Page images
PDF
EPUB

withstanding all this, he should bring men to salvation without conversion? O desperate sinner, that darest to hope that Christ will put the lie upon his Father, and nullify his word, to save thee! (4.) To his wisdom : for this were to throw away the choicest mercies on them that would not value them, nor were any way suited to them. First, They would not value them. The unsanctified sinner puts but little price upon God's great salvation, Matt. xxii. 5. He sets no more by Christ, than the whole by the physician, Matt. ix. 12. He prizeth not his balm, values. not his cure, tramples upon his blood, Heb. x. 29.Now, would it stand with wisdom, to force pardon and life upon them that would give him no thanks for them? Will the all-wise God (when he hath forbidden us to do it) throw his holy things to dogs, and his pearls to swine, that would (as it were) but turn again, and rend him ? Matt. vii. 6. This would make mercy to be despised indeed. Wisdom requires, that life be given in a way suitable to God's honour, and that God provide for the securing his own glory, as well as man's felicity. It would be dishonorable to God, to set his jewels on the snouts of swine, (continuing such) and to bestow bis choicest riches on them, that have more pleasure in their swill, than the heavenly delights that he doth offer. God should lose the praise and glory of his grace, if he should cast it away on them that were not only unworthy, but un. willing. Secondly, They are no way suited to them. The divine wisdom is seen in suit. ing things, each to other, the means to the end, the object to the faculty, the quality of the gift to the capacity of the receiver. Now, if Christ should bring the unregenerate sinner to heaven, he could take no more felicity there than a beast, if you should bring him into a beautiful room, to the society of learned men,

, and a well furnished table; when as the poor thing had much rather be grazing with his fellow brutes. Alas! what should an unsanctified creature do in heaven! he could take no content there, because nothing suits him. The place doth not suit him; he would be but piscis in arido, quite out of his element, as a swine in the parlour or a fish out of water. The company doth not suit him : what communion bath darkness with light? corruption with perfection ? filth and rotten. ness with glory and immortality ? The employment doth not suit him : the anthems of heaven fit not his mouth, suit not his ear.Canst thou charm thy beast with music ? or wilt thou bring him to thy organ, and expect that he should make thee melody, or keep tune with the skilful choir ? or hath he skill, he would have no will; and so could find no pleasure, no more than the nauseous stomach in the meat, on which it hath newly surfeited. Spread thy table with delicates before a languishing patient, and it will be but a very of. fence. Alas! if the poor man think a sermon long, and say of a sabbath, What a weariness is it? Mal. i. 13, how miserable would he think it to be held to it to all eternity ? (5.) To his immutability, or else to his omniscieney, or omnipotency. For this is enacted in the conclave of heaven, and enrolled in the decrees of the court above, that none but the pure in heart shall ever see God, Matt. v. 8. This is laid up with him, and sealed among his treasures. “Now, if Christ yet bring any to heaven unconverted, either he must get them in without his Father's knowledge, and then where is his omnisciency? or against his will, and then where were his omnipotency? or he must change his will, and then where were his immutability ?

Sinner, wilt thou not yet give up thy vain hope of being saved in this condition ? Saith Bildad, Shall the earth be forsaken for thee, or the rocks moved out of their place ? Job xviii. 4. May not I, much more, reason so with thee? Shall the laws of heaven be re. versed for thee? Shall the everlasting found. ations be overturned for thee? Shall Christ put out the eye of his Father's omnisciency, or shorten the arm of his eternal power for thee? Shall divine justice be violated for thee? Or the brightness of the glory of his holiness be blemished for thee? Oh, the im. possibility, absurdity, blasphemy, that is in such a confidence ! To think Christ will ever save thee in this condition, is to make thy Saviour to become a sinner, and to do more wrong to the infinite Majesty than all the wicked on earth, or devils in hell ever did, or could ; and yet wilt thou not give up such a blasphemous hope ?

Secondly, Against his word. We need not gay, Who shall ascend into heaven, to bring down Christ from above? or, who shall descend into the deep, to bring up Christ from beneath the word is nigh us, Rom. x. 6, 7, 8. Are you agreed that Christ shall end the controversy? Hear then his own words, Except you be converted, you shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven, Matt. xviii. 3. You must be born again, John iii. 7. If I wash thee not, thou hast no part in me, John xiii. 8. Repent, or perish, Luke xiii. 8. "One word, one would think, were enough from Christ; but how often and earnestly doth he reiterate it ? Verily, verily, Except a man be born again, he shall not see the kingdom of God, John iii. 3,5. Yea, he doth not only assert, but prove the necessity of the new birth, viz. from the fleshliness and filthiness of man's first birth, John iii. 6, by reason of which, man is no more fit for heaven, than the beast is for the chamber of the king's presence. And wilt thou yet believe thine own presumptuous confidence, directly against Christ's words ? He must go quite against the law of his kingdɔm, and rule of his judgment, to save in this estate.

Thirdly, Against his oath. He hath lifted up his hand to heave. He hath sworn, that those that remain in unbelief, and know not his ways, (that is, are ignorant of them, or disobedient to them) shall not enter into his rest, Ps. xcv. 11, Heb. iii. 18. And wilt thou not yet believe, O sinner, that he is in earnest ? Canst thou hope he will be forsworn for thee? The covenant of grace is confirmed by an oath, and sealed by blood, Heb. vi. 17, and ix. 16, 18, 19, Matt. xxvi. 28, but all must be made void, and another way to heav. en found out, if thou be saved living and dying unsanctified. God is come to his lowest and last terms with man, and hath condescended as far as with honour he could, hath set up his pillars with a Ne plus ultra. Men cannot be saved while unconverted, except they could get another covenant made, and the whole frame of the gospel (which was es. tablished forever with such dreadful solem. nities) quite altered. And would not this be a distracted hope?

Fourthly, Against his honour. God will so shew his love to the sinner, as withal, to shew his hatred to sin. Therefore, he that names the name of Jesus must depart from iniquity, 2 Tim. ii. 19, and deny all ungodli, ness: and he that hath hope of life by Christ, must purify himself as he is pure, 1 Jobn iii. 3, 'Tit. ii. 12, otherwise Christ will be thought a favourer of sin. The Lord Jesus would have all the world to know, though he pardon sin, he will not protect it. If holy Da. vid shall say, Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity, Ps. vi. 8, and shall shut the doors against them, Ps. ci. 7, shall not such much more expect it from Christ's holiness? Would it be for his honour to have the dogs to the table, or to lodge the swine with his children, or to have Abraham's bosom to be a nest of vipers ?

Fifthly, Against his offices. God hath exalted him to be a Prince and a Saviour, Acts r. 31. He should aet against both, should

« PreviousContinue »