« PoprzedniaDalej »
attributes. They never gave him the honour of his authority by obeying him. They never gave him the honour of his sovereignty by submitting to him. They never gave him the honour of his holiness and mercy by loving him. They never gave him the honour of his sufficiency and faithfulness by trusting in him; but have looked upon God as one not fit to be believed or trusted, and have treated him as if he were a liar: 1 John v. 10. “ He that believeth not God hath made him a liar.” They never so much as heartily thanked God for one mercy they have received in their whole lives, though God has always maintained them, and they have always lived upon his bounty. They never so much as once heartily thanked Christ for coming into the world, and dying to give them an opportunity to be saved. They never would show bim so much gratitude as to receive him, when he has knocked at their door; but have always shut the door against him, though he has come to knock at their door upon no other ground but only to offer himself to be their Saviour. They never so much as had any true desires after God or Christ in their whole lives. When God has offered himself to them to be their portion, and Christ to be the friend of their souls, they did not desire it. They never desired to have God and Christ for their portion. They had rather be without them than with them if they could avoid going to hell without them. They never had so much as an honourable thought of God. They always have esteemed earthly things before him. And notwithstanding all they have heard in the commands of God and Christ, they have always preferred a little worldly profit or sinful pleasure before them.
3. Unconverted men are in a dreadful condition by reason of the dreadful wickedness which there is in them.
1. Sin is a thing of a dreadful nature, and that because it is against an infinitely great and an infinitely holy God. There is in the nature of man enmity against God, contempt of God, rebellion against God. Sin rises up as an enemy against the Most High. It is a dreadful thing for a creature to be an enemy to the Creator, or to have any such thing in bis heart as enmity against him; as will be very clear, if we consider the difference between God and the creature, and how all creatures, compared with him, are as the small dust of the balance, are as nothing, less than nothing, and vanity. There is an infinite evil in sin. If we saw the hundredth part of the evil there is in sin, it would make us sensible that those who have any sin, let it be ever so small, are in a dreadful condition.
2. The hearts of natural men are exceedingly full of sin. If they had but one sin in their hearts, it would be sufficient to render their condition very dreadful. But they have not only one sin, but all manner of sin. There is every kind of lust. The heart is a mere sink of sin, a fountain of corruption, whence issue
all manner of filthy streams. Mark vii. 21, 22. “ From within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness." There is no one lust in the heart of the devil, that is not in the heart of man. Natural men are in the image of the devil. The image of God is rased out, and the image of the devil is stamped upon them. God is graciously pleased to restrain the wickedness of men, principally by fear and respect to their credit and reputation, and by education. And if it were not for such restraints as these, there is no kind of wickedness that men would not commit, whenever it came in their way. The commission of those things, at the mention of which men are now ready to start, and seem to be shocked when they hear them read, would be common and general; and earth would be a kind of hell. What would not natural men do if they were not afraid ? Matthew x. 17. “ But beware of men.” Men have not only every kind of Just, and wicked and perverse dispositions in their hearts, but they have them to a dreadful degree. There is not only pride, but an amazing degree of it: pride, whereby a man is disposed to set himself even above the throne of God itself. The hearts of natural men are mere sinks of sensuality. Man is become like a beast in placing his happiness in sensual enjoyments. The heart is full of the most loathsome lusts. The souls of natural men are more vile and abominable than any reptile. If God should open a window in the heart, so that we might look into it, it would be the most loathsome spectacle that ever was set before our eyes. There is not only malice in the hearts of natural men, but a fountain of it. Men naturally therefore deserve the language applied to them by Christ, Matt. iii. 7. “O generation of vipers;" and Matt. xxiii. 33. “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers." Men, if it were not for fear and other such restraints, would not only commit all manner of sin, but to what degree, to what length would they not proceed? What has a natural map to keep bim from openly blaspheming God, as much as any of the devils; yea, from dethroning him, if that were possible, and fear and other such restraints were out of the way ? Yea, would it not be thus with many of those, who now appear with a fair face, and will speak most of God, and make many pretences of worshipping and serving him? The exceeding wickedness of natural men appears abundantly in the sins they commit, notwithstanding all these restraints. Every natural man, if he reflects, may see enough, to show him how exceedingly sinful he is. Sin flows from the heart as constantly as water flows from a fountain. Jeremiah vi. 7. “ As a fountain casteth out her waters, so she casteth out her wickedness.” And this wickedness, that so abounds in their hearts, has dominion over them. They are slaves to it: Rom. vii. 14. “Sold under sin.” They are so under the power
of sin, that they are driven on by their lusts in a course against their own conscience, and against their own interest. They are hurried on to their own ruin, and that at the same time their reason tells them, it will probably be their ruin : 2 Peter ii. 14. “Cannot cease from sin.” On account of wicked men's being so under the power of sin, the heart of man is said to be desperately wicked. Jeremiah xvii. 9, and Ephesians ii. 1. "Dead in trespasses and sins.”
