Page images
PDF
EPUB

where were the proportion? Moreover, sin deserves the misery, but our best works do not deserve the happiness: yet both are set before us'; sin and misery, holiness and happiness. What reason is there then to complain? (2.) How severe foever the threatnings be, yet all has enough ado to reach the end of the law. Fear him, says our LORD, which, after he hath killed, hath power to caft into hell ; yea, I Yay unto you, fear him, Luke xii. 5. This bespeaks our dread of divine power and majefty; but yet how few fear him indeed! The LORD knows the finner's heart to be exceedingly intent upon fulfilling their lufts: they cleave so fondly to those fullore breasts, that a small force does not suffice to draw them from them. They that travel through desarts, where they are in hazard from wild beasts, have need to carry fire along with them: and they have need of a hard wedge that have knotty timber to cleave; fo a holy law must be fenced with a dreadful wrath, in a world lying in wickedness. But who are they that complain of that wrath as too great, but those to whom it is too little to draw them off from their sinful courses? It was the man who pretended to fear his Lord, because he was an austere man, that kept his pound laid up in a napkin: and so he was condemned out of his own mouth, Luke xix. 20,21. 22. Thou art that man, even thou whose objection I am answering. How can the wrath thou art under, and liable to, be too great, while yet it is not sufficient to awaken thee to fly from it? Is it time to relax the penalties of the law, when men are tramp. ling the commands of it under foot? (3.) Consider how God'dealt with his own Son, whom he spared not, Rom. viii. 32. The wrath of God seized on his foul and body both, and brought him into the dust of death. That his sufferings were not eternal, flowed from the quality of the sufferer, who was infinite; and therefore able to bear at once, the whole load of wrath: and upon that account, his sufferings were infinite in value. But in value, they must be protracted to an eternity. And what confidencé can a rebel subject have to quarrel (for his part) a punilhment execute on the King's Son? (4.) The finner doth against God what he can. Behold thou hast done evil things as thou couldst, Jer. iii. 5. That thou hast not done more, and worse; thanks to him who restrained thee; to the chain which the wolf was kept in by, not to thyself. No wonder God shew his power on the finner, who puts forth his power against God, as far as it will reach. The

unregenerate man puts no period to his sinful course; and would put no bounds to it neither, if he were not restrained by divine power for wise ends: and therefore it is just he be for ever under wrath. (5.) It is infinite majesty sin frikes against; and so it is, in some fort, an infinite evil. Sin rifeth in its demerit, according to the quality of the party offended. If a man wound his neighbour, his goods mult go for it; but if he wound his prince, his life nuust go to make amends for that. The infinity of God makes infinite wrath the just demerit

God is infinitely displeased with fin: and when he acts, he must act like himself, and thew his displeasure by proportionable means.

Laftly,

[ocr errors]

of (in.

Lastly, Those that shall lie for ever under his wrath, will be eternally linning; and therefore muft eternally suffer: not only in respect of divine judicial procedure; but because sin is its own puniihment, in the same manner that holy obedience is its own reward.

The Doctrine of the Misery of Man's natural State applied.

[ocr errors]

USE (1.) Of information. Is our state by náture a state of wrath? Then,

1. Surely we are not born innocent. These chains of wrath, which by nature are upon us, speak us to be born criminals. The fivaddling bands wherewith infants are bound hand and foot as soon as they are born, may put us in mind of the cords of wrath, with which they are held prisoners, as children of wrath.

2. What desperate madness is it for siuners to go on in their sinful course : What is it but to heap coals of fire on thine own head, and lay more and inore fuel to the fire of wrath, to treasure up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath, Rom. ii

. 5. Bhọu mayst perish, when his wrath is kind:ed but a little, Psal. ii. 12. Why wilt thou increase it yet more: Thou art already bound with such cords of death, as will not easily be loosed: what need is there of more? Stand, careless finner, and consider this.

3. Thou hast no reason to complain, as long as thou art out of hell. Wherefore doth a living man complain? Lam. iii. 39. If one who has forfeited his life, be banithed his native country, and exposed to many hardships; he may well bear all patiently, seeing his life is spared. Do ye murmur, for that ye are under pain of sickness? Nay, bless God ye are not there, where the worm never dieth. Dost thou grudge that thou art not in so good a condition in the world as some of thy neighbours are? Be thankful rather, that ye are not in the case of the damned. Is thy substance gone from thee? Wonder that the fire of God's wrath hath not consumed thyself. Kiss the rod, O finner, and acknowledge mercy: for God punisheth us less than our iniquities deferve, Ezra ix. 13

