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Zech. vii. 11. “But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear.” How justly therefore inight God refuse to move or strive any more!
When God has been knocking at your door, you have refused to open to him; how just is it therefore that he should go away, and knock at your door no more! When the spirit of God has been striving with you, have you not been guilty of grieving the Holy Spirit by giving way to a quarrelling temper, and by yielding yourself a prey to lust? And bave not some of you quenched the spirit, and been guilty of backsliding ? and is God obliged, notwithstanding all this, to continue the striving of his spirit with you, to be resisted and grieved still, as long as you please? On the contrary, would it not be just if his spirit should everlastingly leave you, and let you alone ?
2. How just it would be if you should be cursed in all your concerns in this world. It would be just if God should curse you in every thing, and cause every thing you enjoy, or are concerned in, to turn to your destruction.
You live here in all the concerns of life as an enemy to God; you have used all your enjoyments and possessions against God, and to his dishonour; would it not therefore be just if God should curse you in them, and turn them all against you, and to your destruction? What temporal blessing has God given you, which you have not used in the service of your lusts, in the service of sin and Satan? If you have been in prosperity, you have made use of it to God's dishonour; when you have waxed fat, you
bave forgotten the God that made you. How just therefore would it be if God's curse should attend all your enjoyments! Whatsoever employments you have followed, you have not served God in them, but God's enemies; how just therefore would it be if you should be cursed in all your employments! The means of grace that you have enjoyed, you have not made use of as you ought to have done; you have made light of them, and have treated them in a careless disregardful manner; you have been the worse and not the better for them. You have so attended and used sabbaths, and spiritual opportunities, that you have only made them occasions of manifesting your contempt of God and Christ, and divine things, by your careless and profane manner of attending them; would it not therefore be most just that God's curse should attend your means of grace and the opportunities which you enjoy for the salvation of your soul ?
You have improved your time only to heap up provocations and add to your transgressions, in opposition to all the calls and warnings that could be given you; how just therefore would it be if God should turn life itself into a curse to you, and suffer you to live only to fill up the measure of your sins!
You have contrary to God's counsel made use of your own enjoyments to the hurt of your soul, and therefore if God should turn them to the hurt and rain of your soul, he would but deal with you as you have dealt with yourself. God has earnestly counselled you times without number to use your temporal enjoyments for your spiritual good, but you have refused to hearken to him, you have foolishly perverted them to treasure up wrath against the day of wrath, you have voluntarily used what God has given you for your spiritual hurt to increase your guilt and wound your own soul; and therefore if God's curse should attend them, so that they should all turn to the ruin of your soul, you would but be dealt with as you have dealt with yourself.
3. How just would it be in God to cut you off, and put an end
to your life!
You have greatly abused the patience and long suffering of God which have already been exercised towards you. God with wonderful long suffering has borne with you, when you have gone on in rebellion against him, and refused to turn from your evil ways. He has beheld you going on obstinately in the ways of provocation against him, and yet he has not let loose his wrath against you to destroy you, but has still waited to be gracious. He has suffered you yet to live on his earth, and breathe his air ; he has upheld and preserved you, and continued still to feed you, and clothe you, and maintain you, and still to give you a space to repent; but instead of being the better for his patience, you have been the worse, instead of being inelted by it, you have been hardened, and it has made you the more presumptuous in sin. Eecles. viii. 11. “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” You have been guilty of despising the riches of his goodness, and forbearance, and long suffering, instead of being led to repent by it. You cannot live one day but as God maintains and provides for you ; you cannot draw a breath, or live a moment, unless God upholds you; for in his band your breath is, and he holds your soul in life, and his visitation preserves your spirit. But what thanks has God had for it; how have you, instead of being turned to God, been only rendered the more fully set and dreadfully hardened in the ways of sin! How just therefore would it be if God's patience should soon be at an end, and he should cease to bear with you any longer!
You have not only abused his past patience, but have also abused his thoughts of future patience. You have flattered yourself that death was not near, and that you should live long in the world, and this has made you abundantly the more bold in sin. Since therefore such has been the use you have made of your expectation of having your life preserved, how just would it be in
God to disappoiot that expectation, and cut you short of that long life with which you have flattered yourself, and in the thoughts of which you have encouraged yourself in sin against him! How just would it be if your breath should soon be stopped, and that suddenly, when you think not of it, and you should be driven away in your wickedness !
3. As long as you live in sin you do but cumber the ground, you are wholly unprofitable, and live in vain. He, that refuses to live to the glory of God, does not answer the end of his creation, and for what should he live? God made men to serve him; to this end he gave them life; and if they will not devote their lives to this end, how just would it be in God if he should refuse to continue tbeir lives any longer! He has planted you in his vineyard, to bear fruit; and if you bring forth no fruit, why should he continue you any longer; how just would it be in him to cut you down!
