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Atheism

2 Kings xviii., and 2 Chron. xxxii., and Isai. xxxvi., xxxvii. and blasphemy are the temper and deportment of the antichrist which, we expect, shall be destroyed. (Rev. xiii. 1-6.)

2. Combined and confederate against the church ?-So were Moab, Ammon, and Amalek, to "cut off the name of Israel." (Psalm lxxxiii. 3-7.) So did Gog and Magog; (Ezek. xxxviii. ;) if that refer to Antiochus Epiphanes, or to any other already past. So will the Gog and Magog mentioned in Rev. xx. So hath the antichristian Papal kingdom done against the church; and it is probable, such a confederacy may be again made against the church of God. Now, when rooting-out of Israel is the end of the confederacy, the church is furnished with many prevailing arguments to use in prayer for the church.

3. Confident and proud, promising themselves an assured success, answerable to their preparations and resolutions?—So Sennacherib: "As I have done, so I will do;" (2 Chron. xxxii. ;) and Gog and Magog: "I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates, to take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn mine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land." (Ezek. xxxviii. 11, 12.)

So will [be] the pride and confidence of Babylon, the enemy of the church; Babylon, that will say, "I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow." (Rev. xviii. 7.) How seasonably may the church plead with the Lord to execute his just threats upon her, and bring her sorrows on her in a moment!

4. Cruel and merciless ?-So was Babylon of old; so is Babylon at this day. This ministered occasion to the captive Jew to pray, and move the God of mercy to remember their low and sad condition, and rescue them from those cruel hands which delight in blood. In the temper of those who have for many ages wasted the church of Christ, and in these last three or four years have laboured to destroy it in France, most unparalleled cruelty hath been practised upon the members of Christ. "How long, O Lord, holy and true?" (Rev. vi. 10.)

Eighthly, and lastly. Would you as Christians inquire, in order to the better management of your prayers and praises? Then, whatever news of moment you hear concerning the state of the churches of Christ, be sure, to your best knowledge, compare those news with these things that are signs of approaching deliverance and fuller salvation from its own sins and self-created troubles, and from the furious rage of enemies.

1. Compare the state of the church, and your news of it, with the divine providences over the church in the like circumstances in times past. Find out some instance parallel to your present case in the scriptures; and in prayer plead it with God for the like, nay, for greater, help. The various cases of the church recorded in scripture, are glasses in which we may see what troubles we must expect; and

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God's providences to his people are exemplaries for us to conform our hope and confidence unto. We may read his deliverances, and in like "This God is our God, as theirs; he will lead us, preserve, and deliver us, as them." Hence it is [that] you do so often find the people of God concluding and expecting relief, because he did in like case hear prayer, and give his people matter of praise, in times past. 2. Compare the news you hear with the expectations of the generality of the observant, praying, meditating, scripture-wise Christians.— Consider well what the body of these look for; whether good, or evil. A single man, or a few of them, may easily mistake in their conjecture; but it is seldom that the whole body of them mistime their expectation. Deliverance out of Egypt was expected by the best and wisest, by those who knew the promise to Abraham, much about the time that God sent Moses; and therefore it is observed of Moses, that, when he vindicated the injured Hebrew and slew the Egyptian, he supposed they would have known him to be the person [whom] God had sent to deliver them. Near the time of the return from the Babylonish captivity, many of the Jews expected their deliverance: some that were very aged could reckon the number of years by their own age and Daniel searched into the nearness of it "by books." (Dan. ix. 2.) And we may now hope [that] some great (perhaps the last and full) deliverance from antichristianism is near at hand; the generality of God's people do expect as well as pray for it. Pray ye as they do.

