« ForrigeFortsett »
nature; so it is done already ; they were born heirs of hell; they will indeed make themselves more so, if they do not, while they are young, flee from that wrath they were born to, by fieeing to Jesus Christ. Lastly, Whatever men are now by grace, they were even as others, by nature. And this may be a sad meditation to them that have been at ease from their youth, and have had no changes.
Now, these things being premised, I shall, in the first place, shew what this state of wrath is; next, confirm the doctrine ; and then apply it.
1. I am to shew what this state of wrath is. But who can fully describe the wrath of an angry God? None can do it. Yet so much of it must be discovered, as may serve to convince men of the absolute necessity of fleeing to Jesus Christ, out of that state of wrath. Anger in men is a passion, and commotion of the spirit for an injury received, with a desire to resent the same. When it comes to a height, and is fixed in one's spirit, it is called wrati. Now there are no passions in God, properly speaking; they are inconsistent with his absolute unchangeableness, and independency; and, therefore, Paul and Barnabas (10 remove the mistake of the Lycaonians, who thought they were gods) tell them, they were men of like passions with themselves, Acts xiv. 15. Wrath then is attributed to God, not in respect of the affection of wrath, but the effects thereof. Wrath is a fire in the bowels of a man, tormenting the man himself; but there is no perturbation in God. His wrath does not in the least mar that infinite repose and happiness, which he hath in himself. It is a most pure undisturbed act of his will, producing dreadful effects against the sinner. It is little we know of an infinite God ; but condescending to our weakness, he is pleased to speak of himself to us, after the manner of men. Let us therefore notice man's wrath, but remove every thing in our consideration of the wrath of God, that argues imperfection; and so we may attain to some view of it, however scanty. By this means we are led to take up the Wrath of God against the natural man in these three :
First, There is wrath in the heart of God against him. The Lord approves him not, but is displeased with him. Every natural man lies under the displeasure of God;
and that is heavier than mountains of brass. Although he be pleased with himself, and others be pleased with him too ; yet God looks down on him, as displeased. First, His person is under God's displeasure; Thou hatest all workers of iniquity, Psal. v. 5. A godly man's sin is displeasing to God, yet his person is still accepted in the beloved, Eph. i. 6. But “God is angry with the wicked every day," Psal. vii. 11. A fire of wrath burns continually against him in the heart of God. They are as dogs and swine, most abominable creatures in the sight of God. Though their natural state be gilded over with a shining profession, yet they are abhorred of God; they are to him as smoke in his nose, Isa. Ixv. 5. and lukewarm water, to be
newed out of his mouth, Rev. iii. 16. whited sepulchres, Matt. xxiii. 27. a generation of vipers, Matt. xii. 34. and afieople of his wrath, Isa. X. 6. Secondly, He is displeased with all they do: It is impossible for them to please him, being unbelievers, Heb. xi. 6. He hates their persons ; and so hath no pleasure in, but is displeased with theirbest works, Isa. lvi. 3. “ He that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog's neck," &c. Their duty, as done by them, is an abomination to the Lord, Prov. xv. 8. And as men turn their back upon them whom they are angry with ; so the Lord's refusing communion with the natural inan in his duties, is a plain indication of this wrath.
Secondly, There is wrath in the word of God against him. When wrath is in the heart, it seeks a vent by the lips, so God fights against the natural man with the sword of his mouth, Rey. ii. 16. The Lord's word never speaks good of him, but always curseth or condemneth him. Hence it is, that when he is awakened, the word read or preached often increaseth his horror. First, It condemns all his actions, together with his corrupt nature. There is nothing he does, but the law declares it to be sin. It is a rule of perfect obedience, from which he always in all things declines; and so it rejects every thing he doth as sin. Secondly, It pronounceth his doom, and denounceth God's curse against him, Gal. iii. 10. « For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse ; for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things, which are written in the book of the law, to do them." "Be he never so well in the world, it pro
nounceth a woe from heaven against him, Isa. iii. 11. The Bible is a quiver filled with arrows of wrath against him, ready to be poured in on his soul. God's threatenings in his word hang over his head as a black cloud, ready to shower down on him every moment. The word is indeed the saint's security against wrath, but it binds the natural man's sin and wrath together, as a certain pledge of his ruin, if he continue in that state. So the conscience being awakened, and perceiving this tie made by the law, the man is filled with terrors in his soul.
Thirdly, There is wrath in the hand of God against the natural man. He is under heavy strokes of wrath already, and is liable to more.
Ist, There is wrath on his body. It is a piece of cursed clay, which wrath is sinking into by virtue of the threatening of the first covenant, Gen. ii. 17. “In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.” There is never a disease, gripe, nor stitch, that affects him, but it comes on him with the sting of God's indignation in it. They are all cords of death, sent before to bind the prisoner.
