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To this I must add, that the mere fear of hell, and the judicial impression upon conscience from it, is not sufficient to convert men to God: for that servile affection, though it may stop a temptation, and hinder the eruption of a lust into the gross act, yet does not renew the nature, and make men holy and heavenly: There may be a respective dislike of sin, with a direct affection to it. Besides, that religion that is the mere effect of fear, will be, according to the nature of its principle, with resistance and trouble, wavering and inconstant: for tormenting fear is repugnant to the human nature, and will be expelled, if possible. In short, the fear of hell may be only a natural affection, that recoils from what is painful to sense : therefore it is the great design of the gospel, by the * fear of hell, as a powerful preparative, to make way for the love of God, who offers pardon and indemnity to all returning sinners, and for the hope of heaven, the blessed reward promised to them. No offers of mercy will prevail to make sinners to yield themselves, till they are stormed by the terrors of the Lord. But when the fear of hell has made a breach, divine grace enters, and takes possession. As the virtue of the loadstone, when encompassed and armed with iron, is increased, and draws a far greater weight than when it is naked and single; thus the attractives of heaven are more powerful to move the hearts of men, when enforced from the terrors of hell. Now the love of God, and the hope of heaven, are spiritual affections; and the obedience that flows from them is voluntary, from the entire consent of the soul, and persevering.
Lastly, From the consideration of the punishment determined for sin, we may understand how dear our engagements are to the Lord Jesus Christ. The rector and judge of the world would not release the guilty without a ransom, nor the surety without satisfaction; and the Son of God most willingly and coinpassionately gave his precious blood the price of our redemption. He obtained the spirit of holiness, to illuminate our minds, to incline our wills, to sanctify our affections; without whose omnipotent grace, neither the hopes or fears of things spiritual and future would ever have cleansed and changed our hearts and lives. We are naturally as senseless as the dead, as to what concerns our everlasting peace, blind and brutish; and without fear should plunge ourselves into destruction, if the spirit of power, and of a sound mind, did not quicken and direct us in the way to everlasting life. O that we might feel our dear obligations to him, who has delivered us from the wrath to come," and purchased for us a felicity perfect, and without end ! I would not lessen and disparage one divine work, to advance and extol another ; but it is a truth that shines with its own light, and is declared by our Saviour, that our redemption from hell to heaven, is a more ex
* Nisi timore incipiat homo deum colere, non perveniet ad amorem. Aug.
cellent benefit than our creation ; in as much as our well-being is better than our being, and eternal misery is infinitely worse than mere not-being. Our Saviour speaks of Judas, “ It had been better for him if he had never been born.” How engag. ing is the love of Christ, who raised us from the bottom of hell to the bosom of God, the seat of happiness! If his perfections were not most amiable and attractive, yet that he died for us, should make him the object of our most ardent affections. “ To those who believe, he is precious :" To those who have felt their undone condition, and that by his merits and mediation are restored to the favor of God, that are freed from tormenting fears, and revived with the sweetest hopes, he is, and will be eminently and eternally precious. “Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be to Him that sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb forever and ever."