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3. Compare your great news abroad, when kingdoms and states are shaken, with the threats that are denounced against the enemies of the church. Consult the word of God in this thing. You may discover much of the approaches of mercy in deliverance of the church by the executions of threats against the enemy. When Moses and Aaron began to execute judgments upon Egypt, Israel might well conclude their deliverance was near at hand: when the rivers were turned into blood, Israel might hope their God was coming to avenge their blood. The Jews had good ground to conclude, when the Medes and Persians began the war against Babylon, that their captivity drew on to an end and when they read the man's name who was the great commander in that expedition, Cyrus, by name foretold the deliverer of God's captives and builder of the temple; if then they did not pray earnestly and praise God heartily, they were inexcusably stupid, and wanting to their own release. It will much help you in prayer at this day, if you will look into the several menaces pronounced in the book of the Revelation against Babylon, and observe which of them are in part executed, which are now executing; which of the trumpets we are under, and which of the three woes are now executing, &c. By this we might conclude the sounding of the seventh trumpet near, and [that] the kingdoms of the world ere long are likely to be the kingdoms of Christ.

4. Look to promises made to the church for her deliverance, when you hear of or inquire after any great news among the states and kingdoms of the world, among which the churches of Christ sojourn, and

among which the saints of God have and still do suffer.—It needs not a particular proof, that there are many express promises that the church shall be delivered; that there is a fixed time for the beginning, progress, and full accomplishment of these promises; that their accomplishment shall be gradual, and such as will clear itself; and though we cannot say when the full accomplishment [will take place] to a day or month or year, yet, by comparing transactions and occurrences with promises, we may without doubt discover somewhat of the promise made good to the church, for which we ought to praise the Lord; and all the rest of the promises shall be fulfilled, and for this we should earnestly pray to the Lord.

5. Compare the great news in the present revolutions, with the times [which] God hath been pleased to make known to us in his word. -By this you may discern what encouragement and awakening considerations are given to us to pray and praise our God for what is already done, and for what is doing, and what ere long is to be finished. Here is work for learned men, for ministers, for understanding saints. There are in the Revelation two distinct numbers mentioned, which, were they clearly unfolded, would enable us, as very wise Christians, to receive, seek, and improve the great news that is abroad in the world.

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The first period is that in Rev. ix. 15: They-that is, the four angels bound at Euphrates, that is, the Turkish power-" were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year ; that is, for three hundred and ninety-six years, and a very little more. Now, from 1300, in which Osman, or Ottoman, was elected king of the Turks, they have been the destruction of the Christians; and were to be, until three hundred and ninety-six years were expired; that is, till 1696, which will in likelihood end their empire: and how great hope of this now! This calls us to pray for their ruin.

The second great period is of the forty-two months, (Rev. xiii. 5,) that is, one thousand two hundred and sixty years, the time the beast was to persecute the church; and then the beast was to perish, that is, the Papal kingdom shall be destroyed. Now, these one thousand two hundred and sixty years in likelihood began about 475, or somewhat sooner; and by this account, you may suppose, the news you still hear of both Turk and Papacy will encourage you to hope for a speedy deliverance of the church from both.

It will be worth your while to read those excellent pieces-of Mr. Joseph Mede, who wrote his "Key of the Revelation" above threescore years ago in Latin: I cannot say whether it be translated into English, having always kept myself to the Latin copy; but it is a thousand pities it should be confined to Latin,—a book fit to be published in all languages-of Mr. Jurieu, "Accomplishment of Prophecies," translated out of French into English:-of a nameless author, newly written in French, and translated into English, printed lately under the title of "A New System of the Apocalypse," &c.

I commend to you who would know the importance of public news,how to pray and praise God on hearing it, how to wait for

deliverances, to read diligently those books in which are greater and better news than any packets, than all gazettes or coffee-houses, can yet afford to you. When you have read these books, then long for 1696, or 1700; and hope, if you live to that day, to hear Mahometanism in the Turkish empire destroyed with that empire. Wish for 1735, or 1740; and remember, I do not pretend to prophesy, but I do dismiss with a conjecture that, between this time and that, you will see great deliverances to the churches of Christ, and as great distresses and judgments executed on the antichristian kingdom; it may be, the total ruin of that kingdom, which was to last but one thousand two hundred and sixty years, and, I think, will have outlasted that period before 1740.