2dly, There is wrath upon his soul. (1.) He can have no communion with God; he is foolish and shall not stand in God's sight, Psal. v. 5. When Adam sinned, God turned him out of paradise, and natural men are, as Adam left them, banished from the gracious presence of the Lord ; and can have no access to him in that state. There is war betwixt heaven and them; and so all commerce is cut off. “They are without God in the world," Eph. ii. 12. The sun is gone down on them, and there is not the least glimpse of favour towards them from heaven. (2.) Hence the soul is left to pine away in its iniquity. The natural darkness of their minds, the averseness to good in their wills, the disorder of their affections, and distemper of their consciences, and all their natural plagues, are left upon them in a pénal way ; and being so left, increase daily. God casts a portion of worldly goods to them, more or less, as a bone is thrown to a dog; but alas ! his wrath against them appears, in that they get no grace. The Physician of souls comes by them, and goes by them, and cures others beside them; While they are consuming away in their iniquity, and. ripening daily for útter destruction. (3.) They lie open to fearful additional plagues on their souls, even in this life. First, Sometimes they meet with deadening strokes; silent blows from the hand of an angry God; arrows of wrath that enter into their souls without noise ; Isa. vi. 10. “ Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes, lest they see with their eyes," &c. God strives with them for a while, and convictions enter their consciences; but they rebel against the light; and by a secret judgment, they are knocked on the head; so that, from that time, they do, as it were, live and rot above ground. Their hearts are deadened ; their affections withered; their consciences stupified ; and their whole souls blasted ; “ cast forth as a branch and wither. ed,” John xv. 16. They are plagued with judicial blindness. They shut their eyes against the light, and they are given over to the devil, the god of this world, to be blinded more, 2 Cor. iv. 4. Yea,“ God sends them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie," 2 Thess. ü. 11. even conscience, like a false light on the shore, leads them upon rocks ; by which they are broken in pieces. They harden themselves against God; and he gives up with them, and leaves them to Satan and their own hearts, whereby they are hardened more and more. They are often given up unto vile affections, Rom. i. 26. The reins are laid on their necks; and they are left to run into all excess, as their furious lusts draw them. Secondly, Sometimes they meet with quickening strokes, whereby their souls become like mount Sinai ; where nothing is seen but fire and smoke ; nothing heard but the thunder of God's wrath, and the voice of the trumpet of a broken law, waxing louder and louder; which makes them like Pashur, (Jer. xx. 4.) A terror to themselves. God takes the filthy garments of their sins, which they were wont to sleep in securely ; overlays them with brimstone, and sets them on fire about their ears; so they have a hell within them.
3dly, There is wrath on the natural man's enjoyments. Whatever be wanting in his house, there is one thing that is never wanting there, Prov. iii. 33. The curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked.” Wrath is on all that he has ; on the bread that he eats, the liquor he drinks, and
clothes which he wears,'
Deutxxviii. 17. Some things,
swhich he wears, “His basket and store are cursed,"
will. 17. Some things fall wrong with him ; and mes to pass by virtue of his wrath ; other things go ruing to his wish, and there is wrath in that too; for Share to his soul, Prov. i. 32. « The prosperity of
all destroy them.” This wrath turns his blessings, curses, Mal. ii. 2. “ I will curse your blessings ; yea, have cursed them already.” The holy law is a killing lel to him, 2 Cor. iii. 6. The ministry of the gospel pour of death unto death, chap. ii. 15. In the sacra
o the Lord's supper, « He eateth and drinketh dam"to himself,” i Cor. xi. 29. Nay, more than all
Christ himself is to him a stone of stumbling, and a Sk of offence, 1 Pet. ii. 8. Thus wrath follows the natu. Fal man, as his shadow doth his body.
umy, He is under the power of Satan, Acts xxvi. 18. "devil has overcome him, so he is his by conquest; his
al captive, Isa. xlix. 24. The natural man is con
ned already, John ü. 18. and, therefore, under the wavy hand of liim that hath the power of death, that is, me devil. And he keeps his prisoner, in the prison of a
tural state, bound hand and foot, Isa. Ixi. 1. laden with alvirs lusts, as chains wherсwith he holds him fast. Thon needst not, as many do, call on the devil to take thee; for de las a fast hold of thee already, as a child of wrath.
Lastly, The natural man has no security for a moment's silety from the wrath of God, its coming on him to the uitermost. The curse of the law denounced against him, bas already tied him to the stake ; so that the arrows of justice may pierce his soul; and in him may meet all the miseries and plagues that flow from the avenging wrath of God. See how he is set as a mark to the arrows of wrath, Psalm vii. 11, 12, 13. « God is angry with the wicked every day. If he turn not, he will whet his sword: He hath bent his bow, and made it ready; he hath also prepared for him the instruments of death.” Doth he lie down to sleep? There is not a promise, he knows of, or can know, to secure him that he shall not be in hell ere he awake. Justice is pursuing, and cries for vengeance on the sinner ; the law casts the fire-balls of its curses confinually upon him ; wasted and long-tired patience is that which keeps in his life ; he walks amidst enemies armed