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well as in'the other; and cannot other-SErm. wife be rightly understood. Again, When God had threatned by Jonah, that ^rv"SJ yet forty days and Nineveh shall be destroyed; and after That, upon their Repentance, God also repented of the evil he had said he would do unto them, and he did it not: yet forty years after, when they relapsed again, Nineveh was destroyed: and the prophecy, which Jonah murmured to see difappointed, as he thought; was in its time, according to the exactness of the Prophetick style, punctually accomplished: as is observed in the last chapter of the book of Tobit, ver. 8 and 15. Lastly, Jerusalem itself over which our Saviour had expressed such tender and affectionate compassion, yet had at length, for its impenitency, that final Sentence pronounced against it, Matt, xxiii. 3 8. Behold, your House is left unto you desolate; and ch. xxiv. 2. There fall not be left one fonc upon another, that fall not be thrown down. The Application of these examples to every one of Us, is made by St Paul in that earnest Admonition, Rom. ii. 4. Despises thou the riches of his good?iefs and forbearance and hng-suffering, not knowing

that

Serm-^ the goodness of God leadeth thee to Repentance? But after thy hardnejs and impenitent heart, treasures up to thyself wrath against the day of wrath, arid revelation of the righteous judgment of God? The natural and proper effect of the divine forbearance, is to lead Sinners to Repentance: And if it has not that effect, but they on the contrary abuse his Patience, and despise his admonitions, adding to their Sin perverse ingratitude, and most disingenuous Obstinacy to their Rebellion; the Scripture assures us that the Time will come, when they shall cry, and

Prov.i.z6.maM not be heard j but He also JJ: all laugh at their calamity, and mock when their Fear cometh; when their Fear cometh as desolation, and their definition as a whirlwind. Upon which Account, excellent is the Advice of the Son of Sirach, Ecclus. v. 4. Say not, I have finned, and what harm has happened to me ? for though the Lord is long-suffering, he will in no wise let thee

go: Say not, his mercy is great, he

will be pacified for the multitude of my Sins; For mercy and Wrath come from h^ and his indignation rejleth upon Sinners,

%dly, As it does not follow that God is S E R M. less Angry with Sinners, because he defers XV. punishing them; so neither can it be inferred, that the Punishment of Sin is at all the less Certain and Unavoidable, for not being inflicted immediately. Among Men, every delay is a possibility of Escaping; because 'time and Chance happeneth to them all: And whatever is at a diftance, is for that very reason proportionably uncertain whether it shall ever come to pass at all. But with God, Time makes no difference in the Certainty of Events; neither can any intervening Accidents ever difappoint His purpose. Though a Sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be prolonged; yet surely ( fays the Wife-man) I know that it shall be well with them that fear God: But it shall not be well with the Wicked, Eccles. viii. 12. And St Peter elegantly confutes this foolish Hope of Sinners, 2 ep. iii. 4. There shall come Scoffers, walking after their own lufls, and saying, Where is the Promise of his Coming ? for fince the Fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were, from the beginning of the Creation: But, beloved,

fye not ignorant of this one thing, that one

day

Serm.^ji is with the Lord as a thousand Tears', XV" and a thousand years as one day. (Not that the one is with God literally no longer a Duration than the other, as the Schoolmen have foolishly taught, who love to make absurdities even out of the plainest things; But the meaning is, that What is at a thoufand Years distance, is with God as Certain, as if it was to be effected the very next moment.) The Lord is not slack concerning his Promise, as some nun count slackness; hut is long-suffering ts us-icard, not "willing that Any should peris}}, but that All should come to Repentance. But the day of the Lord will come, as a Thief in the Night.

4-thly, As the Punishment of Sin, is not the less Certain for being delayed, so neither will it be the less Severe. Jujlice (as all the other Attributes also are) is in the Divine Nature Necessary. That is: Not that Supreme Power has not a natural Right to pardon freely whom he pleases, (as some have vainly imagined;) but that, morally speaking, it is as Necessary in the Government of the Universe, that infinite Wisdom should finally punish the incorrigible; as that infinite Patience

mould

ihould bear with such as are capable C/serm, Amendment, and infinite Mercy should pardon such as do actually amend. The Punishment of the Fallen Angels, the bringing in of the general Flood, and the Overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, are Examples of this kind, written on purpose for our Admonition. Jude 6. The Angels which kept not their fir ft ejlate, he has reserved in chains under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day. And the Application is expressly made by St Peter,

2 ep. ii. 4, 9. -j God spared not the

Angels that ftnned, but cajl them down to

hell; And spared not the Old world,

but brought i?i the Flood upon the

world of the ungodly; And turned the Cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes; making them an example unto those that after s:ould live ungodly: If God did these things of old; the Inference is, The

Lord still knoweth how to reserve the ,

unjusl unto the day of judgment to be punished. And of all unjust persons, none more exemplarily; than those who therefore presume to abuse the Patience of God, because Sentence against an Evil work is not executed speedily. Deut. xxix.

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