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such a kind of infinite value, that I know not how the purest and noblest spirits in heaven could absolutely have been secure of it, separate from the engagement of a divine promise.' And what divine promise would you be able to have recourse to, in such a circumstance as we now suppose? Where could you find it in all the book of God, that persons of your character should ever enter into heaven at all, much less that you should for ever continue there?-You could have therefore no security of the continuance of your abode in heaven, if it were possible that you should enter on the possession of it: But when you should consider the unsullied holiness of the ever-blessed God, the Sovereign of this sacred province, and the spotless purity of that gracious Redeemer, to whom the government of it is committed; you could not but fear that you should quickly be seized by the hand of vengeance, be hurled from the battlements of heaven, and plunged low into the pit of destruction. You know this was the condemnation of the rebel angels, and your guilt, compared with that dreadful event, which makes so considerable a scene of the history of heaven, would, I doubt not, be sufficient to create everlasting jealousy and uneasiness, and to turn every pleasurable circumstance into a source of horror, in the apprehensions of being deprived eternally of it.

Thus you see, Sirs, from a particular survey of the various lights in which heaven is represented, and of the various branches of which its happiness consists, an unregenerate sinner is incapable of it, even though we should suppose, that he was actually admitted to it. Let me entreat you to reflect on all these things, and you will see the reasonableness of that one remark, with which I shall conclude

my

discourse. How vain are all those hopes of heaven, which in your present

condition you are ready to entertain !

I have been proving at large, that if God were to admit you to the possession of heaven, which it is certain that he never will, you would be incapable of relishing the enjoyments of it: Nay, that there would be a solid foundation in your own hearts, for many of the most tumultuous and disquieting passions. Envy and grief, fear and rage, those roots of bitterness, would spring up even in the paradise of God, and turn the fertility of that blessed soil into their own nourishment. And do you imagine, that any external accommodations or ornaments, could make you easy and comfortable, under the transports of such hellish passions ? What if

you were to take a man that was tormented with a violent fit of the stone or gout, and to place him beg that you may be recovered from this unhappy state, and brought to a meetness for his kingdom, and a title to it. For your sakes therefore, and for the sakes of others in your state, having already explained, illustrated, and confirmed the proposition in my text, I proceed, III. To represent to you the importance of the argument sug

gested here; or to shew you, how much every unregenerate sinner ought to be alarmed to hear, that while he continues in his present state, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

And oh! that while I endeavour to illustrate this, my Words might enter into your minds as goads, and might fix there as nails fastened in a sure place! The substance of my argument is Given forth by the one great Shepherd *; may the prosecution of it be blessed, as the means of reducing some wandering sheep into his fold;

Now in order to illustrate the force of this argument I beseech you seriously to consider, -—what this kingdom is, from which you are in danger of being for ever excluded; and what will be the condition of all those, who shall be finally cut off from any interest in it. [1.] Consider, “ what that kingdom is, from which the unre

generate, or those who are not born again, shall be ex. cluded.”

And here you are not to expect a complete representation of it: For that is an attempt, in which the tongues of angels, as well as men, might fail ; or how proper soever their language might be in itself, to us it would be unintelligible; for Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him t. And surely these final and most illustrious preparations of his love must, beyond all others, exceed our description and conception. A minister that with the apostle Paul, had been Caught up into the third heaven, if he would attempt to speak of the glorious scenes which were there opened to him, must say, they were unutterable things f: And one, that with John, had laid in the bosom of Christ himself, must say, as that apostle did, It does not yet appear what we shall be g. And indeed, when we go about to discourse of it, I doubt not, but the blessed angels pity the weakness of our apprehensions and expressions, such a kind of infinite value, that I know not how the purest and noblest spirits in heaven could absolutely have been secure of it, separate from the engagement of a divine promise.' And what divine promise would you be able to have recourse to, in such a circumstance as we now suppose ? Where could you

* Eccles. xii, 11. Isa. xxii. 23. f1 Cor. i. !. # 2 Cor. xii, 2, 4. $ 1 John iii. 2.

find it in all the book of God, that persons of your character should ever enter into heaven at all, much less that you should for ever continue there?-You could have therefore no security of the continuance of your abode in heaven, if it were possible that you should enter on the possession of it: But when you should consider the unsullied holiness of the ever-blessed God, the Sovereign of this sacred province, and the spotless purity of that gracious Redeemer, to whom the government of it is com mitted; you could not but fear that you should quickly be seized by the hand of vengeance, be hurled from the battlements of heaven, and plunged low into the pit of destruction. You know this was the condemnation of the rebel angels, and your guilt, compared with that dreadful event, which makes so considerable a scene of the history of heaven, would, I doubt not, be sufficient to create everlasting jealousy and uneasiness, and to turn every pleasurable circumstance into a source of horror, in the apprehensions of being deprived eternally of it.

