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In like manner the word of God will prove true, in threatening a food of eternal wrath to overwhelm all the wicked. You will believe it when the event shall prove it, when it shall be too late to profit by the belief. The word of God will never fail; nothing is so sure as that : heaven and earth shall pass away, but the word of God shall not pass away. It is firmer than mountains of brass. At the end, the vision will speak and not lie. The decree shall bring forth, and all wicked men shall know that God is the Lord, that he is a God of truth, and that they are fools who will not depend on his word. The wicked of the old world counted Noah a fool for depending so much on the word of God, as to put himself to all the fatigue and expense of building the ark; but the event showed that they themselves were the fools, and that he was wise.

2. Consider that the Spirit of God will not always strive with you; nor will his long-suffering always wait upon you. So God said concerning the inhabitants of the old world, Gen. vi. 3: “My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh; yet his days shall be a hundred and twenty years." All this while God was striving with them. It was a day of grace with them, and God's long-suffering all this while waited upon them: 1 Pet

. iii. 20,“ Which sometime were disobedient, when once the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing.” All this while they had an opportunity to escape, if they would but hearken and believe God.

Even after the ark was finished, which seems to have been but little before the flood came, still there was an opportunity; the door of the ark stood open for some time. There was some time during which Noah was employed in laying up stores in the ark. Even then it was not too late; the door of the ark yet stood open.—About a week before the flood came, Noah was commanded to begin to gather in the beasts and birds. During this last week still the door of the ark stood open. But on the very day that the flood began to come, while the rain was yet withheld, Noah and his wife, his three sons, and their wives, went into the ark; and we are told, Gen. vii. 16, that “God shut him in.” Then the day of God's patience was past; the door of the ark was shut; God himself, who shuts and no man opens, shut the door. Then all hope of their escaping the flood was past; it was too late to repent that they had not hearkened to Noah's warnings, and had not entered into the ark while the door

stood open.

After Noah and his family had entered into the ark, and God bad shut them in, after the windows of heaven were opened, and they saw how the waters were poured down out of heaven, we may suppose that many of those who were near came running to the door of the

ark, knocking, and crying most piteously for entrance. But it was too late; God himself had shut the door, and Noah had no license, and probably no power, to open it. We may suppose, they stood knocking and calling, Open to us, open to us; o let us in ; we beg that we may be let in. And probably some of them pleaded old acquaintance with Noah; that they had always been his neighbors, and had even helped him to build the ark. But all was in vain. There they stood till the waters of the flood came, and without mercy swept them away from the door of the ark.

So it will be with you, if you continue to refuse to hearken to the warnings which are given you. Now God is striving with you; now he is warning you of the approaching flood, and calling upon you Sabbath after Sabbath. Now the door of the ark stands open. But God's Spirit will not always strive with you; his long-suffering will not always wait upon you. There is an appointer day of God's patience, which is as certainly limited as it was to the old world

God hath set your bounds, which you cannot pass. Though now warnings are continued in plenty, yet there will be last knocks and last calls, the last that ever you shall hear. When the appointed time shall be elapsed, God will shut the door, and you shall never see it open again ; for God shutteth, and no man Openeth.—If you improve not your opportunity before that time, you will cry

in vain, “ Lord, Lord, open to us,” Matt. xxv. 11, and Luke xiii. 25, &c. While you shall stand at the door with your piteous cries, the flood of God's wrath will come upon you, overwhelm you, and you shall not escape. The teinpest shall carry you away without mercy, and you shall be forever swallowed up and lost.

3. Consider how mighty the billows of divine wrath will be when they shall come. The waters of Noah's flood were very great. The deluge was vast; it was very deep; the billows reached fifteen cubits above the highest mountains; and it was an ocean which had no shore ; signifying the greatness of that wrath which is coming on wicked men in another world, which will be like a mighty flood of waters overwhelming them, and rising vastly high over their heads, with billows reaching to the very heavens. Those billows will be higher and heavier than mountains on their poor souls. The wrath of God will be an ocean without shores, as Noah's flood was: it will be misery that will have no end.

