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covenanted Reformation, and weakening a Protestant interest? When, upon the one hand, some are beginning openly to advance and propagate the old abjured Popith doctrines which our reformers did throw out, and with axes and hammers would go at once to cut down all our carved work, and, at the same time, on the other hand, fome would be at breaking down the excellent fences of our Reformation, viz. our covenant", confestions, the magistrate's power, &c. For this end, papers are spread, and positions advanced, impugning the warrantableness of our national covenants and confessions, and the obligation thereof; reflecting also upon our worthy Reformers and ancestors, as unenlight. ened, who framed and took them, or died adhering thereunto ; and also denying the magistrate's power, CIRCA SACRA (for the support of the truth, and suppressing of herehes) acknowledged by the word of God and our confession of faith; and all this, forsooth, to make way for a toleration of all errors and fects among us ; though they cannot but know, that tolerating of false religions is expressly ranked among the fins forbidden in the second commandment, according to the expofition of our larger catechism; and is also condemned by the twenty-third chapter of our confession: in both which, we may see the clear scripture-texts, cited by the Asembly, for refuting and condemning any such toleration. Ah! what joy may all this cause at Rome ! therefore tell it not in Gath, &c.
As the Lord did signally countenance our Reformers practice in entering into folemn and national covenants with God, and among themselves, for religion and reformation, by the pouring out of his Spirit from on high, for bringing in of many souls to himself, and for overturning idolatry and superstition, and advancing reformation to a great pitch, in spite of all the enemies and difficulties that were in the way; so their practice of national covenanting, even under the New Testament dispensation, is sufficiently warranted both by the light of nature, and by the word of God, and that in both Testaments. And this will appear if we consider the scripture-precedents, together with the promises
and prophecies of the Old Testament relating to gospel times, and compare them with the New; and especially those which foretel the unchurching of the Jewish nation, and the ingrafting of the Gentile nations into their room : and that thereupon the national church.state and privileges of the Jews were to be transferred to Chriftian nations, and particularly this of being nationally in covenant with God. Which prophecies are to have their special and full accomplishment at Babylon's downfal. For illustrating these points, and applying the scripture-texts relative thereto, I might expatiate in feveral thects of paper, if it were proper here. I than only at this time cire some of the texts that
be well improven to the forefaid purposes; which the reader may turn to and confiderat his leisure, such as Ila. xix. 18, 21, 23, 24, 25. chap. xlv. 23. Jer. 1.4, 5. the lx. Ixi. and Ixii. chapters of Isaiah throughout. Ifa.lv. 3, 4, 5. Micah iv. 1, 2. Zech. viii. 21, 22, 23. Rev. ii. 15. Rom. xi. 17, 19. chap. x. 12, 19. Mat. iii
. 5, 6. Acts viii. 6, 12. 2 Cor. viii. 5. Mat. xxi. 43. Rom. ix. 24, 25, 26. compared with Hof. i. 9, 10, 11. chap. ii. 23. Likewise I might cite several prophecies with respect to the islands, and utmost ends of the earth, which were peopled by Japhet, that have a very particular and favour. able aspect to this covenanted land.
Besides all which, it is evident, from the first and great command of the law, which is directed to Israel as a nation, and is obligatory under the New Testament as well as the Old ; that it is a moral duty, universally and perpetually binding upon nations and societies, as well as fingle persons, to chuse, acknowledge, and avouch the Lord to be their God, to walk in his ways, and keep his itatutes. This is required in the firit commandment according to the exposition of our Larger Catechism
; and is there confirmed by these texts, that warrant and exemplify the practce of national covenanting, such as Deut. xxvi. 19, 17. Joth. xxiv. 22. In such a national way did our fathers of old acknowledge and avouch the Lord to be their God, and devote themfelves and their poiterity to the Lord. And, blefled be the Lord our God, who did many ways declare himself to be well
pleated pleased with the bargain, and especially by filling the temple with his glory.
As the prophets and godly Jews were at great pains to convey to posterity historical accounts of the wonderderful deliverances God wrought for Israel at the Redsea, and in rescuing them from Egypt, Babylon, and other enemies ; so it would be useful to fortify our reformation, if we were careful to hand down to the rising generation a sense of God's distinguishing mercy to this land, in delivering us from spiritual:Babylon, and rescu. ing us from time to time from these captains that have fought to lead us back thither. Many a time hath he delivered us, when we have been brought very low.
