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chapter of our Confession: in both which we may see the clear scripture texts cited by the Assembly, for refuting and condemning any such toleration. Ah! what joy may all this cause ai Rome! therefore tell it not in Gath, &c.
As the Lord did signally countenance our Reformers' practice, in entering into solemn 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 al} the enemies and difficulties that were in the way; so their practice of national covenanting even ander 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 these 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 Christian nations, and parti. eularly this of being nationally in covenant with God; —which prophecies are to have their special and full accomplishment at Babylon's downfall. For illustrating these points, and applying the scripture texts relative thereto, I might expatiate in several sheets of paper, if it were proper here. I shall only at this time cile some of the texts that may be well improven to the foresaid purposes; which the reader may turn to, and consider at his leisure, such as Isa. xix. 18, 21, 23, 24, 25. Isa. xlv. 23. Jer. I. 4, 5. the lx. Ixi. and lxii. chapters of Isaiah throughout. Isa. Iv. 3, 4, 5. Micah iv. 1, 2. Zech, viii. 21, 22, 23. Rev. ii. 15. Rom. xi. 17, 19. Rom. x. 12, 19. Matth. iii. 5, 6. Acts viii. 6. 1 2. 2 Cor. viii. 5. Matth. xxi. 43. Rom. ix, 24, 25, 26.
compared with Hos. i. 9, 10, 11. Hos. ii. 33. 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 peculiar' and favourable aspect in 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 single persons, to choose, acknowledge, and avouch the Lord to be their God, to walk in his ways, and keep his statutes. This is required in the first commandment, according to the exposition of our Larger Catechism; and is there confirmed by these texts, that warrant and exemplify the practice of national covenanting, such as Deut. xxvi. 16, 17. Josh. xxiv. 22. In such a national way did our fathers of old acknowledge and avouch the Lord to be their God, and devote ihemselves and their posterity to the Lord. And blessed be the Lord our God, who did many ways declare himself to be well 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 wonderful deliverances God wrought for Israel at the Red Sea, 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 & sense of God's distinguishing mercies to this land, in delivering us from spiritual Babylon, and in rescuing us from time to time, from these captains that have sought 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 sinful 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 disclaim 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 shaking times: let them join to put up that prayer of the Psalmist, Psalm Ixviii. 28. “ Strengthen, O God, that which thou hast wrought for us ;” and that of Habakkuk, Hab. iii. 2. “ O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years."
May 27, 1727.
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; since which time, alas ! she hath enjoyed little peace within her walls, or prosperity within her palaces; but, instead thereof, she hath been tossed with tempests and troubles of various kinds, whereby the children of Zion have been brought and still lie under great distress and affliction.
The first impression 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 disa tress, seeing the book is intended as a directory to. Christians under affliction, whatever sort it be. It cannot but be obvious to every serious observer, that the Lord's judgments are in the earth at this day, and that the inhabitants of this land are generally visited with calamities of divers kinds, both spiritual and temporal; which makes a Directory how to manage and carry under them the more seasonable and necessary.
Ah! the Lord's hand is visibly lifted up against us
at this day, and hath been for some years past, in shutting up the church's womb, blasting gospel ordinances, and withdrawing his Spirit from the assemblies of his people, and from our judicatories. The floodgate is opened for error, infidelity, and looseness to overspread the land; so that the gospel of Christ, the holy scriptures, and all revealed religion, are contemned 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 amongst godly ministers and Christians, who are aiming at the same things, that no balm can be found for healing them. There is a way opened for a carnal self-seeking ministry 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 united in partaking of gospel ordinances, are now so miserably rent and scattered, through mournful intrusions and dividing courses, that they cannot worship God together; and many of them are wandering like sheep having no shepherd, 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 short time bypast. Sometimes the Lord sends forth his stormy winds with extraordinary violence, so as to carry terror · and destruction alongst with them both by sea and Jand, and even threaten to bury us in the ruins of our houses. Sometimes he sends such long continued rains in time of harvest, as threaten to destroy the whole crop before our eyes. Sometimes such extraordinary storms of frost and snow, as to bind up
the waters and mills, that food cannot be prepared for us, and we are ready to famish in the midst of plenty. Sometimes he sends such destructive storms of lights