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whole land of Judea laid desolate with deepest distress, diffused and reigning among all the inhabitants of it: Above a million of them were actually slaughtered and consumed by fainine l and sword, as a sacrifice to the anger of God for their long provocatious, and the cruel barbarous murder of his Son Jesus. And wlien you have taken all these surveys, then tell me if such terse tors of the Lord do not give us sufficient warning what/urilinown agonies and destructions may be expected by obstinate and im penitent sinners from the hand of God, when the utmost limits of his patience restrain his wrath oo longer, but his wisdom gives a loose to all his fiery indignation. 2. To enforce this yet upon your hearts, think again of all the pains and torments of flesh and spirit, which arise from the disteiapers of body, and from the anguishi of soul, even in this present state of trial, this land of hope, this season of divine long-suffering. Go to the hospitals, where the gout and stone, and rheumatism, and a thousand maladies torture the nerves and the joints of men with intolerable start; and infer thence what God will inflict both on the flesh and spirit, or the soul and body of sinners, in the day of his complete vengeance, when bis offers of mercy and the years of his grace are come to their last period. Go and survey the fields of battle and slaugh ter, where thousands of the dead and the dying are mingled in confused heaps, and groan out their souls in long angush and extreme torture, with bruises and wounds, and all the sinarting effeets of the instruments of war. Now if all these things come ander the conduct of divine providence in a sinful world, which is yet in a way of hope, what may those resoly. ed ard obstinate rebels expect, when all the doors of hope are slut up for ever, and providence has nothing to do on earth on in hell, but to execute the vengeance of a God.
Shall we take one step yet further, and think of the inward pangs of conscience, which some awakened criminals have felt in this life on the account of sin, when the arrows of God have bei'n shot into their souls, and the prison thereof lies drinking up their spirits Think what dreadful ferments of passion and ruge, and hatred of God have been found in the hearts of some suful creatures, when they have grown mad with revenge against God, and against themselves, and envy against all their fellow
I vet again how terribly their misery must be aggravated, wlien tlie torture of everlasting despair attends all the rest of the pains and sbrrows thrysuffers and then say if the description of a future hell id the word of God jinay not be true and real hati anguish beyond all she power of present thought and languege, ipay seizeiausthe powers of wilful and impious rebels against the authority and the wysery of God, when all the stores of his yengegóce that davo: been treasuring up for many years, shall be poured out upon them without any mitigation or mixture of inercy.
IV. “ It is matter of surprize, and great astonishment, that thousands and ten thousands of the sinful children of men, from day to day, and from year to year, are walking on the borders of all this misery, apd yet are so thoughtless and unconcerned about it.” They carry peaceful and easy minds in the midst of this dreadful danger, and while they have all the symptoms of the children of wrath upon them, they live without fear, and make no effort toward their escape. Wretched creatures indeed? Whio have a mortal disease upon them that will breed this gnawing worm of conscience, that will grow up into all this anguish and distress, and yet are senseless of their own peril, unacquainted with their own state of soul, and are daily treading their eartbly rounds of business and of pleasure with a merry heart. All the heavy artillery of divine vengeance is ready to be discharged upon them as soon as the door of death opens and lets them into the invisible world ; and yet they walk on fearless and joyful, and have no guard or defence from all this misery, besides their own vain presumption. Stupid creatures, to lie down at night, and awake in the morning within an inch of hell, and yet secure and fearless! They live without God in the world, and that even in this land of light and hope, where he offers to visit them with all his graces; and yet they are hastening hourly to the eternal world, where they must meet and behold him in all his terrors.
:Will nothing awaken you, Oye obstinate transgressors against God, ye obstinate rejecters of his grace' and gospel ? Will nothing warn you to flee from the wrath to come. But just thus it was in the days of Noah ; the sinners of that generation would not hearken to that preacher of righteousness; and even when they saw the clouds of heaven grow big and black over their heads, and the rain began to be poured down from the skies, little did they imagine that it would have drowned the earth, ull they were overwhelmed with the rising destruction. Aod so shall it be in the days of the Son of man, when all the Warnings of the preachers have been despised, and the threatened vengeance of the book of God derided, when they have setz up for bold and witty scoffers, and impudently demanded, Where is the promise of his coming ; 2 Pet. iii. 4. Then shall the great and terrible day of the Lord come, and pour out upon then the full measure of wrath and indignationi jheid vir 191 nud evoll ds it not time, my friends, to bethink yourselves, whether this be your case? Is it not time for every one of us to examine duro sonls: Am I exposed to this danger'? Am I every mo mention the brink of ihis misery, and yet content to continute ser que sight or one day longer a Can I ever hope to escape the fary of a God, while I thus abuse his patience? Or can i brate
any expectation of living with hiin as my God hereafter, if I never seek after hiin here? Phe face of God, as a stranger in the world to come, carries infinite terrors in it, and yet we are content to be strangers to him, and to live without his acquaintance. The wrath of God abides upon every man who is unre" generate in this life, and who has not trusted in the name of the Son of God; John üi. 36. yet they are thoughtless of it, for they! feel it not; but the moment when they shall awake into the world of spirits, that wrath will be felt with sudden and dreadfál ans guish, as a most insupportable burden, and will crush all the powers of the soul into torment."
