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tention, and our winter would soon be changed into a delightful spring. It is for this purpose, that The voice of the Lord crieth to the city *, by these repeated earthquakes, which have so peculiarly affected it, and the sound of which has been so terrible: For this doth it cry to the country, in the grievous distem per that continues to rage among our cattle; in consequence of which so many pastures are desolate, so many industrious families of the poor ruined, and the rich themselves greatly distressed, while their estates are thrown untenanted upon their hands; and considerable landholders in some of the breeding counties, know not where to get beasts for their money to stock them. For these purposes indeed, doth the voice of the Lord in each of these dispensations cry to us all; for neither is the city unconcerned in the interests of the country, nor the country in those of the city: The man of wisdom will hear it; the man of true piety and benevolence will be willing in his proper sphere to echo it back.
The connections in which providence bas placed me, and, I would mention it with all humble thankfulness, the unexpected blessing with which God has been pleased to crown some of my writings, have led me to think it my duty to concur with my brethren in this attempt, and to hasten what little I could do in it as much as possible. It may be, that this commotion of the waters may bring some draught under the net of the gospel: It seems at least a time for the fishers of men to be active; and if in a day of such general insensibility, peradventure one soul may be caught by this labour of a night, as it is very little more, I shall not esteem it a small matter; for no everlasting interest is small. My work at least is with the Lord, to whom I trust my motives are approved; and my mind could not bave been easy, had soʻremarkable a crisis been entirely neglected by me. I commit it with all humility to the blessing of God, and the prayers of my christian friends, especially of those resident in the city, for whose benefit it was peculiarly intended.
Mat. xi. 23, 24.- And thou Capernaum, which art eralted unto heaven, shalt be
brought down to hell: for if the mighty works which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodon, it would have remained until this day: But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.
O any of you, Sirs, ask who it is, that speaks in this awful, in this majestic language? Who it is, that menaces a city of Israel with judgments more tremendous than those of Sodom? You may on a little reflection answer yourselves, It is A prophet mighty in word and deed*, the greatest, beyond all comparison the greatest, of all the prophets, even the Son of God, whose peculiar prerogative it was To take the book of the divine decrees and to open its seals t. It was he, to whom Authority was given to pronounce and to execute judgment I; from whom Sodom and Capernaum were to receive their final doom, and from whom we also are to expect ours. Let us hear him, as their Judge, and as our own: And oh that this tremendous message may awaken us to implore his favour, may awaken as many of us as are in danger of The wrath to come, to flee to him that we may be delivered from it $, before The word be gone forth in righteousness ll, before the sentence be sealed !
You can none of you imagine the subject I am now proposing to your meditations, unsuitable to the age in which we live, unsuitable to the circumstances of our native country in general, or of the place in which I now stand : But you may perhaps be more fully aware of the suitableness of it, before I come to the close of the discourse.
If a very attentive enquiry has not deceived me, these words were spoken by our Lord, towards the close of the second year of his ministry, that is, between the second and the third of the passovers wbich occurred during the course of it; a little before he set out on that circuit, for which he sent out the twelve to prepare his way. A very considerable part of his time before this period had been spent in Galilee, and especially in those * Luke xxiv. 19. + Røv, v. 9. Joha v. 27. 8 1 Thess. i. 10. || Isa, xlv. 23. parts of it which were near to the Sea of Tiberias. On this occasion Chorazin and Bethsaida had been frequently blessed with his presence; but Capernaum had been distinguished from all the rest by this inestimable privilege, as you will afterwards hear, it is no wonder therefore, that he thought proper to upbraid all these cities for their continued unbelief and impenitency; and that Capernaum which had been so distinguished by the favours he had conferred upon it, should be threatened with distinguished calamity and ruin. He began to upbraid the cities in which most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not ; Ioe unto thee, Chorazin ! Woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes : But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.
This was saying much ; but as the privileges of Capernaum had been still greater, its doom is yet more awful : And thou Caperraum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell; for if the mighty works which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodorn, it would have remained until this day : But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee *. In which words it may be proper for us to consider,
1. The privileges Capernaum had enjoyed, and the distinctions which had been made in its favour.
II. Its ungrateful abuse of these distinguised favours of providence and of grace.
III. The dreadful doom which it righteously incurred by that abuse. And after the survey of these particulars, we shall
Conclude with a few hints of plain and serious application.
