Изображения страниц

many souls. Men will be reckoning their time by years, (like that rich man, Luke xii. 19,20 ) when it may be, there are not many hours of it to run. But reckon as you will, laying your time to the measuring reed ofeternity, you wiH see your age is as nothing. What a small and inconfiderable point is fixty, eighty, or a hundred years, in respect of eternity ? Coinpared with eternity, there is a greater disproportion, than between a hair's breadth and the cir. cumference of the whole earth. Why do we sleep then in such a short day, while we are in hazard of losing rest through the long night of eternity? 2dly, Apply it to yonr endeavours for salvation, and they will be found very scanty. When men are presled to diligence in their salvation-work, they are ready to say, “ To what purpose is this waste?” Alas if it were to be judged by cur diligence, what is it that we have in view; as to the most part of us, no man could thereby conjecture, that we have eternity in view. If we duly considered eternity, we could not but conclude, that, to leave no means appointed of God urieslayed, till we ger zur Salvation secured ; to refuse rest or comfort in any thing, till we are Theltered under the wings of the Mediator ; to pursue or great interest with the utmost vigour, to cut off luits dear as right heads and right eyes, to set our faces resolutely against all dificulties, and fight our way through all the opposition made by the devil, the world, and the Nesh ; are, all of them together, little enough for eternity.

Use ll. Here is a balance of the fanEtuary, by which one may 'understand the lightness of what is Falsly thought weigity; and the weight of some things, hy winy reckoned to be very light. . . .

FIRST, Some things seem very weighty, which weighed in this balance, will be fund very light. (1.) Weigh the “ world, and all that is in it, the 6 lust of the flesh, the luft of the eyes, and the pride of life, and the whole will be found light in the balance of eternity. Weigh herein all worldly profits, gains and advantages; and you will quickly see, that a thousand worlds Vill not quit the cost of the eternity of woe, “For what is a man profited, « if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" Matth xvi. 26. Weigh the pleasures of fin, which are but for a season, with the fire that is everlasting, and you must account yourselves fools and madmen, to run the hazırd of the one for the other. (2) Weigh your afflictions in this balance, and you will find the heaviest of them very light, in respect of the weight of eternal anguish. Impatience under affliction, especially when worldly troubles do lo imbitter mens spirits, that they cannot relish the glad tidings of the gospel, speaks great regardlessness of eternity: As a small and inconsiderable Jols will be very little at heart with him, who sees himself in bazard of losing his wholc eítate; so troubles in the world will appear but light to him, who has a lively view of eternity. Such a one will stoop, and take up his cross, whatever it be, thinking it enough to escape eternal wrath. (3.) Weigh the most difficult and uneasy duties of religion here, and you will no more reckon the yoke of Christ unsupportable. Repentance and bitter mourning for sin on earth, are very light in comparison of eternal weeping, wailing, and goalhing of teeth in hell. To wrestle with God in prayer, weeping and making supplication for the blessing in time, is far easier than to ly under the curse through all eternity. Mortification of the most beloved luft is a light thing. in comparison with the second death in hell. LASTLY, Weigh your convictions in this balance. O! how heavy do these ly upon many, till they get them maken off! They are not difpoled to fall in with them, but strive to get clear of them, as of a mighty burden. But the worm of an ill confcience, will neither die cor fliep in hell, though one may uow lull it allcep for a time. And certainly it is easier to entertain the sharpest convictions in this life, so as they may lead one to Christ, than to have them fixed for ever in the conscience, while in hell one is totally and finally separated from him.

SECONDLY, But on the other hand, (1.) Weigh sia in this balance; and, though now it seems but a light thing to you, ye will find it a weight sufficient to turn up an eternal weight ot' wrath upon you. Even idle words, vain thoughts, and unprofitable actions, weighed in this ballance, and considered as tollowing the finner into eternity, will each of them be heavier than the sand of the fea : time idly spent will make a weary eternity. Now is your feed-time; thoughts, words and actions are the seed lown; eternity is the harvest: though the seed now lies under the clod, unregarded by most, men, even the least grain shall spring up at leagth; and the fruit will be ace cording to the seed, Gal. vi. 8. < For he that loweth to bis flesh, shall of the 6* Acth reap corruption, (i. es destruction ;) but he that sowech to the Spirit, " shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” (2.) Weigh in this balance your time, and opportunities of grace and lalvation, and you will find them very weighty: Precious time and seasons of grace, fabbaths, communions, prayers, sermons, and the like, are by many now a-days made light of: but the day is coming, when one of these will be reckoned more valuable than a thousand worlds, by those who now have the least value for them. When they are gone for ever, and the loss cannot be retrieved; these will see the worth of them, who will not now see it.

Use Ill, and LAST, Be warned and stirred up to fee from the wrath to come. Mind eternity, and closely ply the work of your salvation. What are you doing, while you are not so doing? Is heaven a fable, or hella mere scarecrow? Must we live eternally, and will we be at no more pains to escape ever. lasting misery? Will faint wishes take the kingdom of heaven by force. And will luch drowsy endeavours, as most men satisfy themselves with, be accounted fying from the wrath to come? Ye who have already fled to Christ, op, and be doing: ye have begun the work; go on, loiter not, but “ work 66 out your salvation with fear and trembling,” Philip. ü. 12. “ Fear himn “ which is able to destroy both body and soul in hell,” Matth. X. 28. Remember, ye are not yet afcended into heaven : ye are but in your middle ftate: The everlasting arms have drawn you out of the gulf of wrath ye were plunged into, in your natural state; they are still underneath you, that ye can never fall down into it again : nevertheless, ye have not yet got up to the top of the rock; the deep below you is frightful; look at it, and haften your aicent. Ye who are yet in your natural state, lift up your eyes, and

take a view of the eternal state. Arise, ye profane persons, ye ignorant ones, 'ye formal hypocrites, strangers to the power of godliness, flee from the wrath to come. Let not the young adventure to delay a moinent longer, nor the old put off this work any more. « To-day if ye will hear his voice, harden "' not your hearts;" left he swearip his wrath, that ye shall never enter into his rest. It is no time to linger in a state of fin, as in Sodom, when fire and brimstone are coming down on it from the Lord. Take warning in time: they who are in hell, are not troubled with such warnings; but are inraged

inst themselves for that they Nighted the warning, when they had it.

Consider, I pray you, (1.) How uneasy it is to ly one whole night on a foft bed, in perfect health, when one very fain would have sleep, but cannot get it; seep being departed from him. How often will one in that case wish for rest! How full of tossings to and fro ! But ah! how dreadful muft it then be to ly in forrow, wrapt up in scorching Games through long eternity, in


that place where they have no rest Jay nor night! (2.) How terrible would it be to live under violent pains of the cholic or gravel, for forty or fixty years together, without any intermillion! Yet that is but a very small thing in comparison of eternal feparation from God, the worm that never dieth, and the fire that is never quenched. (3.) E:ernity is an iwful thought; O long, long, endless eternity! But will not every moinent, in eternity of woe, seen a month, and every hour a year, in that most wretched and desperate condition ? Hence ever and ever, as it were a double eternity. The fick man in the night, toffing to and fro on his bed, says, it will never be day; com. plains that his pain ever continues, never, never abates. Are there petty time-eternities, which men form to themselves, in their own inaginations, so very grievous ? Alas! then how grievous, luw utterly unsupportable njust real eternity of woe, and all manner of iniseries be! LASTLY, There will be space enough there, to reflect on all the ills of one's heart and life, which one cannot get tine to think of sow; and to see that all that was said of the impenitent linner's hazard, was true and that thehalf was not told. There will be space enough in etemity to think on delayed repentance, to rue ope's fol. lies, when it is coo late; and in a state past remedy, to speak forth their fruitless wishes: " O that I had never been born! That the womb had been “ my grave, and I hau never seen the fun! O that I had taken warning in « time, and fled from his wrath, while the door of mercy was standing open. et to me! O that I had never heard the gospel, that I had lived in fome.cor. " jner of the world, where a Saviour and the great salvation were not once " named !". But all in vain. What is done cannot be undone ; the opportu. nity is loít, and can never be retrieved, time is gone, and cannot be recalled. Wherefore improve time, while you have it, and do not wilfully ruin your. Selves, by ftopping your ear to the gospel-cail.

Anduiow if ye woull be faved from the wrath to come, and never go in. to'this place of torment, take no rest in your natural state; believe the line fulness and miserv of it, and labour to get it out quickly, fleeing unto Jesus Christ by faith: Sin in you is the feed of hell: and, if the guilt and reigning power of it be not removed in time, they will bring you to the second death in eternity. There is no way to get thein removed, butþy receiving of Christ, as he is offered in the gospel, for justification and sanctifications and he is now offered to you with all his falvation, Rev. xxii. 12. 17. " And behold, I «i come quickly, and ny reward is with me, to give every man according as * his work shall be. And the Spirit and the bride lay, Come. 'And let him " that leareth, say, Come. And let him that is a-thrift, Come. And who, « Toever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Jesus Christ is the Me. diator of peace, and the Fountain of holiness': he it is who " delivereth us o from the wrath to come.” 5. There is no condemnation to them which are * in Christ Jesas, who walk got after the flesh, but after the Spirit," Rom. viii. 1. And the terrors of hell, as well as the joys of heaven, are set before you, to stirr you up to a cordial receiving of him with all his falvation ; and to determine you unto the way of faith and holiness, in which alone you can escape the everlasting fire. May the Lord limfelf make them effcctual to that end."

Thus far of Man's ETERNAL STATE; the which, because it is eternal, admits no succeeding one for ever.

[ocr errors]
« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »