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Consider, what will it be to have this enmity to be mutual, and maintained for ever on both sides. For as God will for ever continue an enemy to you, so you will for ever continue an enemy to God. If you continue God's enemy until death, you will always be his enemy. And after death your enmity will have no restraint, but it will break out and rage without controul. When you come to be a firebrand of hell, you will be so in two respects, viz. As you will be full of the fire of God's wrath; and as you will be all on a blaze with spite and malice towards God. You will be as full of the fire of malice, as you will with the fire of divine vengeance, and both will make you full of torment. Then you will appear as you are, a viper indeed. You are now under great disguise; a wolf in sheep's clothing: but then your mask will be pulled off; you shall loose your garments, and walk naked, Rev. xvi. 15. Then will you vent your rage and malice in fearful blasphemies. That same tongue, to cool which you will wish for a drop of water, will be eternally employed in cursing and blaspheming God and Christ. And that not from any new corruption being put into your heart; but only from God's withdrawing his hand from restraining your old corruption. And what a miserable way will this be of spending your eternity.
2. Consider, wbat will be the consequence of a mutual enmity between God and you, if it be continued. Though hitherto you have met with no very great changes, yet they will come. After a little while, dying time will come; and then what will be the consequence of this enmity? God, whose enemy you are, has the frame of your body in his hands. Your times are in his band; and he it is that appoints your bounds. And when he sends death to arrest you, to change your countenance, to dissolve your frame, and to take you away from all your earthly friends, and from all that is dear and pleasant to you in the world; what will be the issue? Will not you then stand in need of God's help? Would not he be the best friend in such a case, worth more than ten thousand earthly friends ? If God be your enemy, then to'whom will you betake yourself for a friend? When you launch forth into the boundless gulph of cternity, then you will need some friend to take care of you; but if God be your enemy, where will you betake yourself? Your soul must go naked into another world, in eternal separation from all worldly things : and your soul will not be in its own power to defend, or dispose of itself. Will
you not then need to have God for a friend, into whose hands you may commend your spirit? But how dreadful will it be, to have God your enemy!
The time is coming when the frame of this world shall be dissolved. Christ shall descend in the clouds of heaven, in the glory of his Father; and you, with all the rest of mankind,
must stand before his judgment-seat. Then what will be the consequence of this mutual enmity between God and you! If God be your enemy, who will stand your friend ? Now, it may be, it does not appear to be very terrible to you to have God for your enemy; but when such changes as these are brought to pass, it will greatly alter the appearance of things. Then God's favour will appear to you of infinite worth. They, and they only, will then appear happy, who have the love of God: and then you will know that God's enemies are miserable.-But under this head, consider more particularly several things.
(1.) What God can do to his enemies. Or rather, what can he not do? How miserable can he who is almighty make his enemies ? Consider, you that are enemies to God, whether or no you shall be able to make your part good with him. Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he? 1 Cor. x. 22. Have you such a conceit of your own strength, as that you think to try it out with God? Do you intend to run the risk of an encounter with him? Do you imagine that your hands can be strong, or your heart can endure? Do you think you shall be well able to defend yourself, or to escape out of his hand ? Do you think that you shall be able to uphold your spirits, when God acts as an enemy towards you? If so, then gird up your loins, and see what the event will be. Therefore thus will I do unto thee-and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God.- Amos iv. 12. Is it not in vain to set the þriars and thorns in battle array against devouring flames; which though they seem to be armed with natural weapons, yet the fire will pass through them, and burn them together? See Isa. xxvii. 4.
And if you endeavour to support yourself under God's wrath, cannot God lay you under such misery, as to cause your spirit quite to fail; so that you shall find no strength to resist him, or to uphold yourself? Why should a worm think of supporting himself against an omnipotent adversary ? Consider, God has made your soul: and he can fill it with misery ; be made your body, and can bring what torments he will upon it. God who made you, has given you a capacity to bear torment; and he has that capacity in his hands. How dreadful must it be to fall into the hands of such an enemy! Surely, It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Heb. x. 31.
(2.) If God be your enemy, you may rationally conclude that he will act as such in his dealings with you. We have already observed that you have enmity without any love or true respact. So if you continue to be so, God will appear to be your mere enemy; and will be so for ever, without being reconciled. But if it be so, he will doubtless act as such. If he eternally hates you, he will act in his dealings with you, as one that hates you without any love or pity. The proper tendency and aim of hatred, is the misery of the object hated; so that you may expect God will make you miserable, and that you will not be spared.-Now, God does not act as your mere enemy: if he corrects you, it is in measure. He now exercises abundance of mercy to you. He threatens you now: but it is in a way of warning, and so in a merciful way. He now calls, invites, and strives with you, and waits to be gracious to you. But hereafter there will be an end to all these things : in another world God will cease to shew you mercy.
(3.) If you will continue God's enemy, you may rationally conclude that God will deal with you so as to make it appear how dreadful it is to have God for an enemy. It is very dreadful to have a mighty prince for an enemy. The wrath of a king, is as the roaring of a lion, Prov. xix. 12. But if the wrath of a man, a fellow-worm, be so terrible, what is the wrath of God! And God will doubtless shew it to be immensely more dreadful. If you will be an enemy, God will act so as to glorify those attributes which he exercises as an enemy; which are, his majesty, his power, and justice. His great majesty, his awful justice, and mighty power, shall be shewed upon you. What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction. Rom. ix. 22.