SERMON XVII.

BY THE REV. DANIEL BURGESS,

OF MAGDALEN-HALL, OXFORD.

WHEREIN MAY WE MORE HOPEFULLY ATTEMPT THE CONVERSION OF YOUNGER PEOPLE, THAN OF OTHERS?

OMNIPOTENCE can suffer no difficulty, and that which is immense can admit no limits. Unto the Divine power all things are as per fectly easy, as they are certainly possible: and the heavenly grace is fruitful equally of all things consistent with its spotless purity. GodCreator did strain no harder to make this great world, than to make the smallest atom of it. And God-Redeemer saveth Mary-Magdalenes, as well as Virgin-Marys: very Samson, we are sure, is in heaven. (Heb. xi. 32.)

But, in respect of things themselves, and of their appearances unto us, all effects be [are] not of equal facility, nor all events to be alike hoped for. Much easier is the bending of a green twig, than of an old oak; more hopeful the cure of a green wound, than of an old putrefied sore. There is more to be done to convert a man of Belial, than a child of Belial; and to convert an old man, than any other man and we may justly expect better success when we call unto God the boys and girls playing in the streets, than when we call old men and women that can scarcely walk in them.

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This I am desired to show and I shall endeavour it in the best way, unto the best end; to wit, the promoting of early piety. I have fair and full occasion given me, if I can take it, from the text; I therefore commend to your observation :

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Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth: or, as some read it, Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy choice.— Ecclesiastes xii. 1.

THE words are a stricture of an excellent sermon. It was preached (as mine is to be) unto childhood and youth. It begins at the ninth verse of the former chapter, and ends at the eighth verse of this. The Spirit of God preached it by the wisest of men, and not the least of kings; and hath thereby taught a pair of truths, that I must wish better learnt :

1. The God of heaven takes great care of our children; and sends the Holy Ghost unto young school-boys, as well as old church-members. We have him here, in his sacred oracles, preaching unto boys and girls. Yea, and blessed bishop Usher was neither the first nor the last that was converted by him at ten years of age, or earlier.

2. The greatest doctors need not think scorn in Christ's school to be ushers, and to teach children the A B C of religion.

Solomon thought not himself undervalued by it: and he that will look on it as a work below him, he ought to prove that a greater than Solomon is he. Immortal Luther preferred his Catechism above all his works. But I return.

This sermon, fore-praised, consists of two parts

1. A dehortation from sinful passions and pleasures.—Which is edged with a most emphatic irony, or derision; pressed with a threat of God's damnatory judgment; and shut up with a cooling consideration of both the feathery lightness and the winged transitoriness of youthful enjoyments. (Eccles. xi. 9, 10.)

2. An exhortation unto the choice and prosecution of saving religion. -This is in my text: wherein it is guarded with an admirable prolepsis, preventive of all shifts and procrastinations; and in the next words and verses is re-inforced with numerous arguments; arguments a many as old age hath maladies, and as unprepared death hath terrors; and these all clothed with language hardly to be matched in all the sacred writings. But I must confine me to my text; wherein are obvious,

1. The duty commanded to be done.

2. The parties commanded to do it.

3. The time wherein they are commanded to do it.

1. The duty is conversion unto God; inchoative and progressive conversion; entrance into, continuance and progress in, the state of holiness; the state of reconciliation unto, and communion with, God; with God the Father, Son, and Spirit; all jointly, as one God; and each distinctly, as three Persons. Learned men do judge this latter to be here designed by the plural number of the Hebrew word. All interpreters acknowledge, that the required remembrance imports no less than the foresaid conversion: and it will be evident, if these things be considered :—

Words of knowledge, affection, and practice do ever connote one the other; because the faculties of our souls be like the links of a chain, so united, that they go all together; draw one, all come. Wherefore, when the Holy Ghost summons all, he useth to name but one of them. He never commands us to know, remember, love, or serve God, but he commands us to do them all. Now, to do all

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