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be hurried? you will fall downwards into sin, and grow worse and worse, till you be diabolized; as demure as you seem to be, you may commence persecutors, blasphemers, or atheists, and reach that height of impiety that now you shrug and tremble at; yea, you may commit the unpardonable sin against the Holy Ghost. You say now, God forbid, is thy servant a dog? So said Hazael; but how canst thou be secured? Thou hast no hold of God by faith, and God hath no hold of thee in a covenant relation, for thou wantest the graces of the covenant. Look to thyself, for God will not look to thee, till thou be his; and thou canst not look so to thyself, but thou mayest prove a profane Esau, a scoffing Ishmael, a betraying Judas: who knows where thou wilt stop, whither thou wilt run?
7. If you be not new creatures, you will meet with a woful disappointment. Oh remember the case of the foolish virgins, that too late found they had no oil in their lamps, or grace in their hearts; when the door was shut, and they were shut out, and cried, "Lord, open to us." Oh what an overwhelming word was that, "I know you not." It will not be loud cries, or heart-rending lamentations, that will pierce the ears of a righteous God. Oh think how dreadful it will be to go off the stage "with a lie in your right hand." To walk all your days by "sparks of your own kindling, and lie down in sorrow."* It would vex any man to be cheated with pebbles for pearls, flint for diamond. Men say, when they are deceived, they would rather have given three times as much, than to be thus overreached but thus it is with you, the devil imposeth on you, and lest you should see your mistake, he holds his black hand before your eyes, the god of this world
* Matt. xxv. 8-12. Isa. xliv. 20. 1. 11.
blindeth you, and carries you to hell in a golden dream, in a fool's paradise. It is a dreadful case, if your eyes be never opened till the flames of hell flash in your scorched faces. If there be no discovery till there be no remedy, as some diseases are past cure when they are known, a graceless life brings despair and death. O consider, poor sinner, what relief wilt thou have in thy dying groans? When this king of terrors, this grim sergeant lays his cold hand of arrest upon thee; oh what horror will seize upon thee! When thy fine spun hope must be as the spider's web, swept away with God's besom, or give up the ghost; when thou breathest thy last, what a dreadful case will thy soul be in? Alas! what wilt thou be profited shouldst thou gain the world, when God taketh away thy soul?* Thou hadst better die a dog, a toad, a serpent, or the vilest creature, than a man, if thou be not a new creature; for the upshot of their misery is but an inlet to thine; it is a sad case for a poor sinner to leave the world, and not know whither he is going; he must not stay, and he dares not die. If his eyes be opened, and he sees hell flames flashing in his eyes, oh, with what a shriek must his poor confounded soul descend into that infernal lake of fire and brimstone! this will be a day of desperate sorrow; Isa. viii. 22, when men shall "look to the earth, and behold trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish; and they shall be driven to darkness." Who can conceive duly of the astonishing horrors of a despairing soul!
8. Who can tell how quickly this anguish may seize upon you? you now live at ease, and fear not, because you feel no danger like Laish of old, and Rome at this day. But when you say, "Peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon you, as travail upon * Job xviii. 14. viii. 14. xi. 20. Matt. xvi. 26. Job xxvii. 8, 9.
