« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
the Papists are well nigh even with them in that. The Pagans had their gods for the seamen, shepherds, husbandmen, &c; so the Papists have St. Nicholas for the seamen, St Wendolin for the shepherd, St John Baptist for the husband
was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar some time after the destruction of Jeru. salem.
The word rendered multitude, in Hebrew signifies the wild beast, that lives upon other beasts ; such as lions, wolves, &c; and so it may be read, And so it points at two qualities of Babylonian enemies. (1.) Their ido. latry, being deligned a wild beast, in opposition to the chalte turtle, Such are our new, as the old Babylonians were. They are no more the spouse of Christ, but the great whore, that is mad on idols, and multitudes of them ; and cannot be at ease with those that will not drink of the wine of their fornication. (2) Their horrid cruelty; for having diverted God of his divine glory, and given it to others, they are diverted themselves of humanity, and rage like wild beasts, when they can get their prey, devour: ing their fellow-creatures. . . 2. The party holding the balance betwixt the struggling partie's ; that is, God himself, to whom application is here made, Babylon has not all at will ; Zion's God has the balance of power in his own hand, and can cast the scales what way he pleaseth, and give up or preserve the turtle as he sees meet.
3. The address made to the great Arbitrator on the turtle's behalf, which is our work this day, 0 deliver not the soul of thy turtle dove unto the wild beal. Do not give up the turtle ; she will find no mercy from the multitude, the wild beast. They are not content with the mischief they have done to the turtle ; nothing less will satisfy them than her life, her soul. The wild beast is gaping for her, not to pluck off her feathers, and send her away wounded, but to swallow her up quite, to destroy her root and branch; for behold the plot, ver. 8, Let us destroy them together, But, Lord, do not give her up to them. It is a moft fervent address, intimated by two words in one in Hebrew. We may take up the import of the words in four points. • I. The church may be in hazard of falling a prey to her enemies, as a poor turtle to be swallowed up by a devouring beast. The church's lot has been in all ages like Paul's, io " fight with wild beasts;" and she may well say, “ If it had not been the Lord who was on our side; if it had not been the Lord who was on our fide, when men rose up against us : then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us,' Psal. cxxiv. 1, 2, 3. God's enemies, seeing they are not good men, the scripture accounts them beasts. Christ was attacked by bulls and lions, Psal. xxii, 12, 13; for when men turn persecutors, they set up themselves against the Deity, and withal lay alide all humanity. There are five beasts which Gud's turtle has been specially in hazard to be swal. lowed up by.
1. The Egyptian beast, the great dragon,' Ezek. xxix. 3. This was a cruel beast, that made the Lord's people groan loag under the greatest bondage. A bloody beast ; see the bloody ediet, Exod. i. 16. When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women,' said VOL. II.
man, St Magdalene for the whore, as the Pagans had Flora. The family and country gods are a prodigious number, St Andrew for Scotland, St George for England, St Patrick for Ireland, St Denys for France, St James for Spain, &c. And
Pharaoh to the midwifes, and set them upon the ftools; if it be a lor then ye shall kill him.' It had near swallowed them up, Exod. xv. 9 • The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil ; my luft shall be fatisfied upon them, I will draw my sword, my hand shall dekroy them.' See how the turtle groans to the Lord against this beatt, Pfal. Ixviii. 30. • Rebuke the company of spearmen,' Heb. the beast of the reeds. And the people of God comfort themselves under their danger in the text, by the end of the Egyptian beat, Pfal. Issie, 13, 14. • Thou didi divide the sea by thy strength : thou brakeit the heads of the dragon in the waters. 'Thou brakett the heads of leviathan in pieces, and gavelt him to be meet to the people inhabiting the wilder. pels.'
2. The Babylonian beast, the lion, Dan. vii. 4. Jer. xlix. 19. Dread. .ful was the havock this beast made on them; it burut the temple and the fynagogues, filled the land with blood, spared neither men, womea, nor children. See the whole book of Lamentations. And the text lets you see how they were well nigh being swallowed up by bim. Yet God broke out the teeth of that fierce lion.
3. The Perfian beast, the bear, a bloody beaft, Dan. vii. 5. This, though it lay quiet for a while, yet hindered the building of the temple and the city a long time, and kept the church sore at vader, But under this beast a bloody massacre was let on foot, Eth. iä.
