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come; but some again say, • We will come hereafter ;" and so it comes to pass, that because God called and they did not hear, so "they shall cry and I will not hear,” saith the Lord. Zech. 7:11-13.
The poor ignorant world miss of heaven, because they have false apprehensions of God's mercy. They say in their hearts, “We shall have peace, though we walk in the imagination of our heart.” Deut. 29:19–21.
The poor ignorant world miss of heaven, because they make light of the gospel that offers mercy to them freely, and because they lean upon their own good meanings and thinkings and doings. Matt. 22:1-5; Rom. 9:30, 31.
The poor carnal world miss of heaven, because by unbelief, which reigns in them, they are kept for ever from being clothed with Christ's righteousness, and from washing in his blood, without which there is no remission of sin nor justification.
Blush, sinner, blush! Ah, that thou hadst grace to blush.
My first word shall be to the openly profane. Poor sinner, thou readest that many that expect heaven will go without heaven. What sayest thou to this, poor sinner ? If judgment begins at the house of God, what will be the end of them that obey not the gospel of God? This is Peter's question: canst thou answer it, sinner? Yea, I say again, if judgment must begin at them, will it not make thee think, What shall become of me? And I add, when thou shalt see the stars of heaven tumble down to hell, canst thou think that such a muck-heap of sin as thou art shall be lifted up to heaven ? Peter asks thee another question : "If the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?”. Canst thou answer this question, sinner? Stand among the righteous thou mayst not : “ The ungodly shall not stand in the judg.
ment.” Stand among the wicked thou then wilt not dare to do: where wilt thou appear, sinner? To stand
among the hypocrites will avail thee nothing : “The hypocrite shall not come before him,” that is, with acceptance, “but shall perish.”
Because it concerns thee much, let me over with it again. When thou shalt see less sinners than thou art bound up by angels in bundles to burn them, where wilt thou appear, sinner ? Thou mayst wish thyself another man, but that will not help thee, sinner. wish, “Would I had been converted in time;" but that will not help thee neither. And if, like the wife of Jeroboam, thou shouldst feign thyself to be another, the prophet, the Lord Jesus, would soon find thee out. What wilt thou do, poor sinner? Heavy tidings, heavy tidings will attend thee, except thou repent, poor sinner!
Sluggard, art thou asleep still? art thoù resolved to sleep the sleep of death? Will neither tidings from heaven nor hell awake thee? Wilt thou say still, “Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the arms to sleep ?”
O that I was one that was skilful in lamentation, and had but a yearning heart towards thee, how would I pity thee ; how would I bemoan thee! Poor soul, lost soul, dying soul, what a hard heart have I that I cannot mourn for thee! If thou shouldst lose but a limb, a child, or a friend, it would not be so much ; but, poor man, it is thy soul: if it was to lie in hell but for a day, but for a year, nay, ten thousand years, it would in comparison be nothing ; but o it is for ever! O this cutting ever!
Sinner, awake; yea, I say unto thee, awake! Sin lieth at thy door, and God's axe lieth at thy root, and hell-fire is right underneath thee.. I say again, awake. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, is hewn down and cast into the fire.
Poor sinner, awake: Eternity is coming, and his Son; they are both coming to judge the world : awake; art yet asleep, poor sinner ? let me set the trumpet to thine ear once again. The heavens will be shortly on a burning flame; the earth and the works thereof shall be burned up, and then wicked men shall go into perdition : dost thou hear this, sinner?
Hark again : the sweet morsels of sin will then be fled and gone, and the bitter, burning fruits of them only left. What sayst thou now, sinner? canst thou drink hell-fire ? will the wrath of God be a pleasant dish to thy taste ? This must be thine every day's meat and drink in hell, sinner.
I will yet propound to thee God's ponderous question, and then for this time leave thee: “Can thine heart endure, or can thy hands be strong in the day that I shall deal with thee, saith the Lord ?” What sayst thou ? Wilt thou answer this question now; or wilt thou take time to do it; or wilt thou be desperate and venture all ? And let me put this text in thine ear to keep it open, and so the Lord have mercy upon thee : “Upon the wicked shall the Lord rain snares, fire, and brimstone, and a horrible tempest; this shall be the portion of their cup.”. Repent, sinners.
CONSCIENCE. Conscience hath its place in the soul, where it is as a judge to discern of things good or bad, and judge them accordingly. Romans 2:14. This conscience is that in which is the law of nature, 1 Cor. 11:14, which is able to teach the Gentiles that sin against the law is sin against God.
Now this conscience, this nature itself, because it can control and chide them for sin who give ear unto it-must it therefore be idolized and made a god of? O wonderful! that men should make a God and a Christ of their consciences because they can convince of sin.
Thou sayest, He that convinces of sins against the law, leads up to the fulfilling of the law. Friend, thy conscience convinces of sins against the law : follow thy conscience, and it may lead thee under the curse of the law, through its weakness; but it can never deliver thee from the curse of the law by its power. For if righteousness come by obedience to the law, or by thy conscience either, then Christ is dead in vain, Gal. 2:21.
A GOOD CONSCIENCE. This must needs be a blessed help in distress, for a man to have a good conscience when affliction hath taken hold on him ; for a man then, in his looking behind and before, to return with peace to his own soul, that man must needs find honey in this lion.
This is the way to maintain always the answer, the echoing answer of a good conscience in thy own soul. Godliness is of great use this way; for the man that hath a good conscience to God-ward, hath a continual feast in his own soul: while others say there is casting down, he shall
there is lifting up; for God shall save the humble person.
Some indeed, in the midst of their profession, are reproached, smitten, and condemned of their own heart, their conscience still biting and stinging them because of the uncleanness of their hands; and they cannot lift up their face unto God, they have not the answer of a good conscience towards him, but must walk as persons false to their God and as traitors to their own eternal welfare. But the godly upright man shall have the light shine upon his ways, and he shall take his steps in butter and honey. The work of righteousness shall be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness, and assurance for ever.
“If our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence towards God.”
A TENDER CONSCIENCE. A tender conscience is to some people like Solomon's brawling woman, a burthen to those that have it; but let it be to thee like those that invited David to go up to the house of the Lord.
A GUILTY CONSCIENCE. “And Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God.” These latter words are spoken, not to persuade us that men can hide themselves from God, but that Adam and those that are his by nature will seek to do it, because they do not know him aright. These words therefore further show. us what a bitter thing sin is to the soul; it is only for hiding-work, sometimes under its fig-leaves, sometimes among the trees of the garden. O what a shaking, starting, timorous evil conscience is a sinful, guilty conscience : especially when it is but a little awakened, it could run its head into every hole, first by one fancy, then by another; for the power and goodness of a man's own righteousness cannot withstand or answer the demands of the justice of God and his holy law.
There is yet another witness for the condemning transgressors of these laws, and that is conscience : “Their consciences also bearing witness,” says the apostle. Conscience is a thousand witnesses. Conscience! it will cry amen to every word that the great God doth speak against thee. Conscience is a terrible accuser; it will hold pace with the witness of God, as to the truth of evidence, to a hair's breadth. The witness of conscience, it is of great authority; it commands guilt and fastens it on every soul which it accuses. Conscience will thunder and lighten at the day of judgment; even the consciences of the most pagan