As long as you live many of the blessings of God are spent upon you from day to day; you devour the fruits of the earth and consume much of its fatness and sweetness; and all to no purpose, but to keep you alive to sin against God, and spend all in wicked
The whole creation does as it were groan with you; the sun rises and sets to give you light, the clouds pour down rain upon you, and the earth brings forth her fruits, and labours from year to year to supply you; and you in the mean time do not answer the end of Him who has created all things. How just therefore would it be if God should soon cut you off, and take you away, and deliver the earth from this burden, that the creation may no longer groan with you, and cast you out as an abominable branch! Luke xiii. 7. “Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none : cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?" John xv. 2 and 6. “Every branch in me that beareth not fruit be taketh away; and every branch that beareth fruit he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit-If a man abide not in me, be is cast forth as a branch, and is withered ; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.”
4. How just would it be if you should die in the greatest horror and amazement!
How often have you been exhorted to improve your time, to lay a foundation of peace and comfort on a death-bed; and yet you have refused to hearken! You have been many and many a time reminded that you must die, that it was very uncertain when, and that
you did not know how soon, and have been told how mean and insignificant all your earthly enjoyments would then appear, and how unable to afford you any comfort on a death-bed. You have been often told bow dreadful it would be to lie on a deathbed in a Christless state, having nothing to comfort you but your worldly enjoyments. You have been often put in mind of the torment and amazement which sinners, who have mis-spent their precious time are subject to when arrested by death. You have been told how infinitely you would then need to have God your friend, and to have the testimony of a good conscience, and a well grounded hope of future blessedness. And how often have you been exhorted to take care to provide against such a day as this, and to lay up treasure in heaven, that you might have something to depend on when you parted from all this world, something to hope for when all things here below fail! But remember how regardless you have been, how dull and negligent from time to time, when you have sat under the hearing of such things, and still you obstinately refuse to prepare for death, and take no care to lay a good foundation against that time. And you have not only been counselled, but you have seen others on their death-beds in fear and distress, or have heard of them, and have not taken warning; yea, some of you have been sick yourselves, and have been afraid that you were on your death-beds, yet God was merciful to you, and restored you, but you did not take warning to prepare for death. How justly therefore might you be the subject of that horfor and amazement, of which you have heard, when you come to die !
And not only so, but how industriously have you spent your time in treasuring up matter for tribulation and anguish at that time! You have not only been negligent of laying a foundation for peace and comfort then, but have spent your time continually and unweariedly in laying a foundation for distress and horror. How have you gone on from day to day, heaping up more and more guilt; more and more wounding your own conscience, still
increasing the amount of folly and wickedness for you to reflect : upon! How just therefore would it be that tribulation and anguish should then come upon you !
5. How just it is that you should suffer the wrath of God in another world.
Because you have wilfully provoked, and stirred up that wrath. liyou are not willing to suffer the anger of God, then why did you provoke him to anger? why did you act as though you would contrive to make him angry with youwhy did you willully disobey God? You know that wilsul disobedience tends to provoke him, who is disobeyed: it is so in an earthly king, or master, or father. If you have a servant who is wilfully disobedient, it provokes your anger. And again, if you would not suffer God's wrath, why
you so often cast a slight on God? If any one casts a slight on men, it tends to provoke them: how much more may the Infinite Majesty of heaven be provoked, when he is contemned! You have also robbed God of his property, you have refused to give VOL. VIII.
him that which is his own. It provokes men when they are deprived of their due and they are dealt injuriously by ; how much more may God be provoked when you rob him!
You have also slighted the kindness of God to you, and that the greatest love and kindness of which you can conceive. You have been supremely ungrateful and have only abused that kindness. Nothing provokes men more than to have their kindness slighted and abused; how much more may God be provoked when men re quite his infinite mercy only with disobedience and ingratitude! If therefore you go on to provoke God, and to stir up his wrath, how can you expect any other than to suffer his wrath ? If then you should indeed suffer the wrath of an offended God, remember it is what you have procured for yourself, it is a fire of your own kindling
You would not accept of deliverance from God's wrath, when it bas been offered to you. When God had in mercy sent his only begotten Son into the world, you refused to admit him. You loved your sins too well to forsake them to come to Christ, and for the sake of your sins, you have rejected all the offers of a Saviour, so that you have chosen death rather than life. After you had procured wrath to yourself you clove fast to it, and would not part with it for mercy. “All they that hate me, love death."
6. How just would it be that you be delivered up into the hands of the devil and his angels, to be tormented by them hereafter, seeing you have voluntarily given yourself up to serve them here! You have hearkened to them rather than to God. therefore would it be if God leave you to them! You have followed Satan and adhered to his interest in opposition to God, and have subjected yourself to his will in this world, rather than to the will of God; how just therefore would it be if God should give you up to his will hereafter !
7. How justly may your bodies be made organs of torment 10 you hereafter, which you have made organs and instruments of sin in this world! You have given up your bodies a sacrifice to sin and Satan: how justly therefore may God give them up a sacrifice to wrath! You bave employed your bodies as servants to your vile and hateful lusts. How just therefore would it be for God hereafter to raise your bodies to be organs and instruments of misery; and to fill them as full of torment as they have been filled full of sin !
8. But the greatest objection of wicked men against the justice of the future punishment which God has threatened, is from the greatness of that punishment: that God should inflict upon the finally impenitent, torments so extreme, so amazingly dreadful, to have their bodies cast into a furnace of fire of such immense heat and fierceness, there to lie unconsumed, and yet full of sense and