« AnteriorContinuar »
law and the wrath of God by Jesus Christ, sustain these outward miseries, and die as well as others? Ans. Because the delivery is but imperfect; but when they shall be free from sin, they shall be free from all these. In the mean time there is a great difference betwixt them: for the sting of God's wrath as a judge is taken out of them to the godly, and they are not accomplishments of the threaten. ings of the covenant of works, Rom. vi. 14. but of those of the covenant of grace, Psal. Ixxxix. 31, 32, 33. and why may not the Lord take some of those things threatened under the covenant of works, and give them a gospel-die, and inflict them according to the second covenant, as well as he does with the commands, which they are still obliged to obey ?
Secondly, Let us consider what man is liable to in the world to come. He is liable to the pains of hell for ever. , There the Jordan of wrath will overflow all its banks, and that throughout eternal ages. These pains of hell consist in two things, the punishment of loss, and the punishment of sense.
1. In the punishment of loss. This is unspeakably great, and cannot be sufficiently set forth by the tongue of man. I shall only glance at it a little, without enlarging on particulars. (1.) They will lose all the good things which they enjoyed here in the world, their wealth, their riches, their profits and pleasures, and whatever things they set their heart on while here. (2.) The favourable presence and enjoyment of God and Christ. They will be for eyer banished from the beatific vision of God in glory. For he will say to them at the last day, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels,' Matth. xxv. 41. (3.) The blessed company and society of the holy angels and glorified saints in heaven, (4.) All the glory and blessedness above. (5.) All pity and compassion, having none to commiserate their condition, or regard their pain. (6.) All hope and expectation of deliverance and outgate from their misery. (7.) All possibility of deliverance from their torments. The door of the pit shall be shut upon them for ever, and their fetters shall never be loosed. Thus sinners in hell shall lose every thing that is good and agreeable, even God the chief good, and all the happiness he has prepared for them that love him.
2. In the punishment of sense. They shall suffer the most grievous torments both in soul and body, and that without intermission, for evermore. These torments are beyond expression, and our most fearful thoughts cannot equal the horror of them. • Who knows the power of thine anger?' says the Psalmist. No man can tell what those plagues and woes are which infinite justice and almighty power hath prepared for obstinate sinners. Othat we may be prevailed upon to flee from this wrath that is to come, that so we may not fall into the hands of the living God, and may not be made the dreadful objects of everlasting vengeance.
I conclude with a few inferences. - 1. See here the great evil of sin. Many reckon it but a small matter to transgress God's holy and righteous law. They can curse and swear, lie and steal, and commit many other enormous crimes, and yet have no trouble or remorse about it. But if they would consider the dreadful effects of sin, they would be of another mind. Sin is the worst of evils, and big with all kinds of evils whatsoever. It has brought a flood of miseries into the world, which has overflowed the whole creation, under the weight of which the earth and all its inhabitants are groaning. It is the great makebate between God and sinners; it has shut the door of access to God
upon us, and exposed us to his wrath and curse in this life and that which is to come.
2. Woful is the case of all who are in a state of nature. They are far from God; they have no interest in or fellowship with him ; they are under his wrath and curse, liable to all the miseries of this life, and to the vengeance of eternal fire in the world to come. They are fallen under the power and tyranny of the devil, and if mercy prevent not, shall dwell with him in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone for ever. Whatever your situation and circumstances in the world may be, O ye that are yet in your natural state, ye are in a miserable condition; for ye are without God, the fountain of all good. Ye may read, pray, and communicate, but ye can have no communion with God. Men may be pleased with and bless you ; but ye are under God's wrath and curse; and will continue so till ye by faith einbrace God in Christ as your God.
3. Lastly, Arise, Oye sinners who are yet in your natural state, and depart; for this is not your rest. Come to the
Lord Jesus, who alone can open the door of access to God, whose blood quenches the fire of wrath, and who can deliver from the curse of the law. Who would stay in a house ready to fall? who can sleep sound in a case where God is an enemy? Lay these things seriously to heart, and flee from the wrath ye lie under, for the plague is begun already; and speedily flee from the wrath to come: for it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
OF ELECTION TƠ ÉVERLASTING LIFE.
