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dan when it overflowed its banks, without the help of either bridge or boat; this is the wild story of David about Mount Sinai skipping like a ram, and little hills like young sheep!”
If one had assured you, that Providence would make bare her arm, and that you would find fishes suddenly left dry in overflowed lands, and barges overset for want of water in the channel of a deep river, at a time when profane watermen had just horribly cursed its uncommon flood, would you not have replied, “ I will as soon be. lieve that the Nile was turned into blood by a touch of Moses's rod, or that a stormy sea was suddenly calmed by a word of Jesus Christ ?”
If I had informed you, that the rocky bottom of the Severn, in a place where it was near twenty feet deep, would instantly spring up, and rise many feet above the surface of the water ; and that a great river, without wind or tide, would flow back towards her source; would you not have answered ?; “ We do not live in the time of miracles ; the old women who believe that the sun forgat his going down in the days of Joshua, that iron swam in the days of Elisha, and that an ass spoke in the days of Balaam, may believe such absurdities.”
If one bad declared to you, that the wicked watermen, and profane drivers of horses, could provoke God-sud. denly to dam up the river, overthrow their road, and put a temporary stop, both to their navigation and travelling; would you not have said with a shrewd smile, " I must believe the Bible, if God does such a thing ?”–Well then, believe it, for the Lord has done it. The fact is indubitable; and if you will not believe me, believe your own eyes, believe thousands of witnesses.
In some hundred years (if this Sodom be suffered to subsist so long) when all these apertures shall have been washed by rains or floods, or trodden in by the feet of man and beast; and when ihe plough shall have levelled these heaps of ruins, into fields crowned with a waving harvest; posterity will find it almost as hard to credit what you now see, as you do to believe what the Israelites formerly saw; and some future dis.
believers will probably wonder at your supposed credulity, just as you do at our believing the wonders recorded in the Bible.
Oh! that reason and experience might make you ashamed of your unbelief !- Oh! that human and divine testimony, arguments and facts, spiritual and sensible demonstration, which meet to-day before you, might turn the stream of your infidelity, as the Lord turned yesterday the course of that turbid river !-Oh! that you would bow to the God of your fathers, the Creator, Redeemer, and Comforter of returning sinners! Trees have danced, fields have run, mounts have skipped, and
the floods have clapped their hands before the Lord;' God has answered you by water and earth : 0 that you would shout with the perplexed Israelites, when God answered them by fire! The Lord he is the God ! The Lord he is the God !' Oh that you might cry out in a transport of faith, as unbelieving Thomas, when he had seen the scars in the hands and side.of his risen Saviour, - My Lord, and my God!'
Those earthen pyramids, which the invisible hand of Providence has suddenly cut out of the bosom of the earth, will soon disappear ; those disparted rocks, which are now such striking instances of God's power, will one day decay; but if, on this awful occasion, you turn from your unbelief to your Saviour, and continue in the faith, you will be lasting monuments of his restoring grace, and eternal objects of the joy with which he wel. comes returning prodigals to the open arms of his mercy, and penitent infidels to the unsearchable treasures of his love.
4. And, ye that are awakened to a sight of your spiritual danger, and behold around you the blind leading the blind into the pit of destruction; suffer also the word of exhortation, Imitate the warning love of the illiterate man of that house, who gave his family the alarm, and excited them by his words and example, to flee from the impending ruin. Rouse your relations, your friends, your neighbours, your very enemies, as they can bear it. . Tell them in the language of St. Peter, that the heavens
and the earth, which are now, are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment, and perdition of ungodly men. Declare to them, that God is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance : And yet assure them, that the day of the Lord will certainly come, and that it will come as unexpectedly by most, as a thief in the night; and as suddenly to all, as this desolation came yesterday morning.
Then shall all that is under the curse pass away; and Oh! with what noise! If the removal of some acres of land and a river was yesterday so dreadful ; how incon. ceivably terrible will be the passing away of all the plains and mountains, all the islands and continents, all the rivers and seas in the universe! Lord, give us the hel. met of salvation, before the coming of that great and terrible day.'