The confpirators have their frequent meetings, ver. vi. the court is friendly to them, and the bloody day is set, ver. 12, 19. and all because Mordecai would not bow to Haman an Amalekite, one of those againft whom the Lord had sworn he would have war for ever. How near was the church then to be swallowed up? but God broke the plot, and ruined that beast too. . 4 The Grecian beast, the leopard, Dan. vii. G. This beaft had almost swallowed up the church under Antiochus Epiphanes, who raised a moft dreadful persecution against the Jews, polluted the temple, forbade the public worship of God, and fet up in the temple the image of the heathen Jupiter, and cruelly murdered many that would not comply with idolatry, Dan. xi. 31.-34. Yet they survived that beaft.
5. The Roman beast, which is nameless, Dan. vii. 7. The scripture speaks of two Roman beasts, that were both heavy to the church
1A, The great red dragon, Rev. xii. 3; that is, the Roman empire, headed by the Pagan emperors, whom the devil ftirred up to persecute che church for the first three hundred years. Horrible was the harock of Christians made under ten persecuting Pagan emperors. So that it is reckoned there were as many Chriftiang lain under them, as that, if ye would suppose them at this butchering work for one year, there would be five thousand martyrs for every day of that year.
2dly, The beast with the name of blafphemy, Rev. xii, 1 ; that is, the Roman Christian, or rather Antichriftian Empire, headed by the Pope, che
that god-making power that is in the Pope and his Cardinals to canonize any deceased person they think worthy, may fill the world with them. Gods they have almost for every dis. ease. What wonder then that the command is so particular?
Popisha kingdom, whereof the Pope is the head. All the reft are gone. This is the only remaining beast that is threatening, at this day, the swallowing up of the church in these lands. But this beast, the Antichristian kingdom, is the common fisk of all the evil qualities of the other beafts, Rev. xiii. 2. and has outdone them all. So that eight hundred thousand are reckoned to have lost their lives in thirty years under this beast, which has lasted many hundreds of years. Yet multitudes in Brio tain and Ireland at this day are doing what they can to run us into the paw of this bear, the mouth of this lion and dragon. But let us cry, O deliver nos thy turtle dove unto this beas. We may see that we are in fear. ful danger of it. The symptoms of it are,
(1.) The frightful appearance that Papifts and Popery are making now in these lande. It is known that great numbers of Papifts are come, and are still coming from abroad: that they are drawing together in an unu. sual manner; that they are arming themselves, no doubt for some bloody design. The locusts (poke of Rev. ix 3. are swarming in the land, well known in the northern parts, and no doubt through all corners they are trafficking, though in disguise. They have dreadful success, perverting many, and mass is said publicly and avowedly in several parts. So that these twenty five years, Ance King James was on the throne, they have never fo lifted up their heads as now.
(2) The just fears there are of the Pretender's getting into the throne, a Papilt bred up in the maxims of Popery and French government, from whom nothing can be more expected than the ruin of the Protestant relia gion. To this Papitts and malignant Jacobites are bending their united endeavours, and have so far ripened their accursed proje&t, that they are very confident of success.
(3.) The formidable power of France, from whence our enensies have their great encouragement. That cruel tyrant is by the late peace now at more leisure to endave us, and landing an army for setting the Pretender on the throne, to be a tool, (in his hand) to ruin our liberties and our holy religion, as he has done at home with his own.
(4.) Mapy vile men are exalted to places of power and trust, enemies to the Proteftant succeffion, keen for the Popish Pretender, though they have abjured him, for no greater end than that they might thereby get in to places to do him service, and further his interest. What wonder then that the wicked walk on every fide, and that God's turtle be in hazard of being swallowed up by the Antichristian beat ?
II. God may juftly give up a sinful church and a finful people into the power of the mulutude of this beaft. They have nothing to plead but free mercy, why they should not be so given up o deliver not the soul of thy turtle dove unto the wild beaf. What has Britain and Ireland, what has Scotland to plead this day, why they lould not be delivered into the power of the wild beast that is gaping to suck their blood, and devour us? We may fee we deserve it, if we confider,
:. Lastly, Because the Lord has (so to speak) a particular zeal for his own worship, and against idolatry. Thus he pursues them out of all their starting-holes. He will not allow them an image of any thing in the heaven above, of any
1. The fins of the late times. These nations were fome time in a thriving condition, having proclaimed war against the beatt, and married themselves to the Lord in a solemn covenant for reformation, to caft off and out all Antichristian corruption in doctrine, worship, discipline, and government, life and manners, to banish the false prophet and the unclean Spirit out of them. But behold, by a heaven-daring wickedness, the same generation in the three kingdoms publicly renounce and break that covenant, and for the greater folemnity it is burnt, and of late the ashes of it were gathered by authority, and thrown into the river of the finful union between Scotland and England. Is it any wonder that God is now rifing up to pursue for the penalty, according to that threatening, Les *xvi. 25. ^ I will bring a sword upon you, that shall avenge the quarrel of my covenant?” This is the head of God's controversy with the nations ; this was the inlet to other abominations : for that being done, the nations run back towards Antichrist again. Scotland takes back the horns of the beast. England and Ireland the horns and the attire of the whore. Profaneness breaks in like a flood; the faithful are persecuted, oppressed, and murdered ; and most part of all ranks make fearful apo. ftasy and defection from the ways of truth.
