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to God, fecure his Favour here, and his more neceffary Mercy hereafter. And fo after the Flood, when Vice and Folly had made Men forget the ftupendous Deluge, the Almighty had dent on their Fathers to cool their hellish Lufts. Abraham is fet up as a mark of Gods Love and Bounty, and on him are conferred both the upper and neather fprings of Mercy, that by his pious Example, the Vicious Generation might be recalled from their evil ways, and perfwaded into ferious thoughts of another World, and fo on till Mofes his time; in a word, in Abraham's Pofterity were such wonders wrought, as were enough, had not Men fhut their Eyes, to engage them to all that ftrictnefs and circumfpection, which Heaven and a better Life requires.

Under the Law, God was fo far from being weary of ufing means, and taking pains with Men in order to this end, that he seemed to have referved thofe Ages for larger and fuller Demonftrations of his Power and Munificence; and if the People of Lyftra had any ground for their exclamation, the Jews had far greater reason to cry out, That God was come down to them Acts 14. 11. in the likeness of men. For while other Countries were left in Darknefs, and, like Moles, fuffered to wander in the fhadow and valley of Death, they, as if they had been made of purer Clay, feemed to be the Darlings of providence, and the Favourites of Heaven. Heaven bowed to them, and under its protection they went, as under a Canopy of State, and might with greater reafon than the Sultan, have challenged that lofty

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Title, The fhadow of God; and with that Perfian Emperour, ftiled themselves, Kinsmen of the Stars. Their Eyes faw Miracles almost every day ; and with their daily bread they received daily Prodigies; Six hundred thousand Men faw the Red Sea divided. They saw how with the blast of Gods Noftrils, the Waters were gathered together, how the floods ftood upright as an heap, and the Depths were congealed in the heart of the Sea. The Enemy faid, I will purfue, I will overtake, I will divide the fpoil; my Luft fhall be fatisfied upon them, I will draw my Sword, my Hand shall destroy them. But the Almighty blew with his Wind,the Sea covered them,they fank as Lead in the mighty waters.

This the Hebrews faw,They faw it and rebelled, and yet, which was the greater Miracle in the midst of their rebellion, God, like the Sun, when fmiling through a cloud, fhewed them a merciful Face; not that he approved of their impiety, but because by these Beams he would warm their Hearts into Obedience. Their Bleffings came down upon them, not in drops, but in fhowers; and their Prosperity, like the Cinnamon-tree, was fo fragrant, that Strangers might imell it a great way off, before they faw it: The Waters of Life were continually flowing into their bofoms; and thô God now and then frowned upon them, (what Father would not fometimes chide his fon) yet his Indignation, which, like Flints, fent out Fire, upon their penitential Tears, ftraightway returned to it's former coldnefs. The Rocks poured them out Rivers of Oil,they washed their B 4

Feet

Feet in Butter; and one might fay of their Land, as he of the Ifle of Rhodes. They were blessed with a continual Sun-fhine. Their Prophets, what mighty, what powerful Men were they? Men that, like Lamps, confumed their own Oil, to light their Auditors to Heaven; or like Silk-worms, fpun out their own Bowels, to deck their Hearers with Garments of Righteousness. Where Words could not prevail, Tears were the means to fupple and affect them; and, it feems, *There is not stronger *Philo. Rhetorick in the World than thefe ; Here one Prophet spoke like an Orator, there another like a Logician. Here one endeavoured by Eloquence, to charm them, there another by clear Reason to convince them. Here one threatned, there another promifed. Here one wooed, there another thundred. Here one came with a Scepter of Love, there another with a Trumpet of war. Here one called to them from Mount Ebal, there another from Mount Gerizim. Here one adjured them by the Bleffings of the Basket and the Store, there another by the Fruit of their Bodies, and the Fruit of their Ground. Here one made them feel the Fiery Law, there another invited them by Wine and Milk without Money, and without Price. Here one fhewed them the Bread and Water of Affliction, there another opened Rivers in high Places, and "Fountains in the midst of Valleys. Here one offered his hand to fave them, there another made bare his Arm of Revenge. Here one offered an Ark to those that defired Mercy, there another rained down floods of Curfes to drown the Obftinate. Here

one

* Æn. Sylvius.

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one reprefented GOD with his Sword drawn, A Smoak going up out of his Noftrils, and devouring fire out of his Mouth; Pfal. 18. 8. there another followed Sinners to the very gates of Hell, with offers of Mercy in his Hand; and while Vengeance was knocking at the door, and the Sword was at their Hearts, called to them, Turn ye, turn ye, why will ye die? And what was all this, but to lay invincible obligations on Men to reform, and, by Reformation of their Lives, to arrive at last at that Harbour of Bliss and Immortality, which the great Preferver of Men hath prepared for thofe that fear him.

Under the Gospel, to fhew that this would be the very laft Method to perfuade and engage Men to Holiness, the Son of God himself comes down from Heaven, and turns Preacher. A Glorious Scene! To fee him, who, being in the form of God, thought it no robbery to be equal with God, descend from his Bed of State, and fink from the highest Magnificence, into the form of a Servant: What could the Angels think, to see the Prince of Life take his leave of the Beatifick Regions, to disguise himself in Flefh, and dwell with Duft and Ashes? What was faid, Gen. 18.21. of God figuratively, I will go down now and fee, whether they have done according to all the evil that is come up to me, was not made good according the Letter; and God, who in times past, in divers manners, fpake unto the Fathers of old, at last spake by his Son.

The Men to whom his former Meffages were fent, having beaten fome of his Servants, and ftoned and Murdered others,the Everlasting Father

thought,

thought, Surely they will reverence my Son. Indeed nothing lefs could be expected, than that the Heir of all things, by his Greatness and Divinity, fhould ftrike them into the humbleft poftures of Repentance, especially coming laden with the Olive-leaves of Grace and Mercy, and Pardon in his Mouth. Behold; the defire of all Nations comes, and He that commands all the Powers of Light and Darkness, appears in a Pulpit. He, by whom the Worlds were made,leaves the brightnefs of his Father's Glory, to tell men, what a Monster Sin is, how odious, how loathsome in the eyes of God; how lovely, how amiable, how beatiful the Ways of God are; confirms the Sayings of all the Prophets of old, affures Men, (and certainly he could not tell a Lye) that all thofe Meffengers of old were in the right, when they profeffed, That iniquity would be Men's ruine, and that at yonder Gate no unclean thing fhould enter, and that God must be preferred before all the Riches, Honours, and Pleasures of this World: A Favour for which we want expreffion, and which we must draw a veil over, as Timanthes the Painter did over the Face of Iphigenia's Father, because we cannot reach it with our colours; it's a love which paffes knowledge; it furmounts the brightest understanding. We fee it gliftering on the Mount of God, and it leaves us in the Vale gazing, and staring upon it, as a thing which Mortality can fhew no refemblance of; it ftrikes Dumb, it dazles the eyes, it fufpends our Reafon, binds the Faculties of an inquifitive Soul, and fills all the channels of it with admiration.

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