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wrath, coming and returning upon them like a thunderbolt, as it were to strike and dash them in pieces immediately, making them whole again, that his fury may return upon them with redoubled force more than ever. But yet here is not all. As the wicked shall be deprived of all outward comforts and be tormented in body,
3. They shall be also tormented in soul. They shall have many sorrows.
But oh ! how shall 1 show forth the sorrows of a wounded forsaken soul? For saith the wise man, a wounded spirit who is able to endure ? Job of all others may be a fit pattern, who complaineth thate the arrows of the Almighty are in him, that the venom thereof drinketh up his spirit. That the terrors of God fight against him, destroyed with a tempest, hiss soul cut off alive, God's plagues renewed against him, yea with changes and armies of sorrows taking his flesh in his teeth and his soul in his hand", poureth his gall upon the ground running on him like a giant, his face withered with weepingk, the thoughts of his heart broken, the day being his night, and the night his day; by violence crying out, yet not being heard, destroyed on every side', God's wrath being kindled against him, counted as God's enemy, his armies coming together upon him, his soul pursued as the wind, being poured out upon himselfm, his bones being pierced in the nights, his sinews taking no rest, God cruelly turned against him with the strength of his hand being caused to ride upon the wind, his bowels boiling without rest, mourning without any sun, a brother unto dragons, a companion to ostriches, his bones burned, and what not ? This is a taste of a forsaken soul, when confusion of understanding, blindness of light, corruption and obstinacy of will, and terror of conscience shall altogether oppress the ungodly. And this fearful estate of a forsaken soul, is yet further enlarged by Moses, where he threateneth the peo
e Job, chap. 6. ver. 4.
Job, chap. 9. ver. 17. 8 Job. chap. 10. ver. 1.
h Ibid. chap. 13. ver. 14. i Job. chap. 16. ver. 13, 14.
k Ibid. chap. 17. ver. 11. | Job. chap. 19. ver. 10, 11. m Job. chap. 30. ver. 15, 16, 17, 28, 29, 30.
ple, that if they be rebellious, then amongst these nations their neighbours, they should have no rest, “ Neither” (saith he) shall the soul of thy foot have any rest, for the Lord shall give thee there a trembling heart, and looking to return till thine eyes fall out, and a sorrowful mind, and thy life shall hang before thee, and thou shalt fear both night and day, and shalt have none assurance of thy life. In the morning thou shalt say, would God it were night! and at the evening, thou shalt say, would God it were morning! for the fear of thine heart, and the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see.” This, beloved, is a miserable estate, but yet all these things are nothing to these sorrows of hell, «
weeping and wailing, and gnashing of teeth,” from a chilling most miserable cold, to a terrible not-consuming heat, and to no end torments, with variety of endless pains, which no heart can sufficiently think of.
Lastly, there shall be no relaxation of these torments, but eternal perpetuity. And who would be so mad, as for one day's play to have eternity of torments.
All this life is but as a day to eternity; nay not so much in God's sight. But what should I speak of this eternity ? I dare not enter into the same. The very speaking and thoughts thereof do drown and swallow up my meditations in admiration. The best is, that as it is in the Gospel, we all apply ourselves to believe' and live in the Son of God; that freed by him, we may possess eternal life, which is the joy and crown of our labours, rather than to be cast into hell-fire for ever, where (as it is in the 9th of the Revelation) men shall seek deathp, and shall not find it, and shall desire to die, and death shall fly from them, in place of their desired ease, the Lord's cannons, darts, and preparations of war, all being bent against them, to give them ten thousand deaths in one. All these things and a great many worse, passing our imagination to think of, shall come upon us, if we continue mules and rebellious, hard-hearted creatures. Ease, saith the wise man, killeth the foolish, and the prosperity of fools is deceitful. We must not think to go sleeping to heaven, but we must toil and work hard for the same. Of all others, then, righteous men, who wage battle with the enemies of their salvation, ought to rejoice because they see these things, and labour by all means to eschew them betimes. But what should I speak of the great ones, and rich men of this world ? The apostle James pronounceth their doom. “ Gol to now ye rich men, weep and howl, for your miseries that shall come upon you.
• John, chap. 3. ver. 15.
n Deut. chap. 28. ver. 65, 66, 67. p Rev. chap. 9. ver. 6.
Your riches are corrupt, and your garments are moth-eaten ; your gold and silver is cankered, and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have lived on the earth in wantonness and pleasure, ye have nourished your hearts as in a day of slaughter; ye have condemned and killed the just, and he hath not resisted you.” But yet ye vain worldlings, your persuasions are false, and shall deceive you.
