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God is jealous, and the Lord revengeth, the Lord revengeth and is furious, the Lord will take vengeance on his adversaries ; and he reserveth wrath for his enemies,' Isa. i. 24.- Ah, I will ease me of mine adversaries, and avenge me of mine enemies.' To have men in power ene, mies to us, is sad ; but to have God an enemy, is beyond expression dreadful: seeing we can neither fight nor flee from him, and he can pursue the quarrel through all eternity
2. They are under his curse, Gal, iii. 10. Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.' Now, God's curse is the binding over the sinner to all the direful effects of his wrathThis is the dreadful yoke which the broken law wreaths about the neck of every sịnner as in a natural state. God's curse is the tying of a sinner to the stake, that the law and justice of God may disburden all their arrows into his soul, and that in him may meet all the miseries and plagues that flow from the avenging wrath of God.
Thus every sinner, while in a natural state, is under the wrath and curse of God; a burden on him, that if not removed by him who was made under the law, and bore the curse thereof, will sink sinners into the lowest pit of hell
. THIRDLY, Let us next consider what man is liable to, both in this world and that which is to come.
First, In this world, he is liable.
1. To all the miseries of this life. Now these are twofold.
Ist, Outward miseries. There is a flood of these that man is subject to; as,
(1.) God's curse upon the creature for our sake, Gen. iii. 17. “Cursed is the ground for thy sake.' Under the weight of this curse the whole creation groans and travails in pain, longing for deliverance. It is not the groan of a wearied beast desiring to be disburdened of its load, but a groan the effect of the fall of man. The treason and rebellion of man against his rightful Lord and Sovereign, brought distress and misery upon all that was formed for his use; as when the majesty of a prince is violated by the
a rebellion of his subjects, all that belongs to them, and was before the free gift of the prince, is forfeited and taken from them. Their lands, palaces, cattle, even all that pertains to them, bear the marks of his sovereign fury. Consult Deut. xxviii. 15, &c.
(2.) Outward miseries, such as sword, famine, and pes. tilence. Many times the curse of the Lord makes the heavens as brass, and the earth as iron, binds up the clouds, and restrains their necessary influences, so that the fruits of the earth are dried up. It raises divisions, wars, and mutinies in a kingdom. All the confusions and disorders which are to be seen among men, are the woful fruits and native results of sin. It kindles and blows up the fire of discord in families, cities, and nations. This is that fury that brings a smoking firebrand from hell, and sets the whole world in a combustion. Pride and ambition, covetousness and desire of revenge, have made the world a stage of the most bloody tragedies. We have some terrible threatenings with respect to these judgments, Deut. xxviii. Lev. xxvi
. And they are all summed up in one verse, Ezek. v. 17'! will send upon you famine, and evil beasts, and they shall bereave thee; and pestilence and blood shall pass through thee, and I will bring the sword upon thee: I the Lord have spoken it,
(3.) Miseries on men's bodies, sickness and bodily pains, as burning fevers, languishing consumptions, distorting con vulsions, ugly deformities, gout and grayel, and all the dismal train
of wasting diseases and acute pains. Sin hath made man's body a seminary of diseases, and planted in it the fatal seeds and principles of corruption and dissolution, and made him liable to attacks from all distempers, from the torturing stone to the wasting consumption,
(4.) On our estates, as losses, crosses, wrongs, and oppres. sions. How often do those in trade suffer heavy losses by the bankruptcies of their debtors, by unfair practices, and sinistrous dealings, by cheating and tricking, by extortion and rapine, &c?
(5.) On our names, by reproach, disgrace, &c. Many estates are blasted, and families reduced to poverty and con: tempt, which sometime have made a good figure in the world. People are made to groan under pinching straits and wants, and yet they seldom consider the bitter root from which all this springs. It is sin that makes men poor, mean, low, and contemptible in the world, and that brings reproach and disgrace upon their names, Deut. xxviii. 37.
(6.) On our employments and callings. These are many times full of pain, labour, and disappointments. Men earn wages, and put it into a bag with holes, and they disquiet and vex themselves in vain. Whence are our cares and fears but from sin ? Fear is the ague of the soul that sets it a shaking. Some fear want, and others alarms. Whence come all the disappointments of our hopes and expectations but from sin ? When we look for comfort, there is a cross; where we expect honey and sweetness, there we find wormwood and gall.
(7.) On our relations, unequal uncomfortable marriages, false and treacherous friends, harsh and cruel masters, un, dutiful and unfaithful servants. It is sin that makes children ungrateful and undutiful to parents; they that should be as the staff of their parents old age, are as a sword many times to pierce their hearts. It is sin that makes wives disobedient to their husbands, and to defile their beds.
