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tongues, Luke xvi. 24, 25. They shall be punished with the punishment of fense. They must not only depart from God; but depart into fire, into everlasting fire. There the worm, that shall gnaw them, thall never die; the fire, that shall scorch them, shall never be quenched. God shall, 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 state of wrath natural men live in; being under much of the wrath of God, and liable to more. Bint for a further view of it, let us consider the qualities of that wrath (1.) It is irresistible, there is no standing before it. Who may stand in thy sight, when once thou art angry?? Plal. lxxxvi. 7. Can the worm, or the math, defend itself against him that designs to crulh 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 such fluices of wrath upon them, as all theis might cannot stop; but they are carried away thereby, as with a flood. How much more will it be fo in hell ? (2.) It is unsupportable. What one cannot refift, he will set himself to bear: but, Who Shait dwell with devouring fire? Who Shall dwell with everlasting burnings? God's wrath is a weight that will sink men into the lowest hell. It is a burden no man is able to stand under. A wounded spirit who can bear it? Prov. xviii. 14. (3.) It is unavoidable to such as will go on impenitently in their finful course. He that being often reproved, hardneth his neck, shall sud, denly be destroyed, and that without remedy, Prov. xxix 1. now fly from it indeed, by flying to Jesus Christ: but such as fly from Christ, shall never be able to avoid it. Whither can men fly frorn an avenging God? Where will they find a fhelter? The hills will not hear them; the mountains will be deaf to their loudest 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, so 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 utmost; seeing it is infinite, and (properly speaking) has no utmoft: how fierce soever it be, either I on earth, or in hell,. God can still 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. I. 22. and grind thee to powder, Luke XX 18. The history 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 sufficient to give us even a scanty 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 observe them. I will meet them as a bear ikat 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
firey indignation. There is no pain more exquisite, than that which is caused by fire; and no fire fo piercing as the fire of God's indignation, that burns into the lowest hill, Deut. xxxii. 22. The arrows of men's wrath can pierce fleth, blood and bones: but cannot reach the foul: but the wrath of God will sink into the soul, and so pierce a man in the most tender part. Like as, when a person is thunderftruck, oft-times there is not a wound to be seen in the skin; yet life is gone, and the bones are, as it were, melted : fo God's wrath can penetrate into, and melt one's soul within him, when his earthly comforts stand about himn entire, and untouched as in Belshazzar's cafe, Dan. v.6. (6.) It is constant wrath, running parallel with the man's continuanee in an unregenerate state; constantly attending him, from the womb to the grave. There are few fo dark days, but the fun sometimes looketh out from under the clouds: but the wrath of God, is an abiding cloud on the subjects of it, John iii 36. The wrath of God abideth on hiin that believes not. (7.) It is eternal. O miserable soul! If thou fly not from this wrath unto Jesus Christ, thy misery had a beginning, but it ihall never have an end. Should devouring death wholly swallow thee up, and for ever hold thee fast in a grave; it would be kind, but thou must live again, and never die; that thoiz mayst be ever dying, in the hands of the living God. Cold death will quench the fame 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 still be the wrath to come, Matth. iii, 7. i Theff. i. 10. As the water of a river is still coming, how much soever of it has passed. While God is, he will pursue the quarrel. Lastly, Howsoever dreadful it is, and thu' it be eternal, yet it is most juft wrath : it is a clear fire, without the least smoak of unjustice. The fea of wrath raging with greatest fury against the sinner, is clear as chrystal. The Judge of all the earth can do no wrong. He knows no transports of paffion, for they are inconsistent with the perfection of his nature. righteous, who taketh vengeance? (1 speak as a man) God forbid: for then, how shall God judge the world? Rom. iii. 5, 6.
Is God un.
The Doctrine of the State of Wrath confirmed and vindicated. II. I shall confirm the doctrine, Consider, (1.) How peremptory the threatning of the first covenant is ; In the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die, Gen. ii. 17. Hereby sin and punilhment being connected, the veracity of God ascertains the execution of the threat ning. Now all men being by nature under this covenant, the breach of it lays thein under the curse, (2.) The justice of God requires that a child of fin be a child of wrath; that the law being broken, the fan&tion thereof thould 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 sin with wrath, 2 Thess. 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 conscience prove this. There is a conscience in the breasts of men, which can tell them, they are finners; and therefore liable to the wrath of God. Let men, at any time, soberly commune with themselves, and they will find they have the witness in themselves, knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things, are worthy of death, Rom. i. 32. (4.) The pangs of the new birth, the work of the spirit of bondage on elect souls, in order to their conversion, demonstrate this. Hereby their natural sinfulness and misery, as liable to the wrath of God, are plainly taught thein, filling their hearts with fear of that wrath. Now that this fpirit of bondage is no other than the Spirit of God, whose work is to convince of sin, righteousness, and judgment, (John xvi. 8.) this testimony must needs be true; for the Spirit of truth cannot witness an untruth. Mean while, true believers being freed froin the state 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 arise, after the soul's union with Christ: they come from the saint's own spirit, or from a worse. Lastly, The sufferings of Christ plainly prove this doctrine. Wherefore was the Son of God, a Son under wrath, but because the child. ren of men were children of wrath? He suffered the wrath of God, not for himself, but for thofe that were liable to it in their own persons. Nay, this not only speaks us to have been liable to wrath ; but also that wrath must have a vent, in the punishing of