But what shall we do in the mean time? A day cometh shall pay for all. Be patient, therefore, (saith he,) brethren, until the coming of the Lord. Then, shall be a time of full payment: they shall have many sorrows.
But now let us come to the uses. First, these terrors of the Lord, these many sorrows of the wicked which they shall endure, being banished from the presence of God for ever serveth to teach us as a most effectual means to drive us from ourselves, and to fly, and stick fast unto Christ. “For" (as the prophet Amos speaketh) since the Lion hath roared, who will not now be afraid,” who would not now but tremble to hear of these things ? Should not all the beasts of the field tremble ? So now when the Lord hath laid these sorrows to our hearts for our meditation, let us consider truly whether we be not worse than reprobates if we think lightly of them, and so suffer them to perish from remembrance. It is written of Felix the governor, who though he were a profane reprobate, yet when he heards Paul dispute of righteousness, of temperance, and of the judgment to
r Amos, chap. 3. ver. 8.
9 James, chap. 5. ver. 1.
come, the text saith he trembled. Shall profane Felix tremble and shall not we also, to hear of these many sorrows, be now driven to prayer, to a more earnest begging of mercy at God's hands ? to a more settled assurance of salvation than ever ?
It is written of wicked Haman, the enemy of God's people, that` when he saw the danger, the king's wrath being incensate against him, that he fell presently a begging for mercy.
And shall wicked Haman, fearing the wrath of a mortal man, when he saw the danger seek to avoid the same? I say and shall not we, who are Christians, be much more afraid and seek how to avoid the terrible displeasure of the King of kings. Let us then in the name of * * *since we see the danger, fall a praying more earnestly than ever, and never give God rest until by a comfortable answer from the throne of grace, we receive assurance in our souls, that we by Christ Jesus are freed from these many sorrows. And seeing in the sorrows of the children of God in this life, the Lord's intention is to drive us from ourselves, to let us see what miserable wretches we are by nature, to drive us to lay sure hold on Christ and his blood, the means of our salvation : let us therefore be humbled in time. Of all means, this humiliation is best, to pray often and earnestly. But yet the meditation of the passion of Christ availeth most of all to move devotion. “ Who* (as the apostle to the Hebrews speaketh) in the days of his flesh did offer up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears, unto him that was able to save him from death.” If Christ then, to save us, did offer up prayers with strong cries and tears, oh ! how senseless, and ungrateful to God, and ourselves are we, if we do not work out our salvation (which he now hath already purchased) with fear and trembling, with strong cries, with prayers and tears, as he did ?
Yet the special use of this doctrine is first more particular unto God's children, who are daily affrighted with the
u Esther, chap. 7. ver. 7.
* Heb, chap. 5. ver. 7.
many combats, and triumphing of the flesh over the spirit, wherein they fear to be left comfortless. But for all this I say unto such, fear not for these combats, be they never so strong and many, nor for these triumphings of the flesh over the spirit, seem they never so terrible. It is a blessed thing to be thus tossed; yea it is just with God to let us many times see hell, as it were, wide open, bringing us to the brink thereof. And in this all of us are to be blamed, that when the Lord doth chasten us somewhat sharply, and letteth us to see hell open, we forget his former mercies, we fall into distrust, we think he has turned our enemy, we think that the sun will never shine again, because, as we think, it remaineth too long eclipsed, because we are ignorant of the necessity and causes of these afflictions. As the skilful rider, having a stubborn and an unruly horse to master, first trieth fair means, riding him gently, and if it will not help, then breaketh he him in the deepest furrow grounds; which if it master him not, then bringeth he him to the top of some huge steep rock, from the edge whereof causing him to look down, and offering to thrust him over, thus affrighting him, they tame his courage, and bring him in subjection. So the Lord at the first causeth us to walk gently in the means which tameth gentle children, which if they prevail not, then he handleth us more roughly, and bringeth us unto the furrows of great afflictions; after all which, if the flesh will yet be unruly and not tamed, what then ? Then the Lord (as a sovereign remedy) setteth hell open, bringeth his children to the brink thereof, causeth them to look down, threateneth to throw them down, bringeth them to the gates thereof, showeth them these many sorrows, giving them a taste of some to sweeten their deliverance : until their corruptions be subdued, their lusts overruled, they being soundly affrighted from sin, do undertake a stricter and a more resolute course of Christianity than ever : thanking God for their deliverance from these many sorrows. Neither ought God's children to be thus dismayed in their fears, seeing Christ Jesus, the Lord of heaven and earth (who is able to cast us all into hell-fire), feared and yet had deliverance ; being heard in that which