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Lastly, Consider what a God he is, with whom thou hast to do, whose wrath thou art liable unto : He is a God of infinite knowledge and wisdom; so that none of thy sins, however secret, can be hid from him. He infallibly finds out all means whereby wrath may be executed, toward the satisfying of justice. He is of infinite power, and so can do what he will against the sinner. How heavy must the strokes of wrath be, which are laid on by an omnipotent hand ! Infinite power can make the sinner prisoner, even when he is in his greatest rage against heaven. It can bring again the several parcels of dust out of the grave ; put them together again, reunite the soul ane the body, sist them before the tribunal, hurry them away to the pit, and hold them up with the one hand, through eternity, while they are lashed with the other. He is infinitely just; and, therefore, must punish: It were acting contrary to his nature to suffer the sinner to escape wrath. Hence the executing of this wrath is pleasing to him ; for though the Lord hath no delight in the death of the sinner, as it is the destruction of his own creature; yet he delights in it, as it is the execution of justice. “Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire, and brimstone, and an horrible tempest.”-Mark the reason, « For the righteous Lord loveth righteousness," Psal. xi.
“ I will cause my fury to rest upon them, and I will be comforted,” Ezek. v. 13. “ I also will laugh at your calamity,” Prov. i. 26. Finally; He lives for ever, to pursue the quarrel Let us therefore conclude, It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God!
Be awakened then, O young sinner; be awakened, O old sinner, who art yet in the state thou wast born in. Your security is none of God's allowance ; it is the sleep of death : Rise out of it ere the pit close its mouth on you. It is true, you may put on a breast-plate of iron ; make your bow brass, and your hearts as an adamant; who can help it? But God will break that brazen bow, and make that adamantine heart, at last, to fly into a thousand pieces. Ye may, if ye will, labour to put these things ont of your heads, that ye may yet sleep in a sound skin, though in a state of wrath. Ye may run away with the arrows sticking in your consciences to your work, to work them away;
to your beds, to sleep them out; or to company, to sport
and laugh them away ; but convictions so stifled, will have a fearful resurrection ; and the day is coming, when the arrows of wrath shall so stick in thy soul, as thou shalt never be able to pluck them out through the ages of eternity, unless thou take warning in time.
But if any desire to flee from the wrath to come, and, for that end, to know what course to take, I offer them these few advices, and obtest and beseech them, as they love their own souls, to fall in with them., (1.) Retire yourselves into some secret place, and there meditate on
your misery. Believe it, and fix your thoughts on it. Let each put the question to himself, How can I live in this state? How can I die in it? How will I rise again, and stand before the tribunal of God in it? (2.) Consider seriously the sin of your nature, heart, and life. A kindly sight of wrath flows from a deep sense of sin. They who see themselves exceeding sinful, will find no great difficulty to perceive themselves to be heirs of wrath. (3.) Labour to justify God in this matter.
To quarrel with God about it, and to rage like a wild bull in a net, will but fix you the more in it. Humiliation of soul, before the Lord, is necessary for an escape. God will not sell deliverance, but freely gives it to those who see themselves altogether unworthy of his favour. Lastly, Turn youreyes, o prisoners of hope, towardsthe Lord Jesus Christ; and embrace him as he offereth himselfin the gospel. There is no salvation in any other, Acts iv. 12. God is a consuming fire ; ye are children of wrath; if the Mediator interpose not betwixt him and you, ye are undone for ever. If ye would be safe, come under his shadow ; one drop of that wrath cannot fall there, for he delivereth us from the wrath to come, 1 Thess. i. 10. Accept of him in his covenant, wherein he offereth himself to thee; and so thou shalt, as the captive woman, redeem thy life, by marrying the Conqueror. His blood will quench that fire of wrath, which burns against thee ; in the white raiment of his righteousness thou shalt be safe ; for no .storm of wrath can pierce it.
II. I shall drop a few words to the saints.
First, Remember, that; at that time, (namely, when ye Were in your natural state,) ye were without Christ, having no hope, and without God in the world. Call to mind that state you were in formerly, and review the
misery of it. There are five memorials I may thence give into the whole assembly of the saints, who are no more children of wrath, but heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ, though as yet in their minority. (1.) Remember, that in the day our Lord took you by the hand, ye were in no better condition than others.. O what moved him to take you, when he passed by your neighbours ! he found you children of wrath, even as others; but he did not leave you so. He came into the common prison, where you lay in your fetters, even as others; and from amongst the multitude of condemned malefactors, he picked out you, commanded your fetters to be taken off, put a pardon in your hand, and brought you into the glorious liberty of the children of God, while he left others in the devil's fetters. (2.) Remember there was nothing in you to engage him to love you, in the day he first appeared for your deliverance. Ye were children of wrath, even as others, fit for hell, and altogether unfit for heaven; yet the King brought you into the palace; the King's Son made love to you, condemned criminals, and espoused you to himself, on the day in which ye might have been led forth to execution. “Even so, Father, for so it seemeth good in thy sight," Matth. 31 ix. 26. (3.) Remember, ye were fitter to be lothed than loved in that day. Wonder, that when he saw you in your blood, he looked not at you with abhorrence, and passed by you. Wonder that ever such a time could be a time of love, Ezek. xvi. 8. (4.) Remember, ye are decked with borrowed feathers. It is his comeliness which is upon you, ver. 14. It was he that took off your prison garments, and clothed you with robes of righteousness, garments of salvation ; garments wherewith ye are arrayed as the lilies, which toil not, neither do they spin. He took the chains from off your arms, the rope from here about your necks; put you in such a dress as ye may be fit for the court of heaven, even to eat at the King's table.ph (5.) Remember your faults this day; as Pharaoh's butler, L who had forgotten Joseph. Mind how you have forgotten, and how unkindly you have treated him, who re. membered you
your low estate. Is this your kindness to your friend? In the day of your deliverance, did ye think ye could have thus requited him, your Lord ?
