תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

linen and sumptuous fare, did not so exalt him above Lazarus, while at his gate full of sores.

§ 4. (2) They shall have no comfortable relation to God, nor coinmunion with him. As they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, but said unto him, Depart froin us, for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways; so God will abhor to retain them in his household. He will never admit them to the inheritance of his saints, nor endure them to stand in his presence, but will profess unto them, “I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” They are ready now to lay as confident claim to Christ and heaven, as if they were sincere believing saints. The swearer, the drunkard, the whoremaster, the worldling, can say, Is not God our Father as well as yours? But when Christ separates his followers from his foes, and his faithful friends from his deceived flatterers, where then will be their presumptuous claim! Then they shall find that God is not their Father; because they would not be his people. As they would not consent that God by his Spirit should dwell in them, so the tabernacle of wickedness shall have no fellowship with him, nor the wicked inhabit the city of God. Only they that walked with God here, shall live and be happy with him in heaven.—Little does the world know what a loss that soul hath, who loses God! What a dungeon would earth be, if it had lost the sun! what a loathsome carrion the body, if it had lost the soul! yet all these are nothing to the loss of God. As the enjoyment of God is the heaven of the saints, so the loss of God is the hell of the ungodly. And as the enjoying of God is the enjoying of all, so the loss of God is the loss of all.

§ 5. (3) They also lose all delightful affections towards God:that transporting knowledge; those delightful views of his glorious face; the inconceivable pleasure of loving him; the apprehensions of his infinite love to us; the constant joys of his saints; and the rivers of consolation with which he satisfies them.

Is it nothing to lose all this? The employment of a king in ruling a kingdom, does not so far exceed that of the vilest slave, as this heavenly employment exceeds that of an earthly king. God suits men's employments to their natures. Your hearts, sinners, were never set upon God in your lives, never warmed with his love, never longed after the enjoyment of him; you had no delight in speaking or hearing of him; you would rather have continued on earth, if you had known how, then be interested in the glorious praises of God. Is it meet then that you should be members of the celestial choir ?

$ 6. (4) They shall be deprived of the blessed society of angels and glorified saints. Instead of being companions of those happy spirits, and numbered with those triumphant kings, they must be members of the corporation of hell, where they shall have companions of a far different nature and quality. Scorning and abusing the saints, hating them, and rejoicing in their calamities, was not the way to obtain their blessedness. Now you are shut out of that company, from which you first shut out yourselves; and are separated from them, with whom you would not be joined. You could not endure them in your houses, nor towns, nor scarce in the kingdom. You took them, as Ahab did Elijah, for the troublers of the land, and, as the apostles were taken for men that turned the world upside down. If any thing fell out amiss, you thought all was owing to them. When they were dead or banished, you were glad they were gone, and thought the country well rid of them. They molested you by faithfully reproving your sins. Their holy conversation troubled your consciences, to see them so far excel you. It was a vexation to you to hear them pray, or sing praises in their families. And is it any wonder if you be separated from them hereafter? The day is near when they wil trouble yon no more. Betwixt them and you will be a great gulph fixed. Even in this life, while the saints were mocked, destitute, afflicted, tormented, and while they had their personal imperfections; yet,

oiss, gee dead ofht the

gony were dead ught all own. If an

[ocr errors]

in the judgment of the Holy Ghost, they were such of whom the world was not worthy.(a) Much more unworthy will the world be of their fellowship in

glory.

97. (II.) I know many will be ready to think they could spare these things in this world well enough; and why may they not be without them in the world to come? Therefore to show them that this loss of heaven will then be most tormenting, let them now consider,—their understandings will be cleared to know their loss,--and have more enlarged apprehensions concerning it;—their consciences will make a closer application of it to themselves;—their affections will no longer be stupified,—nor their memories be treacherous.

