Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

hold thee. If ye fay, Surely the darkness shall coa ver you, even the night shall be light about you ; for the darkness hideth not from him, but the night Jhineth as the day, the darkness and the light are both alike to him, Pfal. cxxxix. 7. - 12. There is no darkness nor shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity may hide themfelves, Job xxxiv. 22. from his eye, or secure themselves against the inquiry God will make, or the strokes that his almighty arm will in Aict. Punished then sinners must be. And if ye ask, what satisfaction will he have of fuch sinners ? I answer,

1. He will have you punished in your estates, by a forfeiture of all. You invaded God's poffefsion; he will cast you out of yours. This is the ordinary punishment of rebellion; and we have proven you guilty of rebellion of the worst fort. Man, when God made him, was master of a fair estate. The fons of men now may value theinfelves upon fome petty tenements which many of them hold by no good right, as we shall see anon; but none of them can vy poffefsions with Adam in innocency. He had a paradise replenithed with all the rarities of innocent, of incorrupted nature, 'all the delicacies which the earth did yield, before it lost its strength by that curse which man's disobedience brought it under, while it was impregnated by the blessing of God: and as he had this in possession, so he had heaven in expectation, a noble and seemingly unfailing prospect of a paradise above, · This was Adam's estate; and this should have been the estate of his posterity, his descendants : but all is forfeited by sin. Had Adam stood, he had then transmitted to us a goodJy heritage, and none should have had reason to complain of his poffeffion: but now we have by

fin forfeited all; we have no estate, no heritage. O sinners, by your fin ye have lost the right to all your enjoyments here, and all prospect of any comfortable being hereafter. Adam when he sin ned was banished out of paradise, and that was guarded against him.

But ye will say, We are not forfeited; for we enjoy houses, lands, meat and clothing, and a great many other such things : how can ye then say that we lost all; by what means get we these things ?

I'answer, (1.) A rebel sentenced to die, is by the king allowed food, raiment, and other necesfaries for the sustentation of nature, till the time of the execution come: just fo, God, for holy ends not now to be enquired into, having reprived man for a while, suffers him to enjoy some such things, till he see meet to put the sentence of death in execution, and then the forfeiture will take place. (2.) We say, ye have no right to any enjoyment save that just now mentioned. The grant whereby innocent man held all his possessions, was the Covenant of works: this was the ground of his fe- ." curity as to what he possessed, and the foundation of his hope as to what he further expected. Now,, this covenant being broken by your sin, ye have no more right to any enjoyment. (3.) As ye have already lost the right and title, so ye have lost the sweetness of all your enjoyments. Ye toil and liveat, but ye are not satisfied. What profit have ye of all your labour under the sun ? It is not able to give you fatisfaction. This we have at great length made appear in our lectures upon Ecclesialtes. (4.) To conclude, in a very little ye will be entirely deprived of all. The day of the execution of the sentence draws an, when God will Inatch all your enjoyments out of your hands. Now

indeed, some have more, and some have less, according to the pleasure of the great Judge, who has allowed every one their portion, till the day of execution come, and then all will go.

2. God, at whose instance ye have been impeached of fin, will have satisfaction in the death of the offenders. God threatened death to Adam in paradise : In the day that thou eatest thereof thou Malt surely die, or, dying thou malt die, Gen. ii. 17. and the soul that finneth Mall die, faith the Lord by the prophet, Ezek. xviii. 20. for the wages of sin is death. This is not to be limited to a natural death; no, but is of a huge extent. It takes in a threefold death, a death fpiritual, natural, eternal. Man in innocency had a threefold life, either in possession or prospect. (1.) A spiritual life, which consisted in the union of his soul to God, in a measure suited to his present condition, and in the fitness of all his faculties and powers for acting and doing what was well pleasing unto God. (2.) A natural life, • which consisted in the union of soul and body.

That lovely pair, his innocent soul and pure body, were matched together, and linked to one another by a thought surpassing art; so that they had a most near alliance, being compacted into one person, by a ty so strong, aș to occasion a notable sympathy; and yet so secret, that no eye could ever fee, no mind ever discover this imperceptible chain. (3.) Man had then a fair prospect of eternal life, in a full and close union to God, never to admit of any interruption, or of any such inter position, as was between man and hiin in this lower world. But now upon his sin, he lost all by virtue of the primitive threatening of death to the soul that sins. Answerably hereunto, God

will have you punished with a threefold death. O finners, his heart will not pity you, his eye will not spare you. You are already condemned to die. He that believeth not, that is, every sinner by nature is condemned already, says the spirit of God. Nay more, ye are not only condemned already, O sinners, but moreover the execution is begun';' the fire of God's wrath is already kindled against you; there are some drops begun to fall, before the shower come that will entirely destroy you. (1.) You are spiritually dead. I speak to all of you who are not savingly changed by grace, being begotten again from the dead, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. You are dead in trespasses and fins, utterly unmeet to entertain communion and fellowship with God. As a dead man cannot speak, act, or exercise any vital power; so neither canye act any thing that is spiritually good, or well pleasing to God. This is a heavy punishment, though as yet ye be not sensible of it. (2.) Natural death, 'that consists in the separation of the foul from the body, is already begun. Every disease that seizes upon our bodies, is like the posts that run to meet another, to tell the king of Babylon, that his city was taken at one end, Jer. li. 31. Every disease makes a breach in our walls, and tells that all will in a little fall down flat. Your very life is nothing else but a succession of dying: every day and hour wears away part of it; and so far as it is already spent, so far are ye already dead and buried. Diseases and natural decays do lay close fiege as it were to your bodies, routing their guards, battering the walls of your Aesh, and forcing your souls to quite the out-works, and retire. into the heart: and every minute, ye have reason to fear that ye may be taken in and become a

.. prey

prey to death. In one word, O finners, ye are the mark at which justice shoots its arrows. Do not ye fee fometimes the arrow flee over your head, and say some great person your fùperior? Sometimes it lights at your feet, and kills a ehild or a servant, or those who are inferior; sometimes it passeth by your left hand, and kills an enemy,at whose death poslibly ye rejoice; and anon it strikes the friend of your right hand; and possibly the very next arrow may strike you dead, be ye young or old, eternally dead, and hurry you into hell.

3. Your death will not do all; this punishment reaches your honours. Rebels are wont to have their honours torn: and so God has determined with respect to you, O finners. Man was in his first estate advanced to a high dignity, he was the friend as well as subject of God; and he was his deputy in this lower world, as the Plalmist tells us. 7 hou madeft him to have dominion over the works of thy hand; thou hast put all things under his feet, all Meep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field, the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, Pfal. viii. 5. Thus was he crowned with glory and honour: but now, O finners, the sentence is past against all the race of sinful Adam: thus faith the Lord, Reinove the diadem, and take off the :crorun from the head of sinners. The crown is

fallen indeed from your head. Now, tell me, O sinners, do not ye already feel the direful effects of this part of your punishment? These beasts which were once man's subjects, are now turned his enemies, because he is God's enemy. . Do not the very fiies insult you, and make sometimes your life uneasy? Do not the wild beasts of the field terrify you? Are not some of them daily making inroads upon you, devouring your cattle,


« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »