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Concerning The Judgements Themselves
HERE I might speak of the judgement executed, August 24th. 1G62. when so many ministers were put out of their places, and the judgement executed, March 24th, 1665, when so many ministers were banished five miles from corporations, the former by way of introduction to the plague, which sometime after did spread in the land, but chiefly raged in the city; the latter by way of introduction to the fire, which quickly after did burn down London, the greatest corporation in England. These judgements having been so lately and general in the land, *nd I presume, so generally known, with all their circumstances?; that it would be needless to give here a narration of them. But this I must say, I could wish they Were as generally believed to be judgements, and accordingly laid to heart; for I fear that the great insensibility, yhich people have been under of these judgements, because they hane not reached the flesh; and their sottish inconsideration of God's dreadful displeasure herein,, hath provoked the Lord to send such judgements as have come nearer to sense; that they might perceive God was angry indeed before, and that his greater displeasure in the former, might be known by his more sensible displeasure in the l itter.
Let London seriously consider whether Jior i -. Meges were not her best defence a
guiiib. temporal calamities; and whether nines her slighting, abuse and forfeiture, and God's seizure and stripping her so of these, she hath not been laid naked to those heavy strokes of extraordinary judgements which she hath lately received.
London had the gospel ordinances, powerful, pure, plentiful, ministers excellently qualified, and rarely furnished with minesterial abilities; London had as many burning and shining lights as any one such spot of ground under the cope of heaven.
Not to speak of their abilities for preaching and defence of the truth, such gifts of prayer London ministers had, which were no small defence to the city, as I believe no city in the world could parrallel.
O what Prayers have there formerly been In London pulpits, especially on days of solemn humiliation! how have the spirits of ministers been carried forth sometime in prayer for several hours together, (without tautologies and vain repetitions) in such variety of affectionate enlargements, and with such raisedness and transports of spirit! as if they had been just leaving the body, and going to live and abide with God, and would converse no more with men or worldly things.
In their confessions of sin,'how have they raked into the dunghill of a rotten heart, Mil A3
laid abrod its inward filthiness? how have thejr traced the footsteps of its deceitfulness, through the maze and wilderness of its many windings and turnings? how have they pierced into the very bowels of sin, and ript it up as it were to the back bone, bringing forth its very entrails to open view? How have they anatomized as it were the body of death in all the parts and members of it, discovering withal the several -diseases of every part, with their cause and manner of working? and all this in such pathetical, cutting expressions, accompanied with such brokenness and bleeding of heart as no form can imitate or effect.
In their supplications for the pardon of sin, for Spiritual and heavenly riches, O with what fteling and fervour did they express themselves? O with what faith and importunity did they wrestle and plead at the throne of grace for such favors beyond the importunity of poor sinners through the gates, or poor beggars at the doors, when they are most earnest for relief? yea how did they besiege God, as it were and seem as if they would scale the walls of heaven itself, and take the kingdom of heaven with vioicr.ee and force? how have they even pressed in upnn God with the dint of argument and laid hold on him with the hand of faith, resolving not to let him go without a blessing?
In their supplications for the church and land they havt behaved themselves as if they had no private concernments. But how did they befir tondon upon their hearts when they came to the throne of grace? What yearning bowels had they towards and for the city? how many tears have they shed in bewailing her sins? How have they stood in the breach, when the Lord hath been coming forth against this place. How have they held his arm when it hath been lifted up to strike? how have they stood weeping between the porch and the ahar, crying, S/iare thy people O Lord, and do not destroy London! and many times have they prevailed to appease God's wrath, and turn away his fierce anger which hath been kindled against us.
Gospel ordinances and Gospel ministers were the safeguard «f London, the glory and defence. But when the ordinances were slighted, and the ministers were mocked and misused by some who call of the most, and London did not yield the fruit which God looked for under such dressing ; God is provoked not only to call for some of his messengers home to himself, but also to suffer the rest, who were more conscientious, to be thrust into corners.
This, this did presage London's near approaching ruin and desolation, though few did believe it, and were insensible of God's wrath in this judgement, therefore their danger was the greater of the other judgements which have come upon them: when so many stakes were plucked out, no wonder if the hedge be broken ; when so many pillars were removed, ne wonder if the building tumble to the ground.
But I proceed to give a narration of the latter Judgements of Plague and Fire.
Of The PLAGUE.
THE Plague so great, so lately, should not be forgotten; yet lest the fire, more lately and proportion ably more great, and the amazing fears which since have risen within us should shuffle former thoughts out of our minds, and rase out the impressions which by the Plague we had, and should labor to retain to our dying hour; therefore I shall give a brief narration of this sad judgement, and some observations of mine own ; (who was here in the city from the beginning to the end of it) both to keep alive in myself and others, the memory of the judgement; that we may be the better prepared for compliance with God's design in sending the plague amongst us.
It was in the year of our Lord 1665, that the plague began in our city of London, after we were warned by the great Plague in Holland in the year 1664, and the beginning of it in some parts of our lajjd the same year; not to speak any thing, whether there was any significations and influence in the Blazing Star not long before, that 'appeared in the view of London, and struck some amazement upon the spirits of many; It was in the month of May that the plague was first taken notice of; our