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but as liquor in a brittle glass, soon cracked, soon lost. A great man once boasted of three things that he could not lose, his riches, his learning, and the king's favour; but in seeking a blessing on his meat he could not speak sense, he was forced to solicit charity, and before he died, professed, he was sure the king did care more for the worst of his dogs than for him. But God's favour is constant, permanent and everlasting; truth and mercy go hand in hand to all eternity.
(10.) God's favour always ends well : it begins in good-will, it ends in good-will; it begins in benevolence, it ends in complacency; it begins in grace, it ends in glory ; it is so far from ceasing, that it is increasing; it is like Solomon's sun that shines brighter to the perfect day of glory, like Ezekiel's waters that grow deeper till the soul arrive at the unfathomable depth of eternal felicity. But alas ! the comforts of this world, if the soul have no interest in God's favour, like the sweet and clear streams of Jordan run down into the dead sea of never-ending, boundless misery.
TENDENCY OF WHAT HAS BEEN STATED TO PRO
In making application of the subject for the purpose of producing conviction both with respect to sinners and saints, I commence with th former.
Is God's favour a Christian's life? Then, O what a fearful case are those in that are not in God's favour ?
• Psalm c. 5. VOL. III.
Woe, woe, woe to that soul which is out of God's favour, and continues so, and is found so at death and judgment. O what a sad and deplorable state ! better, ten thousand times better never to have been born. How canst thou live, soul ? how darest thou die? Who dost thou think will take pity on thee, if God disown thee? How canst thou make a shift to keep up thy heart from terror? How canst thou eat and drink, sleep or work, as long as thou art not sure thou art in God's favour? Or if thou mindest not these things, but puttest off thoughts of soul affairs a while, how canst thou bear up thy head at the approach of death? Dost thou dream of a reprieve or exemption from it? or dost thou imagine thou must die like a beast, and so feel neither weal nor woe when life is gone? or dost thou think to arrive at heaven without God's love or leave ? Canst thou be so sottish as to hope to be happy whether God will or not? Is not life bound up in, and issuing from God's favour? I may say to that soul that hath not an interest in God's favour, as the Lord to Abimelech, “ Thou art but a dead man.
1. Thou hast no true spiritual life, but art dead in sins and trespasses : † whatever vital acts thou pretendest to, thou hast no more spiritual life in thee than a dead carcass ; though thou mayest have a name to live, thou art dead, † thou art but the picture of a Christian ; adorn a dead corpse, you cannot put life into it, but make it more offensive; thy graces are but dead graces, thy duties are dead duties, thy gifts, comforts, and acts all are dead, and thy soul a dead soul, ready to be put into the grave of eternal perdition. How canst thou be otherwise than dead, when thou wantest the sun of God's favour to put life into thee? . Gen. xx. 3.
+ Eph. ii. l. # Rev. iii. I.
2. Thou art under the sentence of death which the law has passed upon thee, the gospel declares thee condemned already, thou hast forfeited thy right to all creature comforts, canst not truly call one morsel of bread thine own by a true covenant title, though God in his general bounty casts such crumbs to dogs: and for all thy bearing up so confidently with thy prayers, hearings, and hopings, all is abomination in his sight, nothing thou dost can please God, thou canst find no acceptance with him. Poor soul, thou toilest and trudgest hard to no purpose; if thou be not in favour with God, he will say, who required these things at thy hands ? Alas, all thou art or doest is rejected.
3. Thou art every moment exposed to a natural death, thy life hangs in doubt, and depends upon the courtesy of an offended God, who hath thee in his power, and can strike thee dead any moment of thy life: if thou sawest a giant stand over thee with a drawn sword, being thy sworn enemy, and ready to take away thy life, thou wouldest take but little rest in thy bed; God is thine enemy, stronger than all the men on earth, and he is just and true, and hath bound himself by an oath to destroy all the workers of iniquity; he is angry with the wicked every day, if thou turn not, he will whet his sword, he hath bent his bow, and made it ready, he hath prepared for thee the instruments of death, Psalm vii. 11, 12. How canst thou sleep quietly ? surely thy pillow is very soft, or thy heart very hard, else thou wouldest never be thus quiet under so much guilt, when thou knowest not that thou shalt live another hour, when thou canst not tell but death may meet thee at thy board, in thy bed, in the field, on the road; God hath the advantage of thee, and can soon hurl thee out of this world into another-a stamp of his foot, a word of his mouth, a
frown of his countenance will do it, for thou must perish at the rebuke of his countenance. How canst thou evade the arrest of his grim sergeant, death? the grave is ready for thee, yield thou must. And,
4. What is worst of all, when thou diest a natural death, thou enterest upon the bitter pangs of eternal death, which consists in a separation of the soul from God, and tormenting pains of soul and body under divine wrath.* Alas, soul! dost thou know what an everlasting banishment from the favourable presence of God means? this the hell of hell, and though here thou canst be content to live without God's favour, yet it will be another manner of thing to be in hell without the benefit of God's favour; here thou mayest be content, there the loss of it will be tormenting, then thine eyes will be opened to see what is in God's favour, to know the worth of it by the want of it. If the withdrawing of the sense God's favour have filled saints' hearts with intolerable pangs, near akin to those of the damned in hell, oh what an inexpressible horror and anguish shall the hearts of the lost feel, when they see all their fond and groundless hopes frustrated, having given up the ghost, and in the room of their self-made comforts, weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth ; instead of wine and mirth, sensual delights and pleasures, to drink of the wine of the wrath of God, poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation, where soul and body must be tormented with fire and brimstone, in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb. t Ah, dreadful disappointment! ah, woful state of graceless sinners ! poor soul, what a heavisome case art thou in, there is but a step betwixt thee and death, but a hair-breadth betwixt thee and hell, it is but stopping thy borrowed breath, and thou art in • 2 Thess. i. 7-9.
+ Rev. xiv. 10, 11,
endless misery; God hath ways enough to dispatch thee, and Satan, whom thou art serving, is waiting for a commission to seize thee! he pusheth thee forward into sin apace, that thou mayest hasten into the same condemnation with him; God also leaves thee to thyself, and glad thou art of it, that thou canst pass on undisturbed to the pit of destruction. Now, thou canst laugh at death as a fable, slight the thoughts of damnation as unconcerned therein, despise the way of obtaining God's favour as unimportant; thou art now ripening for ruin, sin hath made thee as stubble fully dry, and justice is upon the road to tear thee up, and cast thee into the fire of eternal wrath, and though thou art sleeping upon the bed of carnal security, yet thy judgment of a long time lingereth not, and thy damnation slumbereth not.* Oh couldst thou have a look into hell, and see what is become of those graceless' souls that were once as careless and confident as thou art, it would affright thee out of thy wits, or wickedness; and indeed it is a wonder that guilty consciences discovering wrath over them, and hell flaming beneath, do not run mad, and lay violent hands on themselves, like Judas, or at least roar out like tormented fiends as Spira did. I often think of what Augustin said, “I would not for all the world be in an unregenerate state one hour, lest in that hour death should snatch me away, and thrust me into hell.” Oh that thy heart, poor sinner, did meditate terror! Oh that the sinners in Zion were but afraid, and would bethink themselves how they are able to dwell with devouring fire, with everlasting burnings !+ or rather, that you might inquire some way of escaping that wrath to come, those everlasting torments. But there is no hope, sinners will not fear, till they feel what • 2 Pet. ï.3.
+ Isa. xxxiii. 14, 18.