« AnteriorContinuar »
fecting the same change in the hearts and lives of men : But it is apparent that there are some things wherein the main substance of this work consists, a certain effect that is produced, and alteration that is made in the apprehensions, affections, dispositions and behavior of men, in which there is a likeness and agreement every where : Now this I say, is either a wonderful work of God, or a mighty work of the devil ; and so is either a most happy event, greatly to be admired and rejoiced in, or a most awful calamity. Therefore if what has been said before, be sufficient to determine it to be as to the main, the work of God, then it must be acknowledgcá to be a very wonderful and glorious work of God.
Such a work is in its nature and kind, the most glorious of any work of God whatsoever; and is always so spoken of in scripture. It is the work of redemption, (the great end of all other works of God, and of which the work of creation was but a shadow) in the event, success and end of it: It is the work of new creation, that is infinitely more glorious than the old. I am bold to say, that the work of God in the conversion of one soul, considered together with the source, foundation and purchase of it, and also the benefit, end and eternal issue of it, is a more glorious work of God than the creation of the whole material universe : It is the most glorious of God's works, as it above all others manifests the glory of God: It is spoken' of in scripture as that which shews the exceeding greatness of God's power, and the glory and riches of divine grace, and wherein Christ has the most glorious triumph over his enemies, and wherein God is mightily exalt. ed: And it is a work above all others glorious, as it concerns the happiness of mankind ; more happiness, and a greater benefit to man, is the fruit of each single drop of such a show. er, than all the temporal good of the niost happy revolution in a land or nation amounts tó, or all that a people could gain by the conquest of the world.
And as this work is very glorious in its nature, so it is in its degree and circumstances. It will appear very glorious if we consider the unworthiness of ihe people that are the subjects of it; what obligations God has laid us under by the
special privileges we have enjoyed for our souls' good, and the great things God did for us at our first settlement in the land; and how he has followed us with his goodness to this day, and how we have abused his goodness; how long we have been tevolting more and more, (as all confess) and how very cortupt we were become at last ; in how great a degree we had cast off God, and forsaken the fountain of living waters : How obstinate we have been under all manner of means that God has used with us to reclaim us; how often we have mocked God with hypocritical pretences of humiliation, as in our annual days of public fasting, and other things, while instead of reforming, we only grew worse and worse ; how dead a time it was every where before this work began : If we consider these things, we shall be most stupidly ungrateful, if we do not acknowledge God's visiting of us as he has done, as an instance of the glorious triumph of free and sovereign grace.
The work is very glorious if we consider the extent of it ; being in this respect vastly beyond any former outpouring of the Spirit that ever was known in Newengland. There has formerly sometimes been a remarkable awakening and suca cess of the means of grace, in some particular congregation ; and this used to be much taken notice of, and acknowledged to be glorious, though the towns and congregations round about continued dead : But now God has brought to pass & new thing, he has wrought a great work of this nature, that has extended from one end of the land to the other, besides what has been wrought in other British colonies in America.
The work is very glorious in the great numbers that have to appearance, been turned from sin to God, and so delivered from a wretched captivity to sin and satan, saved from everlasting burnings, and made heirs of eternal glory. How high an honor, and great reward of their labors, have some emis ñent persons of note in the church of God, signified that they should esteem it, if they should be made the instruments of the conversion and eternal salvation of but one soul? And no greater event than that is thought worthy of great notice in heaven among the hosts of glorious angels, who rejoice and sing on such an occasion : And when there are inany thousands of Vol. III:
of souls thus converted and saved, shall it be esteemed wortii but littlc notice, and be mentioned with coldness and indifference here on earth, by those among whom such a work is wrought?
The' work has been very glorious and wonderful in many circumstances and events of it, that have been extraordinary, wherein God has, in an uncommon manner, made his hand visible, and his power conspicuous; as in the extraordinary degrees of awakening, the suddenness of conversions in innumerable instances, in which, though the work was quick, yet the thing wrought is manifestly durable. How common a thing has it been for great part of a congregation to be at once moved, by a mighty invisible power; and for six, eight, or ten souls to be converted to God, (to all appearance) in an exercise, in whom the visible change still continues ? How great an alteration has been made in some towns; yea, some populous towns; the change still abiding? And how many very vicious persons have been wrought upon, so as to become visibly new creatures ? God has also made his hand very visible, and his work glorious, in the multitudes of little children that have been wrought upon : I suppose there have been some hundreds of instances of this nature of late, any one of which formerly would have been looked úpon só remarkable, as to be worthy to be recorded, and published through the land. The work is very glorious in its influences and effects on many that have been very ignorant and Barbarous, as I before observed of the Indians and Negroes.
