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1. If the mercies of the covenant be sure mercies, (as we have proved fully,) O what folly are those souls guilty of that are Christless, graceless, and careless, that have no interest in these mercies, and never trouble themselves about ensuring these covenant mercies to themselves. How many in the world are destitute of these mercies! There is a generation of men and women that live within the pale of the visible church, that may be called lo-ruhamah, for they have not yet obtained mercy; nay, in the state they are in, there is no mercy for them, because they are not yet in Christ, through whom these covenant mercies flow: unconverted souls are unconcerned persons in these mercies; those dogs have nothing to do with this children's bread; and yet who so apt to catch and snatch these precious dainties? they love to hear the glorious privileges laid open-such as, justification, reconciliation, adoption, and eternal life ; and yet we must say with sorrow, they have nothing to do with them : if they hear discourses of God's mercy, how are they pleased, tickled, and even enraptured! they make no question but they shall be saved, as well as others; and they think, surely God that made them will not damn them. But ask these poor souls whether they be savingly converted, renewed, or engrafted into Christ by faith? alas, they know not what this means ; they never asked their own souls the question; nay, they are ready to think that it is a very needless inquiry, or impossible to know; however this never lay upon their hearts and consciences, as necessary in order to clear i! this important case—whether they have obtained inercy? But let all who are thus ignorant know, that “ he that made them will not have mercy on thein," Isa. xxvii. 11; let all profane rebels against the King of heaven know, that “God will not be merciful to any wicked transgressor,” Psalm lix. 5. God's attributes are all analogical and correspondent; he will not cease to be just and holy that he may be merciful, he will be merciful in his own way; mercy and justice shall go hand in hand. It is a ridiculous folly for men to conceit, they shall have the mercies of the covenant that are not within the covenant; this is that fallacy that logicians call fallacia dividendi conjungenda, the fallacy of dividing things to be conjoined; it is most dangerous and damnable in divinity, when souls dream of having peace without grace, or happiness without holiness; but let men know there is no mercy but in the covenant-where no ark of the covenant, no seat of mercy; where there is no work of grace, there is no covenant of grace; where Christ is a Saviour he will be a Sovereign, where he gives remission of sins he will give repentance ; his way of blessing is by turning persons from their iniquities;* God will not shew mercy to any but in his own way; such as obtain mercy in the enjoyment of pardoning grace, must obtain mercy in converting grace; sanctification goeth along with justification ; Paul obtained mercy by forsaking his old courses ; # God saveth us according to his mercyhow? why, “by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost,” Titus iii. 5; they are saved from sin, that are saved from wrath and hell. It is a self-deceiving, soul-destructive contradiction to dream of pardoning, without sanctifying grace. Thousands in the world fancy a God to themselves made up all of mercy, and let them do what they please, they can bolster up themselves with this conceit, “God is merciful ;” and so, as God himself saith, Psalm I. 21. “ These things hast thou done and I kept silence : thou thoughtest that I was altogether such a one as * Acts v. 31. iii. 26.
thyself, but I will reprove thee, and set thy sins in order before thee;" as if he had said, think not to make me a patron of thy wickedness ; it is true, I spare thee and suffer thee to live quietly, but forbearance is no acquittance; think not I love thee because I afford thee outward mercies, which thou abusest to licentiousness, but I am resolved to take vengeance on thee; there is justice with me, as well as mercy, and there is a season wherein I shall pour out the vials of my wrath upon vessels of wrath that are fitted to destruction; a time is coming when I shall tear you in pieces, and there shall be none to deliver. O sirs, the condition of graceless, unconverted souls is sad; for,
(1.) They are under a sure and dreadful sentence of condemnation ; for as the mercies of the new covenant are sure to believers, so the curses of the old covenant are as sure to all unbelievers; as the second Adam conveys certain life, so the first Adam conveys certain death to his seed; as “ he that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life,” so “ he that believeth not shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him," John iii. 36; as “ he that believeth is acquitted,” so “ he that believeth not is condemned already,” ver. 18; all his other sins are bound upon him by this of unbelief_this is the condemnation. It is as impossible that the devils in hell shall be saved, as that unconverted sinners, while such, shall be saved ; for Christ saith again and again, “ except a man be converted, except he be born again, he cannot see, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God,"* and binds it with strong asseverations, and dare any one that pretends to believe God's promise question the verity of his positions or comminations ? yea, God hath bound himself by oath in this case as well as in the other,
* Matt. xviii. 3. John üi. 5.
Heb. iii. 11. it is spoken there concerning the rebellious murmuring Israelites; “ I sware in my wrath,” saith God,“ they shall not enter into my rest;” or if they shall enter, then, as if he had said, never trust me more; nay, let me not be God—but what is this to us? Yes, the apostle applies it to unbelievers in gospel times, Heb. iv. 1-5, &c. hence he repeats the oath again referring to unbelieving gospellers, that they shall never enter into the heavenly Canaan. And surely unconverted sinners are in a woful plight, of whom it may be truly said, that God himself cannot save them while they continue in that state; for there is no way but one of entering heaven, that is Jesus Christ—and how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation ?* there is no other way revealed, and do we think God will forsake his ordinary road, and quit his glorious design, to gratify a generation of wilful neglecters and rejecters of this blessed contrivance of saring sinners by interest in Jesus Christ? It cannot be, you must either go to heaven this way, or down to hell by your own way.
(2.) Their souls are not sure to be another moment out of hell-torments; poor graceless sinners cannot secure themselves upon any real Scripture grounds, that they shall another hour enjoy that bastard peace of conscience, in which they flatter themselves; for ought they know, their case may be like Belshazzar's, Dan v. 5, while they are drinking, carousing, ranting, revelling, some dreadful hand-writing or testimony of God's indignation may break forth against them which may iar all their mirth, appal their spirits, trouble their thoughts, loose the joints of their loins, and make their knees smite one against another. Oh what terror and horror will the dreadful summons of death strike into them! How will these fool-hardy warriors against an infinite God, call to the rocks and mountains to cover them! Oh what a sudden change, what a sad catastrophe will the cold hand of death make with them! What a fall will these secure and senseless sinners have from the height of worldly preferment to the depth of eternal torments! Stand a little and look at that rich and wretched miser in the gospel, that had no room for his fruits and goods, that sung a requiem to his soul for many years ; yet alas, had not one night to take his ease in. “ Thou fool," saith God, “ this night shall thy soul be required of thee," * or they shall require thy soul ; that is, the devils who are waiting for a commission from God to catch hold of graceless souls, to hale them to torments as soon as they have forsaken their wretched bodies—so some interpret it. However, the rich man's soul was suddenly snatched from a full table and dainty fare into eternal misery, without a drop of water or hopes of mercy; for let him tear his heart with bitter outcries—“ Father Abraham, have mercy on me,” neither his father Abraham, nor the God of Abraham will have any mercy for him:f former offers of mercy are now turned into flames of fury; they have wilfully forsaken their own mercy, and now are wofully forsaken by the God of mercy. O consider this you that are yet in your sins, dancing about the pit, and are ready every instant to drop into eternal woe.
* Acts iv. 12. Heb. ii. 3.
(3.) Their present mistake will aggravate their woful state. Oh what a dreadful disappointment will this be, for persons that lived demurely in the world, and passed for very civil neighbours, even for choice saints, yet now to be set on the left hand amongst the goats at the great day; yea, persons that thought • See Luke xii. 17-20.
+ See Luke xvi. 24-26.