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troubles, and provide for the worst estate, whilst we enjoy the best: happy is he that is at once believing and praying for good days, and preparing for the worst. Noah's example is our ad vantage, Heb. xi. 7. "Who, by faith being warned of God, of "things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark." Preventing mercies are the most ravishing mercies, Pfal. lix. to. And preventing calamities are the forest calamities, Amos ix. 10. And let us heartily bewail the supinenefs and careleflness of the world in which we live, who take no notice of God's warnings, but put the evil day far from them, Amos vi. 3. who will admit no fear, till they are past all hope; they fee God housing his saints apace, yet will not fee the^ evil to come from which God takes them, Ifa. lvii. 1, 2. "The righteous perisheth, and "no man layeih it to heart; and merciful men are taken away, "none considering that the righteous is taken away from the "evil to come. He shall enter into peace, they shall rest hi "their beds, each one walking in his uprightness." They hear the cry of fin which is gone up to heaven, but cry not for the abominations that are committed, nor tremble at the judgments that they will procure.
O careless sinners, drowned in stupidity, and steeping Tike Jonah, under the hatches, when others are upon their knees and at their wits-end! Do faints tremble, and are you secure? Have not you more reason to be afraid than they; if judgments come, the greatest harm it can do them, is but to hasten them to heaven; but as for you, it may hurry you away to hell: they only fear tribulation in the way; but you will not fear damnation in the end. Believe it, reader, in days of common, calamity both heaven and hell will fill apace.
Demonstrating the fifth proposition, viz. That God's attributes, promises, and providences, are prepared for the security os hit people, in the greatest distresses that can he/al them hi the •world.
Set!. I. TTAVING more briefly dispatched the foregoing pro. *•*. liminai y propositions, it remains that we now more folly open this fifth proposition, which contains the main subject-matter of this discourse; here therefore our meditations roust fix and abide, and truly such is the deliciousness of the subject to spiritual hearts, that I judge it wholly nredless toVot. IV. t
offer any other iaotive besides itself to engage your affections. Let us therefore view our chambers, and fee how well God hath provided tor his children in all the distress that befal them in this worM ; it is our Father's voice that calls to us, Come, my people* enter than into thy chambers. And the
I, Chamber which comes to be opened as a refuge to distressed believers in a stoimy day, is that most secure and safe attribute of Divine Power-: into this let us first enter by serious and believing meditation, and lee how safe they are whom God hides under the protection thereof, in the worst and most dangerous days. In opening this attribute, we shall consider it.
1. In its own nature and property.
X- With relpect to the promises.-:
3* As it is actuated by providence in the behalf of distressed faints. ,. ,
And then gfve you a comfortable prospect of their safe and happy condition, who take up their lodgings by faith in this attribute of God. ...
t. Let us consider the power of God in itself, and we shall find it represented to us in the scriptures, in these three lovely properties, viz.
1. Oainrpotent,^ .
2. Supreme t Power. ,. 3. Everlasting ,
1. As an qmnipotent and all,sufficient power, which hath no bounds or limits, but the pleasure and will of God, Dan. iv. (34, 3 5. " He doth according to his will in the armies ot heaven} "and among the inhabitants of the earth, and none can stay his "hand, or fay unto him, What dost thou?" So Psalm cxxxv. 6. *' Whatsoever the Lord pleased that did he, in heaven, and in "eaith, in the seas, and all deep places." Yoa tee divine pleasure is the only rule, according to which Divine Power exerts itself in the world; we are not therefore to limit and restrain it in our narrow and shallow thoughts, and to think in this, or in that, the power of God may help or secure us; but to believe that he is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think. Thus those worthies, Dan. iii. 17. by faith exalted jhe power of God above the order and common rule of second causes. "Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from "the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine "hand, O kiog." Their faith resting itself upon the omnipoient power of God, expected deliverance from it in an extraordinary way; it is true, this,; is no standing rule for our faith ordinarily to work by; nor have we ground to expect such m>
tacolons folva.tions, but yet when extraordinary difficulties prels us, and the common ways and means of deliverance are shut up, we ought by faith to exalt the omnipotency of God, byasci ibirig~ the glory thereof to him, and leave ourselves to his good pleafore, without straitening or narrowing his Almighty Power, according to the mould or our poor, low thoughts and apprehensions of it: for so the Lord himself directeth our faith in difficult cases, Ifa. Iv. 8,9. " For my thoughts are not your thoughts, "neither are your ways my ways, faith the Lord; for as the "heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher "than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." :He speaks there of his pardoning mercy, -which he will not have his people to contract, and limit according to the model and platform of their own desponding, misgiving, and unbelieving thoughts; but to exalt and glorify it, according to its unbounded! fulness; as it is in the thoughts of God, the fountain df that mercy; so it ought to be with respect to his power, about which his thoughts and ours do vastly differ; the power of God as we cast it in the mould of our thoughts, is as vastly different, and disproportionate from what it is in the thoughts'of God the fountain thereof; as the earth is to the heavens, which is but a small inconsiderable point compared with them.
