Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

I find all means ineffectual, they are entirely corrupt; therefore, I will convince them no more: I will spare them till they fill up their cup, and be fatned against the day of Naughter; but will never more convince them,or endeavour their conviction. And who can tell, but the Lord has this day pronounced the like sentence against the unconvinced sinners of Ceres, or some of them? Yonder is a people with whom I have long strive en, by the word, by providences, by motions of my spirit, and by secret checks of conscience, and yet they are not awakened, are not convinced : therefore I will strive no longer with them; I will either take them away with a deluge of wrath, as I did the old world; or I will take my ordinances from them, as I have done from other churches; or I will give my servants a commission to make their cars heavy, their hearts fat, and their eyes blind; and I will pronounce the barren fig-tree's curse against them. And that all this is not a mere empty bugbear, set up on purpose to fright you, will appear evident, if it be confi.' dered,

(5.) That this is the stated measure, the ordinary way, that the Lord has laid down, for proceeding with persons in that case; as ye will see if ye turn over to that terrible scripture, Heb. vi. 7, 8. The earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth bleffing from God; but that which beareth thorns and bri. ers, is rejected, and is nigh unto curfing, whose end is to be burned. Here is the stated and ordinary rule of God's procedure with sinners, who live under a gospel-dispensation; and that both with such as improve and with such as misimprove

it: the way that God takes with the first fort, the improvers of it, is this; he gives them the means, his word and ordinances, which, like the rain, come down from heaven, and have a fructifying efficacy, when they fall upon good ground; and, upon their bringing forth good fruit, called fruit that is meet for the use of him who dresleth it, he blesseth them. On the other hand, we have the carriage of God toward the rest, and their carriage toward him, plainly enough represented unto us; which I shall set before you in a few particulars. First, God gives them, as well as others, frequent showers; he gives them sometimes the means, and that in great plenty. Secondly, The generality of them use the means; both the one sort and the other is supposed to drink in the rain; for there is no doubt that these who openly reject the counsel of God against themselves, as the Pharisees and Scribes did of old, Luke vii. 30. shall be burnt up with unquenchable fire, Thirdly, Tho' this fort of persons we are now speaking of, drink in the rain, as did the other; yet herein are they differenced, they bring not forth fruit meet for the use of himn by whom they were thus watered; but on the contrary, they bring forth briers and thorns. That is plainly, the discoveries of sin did not con: vince them, the discoveries of danger did not awaken them, the influences of grace did not quicken them, but rather made them more stupid, more dead and unconcerned. Fourthly, Upon this ac. count the Lord rejects them; that is, he either gives over dealing with them entirely, or at least withdraws his blessing from the means. Fifthly, During the time of his forbearance, they are nigh

unto cursing; there is nothing to keep the curse ,' of God from them; it is fast upon its approach to

them;

them; they ly open to it, and are destined to the curfe. Therefore, in the sixth place, he burns such in the end. This, O sinners, is the ordinary way of the Lord's dealing with sinners. And now see and consider your own concernment in this: the Lord, as was said before, has often rained down upon you; ye have pretended to receive these showers, have been waiting upon the means; but have not brought forth good fruit ; nay, on the contrary, ye have brought forth briers and thorns: what reason have ye then to dread the consequence? Have ye not reason to fear that ye are rejected, and so nigh unto cursing, and that therefore your end is to be burned? And that all. this may not appear groundless, I offer this to your consideration, in the

(6.) Place, As God has laid down the rule just now mentioned, as that by which he has walked and will walk with all to whom he gives the gospel, I mean for ordinary ; so in his providence we find him dealing accordingly with sinners. I shall only lay before you two or three instances of God's dealing with finners according to this rule. The first is that of the old world. The Lord did deal long and particularly with them, by the i preaching of Noah, in order to their conviction: they were not convinced, but rather grew worse and worse; whereupon the Lord rejected them, gave over striving with them: and though he fpared them, Gen. vi. 3. yet it was not on a design of mercy, but only to suffer them to fill up their cup, that they might be without excuse, and

that their condemnation might be the more ter· rible. The second instance, is that of the church

of the Jews in our Lord's time. He preached to them, and endeavoured their conviction; but they

were

[ocr errors]

were not convinced; therefore he rejects them:
and though they had a while's respite, yet the
things that did belong to their peace were now e-
ternally hid from their eyes, Luke xix. 41, 42. as
himself tells them; and therefore they had no.
thing to look for, but judgment and fiery indigná-
tion. In fine, I might to the fame purpose fet be-
fore your eyes many instances in the gospel church
since the days of Christ, wherein the Lord has ex- '.
actly followed the same measures. Now, tell me,
O sinners, have ye not reason to fear from all
that has been laid before you, that ye shall sleep -
on, and never be convinced, never awakened?
but this is not all, for we must tell you,..

3. O unconvinced sinners, after all the pain's that has been taken upon you for your salvation, it is highly probable that ye shall never be saved. We have just now laid before you many reasons we have to fear, that ye who have shut your eyes fo long upon the discoveries of your sin and danger, shall never get them opened; and if they never be opened, then I may say that, as sure as God lives, not a foul of you shall be saved: For, (1.) If ye be not convinced, if ye get not your eyes opened, to see your fin and misery, ye will never lay sàlvation to heart, as appears from what has been already discoursed to you at great length, (2.)If ye lay not salvation to heart, then sure ye will never seek after, or look to a saviour for falva. tion. Such as think they fee, will not value eyesalve, such as think themselves rich enough, will not look after gold tried in the fire; such as see no hazard of damnation, will not seek after falvation. (3.) If ye be not seeking after a faviour, then though he come to you, yet will ye not receive him: nay, ye will reject him, and that with

con

[ocr errors]

contempt. And indeed it cannot otherwise be: who would not with scorn reject the offers of a physician, that should press upon hin healing me dicines, when he was not sensible of any disease? He is a fool that offers a pardon to a man who is not condemned, or his hand to help up a man who is not fallen; or water to wash a man that is not defiled: and such an one is Christ in the eyes of all that are not convinced. Such an one really he is in your eyes; and ye will be sure to treat him as such. (4.) The necessary consequence of this is, ye must be damned, ye cannot be faved; for there is no other way of obtaining eternal falvation, but only by Jesus Christ; for there is no other name given under heaven among men, where by finners can be saved, but only that of Jesus Christ, Aets iv. 12. And damnation is the eternal lot of all them that reject him, Mark xvi. 16. But further,

4. We say, Wo to you, O stupid, hard-hearted, and unconvinced sinners; for if ye shall be damned, your damnation will be most terrible, your state will be unspeakably miserable. And this will appear plain to any who seriously shall think upon it; for, (1.) Damnation at the best is most terrible. This we did make appear to you not long ago; and indeed though we had spoken nothing, the thing speaks for itself. What is terrible, if eternal burnings be not fo? Who can dwell . with devouring flames? Who can dwell with ever., lasting burnings? Who can abide the heat of the Tophet that is prepared of old, that is made large and deep, and has, for its, pile, fire and much wood, and the breath of the Almighty like a stream of brimstone kindling it? The coldest place there will be hot; the most tolerable place will be into.

lerables

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »