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difficulty may be so intolerable, as 10 allow of no delay, and God's people cannot continue in the state wherein they were, without violations of absolute commands of God. But otherwise, though the difficulty may be very great, another course should be taken. God's people should have their recourse directly to the throne of grace, to represent their difficulties before the great shepherd of the sheep, that has the care of all the affairs of his church ; and when they have done, they should wait patiently upon liim : If they do so, they may expect that in his time, he will appear for their deliverance : But, if instead of that, they are impatient, and take the worla into their own hands, they will be wray their want of faith, and will dishonor God, and cannot have such reason to hope that Christ will appear for them, 'as they have desired, but have reason to fear, that he will leave them to manage their affairs for themselves, as well as they can : When otherwise, if they had waited on Christ patiently, continuing still instant in prayer, they might have had him appearing for them, much more effectually to deliver them. He that believeth shall nos make haste ; and it is for those that are found patiently waiting on the Lord, under difficulties, that he will especially appear', when he comes to do great things for his church, as is evident by Isa. xxx. 18, and chap. xl. at the latter end, and xlix. 33, and Psal. xxxvii. 9, and many other places.
I have somewhere, not long since, met with an exposition of those words of the spouse, that we have several times repeated in the book of Canticles, I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, until he please, which is the only satisfying exposition that ever I met with; which was to this purpose, viz. that when the church of God is under great difficulties, and in distress, and Christ does not appear for her help, but seems to neglect her, as though he were asleep, God's people, or the daughters of Jerusalem, in such a case, should not show an hasty spirit; and not having patience to wait for Christ to awake for their help, until his time comes, take indirect courses for their own deliverance, and use violent means for their escape, before Christ appears to open the door for them ; and so as it were, stir up, and
awake Christ, before his time. When the church is in dis. tress, and God seems not to appear for her in his providence; he is very often represented in scripture, as being asleep; as Christ was asleep in the ship, when the disciples were tossed by the storm, and the ship covered with waves : And God's appearing afterwards for his people's help, is represented as his awaking out of sleep. Psal. vii. 6, and xxxy. 23, and xliv. 23, and lix. 4, and lxxiii. 20. Christ has an appointed time for his thus awaking out of sleep : And his people ought to wait upon him ; and not, in an impatient fit, stir hin up, before his time. It is worthy to be observed how strict this charge is, given to the daughters of Jerusalem, which is repeated three times over in the book of Canticles, chap. ii. 7, and jü. á, and viii. 4. In the 2d chapter and six first verses, is represented the supports Christ gives his church, while she is in a suffering state, as the lily among thorns : In the 7th yerse is repre. sented her patience in waiting for Christ, to appear for her deliverance, when she charges the daughters of Jerusalem, not to stir up, nor awake her love until he please, by the roes, and the hinds of the field ; which are creatures of a gentle, harmless nature, are not beasts of prey, do not devour one another, do not fight with their enemies, but fly from them; and are of a pleasant, loving nature, Prov. v. 19. In the next verse, we see the church's success, in this way of waiting under sufferings, with meekness and patience ; Christ soon awakes, speedily appears, and swiftly comes: The voice of my beloved ! Behold, he cometh, leaping upon the mountains, skijiping upon the hills !
What has been mentioned hitherto, has relation to the behavior we are obliged to, as we would prevent the hindrances of the work ; but besides these, there are things that must be done, more directly to advance it. And here, it concerns every one, in the first place, to look into his own heart, and see to it that he be a partaker of the benefits of the work bimself, and that it be promoted in his own soul. Now is a most glorious opportunity for the good of souls. It is manifestly, with respect to a time of great revival of religion in the world, that we have that gracious, carnest and moving invitation proclaimed, in the 55th of Isaiah. Ho, every one that thirsteth! &c. as is evident by what precedes in the foregoing chapter, and what follows in the close of this. Here, in the 6th verse, it is said, “ Seek ye the Lord, while he may be found ; call upon him, while he is near. And it is with special reference to such a time, that Christ proclaims as he does, Rev. xxi. 6. “I will give unto him that is athirst, of the fountain of the water of life freely.” And chap, xxii. 17. “ And the Spirit and the bride say, come; and let him that heareth say, come ; and let him that is athirst come ; and whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." And it seems to be with reference to such a time, which is typified by the feast of tabernacles, that Jesus, at that feast, stood and cried, as we have an account, John vii. 37, 38. “ In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, if any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink. He that believeth on me; out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” And it is with special reference to God's freeness and readiness to bestow grace at şuch a time, that it is said in Isa. Ix. 11, of the spiritual Jerusalem, thy gates shall be open continually, they shall not be shut day, nor night.
