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338: The Name of God glorified in Chrif.
7. Swearing, or a horrid profanation of the name of God, was one of the fins of Israel : « Because of swearing, the land inourneth," fays the prophet, Hof. iv. And have not we in this land provoked him, and arę daily provoking him by the fame' iniquity ? . What a needless multiplicity of oaths is there both in the affairs of government and trade? What unlaw ful, dubious, and contradictory oaths have been impofed and fworn? How are the conseiences of many debauched by a continual (wearing of custom-house oaths ? And how is the holy name of God profaned by a cuftomary, swearing by the name of the great God, or by their faith, conscience, and Chriftianity? And how Htele regard is frewed to folemn oaths by some sort of men, who, to get themselves into places of trust and preferment, will abiure a Popish Pretender, with a design to advance his interest? How many are there that come under personal.vows, congregational vows, city vows, and yet' act the very reverse of what they have vowed and fworn by the name of the great God ? Let fuch remember that awful word, “ Thou fhalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain : for the Lord will not hold him guiltlefs that taketh his name in vain.” I fear it may be said of us at this days as of Israel, “ Because of swearing the land mourneth.”
8. Ifrael provoked God by murmuring and repining againft the conduct of divine providence. Whenever things were carried crofs to their inclination, or when reduced unto any pinch and want, presently they flew in the face of Heaven, and charged God foolithly, Cån God do this or that? “ Can he cover a table in the wilderness ?"" And fo they provoked the Lord to anger, and kindled the fire of his jealousy against them. And is not this alfo our lin in this land ? God has for a long time blafted the public enterprises of the nation; he has blasted the trade, and written disappointment on many of our undertakings; he has been making various rods to pass through among us, whereby particular persons and families have been touched to the quick. And what murmuring is there
ainst the hand of God in these things? How little fruit is
have we profes not this be they lied
there of rods, whether public or personal? So that God may Way of us, as he did of Israel, “I have stricken them, but they have not grieved ; I have consumed them, but they have tefused to receive correction': they have made their face's harder than a rock, and have refused to return." . . .....
9. Israel provoked the Lord by gross-hypocrisy and disfimulation. “When he New them, then they fought him : they remembered that God was their Rock, and the high God their Redeemer. Nevertheless, they lied unto him with their lips," &c. And has not this been our way with God? How often have we profelled to fast and mourn, to reform and amend, the evil of our ways, and yet all our pretended goodness has been "like the morning cloud, and early dew, wlich foon paffes away ?" Have we not quickly, after professions of humiliation, "returned with the dog to the vomit, and the row that feemed to be washed, to wallow in the mire ?" He that is filthy remains filthy ftill; the drunkard till follows his cups, the fwearer his oaths, the treacherous dealer foil continues to deal treacherously. . . i .
' ,- *...* Queft. 1. What is the extent of that awful certification in the text, “ He will not pardon your transgressions ?”
Antw. 1. He will not pardon the finally unbelieving and im. penitent; he will pursue an eternal controversy with them in hell.
2. He will pardon no man without a satisfaction to his jus. tice, * by no means clear the guilty," unless his guilt be washed away in the blood of thre Surety.
3. He will not pardon the Gns of his own children without chastening them for their iniquities; he will indeed pardon their iniquiries, but he will “ take vengeance on their inven. tions. : You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore will I punith you for all your iniquities," Psal. lxxxix. 31. 32. SC.
4. When a professing people, who have fatten leng under the drop of the gospel, having finned away the day of grace, he will not pardon their cranfgreflions, though Noah, Daniel, and Job stood before him they may indeed save their own souls, but yet.God's heart cannot be towards that people. :?
Queft. 2. When is it chat it is come to this pass with a land or church, that the Angel of the covenant will not pardon them, but is saying, as he did to Israel, Jer. v. 29. "Shall I not visit for these things ? faith the Lord : fhall not my foul -be avenged on such a nation as this?” I shall not pretend to give politive marks; but I will tell you some things that look very like it, and you will find them in tbe chapter last cited, Jer. v.
In lih"; ver. 1. &c.cy that are va
os 1. When the number of faithful ministers and Chriftians is
greatly decreased : when they that are valiant for the truth are thin fown, as in ver. I. &c.
2. When fin is become universal, as ver. 4. 5. 7. all ranks corrupting their ways.
3. When folk are turned resolute in fin, a's ver. 3. . 4. When folk turn impudent in sin, as in ver. 3. ' än .. 5. When trials and other means do not reclaim, ver. 3. Stricken, but not grieved,” &c. ; when the word does no good, Heb. vi. 8. *** **,
1.6. When the fins of a people are greatly multiplied, as ver. 6. Jer. XXX. 14. 15. Hof. iv. 1-3..
7. When folk turn secure, and stupid in a way of fin, promiling themfelves impunity, as ver. 12. 13. fo Is. xxvïi. 14. 15. 16. 17. 1. , a
Queft. 3. What is to be done in order to prevent matters coming to that pass, that the Angekiwill not pardon ?? Anfw. Take care to obey his voice. But this leads to another cxhortation, which I must refer to another occafion.'