Thus you see, Sirs, from a particular survey of the various lights in which heaven is represented, and of the various branches of which its happiness consists, an unregenerate sinner is incapable of it, even though we should suppose, that he was actually admitted to it. Let me entreat you to reflect on all these things, and you will see the reasonableness of that one remark, with which I shall conclude my

discourse. How vain are all those hopes of heaven, which in your present

condition you are ready to entertain !

I have been proving at large, that if God were to admit you to the possession of heaven, which it is certain that he never will, you would be incapable of relishing the enjoyments of it: Nay, that there would be a solid foundation in your own hearts, for many of the most tumultuous and disquieting passions. Envy and grief, fear and rage, those roots of bitterness, would spring up even in the paradise of God, and turn the fertility of that blessed soil into their own nourishment. And do you imagine, that any external accommodations or ornaments, could make you easy and comfortable, under the transports of such hellish passions ? What if you were to take a man that was tormented with a violent fit of the stone or gout, and to place him of a state of being, so much superior to any thing we have ever seen or known, unless he intended a personal and miraculous revelation of it, he must borrow our language, and in painting the glory of heaven must take his colours from earth. And here the magnificence of a city, the sweetness of a garden the solemn pomp of a temple, the lustre of a crown, and the dignity of a kingdom, strike powerfully on the human mind, and fill it with veneration and delight. But when such figures as these are borrowed from this low world of ours, faintly to shadow out that which is above, there is always the addition of some important circumstance, to intimate how far the celestial original exceeds the brightest earthly glory, by which the divine condescension has vouchsafed to describe it.

The enumeration of a variety of scriptural descriptions will set these remarks in the strongest light. If therefore beaven be described as a city, it is The New Jerusalem, the city of our God, that cometh down from God out of heaven*: The pavement of its Streets is all of pure gold, its gates are pearl, and its foundation jewelst.-If it be a garden, it is The Paradise of Gods, and so far superior to that which he at first prepared and furnished out for the entertainment of Adam in his state of innocence, that it is planted on every Side with the tree of lifes; of which there was but one alone in the garden of Eden; and is watered, not with such common rivers as the Tigris and Euphrates, but with that living, copious, inexhausted stream, the River of the water of life, which proceeds from the throne of God|l, and gently glides along through all its borders. -When it is represented as a temple, we are told, that instead of a golden ark placed in the remotest recess, to which only the high-priest might once a year approach, and on which he might not be allowed to gaze, The throne of God is erected there, perpetually surrounded with myriads of worshippers, who See his face, and, like the high-priest, when clothed in his richest robes, have his name written in their foreheads**. Instead of the feeble rays of that golden candlestick, whose lamps shone in the holy place, the heavenly temple is illuminated in a more glorious manner, and Needs no candle, neither light of the sun, for the glory of God continually enlightens it, and the Lamb is the light thereoftt: Nay, we are assured, that its sacred ministers are Made kings as well as priests unto God 11; and,

* Rev. iii. 12. xxi. 2.

Rev. xxii. 2. ** Rev. xxii. 4.

+ Rev. xxi. 19,21. Rev. ii. 7. || Rev. xxii. 1.

Rev. vii. 15. +7 Rev, xxi. 23. xxii. 5. 1 Rev. i. 6.

ness; but if this will not do, he will not put off his own na. ture to make us happy.”

What then do you imagine ? Do you think, that God will prepare some separate apartments of heaven, furnished with a variety of sensual pleasure, for the entertainment of persons of your character ? Some apartments, from whence the tokens of his presence shall be withdrawn, from whence the exercise of his worship shall be banished, from whence saints and angels shall retire to make way for those inhabitants, who, like you, have sinned themselves beyond a capacity of enjoying God, or of being fit companions for any of - his most excellent creatures ? This were to suppose the christian religion false, and to contradict the light of natural reason too, which not only shews such a disposition of things to be unworthy the divine sanctity and Majesty, but also shews, that if there be a future state, it must be a state of misery to wicked men, in whose minds those vicious habits prevail, which are even now the beginning of hell; which therefore they must carry along with them wherever they are, in proportion to the degree in which they are predominant.

Upon the whole then, you must evidently see, that it is absolutely necessary, that you, Sinners should be changed, if ever you expect to have any part or lot in the future happiness. And when do you expect that change should be wrought ? Do you expect it, when death has done its dreadful office upon you, and your soul arrives at the invisible world ? Is the air of it, if I may be allowed the expression, so refined, that it will immediately purify, and transform, every polluted sinner that comes into it? You cannot but know, that the wbole tenor of scripture forbids that presumptuous destructive hope. It assures us, that There is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wis. dom in the grave* ; but that we must be judged, According to what we have done in the body, and not according to what has past in any separate state, whether the actions we have done be good, or whether they be evilt.

If ever therefore you are regenerate at all, it must be while you are here below, in this state of education and trial : And if you continue in your sins till death surprise you, your souls will be for ever sealed up under an irreversible sentence, and by the decree of God, and the constitution of things, will be excluded from happiness, as by no means either entitled to it, or prepared for it. So evident is the truth of this assertion in

* Eccl. ix, 10.

+ 2 Cor. v. 10.

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