And though I judge not those that have opposed this work, and would not have others judge them, yet, if any such shall happen to read this treatise, I would take the liberty to entreat them to leave off concerning themselves so much about others, and look into their own souls, and see to it that they are the subjects of a true, saving work of the Spirit of God. If they have reason to think they never have been, or it be but à very doubtful hope that they have, then how can they have any heart to be busily and fiercely engaged about the mistakes, and the supposed false hopes of others? And I would now beseech those that have hitherto been something inclining to Arminian principles, seriously to weigh the matter with respect to this work, and consider, whether, if the scriptures are the word of God, the work that has been described in the first part of this treatise, must not needs be, as to the substance of it, the work of God, and the flourishing of that religion, that is tau yht by Christ and his apostles; and whether any good mes VOL. III.
diun can be found, where a man can rest, with any stability, between owning this work, and being a Deist ; and also to con sider whether or no, if it be indeed so, that this be the work of God, it does not entirely overthrow their scheme of religion, and therefore, whether it does not infinitely concern them, as they would be partakers of eternal salvation, to relinquish their scheme. Now is a good time for Arminians to change their principles. I would now, as one of the friends of this work, humbly invite them to come and join with us, and be on our side ; and if I had the authority of Moses, I would say to them as he did to Hobab, Numb. x. 29. “ We are journeying unto the place, of which the Lord said, I will give it you ; come thou with us; and we will do thee good : For the Lord hath spoken good concerning Israel.”
As the benefit and advantage of the good improvement of such a season, is extraordinary great ; so the danger of neg. lecting, and misimproving it, is proportionably great. It is abundantly evident by the scripture, that as a time of great outpouring of the Spirit, is a time of great favor to those that are partakers of the blessing ; so it is always a time of remarkable vengeance to others. So in Isa. Ixi. 2, the same that is called, the acceptable year of the Lord, is called also, the day of vengeance of our God. So it was amongst the Jews, in the apostles' days : The apostle in 2 Cor. vi. 2, says of that time, that it was the accepted time, and day of salvation ; and Christ says of the same time, Luke xxi. 22, “ These are the days of vengeance." At the same time that the blessings of the kingdom of heaven were given to some, there was an are laid at the root of the trees, that those that did not bear fruit, might be hewn down, and cast into the fire, Mat. in. 9, 10, 11. Then was glorified, both the goodness and severity of God, in a remarkable manner. Rom. xi. 22. The harvest and the vintage go together : At the same time that the earth is reaped, and God's elect are gathered into the garner of God; the angel that has power over fire, thrusts in his sickle, and gather's the cluster of the vine of the earth, and casts it into the great wine press of the wrath of God, Rev. xiv. at the latter end. So it is foretold, that at the beginning of the glorious times of the
Christian church, at the same time that the hand of the Lord is known towards his servants, 80 shall his indignation, towards his enemies, Isa. lxvi. 14. So when that glorious morning shall appear, wherein the sun of righteousness shall arise, to the çlect, with healing in his wings, the day shall burn 48 an quente the wickedy Mal. iv. 1, 2, 3. There is no time like such a time, for the increase of guilt, and treasuring up wrath, and desperate hardening of the heart, if men stand it out; which is the most awful judgment, and fruit of divine wrath, that can be inflicted on any mortal. So that a time of great grace, and pouring out of the Spirit, and the fruits of divine mercy, is evermore also, a time of great outpouring of something else, viz. divine vengeance, on those that neglect and misimprove such a season.
The state of the present revival of religion, has an awful aspect upon those that are advanced in years. The work has been chiefly amongst those that are young i and comparatively, but few others have been made partakers of it. And indeed, it has commonly been so, when God has begun any great work, for the revival of his church; he has taken the young people, and has cast off the old and stiff necked genera. tion. There was a remarkable outpouring of the Spirit of God, on the children of Israel in the wilderness, on the younger generation, their little ones, that they said, should be a prey, the generation that entered into Canaan, with Joshua; which is evident by many things in scripture, That generation seems to have been the most excellent generation that ever was in the church of Israel, There is no generation of which there is so much good, and so little hurt spoken in scripture; as might be shewn, if it would not be too long. In that gençration, that were under twenty years, when they went out of Egypt, was that kindness of youth, and love of espousals, spoken of, Jer. ii. 2, 3. But the old generation were passed by, and
, remained obstinate and stiff necked, were always murmuring, and would not be convinced by all God's wonderous works that they beheld. God by bis awful judgments that he executed in the wilderness, and the afliction that the people suffered there, convinced and humbled the younger generation,