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ven? Deut. iv. 11. How shall he be able to staand in that smoke, that afcended as the smoak of a furnace? Exod. xix. 18. How will he endure the terrible thunders, and lighinings, ver. 16. and dwell in the darkness, clouds and thick darkness > Deut. iv. 11. All these resemblances heaped together, do but faintly represent the fearful tempelt of wrath and indignation, which shall pursue the wicked to the Jowest hell: and for ever abide on them, who are driven to darkness at death.
Thirdly, Death roots up their delusive hopes of eternal happiness: then it is their covenant with death, and agreement with hell is broken They are awakned out of their golden dreams, and at length lift up their eyes; Job viii. 14. - Whose hope shall be cut off and whose trust thall be a fpi
der's web' .They trust all shall be well with them after death: but this their trust is but a web woven out of their own bowels, with a great deal of art and industry. They wrap themselves up
in this their hope, as the spider wraps herself in her web. But it is but a weak and flender defence ; for however it may withstand the threatnings of the word of God; death, that befom of destruction, will sweep them and is both away, so as there thall not be the least shred of it left them; but he, who this moment will not let bis hope go, shall next moment be utterly hopelets. Death overturns the house built on the land : it leaves no man un. der the power of delukon.
Lastly, Death makes their state abfolutely, and for ever hopeless. Matters cannot be retrieved and amended after death. For (1.) Time once gone can never be recalled. If cries or tears, price or pains, could bring time back again; the wicked man might have hope in his death. But tears of blood will not prevail; nor will his roaring for millions of ages, cause it to return. The fun will not (and still until the suggard awake, and enter on his journey; and when once it is gone down, he needs not expect the night to be turned into day for his fake; he must lodge thro' the long night of eternity, where his time left him. (2.) There is no returning to this life, to amend what is amifs: it is a state of probation and trial, which terminates at death: and therefore wecaopot return to it again; it is but once we thus live, and once we die. Death carries the
wicked man to his own place, Acts i. 25. This life is our working day: death closeth our day and our work together. We may readily imagine the wicked might have some hope in their death; if, after death has opened their eyes, they could return to life, and have but the trial of onė Sabbath, one offer of Christ, one day, or but one hour more, to make up their peace with God: but, man lieth down, and
riseth not till the heavensbe no more; they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep.' Job xiv. 12. Lastly, in the other world, men have no access to get their ruined Aaté and condition retrieved, if they never fo fain would. For • there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom • in the grave whither thou goest,' Ecclef. ix. 10. Now : man may flee from the wrath to come; now he may get into a refuge: but when once death has done its work, the door is lut: there are no more offers of mercy, no more pardons: where the tree is fallen, there it must ly.
Let what has been said be carefully pondered, and that it may
be of use, let me exhort you. First, To take heed that ye entertain no hopes of heaten, but what are built on a solid foundation : tremble to think what fair hopes of happiness death sweeps away like cobwebs; how the hopes of many are cut off, when they seem to themselves to be on the very threshold of heaven; how, in the moment they expected to be carried by angels into Abrahan's bosom, into the regions of bliss and peace, they are carried by devils into the society of the damned in hell, into the place of torment, and regions of horror. I beseech you to beware, (i.) Of a hope built up, where the ground was never cleared. The wise builder digged deep, Luke vi. 48. Were your hopes of beaven never Thaken; but ye have had good hopes all your days ? Alas for it; you may see the mystery of your case explained, Luke xi. 21. · When a strongman armed keepeth his palace, his goods
peace.' But if they have been shaken, take heedlest there have only fome breaches been made in the old building, which you have got repaired again, by ways and means of your own. I assure you, your hope (howsoever fair a building it) is not to trust to; unless your old hrpes have been razed, and you have built on a foundation quite new. (2.) Beware of that hope which looks brisk in the dark; but Joseth all its lustre when it is set in the light of God's word, when it is examined and tried by the touchstone of divine revelation, Johnii, 26.' For every one that doth evil, hateth • the light, neither cometh to the light. Jest his deeds should • be reproved Ver. 21. But he that doth the truth, conseth « to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, thar they ' are wrought in God.' That hope, which cannot abide fcripture trial, but sinks when searched into by sacred truth, is a delusion, and not a true hope : for God's word is always a friend to the graces of God's Spirit, and an enemy to delufion. . (3.) Beware of that hope, which stands without being supported by fcripture evidences. Alas! many are big with hopes, who cannot give, because they really have not any scripture grounds for them. Thou hopeft that all shall be well with thee after death : but what word of God is it, on which thou hast been caused to hope? Psal. cxix. 49. What scriprure evidence halt thou to prove, that thy hope is not the hope of the hypocrite? What halt thou, afierim. partial felt examination, as in the fight of God, found in thyself, which the word of God determines to be a súre evidence of his right to eternal life, who is poffessed of it? Numbers of men are ruined with such hopes as stand unsupported by scripture evidence. Men are fond and cenacious of these hopes; but death will throw them down and leave the self-deceiver hopele!s. Lastly, Beware of that hope of heaven, which doth not prepare and dispose you for heaven, which never makes your soul more holy, 1 Johniii. 3. • Every man that hath this hope in him, purifieth himself,