4 Here is a memorandum, both for poor and rich (1.). The poorest that

go

from oor to door, and hath not one penny left em by their parents, were born to an inheritance. Their first father Adam left them children of wrath; and continuing in their natural state, they cannot miss of it; for this is the portion of a wicked man froin God, and the heriiage appointed to him by God, Job xx. 29. An heritage, that will furnish them with an habitation, who have not where to lay their head: they shall he cuft into ulter darkness, Matth. xxv.30. for to them is rëfirved the blackness of darkness for ever, Jude 13: where their bed hall be forrow; They. Shall ly down in forrow, lla. 1.11. their food shall be judginent, for God will feed their with judgment, Ezek. xxxiv. 16. and their drink shall be the red wine of God's wrath, the dregs whereof all the wicked of the earih

02

Tha!

[ocr errors]

Shall wring out, and drink them, Pfal. lxxv. 8. I knoir, that these who are destitute of worldly goods, and withal void of the knowledge and grace of God, who therefore may be called the devil's poor, will be apt to fay here, We hope God will make us suffer all our misery in this world, and we shall be happy in the next: as if their miserable outward condition in tiine, would secure their happiness in eternity. A gross and fatal mistake! And this is another inheritance they have, viz lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit, Jer. xvi 19. But the hail Shall fweep away the refuge of lies, la xxvii17. Dost thou think, O finner, that God who commands judges on earth, not to respect the person of the poor in judgment, Ley, xix. 15. will pervert judginent for thee? Nay, know for certain, that however miserable thou art here, thou shalt be eternally miserable hereafter, if thou liveit and diest in thy natural state. (2.) Many that have enough in the world, have far more than they know of. Thou hadíst, (it may be) o unregenerate man, an estate, a good portion, or a large stock left thee by thy father; thou hast improven it, and the fun of profperity shines upon thee; fo that thou canst {ay with Esau, Gen. xxxiii. 9. I have enough. But know, thou hast more than all that, an inheritance thou dost not consider of: thou art a child of wrath, an heir of hell. That is an heritage which will abide with thee, amidst all the changes in the world; as long as thou continueft in an unregenerate state. When thou shalt leave thy substance to others, this Thall go along with thyself, into another world. It is no wonder a slaughter ox be fed to the full, and is not toiled as others are, Job xxi. 30. The wicked is reserved to the day of distruction; they shall be brought forth to the day of wrath. We then, Rejoice, let thine heart chear thee; walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the light of thine eyes: live above reproofs and warnings from the word of God; thew thyself a man of a fine fpirit, by casting off all fear of God; mock at, seriousness; live like thyself, a child of wrath, an heir of hell: But know thou, that fir all these thing", God will bring thee into judgment, Ecclef. xi 9.

A Ture thy felf, thy breaking shall come suddenly, at an instant, Ila. xxx. 13. Far as the crackling of thorns under a pot, po is the laughter of a fool, Eccl vii. 6. The fair blaze and great noise they make, is quickly gone; so shall thy mirth be. And then that wrath that is now silently sinking into thy foul, shall make a fearful hilling.

5. Wo to him, that, like Mob, hath been at ene from his youth, Jer. xlviii. 11. and never saw the black cloud of wrath hanging over his head. There are many who have no changes, therefore they fear not God, Pfal. lv. 19. They have lived in' a good belief (as they call it) all their days; that is, they never had power to believe an ill report of their fouls ftare. Many have come by their religion too easily; and as it came lightly to them, so it-will go from them, when their trial comes.

Do ye think men flee from the wrath, in a morging dreamı? Or will theyflee from the wrath, they never uw pursuing thein.

6. Think

[ocr errors]

6. Think it not ftrange if ye fee one in great distress aboat his foul's condition, who was wont to be as jovial, ånd as lit se concerned about falvation, as any of his neighbours. Can one get a right view of himself, as in a state of wrath, and not be pierced with forrows, terrors, anxiety? When a weight, quite above one's strength, lies upon him, and he is alone; he can neither itir hand nor foot: but when one coines to lift it off him, he'll ftruggle to get from under it. Thunder-claps of wrath from the word of God conveyed to the foul by the Spirit of the Lord, will surely keep a man awake.

Lastly, It is no wonder wrath come upon churches and nations, and upon us in this land, and that infants and children yea unborn smart under it. Most of the society are yet children of wrath; few are fleeing froin it, or taking the way to prevent it; but people of all ranks are helping it-on. - The Jews rejected Christ; and their children have been smarting under wrath these fixteen hundred years. God grant that the bad entertainment given to Christ and his gospel, by this generation, be not pursued with wrath on the succeeding one.

