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I. God knoweth, the change is great, which you are You are leaving this world, where you have spent the days of your preparation for eternity, and leaving this flesh to corrupt and turn to common earth, and must here converse with man no more. You are going now to see that world, which the Gospel told you of, and you have often heard of, but neither you nor we did ever see. Before your friends have laid your body in the grave, your soul must enter into its endless state, and at the resurrection your body be joined with it. Either heaven or hell must be your lot for ever. If it be heaven, you will there find a world of light, and love, and peace; a world of angels and glorified souls, who are all made perfect in knowledge and holiness, living in the perfect flames of love to their glorious Creator, Redeemer, and Regenerator: and with them you will be thus perfected yourself: your soul will see the glory of God, and be rapt up in his love, and filled with his joys, and employed triumphantly in his praises, and this for ever. If hell should be your portion, you will there be thrust away as a hated thing from the face of God, and there you will find a world of devils, and unholy, damned, miserable souls ; among whom you must dwell, in the flames of the wrath of God, and the horrors of your own conscience, remembering with anguish the mercy which you once rejected, and the warnings and time which once you lost: and at the resurrection your soul and body must be re-united, and live there in torment and despair for ever. I know these things are but half believed by the ungodly world, while they profess to believe them: and therefore they must feel that which they refused to believe: but God hath revealed it to us, and we will believe our Maker. You are now going to see the great difference between the end of holiness and of sin; between the godly and the ungodly; and to know by your own experience those joys and torments, which the wicked will not know by faith. And O what a preparation doth such a change require!
II. You are next to know what persons they are, and how they differ, who must abide for ever in these different states. As we are the children of Adam, we are all corrupted; our minds are carnal, and set upon this world, and savour nothing but the things of the flesh; and the further we go
in sin, the worse we are; being strangers to the life of faith, and to the love of God and the life to come, taking the prosperity and pleasure of the flesh, for the felicity which we most desire and seek. The name of this state in Scripture is, carnal, and ungodly, and unholy; because such men live in a mere fleshly nature or disposition for fleshly ends, in a fleshly manner, and are not at all devoted to God, and carried up to heavenly desires and delights; but live chiefly for this life, and not for the life to come: and though they may take up some kind of religion, in a second place and upon the by, for fear of being damned when they can keep the world no longer; yet is it this world which they principally value, love, and seek, and their religion is subject to their worldly and fleshly interest and delights. And though God hath provided and offered them a Saviour, to teach them better, and reclaim and sanctify them by his Word and Spirit, and forgive them if they will believe in him and return, yet do they sottishly neglect this mercy, or obstinately refuse it, and continue their worldly, fleshly lives, till time be past, and mercy hath done, and there is no remedy. These are the men that God will condemn, and this is the true description of them. And it will not stand with the governing justice, and holiness and truth of God to save
But on the other side, all those that God will save, do heartily believe in Jesus Christ, who is sent of God to be the Saviour of souls; and he maketh them know (by his Word and Spirit) their grievous sin and misery in their state of corrupted nature; and he humbleth them for it, and bringeth them to true repentance, and maketh them loathe themselves for their iniquities; and seeing how they have cast away and undone themselves, and are no better than the slaves of satan, and the heirs of hell, they joyfully accept of the remedy that is offered them in Christ: they heartily take him for their Saviour and King, and give up themselves in covenant to him, to be justified and sanctified by him; whereupon he pardoneth all their sin, and further enlighteneth and sanctifieth them by his Spirit: he sheweth them by faith, the infinite love of God, and the sure, everlasting, holy joys, which they may have in heaven with him: and how blessed a life they may there obtain (through his
purchase and gift) with all the blessed saints and angels: he maketh them deliberately to compare this offer of eternal happiness, with all the pleasures and seeming commodities of sin, and all that this deceitful world can do for them and having considered of both, they see that there is no comparison to be made, and are ashamed that ever they were so mad as to prefer earth before heaven, and an inch of time before eternity, and a dream of pleasure before the everlasting joys, and to love the pleasures of a transitory world, above the presence, and favour, and glory of God: and for the time to come, they are firmly resolved what to do; even to take heaven for their only happiness, and there to lay up their hopes and treasure, and to live to God, as they have done to the flesh; and to make sure of their salvation, whatever become of their worldly interest. And thus the Spirit doth dwell and work in them, and renew their hearts, and give them a hatred to every sin, and a love to every holy thing, even to the holy Word, and worship, and ways, and servants of the Lord and in a word, he maketh them new creatures; and though they have still their sinful imperfections, yet the bent of their hearts and lives. is holy and heavenly, and they long to be perfect, and are labouring after it, and seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and live above the world and flesh and shortly Christ will make them perfect, and justify them in the day of their judgment, and give them the glorious end of all their faith, obedience, and patience. These are the persons, and none but these (among us, that have the use of reason) that shall live with God.
