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take them; and Joe sball seek them, but shall not find them : then sball fbe say, I will go and return to my firft husband, for then was it better with me than now.
V. I shall make some short improvement of this point.
1. This gives a sad prospect of the lot of this generation. It is true, God may deal with us in a way of sovereign grace: but fure we have ground to expect, in the common course of providence, a heavy day of passing under the rod. All have gone astray: we have the guilt of former times unremoved yet: the iniquities of the present times have gone over all the banks: the gospel is doing very little good. We are incorrigible under lefser Itrokes, and bring forth no fruit of deliverances, but that we grow worse daily. Immoralities are come to a prodigious height: and the generation is in a plain course of defection from God, in principles as well as practice. What can the end of these things be?
2. Yet it gives fome ground of hope of better days on the other side of the stroke. Who knows but God may fanctify some national calamity or other to bring us back into the bond of the covenant, and yet make glorious days in these lands? We are not to desire the strokes of his hand; but if that be the Lord's mind concerning us to take that way with us, let us lay our hand on our mouth, and so steer our course that if possible we may get through.
But it may be inquired, What course should one take, in such a doubtful event, for his own safety? I answer,
1. Make up your peace with God in Christ, co. ming in personally into the bond of the covenant. In the worst of times this will make you safe, and fet you beyond the reach of eternal wrath: For there is now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, Rom. viii. I. And David, as it were in his last moments could say, Although my house be not to with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting cove
nant, ordered in all things and sure: for this is all my falvation, and all my desire.
2. This being done, lay down yourself at the Lord's feet, resigning yourself to his disposal come what will; as David did in his distress, when flying from Jerusalem, on account of the unnatural rebellion of his son Absalom : Carry back the ark of God into the city, said he to Zadok the priest: if I sball find favour in the eyes of the Lord, he will bring me again, and sbew me both it, and his habitation. But if he thus fay, I have no delight in thee: behold, here am I, let him do to me as seemeth good unto him, 2 Sam. XV. 25. 26. They may perish in a common calami. ty, whose fouls shall go straight to glory. We have no ground of doubting but many are in heaven this day, whom famine, sword, or pestilence have fent thither. Moses himself died in the wilderness, and was kept out of Canaan for his wilderness-provocation. Those who are in Christ, die they or live they, die what way they will, are safe.
3. But endeavour ye to be best when others are worst, and save yourselves from this untoward generation. Go not into the God-provoking courses of it, but repent and turn off from them in time.
And mourn for the sins of others, and the dishonour done to God thereby. If there be any way to be safe in a time of common calamity, that is it. This was Noah's practice; for we are told, Gen. vi. 9.
that Noah was a juft man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God. And this is clear from Ezek. ix. 4. The Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that high, and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. If ye will partake with the generation of God's anger in their sinful loose ways, how can ye miss to partake with them in their plagues? Bit those who endeavour to walk with God in a sinning time, and to hold off from entering into the confpiracy, God will see to them in a suffering time. + D
An untoward Generation characterized,
with the Means to be saved from it.
S E R
Preached at ETTRICK, on a Faft-day, December 7. , 1728.
ACTs ii. 40.
THESE words are a part of the advice which Pe.
ter gives to his hearers, particularly to those of them who were convinced of their sin, and desired to know what course they should take to be saved. Не, bids them repent and be baptized, and return to the Lord by Jesus Christ. And to enforce this, he sets an encouragement before them, assuring them they should be welcome, ver. 39. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God Mall call. And he presses the necessity of it, as they tendered their own safety, and would not involve themselves in the ruin that was abiding the generation in which they lived; Save yourselve. from this untoward generation. In which words we may notice,
1. The character of the generation among whom their lot was cast; they were an untoward generation. They were a crooked, perverse, and froward set of men, who were not so much through weakness led out of the way, as through wickedness bent to for. Lake the way. They were wilful and headstrong in
their evil courses, and would not be reclaimed, but proceeded from evil to evil. He points out that generation as a signally-untoward one, this untoward generation, who have signalized themselves for obstinacy, rebellion, and apoftafy, having crucified the Lord of life, and being still carrying on the war against him; being the generation which Moses fpecially pointed at, Deut. xxxii. 20. They are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith.
2. The lot abiding that generation, namely, ruin and misery, by the wrath of God breaking out on them, in as remarkable a manner as they had sinned, This is implied in that expression, Save yourselves from them. As if he had said, They are a generation of God's wrath, a generation devoted to destruction, engaged in a course that will have a fearful end. Our Lord had foretold it, Matth. xxii. 7. But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burnt up their city. Chap. xxiii. 35. 36. That upon you may come all the righteous blood sed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel, unto the blood of Zacharias, son of Barachias, whom ye New between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things ball come upon this generation. And accordingly it came to pass in the fearful destruction that was brought on them by the Romans.
3. The right course to be taken for safety in such a cafe, Save yourselves, &c. Partake not with them in their fins, that ye partake not with them in their plagues. The house is coming down, the breaking will come suddenly at an instant; fave yourselves, flee for your life, that ye be not crushed with the fall thereof.
The text furnishes this doctrine, viz.
Doct. They that would see to their own safety, must beftir themselves, and timely save themselves from
en untoward generation, whom wrath from the Lord is abiding.
I shall endeavour to prosecute this doctrine in the following method.
I. I shall shew what fort of a generation is an untoward generation, whom wrath from the Lord is abiding.
II. What course one must take that would save himself from such an untoward generation.
III. Lay down some motives to stir you up to save yourselves from this untoward generation.
I. I fhall shew what sort of a generation is an untoward generation, whom wrath from the Lord is abi. ding. They are,
A generation become proof against the means of grace, the glorious gospel of Christ. Such was this generation in the text. Christ himself preached to them, and his apostles too: but how did they receive it? Hear the observation of the evangelist upon it, Johın xii. 37. 38. But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: that the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report ? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? And look to what the apostle Paul faith, Rom. x. 16. But they have not all obeyed the gifpel. For Efaias faith, Lord, who hath believed our report? It is true, there were three thoufand converted at this fermon of Peter's; but what were they and others that were picked up here and there by preventing grace, in comparison of the body of that generation, who remained obstinate infidels ? They were but as a little remnant which God reserves to himself, in the worst of times, for a feed, Rom. ix. 29. So wrath
on that generation, as the apostle obferves, 1 Theff. ii. 16. Wrath is come upon them to the utter: moft, according to the threatening, Matth. xxii. 7. forecited,