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vived, what passionate sensibility! what working affections! what pangs of horror! what depth of sorrow, will there then be! How violently will they fly in their own faces! How will they rage against their former madness! The lamentations of the most affectionate wife for the loss of her husband, or of the tenderest mother for the loss of her children, will be nothing to theirs for the loss of heaven. O the self-accusing and self-tormenting fury of those forlorn creatures! How will they even tear their own hearts, and be God's executioners upon themselves ! As themselves were only the meritorious cause of their sufferings, so themselves will be the chief executioners. Even Satan, as he was not so great a cause of their sinning as themselves, he will not be so great an instrument of their torment. How happy would they think themselves then, if they were turned into rocks, or any thing that had neither passion nor sense! How happy, if they could then feel as lightly as they were wont to hear! if they could sleep out the time of execution, as they did the time of the sermons that warned them of it! But their stupidity is gone; it will not be.
Ý 12. (5) Their memories will moreover be as large and strong as their understanding and affections. Could they but lose the use of their memory, their loss of heaven being forgot, would little trouble them. Though they would account annihilation a singular mercy, they cannot lay aside any part of their being. Understanding, conscience, affections, memory, must all live to torment them, which should have helped to their happiness. As by these they should have fed upon the love of God, and drawn forth perpetually the joys of his presence; so by these must they feed upon his wrath, and draw forth continually the pains of his absence. Now they have no leisure to consider, nor any room in their memories for the things, of another life: but then they shall have nothing else to do; their memories shall have no other employment. God would have had the doctrine of their eternal state written on the posts of their doors, on their hands and hearts; he would have had them mind it, and mention it when they lay down and rose up, when they sat in their house, and when they walked by the way; and seeing they rejected this counsel of the Lord, therefore it shall be written always before them in the place of their thraldom, that which way soever they look, they may still behold it. It will torment them to think of the greatness of the glory they have lost. If it had been what they could have spared, or a loss to be repaired with any thing else, it had been a smaller matter. If it had been health or wealth, or friends, or life, it had been nothing. But, O! to lose that exceeding eternal weight of glory! It will also torment them to think of the possibility they once had of obtaining it. Then they will remember, “ Time was, when I was as fair for the kingdoin as others. I was set upon the stage of the world: if I had played my part wisely and faithfull, I might now have had possession of the inheritance. I night have been among yonder blessed saints, who am now tormented with these damned fiends. The Lord did set before me life and death: and having chose death, I deserve to suffer it. The prize was held out before me: if I had run well, I might have obtained it; if I had striven, I might have had the victory; if I had fought valiantly, I had been crowned.” It will yet more torment them to remember, that their obtaining the crown was not only possible, but very probable. It will wound them to think, “ I had once the gales of the Spirit ready to have assisted me. I was proposing to be another man, to have cleaved to Christ, and forsook the world. I was almost resolved to have been wholly for God. I was once even turning from my base seducing lusts. I had cast off my old companions, and was associating with the godly. Yet I turned back, lost my hold, and broke my promises. I was almost persuaded to be a real Christian, yet I conquered those persuasions. What workings were in
to do with had once enough, and
my heart, when a faithful minister pressed home the truth! O how fair was I once for heaven! I almost had it, and yet I have lost it. Had I followed on to seek the Lord, I had now been blessed among the saints.”
$ 13, It will exceedingly torment them to remember their lost opportunities. “How many weeks, and months, and years, did I lose, which, if I had improved, I might now have been happy! Wretch that I was ! could I find no time to study the work, for which I had all my time! no time among all my labours to labour for eternity! Had I time to eat, and drink, and sleep, and none to save iny soul ? had I time for mirth, and vain discourse, and none for prayer? could I take time to secure the world, and none to try my title to heaven? O precious time! I had once enough, and now I must have no more. I had once so inuch, I knew not what to do with it; and now it is gone, and cannot be recalled. O that I had but one of those years to live over again! how speedily would I repent! how earnestly would I pray! how diligently would I hear! how closely would I examine my state! how strictly would I live! But it is now too late, alas! too late."
