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delay what must needs be done, or else they are ruins ed, especially when tine is uncertain ?
Lastly, The malignant finner, who hates the focie. ty of saints, and seriousness, a religious life and religious exercises; making the society and way of linners his choice. O what confidence can ye have to cry to God, not to gather your souls with sinners in the other world, who are those in whom is all your delight in this? How can ye think to be gathered with saints in heaven, to whom with their way and exercises you have fo great averfion on earth Nay, that malignity, against God's people shews you to be none of them; and you must be gathered to your people, your own people.
USE III. Of comfort to those who are in due care and concern now, that they be not gathered with finners in the other world. This is a weighty concern to them that have it, and they will need comfort. And there are four things comfortable in it. It is comfortable,
1. That you are in the way of duty with reference to the other world, Mat. xxiv. 46. Blefsed is that fervant, whom his Lord when he cometh shall find fa doing.” While others are going on fearlessly, you are looking about you, concerned how it may be with you
in the end. It is a piece of wisdom, and hopeful, thus to be exercised in considering your latter end, Deut. xxxii. 29. God's word speaks comfort to such, Ifa. xxxv. 3, 4. “Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. Say to them that are of a. fearful heart, Be strong, fear not; behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence, he will come and save you."
2. That you take your work in time, while yet there is hope; and so your care and concern may come to issue well, Isa. xxxii. 20.
66 Blessed are
that sow befide all waters." There is no son nor daughter of Adam but will be in that care and concern one
time or other ; fo that there will not be two of the whole herd of finners that will defire to be gathered together; but alas! with the most part, it will be out of time, Mat. xxv. 12, 11. Now I say it is comfortable in your cafe, that you timely entertain concern about it, while the Judge is on a throne of grace to receive such applications. I may allude to that, I Sam. xxv. 8. “ Ye come in a good day;" with 2 Cor. vi. 2. “Behold, now is the accepted time ; behold, now is the day of salvation.”
3. This care and concern is wrought in all God's elect, by the Spirit of Christ. The word calls for it, Ads ii. 40. “ Save yourselves from this untoward neration.” The Spirit works it accordingly, Rom. viii. 26. 2 Cor. vii. 11. He it was that breathed that desire in the Pfalmift ; and those appetites and desires that are from the Spirit cannot be in vain. So that the care and concern is common to you with all the children of God, who all join you in that fpiritual breathing, * Gather not my
foul with finners." Lastly, You have to do with a good and gracious God, that has no pleasure in the rain of sinners, Ezek, xxiii. 11, “Say unto them, As I live, faith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live.” No tender man will give his oath without necessity, or where there is no controversy to be decided by it. So here there is one, namely, the devil alledgeth to finners againt God, that there is no pleasing of him, other. wise than in the finner's ruin, and therefore all care and concern that way is needless. The flothful servant licketh up this vomit, Mat. xxv. 24, 25. “Lord, (laid he) I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed; and I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth.” And God purgeth him. self by oath of it; believe it then no more. EncourT 2
age yourself from the goodness of his nature in Chrift, be that your care and concern.
(1.) Have you already got your heart's fill of the state and way of finners out of Christ, so that you defire no more of it, but would fain be out of the reach thereof? The goodness of God's nature in Chrift will not stuffer the gathering of such a one with finners in the otiier world, Psal. xxvi. 4,-9. Will a good God take. a finner already groaning under, burdened and wearied with the state and way of finners out of Chrift in this world, and stake him down with them for ever in the other world? No; be it far from him.
(2.) Have you got a longing after holiness, perfeet holiness, and a liking of the purity of the shining ones there, that your soul cries, “Gather not my soul with finners," but with faints in the other world? Truly that is the work of the Spirit of Christ in you; for “ the carnal mind is enmity against God,” Rom. viii. 7. Hence is the promise, Heb. viii. 10. “I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts." And it is the society of finners, not as finuers, but as miserable, the hypocrite is frighted at; and the society of faints in the other world, not as saints or holy, but as happy ones, that they defire it. It is inconsistent with the goodness of God then to create such longing and liking, and yet never fatisfy it; so to open the mouth of the soul, and then to put an empty spoon in it.
Object. But a concern not to be gathered with finpers in the other world is a common thing, which Balaam and the foolish virgins had, as well as the godly; what comfort then can be in it, fince one may have it, and yet be gathered with them in the end? Ans. There is a very great difference betwixt this concern in fincere Chriftians and others. There are four things, which, if you find in your concern in this point, you may conclude that you shall not be gathered with finners in the other world.
1. If their feparation from Christ as the chief object of your soul's love, makes you averse to be gathered with them, Pfal. xxvi. 8, 9. " Lord I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth : Gather not my soul with sinners." The ungodly, if all were right to that with them in the other world, could digest that; for Chrift is not the chief object of their love. But this argues your esteem of Christ above all, 1 Pet. ii. 7. and your desire of communion with him as your chief happi. ness, Phil. i. 23. You look upon sinners as seated in the other world, and you see Christ is not among them; and since he is not with them, your foul cries, Then, Lord, let not me be with them neither, for the chief object of my love is not among them. If this is the case, truly your soul shall not be gathered with them, John vi. 37. “Him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out." Psal, Ixxiii.
“ Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that. I defire besides thee. • 2. If
you have a horror of their being left in fin in the other world, as well as of their being laid under punishment there, Rom. vii. 24, 25: “O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death! I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” No body believing the unspeakable torment of the damned in the other world, but must have a horror of it, because they love themselves. But laying aside the confideration of that, soberly alk yourselves, what think you of that part of their sentence, “Let him that is filthy, be filthy still," in itfelf? Abstracting from the torment joined with it, that would be no hard thing to most men, their hearts being wedded to their lusts, and not knowing how to shift without them. If then you find that thought of itself to be killing to you, and sufficient to make a hell ; that argues you partakers of the new nature,
that hath a horror of fin as its opposite, and desires to be holy and without fin, which is its perfection. And certainly God will not deprive the new nature of its desired perfection, and consequently will not gather a foul thus disposed with fingers in the other world, Psal. cxxxviii. ult. “The Lord will 'perfect that which concerneth me.” Matth. v. 6. “ Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteous. ness; for they shall be filled.”
3. If you are with purpose of heart coming out from among them, out of their society, way, and manner of life in this world. Many would be content to live with them, though not to die with them, Numb. xxiii. 10. But are ye not content to live with them neither, no more than to die with them? Have ye conceived an aversion to the life as well as the death, not only of the grossly wicked, but of all that are out of Christ, strangers to the power of god. liness, being drawn to the love and choice of the fel. lowship of the saints by the lustre of the divine image on them? Fear not, God will never gather you with them in the other world, Pfal. xxvi. 4, 5, 9. 1 John iii. 14. 2 Cor. vi. 17, 18. Their company will not be made your punishment in the other world, that you would not make
choice here. Lastly, If the hope of not being gathered with finners in the other world, puts you on the study of universal purity, 1 John iii. 3. The hope that ungodly finners and hypocrites have of this tends to make them secure in fin, and leaves them at ease in the embraces of some one lust or other; the reason is because their concern that way is only to be freed from misery, not from fin. But the hope of the fincere is a lively one, a hope to be freed from fin, 1 Pet. i. 3. and this makes them beftir themselves against it in time impartially, Psal. cxix. 6.
Use ult. Let me exhort all of you now to be in due care and concern, that your souls be not gathered