(4.) Consider, What God has said he will do to bis enemies. He has declared that they shall not escape ; but that he will surely punish them. Thine hand shall find out all thine enemies, thy right hand shall find out all those that hate thee. Psalm xxi. 8. And repayeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them: he will not be slack to him that hateth him, he will repay him to his face. Deut. vii. 10. The Lord shall wound the head of his enemies, and the hairy scalp of such an one as goeth on still in his tresvasses. Psalm Ixviii. 21.
Yea, God hath sworn that he will be avenged on them; and that in a most awful and dreadful manner.
For I lift up my hand to heaven, and say, I live for ever. If I whet my glittering sword, and mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and I will reward them that hate me.
'I will make mine arrows drunk with blood, (and my sword shall devour flesh,) and that with the blood of the slain from the beginning of revenges on the enemy. Deut. xxxii. 40, 41, 42. The terribleness of the threatened destruction is here variously set forth. God “whets his glittering sword,” as one that prepares himself to do some great execution. 6 His hands take hold on judgment," to signify that he will surely reward them as they deserve. " He will render vengeance to his enemies, and reward them that hate him." i. e. He will sender their full reward. " I will make mine arrows-drunk with blood." This signifies the greatness of the destruction.
It shall not be a little of their blood that shall satisfy; but his arrows shall be glutted with their blood. “And his sword shall devour flesh.” That is, it shall make dreadful waste
, of it. This is the terrible manner in which God will one day rise up and execute vengeance on his enemies !
Again, the completeness of their destruction is represented in the following words : The wicked shall perish, the enemies of the Lord shall be as the fat of lambs, they shall consume : into smoke shall they consume away. Psalm xxxvii. 20. The fat of lambs, when it is burnt in the fire, burns all up; there is not so much as a cinder left; it all consumes into smoke. This represents the perfect destruction of God's enemies in his wrath. 'So God hath promised Christ; that he would make his enemies his footstool, Psalm cx. 1. i. e. He would pour the greatest contempt upon them, and as it were tread them under foot. Consider, that all these things will be executed on you, if you continue God's enemies.
God may justly withhold Mercy. If natural men are God's enemies, hence we may learn, how justly God may refuse to shew you mercy. For is God obliged to shew mercy to his enemies? Is God bound to set bis love on them that bave no love to him; but hate him with perfect hatred? Is he bound to come and dwell with them that have an aversion to him, and choose to keep at a distance from him, and fly from him as one that is hateful to them ? Even should you desire the salvation of your soul, is God bound to comply with your desires, when you always resist and oppose his will? Is God bound to put honour upon you, and to advance you to such dignity as to be a child of the King of kings, and the heir of glory, while at the same time you set him too low to have even the lowest place in your heart?
This doctrine affords a strong argument for the absolute sovereignty of God, with respect to the salvation of sinners. If God is pleased to shew mercy to his haters, it is certainly fit that he should do it in a sovereign way, without acting as any way obliged. God will shew mercy to his mortal enemies; but then he will not be bound, he will have his liberty to choose the objects of his mercy; to shew mercy to what enemy he pleases, and to punish and destroy which of his baters he pleases. And certainly this is a fit and reasonable thing. It is fit that God should distribute saving blessings in this way, and in no other, viz. in a sovereign and arbitrary way. And
that ever any body thought of or devised any other way for God to shew mercy, than to have mercy on whom he would have mercy, must arise from ignorance of their own hearts, whereby they were insensible what enemies they naturally are to God. But consider here the following things :
1. How causelessly you are enemies to God. You have no manner of reason for it,' either froin what God is, or from what he bas done. You have no reason for this from what he is. For he is an infinitely lovely and glorious Being; the fountain of all excellency, all that is amiable and lovely in the universe, is originally and eminently in him. Nothing can possibly be conceived of that could be lovely in God, that is not in him, and that in the greatest possible degree.
And you have no reason for this, from what God has done. For he has been a good and bountitul God to you. He has exercised abundance of kindness to you; bas carried you from the womb, preserved your life, taken care of you, and provided for you, all your life long. He has exercised great patience and long-suffering towards you. If it had not been for the kindness of God to you, what would have become of you ? What would have become of your body? And what, before this time, would have become of your soul? And you are now, every day, and hour, maintained by the goodness and bounty of God. Every new breath you draw, is a new gift of his to you. How causelessly then are you such dreadful enemies to God! And how justly might he for it eternally deprive you of all mercy, seeing you do thus requite God for his mercy and kindness to you !
2. Consider, how you would resent it, if others were such enemies to you, as you are to God. If they had their hearts so full of enmity to you; if they treated you with such contempt, and opposed you, as you do God; how would you resent it? Do you not find that you are apt greatly to resent it, when any oppose you, and shew an ill spirit towards you? And though you excuse your own enmity against God from your corrupt nature that you brought into the world with you, which you could not help; yet you do not excuse others for being enemies to you from their corrupt nature that they brought into the world, which they could not help; but are ready bitterly to resent it notwithstanding.
Consider therefore, if you, a poor, unworthy, unlovely creature, do so resent it, when you are hated, how may God justly resent it when you are enemies to him, an infinitely glorious Being; and a Being from whom you have received so much kindness!
3. How unreasonable is it for you to imagine that you can oblige God to have respect to you by any thing that you can do, continuing still to be his enemy. If you think you have