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can a rebel-subject have to quarrel (for his part) a punishment executed on the King's Son ? (4.) The sinner 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 sinner, 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 strikes against; and so it is, in some sort, an infinite evil. Sin riseth in its demerit, according to the quality of the party offended. If a man wound his neighbour, his goods must go for it; but if he wound his prince, his life must go to make amends for that.' The infinity of God makes infinite wrath the just demerit of sin. God is infinitely displeased with sin; and when he acts, he must act like himself, and shew his displeasure by proportionable means. Lastly, Those that shall lie for ever under his wrath, will be eternally sinning; and, therefore, must eternally suffer; not only in respect of divine judicial procedure, but because sin is its own punishment, in the same manner that holy obedience is its own reward. The Doctrine of the Misery of Man's Natural State applied. USE (1.)
Of information. Is our state by nature 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 swaddling 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 held prisoners, as children of wrath.
2. What desperate madness is it for sinners to go on in their sinful course : What is it but to heap coals of fire on thine own head, and lay more and more fuel to the fire of wrath, to treasure up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath ? Rom. ii. 5. Thou mayst perish, when his wrath is kindled but a little, Psalm 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 sinner, and consider this.
3. Thou hast no reason to complain, as long as thou art out of hell. 6 Wherefore doth a living man complain?” Lam. iii. 39. If one who has forfeited his life be banished 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 or 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, ( sinner, and acknowledge mercy, for God punisheth us less than our iniquities deserve, Ezra ix. 13.
4. Here is a memorandum, both for poor and rich. (1.) The poorest that go from door to door, and hath not one penny left them 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 from God, and the heritage 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 be cast into utter darkness, Mat. xxv. 30. for to them is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever, Jude 13. where their bed shall be sorrow : “ They shall lie down in sor. row," Isa. I. 11. their food shall be judgment, for God will feed them with judgment, Ezek. xxxiv. 16. and their drink shall be the red wine of God's wrath, the dreg's whereof all the wicked of the earth shall wring out, and drink them, Psal. Ixxv. 8. I know, that those 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 say 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 time 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 sweep away the refuge of lies," Isa. xxviii. 17. Dost thou think, 0 sinner, that God who commands judges on earth, not to respect the person of the poor in judgment, 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 hadsty (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 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 continuest in an unregenerate state. When dlou 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. 30. “ 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 God; 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 crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of a fool," Eccles. 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 soul, shall inake 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 coines. Do ye think men flee from wrath, in a morning-dream? Or will they fee 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, hand 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 struggle to get from under it. Thunder-claps of wrath from
the word of God, conveyed to the soul by the Spirit of o 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 ; fow 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 hundred
years. God grant, that the bad entertainment given to Christ and his gospel, by this generation, be not pur. sued 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 broughť out of it. 3. To all indif.
1. To you that are yet in an unregenerate state, I would sound the alarm, and warn you to see to yourselves, while yet there is hope. O ye 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,
66 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
Micah ü. 10.
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, beseech, 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, or under Egyptian bandage, 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 state art still where Adam left thee. It is true, there is another covenant brought in ; but what is that to thee, who art not 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 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 there. fore your obligation is dissolved. Nay, thou must stand and fall by it, til thou canst produce thy discharge from