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If we confider the admonition in the text with the context; we shall find caufe to take notice of the mercy and patience of God in his unwillingness to destroy, verfè 6. Thus faith the Lord of Hofts; hew ye down the trees, and caft a mount against Ferufalem; this is the city to be vifited. God had given the enemies commiffion to deftroy them; here is destruction, as it were, in execution but here, in the text, he seems to make a ftop, and suspend his displeasure, and thus to reafon, muft it needs be fo? Is there no remedy? May we not yet be reconciled? Is it not poffible to bring them to repent? Though evil be determined, though upon the execution; yet if they repent, their ruin may be prevented. Wherefore, as it is, Amos iv. 12. Prepare to meet thy God, O Ifracl. God intimates thus much; I am placable, ready to lay afide my difpleasure; we may yet be reconciled, if thou wilt return to a right understanding. This I obferve from the relation of the verfe to the former.
But now, to speak fhortly to the particulars, what 'tis, to be inftructed..
1. Search and examine the number, weight and measure of thine iniquities, verse 7. As a fountain cafteth forth waters, so she cafteth out her iniquities; violence and fpoil is heard in her.
2. Weigh and confider how unjustifiable, how unreasonable are provocations on our part, while there is patience on God's. Deut. xxxii. 6. Do ye thus requite the Lord, ye foolish people, and unwife? Numb. xiv. 11. How long will this people provoke me? How long will it be, e're ye believe me, for all the figns that I have fhewed among you? 3. Under
3. Understand and discern: have fixed and stayed apprehenfions in your mind. Impreffions of good things flip out of our minds, if they be not confidered: therefore David prays for the people, 1 Chron. xxix. 18. Keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the hearts of thy people. There are three acts belonging to a wife man.
To have an inspection into things present. To have respect to things past, from which comes experience.
To provide against future events, and prepare for things to come, even for the worst. Be inftructed, foresee, and difcern future mischiefs following upon pertinacious continuance in fin fee the iffues of things in their own caufes, and confequents in their antecedents.
4. Do and perform, as becomes an intelligent as gent, when he is made fenfible and apprehenfive, Prov. xxii. 3. The prudent man for feeth the evil and bideth himself, but the fimple pass on and are punished.. Whatsoever was before, was but preparatory to this. and incompleat without it, viz. examining, confidering, and understanding; we must execute and perform and do accordingly, things must be fecured by future acts; things but half done, will quickly be undone, for things run back again if not settled by us into action: we must not give over till all be finished. Things are not put in ultimo actu, till there be a refinement of our fpirits, and a reformation of our lives that is the end of all before. Things unperfected, go back again of their own accord. Nothing is fettled, till it be in its ftate. We must attain the
regenerate state, the juftified ftate; these are the fettlements and foundations of religion. None more deceive themselves, than they who think their religion is true and genuine; tho' it refines not their fpirits, and reforms not their lives, James i. 27. As by other principles, the fubjects of them are conftituted in habitu; fo it is likewife in this cafe. Humi lity doth not only denominate, but affect; fo in reliquis virtutibus.
Now finners, who are called evil-doers and workers of iniquity, they fail in all these duties: for they are either ignorant and inapprehenfive, or else carelefs and incogitant; or else vainly fraught and poffeft; or wilful and prefumptuous.
1. Ignorant and unapprehensive ; notwithstanding all the means they have to attain knowledge and understanding, as never having been awakened ; and a man is no body where he hath not thought and confidered. For God and nature brought us into this world with powers and faculties ; but habits are acquired by confideration and exercife, improving our powers through God's affiftance. The want of principles of knowledge proves mischievous, for without knowledge the heart is not good and God by the prophet complains, Hof. iv. 6. That his people perish for want of knowledge.
2. They are careless and incogitant. This is generally true of all those that live in fin, who are neglective of God, and defective in the right use of themselves. This the philofopher tells us, Every one that finneth, is ignorant; that is, he is either fundamentally ignorant, as having been a person of no education
education, no use and improvement of his natural powers and faculties; or elfe, he hath been inadvertent and regardlefs. And thus many live, as it were, without God in the world; forget God, not having their fenfes exercised to perceive and difcern; having no affection nor devotion towards him; have no regard to their future glory, nor to their foul's immortality; do good and bad, without difference or diftinction; confound the sense of good and evil; they think not on the future account, nor upon eternity. Thus did not David; for he tells us, Pfal. cxix. 59. That he confidered his ways, and turned his feet unto God's teftimonies. The wicked, on the contrary, are faid to forget God, Pfal. 1. 22. Job viii. 13. They call not on his name, Pfal. lxxix. 6. They live but to gratify sense, pamper their flesh, and feed the beaft, Rom. xiii. 14. They make provifion for the flesh to fulfil the lufts thereof. They make it the business and employment of their mind and understanding to cater for the body. their reasonable fouls only ferve for falt to keep the body from french and putrefaction.
3. Vainly fraught, and poffefs'd, fo as to flatter themselves, deceive their own fouls, put themfelves into a fool's paradife, live in a lie, go on blindfold to deftruction. Fancy and humour, and not the reafon and truth of things rule in their lives. Or elfe,
4. They are wilful and defperate, casting off all obligations to God, and hold the truth in unrighteouf ness; make havock of confcience; turn the grace of God into wantonnefs, and contract reprobacy mind, and fay with them, I Cor. xv. 32. Let us eat
and drink, for to marrow we must die. Come, fay they, fetch wine, and we will fill our felves with strong drink,. and to morrow shall be as this day, and much more an bundant, Ifa. lvi. 12.
Thus have you had an account of the caution, and admonition: be inftructed.
II. Now for the inforcement. Left my foul depart from thee; left I make thee defolate, a land not inhabited.
Left my foul depart from thee; these words are a metaphor taken from a member put out of joint, that cannot be fet again; it is of the fame import with that we read, Ezek. xxiii. 18. So fhe difcovered ber whoredoms, and my mind was alienated from her: and Heb. x.. 38. My foul shall have no pleasure in him. The meaning of God in all fuch expreffions, is, that we fhould return unto him; therefore here obferve, how hardly doth God forget his relation to his people? how doth he inforce his arguments? he gives admonition; and how doth he inforce and back it, that they may take notice, God's meaning is, they fhould return to him, because of his forwardness to admonish? in these words you have a double argument.
Argumentum amoris, &
1. An argument of love and good will, left my foul depart from thee. 2. An argument from fear, left I make thee defolate. A double argument is as a double testimony, by which every word is established, 2. Cor. xiii. 1. Here is an obligation upon ingenuity: and the constraints of neceffity. This double argument fhews us two things. 1. The