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be to a child of wrath! He can have no comfort from heaven; for God is his enemy: and as for the things of the world, and the enjoyment of his lufts, which were the only springs of his comfort; these are in a moment dried up to him for ever. He is not ready for another world: he was not thinking of removing fo foon: or if he was, yet he has no portion secured to him in another world, but that which he was born to, and was increasing all his days, namely, a treasure of wrath. But go he mult; his clay god, the world, must be parted with, and what has he more? There was never a glimmering of light, or favour from heaven, to his soul: and now the wrath that did hang in the threatning as a cloud like a man's hand, is darkning the face of the whole heaven above him: and if he look unto the earth, (from whence all his light was wont to come) bebold trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish; and he shall be driven to darkness, Isa. vii 22. (2) Death chargeth foul and body to part till the great day. His soul is required of him, Luke xii. 20. O what a miserable parting 'must this be to a child of wrath! care was indeed taken to provide for the body things necessary for this life: but alas! there is nothing laid up for another life to it; nothing to be a seed of glorious resurrection: as it lived, so it must die, and rise again sinful flesh ; fuel for the fire of God's wrath. As for the soul, he was never solicitous to provide for it. It lay in the body, dead to God, and all things truly good; and so must be carried out into the pit, in the grave cloths of its natural state: for now that death comes, the companions in sin must part. (3.) Death chargeth the foul to compear before the tribunal of God, while the body lies to be carried to the grave, Ecclef. xii. 7. The spirit shall return unto God who gave it. Heb. ix. 2,7. It is appointed unto all men once to die, but after this the judgment. Well were it for the finful soul if it might be buried together with the body. But that cannot be: it must go and receive its sentence; and shall be shut up in the prison of hell, while the cursed body lies imprisoned in the grave, till the day of the general judgment.
When the end of the world, appointed of God, is come; the trumpet shall sound, and the dead arise. Then ihall the weary earth, at the command of the Judge, cast forth the bodies; the cursed bodies of these that lived and died in their natural state: The sea, death, and hell, shall deliver up their dead, Rev. xx. 13. Their miserable bodies and souls shall be re-united, and they filted before the tribunal of Christ. Then shall they receive that fearful sentence, D. part from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels, Matth. xx. 41. Whereupon they fall go away into everlasting punishment, ver.49. They thall be eternally fhut up in hell, never to get the least drop of comfort, nor the leait ease of their torment. There they will be punihed with the punilhment of loss: being excommunicated for ever from the presence of God, his angels and laims. All means of grace, all hopes of a delivery, shall be for ever cut off from their eyes. They thall not have a drop of water to cool their
tongues, Luke xvi. 24, 25. "They shall be punished with the punishment of sense. They must not only depart from God; but depart into fire, into everlasting fire. There the worm, that thall gnaw them, ihall 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. But 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 fight, when once thou art angry. Pfal. lxxxvi. 7. Can the worm, or the moth, defend itself agåinst him that designs 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 sluices 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 so in hell?. (2.) It is unsupportable. What one cannot refift, he will set himself to bear: but, Who fhait dwell with devouring fire? Who Shall dwell with everlasting burnings? God's wrath is a weight that will link men into the lowest hell. It is a burden no man is able to stand under. A w'unded spirit zuho can bear it? Prov. xviii. 14. (3.) It is unavoidable to such as will go on impenitently in their sinful 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 Chrift: but such as fly from Christ, shall 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 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, 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 utmost; seeing it is infinite, and (properly speaking) has no ntmoft: how fierce soever it be, either 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 so 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 she-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 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 hy the way will I observe them. I will meet them as a bear iWat is bereaved of her whelps, and will rent the caul of their heart, &c. (5.) It is penetraling and piercing wrath. It is burning wrath, and
frey indignation. There is no pain more exquisite, than that which is caused by fire; and no fire so 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 flesh, 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 thunderfruck, 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 hin entire, and untouched as in Belshazzar's case, Dan. v. 6. (6.) It is constant wrath, running parallel with the man's continuance in an unregenerate state; constantly 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 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 falt 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 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
will still be the wrath to come, Matth. iii, 7. i Theff. i. 10. As the water pf a river is still coming, how much foever of it has passed. While God is, he will pursue the quarrel. Lastly, Howsoever dreadful it is, and tho' it be eternal, yet it is most just wrath : it is a clear fire, without the least smoak of unjustice. The sea 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 transports of pallion, for they are inconfiftent with the perfection of his nature. righteous, who taketh vengeance? (I speak as a man) God forbidi for then, how small 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 eateft thereof, thou shalt surely die, Gen. ii. 17. Hereby sin and punishment being connected, the veracity of God ascertains the execution of the threatning. 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 sin be a child of wrath; that the law being broken, the sanction thereof should 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 Theff. i. 6. He is of purer tyes, 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.
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 fouls, in order to their conversion, demonstrate this. Hereby their natural sinfulness and misery, as liable to the wrath of God, are plainly taught them, filling their hearts with fear of that wrath. Now that this spirit 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 be. lievers 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. Where- . fore was the Son of God, a Son under wrath, but because the children of men were children of wrath? He suffered the wrath of God, not for himself, but for those that were liable to it in theirown 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 fin. If this was done in the green tree, what will become of the dry? What a miserable case must 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 unregenera erate man, who has
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 stop 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 reasonable 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 foon as he casts away the command? The poisonous nature of the serpent affords a mau 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 hait discovered it, by actual sins, 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 such a criminal, thy condemnation is just: for, besides the fin of thy nature, thou hast 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, Plal. xiv. I. Thou hast rejected his government, blown the trumper, 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. 14 Thou huft ftrisen 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 friendship with his greatest enemy, and art acting for him against thy Lord; for the luft's 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 shalt see 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 self-murderer, denying his body a burial-place arnongst others, and confiscating his goods: what wonder is it the law of God is so severe against soulmurderers? Is it strange, that they who will needs depart from God now, cost what it will, be forced to depart from him at laft, 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 among those that pierced him, Rev. i. 7. Thou hast rejected Shin 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 Soa 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 aud murderer.
Object. But fome will say, Is there not a vast disproportion betwixt our sin 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 fin, that it is of gracions rewards to the obedience it requires. If heaven be in the promises, it is altogether equal that hell be in the threatnings. If each were not in the balance with life, eternal misery with eternal happiness,