The misery of the damned in hell can be better represented by nothing, than by a deluge of misery, a mighty deluge of wrath, which will be ten thousand times worse than a deluge of waters; for it will de a deluge of liquid fire, as in the Scriptures it is called a lake of fire and brimstone. At the end of the world all the wicked shall be swallowed up in a vast deluge of fire, which shall be as great and as mighty as Noah's deluge of water. See 2 Pet. ïïi. 5, 6,7. After that the wicked will have mighty billows of fire and brimstone eternally rolling over their poor souls, and their miserable tormented bodies. Those billows may be called vast liquid mountains of fire and brimstone. And when one billow shall have gone over their heads, another shall follow, without intermission, giving them no rest day nor night to all eternity.

4. This flood of wrath will probably come upon you suddenly, when you shall think little of it, and it shall seem far from you. So the flood came upon the old world. See Matt. xxiv. 36, &c. Probably many of them were surprised in the night by the waters bursting suddenly in at their doors, or under the foundations of their houses, coming in upon them in their beds. For when the fountains of the great deep were broken up, the waters, as observed before, burst forth in mighty torrents. To such a sudden surprise of the wicked of the old world in the night, probably that alludes in Job xxvii

. 20, “ Terrors take bold on him as waters; a tenipest stealeth him away in the night."

So destruction is wont to come on wicked men, who hear many warnings of approaching destruction, and yet will not be influenced by them. For “he that is often reproved, and hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy,” Prov. xxix. 1. And“ when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child, and they shall not escape,” 1 Thess. v. 3.

5. If you will not hearken to the many warnings which are given you of approaching destruction, you will be guilty of more than brutish madness. "The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib.” They know upon whom they are dependent, and whom they must obey, and act accordingly. But you, so long as you neglect your own salvation, act as if you knew not God, your Creator and Proprietor, nor your dependence upon him. -The very

beasts, when they see signs of an approaching storm, will betake themselves to their dens for shelter. Yet you, when abundantly warned of the approaching storm of divine vengeance, will not fly to the hiding-place from the storm, and the covert from the tempest. The sparrow, the swallow, and other birds, when they are forewarned of approaching winter, will betake themselves to a safer climate. Yet you who have been often forewarned of the piercing blasts of divine wrath, will not, in order to escape them, enter into the New Jerusalem of most mild and salubrious air, though the gate stands wide open to receive you. The very ants will be diligent in summer to lay up for winter : yet you will do nothing to lay up in store a good foundation against the time to come. Balaam's ass would not run upon a drawn sword, though his master, for the sake of gain, would expose himself to the sword of God's wrath ; and so God made the dumb ass, both in words and actions, to rebuke the madness of the prophet, 1 Pet. ii. 16. In like manner, you, although you have been often warned that the sword of God's wrath is drawn against you, and will certainly be thrust through you, if you proceed in your present course, still proceed, regardless of the consequence.

So God made the very beasts and birds of the old world to rebuke the madness of the men of that day : for they, even all sorts of them, fled to the ark, while the door was yet open : which the men of that day refused to do; God hereby thus signifying, that their folly was greater than that of the very brute creatures.-Such folly and madness are you guilty of, who refuse to hearken to the warnings that are given you of the approaching flood of the wrath of God.

You have been once more warned to-day, while the door of the ark yet stands open. Yon have, as it were, once again heard the knocks of the hammer and axe in the building of the ark, to put you in mind that a flood is approaching. Take heed therefore that you do not still stop your ears, treat these warnings with a regardless heart, and still neglect the great work which you have to do, lest the flood of wrath suddenly come upon you, sweep you away, and there be no remedy.



LUKE xvi. 16.-The law and the prophets were until John : since that time the kingdom of God is preach

ed, and every man presseth into it.

In these words two things may be observed : First, wherein the work and office of John the Baptist consisted, viz., in preaching the kingdom of God, to prepare the way for its introduction to succeed the law and the prophets. By the law and the prophets, in the text, seems to be intended the ancient dispensation under the Old Testament, which was received from Moses and the prophets. These are said to be until John ; not that the revelations given by them are out of use since that time, but that the state of the church, founded and regulated under God by them, the dispensation of which they were the ministers, and wherein the church depended mainly on light received from them, fully continued till John. He first began to introduce the New Testament dispensation, or gospel-state of the church; which, with its glorious, spiritual, and eterdal privileges and blessings, is often called the kingdom of heaven, or kingdom of God. John the Baptist preached, that the kingdom of God was at hand "Repent,” says he, “ for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”—“ Since that time,” says Christ,“ the kingdom of God is preached.” John the Baptist first began to preach it; and then, after him, Christ and his disciples preached the same. Thus Christ preached : Matt. iv. 17, “ From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” So the disciples were directed to preach: Matt. x. 7, “ And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” It was not John the Baptist, but Christ, that fully brought in, and actually established, this kingdom of God; but he, as Christ's forerunner to prepare his way before him, did the first thing that was done towards introducing it. The old dispensation was abolished, and the new brought in by degrees; as the night gradually ceases and gives place to the increasing day which succeeds in its room. First the day-star arises; next follows the light of the sun itself

