« AnteriorContinuar »
least abatement of the horror, nor the least inch of torment taken away throughout all eternity. It was a poor request of Dives, one would think, that " Lazarus1' would dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool his tongue." A cold comfort, but one drop of water for the present, which would soon be dried, and yet that is denied him, he must have no abatement of his torment. Nor is there any abatement of thy feeling, but thou art kept in full strength; and as long as God is God, shall Tophet burn, and thou feel it.
Obj. But, may some say, this is preaching indeed, this would affright a man, and make him go hang himself sooner than be converted.
Sol. True, should God let loose the cord of our conscience, it were the way, such would be the terrors of it, to make a man find another cord, did not God restrain him. I desire not by this to hurt you, but to save you. I am a messenger not sent from Abrahamq, as Dives entreated, but from the God of Abraham, to forewarn you that you come not to that place of torment.
But now, beloved, there is a way to escape this misery, and that is by Jesus Christ. He was for this end called Jesus, "becauser he saves his people from their sins." And consequently from wrath: which how it is done I shall shew in a word, and that is
1. By Christ Jesus offered for us. And
2. By Christ Jesus offered to us.
By Christ offered for us, he must die for us, and if there be any death more cursed than other, that death must he die; if any more painful, that must he suffer. Thus he undertakes thy cause and suffers what for sin was due to thee.
And then being offered for us, he is offered to us, as we may see in the sacrament, where there are two acts of the minister, the one the breaking the bread, the other the offering it to the people. Thou hast as good warrant
p Luke, chap. 16. ver. 14. i Ibid. ver. 27.
r Matth. chap. 1. ver. 21.
to take Christ offered, as thou hast to take the bread and wine, which thou art commanded to receive. Thus I thought good to add something to sweeten the rest, that I might shew that there is a way to be freed from the bitter pains of eternal death.
Phil. Chap. II. Ver. 5, 6, 7, 8.
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
You have heretofore heard that point of Christian doctrine which concerns the knowledge of our misery, and wretched estate by nature. The substance of all is, that we are the children of wrath and disobedience, as well as others. You see then in what state every man stands, before he hath made his peace with God, as long as he stands on terms of rebellion. You see what the Holy Ghost saith: "We were all the sons of disobedience, and children of wrath as well as others." This I tell you, as hath often been declared, not to discourage a sinner, or to drive him to desperation, but because it is fit he should know his estate in which he is. If they will try conclusions with God, if they oppose him, the Lord cometh with a "rod* of iron, and will break them in pieces like a potter's vessel;" " Thoseb mine enemies that will not have me to reign over them, bring them, and slay them before me." It is fit every man should know this; this part is only for this end, that it may awaken us; otherwise to what purpose do we preach unto you? Till the law awaken us, we sleek securely in our sins, till the dreadful trumpet of Mount Sinai comes with thundering and light ning: "Awake0 thou that sleepest," &c. Unless this awaken us, in what case are we? Sinful men are as sleepers, that are a dreaming, as the apostle speaksd. A sleeping sinner will be a dreaming sinner; he never sees things as they are in their proper shape: but he thinks with the church of Laodicea, "That he is rich, and wants nothing; whereas he is poor, miserable, blind and naked." He thinks he shall be admitted into heaven as soon as the proudest: but this is a dream; "Ase the hungry man dreameth, and behold he eateth; but when he awakes behold he is empty: or as a thirsty man that dreams he drinketh; but awakes, and behold he is faint." Thus it is with us, we think we are entering upon the suburbs of heaven, and yet we are but in a dream, and in a sleep.
* Psalm 2. ver. 9.
b Luke, chap. 19. ver. 27.
Now being thus awaked, consider with thyself what thou hast to do, when the dreadful trumpet of the law hath awakened thee, consider thy state; if thou sleepest this night in thy sins, perhaps hell fire may be thy portion before the morning. It were better for thee therefore to awake, before the flames of hell fire awake thee. Consider likewise that thou must not be led by thyself, thou must renounce thine own will. Our estates may be pleasing unto us, to enjoy in a dream our heart's lusts here on earth; but consider, unless thou cross thy will here, it shall be crossed hereafter: yea, it shall be the main cross a man shall have in hell, besides the eternal weight of God's wrath, that he can will or desire nothing, but he shall be crossed in it: not the least thing he desires, but he shall have the contrary, world without end: learn then what a woful thing it is to be our own lords, to follow our own lusts and pleasures, see what we shall gain by it: never shalt thou enjoy the least portion of thy will in the world to come; if thou wouldst have but a drop of cold water, thou shalt be crossed in it. There is nothing thou desirest but thou shalt have the opposite to it.
0 Ephes. chap. 5. ver. 14. • Isaiah, chap. 29. ver. 8.
d Jude,ver. 8.
Thus, having truly and plainly shewed our sinfulness, wretchedness, and cursedness by nature, I come unto the second part which I proposed, to wit: Our remedy, or our redemption by Christ. And God forbid that he should create man the best of his visible creatures for destruction: "What' gain and profit is there in our blood? God is full of grace and compassion, and he considers that we are but dust." And happy are we that we are but dust, Had we been more glorious creatures, as angels, we had not had the benefit of a saviour. When they rebelled, God considered their metal; and as with an high hand they rebelled, "So8 the Lord reserved them in everlasting chains under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day." They fell without a redeemer; it is well for us that God considereth that we are but dust; "Forh by Jesus Christ he delivereth us from the wrath to come." It had been better for us never to have been born, than to be born firebrands of hell. But now the point is, that we are "brands1 plucked out of the fire." It is fit therefore we should know who is our redeemer.
Now, as I have shewed you the last day, it is Jesus Christ: and here consider,
1. That Christ Jesus was offered for us, for the satisfaction of God's justice, and this is his priestly office.
2. As there was no "remission^ without shedding of blood," therefore after the blood is shed, and the priest offered himself, there comes a second thing, else we are never the better: and that is Christ offered to us: this makes up our comfort. Many talk of the extent of Christ's death and passion, saying, he died sufficiently for us, which is an improper speech: for what comfort were this, that Christ was offered for us, if there were no more? A bare sufficiency in Christ serves not the turn: this were a cold comfort: as if a man that were in debt, and afraid of every serjeant and every sheriff, should be
'Psalm 30. ver. 9.
8 Jude, ver. 3. 1 Thess. chap. 1. ver. 10.
h 1 Thess. chap. 1. ver. 10. 1 Zach. chap. 3. ver. 2.
1 Hebr. chap. 9. ver. 22.