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Psalm XXXII. Ver. 10.
Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the Lord, mercy shall compass him.
This Psalm, as you have often heard, is a psalm of instruction, wherein the prophet David, after he had showed wherein true blessedness did consist, even in the free forgiveness of sins, by not imputing them, which he afterwards affirmeth by his own experience in the three following verses, where he first showeth the miserable and woful estate of a man who hath not attained to the forgiveness of his sins, by his own woful estate, who being silent, and not confessing his sins, he found his bones consumed, no inward rest, yea, though he roared all the day, yet the hand of God (he confesseth) was heavy upon him, both day and night, so that his moisture was turned into the drought of summer: every thing in him was towards a confusion. Thereafter he showeth*, that when he had found the cause of his misery, his hardness of heart; then he resolveth to acknowledge and confess, yea that he confessed them, after which his repentance, he showeth God's infinite mercy, that presently his iniquities were forgiven, and he received into mercy. Which done, he proceedeth by his own experience, to invite all the faithful to a due consideration of these mercies, with assurance upon the like humiliation to have the like forgivenessb. From whence" he showeth (by his own experience) the great felicity of the faithful after forgiveness of sins, that then the Lord is unto them, a
• Psalm 32. ver. 5. b Ibid. ver. 6.
c Psalm. 32. ver. 7.
most secret and most sure place of refuge, whereunto in all extremities they have recourse, not only being freed from all trouble; but also compassed about with a joyful deliverance. Thend, knowing our frailty to go astray from this way of life, he showeth by his example, the duty of a good teacher, not only to give them a general warning of these things, but also to guide them with his eye, even to pierce into their private actions, to reform them also. But after this application (because of a brutish humour in every one by nature, which hindereth the practice of good things), he proceedeth* to the reprehension and exhortation itself, by two arguments; first showing a man to be a beast, who withstandeth correction, and instruction: secondly', he telleth such, that if, notwithstanding all these excellent instructions, by his own experience, leading unto true happiness, they would still continue like brute beasts: he now summeth up that which before he had threatened in the latter end of the ninth verse, that "Many sorrows shall be unto the wicked." The effect of which threatening, and reprehension, is briefly summed up by the wise man, "Untog the horse belongeth a whip, unto the ass a bridle; and a rod unto the fool's back." Whosoever will not be tamed by wholesome instructions, the Lord will put a snaffle, a bit, and a bridle in their mouths and turn them by force; they shall have many sorrows. Let all of us then learn for use hereof to labour to see this judgment betimes, which hangeth over our heads, and not to be thus blockish, like horses, and mules, who must be bound with bit and bridle. A wonderful thing it is that we who are reasonable creatures, should be thus beastly, but we see here, until we be instructed in the way of true happiness, we are worse than beasts, when if being taught, we refuse instruction, then shall we be used like beasts, bound with bit and bridle, his hook put into our nostrils, we shall have many sorrows. The wicked live all safe and think of nothing; they dream not of these sorrows; they
d Psalm 32. ver. 8.
vc Ibid. ver. 9.
of all others ought to trouble and fear; yet they of all others live most carelessly. The godly again, none ought so to rejoice, as they, being freed from these sorrows, and yet they most of all mourn, but if the wicked knew these many sorrows, they would not for all the world rejoice as they do. The children of God, for all this, although they mourn continually, yet have they not so much cause to sorrow as they think; for although (I confess), they wander, and walk through a valley of tears, finding no rest, environed with afflictions and crosses of all sorts, yet ought they to rejoice: for as the apostle to the Corinthians speakethh, when they are judged they are chastened of the Lord, because they should not be condemned with the world, because they should in the world to come be freed from these many sorrows.