" 3. The hearts of natural men are dreadfully hard and incorrigible. There is nothing but the mighty power of God will move them. They will cleave to sin, and go on in sin, let what will be done with them. Proverbs xxvii. 22. “ Though thou shouldest bray a fool in a mortar among wheat with a pestle, yet will not his foolishuess depart from him." There is nothing that will awe our hearts; and there is nothing that will draw them to obedience: let there be mercies or afflictions, threatenings or gracious calls and invitations, frowning, or patience and long suffering, or fatherly counsels and exhortations. Isaiah xxvi. 10." Let savour be showed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness; in the land of uprightuess will he deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the Lord."
Secondly. The relative state of those who are in an unconverted condition is dreadful. This will appear if we consider,
1. Their relative state with respect to God; and that because,
1. They are without God in the world. They have no interest or part in God: He is not their God: He hath declared that he will not be their God: Hosea i. 9. God and believers have a mutual covenant relation and right to each other. They are his people, and he is their God. But he is not the covenant God of those who are in an unconverted state. There is great alienation and estrangement between God and the wicked: he is not their Father and portion: they have nothing to challenge of God, they have no right to any one of his attributes. The believer can challenge a right in the power of God, in his wisdom and boliness, his grace and love. All are made over to bim, to be for his benefit. But the unconverted can claim no right in any of God's perfections. They have no God to protect and defend them in this evil world: to defend them from sin, or from Satan, or any evil. They have no God to guide and direct them in any doubts or difficulties, to comfort and support their minds under afflictions. They are without God in all their affairs, in all the business they undertake, in their family affairs, and in their personal affairs, in their outward concerns, and in the concerns of their souls.
How can a creature be more miserable, than to be separated from the Creator, and to have no God, whom he can call his own God 3 He is wretched indeed, who goes up and down in the world, without a God to take care of him, to be his guide and protector, and to
bless him in his affairs. The very light of nature teaches that a
A man is sure of nothing. He is sure of no good, nor is he sure of escaping any evil. It is therefore a dreadful condition that a natural man is in. They, who are in a natural state, are lost. They have wandered from God, and they are like lost sheep, that have wandered from their shepherd. They are poor helpless creatures in a howling wilderness, and have no shepherd to protect or to guide them. They are desolate, and exposed to innumerable fatal mischiefs.
2. They are not only without God, but the wrath of God abides upon them. John iii. 36. “He that believeth not the Son, shall
not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him." There is no peace between God and them, but God is angry with them every day. He is not only angry with them, but that to a dreadful degree. There is a fire kindled in God's anger; it burns like fire. Wrath abides upon them, which, if it should be executed, would plunge them into the lowest hell, and make them miserable there to all eternity. They have provoked the Holy One of Israel to anger. God has been angry with them ever since they began to sin
: he has been provoked by them every day, ever since they exercised any reason; and he is provoked by them more and more every hour. The flame of his wrath is continually burning. There are many now in hell that never have provoked God more than they, nor so much as many of them. Wherever they go, they go about with the dreadful wrath of God abiding on them. They eat, and drink, and sleep under wrath. How dreadful a condition, therefore, are they in! It is the most awful thing for the creature to have the wrath of his Creator abiding on him. The wrath of God is a thing infinitely dreadful. The wrath of a king is as the roaring of a lion. But what is the wrath of a king, who is but a worm of the dust, to the wrath of the infinitely great and dreadful God? How dreadful is it to be under the wrath of the first being, the Being of beings, the great Creator and mighty possessor of heaven and earth! How dreadful is it for a person to go about under the wrath of the God, who gave bim being, and in whom he lives and moves, who is every where present, and without whom he cannot move a step, por draw a breath! Natural men, inasmuch as they are under wrath, are under a curse. God's wrath and curse are continually upon them. They can have no reasonable comfort, therefore, in any of their enjoyments; for they do not know but that they are given them in wrath, and shall be curses to them, and not blessings. As it is said in Job xviii. 15. “ Brimstone shall be scattered upon his habitation.” How can they take any comfort in their food, or in their possessions, when they do not know but all are given them, to fit them for the slaughter.
II. Their relative state will appear dreadful, if we consider how they stand related to the devil.
1. They who are in a natural state are the children of the devil. As the saints are the children of God, so the ungodly are the children of the devil. 1 John iii. 10. “ In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil.” Mat. xiji. 38, 39. The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom: but the tares are the children of the wicked one. The enemy that sowed them is the devil. John viii. 44. “Ye are of your father, the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.” They are, as it were, begotten of the devil; they proceed from him. 1 John iii. 8. “ He, that committeth sin, is of the devil.” As Adam begat a son in his own likeness, so are wicked men in the likeness and image of the deVOL. VIII.