And you men of Britain, and inhabitants of London, judge I pray you this day between Christ and Capernaum ; and say, whether there was any unjust severity in the sentence he passed upon it. Hear attentively, and judge impartially ; but take heed, lest while you judge others, you condemn yourselves, Let us consider,
I. The privileges Capernaum had enjoyed, and the distinc, tions which had been made in its favour.
And here I would observe, It had been distinguished by temporal advantages, but much more, by spiritual privileges and opportunities,
it mit. The Phad been 1 abu
* Mat. xi. 20, 21, 22,
1. It had been distinguished by the temporal advantages of a rich and flourishing city.
Such we are told it was; and in this sense it was Exalted unto heaven; a phrase, by which the greatness of Nebuchadnezzar's kingdom is described *.
The land of Israel in general, was a rich and pleasant land, which the all-surveying eye of God Had spied out t, as he himnself expresses it, for his favourite people : Aud this elegant city lay upon the confines of Zebulon, and of Napthali ; concerning the former of which tribes it was foretold, that it should Suck of the abundance of the sea, and the treasures hid in the sand I ; and concerning the latter, that it should Be satisfied with favour, and full with the blessing of the Lord $; possessing by this situation the west and the south, though it lay towards the north-east part of the land. A prophecy remarkably verified by those advantages which Jordan and the sea of Galilee gave it, for maintaining a commerce with those parts. It lay also in the near neighbourhood of Asher, of whom it was predicted, that his bread should be fat, that he should yield royal dainties ||, And dip his feet in oil f.
And what is particularly worthy of our present notice, Capernaum was situated in the land of Gennesareth, one of the most delicious spots of ground in the whole Jewish territories. Josephus has given us a very particular description of it, which shews how properly that tract of land had the name of Gennesareth, which may well signify the pardon of a prince, according to the import of gen sar, from whence it seems to be derived : For he tells us **, “ That it was plentifully watered by a most delicious spring, that went by the name of Capernaum, and every thing flourished about it: The air seemed, not only to nourish, but to preserve the fruits produced there, so that there were figs and grapes for ten months in the year, and other kind of fruits all the year round ; and by a very peculiar felicity, nuts, palms, and figs, and olives, though they required generally a very different situation, all abounded there in great plenty.”
To this we may add, that it had also some particular advantages for commerce, being situated, according to the most accurate geographer, near that mouth of Jordan, by which it emptied itself into the sea of Galilee; the city of Capernaum
is particulane land of
* Dan. iv. 22. + Ezek. xx. 6. Deut. xxxiii. 19. & Ver. 23. || Gen. xlix. 20. Deut. xxxii. 24. ** Joseph, de Bell. Jud. lib. iii, cap. 10. $ 8.' VOL. III.
lying on its western shore, as Chorazin its opposite neighbour did on its eastern. In consequence of this, it would lie directly in the way of those, who came from Damascus, and Cæsarea Philippi to Jerusalem and the southern parts of the country ; or of those that went from thence, to those very celebrated cities, and others in their much frequented neighbourhood.
It is therefore no wonder, if with all these advantages it became a very fourishing place; no wonder, if its buildings were magnificent, its inhabitants rich, its gardens delicious, and its manners polite; no wonder, if they that dwelt in Capernaum thought, The lines were fallen to them in pleasant places *. They had special reason to do so, if we consider,
2. How much more eminently it was distinguished by spi ritual privileges.
It had, we find, its synagogues for public worship ; but what was its peculiar glory, it had Jesus to preach in them, and to confirm his doctrine by wonderful works. There is hardly a place in the whole land, except it be Jerusalem, of which we read so much in the account which the evangelists have given us of our Saviour's life. He went down to Capernaum, with his mother, and brethren, and disciples t, and continued there a while, in the very opening of his ministry, after he had turned the water into wine at the neighbouring town of Cana in Galilee. It is not improbable, he took it in his way from Judea to Nazareth, when he was returning from his first passover; and we are expressly told, that Leaving Nazareth, when so base and ungrateful an attempt was made upon his life there, he came and dwelt in Capernaum I. And though he left that place quickly after, when importuned to stay, that he might pursue his business in other parts of Galilee S; yet when that circuit was done, he returned thither again H, continuing there as it seems till his second passover. We find him in that neighbourhood again, presently after that passover [; and such was his love to it, that notwithstanding the impenitence he here laments, he afterwards visited it again and again**.
During these repeated sojournings amongst them, we may assure ourselves, that he gave them the most excellent instructions, Preaching repentance, as the kingdom of heaven was ,approaching tt. We know, that He spake as never man spake If; and here no doubt, as every where else, his words
* Psal. xvi. 6.
+ John ii. 12.
Luke vii. 1.
* Mat. iv. 13. $ Mark i, 37–39.