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ON THE WRATH OF GOD AGAINST SIN FA89 JESUS EMMANUEL O Almighty and everlasting Lord God, the dear Father of our Savior Jesus Christ, “which hast made heaven and earth, the sea and all that therein is;” which art the only Ruler, governor, conserver and keeper of all things, together with thy dearly beloved Son Christ Jesus our Lord, and with “the Holy Ghost the Comforter;” O holy, righteous, and wise; O strong, terrible, mighty, and fearful Lord God, Judge of all men, and Governor of all the whole world; O exorable, patient, and most gracious Father, whose eyes are upon the ways of all men, and are so clean they cannot abide impiety; thou “searchest the hearts,” and “triest the very thoughts and reins” of all men. Thou hatest sin and abhorrest iniquity: for sin’s sake thou hast grievously punished mankind thy most dear creature, as thou hast declared by the penalty of death laid upon all the children of Adam; by the casting out of Adam and his offspring forth of paradise; by the cursing of the earth; by the drowning of the world; by the burning up of Sodom and Gomor; by the hardening of Pharaoh his heart, so that no miracle could convert him; by the drowning of him and his people with him in the Red Sea; by the overthrowing of the Israelites in the wilderness, so that of six hundred thousand alonely two did enter into the land of promise; by rejecting of Saul; by the great punishments upon thy servant David notwithstanding his hearty repentance; by grievously afflicting Solomon in himself and in his seed; by the captivity of the ten tribes; and by the thraldom of the Jews, wherein until this present day they continue a notable spectacle of thy wrath to the world against and for sin.
But, of all spectacles of thine anger against sin, the greatest and most notable is the death and bloody passion of thy dearly beloved Son Jesus Christ. Great is thine anger against sin, when in heaven and earth nothing could be found which might appease thy wrath, save the blood-shedding of thy only and most dearly beloved Son, in whom was and is all thy delight.
Great is the sore of sin that needed such a salve: mighty was the malady that needed such a medicine. If in Christ, in whom was no sin, thy wrath was so fierce for our sin that he was constrained to cry, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” how great and importable then is thine anger against us, which are nothing but sinful!
They that are thy children, through the contemplation of thy anger against sin set forth most evidently in the bloody death of Christ, do tremble and are afraid, lamenting themselves upon him, and heartily cry for mercy: whereas the wicked are altogether careless and contemptuous, nothing lamenting their iniquities, or crying unto thee heartily for mercy and pardon: amongst whom we are rather to be placed than amongst thy children; for that we are so senseless for our sins, and careless for thy wrath; which we may well see to be most grievous against us, and evidently set forth in the taking away of our good king and thy true religion, in the exile of thy servants, prisonment of thy people, misery of thy children, and death of thy saints; also by the placing over us in authority of thy enemies, by the success thou givest them in all they take in hand, by the returning again into our country of antichrist the pope. All these, as they do preach unto all the world, but specially unto us, thy grievous wrath, so do they set before our eyes our iniquities and sins which have deserved the same: for thou art just and holy in all thy works, “thy judgments are righteous” altogether; it is we, it is we that have sinned, and procured these plagues; we have been unthankful wretches and most carnal gospellers. Therefore unto us pertaineth shame, and nothing else is due but confusion; for we have done very wickedly, we have heaped sin upon sin, so that the measure hath overflowed and ascended up to heaven, and brought these plagues, which are but earnest of greater to ensue. And yet, alas! we are altogether careless in manner. What shall we do? what shall we say? who can give us penitent hearts? who can open our lips, that our mouths might make acceptable confession unto thee?
Alas! of ourselves we cannot think any good, much less wish it, and least of all do it. As for angels or any other creatures, they have nothing but that which they have received, and they are made to minister unto us; so that where it passeth the power of the master, the minister must needs want. Alas, then what shall we do? Thou art holy, and we unholy; thou art good, and we nothing but evil; thou art pure, and we altogether impure; thou art light, and we most dark darkness: how then can there be any conveniency or agreement betwixt us? O what now may we do?
When Adam had sinned, thou gavest him mercy tofore he desired it; and wilt thou deny us mercy, which now desire the same? Adam excused his fault, and accused thee; but we accuse ourselves, and excuse thee; and shall we be sent empty away? Noe found favor when thy fury abounded; and shall we, seeking grace, be frustrate? Abraham was pulled out of idolatry when the world was drowned therein; and art thou his God only? Israel in captivity in Egypt was graciously visited and delivered; and, dear God, the same good Lord, shall we always be forgotten? How often in the wilderness didst thou defer and spare thy plagues at the requests of Moses, when the people themselves made no petition to thee at all! And seeing we not only now make our prayers unto thee through thy goodness, but also have a Mediator for us now far above Moses, even thy Son so dear Christ Jesus, shall we, I say, dear Lord, depart ashamed?
So soon as David had said, “I have sinned,” thou didst forthwith answer to him that he should not die, thou hadst “taken away his sins.” And, gracious God, even the self-same God, shall not we which now with David gladly confess that we have sinned, (O pardon us!) shall we, I say, not hear by thy good Spirit that our sins are pardoned? O grant; that with Manasses we may find favor and mercy. Remember that thou hast not spared thine own only Son so dear Jesus Christ, but given him for us all to die for our sins, to rise for our righteousness, to ascend for our possession-taking in heaven, and to appear before thee for us for ever, “a High Priest after the order of Melchisedec,” that through him we might have free access to come to thy throne, now rather of grace than of justice. Remember that thou by him hast bidden us “ask,” and promised that we “shall receive,” saying, “Ask, and you shall have; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”
O then, dear God, and most meek and merciful Father, we heartily beseech thee to be merciful unto us. For this thy Christ’s sake, for his death’s sake, for his resurrection’s sake, for his mediation’s sake, for thy promise, truth, and mercy’s sake, have mercy upon us; pardon and forgive us all. our sins, iniquities, and trespasses, whatsoever we have committed against thee, in thought, word, or deed, ever or at any time hitherto by any means. Dear Father, dear Father, have mercy upon us.
Though we be poor, yet our Christ is rich; though we be sinners, yet he is righteous; though we be foolish, yet is he wise; though we be impure, yet he is pure and holy: for his sake therefore be merciful unto us. Call to mind how thou hast promised that thou “wilt pour out of thy clean waters, and wash us from our filth, and cleanse us from our evils;” forget not that thou hast promised to “take from us our stony hearts,” and dost promise to “give us soft hearts, new hearts, and to put into the midst of us right spirits.” Remember thy covenant, namely, how thou “wilt be our God, and we shall be thy people;” forget not the parts of it, that is, to “put out of thy memory for ever’ our unrighteousness,” and to “write in our minds and hearts thy laws” and testimonies. Remember that thou dost straitly charge us to “have none other gods but thee;” saying, that thou art “the Lord our God.”
O then declare the same to us all, we heartily now beseech thee.
Forgive us our sins, forgive us our iniquities, cleanse us from our filthiness, wash us from our wickedness, pour out thy holy Spirit upon us. Take from us our hard hearts, our stony hearts, our impenitent hearts, our distrusting and doubtful hearts, our carnal, our secure, our idle and beastly, our foolish hearts, our impure, malicious, arrogant, envious, wrathful, impatient, covetous, hypocritical, and epicureal hearts: and in place thereof give us new hearts, soft hearts, faithful hearts, merciful hearts, loving, obedient, chaste, pure, holy, righteous, true, simple, lowly, and penitent hearts; and give us hearts to fear thee, to love thee, trust in thee for ever. Write thy law in our hearts, graft it in our minds, we heartily beseech thee.
Give us “the Spirit of prayer,” and make us diligent and happy in the works of our vocations: take into thy custody and governance for ever our souls and bodies, our life, and all that ever we have; tempt us never further than thou wilt make us “able to bear ;” and whatsoever thou knowest we have need of, in soul or body, dear God and gracious Father, vouchsafe to give us the same in thy good time; and always as thy children guide us, so that our lives may please thee, and our deaths praise thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord: for whose sake we heartily pray thee to grant these things thus asked, and all other things necessary for our soul and body, not only to us, but to all others also for whom thou wouldest we should pray; especially for thy children that be in thraldom, in exile, in prison, in misery, in heaviness, poverty, sickness, etc.: amongst whom most specially care for and keep N. N. with all others which for thy name’s sake suffer any kind of persecution and trouble. Be merciful to our king and queen with their whole council, to the nobility and magistrates of our realm: according to thy good will give them grace to repent, and after their vocations to seek and set forth thy glory. Be merciful to all the whole commonalty and subjects of our realm: grant us all true repentance, and mitigation of our miseries; and, if it be thy good will, send thy holy word and religion amongst us in our own realm and country once again. Pardon our enemies, persecutors, and slanderers; and, if it be thy pleasure, turn their hearts. Be merciful unto our parents, brethren and sisters, friends and kinsfolk, families and neighhors, and such as by any means thou hast coupled and linked unto us by love or otherwise. And unto us poor sinners, here gathered together in thy holy name, grant thy blessing and holy Spirit to sanctify us, and dwell in us; and as thy children to keep us, this day and for ever, from all evil, to thine eternal glory, our everlasting comfort, and the profit of thy church, which mercifully maintain, cherish, and comfort: strengthen them that stand, so that they never fall; lift up them that be fallen; and keep us from falling from thee, through the merits of thy dearly beloved Son Jesus Christ, our Lord and only Savior, which liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, to whom be all praise and honor, both now and forever. Amen. PER JOANNEM BRADFORD.