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ftrument of the Spirit in this glorious work, and is therefore called, The word of life, Phil. ii. 16. This word hath aot yet been made a regenerating quickening word to their souls. Poisibly it hath enlightened them, and convinced them: it hatb wrought upon their minds in the way of common illumination, aod upon their consciences, in the way of conviction, but not upon their hearts and wills, by way of effectual conversion, To this day the Lord hath not given them an heart opening itself, in the way of faith, to receive Jesus Christ.
Secondly, The effects and signs of spiritual life, do not apo pear in them : For,
First, They have no feeling, or sense of misery, and danger. I mean, no such fense as throughly awakens them to apply Chrift their remedy. That spiritual judgment lies upon them, Isa. vi. 9, jó. “ And he said, 'Go and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, “ but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not; " make the heart of this people fat, and their ears heavy, and • Nut their eyes.”
Secondly, They have no spiritual motions towards Christ, or after things that are spiritual, all the arguments ia the world caonot persuade their wills to move one step towards Christ in the way of faith, Joho v. 40. Te will not come unto me : Were there a principle of spiritual life in their fouls, they would move Christ-ward and heaven-ward, Joho iv, 14. It would be in them a well of water springing up into eternal life. The natu. ral tendency of the spiritual life is upward.
Thirdly, The unregenerate have no appetite unto spiritual food; they favour not things that are spiritual; they can go from week to week, and from year to year, all their life-time, without any communion betwixt God and their souls, and feel no need of it, nor any hungerings por thirstings after it; which could never be, if a principle of spiritual life were in them; for then they would“ esteem the words of God's mouth more than “ their necessary food,” Job xxx. 12.
Fourthly, They have no heat, or spiritual warmth, in their affections to God, and thiogs above; their hearts are as cold as a stone to spiritual objects. They are heated, indeed, by their lusts, and affections to the world, and the things of the world: but O how cold, and dead are they towards Jesus Christ, and spiritual excellencies.
Fifthly, They breathe not spiritually, therefore they live not fpiritually: were there a spiritual principle of life in them, their souls would breathe after God in spiritual prayer, Acts ix. 11. “ Behold he prayeth.” The lips of the woregenerate may
a stone to offections to head are they
move in prayer, but their hearts and desires do not breathe and pant after God.
Sixthly, They have no cares, or fears, for self-preservation, which is always the effect of life; the poorest Aie, or filliest. worm, will shoo danger : the wrath of God hangs over them in the threatenings, but they tremble not at it: hell is but a. little before them; they are upon the very precipice of eternal ruin, yet will use no means to avoid it. How plain, therefore, is this fad case, which I have undertakeo here to demonstrate, viz, that Chrifless and upregenerate souls are dead souls? The uses follow.
lafer. 1. If all Chrifless and unregenerate fouls be dead fouls, then how little pleasure can Christians take in the society of the unregenerate ?
Certainly, it is no pleasure for the living to converse among the dead. It was a cruel torment, invented by Mezentius the. tyrant, to tie a dead and liviag man together. The pleasure of fociety arises from the harmony of spirits, and the hopes of mutual enjoyment in the world to come; neither of which can * sweeten the society of the godly with the wicked in this world *. It is true, there is a necessary civil converse which we must have with the uogodly here; or else, (as the apostle speaks), we must go out of the world. There are also duties of relation, which must be faithfully and tenderly paid, even to the unregenerate : but certainly, where we have our free election, we shall be much waptiog both to our duty and comfort, if we make not the people of God our chosen companions. Excellently to this purpose speaks a modern author t, “ Art thou a godly master ? « when thou takest a servant into thine house, chuse for God, *“ as well as thyself -A godly servant is a greater blessing than " we think on: he can work, and set God on work also for his. “ master's good, Gen. xxiv. 12. “O Lord God of my master A“ braham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and shew “ kiodness unto my master.” And sure he did his malter as much “ service by his prayer, as by his prudence, in that journey.-“ Holy David observed, while he was at Saul's court, the mis" chief of having wicked and ungodly fervants, (for with such
* As diseases bred in one part of the body, use to spread their pernicious influence to the other members which are near to that part ; fo the vices of the wicked use to infe&t those that have iniercourse with them. Tertullian against Valentines
† Gurnal's Christian Armour, part 2. p. 256, 257
“ was that unhappy king so compassed, that David compares « his court to the prophane and barbarous Heathens, among “ whom there was scarce more wickedness to be found, Pfal. ^ cxx. 6. “ Wo is me, that I sojourn, in Mefhech, that I dwell « in the tents of Kedar ;” 1. c. among those who were as pro. “ digiously wicked as any there); and oo doubt, but this made "i this gracious man, in his banishment, before he came to the • crown, (having seen the evil of a disordered house), to resolve fe what he would do when God Thould make him the head of çe such a royal family, Psal. ci. 7. “ He that worketh deceit, shall “ not dwell within my house'; he that telleth lies, shall not “ tarry in my fight.”.
“ Art thou godly? Thew thyself fu in the choice of husband
or wife. I am sure, if fome, and those godly ones), could “ bring no other testimonials for their godliness, than the care “ they have taken in this particular, it might justly be called inď to question, both by themselves and others. There is no one " thing that gracious persons, (even those recorded in fcripture “ as well as others.), have shewn their weakness, yea, given of“ fence and scandal more in, than in this particular, “The fons “ of God saw that the daughters of men were fair,” Gen, vi. 2. “ One would have thought, that the fops of God should have “ looked for grace in the heart, rather than beauty in the face ; “ but we see, even they sometimes turn in at the fairelt sigo, “ without much enquiring what grace is to be found dwelling
within." Look to the rule, O Christian, if thou wilt keep the power of holiness, that is clear as a fuo-beam written in the scripture, " Benot goequally yoked together with unbelievers," 2 Cor. vi. 14.
