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Rom. viii. 6. they have no beauty in their fouls, how comely foever their bodies are; it is grace, and nothing but grace, that beautifies the inner man, Ezek. xvi. 6, 7. The dead have neither comfort nor beauty in them: they have no hope to be with God in glory; for the life of glory is begun in grace, Phil. i. 6. their graves must be fhortly made, to be buried out of the fight of God, for ever, in the lowest hell, the pit digged by justice for all that are spiritually dead: the dead must be buried. Can fuch confiderations as these draw no pity from your fouls, nor excite your endeavours for their regeneration? then it is to be feared your fouls are dead as well as theirs. O pity them, pity them, and pray for them; in this cafe only, prayers for the dead are our duty who knows, but, at the laft, God may hear your cries, and you may fay with comfort, as he did, "This my fon "was dead, but is alive; was loft, but is found; and they be gan to be merry,” Luke. xv. 24.





The Condemnation of Unbelievers, opened and applied.

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I JOHN iii. 18. ---But he that believeth not, is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.


HRIST having discoursed with Nicodemus, in the beginning of this chapter, about the neceffity of regeneration, proceeds to fhew, in this following difcourfe, the reason, and ground, why regeneration, and faith, are fo indifpenfibly neceffary, viz. because there is no other way to fet men free from the curfe, and condemnation of the law. The curfe of the law, like the fiery ferpents in the wilderness, hath fmitten every finner with a deadly stroke, and sting, for which there is no cure, but Chrift lifted up in the gofpel," as Mofes lifted up the ferpent in "the wilderness," ver. 14. Neither doth Christ cure any, but thofe that, believingly, apply him to their own fouls. The refult, and conclufion of all, you have in my text; "He that be"lieveth in him, is not condemned; but he that believeth not, "is condemned already," &c. In this claufe, which I have pitched upon, we find these three parts;

1. The fin threatened, viz. Unbelief.

2. The punishment inflicted, viz. Condemnation.


The immediate relation of the one to the other?" he is "condemned already."

First, Let us take into confideration the fin which is here threatened, viz. unbelief; the neglecting, or refusing, of an exalted, and offered Jefus. Unbelief is twofold, viz. negative, or pofitive. Negative unbelief, is the fin of the Heathens, who never had the golpel among them, nor the offers of Chrift made to them; thefe cannot believe on him, of whom they have not heard. Pofitive unbelief, is the fin of men and women under the gospel, to whom Chrift is actually opened, and offered, by the preaching of the gofpel; but they make light of it, and neglect the great falvation: Receive not Chrift into their hearts, nor confent to the fevere, and felf-denying terms upon which he is offered. This is the fin threatened.

Secondly, The punishment inflicted, and that is condemnation : a word of deep, and dreadful fignification; appearing, in this text, as the hand-writting upon the plaister of the wall unto Belte hazzar, Dan. v. 5. a word, whofe deep fenfe, and emphasis, is fully understood in hell. Condemnation is the judgment, or fentence of God, condemning a man to bear the punishment of his eternal wrath for fin; the most terrible of all fentences.

Thirdly, The immediate relation, or refpect, this punishment hath to that fin of unbelief. The unbeliever is condemned already, (i. e.) he is virtually condemned by the law of God; his mittimus is already made for hell; he is condemned, as a finner, by the breach of the first covenant; but that condemnation had never been his ruin, except it had been ratified by the fentence of God, condemning him, as an unbehever, for flighting, and rejecting the grace offered in the fe cond covenant. So that the believer is already, virtually, con demned by both, as he is a finner, and as he is an unbeliever; as he hath tranfgreffed the law, and as he hath refufed the gofpel; as he hath contracted fin the moral difeafe, and refufed Chrift, the only effectual remedy. He is, virtually, condemned now, and will be, fententially, condemned in the judgment of the great day. Unbelief is his great fin, and condemation is his great mifery. Hence the obfervation will be this:

Doct. That all unbelievers are prefently, and immediately under the juft, and dreadful fentence of God's condemnation. John xii. 48. "He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my "words, hath one that judgeth him: The word that I "have fpoken, the fame fhall judge him in the last day." John iii. 36. "He that believeth not the Son, fhall not fee life, but the wrath of God abideth on him."


Three things are to be opened in the doctrinal part of this point:

1. What unbelief, or the not receiving of Jesus Christ, is. 2. What condemnation, the punishment of this fin, is. 3. Why this punishment unavoidably follows that fin. First, What the fin of unbelief, or not receiving Christ, is. By unbelief, we are not here to understand the relics, or remains of that fin in the people of God, which is mixed with their imperfect faith; for there is fome unbelief still mingled with faith, in the best hearts: He that can fay, "Lord, I believe," hath cause enough to cry out, with tears, "help thou my unbelief." However, this doth not bring the foul under condemnation, or into the state of wrath; the word condemns this unbelief in them, but doth not condemn their perfons for this unbelief: But the unbelief here fpoken of, is the neglecting, or refufing to take Chrift, upon the terms of the gofpel, and fo is exclufive of the faving act, and effects of faith.