Eph. i. 3, 4, 5.-Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord
Jesus Christ who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. According as he hath chosen us in him, before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy, and without blame before him in love : having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will
"HE answer to the question, Did God leave all man
kind to perish in the state of sin and misery?' contains two heads of doctrine, of great importance in the Christian system, viz. the doctrine of election, and the covenant of grace, each of which I shall speak to distinctly. I shall discourse of the first from the text now read. In which we have,
1. A party brought out of their natural state into a state of salvation, ver. 3.-Who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places. For whereas by nature they were under the curse, now they are blessed, and that plentifully, with all blessings, not temporal only, but spiritual and heavenly, coming from heaven, and to be consummated there.
2. The person by whom they are brought into this state. It is by the Redeemer, as the purchaser. God the Father bestows them, as the Father of Christ, viz. for his sake. And they are blessed in Christ, upon the account of his merit, and coming from him as their Head.
3. Who those are whom God brings out of their natural state into a state of grace; the elect, ver. 4. 5. According as he hath chosen us in him, &c. Where consider,
(1.) Election itself, he hath chosen us, separated us from others in his purpose and decree, selected us from among the rest of mankind, whom he passed by and left to perish in their natural state.
(2.) That to which they are elected: that is, to salvation, and the means leading thereto. The means are, sanctification, that we should be holy, and without blame before him in love ; and adoption, ver. 5. that whereas they are by nature children of the devil, they should be children of God. The end is everlasting life in heaven; for that is imported in adoption, Rom. viii. 23. as the inheritance of the children of God.
(3.) Through whom this decree is to be executed, in him; that is, Christ, whom the Father chose to be the head of the elect, through whom he would save them.
(4.) When God elected them, before the foundation of the world, ere they were created, that is, from eternity; as appears from what our Lord says to his Father, John xvii. 24. * Thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world;" which can denote nothing else than from eternity.
(3.) That which moved him to elect them, according to the good pleasure of his will; that is, his mere good pleasure, so he would do it, and there was nothing without himself to move him thereto:
The words afford a foundation for the following doctrine. Doct. “ God left not all inankind to perish in the state of sin and misery, but having from all eternity elected some to everlasting life, brings them into a state of salvation by a Redeemer."
In illustrating this doctrine, I shall shew,
V. That all the elect, and only they, are in time brought out of a state of sin and misery into a state of salvation.
VI. By whom they are saved.
I. Our first business is, to shew what election is. It is that decree of God whereby some men are chosen out from among the rest of mankind, and appointed to obtain eternal life by Jesus Christ, flowing from the mere good pleasure of VOL. I.
God; as appears from the text. So the elect are they whom God has chosen to everlasting life, Acts xiii. 48. God seeing all mankind lost in Adam from all eternity, in his decree separated some from among them, to be redeemed by his Son, sanctified by his Spirit, and brought to glory.
Il. I proceed to shew who are elected. Who they are in particular, God only knows; but in general we say,
That it is not all men, but some only. For where all are taken, there is no choice made. To say that God has made choice, plainly imports that others are not chosen, but passed by. And so there is another party of men who are reprobated; that is, whom God has not chosen to life, but has decreed to let them lie in their natural state, and to damn them for their sins, Jude 4; whom he shews not saving merey unto, but hardens, they first hardening themselves, Rom. is. 18. Here is no injustice in God, seeing he might have left all to perish as well as some. This is also clear from plain scripture, Mat. xx. 16. • Many are called, but few chosen.' Whence also it is plain, that the elect are the lesser number of the world, Mat. vii. 13, 14. . Enter ye in at the strait gate (says Christ); for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction and many there be which go in thereat : Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.' They are a little flock, Luke xii. 32. Yet the efficacy of the Lord's love and Christ's death is more and greater than that of Adam's sin, seeing it is greater to save one soul than to ruin all. And further, the scripture teaches, that though God has his own of all sorts, yet it is not of those that are highest among men, and most honourable, that God has most made up this blessed company, 1 Cor. i, 26, 27, 28. ' Ye see your calling; how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called. But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are.
III. The next head is, to shew what they are chosen to.
1. They are chosen to be partakers of everlasting life. Hence the scripture speaks of some being ordained to eter