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God to wrest a weapon out of the devil's hand, arid turn it against him and his kingdom.
2. Sometimes by diverting them from their design, as he did Sennacherib for a while, when his wrath was bent against God's Israel: God raises up the inhabitants of Libnah against him, the rumour of which obliged him to delift from his wrathful enterprise at that time, 2 Kings xix. 7. So, 1 Sam. xxiii. 27. 28. in the case of David and Saul, God sends the Philistines to give him a diversion from pursuing after David. It is easy for God to give wicked men another tow in their rock, than to moleft the Lord's people, whom they otherwise would swallow up quick.
3. Sometimes by destroying them, as he did Pharaoh and the Egyptians when pursuing Israel, as we observed just now: “ Envy says the filly one."
4. By putting favourable thoughts of God's people in the hearts of their enemies, whereby their wrath is stayed; for “when a man's ways please the Lord, he many times causes their very enemies to be at peace with him.” Thus the heart of Nebuchadnezzar was turned toward the three children, whom he threw into a furnace seven times heated, Dan. ii. 46–48. See the like, Dan. v. 29. “ The hearts of kings are in the hand of the Lord, and he turns them as the rivers of waters.” How easy is it for God to give orders even to the earth to help the woman, and befriend her.
5. Sometimes by disclosing their secrets, and revealing their angry and wrathful plots against the church and people of God. Thus the secret plots of the king of Affyria were disclosed and revealed to the king of Israel, by the prophet Elisha, whereby his design against Israel was baffled, and his rage stayed.
6. Sometimes by blunting their courage, and taking away both heart and hand from them. " The stout-hearted are spoiled, and none of the men of might find their hands," when God binds them. Sometimes he just confuses and confounds the enemies of his church and people, by things which can do. them little or no harm. Thus the Midianites, Judg. vii. are disordered and confounded with the sound of the trumpets, and the breaking of Gideon's pitchers; and the Moabites are confounded and defeated by the shining of the sun upon the waters, 2 Kings iii. &c.
IV. The fourth thing was the Use of the whole. Use first may be of Information, in the few following particulars. Is it so, as you have heard, that wicked men are so full of wrath against God, his people, and interest? Then, 1. See hence the corruption and depravation of nature :
The « The wicked are estranged from the womb, they go astray as soon as they are born.” When we see a wicked world full of envy, wrath, and malice; against Christ and his interest, taking all imaginable ways they can think upon to ruin and rale it, we may clearly see in this, that man's nature is not now what it once was ; “ every thought and imagination of the heart is only evil, and continually evil.” And hence it is, that there is so much of the foam of profanity, curling, lying, swearing, drinking, uncleanness, Sabbath-breaking, and other evils break out of it, to the dishonour of God, and the scandal and reproach of our holy religion. Oh! how much need of converting work in our day, which, alas ! is at such a melancholy stand!
2. See, from what is said, the folly and madness of finners who fight against God, and his cause and interest : why, they can never prevail; for God turns matiers about so in the event, that the wrath of man shall praise him; God's end shall be · reached, and not theirs. So that they who fight against God,
they are like madmen, rushing their heads against a wall of brals; they may well dath themselves in pieces, but they shall never do any hurt unto the cause of God: The wrath of man fall praise him. .
3. See hence, that there is a holy and over-ruling providence in the most gloomy and threatening dispensations that befal God's people. The wrath of man, that would seem to swallow up the poor people of God, is under the check and management of a holy and wise providence. We are ready, when God's way is in the sea, and in the whirlwind, to cry out, Now all is gone, the interest of Christ will fink, and God will be dishonoured; but stay a little, “ He that believes thall not make haite;" there is a wheel within a wheel, which will turn matters about so, as the wrath of man fball praise God, and advance his interest, instead of ruining it.
4. See hence a notable antidote against the slavish fear of man's wrath, which causes a snare, especially in a day when the wicked walk on every side, and the vileft of men are advanced to power and authority; and they employing their power to oppress God's people, and to ruin his interest. Why, what ground is there to fear the wrath of man, when God has said, that the wrath of man pall praise hiin, and the remainder of it be will restrain? “Who art thou, that art afraid of man that shall die, and of the son of inan that shall be as grass? and forgetteit the Lord thy Maker ?” &c. Sirs, let us never step out of God's road through the fear of man, great or small. Why, the wrath of man pall praise the Lord. In fhunning the wrath of man by any finful shift, we run upon the bosses of God's buckler. VOL. II, Oo
5. See 5. See hence, that " it is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in men: Better to trust in the Lord, than to put confidence in princes.” Why, by trusting in the Lord, we are under his protection, who has devils and men under his command, and by trusting in man we throw ourselves out from under the care and providence of God. “Cursed is the man that trufteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord.”
