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delights not in us, nor we in him: for though this be the greatest judgement in the world, yet there is this further misery in it, That wicked men choose it, and are well pleased to be without God. They say unto God, " Depart from us." (Job xxi. 14) They are contented, that the Holy One of Israel should cease from before them. (Isa. xxx. 11)

3. It cuts off the glory and renown of a people, which stands not in their seas and rivers, in their wealth, or power, or plenty, or trade, or other outward accomplishments, but in having God nigh them.' (Deut. iv. 6) Christ is the riches of the world. (Rom. xi. 12) God's favour the honour of a people: (Isa. xliii. 4) when he forsakes them, "their glory is gone.'

4. It cuts off the comfort of all our enjoyments, the pure use whereof we have from the favour of God alone; bringeth thorns and briers in our palaces; maketh our table a snare, our riches the fuel of our lusts, our quails the harbingers of our curses, our plenty nothing but the matter of our pride and our perdition. Wicked men eat their meat as swine do, mingled with mire and uncleanness; they eat in darkness and sorrow; their riches are their hurt. (Eccles. v. 13, 17) Vanity and vexation, emptiness and affliction, are the total sum of all their worldly abundance, of all the sparks which they have kindled ; after which they shall lie down in sorrow. (Isa. 1. 11)

5. It seals us up under wrath and judgement, is the talent of lead which is cast on the mouth of the Ephah. (Zech. v. 8) It is the last judgement before the last of all; the very outward court or portal of hell. For when the presence and ordinances of God are gone, men are in a remediless condition, sick to death, without either physic or physician. "O," saith Saul, "I am sore distressed! the Philistines war, and God is departed." (1 Sam. xxviii. 15) Sin woundeth, Satan accuseth, law curseth, death pursueth, conscience roareth, hell flameth, and God is departed.

6. It shuts out our prayers. When God's back is turned, and his presence removed, then his ear is stopped: when he shuts us out, he shuts out our prayer likewise. They who are Lo-Ammi, are certainly Lo-Ruhamah. If no people, no mercy. There will be a time, when the worst of men who now despise it, will cry aloud for mercy; but all in vain ; God

will not hear them, because they refused to hear him. (Prov. i. 28. Jer. xi. 14. Ezek. viii. 18)

7. It shuts out the prayer of holy men for us. When God casts a people out of his sight, he will not hear a prophet for them; (Jer. vii. 16) nay, not an assembly of prophets; such as were mighty in prayers, as Moses and Samuel; (Jer. xv. 1) such as have had experience of most glorious deliverances, as Noah, Daniel, and Job. (Ezek. xiv. 14)

8. It opens an inlet for all other miseries and troubles, lets loose the sluices; and, as in Noah's flood, breaks up the fountains of the great deep. Many evils and troubles shall befal them, saith the Lord, and they shall say, “ Are not these evils come upon us, because God is not amongst us ?" (Deut. xxxi. 17) When God is with a people, none can be against them to hurt them. He sweetens all their sorrows, makes their very enemies at peace; but when the glory and the wall of fire is departed, there is a free approach for all calamities; a people are then ripe for destruction.

Now to clear both the justice and goodness of God in this sore judgement, we are to understand,

1. That the Lord doth not in this manner forsake a nation or church, until, 1. They forsake him: our mercies are from God, our miseries from ourselves. (Hos. xiii. 9. 2 Chron. xv. 2) 2. Not until all remedies have been by them rejected, and he wearied with repenting, so that he can no longer bear being pressed, as a cart full of sheaves. (2) Chron. xxxvi. 16. Jer. xv. 6. xliv. 22. Isa. xliii. 24. Amos ii. 13) 3. Nor without first giving solemn warnings, both by his messengers, and by his more moderate chastisements; as we find, Amos iii. 7, and iv. 7-12. Amos vii. 17.

2. That when he doth forsake a people, he doth it, 1. Unwillingly; it is his strange work; he can scarce bring his mind to resolve upon it. "How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? How shall I deliver thee, Israel?" &c. (Hos. xi. 8) He speaks against them, and then remembers them again. (Jer. xxxi. 18) 2. Lingeringly and gradually, and, as it were, 'cum animo revertendi,' if his people would hold fast and not let him go. So he did in the deportation of the ten tribes: first in the days of Pekah, he carried the land of Napthali away into Assyria; (2 Kings xv. 29) and after, in the days of Hosea, upon violation of the conditions of service and tri

bute to the Assyrians, he carried the rest away, and removed them out of his sight. (2 Kings xvii. 6, 18) 3. Not till he have marked his own select people in the forehead, and have provided a Zoar, a Pella, some hiding-place and chambers of refuge for them; (Ezek. ix. 4. Isa. xxvi. 20. 2 Chron. xxx. 11) or at least fitted them for the external pressure of such a judgement, and comforted them with the promises belonging unto the remnant according unto the election of grace; of which we find many in this our prophet. For either "the meek of the earth shall be hid" in the day of the Lord's anger; (Zeph. ii. 3) or, though involved in the outward judgement, yet it "shall go well with them." (Isa. iii. 10)

