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strument of the Spirit ia this glorious work, and is therefore called, The -word of life, Phil. ii. 16. This word hath not yet been made a regenerating quickening word to their souls. Possibly it hath enlightened them, and convinced them: it hath wrought upon their minds in the way of common illumination, and upon their consciences, in the way of conviction, but not upon their hearts and wills, by way of esfectual 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 appear in them: For,
First, They have no seeling, or sense of misery, and danger. I mean, no such sense as throughly awakens them to apply Christ their remedy. That spiritual judgment lies upon them, Isa. vi. o, in. "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 "shut their eyes."
Secondly, They have no spiritual motions towards Christ, or after things that are spiritual; all the arguments in the world cannot persuade their wills to move one step towards Christ in the way of faith, John v. 40. Ye "will not come unto me: Were there a principle of spiritual lise in their fouls, they would move Christ-ward and heaven-ward, John iv. 14. It would be in them a well of water springing up into eternal lise. The natural tendency of the spiritual lise is upward.
Thirdly, The unregenerate have no appetite unto spiritual food; they savour not things that are spiritual; they can go from week to week, and from year to year, all their lise-time, without any communion betwixt God and their soulsr and seel no need of it, nor any hungerings nor thirstings after it; which could never be, if a principle of spiritual lise 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 Jteat, or spiritual warmth, in their afsections to God, and things 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 spiritually: were there a spiritual principle of lise in them, their souls would breathe after God in spiritual prayer, AQs ix. 1 !• "Behold he prayeth." The lips of the unregenerate may move in prayer, but their hearts and desires do not breathe and pant after God.
Sixthly, They have no cares, or sears, for self-preservation, which is always the essect of lise; the poorest flie, or silliest worm, will shun 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 sad case, which I have undertaken here to demonstrate, viz. that Christlefs and unregenerate fouls are dead fouls i The uses follow.
Inser. 1. If all Christlefs and unregenerate souls he 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 living man together. The pleasure of society 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 ungodly here; or else, (as the apostle speaks), we must go out of the world. There are also duties of relation, which must be saithfully and tenderly paid, even to the unregenerate: but certainly, where we have our free election, we shall be much wanting 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 f, "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 "kindness unto my master." And sure he did his master 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 servants, (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 tha( part; so the vices of the wicked use to insect those that have iniercourse with them. Tertullian against tfalenttne*
f Guraal's Christian Armour, pan 2. p. 25<>, 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, Psa),
V cxx. 6. " Wo is me, that 1 sojourn, in Meshech, that I dwel} "in the tents of JCedar;" i. e. among those who were as. riro"digiously wicked as any there); and no doubt, but this made "this gracious man, in his banishment, before he came to the "crowo, (having seen the evil of a disordered house), to resolve f what he would do when God should make him the head of f * such a royal samily, Psal. ci. 7. "He that worketh deceit, fhall '' not dwell within my house; he that tejleth lies, shall not "tarry in my sight."
"Art thou godly? shew thyself so in the choice of husband 1' or wise. I am sure, if some, (and those godly ones), could "bring no other testimonials for their godliness, than the care 1* they have taken in this particular, it might justly be called las' to question, both by themselves and others. There is no one "thing that gracious persons, (even those recorded in scripture "as well as others), have fhewn their weakness, yea, given ofr "sence and scandal mare in, than in this particular, "The sons "of God saw that the daughters of men were sair," Gen. vi. 2, "One would have thought, that the sons of God should have
V looked for grace in the heart, rather than beauty in the sace; "but we see, even they sometimes turn in at the sairest sign, ?* 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 sunbeam written in the scripture, 1' Senpt unequally yoked together with unbelievers,'* 2 Cor. vi. 14
Inser. 1. Ho-w great and wholly supernatural, marvellous and wondersul is that change -which regeneration wakes upon the fouls ffmen! It is a change from death to lise, Luke xv. 24. "This "my son was dead and is alive again." Regeneration is life from the dead; the most excellent Use from the most terrible death: it is the lise of God re-jnspired into a soul alienated from it by the power of sin, Eph. iv. 18. There are two stupenduoua change?. made upon the souls of men, which justly challenge highest. admiration, viz."
1. Tha.t from sin to. grace.
2. From grace to glory.
The chatSge from grace to. glory is acknowledged by all, and• |p.at justly, to be a wonderful change for God to take a poor creatttre Out of the society of sinful men; yea, from under the burden pjf many sinful Infirmities, which made him groan from day to day in this world; and in a moment to make him a complete and persect soul, mining 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 intb triumphs, his Jighings into songs of praise; this, I lay, is marvellous, and yet the former change, from sin to grace, is no way inserior to it, nay, 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 ungodly is a specifical change. Great and admirable is this work of God; and let it for ever be marvellous in our eyes.
Inser. 3. If unregenerate fouls be dead fouls, what a fatal stroke doth death give to the bodies of all unregenerate men? A foul dead in sin, and a body dead by virtue of the curse for lin, and both soul and body remaining for ever under the power of eternal death, is so full and persect a misery, as that nothing can be added to make it more miserable: it is the comfort of a Christian, that he can say, when death comes, Nott cmnis msriar, I shall not wholly die; there is a lise I live, which death cannot touch. Rom. viii. 13. "The body is dead "because of sin; but the spirit is lise, because of righteousness." 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 persected saints, to a state of complete freedom and full satissaction; so it drags the unregenerate from all his sensitive delights iœd 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 roan that is out of Christ.
Inser. 4. -fevery unregenerate foul be a dead foul, how fad is the cafe of hypocrites and temporary believers, who are twice dead? These are those cursed trees, of which the apoflle Jude speaks, Jude ver. 12. "Trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, 'twice dead, plucked up by the roots." The apostle alludes "ntodying trees; trees that are dying, the first time, in the spring, then they sade, decay, and. cast of their leaves, when other trees are fragrant and flourishing : hut 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 climatlerical times of trees, to discover whether their disease be mortal or not; if then they wither and decay the second lime^ the sault is qb intra, the root is rotten, there is no hope of it; the husbandman bestows no more labour about it, except it be to root it up, for sewel to the fire. Just thus stands the case with salse and hypocritical prosessors, who though they were still under the power of spiritual death, yet, in the beginning of their prosession, they seemed to be alive; they shewed the world the fragrant leaves of a sair prosession, 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 tpuzing and awakening providences, they seem to recover themselves again; but all will not do, the sault 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 prosession. Such trees are prepared for the severest flames in hell, Matth. xxiv. 51. their portion is the saddest portion allotted for any of the sons 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 M of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entang"led therein, and overcome; the latter end is worse with them "than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to "have known the way of righteousness, than after they have , " known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto "them." Double measures of wrath seem to be prepared for them that die this double death.
Inser. 5. If this be so, 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 children 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 souls 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 soul 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 unserviceable 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 cannot taste the least sweetness in Christ, in duties, or in promises,