Page images
PDF
EPUB

as to Happiness or Misery, in this World and that to come. And That in several Instances; particularly in the Fears of the One and the Defires of the Other; what they are at present, The Defire of the Righteous is only Good, but the Expe&tation of the Wicked is Wrath: Chap. 11. 23. and what shall be their Issue in the words of the Text, The Fear of the Wicked it shall come upon Him, but the Defire of the Righteous shall be granted.

From which Words I shall lay down the following Propositions, as Subjects for this present discourse.

I. That the State of the Wicked is a State of Fear, presuppos'd in the words, The Fear of the Wicked.

II. That this is far from a groundless Fear, It shall come upon Him.

III. That on the Contrary the State of the Righteous is a State of Desire and Hope.

IV. That this is a Just Desire and well grounded Hope, It fall be Granted.

And Laftly, by way of Application, when these two different States have been fairly represented to you, I shall leave it to your own Judgments, which of these two Conditions ye will choose. I begin with the

I. That the State of the Wicked is a State of Fear, and that a Fear

First,

First, Natural, arising from the first inbred Notions of the Mind concerning the Effential differences between Good and Evil. For that there is such a Law of Nature, by which things are distinguilh d into Good and Bad, and from which the Actions of Men are properly denominated either Virtuous or Vicious, has not only been the conttant agreeing Voice of Mankind, but is so woven into our very Constitution and Frame, that a Man needs but look into Himself, and consult the experience of what palles within his own Breast to find, That his Mind has a Rational, as well as his Flesh a Sensible kind of Feeling; that his Soul is endu'd with as true and distinct a Perception of Moral, as his Body of Physical, Good and Evil; and that Conscience do's as Naturally distinguish between Virtue and Vice, as Sense do's between Pleasure and Pain. And by this Light of Reason, this Candle of the Lord set up in the Heart, it is easily discover'd, that as Goodness or Virtue do's in the Essence of it imply a present Fitness or Comelynefs, and raises an Expectation of Just Praise and Fu. ture Reward; fo on the other hand Vice or Sin carries with it the idea of Disagreeableness and Turpitude at present, and a strong apprehension of Blame and Punishment to come. From whence it follows, that from the first commitment of Sin there

results

[ocr errors]

results necessarily and únavoidably in the Mind both Shame and Fear. Shame for the Vileness of it, and Fear, for the Vengeance due to it. And the first Vengeance that is executed upon Sin is this very Fear itself of Vengeance. Prima eft hæc Vltio, as even the Heathen Poet witnesses, that the Wicked Wretch receives immediate Condemnation from himself: tho' all the other Courts in the World should abfolve him, yet it is not in the Power of a pack'd Jury, or a Corrupted Judge, to set a Man clear with his own Breaft, to silence the Evidence he bears about himself, or brow-beat or overrule those thousand Witnesses within. Hence it is, that when a Man has done any Villanous Act, tho' in the higheft Place and Power, and so above the Fear of Human Justice; or in the closest Retirement and deepest Secrecy, and so out of the Reach of Human Knowledge or Discovery: yet his Conscience for all that, smites him with Trembling and Horror, and depresses him to a perpetual Trepidation and Poorness of Spirit. And all this, because he has heard a Condemning Sentence from within, which the secret forebodings of his own Mind tell him will be ratify'd by a sad and certain Execution from above. This is most certainly so; and whatever outward appearances may be, whatever shew of Bravery the most

prosperous

.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

XIV. Prosperous Villany may put on, we should be mightily deceiv'd, if we should from thence Judge, that a Man, who has a load of any Enormous Guilt upon him, can have any True Peace, or Resolution, or Confidence, or Assurance within. No, neither Walls, nor Barrs, nor Company, nor Watches, nor Guards can keep out Guilty Fears from forcibly intruding in upon him, and making their way to his Heart. But as Eliphaz speaking of the Wicked says: A found of Fears is ever in his Ears, In Prosperity the Destroyer Shall.come upon him, He knoweth that the Day of Darkneß is ready at his hand, Trouble and

Anguilla hall make him afraid, they shall prevail against him as a King ready to the Battel. Job. 15. 21, 24. Every Great Offence and Presumptuous Crime is a Domestick Fury, that perpetually affrights the Wretch that it possesses, sends faintnes into his Heart, so that a shaken Leaf Joall chase bim, makes him flee when none pursues ; makes him like Cain, with the guilt of his Brother's Blood

upon him, take Every one he meets for his Executioner, and cry out in the bitterness of his Soul; Behold, it shall come to paß, that every one that findeth me fall say me. This is the terrible Estate of more than ordinary heinous Sinners, and holds in proportion to be true of all others, according to the different degrees of the flagitiousness of

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

their Crimes : Insomuch that there is no lin so small, but has its Measure and Proportion of Fear attending it. There is always a Fear of Temporal Evils that possesses the Wicked; whether it is, Left their hidden Villanies should be found out, and so the Sword of secular Justice, which is not born in vain, should overtake them; Or left Private Revenge for bold Injuries and Infolent Oppressions, when Publick Revenge sleeps, should Rouse up and consume them; Or for such Crimes, as Laws take no hold of, as Falsehood, Treachery, Hypocrisy, Ingratitude, and the like, left the common Hatred, and general Scorn, and just Indignation of Mankind should fall upon’em; Or left for some Sins, such as are idleness and Prodigality, Poverty come on 'em as one that travelleth, and their Want like an armed Man; Or left for Others, such as are Luft and Intemperance, Painful, and Foul, and Odious Difeases, should lay wast their most flourishing Conftitutions, and bring Trembling in the Joynts and Rottenness in the Bones. But besides these Fears of the Evil things of this World, tho' they are sufficiently tormenting, and able to imbitter all the sweets of Sin, there is a Fear, as Natural, but much more amazing and confounding; that there is in reserve beyond these an Unseen and Allmighty Vengeance to come, which the sense

of

« PreviousContinue »