By many instances it hath appeared, that the glorious JEHOVAH hath not been ashamed to own his covenant relation to this finful and unworthy land. God forbid that we of this age should be ashamed to own our covenant-relation to him. This hath been both our glory and our safety, and I hope, there will still be found a remnant to own it, and plead it with God in the time of danger. Surely, it is not time now to disa claim it, when the enemies of our Zion are combining together, and seeking to raze her to the foundation. Let all her lovers cry mightily to her covenanted Lord in her behalf, in these thaking times : let thein join to put up that prayer of the Pfalmift, lxxvii. 28. " Strengthen, O God, that which thou haft wrought for us ; " and that of Habakkuk, Hab. iii. 2. Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years."
MAY 27. 1797
N. B. The foresaid digression, in the preface to the first edition, was occasioned by the broaching of some Sectarian notions, which introduced great reelings and shakings in this corner, and other parts of this church; fince which time, alas!. she hath enjoyed little peace within her walls, or prosperity within her palaces; but, instead thereof, she hath been toffed with tempests and troubles of various kinds, whereby the children of Zion have been brought, and still ly, under great distress and affliction.
The first impreslion of this book being disposed of, and a second called for, I have the more readily consented to it, at this time of general calamity and distress, seeing the book is intended as a Directory to Christians under affliction, whatever fort it be. It cannot but be obvious to every serious observer, that the Lord's judge ments are in the earth at this day, and that the inhabis tants of this land are generally visited with calamities of divers kinds, both fpiritual and temporal; which makes a Directory how to manage and carry under them the more seasonable and neceffary.
Ah ! the Lord's hand is visibly lifted up against us at this day, and hath been for fome years past, in fhutting
the churches womb, blasting gospel-ordinances, and withdrawing his Spirit from the affemblies of his people, and from our judicatories. The flood-gate is opened for error, infidelity, and loofenefs, to overspread the land; fo that the gospel of Chrift, the holy Scriptures, and all revealed religion, are condemned and ridiculed by many. “The anger of the Lord hath divided us both in church and state, and hath mingled a perverse spirit in the midst of us ;" yea, hath made such woful breaches among godly ministers and Christians, who are aiming at the fame things, that no balm can be found for heal ing them. There is a way opened for a carnal self-feeking minister to get into the vineyard, when faithful labourers are thrust out, and godly preachers and students are discouraged from entering in. Not a few Christian congregations, who lately were harmonious and unite in partaking of gospel-ordinances, are now so miserable, rent and scattered, through mournful intrusions and dividing courses, that they cannot worship God together ; and many of them are wandering like theep having no fhepherd, exposed to beasts of prey, and liable to perish in a state of ignorance or negligence.
Likewise, the Lord's hand is remarkably lifted up against us, in the variety of temporal judgments and calamities
brought upon us within a very thort time bypast. Sometimes the Lord sends forth his stormy winds with extraordinary violence, so as to carry terror and destruction along with them both by sea and land, and even threaten to bury us in the ruin of our
houses. Sometimes he sends such long continued rains in harvest, as threaten to destroy the whole crop bet fore our eyes. Sometimes fuch extraordinary fforms of frost and snow, as to bind up the waters and mills, that food cannot be prepared for us, and we are ready to perish in midit of plenty... Sometimes he sends fuch destructive forms of lightning and thunder from heaven, and kindles such violent fires on earth, that whole cities, with their inhabitants, are like to be consumed therewith. Upon our neighbouring countries dreadful inundations have been fent of late, for destroying the inhabitants with their cattle and effects. Again, God hath visited us with long continued drought, cold and unnatural storms in the spring, and sometimes with frost in midst of summer, which have brought on extraordinary scarcity and dearth of victual, so that there are great disorders committed in the land by riots and tumults for want of food, and multitudes of families are diffolved, and forced to wander begging their bread ; and the cattle also are familhed for want of grass and food to sustaini them. In the mean time we are engaged in war with cruel enemies, who seize our ships, carry our countrymen captives, throw them into dungeons and nauseous prifons, where they use them barbaroully; yea, much of their blood is thed, and many valuable lives are loft in our defence. And, besides our other calamities, we fuffer greatly through decay of trade and merchandise, and penury of money; in many places, nierchants, tradesmen, and artificers, want business; there is no work nor hire for labourers, and for those who would use honest industry for bread, whether men or women: so that want is “ come upon us as one that travaileth, and
poverty like an armed man," and many are reduced to extreme mifery, and starving circumstances, for lack of bread.
By all which proceedings it appears that God hath a peculiar controversy with Scotland, and threatens to punish her remarkably for her heinous fins and provoca. stions. The Lord's hand hath been long lifted up against us, and now it is higher lifted up than ever : and, the higher it is lifted, the blow is like to be the feverer when given. He hath sent many leffer strokes and judgments upon us, as forerunners and warnings of greater, which