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inan: death was welcome, etren in its^most dreadful forth, td escape ruin to their precious, and immortal souls. One kissed the apparitor, that brought him the tidings of death. Another being advised, when he came to the critical point, on which his lise depended, to hare a care of himself: so 1 will, said he, I will be as careful as I can of my best self, my soul. These med understood the value, and precious worth of their own souls . certainly, we shall never prove courageous, and constant in sufferings, till we understand the worth of our souls, as they did. Consider aud compare these sufferings in a sew obvioui particulars, and then determine the matter in thine own breast. (1.) How much eafier it is to endure the torments of men in bur bodies, than to seel the terrors of God in our consciences. Can the creature strike with an arm like God? O think what It is for the wrath of God to come into a man's bowtls like water, and like oil into his bones, as the expression is, Pfal. cix. 18. Sufe there is no compare betwixt the strokes of God and toen.
(2.) The sufferings of the body are but for a moment. When the proconsul told Polycarp that he would tame him with fire, he replied, Your fire (hall burn but for the Ipace of an hour, and then it (hall be extinguished; but the fire that (hall devour the wicked will never be quenched. The sufferings of a moment are nothing to eternal sufferings.
(3.) Sufferings for Christ are usually sweetened and made easy by the consolations of the spirits l but hell torments have no relief, they admit of no ease.
(4) The lise that you (hall live in that body, for whose lake you have damned your souls, will not be worth the having; it will be a lise without comfort, light or joy; and what is there in lise, separate from the joy and comfott of lise?
(5.) fn a word, if you sacrifice your bodies for God and yonr fouls, freely offer them up in love to Chiist and his truth, your fouls will joyfully receive and meet them again at the resurrec. tion of the just; but, if your poor souls be now ensnared and destroyed by your fond indulgence to your bodies, you will leave them at death despairing, and meet them at the resurrection howling.
Infer. 9, To conclude, If the foul be so invaluably precious, bovi great and irreparable a loss, must the lofs of a foul to all eternity be!
These is a double loss of the soul of man, the one in Adam, which Loss is recoverable by Christ; the other by final impeuifence, and unbelief, cutting it off from Christ: and this is irre.-, parable, and irrecoverable. . Souls lost by Adam's fin, are within the reach of the arms of Christ; but in the shipwreck of personal infidelity, there is no plank to save the soul lo cast away: of all losses, this is the most lamentable, yet what more common; O what a shriek doth the unregenerate soul make, whon it sees whither it must go, and that there is no remedy [ Three cries are dreadful' to hear on earth, yet all three are drowned, by a more terrible cry in the other world; the cry of a condemned prjsoner at the bar, the cry of drowniug seamen. and passengers, in a shipwreck, the cries of soldiers conquered in the field; all these are fearful cries, yet nothing to that of a foul calf away to all eternity, and loft in the depth of hell.
If a man, as Chrysostom well observes, lose an eye, an arm, a hand, or leg, it is a great loss; but yet if one be lost, there is another to help him: for omnia Deus dedit duplicia, God hath given us all those members double; Animam vero unam, but we have but one foul, and if that be damned, there is not another to be saved.
And it is no small aggravation to this loss, that it was a wilful loss: we had the offers, and means of salvation plentifully afforded us; we were warned of this danger, over and over; we were intreated, and beseeched, upon the knee of importunity, not to throw away our souls, by an obstinate rejection of Christ, and grace; we saw the diligence, ,and care of others, for the salvation of their souls, some rejoicing in the comfortable assurance of it, and others giving all diligence to make their calling and ekSlion sure: we knew that our fouls were as capable of blessedness, as any of those that are enjoying God in heaven, or panting after that enjoyment on earth; yea, some souls that are now irrecoverably gone, and many others who are goirig after them, once were, and now are not far from the kingdom of God: they had convictions of sio, a sense of their loss, and miserable state; they began to treat with Christ in prayer, to converse with his ministers, and people, about their condition, and after all this, even when they seemed to have clean escaped the snares of Satan, to be again entangled, and overcome; when even come to the harbour's mouth, to be driven back a
fain, and cast away upon the rocks. 0 what a loss will this e! O thou that createdst fouls with a capacity to know, love, and enjoy thee for ever; who out of thine unsearchable grace ientest thine own Son out of thy bosom to seek, and save tbaj which was. lost, pity those poor souls that cannot pity themselves: let mercy yet interpose itself, betwixt them, and eternal ruin; awaken them out of their pleasant slumber, though it be at the brink of damnation, lest they perish, and there be none to deliver them.
Doct. 2. How precious and invaluable soever the soul of man
is, it may be lost, and cast away for ever. This proposition is supposed, and implied in our Saviour's words in the text, and plainly expressed in Mat. vii. 13. "Wide *' is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, "and many there be which go in thereat," The way to hell is thronged with passengers, it is a beaten road, one draws another along with him, and scoffs at those that are afraid to follow, 1 Pet. iv. 4. Facilis defcenfus averni; it is pleasant sailing with wind, and tide. Some derive the word hell from a verb which signifies to carry, or thrust in; millions go in, but none return thence: millions are gone down already, and millions more are coming after, as fast as Satan, and their own lusts, can hurry them onward. You read not only of single persons, but whole nations drowned in this gulph. Psal. ix, 17. " The wicked ** shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God." .How rare is the conversion of a foul in the dark places of the earth, where the found of the gospel is not heard? The devil drives them, in droves, to destruction, scarce a man reluctating or drawing back *.