Secondly, Pity the children of wrath, the world that
lies in wickedress. Can ye be unconcerned for them, ye who were once in the same condition? Ye have got ashore indeed, but your fellows are yet in hazard of perishing; and will not ye make them all possible help for their deliverance ? What they are, ye sometimes were, This
draw pity from you, and engage you to use all means for their recovery. See Tit. iii. 1, 2, 3.
Thirdly, Admire that matchless love, which brought you out of the state of wrath. Christ's love was active love, he loved thy soul from the pit of corruption. It was no easy work to purchase the life of the condemned sinner; but he gave his life for thy life. He gave his precious blood to quench that flame of wrath, which otherwise would have burnt thee up. Men get the best view of the stars from the bottom of a deep pit; from this pit of misery into which thou wast cast by the first Adam, thou mayest get the best view of the Sun of righcousness, in all his dimensions. He is the second Adam, who took thee out of the horrible pit, and out of the miry clay. How broad were the skirts of that love, which covered such a multi. tude of sins ! Behold the length of it, reaching from everlasting to everlasting, Psal. cii. 17. The depth of it, going so low as to deliver thee from the lowest hell, Psal. lxxxi. 13. The height of it, in raising thee up to sit in heavenly places, Eph. ii. 6.
Fourthly, Be humble, carry low sails, walk softly all your years. Be not proud of your gifts, graces, privileges, or attainments ; but remember ye were children of wrath, even as others. The peacock walks slowly, hangs down. his starry feathers, while he looks to his black feet. Look ye to the hole of the pit, whence ye are digged, walk humbly as it becomes free grace's debtors.
Lastly, Be wholly for your Lord. Every wife is ob. liged to be dutiful to her husband; but double ties lie upon her who was taken from a prison or a dunghill. If your Lord has delivered you from wrath, ye ought, upon that very account, to be wholly his ; to act for him, to suffer for him, and to do whatever he calls you to. The saints have no reason to complain of their lot in the world, whatever it be. Well may they bear the cross for him, by whom the curse was borne away from them. may
they bear the wrath of men in his cause, who .
has freed them from the wrath of God; and chearfully go to a fire for him, by whom hell-fire is quenched to them. Soul and body, and all thou hadst in the world, were sometimes under wrath ; he has removed that wrath, shall not all these be at his service? That thy soul is not overwhelmed with the wrath of God, is owing purely to Jesus Christ; and shall it not then be a temple for his Spirit? That thy heart is not filled with horror and despair, is owing to him only ; to whom then should it be devoted but to him alone? That thine eyes are not blinded with the smoke of the pit, thy hands are not fettered with chains of darkness, thy tongue is not broiling in the fire of hell, and thy feet are not standing in that lake which burns with fire and brimstone, is owing purely to Jesus Christ; and shall not these eyes be employed for him, these hands act for him, that tongue speak for him, and these feet speedily run his errands? To him who be. Heves that he was a child of wrath, even as others, but is now delivered by the blessed Jesus, nothing will ap pear too much, to do or suffer for his deliverer, when he has a fair call to it.
III. To conclude with a word to all : Let no man think lightly of sin, which lays the sinner open to the wrath of God. Let not the sin of our nature, which wreaths the yoke of God's wrath so early about our necks, seem a small thing in our eyes.
Fear the Lord, because of his dreadful wrath. Tremble at the thought of sin, against which God has such fiery indignation. Look on his wrath, and stand in awe, and sin not. Do you think this is to press you to slavish fear? If it were so, one had better be a slave to God with a trembling heart, than a free man to the devil, with a seared conscience and a heart of adamant. But it is not so, you may love him, and thus fear him too; yea, ye ought to do it though ye were saints of the first magnitude. See Psal. cxix. 10, Matth. x. 28. Luke xii. 5. Heb. xii. 28, 29. Although ye have passed the gulf of wrath, being in Jesus Christ, yet it is but reasonable your hearts shiver
, when ye look back to it. Your sin still deserves wrath, even as the sins of others; and it would be terrible to be in a fiery furnace; although by a miracle, we were sa fenced against it, as that it could not harm us.