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the Sword of War, which as it has been upon a great Part of the World now for many Years, and has sorely aMicted us, and the neighbouring Kingdoms, so are there many Indications that it may be rekindled, and so still more fully contribute to that prodigious Diminution of Mankind, which is foretold as the Consequence of the Judgments belonging to these Times. [If. xxiv. 6.] Now if we look into the xivth Chapter of Ezekiel, we shall find, that three of these four Judgments already mentioned, which we have now to fear, I mean Famine, and Sword, and Pestilence, [Ezek. xiv. 12. -21.] are there ser down as fuch Punishments for heinous national Sins, that nothing of the Intercesfion of the best Men, which used in many Cases, to appease the Anger of God, would be hearken'd to: (v. 12, 13, 14.) The Word of the Lord came to me again, saying, Son of Man, when the Land finneth against me by trespassing grievously, then will I stretch out mine Hand upon it, and will break the Staff of the Bread thereof, and will send Famine upon it, and will cut off Man and Beast from it. Tho' these three Men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver neiiber Son, nor Daughter, but their own Souls (or Lives) by their Righteousness, saith the Lord God. And the very fame is said in the following Verses, as to the Noisome Beasts, the Sword, and the Pestilence. I shall add the zist, 22d, and 23d Verses, as affording Comfort to good Men in such dismal Calamities; as well as the former ought to be very terrifying to the Wicked it the fame Time ; since these seem to be the very
Circumstances of those Judgments, upon London in particular, we are now speaking of. Thus faith the Lord God, how much more when I send my four fore Judgments upon Jerusalem ; the Sword and the Famine, and the Noisome Beast, and the Pestilences to cut off from it Man and Beast: Yet bebold therein shall be left a Remnant, that shall be brought forth Sons and Daughters ; bebold they shall come forth unto you, and ye shall see their way and their Doings ; and ye shall be comforted concerning the Evil that I bave brought upon Jerusalem, even concerning all that I have brought upon it. And they mall comfort you when ye see their Ways and their Doings, and ye shall know that I have not done without Cause all that I have done in it, faith the Lord God. However, we may see the State of Europe, how it appears at present after all the Judgments that God has lately brought upon its Inhabitants in vain, inthe ixth and xth Chapters of Isaiab: [ix, 12-17-21. X.4.] I mean that, For all this bis Anger is not turned away, but bis Hand is stretch'd out ftill. And so, for certain, will it be still, unless Europe in earnest fet about a through Reformation. In which last Cafe, which yet is rather to be wish'd for than expected, the Prophet Ezekiel assures us, (xviii. 21, 22.] If the Wicked will turn from all bis Sins, that be bath committed, and keep all my Statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, be shall surely live, be shall not die. All bis Tranfgrefions that be hath committed, they shall not be mention'd unto bim : In bis Righteousness that be bath done be shall live.
The seventh and last Judgment, belonging to thefe Times, I reckon to be Storms of Thunder and Lightening, and Tempests, and their consequent Shipwrecks, which have been so frequent and dreadful of late ; beginning, in my own Life-time, with that amaz. ing Storm, Nov. 27, 1703. On Account of which that admirable Collect of Thanksgiving and Prayer, was appointed and used in the publick Service; which I have formerly set down, Pag. 409, 410, and which is highly fit to be appointed and used again upon Occasion of the late Earthquakes and Storms, as it stands in the second Edition of my Common Prayer Book, herewith published. But I have already so fully spoken of these storms, and Earthquakes, as the fulfilling of sacred Predictions, No. 35, and 52, priùs, that I shall add no more upon them in this place.
But before I proceed farther, I must add one Obfervation, that many of our minute Philosophers, (and very minute Philosophers they must be who reason thus) pretend, that all this is done by the Air, or Water, or Earth, or Fire; that all this is no more than the necessary Effects of natural Causes; and that there is therefore no Occasion to have Recourse to the Interposition of Providence, or of any invisible Beings, in Murrain or Locusts, in Meteors or Earthquakes, in Famines, in Storms at Sea or Land, or Pestilences, in Deluges or Conflagrations, &c. And so all such Addresses as are now made for Reformation and Amendment, in order to propitiate God Almighty, and avert his Indignation, are no better than the Effects of En
thusiasm, and Superstition ; and still to no Manner of Purpose. Natural Causes, say these pretended Philosophers, will have their natural Effects: Nor are we to attempt to solve such Phænomena otherwise chan by Philosophy. This Reasoning always puts me in Mind of what I met with some Years ago in one of our News-Papers, which was written to comfort those Men, who began to be affrighted at the killing of some Persons by Thunder and Lightening; where the Writer gravely tells them, that Philofophers ought to take away the Causes of such Terror, by informing them of the mechanical or philosophical Solution of Thunder and Lightening; as if any such pretended, and but pretended Solutions could prevent the killing of any Men, or other Animals, by the like Storms afterwards. This is quite to mistake the State of the Case, and to confound the secondary Inftruments with the original Agents. This is to solve the Slaughter of Men in a Battle, by observing that Gunpowder, and Guns, and Swords, and Spears, &c. are all natural Bodies, and by pretending that they can murder, Men of themselves mechanically without any Recourse to the Commands of Princes, or Generals of Armies, or the fighting of Soldiers, or to the Reasons and Causes of such Battles, which yet are certainly not bare mechanical Tools, but the Acts of rational Creatures, and capable of Rewards or Punishments, according as the Caufes of such Wars are just or unjuft ; who are alone accountable for the Effects that are mechanical, and for the Slaughters there made. The Ark of Noal was a mechanical
Building, and when built would naturally fwiin upon Water, and save the Creatures therein contain'd: Yet does not this hinder, but the Salvation of Noab and of his Family, and of the Animals in the Ark with him, is juftly to be ascrib'd to the Divine Direction for building such an Ark, and to Noah's Obedience to that Direction. Brimstone and Fire are natural Bodies, and would naturally burn Sodom and Gomorrab, if they fell upon these Cities. Yet does this no Way lefsen the Interpofition of Providence, and Instrumentality of the Angels of God, who were sent to bring down that tremendous Judgment upon its most wicked Inhabitants. Nor did Lot's Sons-in-Law, who looked upon Lot as one that mock'd or banter'd, [Gen. xix. 13.] when he would have them believe what the Angels said, gain any Thing by their Scepticism; but immediately perished in the Iniquiry of the City; [v. 14.] Mechanical Causes do not dispose and act of themselves, independently on those rational Agents that are employed, much less independently on the Author of all those natural Causes and rational Agents themselves, Almighty God, the common Creator and Governor of all Things. Our Business therefore, is not here with aerial Va pours, with Sulphur, or Nitre, which are the inanimate Instruments on these Occasions, &c. but with the rational Instruments themselves employ'd by God, either for the Delivery of the Good, or the Punishment of the Bad; which, if we take our Notions from the Experience and Testimony of all Ages, sacred and profane, are no other than the An