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against him ; his name may be Magor Missabib,i. e. terror round about, Jer. xx. 3. . Angels, devils, men, beasts, stones, heaven, and earth, are in readiness, on a word of command from the Lord, to ruin him.
Thus the natural man lives, but he must die too ; and death is a dreadful messenger to him. It comes upon him armed with wrath, and puts three sad charges in his hand. (1.) Death chargeth him to bid an eternal-farewel to all things in this world ; to leave it, and make way to another world. Ah! what a dreadful charge must this be to a child of wrath! He can have no comfort from heaven, for God is his enemy; and as for the things of the world, and the enjoyment of his lusts, which were the only springs of his comfort; these are in a moment dried up to him for ever. He is not ready for another world; he was not thinking of removing so soon; or, if he was, yet he has no portion secured to him in another world, but that which he was born to, and was increasing all his days, namely, a treasure of wrath. But go he must; his clay-god, the world, must be parted with, and what has he more? There was never a glimmering of light, of favour from heaven, to his soul; and now the wrath that did hang in the threatening, as a cloud like a man's hand, is darkening the face of the whole heaven above him; and if he “look unto the earth,” (from whence all his light was wont to come,) "behold trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish; and he shall be driven to darkness," Isa. viii. 22. (2.) Death chargeth soul and body to part till the great day. His soul is required of him, Luke xii. 20. O what a miserable parting must this be to a child of wrath! Care was indeed taken to provide for the body, things necessary for this life; but, alas! there is nothing laid up for another life to it; nothing to be a seed of glorious resurrection : As it lived, so it must die, and rise again sinful flesh;- fuel for the fire of God's wrath. As for the soul, he was never solicitous to provide for it. It Jay in the body, dead to God, and all things truly good; and so must be carried out into the pit, in the graveclothes of its natural state ; for now that death comes, the companions in sin must part. (3.) Death chargeth the soul to compear before the tribunal of God, while the body lies to be carried to the grave, Eccles. xii, 7. “The spirit shall return unto God who gave it,” Heb. ix. 2,7. " It is appointed unto all men once to die, but after this the judgment.” Well were it for the sinful soul, if it might be buried together with the body. But that cannot be; it must go and receive its sentence; and shall be shut up in the prison of hell, while the cursed body lies imprisoned in the grave, till the day of the general judge ment.
When the end of the world, appointed of God, is come, the trumpet shall sound, and the dead arise. Then shall the weary earth, at the command of the Judge, cast forth the bodies; the cursed bodies of those that lived and died in their natural state : « The sea, death, and hell, shall deliver up their dead," Rev. xx. 13. Their miserable bodies and souls shall be re-united, and they sisted before the tribunal of Christ. Then shall they receive that fearful sentence, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels,” Matth. xxv. 41. Whereupon « they shall go away into everlasting punishment,” ver. 46. They shall be eternally shut up in hell, never to get the least drop of comfort, nor the least ease of their torment. There they shall be punished with the punishment of loss; being excommunicated from the presence of God, his angels and saints. All means of grace, all hopes of a delivery, shall be for ever cut off froin their eyes. They shall not have a drop of water to cool their tongues, Luke xvi. 24, 25. They shall be punished with the punishment of sense. They must not only depart from God, but depart into fire, into everlasting fire. There the worm, that shall gnaw them, shall never die; the fire, that shall scorch them, shall never be quenched. God shall, through all eternity, hold them up with the one hand, and pour the full vials of wrath into them with the other.
This is that state of wrath natural men live in ; being under much of the wrath of God, and liable to more. But for a further view of it, let us consider the qualities of that wrath. (1.) It is irresistible ; there is no standing before it : “ Who may stand in thy sight, when once thou art angry?" Psal. lxxxvi. 7. Can the worm, or the moth, defend itself against him that designs to crush it? As litule can worm man stand before an angry God. Foolishi man indeed practically bids a defiance to heaven ; but the Lord often, even in this world, opens such sluices of wrath on them, as all their might cannot stop; they are carried away thereby, as with a flood. How much more will it be so in hell? (2.) It is insupportable. What one cannot resist, he will set himself to bear; but, « Who shall dwell with devouring fire? Who shall dwell with everlasting burnings ?” God's wrath is a weight that will sink men into the lowest hell. It is a burden no man is able to stand under. A wounded spirit who can bear it?” Prov. xviii. 14. (3.) It is unavoidable to such as go on impenitently in their sinful course. «He that being often reproved, hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy," Prov. xxix. 1. We may now fly from it indeed, by flying to Jesus Christ; but such as fly from Christ shall never be able to avoid it. Whither can men fly from an avenging God? Where will they find a shelter? The hills will not hear thein; the mountains will be deaf to their loudest cries; when they cry to them, to hide them from the wrath of the Lamb. (4.) It is powerful and fierce wrath, Psalm xc. 11.