In the mean time, whosoever thou art that fearest God, I address thee in the language of the angels to Lot : · Hast thou here any besides thyself, son-in-law, and thy sons, and thy daughters ? Bring them out of this im. mense Sodom, this wicked world. Say to them, “Up! Get ye out of this place, this vale of sin, tears, and misery :'• For the Lord will destroy it : And have your conversation in heaven, whence Jesus Christ shall be revealed with ten thousand of his angels in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God; who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.' And if thou“ seem to them as one that mocks ;' or if they say of thee, as the Pharisees did of our Lord, “He has a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him ?: Yet do not give them up. Consider that charity hopeth all things.' Mourn for them in secret places. And remember, that many, who had stood proof against the most rational exhortations, have at last been sweetly overcome by the power of humble, warm, persevering prayer.
5. But ye want perhaps some encouragement your. selves, ye that tremble at God's word, and at this desolation. Ye see by this sample, what terrible destruction
will one day come upon all the earth ; and ye desire to meet the general overthrow, not only with calm resignation, but with triumphant joy. In order to this, give me leave once more to point you to the hills whence our salvation comes ; to the blood of sprinkling, that speaks better things than the blood of Abel; and to Jesus, the’ once crucified, but now for ever exalted · Mediator of the new covenant.'
By the importunate actings of a penitential faith in his blood, and by an heart-felt dependence upon his infinite merits, flee to his mediatorial protection, as the manslayer, pursued by the avenger of blood, fled to the city of refuge. And if the burden of your sins, increased by the sense of your natural impotence, render your hearts so heavy, that you cannot lift them up to heaven; do as a lame child, who escaped yesterday out of this overthrow. Seeing all who were in the house, ready to run out of it for their lives ; and conscious that he could not save himself by a speedy flight, he cried out, what shall I do, father?” Imitate him, poor sinners, who are spiritually maimed, halt, blind, and full of putrefying sores: Cry to the Saviour of the lost, “ And what shall we do, Lord ? Without thee we can do nothing : Save us, O Lamb of God, or we perish.”
And Oh! may the countryman's pity for the lame child be an emblem to you of the Redeemer's compassion for every distressed soul, that looks to him for help! “I will carry thee, my child,” answered the father with yearning bowels, as he took him up in his arms to run out of the house...And so will Christ: Hear his own gracious words : "Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb ? Yea, she may forget, yet I will not forget thee. The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed, but my kindness shall not depart from thee. Why sayest thou, O worm Jacob, My way is hid from the Lord ? Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God fainteth not? He giveth power to the weak, and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even
youths shall be weary. But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.'
Only beware of making your profession of dependance upon the Lord, an occasion of indulging spiritual sloth. Instead of saying, like Solomon's sluggard, “ Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep, do as the lame child did, when he was carried across yonder field. Having then an opportunity of seeing over his father's shoulder, what passed around him, far from composing himself to sleep, he earnestly cried out, “ Run, father, run! For the barn, trees, and hedges go faster than we.”
Run also, penitent sinner, run the race of obedience that is set before you :-Run the circle of all the good works prepared for you to walk in :-Run, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith : And as you run, pray in the language of the spouse,
Draw us more and more, Lord, and we will run faster and faster after thee.' Nor be satisfied with running to-day: While you are in this world, go to the Father by Christ: Believe, obey, and take up your cross daily: A life of holiness is the race, and heaven is the prize. Do not run back unto perdition ;— So run that you may obtain.'—Endure unto the end of the race, and you shall be eternally saved.
6. And shall I forget to congratulate you on this occasion, ye happy believers, whose hearts are sprinkled with the blood of the true Paschal Lamb, and whose faith un. feigned works by obedient love? No. I must remind you of your inestimable privileges ; it is your prerogative to glorify God in the fires, and shout his power on these ruins. Our Lord himself gives you leave to triumph, not only when the powers of the earth, but those of heaven shall be shaken. • When these things,' says he, · begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads: For your rendemption draweth nigh.'
The destroyer may be suffered to tempt and afflict you, as severely and as long as he did the patient man: But ye may say with him, Though God slay us, yet we will trust in him.'You serve an Almighty Protector.