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RIGHTEOUS MAN'S HABITATION.
" 1. He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress : my God, in him will I trust.
3. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler : and from the noisome pestilence.
4. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust : his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
5. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night: nor for the arrow that flieth by day.
6. Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness: nor for the destruction that wasteth at noon-day.
7. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand: but it shall not come nigh thee.
8. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold, and see the reward of the wicked.
9. Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the Most High, thy habitation.
10. There shall no evil bofal thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
11. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
12. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
13. Thou shult tread upon the lion and adder : the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.
14. Becausc he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.
15. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honour him.
16. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.”
This Psalm, it is thought, was made upon the occasion of the plague and pestilence that was in David's time (so Mo
lerus); wherein you have the best antidote against the plague and pestilence. The whole Psalm is nothing else but a great promise of special protection for those that trust in the Lord in the time of the plague; wherein three or four things are most especially considerable: the evil, danger and misery of the plague or pestilence; protection and deliverance promised in the time thereof; the persons upon whom the promise is entailed; the way, mode, means and manner, how God will deliver and protect in the time of a plague. As for the evil, danger and misery of the plague or pestilence, you have it in many terms expressed in several verses. In the third verse it is called the snare of the fowler; “ he will deliver thee from the share of the fowler;" it is called the snare of the fowler, because it takes men before they are aware; the word and that follows, should not be in the line, so the next words do explain it; “ He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler: from the noisome pestilence;" then it is called the noisome pestilence. In the Hebrew it is called the pestilence of woes or calamity, that is, most calamitous pestilence, that disease or sickness, that is accompanied with the most calamity. In the fifth verse it is called “ the terror by night," and the “ arrow that flieth by day;" for with this arrow God doth kill and hit men at a distance, a great way off, when they think to fly away and be at rest. It is said in the sixth verse, that it " walketh in darkness ;” and it is called “ destruction that wasteth at noon-day,” in regard of the spreading and infective nature of it. At the thirteenth verse it is compared unto “ the lion and adder, the young lion and the dragon," for the destructive and devouring nature of it, which nothing can stand before.
Secondly, as for the protection promised in the time thereof, you have that in the general at the first verse, “ He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty:" more particularly at the third verse, " Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler : from the noisome pestilence, he shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust. His truth shall be thy shield and buckler,” at the fourth verse. At the fifth and sixth verses again, “ Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night: nor for the arrow that flieth hy day: nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the
destruction that wasteth at noon-day.” And again, “ A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand: (in the seventh verse) but it shall not come nigh thee.”
In the tenth verse, 66 No evil shall befal thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.” And at the last verse, “ With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation.”
As for the persons whom this promise of protection is entailed upon, they are such do trust in the Lord. He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High; that say of the Lord, he is my refuge and my fortress: my God, in him I will trust,” verse 2. And at the ninth verse, - Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the Most High, thy habitation, there shall no evil befal thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night, nor for the arrow that flieth by day,” at the fifth verse. And as for the means and way,
and mode how God will deliver in the time of the plague, he will do it by his angels; “ There shall no evil befal thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands," &c.
From all which, then, I take up this doctrine or observation: though the danger, evil, and misery of the pestilence be exceeding great, yet God will in an especial manner protect and deliver those that do trust in him in the time of a plague.
For the clearing and prosecution whereof, first of all, I shall a little labour to show you that the evil, misery, and danger of a plague is exceedingly great. Secondly, That yet the Lord will protect and deliver those that do trust in him. Thirdly, What that faith is, and what that trust is, that God hath promised this protection to in the time of a plague. Fourthly, I would answer to some objections, questions, or cases of conscience. Then, Fifthly, show how and by what means God will protect and deliver in the time of a plague. Then call upon you and myself, to do our duty in this day.
As for the first, I shall not be long in it. The misery and danger of the plague is sufficiently known. It is called the
plague above all other diseases, as if it were the plague of plagues.
The several and particular judgments and evils that fell upon Pharoah, they were called plagues, they were all plagues; but now the pestilence carries the name of the plague, as if that of all other diseases, were the plague of plagues.
It is, first of all, a most dreadful and terrible disease: it is here called in this Psalm, “ the terror by night,” fifth verse, “thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night.” Terror by night; why? the night itself is a time of fear and terror : darkness brings fear; but the plague is the night of nights and the king of terrors. How do men quake and tremble, and fly away at the noise of this ? the report of this ? When God appeared in his greatness, majesty, and glory, gave a terrible apearance of himself; it is said in the third of Habakkuk, that the pestilence went before him ; in the third verse,
66 God came from Teman, and the Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise, and his brightness was as the light. He had horns coming out of his hand and there was the hiding of his power.” In the fifth verse, “ Before him went the pestilence, and burning coals went forth at his feet.” Before him went the pestilence, as his officer and executioner. When the Lord doth set forth his terrible appearance, thus he sets it forth, “ The pestilence went before him." Without all doubt it is that disease that is most dreadful and terrible. And, secondly, as it is the most dreadful and terrible disease, so it is the most painful disease. The more suddenly any man is taken away in his strength, the more painful is his disease he dies of: a man that is spent with sickness, he is easily blown out; but when a man in his full strength shall suddenly die, it costs him a great deal of pain. Thus it is, when the plague takes one away in his full strength in a little time, therefore it is a very painful disease; and as it is a very painful disease, so it is an uncomfortable disease; then all friends leave us, then a man or woman sit and lie all alone, and is a stranger to the breath of his own relations. If a man be sick of a fever, it is some comfort that he can take a bed-staff and knock, and his servant comes up and helps him with a cordial. But if a man be sick of the plague, then he
sits and lies all alone; it is the most uncomfortable disease ; and as it is that disease that is most uncomfortable, so it is that disease that is most mortal, and therefore of all other diseases it is called death. In the sixth of the Revelation, we read of the sword and famine, in the former part of the chapter ; but in the eighth verse, " And I looked, and behold a pale horse ; and his name that sat on him was Death." The sword is spoken of plainly before, in the fourth verse, “And there went out another horse, that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon, to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another : and there was given unto him a great sword;" there is the sword: then at the sixth verse there is a famine, “1 heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny:" now at the eighth verse comes on the pestilence, and that is called death ; not the sword, or famine, but the plague, is that which hath the name of death; because of all other diseases it is the most mortal; and as it is the most mortal disease, so it is the most unavoidable disease. It may be avoided through the goodness of God; but I speak comparatively, of all diseases it is the most unavoidable. And it is the disease that is the most emptying disease ; it empties houses, and it empties towns, and empties cities. God threatens to empty a nation, as a man empties a dish, and wipes it, and turns it upside down. So to a family it is the most emptying disease of all other. But I will not stay here; it is too manifest that this evil, misery, and danger of a plague is exceeding great.
But yet, in the second place, there are a generation whom God will protect and deliver in the day of a plague. It was always so in the most desolating judgments: when the flood came, there was Noah and his house spared; and when Sodom was destroyed, there was Lot and his house preserved and delivered. In the sixth chapter of Isaiah, ye read of a desolation that looks like a plague : “Then, said I, Lord, how long? And he answered at the eleventh verse) until the cities be wasted and without inhabitant, and the houses be without man, and the land be utterly desolate, and the Lord have removed men far away :" yet, says he, at the thirteenth verse, “ There shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten as a teyle tree, and as an oak, whose substance is