Now from all this we learn, 1. To bless God for the glorious benefit of his presence yet amongst us now for above a hundred years; for the possession of his oracles, the ministry of his word, the seals of his covenant, the liberty of his ordinances, the mysteries of the gospel, and unsearchable riches of Christ set forth before us continually; which things the angels look into, which kings, and prophets, and righteous men have desired to see, and have not seen them. This is so great a mercy, that the scripture calls it by the name of Salvation' itself. (John iv. 22. Acts xxviii. 28. Heb. ii. 3)

2. To walk worthy of this glorious mercy, to adorn the doctrine of the gospel by lives answerable unto it; as those that have avouched the Lord for their God, and Christ for their King. (Phil. i. 27. Tit. ii. 10, 14) It was a pious and devout meditation of Picus Mirandula, who professed himself amazed at the studies, or rather frenzies of men, both to be wondered at and lamented: for if it be a great madness for men not to believe the gospel, the truth whereof hath been confirmed by the witness of apostles, the blood of martyrs, the power of miracles, the attestation of elements, the confession of devils;-it is certainly a greater madness, "Si de evangelii veritate non dubites, vivere tamen quasi de ejus falsitate non dubitares;" to profess to believe the torments of hell, and the joys of heaven; and yet so to live, as if we feared nothing less than hell, or desired nothing less than

9 Joan. Picus Mirandula, Ep. 1. ad Franciscum Nepotem, operum to. 2.. P. 342.

heaven. Certainly, our plagues will be answerable to our talents, if we have not improved them. (Luke xii. 47)

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3. To tremble at the judgement here threatened of God's departing from us, and giving us a bill of divorce, and casting us out of his family, and removing our candlestick, as a very preface to, Go, ye cursed.' If we have ever duly thought of the horrors of Cain, the howlings of Esau, the distress of Saul, the despair of Judas, we may pass some judgement what it is to forfeit God, and to have him no longer for our God. What great reason we have to fear this judgement, and lay this matter close to our hearts, may appear, if we consider,

1. The sins which provoke God's departing from a people. Amongst others such as these: 1. Divers and strange doctrines, which corrupt the truth of God. Heresy in the Eastern churches, made way for Mahometanism. And therefore, when the apostle makes mention of the days of apostasy, when God was in great measure departed from the church, we find him still mentioning "delusions, lies, doctrines of devils, resisting the truth." (2 Thess. ii. 11. 1 Tim. iv. 1. 2 Tim. iii. 8)

2. Incorrigibleness under former judgements: for the Lord will not always strive, either by his spirit, or by his rod, but "will overcome when he judgeth." (Amos iv. 12) Though he repent once and again, yet he will at last take the plumbline into his hand. (Amos vii. 1—7) 3. Contempt and scorn of his messengers and their message, which he hath sent, rising early and sending them. (2 Chron. xxxvi. 16) When the servants were beaten and stoned, and the son slain, then quickly after the kingdom was taken away. (Matth. xxi. 33-43. Matth. xxiv. 34, 38) Certainly, since the reformation of religion, the ministers of the gospel have never been under more reproach and contempt (and that by a generation of men that think themselves perfecter than others) than in this age they are heretofore they were the song of drunkards; now, of such as own themselves for saints.

4. Remissness and backsliding from our first love; (Rev. ii. 5-7) falling away from that high esteem which once we had of the ordinances of Christ, of the communion of saints, and earnest zeal for the faith, once delivered to the saints.

5. Neglecting the day and season of grace, the voice of Christ in the gospel; playing the wantons with so great a depositum, as the Jews did; not "considering in this our day, the things which belong unto our peace." (Luke xix. 42, 43) When men will not receive instruction, God threateneth to depart. (Jer. vi. 8)

2. If we consider the symptoms of God's threatening to depart from us, besides the forementioned sins: as,

1. Loosing the joints of government, and making continual changes in a state. It is a sign of sickness in the body, when it knows not how to rest, but is in perpetual agitation; from chamber to chamber, from couch to couch, from bed to bed. And so it is in a state: when a parliament doth not please, we try a piece of it: then down with that once and again, and try new experiments; a certain sign of a sick nation. It was, in the ten tribes, a forerunner of this judgement threatened by our prophet, when they so often pulled down one another; and it may justly make England tremble when they compare their condition, and that of the ten tribes before their deportation, together.

2. Divided interests and intestine dissensions amongst the people; Manasseh Ephraim, and Ephraim Manasseh, and both against Judah; this the prophet makes an evidence, that God's anger would not turn away from Israel. (Isa. ix. 21) These kind of doleful intestine commotions were sad forerunners of the fatal destruction of Jerusalem, of which we read in Josephus."

3. Confusions and divisions in the church: brethren biting and devouring one another, and thereby opening a wide door for the common enemy to enter in at; for union strengthens the interests of those united, and divisions betray them. Jerusalem is a city compacted; the coat of Christ a seamless coat; and therefore the apostle bids us "mark those which cause divisions and offences," and avoid them, as men that drive an interest, and do not serve Jesus Christ. (Rom, xvi. 17, 18)

4. Multitudes of seducing spirits, and emissaries of Satan, who go up and down without controul, sowing tares, and laying leavens, shaking the minds of credulous and simple.

Joseph. de Bello Judaico, lib. 2. c. 19, 20, 21. lib. 5. c. 1, 2, 9. lib. 6. c. 1, 4, 11, 14, 15. lib. 7. cap. 7, 8.

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