2. The power of God is a supreme and sovereign power, from which all creature-power is derived, and by which it is over-ruled, restrained, and limited at his pleasure: Nebuchadnezzar was a great monarch, he ruled over other kings, yet he held his kingdom from God; it was God that placed not only the crown upon his head, but his head upon his' shoulders, Dan. ii. 37. "Thou, O king, art a king of kings; for the God of "heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and "glory." Hence it follows, that no creature cast move tongue or hand against any of God's people, but by virtue1 of a commit sion or permission from their Godi albeit they think not so. Knowest thou not, faith Pilate unto Christ, that I have power to crucify thee, and power to release thee? Proud worm! what an ignorant, and insolent boast was this of his own power! and 'how doth Christ spoil and shame it in his answer i John xix. 10. Thou couldejl have no power at all againjl me, except it were given thee from above.
Wicked men like wild horses would run over and trample under foot all the people of God in the world, were it not that the bridle of divine Providence had a strong curb to restrain them: Ezek. xxii. 6. "The princes of lirael every one "were in thee, to their power to shed blood." And it was well for God's Israel that their power was not as large as their i wills were; this world is a raging and boiflerous lea, which sorely tosses the passengers for heaven that fail upon it, but this is their comfort and security: "The Lordxslilleth the noise of ." the sea, the noise of the waves, and the tumult of the peo'' pie," Psal. lxv. 7. Moral, as well as natural waves, are checked and bounded by divine power. "Surely the wrath of "man shall praise thee, and the remainder of wrath thou shalt "restrain," Psal. lxxvi, 10. As a man turns so much water into the channel as will drive the mill, and turns away the rest into another sluice
, Yea, nqt only the power of man, but the power of devils also is under the restraint and limitation of this power, Rev. Hi- 10. "Satan shall cast some of you into prison, and ye shall "have tribulation ten days." He would have cast them into their graves, yea, into hell if he could, but it must be only info a prison: He would have kept them in prison, till they had died and rotted there, but it must be only for ten days, Oti glorious sovereign power! which thus keeps the reins of govern,* jnent in its own hand!
3. The power of God is 5n everlasting power; time doth not weaken or diminish it, as it doth all creature-powers, Isa. xl. 28, *' The Lord, the creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not ** neither is weary." Isa. lix. 1, "The Lord's hand is not *' shortened," (i. e.) He hath as much power now as ever he had, and can do for his people as much as ever he did; time will decay the power of the strongest creature, and make him faint and feeble; but the Creator of the ends of the earth fainteth not. "Thou (faith the psalmist) abideth for ever, thy years flee not," Psal. cii. 27. In God's working there is no expence of his sh ength, he is able to ds as much for his church now, as ever he did* to act over again all the glorious -deliverances that ever he Wrought fpr his people from the beginning of the world; to do as much for his church now, as he did at the Redtsea; and upon this ground the church builds its plea, Isa. li. 9, 10. " Awake,
awake, put on strength, 0 arm of the Lord, awake as in the "ancient days, as in the generations of bid, art thou not it
that hast cut Rahab, and wounded the dragon?" g. d. Lord, why should not thy people at this day expect as glorious productions of thy power, as any of them found in former ages?
Se£l. II. Let ns view the power of God in the vast extent pf its operations, and then you will find it working beyond the. 1. Of creature-power,
2. Of creature-expectation,
3. Of human probability.
I. Beyond the line of all created power, even upon the hearts, thoughts, and minds of men, where no creature hath any jurisdiction. So Gen. xxxi. 29. God bound up the spirit of Laban, and becalmed it towards Jacob. So Pfal. cvi. 46. "He made them also to be pitied of all them that carried them "captives." Thus the Lord promised Jeremy, Jer. xv. 11. "I will cause the enemies to entreat thee well, in the time of •" evil." This power ot God softens the hearts of the most fierce and cruel enemies, and sweetens the spirits of the most bitter and enraged foes of his people.
2. Beyond the line of all creature-expectations, Eph. iii. 20. "God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we can "ask or think." He doth so in spirituals; as appears by those two famous parables, Luke xv. 19, 22." And am no more worthy "to be called thy son; make me as one of thy hired servants. "But the Father faid to his servants, bring forth the best robe, "and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on. "his feet." The prodigal desired to be but as an hired servant, and lo, the fatted calf is killed for him, and music to his meat; and the gold ring upon his finger. And in Mat. xviii. 26, 27. the debtor did but desire patience, and the creditor forgave the debt. Oh, thinks a poor humbled sinner, if I might have but the leas! glimpse of hope, how sweet would it be! But God brings him to more than he expects, even the clear shining of assurance. It is so in temporals the church confesses the Lord did things they looked not for, Isa Ixiv. 3. And in both spirituals and temporals this power moves in an higher orb than our thoughts, Ifa. lv. 8, 9. " My thoughts are not your thoughts, "nor my ways your ways; but as far as the heavens are above "the earth, so are my thoughts above your thoughts." The earth is but a punctual to the heavens; all its tallest cedars, mountains, and pyramids cannot reach it: He speaks, as was faid before, of God's pitying, pardoning, and merciful thoughts, aud shews that no creature can think of God, as he doth of the creature under sin, or under misery, our thoughts are not his thoughts ; either first byway of simple cogitation we cannot think fnch thoughts towards others in misery, by way of pity; or under sin against us by way of pardon, as God doth: Nor secondly, are our thoughts as God's in respect of reflexive comprehension; i. e. We cannot conceive or comprehend what those thoughts of God towards us are; when we fall into sin or