First, It is exclufive of the saving act of faith, which (as hath been already declared) is the due receiving of Chrift offered in the gospel, confenting to take him upon his own terms. This, the unbeliever will by no means be perfuaded to do; he will be perfuaded to accept the promises of Chrift, but not to accept the person of Chrift: He is willing to accept Chrift in part, a divided Chrift, but not to accept Chrift entirely, in all his offices. He will accept the righteousness of Chrift, in conjunction with his own righteoufnefs; but he will not accept the righteoufnefs of Chrift, as the fole matter of his justification, exclufive of his own righteoufnefs; he is willing to wear the crown of Chrift, but cannot be perfuaded to bear the cross of Christ. Thus Chrift and unbelievers part upon terms; God will come down no lower, and the unbeliever will come up no higher : God will not alter his terms, and the unbeliever will not alter his refolution; and fo Chrift is refused, falvation neglected, and in effect the unbeliever chuseth rather to be damned, than to comply with the fevere terms of felf-denial, mortification, and bearing the cross of Chrift. Thus it excludes the faving act of faith.

Secondly, 'Tis exclufive of the saving fruits and effects of faith. Faith produces love to God, but the unbeliever doth not truly love him; "But I know you (faith Chrift to unbelievers) "that the love of God is not in you," John v. 42. Faith purifies the heart of a believer, but the hearts of unbelievers are full of all impurity. The believer overcomes the world, the VOL. III.


world overcomes the unbeliever: Faith makes the cross of Chrift fweet and easy to the believer, unbelief makes Christ, because of the cross, bitter and diftafteful to the unbeliever. Thus unbelief excludes both the faving act and fruits of faith, and confequently bars the foul from the faving benefits and privileges of Faith, viz. Juftification, and peace with God.

Secondly, Next let us confider the punishment of this fin, which is condemnation. Condemnation, in the general, is the fentence of a judge awarding a mulct, or penalty to be inflicted upon the guilty perfon. There is a twofold condemnation; 1. Refpectu culpae, In refpect of the fault.

2. Refpectu poenae, In refpect of the punishment.

Firft, Condemnation, with refpect to the fault, is the cafting off the perfon as guilty of the crime charged upon him: condemnation, with refpect to the punishment, is the fentencing of the convicted offender to undergo fuch a punishment for fuch a fault, to bear a penal for a moral evil. This forenfic word, condemnation, is here applied unto the cafe of a guilty finner caft at the bar of God, where the fact is clearly proved, and the punishment righteously awarded. Thou art an unbeliever, for this fin thou fhalt die eternally. Condemnation, with refpect to the fault, ftands opposed to juftification, Rom. V. 16. Condemnation, with refpect to the punishment, ftands opposed to falvation, Mark xvi. 16. More particularly,

Firft, Condemnation is the fentence of God; the great and terrible God, the omnifcient, omnipotent, fupreme, and impartial Judge, at whofe bar the guilty finner ftands. 'Tis the law of God that condemns him now: he hath one that judgeth him, a great and terrible one too. 'Tis a dreadful thing to be condemned at man's bar; but the courts of human judicature, how awful, and folemn foever they are, are but trifles to this court of heaven, and confcience, wherein the unbeliever is arraigned, and condemned.

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Secondly, 'Tis the fentence of God adjudging the unbeliever to eternal death, than which, nothing is more terrible. What is a prison to hell? What is a fcaffold, and an ax, to go ye "curfed into everlasting fire?" What is a gallows, and a halter, to everlasting burnings?

Thirdly, Condemnation is the final fentence of God, the fupreme judge, from whofe bar and judgment there lies no appeal for the unbeliever, but execution certainly follows condemnation, Luke xix. 27. If man condemn, God may justify and fave: but if God condemn, no man can fave or deliever. If the law caft a man, as a finner, the gofpel may fave him, as a believer :

But if the gospel caft him, as an unbeliever, a man that finally rejects Jefus Chrift, whom it offers to him, all the world cannot fave that man. O then what a dreadful word is condemnation ! All the evils, and miseries of this life are nothing to it. Put all afflictions, calamities, fufferings, and mifèries of this world into one scale, and this fentence of God into the other, and they will be all lighter than a feather.

Thirdly, In the next place, I fhall fhew you that this punishment, viz. condemnation, muft unavoidably follow that fin of unbelief. So many unbelieving perfons as be in the world, fo many condemned perfons there are in the world; and this will appear two ways.

1. By confidering what unbelief excludes a man from. 2. By confidering what unbelief includes a man under.

First, Let us confider what unbelief excludes a man from; and it will be found, that it excludes him from all that may help, and fave him. For,

First, It excludes him from the pardon of fin, John viii. 24. "If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your fins." Now he that dies under the guilt of all his fins, must needs die in a ftate of wrath, and condemnation for ever. "For the wages of "fin is death," Rom. vi. 23. If a man may be faved without a pardon, then may the unbeliever hope to be faved.

Secondly, Unbelief excludes a man from all the faving benefits that come by the facrifice, or death of Chrift. For if faith be the only inftrument that applies, and brings home to the foul the benefits of the blood of Chrift, as unquestionably it is; then unbelief must of neceffity exclude a man from all those benefits, and confequently leave him in the ftate of death, and condemna tion. Faith is the applying caufe, the inftrument by which we receive the special faving benefit of the blood of Chrift, Rom. v, 25." Whom God hath fet forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood." Eph. ii. 8. "By grace are ye faved through "faith." So then, if the unbeliever be acquitted and faved, it must be without the benefit of Chrift's death and facrifice, which is utterly impoffible.

Thirdly, Unbelief excludes a man from the faving efficacy, and operation of the gofpel, by fhutting up the heart against it; and croffing the main drift and scope of it; which is to bring up men to the terms of falvation. To perfuade them to believe, this is its great defign, the scope of all its commands, 1 John iii. 23. Mark i. 14, 15. John xii. 36. It is the fcope of all its promifes; they are written to encourage men to believe, John vi.

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