a woman with child, and you shall not escape." It is a dreadful evil to be surprised. The poor, graceless sinner is not sure to be another night out of hell: such a voice may come to thee, as to that senseless, secure wretch, that reckoned upon years, "This night shall thy soul be required of thee." Poor sinner, thou art in continual danger, God is angry with thee every day,* and stands with his sword whet, and bow bent, and his arrows stringed, and directed to thy heart; yea, it will come as a shower, suddenly, violently, inevitably; upon the wicked "he shall rain fire and brimstone, yea, snares, and a horrible tempest," Psal. xi. 6. God, thine enemy, stands over thee as an enemy with a sword of vengeance in his hand, ready to cut thee in pieces; and though thou sleepest, yet "thy judgment of a long time sleeps not, nor does thy damnation slumber," 2 Pet. ii. 3. Oh, who would continue one hour in such a case, when thy life hangs in doubt, nay, thy immortal soul is hanging over hell by the small brittle thread of thy natural life. Surely if thou wert condemned and to be executed to-morrow, thou wouldst be much concerned to prevent or prepare for death. Oh sinner, bethink thyself, the Judge standeth before the door, James v. 9. Heaven or hell may attend the next step thou takest, the next breath thou breathest : for any thing thou knowest, the commission may be gone out, "cut it down, why cumbereth it the ground," Luke xiii. 7, 9. At least, it may be the last year, week, day, or hour of indulgence; madman that thou art, to stand in the place where all God's arrows fly: thou art the centre where all the curses of law and gospel meet. The Roman emperor wondered that a knight slept so securely, who was in great debt, and sent for his pillow. Surely thy pillow is very soft, or
* 1 Thess. v. 3. Luke xii. 19, 20. Psal. vii. 11, 12.
thy heart very hard, that can sleep under such debts to justice, and not fear an arrest to carry thee to the prison of hell. The plague is running on thee, and a "Lord have mercy on thee," is upon thy door, and will not this alarm thee to look about thee?
9. The possibility of this new creation will aggravate thy misery. Hadst thou lived in Turkey or India, and never heard of the first creation, or the fall, or means of recovery, or a possibility of being made new by the second Adam, thy case had been excusable, at least more tolerable; so saith our Saviour, "If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin, but now they have no cloak for their sin," John xv. 22. The old sinner must go into old Tophet, Isa. xxx. 33. And the lost man will have nothing to ease his torments, not a drop of honey in his bitter gall; there was to be no oil nor frankincense in the offering of jealousy, Numb. v. 15. Why so? because it was a memorial bringing iniquity to remembrance. Just so this dreadful memorial in hell will bring home the sinner's slighting of grace, hardening of his heart against the reproofs of the word, suggestions of the Spirit, checks of conscience, counsels of ministers, and all these shall be as scorpions to sting him, as oil to the flame, to make it burn hotter. Oh woe is me, will he say, ministers warned me, and told me of my danger, but I heeded them not; I did not believe that things would ever come to this pass. Oh that I had regarded the things that belong to my peace, but now it is too late, my day is over, my sun is set, the door is shut, the gulf is fixed, and my soul shut up in everlasting darkIf you remain impenitent, these will be your despairing groans another day. Oh take warning while it is called to-day; for there will be nothing to mitigate, but much to aggravate your miseries, and
thus those two scriptures are reconciled, Rev. xiv. 10, "The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture, into the cup of his indignation:" that is, without the least ingredient of comfort, no sugar in that bitter cup of wormwood. But it is said, Psal. lxxv. 8, "In the hand of the Lord there is a cup, and the wine is red, it is full of mixture:" that is, of dreadful ingredients, to aggravate the sorrows of the lost. Yea, these wicked souls shall drink the dregs thereof, and wring them out; that is, their hearts shall meditate terror, and their consciences shall force out the tormenting circumstances of their past lives, and that worm shall never die, but be gnawing at their heart-strings for evermore.
Lastly, You must undoubtedly be shut out of heaven, you live and die without this new creation. I told you, that this new creature prepares for heaven, I will now assign some reasons, why it is impossible any soul destitute of it, should go to heaven; it is indeed as possible for a devil to be saved as a poor, finally unregenerate sinner. Because,
(1.) A soul without this new creation, hath no interest inChrist; "for if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature," 2 Cor. v. 17. This is clear, and it is as clear that there is "no salvation in any other than in Christ," Acts iv. 12. You must mount to heaven alone; if you think to ascend any other way than upon the ladder of Jacob, as Constantine told Acesius long ago, it is a vain attempt, and mere folly not to say madness to divide asunder, what God hath joined so inviolably together; holiness and happiness, a new nature and a new state; if you rend them, God will rend you.
(2.) It is impossible you should walk in the way to heaven, without being new creatures, for the end can