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lations, and look upon your children and other dear friends, and behold your costly possessions, these things may justly minister torment to you, while you are in a natural state. For consider, that you do not know but that all these things are given you in wrath. When you sit down to eat and drink, you may do it in torment, because you know not but this may be in wrath. When you lie down upon your beds, it may justly be in torment, for you do not know but you shall awake in hell. And when you awake in the morning, it may justly be with torment in your heart, to think you are still in that doleful condition. When you go forth to your daily labour, you have reason to go with a terrified heart; for you know not but you are followed with God's curse in all that to which you put your hands. Whatever dispensations of Providence you may have, all may justly put you in mind of the dolefulness of your condition. If you meet with afflictions, these may remind you that you have no God to pity you, and that a God, who is angry with you every day, sends these afflictions upon you. If you meet with prosperity, you may justly receive it with a sorrowful sense of the dolefulness of your state; for you know not but it is to fit you for the slaughter. If you hear of the death of others, it may justly terrify you, and put you in mind of your own mortality, and of your danger of dying as you now are. If you hear of others' conversion, it may justly renew in you a sense of the dolefulness of your own state, that you still remain unconverted. If you see the bible, an awful thought may justly go with the sight, that you have never yet received any good by that book, and that all the curses written in it, stand against you. Every time you enter the house of God, it may justly renew awful thoughts of your circumstances, that you have entered there so often, and obtained no good; entered so often, and gone away worse than you came. And what danger there is, that you shall be one of those spoken of in Ecclesiastes viii. 10. "I saw the wicked buried, who had come and gone from the place of the holy, and they were forgotten in the city where they had so done." And wheresoever you turn yourself, whatever you meet with, and whatever you behold, or hear, may justly renew a sense of the dolefulness of your The thought of your condition may justly cast a darkness upon every thing.
2. Consider that the time will soon come, when you will be sensible that the dolefulness of your condition is as great as I have represented it; that I have not enlarged or magnified the matter, but that the case is as I have declared it. You will then see that
it is so. Whether you are sensible of it now or not, yet in a little time you will surely be sensible, and will need no argument to convince you of it. Yea, you will be sensible that it is more doleful than I have represented. After all that has been told you now,
and at other times, the time will come, when you will say, that the one half was not told you.
3. Your condition is thus doleful, notwithstanding every thing with which you may flatter yourself. You may be ready to flatter yourself, that though the condition of some natural persons is thus doleful, yet yours is not; that you are in better circumstances than other natural men commonly are. Or particularly, you may flatter yourself, that you are not so bad as others; you do not find such dreadful corruptions in your heart, as you hear are in others. Herein you deceive yourself. It is because you are ignorant of your own heart. What has been said of the depraved state of natural men, of their blindness, their hardness, their deadness, all belongs to you. You may possibly flatter yourself that your condition is not so doleful, because you have always walked orderly, you have been moral and religious. Here also you deceive yourself. For notwithstanding your moral and religious behaviour, and all your sobriety, you never did the least thing ́from a gracious respect to God. You have a heart in the likeness of the heart of the devil. You are without God in the world. God is angry with you every day; his wrath is not at all appeased. You may flatter yourselves that you are the children of godly parents, that you have many godly friends, who may put up many prayers for you, and that your case is not so doleful on that account, and that your danger is not extremely great. But in this you miserably deceive yourself. You are children of the devil notwithstanding all this. If you die in your present condition, it is impossible that you shall escape eternal misery. And there is great danger, that you will die in it. You have no security that you shall not be in hell before to-morrow morning. Do not flatter yourself from such things as these, that you are not in a doleful condition. Some of those who flatter themselves most, and think their condition the least doleful, are indeed in the most doleful condition. It is more dreadful than their neighbours; more so than that of many, whom they esteem ten times worse than themselves. And this is one thing, which adds to the dolefulness of their condition, that they so flatter themselves, and think their state so good. So it was of old with the Scribes and Pharisees. Matthew xxi. 31. "Verily I say unto you, the publicans and harlots go into the kingdom of God before you."
III. This subject may well excite joy and thankfulness in the hearts of the truly penitent, that God has found out a way to deliver them from such a condition; that God has been pleased to send his Son into the world to die for them; that he has given them the gospel and the means of grace; and that he has delivered them from this dreadful condition. You were in the same circumstances. 1 Cor. vi. 11. "Such were some of you; but ye are
washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the spirit of our God." It is mere grace, which has made the difference. There is no cause of boasting. God might have taken others, and left you. You deserved no more than they. You had no more righteousness of your own. Probably you have done worse than many, who have eternally perished. Take heed, that you entertain no boasting thought, and that your joy in this be a humble joy; accompanied with continual praise to God, who has done such great things for you, and from all eternity set his love upon you.
