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he now folaces himself in his feparation from God, what will they do for him? they will not be able to ftay his fleeting and fainting foul. We must rise again. Will the gods ye now ferve help you then? Will the fea, the rocks, or mountains, fall on him, will the earth cover him, who to enjoy it incurred a feparation from God? No, no! O ungrateful earth, that the man confumed time, heart, and ftrength upon, while his days lafted, that will not take part with him, now when he is not able to do for himfelf. We must stand before his tribunal, and come near before his throne for judgement, whofe prefence we now forfeit for the satisfying of our lufts. What will comfort us then, when we fee we have paffed this partial state of separation from God, as a fhort preface to an eternal feparation from him.

III. I AM now to inquire, How fin makes this feparation betwixt God and a foul?

1. There is the guilt of fin, whereby the finner is bound over to mifery for his fin. God, from vindicative justice, acts against the wicked; and this juftice of his naturally requires punishment to be inflicted on the finner, according to the law. Hence, when Adam finned, a flaming fword was fet to keep him off from the tree of life. The enjoyment of God is the greatest good; now, justice will not permit this, while guilt remains untaken away; and therefore, feparation from God neceffarily follows. As to the godly, by their guilt they are bound over to fatherly anger and chastisements, whereof that partial feparation from God is the chief part.

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2. There is the ftain and defilement of fin. Now, God is of purer eyes than to behold evil. holy finner cannot have communion with a holy God; and in regard that some are altogether polluted, they are therefore altogether feparated from


God. Others are only in part polluted, by reafon of fome one or more fins regarded in their hearts; therefore are under that partial feparation, Pfal. lxvi. 18. "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me." The leper, for his uncleannefs, was put without the camp; fo is the finner. They only are admitted to stand in the holy place, who have clean hands and a pure heart, Pfal. xxiv. 4. Hence fays James, chap. iv. 8. . "Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you cleanse your hands, ye finners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded."---It remains,

IV. THAT I make fome practical improvement from this fubject. We have,

1. An use of information. We may hence fee, (1.) That it is fin which makes a land weak, mean, and contemptible, and is the caufe of all national calamity; for fin feparates between them and their God. Then their ftrength is departed from them; and therefore, though the people fhould unite with one another, there is little good to be expected fo long as fuch abominations abound in the land, fetting God against us. O that we might fee the day, when, uniting with Heaven, we might be zealously affected in reformation, and the heaven-daring abominations that abound, in principle and practice, be zealously fuppreffed. But every one minds their own things, few the things that are Christ's. (2.) Why fo few have communion with God in ordinances, public, private, and fecret. Are there not many at public ordinances dead and lifeless, fitting like idols that have eyes and see not, hands but handle not? Why, fin has separated between God and them. Hence they go as they came; no intercourse with God. The Lord goes by them, and comes by them, fpeaks to the hearts of others, but not to them. They cannot walk together; for


they are not agreed. (3.) Why fo many flight religious duties? Some will not bow a knee to God; they will not commune with their hearts, nor converse with God. Sin hath feparated them; and what pleasure can they take to converse with an enemy, or one that has turned his back to them? Hence fome are not afraid of any company fo much as themselves; and therefore, if their consciences begin to fpeak, they labour fome way or other to divert it. (4.) Whence is the root or cause of all the mifery profeffors are lying under at this day? Security, barrennefs, withering, defertion, and the like. What wonder that it be fo? They may thank themselves for the whole. It is their dallying with fome bofom-idol, their grieving the Spirit, and flighting his motions and convictions, their worldlinefs and unwatchfulness: these are the root, the cause of all their mifery.

2. An use of exhortation. (1.) To those who enjoy nearness to God. O beware of fin! If ye give way to it, it will foon turn your wine into water, and overcloud your enjoyments. Live at a distance from it; for it is the very thing from which you are in fuch great hazard. (2.) To thofe who are by their fins feparated from God. Break off your courfe of fin, continue not in it. Is not the feparation-wall high enough, and thick enough already? what needs more be added? What shall you do to get the feparation taken away?--Lay hold on the Lord Jefus by faith, Ifa. xxvii. 5. " Let him take hold of my ftrength, that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me." Jefus is the ladder that knits heaven and earth together. It is by him that God reconciles the world to himself. His blood takes away both guilt and pollution. It purges the confcience from dead works to ferve the living God. Though God VOL. I.



hears not finners, yet in Chrift he is well pleased; and through him they may find access to, and acceptance with him. He is our peace: He is the Mediator between God aud man.-Repent, and turn from your fins. There is no concord between Chrift and belial. To enjoy both God and your lufts is impoffible; ye fhall as foon bring together the two poles. However fome make a

mock of fin now, yet it has feparated, and will feparate them from God eternally, if they separate not from it.





Matth. xxi. 29. He answered and faid, I will not; but afterwards he repented, and went.

HE fcope of this parable is to fhew, that

Tmany who have been the vileft of finners re

pent, and go to heaven, when others, who, though they have a profeffion of religion, never go farther than a mere profeffion, and fo fall fhort; partly, alfo, to fhew that many who had been publicans and harlots are now in a better case than the Chief Priests and Scribes. To convince of this, Chrift spoke the parable before us.-For understanding of which, I would notice, that the man in the parable reprefents God; the two fons, two different forts of people among the Jews. Both had the gofpel-call by John the baptift. The first of the fons points out the publicans and harlots, who, though

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• Delivered on Saturday, 31ft July 1714.

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