2 The sins of the present times. We have entered ourselves heirs to the guilt of former times, by not mourning over the same by a woful Nackness in not pursuing of reformation, and heartlessness and faintness in the cause of God. We have gone far to betray the covenanted work of reformation ; and enemies want not ground to say, that they have bought the truth of many in the generation, who are not yet convinced they have fold it. If we look to,
(1.) A great man in our land, we will see unordinarily monstrous wickedness, especially, though not only among the nobility and gentry. A theism and Deilm, I believe have made greater advances in our day, than ever they did fince the Chrittian religion was known in the world All revealed religion and the scriptures are ridiculed ; and they that have any sense of religion on their spirits, are reckoned to have been foundered in their education. Hence loose reins are given to all-manner of profane. ness and debauchery. '' Whoredom and adultery, and filthiness not to be pamed, have made unordinary advances, especially since the union was set ,on foot ; for having drank of the cup of English filthiness, they have been made mad. If for these things God have not a sacrifice of the best blood in Scotland and England, it will be strange. .. (2.) 'To the body of the land, we will find them either profane drank.
ards, swearers, Sabbath breakers, dishonest, or ignorant, carnal worldings that mind nothing but the world, living in a woful neglect of all religion, from whose heart their own case and that of the church lies far off, light. ing the precious offers of Christ, and not bettered by all the means of grace which they have been long living under.
(3.) To professors, we will see the provocation of sons and daughters thing under heaven, or in the earth, or of any thing in the waters under the earth. Where then shall they have them but from hell, where the devil and damned spirits are ?
Secondly, The worshipping of them is forbidden.
increased to heaven. How have we left our first love! where is the ten. derness that sometimes have feen? A general deadness, formality, and lukewarmness has seized them. Carnality and worldly mindedness has ate out the life of religion. A light, vain and frothy spirit has got ia amoog them, pride and self-conceit prevail, ordinances are flighted, ser. mons and sacraments treated as things common and unclean, and a fiery divisive spirit, more frighted at the fins of others than their owa, has dil. honoured God and broken us. , (4.) Look where we will, guilt ftares us in the face. We have all fioned. God has a controversy with magiftrates, minifters, and people ; for we have all gone back from the Lord, been unthankful for, and have miserably mismproved our privileges, and opportunities of advancing the kingdom of Christ within us and without us. Let us then conclude, that God may justly deliver us up unto the multitude, the Antichriftian beaft. · III. If God give up his turtle unto the wild beast, the multitude of her enemies, it will be a dreadful upgiving. When God let his people fall into the hands of the old Babylonian beast, terrible was their case. And now the Antichriftian beast, to which the malignant party lend a helping hand, is going to devour us; and if God give us up into their hand, it will be a dreadful upgiving. A Popish Pretender mounting the throne, a
French army in our country, together with an army of Britilh Papifts , and malignants, must needs be a thought of horror to us. It will be a dreadful upgiving. For then,
1. Religion is ruined. The Babylonian beast will make sad work of our holy religion, as Psal. lxxii. 4,-8. King James was not well warm on the throne, till by his absolute power free liberty was given to Popila idolatry through the nations. But what can we expect in the case before us, but the overturning at first dalh all that we have had by the Revolu: cion, yea, and the extirpation of the northern heresy, as they call it ; We must in that case lay our account with the silencing of ministers, fileat Sabbaths, and closed church.doors, till they be opened again for the mass, or at least for the English service which yet will be but an expedient for - a time to prepare us for Popery.
2. Liberty and property is ruined. We must lay our account with French government. Our all must be at the disposal of our arbitrary prince, whose will must be our law, to use us, and what is ours, according to his pleasure. We must no longer look for the liberty of free-born subjects, but must be content to be faves : and our laws may be burnt, for all law then must be locked up in the breast of the prince. And the doctrine of passive obedience and non-relittance, that enslaving notion, must be quietly learned.
3. Ourselves and our families are ruined in our souls or bodies, or both. - We must lay our account to feel the teeth of the Babylonian bealt, to swim in blood to glut the scarlet-coloured whore, already druuk with the blood of the saints. The Papists are a bloody generation, and we may