The work is also exceeding glorious in the high attainments of Christians, in the extraordinary degrees of light, love, and spiritual joy, that God has bestowed upon great multitudes. In this respect also, the land in all parts has abounded with such instances, any one of which if they had happened formerly, would have been thought worthy to be taken notice of by God's people, throughout the British dominions. The New Jerusalem in this respect has begun to come down from heaven, and perhaps never were more of the prelibations of heaven's glory given upon earth.
There being a great many errors and sinful irregularities mixed with this work of God, arising from our weakness, darkness and corruption, does not hinder this work of God's power and grace from being very glorious. Our follies and sins that we mix, do in some respects manifest the glory of it: The glory of divine power and grace is set off with the greater lustre, by what appears at the same time of the weakness of the earthen vessel. It is God's pleasure that there should be something remarkably to manifest the weakness and unworthiness of the subject, at the same time that he displays the excellency of his power and riches of his grace..... And I doubt not but some of those things that make some of us here on earth to be out of humor, and to look on this work with a sour, displeased countenance, do heighten the songs of the angels, when they praise God and the Lamb for what they see of the glory of God's allsufficiency, and the efficacy of Christ's redemption. And how unreasonable is it that we should be backward to acknowledge the glory of what God has done, because withal, the devil, and we, in hearkening to him, have done a great deal of mischief.
Shewing the Obligations that all are under to acknow
ledge, rejoice in, and promote this Work, and the great Danger of the contrary:
THERE are many things in the word of God, that shew that when God remarkably appears in any great work for his church, and against his enemies, it is a most dangerous thing, and highly provoking to God, to be slow and backward to acknowledge and honor God in the work, and to lie still and not to put to an helping hand. Christ's people are in scripture represented as his army; he is the Lord of Hosts or armies ; He is the captain of the host of the Lord, as he called himself
when he appeared to Joshua, with a sword drawn in his hand, Joshua v. 13, 14, 15. He is the captain of his people's salvation ; and therefore it may well be highly resented if they do not resort to him when he orders his banner to be displayed ; or if they refuse to follow him when he blows the trumpet, and gloriously appears going forth against his enemies. God expects that every living soul should have his attention roused on such an occasion, and should most cheerfully yield to the call, and heedfully and diligently obey it ; Isa. xviii. 3. “ All ye inhabitants of the world, and dwellers on the earth, see ye when he lifteth up an ensign on the mountains ; and when he bloweth the trumpet, hear ye.” Especially should all Israel be gathered after their captain, as we read they were after Ehud, when he blew the trumpet in mount Ephraim, when he had slain Eglon king of Moab, Judg. iii. 27, 28. How severe is the martial law in such a case, when any of an army refuses to obey the sound of the trumpet, and follow his general to the battle? God at such a time appears in peculiar manifestations of his glory, and therefore not to be affected and animated, and to lie still, and refuse to follow God, will be resented as an high contempt of him. If a subject should stand by, and be a spectator of the solemnity of his prince's coronation, and should appear silent and sullen, when all the multitude were testifying their loyalty and joy, with loud ac; clamations ; how greatly would he expose himself to be treated as a rebel, and quickly to perish by the authority of the prince that he refuses to honor ?
At a time when God manifests himself in such a great work for his church, there is no such thing as being neuters ; there is a necessity of being either for or against the king that then gloriously appears : As when a king is crowned, and there are public manifestations of joy on that occasion, there is no such thing as standing by as an indifferent spectator ; all must appear as loyal subjects, and express their joy on that occasion, or be accounted enemies : So it always is when God, in any great dispensation of his providence, does remarkably set his king on his holy hill of Zion, and Christ in an extraordinary manner comes down from heaven to the earth, and