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HE Judgments of God upon Chri
stendom, by the SWORD, the PET STILENCE, and FAMINE or
Dearth, which have successively
ravaged the most populous and flourishing Parts of it for some Years 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 bere 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 answer’d.
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 Revealed : nevertheless it will appear that Thus, 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 be first encouraged the Author to prosecute this Defgn, who had acquainted him with it: And though the Doctor was fenfible that there are several Exceptionable Passages, and many Rhetorical Flights, to be found in the Antient Writers, when they have occasion to make mention of that Great Catastrophe bere pointed at, which is to conclude the most wonderful Drama of the Divine Dramatist Aěted 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 Pa- . pers 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 Subječt 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 his 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 have : But there remaining the same Natural and Moral Causes of
the Publick Evils, which then were most justly apprebended and foretold, there is reason more than enough to enquire into those Causes, as thus Author batb done, and to examine well the Signs and Chara&teresticks 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 most or all of these Signs and Characteristicks, even as they had been exactly predi&ted: and that notbing could ever be more punčtually 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 Epiftles, and in the corresponding Relations of the Jewish Historian, besides the corroborating Testimonies of other professed Enemies to the Christian Name, as might easily be shewn. But we are always to remember that the same or like Causes must necesarily produce the same or like Effe&ts, according to the stated Laws both of Nature and Providence; and that fo the Same Scriptures may be several times fulfilled, both as to Judgments threatned and Mercies promis’d, by the same Causes recurring, whether they be with Respečt to one or to the other :
And have surely great reason to refleet 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&tions, is not so very unlike the State of the Jews just before the Roman Army compassed Jerusalem, but we may be juftly apprehensive of some such Fate impending likewise on the Churches of Christ that have fo sadly fallen away from theirFirstLove.
Nevertheless, because our Blessed Lord foretelling those Days of Vengeance and Great Tribulation to the Jewish 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 actually came to pass accordingly ; but Speaking of the End of the World and consequently of the preceding Judgments which are to fall upon ile Apoftatized Christians, or Antichristians, according to the purport of the folbowing Treatise faith, exprefly, But of THAT Day and Hour knoweth no Man: to fbew us with what Modefty we ought to think and speak of those Times and Seasons,the Knowledge of which GOD will have reserved to bimself ; tboo 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 Jewijlo Blindness in us that hindretb: and it may be said to us now, as it was to them of old witb fall as much Reafon, How is it that ye discern not the signs of this TIME For,
The Signs which our Saviour hath given of the Deftruction not only of the Jewish Jerusalem, but of the Gentile Baby.lon, are as plain to them that will consider, as the Budding of the Fig-Tree is a sign of Summer. And it would be no bard matter to draw bereupon a Parallel betwixt the State of the Jews which preceded that Day of their Fudgment which came upon them unawares, and the State of the Christians which now is, even including all the several Denominations of them.
Let this Hint for the present only suffice : Are we very sure that the Fews of that Generation, were worse than the Christians of this? They crucified indeed the Lord of Life; but they did it Ignorantly, and out of a Žeal for their Law, and that the Romans might not come and take away their Liberties and Properties : They were as zealous for their Temple, as we can be for our Church; they were as earnest for maintaining their Laws and Customs, as we can be for ours; they were as much afraid of Idolatry,and even but the least Appearance of it, as any of us can possibly be now; never were they more free from that great Transgresion,whereby they bad Sorely provoked God to lay heavy Fudginents npon them, and to sell them into Captivity; they would all rather dié than commit this Sin; and never was there greater Courage and Contempt of Death in any People for the Sake of their Religion and their Conftitution. If they then perished and that too by their own Devices, let us take heed, unto whom these Things are written for
are written for an Example: and let us remember, in this our Day, before it be too late, the Words which were spoken by our Lord Jesus Christ, saying, Except ye Repent, ye shall All likewise Perish, which were fulfilled. in that Generation and may be fulfilled again in ours,