III. Now this being the infallible truth of the Gospel, and this being the true difference between the righteous and the wicked, the justified and condemned souls, O how nearly doth it now concern you, to try which of these is your own condition! Certainly it may be known: for God will judge the world in righteousness, by the same law or covenant by which he governeth them. Know but whom the law of Christ condemneth or justifieth, and you may soon know whom the Judge will condemn and justify: for he will proceed according to this law. If you should die in an unrenewed state in your sins, your hopes of heaven would all die with you and if you should think never so well of
yourself till death, and pretend never so confidently to trust on Christ and the mercy of God, one hour will convince you to your everlasting woe, that God's mercy and Christ's merits did never bring to heaven an unsanctified soul. Selfflattery is good for nothing, but to keep you from repenting till time be past, and to quiet you in satan's snares till there be no remedy: therefore presently, as you love your soul, examine yourself, and try which of these is the condition that you are in, and accordingly judge yourself, before God judge you. May you not know if you will, whether you have most minded earth or heaven, and which you have preferred and sought with the highest esteem and resolution, and whether your worldly or heavenly interest have borne sway; and which of them it is that gave place unto the other? Cannot a man tell if he will, what it is which his very soul hath practically taken for his chief concernment, and what it is that hath had most of his love and care? and what hath been next his heart, and which he hath preferred when they came to the parting, and one was set against the other? Cannot you tell whether you have lived principally to the flesh, for the prosperity of this world, and the pleasures of sin; or whether the Spirit of Christ by his Word, hath enlightened you, and shewed you your sin and misery, and humbled you for it, and shewed you the glory of the life to come, and the happiness of living in the love of God, and hereupon hath united your heart unto himself, and turned it from sin to holiness, from the world to God, and from earth to heaven, and made you a new creature, to live for heaven as you did for earth: surely this is not so small and indiscernible a work or change, but he that hath felt it on himself may know it. It is a good work to bring a sinner to feel his unrighteousness and misery, and to apply himself to Christ for righteousness and life: it is a great work to take off the heart from all the felicity of this world, and to set it unfeignedly upon God, and to cause him to place and seek his happiness in another world, whatever become of all the prosperity or pleasure of the flesh. It is thus with every true believer, for all the remnant of his sins and weaknesses and may you not know whether it be thus or not with you? One of these is your case: and it is now time to know which of them it is, when God is ready to tell
you by his judgment. If indeed you are in Christ, and his Spirit be in you, and hath renewed you, and sanctified you, and turned your heart and life to God, I have then nothing more than peace and comfort to speak to you, (as in the following exhortation :) but if it be otherwise, and you are yet in a carnal state, and were never renewed by the Spirit of Christ, will you give me leave to deal faithfully with you, as is necessary with one in your condition, and to set before you at once your sin and your remedy, and to tell you what yet you must do if you will be saved.
IV. And first, will you here lay to heart your folly, and unfeignedly lament your sinful life before the Lord? Not only this or that particular sin, but principally your fleshly heart and life that in the main, you have lived to this corruptible flesh, and loved, and sought, and served the world, before your God, and the happiness of your soul. Alas, friend, did you not know that you had an immortal soul, that must live in joy or misery for ever? Did you not know that you were made to love, and serve, and honour your Maker; and that you had the little time of this life given you, to try and prepare you for your endless life; and that as you lived here, it must go with you in heaven or hell for ever. If you did not believe these things, why did you not come, and give your reasons against them, to some judicious divine that was able to have shewed you the evidence of their truth? If you did believe them, alas, how was it possible that you could forget them? Could you believe a heaven and a hell, and not regard them, or suffer any transitory worldly vanity, to be more regarded by you? Did you know what you had to do in the world, and yet is it all undone till now? Were you never warned of this day? Did never preacher, nor Scripture, nor book, nor friend, nor conscience, tell you of your end? and tell you what would be the fruit of sin, and of your contempt and slighting of Christ and of his grace? Did you know that you must love God above the world, if ever you would be saved, and that you must to that end, be partaker of Christ, and renewed by his Spirit, and yet would you let out your heart upon the world, and follow the brutish pleasures of the flesh, and never earnestly seek after that Christ and Spirit that should thus renew and sanctify you? Do you not think now that it had