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quakes, which have swept away great Multitudes of Men with a swift and fudden Destruction ; when we are told that they have extended to vastly diftant Parts of the World ; that Nations near us have felt the Effects of them to a molt dreadful Degree, and that our own Island has already in some Meafure been affected by them, it deeply concerns us to make the best Preparation we can for a Trial, of which we have so much Reason to be apprehenfive ; and which, if it should befal us, may plunge us into Eternity in a Mo
It will be our Wisdom and our Happiness to be frequent and earnest in our Prayers to almighty God, to examine our past Lives and the present State of our Souls, to fhew the Sincerity of our Repentance by a thorough Ainendment of Life, and to keep ourselves ready for that awful Account, to which we know not how foon we may be called. This will be a certain Mea thod of securing ourselves from the worst Effects of any such calamitous
Event, though it should come upon us : But Revelation has encouraged us to hope, that by a timely Application to the Duties of Religion, we may save ourselves even from the temporal Suffering with which we are threatened.
We have the clearest Evidence from Scripture, that almighty God, when he made the World, and appointed the Course of Nature, did not preclude bimfelf from working fuch Changes in them as might at any Time answer the Designs of his Justice, or his Mercy, in regard to Mankind. We are there told, that he has actually wrought fuch Changes in them for the Punishment of wicked Men; and that not on. ly in his Dealings with the Jews, his peculiar People, but with others also. The Account given us of Noah's Flood is alone a full Confirmation of the Point, as it shews that the Effects of his Vengeance have extended to all the Nations under Heaven. On the other Hand, the Instance of God's Mercy to the Inhabitants of Nineveh may well give
us Hope of averting his temporal Judgements, if we follow the Example of their Humiliation and Repentance: For who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce Anger, that we peris not * ?
But beside the Hope which the Scriptures afford us of preventing a national Calamity by a general Repentance and Reformation, they farther encourage the penitent Sinner to trust in the divine Goodness for his own perfonal Safety (if God fees that his Continuance in Life will be an Advantage to him) though the Judgements threatened should fall upon the Community to which he belongs. Without enJarging upon the Subject, I shall propose one Text from the New Testament, which may direct our Judgement in this particular: Are not two Sparrows fold for a Farthing ? (says our blessed Saviour) and one of them shall not fall on the Ground without
Father. But the
very Hairs of your Head
* Jonah, Ch. iii. V. 9.
[ 9 ] are all numbered. Fear pe not therefore, ye are of more Value than many Sparrows, Matth. Ch. x. Ver. 29, 30,31. Let any
Person considér what is here faid of the Attention shewn by almighty God to every thing that may endanger the Life of a simple Bird, and of the superior Importance of Man, and judge whether a Calamity which destroys the Life of Thousands of Men, and puts an End to their State of Probation, can be effected merely by Chance; or a blind Concurrence of natural Causes. If not, we have the strongest Reason to cast ourselves on the Providence of God, and to use our utmost Endeavours to procure ourselves a Share in his Favour and Protection, who can govern and direct the alarming Changes which have begun to appear in the material World, in all their Circumstances, and in all their Consequences; can either Stop their Progress, or remove us out of the Reach of their Violence when they happen ; and who will most certainly (if we do our Duty) either save us from Death, or make it a Step to our everlasting Happiness..
( 10 )
A Prayer to be used by a private
Person or by a Family.
Alınighty God, Maker and Go
vernor of Heaven and Earth, have Mercy on the whole Race of Mankind; and grant that the Ruin which thou hast brought upon the World by Earthquakes and Floods may awaken us all to a Sense of our Danger, and make us deeply and earnestly repent of those Sins which have most justly provoked thy Wrath and Indignation against us. Glory be to thee for thy Goodness to those of this Nation and Place, in allowing us Time for Repentance; O let us not increase our Guilt by neglecting to use it, but work in us all such a Regard to thy Laws, as may prevent the Continuance