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of their way and walk is, “God does not see, neither does the God of Jacob regard us: The Lord has forsaken the earth, and the Lord feeth not ;" he neither takes notice of our good or evil, neither will he require it. But do not mistake it, says the prophet, you will find it otherwise ; The eyes of the Lord are upon the sinful kingdom, the finful rulers, prophets, priests, and inhabitants of the land ; " His eyes do fee, and his eye lids try the children of men.” The adulterer, and other Gnners of that kind, that perpetrate fin in secret, they feek the twilight; and when they do so, they say, “ No eye shall see us :' but, Sirs, remember it, that “ darkness and light are alike to God, the night shines as the day before him ; Can any hide himself in secret places, that I Ihall not see him? faith the Lord. He discovers deep things out of darkness, and brings out to light the shadows of death.” And therefore, wherever you are, whatever you are about, remember Hagar's confession of faith, “ Thou, God, seest me.” Study to remember, that the eye of an all-seeing God follows you wherever you go, yea, shines into the very bottom of your soul. Though perhaps you may fancy with yourselves, that your secret wickednesses are overlooked, and that your old fins are out of mind; they are not out of mind with God, he knows them, and will bring them to light. All the wicked works of darkness that are perpetrate in this city, he will discover and bring them to light one day before men and angels; “ he will bring every work into judgement, with every secret thing, whether it be good or evil.” Some mens behaviour, nowa-days, fays, that there is not a God to bring them to an account. For the Lord's fake, study to have the impression of an allseeing God upon you wherever you go; for the eyes of the Lord God are upon the finful kingdom : Verily there is a God that judgeth in the earth.
3. We may notice here God's purpose and resolution with reference to the sinful kingdom, what he has a-mind to do with it ; says the Lord, I will deftruy it from off the face of the earth. Sinners, when there are multitudes of them joined together, fancy themselves secure, especially when they have men of power and authority on their fide ; but it is as easy for God to destroy whole kingdoms, as to destroy one partie cular person. There is no safety in the way of multitudes; for what are all multitudes before the great God, but “ as the drop of a bucket, and are accounted as the small duft of the balance ?" I will destroy them, saith the Lord, from off the face of the earth. They have made the earth to groan, the creation to groan, under the weight of their sins: Well, I will rid the very earth of such a burden, says God; “ The Lord is a man
of war, the Lord is his name ; and when he whets his glittering sword, when his hand takes hold on judgement," what will he do with his enemies ? “ He will render tribulation and anguilh unto every soul of man that doth evil : yea, he will make clean work of great and populous nations and families ; high and low must bow when he arises unto judgement. When he whets bis sword, the wicked shall perish, “ his ene. mies shall be as the fat of lambs, into smoke shall they con, sume away.” Sirs, God is a strong party; and you that are running upon the thick boffes of his buckler, you had need to consider what you are doing. “Who will set the briers and thorns in battle against me? I will go through them, I will consume them together. Who can dwell with devouring fire ? who can abide with everlasting burnings?” I will destroy them from off the face of the earth. A heavy sentence from a God of mercy! How averse is he to bring matters to that extremity of destroying a people from off the face of the earth! It is just like the renting of his bowels to proceed to such severity: Kor. xi. 8. “ How shall I give thee up, O Ephraim? how shall I deliver thee, Israel? how Ihall I make thee as Admah ? how shall I set thee, as Zeboim ?. mine heart is turned within me, my repentings are kindled together.” He tries all ways and means imaginable to reclaim a Ginful people, before he comes this length : but when they will not be reclaimed, and when they will not regard the offers of his mercy, will not be led to repentance, what can remain but fiery wrath which shall devour his enemies ?. Sirs, do not think that the mercy of God will save you, when ye spurn at the bowels of divine mercy, while you tread and trample upon it by unbelief. God's mercy runs in a certain channel, and out of that it is not to be found. If you ask me, what is that channel? I answer, It is the blood and satisfaction of Jesus; and therefore, if ever ye would share of mercy, and avoid the judgements here threatened, you must come to the blood of sprinkling. But then,
4. We may notice the limitation of this awful sentence : “I will destroy them," &c. “ saving that I will utterly destroy the house of Jacob, iaith the Lord God.” The promiled feed of the woman, which was to bruise the head of the serpent, the promised feed of Abraham, in whom all the nations of the earth were to be blessed, was not yet come; and therefore a part of the natural seed of Abraham must be preserved in order to the production of that promised seed, through whom the blessings of heaven were to be conveyed to the sons of men. Or by the house of Facob we are to underAand the godly remnant, that adhered unto the Lord, and
unto his worship, his laws, inftitutions, and ordinances, in that degenerate age'; they that followed the example of Ja. cob, and their orlier worthy ancestors, in wreftling with God, efpecially in that dark and cloudy day : says the prophet, I quill not utierly destroy them. In the worst of times, God has always a remnant that worship and serve him, and that cleave unto his ways; as I was hinting already, he had his seven thousand in Israel, that had not bowed the knee unto Baal: and whatever comes of the reft of the world, God wifl take care of them. And this you will fee further illustrated in ver. 9. Where, ' . . . 5. We have an account of God's management with respect to that remnant: Por, lo, I will command, and I will fift the boufe of Israel among all nations, like as corn is fifted in a live, get Joall not the least grain thereof fall to the earth. There is an al. tufion here to an husbandman, who when he fifts his corn in. the Give, he shakes it, and he toffes it hither and thither, not to deftroy it, but to preserve and purify it, and to separate betwixt the good corn and the chaff; but all the time that the husbandman is fifting the corn, he has the five faft in his hand, and he manages the live for the good of the corn.' Just fo here, God's remnant are his good corn, and the wicked are the chaff; and he will send a winnowing and lifting wind in. to the barn of the vilible church, and will shake his remnant; yet he will take care of them, he has them in his hand, “ Ail his faints are in thy hand," Deut. xxxii. 3, “ No man fhall pluck them out of my hand, nor out of my Father's hand," fays our blessed Lord, and not a grain shall fall to the ground, or be lost. There is a particular providence of God exercised about his own people; his eye is set upon them for good; and the hand of his providence manages the great field of the creation in a subferviency unto his own glory, and to their good i “ He rides in the heavens for the help of his people, and in his excellency on the skies ; he is the fhield of their help, and the sword of their excellency." But then,
