« הקודםהמשך »
HE Judgments of God upon Chri
stendom, by the S WORD, the PET STILENCE,
and FAMINE Or Dearth
which have successively
ravaged the most populous and flourishing Parts of it for some Tears last past, though in part to be accounted for by the Agency of Second Causes, both Natural and Political ; are yet so very remarkable and extraordinary in their Circumstances, as evidently shew the Superintendency and Direction of a First Mover, that is at once Wise, Just and Good; and may fairly Challenge such a serious Confideration of all Thinking Persons, as is the Design of the following Treatise to recommend and excite. For whatever may become of the Hypothesis which is here advanced, there can be no Doubt of the Facts which are every Day seen, and felt ; and by which it is supported. And if these be but allowed, and reflected upon as they deserve, the Design is sufficiently answerd.
There are several Particular Hypotheses of Divines for the Explication of the Subject here treated on, some of which may be plausible enough to take with many, but none of them without insuperable Difficulties; forasmuch as the Matter is not get clearly Revealednevertheless it will appear that This, upon a free and fair Examination, doth as well or better than any other solve the phænomena of Providence, leading to the Confummation of all Things,
The very Learned and Pious Dr. Grabe was fully convinc'd bereof, when he first encouraged the Author to profecute this Defagn, who had acquainted him with it : And though the Doctor was fenfible that there are several Exceptionable Pasages, and many Rhetorical Flights, to be found in the Antient Writers, when ihey have occasion to make mention of that Great Catastrophe bere pointed at, which is to conclude the most wonderful Drama of the Divine Dramatist Atted upon this Grand Theatre, set forth to us under Prophetical Schemes; get he was satisfied enough, that the Foundations and Principles which they proceed upon are not overthrown by what any of the Moderns, in their new Schemes and Notions have hitherto been able to set up against them. This will appear from the following Extract digested out of some Manuscript Papers and Letters of this excellent Person : by which the Reader may see what his Opinion was concerning God's Judgments upon the Church of Rome, and the Preparatory Scenes to the Finishing of Evil in this world, and the introducing into it Such a New and Heavenly State of Things, as by Scripture and Primitive Tradition he thought himself warranted to expect and pray for. The Reafons for his Opinion' would have been more fully explained, but that he was prevented from finishing what he had begun upon this Subje&t in the Latin Tongue. This however is in good measure supplied by the Learned Author of this Treatise,who was honoured with his Friendship, and knew bis Sentiments in this matter exactly. It was written about Nine Years ago, when the State of Affairs both at Home and Abroad had a different View, from that which they at present bave : But there semaining the same Natural and Moral Causes of
the Publick Evils, which then were most juftly ap- prebended and foretold, there is reason more than
enough to enquire into those Causes, as this Author bath done and to examine well the Signs and Characteresticks of this Present Time, and among these more particularly the Overflowing Scourge of Antichristianism.
It must by no Means here be denied that before the Destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans there were mojt or all of these Signs and Characteristicks, even as they had been exactly predi&ted : and that nothing could ever be more punctually verified than the Prophecies both of CHRIST and bis Apostles concerning the Great Evils which were to fall upon the whole Jewish Nation within the Limits of One Generation : and that both the forerunning Tokens, and the concomitant and subsequent Circumstances of the Total Destruction of their Temple and Polity, are described by them with that Accuracy, some Twenty, Some Thirty, others Forty Tears before the Completion ; as no more evident and more amazing Proof can be given of the Truth of the Prophetick Spirit, if duly and nicely consider'd, as to all the several Particulars, as recorded in our Gospels and the Apostolical Epistles, and in the corresponding Relations of the Jewish Historian, besides the corroborating Testimonies of other professed Enemies to the Chriftian Name, as might easily be shewn. But we are always to re
member that the same or like Causes must necessa: rily produce the same or like Effects, according to
the stated Laws both of Nature and Providence;t and that so the Jamé Scriptures may be several times. fulfilled, both as to Judgments threatned and Mercies promis’d, by the same Causes recurring, whether they be with Respect to one or to the other : ť avid that the Destruction of And Jerunler
what shall be at the ha of the word.
And have surely great reason to refle&t that the Present State of the Gentile Chriftians (in these European Nations I mean) as the same is divided into Three main Bodies, as the City appointed for Destruction divided into Three Parts or Fa&ions, is not so very unlike the State of the Jews just before the Roman Army compassed Jerusalem, but we may be justly apprehensive of some such Fate impending likewise on the Churches of Christ that have so fadly fallen away from their First Love.
Nevertheless, because our Blessed Lord foretelling those Days of Vengeance and Great Tribulation to the Fervish Nation that bad rejected bim, such as never bad been, declared with a strong Afleveration, that the then Generation should not pass away, before all those things should be fulfilled, as it actus ally came to pass accordingly; but speaking of the End of the World, and consequently of the preceding Fudgments which are to fall upon the Apoftatized Christians, or Antichristians, according to the purport of the following Treatise faith, exprešly, But of That Day and Hour knoweth no Man: to Shew us with what Modesty we ought to think and Speak of those Times and Seasons, the Knowledge of which GOD will have reserved to bimself; tbo’ He is graciously pleas'd to let us know such Signs and Prognosticks of them as whereby we may ble infallibly to judge, when all these meet together, that 'the End is then near at Hand. And if we do not discern the Signs of These Times, there must be somewhat of Jewish Blindness in us that bindretb: and it may be said to us now, as it was to them of old with full as much Reason, How is it that ye discern not the signs of THIS TIME? For