GReat are the benefits, which may re∣dound to Children sincerely confessing the iniquities of their Fathers, as well as their own sins. The Promise is made, Levit. 26. 40, 41, 42. If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their Fathers, with their trespass which they have trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary to me, and that I have also walked contrary to them, &c. Then will I remem∣ber my Covenant with Jacob, and also my Co∣venant with Isaac, and also my Covenant with Abraham will I remember, and I will remem∣ber the Land.
Page 188 1. Sometime it procureth and obtaineth a delay, and putting off the pouring forth the wrath of God upon a Family, Person, or Na∣tion. God oftentimes delayeth the punish∣ments, not remitting the sins. As upon A∣hab's humiliation, he delayed the punish∣ment, but did not remit the sins of him and his house: yet for his humiliation, the pu∣nishment should be prorogued to his Son's daies, 2 Reg. 21. 29. Upon Moses his hu∣miliation for Israels murmuring, he remitted the execution of his wrath, but remitted not their sin, Numb. 14. 18. ad 23. We have a clear Instance for this in Josiah, who humbled himself for the iniquities of his Fa∣thers, and the sins of Israel: and the Lord put off the execution of his wrath, till he was laid in his grave, 2 Chron. 34. 21, 24, ad 28. Perhaps the second generation may die in peace; or it may be the third and the fourth generation shall bear the iniquities of their Fathers it is no small mercy that wrath breaks not in upon the first generation.
2. If it doth not keep off, and procure de∣lay of execution, but wrath from the Lord breaks in upon u•, yet it may mitigate the wrath of God: so that God (though justly he might) yet proceeds not to a final devasta∣tion of Persons, Families and Kingdoms, but Page 189 a remnant may, and shall escape, Jerem. 39. 16, 17, 18. Thus God bids Jeremy tell Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, that though he would bring his words upon the City of Jerusalem for evil; yet say thou to him, I will surely deliver thee, and thou shalt not fall by the Sword, but thy life shall be for a prey unto thee, because thou hast put thy trust in me, saith the Lord. And that God made them not as Sodom and Gomorrha, but left a rem∣nant, Ezra acknowledgeth in his confession, Ezra 9. 8. And now for a little space grace hath been shewed from the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a nail in his holy place, that our God may lighten our eyes, and give us a little reviving in our bondage. When people are generally stub∣born and wicked, God sometimes makes a full end of them, when their determinate day of visitation is come upon them, he overthrows Families, as he overthrew Sodom and Gomorrha, cutting down root and branch, and casting them into the fire.
3. Sometimes it procureth a shortening of the day of visitation, God will not length∣en out their judgement: will not (as justly he might) spin out their time of calamity. For mine elects sake these dayes of calamity shall be shortened. The day of Jerusalem's Page 190 calamity should be shortened for his el•ct which were in it.
4. If God yet visit the iniquities of our Fathers upon us, he will change the nature of our punishments: though they be to the destruction of our estates and bodies, yet they shall be to the Salvation of our Souls in the day of the Lord Jesus: he will inflict them upon us as trials and fatherly chastise∣ments, doing us good in the latter end; though in relation to the iniquities of our Fa∣thers, they be sore punishments.
Moreover, we ought to be humbled for the sins of our Fathers, because God was disho∣noured by them. Nehemiah was ashamed, and confounded for his Fathers sins, as well as his own. That God was dishonoured in former years, grieveth a godly heart, as well as in present times.
Besides—the sins of our Fathers are re∣proaches to us. That men should say of such a man, his Father before him was a drun∣kard, an oppressour, an idolater; so was his Grand-Father, his Great-Grand-Father be∣fore him; this is a reproach unto the Fami∣ly: the best way to wipe off the reproach, is for the posterity to mourn for their Fa∣thers sins: the godliness of Children will be some covering to their Fathers nakedness. Page 191 But if our Fathers greatly provoked the Lord, and we are not humbled for their sins, but walk in the steps of our evil Progenitors; then hear what the Lord saith to such, Isai. 14. 20, 21, 22. The seed of evil doers shall never be renowned: prepare slaughter for his Children for the iniquity of their Fathers, that they do not rise, nor possess the Land, nor fill the face of the world with Cities: for I will rise up against them, saith the Lord of Hosts, and cut off from Babylon the Name and Remnant, and Son and Nephew, saith the Lord.