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tongues, Luke xvi. 24, 25. They fhall be punished with the punishment of fenfe. They must not only depart from God; but depart into fire, into everlafting fire. There the worm, that fhall gnaw them, fhall never die; the fire, that fhall fcorch them, fhall never be quenched. God fhall, thro' all eternity, hold them up with the one hand, and pour the full vials of wrath into them with the other.

This is that ftate of wrath natural men live in; being under much of the wrath of God, and liable to more. But for a further view of it, let us confider the qualities of that wrath (1.) It is irrefiftible, there is no standing before it. Who may stand in thy fight, when once thou art angry? Pfal. lxxxvi. 7. Can the worm, or the math, defend itself against him that defigns to crush it? As little can worm man stand before an angry God. Foolish man indeed practically bids a defiance to heaven: but the Lord often, even in this world, opens fuch fluices of wrath upon them, as all their might cannot ftop; but they are carried away thereby, as with a flood. How much more will it be fo in hell? (2.) It is unfupportable. What one cannot refift, he will fet himself to bears, but, Who fhait dwell with devouring fire? Who Shall dwell with everlasting burnings? God's wrath is a weight that will fink men into the lowest hell. It is a burden no man is able to ftand under. A wounded spirit who can bear it? Prov. xviii. 14. (3.) It is unavoidable to fuch as will go on impenitently in their finful courfe. He that being often reproved, hardneth his neck, fhall fuddenly be deftroyed, and that without remedy, Prov. xxix_1. We may now fly from it indeed, by flying to Jefus Chrift: but fuch as fly from Christ, fhall never be able to avoid it. Whither can men fly from an avenging God? Where will they find a thelter? The hills will not hear them; the mountains will be deaf to their loudeft cries; when they cry to them, to hide them from the wrath of the Lamb. (4.) It is powerful and fierce wrath, Pfal. xc. 11. Who knoweth the power of thine anger? Even according to thy fear, fo is thy wrath. We are apt to fear the wrath of man more than we ought: but no man can apprehend the wrath of God to be more dreadful than it really is: the power of it can never be known to the utmoft; feeing it is infinite, and (properly fpeaking) has no utmoft: how fierce foever it be, either on earth, or in hell, God can ftill carry it further. Every thing in God is most perfect in its kind; and therefore no wrath is fo fierce as his. O finner, how wilt thou be able to endure that wrath, which will tear thee in pieces, Pfal. 1. 22. and grind thee to powder, Luke xx 18. The hiftory of the two fhe-bears, that tare the children of Bethel, is an awful one, 2 Kings ii. 23, 24. But the united force of the rage of lions, leopards, and the bears bereaved of their whelps, is not fufficient to give us even a fcanty view of the power of the wrath of God, Hof. xiii. 7, 8. Therefore I will be unto them as a lion ; as a leopard by the way will I obferve them. I will meet them as a bear that is bereaved of her whelps, and will rent the caul of their heart, &c. (5) It is penetrating and piercing wrath. It is burning wrath, and

frey indignation. There is no pain more exquifite, than that which is caufed by fire; and no fire fo piercing as the fire of God's indignation, that burns into the lowest hell, Deut. xxxii. 22. The arrows of men's wrath can pierce flesh, blood and bones: but cannot reach the foul: but the wrath of God will fink into the foul, and fo pierce a man in the most tender part. Like as, when a perfon is thunderftruck, oft-times there is not a wound to be seen in the fkin; yet life is gone, and the bones are, as it were, melted: fo God's wrath can penetrate into, and melt one's foul within him, when his earthly comforts ftand about him entire, and untouched as in Belshazzar's cafe, Dan. v. 6. (6.) It is conftant wrath, running parallel with the man's continuance in an unregenerate state; conftantly attending him, from the womb to the grave. There are few fo dark days, but the fun fometimes looketh out from under the clouds: but the wrath of God, is an abiding cloud on the fubjects of it, John iii 36. The wrath of God abideth on him that believes not. (7.) It is eternal. O miferable foul! If thou fly not from this wrath unto Jefus Chrift, thy mifery had a beginning, but it fhall never have an end. Should devouring death wholly fwallow thee up, and for ever hold thee faft in a grave; it would be kind, but thou must live again, and never die; that thoi mayst be ever dying, in the hands of the living God. Cold death will quench the flame of man's wrath against us, if nothing else do it: but God's wrath, when it has come on the finner, millions of ages will ftill be the wrath to come, Matth. iii, 7. 1 Theff. i. 10. As the water of a river is ftill coming, how much foever of it has paffed. While God is, he will pursue the quarrel. Laftly, Howfoever dreadful it is, and tho' it be eternal, yet it is most just wrath: it is a clear fire, without the leaft fmoak of unjustice. The fea of wrath raging with greatest fury against the finner, is clear as chryftal. The Judge of all the earth can do no wrong. He knows no tranfports of paffion, for they are inconfiftent with the perfection of his nature. Is God un-. righteous, who taketh vengeance? (I speak as a man) God forbid: for then, how fhall God judge the world? Rom. iii. 5, 6.