And though some nations enjoy the inestimable privilege of the gospel of salvation, yet multitudes of precious fouls perish, notwithstanding, sinking into hell daily, as it were, betwixt the merciful arms of a saviour stretched out to save them. The light of salvation is risen upon us, but Satan draws the thick curtains of ignorance, and prejudice, about the multitude, that not a beam of saving light can shine into their hearts. 2 Cor. iv. 3, 4. " But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are "lost: in whom the God of this world hath blinded the minds .' " of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious . " gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto « them."
If our gofpel."] Ours, not by way of institution, as the authors, but by way of dispensation, as the ministers, and preachers of it; and, certainly, it was never preached with that clear*
* The Latin v/oxAInfernui, i. e. Hell, is derived from a verb signifying to thrast in, because the wicked are so hunicd and cast headlong into it, that they can never ascend out of it.
Dess, authority, and efficacy by any mere man, as It was by Paul, and the rest 6f the apostles; and yet the gospel so powerfully preached, is by him here supposed to
Be hid.} If not as to the general light, and superficial knowledge of it, yet as to its saving influence, and converting efficacy upon their hearts; this never reacheth home to the tools, and spirits of multitudes that hear it, bttt it is never finally so hidden, except
To them that are lost.'} So that all those to whom the converting, and saving power of the gospel never comes, whatever' names, and reputations they may have among men, yet this text looks upon them all as a lost generation: They may have as many amiable, homiletical Virtues, as sweet, and lovely natures, as clear and piercing eyes, in all other things, as any othere; but they are such, however,
Whofe eyes the god of this world hath blinded.'] Satan is here (called the god of this world, not properly, but by a mimesis; because he challenges to himself the honour of a god, and hath# & world of subjects that obey him; and, to secure their obedience, he blinds them, that they may never see a better way or state, than that he hath drawn them into. Therefore he is called the ruler of the darkness of this world, who rules in the hearts of the children df disobedience. The eye of the soul is the mind, that thinking, considering, and reasoning power of the soul; this is, as the philosophers truly call it, the Tt ny%fttviitm, the leading saculty to all the rest, the guide to all the other saculties, which, in the order of nature, follow this their leader: If this be blinded, the will, which is caeca potentid, a blind power in itself, and all the aff ctions blindly following the blind, all must needs sall into the ditch. And this is the case of the sar greater part of even the prosestlng world. Let us suppose a number of blind men upon an istand, where there are many smooth paths, all leading to the top of a perpendicular clisf, and these blind men going on continually, some in one path, and some in another, but all in some one of. (hose many paths which lead to the brink of their ruin, which they see not; it must needs follow, if they all move forward, the whole number will in a short time, be cast away, the island cleared, and its inhabitants dead, and lost in the bottom of trie sea. This is the case of the unregenerate world ; they are now upon this habitable spot of earth, environed with the vast ocean of eternity; there are multitudes of paths leading to eternal ttTrtery; one man takes this way, and another that, as it is isa. liii. 6. "We have turned every one to hi3 own way;" one to
the way of pride, another to the way of covetonsnss, a third to the way of persecution, a fourth. to the way of civility, and morality; and so on they go, not once making a stand, or questioning to what end it will bring them, till at last over they go, at death, and we hear no more of them in this world: /ind thus one generation of sinners follows another, and they that come after approve, and applaud those miserable wretche* that went before them. Pial. xlix. 13. and so hell fills, and the world empties its inhabitants daily into it. Now I will make ft my work, out of a dear regard t« the precious fouls of men, and in hope to prevent (which the Lord in mercy grant) the loss, and ruin of some, under whose eyes this discourse shall fait, to note some of the principle ways in which precious souli are lost, and to put such bars into them, as I am capable to put; and, among many more, I will set a mark upon these following twelve paths, wherein millions of souls have been lost, and millions more are confidently, and securely following after, among which, 'tis likely, some are within one step, one day, or hour, to their eternal downsal, and destruction. There is but one way in all the world, to save, and preserve the precious souls of men, bnt there are many ways to lose, and destroy them: It is here, as it is in our natural birth, and death, but one way into the world, but a multitude out of it. And first, • <
The first way to hell discovered. 1. And to begin, where, indeed, the ruin of every man doth begin, it will be found, that an ill education is the high -way to Jeftrutlion; vice need not be planted; if the gardener neglect to dress, sow, and manure his garden, he need not give the Weeds a greater advantage; but if he also scatter the seed of hemloc, docks, and nettles into it, he spoils it, and makes it fit for nothing. Many parents, and those godly too, are guilty of too many neglects, through carelesnels, worldly ipeumbrances, pr food indulgence; and whilst they neglect the season of sovifr ing better seed, the devil takes hold of it; if they will not improve ir, he will: If they teach them not to pray, he will teach them to curse, swear and lie; if they put not the bible, or catechism in their hands, he will put obscene ballads into them: And thus the offspring of many godly parents turn into degenerate plants, and prove a generation that know not the God pf their sathers. This debauched age can furnidt us with too many sad instances hereof. Thus they are spoiled in the bud; simple ignorance in youth, becomes asfected, and wilful ignorance in age; blushing sins in children, beepme impudent io age, aud