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A gross and fatal mistake'! And this is another inheri. tance they have, viz. “ lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit," Jer. xvi. 19. But, “ the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, Isa. xxviii. 17. Dost thou think, O sinner, that God who commands judges on earth, not to respect the person of the poor in judginent, Lev. xix. 15. will pervert judgment for thee? Nay, know for certain, however miserable thou art here, thou shalt be eternally miserable hereafter, if thou livest and diest in thy natural state. (2.) Many that have enough in the world, have far more than they know of. Thou hadst, (it may be,) O unregenerate man, an estate, a good portion, or large stock left thee by thy father; thou hast improved it, and the sun of prosperity shines upon thee; so that thou canst say with Esau, Gen. xxxiii. 9. I have enough. But know, thou hast inore 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 continuest in an unregenerate state. When thou shalt leave thy substance to others, this shall 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. 39. 6 The wicked is reserved to the day of destruction ; they shall be brought forth to the day of wrath.” Well then, rejoice, let thine heart cheer thee, walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes; live above reproofs and warnings from the word of Goci; shew thyself a man of a fine spirit, 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 for all these things God will bring thee into judgment;" Eccles. xi. 9. Assure thyself, thy breaking shall come suddenly, at an instant, Isa. xxx. 13. “ For as the crack. ling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of a fool," Eccles. vii. 6. The fair blaze, and great noise they make, i s quickly gone; so shall thy mirth be. And then that
wrath, that is now silently sinking into thy soul, shall make a fearful hissing..
5. Wo to him, that, like Moab, hath been at ease 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, Psalm 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 souls state. 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 wrath, in a morning-dream? Or will they flee from the wrath they never saw pursuing them?
6. Think it not strange, if you see one in great distress about his soul's condition, who was wont to be as jovial, and as little concerned about salvation, as any of his neighbours. Can one get a right view of himself, as in a state of wrath, and not be pierced with sorrows, terrors, anxiety? When a weight, quite above one's strength, lies upon him, and he is alone, he can neither stir hand nor foot; but when one comes to lift it off him, he will strug. gle to get from under it. Thunder-claps of wrath from a the word of God, conveyed to the soul 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 yet unborn smart under it. Most of the society are yet children of wrath ; few are fleeing from 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 sixteen hun. dred 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 shall drop a. word to those who are yet in an unregenerate state. 2. To those that are brought out of it. 3. To all indifm ferently.
1. To you that are yet in an unregenerate state, I would sound the alarm, and warn you to see to your.. selves, 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 make 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 rest.” O sinner, knowest thou where thou art? Dost thou not see thy danger? The curse has entered in,
to thy soul; wrath is thy covering ; the heavens are growing blacker and blacker above thy head; the earth is weary of thee; the pit 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 saw 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 asleep 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, be. seech, and obtest you, to look to yourselves ; and lament your stupidity and obstinacy, when we cannot prevail with you to take warning. If there were no hope of your recovery, we should be silent, and would not torment you before the time ; but though ye be lost and undone, there is hope in Israel 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 strong-hold, ye prisoners of hope." Flee to Jesus. Christ out of this your natural state.
Motive 1. While ye are in this state, ye must stand or fall according 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 be a slave to the Turks, condemned to the galleys, ar under Egyptian bondage, than be under the covenant of works. now. All mänkind were brought under it in Adam, as we heard be: fare ; and thou in thy unregenerate state art, still where Adam left thee. It is true, there is another covenant brought in ; but what is that to thee, wio art not brought into it? Thou must needs be under one of the two covenants; esther under the law, or under grace. That thou art not under grace, the dominion of sin over thee manifestly evinceth; therefore, thou art under the law, Rom. vi. 14. Do not think God has laid aside the first covenant, Matt. 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 full by it, till thou canst produce thy discharge from
God himself, who is thy party in that covenant ; and this thou canst 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 threatening of death in that covenant, Genesis 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 Son. Yea, and you must perfectly obey the law for the time to come. So saith the law, Gal. iii. 12. « The man that doth them, shall live in them.” Come then, o sinner, see if thou canst make a ladder, whereby thou mayest 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 to 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 owest : and cast thee into prison, there to remain, till thou hast paid the utmost farthing; unless thou art so wise 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 abidest under this covenant, and pleadest mercy; but what is thy plea founded on? There is not one promise of mercy or pardon in that covenant. Dost thou plead mercy, for mercy sake ? Justice will step in betwixt it and thee; and plead God's covenant-threatening, which he cannot deny. (4.) There is no place for repentance in this covenant, so as the sinner can be helped by it. For as soon as thou sinnest, the law lays its curse on thee, which is a dead weight thou canst by no means throw off; no, not though thine head were waters, and thine eyes a fountain of tears, to weep day and night for thy sin. That is what the law cannot do, in that it is weak through the flesh, Rom. viii. 3. Now thou art another profane Esau, that hath sold the blessing ; and there is no place for repentance, though thou seekest it carefully with tears, while under that covenant. (5.) There is no accepting of the will for the deed under this covenant, which was not made for good will, but good works. The mistake in this point ruins many. They are not in Christ, but stand under the first covenant; and yet they will plead this privilege. This is just as if one having made a feast for those of his own family, when they sit down at table, another man's servant that has run away from his master, should presumptuously come forward and sit down among them; would not the master of the feast give such a stranger that check, Friend, how camest thou in thither? And since he is none of his family, command him to be gone quickly. Though a master accept the good will of his own child for the deed, can a hired servant expect that privilege ? (6.) Ye have nothing to do with Christ, while under this covenant. By the law of God, a woman cannot be married to two husbands at once; either death or divorce must dissolve the first marriage, ere we can be married to Chirist, Rom. vii. 4. The law is the first husband ; Jesus Christ, who raiseth the dead, marries the widow, that was heart-broken, and slain by the first husband. But while the soul is in the house with the first husband, it cannot plead a marriage-relation to Christ ; nor the benefits of a marriage-covenant, which is not yet entered into, Gal. v. 4. “ Christ is become of no effect to you, whosoever of you are justified by the law ; ye are fallen from grace." Peace, pardon, and such like benefits, are all benefits of the covenant of grace. And ye must not think to stand off from Christ, and the marriage-covenant with him, and yet plead these benefits, more than one man's wife can plead the benefit of a contract of marriage past betwixt another man and his own wife. Lastly, See the bill of exclusion, passed in the court of heaven, against all under the covenant of works, Gal. ix. 30. 6 The son of