Infer. 2. How great and wholly fupernatural, marvellous and wonderful is that change which regeneration makes upon the souls of men! It is a change from death rolife, Luke xv. 24. “ This “ my son was dead and is alive again." Regeneration is life from the dead; the most excellent life from the most terrible death: it is the life of God re-inspired into a soul alienated from it by the power of fia, Eph. iv. 18. There are two stupenduous changes made upon the souls of men, which juftly challenge higheft admiration, viz.
1. That from fin to. grace.
2. From grace to glory, The change from grace to glory is acknowledged by all, and that justly, to be a wonderful change for God to take a poor creagure out of the fociety of finful men; yea, from under the bur. dep of many soful infirmitics, which made him groad from day
to day in this world; and in a moment to make him a complete aod perfect soul, shining in the beauties of holiness, and filling him, as a vessel of glory, with the unspeakable and unconceivable joys of his presence; to turn his groanings into triumphs, his fighings into fongs of praise; this, I say, is marvellous, and yet the former change, from fin to grace, is no way inferior to it, pay, in some respect, beyond it; for the change which glory makes upon the regenerate is but a gradual change, but the change which regeneration makes upon the uogodly is a specifi. cal change. Great and admirable is this work of God; and let it for ever be marvellous in our eyes,
Infer. 3, If unregenerate fouls be dead fouls, what a fatal ftroke doth death give to the bodies of all unregenerate men? A soul dead in fin, and a body dead by virtue of the curse for fin, and both foul and body remaining for ever under the pow. er of eternal death, is so full and perfect a misery, as that 00. thing can be added to make it more miserable : it is the comfort of a Christian, that he can say, when death comes, Non omnis moriar, I shall not wholly die; there is a life I live, which death cannot touch. Rom. viii. 13. “The body is dead “ because of fin; but the spirit is life, because of righteousaess." Blessed and holy is he, that hath part in the first resurrection : on such the second death hath no power. As death takes the believer from amidst many sorrows and troubles, and brings him to the vision of God, to the general assembly of all the per. fected saints, to a state of complete freedom and full satisfaction ; so it drags the unregenerate from all his sensitive delights aod comforts, to the place of torment: it buries the dead soul out of the presence of God for ever : it is the king of terrors, a serpent with a deadly sting, to every man that is out of Christ.
lofer. 4. If every unregenerate foul be a dead soul, how fad is the case of hypocrites and temporary believers, who are twice dead? These are those cursed trees, of which the apostle Jude speaks, Jude ver. 12. “Trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, dtwice dead, plucked up by the roots,” The apostle alludes unto dying trees; trees that are dying, the first time, in the Spring, then they fade, decay, and cast of their leaves, when other trees are fragrant and flourishiog: but from this first death they are sometimes recovered, by pruning, dressing, or watering the roots ; but if in autumn, they decay again, which is the critical and climacterical times of trees, to discover whether their disease be mortal or not; if then they wither and decay the second time, the fault is ab intra, the root is rotten, there is no bope
of it; the husbandman bestows no more labour about it, except it be to root it up, for fewel to the fire. Just thus stands the case with false and hypocritical professors, who though they were still under the power of spiritual death, yet, in the beginning of their profession, they seemed to be alive; they shewed the world the fragrant leaves of a fair profession, many hopeful buddings, of affection towards spiritual things were seen in them, but, wanting a root of regeneration, they quickly began to wither and cast their untimely fruit. However, by the help of ordinances, or some rouzing and awakening providences, they seem to recover themselves again ; but all will aot do, the fault is ab intra, from the want of a good root, and therefore, at last, they who were always once dead, for want of a principle of regeneration, are now become twice dead, by the withering and decay of their vain profession. Such trees are prepared for the feverest Aames in hell, Matth. xxiv. 51. their portion is the saddest portion allotted for any of the fons of death. Therefore the apostle Peter tells us, 2 Pet. ii. 20, 21. “For if, after they have " escaped the pollutions of the world, through the knowledge “ of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entang“ led therein, and overcome; the latter eod is worse with them “ than the begioning. For it had been better for them not to “ have koown the way of righteousoess, than after they have « known it, to turo from the holy commandment delivered unto “ them.” Double measures of wrath seem to be prepared for them that die this double death.
Jofer. 5. If this befo, then unregenerate persons deserve the greatest lamentations. And were this truth heartily believed, we could not but mourn over them, with the most tender compassion, and hearty sorrow. If our husbands, wives, or chil. dren are dying a natural death, how are our hearts rent in pieces, with pity and sorrow for them? What cries, tears, and wringing of hands, discover the deep sense we have of their misery! O. Christians, is all the love you have for your relations spent upon their bodies ? Are their fouls of no value in your eyes ? Is spiritual death no misery? Doth it not deserve a tear? The Lord open your eyes, and duly affect our hearts with spiritual death, and foul miseries.
Consider, my friends, and let it move your bowels, (if there be bowels of affection in you), whilst they remain spiritually dead, they are useless, and wholly unser viceable unto God in the world, as to any special and acceptable service unto him, 2 Tim. ii. 21, they are incapable of all spiritual comforts from God; they can. not talte the least sweetness in Christ, in duties, or in promises,