even as he is pure.' The hope of the most part of men is, rather a hope to be free of pain and forment in another life ; than a hope of true happiness, the nature whereof is not understood and discerned, and therefore it stakes down in sloth and indolence, and does not excite to mortification and a heavenly life. So far are they from hoping arigbe for hea. ven; that they must own, if they speak their genuine fentiments, removing out of this world into any other place whattoever, is rather their fear than their hope. The glory of the heavenly city does not at all draw their bearis upwards toward it: nor do they lift up their heads with joy, in the profpe&t of arriving at it. If they had the true hope of the marriage day, they would, as the bride, the lamb's
wise, be making themselves ready for it, Rev, xix. 7. But their hopes are produced by their sloth, and their noth is nourished by their hopes. Oh! Sirs, as ye would not be driven away hopeless in your death, beware of these hopes. Raze them now, and build on a new foundation ; lest death leave not one stone of them upon one another, and ye dever be able to hope any more.
Secondly, Halten, ( sinners, out of your wickedness, out of your
sinful state, and out of your wicked life : if ye would not at death be driven
wickednefs. Remember the fatal end of the wicked man, as the text represents it. I know there is a great difference in the death of the wicked, in respect of some circumstances : but all of them, in their death, agree in this, that they are driven away in their wickedness Some of them die refolutely, as if they fcorned to be afraid. Some in raging despair, fo filled with horror, that they cry out, as if they were already in hell: others in fullen defpondency, opprest with fears, insomuch, that their hearts are funk within them, upon the remembrance of mis spent time, and the view they have of eternity; having neither head nor beart to do any thing for their own relief. And others die stupid ; they lived like beasts, and they die like beasts, without any concern on their fpirits about their eternal state. They groan under their bodily distress, but have no sense of the danger of their souls. One may with almost as much prospect of success fpeak to a stone, as to fpeak to them : vain is the attempt to teach them, nothing that can be said moves them. To discourse to : them, either of the joys of heaven, or the torments of hell, is to plow on a rock, or beat the air. Some die like the foolish virgins, dreaming of beaven: their foreheads are steeled against the fears of hell, with presumptuous hopes of heaven. Their business, who would be uleiul to them, is not to answer doubts about the case of their souls; but to difpute them out of their falte hopes. But which way foever the unconverted man dies he is driven away in his wickedness. O dreadful cafe ! Oh, let the confideration of fo horrible a departure out of this world, move you to betake yourselves to Jesus Christ, as an all-sufficient Saviour, an Almighty Redeemer. Let it prevail to drive you out of your wickedness, to holiness of heart and life. Though you
reckon it pleasant to live in wickedness; you cannot but own it is bitter to die in it. And if you leave it not in time, you
go in your wickednets to hell, the proper place of it, that it may be set there in its own base. For when you are palling out of this world, all your fins, from the eldest to the youngest of them, will swarm about you, hang upon you, accompany you to the other world; and, as so many furies, surround you there for ever.
Lastly, O be concerned for others, especially for your relations, that they may not continue in their finful patural ftate, but be brought into a state of salvation ; left they be driven away in their wickedness at death. What would ye not do to prevent any of your friends dying an untimely and violent death? But alas ! do not ge see them in hazard of being driven away in their wickedness? Is not death approaching them, even the youngest of them? And are they not Atrangers to true Cristianity, remaining in that state in which they came into the world? Oh! make halte to pluck the brand out of the fire, before it be burnt to alhes. The death of relations often leaves a sting in the hearts of these they leave behind them; for that they do not do for their souls, as they had opportunity; and that now the op. portunity is forever taken out of their hands,
The State of the Godly in death, is a hopeful Stale.
We have seen the dark side of the cloud looking. to, wards ungodly men, passing out of the world; let us now take a view of the bright side of it, shining on the godly, as they are entring upon their eternal state. In discoursing this subject, I shall confirm this doctrine, answer an objection against it; and then make some practical improvement of the whole.
For confirmation, let it be observed, That although the passage out of this world by death, have a frightful aspect to poor mortals; and to miscarry in it must needs be of fatal consequence ; yet the following circumstances make the ftate of the godly in their death, happy and hopeful. T 3