6. See whence it is that the church of Christ has been preserved, in all ages, amidst the greatest ftorms, when hell and earth has been taging, and plotting her ruin. Why, here is the ground of it, God has so always ordered matters, as to make the wrath of man to praise him, and to advance his interest; and what of man's wrath did not praise God, that God has restrained. The church of Christ is like a ship at fea, meeting with a great variety of winds; but the filful pilot, by his wife management, makes an advantage of every wind that blows, to carry him forward to the desired haven, and to a safe landing at last. Our skilful pilot, the Lord Jefus, on whose thonlders the government is laid, he well knows how to gather the winds, and to manage the fails of the fhip, so as to bring his people at last to the eternal wished-for haven of glory, through the stormy and contrary winds of man's wrath, and the rage of devils; for the wrath of man mall praise him, &c. ' '7. This doctrine should teach us to bear injuries, especially for the cause of Christ, with a great deal of meekness, patience, and quietness of spirit, and to refer our cause to the Lord, when suffering wrongfully at the hand of man. Why, you see that the wrath of man is in the hand of the Lord, and whenever he sees it for his glory, and our good, he wili restrain it, and likewise repay it ; " for vengeance is mine, faith the Lord.” When we resent our quarrels with our own hand, we take it out of the hand of God; and therefore let us follow the example of Christ, who,“ who when he was reviled, reviled not again, and when he suffered, he threatened not,” leaving his cause in his Father's hand; and we see now what is to come of it: the poor Jews, who did imprecate his blood to be upon thein and their children, they have been smarting under the weight of God's hand these seventeen hundred years.
Use second may be of Exhortation. Is it so that the wrath of man fall praise the Lord ? viz. in á pallive way, doth he levy this tribute of praise out of the wrath and wickedness of man? Then let us all be concerned to praise and glorify him in an active way and manner.
Moto Mot. 1. This is the end and design of our very being; it is the chief end of man, that we thould be to the glory of him that made us ; and God will levy glory to himself upon us one way or another; and therefore let us study the end of our being, by being active to advance his glory in our day. .
Mot, 2. This is the end of our effectual calling and new creation in Jesus Christ. “This people have I formed for myself, that they thould thew forth my praise. Ye are a chofen generation, a royal priesthood,” &c. i Pet. i. 9.
Mot. 3. This is the end of our redempiion by Chrift: “Ye are not your own, but ye are bought with a price : therefore glorify God with your bodies and spirits, which are his.”
Mot. 4. This is the end of your cleétion from eternity. Why did God ftt his love upon any of Adam's race, but that they might praise him? Eph. i. “ He hath chosen us to himself, he hath predeftinate us unto the adoption of children,” that we should be “to the praise of the glory of his grace.”
Mot. 5. This is the work wherein all the creatures round about you are employed. “All his works praise him ;" and therefore let his " saints bless hiin,” saying, as David, Pfal. ciii. “Bless the Lord, O my soul : and all that is within me, bless. his holy name.”
Quef. How shall we praise him in an active way, whom the very wrath of man fhall praise ?
Anfw. 1. By believing in the name of his Son, and setting to the seal, that the record of God is true. Thus Abraham believed God, by not staggering at the promise through unbelief : for he was trung in the faith, and thereby gave glory to God."
2. By being obedient unto his commands, and having a well ordered conversation ; for fruitfui profeflors are the glory of Chrift, and the ornament of his garden: “ They shall be called the trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, in whom he will be glorified. Pfal. l. 23. " Whofo offereth praise glorifieth me; and to him that ordereth his conversation aright, will I few the falvation of God.”.
3. By a steady adherence to him, his cause and interest, the rights of his crown and kingdom, when the wrath of man would rob us of them; hence we are called at such a time to “contend earnestly for the faith delivered to the faints," and to “ stand fast in the liberties wherewith Christ hath made us free;" and when we willingly walk asier the commandments of men, and quit his cause, we cast a reflection upon him, as if neither he, nor his truths or cause, were worthy the contend. ing for. 4. By a cheerful suffering for him, whenever he shall call
us to it, saying, with Paul, “I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem, for the name of Jesus.” Sirs, we must lose our lives sometime or other, and we can never lose them more honourably than by dying for the name of Christ. This is the Christian's bed of honour, and if any man lose his life for Christ, he fall find it; it will come again to him with advantage, both at death and the resurrection of the body.
Use third shall be in a word of Encouragement unto the poor people of God, who are at this day opprefled and borne down in their spiritual rights and privileges, by an ecclefiaftical tyranny, and who, perhaps, for adhering to their liberties as Christians, and to the rights and immunities of the church of Chrift, are exposed also to the wrath of their superiors. I only fuggeft these two or three things from the text for your encouragement.
1. It is not the wrath of God, but the wrath of worm man that ye lie exposed to, and his wrath can go but short way; and therefore, who art thou, O man, that art afraid of man?
2. As it is the wrath of man, so this wrath shall praise the Lord; and if God get a tribute of praise out of the wrath of man, it may make us to endure it with the greater patience. Men will plant their ground even in cold and stormy weather, in expectation of a plentiful harvest. Sirs, if God get a har. vest of glory and praise, we may with patience and pleasure al. low the ploughers to plow upon our back, for ploughing time will over, and the harvest time will come; and “they that sow, in tears, shall reap in joy.”
3. If any wrath of man remain beyond what shall bring in a revenue of praise unto God, he will restrain it, and bind it up like the waters of a mill: he will suffer as much of the current of water to run upon the wheel, as ferves to carry it about and grind his corn, but the remainder of the water he fets it off another way; so God will let out as much of the current of man's wrath as shall serve the ends of his glory and our good, but the remainder of the stream and current he will restrain, and turn another way. If. xxviii. there we are told that God will not be ay “threshing his corn, nor break it with the wheel of his cart, nor bruise it with his horsemen. This cometh forth from the Lord of hosts, which is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working.”
4. Lastly, All this comíort is sure and certain ; there is not the lealt peradventure about it, that the flame of man's wrath shall praise the Lord, and the fuperfluous fire shall be quenched, or hemmed in ; for here we have God's parole of honour for it, Surely the wrath of man all praise him : and the remaine der of his wrath he will restrain.