Now we must understand that all sorts of sinners come not within the compass of these many sorrows, but wilful sinners, who refuse instruction, and will none of these wholesome instructions, but despise them all; to these many sorrows shall come, first because the God of consolation is their enemy; and he, being our enemy, oh! then whither shall we flee from his presence? It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of a consuming fire. Again, because their conscience is their enemy, they shall have many sorrows, for they are lulled asleep, and fear nothing, until the judgment cometh suddenly; and when the conscience thus sleepeth in security, then is it a most cruel, yea, a great deal worse than a terrible conscience, for a terrible conscience, being awaked, although it be a most grievous tormentor, yet knowing the danger, there is some hope, that at the last, after so great a storm, a calm may ensue; but the seared conscience, it sleepeth, until it be tumbled headlong into hell. So that I say the wicked they have terrors, they have many sorrows attending them. And now lastly to increase these sorrows, death cometh bringing innumerable, unspeakable sorrows, yea, bringing unto eternal destruction itself for evermore. Aye, but what of all
h 1 Cor. chap. 11. ver. 32.
this, is death the greatest sorrow the wicked shall have? oh no! it shall be but the beginning of these many sorrows. They shall with the same be cast into fire and brimstone, which shall be unto them a continual death, wherein they shall be tormented (saith the apostle to the Thessalonians') in flaming fire, striving continually like one in cruel pangs of torments, yet finding no issue, they shall be punished with everlasting perdition from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power. So saith our Saviour Christ, to the goats on his left hand, at the day of judgment, "Departk from me ye cursed, into everlasting fire, which is prepared for the devil and his angels:" there shall be weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth. There shall the wicked be sealed with the eternal stamp of God's wrath, which shall be upon them for ever, as a curse of his indignation. Yea there shall Balaam, that false prophet, who both cursed and blessed in his life, be, and all such wicked wilful sinners. If we be mules in this life, with seared consciences, all our peace shall at the length prove vain, and deceitful; it shall but lead us to this eternal fire, to be accursed for ever. But now let us further examine,
Wherein this curse standeth.
I. In want of all comforts to help.
First, if the loss of all earthly things in this life do so grieve us, if the want of them do so vex us here, what a curse will it be in the life to come, to be quite deprived of all kinds of comforts, when they shall not have so much as a cup of cold water to cool them withal. Oh! saith the rich man to Abraham, "have1 mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue: for I am tormented in this flame." But for all this content thyself, lazy rich man; enjoy now many sorrows for thy former pleasures, thy tongue shall not be cooled with one drop of cold water, and no more shall any the like sinners have, who as it is
12 Thess. chap. 1. ver. 8. k Matt. cap. 25.ver. 41.
'Luke, cap. 1G. vet. 24.
rn the last of Daniel, because they in this life were mules, and did wickedly, having no understanding, therefore shall they live in shame and perpetual contempt, they shall have many sorrows.
Let, therefore, the gallants of these days think now of these things, who mock and spurn at the ministers of the word and the professors thereof, who refuse to be instructed, casting his words behind them, running on in their lewd courses, for if they thus continue, they shall have a bit and a bridle to curb them: they shall at the last have many sorrows.
Secondly, the aggravation of this curse shall be much the greater when the wicked shall consider how that then they are deprived from all hope of recovery to escape those torments. I say it shall increase their sorrow, when they shall remember, what mules they were in this life, how often the message of peace was brought unto them, yet would they not be reconciled. The bitter gnawing remembrance of these things shall also continually torture and rack them with continual sorrow.
Thirdly, they shall be for ever frustrate from the presence of God, they shall never more see his face. If to be banished from the presence of a prince it causeth so great sorrow, and many times death, what sorrows and how many deaths shall it be then, to be banished from the presence of the King and Prince of Glory? There shall be (saith our Saviour Christ) weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth, when you shall see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of Heaven, and yourselves shut out of doors. The felicity of the faithful shall also help to increase this curse, they being no partakers hereof; as it is in the last of the Revelations, " ForTM without shall be dogs, enchanters, whoremongers, murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth or maketh lies." What a grief shall this be, to be excluded from the presence of God, and the society of his saints. And if Absalom", I pray you,
Rev. chap. 22. ver. 15.
"2 Sam. chap. 14. ver. 32.