, but dimly reflected, in the dawning of the day; but this light increases, and shines more and more, and the stars that served for light during the foregoing night, gradually go out and their light ceases, as being now needless, till at length the sun rises, and enlightens the world by his own direct light, which increases as he ascends higher above the horizon, till the day-star itself gradually disappears; agreeable to what John says of himself : John iii. 30, “ He must increase, but I must decrease.” John was the forerunner of Christ, and harbinger of the gospel-day; much as the morning. star is the forerunner of the sun. He had the most honorable office of any of the prophets; the other prophets foretold Christ to come, he revealed him as already come, and had the honor to be that servant who should come immediately before him, and actually introduce him, and even to be the instrument concerned in his solemn inauguration, as he was in baptizing him. He was the greatest of the prophets that came before Christ, as the morning-star is the brightest of all the stars, Matt. xi. 11. He came to prepare men's hearts to receive that kingdom of God which Christ was about more fully to reveal and erect : Luke i. 17, “ To make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

Secondly, We may observe wherein his success appeared, viz., in that since

he began his ministry, every man pressed into that kingdom of God which is preached. The greatness of his success appeared in two things:

1. In the generalness of it, with regard to the subject, or the persons i whomthe success appeared ; every man. Here is a terın of universality ; but 1 is not to be taken as universal with regard to individuals, but kinds; as such universal terms are often used in Scripture. When John preached, there wa an extraordinary pouring out of the Spirit of God that attended his preaching An uncommon awakening and concern for salvation, appeared on the minds a all sorts of persons; and even in the most unlikely persons, and those frou whom such a thing inight least be expected; as the Pharisees, who were ex ceeding proud and self-sufficient, and conceited of their own wisdom and righteouspess, and looked on themselves fit to be teachers of others, and used to scom to be taught; and the Sadducees, who were a kind of infidels, that denied any resurrection, angel, or spirit, or any future state. So that John himself seems to be surprised to see them come to him, under such concern for their salvation, as in Matt. iii. 7: “ But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath wared you to flee from the wrath to come ?" And besides these, the publicans, who were some of the most infamous sort of men, came to him, inquiring what they should do to be saved. And the soldiers, who were doubtless a very profane, loose, and profligate sort of persons, made the same inquiry, Luke iii. 12, and 14: “ Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do? And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do ?

2. His success appeared in the manner in which his hearers sought the kingdom of God; they pressed into it. It is elsewhere set forth by their being violent for the kingdom of heaven, and taking it by force. Matt. xi. 12, “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.”

The DOCTRINE that I observe from the words is this.—It concerns every one that would obtain the kingdom of God, to be pressing into it.-In discoursing on this subject, I would,

First, Show what is that way of seeking salvation that seems to be pointed forth in the expression of pressing into the kingdom of God.

Secondly, Give the reasons why it concerns every one that would obtain the kingdom of God, to seek it in this way.- And then make application.

1. I would show what manner of seeking salvation seems to be denoted by pressing into the kingdom of God.”

1. This expression denotes strength of desire. Men in general who live under the light of the gospel, and are not atheists, desire the kingdom of God; that is, they desire to go to heaven rather than to hell. Most of them indeed 1 are not much concerned about it; but on the contrary, live a secure and careless life. And some who are many degrees above these, being under some degrees of the awakenings of God's Spirit, yet are not pressing into the kingdom of God. But they that may be said to be truly so, have strong desires to get out of a natural condition, and to get an interest in Christ. They have such a conviction of the misery of their present state, and of the extreme necessity of obtaining a better, that their minds are as it were possessed with and wrapped up in concern about it. To obtain salvation is desired by them above all things in the world. This concern is so great that it very much shuts out other concerns. They used before to have the stream of their desires after other things,

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