6. We are here told what will become of the chaff, ver. 10. « All the finners of my people shall die by the sword, which fay, The evil thall not overtake nor prevent us. It is a Itrange thing that the great Lord should tay claim to them as his people, though they were a finful people; he would fain lay claim unto them, if they would lay claim to him. But this is an aggravation of their fin, that they are his professing people, and yet they rebel against him; it is such a heightening aggravation of their fin, that he appeals to the very heavens against them, If. i. 2. “ Hiear, O heavens, and give car, O earth : I have nourished and brought up children, yet
they have rebelled against me." All the finners of my people fball die by the word. ' At the finners of my people ! Certainly this is not to be underftood absolutely, or else no flesh should be spared; “for all have fırned, and come short of the glory of God:” but you see what finners are intended, in the latter claufe of ver. 10. That say, The evil.shall not overtake nor: prevent us.. They promised themfelves impunity in their way, and 6 faid within their hearts,” and perhaps with their tongues too, so We shall have peace, though we walk after the imaginations of our own heart's.” - And is there not a fet of people in the land, and I fear too many of them in this City, who speak the fame language ? Let God say what he will by his word, let him say what he will by his providence, let ministers and Christians testify againft them never fo much, and warn them of their fins, and of the judgements of God they are bringing on themselves and the band'; yet they say, 'The evil fhall not overtake nor prevent us, we will gorion and profpet, we will :“ add drunkennefs to our thirft: Toimiorrow shall be as this day, and much more abundanı.Sirs, fome ate finning with a high hand against the great God, but their high hand will fall, when God lifts his hand; they may deal proudly, but God will be above them: Jet them do their utmost, “the lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtinefs of man Mhall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted," although it be unto their rain and deftraction. I would have you who promise yourselves impunity in your evil ways to remember, that thought fenECÁce against an evil work be not fpeedily executed, yet when the time of execution comes, the severity of the stroke will make a recompense fufficiently for the delay of it; God's hand is heavy when it is laid on, and that you will find to your cost. ". Consider this ye that forget God." Consider this, ye who, to the offence of all foher and serious Chrillians, are fol lowing these obscene fpectacles and comedies that are set up in this place, and you who, in your night-revellings, adventure to profane the holy word and worship of God in the open streets. You may imagine that evil ihall not overtake you : but whether thall God's word or yours hold good ? You say, “ You shall have peace, though you” thus infult the great God, and add drunkenness to thirft;" but God fays, “ l'here is no peace to the wicked." I won'
. But now follow's another scene : a scene of mercy is opened up in VCT. II. In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David, that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof, and I will raise up bis ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old. - Where briefly we may notice, it, The designation that God gives unto his church, particularly the New Testament
church; church; it is called the tabernacle of David. I think it is fo called, with an allusion to the tabernacle that was made by : Mofes in the wilderness, which was a badge of God's particular presence among that people : it was a kind of portable thing that they carried about with them from one place to another, till they came to Canaan; and then it was set in the plase which God had appointed for it in the temple at Jerusalem. God's militant church in the world is a kind of move. able thing : “The tabernacle of God is with men,” but it is not always fixed in one particular place ; sometimes he sees meet to remove his tabernacle, as the tabernacle was removed of old from one place to another; sometimes he removes it from one nation to another; hence Christ tells the Jews, that “ the kingdom of God should be taken from them, and given to a nation that would make a better use of it.” Sirs, God's tabernacle has been pitched among us for a long time, but it has met with course handling, many foul hands have been admitted to approach it. None but those that were called of God were allowed to touch the tabernacle;. but, alas ! how many are there in our day who intrude upon tabernacle work, that never had the call of God, or his people, unto that service! And this I look upon; among other things, to be one of the many melancholy signs of God's removing his tabernacle from among us. Little of God, little of his glory, is to be seen, as in former times : the cloud of his presence is departed. But then the tabernacle is here called the tabernacle of David. Sirs, David had great pleasure in God's tabernacle : "How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts? One day, in thy courts is better than a thousand : I would rather be à doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.” Alas! this is not the spirit of the generality now-a-days; many love rather to be in a tavern than in the tabernacle. But by David here, we are not to understand David personally, but David typically, the Son of David, he in whom David's family, David's throne, and David's power, were perpetuated. And then it is called the tabernacle of Day vid, because it is his property. The church is Christ's property, he bought her at a dear rate, even with the price of his pre. cious blood ; she is his dwelling.place, and he has no other dwelling upon earth but his church : he says of Zion, where the tabernacle was placed, “ This is my rest for ever : here will I dwell, for 'I do like it well,” Psal. cxxxii. 14.