Use (2 ) Of Exhortation. And here, 1. I thall drop a word to these who are yet in an unregenerate state. 2 To those that are brought out of it. 3. To all indifferently.

1. To you that are yet in an unregenerate fate, I would found the alarm, and warn you to fee to yourselves, while yet there is hope. Oye children of wrath, take no rest in this dismal state; but flee to Jesus Christ the only refuge. Haste and inake your escape thither. The state of wrath is too hot a climate for you to live in, Micah ii, 10. Arise ye and depart, for this is not your reft. O finner knowest thou where thou art? Doit thou not see thy danger? The curse has entered into thy foul: wrath is thy covering; the heavens are growing blacker and blacker above thy head: the earth is weary of thee, the pic is opening her mouth for thee; and should the thread of thy life be cut this moment, thou art henceforth past all hopes for ever. Sirs, if we faw you putting a cup of poison to your mouth; we would fly to you and snatch it out of your hands. If we saw the house on fire about you, while ye were fast alleep in it; we would run to you, and drag you out of it. But alas! ye are in ten thousand times greater hazard; yet we can do no more but tell you your danger; invite, exhort,obe. leech, and obteit you, to look to yourselves; and lament your ftupidity and obftinacy, when we cannot prevail with you to take warning. If there were no hope of your recovery, we thould be silent, and would not torment you before the time : but tho’ye be lost and undone, there'is hope in Ifrael concerning this thing. Wherefore, I cry unto: you in the name of the Lord, and in the words of the prophet, Zech. IX. 12. Turn ye to the firong hold, ye prisoners of hope. Fies to Jesus. Christ out of this your natural state. Motive

ye are in this itate, ye must itind or fall accord. ing to the law, or covenant of works. if ye understood this aright, it would strike through your hearts, as a thousand darts. One had

better

1. While

better be a slave to the Turks, condemned to the galleys, or under Egyptian botige, than be under the covenant of works now. All mankind were brought under it in Adam, as we heard before: and thou in thy unregenerate itate, are still where Adnm left thee. It is true, there is another covenant brought in: but what is that to thee, who art vot brought into it? Thou must needs be under one of the two covenants; either under the law, or under

grace. That thou art not under grace, the dominion of fin over thee, manifestly evinceth; therefore thou art under the law, Rom. vi. 14. Do not think God has laid aside the first covenant, Matth. v. 17, 18. Gal. iii. 10. No, he will magnify the law, and make it honourable. It is broken indeed on thy part: but it is absurd to think, that therefore your obligation is dissolved. Nay, thou must stand and fall by it; till thou canst pro.. duce thy discharge from God himself, who is thý party in that cove. nant; and this thou canit not pretend to, seeing thou art not in Christ.

Now, to give you a view of your misery, in this respect, consider these following things, (1.) Hereby ye are bound over to death, in virtue of the threatning of death in that covenant, Gen. ii. 17. The condition being broken, ye fall under the penalty. So it concludes you under wrath. (2.) There is no salvation for you under this covenant, but on a condition impossible to be performed by you. The justice of God must be satisfied for the wrong you have done already. God hath written this truth in characters of the blood of his own Son. Yea, and you must perfectly obey the law for the time to come. So faith the law, Gal. iii. !2. The man that doth them, Mall live in them. Coine then, O sinner, see if thou canst make a ladder, whereby thou mayst reach the throne of God; stretch forth thine arms, and try, if thou canst fly on the wings of the wind, catch hold of the clouds, and pierce through these visible heavens; and then either climb over, or break through the jasper walls of the city above. These things shalt thou do, as soon as thou shalt reach heaven in thy natural state, or under this covenant. (3.) There is no pardon under this covenant. Pardon is the benefit of another covenant, with which thou hast nothing 10 do, Acts xiii. 9. And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. As for thee, thou art in the hand of a merciless creditor, which will take thee by the throat, saying, Pay what thou owejt; and cast thee into prison, there to remain, till thou haft paid the utmost farthing: unless thou beest fo wife as to get a cautioner in time, who is able to answer for all thy debt, and get up thy discharge. This Jesus Christ alone can do, Thou abidelt under this covenant, and pleadest mercy: but what is thy plea founded on? There is not one promise of inercy or pardon in that covenant. Doft thou plead mercy, for mercy's fake? Justice will step in betwixt it and thee; and plead God's covenant threatning, which he cannot deny. (4.) There's no place for repentance in this covenant, so as the Guuer can be helped by it. For as soon as ever thou funct, the la: lays its curse on thee, which is a dead weight

thou

« PreviousContinue »