, our Flesh may well tremble because of him, and we have great Reason to be afraid of his Judgments; that Judgment especially, which will end in an Eternity of Happiness or Misery, and therefore calls upon us daily to work out our Salvation with Fear and Trembling
4. Of Trusting in God.
O trust in God, is to affect our Minds with
such a due Sense of his Wisdom, and Power, and Goodness, and Faithfulness, as may engage us to commit all our Concerns to his Providence, to depend upon his Help and Protection in all the Difficulties and Dangers, and upon his Care and Provision for us, in all the Wants and Necessities, that can befal us : For each of these Divine Attributes do point out the Duty of our Reliance upon God. His Wisdom teaches us, that he has all pro
per Knowledge of our Condition, and is therefore duly qualified to take the Administration of our Affairs into his Hands; his Power, that he wanteth not Ability to deliver us from the Calamities, under which we labour, and to bestow upon us the Benefits, that we want ; his Goodness, that he wantech not Disposition to accomplish his gracious Purposes towards us, and, whenever it is fit and expedient for us, readily to grant what we request; and his Faithfulness, that, having promised to be our Patron and Protector, he cannot deny himself, nor alter the Thing that is gone cut of his Mouth. Upon these Foundations is our Reliance upon God established ; and our Purpose must be, 1. To enquire by what Reasons and Inducements we are encouraged to it; and, 2. By what Means and Confiderations we may promote it.
1. One great Requisite in any Friend or Patron, from whom we may have Expectance of Protection or Relief, is, that he be acquainted with the Nature of our Circumstances; otherwise, be his Inclination never so much in our Favour, we may be undone, before his Helping-hand is stretched
But now, in God, vihose Understanding is infinite, and whose Eye every Moment has the whole Creation under his View, there can be no Risque of this kind. For, be our Condition what it will if inward Grief and Uneasiness, our most secret Thoughts and most inward Groanings are not hid from him ; if bodily Pain or Sickness, he understands the best Means of Help, and the properest Seasons of applying them ; if Poverty or Want, he knows where all the Riches of the World are stored, and can fill, when he pleases, our Belly with bid Treasures ; or, lastly, if Danger or Distress, he is infinitely wise, to contrive such Ways of Safety and Deliverance, as will surmount all those Difficulties and Perplexities, which would put human
out to us.
Wisdom to a Loss. So that, upon the Consideration of this one Attribute, we may take up the Words of the Psalmist, and say, God is our Hope and Strength, a very present Help in Time of Trouble. God is in the Midst of us, therefore Mall we not be removed ; God shall belp us, and that right early ; for the Lord of Hofts is with us, the God of Jacob is our Refuge.
2. But it is not enough that our Friend be acquainted with our Condition, unless he has Power likewise to remove the Evil, we complain of, and to procure us the Good, we want : And therefore we may observe, that there is nothing, which either Nature has made, or Art has contrived in such a Manner, as may best serve for our Defence, from which the Psalmist does not borrow Allusions, in order to excite in us a lively Sense of the mighty Power of God to defend his Servants in the needful Time of Trouble ; The Lord is my Rock, and ту Fortress, and my Deliverer, my God, my Strength, in whom I will truft ; my Buckler, the Horn also of my Salvation, and my high Tower: And, to shew his great Care and Provision for our Wants, the Lord, says he, delivereth the Souls of bis Servants, and all they, that put their Trust in him, shall not be deftitute. Those indeed, who reject the Providence of God, and will be the Disposers of their own Fortune, may earn perhaps the Wages of Iniquity, but putting them into a Bag with Holes, as the Prophet expresses it, they find themselves often defeated ; but though the Lions (to understand the Word for once in a metaphorical Sense, for such as live by plun. dering and oppressing others) do lack, and suffer Hunger, yet they, that seek the Lord, all want no Manner of Thing that is good.
3. Nor is it enough that our Friend have it in his Power to supply our Wants, and stand by us in Danger, unless he is willing and disposed so to D
do; and therefore, to remove all Doubts of this Kind, the fame Psalmist hath assured us, that God is not only essentially and immutably good, but good universally, good everlastingly, good to the Pious without Referve, and good to the Wicked too, if they will but repent of their Sins, and live ; for the Lord is good, and doth Good; bis tender Mercies are over all his Works ; and, as, he preventeth the Righteous with the Blessings of Goodness, fo is be ready to forgive the Sinner, and plenteous in Mercy unto all them, that call upon him. Conditions in Life make no Distinction with him ; for, lo! the Poor crieth, and he heareth him, yea, and saveth him out of all bis Troubles. Many, in our prosperous Days, will be forward enough in their Professions of Kindness and Zeal, but, when Trouble begins te arise, they think it convenient then to withdraw, and leave us to struggle alone with our Misfortune. But now the very Thing which among Men is usually the chief Caufe, that takes off their Affection and Kindness, with God is an Argument of a contrary Nature : For tho' his Mercy and Goodnefs extend to all, yet are they more especially concerned for such, as are in a State of Misery, the Fatherless, the Widow, the Prisoners, the Poor, the Stranger, the Friendless, and such as have no Helper. And, from a Sense of this, we find the Devout in all Ages trusting not in Man, por in his fallacious Friendship, but fleeing to God for Shelter, as they found the Cloud approaching. Our Fathers trusted in thee, and thou didst deliver them ; they called upon thee, and were bolpen : They put their Trust in thee, 'and were not confounded ; wherefore go not far from me, O Lord; for Trouble is hard at Hand, and there is none to help one : Thou art my Succour ; beste thee -to help me, to deliver my Soul from the Sword, my Darling from the Power of the Dogs.
4. Nor is it fufficient that a Person have knowledge, and Power, and Goodness enough, to be a fit Instrument of our Relief and Support, unless, in some Measure, he be under Obligations to do it for us : And, in like Manner, though we may defire and expect unpromised Favours from God, yet we can infallibly be sure of no Blessings, but what he, in his Word, has been graciously pleased to promise. Now Promises of Help to those, that are righteous, and put their Truft in God, are innumerable ; and on these Promises, if our Consciences bear us a comfortable Testimony, we may securely rely; the Eyes of the Lord are upon the Righteous, and bis Ears are open unto tbeir Cries ; and tho' their Affli&tions be many, yet he shall deliver them out of them all. He shall redeem the Souls of his Servants, and none of them, that trust in him, Mall be desolate. Having therefore these gracious Promises, we may, with undaunted Courage, speak the Words, and take up the Resolution of the Psalmist : God is our Refuge and Strength, therefore will we not fear, though the Earth be moved, and though the Hills be carried into the Midst of the Sea ; though the Water's thereof rage and swell, and though the Mountains foake at the Tempest of the same. Such bold Expressions as these have been uttered by brave and gallant Men among the Heathens ; but what was extravagant in the Mouths of such, as had no Strength, but their own, to bear them up; no Prospect of any other Recompence, than that of an imaginary Fame for behaving under Difficulties with Magnanimity; that, when spoken by one, who has the Aid of God, to support him under Sufferings, and the Promises of God, to reward his Patience and Constancy, either with the Blessings of this Life, or with the Glories of the next, is a wise, solid, and well-weighed Resolution. D 2