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converted. The close hypocrite, and the profane, are alike as to their state ; however different their conversations be: and they will be alike in their fatal end, Psal. cxxv. 5. As for such as turn aside unto their crooked ways, the Lord fhall lead them forth with the workers of iniquity. (4.) Young ones that are yet but setting out into the world, have not that to do, to make themselves children of wrath, by following the graceless multitude. They are children of wrath by nature: so it is done already: they were born heirs of hell; they will indeed make themselves niore so, if they do not, while they are young, flee from the wrath they were born to, by fleeing to Jesus Christ.Lastly, Whatever men are now by grace, they were even as others, by nature. And this may be a sad meditation to them, that have been at ease from their youth, and have had no changes.
Now, these things being premised, I shall, in the first place, shew what this state of wrath is; next, confirm the doctrine; and then apply it.
I. I am to shew what this state of wrath is. But who can fully describe the wrath of an angry God? None can do it. Yet so much of it must be discovered, as may serve to convince men of the absolute necessity of fleeing to Jesus Christ, out of that fi ate of wratb. Anger in men is a passion, and commotion of the spirit for an injury received, with a desire to resent the same. When it comes to a height, and is fixed in one's spirit, it is called wrath. Now there are no paflions in God, properly speaking: they are inconsistent with his absolute unchangeablenes, and independency; and therefore Paul and Barnabas (to remove the mistake of the Lycaonians, who thought they were gods) tell them, they were men of like paffions with themselves, Acts xiv. 15. Wrath then is attributed to God, not in respect of the affection of wrath, but the effects thereof. Wrath is a fire in the bowels of a man, tormenting the man himself: but there is no perturbation in God. His wrath does not in the least mar that infinite repose and happiness, which he hath in himself. It is a most pure undisturbed act of his will, producing dreadful effects against the sinner. It is little we know of an infinite God: but condescending to our weakness, he is pleased to speak of himself to us, after the manner of men. Let us therefore notice man's wrath, but remove every thing in our confideration of the wrath of God, that argues imperfection: and so we may attain to some view of it, however scanty. By this means we are led to take up the wrath of God against the natural man in these three.
First, There is wrath in the heart of God against him. The Lord approves him not, but is displeafed with him. Every natural man lies under the displeasure of God; and that is heavier than mountains of brass. Altho” he be pleased with himself, and others be pleased with him too; yet God looks down on him, as displeased. First, His perfon is under God's displeasure; Thou hatest all workers of iniquity, Plül. v. 5: A godly man's sin is displeasing to God, yet his perion is
still accepted in the Beloved, Eph. i. 6. But God is angry with the wicked every day, Pfal. vii. 11. There is a fire of wrath burns continually against laim, in the heart of God. They are as dogs and fwine, most abominable creatures in the sight of God. Tho' their natural state be gilded over with a fhiring profession, yet they are abhorred of God: they are to him as smoke in his nose, Ifa. Ixv. 5. and lukewarm water, to be spewed out of his mouth, Rev. ii. 16. whited fepulchres, Matth. xxiii. 27. a gencration of vipers, Matth. xii. 34. and a people of his wrath, Ifa. X. 6.
Secondly, He is displeased with all they do: It is impossible for them to please him, being unbelievers, Heb. xi. 6. He hates their persons; and fo hath no pleasure in, but is displeased with their best works, Ifa. lvi. 3. He that facrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog's neck, &c. Their duty, as done by them, is an abomination to the Lord, Prov. xv. 8. And as men turn their back upon them whom they are angry with; so the Lord's refusing communion with the natural man in his duties, is a plain indication of this wrath.
Secondly, There is wrath in the word of God against him. When wrath is in the heart, it seeks a vent by the lips ; so God fights against the natural man with the sword of his mouth, Rev. ii. 16. The Lord's word never speaks good of him, but always curseth or condemneth him. Hence it is, that when he is awakened, the word read or preached often increaseth his horror. First, It condemns all his actions, together with his corrupt nature. There is nothing he does, but the law declares it to be sin. It is a rule of perfect obedience, from which he always in all things, declines; and so it rejects every thing he doth as fin. Secondly, It pronounceth his doom, and denounceth God's curse against him, Gal. iii. 10. For as many as are of the works of the law, are under the curse: for it is written, Gurfed is every one that continueth not in all things, which are written in the book of the laru, to do them. Be he never so well in the world, it pronounceth a woe from heaven against him, Ifa. iii. 11. The Bible is a quiver filled with arrows of wrath against him, ready to be poured in on his soul. God's threatnings in his word, hang over his head as a black cloud, ready to ihower down on him every moment. The word is indeed the saint's security against wrath, but it binds the natural man's sin and wrath together, as a certain pledge of his ruin, if he continue in that state. So the confcience being awakened, and perceiving this tie made by the law, the man is filled with terrors in his soul.
Thirdly, There is wrath in the hand of God against the natural man. He is under heavy strokes of wrath already, and is liable to more.