14. It will add to their calamity to remember how often they were persuaded to return. “ Fain would the minister have had me escape these torments. With what love and compassion did he beseech me! and yet I did but make a jest of it. How oft did he convince me! and yet I stifled all these convictions. How did he open to me my very heart! and yet I was loth to know the worst of myself. O how glad would he have been, if he could have seen me cordially turn to Christ! My godly friends admonished me. They told me what would become of my wilfulness and negligence at last: but I neither believed, nor regarded them. How long did God himself condescend to entreat me! How did the Spirit strive with my heart, as if he was loth to take a denial !
How did Christ stand knocking one sabbath after another, and crying to me, “ Open, sinner, open thy heart to thy Saviour; and I will come in, and sup with thee, and thou with me! Why dost thou delay? How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee? Wilt thou not be pardoned, and sanctified, and made happy? when shall it once be?” O how the recollection of such divine pleadings will passionately transport the damned with self-indignation! Must I tire out the patience of Christ? must I make the God of heaven follow me in vain, till I had wearied him with crying to me, Repent, return? O how justly is that patience now turned into fury, which falls upon me with irresistible violence! When the Lord cried to me, Wilt thou not be made clean? when shall it once be? my heart, or at least my practice, answered, Never. And now when I cry, How long shall it be till I am freed from this torment? how justly do I receive the same answer, Never, never.”
§ 15. It will also be most cutting to remember on what easy terms they might have escaped their misery. This work was not to remove mountains, nor conquer kingdoms, nor fulfil the law to the smallest tittle, nor satisfy justice for all their transgressions. The yoke was easy, and the burden light, which Christ would have laid upon them. It was but to repent, and cordially accept him for their Saviour; to renounce all other happiness, and take the Lord for their supreme good; to renounce the world and the flesh, and submit to his meek and gracious government; and to forsake the ways of their own devising, and walk in his holy delightful way.--" Ah," thinks the poor tormented wretch,“ how justly do I suffer all this, who would not be at so small pains to avoid it! Where was my understanding, when I neglected that gracious offer? when I called the Lord à hard master, and thought his pleasant service a bondage, and the service of the devil and the flesh the only freedom? Was I not a thousand times worse than mad, when I censured the holy way of God as needless preciseness? when I thought the laws of Christ too strict, and all too much that I did for the life to come? What would all sufferings for Christ and well-doing have been, compared with these sufferings that I must undergo for ever? Would not the heaven which I have lost have recompensed all my losses? and should not all my sufferings have been there forgotten? What if Christ had bid me do soine great matter; whether to live in continual fears and sorrows, or to suffer death a hundred times over ; should I not have done it?-how much more when he only said, “ Believe, and be saved. Seek my face, and thy soul shall live. Take up thy cross, and follow me, and I will give thee everlasting life.” O gracious offer! O easy terms! O cursed wretch, that would not be persuaded to accept them!
16. This also will be a most tormenting consideration, to remember what they sold their eternal welfare for. When they compare the value of the pleasures of sin, with the value of the recompence of reward, how will the vast disproportion astonish them! to think of the low delights of the flesh, or the applauding breath of mortals, or the possessing heaps of gold; and then to think of everlasting glory, “ This is all I had for my soul, my God, my hopes of blessedness!” It cannot possibly be expressed, how these thoughts will tear his very heart. Then will he exclaim against his folly, “ O miserable wretch! did I set my soul to sale for so base a price? did I part with my God for a little dirt and dross; and sell my Saviour, as Judas, for a little silver? I had but a dream of delight, for my hopes of heaven; and, now I am awaked, it is all vanished. My morsels are now turned to gall, and my cups to wormwood. When they were past my taste, the pleasure perished., And is this all that I have had for the inestimable treasure? What a mad exchange did I make! What if I had gained all the world, and lost my soul? But, alas! how small a part of the world was it, for which I gave