The Doctrine of the State of Wrath confirmed and vindicated.

II. I fhall confirm the doctrine. Confider, (1.) How peremptory the threatning of the first covenant is; In the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt furely die, Gen. ii. 17. Hereby fin and punishment being connected, the veracity of God afcertains the execution of the threatning. Now all men being by nature under this covenant, the breach of it lays thein under the curfe. (2.) The juftice of God requires that a child of fin be a child of wrath; that the law being broken, the fanction thereof fhould take place. God, as man's ruler and Judge, cannot but do right, Gen. xviii. 25 Now it is a righteous thing with God to recompence fin with wrath, 2 Theff. i. 6. He is of purer. eyes, than to behold evil, Hab. i. 13. And he hates all the workers of

iniquity, Pfal. v. 6. (3) The horrors of a natural confcience prove this. There is a confcience in the breafts of men, which can tell them, they are finners; and therefore liable to the wrath of God. Let men, at any time, foberly commune with themselves, and they will find they have the witnefs in themselves, knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit fuch things, are worthy of death, Rom. i. 32. (4) The pangs of the new birth, the work of the spirit of bondage on elect fouls, in order to their converfion, demonstrate this. Hereby their natural finfulness and mifery, as liable to the wrath of God, are plainly taught them, filling their hearts with fear of that wrath. Now that this fpirit of bondage is no other than the Spirit of God, whofe work is to convince of fin, righteoufnefs, and judgment, (John xvi. 8.) this teftimony muft needs be true; for the Spirit of truth cannot witnefs an untruth. Mean while, true believers being freed from the ftate of wrath, receive not the spirit of bondage again to fear, but receive the Spirit of adoption, Rom. iii. 15. And therefore, if fears of that nature do arife, after the foul's union with Chrift: they come from the faint's own fpirit, or from a worse. Laftly, The fufferings of Chrift plainly prove this doctrine. Wherefore was the Son of God, a Son under wrath, but because the children of men were children of wrath? He fuffered the wrath of God, not for himself, but for thofe that were liable to it in their own perfons. Nay, this not only fpeaks us to have been liable to wrath; but alfo that wrath must have a vent, in the punishing of fin. If this was done in the green tree, what will become of the dry? What a miferable cafe muft a finner be in that is out of Chrift; that is not vitally united to Christ, and partakes not of his Spirit? God, who spared not his own Son, furely will not fpare fuch an one.

But the unregenerate man, who has no great value for the honour of God, will be apt to rise up against his Judge, and in his own heart condemn his procedure. Nevertheless the Judge being infinitely juft, the sentence must be righteous. And therefore, to stop thy mouth, O proud finner, and to still thy clamour against the righteous Judge, confider, First, Thou art a finner by nature, and it is highly reafonable that guilt and wrath be as old as fin. Why thould not God begin to vindicate his honour, as foon as vile worms begin to impare it? Why fhall not a ferpent bite the thief, as foon as he leaps over the hedge? Why fhould not the threatning take hold of the finner, as foon as he cafts away the command? The poifonous nature of the ferpent affords a man fufficient ground to kill it, as soon as ever he can reach it; and, by this time thou mayft be convinced, that thy nature is a very compound of enmity against God. Secondly, Thou haft not only an enmity against God, in thy nature; but haft difcovered it, by actual fins, which are in his eye acts of hoftility. Thou has brought forth thy luft into the field of battle against thy Sovereign LORD. And now, that thou art fuch a criminal, thy condemnation is juft: for, befides the fin of thy nature, thou haft done that against heaven, which

