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and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them! So Jer. 13.
Vol. VIL 27. 0 Jerusalem, wilt thou not be made cléan? when fall it once be? If. 5. 3, 4. we find God there folemnly appealing to the People of Israel, whether there had been any thing wanting on
that was fit to be done; And Bow, O inhabitants of Jerufalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwist me and my vineyard. What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done to it? wherefore when I looked it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes ? God may justly look for the Fruits of Repentance and Obedience from those, to whom he affords a fufficiency of Meáns to that End. And if so, then
3. The true Reason why. Men do not repent, but perish, is because they are obstinate, and will not repent ; and this account the Scripture every where gives of the impenitency of Men, and the ruin consequent upon it. Psal. 81. 13. Othat my people had. hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my statutes! But my people would not hearken to my voice, and Israel would mone of me. Ezek. 33. 11. Why will
mye dye, O house of Israel ? Frov. I. 29,
30, 31. They hated knowledge, and did not chuse the fear of the Lord. They would none of my counsels, they despised all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat the fruit of their own ways, and be filled with their own devices. The ruin of Sinners does not proceed from the counsel of God; bur from their own choice. And so likewise our Sayiour every where chargetłı the ruin and destruction of the Jews upon their own wilful obftinacy.
The Inferences from this Discourse concerning the Patience and longsuffering of God towards Mankind, fhall be these three. : I. To stir us up to a thankful acknowledgment of the great Patience, of God towards us, notwithstanding our manifold and heinous provocati ons. We may every one of us take to our selves those words, Lam. 3. 22. It is of the Lords mercy that we are not confumed, because his compassions fail not. They are renewed every morning.. When ever we fin (and we provoke. God every day) it is of his Patience that pe are noz
, destroyed ; and when we fu again, this is a new and greater In
ftance of God's Patience. The mercies of God's Patience are no more to Vol. VI be numbred than our sins; we may say with David, How great is the sum of them? The goodness of God in sparing us, is in some respect greater than his
goodness in creating us ; because he had no provocation not to make us, but we provoke him daily to destroy us.
II. Let us propound the Patience of God for a pattern to our selves. Plutarch says, " That God sets forth him” self in the midst of the World for !!! our Imitation, and propounds to us " the Example of his Patience to teach
us not to revenge Injuries hastily upon one another. III. Let us comply with the design of God's Patience and long-suffering towards us, which is to bring us to repentance. Men are very apt to abuse it to a quite contrary purpose, to the encouragiog themselves in their evil ways. So Solomon obferves, Eccl. 8. 11. Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil : But this is very false reasoning; for the Patience of God is an ene
my to fin, as well as his Justice, and Vol. VII. the design of it is not to countenance
fin, but to convert the Sinner; Rom. 2. 4. Despiseft thou the riches of his goodness, and forbearance, and long-suffer. ing, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance ? Patience in God should produce Repentance in us; and we should look upon it as an opportunity given us by God to repent and be saved ; 2 Pet. 3. 15. Account that the long-suffering of God is salvation. They that do not improve the Patience of God to their own Sal. vation, mistake the true meaning and intent of it. But many are so far from making this use of it, that they prefume upon it, and fin with more courage and confidence because of it ; but that we may be sensible of the danger of this, I will offer these two or three Considerations,
1. That nothing is more provoking to God, than the abuse of his Patience. God's Patience waits for our Repentance, and all long attendance, even of Inferiors upon their Superiors, hath something in it that is grievous ; how much more grievous and provoking muft it be to the great God, after he
hath laid out upon us all the riches of
2. Consider that the Patience of God will have an end. Tho' God fuffers long, he will not suffer always; we may provoke God so long, till he can forbear no longer without injury and dishonour to his Wisdom,and Ju stice, and Holiness; and God will not fuffer one Attribute to wrong the rest; his Wisdom will determine the length of his Pacience; when his Patience is to no purpose, when there is no hopes of our amendment, his Wisdom will then put a period to it; then the Pa. tience of his Mercy will determine. How often would I have gathered you, and you would not ? therefore
your house is left