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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. ii. 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. 66 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 thec, 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. vüi. 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 pre. sumptuously 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 Christ, 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, whosocver 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. iv. so. " The son of the bond-woman shall not be heir.” Compare ver. 24. Heirs of wrath must not be heirs of glory. Whom the first covenant hath power to exclude out of heaven, the second covenant cannot bring into it.
Objection. Then it is impossible for us to be saved. Answer, It is so, while you are in that state. But if you would be out of that dreadful condition, basten out of that state. If a murderer be under sentence of death, so long as he lives within the kingdom, the laws will reach his life ; but, if he can make his escape, and get over the sea, into the dominions of another prince,our laws cannot reach him there. This is what we would have you to do, flee out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God's dear Son ; out of the dominion of the law, into the dominion of grace; then all the curses of the law, or covenant of works, shall never be able to reach you.
Motive 2. Oye children of wrath, your state is wretched, for
ye have lost God; and that is an unspeakable loss. Ye are without God in the world, Eph. ii. 12. Whatever you may call yours, you cannot call God yours. If we look to the earth, perhaps you can tell us, that land, that house, or that herd of cattle is yours. But let us look upward to heaven, is that God, that grace, that glory yours ? Truly, you have neither part nor lot in that matter. When Nes buchadnezzar talks of cities and kingdoms, Ohow big does he speak! Great Babylon that I have builty-my powerRY majesty! But he tells a poor tale when he comes to speak of God, saying, Your God, Dan. ii. 47. and iv. 30. Alas! sinner, whatever thou hast, God is gone from thee. Othe misery of a godless soul! Hast thou lost God? Then, (1.)
sap and substance of all that thou hast in the world is gone. The godless man, have what he will, is one that hath not, Matth. xxv. 29. I defy the unregenerate man to attain to soul-satisfaction, whatever he possesseth, since God is not his God. All his days he eateth in darkness ; inevery condition, there is a secret dissatisfaction haunts his heart like a ghost; the soul wants something, though perhaps it knoweth not what it is; and so it will be always till the soul return to God, the fountain of satisfaction. (2.) Thou canst do nothing to purpose for thyself, for God is gone; his soul is departed from thee, Jer. vi. 8. like a leg out of joint, hanging by, whereof a man hath no use, as
the word there used doth bear. Losing God, thou hast lost the fountain of good ; and so all grace, all goodness, all the saving influences of the Spirit. What canst thou do then? What fruitcanst thou bring forth, more than a branch cut off from the stock ? John xv. 5. Thou art becomé unprofitable, Rom. iii. 12. as a filthy rotten thing, fit only for the dunghill. (3.) Death has come up into thy windows, yea, and has settled on thy face ; for God, in whose favour is life, (Psal. xxx. 5.) is gone from thee, and so the soul of thy soul is departed. What a loathsome lump is the body, when the soul is gone ? Far more loathsome is thy soul in this case. Thou art dead whilst thou livest. Do not deny it, seeing thy speech is laid, thine eyes closed, and all spiritual motion in thee ceaseth. Thy true friends, who see thy case, do lament, because thou art gone into the land of silence. (4.) Thou hast not a steady friend among all the creatures of God; for now that thou hast lost the Master's favour, all the family is set against thee. Conscience is thine enemy; the word never speaks good of thee : God's people loathe thee, so far as they see what thou art, Psal. XV. 22. The beasts and stones of the field are banded together against thee, Job v. 23. Hos. ii. 18. Thy meat, drink, clothes, grudge to be serviceable to the wretch that has lost God, and abuseth them to his dishonour. The earth groaneth under thee; yea, the whole creation groaneth, and travaileth in pain together, because of thee, and such as thou art, Rom. viii. 22. Heaven will have nothing to do with thee; “ For there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth,” Rev. xxi. 22. Only " hell from beneath is moved for thee, to meet thee at thy coming,” Isa. xiv. 9.--Lastly, Thy hell is begun already. What makes hell,but exclusion from the presence of God? Depart from me ye cursed. Now ye are gone from God already, with the curse upon you. That shall be your punishment at length (if ye return not) which is now your choice. As a gracious state is a state of glory in the bud, so a graceless state is hell in the bud; whicħ, if it continue, will come to perfection at length.
Motive 3. Consider the dreadful instances of the wrath of God; and let them serve to awaken thee to flee out of this state. Consider, (1.) How, it has fallen on men. Even in this world, many have been set up as monuments of divine vengeance; that others might fear. Wrath has swept away multitudes, who have fallen together by the hand of an angry God. Consider how the Lord spared not the old world, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them with an overthrow, making them an example unto those that after should live ungodly, 2 Pet. ii. 5, 6. But it is yet more dreadful to think of that weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth, amongst those, who, in hell, lift up their eyes, but cannot get a drop of water to cool their tongues. Believe these things, and be warned by them ; lest destruction come upon thee, for a warning to others. (2.) Consider how wrath fell upon the fallen angels, whose case is absolutely hopeless. They were the first that ventured to break the hedge of the divine law; and God set them up for monuments of his wrath against sin. They once left their own habitation, and were never allowed to look in again at the hole of the door, but they are reserved in everlasting chains, under darkness, unto the judgmentof the great day, Jude 6. -Lastly, Behold how an angry God dealt with his own Son, standing in the room of elect sinners, Rom. viii. 32. God shared not his own Son Sparing-mercy might have been expected, if any at all. If any person could have obtained it, surely his own Son would have got it; but he spared him not. The Father's delight is made a man of sorrows; he who is the wisdom of God becomes sore amazed, ready to faint away with a fit of horror.
The weight of this wrath makes him sweat great drops of blood. By the fierceness of this fire, his heart was like wax melted in the midst of his bowels. Behold here how severe God is against sin ! The sun was struck blind with this terrible sight; rocks were rent, graves opened ; death, as it were in the excess of astonishment, letting its prisoners slip away. What is a deluge, a shower of fire and brimstone on Sodomites, the terrible noise of a dissolving world, the whole fabric of heaven and earth falling down at once, angels cast down from heaven into the bottomless pit ? What are all these, I say, in comparison with this ? God suffering ! Groaning, dying upon a cross! Infinite holiness did it, to make sin look like itself, viz. infinitely odious. And will men live at ease, while exposed to this wrath ?