$ 8. (1) The understanding of the ungodly will then be cleared to know the worth of that which they have lost. Now they lament not their loss of God, because they never knew his excellence; nor the loss of that holy employment and society, for they were never sensible what they were worth. A man that has lost a jewel, and took it but for a common stone, is never troubled at his loss; but when he comes to know what he lost, then he laments it. Though the understanding of the damned will not be sanctified, yet they will be cleared from a multitude of errors. They now think that their honours, estates, pleasures, health, and life, are better worth their labour than the things of another world; but when these things have left them in misery, when they experience the things which before they did but read and hear of, they will be of another mind. They would not believe that water would drown, till they were in the sea; nor the fire burn, till they were cast into it: but when they feel, they will easily believe. All that error of mind which made them set light by God, and abhor his worship, and vilify his people, will then be confuted and removed by experience. Their knowledge shall be increased, that their sorrows may be increased. Poor souls! they would be

(x) Heb. xi. 36, 38.

comparatively happy, if their understandings were wholly taken from them, if they had no more knowledge than idiots, or brute beasts; or if they knew no more in hell, than they did upon earth, their loss would less trouble them. How happy would they then think themselves, if they did not know there is such a place as heaven! Now, when their knowledge would help to prevent their misery, they will not know, or will not read or study that they may know; therefore when their knowledge will but feed their consuming fire, they shall know whether they will or not. They are now in a dead sleep, and dream they are the happiest men in the world; but when death awakes them, how will their judgments be changed in a moment !-and they that would not see, shall then see, and be ashamed.

Ø 9. (2) As their understanding will be cleared, so it will be more enlarged, and made more capacious to conceive the worth of that glory which they have lost. The strength of their apprehensions, as well as the truth of them, will then be increased. What deep apprehensions of the wrath of God, the madness of sinning, the misery of sinners, have those souls that now endure this misery, in comparison with those on earth that do but hear of it! What sensibility of the worth of life has the condemned man that is going to be executed, compared with what he was wont to have in the time of his prosperity! Much more will the actual loss of eternal blessedness make the damned exceedingly apprehensive of the greatness of their loss; and as a large vessel will hold more water than a shell, so will their more enlarged understandings contain more matter to feed their torment, than their shallow capacity can now do.

§ 10. (3) Their consciences also will make a truer and closer application of this doctrine to themselves, which will exceedingly tend to increase their torment. It will then be no hard matter to them to say, “This is my loss! and this is my everlasting remedi

nesse that now end that do but has the cond

sensibilitse on earth are this missinners, hay

as the of it? Parisose

less misery!” The want of this self-application is the inain cause why they are so little troubled now. They are hardly brought to believe that there is such a state of misery; but more hardly to believe that it is like to be their own. This makes so many sermons lost to them, and all threatenings and warnings in vain. Let a minister of Christ show them their misery ever so plainly and faithfully, they will not be persuaded they are so miserable. Let him tell them of the glory they must lose, and the sufferings they must feel, and they think he means not them, but some notorious sinners. It is one of the hardest things in the world, to bring a wicked man to know that he is wicked, or to make him see himself in a state of wrath and condemnation. Though they may easily find by their strangeness to the new birth, and their enmity to holiness, that they never were partakers of them; yet they as verily expect to see God and be saved, as if they were the most sanctified persons in the world. How seldom do men cry out, after the plainest discovery of their state, I am the man! or acknowledge, that if they die in their present condition they are undone for ever! But when they suddenly find themselves in the land of darkness, feel themselves in scorching flames, and see they are shut out of the presence of God for ever, then the application of God's anger to themselves will be the easiest matter in the world. They will then roar out these forced confessions, O my misery! O my folly! O my inconceivable, irrecoverable loss !

$ 11. (4) Then will their affections likewise be more lively, and no longer stupified. A hard heart now makes heaven and hell seem but trifles. We have showed them everlasting glory and misery, and they are as men asleep; our words are as stones cast against a wall, which fly back in our faces. We talk of terrible things, but it is to dead men; we search the wounds, but they never feel us: we speak to rocks, rather than to men; the earth will as soon tremble as they. But when these dead sculs are re

« הקודםהמשך »