· Exod. xxiii. 21.--Obey his voice : for my name is in him,
- THE SEVENTH SERMON' ON THIS TEXT.
A Fifth exhortation I offer from the doctrine is this : See A ing it is so that the name of the great God is in Chrift, the great Angel of the covenant ; then follow the advice given here ; fee that ye obey bis voice. You see in the context, the verse immediately following, that the voice of the Angel is the very same with the voice of his eternal Father, ver. 22. .“ If thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies,”' &c.' The three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Spirit, are one God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory; and therefore, when one of the witnesses in heaven speak, a whole Trinity speaks. The reason here given, why we should obey the voice of Christ, is, Because my name is in himn. Says God the Father, I am in him, and therefore obey His voice. Hence Christ, when here upon earth, in a state of Pumiliation, tells the sons of men, “ He that heareth me,
heareth him that fent me ; and he that despiseth me, despiseth him that fent me." And therefore I exhort you, Sirs, who are before me, to see that ye obey the voice of Christ, the great Angel or Apolle of the New Testament church. Three feveral times was this charge repeated by a solemn proclamation from heaven, while Christ was here upon earth, “ This is my beloved Son; in whom I am well plealed ; hear ye him.” And fee an awful charge given to the same purpose by the apostle, Heb. xii. 25...See that ye refuse not him that speaketh: for if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much 'more hall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speak'eth from heaven.” niini'i ;. But that I may enlarge this exhortation, I shall endeavour,
1. To inquire what we are to understand by the voice of Christ. in
2. Inquire more particulary whát his voice and language is to the present generation.
3. What it is to obey his voice. :
4. Offer some considerations to excite and quicken sinners to'dbey his voice. ? . 5. Offer some characters of these that are obedient to his voice. 1. rialle .. 6. Conclude with some advices how his voice is to be obeyed,:. i'. S isi
Queft. 1."What is the voice of Christ, which we are requi. red to hear and obey?. ..Answ. For clearing of this you would know, that we are not to expect to hear the voice of Christ in that manner that Ifraet heard it at the delivery of the law upon mount Sinai, 64which voice they that heard it, intreated that the word should not be fpoken to them any more : for they could not endure that which was commanded;" yea; Moses himself was made to own, “ I exceedingly fear and quake;" Heb. xii. 18. 19. 20. 21. Neither are we to think of hearing the voice of Christ in a way of immediate revelation, as the prophets under the Old Testament, and apostles under the New, to whom he spoke " at sundry times, and in divers manners,” by dreams and visions. I do not think indeed that the Lord has so limited his adorable fovereignty, but that he may notify his mind, as to some particular events of providence, to whom, and after what manner he pleases.' But although these thing's may be premonitions and warnings, yet they are not the grounds of our faith, that being laid in the “ more sure word of prophecy, to which we do well to take heed, as unto a light shining in a dark place." Neither muft we think of hearing his voice in an oral and personal way, as the disciples
and others heard him, when he was personally here upon earth ; no, “ the heavens are to contain him, until the time of the restitution of all things.” Now, when he is upon the throne of glory and majesty at the right hand of God, he 1peaks not in an immediate, but in a mediate way, by his he ralds and ambassadors. Hence John Baptist is called "the voice of one crying in the wilderness.” 2 Cor. V. 20. “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beleech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, by ye reconciled to God.'
. '3" do But more dire@ly for an answer to the queftion, you would know that the voice of Christ, or of God in him, is conveyed to the children of men two ways, either by his providence, or by his word..
1. By his providential dispensations, whether of mercy or of judgement. There is not a mercy that the hand of Provi. dence reaches to thee, O man, whether it be preventing mer cy, providing mercy, sparing, or delivering mercy, but the voice of it is there. “Knowelt thou not, 0 man, that the good. ness of God leadeth thee to repentance ?” Rom. i. 4. Oht how sweet are they that take up, or answer this voice of God, or are led to repentance by his bounty and liberality to them! The more liberal that God is to many folks in this gepesation, the more they do kick against God, like Jefhurun. But let such remember that awful caveat which you will find in the place last cited, that by the abuse of divine mercy, and impenitence under it, thou art treafuring up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous judgement of God.". But then the voice of God is conveyed not only in his favourable, but in his frowning dispensations. There is not a rod or judgement sent upon a person, a family, a city, or land, but the Lord's voice is there : Mic. xi. 9. - The Lord's voice crieth unto the city, and the man of wisdom shall see thy name : hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it.” And by this voice of judgement the Lord seems to be crying unto this city, and to all ranks in it, at this day. He has cried long to it by the voice of his servants, riling up early and fending them; but this voice of God has not been regarded by the generality, who have stopped the ear, and pulled away the Thoulder; and therefore now he is beginning to speak after another manner, even by the voice of his awful judgements, and wrath-like dispensations. Oh that, “ when his judgements are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world," and the inhabitants of this city, “may learn righteousness.”
2. The voice of Christ, and of God in him, is conveyed in his word either read or preached. And here again his voice is