V: “ It deserves, and it demands our highest gratitude to the great God, our humblest acknowledgments and our most exalted praises to his majesty and his mercy, that we who have long ago deserved this misery, are not yet plunged into the midst of it :" That we have not been entirely cut off from the land of hope, and sent down to this destruction. Blessed be the name and the grace of God for ever and ever.
*** While there are thousands who have been sent down to the place of punishinent, whence there is no redemption before they had continued so long in sin as many of us have done, what a peculiar instance is it of divine long-suffering and goodness, that we are not actually put under the sting of this living worm, under this fiery vengeance from the hand of God What was there in us that should secure us from this destruction, while we continued in our state of guilt, rebellion and impénitence? Have we not seen many sioners on our righthand, and on our left, cut off in their sins, and to all appeara! ance they seem to be sent down to the place of sorrow? What** is it but the special mercy and distinguishing favour of God that* bás dealt thus kindly with us, and spared and saved us, week after week, and month after month, while we continued in our : iniquities, and has given us space for repentance and hope; What shall' we'render to the Lord for all his patience and long-suffering, even to this day? How often have we incurred the penalty of the law of God, and the fiery sentence of condemnation by our repeated iniquities, both against the anilivrity'. and the grace of God? And yet we are alive in his presence, and are hearing the words of hope and salvation. O let us look back and shudder at the thoughts of that dreadful precipice, on the edge of which we have so long wandered. Let us fly for i: escape to the refuge that is set us before us, and give a thousand glories to the divine mercy that we are not plunged into this perdition,
VI: Let us learn from this description of bell, aurt our im minent danger of it, “ the infinite value and worth of the gospel of Christ3" This gospel, whicli calls us aloud to fly from the
wrath to come, and points out to us the only effectual way to
escape it. What can all the riches of the Indies do to relieve ose | under the guilt and distress into which sin had brought us What can the favour of princes, and the flattering honours of the world do to rescue us from this danger? What can the highest gast of sensuality, and the most exquisite delights of flesh and blood do to secure us against this overwlielming mise-1 ry? It is only the gospel of the blessed Jesus is our refuge and our safety from the tremendous destruction.
“ What are the heights, and depths, and lengths of human soience, with all the boasted acquisitions of the brightest genius of mankind ? Learning and science can measure the globe, cap sound the depths of the sea, can compass the heavens, can mete out the distances of the sun and moon, and mark out the.? path of every twinkling star for many ages past or ages to come; but they cannot acquaint us with the way of salvation from this long, this endless distress. What are all the sublime reasonings of philosophers upon the abstruse and most difficult subjects? What is the whole circle of sciences which human wit and thought can trace out and comprehend ? Can they deliver us from the guilt of one sin ? Can they free us, from one of the terrors of the Almighty? Can they assuage the torment of a wounded spirit, or guard us from the impression of divine indignation ? Alas, they are all but trifles, in comparison of this blessed gospel, which saves us from eternal anguish and death.
“ It is the gospel that teaches us the holy skill to prevent this worm of conscience from gnawing the soul, and instructs us how to kill it in the seed and first springs of it, to mortify the corruptions of the heart, to resist the temptations of Satan, and where to wash away the guilt of sin. It is this blessed gospel that clearly discovers to us how we may guard against the fire of divide wrath, or rather how to secure our souls from becoming the fuel of it. It is this book that teaches us to sprinkle the blood of Christ on a guilty conscience by faith, that is, by receive : ing him as sipcere penitents, and thereby defends us from the augel of death and destruction. This is that experimental phi-, losophy of the saints in heaven, whereby they have been released .. from the bonds of their sins, bave been rescued from the curse ::: of the law, and been secured from the gnawing worm and the. devouring fire.
4. A serious meditation of hell in its exquisite pain and sorrow, will iptance our value of the salvation of Christ, and will exalt our esteem and honour of the love of God, who has deli.' vered us from eternal death. If we will but appoint our thoughts to dwell a little on the terrors and vengeance from which they blessed Jesus bas rescued us by his glorious undertaking, if we will stretch the powers of our soules and survey the lengths, and
the breadths, and the depths of this distress and misery whicla
we have deserved, this will discover to us the heights, and the - of
God, and was , that he might redeem us to the possession of an eternal blessing; Gal. iii. 23. This will shew us what exceeding riches of the grace of God, have been laid out upon us for our salvation. This will spread before us the unmeasurable love of Jesus, which has brought hin down from the bosom of his Father into such agonies as he sustained in the garden, and on the cross, that he might rescue us from the wrath to come. O what immense and endless debts of gratitude and love are due from every ransomed sinner, wbo has been released from the bonds of his guilt, and from all this wretchedness, by the love of God the Father, and
the grace of his Son Jesus Christ, to whom be glory and honour, and most exalted praise, for ever and ever!" Amen. *THER9H
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