IV. This subject should lead those, who are in a natural condition, earnestly to seek for deliverance. Will you rest in such a condition, when there is a way of salvation provided, and an opportunity for an escape? Will you of choice continue still in this state? Though your case is very dangerous, yet there is a possibi of rescue, if you have but a heart to improve your opportunity. But besides what has been said, I would desire you further to consider, how happy will be your state, should you obtain deliverance. A converted state is not less happy than a natural condition is miserable and dreadful. You will be brought out of darkness into marvellous light. It will be like the dawning of the morning after a long night of darkness. It will be a joyful morning to you. The day-star will arise in your heart. Then will be given you the morning star. You will then have a discovery of the glory of God, and the beauty and excellency of Jesus Christ made to your soul; and then will be opened to your view the glorious fountain of divine grace. You will then look back and see how you have dwelt in darkness throughout your lives, and in the region and shadow of death. Matthew iv. 16. "The people, which sat in darkness saw great light, and to them, which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up." You will then be brought out of a dreadful bondage into glorious liberty. You will come forth, as from a dark dungeon, to see the glorious light of the Sun of righteousness. Your eyes will then be opened, and you will be brought out of the prison house. Isaiah lxi. 1. "The spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek, he hath sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captive, and the opening of the prison to them, that are bound." Then you who were dead, will be made alive; and you that have been lost, will be found. What you will then obtain will richly repay you for all the labour which you have undergone. If you have spent ever so many years in wrestling with corruption and temptation, in striving to enter in at the strait gate, you will not repent it. But more particularly consider,
1. How glorious will be the alteration, made in your nature. Old things will be done away, and all things will become new. Sin will be mortified in you, and the glorious image of God conferred upon you. You will have holy and spiritual principles imparted to you, a spirit of divine love and heavenly mindedness, a relish for spiritual enjoyments, a delight in the Lord Jesus Christ, a truly meek, humble, charitable and benevolent spirit. You will be changed, from being more filthy and hateful than a reptile into the likeness of the glorious Son of God. You will be taken out of the mire of brutal lusts and spiritual abominations, will be washed from all your filthiness, and will be adorned with the most glorious ornaments; those ornaments of mind, which in the sight of God, are of great price, ornaments, which will render you a thousand times more beautiful and lovely than the robes of princes. You will obtain those graces of the spirit of God which are the ornaments of angels.
2. Consider the safety of the condition in which you will then be. The terrible wrath of the great God, which abides on wicked men, will then be removed from you. Christ will be to you as a hiding place from the storm, and as a shadow from the heat of God's wrath. You will then be safe from hell, and will be for ever delivered from that dreadful misery, which is endured by the damned, and to which you are now condemned. Revelation xx. 6. "On such the second death hath no power." You will be safe from the power of Satan. Christ will be your protector, so that you shall be out of his reach, that he will not be able to destroy you. You shall dwell on high. Your place of defence shall be the munition of rocks, where you may laugh at the power of the enemy. And though you are in a world full of enemies and sinners, yet God will be your Rock, and the most High God your Redeemer. God will carry you as on eagles' wings through the world, aloft out of the reach of your enemies. They may see you, and wish your ruin, and gnash their teeth, but shall not be able to accomplish it. Satan will desire to have you, but Christ will have prayed for you, and that will be your security. You will be safe from death; that will not be able to hurt you. Natural men are in continual danger from death. They know not when nor how death may come. But if it comes while they are in that condition, it sinks them into hell. But you need not be afraid to meet death, either by day or night. Whenever it comes, and in whatever form, you are safe. While others walk in slippery places, your feet will be established on a rock. In a time of sickness and mortality, while others tremble, you need not fear. If you are sick, you need not dread the issue. For though your flesh and your heart should fail you, yet God will be the strength of your heart, your present help, and your portion for ever. Though the
earth should be removed, you will be safe. Psalms xlvi. 1, 2, 3. "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof." If you are once in Christ Jesus, none shall ever pluck you out of his hands. John x. 28.
They shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hand." You will be freed from condemnation; for who is he that shall condemn you? it is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again. Who shall separate you from the love of Christ? "Neither life, nor death, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature." What a glorious foundation will there be for your peace and quietness! Isaiah xxxii. 17. "And the work of righteousness shall be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance for ever." Let this consideration, therefore, prompt you earnestly to seek, that you may obtain that happy condition. Can you consider how happy the change would be to you, how desirable such safety is, and not be willing earnestly to seek and do every thing which lies in your power, that you may obtain it?
3. Consider how exceedingly it will be for the comfort and . pleasure of your life, if you are converted. You are not only under the greatest necessity to become converted, because a natural condition is so dreadful a condition, but you will gain by it every way. You will not only gain eternal life by it, but you will gain unspeakably by it while in this world. Your pains will be richly rewarded while here, though that be but little to your future reward. You cannot take a more direct course to make your life pleasant. You will obtain by it the most excellent delight and pleasure, in comparison with which the pleasures which are to be had in worldly things are low and vile. Hereby you may obtain the most substantial, soul-satisfying, soul-refreshing pleasures. You may then live a life of divine love and communion with that glorious Being, who is the object of your love. Then you will be blest with the best company, and with heavenly society. Far better is a little with the fear of the Lord, than great treasures with that trouble which wicked men have with their enjoyments. Then you may enjoy what God in his providence bestows upon you with peace of conscience; and may rejoice in it, as the fruit of the love of God. Then you may have the comfort of considering that you have God's blessing on what you possess. Your enjoyments will then be sweet to you, for you will enjoy God in the fruits of his bounty. Your life will be abundantly more pleasant in all the circumstances and concerns of it. It will make God's house a