2dly, Inward spiritual iniseries: As (1.) Blindness of mind, Eph. iv. 18. the devil putting out the eyes that would not receive the light of the gospel, 1 Cor. iv. 4. (2.) ' A reprobate sense,' Rom. i. 28. whereby men are left of God, so as to have no sense of discerning betwixt good and evil, but take bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter. (3.) Strong delusions,' 2 Thess. ii. 11. whereby men, forsaking the truth, doat on the fancies and imaginations of their own hearts, and embrace lies for solid truths. (4.) · Hardness of heart,' Rom. ii. 5. whereby men's hearts are hardened from the fear of the Lord, and proof against conviction, and means used for awakening them. (5.) Vile affections,' Rom. i. 26, eagerly desiring sin and vanity, and all manner of filthiness, without regard to the dictates of reason and a natural conscience. (6.) Lastly, Fear, sorrow, and horror of conscience, which torment men, embitter life, and often bring death in their train, Isaiah xxxiii. 14.
2. At the end of this life, man is liable to death, Rom, vi. 23. • The wages of sin is death. The soul must be separated from the body; the man falls into the hands of the king of terrors, and goes down to the house appointed for all living.
Object. But if these things be the effects of the fall, how comes it that those who are delivered from the curse of the
law and the wrath of God by Jesus Christ, sustain these outward miseries, and die as well as others? Ans. Because the delivery is but imperfect ; but when they shall be free from sin, they shall be free from all these. In the mean time there is a great difference betwixt them: for the sting of God's wrath as a judge is taken out of them to the godly, and they are not accomplishments of the threaten, ings of the covenant of works, Rom. vi. 14, but of those of the covenant of grace, Psal. Ixxxix. 31, 32, 33. and why may not the Lord take some of those things threatened under the covenant of works, and give them a gospel-die, and inflict them according to the second covenant, as well as he does with the commands, which they are still obliged to obey?
Secondly, Let us consider what man is liable to in the world to come. He is liable to the pains of hell for ever, There the Jordan of wrath will overflow all its banks, and that throughout eternal ages. These pains of hell consist in two things, the punishment of loss, and the punishment of sense.
1. In the punishment of loss. This is unspeakably great, and cannot be sufficiently set forth by the tongue of man. I şhall only glance at it a little, without enlarging on particulars. (1.) They will lose all the good things which they enjoyed here in the world, their wealth, their riches, their profits and pleasures, and whatever things they set their heart on while here. (2.) The favourable presence and enjoyment of God and Christ. They will be for ever ba. nished from the beatific vision of God in glory. For he will say to them at the last day, * Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels, Matth. xxv. 41. (3.) The blessed company and society of the holy angels and glorified saints in heaven. (4.) All the glory and blessedness above. (5.) All pity and compassion, having none to commiserate their condition, or regard their pain. (6.) All hope and expectation of deliverance and outgate from their misery. (7.) All possibility of deliverance from their torments. The door of the pit shall be shut upon them for ever, and their fetters shall never be loosed. Thus sinners in hell shall lose every thing that is good and agreeable, even God the chief good, and all the happiness he has prepared for them that love him.
2. In the punishment of sense. They shall suffer the most grievous torments both in soul and body, and that without intermission, for evermore. These torments are beyond expression, and our most fearful thoughts cannot equal the horror of them. • Who knows the power of thine anger?' says the Psalmist. No man can tell what those plagues and woes are which infinite justice and almighty power hath prepared for obstinate sinners. Othat we may be prevailed upon to flee from this wrath that is to come, that so we may not fall into the hands of the living God, and may not be made the dreadful objects of everlasting vengeance. I conclude with a few inferences.
a - 1. See here the great evil of sin. Many reckon it but a small matter to transgress God's holy and righteous law. They can curse and swear, lie and steal, and commit many other enormous crimes, and yet have no trouble or remorse about it. But if they would consider the dreadful effects of sin, they would be of another mind. Sin is the worst of evils, and big with all kinds of evils whatsoever. It has brought a flood of miseries into the world, which has overflowed the whole creation, under the weight of which the earth and all its inhabitants are groaning. It is the great makebate between God and sinners; it has shut the door of access to God upon us, and exposed us to his wrath and curse in this life and that which is to come.
2. Woful is the case of all who are in a state of nature. They are far from God; they have no interest in or fellowship with him; they are under his wrath and curse, liable to all the miseries of this life, and to the vengeance of eternal fire in the world to come. They are fallen under the power and tyranny of the devil, and if mercy prevent not, shall dwell with him in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone for ever. Whatever your situation and circumstances in the world may be, O ye that are yet in your natural state, ye are in a miserable condition; for ye are without God, the fountain of all good. Ye may read, pray, and com. municate, but ye can have no communion with God. Men may be pleased with and bless you ; but ye are under God's wrath and curse; and will continue so till ye by faith einbrace God in Christ as your God. 3. Lastly, Arise, O ye sinners who are yet
natural state, and depart; for this is not your rest. Come to the