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he save men in their sins. It is the office of a king,
Parcere subjectis, & debellare superbos. To be a terror to evil doers, and a praise to them that do well, Rom. xiii. 3, 4. He is a minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath on him that doth evil. Now, should Christ favour the ungodly, (so continuing) and take those to reign with him that would not that he should reign over them? Luke xix. 27,This were quite against his office : be there. fore reigns that he may put his enemies under his feet, 1 Cor. xv. 24. Now, should he lay them in his bosom, he should cross the end of his regal power. It belongs to Christ, as a king, to subdue the hearts, and slay the lusts of his chosen, Ps. xlv. b, and cx. 8.What king would take the rebels, in open hostility, into his court? What were this, but to betray life, kingdom, government and all together? If Christ be a king, he must have homage, honour, subjection, &c. Mal. i. 6. Now, to save men-while in their natural enmity, were to obscure his dignity, lose his authority, bring contempt on his government, and sell his dear-bought rights for nought.
Again, as Christ should not be a Prince, so neither a Saviour, if he should do this ; for his salvation is spiritual : he is called Je. sus, because he saves his people from their sins, Matt. i. 21, so that, should he save them in their sins, he should be neither Lord nor Jesus. To save men from the punishment, and not from the power of sin, were to do his work by halves, and be an imperfect Saviour.
His office, as the deliverer, is to turn away ungodliness from Jacob, Rom. xi. 26. He is sent to bless men, in turning them from their iniquities, Acts iii. 26, to make an end of sin, Dan. ix. 24. So that he should destroy his own designs, and nullify his offices, to save men abiding in their unconverted state.
Application. Arise, then ; what meanest thou, O sleeper? Awake, O secure sinner, lest thou be consumed in thine iniquities. Say, as the lepers, If we sit here we shall die, 2 Kings vii. 3, 4. Verily, it is not more certain that thou art now out of hell, than that thou shalt speedily be in it, except thou repent and be converted; there is but this one door for thee to escape by: arise, then, 0 sluggard, and shake off thine excuses : how long wilt thou sluinber, and fold thine hands to sleep ? Prov. vi. 10, 11. Wilt thou lie down in the midst of the sea, or sleep on the top of the mast? Prov. xxiii. 34. There is no remer dy, but thou must either turn or burn : there is an unchangeable necessity of the change of thy condition, except thou art resolved to abide the worst of it, and try it out with the Almighty. If thou lovest thy life, O man, arise and come away. Methinks I see the Lord Jesus laying the merciful hands of an holy violence upon thee; methinks he carries it like the angels to Lot, Gen. xix. 15, 16, 17. Then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, lest thou be consumed. And while he linger. ed, the men laid hold upon his hand, the Lord being merciful unto him, and they brought him without the city, and said, Escape for
thy life, stay not in all the plain, escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.
Oh, how wilful will thy destruction be, if thou shouldst yet harden thyself in thy sinful state ! But none of you can say but you have had fair warning. Yet methinks I cannot tell how to leave you so: it is not enough to me to have delivered my own soul. What ! shall I go away without my errand? Will pone of you arise and follow me? Have I been all this while speaking to the wind ? Have I been charming the deaf adder, or allaying the tumbling ocean with arguments ? Do I speak to the trees or rocks, or to men ? to the tombs and monuments of the dead, or to a living au. ditory? If you be men, and not senseless stocks, stand still, and consider whither you are going: if you have the reason and under: standing of men, dare not to run into the flames, and fall into hell with your eyes open; but bethink yourselves, and set to the work of repentance. What! men, and yet run into the pit, when the very beasts will not be forced in ! What! endued with reason, and yet dally with death and hell, and the vengeance of the Almighty ! Are men herein distinguished from the very brutes, that they have no fore. sight of, and care to provide for the things to come? and will you not hasten your escape frou eternal torment? Oh, shew yourselves men, and let reason prevail with you.
Is it a reasonable thing for you to contend against the Lord your Maker ? Isa. xlv. 9, or to har. den yourselves against his word, Job ix. 4, as though the strength of Israel would lie ?
1 Sam. xv. 29. Is it reasonable that an uns derstanding creature should -lose, yea, live quite against the very end of his being, and be as a broken pitcher, only fit for the dung. hill? Is it tolerable, that the only thing in this world that God hath made capable of knowing his will, and bringing him glory, should yet live in ignorance of his Maker, and be uuserviceable to his use; yea, should be engaged against him, and spit his venom in the face of his Creator? Hear, O heavens, and give ear, 0 earth, and let the creatures without sense be judge if this be reason, That man, when God hath nourished and brought him up, should rebel against him? Isa. i. 2. Judge in your own selves : is it a reasonable undertaking for briars and thorns to set themselves in battle against the devouring fire ? Isa. xxvii. 4, or for the potsherd of the earth to strive with his Maker? If you will say this is not reason, surely the eye of reason is quite put out: and if this be reason, then there is no reason that you should continue as you be, but 'tis all the reason in the world you should forthwith repent and turn."
What shall I say? I could spend myself in this argument. Oh that you would but hearken to me! that you would presently set upon a new course! Will you not be made clean? When shall it once be ? What! will no body be persuaded ? Reader, shall I pre. vail with thee for one ? Wilt thou sit down and consider the forementioned arguments, and debate it, whether it be not best to turn ? Come and let us reason together : Is it good
for thee to be here? Wilt thou sit still till the tide come in upon thee? Is it'good for thee to try whether God will be so good as his word, and to harden thyself in a conceit that all is well with thee, while thou remainest unsanc. tified ?
But I know you will not be persuaded, but the greatest part will be as they have been, and do as they have done. I know the drunk. ard will to his vomit again, and the deceiver will to his deceit again, and the lustful wan. ton to his dalliance again. Alas! that I must leave you where you were; in your ignorance or looseness, or in your lifeless formality and customary devotions! However, I will sit down and bemoan my fruitless labours, and spend some sighs over my perishing hearers.
O distracted sinners! What will their end be ? What will they do in the day of visitation? whither will they flee for help ? where will they leave their glory? Isa. x. 3. How powerfully hath sin bewitched them ! how effectually hath the god of this world blinded them ! how strong is their delusion ! how un. circumcised their ears ! how obdurated their hearts ! Satan hath them at his beck : but how long may I call, and can get no answer ? I may dispute with them year after year, and they will give me the hearing, and that is all. They must and will have their sins, say what I will. Though I tell them there is death in the cup, yet they will take it up: though I tell them 'tis the broad way, and endeth in destruction, yet they will go on in it: I warn them, yet cannot win them. Sometimes I