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xviii. n. And that is a sad fall : as that eagle that was shot with an arrow trimmed with her own feathers.

But to close this point. It is out of all question, that the deserved punishment of man's unjust wrath, doth always glorify the justice of God; and the more He gives way to their wrath, the more notable shall be both their punishment and the justice of it. And though God seems neglective of His people and of His praise, while man's wrath prevails, yet the truth is, He never comes too late to vindicate His care of both ; and when he defers longest, the enemy pays dear interést for the time of forbearance. In his eternal decree, He resolved to permit the course of man's wrath for His own glory, and when the period which He hath fixed is come, He stops man's wrath, and gives course unto the justice of His own. Nor is there then any possibility of escaping. He will right Himself, and be known by executing judgment. Surely, the wrath of man shall praise Thee.

And that is the IIId thing propounded, the infallibility of the event.

The Author of nature governs all His creatures, each in a suitable way to the nature He hath given them. He maintains in some things, a natural necessity of working, contingency in others, and in others, liberty ; but all of them are subject to this necessity of effecting inevitably His eternal purposes. And this necessity is no way repugnant to the due liberty of man's will. Some entertain and maintain the truth ; some plot, others act and execute, against it; some please themselves with a wise neutrality, and will appear so indifferent that it would seem they might be accepted of all sides for judges of controversies. And all these find no less liberty to wind and turn themselves whither they please, than if no higher hand had the winding of them. Yet shall not only the zeal of the godly, but even the wrath of the enemy, and the cold discretion of the neutral, all tend to His praise whose supreme will have a secret, but a sure and infallible sway in all their actions. Whilst some passengers sit, some walk one way, some another, some have their faces towards their journey's end, some their back turned upon it, this wise Pilot does most skilfully guide the ship to arrive with them all at His own glory. Happy they who propound and intend His glory as He Himself does, for in them shall the riches of His mercy be glorified! They who oppose Him, lose this happiness, but He is sure not to lose His glory for all that, to wit, the glory, of His justice. His right hand shall find out all His enemies. Surely, the wrath of man shall praise Thee.

The consideration of this truth, thus in some measure unfolded, may serve to justify the truly wise dispensation of God against our imaginary wisdom. Were the matter referred to our modelling, we should assign the Church constant peace and prosperity for her portion, and not consent that the least air of trouble should come near her; we would have no enemies to molest her, nor stir against her, or if they did stir, we would have them to be presently repressed; and these, in our judgment, would be the fairest and most glorious tokens of His love and power whose spouse she is. But this carnal wisdom is enmity against God, and is opposed to the glory of God, which rises so often out of the wrath of His enemies. Had God caused Pharaoh to yield at the very first, to the release of His people, where had been the fame of those miraculous judgments in Egypt, and those mercies on the Israelites, the one setting out and illustrating the other? Where had been that name and honour which God says He would gain to Himself, and which he did gain out of Pharaoh's final destruction, making that stony-hearted king and his troops sink like a stone in the waters, as Moses sings? Observe his proud boastings immediately foregoing his ruin: I will pursue, says he, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my lust shall be satisfied on them: I will draw my sword, and my hand shall destroy them. Soon after, the sea quenches all this heat. Commonly, big threatenings are unhappy presages of very ill success. That historian [Herodotus] says well of God, Deus neminem alium, quam seipsum, sinit de se mag

the same way


nifice sentire:-God suffers no other to think highly of himself, than Himself alone. And indeed, as He abhors these boastings, so He delights in the abasing of the lofty heart whence they flow, and it is His prerogative to gain praise to Himself out of their wrath. Hast thou an arm like God? says the Lord to Job, then, look upon the proud and bring them low. Job xl. 9. 12. When Sennacherib came up against Jerusalem, his blasphemies and boastings were no less vast and monstrous than the number of his men and chariots. Good Hezekiah turned over the matter unto God, spreading the letter of blasphemies before Him, upon which God undertook the war, and assured Hezekiah that the Assyrian should not so much as shoot an arrow against the city, but return


2 Kings xix. 33. And the deliverance there promised and effected, is conceived to have been the occasion of penning this very Psalm. Surely, when an angel did in one night slay 185,000 in their camps, that wrath and those threats tended exceedingly to the praise of the God of Israel. The hook that he put in Sennacherib's nostrils, (as the history speaks) to pull him back again, was more remarkable than the fetters would have been, if He had tied him at home, or hindered his march with his army.