if thou had done against men, thy life behoved to have gone for it; and shall not wrath from heaven overtake thee? (1.) Thou art guilty of high treason, and rebellion against the King of heaven. The thought and with of thy heart, which he knows as well as the language of thy mouth, has been, no God, Pfal. xiv. 1. Thou haft rejected his government, blown the trumper, and fet up the standard of rebellion against him: being one of these that say, We will not have this man to reign over us, Lake xix. 14 Thou haft ftriven against, and quenched his Spirit; practically difowned his laws proclaimed by his messengers; ftopped thine ears at their voice, and fent them away mourning for thy pride. Thou haft confpired with his grand enemy the devil. Although thou art a fworn fervant of the King of glory, daily receiv ing of his favours, and living on his bounty: thou art holding a correfpondence, and haft contracted a friendship with his greatest enemy, and art acting for him against thy Lord; for the lufts of the devil ye will do, John viii. 44 (2) Thou art a murderer before the Lord. Thou haft laid the ftumbling block of thine iniquity before the blind world; and haft ruined the fouls of others by thy finful courfe. And tho' thou doft not fee now; the time may come, when thou fhalt fee the blood of thy relations, neighbours, acquaintances and others, upon thy head, Matth. xviii. 7. Wo unto the world because of offences-Wo to that man by whom the offence cometh. Yea, thou art a felf-murderer before God, Prov. viii. 36. He that finneth against me, wrongeth his own foul: all they that hate me, love death. Ezek. xviii. 31. Why will ye die? The laws of man go as far as they can against the felf-murderer, denying his body a burial-place amongst others, and confifcating his goods: what wonder is it the law of God is fo fevere against foulmurderers? Is it strange, that they who will needs depart from God now, coft what it will, be forced to depart from him at laft, into everlafting fire? But what is yet more criminal, thou art guilty of the murder of the Son of God, for the Lord will reckon thee among those that pierced him, Rev. i. 7. Thou haft rejected him as well as the Jews did; and by thy rejecting him, thou haft juftified their deed. They indeed did not acknowledge him to be the Son of God, but thou doft: What they did against him, was in a ftate of humiliation; but thoù haft acted against him, in his state of exaltation. These things will aggravate thy condemnation. What wonder then, if the voice of the Lamb, change to the roaring of the lion, against the traitor and murderer.

Object. But fome will fay, Is there not a vaft difproportion betwixt our fin and that wrath you talk of? I anfwer, No; God punishes no more than the finner deferves. To rectify your mistake, in this matter, confider, (1) The vaft rewards God has annexed to obedience. His word is no more full of fiery wrath against fin, that it is of gracious rewards to the obedience it requires. If heaven be in the promifes, it is altogether equal that hell be in the threatnings. If death were not in the balance with life, eternal mifery with eternal happiness,

where

3dly, There is wrath on the natural man's enjoyments. Whatever be wanting in his house, there is one thing that is never wanting there, Prov. iii. 33. The curfe of the Lord is in the houfe of the wicked. Wrath is on all that he has; on the bread that he eats, the liquor he drinks, and clothes which he wears. His bafket and ftore are curfed, Deut. xxviii. 17. Some things fall wrong with him; and that comes to pass by virtue of his wrath; other things go according to his with, and there is wrath in that too; for it is a fnare to his foul, Prov. i 32. The profperity of fools fhall deftroy them. This wrath turns his bleffings into curfes, Mal ii. 2. I will curfe your bieffings: yea, I have curfed them already. The holy law is a killing letter to him, 2 Cor. iii. 6. The miniftry of the gospel, a favour of death unto death, chap. ii. 15. In the facrament of the Lord's fupper, he eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, 1 Cor. xi. 29. Nay, more than all that, Christ himfelf is to him, a ftone of ftumbling, and a rock of offence, 1 Pet. ii. 8. Thus wrath follows the natural man, as his fhadow doth his body.

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4thly, He is under the power of Satan, Acts xxvi. 18. The devil has overcome him, fo he is his by conqueft; his lawful captive, Ifa. xlix. 24. The natural man is condemned already, John iii. 18. and therefore under the heavy hand of him that hath the power of death, that is the devil. And he keeps his prifoner, in the prison of a natural ftate, bound hand and foot, Ifa.lxi. 1. Laden with divers lufts, as chains wherewith he holds them fast. Thou needest not, as many do, call on the devil to take thee; for he has a faft hold of thee already, as a child of wrath.'

Laftly, The natural man has no fecurity for a moment's fafety from the wrath of God its coming on him to the uttermoft. The curfe of the law denounced against him, has already tied him to the stake: fo that the arrows of juftice may pierce his foul; and in him may meet all the miferies and plagues that flow from the avenging wrath of God. See how he is fet as a mark to the arrows of wrath, Pfal. vii. 11, 12, 13. God is angry with the wicked every day. If he turn not, he will whet his fword: he hath bent his bow, and made it ready; he hath aljo prepared for him the inftruments of death. Doth he ly down to fleep? There is not a promife, he knows of, or can know, to fecure him that he fhall not be in hell ere he awake. Juftice is purfing, and cries for vengeance on the finner: the law cafts the fire balls of its curfes continually upon him: wafted and long tired patience is that which keeps in his life: he walks amidst enemies armed againit bim; his name may be Magor Miffabib, i. e. terror round about, Jer. xx. 3. Angels, devils, men, beafts, ftones, heaven, and earth, are in readinefs, on a word of command rom the Lord, to ruin him. Thus the natural man lives, but he muft die too; and death is a dreadful mellenger to him It comes upon him armed with wrath, and puts three fad charges in his hand. (1.) Death chargeth him to bid an eternal farewell to all things in this world; to leave it, and make away to another world. Ah! what a dredful charge muft this

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