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famine, Jer. xliv. 17, 26, 27. Hos. ii. 5, 9. 2. Perverting of plenty to luxury and prodigaliiy, sensuality and excess, revellings and dancings, balls, and assemblies. We see how these are threatened, Isa. y. 11, 12, 13. Amos vi. 4, 6, 7. 3. Rejecting the bread of life, and despising the food of our souls. God uscth 'to punish men for this sin, by depriving them of bread for their bodies, Jer. xi. 21, 22. 4. Men's minding their own things, more than the things of God, and neglecting to build his house and put respect upon his ordinances. Upon such accounts God brings on scarcity and fainine Hag. i. 9, 10, 11, 5. Covenant-breaking, and dealing cruelly with the poor, or with strangers that live among us; it was for these sins that God sent a three years' famine upon the land of Israel, 2 Sam. xxi, 1.
Moreover, let us look apon all these temporal storms and calamities which are come, or coming upon the land, as warnings to prepare for a more awful storm that we must all meet with, namely, the storm of death and judgment; let us stand habitually prepared for that storm, and then other storms will not so much affect us. If it be asked, What we shall do to be safe in time of that trying storm? the answer is, Let us see that we be among the broken in heart, or sincere penitents, who are heartily grieved for all known sin: that we be true believers in Christ, who trust in nothing but his righteousness and merits for justification and salvation: that we be born again, and made new creatures by a saving change both in heart and life : that it be our great business to clear up our evidences of peace with God through Christ, and of our title to the mansions which he hath purchased by his blood. O that God's judgments when they are in the earth, were means to awaken us to flee from the wrath to come, to Christ our refuge! When the floods of great waters are swelling up to the brim, our only safety is to secure a biding place in Christ's wounds. Let us follow the example of Noah, who, when he
saw the flood coming, took warning, and prepared an ark for saving himself, and his household, Heb. xi. 7. Let us even imitate the Egyptians that feared the Lord; they, when warned of the dreadful storm of hail that was coming on the land, made their servants and cattle to flee into the houses, Exod. ix. 20. God hath, in mercy, provided chambers for his people to hide themselves in when the storms are coming, even the chambers of his attributes and promises, and the chambers of Christ's wounds and intercession : in these only we can find safety ; let us then enter into them by faith, when he invites us, Isa. xxvi. 20, 21.
Seeing in these evil days, we have so many harbingers
and forerunners of death before our eyes, it will be highly our wisdom to keep ourselves still in a waiting posture, always ready and willing to die. What is there in this weary land to tempt us to desire to abide in it? Is it not land overwhelmed, with sin and sor. row? O believers, are you tossed with tempests here? Seek the wings of a dove that you may flee away, and be at rest. Be habitually desiring to depart, that you may be with Christ. Surely for you to die is gain, yea, infinite gain! What are the imaginary pleasures of this world to the real happiness of the next? Though the struggles of death be grievous to nature, yet the gain of dying should reconcile you to it. You do not stick at the trouble of putting off your clothes at night, to gain a little rest to your bodies; and why should you stick at unclothing yourselves of the garments of flesh at God's call, to gain everlasting rest to your souls, and the fruition of Christ's glorious presence for ever? Let the thought of this gain put you upon using all means to get your hearts weaned from the love of the world, and its comforts. Keep the mantle of earthly enjoyments hanging loose about you, especially in those calamitous times, that so it may be easily dropt when death comes to carry you to the eternal world. O for more of the lively faith of that world, and of him that is the Lord and purchaser of it! But seeing this subject is more largely insisted on in the book itself, I shall add no more here upon it. Only I shall subjoin a collection of some sweet and comfortable texts of scripture, very proper for dying believers to meditate and feed on by faith, to grip to and plead with God, and suck consolation from, when they have a near prospect of going through the dark valley, and entering into the unknown regions of eternity. God's word will then be our hope.
laden, and I will give you rest, Matth. xi. 28. Him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out, John vi. 37. In iny
Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so I would have told you: I go to prepare a place for you. And if I
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to myself, that where I am, there ye may be also, John xiv. 2, 3.
Because I live, ye shall live also, John xiv. 19.
Christ saith, Surely I come quickly. Ans. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus, Rev. xxii. 20.
There remaineth a rest to the people of God, Heb. iv. 9.
I have waited for thy salvation, O Lord, Gen. xlix. 18.
Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace : For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Luke ii. 29, 30.
He is the rock, and his work is perfect, Deut. xxxii. 4.
The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me, Psal. cxxxviii. 8.
Being confident that he which hath begun & good work in you, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ, Phil. i. 6.
I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth. And though after my skin, worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another ; though my reins be consumed within me, Job xix. 25, 26, 27.
Although my house be not so with God, yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure; for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, 2 Sam. xxiii. 5.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me, Psal. xxiii, 4.
Into thy hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth, Psal. xxxi. 5.
For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even unto death, Psal. xlviii. 14.
Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterwards receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee. "My flesh and my heart faileth: But God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever, Psal, lxxiii. 24, 25, 26.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit : a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise, Psal. li, 17.
O that I had wings like a dove! for then would I flee away and be at rest.
I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest, Psal. lv. 6, 8.
Though ye have lain among the pots, yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold, Psal. Ixviii. 13.
The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin, 1 John i. 7.
Having boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, Heb. x. 19.
He bath said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee. Jesus Christ the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever, Heb. xiii. 5, 8.