Who is he then that will be impatient because of God's patience, and judge Him slack in judgment, while the rage of the wicked prevails awhile? Know, that He is more careful of His own glory than we can be, and the greater height man's wrath arises to, the more honour shall arise to Him out of it. Did not His omnipotency shine brighter in the flames of that furnace into which the three children were cast, than if the king's wrath had been at first cooled? Certainly, the more both it and the furnace had their heat augmented, the more was God glorified. Who is that God, saith he blasphemously and proudly, that can deliver you out of my hands ? Dan. iii. 15. A question, indeed, highly dishonouring the Almighty, but stay till the real answer come, and then, not only shall that wrath praise Him, but that very same tongue, though inured to blasphemy, shall be taught to bear a main part in the confession of those praises. Let that apostate emperor (Julian] go taunting the Head, and tormenting the members, of that mystical body, his closing with 'Evinnoas laminate, Thou hast overcome, O Galilean, (meaning Christ,) shall help to verify that, whether its course be shorter or longer, man's wrath ends always in God's praise. In like manner, the closing of the lions' mouth, spake louder to His praise who stopped them, than if He had stopped Daniel's enemies in the beginning of their wicked design. So hot was their rage, that the king's favourable inclination to Daniel, (of which, in other cases, courtiers used to be so devout observers,) yea, his contesting and pleading for him, did profit him nothing, but they hurried their king to the execution of their unjust malice, though themselves were convinced that nothing could be found against him, but only concerning the law of his God. Dan. vi. 5. It is said, ver. 14, that king Darius set his heart on Daniel to deliver him, and he laboured to do it till the going down of the sun, and then those counsellors and counsels of darkness overcame him. But upon this black night of their prevailing wrath, followed immediately a bright morning of praises to Daniel's God, when the lions that were so quiet company all night to Daniel, made so quick a breakfast of those accursed courtiers who had maliciously accused him. Even so let thine enemies perish, O Lord, and let those that love Thee, be as the sun when he goes forth in his might!

The other proposition concerns the limiting of this wrath: The remainder of wrath Thou wilt restrain.

To take no notice, for the present, of divers other readings of these words, the sense of them, as they are here very well rendered, may be briefly this; that whereas the wrath of man to which God gives way, shall praise Him, the rest shall be curbed and bound up, as the word is; no more of it shall break forth than shall contribute to His glory. Here should be considered divers ways and means by which God useth to stop the heady course of man's wrath, and hinder its proceeding any further;

but only, for the present, let us take out of it this lesson, That the most compendious way to be safe from the violence of men, is to be on terms of friendship with God.

Is it not an incomparable privilege, to be in the favour and under the protection of One, whose power is so transcendent that no enemy can so much as stir without His leave? Be persuaded then, Christians, in these dangers that are now so near us, every one to draw near to Him. Remove what may provoke Him. Let no reigning sin be found either in your cities or in your villages, for He is a holy God. Is it a time to multiply provocations now, or is it not rather high time to be humbled for the former? What shameless impiety is it, to be now licentious or intemperate, to be proud, to oppress or extort, to profane God's day, and blaspheme His name! All these sins, and many others, abound amongst us, and that avowedly. Without abundance of repentance for these, we shall smart, and the wrath of our enemies, though unjust in them, shall praise God in our just punishment; though, doubtless, he will own His Church, and be praised likewise in the final punishment of their wrath who rise against it. There is a remarkable expression in the ninety-ninth Psalm, of God's dealing with His people: Thou wast a God that forgavest them, though thou tookest vengeance on their inventions. A good cause and a covenant with God, will not shelter an impenitent people from sharper correction. It is a sad word God speaks by His prophet to His own people: I myself will fight against you. Jer. xxi. 5. A dreadful enemy! and none, indeed, are truly dreadful but He. Oh! prevent His anger, and you are safe enough. If perverse sinners will not hear, yet, let those who are indeed Christians, mourn in secret, not only for their own sins, but let them bestow some tears likewise upon the sins of others. Labour to appease the wrath of God, and He will either appease man's wrath, or, howsoever, will turn it jointly to our benefit and His own glory. Let the fear of the most high God, who hath no less power of the strongest of His enemies than over the meanest of His ser.

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