Who knoweth the power of thine anger? Even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath." We are apt to fear the wrath of man more than we ought; but no man can apprehend the wrath of God to be more dreadful than it really is : The power of it can never be known to the utmost; seeing it is infinite, and (properly speaking) has no utmost; how fierce soever it be, either on earth or in hell, God can still carry it further. Every thing in God is most perfect in its kind; and, therefore, no wrath is so fierce as his. O sinner, how wilt thou be able to endure that wrath, which will tear thee in pieces, Psal. l. 22. and grind thee to powder, Luke xx. 18. The history of the two she-bears, that tore the children of Bethel, is an awful one, 2 Kings ii. 23, 24. But the united force of the rage of lions, leopards, and she-bears, bereaved of their whelps, is not sufficient to give us even a scanty view of the power of the wrath of God, Hos. xiii. 7, 8. « Therefore I will be unto them as a lion; as a leopard by the way will I observe them. I will meet them as a bear that is bereaved of her whelps, and will rent the call of their heart,"' 56. (5.) It is penetrating and piercing wrath. It is burning
wrath, and fiery indignation. There is no pain more ex. quisite than that which is caused by fire; and no fire so piercing as the fire of God's indignation, that burns into the lowest hell, Deut. xxxii. 22.. The arrows of mens wrath can pierce flesh, blood, and bones, but cannot reach the soul; but the wrath of God will sink into the soul, and so pierce a man in the most tender part. Like as, when a person is thunder-struck, oft-times there is not a wound to be seen in the skin ; yet life is gone, and the bones are, as it were, melted; so God's wrath can penetrate into, and melt one's soul within him, when his earthly comforts stand about him entire, and untouched, as in Belshazzar's case, Dan. v. 6. (6.) It is constant wrath, running parallel with the man's continuance in an unregenerate state ; constantly attending him, from the womb to the grave. There are few so dark days, but the sun sometimes looketh out from under the clouds; but the wrath of God is an abiding cloud on the subjects of it, John iii. 36. The wrath of God abideth on him that believes not. (7.) It is eternal. O miserable soul ! If thou fly not from this wrath unto Jesus Christ, thy misery had a beginning, but it shall never have an end. Should devouring death wholly swallow thee up, and for ever hold thee fast in a grave, it would be kind; but thou must live again, and never die ; that thou mayst be ever dying, in the hands of the living God. Cold death will quench the flame of man's wrath against us, if nothing else do it ; but God's wrath, when it has come on the sinner, millions of ages will still be the wrath to come, Mat. iii. 7. 1 Thess. i. 10. As the water of a river is still coming, how much soevep of it has passed. While God is, he will pursue the quarrel. Lastly, Howsoever dreadful it is, and though it be eternal, yet it is most just wrath ; it is a clear fire, without the least smoke of injustice. The sea of wrath raging with greatest fury against the sinner is clear as chrystal. The Judge of all the earth can do no wrong. He knows no transports of passion, for they are inconsistent with the perfection of his nature. « Is God unrighteous, who taketh vengeance ? (I speak as a man,) God forbid ; for then, how shall God judge the world ?” Rom. iii. 5, 6,
The Doctrine of the State of Wrath confirmed and
: vindicated. , II. I shall confirm the doctrine. Consider, (1.) How peremptory the threatening of the first covenant is; “ In the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die," Gen. ij. 17. Hereby sin and punishment being connected, the veracity of God ascertains the execution of the threatening. Now all men being by nature under this covenant, the breach of it lays them under the curse. (2.) The justice of God requires that a child of sin be a child of wrath ; that the law being broken, the sanction thereof should take place. God, as man's Ruler and Judge, cannot but do right, Gen. xviii. 25. Now it is a righteous thing with God to recompence sin with wrath, 2 Thess. i. 6. He is of purer eyes, than to behold evil, Hab. i. 13. And he hates all the workers of iniquity, Psal. v. 6. (3.) The horrors of a natural conscience prove this. There is a conscience in the breasts of men, which tell them they are sinners, and therefore liable to the wrath of God. Let men, at any time, soberly commune with themselves, and they will find they have the witness in themselves, « know. ing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death,” Rom. i. 32. (4.) The pangs of the new birth, the work of the spirit of bondage on elect souls in order to their conversion, demonstrate this. Hereby their natural sinfulness and misery, as liable to the wrath of God, are plainly taught them ; filling their hearts with fear of that wrath. Now that this spirit of bondage is no other than the Spirit of God, whose work is to convince of sin, righteousness, and judgment, (John xvi. 8.) this testimony must needs be true; for the Spirit of truth cannot witness an untruth. Meanwhile, true believers being freed from the state of wrath, « receive not the spirit of bondage again to fear, but receive the Spirit of adoption," Rom. iii. 15. And, therefore, if fears of that nature do arise, after the soul's union with Christ, they come from the saint's own spirit, or from a worse. Lastly, The sufferingsof Christ plainly prove this doctrine. Wherefore was the Son of God, a Son under wrath, but because the children of men were children of wrath ? He suffered the wrath of God, not for himself, but for those