sin. If this was done in the green tree, what will become of the dry? What a miserable case mult a sinner be in that is out of Christ; that is not vitally united to Christ, and partakes not of his Spirit? God, who spared not his own Son, surely will not spare such 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 just, the sentence must be righteous. And therefore, to 1top thy mouth, O proud finner, and to still thy clamour against the righteous Judge, consider, First, Thou art a finner by nature, and it is highly reafonable that guilt and wrath be as old as sin. Why should not God begin to vindicate his honour, as soon as vile worms begin to impare it? Why shall not a serpent bite the thief, as soon as he leaps over the hedge? Why should not the threatning take hold of the finner, as soon as he casts away the command? The poisonous nature of the serpent affords a man sufficient ground to kill it, as soon as ever he can reach it; and, by this time thou mayst be convinced, that thy nature is a very compound of enmity against God. Secondly, Thou hast not only an enmity against God, in thy nature; but halt discovered it, by actual sins, which are in his eye acts of hoftility. Thou has brought forth thy lust inco the field of battle against thy Sovereign Lord. And now, that thou art such a criminal, thy condemnation is juft: for, besides the fin of thy nature, thou hast done that against heaven, which if thou had done against men, tlıy 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. I. Thou hast rejected his government, blown the trumpet, and set 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. !4 Thou hust striven against, and quenched his Spirit; practically disowned his laws proclaimed by his messengers; . stopped thiné ears at their voice, and sent them away mourning for thy pride. Thou hast conspired with his grand enemy the devil. Although thou art a sworn servant of the King of glory, daily receiving of his favours, and living on his bounty: thou art holding a correspondence, and hast contracted a friendlhip 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 hast laid the stumbling block of thine iniquity before the blind world; and haft ruined the souls of others by thy sinful course. And tho’ thou dost not see now; the time may come, when thou thalt see the blood of thy relations, neighbours, acquaintances and others, upon thy head, Matth. xviii. 7. Wo unto the wor id 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 sinneth against me, wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me, love death. Ezek. xviii. 31. Why zvi!l ye die? The laws of man go as far as they can against the self-murderer, denying his body a burial-place amongst others, and confiscating his goods: what wonder is it the law of God is so severe against Toulmurderers? Is it strange, that they who will needs depart from God now, coft what it will, be forced to depart from him at last, into everlasting fire? But what is yet more criminal, thou art guilty of the murder of the Son of God, for the Lord will reckon thee ainong
those that pierced him, Rev. i. 7. Thou hast rejected him as well as tha Jews did; and by thy rejecting him, thou hast justified 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 state of humiliation ; but thou hast 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 say, Is there not a vaft disproportion betwixt our lin and that wrath you talk of? I answer, No; God punishes no more than the finner deserves. To rectify your mistake, in this matter, consider, (1) The vast rewards God has annexed to obedience. His word is no more full of fiery wrath against sin, that it is of gracious lewards to the obedience it requires. If heaven be in the promiles, it is altogether equal that hell be in the threatnings. If teach were not in the balance with life, eternal misery with eternak happiness,
zdly; 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 curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked. Wrathis on all that he has; on the bread that he eats, the liquor he drinks, and clothes which he wears. His basket and store are cursed, 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 wish, and there is wrath in that too; for it is a snare to his soul, Prov. i 32. The prosperity of fools foall destroy them. This wrath turns his blef(ings into curses, Mal ii. 2. I will curse your bieffings: yea, I have cursed them already. The holy law is a killing letter to him, 2 Cor. jii. 6. The ministry of the gospel, a favour of death unto death, chap. ii. 15. In the facrament of the Lord's supper, he eateth and drinketh cumnation to himself, 1 Cor. xi. 29. Nay, more than all that, Christ himself is to him, a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, 1 Pet. ii. 8. Thus wrath follows the natural man, as his shadow doth his body.
4thly, He is under the power of Satan, Acts xxvi. 18. The devil has overcome him, so he is his by conquest; his lawful captive, Isa. 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 ihe devil. And he keeps his prisoner, in the prison of a natural state, bound hand and foot, Ila. lxi 1. Laden with divers lufts, as chains wherewith he holds them falt. Thou needest not, as many do, call on the devil to take thee; for he has a fast hold of thee already, as a :child of wrath.
Lastly, The natural man has no security for a moment's safety from the wrath of God its coming on him to the uttermost. The curse of the law denounced againlt him, has already tied him to the stake; so that the arrows of justice may pierce his soul; and in him may meet all the miseries and plagues that flow froni thé avenging wrath of God. See how he is set 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 sword: he hath bent his bow, and made it ready; he hath also prepared for him the instruments of death. Doth he ly down to sleep? There is not a promise, he knows of, or can know, to secure him that he shall not be in hell ere he awake. Justice is rurfuing, and cries for vengeance on the sinner: the law casts the fire balls of its curses continually upon him: wasted and long tired patience is that which kecps in his life: he walks amidst enemies armed azunit him: his name may be Mugor Misfubió, i.e. terror round about, jer. xx: 3. Angels, devils, men, bearts, stones, heaven, and earth, are in rcadine's, on a word of command rom the Lord, to ruin him.
us the natural inan lives, but he must die too; and death is a dreadfut nettenger to him
It comes upon
him armed with wrath, and puts three fad charges in his hand. (1.) Death chargeth him to bd an eternal farewell to all things in this world; to leave it, and make away to another world. Ah! what a dredful charge mult this