1st, There is wrath on his body. It is a piece of cursed clay, which "wrath is finking into by virtue of the threatning of the first covenant, Gen. ii. 17. In the day that thou eateft thereof, thou shalt surely die. There is never a difeale, gripe nor stitch, that affects him, but it comes on him with the sting of God's indignation in it. They are all cords of death, feut before to bind the prisoner,
2dly, There zdy, There is wrath upon his foul. (1.) He can have rio communion with God; he is foolish, and shall not stand in God's sight, Pfal. v. 5. When Adam (inned, God turned him out of paradise : and natural men are, as Adam left them, banished from the gracious presence of the Lord; and can have no access to him in that state. There is war betwixt heaven and them: and so all commerce is cut off. They are without God in the world, Eph. ii. 12. The sun is gone down on them, and there is not the least glimpse of favour towards them from heaven. (2) Hence the foul is left to pine away in its iniquity. The natural darkness of their minds, the aversene's to good in their wills, the disorder of their affections, and distemper of their consciences, and all their natural plagues, are left upon them in a penal way; and being so left, increase daily. God casts a portion of worldly goods to them, more or less; as a bone is thrown to a dog: but alas! his wrath against thein appears, in that they get no grace. The Physician of fouls comes by them, and goes by them, and cureš others belide them; while they are consuming away in their iniquity, and ripning daily for -utter destruction. (3.) They ly open to fearful additional plagues on their souls, even in this life. First, Sometimes they meet with deadning strokes; silent blows froin the hand of an angry God; arrows of wrath that enter into their fouls without noise, Ifa. vi. 10. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes, left they see with tveir eyes, &c. God strives with them for a while, and convictions enter their consciences; but they rebel against the light: and by a secret judginent, they are knocked on the head; fo that, from that time, they do, as it were, live and rot above ground. Their hearts are deadned ; their affections withered; their consciences stupified; and their whole fouls blasted; cast forth as a branch, and withered, John xv. 16. They are plagued with judicial blindness. They thu their eyes against the light, and they are given over to the devil, the god of this world, to be blinded more, 2 Cor. iv.4. Yea, God fends them strong delufions, that they should believe a lie, 2. Thess. ii. i 1. even conscience, like a false light on the fhore leads them upon rocks; by which they are broken in pieces. They harden themselves against God; and he gives up with thein, and leaves chem to Satan and their own hearts, whereby they are hardned more and more. They are often given up unto vile affections, Ro:n. i. 26. The reins are laid on their necks; and they are left to run into all excess, as their furious lülts draw them. Secon.:ly, Sometimes they meet with quickning Itrokes, whereby their fouls become like mount Sinai; where nocuing is seen, but fire and smoak; nothing heard, but the thunder of God's wrath, and the voice of the trumpet of a brcken law, waxing louder and louder : which makes them like Pashur, (Jer. xx. 4.) A terror to themselves. God takes the filthy garments of their fins, which they were wont to ileep in securely; overlays them with brimstone, and sets them on fire about their ears: so they have a hell within them.
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 curse of the Lord is in the house 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 basket and store are cursed, Deut. xxviii. 176. 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 fhall destroy them. This wrath turns his bleff(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. ji, 6. The ministry of the gospel, a favour of death unto death, chap. ii. 15. In the facrament of the Lord's fupper, he eateth and drinketh dumnation to himself, 1 Cor. xi. 29. Nay, more than all that, Christ himself is to him, a fone 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 conqueft; his lawfui 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 prisoner, in the prison of a natural state, 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 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 uttermoft. The curse of the law denounced against him, has already tied him to the stake: fo 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, Plal. 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 rruing, and cries for vengeance' on the finner : the law casts the fire als of its curses continually upon him: wasted and long tired patience is that which keeps in his life: he walks amidst enemies armed against him: his name may be Mugor Mifsubió, i. e. terror round about, Jer.xx. 3. Ange's, devils, men, beasts, stones, heaven, and earth, are in readinets, on a word of command rom the Lord, to ruin him.
Thus the oatural nan lives, but he must die too; and death is a dreadfut me eager to him It comes upon him armed with wrath, and puts three fed charges in his hand. (1.) Death chargeth him to tid 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
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 lusts, 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 so 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) behold trcuble and darkness, dimness of anguish; and he shall be driven to darkness, Isa. vüi 22. (2) Death chargeth soul and body to part till the great day. His foul 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 feed of glorious resurrection: as it lived, so it must die, and rise again sinful fleh ; fuel for the fire of God's wrath. As for the foul, he was never solicitous to provide for it. It lay in the body, dead to God,, and all things truly good; and fo 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, Eccles. xii. 7. The spirit shall return unto God who gave it. Heb. ix. 2,7. pointed 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 thut 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 found, and the dead arise. Then shall 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 fea, death, and hell, shall deliver up their dead, Rev. XX. 13- Their miserable bodies and souls thall be re-united, and they filted before the tribunal of Christ. Then shall they receive that fearful sentence, D part from me, ye cur fed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels, Matth. xx. 41. Whereupon they shall go away into everlasting punishment, ver.49. They shall be eternally thut up in hell, never to get the least drop of comfort, nor the least ease of their tornent. There they will be punished with the punishment 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 shall not have a drop of water to cool their
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