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the apple of his (God's] eye,” Zech. ii. 8. upon this rock will I build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it,” Matt. xvi, 18.
Use the second of Exhortation. Oh! that all who hear or read this would be persuaded to acquaint themselves with this apple tree's shadow, so as to hasten under it, before those impending storms which threaten all unregenerate sinners with curse and eternal death; and those depopulating judgments of God, which threaten to lay England's pride and wickedness in the dust of contempt; break out, and sweep all the contemners of Christ and his gospel before them.
For motives hereto, consider with the greatest seriousness these six motives following.
Motive the First. All who are not found sitting under the shadow of this apple tree are open to all those amazing and destroying storms which hang over the heads of God-provoking and Christdespising sinners.
O sinner! simmer! thou who goest to church, and who comest to the meetings of God's people, and sayest thy prayers, making a great shew in the profession of the protestant religion; what will becoine of thee if thou be found sitting under the shadow of thy own righteousness when the storm comes ! Take this warning from a despised dispenser of God's holy word, who, through special grace, can say he would not take the glory and the riches of hypocritical England to tell thee a lie in this
greatest of concerns: neither thy running to the church, nor thy hastening to thy solemn fasts in the meetings, thy gilded prayer-book, nor thy graceless prayers, composed and made by strength of thy natural parts, and uttered with never so, much zeal and melting affections, will keep thee from the dreadful storms of God's judgments when they come: nothing short of Christ's shadow will secure thee, to hide and shelter thee from the overflowing scourge when it comes, Isa. xxviii. 18.
Motive the Second. Consider how blessed and happy the true believer is, above all others, let what storm God pleaseth come, and come it as soon as God pleases, by day or night, when the believer is either asleep or awake: he is secure; the shadow of this apple tree overspreads and covers him so, as that the storms which ruin others can do him no harm. “ He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty,” Psal. xci. 1. And, as the true believer hath a shadow to protect him from the most violent storms which can possibly come on a sinful nation, so he hath an anchor-hold in heaven, which will keep him steady and faithful to Christ and his gospel, when temporary notional professors, who are strangers to regeneration work, fall away from their profession like leaves in autumn, or like untimely fruit, which comes to no perfection. These will prove themselves to be of their number who built their house on the sand; which house may stand for a while, and promise very fair in the
time of outward peace and tranquillity. While they may enjoy their religious liberty by human law, and while their profession and their outward secular interest can go hand in hand together, no man can discern between such and real converts, It is in this case as when two men walk or travel together, having a dog following them: no man, who knows neither the men nor yet the dog, can tell which of the two men is the master of the dog; but, when these two men come to part, then the dog's master is presently known from the other; the dog will most certainly follow his own master. When religion and worldly advantage, credit, 'honour, and freedom from the cross, come to turn the back on each other, then the temporary professor, who companied with Christ, in the visible communion of his saints, all the time of outward
peace, will openly discover which of the two he served all the time of his hypocritical profession; Christ in religion, or the world.
If ever the penal laws come in fashion again in England, or the dragooning a-la-mode of France find entrance into these kingdoms, then will it appear what kind of insides England's professors have. Read with a holy trembling the scriptures following: Matt. vii. 26, 27. Matt. xiii. 21. John vi. 26. 1 Tim. v. 6..
The violence of the storm which comes by temptation may for awhile stagger a real believer; but it can never overset him, so as he should suffer shipwreck of his soul, or of that noble
grace of faith whereby he keeps hold of that rock of ages whereon he is built. Matt. vii. 25. Matt. xvi. 18. 1 Cor. x. 13. 2 Pet. ï. 9.
Motive the Third. Consider how ineffectual all other shadows and coverings will prove to poor christless mortals in the time of storm and tempest. If safety and preservation from eternal ruin be to be had under the shadow of Christ's mediatorial righteousness alone, then it will necessarily follow, that all Papists, Arminians, Socinians, Quakers, and Freewillers, are in a most desperate and damnable condition, while they continue at a distance from the covering of Christ's righteousness; and not only those heretics now mentioned, but also those foolish virgins, as above hinted, who remain unconverted in the outward visible communion of the churches of Christ.
The apostatical church of Rome, that mother of all spiritual harlots, Rev. xvii. 5; tells the world, That out of her communion there is no salvation to be expected. The Spirit of God, on the contrary, assures us, that all those who forsake her not shall be made actual partakers of her plagues when the time of her visitation comes, Rev. xviii. 4, and shall be made to drink of that cup of God's wrath which is prepared for her, and all who live and die in her communion, Rev. xvi. 19. When this comes to fall on that synagogue, it will then appear to the experience of the worshippers of that monstrous beast, whether the sweet and intoxicating wine of her fornications,
which with so much delight she and her lovers so often drank out of her golden cup, will be able to quench or allay the anguish and inconceivable pain occasioned in their souls and consciences by that cup of God's wrath which they will be made to drink off, even to the very dregs; according to that in Psalm lxxv. 8. “ For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup, and the wine is red;" as red as the martyrs' blood slain by the horns and teeth of the Romish beast; “it is full of mixture, and he poureth out of the same : but the dregs thereof all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out, and drink them.”
Mark this, reader! “Shall wring them out, and drink them.” It shall not be arbitrary in them, or left to their choice, whether they will drink it or not: drink it they must, and shall, will they nill they; for the cup is in the hand of Omnipotency, not in the hand of the wicked.
Motive the Fourth. Consider with seriousness, and tremble to think, how suddenly the storms now impending and threatening England may break out, and fall upon the nations. Storms, all know, arise and come suddenly and unexpectedly; and by so much the more startling and uneasy are they, by how much they come unlooked for and unthought of, It was, doubtless, a great aggravation of the misery of the Israelites, to look for and expect peace and comfort, when nothing came but trouble and disappointment, Jer. viii. 15. And it will most certainly be one of the most